The God of Grace and Judgment

The God of Grace and Judgment

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:14
Date: 01/28/2012  Lesson: 4
The Bible is full of stories that show God's grace and love for fallen sinners, but it also shows that there comes a point where he must exercise His judgment. "God is a God of justice, and justice demands judgment. God is also a God of grace." It is crucial then that we as Christians "understand both these divine truths and what they reveal to us about our God."

The God of Peace by Doug Batchelor

The God of Peace by Doug Batchelor
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church right here in Sacramento, California. We welcome you. Those of you who are tuning in this morning - whether you're listening on the radio, the various television networks, or on our website at saccentral.org, we welcome you. We're so glad that you are a part of our weekly Sabbath school family. We join together, we study God's word, and we sing.

And, of course, today is no exception. Some of you from around the world have sent in your favorite hymn requests and, so, we're going to sing those right now. The first one #304 - faith of our fathers. Pull out your hymnals those of you at home and join with us. Kara in australia, karl and liseby in France, dave in Indiana, liya in ireland, jean, gloria and carol in italy, sandie, vern, jamie, jenny and jared in North Carolina, wilson in oman, sharon in the Philippines, abel in puerto rico, lucky in south africa, cleveland temple adventist church in trinidad and tobago, and camille and xavier in Washington.

This is their favorite and so we're going to sing all three stanzas. Faith of our fathers - #304. Were you paying attention to the words you were singing just then? There's a powerful testimony of those who have gone before us and they have given everything for the Gospel. I grew up in england and in london there was a Market that we would go to sometimes and on the floor of this busy Market was just this little plaque where it used to be where they would burn people at the stake. And it was just a plaque to the martyrs that this is where it happened.

And it's no different today than it was back then. Yes, we act more civilized - we don't burn people at the stake, but you can still deny Jesus in your life and you're not being burned right now for the beliefs that you have - for having a Bible, but there will be a day when what you profess will be a life and death decision. And I've just been really impressed this last week when I saw that people had written in with this song. It was like this is so appropriate for the times that we live in right now. This world isn't going to last much longer - it's quite evident.

And it's scary but it's also really exciting because one day really soon we'll be in heaven and I want to be there so bad. Our next song is #336 - there is a fountain. We are going to sing the first, third, and sixth stanzas. And this is from yolanda in California, yeukai in england, bob and Paula in Idaho, lois in Indiana, venica in jamaica, tammy in Oregon, and charlotte in Texas. #336 - There is a fountain.

If you have a favorite song that you would love to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, it's so simple - go to our website at saccentral.org and click on the 'contact us' link and you can pick any song in the hymnal and if we don't know it, jolene will be more than happy to sing that with you because she's always the one that says, 'sing it - send in The Songs we don't know.' So we'll save those for jolene because she's not here today. But go ahead, send them in. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, we just thank you so much for that fountain that cleanses us and gives us the assurance that we can be perfect - that we don't have to wait until we get to heaven to be perfect because, obviously, it will be too late by then. But we can be like you down here on this earth and we can live a perfect life so that we can be an example to those around us that with you we can do all things through Christ.

Come and live in our hearts. Be with us as we open up your word and we study together. Just send your spirit in a mighty way. And I pray that you will continue to be with Pastor Doug Batchelor and his ministry here at central church and around the world. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor, Pastor Doug Batchelor. We are continuing our study on 'glimpses of our God' but before we get to that we have a free offer that we'd like to tell you about. This is a book called 'to live in his sight' by leslie kaye and it's just got a number of inspiring devotional thoughts about how to live a new life - a born again life - and if you don't have this book, we will send it to you. It's a gift just to enhance your study. It goes along with this quarter's lesson - 'to live in his sight' 'glimpses of our God' if you call the number on the screen 866-study-more -788-3966 we'll send it to you as a gift.

You've just got to call and ask for it. Also, I want to welcome those who are part of the extended central church family. Some of you who watch every week maybe are not connected with a church because you're in some isolated region or for some reason you can't attend. We do have some online members here at Sacramento central. We welcome you to investigate how you can be part of the central family.

