Old Testament Faith - 2011

Scripture: Galatians 3:13, Galatians 3:1-5, Genesis 15:6
Date: 10/29/2011 
Lesson: 5
Paul clearly outlines the consistency of the gospel message and uses Abraham's example to illustrate that justification by faith has always been God's method of salvation.
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Good morning and a very, very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you this morning who are tuning in and joining us for central study hour as we open up God's Word and we study together like we do every week. And it is a privilege to be here on this beautiful Sabbath day and to praise God in song. Our first request is from our extended family who join us every week from across the country and around the world. This is a favorite. So pull out your hymnals, those of you at home, and join us.

#163 - At the cross. This is from jizelle in antigua and barbuda, greg in ArKansas, kenyon and felicia in australia, joy in barbados, ib in denmark, jalene in honduras, alex in hungary, regi in india, colleen in indonesia, venice in jamaica, rafael and elena in kyrgyzstan, Peter in Massachusetts, elizabeth in Michigan, sister riley in New York, jamie, jenny, sandie and vern in north carolina, miru in papua new guinea, Joseph, peachy, and eden in the Philippines, jenny in South Dakota, joeper in thailand, kim, kivon, bevon, rosana, and stefen in trinidad and tobago, Joel and maripat in united arab emirates, and Esther in Wyoming. We are going to sing all three stanzas. #163 At the cross. Thank you so much for that song request.

And I know that there's many more of you who love to sing good old-fashioned hymns. They don't make them like they used to. I love hymns and there are some beautiful new songs out there, but the message that you find in many of these hymns you can't beat. It's the story of struggles, of triumphs - of God's love and I am very excited every week to open up the hymnal and sing with all of you. So, if you have a favorite song, go to our website at saccentral.

org, click on the 'contact us' link and send in your favorite hymn request and we will do our best to sing that with you on an upcoming Sabbath. Our next one - #457 - I love to tell the story. Stanzas 1, 2, and 4 we will be doing. This is from - that's funny, I put 'Alaska Arizona' so the person's name is not Alaska and I don't think they live in Arizona so whoever you are... Michael angelo is in australia, kenyon, felicia, birdie and ralph in bahamas, angel, jasmine, veronica, and keshia in barbados, barbara, leon, and betty in California, joyce lum in cameroon, jane in china, sorraine and mario in england, dustin and nelson in honduras, steve, mary, and dave in Indiana, cassandra and jollene in jamaica, tina in Montana, romelane in New York, isabel in peru, angelita in the Philippines, abel in puerto rico, rasia in saint lucia, henry in saudi arabia, nobuhle in south africa, grace in tennessee, beatriz, jonathan, and julie in Texas, and Solomon in zimbabwe.

#457 - I love to tell the story. Father in Heaven, we are looking forward to that day when we can tell the old, old story to those that inhabit the other worlds that we are going to go to and tell about the struggles and the triumphs that we had down here on this earth. They're going to sit in rapture as they listen to us because that is a story that they will never be able to tell. And father, I just pray that we will all be ready for when you do come in the clouds of glory so that we can go home to heaven with you. And that while we are still down here on this earth that we will tell the old, old story because there are still very many people that have never heard it.

Thank you so much for loving us and for giving us this Sabbath day. I pray that you will be with those who are being persecuted for their beliefs and for keeping this day holy. Be with us as we open up your word and we study together. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson story - lesson story - lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor.

He is our senior pastor here at Sacramento central church. Thank you very much ladies for The Song service and our musicians. I appreciate it. We sang a lot of my favorites today. How is everybody? Happy Sabbath.

To those of you here at central church, welcome. And I want to welcome those who might be studying with us through either the internet, or you're watching on satellite. We know we've got some friends from around the world that tune in. It's always encouraging to hear the reports and the requests coming from just it seems like every longitude and latitude - and for that we have gratitude. So we're glad that you're tuned in, and again I'd like to remind people that if you do not have a church family, if you are a seventh day adventist in faith and want to know more about how to be one, this is a seventh day adventist church and we believe that God is calling people together into this movement based on the Word of God and if you'd like to know more about this, please visit us at saccentral.

org and we'll be happy to study with you and give you more information. Also, we have a study guide that helps enhance our lesson for today. It's a book called 'spiritual Israel' and you can read that or download it for free at the Amazing Facts website - that's just amazingfacts.org. Go to the library and look for the book 'spiritual Israel.' It helps to enhance our study on Galatians in the fifth chapter of our study today. And with that, it's probably a good way to get right into our study today.

