Worship in the Psalms

Scripture: Psalm 84:1-2, Psalm 73:1-28, Psalm 49:1-20
Date: 08/13/2011 
Lesson: 7
The Psalms reveal the raw human emotional side of worship, as well as powerful lessons about God Himself.
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Good morning, and a very, very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you who are joining us this morning, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.org, or on the various television networks. It is a honor to have you worship with us wherever you're joining us from. Our first request that we're going to sing this morning is "a child of the King." Pull out your hymnals, those of you at home, and sing along with us, 468. This is from sisilia in australia; ivis in barbados; ameidi in belize; linley and teresa in Canada; yetty in costa rica; cheryl in england; Karen in florida; alex in hungary; bev, gene and dave in Indiana; evelyn in jamaica; eugene in Maryland; saintil and eaton in New York; sandie, vern, jenny, jamie and jared in North Carolina; eliseo and ruel in Philippines; alida in south africa; anupamee in sri lanka; jonathan in Texas; eunice in trinidad and tobago; and kaltap in vanuatu, 468. We'll do the first, second and fourth stanza, "a child of the King.

.." Aren't you glad that you are a child of the King? No matter what your circumstances in life, we are sons and daughters of the King of the universe. And I don't think it gets any better than that. Our next song this morning is 108, "amazing grace." And we have had so many requests for this song that I couldn't do all the names at once, otherwise we'd be reading them for like 30 minutes. So I just took the first section, and we'll do this again sometime soon seeing as it is a very big favorite. This was from delia in antigua and barbuda; greg in ArKansas; angel, jasmine and veronica in bahamas and ralph and birdie; valencia and abelino in belize; briana in California and lucy; eugenio in costa rica; alana in england; selena in Georgia; Michael and judith in germany; keith in Illinois; sheela and suvarna in india; susie and isabelle in Iowa; adiana in jamaica and kesmit; melissa in Mississippi; margaret in Missouri; saintil and debbie in New York; bonnie in new zealand; jamie and jenny in North Carolina; janine and joatham in Philippines; yassira in puerto rico; bless in saudi arabia; pan in singapore; tumaini in tanzania and grace in tennessee, 108.

And we're going to sing all five stanzas this morning, "amazing grace..." If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, it's very simple. Go to our website at saccentral.org, click on the "contact us" link, and you will see a button right there to send in your favorite hymn request. And we would love to do that with you on an upcoming Sabbath. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, "amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me," like each and every one of us.

It is only because of you that we are alive, that we breathe every day, that we have food to eat, we have clothing. There's many people that are suffering in this world and they don't have a place to live, and they don't have clothing. But we know that one day very soon, we will be on the streets of gold. And we will sing forever and ever, "amazing grace." And we thank you so much for the assurance that you are coming back very, very soon. May we all be ready.

Be with our speaker this morning, as he brings us the lesson study, that we will receive the blessing that you have for us. In Jesus Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor mike thompson. He is the health and outreach pastor here at central. And this week he had a birthday.

And who would know that but my daughter. Thank you, debbie. At least she didn't tell you how old I am. She probably will having said that. Happy Sabbath everybody.

It's good to see you all. Yes, God's good, I'm another year older, another year closer to the Kingdom. So I don't mind getting old. I wouldn't want to be 18 again. I was in a rock and roll band.

I thought I was having a lot of fun, but I was deluded. I'm glad to be an old square, but happy, contented. Jesus is my friend. And by his grace, I'm going to the Kingdom. That's the best birthday present anybody could have.

So we're on lesson number seven this week, but before I get into this we have a free offer. It's called, "teach us to pray," "teach us to pray." And if you call 1-866-study-more, or 1-866-788-3966, we'll send this to you free. My 64-year-old eyes are squinting a little bit this morning. I need some new glasses. But we'll do that again at the end this morning.

