Law and Grace

Law and Grace

Scripture: Galatians 2:21
Date: 11/13/2021  Lesson: 7
Deuteronomy could be seen as one big object lesson in grace and law. By grace God redeems us, doing for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves, and in response we live, by faith, a life of obedience to Him and to His law.

God's Law and God's Grace

God's Law and God's Grace
When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.
If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.

Carlos Muñoz: Maranatha, and happy Sabbath to everyone. Welcome to the Granite Bay Seventh-day--Seventh-day Adventist Church. We want to welcome you to our Hilltop Church here in Sacramento, Granite Bay, in the Sacramento area. We want to welcome everybody that's here in person and everybody that's watching online or through Amazing Facts TV or all of the different TV stations. We want to welcome you and we want to say if you're ever in the area, if you're ever in the Sacramento area, please come and join us here at Granite Bay Hilltop SDA Church.

And so, as we're going to come into our study lesson for this week, which is studying in the present truth in Deuteronomy, we're studying Lesson number 7, "The Law and Grace," on this day, November 13, and so we want to welcome all of you. And before we get started, I just want to remind you we always have a free gift. And so this free gift that we're giving today is called, "God's Law and God's Grace." And you can attain--you can receive this free gift by calling 1-866-788-3966 or 1-866-Study-More, and you can ask for offer number 881 or you can text, if you are inside of the United States and its territories, you can text "SH150" to the number "40544," and you will receive a digital copy download of this free gift. So we hope that you take advantage of this and the many resources that we are always wanting to put in your hands.

So today's Sabbath School lesson, number 7, is going to be presented to us by Pastor Alden Ho. Pastor Alden is a new addition to the Amazing Facts family. If you don't know him, well, today you'll get to know him a little bit better and he will be sharing with us the Word of God through the "Sabbath School Study Hour." Thank you very much. God bless.

Alden Ho: It's a very interesting Sabbath School lesson we have this morning because it deals with us today. I mean, not just Deuteronomy. Did you have this and look at this? It says right here a very important thing. It's not just Deuteronomy. It's the two words before that. It says--or three words before that: "Present Truth in Deuteronomy." This is very important for us today because how many of you believe that we are truly in the last days? Can I see your hands? I know that those of you online, I can't see your hands, but I'm pretty sure that you have your hands up, considering all the craziness that's going on today. But this particular lesson today deals with an issue that many of us have dealt with, with people we know, with other friends who are churchgoers but just not of the Sabbath Day churchgoing type.

So let's look at this today. As we go through it, I want to read something to you that was right at the very beginning by the editor and the contributor to the lesson, and that's Clifford Goldstein, and he writes here on page 2 of your lesson. If you have it, follow along with me. It says: "Moses spoke to them in a series of speeches. The essence of those speeches was: 'You're now about to enter the Promised Land. Finally! Don't forget what the Lord has done for you, and don't forget what He has asked of you, which is to love Him with all your heart, with all your soul, and to reveal that love by obedience to all the commandments according to the covenant.'"

So, he also writes several parts I want to include here. He says, "Moses's upper desert discourse consists of a series of farewell messages to Israel." He's aging now. He's 120 years old and it's addressed to a new generation that's on the edge of the Promised Land, about to possess the Promised Land, those who survived the 40 years in the wilderness. Moses reminds this new generation of the importance of obedience as they had learned, hopefully, from the sad experiences that their parents faced. Moses reminds them also in his parting words to the new generation are given in oral written form so that they can be endured for all generations, not just for them but also for us today as well.

If this was present truth for the Israelites who are right on the border of the Promised Land, then it is present truth for us too. If you raised your hand and you truly believe that we are nearing the end of time, I mean, nearing, so near that we are there, then this applies for us too, knowing that the next thing for us is to meet Jesus and head to our eternal home. Would you say "Amen" to that?

As we look at Sunday's lesson, "Law in Heaven," it brings us to a text here found in Ezekiel chapter 28, verse 15. In Ezekiel 28:15, it's talking about Satan here, a very important part of this lesson of "Law and Grace." It says, "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, until iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones."