You've got your quarterly - we're going through the Gospel in Galatians. And we are on the fifth section today. And the fifth section is dealing with chapter 3 in Galatians. So I'm trying to word it that way so I don't confuse you. Our study is really dealing with Galatians chapter 3 today and we'll be looking at verses 1 - 14.

But we have - and the lesson title is old testament faith. Old testament faith. We have a memory verse that's from Galatians 3:13 and we invite you to read it together with us. Now hang on a second here. I want to make sure - I'm going to be quoting it out of a new king James version so if you'd like to say that with me - Galatians 3:13.

Are you ready? "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.')" You know, the cross was often referred to as a tree. And Peter refers to Jesus as the one who was taken and that you hung on the tree. And we always think of the cross as a couple of six by sixes that were bought at home depot and carefully squared and planed and put together, but crosses in Bible times were just a little more than a primitive tree that had been hacked down and strapped together and, so, they used that terminology. That's important also because you've got a couple of trees of life in the Bible. You've got one Tree of Life there in Genesis and man was forbidden to eat from that tree.

And then you've got another tree of life that you find in the Gospels and that's the tree Christ died on. Remember, he said, 'unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.' That is the tree that has the fruit. Christ is that fruit on that Tree of Life - that cross and that helps us get back to the other tree in the garden. How did zaccheus finally see the Lord? He climbed a tree. And it's when we take up our cross that's when we really see Christ.

All right. So, our assignment for today - what we're doing in this quarterly - the theory is that when you finish your quarterly - and I hope you're all studying through the quarterly. I don't always do mine on schedule, but I always go through it - that you have gone through every word in Galatians. And so, lest we take the risk - it's a very real risk - that I get preoccupied with a few thoughts here and don't read the assignment for today, I'm going to read right now Galatians chapter 3, verses 1 - 14. And so, if you have your Bibles I invite you to follow along with me.

Again, I typically read from - I'm not here to condemn other versions, but I generally study and read from the new king James version. And chapter 3, let's read verses through - you can follow along - 1 through 14. "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: did you received the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, that you are now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain - if indeed it was in vain? Therefore he who supplies the spirit to you and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?" Abraham was justified by faith not by works. I'm sorry, that's a section in my Bible. Verse 6: "just as Abraham 'believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached in the Gospel to Abraham beforehand saying, 'in you all the nations shall be blessed.'" So then, those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, 'cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.' But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for 'the just shall live by faith.' Yet the law is not of faith, but 'the man that doeth them shall live by them.' Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'),'" - that was our memory verse. "That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the gentiles in Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith." Okay. If we all dismiss the service now we've at least covered our assignment for Galatians for today.

But we will not dismiss you. Are we saved by works or by faith? I've got a verse that says we're saved by works, from Jesus. But listen to what that work is. I always do these things for effect, just to get your attention. John 6, verse 28 and 29.

Why don't you turn there? I want you to read this. Don't ever forget this verse. When people start talking about 'are we saved by works or saved by faith,' Jesus says we're saved by works. And the peoples asked him a question. "They said to him, 'what shall we do, that we may work the works of God?' And Jesus said, 'this is the work of God that you believe" - that's sort of a trick, isn't it? Jesus said there is a work you're supposed to do - the work of believing.

So is believing a work? You can get caught in chasing your tail with that kind of theology, right? The jews were wanting to know - I'm talking about the ones who were talking to Jesus that day - 'tell us what work we shall do that we may do the works of God' because the pharisees had so many different works and traditions and they're wondering, 'how can we ever meet up to the criteria of God?' And Jesus, he put it in their vernacular and he said, 'this is the work. Here you go.' And they got their pens and their pads out and started getting ready to write down the list of the works they were supposed to do. Jesus said, 'believe in him who he sent. That's the work.' So, technically, there is a work. It's to believe.

Now, are we saved by virtue of something that we do or something that Jesus did? How many believe that it is something that Jesus did? But, I have heard some pastors say anytime you say anything about anything that you must do to be saved you become works oriented. Not true. You need to do something about what Jesus did. You need to believe in what he did. That's doing something.

