Candid Camera

Scripture: Hebrews 4:13, Luke 12:3
Date: 10/02/2004 
God sees all. Nothing is hidden from the Lord. We become too concerned about what people see and not as concerned about what God sees.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Well, this has been a blessing in our Sabbath time together already just to see souls come to Christ in baptism, baby dedications, beautiful music and it’s been a blessing and a pleasure to be here. I want to thank you for your prayers while our family was traveling to the other side of the world down to Australia and working our way back. I don’t remember how many airplanes we took probably about twelve different planes, eight airplanes, seemed like twelve. We went to of course Australia three different, three or four different towns in Australia and spoke there, spoke at elementary schools and high schools and colleges and universities, churches, stadiums and auditoriums and mixed in some vacation that was very much appreciated. Do I look like I got any sun? A little bit. My back itches; I got a sunburn. But we praise the Lord. It was a good meeting. It’s exciting to see all the people there that are studying with us in our Sabbath school program, watch our church services all over the world. So it was a lot of fun also to spend that time with the family.

Got some scuba diving in, some sailing, windsurfing, sand castles and so. What was that? Boogie boarding, yeah, that’s right. Thanks, Nathan. Went to the zoo, went to see the Crocodile Hunter, but he was gone. But oh well, we’ll go back. Not any time soon. Thank you for your prayers. I know the Lord has been blessing here while we were gone and it’s good to see each of you. How many of you remember a program called Candid Camera? Now, I’m reluctant to start a sermon talking about a TV program because I don’t, you know I don’t like to endorse TV programs. Most of it is pretty awful, but that one program became a phenomenon and it was very interesting. I remember the original had a man named Alan Funt I think was his name, and the reason it was so popular was because people behave differently when they don’t think anyone is watching and as soon as they think more people are watching they act differently. The message this morning is called Candid Camera, but it has a little different slant on the popular program. I remember some episodes that I really thought were masterpieces.

One in particular this lady was set up. She was an actress on the streets of New York hailing a cab and she’s holding a suitcase and they poured the concrete by the sidewalk where she was standing on top of an electric magnet, a very powerful, large electric magnet and then painted it and disguised it so it would look like a normal piece of sidewalk in New York City. When she stood there on the street she’s holding her bag in hand that had a metal plate in the bottom of it, filled with clothes and a metal plate. It’s not that heavy until you turn the magnet on. She’s standing there and she hails a cab, the cab comes and she’s holding her bag and she says, “Can you put this in the trunk for me?” and she sets it down then they turn on the magnet. He comes over to load her bag and he can’t get it off the ground. And you watch this… and you know they would never do this now because he’d hurt his back and then sue. But he straining to pick this bag up and he said, “Lady, how’d you get this bag out here?” She said, “I carried it.” He said, “You can’t carry that bag!” She said, “Sure I can.” She walks over, they turn the magnet off, she picks it back up again. She puts it down, she says, “Could you throw it in the trunk? I need to get going.” So then he’s straining to lift this bag up. It was great. Then of course they say, “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!” And the guy slaps himself and they… it’s really interesting to see what they did. Oh and then there was one more that stood out in my mind. I never forgot this.

They pushed this lady down the street in her car. The car has no engine in it. The engine compartment is completely empty. They’ve got some kind of a tape player in the glove box that makes a motor noise and this is back when service stations used to service your car. You know for a while there they had self serve and full serve. Now it’s always self serve everywhere. But she pulls in and you hear brrr. And she asks the attendant if he’d check her oil. So he opens up the hood and there’s no engine and you see him looking around and he says, “Well, how did you get it here?” She says, “Well, I drove.” and so then he opens up the trunk. He’s looking for her engine. He lifts out the back seat and he’s wondering where the engine is in this car. That was a good one too. And then of course they say, “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!” And of course it’s very interesting to see how they act when they find out that everybody is watching this. We’re now living in the day where there’s very few places you can go where there isn’t a camera. I apologize because it’s also true in church, but keep in mind that there are a lot of people… matter of fact, smile! Some of you are on camera right now. Look at that. There you go. Ha! But where you work… how many of you have cameras in your workplace?

Security, ah, I see the hands there. Where you shop? They’ve got them on the streets where people drive. When I was in Australia… Smile! See how people act differently? When we were driving across Australia we’re, oh, a hundred kilometers out of Sidney and there’s these cameras and they say, “Yeah, they’re watching people on the highway to check on their speeding. Some of you know that a few, couple of years ago right here on Howe Avenue and Madison they posted cameras at the four intersections there to take your picture if you ran the light. And you know right now they’re not operating. Now, don’t take advantage of that, but I understand what happened was some people were saying, “Well, I wasn’t there.” You get a ticket in the mail if you run the light and they said, “I wasn’t there,” and they got a picture of your license plate and they were finding that these pictures then were being sent as evidence to homes and the business man his picture was taken and his secretary was in the car twelve o’clock at night and so they’re suing for invasion of privacy, and so I think that they’ve got them turned off right now. They can’t get it to just take the license plate. It takes who’s driving the car too. But everywhere you go there’s cameras, it seems like. That’s why camping at very remote places is attractive to me. There also seems to be a surge in reality TV. People enjoy peeking in on other people’s lives. And they’ve got people that evidently have cameras that are stationed while others are dating.