Now, if we back up a little bit from this, we go back to Revelation 12:17. Actually, that looks like forward but it's actually going backwards because it's describing to us exactly what happened here in this process. In Revelation 12:7, we've heard this and it says: "And war broke out," where? "In heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon."

Who's Michael by the way? Jesus. "Jesus and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought." This is some sort of warfare going on. Doesn't seem to be really good, but we already know who won. And the verse says: "But they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them," where? "In heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan," notice and it says, "who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

There's a wonderful book called "Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings," and on page 109 it says: "The will of God is expressed in the precepts of His holy law, and the principles of this law are the principles of heaven." So what we find is not only is the law applicable here, but the law here is actually based on the law there. So nothing's different. Why would God create something different and say, "Well, I want for you today what you do on earth is going to be very different from over there." No, everything that we do on earth is a precursor to prepare us for what? For our eternal home.

She goes on to say here: "The angels of heaven attain unto no higher knowledge than to know the will of God and to do His will is the highest service that can engage their powers." If that's what it is for angels, then what should it be for us, living today? I mean, if angels are--their whole issue, their whole focus, is to know the will of God, and once you know it, God's not going to say, "Okay, angels, here it is. I'm downloading the whole thing to you." Can you imagine if that was, like, fiber optic coming into our head? No, God gives it little by little, a trickle at a time, because what we have to do is we have to gnaw on it a bit.

You ever see people who chew their food like one, two, three, four, five...? I'm wondering, "Do I have to do the Heimlich on them? Are they going to get stuck?" I know sometimes in the morning if I'm in a hurry with my muesli, I can't put very much in it because I can look at that clock and I'm thinking, "I'm not going to make it. Either I got to eat something else or, you know, just it takes so long to chew."

That's how it is with the truth. Sometimes, we have to chew on it. Hopefully, we don't regurgitate it like some animals do, but we do chew on it and get it so that it's smaller pieces and then we can swallow it better. And that's exactly what happens for angels and that's what happens for us too.

So the question, then, I have for you, is it possible for sin to ever enter heaven again? What do you think? I heard yes. No, I heard no. Could evil angels get back into heaven? So then, here's the question. If they could get back into heaven, or maybe they could get back into heaven but then if Michael fought with Satan, and Satan we know deceived how many of the angels? One third of the angels. So if one third of the angels are cast out of heaven, could you tell the different between the one third that was cast out and the two thirds that remained then? I mean, all of a sudden, when they walked out of the pearly white gates, does their demeanor, does their focus, does everything about them change in looks? Not really.

You know, that's what the devil wants us to think. But Satan was a very beautiful creature, and he still is today. He doesn't go around with horns, a pitchfork, and a pointed tail, wearing a red suit. I think that's in the political world. But when you came in here this morning, I think you've noticed over the last maybe couple of months that there have been--they've been building something out by the road.

Now, those of you watching online probably have no clue as to what we're talking about here. But Amazing Facts has set up a security system, a gate. Now, if you try to come at night-time, will you be able to get in? No, you can't. Now, well, let me rephrase that. You can, but you can't. You can park your car and you can walk in, but can your car come in? No, not unless you have the pass, the secret pass, which most of you don't have that secret pass so you're not permitted to get past the gate unless you go out and walk.

Many years ago, I remember I was in Korea. I served there as a student missionary in Seoul, Korea, and I remember going to the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone, and I stood there in that one main building and they had the cable for the microphone going across and you could walk around the table and the moment you walked around that table, you were in communist country. That was North Korea. Now, you can't drive into North Korea freely, and neither can you really walk into North Korea because of everything that's set up around.

But because Satan's angels could be looked at as God's angels, did you know that there's a security system that has been set up in heaven as a result of this? How many of you knew that? Can I see your hands? Wow, a lot of you didn't. Let me explain to you so you don't think I'm preaching heresies or something like that. This is found in Early Writings, page 37. Listen to this: "Then my attending angel directed me to the city again where I saw four angels winging their way to the gate of the city. They were just presenting the golden card to the angel at the gate. Hm, let's go two more pages to page 39: "There is perfect order in--and harmony in the holy city. All the angels that are commissioned to visit the city hold a golden card, which they present to the angels at the gate of the city as they pass in and out," wow.