So, some people use this poetic language and they sort of mesmerize folks and say, 'there's nothing you can do to be saved.' Wrong! There is something you have to do to be saved. Believe. That's doing something, isn't it? Because you can choose to believe. So, yes, it is by faith, but you must choose to believe. You must choose to trust him.

And so, I know that sounds like you can kind of go round and round that tree, but I just wanted to give you those verses. Then, of course, you've got the ones who really do start making the list of laws and start trusting in the flesh as opposed to the Spirit. All right. Now, Jesus said something that's pretty strong and this is our first section. The foolish Galatians.

All right, I've got a few Scriptures that we have passed out. And I don't know who has them. We have other people pass them out but - Galatians 3, verse 1. I want someone to read that again. Who has that? Back over here.

Got a microphone for you. And just so we're ready, who has Luke 24, verses 25 and 26? So the mic will go to you next mike. And, all right, it looks like we might be ready. Why don't you read Galatians 3, verse 1 for us? Galatians 3, verse 1. "Oh foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you.

" The emphasis of Paul in the section we're studying is in being saved by faith and belief, but you notice he introduces it by obeying the Gospel. Is believing in Jesus obeying the Gospel? Doesn't obedience and belief sound like they're opposite? They're not. Because it's obedience that really demonstrates belief. So, he starts out by saying belief, but, you know, I want to take a moment and talk about the fact that he calls them foolish. As a matter of fact twice here in the next few verses - I might tear up the letter if I were the Galatians at that point - when someone writes me a letter and says, 'foolish.

Foolish!' But, that's a pretty strong word, a very, very strong word. Listen to Jesus. Matthew 5:22. "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause is in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'raca!'" - It means worthless - "shall be in danger of the council.

But whoever says, 'you fool!' Shall be in danger of hell fire." Jesus seems to make a list of progressions here and he says, 'boy, the worst thing you can say is to call someone a fool.' Right? Basically, that means telling your brother or sister that you are of no value. You are worthless. But now, listen to Jesus in Matthew 23:17 speaking to the pharisees. "Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold of the temple or he that sanctifies the gold?" He called the pharisees fools more than once. And then in Galatians 12:19.

He's talking in his parable about the rich man whose crops brought forth bountifully and he said, 'I'm going to build bigger barns and just cram them full of my goods and say 'eat, drink, be merry. And I'll say to my soul,' - Luke 12:19 - "'soul, you've got many goods laid up for many years, take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him, 'fool. This night your soul will be required of you'" in other words, you're going to die - "'then whose will those things be for which you've provided?'" All that you stored away for yourself, you won't get to enjoy any of it. And he says that's foolish.

It is foolish if you do that accounting where you choose to take the wide road instead of the narrow road or 'what profit is it if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?' All right, let's go to Romans chapter 2, verses 17 to 20. And, matter of fact, I might - I might ask somebody - who has 2 Corinthians 4:4, 5? Okay, that's back over here also. You're going to think that I was being partial to my right side. Corinthians 4, verses 4 and 5. Before you read that, I'll do Romans 2, verse 17 to 20.

"Indeed you are called a jew, and you rest on the law, and you make your boast in God, and you know his will, and approve the things that are excEllent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, and a light to those that are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish," - there you've got that word again - "a teacher of babes, having a form of knowledge and truth in the law." And so, here Paul is emphasizing those who are among the jews that were talking to the Galatians and they are very confident that, you know, they're the chosen people, but they were trusting the truth. We don't ever do that do we? We think, you know, we know really an accurate - I believe that the seventh day adventist church has got the clearest biblical world view of any people. I think that we have the most easily defended theology of a denomination, if you're going to go by the Bible. It may not be the most popular, but I think that a good adventist preacher/evangelist can stand toe-to-toe with a pastor from any church and very well defend their faith and put the other on the defensive. And so, it's a biblical view but, you know, you can start trusting in your being right.

And were the jews doing that? Especially back in the days of Paul when the Romans and the Greeks - I mean, they were all twisted up with this comic book idea of what God was through all of these pagan Gods that were fighting with each other and, I mean, it was just really absurd. And that was their religion. And the rituals and things that they were doing were, some of them, very derogatory and dehumanizing and the jews felt very good about their religion. They sat in their temple and they feasted daily, while the beggars laid at their gate - the gentiles with sores desiring the crumbs of truth that fell from their table. They saw the gentiles as dogs out there.