Just go to saccentral.org. Saccentral.org. And one more very important announcement - everywhere I go - I was in houston last week with the family at the gyc meetings - that was very exciting to see the - oh, between six and seven thousand young people all in one place learning how to be witnesses. But people come up all the time and they say, 'we watch central study hour as we prepare for our class and can we have your notes? Is there any way we can get your notes?' Sometimes there's a note or an illustration or an extra Scripture or a quote or something and so debbie has just developed a new page at the central church website where you can get the notes of the various teachers. For instance, today's lesson is dealing with the subject of judgment and grace and I have some notes on that and yes, I've already sent them in and they'll be posted.

And so, if you'd like to have the notes that deal with our lesson today on the God of grace and judgment, I have my notes - about four pages with some quotes and illustrations - teachers are free to use that. I don't know why you shouldn't be able to plagiarize from me since I did from others. It's called research. But, yeah, we'd be happy to have you look at that. And, of course, the lesson itself is online.

We think you know that. Oh, one more good thing - a good reference for today's lesson, if you're looking for extra material - at the Amazing Facts website we have both a sermon and a study guide called 'facing the judge'. It has a lot of other good information on the subject of the Bible, grace, and judgment. Just go to the Amazing Facts website - it's free - and you can look for the lesson 'facing the judge' and it's in both a video format and others. All right.

So that's information for the teachers and now we're going to get into our lesson for today - 'the God of grace and judgment' - it's lesson #4 in our new quarterly and, of course, here at central church, while this is just the first week in the new year in real time - we pre-record these programs - and so, we're on lesson #4 already. And a number of verses we're looking at, but we have a memory verse: Ecclesiastes 12, verse 14. Before our Sabbath school lesson, how many of you already knew that verse? It's a pretty popular verse at evangelistic meetings and why don't you say it with me? Ecclesiastes 12:14. "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." That's about as clear as it could be. Every work is brought into judgment with every secret thing - those things that we think that nobody knows about - they're all going to be something that will be faced someday.

So, as we delve into the lesson - you know what I'm going to do first? I just want everyone to understand how pervasive this theme is in the Bible. The concept, the study, the subject of the judgment is as plain and clear and frequent in the Bible as is the subject of grace and salvation. It is a Bible subject if it's anything. In 1993, the times mirror company conducted a poll and more than 4 out of every 5 Americans believe that we will all be called before God at judgment someday to answer for our sins. Now that - it's not only a Christian belief, it's a belief, of course, among judaism, which Christianity grew out of - that there is a judgment day.

It's a belief among the people of islam. Even buddhists in the concept of reincarnation and krishna believe in a form of judgment - that there's some accountability for what's done. And so, we do need to think about what we say and what we do and what we think in this life and how we treat people, because the Bible is clear - very clear - that for all these things we'll give an account to God someday. That's why we're so thankful for God's grace that we can find forgiveness for the past mistakes and live with a new record. So there is no conflict in the Bible between judgment and salvation.

Some people think that you can't really talk about grace and talk about judgment - they really do coexist in the Bible. Matter of fact - this is later in the lesson, but I just want to look at it now. Go with me in your Bibles to the book of Revelation. Now, we here are a seventh day adventist church. I know a lot of people watch these satellite programs from all different backgrounds, but one of the special messages that the seventh day adventists resonate is in Revelation 14 - it's called the three angel messages - it begins with verse 6.

Revelation 14, verse 6. And here you can see the co-mingling of these concepts of grace, salvation, and judgment that are to go to the world in the last days. And you read here, "I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth." - There you have everlasting Gospel - the good news - salvation. "To go to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people saying with a loud voice, 'fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him that made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.'" By the way, that last phrase there is almost a perfect quote that is drawn from the fourth commandment - 'for in six days the Lord made - remember the Sabbath for in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth and the seas.' And so, it's saying that we have an everlasting Gospel that is to go to the world about the creator because there is a time of judgment that not only will come, that is come. Now, follow me.

If Jesus is handing out rewards when he does come - does the Bible say 'behold I come and my reward is with me to give to every man according to his" - does the Lord know who's going up and who's not when he comes? So if all that's determined prior to his coming, does it then make sense to you that some form of judgment takes place before he comes? Now, the Lord, of course, knows everything so no aspect of the judgment is so God can figure anything out, because God is all-knowing. He already knows who is saved and who's lost - and, so, the judgment is not to surprise him. It's not so he can find new evidence that's been uncovered or disclosed or something. But there's an aspect of judgment that begins before the Lord comes. Matter of fact, it tells us about that.