Now you learned something today that you never knew. So, God's heavenly kingdom has a fortified security system because sin will never have a chance to enter in again. Why is this important? Well, it's important because when we sin, well, let's turn to Romans chapter 7. Romans chapter 7, verse 7. Paul writes here and he says: "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except," what? "Through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law said, 'You shall not covet.'"

Do you remember the name "Rahab"? What do we know about Rahab? Rahab was kind of the mother of all harlots, wasn't she? And she--that her story's found in Joshua chapter 2. She hid the two Hebrew spies that came in. A security detail was now sent to Rahab and what happened? They were asking her, "Hey, Rahab, where did the two guys come that came into your place?" What was her answer, ha, ha? She says, "They've gone. I don't know where they are."

Now, let's be clear. Did Rahab lie? Yeah, certainly she lied. Is lying a sin? It's in the 11th commandment, right? "Thou shalt not tell a lie." "Thou shalt not bear false witness." So why would Rahab tell a lie? Because Rahab did not know that was sin. Kind of like, Rahab didn't realize that being a mother of all harlots was a sin, until it was pointed out to her. When it was pointed out to her, was she continuing on being a harlot? No. Did she continue lying? No. In fact, Rahab's life changed so much that her name is mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11 as one of the faithful and she is counted as one of those who are the great cloud of witnesses.

Let's go to Monday's lesson: "The Law in Deuteronomy." In Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 44, it says: "Now this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel." The law, the Torah, meaning God's instructions to them, which was inclusive of the Ten Commandments. Now, we find also that in Romans 3:20 it says: "Therefore, by the deeds of the law, no flesh will be justified in His sight for by the law is the knowledge of sin." You notice how it says we use the--in the English, the word "The law."

Now, when I was teaching in Korea, they don't like to put articles before the words. And if, in fact, if you listen to Australian people, I have a lot of friends that are in Australia, downunder, they don't like to use the article in there. When they say, "I'm going--" we would say, "I'm going to the hospital." They would say, "I'm going to hospital." We would say, "Pastor." I mean, sorry, we would say, "The pastor." They would say, "Pastor." So they don't include the law.

Now, this is very interesting because this word "the" and the leaving it out, if the Jews said, "This is the law," that means they're referring to the law being their law. Now, if I--my wife's somewhere here, hiding. If I said, "This is the wife," what would that, you know, what if I said, "This is a wife"? Ha, she would not like that. I can tell you that much. But when you say, "This is the law," versus what if you said, "This is law," do you see the difference? There's a big difference in the two.

So we find that when we state this, Paul is stating here the general truth that is applicable to not just the Jews but also to the Gentiles, because righteousness by works of law has been the basis of every false religious system and had become the principle even for the Jewish region--religion. But works performed in obedience to the law, whether that law be made known by reason, by conscience, or by revelation, cannot justify a sinner before God. The Bible commentary states this: Paul had already shown that Gentiles--the Gentiles have violated the law revealed to them in nature and conscience. But we find the law has no power to justify. It can only expose the sinfulness of sin in its true colors. Justification can only be obtained one way.

We find here from the Fall of Adam onward up to those who live through the time of trouble and the mark of the beast the people depicted as those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. That's hopefully us. Now, in Tuesday's lessons, we look at this word, if you have your lesson and you look at it, it's kind of interesting. It says here, "latovlah." I thought, "What is this word? Is this a typo? Or is it something like this?"

And I kind of briefly looked at it and it really didn't say a whole lot, so I messaged a friend of mine over in--my friend Abi David, over in Jerusalem, and I said, "Hey, Abi, do me a favor. Send me a voice clip, an audio clip back, saying what this word is, because it's supposed to mean 'for your good.'" She said, "But that word does not mean 'for your good.'" And I thought, "Well, that's interesting but that's what the lesson says." And she says, "No, the actual word is latovlah." I can't say it. Because when she said it on the audio clip, it sounded like she was coughing and spitting up here, because of the way the Hebrew word is. It's very glottal sounding, so it's latov-glagh. I kid you not, that's how it says. Pastor Doug told me, "Just say it 'latovlag.' Just don't try to get too dramatic with the whole thing." But that's how they pronounce it. And this word, we find, is a very interesting word.

