A Sacred Supper

Scripture: Luke 14:16-24, Genesis 18:1-33, Genesis 31:44-46
Date: 09/25/2021 
The Bible begins and ends with food. It is a very important part of life. Sharing a meal is pleasant. God has invited us to dine with Him.
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Doug Batchelor: The title of today's message is "A Sacred Supper." And it'll be a little shorter than our normal sermon because we also have the Communion aspect to follow but the Bible begins and ends with food. Of course, the first meal that Eve ate, that didn't go well. In the New Testament, the ministry of Jesus begins and ends with a marriage feast. And that's sort of just a very important part of life.

The message, "A Sacred Supper," is our title today and I thought I'd share some stories with you in beginning. I read--this was both a bitter and a sweet story. In February 19, 2015, a mother, Ashlee Buratti, she sent invitations to all of the 16 classmates of her 6-year-old son, Glenn. When the time came for the party, nobody showed up. When she realized no one was coming, she was so sad she vented to some of her friends on Facebook who, I guess, began to share it and with a matter of minutes, it went viral because her son struggled with autism and here they had a birthday party and she talked about how brokenhearted he was. They've set up for this party, had food and provisions, and nobody came. That would be heartbreaking for any mother, special looking at the face of the child.

But what happened, though, is that it spread so quickly that even people in the police department saw it and they said, "Let's do something for that boy." They found out where he was and they went and flew the helicopter over him, called out, and waved. And the firefighters in town came, and the policemen in town came and gave presents and all the mothers in the neighborhood, maybe they didn't have kids in the same school, they came. And out of nowhere, a party materialized because people's hearts were touched by all of that. Buratti told the local newspaper, "You don't know how much this means to us."

You know, the Bible tells us that Jesus wants to sup with us. He told Zacchaeus, "Zacchaeus, come down for today I must abide at your house." And the Lord wants to have an intimate relationship with us. And it's interesting, something happens when you eat with somebody. It's different. I mean, sometimes, people will make business deals and it's all on the phone and the fax-well, no one has a fax machine anymore but, you know, contracts and--but when someone says, "Let's get together and have a meal," there's something about the pleasant aspect of getting that nourishment that you need to say--stay alive and sharing that experience with someone else that--it's intimate, it's important, it's pleasant. It's healthy, if you're eating the right food. It's healthy to eat, as opposed to not eating.

But God's invited us to a very important meal and it's a sad thing when people say, "I don't want to come." And just like that mother was brokenhearted when no one came to her son's feast, the Bible tells a story about a king. You can look with me in the book of Luke chapter 15. It's actually Luke 14. Luke 14:16: "And Jesus said, 'A certain man gave a great supper and he invited many. And he sent his servants at suppertime to say to those who were invited--'" ostensibly, they got the invitation and said, "Sure, I'll be there." "'"Come, for all things are now ready." But they all, with one accord, began to make excuses. The first said to him, "I bought a piece of ground and I must go see it."'" Well, didn't you look at it before you bought it? "'"I ask you, have me excused." And another said, "I bought five yoke of oxen and I'm going to test them."'" Again, you didn't test drive your pickup before you bought it? "'"I'm going to buy five yoke of oxen and I'm going to test them."'"

See, as you and I would think that's sort of a lame excuse today, it was lame the way it's written. "'"I ask you, have me excused." Still another said, "I've married a wife and therefore I cannot come."'" I'm sure the king would let her come. "'And they all began to make excuses.'" Now, how did the king feel about that?

"'So that servant came and he reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry and hurt, he said to his servant, "Go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city. Bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind," and so the servants did as was said and they came back and said, "Master, it is done as you commanded, and there's still room." Then the master said to the servant, "Go out into the highways and the hedges and compel them to come into my house that it may be filled, for I say to you that none of those men who were invited will taste my supper."'"

That's a very, I think, important lesson for us. You notice one thing about the feast. Never does it say they ran out of room or they ran out of provisions. There's plenty of room in the family of God. The Lord has invited all of us to be part of that marriage supper of the Lamb, but you accept the invitation now and then you live a life like you're planning on going to that event. And so many people just become preoccupied with the cares of this life, so that day takes them as a thief. In another similar parable the Lord says, "None of those that were invited will taste my feast," and the king sends an army and destroys them because it's an insult. Not only that, he not only provides the food, he provides the place.

The Bible tells us, "He provides the garment to wear." You can't say, "Well, I have nothing to wear, I can't go." I know people sometimes don't come to church. They say, "I have nothing to wear." And well, we want people to be, you know, we don't want anyone to get arrested for indecent exposure but if you don't have perfect clothing we still want you to come, amen? Come to Jesus.

Well, in the Bible we find that meals were especially important because there were times where He would ratify covenants, agreements were sealed. Look, for instance, in the story of Abraham, Genesis 18. Lord Jesus Himself and two angels came and met with Abraham and--how does a big building get a fly buzzing around? Go over there, bother them. I don't have to worry about him landing on my white hair.