How could you have a normal date with a cameraman there? I mean can that be real? And they’ve got cameras following people around and their families, cameras watching people as they’re dieting, and they’ve got cameras intruding in almost every part of our lives. They’ve got cameras that are going into people’s hearts and lungs. They now they say they’ve developed a camera it’s a pill and you swallow it and the shell dissolves and it takes pictures as it goes through your digestive tract. I wouldn’t show that to my friends but if that cameras in every part of our lives now that seem to be invading. Well you know this is not original. The Bible tells us that there has been taping going on for a long time. Before we get to that I want to deal with our scripture. Hebrews 4:13 that was read to us when we opened up, in particular that verse there in Hebrews verse thirteen, chapter four, “There is no creature hidden from his sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Nothing is hidden from God and this would be the theme of our message. Sometimes I think we forget that God is always watching and that God sees everything. One reason we know this is because sometimes we’re more concerned with what people think of us than what God thinks of us. Now I asked the camera, the people in the studio, I said during my opening remarks I want you to get a few candid shots of the audience which they did. And you notice that people when they saw themselves on the screen and they saw others were watching they almost always smile. When they don’t think others are watching they may not be smiling. It may also be funny too, but now we’re going to… if anyone goes to sleep we’re putting you on the screen.

Let’s see how that works. They’re going to be looking. And I was going to get my nap today. But when we don’t think people are watching we act differently and this is one reason for hypocrisy. Hypocrisy comes from the idea of wearing a mask and not being really who you are. Now we all want to put our best foot forward and there’s nothing wrong with that. And let’s face it, you know when you meet somebody and you know that you’re making a first impression you want to put your best foot forward and that’s appropriate. But Jesus spoke against the religion that was more interested in making a show for man, more interested in what people thought. Of course you see this played out quite a bit in Matthew chapter sixteen, I don’t have time to read it all, but if you go from verse one through eighteen Christ talks about the church members and the religious leaders who did their praying when others were watching, on the street corners, loud long prayers “to be seen of men.” Their personal prayers were almost nonexistent, but if others were watching they were loud prayers “to be seen of men,” hypocrisy.

Their giving they’d blow a trumpet so everybody could see and then they’d make a big donation. If nobody was watching they wouldn’t give. Something like those who want to give to get a plaque in their name on the building or in the bricks or on the pews. They’re giving to the seen of men. I don’t think it’s all bad to try and thank and honor people, but if that’s the reason, if you’re giving just so a building will be named after you or a plaque or a stained glass window that’s the wrong reason to give. You’re supposed to give to God. Jesus said don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does. And then Jesus spoke about those who were pious and religious they’re fasting to be seen of men. They disfigure their faces and they look as pruney as they possibly can and they say, “Oh, I’m fasting now.” And if nobody was looking they wouldn’t look that way but they’re trying to accentuate their piety and their holiness. This is hypocrisy. They’re worried about the wrong camera. You know one of the things I’ve learned is that you see the red lights on top of the camera? Some of you see the camera look at you and it maybe makes you nervous. 90% of the time the camera is not even on. The people in the studio might see you but when the red light goes on (I should never have told you this) when the red light goes on that means that camera is actually going to tape. Don’t worry if you’ve got a problem with that you can let our studio know we’ll edit it out. One of the things that you learn when you do a lot of TV is which camera is on because when you’re talking to people at home it’s good to talk to them to address… that camera’s on now so I’ll look and you address the camera especially if you’re making an appeal.

When I did that Net meetings the producers had to keep saying, “Doug, you’re talking to the people you’re looking at and you’re forgetting that most of the people are watching in their homes and you’re never looking at the camera. Look at the camera!” And I had to try to learn which camera is on and so that you could talk to the other people. Sometimes we forget what camera really matters. We’re more interested with what the people are seeing than what God sees and what heaven sees and as a result of that we slip into hypocrisy. Job 20:5, “We must learn the triumphing of the wicked is short and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment because they’re seeking to please man.” How long does that reward last? One day somebody walked into an elevator in New York City and in walked Robert Redford and there they were alone in an elevator with Robert Redford but they weren’t sure because you know movie stars always look a little different before the makeup artist gets a hold of them. And they said, “Are you the real Robert Redford?” And he aptly answered, “Only when I’m alone.” And some of us are only the real person when we don’t think anybody’s watching. Someone once asked Abraham Lincoln about being a hypocrite and he said, “If I were two faced this is the one I’d be wearing,” meaning that both of his faces looked the same. He was a very consistent person. The devil laughs at hypocrites; they’re his greatest trophies. Aesop said, “Outside show is a poor substitute for inner worth.” And I like this one A. W. Towser said, “Some churches train their greeters and their ushers to smile showing as many teeth as possible…” And I think it’s good to teach your greeters to be as friendly as they can. “But I can sense that kind of display if I’m greeted by a man who is smiling because he’s been trained to smile. I know then I’m shaking the flipper of a trained seal.” We want it to be genuine. It should not be outward.