So on lesson number seven it's talking about, "worship and the Psalms." Remember our theme of course is worship. It's a very broad term, but there are some very precise specifics about what is worship, what is acceptable to God and what is not. There's a memory text in psalm 84:1, which I will read this morning. It says, "how lovely is your dwelling place, o Lord almighty. My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

" Do you long for God that much? Some time back I was reading, I think it was, "Christ's object lessons." I just love that book, along with the others which we have in the "spirit of prophecy" collection. And the little statement there, we ought to pray until unutterable longings are begotten in our hearts for God. Have you ever prayed to reach such an intimacy with God that you stand, as it were, on the very threshold of the infinite? And you linger there, and you pray, and you're overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit, which produces within you intense longings after God. As David says, "as the heart pants after the water brook, so my heart pants after thee, o God." We need to know what that experience is like. However, I want to read just a few little comments here from Sabbath afternoon section in the lesson book here.

It reminds us that Psalms were songs, songs that were intricately part of the worship of Israel. Says Psalms were songs that were--just read that--the Psalms themselves are rich and deep, covering a wide range of topics and emotions dealing with everything from the corporate history of Israel to The Songwriters most intimate and personal pain. In that sense, they speak to us because though as a church, we are part of the long history that goes back to Israel, we also are individuals with our own private pain. It is doubtful that any of us could not relate at sometime or another to some of the agony expressed in the Psalms. And I can certainly say that's true in my life and experience.

And it says this week we will look at the Psalms and some of the themes found in them and how these themes relate to the question of worship and what it means for us today. So that kind of sets the scene for us this morning. Like the rest of Scripture the Psalms are very old of course. And yet they remain so very contemporary, very contemporary and very relevant to the very events of life that we all encounter from one time to another. For example, psalm 23, we all know that very well.

I don't know how many times I've encountered that in a funeral service in one way or another, especially verse 4. "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." Baby dedications, and we've had a lot up here in the 13 years since I've been here. Don't know how many children, a lot. And the Psalms very often comes in with that, psalm 127:3, "lo, children are a heritage of the Lord.

" And another one that comes to mind is psalm 122. Several verses of psalm 122 were put to music by a british composer called--i won't give you his full name, 'cause it's british and it's far too long and highfalutin. He was known as charles perry, sir charles perry. And he took several verses, and he put them to music to produce a coronation anthem, when queen victoria's son, edward vii was crowned, I think it was about 1906. And you know, it's a beautiful piece of music.

It's even found its way into royal weddings, not that I'm saying you should be interested in royal weddings. But I do know this, just as a little bit of interest to you. This last royal wedding of prince william, and his young lady kate middleton, as they were both walking into westminster abbey to finally meet at the front there, they struck up with this anthem by perry, based upon psalm 122, "I was glad." And that's all I wanted to see from this wedding, to see if they would have this song. And they did. Debbie sat there with a friend for the rest of the four or six hours to watch the rest.

But this music, I kid you not, it's so beautiful; you can actually go on youtube and you can put in there, "I was glad," charles perry. Put in westminster abbey or saint Paul's cathedral, you get both choirs. But if you put in the wedding, you get it with brass, you know the trumpets, fan fare, and also with strings. It's just beautiful music, very majestic. So this piece by perry, "I was glad," you should go listen to it.

And of course this is a very fitting, this particular music for us today, where it says in the first verse of psalm 122, "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord." Now that certainly is to do with worship, isn't it? And it's from the Psalms. And especially on the Sabbath, what more could we extract or extrapolate from that to enjoy as part of a rich Sabbath blessing. And so we're here today hopefully, joyfully, reverently and thankfully to do according as again what it tells us is another psalm, psalm 95:6. We're familiar with this. "O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker.

" Now say what you will, and I touched on this the last time I stood here a few weeks back. And you remember I got all mixed up in my notes. But I managed to get through the session. We discussed this the other week and I did mention this now. We'll repeat it again this morning.

And not to look down upon anybody else who doesn't know about the Sabbath and faithfully keeps Sunday, but you cannot offer God worship and praise in its absolute fullness, unless you're able to recognize him as the creator and your own maker and everything that he strew out there in space, all the galaxies and stars, from everything down here to the smallest little living plant or organism. You cannot worship God in the fullness, except you believe that he created, he spake and it was done. And in six literal days, there it was. I saw a bumper sticker one time. It says, "the big bang: God spoke.