So God told Abraham what was going to happen. He renewed the covenant, and it says: "He took butter and milk and a calf that he had prepared and he set it before them and he stood by them under the tree as they ate." And then God makes a promise and He says, "I certainly will return to you according to the time of life. Sarah your wife will have a son," whose name was Isaac.

Now, Isaac, when he passes on the birthright, how does he do that? Well, he's getting ready to do it with Esau. He says, "Before I bless you, going to eat. Go catch me some wild venison." Rebekah hears this. She says to Jacob, "I want you to get the blessing. I'll put a calf in. I'll season it, your father will never know the difference." And so it's in the context of a meal.

You can read here in Genesis 27, verse 25: "Isaac said, 'Bring it near to me and I will eat of my son's game, so that my soul may bless you.' So he brought it near to him. He ate. He brought him wine and he drank. And his father, Isaac, said, 'Come near now and kiss me, my son.' He came near, he kissed him." And he gives the blessing to Jacob in the context of a feast.

Look at the story of Jacob: "And when Jacob had to flee from Laban's house and they finally caught up with him, Genesis 31:44: "'Now therefore come. Let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.' So Jacob took a stone and set up a pillar, and Jacob said to his brethren, 'Gather stones,' and they took stones, they made a heap, and they ate on this heap of stones and they ratified a covenant never to cross that stone pile to do each other harm. Again, promise made, ratified with a meal.

Joseph, after all of the intrigue and the gauntlet of things that he put his brothers through, finally reveals himself to his brothers and it's interesting that he does it in a meal. He does it in a meal where you've got the 12 brothers gathered together and a cup plays prominently in the story.

Did Jesus sit around a table with 12 apostles and there was a cup that played prominently in the story? Genesis 43, verse 16: "When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, 'Take these men to my home and slaughter an animal and make ready for these men will dine with me at noon.'" And it's ultimately following that meal that Joseph says to his stunned brother, first time he speaks to them in Hebrew. Says, "I am Joseph. Does my father yet live?" And they were thunderstruck. They were flabbergasted. But it's following a meal, there's a revelation that's made.

You notice what's happening? Covenants are made and contracts are made, and meals were very important occasions in Bible times.

Just before Jesus died, it was at a feast in Simon's house. Mary Magdalene comes, kneels at His feet. She not only anoints His feet with oil, she pours some on His head, you compare the Gospels, she weeps and dries His feet with her tears. You know, Christ was anointed before His sacrifice by Mary. The word "Christ" means anointed. He was anointed, baptized in the Jordan, before He died He's baptized in the tears of a woman who represents the church, saying basically, He was walking in our sorrows when He went to the cross. That's happening all at a meal.

It was at a meal, the same meal, a matter of fact, that Judas was offended. When Judas said, "Leave her alone, she's done a good thing for me," it's Judas is the one that said, "Well, what a waste of money. You could have sold that perfume and got 300 denarii, a year's wages." And when Jesus rebuked him for saying that, Judas went from that meal and covenanted with the high priest to sell Him for 30 pieces of silver.

Interesting things happen at these meals, according to the Bible. Meals are also occasions for announcements. Families do that. They invite everybody over and they've--if you've got a big secret and everybody gets together and the young man and the young lady tap on the glass and say, "We got a little announcement to make. We're getting engaged," or "We're getting married," or "We eloped last week." I don't know what the announcement but they make these big announcements. Or "We're expecting." And it's often at these dinner occasions and people come together and they make the announcement. "I got the big job. I just wanted to tell everyone together, when we can celebrate at a meal." And so, meals are often times like that.

It's sometimes at a meal that people are reconciled. Say, "Let me take you to lunch. Let's have a meal together." You read in Matthew 9:9, talks about--and Matthew, this happened to him and he's writing about it. "As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office and He said to him, 'Follow Me.' So he walked away from his cash register and he followed Him.

Now it happened that Jesus sat at the table in the house. Behold, many tax collectors and sinners," these are friends of Matthew, "they came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners, publicans and sinners?'" Jesus showed this intimacy in that He was willing to eat with them and, yeah, people like Zacchaeus and like Matthew, He wants to reach them, and sometimes you've got to go to where the people are.

You know, and I love history, and I've just read several books lately of great missionaries that go to very primitive people and sometimes they encounter people for the first time that have never seen western missionaries. First, they don't know whether they're going to get speared or what's going to happen. But when they sit down and they offer them something to eat, it breaks the ice, they become friends, soon as they eat together. There's something about it.

I was looking for words to try to explain it, but something happens. There's a connection. I think it's important for families in our busy culture today, to try as hard as possible to reserve time where the family eats together and everyone is just coming and going so much and Karen will testify that Nathan's living in his own apartment now until last week, but we're all living together and I'd always say, "Here's when I'm eating. I hope you can join me. We can do it together," because everybody's so busy. A lot of families, they never sit down and share a meal together. And that's when you talk about, "Well, how's it going? What's happening?" And it's important for us to have those connections.