Some are so accustomed to wearing a disguise before others they are unable to recognize themselves. Jeremiah 16:17, God says, “For my eyes are on their ways and they are not hidden from my face for their iniquity is never hidden… nor is their iniquity hidden from my eyes.” God sees everything. God’s hears our words. Now the Bible tells us of course everything is being recorded and that would be audio and video. You know with the advent of television and DVD and almost on the verge of three dimensional holographic television people thought that radio was going to go out, but you know radio is going up because a lot of information still comes through our hearing and you can do other things while you still listen. And sometimes we forget that what we say is being recorded. If someone said, “You know I need to ask you a question.” And you said, “Sure ask away.” If they pulled out a tape player and put it down would you suddenly become a little more tense? They take you out and they say, “I wanna talk to you. I need ask you something.” “Sure, come on let’s go to dinner.” And say, “Oh, just a moment.” and they pull out their tape player and they press record and say, “Let’s begin.” How many of you would that make you a little edgy because it’s being recorded?

Well I don’t want to make you nervous but you’re being recorded even after you leave church. We’re always been recorded. Jesus said, “I say to you,” Matthew 12:36, “for every idle word, every idle word that men speak they are given an account of it in the day of judgment for by your words you’ll be justified and by your words you’ll be condemned.” Why is that? Really we’re judged by our hearts. Man looks on the outside, God looks on the heart, but remember Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” so your words reflect what’s in the heart. People tend to talk about what’s in their hearts. Proverbs 15:2-4, “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly but the mouth of the fools pours fourth foolishness.” You can tell what’s in the heart by what comes out of the mouth. I think I may have shared with you before I pastored a church that had a primitive sound system and it didn’t have shielded wires. And when you do audio work you want to have wires that have a special shield all the way across the wire. The reason for that is wires especially in the city where there are other transmissions going on all the time can act like a radio antenna and pick up transmissions. Some of you remember the days of primitive radio when you could make your own crystal radio.

My dad said that he had done that. And there are even stories of people who because they hold their mouth a certain way they pick up their fillings pick up frequencies and I guess there’s some truth to that. If you’re hearing voices don’t tell people. It may not be your fillings. They say that that can happen. Well these wires in this church, it was the Covelo church that I was pastoring, it was not uncommon that during the service we would hear pilots talking overhead right it would come through the PA speakers and it would get magnified and people would hear the pilots talking and some of the time it was just you know technical gibberish. Sometimes the ambulance drivers in town. It must have been one of these frequencies but they’d be talking to each other or the fire trucks in town and what was interesting is sometimes you could hear very clearly what they were saying and it was disconcerting during the sermon because all of a sudden you’d hear, “Breaker one-nine, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And they’re talking to each other or truck drivers going through town and our sound system was very unique. It picked up all these transmissions. I don’t think it does that anymore. But I often wondered if some of these truckers and people that were driving and some things that were said were not appropriate for church and if they knew that what they were broadcasting was going out in a church PA system if they would have spoken differently. And in reality that’s true of all of us. Angels are listening to what we say.

They’re hearing these things. God has big ears. There’s nothing that we say that he doesn’t hear. I guess I can share this with you because only the parties involved will know who I’m talking about but I did some counseling one time with a couple that was having very serious marital problems and part of it came from the husband was away on prolonged business trips and he called home one day to explain to us wife that he would be delayed another day and she just sensed, you know you get to know your spouse and when things don’t seem right, she sensed something wasn’t right. And when he went to hang up the phone she just lingered and for whatever reason he did not get the phone hung up correctly, and she heard another woman’s voice, and she heard the whole sordid infidelity and there she was on the other line hanging on the phone weeping and her husband came home and had to confront this. And then they stood before me in a counseling session and I thought boy is it true your sins will find you out. Sometimes we don’t think. Be careful what you say. And when you talk about somebody how many of you have found that you talk about someone you turn around and there they are? You’ve got to be careful because those things… Oh, Jesus said it, Luke 12:3, “Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light and that which you have spoken in the ear and inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.” Be careful what you say. Be careful little lips what you say because it’s being recorded. I sat on an airplane.

I got bumped up to First Class and it was kind of fun because the day this happened, I was really upset. Everyone was boarding. I always want to be first in line to make sure I get my pillow before they all run out. And they called out my name and they said, “If you could please wait here.” And I thought, “Oh great.” You know I had a good seat and now I’ve got to wait. There’ll be no cargo space left. I won’t get my pillow and I’m mumbling and complaining. And after everyone has boarded the plane they say, “We’ve got a first class seat for you.” One of the flight attendants had recognized me and she said, “He’s a pastor. We have empty first class.” And here I’m going, “Oh, Lord, why?” And they bump me up to first class. Well, teach you to just be nice. You never know. And so then I sit down in first class next to a very successful business man who operates a very expensive multi-million dollar satellite that runs a camera and he opens his laptop, that’s what started the conversation, he opens his laptop and he’s got this very sophisticated laptop and he’s looking at pictures all over the world and he’s got this satellite that orbits the earth in one orbit and because the earth turns it takes pictures. It can take pictures, depending on where it is, of any inch of the world. And I started asking him, I said, “Is it true that you guys can read the label on a golf ball from these satellites in space?” And he said, “No, we can’t do that.” He said, “That’s an exaggeration,” he said, “but we have satellites and the military has satellites that can read a license plate.” That’s kind of scary when you think about it. There’s these spy satellites that are up there that are supposed to take pictures and they can see quite a bit.

