The Priority of the Promise - 2011

Scripture: Galatians 3:18, Romans 3:1-31, Acts 7:38
Date: 11/05/2011 
Lesson: 6
The law was "added" at Sinai to demonstrate the exceeding sinfulness of Israel and all mankind, but it neither changed nor replaced the existing covenant given to Abraham.
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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. Whether you are listening on the radio in the far off reaches of the world, or watching live on our website at, or the various television networks, we welcome you to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church for another opportunity to open up God's word and study together here at central study hour. Many of you, each week, send in your favorite hymn requests and we love hearing from each and every one of you. You have stories that you share, dedications, things in your life that - why you picked your song. And it means a lot to us.

And our first request this morning - when we all get to heaven. What a day of rejoicing that will be when we will get to meet our extended Sabbath school family around the world. We look forward to that. #633 - We're going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas. This is a request from greg in ArKansas, ameidi in belize, carolyn in California, aileen and sunita in england, claudia and becky in florida, ampong, jonathan, and shadrach in ghana, John in Hawaii, nalini in india, nena in Iowa, robin in Israel, - we don't get many requests from Israel, that's exciting - magalie and micha in mauritius, rosalinda in Mexico, rochelle in Michigan, venita, raymond and marjorie in New York, pastor randy and clifford in Ohio, genevy in the Philippines, cynthia in South Carolina, maricel in South Dakota, rona in south korea, tess in Texas, jason and rosemarie in trinidad and tobago, and allan and janice in united arab emirates.

#633 - First, second, and fourth stanzas. In case you're wondering who these beautiful people are standing up here with me this morning, this is carlos and his brother omar, and marlene. Marlene happens to be handerson, who's on the piano, his new wife. As opposed to his first and last wife. This is the only wife.

And carlos and omar are marlene's brothers so we're keeping this a family affair this morning. If you have a favorite song that you'd like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, it's very simple. Go to our website,, click on the 'contact us' link, and you can send in your favorite hymn request. #526 Is our next song. This is from glynis and nikki in Arizona, jessica, nicole, kenyon, and felicia in australia, mellie and davin in belize, hendri, carlos, and joao in brazil, leon and betty in California, dolly in Canada, ginger in the cayman islands, jhonatan in colombia, John in Colorado, ralisha in dominica, vaughn and Karen in florida, maisie, karl, and dhelise in France, raymond in ghana, charlene, lewis, and nelson in honduras, bakari in Missouri, vern, sandie, jamie, jenny and jared in North Carolina, romulo, John, Joel, and phoebe in the Philippines, philina and Paula in saint lucia, ricky in seychelles, basie in south africa, clyde in tennessee, vincent in uganda, kristen in the united kingdom, Ruth in west Virginia, and Esther in Wyoming.

This is a favorite and we hope to hear you at home singing with us this morning. #526 - We'll do all two stanzas. Because he lives. Father in Heaven, this morning we do have a hope and assurance because you live. We know you live because we know what you do in our own lives.

You make a difference. You make a difference in the lives of those around us. Father, we thank you so much for loving us. We thank you so much for coming to this world and giving up the glories of heaven so that you could be one of us. I pray that you'll be with us as we study Your Word on this beautiful Sabbath day.

Be with our extended Sabbath school family around the world and may we each receive the blessing that you have for us right now. In Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor white. He is our administrative pastor here at Sacramento central church. Thank you.

Thank you debbie and musicians. That was such a rousing song service, I felt like doing like billy Sunday. Have you ever heard of billy Sunday? The famous evangelist? He used to play ball before he became an evangelist and he'd come running out onto the stage and slide like he was sliding into home base and he'd pop up and start preaching. Ah, probably couldn't get away with that, I don't know, nowadays. But welcome! We're glad each one of you are here and all of you who are joining us from wherever you are joining us on this beautiful Sabbath day.

You probably walked in this morning and thought you were in the wrong church. A lot of difference here behind me this morning - getting ready for the meetings that start this Wednesday evening. Those of you watching live will know that. Those of you who are watching in a few weeks, the meetings will be over by then. But anyway, we're preparing for those here.