Bang! And there it was." I can go along with that theory of the big bang. That's exactly true. Well, stretch it out over six days, and of course he blessed the seventh day. And he made that as a special day too. So only can we worship him in all fullness if we're willing to accept what the Word of God tells us, that in six little days, God made this world.

And on the seventh day he rested. And I think it's very, very interesting that God's last message to the world, the first, second and third angel's messages, and the fourth angel of Revelation 18, this last message to the world includes in the first angel's message a call for the inhabitants of this world who were created by God to recognize God as their creator. Revelation 14:7 quotes right out of the fourth commandment, Exodus 20:8-11. It says, "worship him that made heaven and earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters." There is a special urgency I believe behind this call to recognize God as such as the creator. Because as sovereign Lord of the universe, he is due that.

It is his right. But we know there's a Great Controversy going on, of course. And it's important that God is honored as the creator, and worshipped in this world, especially in the last hours, the Great Controversy nears its grand and awful climax, when that same old serpent who was in heaven who sought to be worshipped as God will make his last desperate stand to be worshipped as the God of this world through the medium of the papacy. And in Revelation 13:8, "and all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him whose names are not written in the book of life for the lamb slain from the foundation of the world." And what day you keep will indicate to the world and to the universe which God you serve: the seal of God or the Mark of the beast. Somebody's going to be worshipped.

And there'll be just two groups of worshippers; there's be no switzerlands sitting on the fence. God will make sure of that. Everybody's going to be forced to take a stand, a position. And you will either worship God, the true God who made you, or the God of this world who wants you to worship him, who never had a thing to do with your existence, but sure has a lot on his agenda to try and work out your destruction. "But as for me and my house," like Michael," we will serve the Lord," brother.

Isn't that right? Amen indeed. So truly indeed we need not just the Psalms but every word that God has written in the hour for which we live, that His Word truly might be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. I'm jumping ahead now to Wednesday. And I'll tell you why. There's so much in this lesson; I just couldn't do it justice.

So some of you may be watching out there, and by the way, welcome to "central study hour," better late than never, those of you that are watching live on the internet, those of you who will see this three weeks from now on satellite television or local cable channel. There was just too much to look at, so I kind of skipped a little bit near the earlier part of the lesson because I particularly want to concentrate today on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. So we go into Wednesday right now. And here we have this verse from psalm 141:2. It says--well somebody should read at least one verse.

Do we have our microphones here? Ray, Michael has his hand up if you care to bring the mic to him. "Let my prayer be set before you as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." Thank you, Michael. This verse immediately takes us of course to the sanctuary. Its symbolism is very clear there. The old testament sanctuary, the earthly sanctuary, where the priests offered up incense and brought into the dwelling of God the atoning blood of the sacrificial lamb, or whatever other creatures were prescribed through the law of Moses.

The sanctuary and how it functioned was a place for sacrifice, intercession and atonement. That whole system there what was a picture book of the plan of salvation. If you ever want, I think which is a pretty good definition of the difference between the ceremonial law and the moral law, it's this: the ceremonial law was a picture book illustration of how God was going to save sinners from their transgression of the moral law. So the ceremonial law was just temporary, because Jesus came. But the ceremonial law was a picture book of how God was going to save transgressors of the moral law from the dire consequences, which is of course eternal death.

But it's wonderful and we look there at the sanctuary service how this righteous God, there in the most holy place, where he dwelt on top of the mercy seat between the cherubim, beneath that was his law, his sacred law, which was as holy as himself. It was the transcript of his character, the foundation of his eternal government. That holy law, if we could hear it speak, every time it was transgressed, we'd hear a voice coming out from the most holy place, drifting across the camp of Israel, "if you break me, you must die." "If you break me, you must die," that law could not be changed. And so the sacrificial animal will be sacrificed morning and evening. And offerings were brought in between by those who brought their individual sacrifices.