Matter of fact, the property that Central Church is considering, continue to pray about that. It’s plowing through the red tape and it’s still a possibility we’re praying about. That’s a satellite, when I went to find out about it, there’s a place you can go online to get satellite pictures of Sacramento and this isn’t even as close as you can zoom. That’s the property. I’m trying to find out how to fit this into the sermon. Two cars are blocking a driveway up the street and a man needs to leave. This is why we need a new church. And so if you’ve parked in front of someone’s driveway, here’s the license number 4ROY520 and here’s the other car license number 4G…we saw this from space, 4GCK769, a Toyota van and a Honda sedan of some sort please move your car so our neighbors can leave. That’s the Christian thing to do. That did fit into the sermon, didn’t it? Well, you know you think about the big eye that is up there in the space watching and it is true that God sees everything. John 1:47, Jesus saw Nathanial coming towards him and he said, “Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no deceit.”

Now they’ve never met before and Nathanial says to him, “Lord, how do you know me?” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you when you were under the fig tree…” he was praying under this fig tree “…I saw you.” Well, they were in different towns and he says, “I saw you under the fig tree.” And Nathanial answered and he said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel! Only God can see all things.” And Jesus said to him, “Because I said I saw you under the fig tree do you believe? You’ll see greater things than these. You’ll see the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” But here Jesus said, “I saw you.” Jesus sees us, doesn’t he? And I mean, here he is incarnate on earth and he tells Nathanial, “I saw you.” How much better is his vantage point now when he’s glorified? God sees all things. You know there’s this picture of a nebula that was taken by the Hubble Telescope. Doesn’t that look like an eye? One of the nicknames for this is “The eye of God.” There’s some other official name I don’t know, but when they showed that in National Geographic and you can actually download the photograph from NASA I thought boy that just gives me goose bumps because it’s like the eye of God from space and that thing’s a hundred light-years across. It’s enormous.

It kind of helps us remember God always sees us, everything we do. I remember when we were in Andrews University doing our meetings in 1996. It was a series of meetings called “The New Revelation” that we recorded there. And they actually had a system that took our program and the University, the town I think, they’ve got a closed circuit TV that goes to the dorms and some of the rooms and they’ve got this TV and they plugged our program in so even the students who couldn’t fit in the church many of them could watch from their rooms and from their dorms and different places around the university campus. Well one day after the program was off during the day I think it was Rick Lundquist, Doug Hill and myself we needed to videotape some advertisements to invite people to the meeting or something for back at home. We needed to videotape a commercial, a promo. And so during the day we’re trying to tape and I’m tired and so I’m sitting there and I’m trying to do this thing and you want to be pleasant and I’m smiling and then I’d tape and I’d mess up. I couldn’t do the script. We didn’t have a teleprompter so I have to memorize this sixty second talk and I kept messing up and it was becoming very frustrating because we must have tried fifty takes and I kept messing up. And what was supposed to take sixty seconds in theory was taking an hour. And I was starting to get exasperated. I don’t remember at one point Doug or somebody said, “Maybe we should have prayer.” So we stopped and we prayed and said, “Lord, please help us to do this.”

We taped, a couple times after we got it right, we said, “Praise the Lord!” and we left. In the school paper a few days later someone wrote this article and they said, “You know we really ought to attend these meetings because we think these people are genuine. We were watching…” They had not turned off the closed circuit and our whole taping fiasco was being broadcast all throughout the university. And the students were in their rooms and in the dorms cracking up at all these bloopers as I was trying to record this commercial. We didn’t think there was anybody but the three of us in the church trying to tape this. But what they said was, in the article they said, “We really ought to attend these meetings because I think these people are genuine. We were watching them and even though they were having all this trouble they never lost their temper and they finally prayed that God would help them do it and then we could see God bless them and they thanked the Lord for doing that.” And someone who said they watched that got baptized and he said, “Watching you guys trying to tape that made me see you were really Christians in spite of all the problems you were having and that you were for real.”

Even though it was a commercial of all things. And I thought, “Oh, praise the Lord I was behaving that day!” because there are times I wouldn’t want the camera to be rolling as you probably have those moments too. But God sees all things. Any of you ever noticed on the dollar bill they’ve got that big eye that’s watching? And you know it’s sort of a some have tied this with the Masonic Cult and everything and I don’t even remember what the Latin says but it’s supposed to be the all-seeing eye. And some people will argue, “Well, that all-seeing eye is on the dollar bill because we want to remember our founding fathers said In God We Trust on our money and God is watching how we spend our money” and that was supposed to help us to maintain faithfulness. Well, I’ve heard that argument, but in reality God does have all-seeing eyes. He sees everything that we do. A few scriptures. II Chronicles 16:9, one of my favorite scriptures. Humor me, if you take notes, write this down.