I've given out some verses here - who has - okay, I want to know who that call is. Who has this verse? We've given out some different verses. Someone has 1 Peter 4:17. If you've got that slip of paper, hold your hand up. Right here? Okay, melissa's got that.

We're going to give you just a second to get that. We're talking about where the judgement begins. If there's this judgment - sometimes it's called the investigative judgment or the pre-advent judgment and it's a judgment that happens before the Lord comes. Are we ready for that? We are. Okay, please read that for us melissa.

"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the Gospel of God?" All right. So some judgment happens before Jesus comes. Who does that judgment begin with? What did Peter say? The house of God. There's a lot of stories in the Bible that help illustrate this. You have Ezekiel chapter 9 - a very - whew - a very serious prophecy.

It talks about the six angels with destroying weapons and one among them with a writer's inkhorn who's supposed to go and put a Mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry for the abominations done in Israel. And he then sends the angels through after everybody is Marked in the forehead with the saving Mark there - you want that saving Mark - and he says, 'begin at my sanctuary' - this judgment - 'begin at my sanctuary with the ancient men.' And so, here's a judgment that begins at the house of God. Now, suppose that the Lord is going to go through a list and people are going to be judged prior to his coming. Where would you obviously want to start judging? Doesn't God want to save as many as possible? Wouldn't you want to start with those who have had the greatest opportunity? Wouldn't it be true that those in the church have had the greatest exposure to light and would have the greatest opportunity? And wouldn't it be true that those who are the oldest - who have lived the longest in the church have had the greatest opportunity for the longest time? You wouldn't want to start with the children, right? Who didn't know. And so, there's a judgment that begins.

People are wondering, 'well, has my name come up in that judgment?' Well, nobody knows, but - by the way, if you don't make it through this day because a meteor falls out of the sky and bonks you on the head, well then, your judgment's up. You know what I'm saying? So nobody knows when their probation has closed. Probation has closed for most of the world because they've died, right? Most of the people who ever lived have died. Though I heard that with the population - now that was a profound statement, wasn't it? Most of the people who ever lived have died. So, their probation has closed, right? Their destiny is sealed.

But there is a judgment that takes place prior to Jesus coming. Now, one big reason for that judgment is not so God can find out, but the Lord is about to reintroduce into heaven sinful people and angels say, 'hey, we remember what happened when lucifer was here and he was unconverted and there were problems. Are you going to take these humans now who have been under the influence of satan and bring them back to our perfect unspoiled heaven?' And God is going to demonstrate they have been transformed by the power of the Gospel. You see what I'm saying? So, part of the reason for this judgment is that. All right.

Judgment day - and I'm going to just - let me see - I gave out Matthew 12:36. Who has that? Right - I've got a hand over here. We're going to get you a microphone and while we get set up for that I'm going to read our opening verse one more time, except we started with Ecclesiastes 12:14 - I want to read 13 too. Ecclesiastes 12, verses 13 and 14. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:" - now, this is such a powerful statement because who wrote Ecclesiastes? Wisest man who ever lived - we're going to talk about him later in the sermon today.

After he reviews the purpose of life and he talks about the vanities of life, he says, 'all right, let me sum everything up for you.'" Let's hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep his commandments. For this is all of man's duty. This is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it be good or evil." You notice he doesn't have any middle ground there? All right. Jesus talks about this judgment too and he gets a little more specific.

Why don't you go ahead and read for us now Matthew 12, verse 36 through 37? Okay. "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by Your Words you will be justified, and by Your Words you will be condemned." Wow. So one of the things considered in the judgment - it talks about our works - I already read that. It talks about our words.

Why would you judge - I mean, you know - sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me. Have you ever heard that before? Is that true? Did anyone ever believe that when you came home from school and you were crying because people were making fun of you and your mom or dad said, 'sticks and stones can break your bones but words' - and you maybe even said it back to your friends once or twice, but did you really believe it? Have you ever been hurt by words? Yeah, words are powerful. Why will we be judged by our words? You know, in the same passage Jesus said, 'for out of the abundance of your heart the mouth speaks.' So what comes out of your mouth really is spilling out of your heart. What comes up in the bucket is what was in the well. And so, if you keep bringing from the bucket, you know, bitter water, that's what's down in the well.