People look for excuses. When--if you were like me, ha, ha, growing up in high school, how many of you looked for excuses not to do your homework? Can I see your hands? Yeah, Jessica, I can figure that one out there. So, we have all kinds of excuses for not doing things and sometimes we have excuses for not working as well. And you notice, what's going around today? The pandemic of employment today is many people would rather just stay at home unemployed rather than working. I see so many of your heads nodding up and down. Any excuse they can find.

Now, listen to this. In Deuteronomy chapter 10, verse 12 and 13, turn with me to that. Deuteronomy 10, verse 12 and 13. It says: "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?" That's interesting.

So, this command, He set up this--He established this law for us, the principles of the Decalogue are based not on just some arbitrary thing, but this law is actually based on the character of who God is. And they are established very firmly.

Now, it was interesting that last night, when you watched the prophecy series that's going on, "Panorama of Prophecy," last night's topic was "The Commands of the King." And do you remember what happened to Daniel? They had made up this new law to try and trap Daniel, right? They said that when the king realized what had happened, would he have changed the law if he could? Yeah, he would have. But why didn't he? Because it was the law of the Medes and the Persians and they always say that, "Because it is the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot change." But why is that that we don't quote the same thing for God's law? "This is the law of God, which cannot change"? It does not change. It does not alter.

It is what it is, because I don't know about you, but I've never seen or read or heard anywhere where God says, "Oops." Have you? God doesn't make mistakes, which is why the law is the way it is and that's why it's firm and that's why it is established. So we don't change God's law. Why? Because it is for our good. That's what He's saying. It's for our good. When you were growing up, did you ever hear the words, "It's for your own good"? And probably you hated that but then you used those same words on your children. Did you not? Not only those ones but, you know, the other ones: "It's gonna hurt me more than it hurts you." It's for your own good.

Did you know this is why the Creator of the universe who not only spoke things into existence, but formed us from the dirt and the dust of the ground, and He knows our whole body system. And knowing our whole body system, He says, "I'm giving you a health message for your own good." He spoke this to the children of Israel. "I'm taking you away from the flesh pots of Egypt. I'm giving you angels' food," and what did they say? "But I don't want it. We want--" you remember years ago the Wendy's thing, "Where's the beef?" They wanted that. That was their whole focus. They didn't want what God told them, so they would rather have it their way. What was the result of that? They died. Sin always ends in death. God did not set up the law to hurt us. He set up the law to keep us safe.

I remember many years ago, when our twin girls were young, we had them in a playpen. The playpen was not there to keep them isolated and to keep strangers out. It was there for their own good so they wouldn't get into mischief. Should have kept them in that playpen for a long time. But we put them in this portable crib, not because we hate them. We put them in this because we love them and we want to keep them safe, because the moment you let them out, I remember one of them, our daughter Madison who just got married three weeks ago, she found a paperclip in the middle of our move and she thought, "Oh, look, there's some holes in the wall and she touched it and she jumped back screaming, "It bit me, it bit me."

Now, we didn't put the playpen right next to those plugs, I just want you to know that, okay? God, in the same way, does not set the law and then set temptation before us. No, it's us that likes to draw near the temptation. If we look at the law and these ten commandments as not a perimeter but as a safety zone, this will keep us safe and will keep us in His love. In order for man to be justified by faith, listen to this, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and the impulses of the heart. That's us today.

Let's jump to Wednesday's lesson. Time is ticking on. "A Slave in Egypt." When you were growing up, do you remember your parents telling you this or to do this or to do that or mine would be, "Remember to clean your room." So what do you do? Take everything and throw it in the drawers, throw it under the bed. It's kind of hard to put it on the bed and cover it because, you know, it creates a mound there. In Deuteronomy chapter 5, verse 12, there's a reiteration here of the fourth commandment, not--but it doesn't start the same way like it does in Exodus chapter 20. It doesn't start with the words, "Remember." Here, in the King James Version, it says, "Keep." In the New King James Version, it says, "Observe." This is a repetitive theme that's actually throughout the entire book of Deuteronomy. "Remember what God has done for you."