And God, in his righteousness, demanded the life of an innocent creature. But in his mercy made sure that it wasn't the actual sinner who really deserved it. And in his mercy, we would see the priest administer the blood. He'd bring it in to the holy place, put it on the horns of the altar of incense, sprinkle it before the veil. And there was the meeting of God's justice and his mercy.

Now ultimately was beautifully and terribly awfully fulfilled as it met its reality upon the cross where Jesus was crucified at calvary. But it's a wonderful thing how God can be so just and cannot in any way change his law, yet be so merciful. You know, outer space, there may be an end somewhere to the created universe. I don't know, there probably isn't, but maybe there is but beyond that, space must just go on and on and on and on and on. You can't fathom it.

And you cannot fathom, no matter how much you try even if you have all eternity to plumb the depths, to grasp the magnitude of the mercy, of the love of God for a fallen race, which he has every right if he wanted to just wipe us off this planet and just wipe this planet just out of the universe. But mysteriously he has a unique and wonderful interest and a compassion and care for each one of us. I just want people out there to understand that. Don't you? You know, don't you wish you could get people sometimes and say, "don't you understand?" But you know, so often even as God's people, we get involved in stuff and we can quote the passages, but very often our minds I think can be just numbed. We see it, but we don't acutely sense the wonder of this tremendous love.

We need to experience that. And see we need more time in prayer and reading of the word. So going back to that statement I gave you before, I don't know the actual reference, we need to stay on our knees before God until unutterable longings are begotten in our hearts for him. God's got--God's got vessels full of divine grace just waiting to pour them right into us. But we're so small.

We need to allow him to work and get all the garbage out and expand us, not in an obese way, but in a spiritually healthy way, so that we can take in a bigger and a bigger and a bigger draft. Anyway, we have to move on here. Getting back on course to the sanctuary as I mentioned. It all pointed to Jesus. He was the fulfillment of all the types and the shadows from his death as the paschal lamb to his intercession to the heavenly sanctuary, when now as high priest intercedes for each one of us, atoning for our sins not as in the ancient system with the blood of bulls and goats that can never take away sins, but atoning for our sins with his own blood, his own precious blood, the lamb--the blood of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

You find that in Peter. And this blood is so infinitely, potently powerful and efficacious and infectious and powerful. But the apostle Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:14, "for by one offering," just that one offering of the blood of Christ, "he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." For hundreds of years, I don't know how many animals: lambs, goats, bullocks, turtle doves. They came in by the thousands, they were slaughtered. The priests came and went.

They got old and wore out and they died. And another generation of levites would come in. That went on for years and years and years, sacrifice, sacrifice, priests, priests. And it all pointed to one, one sacrifice, which would be all-sufficient to atone for every sin of every human being no matter how plentiful, no matter how foul. And even sufficient enough to provide atonement for even those in the future that haven't even been committed yet.

It's too bad they will be, but they will. But God's got a solution and a remedy. You cannot squeeze that tube with the balm of gilead and ever get to the end. Praise God, praise God. There's a few more wounds to come of sin before Jesus gets here.

But that one sacrifice is sufficient to perfect forever those who are sanctified. Now I usually make a point of saying this, I think it's most times I'm standing here, I always feel that I need to, it's not a hobby horse, but it is important, I always feel I need to highlight the difference between just being sanctified and just being justified. And I will take a moment just to do that again here, 'cause there's a Gospel out there that's just based solely on what we call forensic justification. In other words, somebody does something wrong, they ask forgiveness, and God, if you like, on legal ground says, "well, you've complied with the condition of coming and asking forgiveness. Therefore I forgive you.

Therefore you're now counted as innocent. You're no longer guilty." Well, that's all well and good. And we can praise God for that. But it's not much of a Gospel, is it, if all God can do is forgive you, which is wonderful, but at the same time, you want to be let loose from this thing that you still keep committing. What good is a Gospel for the man who keeps beating his wife and kids every night when he's chugged down half a pint of jack Daniels? You know? Yeah, yeah, he can be forgiven, he can be forgiven, he can be forgiven, but his family is going to die before he gets over this.