We're on lesson #6 this week, and we want to invite you to go to and you'll find a lot of answers to your Bible questions there. There are a variety of free Bible study resources in many different languages - chinese, german, spanish, romanian, and farsi. And you can just find a lot of tools by going to and a special link there, It goes right along with our lessons this quarterly - Okay? All right.

We have a very interesting lesson this week. And we have the memory text, Galatians 3:18. Now if you would take your quarterly and read it, because it's a different translation, I'd like to have you read along with me. Galatians 3:18. "For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise, but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

" Ah, the writings of Paul. Aren't they interesting? Sometimes they can become a little bit complicated, but I think when you study the writings of Paul, especially some books like Galatians, you have to keep in mind what the situation was in his day, who he was addressing quite often, and the situation was a lot different than what we face today. So he had to address that particular scenario and much of his writings deal with that - very applicable to us today also. But you also have to include all of Paul's writing when you study some of these books. God had given to the Jewish nation the laws.

The ten commandment moral law, of course, had been there. People knew about the commandments of God way back to cain and able, because when he committed murder they knew that was a violation of the law, but by the time they came to sinai he wrote the law with his fingers and he gave the law - the ceremonial law and the civil laws to Moses to write down, so Moses was the one who wrote those, given to him by God. Those ceremonial laws, quite distinct from the ten commandment moral laws, were to point forward to the coming Messiah. And the Jewish nation had gotten so confused and so misconstrued with these laws, especially the ceremonial law, they became everything to them and they added to them and it became very meticulous and burdensome. It's kind of like the traveler I was reading about one time, he went to japan, he didn't speak the language so he was a little concerned how he was going to get around, how he was going to get back to the hotel every night, because he heard that most of the taxicab drivers there don't speak english and so, somebody told him a little clue - take something from the hotel with you.

So, at night he was trying to get back to the hotel, sure enough the taxicab driver didn't know any english so he pulls out the book of matches - he remembered, 'yeah, pull out the book of matches' and he showed them to the taxicab driver and the cab driver lit up 'oh yeah!' So off they go. Instead of pulling up in front of the hotel though, they pull up in front of a match factory. And I thought that's just exactly the way it was with the Jewish nation and the laws. God had given them to them to where they should be here, but they were somewhere way over here - they were in the wrong place with these laws. And so, when Christ was crucified and rose and he was the fulfillment of the ceremonial laws, the Jewish nation didn't know how to really handle that.

They still wanted to grasp these laws and have them a part of their life. They were so messed up for the reasons and the purposes of the ceremonial law, that we are told that Jesus, even when he was twelve years old and earlier, that he would not conform to the rabbinical rites and usages. It says that in Desire of Ages, page 78. And in Great Controversy, page , it says when Christ, at his ascension, entered by his own blood into the heavenly sanctuary to shed upon his disciples the blessings of his mediation, the jews were left in total darkness to continue their useless sacrifices and offerings. The ministration of types and shadows had ceased.

This was the world in which Paul was addressing. And so, much of his writings had to do with this. He was continually bombarded by people who wanted to maintain those old ceremonial laws. At age twelve, Jewish boys were now referred to as sons of the law and sons of God. So you can see how closely that those were related.

Twelve years old these boys were considered sons of the law and sons of God. Imagine Jesus, now referred to as a son of the law and The Son of God. And the people didn't know that The Son of God was in their midst. It's very hard to understand even that mary and Joseph didn't understand or they knew it but they wouldn't allow themselves to always believe it, that he was The Son of God. They should have, with the kind of birth he had and everything else that went on in his life.

But, in our lesson there on Sunday, the very top paragraph, I believe to be a bit confusing if we aren't careful. The top part says, 'even if his opponents conceded that Abraham's life was characterized primarily by faith, Paul knew that they still would have questions about why God gave a law to Israel about four centuries after Abraham. Did not the giving of the law nullify any previous arrangement? Now, the caution, as I see it is somehow people might come to the conclusion that God only gave his ten commandment moral law to his people four centuries after Abraham. But we know that's not true. Abraham knew about the commandments of God, and as we said earlier, even cain and abel knew about the commandments God had given.