Do you remember sometimes what your parents have done for you? Do you remember the sacrifices they have done for you? It's all about law and grace. God never changes. And God is reminding them, "Because I'm loving you, I'm doing this for you, and I'm bringing you here and I'm taking you there." But then again, on Acts--in the book of Acts 17 you might remember this: "Truly, these times of ignorance, God overlooked."

There's another word that's found there, not overlooked but what? He winks. What does he wink? He, you know, it's almost like covering your eyes just for a moment. I didn't see that. You ever heard that said to you? "I didn't see that." Does that person continue to say that, even though you continue to do the same thing? "I didn't see that, I didn't see that, I--" No. Maybe once or twice. And that's the same thing with God. God winked because you didn't know, as in Rahab didn't know, but now you know, you know? You make mistakes, therefore you commit sin over and over but now you understand and as Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, "Go and," what? "Go and sin no more."

You know the buzz word these days? You hear it on the media all the time. That word is the "narrative." All of a sudden, it just kind of appeared. The narrative says, "Well, let me tell you what the narrative says here in Deuteronomy chapter 5, verse 12: "Observe the Sabbath day." Let me read through the whole thing. "To keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do," some work. Okay, "No work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day."

This narrative is by God. Now, I know that most of you, probably 99.9% of you, don't know who I am. I was not born in where I grew up. It was very confusing. I confused a poor Zambian taxi driver one day. He asked me, "So, are you from America?" I said, "No." "So, where were you born?" I said, "Singapore." "So, you live in Singapore?" "No." "So, where are you from?" I said, "Well, I grew up in Canada." "Oh, so you live in Canada?" "No." "So, where you live?" I said, "I live in America." "Oh, okay." And then he--then I said, "I married an American wife." He looked at--he was just so confused by the end of the whole thing.

I grew up in Toronto, Canada, in a section where there were many, many Hasidic Jews. And on Sabbath morning as we are driving to church, you see the Hasidic Jews in their black outfits with their hats, the special hats, very expensive hats, and they're walking to the synagogue. And they don't drive a car. Oh no, no, no, because that would be work. You have to walk. So, to walk, that means they can only go so far because it's only permitted for a Sabbath Day's journey so they have to stay very close to the synagogue so the concentration of Hasidic Jews is very high.

In fact, it's so high that they create apartment buildings for them there. And all these Jews live in the apartment buildings but you know what? When you get into the elevator, because you live on the tenth story, you can't press the button because that's work. I mean, you know, these elevators were specially programmed on Sabbath. They stopped at every floor. You didn't have to press any button. It stopped at every floor, as a convenience. But heaven forbid you were not in one of those special elevators and you're a Hasidic Jew and you get into this elevator and you're just standing there waiting and I walked in and he would, you know, I'm like, "Why is he standing there? Why is nothing lit up on the numbers?" He would say, "Sure would be nice to get to the tenth floor today." "Oh, you want to go to the tenth floor?" "Oh, yes." "There you go." Oh, I could sin, but he wouldn't sin.

You see, this is kind of the same logic today. Think about this. Sometimes, we as Adventists go out and eat on the Sabbath Day, because we're not doing the work. It's just would be nice to eat on the Sabbath Day. So we would be--it would be nice to have somebody else do the work for you. But is that what God is saying for us today? You see, there's something you have to keep in mind. Satan knows that he cannot--he cannot deceive us on the day of worship. But he is doing his utmost to deceive us not only in the way of worship, but also in the way we keep the Sabbath holy. That's really deep.

Think about that for a moment. You may not be deceived on the day but you might be deceived on the way and how you keep the Sabbath Day. Remember, "Not everybody that comes to Me saying, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven." It's not just keeping the day, the Sabbath Day, but it's also in the way we keep it. Let's jump now to Thursday. Thursday is titled, "Not For Your Righteousness." Isaiah 64:6 says: "All our righteousness are like," what? "Filthy rags."

In this devotional book, "The Faith I Live By," page 109, it's a very powerful statement here given. It says: "What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of men in the dust and doing for men that which is not possible in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ." In Deuteronomy chapter 9, verses 1 through 6, the following is said: "Hear, O Israel." Hear, as in listen. "You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the descendants of Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you've heard it said, 'Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?' Therefore understand today that the Lord your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire."