So sanctification is part of the process of justification by faith in Christ. So he can forgive us, but he can separate us from that thing which make our lives miserable and cause other people to suffer with us. And this one offering of Christ's is all-sufficient, not just to justify, but what did it say? "Perfect forever them that are sanctified." Whoa, that's the Gospel, friends. I read an article this week in a little magazine in about justification. And it was good to a point.

But there was nothing in there to give hope to the drunkard. There was nothing in there to give hope to somebody who's struggling with some terrible sin in their life. It just said God's good; he'll forgive you. And if you slip and you keep carrying on with these things, you know, Jesus will get you into heaven. No, he won't.

He won't, not if you're still doing it. But Jesus will get you into heaven, because he'll stop you doing it. And he'll take you into heaven through the power of the same righteousness that justifies you, through the power of the same righteousness that sanctifies you. You can walk into heaven, not as a criminal barely pardoned, as we've read, but with your head up as the conqueror. That's the Gospel.

We short change God. We give God a terrible rap. If Christians, especially Seventh-day Adventists were in God's advertising or publicizing agency, if we were his p.r. Agents for the Gospel, we would sell him short so many times. We need to get back to what the real Gospel is.

It is deliverance. It is victory. It's not just being declared clean, but made clean. "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. All things are passed away.

Behold all things are become new." Can you say, "amen!" Amen! That's what we're dealing with. And we've got it right here in the book. And we have the lesser light to lead us to the greater light. And a lot of people are dead. They want to throw those books in the trash.

I went to the abc a few--I'm getting off track, I shouldn't do this. But I must say this. I went to the abc about this time last year. And it has a used book table, and I always go there because you can find some old, old books like we don't print anymore. And I found some real gems.

And I found one on the atonement. And it was being sold for about $.97. And I thought this is a jewel! And I looked inside to where it was from, and it was from a certain library of another church. And I got that book home, and I'm coming clean. I'm going to get into trouble for this, 'cause somebody might figure out what I'm talking about.

But I wrote in the fly leaf of this book, "how can a librarian of a particular church be so blind and unappreciative of truth to give this book away and have it sold for $.97? It's a gem!" And they just said to the abc, "here take it. Sell it. Get a few cents for it." That's how much many of us value the Gospel, especially the Gospel that God has given to us as his remnant church. It's the same Gospel that goes around the world, but we have so much light, so much understanding. If there is a people that should be able to preach on righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ, it should be us.

We have it! So let's read it and know it and experience it. When you experience it, you got to get out that door and tell somebody. Where was i? Ha, ha, I'm sorry. I get carried away sometimes. Oh yeah okay, I was going to say, well I will say, with such a boundless reservoir of grace available to us, if we experience this, then we can indeed come before God with our prayers set before him as incense, as we read in the verse.

And the lifting up our hands as the evening sacrifice. Symbolism there you see of the sanctuary. I love that passage there. I love it in psalm, I think it's 141, is it? No, isn't it? Yeah, or near the end of 139. I forget, but I got it Marked here in my Bible.

And there's many a morning, you know, I go and I read this and I say, Lord, Lord today I'm here to serve you. You've called me to serve you, Lord. And the last thing I want to be is some phony. I'm getting paid from tithe. I don't want to--i don't want to be a robber and a thief.

I'm getting paid from tithe. I want to be a faithful servant. Lord, let me go out today with a clean heart that I can represent you, that when I pray with people, my thoughts and my prayers, that my prayers can be pure and acceptable to you. Yeah, it's psalm 141. It says, "let my prayer be set before thee as incense; and the lifting up my hands as the evening sacrifice.

" And the other verse as well, "set a watch, o Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity; and let me not eat of their dainties." When you eat of your dainties with wicked men, you're fellowshipping with them. That's why Jesus said, "if you let me into your heart, I will sup with you. I'll sit down and eat with you." It's a form of intimate friendship and fellowship. So anyway, only this kind of worship is acceptable to God.