That is why I say it can be a bit confusing. Unless we know the circumstances and the times that Paul was writing. The ceremonial laws were definitely given, at least written down four centuries after Abraham, but even the ceremonial laws - the sacrificing of the lamb - they knew a lot about sacrificing lambs, they did it from the very beginning, but that was the time when they were actually written down. We must not confuse the two sets of laws, as some people in our world try to do very vigorously. But it's ironic today that the world seems to be doing exactly the opposite as the Jewish people did in their day.

They were trying to keep something that had been nailed to the cross, whereas the world is trying to do away with something that has been preserved by the cross. Isn't that interesting? They're trying to do away with the law that has been preserved by the cross. They tried to do away with that old - I mean keep those ceremonial laws that had been nailed to the cross. So, when it comes to faith, one has to know the truth of the matter to know what to put your faith in. Faith was never to take the place of law and vice versa.

It takes faith to know that God's laws have always been there for us to let us know right from wrong - at least the ten commandment moral laws. Now, many of the Jewish nation had faith, but it wasn't based on truth. As the lesson goes on there Sunday, again I think it's imperative that we don't allow ourselves to be confused. It talks about this double meaning of will and covenant. I hope you read it.

The lesson points out that it was important to Paul to consider the unchanging nature of God's promises. Now that's true. That's as crystal-clear true as - I mean, God is not a promise breaker. But the area we need to be careful in is to not take incorrectly the statement that says, 'in the same way that a person's will cannot be changed once it has been put into force, so the giving of the law, through Moses, cannot simply nullify God's previous covenant with Abraham. Now, it is true, that if we make a will - in this world - in this land at least, where there are laws to back up wills, that nobody can go in and change our wills.

Nobody, except us. We have the right to change our wills down the line aways. And, unfortunately, when it comes to commitments to God, people often change their minds. They back out of their commitment to God. They choose to accept God's promises only to turn their back completely.

Now, did the law change? Absolutely not. The laws that govern wills, at least in this land, remain the same. The laws of God that govern mankind do not change and never will. So, if we will to do God's will, we can bank on his promises never to change. Isn't that good news? It is our part and our promises that we need to be concerned about.

Now, even the ceremonial laws given to the people were not to replace faith. In fact, they were supposed to enhance their faith. They were not saved by keeping these ceremonies, they would be saved only if they understood where to correctly put their faith. Again, it says it so eloquently in Desire of Ages, page 83. "There was no virtue in the symbolic service, only as it directed the worshipers to Christ as their personal Savior.

" Did you get that? "There was no virtue in the symbolic service, only as it directed the worshipers to Christ as their personal Savior." Just as our worship, there is no virtue per se, in worshiping God in the biblical Sabbath as we do every week. Only as the worship on this sacred day points us to our Savior. That's what the Sabbath is all about. It's like zaccheus when he climbed up in the tree. That tree was kind of like a Sabbath - it was a place where he could position himself to see Jesus more clearly.

The Sabbath is supposed to be a place where we can position ourselves to see Jesus more clearly. Because we're saved by him - not by keeping the law but by seeing Jesus. The law points us to Jesus because we need a Savior because we always break the law. That's pretty clear, isn't it? In one sense it is true that the covenant, or promise, is entirely on nothing other than God's own will, as the lesson states. But then we have to be careful how we interpret the next sentence.

No string of ifs, ands, or buts was attached. Abraham was simply to take God at His Word. It is true, that's what Abraham was to do - simply take God at His Word. If he did that then the perfect will, or the perfect power of God's promise or covenant would be true. The if is not in God's ability, right? The if is always within us.

Never was and never will be in God's ability. But if we cross that line to say that his promise assures us of eternal bliss, without any ifs on our part, we've kind of crossed the line into a predestination of sorts, in the wrong sense of the word. Predestination is a word in the Bible, but you have to understand how the Bible means it. Predestination for the world means like you are predestined to be saved, there is nothing anybody can do about it. You're going to be saved and these people over here are going to be lost.