Notice the words here: "He will destroy them and bring them down before you." Why? "So you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has said to you." The Lord is doing things for you. He's paving the way for you in order to make it easy on you. Verse 4 says: "Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them out before you, saying, 'Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land'; but it is because of the wickedness of those nations that God is driving them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob. Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people."

Now, I'm not going to ask you, because I don't think anybody here is going to say, "Huh, yeah, I'm a stiff-necked person." But I can tell you, I have pastored some stiff-necked people before and there's good reason they're called stiff-necked people. Do you ever wake up with a stiff neck? Can you do this? No, why? Because you got a stiff neck. Same reason why many of them can't see God's way. They're stiff-necked. They can't turn, they can't observe. In short, it says here: "The Lord is going to do a wonderful work for you and in your heart so you must obey His laws. Your good behavior does not save you."

I don't care how good you are, you're not going to get into the kingdom of heaven based on anything you can do. Your good behavior comes because you are saved. The Lord saves you by His mercy. He writes His law in your heart and gives you His Holy Spirit to help you obey. The Lord saved--has saved by grace with His law written in your heart and He tells us go and obey His law.

Since you don't know my background, I'll just say that I should not be here. Many years ago, I should have died. When I graduated from Andrews University, one year after, or not even one year, three months after I graduated, I was involved in a plane crash doing aerial photography. It's a very intriguing story. You can go on YouTube and watch it. But I should be dead. And it's only by God's grace that God saved me, and I know why He saved me. Because He was calling me into ministry, but you know what? I played the fool. And then one time, God called me. Very audibly, He called me. And being not sure that I really wanted to go into ministry, I went and saw one of the chaplains at Andrews University, an older man, Elder David Ran. He knew me very well and I said, "Elder Ran." He knew my whole story. And I said, "Elder Ran, this is what God said to me, and I'm not sure."

He set me down and he looked right in my face and he pointed at me and he says, "Now, Alden, did God spare you in the plane crash?" "Yes." "Did He save your life?" "Yes." "Did He call you to ministry?" "Yes." "Did He open the door before you?" "Yes." And then he said, "Well, then, shut up and go about doing His business." That set it straight for me. Could it be that sometimes God's saying to us, "You know what? You're so involved with this, you're giving excuses for this," just shut up and keep His commandments? Stop giving excuses. Live up to everything that God has commanded you to do.

You know, in Friday, Friday's lesson, in the Bible commentary, there is a great quotation here and it says: "The sinner cannot depend upon his own good works as a means of justification. He must come to the point where he will renounce all his sin and embrace one degree of light after another as it shines on his pathway. He simply grasps by faith the free and ample provision made in the blood of Christ. He believes the promises of God which, through Christ, are made unto him, sanctification and righteousness and redemption. And if he follows Jesus, he will walk humbly in the light, rejoicing in the light, and defusing that light to others. Being justified by faith, he carries cheerfulness with him."

Are you happy in the Lord? You know, sometimes I've been to churches where people are sitting there. "Are you happy?" "Yeah." I have to say sometimes if you're really happy, don't forget to tell your face. "Being justified by faith, he carries cheerfulness with him in his obedience in all his life." You know, people are watching. They're watching you. They're--I was at Rayleigh's the other day getting a--my groceries, coming back from work at Amazing Facts, and I was coming out and a man behind me says, "Hey, do you know Jesus?" And I turned to him. I was kind of surprised because, you know, I'm usually the one that says it. And he caught me off-guard. And I said, "Well, yeah, I'm a pastor." And he kind of looked at me. "Really? You're a pastor?" Then he looked at me and says, "No wonder you're clean cut and you're dressed well." They're watching. They're watching to see what type of person you are.

Are you--how do you handle adversity? Your friends, your family, your co-workers are watching you. You see, we're told here at the very ending of this quote, it says: "The souls who are in subordination to God, who honor Him, and are doing His Word will receive divine enlightenment. In the precious Word of God, there is purity and loftiness as well as beauty that, unless assisted by God, the highest powers of men cannot attain to."