It’s a good one to memorize. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him.” God is looking throughout the whole earth for people with loyal hearts and I want to be one of those that he finds. Zechariah 4:10, “They are the eyes of the Lord that scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” You know sometimes you’ll see a security camera and it’s not static. It’s scanning. And it’s telling us that the eyes of the Lord are running, they’re scanning to and fro through the earth. Proverbs 5:21, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord and he ponders his paths.” God sees where we go. And then of course Hebrews 4:13, “There is no creature hidden from his sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” You know among the security cameras that they were putting on the streets in England they had these cameras that would see through people’s clothing looking for guns or weapons and they sued because they could also see, not the detail, but they could see the form of a person’s body and they said that the security guards were invading their privacy. Well, the eyes of the Lord, he has x-ray vision.

Not only does it go beyond our clothes, not only are we naked and open to the eyes of God but he goes to the heart. He not only sees what we do, he sees why we do what we do. He ponders our paths. Now with man, like the hypocrites that Jesus talked about, we are often more concerned about with what people think of us than what God thinks of us and this is a danger I think we need to avoid. The bottom line is who are we trying to impress? Mark 11:32, when Jesus was testing the religious leaders that were trying to destroy him he put a riddle to them and the way they were going to answer the riddle was based on popular opinion. It says, “If we say from men they feared the people for all counted John to be a prophet.” They pondered their answer based on what the people would think. Now politicians don’t ever do that, do they? They don’t ever say what they think the people might want to hear regardless of whether it’s true or not. Luke 22:2, “And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill him but they feared the people.” And then of course you know what the downfall of the first king of Israel, King Saul? He started out humble in his own eyes but then he became proud because he was more concerned with what people thought of him and at one point God sent him on a mission and God told King Saul, “I want you to go into annihilate the Amalekites. Don’t let any animal live. Don’t let any person live.” And I know that sounds pretty ruthless and I won’t talk about that now except to say this nation was a very wicked, diseased, war-like people that were trying to annihilate Israel and the only way to deal with them was not negotiation it was extermination.

So God sent King Saul to annihilate the Amalekites, but when he got there the people said to him, “You sure you want to kill off all these cattle? Some of them look pretty good. They’re probably worth something.” And he listened to the whining of the people and he was more interested with what the people thought than what God told him to do. So on his way back from the battle he also wanted to spare the king because it was customary to parade the conquered king through the city and God said, “Don’t save anyone.” But he kept the king alive because he said, “I want people to see me parading King Agag before them.” And then Samuel the prophet met him and he said, “Weren’t you sent on a mission and told to do something and God gave you victory and the ability to do it?” “Oh!” he said, “I’ve obeyed the Lord. I’ve done what he said.” He said, “Well, if you’ve obeyed the Lord then what is the bleating of this sheep that I hear and the lowing of the cattle?” “Oh, well, we’ve saved some of them to sacrifice unto the Lord because the people wanted to do it you know and after all you don’t want to displease the people. What would the people think?” He was preoccupied with what the people think. And then Samuel said, “Well, the kingdom is going to be taken from you and given to your servant,” meaning King David. And as Samuel the prophet walked away from Saul, Saul reaches out to grab him and he tears a piece of his garment and he says, “The kingdom is being torn from you.” But then he pleads to Samuel even though he’s done the wrong thing. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry I’ve sinned. Forgive me. Ask God to forgive me,” listen to what Saul was concerned about.

Saul said to Samuel, “I’ve sinned because I’ve transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words because I’ve feared the people and obeyed their voice.” Then verse 30, “Then he said, ‘I’ve sinned yet honor me, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel and return with me.” In other words, “Don’t walk away from me. What will the people think?” He still didn’t get it. If he had repented and not been concerned about what the people thought but more concerned about what God thought… now here’s the difference between David and Saul. When David sinned he fell down on his face. He didn’t care what he looked like before the people and he repented and prayed and wept for seven days. And then when David came before the Lord he danced before the Lord filled with the Spirit and his wife Michael said, “Oh, how undignified was the king today dancing before all the maidens in your pajamas?” and she began to make fun of him for that. And David said, and this is II Samuel 6:14, “David danced before the Lord with all his might and he was wearing a linen ephod.” Then in verse 20, “David returned to bless his household” after the ark was brought “and Michael, the daughter of Saul,” you notice who she’s related to, more concerned with what the people think, “came out to meet David and said, ‘How glorious was the king of Israel today uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants as one of these base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself.’