Now when the old testament priest, getting back again to the sanctuary here, when the old testament priest burned incense within the sanctuary, he prefigured of course Jesus interceding before God, presenting the prayers of his people, making them fragrant and acceptable through his own righteousness, which was represented and symbolized by this cloud of sweet incense arising from the altar of incense to drift over the curtain into the most holy place. It represented the righteousness of Jesus. And he does indeed make our prayers fragrant and acceptable to God. But you know, God is very particular. And it's interesting to notice that when he was giving Moses the specifications for the sanctuary and all the protocols and everything else, God gave Moses a specific formula or a recipe for compounding the incense that was to be burned before him in the sanctuary.

You'll find this recorded in Exodus 20:1-9 and 34-38, a very precise recipe, different types of things beaten together small to produce this incense. But in verse 7, God told Moses very clearly, "ye shall offer no strange incense before me." That's in verse 7. No other type of incense was acceptable for God. It was forbidden. In fact, it would have been an absolute abomination, however sweet it might have otherwise smelled to the priest or to any other of the pastoral staff, if you like.

God would immediately have discerned the true from the false and would have rejected it as an abomination. And in the same way, and I hope you don't miss this point tomorrow, I mean today. In the same way, Jesus our high priest cannot present to God our prayers fragrant and sweet mixed with his own righteousness if our prayers initially ascend to him from hearts that are still cherishing deliberate and willful sins, sins that we refuse, refuse to confess and to forsake. Our prayers ascend to Jesus. He takes them and makes them acceptable to God by mixing our prayers with the sweet fragrance of his righteousness.

With that prayer initially comes from the altar of some corrupt heart that is cherishing sin. The incense of their prayer, Jesus says, "I cannot." I cannot. And there's a reason why. Psalm 68:18, very clearly we read. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not--" what? "the Lord will not hear me.

" Proverbs 28:9, "he that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." Only you know your own heart. And sometimes we don't know our own hearts. That's why we have to go to God, and say, "Lord, show me. Show me what's in there." Sometimes things get in under the radar, you know. And they find some little back place back there.

And they get some sheet rock and they put up a little partition and you may not always know it's there. This is why we pray to God to show us. He'll bring us into circumstances that reveal to us what's in there, some of the sentiments and desires and feelings and the thoughts. We don't always know. But you can know if you ask God.

And maybe some of us here this morning who know very well that this passage here from the Word of God applies to you. You may want Jesus, well I'm sure you want Jesus to hear your prayers. But if you are guarding iniquity in your heart, as much as he loves you and wants to save you, he can't help you. Well he already has helped you. He's shown you the way, where you can separate and be free and be forgiven and become truly God's child.

Through that one offering he can perfect you forever. So whatever you may be holding onto, if there's somebody here or somebody out there watching live streaming or on cable or on satellite television sometime in the near future, God can get you free. He can cut the cords. He can snap the chains. And that's what you need.

And don't play around. Don't flirt with your salvation. You can't do it. Well, you can if you want. But it's an awful dangerous game to play.

Now some may argue saying that it's neither possible nor necessary for us to have to forsake every, every sin, to have it all expelled from the heart. And God knows it's possible, so we don't have to worry too much. You live a good life, you do the best you can, right? And we should. But you see, that's our standard. God's standard is different.

God's standard is very different. So it's not that, "oh, you do the odd things, the bad things, don't worry. God doesn't expect perfection of you; Jesus is your perfection. So come to church. And come every Sabbath and open your arms and say, 'oh Lord, let my prayer be set before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

'" And what does God say? Isaiah 1:15, "when you spread forth your hands," God says, "I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when you make many prayers, I will not hear." Again, because Jesus cannot present prayers which ascend to him like strange incense burned upon the defiled altar of someone's inner being. But there is one solution, and we know that. We already mentioned it. But again this same passage in Isaiah 1, the next verse, verse 16, God says, "wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil." Friends, there's no excuse to be in such an unclean state. God promises to forgive, and he promises to cleanse, promises to invest us with the power to overcome.

"Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord," verse 18, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be like crimson, they shall be as wool." And the blood of Jesus will wash them all away. And God, if you just come before him with the willingness to be separated, just come with the willingness as a down payment, he will take that. Because God looks at the motive. He looks at the desire. And if he sees that, he's got something to work with.