You know, there is a good reason why the message in this Sabbath School lesson of Deuteronomy says it's a message of present truth. You see, for us living today, the full light of truth is shining on us more than it's ever shone on anybody who has walked the face of this earth. You believe that? You know, William Miller didn't have the full light. Joseph Bates didn't have the full light. Ellen White didn't have the full light to begin with. But we today, have absolutely zero excuses. It's all set before us. But God is not just truncating the whole thing into our hearts and minds. He's giving us one ray of light at a time, and He sees how we're handling it. Just like Peter.

Peter talks about the eight rungs that we have to climb. And you--and you can't go one, three, four, five. You have to handle them one at a time. And God's watching. He wants to see how you handle them. I want to give you this one last thought because it's not impossible. It's fully possible. If you stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel, faithfully doing His service, you will never yield to temptation for one will stand by your side who is able to keep you from falling, but God cannot do this work for you unless you give Him all the powers of your mind and your heart, amen?

Announcer: Don't forget to request today's life-changing free resource. Not only can you receive this free gift in the mail, you can download a digital copy straight to your computer or mobile device. To get your digital copy of today's free gift, simply text the keyword on your screen to 40544 or visit the web address shown on your screen and be sure to select the digital download option on the request page. It's now easier than ever for you to study God's Word with Amazing Facts wherever and whenever you want. And most important, to share it with others.

Announcer: "Amazing Facts" Changed Lives.

Reuben: You know, we grew up in a neighborhood up in the Midwest that was a pretty bad neighborhood. And when I became a teenager, I started using drugs. I was on--I started using meth when I was, like, I think, 16, 15, something like that. I was having some problems in my life I really didn't know how to deal with. The only thing I really knew was violence. So, this night here I was going to inflict violence on myself. I was really high and really depressed, so I took, you know, I had this .40 caliber so I remember, I put one in the chamber and I stuck it to the side of my head like this. And that gun had a hair trigger, you know? I remember I was tapping it, because a part of me said, "No, I don't want to do this."

But there was something very evil present there saying, "Do it." I just said to myself, I said, "God, if You're real, show Yourself to me." My mother took me to church when I was a little kid and we used to sing, "Jesus loves me," and I remembered that song. It started playing in my mind. And I almost had, like, a vision of me as a little kid, you know, and in Sabbath School we used to bang those sticks together and sing, "Jesus loves me." And I heard that in my mind. So I said, "Wow."

So I just kind of like, put the gun down and I kind of fell on my bedside there and I said, "Lord." I just basically, just prayed this crazy prayer. I says, you know, I told Him everything that was wrong with me. And I remember one day I was driving around, I kind of felt lost and I drove by this church. And I seen Tom out there. Tom was just out there, watering the flowers, you know?

Tom: So I caught a vision out of the side of my eye, this big husky guy with a tattoo, walking up and he's saying, "Hello," and I said--so I asked him if I can help him. He told me that he drives by the church on occasion and every time he goes by, he's thinking if he should stop in.

Reuben: After he showed me around the church, you know, I was like, "Okay, man, it's nice meeting you and this and that." So I jumped in my car and I started heading down the driveway and the next thing you know in, like, my peripheral vision, I see him coming around the corner like Jerry Rice running a football. No, not that fast but, you know, he was taking off after me, and he says, "Hey, hey, hey, hold on, hold on."

Tom: I asked if he would like to have some Bible studies and he said, "Yeah."

Reuben: He would come by the house. We'd all start--we'd start hiding the beer cans and trying to air out the weed smell and there was a presence that came with Tom that was comforting, you know what I mean? Even though I wasn't taking the Bible studies as serious as I should have, looking back, there was just a presence about him being there in the house that was comforting. I told Tom, I said, "Tom, you know you can't win everybody."

Tom: I looked at him and I knew. I said to him, "Reuben, I never get anybody." I says, "The Holy Spirit will do that," and I kind of, in my heart knew that the Holy Spirit was going to work on Reuben.

Reuben: So then Tom kind of left the picture for a while and then I think one day at my mother's house they were watching "The Final Events of Bible Prophecy." So I watched that and I remember the scene where they had the hellfire and stuff, you know, they're outside the city and it showed the hellfire coming down and burning people and stuff and I remember saying to myself, "That's where I would be, right there."