It seems like every important occasion in life, weddings, you have a feast; sometimes following funerals, people get together for a meal, that one of the great miracles of Jesus was multiplying bread. We see this theme through the Bible. Even after the Resurrection, listen to this. Acts chapter 10, verse 40: "Him God raised on the third day and showed Him openly not to all the people but to witnesses chosen before God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead."

It's interesting, Jesus continued to prove He was real by doing what? He ate. Something that's very natural and normal. Once He said, "I'm not a ghost. What have you got to eat?" So He's trying to emphasize to them, He's real. Luke 24, verse 30: "It came to pass as He sat at the table with them, He took bread and He blessed it." This is after the Resurrection. "And He gave it to them. Their eyes were opened. They knew Him and He vanished." It's at the very moment He breaks bread and hands it to them, He reveals who He is, and poof, He disappears.

Again, at a meal. I could go on and on, friends, all through the Bible. And then you can read again, Luke 24:41: "But while they still did not believe for joy and marveled, Jesus said to them, 'Children, do you have any food to eat?'" And He eats in front of them. In John 21, again, He meets them up by the Sea of Galilee and He's on the shore. And He says, "Children, have you caught any fish?" And they finally come ashore and He's already got stuff cooking while He's there. He says, "Come, eat breakfast," and He's revealing Himself to them in the context of a meal.

Now, all of this sort of meets its intersection, this all comes together in the experience of the last week. Christ said, "I'm going to Jerusalem for the Passover." What was the Passover? Well, the Passover was a sacred meal that commemorated their deliverance from slavery. The children of Israel, after hundreds of years being slaves in Egypt, Moses comes, says, "Let my people go."

A whole kaleidoscope of plagues falls upon the Egyptians, and Pharaoh would say, "Okay, I'll let them go," and then he'd change his mind and he would say, "No, I'm not going to let him go." And finally, after all these devastating plagues, the tenth plague comes. And Moses said, "All of the first born are going to die, throughout the land of Egypt. There's only one way you can escape: you need to slaughter this lamb. You take the blood of the lamb, you put it on the doorposts, the lintel of the home, and when that angel of judgment comes through the land, he will see the blood and pass over." That's where you get the name "Passover." And if you didn't have the blood, there'd be death in that family, sometimes multiple deaths. But not only did they offer a lamb, they were to eat that lamb.

Now, you understand the analogy there. Jesus said, "Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you." Whenever we participate in the Lord's Supper, and for those who may be visiting, in our church we practice what we call "open Communion." If you have accepted Christ, you're welcome to join us today in this celebration. He says, "Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you."

It's not that, you know, if--when you eat the little-- the wheat wafer or you drink the grape juice that suddenly it's infusing you with some new medical power of life. It represents faith, that you have faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, that through faith in His shed blood, that you want His life and His Word in you, that bread represents the Word of God in us, that it has a transforming power, that through that faith, that angel of judgment goes by and you are forgiven. He sees you as righteous because of the blood of Jesus. That's a wonderful truth, friends. "And thus you shall eat it."

How did they eat the Passover? "With a belt on your waist and sandals on your feet, and a staff in your hand." See, when you accept Christ, you begin a journey. After they ate that meal, they began a journey.

By the way, very important for us, Seventh-day Adventists are sometimes accused of being legalistic because we keep--we believe in keeping all ten commandments, including the Sabbath. But it's very important to know that we don't believe that. We believe we're saved by faith, but we believed if we are saved by faith, we'll want to obey all of them, especially the one that says, "Don't forget this one," you'd think. And were the children of Israel saved from Egypt by the law or by the lamb? They ate the lamb in Egypt. They were saved, they got out of Egypt, saved from their slavery. After they were saved, God gives them the law and He says, "If you love Me, I'm the God that saved you, keep My commandments." So that's why we do it.

Just like the other churches believe in the other commandments, we believe in all of them. And--but we believe we're saved entirely by faith in grace. Can you say, "amen"? So for those listening and watching, I wanted some testimony from you that I'm not just saying this.

So, then you have the Passover meal. Now, notice, with that background, in Luke 22 at the end of Christ's ministry, "When the hour had come, He sat down with the 12 apostles and He said to them, 'With fervent desire, I've desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.'" The Communion service was a Passover. That's not an accident, because Christ is the Lamb. "'I say to you that I will no longer eat of it until it's fulfilled in the kingdom of God." In Matthew, Jesus said, you know, "Take this wine which is new, the shedding of My blood." Says, "I will not drink of it until I drink it with you again new in the Father's kingdom."