That's the wrong concept of predestination. That would be kind of like saying that Jesus' prayer on the cross was a blanket prayer for everybody and everybody is going to be saved. When he says, 'father forgive them for they know not what they do.' Did that ensure that everybody would be forgiven regardless? No. That's not true. So, we have to be very careful.

Are God's promises true? Yes. Absolutely. Will they be accepted by everyone? No, absolutely not. Now that doesn't make his promises untrue. If we come to these conclusions it means only that we have misunderstood the total essence of the promises to begin with.

Now, again, just as the Jewish nation had gone overboard with believing that by keeping a round of ceremonial rituals, they would be saved, on the other end of the pendulum, we must be careful not to go overboard in believing that God's grace and love somehow relinquishes man from the responsibility of obedience. It doesn't do that, does it? Let's go on to - somebody has Galatians 3:24 and 25. Who has that? "Therefore, the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." Okay, thank you. The word in the King James version for tutor is schoolmaster.

You've probably heard that before. And Paul, referring to here - when he talks about the schoolmaster - what is he talking about? We have been told that it refers to both laws, the moral laws and the ceremonial laws. What does a schoolmaster do? Well, back in my day at least, I know a schoolmaster made you toe the line. You had to do everything the schoolmaster said to do. I hope it's still like that in most places.

I'm not sure, but anyway, that's the way it was. The laws, step-by-step, like a schoolmaster, lead a sinner to a Savior. Once we come to the Savior we are not under the condemnation of a schoolmaster. If I obeyed my schoolmaster, I was not under his condemnation. If we find grace to obey God, we are certainly not under his condemnation.

Now, people definitely want to be - people do not want to be under the condemnation of the law. But, they go to great lengths, instead of trying to do it by obedience through the grace of God, they go to great lengths to do it in other ways. The pharisees had a unique way. They piously focused upon the first four commandments. The first four commandments are devotion to God, right? That sounds pretty good.

It sounds like a good idea. That's a good place to start. And it is a good place to start, if you don't do it with a pretend piety like they did. They did it with a pretend piety so they wouldn't have to address those other six laws that had to do with their fellow man. They didn't really get around to loving their neighbor as theirselves.

If you read all in the new testament about the pharisees, you realize that that was true - that they really didn't have a lot of love for their fellow man and so that's how they got around it. It sounds, like I said, a pretty good place to start, but it's got to be done right. Law and faith have to have a binding ingredient. If you mix flour and salt, you really don't have much - until you put some binding agent with it, right? If you mix law and faith together, it's not really that good until you find the ingredient that brings them both together and binds them and, of course, that ingredient is love. "Genuine", as manuscript 16, says, "genuine faith always works by love.

" And the love chapter in the Bible, which you know to be 1 Corinthians, chapter 13 says, 'you can have faith to move all mountains, but if you don't have love you have nothing.' Right? So these faith and works need to be brought together by a genuine love. Now, I'm sure you noticed that Monday's lesson was just Sunday's lesson turned around. And when you do that as a teacher you say, 'oh wow, this is going to be quite repetitious.' But, actually, they brought out some new points. Somebody has Romans 7:7. Could somebody share that? Right up here in front.

Thank you. Romans the seventh chapter, verse 7. And it's nice to get some of Paul's comments and understanding from other books to kind of bring some of these thoughts together from Galatians. Romans 7:7. "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid.

Nay, I had not know sin but by the law: for I had not known lust except the law had said, 'thou shalt not covet.'" Thank you so very much. Some people read this text and say, 'yes, but don't you know what it says over there in Colossians?' Now there is really only one argument you need to know. I think it should be the only argument needed to support the fact that the law is still binding upon human beings. That is, if the law could be done away with, Christ would not have had to die. Period.

Right? But did Christ ask the question when he was on the cross to his father or before the cross? 'If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.' In the garden of Gethsemane. But was it possible? Was there any other possible way? Could he send ten angels to do it? To die for mankind? No. A hundred angels? No. Nobody could because they were created beings. It took the creator to die.

It took God in human flesh to make this sacrifice. And that is supported - if you could change the law to where there'd be no more sin, then you wouldn't have needed a Savior. We understand this, at least I think most of us do, but what kind of tricks does the enemy try to play on us that understand these facts? Well, I think one of them is that he suggests to us that we can't keep the law. That it is impossible for us to keep the law. And we don't really like to talk about this too much.