You put down that earnest money, that seed money, for a sanctified experience, and say, "that's all I need." Just be willing. And then ask him to take your hand, and take you to the cross. And that's where you'll give it if you linger there. Because if you look at that cross, and as we grasp, God will enable your mind to expand it and grasp the magnitude of that love, which Jesus said if we will behold it, it will draw us to him. The cross, the cross, the cross, the cross, the cross, that's where it begins.

And then from the cross, that blood all the way up into the most holy place, where he was the lamb down there that was torn and slaughtered, becomes the great high priest, ministering that efficacious, potently, righteous and holy blood, that there is no sin you cannot be forgiven for and no sin he cannot through his abounding grace separate you from. The cross, the lamb and the priest. Oh, what a Gospel we have. What a Gospel we have. And we're still here.

I'm not making light of that. We're still here. There's something a little bit wrong. I'm going to get around to that in a moment. But "God's biddings or enablings.

" Still in Isaiah 116, notice, he says, "put away the evil of your doings. Cease to do evil. It's a bidding, so it's an enabling." Verse 17, "learn to do well," bidding, enabling; 19, "if you be willing and obedient." God's bidding. He will make it an enabling. And then of course verse 20, "but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with a sword.

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it." And all this is possible to every Christian, because I say again, "for by one offering, he has perfected forever them that are sanctified." And as you know, to sanctify something means to make it holy, to set it aside for holy use. And this is the transforming experience. The transforming experience we must have if we wish to be like Jesus when he comes. Not know of Jesus when he comes, not just their head thing, but the heart thing, the character be like him when he comes. This is speaking of both the theoretical knowledge, the head experience of knowing the Word of God, and also as well as something what the theologians call experiential knowledge.

And that is the actual heart experience, the life experience with Jesus. This is available to us that we can be like him. And this full experience of righteousness by faith, both the intellectual experience and the experiential experience of righteousness and sanctification. This has always been available. But especially has it been available since Jesus went into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary on October 22, 1844, to begin the final phase of his ministry when he began the investigative judgment, which must take place before his coming, which is the anti-type of the day of atonement in ancient Israel, which was a form actually of a day of judgment.

It was a day of final settling of accounts to see who was with God and who wasn't. Who was going to take final advantage of this last saving sacrifice of the year. And God's shaking it all down right now to find out who has been faithful to their profession. That began in 1844. It will soon be finished.

But as there is also an investigation, there is also a dispensation of grace waiting for us, in all fullness, that we can receive the ultimate fruit of this experience with Christ. That is to receive the latter rain. We will be sealed. And we will receive the anointing of power to give the loud cry of the fourth angel of Revelation 18. We will cry with a loud voice and finally take this message around the whole world, which will usher in Christ in a wanton glory.

And we can stand there and look at him, and say, "lo, this is the Lord. I've waited for him and he will save me." We will not be among those who have to rush to the rocks and mountains to fall upon us and say, "hide me from the lamb, from the wrath of the lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?" You know, you'd have to be pretty desperate, wouldn't you, to have rocks fall upon you. You ever walk through a canyon or somewhere where there's a big overhang? How Pastor Doug lived in a cave, I have no idea. It was actually a big overhang.

He'd crawl into there at night and sleep. No thanks. I wouldn't want to be close to that, but these people are getting so desperate, ask for the mountains to fall upon them. You got to be in a pretty desperate and panicky state of affairs to want something like that. But on the other extreme of the spectrum, what will be the joy? The joy of those who can meet him in peace.

I'm going to be delirious with joy. It's going to be tremendous. And okay, since 1844, this experience, God has it on a glorious heavenly platter, on a glorious vessel, through Christ to pour into us. It's there; it's waiting. And he's consistently tried to get us to lift up our cups, to let him take out all the trash and fill us.

He's given us Scripture. He's given us warnings from--straight from the Word of God and also the Spirit of prophecy, which through the writings of Ellen white has often placed special focus on God's last church in Revelation, that message to the church of laodicea. Jesus says there, "be zealous and repent." And he gives us the solution, the remedy, the white rainment, the gold, the eye salve, everything that we need that we can be like him. Who is still here? Especially there was another great milestone in the history of the remnant. In minneapolis, minneapolis in 1888 at the general conference session, God moved powerfully again, bringing his people around to another opportunity to have that experience and to become those servants that would go forth with their faces aglow, hastening from place to place, spreading the glad news of a soon coming Savior.