So one reason that this is so special is it's reminding us that we are going to eat and drink with the Son of God in the kingdom. He says, "I'm not going to eat again until then." We're looking forward to that event. And it's a sign of that. And then, of course, it says in Luke 22, verse 19: "He took the bread and gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them and said, 'This is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.'" We've got a direct command to do this. "Likewise, also, He took the cup after supper, saying, 'This is the cup in the new covenant in My blood which is shed for you.'"

You know, in looking up "Amazing Facts," I ran into one--some of you who've seen my Facebook page may have seen this last night. It's about the most expensive restaurant in the world. It's in Ibiza, Spain. Ibiza, Spain? It's an island off the eastern coast of Spain. I've been near there in Port of Mahón, but I've never been there. They've got a restaurant that's called Sublimotion and it's over $2000 per person and that's one place you don't want to fight for the check at the end of the meal. "Maximum of 12 guests," interesting number, "sit around one table and receive 15 courses." They're small because you'd be uncomfortably stuffed after two or three.

How many of you are full of chips by the time the burrito shows up? Just--I'm glad I'm not alone. I just--it's so hard. Once you eat one chip, it's like you're going, "When's that food going to come?" and... Okay, so you get 15 courses of food plus dessert, prepared by some of the world's best chefs, testimony-- the food is incredible. Some of it, I could not eat. I wish they had a vegan option. But I still couldn't afford it.

And it's much more than food. The whole room is an immersive experience. The room is a high-definition 3D screen in the table. And the environment changes with every course: everything from you're undersea and they have incredible iMax photography of your--they have whales and sharks swimming around you and coral reef.

And then you're in this beautiful fantasy forest and you're going through different times and things with every meal that you're eating and, at some point, when the next course comes, you're shocked because it's lowered from the ceiling on these little pulleys. And then your dessert comes out and it spins, levitates, on your plate, on your tray. And it's just the whole thing is supposed to be just an amazing experience to eat that meal.

Most expensive meal in the world. Not really. Most expensive meal in the world is the one that cost the life of the Son of God. So when Jesus died for us, John chapter 6:53: "Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life."'"

By the way, after Christ made this statement, it says, "Many stopped following Him." I mean, Christ was not endorsing cannibalism. It's pretty clear what He's talking about, but they didn't understand it. "And I will raise him up in the last days," He's talking about the resurrection.

We must accept the covenant that He's making with us. The Lord's Supper is our accepting and ratifying that we accept, we believe the covenant, or renewing it, we need to renew it. "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, for My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him." That's basically talking about Christ in you. How does Jesus get in you? "The words that I have spoken, they are spirit and they are life."

He gets in us through His words and through His spirit. "As the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not--" oh, by the way, notice He says: "He lives by the word of the Father. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever." This is just such a wonderful promise, friends, that He's provided that for us.

Couple more amazing facts: talked about the most expensive dinner. The most expensive feast in the world happened recently. One of the richest men in the world, he's the richest man in Asia, Mukesh Ambani, he's got a home that cost, I think, over a billion dollars. He had a wedding for his 27-year-old daughter, Isha Ambani. The cost was $100 million for the wedding feast, but he will not feel it. He has $43 billion. That was December 16.

The largest number of people to ever attend a feast, and this is also India, was a famous Indian movie star named Jayalalitha Jarum, I'm sure I said that wrong. A movie star from Tamil Nadu and chief minister. She, not having any children, hosted a banquet for 150,000 guests at her foster son's wedding in the 50-acre grounds of Madras. And it cost $23 million to feed everybody.

Those are big feasts. But that's nothing compared to the feast you've been invited to. The Bible tells us in Revelation: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me." What does Jesus want to do? Let Me into your heart; I want to dine with you. I want to fellowship with you, I want to share that pleasant experience of eating great food, the fruit of life. Revelation 19:6: "And I heard as it was a voice of a great multitude, and the sound of many waters and the sound of mighty thundering saying, 'Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice. Give Him glory for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.' Then He said to me write, 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And He said, 'These are the true sayings of God.'"

You are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And that is going to outshine any earthly feast and it cost more than earthly restaurant, and you will be able to sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and eat with the Son of God. Isn't that wonderful? And whenever we celebrate the Lord's Supper, He's reminding us of that.

But, you know, before we get to participate in that wonderful occasion, that great exalted experience, there's a humbling that happens before. Luke 12:37: "Blessed are those servants when the Master when He comes will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you, He will gird Himself and have them sit down to eat and will come and serve them."

Imagine that. Jesus said, "I will serve thee." Have Jesus for your waiter? Tells you about the spirit of service that you have in heaven. Christ said, "I've come to you as One that serves." He illustrates it and you only find this in the Gospel of John, but that's enough for me.

It tells us not only did they have the Lord's Supper, it was a custom back then that before they ate the Passover, they usually had a servant wash their feet. You and I always wash our hands before we eat, probably more in the last two years than usual. But they would also wash their feet, not that they ate with their feet, but they had been walking on roads that were not paved back then, usually wearing sandals and they shared the road with the animals and I won't give you any more detail than that, but it may not smell very good if you're going to come and enjoy the aroma of good food, if your feet smelled like the road. And so they would wash their feet before they came together for the sacred supper.