So David said to Michael, ‘It was before the Lord who chose me instead of your father and his house to appoint me ruler over the people of Israel therefore I will play music before the Lord and I’ll be even more undignified than this and humble in my own sight.’” Now did you catch what is at the heart of all this? the difference, one of the big differences between King David and King Saul, David being after God’s heart and Saul not? David was more interested with what God thought of him and what God saw than what the people thought. Saul was more worried about what the people thought. You know why Saul wanted to kill David? Because the ladies came out dancing one day and they said, “Saul has killed his thousands, but David has killed his ten-thousands.” He didn’t care about what God was thinking that God had given David the victory; it was what the people thought of him. He feared the people. Now we all want to be good representatives before people. Let me tell you there’s a balance, there’s a struggle for the Christian. You don’t want to worry about what people think of you but you want to live a life that people can look at. You want to be a witness and let your light so shine before men that they glorify your Father in heaven but don’t be a slave to the opinion of people. Because if that’s where you’re coming from the devil is going to manipulate you with the crowd very easily. You will be a slave to popular opinion and then you’ll be prepared to run for public office.

I’m sorry. That wasn’t nice and there are some honest people in politics. I shouldn’t be so hard. Think about this for a minute. A real Christian, Paul says, must be willing to be a fool for Christ and not worry about others think. Let me read these words of Paul, I Corinthians 4:9-10, “For I think that God has destroyed us” the apostles “last as men condemned to death for we have been made a spectacle to the world” and the word world there is cosmos, universe. We are a spectacle to the universe “both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak but you are strong. You are distinguished but we are dishonored.” In other words we’re willing to be humiliated and fools that we might tell you the truth no matter how unpopular it is so that you can prosper. Are you willing to be a fool for Christ? Are you more concerned with what God thinks of you? You know, think of, who was it? You already know the answer because you know where I come from. Who was it that Jesus honored with being the one to first proclaim him as resurrected? Mary Magdalene, the one who others said, “Don’t let her touch you! What will people think? She’s got a bad reputation.” Jesus picked her. You know why?

Mary was not ashamed when it came time to anoint Jesus she was willing to be a spectacle and everyone was saying, “Who is this woman? Look at this! Look at what she’s doing!” publicly for Jesus. She wasn’t ashamed publicly to glorify God the way David danced before the Lord even though it did not look publicly acceptable. They were willing to look like fools for Christ because they were more interested, here’s the important point in the message, they were much more concerned with what God thought of them than what people thought. Notice what Paul said, “We are a spectacle to the universe, to angels as well as men.” You know it’s intimidating for me sometimes, I’m not trying to say too much about this, but it does fit with the message today. When I talk to you in church right now, this is going on tape. It’s us. They could burn the tape and it’ll only be us and whomever you share it with. And that makes me feel a little better. But as I travel and I see how many people end up with the tapes or seeing it on TV picture if you will… I told our associate pastors this and I think it made them a little nervous, I said, “Boy, are you guys aware that when we’re teaching Sabbath School and the things that we’re going I want you to picture a stadium with a hundred thousand people in it. That’s how many people are listening.” And they started to tremble a little bit at that thought. But in reality the stadium is bigger than that. There is a stadium of angels that are watching us.

Heaven is watching us and when Jesus said, “If you confess my name before men, if you’re not ashamed of me in this wicked and adulterous generation I will not be ashamed of you. I will confess your name before my Father and the angels in heaven.” And that’s exactly what’s happening in the book of Job. Here you’ve got God saying, “Have you considered my servant Job?” That’s Jesus speaking there. And the devil saying, “Oh, the only reason Job serves you is you’re too good to him.” and here he’s bragging on Job and all of heaven is watching. There was a day when the sons of God gathered before the Lord. All of heaven is watching what’s happening here on earth. We are a spectacle to the universe. Angels are watching. I Peter 1:12, “To them it was revealed that, not to them themselves, but they were ministering the things that they have now reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” notice this “things that angels desire to look into.” Angels are intrigued with what’s happening here on earth. These are the ministering spirits of God that are preoccupied with… Every one of us has a guardian angel. I don’t know if he’s also our recording angel, but everything we say and do is recorded. I don’t know if the angels are carrying video cameras. I doubt it’s like that. Maybe angels have photographic memories and they’re going to unplug it and plug it back into God’s computer in the Judgment Day. I don’t know how it works, but somehow everything we do is recorded and I think angels are involved in this. God talks about those things that are written in his book. Now does this bother you to consider these things? Does it make you nervous?

In reality it’s good news to remember that God is always watching. For one thing it means he’s never forgotten you. He always sees you. The promise is he will never leave us or forsake us. You are the apple of his eye. He is not just watching a crowd and can’t pick you out somewhere. Now I thought it was interesting, will you forgive me if I refer to the presidential debate? One comment that was made was all of the tapes of FBI recordings that have not been reviewed yet. Do you know how many tapes there are? You can only have so many people sitting down listening to conversations. There’s a human limit. I mean some people are conspiracy people that believe that everything you type on the Internet is being watched by the FBI and the CIA. Do you think they’ve got time to read all our gibberish? You think they’ve got time to eavesdrop on all our phone calls? There’s a limit to the human resources to listen to all the babbling that’s going on in all our communications. But God is always focused on what we are saying. Does he hear our prayers? Does he? He hears our words; he sees our needs; he sees our tears. We have his undivided attention. He’s not shorthanded where he can’t say, “I don’t have enough agents to listen to their prayers.” First of all he has enough angels, ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands. It’s the way the Bible portrays a limitless number. God does have enough angels to take care of us. Don’t worry about that.