And, just hoping for the crumbs. And they were feasting on the truth while everyone was starving in spiritual poverty around them. That's why Jesus told that parable of the rich man and Lazarus - to illustrate that the jews were saying, - now I say this not because I'm picking on the jews, but because the church does the same thing today - they were saying, 'we've got the truth, we're feasting on the truth, outside our gates are all those who are starving for the crumbs that we have.' And then shock of shocks, they both die, the beggar and the rich man and Lazarus goes to Abraham's bosom where every jew thought he'd be and the rich man, he goes to hades, the gentile place of torment. So the gentile poor man goes to the Jewish place - Abraham's bosom - and the Jewish rich man goes to the gentile mythological place of punishment, hades. You see the great reversal that he creates in this parable? And so, we've got to be careful not to think that we're saved by knowing the truth or by the law, because God Judges people based on walking in the light they have.

And if you're living up to the crumbs you have, like the poor man in that parable, and you have faith, then you will be saved quicker than the rich man who is trusting in his works and being right. See what I'm saying? Does that make sense? I didn't read the parable, but I'm assuming you all know the parable there in Luke 15, of the rich man and Lazarus. All right. Where was i? Is somebody getting ready to read 2 Corinthians 4, verses 4 and 5? Yep. All right.

Corinthians 4, verses 4 and 5. "Whose minds the God of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake." All right. Thank you. Here we're talking about seeing and blindness.

You remember we just read in Romans chapter 2, it says, "are you confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind?" And then Paul says, "the minds the God of this age have blinded." You know, Jesus said that even within the church - what did he say to the religious leaders? 'Blind leaders of the blind.' They had the Bible, but they were spiritually blind. Can that still happen? And so we just need to be aware of that. You know, these things that we read about the Galatians I figure that there's really not a lot of value in it unless we apply it to ourselves and see what we can learn. Is it possible we can make some of the same mistakes? I think when you read through 1 Corinthians and you read through Romans and you read through Galatians and Ephesians, I believe we have to make it all personal. We can't just look at it for its historical value - the problem the galatian church was having - but we have to ask ourself, 'are those trends possible in our church? Can we start trusting in our works and our knowledge of the truth?' All right.

Grounded in Scripture. Galatians 3, verse 6. I tell you what, before I read that, the next verse is Romans , verses 16 and 17. You got that over here? All right. We'll go to you in just a moment.

Galatians 3, verse 6. "Just as Abraham 'believed God and it was accounted' - or credited - 'to him for righteousness.'" Now, when he talks about grounded in Scripture in this section of the lesson, what Scripture? Genesis? Exodus? Was it the pentateuch, the five books of Moses? What Scripture is he talking about? All the old testament. Was any of the new testament written and recognized as the new testament when Paul wrote? Not really. You know, Peter, in his letter, he refers to the writings of Paul and then he makes a connection between the writings of Paul to Scripture. He does.

Peter, chapter 3 but really, the writings of the new testament writers were not assembled and recognized as a canon or part of the canon of Scripture until the apostle John finally died. But, so when he talks about grounded in Scripture and he's talking to the Galatians, what Scriptures is he talking about? Principally, the Scripture that Jesus read. It's the old testament. And in Galatians look at how many times Paul refers back to the old testament Scriptures. I also like to just emphasize that because I don't know that we're aware of it in our church because it's not really a problem here, but you visit a lot of other churches and you visit some evangelical churches, they might even supply a Bible in their church and you'll notice that they either only read from the new testament.

In some cases, to save money, they only provide new testaments in the pew. And they say, 'well, that's the old letter of the law. That's valuable for history, but we are now under the new covenant. We're new covenant Christians, we just read the new testament here.' Any of you ever run into that before? And so, sometimes I feel like, or you might think, I'm over-emphasizing the importance of 'know your old testaments.' That was the Bible Jesus read and so - and understanding everything Paul's saying in Galatians, if you take away the old testament, you've lost your context for the whole new testament. And so, we need both.