Well, when they got to the Upper Room, the disciples had made provision and the food was there, and utensils, everything they were going to need. They had basins and towels and things for the servants to wash their feet. Jesus said, "This is a personal meal. I just want you and Me, just the 13 of us there." And they got up there and they realized, "There's no servant, but someone's got to wash feet."

Well, the disciples had been arguing among themselves which of them would hold the highest position in the kingdom of God. And so, Judas said, "I'm not washing anybody's feet. I'm going to be the treasurer. That will be demeaning. It will give the wrong image. Not good branding for me." And James and John, they'd asked to sit on the right--left hand of Jesus. They said, "No, that's--I'm going to act like we don't see that basin and towel over there. One of these guys will do it." And they all ignored it.

And while they're thinking these thoughts and it was very awkward, wondering who's going to wash their feet, Jesus went and picked up the towel. He tucked in His robe and they were astonished and humbled as He then went to them, one by one, and began to wash their feet. And when He got to Peter, you remember, Peter was aghast and he said, "Lord, You'll never wash my feet. This isn't right. You know, You're the Lord." And Jesus said, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Thinking about that, Peter said, "Okay, Lord, wash my hands and my head as well." And Jesus said, "No, if--you've been washed by My blood, but your feet still need to be washed."

And Christ then made a statement when this all happened. "After He finished washing their feet," this is John 13:12, "He took His garments, He sat down again. He said, 'Do you know what I've done to you? You call Me teacher and Lord and you say well for so I am. If I then your Lord and teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet for I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you." This is as clear as it could be.

He says the very same thing He says about the bread and the wine: "You should do this in remembrance of Me. I've given you an example." He said, "I assuredly as servant is not greater than his master, nor He that is sent greater than He that sent Him, if you know these things, you're blessed if you do them."

And in our church, as several other Protestant churches used to do, if you look into it historically, we practice foot washing. A number of churches have given it up. We haven't. Before we come back to participate, which we will in just a few minutes, the Lord's Supper, we go and gather in two or three groups and we wash each other's feet. And, if you're a visitor here, you might think, "Well, that's kind of strange."

I remember the first time I saw that done, and I lived in the cave and my feet needed washing back then. And I thought, "I want to watch this first, and see." But it's a beautiful service where we really humble ourselves, a good time for us to confess our faults to one another and pray for one another. I don't mean--we don't believe in that kind of confession, but if you've got anybody you're at odds with, you ought to be reconciled to them. The Bible talks about that in 1 Corinthians, that when they would celebrate the supper. And it says we ought to wash one another's feet several places in the Bible. So we still practice that. And it's a good time also for us to remember this is a sacred occasion.

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Gary: Early 1980s all the baby boomers were turning 21 and the nightclub scenes were exploding and I started a entertainment lighting company.

Female: I was the president and there were six divisions. Doing the raves in the '80s and '90s, you know, in some warehouse where you're setting up lighting and fog and, you know, who knows what's going on in there and nightclub--nightclub installations. I loved it and it was who I was.

Gary: Bought a new house out of town and we moved about two or three times. But we were always going into different churches. We were in a Lutheran church and then we were in a Methodist church. I think we were in three different Baptist churches. My wife was raised Catholic. I was raised Methodist. Currently, I've been reading all the Hal Lindsey books and watching all the "Left Behind" movies and so I really wanted to understand what the book of Revelation was all about. But nothing really ever made sense to me.

Female: One day, Pastor Lloyd Logan came knocking and he had that '99 flyer.

Lloyd Logan: We were preparing for an evangelistic series and different people were going different directions with handbills to invite people to the meetings.

Female: I saw that coming at me, you know, all the colors and I thought, "Oh no, this is some kind of cult thing."

Lloyd: And she said, "Thank you very much and I'm not much interested myself but my husband likes that kind of thing."

Female: And Lloyd said, "Would you give it to him please?" And I said, "Okay, I will." So I took the pamphlet and I put it on the counter. Gary came home and he walked by it.

Gary: Ran through the kitchen to quickly eat and take a shower and go back out and work a show.

Female: Two or three days went by like this and I moved that brochure from the counter, put it on the dining room table, put it back on the counter. And I actually threw it in the garbage. As I threw it in that garbage can, I could hear him and see his face saying, "Would you give it to him please?" And I actually took the garbage out. Then--and that night, lying in bed, I kept seeing his face and hearing his voice and thinking, "Oh boy, I've got to get that brochure out of the garbage." And I took that and I put it right underneath the remote control. Bright colors, he'll see it.

Gary: I finally sat down in my living room and I picked up the remote and I saw that angel holding out that scroll.