He’s not shorthanded. But even beyond the angels he personally is listening to us. I Peter 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” You know I thought it was interesting I was listening to a message this week by a preacher and he brought a point out that I thought was good. It comes from that scripture where it tells us in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face.” You know so often in our prayers we seek his hand, we want something or we seek his pocket. We want the pockets of God. Or we seek his ear. We want to complain. But here it’s saying seek my face, the face is the person, it’s the character, we’re wanting to know him. And in the Bible when he says, “My face is against” this person, it doesn’t mean whenever he sees us do something wrong that the hammer of God is going to come down on them. It’s talking about the disapproval of someone you love and that ought to make us think it’s his face that is against us. Who wants to see the frown of God? Wouldn’t you rather see his approbation and hear him say, “I am well pleased with you”? His ears are always opened to our prayers; his eyes are upon the righteous.

He hears us; he sees us; he knows where we go and what we do and what we think and what we say and it’s all recorded. Now that makes me nervous except there’s something that is encouraging. God has an editing bay. You know if you go to a big studio sometimes they have a number of seats and in front of each seat there are a few little monitors and now things are all done with, most of it is without tape it’s done digitally but you can maybe relate to the tape scenario a little better. Pastor Doug is so thankful for editing equipment. You have no idea. A good editor can take a mediocre sermon and make it sound good and a good sermon and make it sound great sometimes just by taking out all of the empty, you know not all the points are live ammo some of them are blanks, and I know that. And you pull those out and it sounds a lot better to condense it and just take the meat of the sermon and get rid of all the foam. Editors can do wonderful things and sometimes you’ll say and do things and after a sermon, matter of fact, even sometimes right while I’m preaching I’ll say something and I’ll think, praise the Lord for editors because I’ll think, I shouldn’t have said that. And you folks are forgiving but I want it off the tape. And then there are others who make those decisions for me and I don’t agree with them.

I’ll say something and they’ll say, “We’re going to fix that later for Pastor Doug.” And they edit it out. Sometimes I snort when I’m preaching or sniff and they’ve got this audio editing equipment and I’ll be talking, I won’t lose a skip and they can kick that out. Once or twice, it’s only happened in all my years once or twice I unintentionally burped a little bit and that’s awful to have on the tape. I mean it just ruins the whole sermon. Usually you can control that, but you’ve got a mike that’s right here; you know a handheld mike you can just pull it away and you can kind of hide it but I’m so thankful for editing equipment. Well, you know the Bible tells us that the Lord goes beyond just editing out our mistakes. It’s not like God takes the record of our life when we accept Jesus and he says, “I’m just going to pull out the bad things that you’ve done and make you look good.” He actually edits out our life from the time that you come to Jesus and you accept Jesus he edits out our life and he edits in the life of Christ. Now picture this for a second.

You’ve got your record, all those tapes. I don’t know how many tapes that would be for everything you’ve said and done, but it’s a lot of tape. One of the problems they’re having now in the digital world we live in is so much information. You should have invested in hard drives a few years ago that store information because they are storing so much information now that it is just growing exponentially. And you think about all that you can find on the Internet, it still doesn’t come anywhere near what would be stored from one of our lives, all of the thoughts that you think and the words and all the idle things. When you accept Jesus God doesn’t just say, “Okay, I’m going to take your tapes and send it to our angel editors and I’m going to take out the bad things. Basically God then plays the tape and you know what he sees? He sees everything that you did in the past that tape is replaced with the tape of Jesus’ life. He sees the words and the life of Christ. Your life then becomes the life of Jesus and any of the good deeds that you have done they are done in Christ. Now the tape is still rolling. Do you understand what I’m saying? After you accept Christ he not only forgives the past and gives you the life of his son, he now wants you to live the life of Christ.

He not only forgives the past sins he gives you power to live a new life so that you are actually working the works of Christ. And as you review the life of Christ that has then covered your sinful life you model that. You know when they do movies they have stunt doubles that go in for the dangerous scenes, and there are a few actors that are known for doing some of their own stunts but the danger with that is they’ve got multi-million dollar budget to produce a movie and if the star actor breaks his leg or her leg when they’re doing a stunt and the whole movie is on hold it costs them a fortune so it’s much cheaper for them to try find someone that looks very much like the star who is doing the stunt and they say, “You do the dangerous scenes. So if you get hurt, you’re expendable. We’ll find someone else. The movie goes on.” You know the most dangerous part about life is paying the penalty for sin. The penalty for sin is death and Jesus has said, “I’ll stand in for you on that. I will be your double.” And I’ll tell you some of those people in Hollywood are very, very affectionate and thankful for their stunt people because some of them have died performing stunts for the actors. Some of them have been permanently injured or paralyzed standing in so someone else could look good and this is essentially what Jesus has done for us. He’s said, “I’m going to stand in for you. I’m going to die for you that you can go on.” That’s a lot of love.