This time he worked through a couple of young vessels. And 'cause they were young, there was some resentment against them. They were looked upon as upstarts, young upstarts, a couple of preachers by a.t. Jones, name was a.t. Jones and e.

j. Waggoner. And they uplifted Jesus Christ as Lord our righteousness. Another way, that's in Jeremiah, you'll read that, I think 23, 33, somewhere around there. the Lord our righteousness, which is the same thing as righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.

They lifted him up in a glorious way. So it's a powerful way that Ellen white wholeheartedly endorsed the message that God wrought and brought through these two young preachers of the word. And I read many times of accounts of what happened in 1888 in minneapolis general conference. And I've heard people say--and it's--there are--we have some historians who say that finally, you know, finally the brethren all came into line. And they accepted this message.

Well, I tell you what. I don't believe that. Why? Because if we had, we still wouldn't be here 123 years after 1844. If we had accepted the message and had the experience, God would have filled us with the power. We would have been sealed.

We would have been given the power of the latter rain, the message would have gone speedily to this world like fire in the stubble. Jesus would have come, and long before we would have gone up to glory. But we're still here. Why? Because he still has this message to give to us, 'cause he loves us, 'cause he wants every one of us, every one of us, because he has paid such an infinite and a tremendous price. He does not want it to be in vain.

And it doesn't matter whether you've sinned a thousand times or a gazillion times, he still waits to forgive you, because you know what? The greater failure somebody has been, the greater the devil has pounded them and stomped them into the earth, the lower they've got, when God allows them, to save them and pull them up from the muck, then they are an even greater trophy to the glory of God and what the Gospel of righteousness by faith and the grace of God can do in somebody's life. So don't get downhearted. God has a great purpose for you. You can be his poster child, not in a vain, human way of course. But you can be a demonstration to the universe that, "I was here and I was this and I was that.

And I was down there, but you know what? I was about ready to put a gun to my brain, and then I turned on the television," like somebody here did. And they saw some preacher preaching. And there was a few words came out of that man's mouth that was put there by the Holy Spirit. And that man, as others have, they laid aside the gun, they put the pills back in the drawer, they decided they wouldn't sit in the car in the garage with the exhaust on. They realized there was still a God in heaven that loved them.

And they fell to their knees, and said, "Lord, here I am. I made a mess of my life. I cannot save myself. You're all I have. I'm willing to give you a try.

Please, don't let me down." And God never does. He doesn't. He doesn't. So no excuse for still being here. But friends, I'm afraid like Israel of old, we've been wandering in the wilderness for far too many years.

And God is calling us again for a people to get ready for another opportunity to be fitted out for the experience of true righteousness by faith, sanctification, through that one sacrifice. An opportunity to set our minds and our hearts and our feet determinedly on the path across the Jordan and into the promised land, to press forward regardless of the cost, regardless of any sacrifice that you and I have to make, it will be a pittance, and not even worth whining about, when you place that side by side with the sacrifice that Jesus made for us all upon the cross. Nothing, nothing at all. Little bit about Thursday, then we're going to have to stop here. That was--most of that was Wednesday's.

But going back to Thursday's section, it cites three major Psalms that were to be sung or recited by Israel to remind them of God's past leading in their history, in the hope that they would learn from the mistakes of their ancestors so that they wouldn't make the same tragic mistakes and have to pay the same terrible price, the same consequences. But as human beings, you know, the only way we learn it seems is the hard way. I don't know why; I'm so dumb sometimes. God's had to take me down some paths. I mean he really has.

So friends, thank you for being with us today. And our offer today is "teach us to pray." And if you call 866--sorry, number 1, then 866-study-more, or 1-866-788-3966. We'll send you, "teach us to pray." Contact Amazing Facts. They'll send this to you free if you're in the continental United States. [Music]

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