Female: "Whoa, cool. What is this?" And I was in the kitchen, cooking, and I thought, "Oh no."

Gary: And I looked at it and I turned it over and then I saw a little building, a little church building, and it wasn't too far away. It was about six houses down and it said, "Friday night."

Female: And I certainly wasn't going. I mean, it wasn't my intention to go.

Gary: I didn't have any shows going on that night and so I thought it was a one-night deal. I went and as I heard about the Millennium, man, I was just blown away. I didn't want it to end. I knew what I was hearing was all from the Scripture and it wasn't based on Hollywood movies or other books that were written. They said, "Come again tomorrow night," and I thought, "Wow, great, two nights." So I tried to tell my wife about it and she still wasn't interested and then she decided to come.

Female: I started to hear the truth, you know, and I started to get fed.

Gary: Every night after the seminar, they would hand us an Amazing Facts study guide. I couldn't do those fast enough.

Female: The business kept us going seven days a week and it was night and day.

Gary: Crews working all around the clock and so when we finally heard the Sabbath message, you know, so far everything's been true, right from the Bible.

Female: Church on Saturday, no work. Anyway, it all clicked.

Gary: Both our heads turned at each other, our jaws dropped open.

Female: I said, "We can't do that."

Gary: And the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "We have to."

Female: I knew that it would be a sacrifice and I was in fear about it.

Gary: We didn't know how we were going to do it but we talked to the pastor about it and the pastor said, "Well, just pray about it and God will open doors."

Female: I didn't want to give up all the connections I had made, all the networking, all the money, all the investment.

Gary: We went to the board and asked them if they would consider closing on Saturday and they agreed to. So we closed the storefront on Saturday but we were still doing productions and that kind of bothered us. So a couple of months later, God opened a door for my wife. She exited the company. I prayed about it and God opened a door for me too.

Female: Gary, shortly after, was offered a job being paid more money than he made as an owner of the company.

Gary: He said, "I'll give you a $1000 raise and you will never work another weekend."

Female: And we were able to keep the Sabbath and enjoy the wonderful blessings that God had for us on the Sabbath day.

Gary: My kids never again had to say, "Quit talking about work." After the seminar was over, my wife and I and my children were all baptized in the Seventh-day Adventist church. Even if I gave up everything, I knew that God would have something better.

Female: I have much more understanding and there's much more depth in my Christian walk with the Lord.

Gary: We started an Amazing Facts Bible School at our church. It allows anybody to understand the Scriptures and to understand the end-times. Church changed my life dramatically, and I'm very happy and excited to be a part of it.

Announcer: Amazing Facts, Changed Lives.

Nita: I'm Tlingit Indian from Sitka, Alaska. My Tlingit name is [speaking foreign language]. It was a very depressing time for the people of Alaska. A lot of alcohol abuse was taking place and, unfortunately, my mother got caught up in the alcohol. It made myself and my siblings grow up in a pretty horrible environment.

It was really hard to understand God. It was really hard to understand what love was. I ended up having a child in my 12th grade and leaving home when I was 15 years old. But somehow, some way, we made it and I became a loner, I became a hermit. So I went up to the biggest marijuana county, to Humboldt County, and started my new career.

Things weren't right, though. No matter how nice I kept thinking life was, living up on top of the mountain, not having to worry about wearing clothing, just waking up and watching the plants grow, searching still for more and more.

I went to the post office and I was standing there by myself. I looked down and here was this, what is called a handbill, a postcard, and the letters on it grabbed my attention and it said, "Revelations." I'd never heard Revelation taught before and I thought, "Gosh, that would have been so good." I looked at the time and the date and I said, "Wow, that's today."

And for six weeks, I sat there in the front seat of that building and could not believe the things that I heard. And I found this hunger that I had in my heart for decades being filled. I was actually like a starving child, you know, wanting to get in to learn more about Revelations. And I chose to be baptized on April 3. Even though I chose to serve God, I kept falling. I was going to Bible studies, oh, four times a week. And just so hungry to learn as much as possible.

God just, overnight, had me studying the Word of God through AFCOE and the miracles that happened through AFCOE is so incredible. The only preacher I was listening to was Pastor Doug Batchelor, who I didn't even call by his name. I called him the caveman. And then here, all of a sudden, I'm sitting in front of him in his classroom, learning from him. On October 11, I sat there, though, in my room saying, "Lord, here I am, studying Your Word, but what am I doing here? What do I need to do? What is it You want me to do?"

And that night, about 1 in the morning, God spoke to me and He said, "I want you to write a note to Pastor Doug and tell him what you do." I sat there and I says, "No, I'm not going to write a note. I'm not going to write a note." And I said, "Okay." So I ripped off a piece of paper and I wrote on the note, and I said, "I'm an experienced fashion designer. I can sew anything, I can make any patterns. If there's any way that I can be of any service to you, God told me to be bold and tell you."