Preachers and teachers don't even like to talk about it too much because we know if we start talking about not sinning, keeping the law, and living perfect lives, well, the devil's going to be on my tail really hard to get me to trip up this afternoon even and make everything I said about perfect living and holiness such a ridicule that he'll be the one to jump for glee. So we really don't like to talk about it but are we supposed to be able to live without sin? Yes we are. I think in the back of our mind we know that, but in the back of our mind also we say, 'yeah, but I can't. I never have been able to. I've always sinned.

I sinned last week.' I'm sure glad that Jesus didn't think that way. I mean, if he had sinned once we wouldn't have had a chance. Even as a boy. That blows my mind. Jesus as a boy, a teenager, growing up never sinned once.

Never got upset with his brothers who were always making fun of him and ridiculed him and trying to bring him down and he never got angry at them once. If he had we'd have been lost. That blows my mind really. Maybe we ought to change our attitude. Listen to this, manuscript 16, 1890.

"God's law tolerates no sin, but demands perfect obedience. The echo of God's voice comes to us every - saying, 'holier, holier, still holier.' And ever our answer is to be 'yes Lord, holier still.' Holiness is within the reach of all who reach for it by faith not because of their good works, but because of Christ's merits. Divine power is provided for every soul struggling for the victory over sin and satan." Really? Do you believe that? Hmmm. I think we are living in a time when we ought to have our main focus on the concept of 'holier, still holier, holier, still holier.' And, if I don't teach it as a preacher, it shows that I have a lack of faith, right? I don't believe it either. Have I lived the perfect life? No.

I'm sorry. Should I be shooting for a perfect life? Absolutely. You know how it is. We often talk about how sinful we are - and that's a good thing to do - and we often talk about how hard this world is and how hard it is to have our minds stayed upon Jesus and we are so sinful, we ought to admit to our sinfulness. What's wrong with that kind of thinking is to allow it to make an excuse for sinning again.

I think that's what we do oftentimes, 'well, this world is so hard and I get in such circumstances and I'm such a lousy old weak sinner and, you know, we shouldn't be talking that way. We should be talking about Jesus. He had power to overcome and we should have power to overcome. That's how we should be talking. I know I don't always do it, but I need to.

That's what we should be striving for more than anything else in this world. Monday's lesson is faith and law. If we have faith that the law is what it is, then that faith needs to include the fact that Jesus kept the law and promises to help us do likewise. That's his promise to us. Yes, it would be a lack of faith if I didn't teach it.

Not only that, it brings a sense of responsibility. Think about it. If we teach and preach that God has provided promises to help us live holier, still holier, still holier lives, doesn't that bring a sense of responsibility to you when you say something like that? I know it does to me. It would be like parents not holding the line on something because, well, because they still like to engage in this whatever it is and they don't have the will to not engage in it, so they don't even tell their children about this area or they drop their children off at church - some parents do this - drop their children off at church, you know, 'hope they get this holiness living that I haven't really come to yet.' And they don't stay for church themselves. I mean, how can you talk about the evils of drugs while you're consuming alcohol, right? How can you talk about your child not getting tattoos when you're all decked out with jewelry.

To be a schoolmaster you have to abide by something, right? That's what the law can be likened to is a schoolmaster because it never flinches. A good schoolmaster never flinches. The law, we certainly know, never flinches, it never changes, it never gives in. It's always the same. And that's really good news.

We should be praising God for it. We should be like Jesus - the Psalms that prophesy about him, 'I delight in thy law. I delight to do thy will.' Because you can count on it being steadfast and true. Well, we move on to our lesson Tuesday, the purpose of the law. What is the purpose of the law? Someone might have you turn to Psalms 19.

In fact, somebody has that. Psalms 19. Right up here in front. Ray. Psalms the 19th chapter and verses 7 and 8 talks about some of the purposes of the law and you might be a little bit surprised about what it says first about it, okay? Psalms 19, verses 7 and 8.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." Okay, thank you very much. Does the law convert the soul? Is it the law that converts us? Well, you've heard the illustration, I'm sure, many times about the law being like a mirror, but you don't use the mirror to try to get the dirt off your face.