Now, Paul is quoting from - when he said 'Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness' - he's quoting from Genesis 15:6. Where it says, "he believed the promise of the Lord and he counted it to him" - or credited it to him - "for righteousness." God - because he had faith in God - God gave him credit for righteousness. Now, read for us Romans 10:17, I think. Romans 10, verses 16 and 17. "But they have not all obeyed the Gospel.

For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our report?' So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Wow, very valuable. Again, Paul is quoting the old testament, but it's not just the books of Moses, he's quoting Isaiah here, and he's quoting from the messianic prophecies that we find in Isaiah 52 and 53. 'Who has believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?' And it goes through that beautiful, just soliloquy of the Messiah. And then again, you read in Romans 1, verse 2, "which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures." All that it says about Jesus was promised in the holy Scriptures. And Paul again is referring to the old testament.

Romans 4, verse 3. Before I read that, I think I found - someone else is going to read Romans 9:7. Who has that? Romans - right over here. Okay, we'll get to you in just a second ray. I'm going to read Romans 4, verse 3.

"For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'" You know, I wish I had counted before our lesson - I'm sorry I didn't - how many times in the writings of Paul he references that verse. That must be a really pivotal verse. Especially for Paul, because when God told Abraham, there in Genesis chapter 15, verse 6? That your seed is going to be like the stars of heaven and Abraham believed God, Abraham was declared righteous by God because of his faith in God's promises. That was a pivotal moment - it's almost like God said, "because you believe what I'm saying will happen then I'm going to make it happen.' You wonder what would have happened if Abraham had not believed. What happened to Zechariah in the temple when the angel said, 'your wife elizabeth is going to have a son.

' And he began to say, 'oh, how can that be? We're getting kind of old.' What happened to him? He was struck mute at that point because he didn't believe. And there are other examples of people who, they do not believe and either some plague comes upon them, or the promise is withdrawn because they don't believe. So when God declares something to you and he makes a promise - I mean think about it, what kind of insult is it when God personally makes a promise to you and you say you don't believe God? I mean, if you're God and someone says, 'I'm not sure you can do what you're saying you can do.' I might take that personal. I'd say, 'wait a second now. I'm God.

You don't believe I can do this?' And so, conversely, while it invites the wrath of God to doubt his promises or a curse or some kind of problem, how does God respond when we believe his promises? It invites the blessings of God and the power of God when we claim his promises. You know, the Bible tells us that there are many exceeding great and precious promises in His Word that we are - we can become partakers of the divine nature by believing those promises. And you know, I know that's in the writings of - in the letters of Peter, but I can't remember the verse. Who remembers that verse? 'These exceeding great and precious promises by which we become partakers of the divine nature.' Well, I feel a little better, I'm in good company. You don't remember it either.

But I thought there must be at least one scholar among us that remembers that verse. We've got to know that verse, that's a great one. I remember the verse, I forget the reference. It's in first or second Peter, I forget. All right, someone look that up and you raise your hand when you find that reference and I'll just call on you and I'll let you give everybody the verse.

Now no one's going to hear anything else I say because you're going to all be looking up that verse now. All right. We are going to read Romans 9:7 ray. Is that right? Are you next? "Nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, 'in Isaac your seed shall be called.'" Now, I am going to take a detour and this is a - I think a very important detour for us to understand. Turn with me in your Bibles to Romans chapter 4.

Romans chapter 4 and I'm going to read verse 9. First I'm going to tell you what I'm going to - what's the reference? Peter 1:4. Thank you very much. Peter 1:4 where it tells us that there are "exceeding great and precious promises that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." And we need to know that. It's through these promises in the Bible we become like Christ.

We become partakers of the divine nature. Thank you very much. All right. Let me tell you what I want to say. There's a big movement among Christians today called Zionism.

Zionism. Do you know what I mean by that? Some of the strongest advocates for the autonomy of Israel - and there's a very delicate - it's almost a nuclearly explosive situation in the middle east right now between Israel, surrounded by arab neighbors that are going through dramatic political transition right now. And Israel does have nuclear weapons. And yet, they're about the size of New Jersey and they're surrounded by many countries that has not all the people in these countries, but many of the muslims in those countries do not believe that Israel has the right to exist as an independent nation. And then, of course there's the palestinians on their border that are claiming that they should be a state.