And I walked up and I handed him the note and he didn't know what it was but he said, "Thank you," and four hours later I got a phone call from "Amazing Facts." Pastor Doug told me that I was an answer to their prayers. They had been looking for a wardrobe stylist for their new film that they're producing.

Female: Action!

Male: Two, three.

Nita: "Amazing Facts" has changed my life in the direction that God wants me to go. And now, out of all the knowledge that was taught to me, I'm able to go out into this world and share the gospel and finish the work for Jesus Christ.

Doug: Friends, it's because of God's blessing and your support that thousands of others, like Nita, have found Jesus and everlasting life.

Announcer: Amazing Facts, Changed Lives.

Sue: I felt like I was receiving some angel messages in and around my son's death. My son Jesse was just 31 years old, so I didn't expect him to die before I did. But in November of 2009, we decided to have Thanksgiving with him, and we'd normally go to a family to have Thanksgiving. I didn't know that it was going to be the very last time that I would see my son alive.

In April 2010, I was urged to call him on the day that he died. I didn't make that call. I was too busy. I thought I had till the next morning to call him and it turns out that I didn't. And then, my husband's father was passing away in a nursing home slowly, not eating, taking his medicine. Just wasting away.

Merwyn: We were putting out "Amazing Facts" Bible study guides, and we had sent out cards, and we have this card, but when I knocked on Sue and Kirk's door by mistake.

Male: And we were convinced that this was the right house, and it obviously turned out to our surprise to be the wrong house.

Kirk: When they came by, we weren't expecting them. I think he told me about these pamphlets, these "Amazing Facts" that explained their doctrine.

Male: Well, to our surprise, when they answered the door, the gentleman, when he saw what we were doing, he said, "Well, we would like to take these studies.

Kirk: Anything about the Lord increases my faith is always open.

Sue: These lessons came at a time that we didn't know we were searching. We didn't know what we needed. We were just hurting from the grief that we'd been through. When I saw this studies by "Amazing Facts" about the Sabbath, it struck a chord with me because I remembered when I had talked to my mother as a child about the Sabbath, about seeing the truth, when I was only eight years old and asking her why we didn't honor the Sabbath day. And she told me that it was just not the way that they did things.

Well, that wasn't a good enough expression, a good enough explanation. There was no scriptural basis for what she told me. She just said to forget it. And I went through all the studies that we had gotten, and I wanted more. So I decided that, well, if they put of these "Amazing Facts" Bible studies, there must be something online about them. So I decided to check it out.

I went on the computer to "Amazing Facts," and it said it right down at the bottom of the Bible studies, amazingfacts.org. Checked it out and there was free Bible studies there. It was the very same ones that we had been studying. After finding the "Amazing Facts" Bible studies online, and I did them all. There were 27, 28 Bible studies, I felt like I was finally seeing the truth after all these years. We ordered the "Amazing Facts" DVDs like "The Cosmic Conflict," and "The Final Events," "Prophecy Foundations," and different materials like that, went through them and enjoyed all of them, and they impacted our lives even more.

Female: Well, I worked at the post office, and I knew Kirk and Sue for a very long time. And I wasn't allowed to talk to anyone about the Bible, and Bible studies and things like that. They had told us not to. But anyway, when Sue came in and talked about it, she talked about the Sabbath. And I told her, I said, "Well Sue, I go to church on Saturday."

Sue: So I invited myself. She was excited, of course, to have me go. My husband and I both started going that very next Sabbath. And it wasn't but just four months after that, that we were baptized in this church. And it felt like the most glorious experience I could have ever had.

Male: The thing that touches my heart the most is Merwyn and I had been doing this for over the last year and a half or two years, and Sue is not the only one that has responded to "Amazing Facts." We've had several others that have responded and have been baptized, so this is what really makes it exciting. There's times it's discouraging, but the bottom line is every time you see someone in the water being baptized, it's a thrill.

Sue: I know that Jesus loves me. After all of the tragedy that had been through, he made sure that the two men came and brought the "Amazing Facts" Bible studies to me and my husband. My life will never be the same. It is forever changed, and I am forever part of the family of God.

Announcer: Amazing Facts, Changed Lives.

Dan: One particular evening, we're searching through the channels and happen to find a program called "Amazing Facts" with Pastor Doug Batchelor. Some of the things that he was talking about were very interesting and intrigued me.

Female: As Dan began to continue to watch "Amazing Facts," this Doug Batchelor, this caveman that had an incredible story-- my world is beginning to change. It's been turned upside down. I was resistant. I think hit me was really the testimony of Pastor Doug. This was a real person with a real story that had had some things in his lifetime that maybe I didn't experience, but he was real, his journey was real. He was honest about wanting to share and giving that light to other people, so they too, could have more light.