You use the mirror to look into and get some kind of cleansing agent to get it off. The law converts our souls by leading us to the cleansing agent, which is Christ. So that's what this means by that. And if we never sinned, the law would still send us to Christ. Have you ever thought about that? Why? Because he's the perfect example and he's the one who promised us that we could live without sin.

So if we were not sinning we would still have to go to Christ to continue to receive the power to not sin. And, it says in Psalms 19, 'the testimony of the Lord is sure and makes the simple wise.' I couldn't help but think about this text when I heard something on national public radio this last week. A man was talking about how this world came into existence. He's giving some of the most absurd thinking of different groups of people around the world through the past centuries. One of them was that the world came about because there was this huge vat of milk, or something, and we were all created out of this big vat of milk and - wow that's pretty strange.

This very intelligent person talking about all these confusing ideas because he isn't ready to believe in the simple testimony of the Lord. That's very sad. It also says that 'the commandment of the Lord enlightens the eyes.' The eyes are the windows to the what? The brain, so it influences our brain. The lesson points out God gave the law to Moses at this time in such an amazing demonstration of grandeur because the children of Israel had lost sight of the laws during the days of captivity. And the lesson also points out Paul's remark about 'where there is no law there is no transgression.

' Can you envision what kind of a world this would be if there were no laws? Obviously we're getting a taste of it more and more, because people are ignoring the laws more and more and we're getting more chaos and trouble within the world all over the place. Now, think about it, if you were told - just think about this - if you were told you could do anything in this world and you wouldn't get in trouble, you wouldn't have to - you couldn't get in trouble no matter what - with any authority anyplace, anywhere. You could break any of the so-called laws that people say are out there, and you could do it without getting into any trouble. Would you be tempted to do some things you don't get tempted to do right now? Probably. Boy, I can do this and get away with it? No responsibility whatsoever? Well, let's say you steal something very valuable from somebody.

There may be no law to catch up with you, but the person you stole it from might catch up with you, right? Maybe you stole his wife or something like that. They'd catch up with you. So, you can see very quickly where there's no law, chaos is going to reign. Exactly, right? But that's what people are trying to do with God. They're trying to do away with the law so God won't hold them responsible for violating the law.

The more you violate the law, you soon begin realizing you are reaping destruction to yourself. Move to Wednesday's lesson entitled the duration of God's law. Somebody has Genesis 26:5. Who has that? Genesis - over here? Okay, we'll wait until the camera gets around there. Genesis 26 and the fifth verse.

"Because that Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." Okay, thank you. It's very easy to go to the Bible and realize that God's law existed way, way back to the beginning in the days of Abraham and farther back than that. So, we can immediately discover that the duration of God's law extends from the beginning, but what the problem is in our world today - people don't want the law to extend past the cross. They don't want the law to extend in new testament times. We're old testament people, we're old testament Christians, that kind of thing.

And we're not just talking about the ceremonial laws, many people tell you - of course you've had people tell you - that the ten commandments were done away with - nailed to the cross. I wouldn't say that that's just shallow thinking, that's very deceptive thinking, actually. It has been inspired by the anti-Christ, which is anti-law, and anti-law goes back to the beginning and anti-law will go clear to the end. And so if anti-law goes clear to the end, the law will go clear to the end. Right? The duration of the law is from the beginning to the end.

Easy to see that. We'll go to the last book in the Bible, Revelation 22:13, it says, "blessed are they that do the commandments, that they may right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." When was that verse written, before or after the cross? After the cross. Would John have been inspired by God to put that in the Bible if the law had been done away with? Absolutely not. It's just amazing sometimes how people can think. Now, the lesson asks the question, what was the difference with the law before sinai and after sinai.

My first thought was 'nothing.' It was all the same. The law is the law is the law. Somebody has Exodus 16. Who wants to read that for us? Right here. Exodus 16, verses 25 through 28.