And it's just - it's a very volatile cauldron of problems right now. And some of the greatest advocates in the world - a lot in North America - for Israel and its right to exist independently are Christian evangelicals in North America and they base it on flawed theology. Now, I am very zealous for Israel and I actually have gotten letters before saying, 'Pastor Doug, you're a little bit racist because you brag about being a jew.' And part of the reason I do that is because when I say some of the difficult things I'm about to say, my Jewish friends and some of my Zionistic friends out there in the other evangelical churches think I'm anti-semitic. So I'm going to lose either way. So I like to remind people that my mother was Jewish and I still consider myself a jew.

You can be a jew and a Christian. Jesus was, right? All right. So, having said that, I believe it's a misapplication of Scripture to think that modern Israel is the only fulfillment of Israel biblically. I think, according to the new testament, and the old testament, the promises that were made to Abraham were made to those who were the seed of Abraham by faith. Now, I do believe that there's a place for Israel in prophecy.

I do believe that what's happening in Israel is incredibly rare that only by divine intervention could that country get its land back after being dispossessed three times. Abraham left - or Jacob left and went to Egypt. They came back. Then they left again during the Babylonian captivity and they came back. And then they left during the roman dispersion and in 1948 they came back.

There's no other country in the world that can claim anything remotely close to what the jews have done in remaining a distinct people. It's just a - it's a miracle in itself. But, having said that, these promises in the new testament are not restricted to people who have Jewish dna. They are given to those who are the descendants of Abraham by faith. The kind of faith that Abraham had that you might not detect in a laboratory or through a blood test at all.

So, let me read this to you now. Romans 4, verse 9. We've been talking a lot about what made Abraham righteous and this is the central theme of Paul in Galatians. "Does this blessedness" - that belongs to Abraham - "then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For if we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness, then how was it accounted? When he was circumcised or uncircumcised?" Now, let me tell you simply what Paul was saying here. When God said to Abraham, 'because you believe my promise I am going to declare you righteous by virtue of your faith.

' Was that before or after he gave Abraham the rite of circumcision? Before. So, God told Abraham the key to righteousness before he was even circumcised, meaning that still belongs to anybody who believes God. "While he was circumcised or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised but while uncircumcised." God promised while he wasn't even circumcised. "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith." So, if circumcision is anything, it's a seal of those who believe. "Which he had while still uncircumcised.

" The faith he had before he was even circumcised. That's what God said, 'you're righteous.' "That he might be The Father of all those who believe." Whether jew or gentile, Abraham is The Father of all of those who believe. "Though they are uncircumcised." So wait a second. You mean there are people who are uncircumcised that can sing The Song 'father Abraham'? Yeah. "That righteousness might be imputed to them also.

" They are declared righteous because they believe the way Abraham believed. It doesn't have to do with circumcision. That's why Paul says three times in the new testament he uses the phrase 'circumcision is nothing, uncircumcision is nothing.' It is nothing. Nothing. Why, doug, if that's true, did Paul pull Timothy aside and say, 'I've got to circumcise you so that you're not an obstacle when we go out preaching together"? Well, he just did it so it wouldn't be an obstacle.

It didn't matter. He found no righteousness by doing it, but Paul, when he traveled with Timothy - Timothy was half Jewish - Paul said, 'look, they're going to keep asking whether or not you're circumcised before you teach them. And if you've got to be circumcised to get that obstacle out of the way then let's do it.' But it doesn't mean anything. It's like, do I preach with a tie or without a tie? Is there any virtue or righteousness in the tie? If I'm going to wear a tie not to be a stumbling block for those I'm preaching to, then I will wear a tie. But we're not saved by the doctrine of the tie or the not tie.

You know what I'm saying? I have gone many places where, as much as I hate to put a noose around my neck, I put a tie on just so I won't be a stumbling block to somebody else. That's kind of why Paul circumcised Timothy. And he talks about that but we don't have time to read it all. And verse 12. I'm still in Romans 4.

"And The Father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but those who walk in the steps of faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised." Those who live by faith. Abraham is The Father of those. Matter of fact, you back up and read in Romans chapter 2, verse 28 and verse 29. I hope my friends watching make note of these verses, because to me this is just a slam dunk. Biblical proof that these promises in the Bible are not restricted to jews.