That's when we got the cancer diagnosis, and nobody wants that C-word, cancer. And then to find out that it's aggressive. And sometimes, people get to wait with prostate cancer, but we didn't have that opportunity. He's in surgery and doctor comes out and I knew something was wrong. Come find out that my husband's had a stroke. So we go about midnight and have an MRI, and they confirmed that it truly was a stroke, and he was going to be okay.

Dan: Within one year and a half, I had a major heart attack, cancer, aggressive cancer and a stroke. I really was at the lowest point. I didn't know what I was going to do. We had rehab scheduled after I was dismissed from the hospital.

Female: And I watched him walk out a facility with a cane, that two weeks before, he couldn't even walk into.

Dan: God knew ahead of time that I was going to be going through all of this, and I truly believe that it was His hand that brought the "Amazing Facts" and the additional light that I was getting, that it helped take my mind off of the circumstances at the time, in a way that I don't think anything else could.

Female: It's so comforting to know that we have a Christ that loves us so much and will always hold us.

Dan: I cannot thank the people enough who support ministries like this. Because of them, I am one of those lives that have been changed. And I can only thank God for leading me through His providence to that program. My name is Dan. Thank you for changing my life.

Doug: Friends, have you ever wanted to create something that was really special, something you could be proud of, but people didn't seem to understand? Well, then you could relate to my friend, Gustave Eiffel, who of course, created the Eiffel Tower. In the 1880s when it was decided that they would have the World's Fair Exposition here in Paris, the committee wanted to get someone who would build something that would be monumental, a landmark that would be powerful, tall, enduring. And so they called Gustave Eiffel.

Building the tower was going to be a monumental task. It would require 300 workers, 18,038 pieces of wrought iron, 2.5 million rivets, and 10,000 tons of steel. The final structure would be 1060 feet tall. The cost of the project would not be cheap either. It would be 8 million francs; today, that would be $40 million US dollars. And you really need to appreciate what a tall structure it was in its day.

Up until the Eiffel Tower, the tallest manmade structure in the world was the Great Pyramid of Cheops which held the record for over 3000 years. But then the Eiffel Tower became the tallest manmade structure in the world and it held the record for 41 years until the Chrysler Building was built in New York City. Gustave Eiffel was very proud of the design. He thought it was symmetrical. It was tall, it was enduring, it was strong.

But when the Parisians saw the tower go up, they said, "Sacré bleu." They absolutely hated it because it did not match any of the other Parisian architecture. They thought it stood out like a sore thumb. The Exposition officials quieted down the Parisian people, promising that the tower would never stand more than 20 years. But you know, temporary things have a way of becoming permanent. The people began to insist that the tower be taken down and be destroyed and used as scrap.

But, fortunately, about the same time, the aviation industry began to blossom. Did you know that the Eiffel Tower was actually used as a docking station for blimps and zeppelins? And aircraft could see the new electric beacon that was flashing on the summit. Also, the tower proved to be a perfect location for a radio antenna for the military. That sealed the deal, saving the iconic Eiffel Tower as a national landmark.

Because the Eiffel Tower is made of steel, it expands on warm days. It actually gets 7 inches taller in the summer. In the evenings, the Eiffel Tower is even more beautiful. There's a light show every hour on the hour where 20,000 lights flash and illuminate the city in a spectacular fashion. Like a lighthouse in the middle of Paris, in the evening, the top of the tower is crowned with a beautiful rotating beacon.

Today, the Parisian people would never dream of taking down the Eiffel Tower. In part, everything changed during World War II when Adolf Hitler showed up in the city and he commanded that the tower be dismantled. The people were so outraged, they cut the elevator cables, forcing the German soldiers to walk up and down the 1710 steps. Well, that took so much time that the war began to turn before they could dismantle the tower.

So the Eiffel Tower that was originally scheduled to only last about 20 years has now lasted over 130 years. It's really incredible when you realize that when Gustave Eiffel first unveiled the design to Parisian people, they were so outraged, and now it has become the most popular monument in the world for which people pay to actually go in. Over 7 million people a year come to visit the Eiffel Tower, and it is now the most easily recognizable icon in the world. So when people criticize your creative work and something you want to do that will endure and last, remember Gustave Eiffel.

You know, friends, this reminds us as Christians, sometimes you may not be appreciated when you decide to follow Jesus. You may stand out among your friends and family like a sore thumb. But if you're faithful and you abide, eventually they'll come to appreciate you. You know, the Bible tells us in Proverbs that "the name of the Lord is a strong tower; and the righteous run into it and they are safe." And Jesus also says, "Though you may be hated by all nations for My name's sake, he that stands tall to the end, he will be saved." So if you ever get discouraged because you think people don't accept or appreciate you because of your decision for Christ, stand firm, and remember the Eiffel Tower.

Announcer: Don't forget to request today's free offer. It's sure to be a blessing. And thank you for your continued support as we take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. We hope you'll join us next week as we delve deep into the Word of God to explore more amazing facts. ♪♪♪

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