Okay, let me wait and give you the signal. Exodus 16:25 through 28. "Then Moses said, 'eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.' Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, 'how long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?'" Okay, thank you very much.

Of course, this is the story of the manna. Just a small section of this experience there in the desert wilderness. Was that before sinai or after? That was before sinai. So they knew about the Sabbath, of course, before sinai. What was the experience - so, what they needed though, as we are told, they needed a dramatic experience that took place there at sinai, so they could see the seriousness of how important it was.

What kind of example could we have today to be reminded of the seriousness of God's law? Do we need thunder and lightning to remind us? I say no. You know why I say no? Because we have the Bible in every form you can think of. You have it in living color, you have it in cds, dvds, printed word, you have it on these little ipads. The Bible is the Word of God and we don't - we shouldn't need anything dramatic to bring us back to understanding how important the law is. Well, the law was very important - had become very important.

A misconception of the law had become important to the children of Israel and they really misconstrued it so that they could find ways to work their way to heaven. Works were very important to the Jewish mind. Or at least many of the people back in those days. And there is one little story that we often hear preached about the centurion that went to Jesus or asked some people to go and have Jesus come and heal his servant. And it's a very interesting story in one respect because he finally sends a message, 'tell Jesus he doesn't have to come, just say the word and my servant will be healed.

' And Jesus he said he hadn't seen such great faith in all of Israel. Well, the elders recommended this man to Jesus to have him come to heal his servant because he was a man of good works - he had built them a synagogue. And so, the Jewish elders were commending this man because of his works, but Jesus was giving him commendations because of his faith. Faith is very important. Faith is more important than works, but faith will lead to good works, isn't that right? Faith is the only thing that can make works worth anything of value - I probably should add love added to that.

Because you can have faith and works without love you'll probably have nothing, but if you mix them all together then you really have something. Well, we need to move along because time is really going fast. Move to Thursday. Somebody has Galatians :19 and 20. Galatians 3:19 and 20.

"Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one." Okay, thank you very much. This passage, onward to verse 25 or so, has been massacred by many in the Christian church to mean that divinely revealed codes of laws that were found in the old testament - that it all ended when Christ hung on the cross - you all know that. This results in erroneous teaching that mankind - the old testament times - were saved by keeping the law and somehow in the new testament, the Christian era, men are saved by grace through faith. That is so out of step with the whole of God's Word that it's very sad.

There has been one and only one means of salvation - that is by faith in the Messiah - that leads to obedience - and the people in the old testament, especially because of the ceremonial laws, should have been able to put their faith in the coming Messiah. That Messiah that was the lamb of God that would come and give his blood. And we, in the new testament, look back to the Messiah who did come and give his blood. But it's all about faith in the Messiah. In the end - the lesson says, "in the end, however important the law, it is no substitute for the promise of salvation through grace by faith.

" Now, the lesson puts big emphasis on a point that - I don't have a problem with it and I don't take issue with it - I probably wouldn't put that much of a distinction on it. The point is there about the law was given indirectly through Moses as a mediator compared to God speaking to Abraham directly. It was almost like there was a difference of importance because one was spoken to one person directly and the other is through a mediator, through angels, or Moses. To me, no matter how God conveys truth about law, grace, anything, whatever it is, it's all just as important. Whether it comes by God - his own voice, whether it comes by God and his finger or whether it comes by one of God's chosen instruments - his angels or his prophets, or his spokesperson.

It's all just as important to me and just as real. To me, what makes a promise superior is its emphasis on being saved by grace in the Messiah. The law was given in whatsoever manner was given, to help us realize that we need a Savior. Do you believe that? That's right. It also was given to us as a code to live by.

We'll be happier if we live by the Ten Commandments. Once you start breaking the commandments, you'll find that you lose a lot of your happiness - oh you'll have happiness for a little season, maybe in some of the commandments that you break, but you will find your happiness ceasing to be pretty quickly. Now, the one reason I point this out because I doubt if very many of us have verbally heard God speak to us. I haven't. But, he is the object of all faith and grace.