God is editing in the life of Christ to cover our life, but then he wants you to live a new life because of love for him. Suppose that your stunt double dies in your place so the film could go on. Would that make you want to do better for the rest of the production? It might even make you willing to do a few of your own stunts out of gratitude for the one who took the risk for you. This is what Jesus did for us. The good news is God is always watching. That should be a convicting thought if we’re not living right and it should be. We should be convicted. We should be concerned with what God sees. And I’ll tell you, friends, there’s a lot of times when I’m tempted and nobody knows. And all I’ve got is, “Lord, I know you’re watching and I don’t want to displease you.” And I’m thankful for the knowledge that he’s watching even when nobody else sees me. That should be enough. But it’s also good news because he’s watching we’re never alone. He knows how we feel. He hears our prayers. He hears our cries. He sees our tears. He’s always listening to us. We always have his attention. Let’s make that our priority that we live in the sight of God because I want to close where I started. Hebrews 4:13 “There is no creature” not even people, every creature, the sparrow.

If his eye is on the sparrow, then he sees me, doesn’t he? “There is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open” they’re wide open “to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Someday we’ll give an account to him and he sees all that we do. That’s comforting for me, it’s sobering for me and I’m thankful for that truth and angels are watching. There’s a stadium not only of good angels, friends, I’m almost done. Bear with me. There is a stadium filled, picture millions of good angels, this is a big auditorium, millions of good angels on one side, Satan has got his angels on the other side. We’re down on the field. There is a match going on where you and Jesus and the devil are engaged and you and I are the football except the difference is the football has a mind of his own and we can choose to bounce towards the devil and his touchdown or we can bounce towards Jesus and whichever way we run we’re making one side of the stadium cheer and the other side boo or vice versa. Every decision we make.

When you give into temptation there’s a roar the devils are cheering, God’s angels are weeping. Doesn’t the Bible say the angels of God sing for every soul that’s converted? They’re watching these things. And whenever we have a victory there is a cheer and I think the good angels out roar the bad angels because there’s two times, two thirds of them, right? There’s a cheer of the angels of God that go up and you can hear the devil’s angels wince and moan. Don’t you want to make God’s angels cheer? Smile, you’re on candid camera. We’re being watched, amen? I couldn’t find a song on candid camera, but I found one that I think fits in. It’s 310 “I Would Draw Nearer to Jesus” because that’s the only way that we can live the life of Christ is by keeping our eyes on him. Turn to 310 with me and let’s stand together as we sing this.

I would draw nearer to Jesus, In His sweet presence abide, Constantly trying to serve Him, Safe and secure at His side. I would draw nearer to Jesus, I would draw nearer to Him; Fully surrender each moment, I would draw nearer to Him.

Now all of us I think sometimes struggle with the temptation to be more concerned with what others think than what God thinks, and there’re probably times when we all wear a mask. I want to be genuine, don’t you, friends? If the Holy Spirit has spoken to you today and there are times you forget that God is watching and you want to say, “Lord, I want to always live in such a way that I know that you’re watching” would you lift your hands in his presence and say, “Lord, help me to remember and live for you and your eyes remembering that you’re watching.” And then beyond that there may be some here today who didn’t appreciate or did not know that Jesus is your stand-in, that he did your stunt of death and died in your place and you’ve never accepted him, you want to accept him today and you want to live for him. come, as we sing verse two. We would like to pray for you.

I would draw nearer to Jesus, Nothing withholding from Him, Knowing He loves to be gracious, I would draw nearer to Him. I would draw nearer to Jesus, I would draw nearer to Him; Fully surrender each moment, I would draw nearer to Him.

Before we sing the last verse there may be some of you today who have been feeling the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and you sensed to yourself in the message that perhaps you’ve been distracted with what the world sees, smiling for the camera of man but not living for the camera of God, and if you would like to say, “Lord, I’ve been too preoccupied with what people think about me and not more concerned with what you see. I want you to forgive my words and my deeds and edit in the tape of Jesus.” If that’s your prayer and you have a special need you could come to the front. We’d like to pray for you as we sing the last verse.

I would draw nearer to Jesus, Seeking His strength to be true, Willing to tell of His goodness, Gladly His blest will to do. I would draw nearer to Jesus, I would draw nearer to Him; Fully surrender each moment, I would draw nearer to Him.

Father in heaven, we are very thankful for the knowledge that you are always watching, that your eyes are running to and fro scanning through the world looking for hearts that want to be noble and honest and true. Lord, please accept this prayer of our hearts today that we might draw nearer and be honest in heart to be true, to be genuine remembering that we really need to live before you, that you are watching. Lord, we’re thankful for the truth that you do have an editing bay and because of the blood of Jesus that you can erase our sins and put in the life of Christ in its place. Lord, help us to know how much that cost Jesus to take that stunt of death for us. Bless these people who have come forward this morning, those who may be accepting Jesus or returning to Him that they may live for you. And help us never to forget that as we go from this place you’re always with us and you’re always listening, you’re always watching. And I pray that we’ll be concerned with pleasing you that we can have the heart of David. Bless us as we go from this place. Be with those who are baptized and fill them with your Spirit. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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