They are entirely 100 percent available to anybody who believes. "For he is not a jew" - you notice he doesn't say 'he is not only a jew' - he's saying he is not a jew at all "who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is in the heart and in the Spirit." So, if a person, like Paul said, from the stock of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised on the eighth day, grew up in the temple, bar mitzvahed at 12 or 13. You've done everything a good jew is supposed to do. If you do not believe in Jesus and you are not converted in your heart then does God give you any additional credit for being physically Jewish? No. What did Jesus say to the religious leaders that said, 'we're of Abraham's seed and we've never been slaves to any man.

' Jesus said, 'if you are from Abraham you'd do the deeds of Abraham, but you are of your father the devil.' He said that to Jewish people whose hearts were uncircumcised. See what I'm saying? Now, if you - there is a benefit if you are physically Jewish and you've got the foundation of the Scriptures and you accept Christ. That's why Paul said, 'to the jew first.' And Christ did say to the woman at the well, 'salvation is of the jews.' The Jewish nation has the whole foundation in the covenant. You might say they're first in line in that respect on a time line. But a jew does not have any more access to The Father than a gentile if they don't believe.

Do you see what I'm saying? I'll give you more Scripture here. Romans 9:6,7. "But it is not the Word of God that has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are of the seed of Abraham; but, 'in Isaac your seed shall be called.'" Why? Because Isaac was The Son of promise and unless you are a child believing in the promise you are not a child of Abraham. But, conversely, you can be a jew and have all the promises of the new testament, if you accept Christ.

Now, let me tell you where this, I think, just completely leaves a crater. Everybody who is saved, from the time of Christ on, is saved by virtue of the new covenant. Now, I know I've said this to you before, but we always have different people watching and different people in the pews, so I'm saying it again. Everybody who is saved, we are new testament Christians, right? Do we all agree with that? And we're not saved now unto the old covenant, we're saved unto the new testament new covenant. If you quote the new covenant, which you find in Jeremiah chapter 31:31 and you find it in Hebrews chapter 8, this is what it says, "a new covenant will I make after those days sayeth the Lord with the house of Israel.

" There is no covenant made to save the gentiles. Which means every gentile who is saved becomes at least a spiritual jew. Paul says that the gentiles do not start a new olive tree. They are grafted into the stock of Israel. They are grafted in and they draw all their sap and their fullness - isn't every new testament Christian grafted into the old testament? That woman in Revelation 12 clothed with the sun - what's she standing on? She's standing on the moon.

The moon's like the old testament. The sun is the new testament. The moon has no light of its own except as it's reflecting the light of the sun that is going to rise. And the old testament was always pointing forward to Christ. When he came, he is the fulfillment of everything it pointed to, but you don't pull the moon away or the woman falls out of the sky.

It's what she's standing on. And so, everybody that is saved becomes at least a spiritual jew and that means when you are officially adopted, all of the promises that God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob belong to you. And that's what you want. So, it's not that I'm trying to diminish the importance of being Jewish, I'm trying to clarify what it means to be Jewish. It means that you are a follower of the teachings of Jesus and like Abraham, you believe.

Your righteousness comes by faith, not by works. Let me give you another one, and we haven't gotten to this, this is really in - oh here - Galatians 3:7. This is in our lesson. "Therefore know that only those who are children of faith are sons of Abraham." If that's clear, say 'amen.' Only those. That's why John the baptist and Jesus both said, 'many will come from the east and the west and sit down - matter of fact, let me read it to you.

Matthew 3, verse 9. John the baptist said, "do not think to say to yourselves," - don't even think - don't do this. "'We have Abraham as our father.'" We've got the dna, we've got the bloodline. John the baptist said, "for I say that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones." Now a stone is more gentile than even a gentile. Matthew - these are the words of Jesus - 8, verse 10.

"When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to those who followed," - when he saw the faith of the centurion - he said, "'I say I have not found such faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you many will come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom, but The Sons of the Kingdom will be cast into outer darkness and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Notice the reversal here. Many coming from the east and the west - gentiles - they sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - because of faith. Jesus is commending the faith of a roman centurion. And he said, 'there's going to be a lot of people that will be in the Kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They will be the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because of faith and the children of the Kingdom, the ones who thought that they had it by right of inheritance, their bloodline, their genetics, they're in outer darkness.