One of the reasons that - you know in the lesson it points out that whether it comes by 'indirect' - because of that I do not feel that any promise that God has given to us as his children are less superior than they have ever been. The lesson points out several examples. One of them being Paul on the road to damascus. He was struck down. It was a very lasting experience for Paul.

It was a thing that gave him - that was the tenor of the rest of his life. And I don't feel like I have to be struck down - I wouldn't mind having an experience like that - but if I want to have a Marked experience with the word, I just go to the word. When I go to the word, I have an experience with Jesus. It may not be as dramatic as being struck down to the ground with lightning, but it's - the word is powerful. It changes lives all the time.

We see people's lives around here being changed all the time. I mean some dramatic changes. Because there's power in the word. Isn't that great? It's wonderful. No, I do not feel left out.

I don't feel slighted. In fact, I feel blessed beyond measure that I live today. We live in an enlightened age. We live when we have the word at our fingertips at all times. That's wonderful.

As we look to some of the comments on Friday, the quotation from patriarchs and prophets talks about 'how in bondage the people of God had lost a great deal of knowledge about God and the principles he had given to Abraham.' And I think we are living in a time when we are in danger of losing sight of some of the great principles of faith because we're in a bondage to this sinful old world in one way or another. It might be easy for us to get bogged down in thinking we will be saved because we know a lot of truth. We will be saved because we keep this commandment or we keep the Sabbath and so on and so forth, but we're not saved by keeping the commandments, we're saved by Jesus to keep the commandments, right? There's a big difference. It is the sole reason we are to lift up Jesus. We should study his life.

We have been told we should spend a thoughtful hour doing what? We should spend a thoughtful hour every day contemplating the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes of his life. Have you ever done that? I would like to know if somebody has ever done that for 30 days. If you've done that for 30 days of your life, let me know would you sometime? You spent 30 days - you did? Just contemplating on the life of Christ and nothing else - wonderful. Praise God! I bet that was exciting. It's something we all should be doing.

Do you think that would change us as God's people if we actually did that? I think it would. Focus is so important isn't it? What are we focusing on? What are we focusing on in this world? Are we focusing upon Christ and the word and his truth and the law? You know the Bible writers said they meditated on the law day and night. Well, if you do that you're meditating on God because the law is a transcription of God's character, right? So if you meditate on Christ and God you're meditating on the law. If you're meditating on the law and doing it right you're meditating on God. So focus is very important.

You know how much I like baseball. If I go to bat, I'm supposed to be the batter and so I go up to the plate and I'm supposed to hit the ball. I'm called a batter or hitter. But if I go up there with a dozen things on my mind - I go up there, I'm thinking about 'boy I wish I was someplace else racing my sports car or something.' Or if I went there and was thinking in my mind about how lousy everybody else on the team is playing, guess what would happen with me in the batter's box? Id probably strike out because my focus is all wrong. And if I'm not up there to hit the ball then you can't call me a hitter anymore.

And you might not even be able to call me a baseball player - because I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Well, if we don't have our focus on Christ, then you take Christ out of the word Christian, do you know what you're left with? I-a-n. Do you know what i-a-n is? Nothing. It doesn't spell anything. If you take Christ out of Christian you are nothing.

You're not hitting the ball. You're not playing the game. So our focus is very important, isn't it? That's right. Well, thank you for joining us for - wherever you joined us today - I hope you got a blessing out of our lesson. Paul is an amazing writer.

You have to dig deep sometimes, but it's always worth it. May God bless you and keep you until we see you next Sabbath. Virtually everyone on the earth, regardless of religion or nationality, recognize that there is some form of battle raging in the world around us between the forces of good and evil. A colossal struggle between light and darkness, truth and error, oppression and freedom, right and wrong and, ultimately, life and death. Journey back through time to the center of the universe.

Discover how a perfect angel transformed into satan, the arch villain. The birth of evil. A rebellion in heaven. A mutiny that moved to earth. Behold the creation of a beautiful new planet and the first humans.

Witness the temptation in eden. Discover God's amazing plan to save his children. This is a story that involves every life on earth. Every life. The cosmic conflict.

If God is good, if God is all-powerful, if God is love, then what went wrong? In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who is behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit If you have missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location, so many possibilities.

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