After the hellfire scene, I saw the saints in the city, in the New Jerusalem and Jesus recreating the earth. And I said, "I want that to be my--me and my family." There was something about the way Doug preached and things that I felt that touched me because he's kind of like myself, you know? He's--he didn't grow up like that, you know? He done drugs and things, so I kind of found these common grounds that I had with him and I liked how he just kind of like kept it real with his preaching and then Pastor Rodney came to the church and I got to know him very well and we started doing some finishing studies. He wanted to make sure I understand what I was doing and things. And he baptized me, my wife, my brother.

No matter what you've done, where you come from, where you've been. No matter how bad of a sinner you think you are, the Lord Jesus loves you no matter what you've done.

Doug Batchelor: Friends, it's because of God's blessing and your support, thousands of others, just like Reuben, have found Jesus and eternal life.

Announcer: "Amazing Facts" Changed Lives.

Male: When I was 15 I bought my first bag of marijuana out of curiosity and from the age of 15 on to 23 was a constant experimentation with different substances. By the time I was 23, there was not a drug I had not tried. I had worn myself out searching for happiness. And one day, I came home, tired as usual, and I started drinking. And as usual, after I started drinking, I started looking for a higher buzz. Someone came by with some Xanax. Someone also came by with something else that I liked and that was cocaine.

But this time, not thinking, I took the whole thing. So I went to bed about 5 in the afternoon. My roommate went off to work that night. When he came back from work the next day, though, he noticed something was wrong because I was still in bed in the same position. He tried to wake me up and he couldn't wake me up. And my--when my parents found me, they found me curled up in the fetal position in my hospital room, unconscious still. And I stayed unconscious in this coma-like state for the next week.

I stayed the next month in the hospital, slowly getting better to where I could sit up in bed and I had to learn to walk again, but my parents found this one facility out in the hills of Tennessee. I had to admit that I liked the place, but they were Christian. And even worse than that, I said, "Yes," when they asked me if I wanted to go to church that week. Before the pastor said the benediction, I was so excited because I was planning my escape.

And so after everybody was all in bed that night, I made sure that they were snoring and that they were asleep. I went into the kitchen and stole a few bananas, got my backpack ready. I figured I could get sober on my own. My favorite song was, "I Did It My Way." Of course, my definition of sober was a nice supply of marijuana each day and alcohol on the weekends. And of course, if I had a bad hangover I might need some of those relaxing pills to take but, other than that, that would be it.

So here I am, stranded on the street in the big city of Houston. My bag of clothes has gone, my cell phone's gone. My wallet, my bus ticket's gone. I don't have anything but the shirt on my back. It's at that point that this man comes up to me, this mysterious man. He's actually very short and appears to be homeless, and he led me to some food and even a place to stay that night. Looking back, it is my firm conclusion that that was an angel.

So my dad was able to come down to Houston and pick me up and take me back up to the health retreat at Wildwood in Tennessee. They had a satellite. On this channel, there was a man named Doug Batchelor. I liked what I heard. I liked the way he explained the Bible. It was so simple, and he also had an experience similar to mine. And I talked to Lou about him and they happened to have a whole set of cassette tapes.

I would wake up at 4 in the morning sometimes, and I would get up and I would watch two of those videos before breakfast. I would sit this close to the TV, watching what Doug Batchelor was saying, just eating up every word of it. I was so tired of hearing lies and even believing my own lies that I--it was so wonderful to find something that was solid and that I could rely on.

And so when I got home from rehab, in my local church, Eric Flickinger from Amazing Facts was holding an evangelistic series. They solidified my conviction and it was then I made the absolute decision to follow Jesus.

I praise the Lord Jesus Christ for Amazing Facts. I praise God for Amazing Facts because they're so Bible based. They send out evangelists who are willing to teach the truth to people. I'm thankful that they're preaching right now all over the world, changing lives just as they changed mine.

Announcer: Together, we have spread the gospel much farther than ever before. Thank you for your support.

Name:

Email:

Prayer Request:


Share a Prayer Request
Name:

Email:

Bible Question:


Ask a Bible Question