Now am I just saying this as a warning to my Jewish brothers and sisters or am I saying it to those who may be church members who think, 'because I've grown up in the church. I'm second, third, fourth, fifth generation. I've got a lock on eternity because of my heritage.' Have you ever met anybody like that? They're boasting in their heritage. Heritage can actually be a handicap, because you can start trusting in your heritage and not have a personal experience. You think that God saves grandchildren.

God has no grandchildren. Everybody must be born again - first generation. You must personally have an experience. You can't be hanging on the experience of your father. It doesn't matter if he was a pastor and evangelist.

Yeah, a lot of Christians can do that. So, having said that, the 144,000. ,000 From the 12 tribes. Is God talking about 12,000 from those literal lost tribes of Israel? Or is he talking about spiritual Israel? I think it's spiritual Israel. By the way, at that same website, amazingfacts.

org where we have the book 'spiritual Israel' has a lot of these references, there's another book on the 144,000, kind of like part 2 of that. It explains who are these 12 tribes and why do they have to be spiritual jews? Just think about this for a second. Way back before the time of Christ, in the days of king hezekiah, ten of the tribes were conquered by the assyrians and scattered and intermarried all around the world - it's going to be really hard to get ,000 pureblood people from those tribes in these last days. And you might be saying, 'well, who said they have to be pureblood?' Well, if they don't have to be pureblood then it really doesn't make any difference because all of you probably have some Jewish blood in you if you go back far enough. Because the jews have been scattered around the world, you can trace a little bit of Jewish dna in almost everybody.

I'm just curious. How many of you have heard that you've got some Jewish blood. Let me see your hands. Only two of us? Awww. Well, some of you, if you do a test, you're going to be surprised.

Some of you are in denial. I saw more. I saw at least half a dozen hands out there. Well that flopped, didn't it? Let's go to - go back to our lesson. I'm running out of time and I've still got some lesson left.

So, grounded in the Scriptures. I talked about that a little bit, and - I better move along here. Reckoned as righteous. Well, I already covered that pretty well. John 8, verses 39 and 40.

"And answered and said to him, 'Abraham is our father,' and Jesus said, 'if you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth. This did not Abraham do.'" So, if we're going to be children of Abraham, we're going to need to do the works of Abraham. And what was the work of Abraham? First of all, he believed God. "Two men went up to the temple to pray" - do you remember this story? I preached a whole message on this not long ago.

"One was a pharisee the other a publican. And the pharisee stood and he prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank you I'm not like other men - extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithe of all that I possess.'" Now who is he trusting in? First of all, do we think this man was lying? The pharisee? Was he telling the truth? Let's assume he's telling the truth. Were those all good things that he did? How many of you would like to be in a church where people pay a faithful tithe and they come to church faithfully and they're not adulterers and extortioners? I like having those people in my church. That's all good.

Were any of those things going to save him if he didn't trust by faith in the righteousness of God? But the tax collector, he stood afar off and would not so much as lift his eyes to heaven. Humbles himself and says, "'God be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you this man went down to his house justified" - he is declared righteous by faith in God's mercy. The publican is trusting in God's mercy - he is declared righteous. The pharisee is trusting in what? His works. And he is not declared righteous.

That really sums up what Paul is dealing with when he's talking to the Galatians here. The Gospel in the old testament. Well, let's go to Zechariah chapter 3, verse 1. In this vision - and I'll be reading through verse 4 - it says, "he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord and satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to satan, 'the Lord rebuke you, satan! the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you.

Is not this a brand plucked from the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and he was standing before the angel. Then he answered and spoke to those who were about him" - or before him - "saying, 'take away the filthy garments from him.' And to him he said, 'see, I have removed your iniquity from you and I'll clothe you with rich robes." Representing the robes of righteousness. Why does Joshua the high priest, who represents the people, get new robes of righteousness? Because of his good works or because of the Word of God? And because the people believe the promise of God. And so, the Gospel here is a gift of God's grace. You see it even in the old testament.

Well they're telling me the clock just turned zero. All right. Well, I think you got the message about righteousness by faith. That's really - we read the whole verse and that was really the core of what we were teaching. And thank you for joining us.

Don't forget, friends, for the free offer - you can just download it there by going to amazingfacts.org, click the tab that says 'free library' - it's a book called 'spiritual Israel.' It has a lot of the references we gave you on our lesson today. Thank you for studying with us and we look forward to studying together again next week.

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