And so, Your Words really reflect what's in the heart. And so, man looks on the outward appearance - in the judgement, God's looking on the heart and the words reflect that. You know, there's few verses - there's just a few verses that trouble me as much as this verse, because first of all, I'm a preacher. Preachers preach - they talk a lot. And James said, 'be not over-anxious to be many teachers, knowing you'll receive the greater, or more severe, judgment.

' Because the Bible tells us, 'in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.' Let me give you another translation of that. The more you talk, more likely you are to say something wrong. Who was it? Calvin coolidge that said, "I've never gotten in trouble for something I didn't say." Now, whenever you're in doubt, even a fool is thought wise when he holds his lips' the Bible says. And then you could read where Solomon talks about 'when you go into the house of God, do not be ready to offer the sacrifice of fools. Let Your Words be few.

' On and on the Bible goes. We've got to be careful about what we say. We need to ration our words and be economical with what we say because we will give an account to God for every idle word we speak. That troubles me and, you know, sometimes we want to be cute and we say a lot of things recklessly or we say something without thinking or without filtering through the holy spirit before we talk and we hurt people. And that's why I'm glad for God's grace.

Where would we - if it wasn't for God's grace - when you consider that we're going to be judged for all our works and all our words, how could you make it through another day? Have you ever been confronted with a terror thinking about your sins? You should be at some - I don't see how anyone could come to the cross and repent without really thinking about the terror that you will stand in the presence of a holy God who is a consuming fire not having thought about your sins. You know they say before a person dies - I'll tell you that in just a minute. I've got another Scripture - Matthew 16:27. All right, let's get a microphone. It always takes a moment to get set up for that.

Matthew 16:27. You ever heard that before a person dies their life flashes before them? Any of you ever have your life flash before you? Yeah, I see a couple hands I had a friend share an experience with me - and it wasn't because his life flashed before him, he just woke up in the middle of the night and he had an experience like he'd never had before - where all of a sudden the Holy Spirit came down on him and made him aware - you know, one of the gifts of the Spirit is not just comfort, it's conviction. The Holy Spirit can convict us of our sins and that's a good thing because you can't repent of your sins until you're convicted of them. And this fellow woke up in the night and he just suddenly was suffocating under an avalanche of guilt and everything he could imagine that he had ever said or done wrong - the things he'd said to his friends and family and spouse and the shady things, maybe in business, that he had done and just - it just went back and he was just all of a sudden crushed with a consciousness of the sin in his life. I think it's a healthy thing for us to be made aware of our sin because, after all, Jesus died for those things.

Shouldn't we know what it is he died for? If we're going to repent of our sins - I mean, some people believe ignorance is bliss. To some extent that's true but I think it's important to be - confront ourselves - be honest with ourselves. Does the Bible say, 'let every man examine himself whether he's in the faith.' Corinthians chapter 13? Yeah, we ought to know. And how could you make it through another day when you become aware of your sins and your selfishness, if it wasn't for the knowledge that there's hope? The only thing that keeps me going is I believe in the grace of God. But I also believe in the judgment of God.

And a real Bible Christian keeps those things in balance. You don't want to presume on his grace and forget about his judgment. And you don't want to be overwhelmed with his judgment and forget about his grace. You'd just be living under - you'd be crawling around all the time saying, 'woe is me.' Rightly so. If there's no grace you ought to be crawling around saying 'woe is me.

' It's only the grace of God that gives us hope. But you need the balance between the two. Okay. Matthew 16:27. For The Son of man will come in the glory of his father with his angels, and then he will reward each according to his works.

" Are we saved by faith through grace? That's not a trick question. Are we? Yes. How can we be saved by grace through faith and judged by works? Do those Scriptures conflict? No. Your works reveal whether or not you have been saved by grace through faith. Because if you are saved and you are a new creature and given the new born-again heart, is there a difference in the life when you are a new creature with a new heart? So, if a person says, 'praise the Lord I'm born again!' And then their works are the same works before they met Jesus, are they telling the truth? If a person says, 'Lord Lord.

' And they're not doing the things that he says, he says, 'I don't know you.' So we're saved by his grace and our works will demonstrate that we have been transformed. It's a safe guide. Now you might say, 'well, what about the thief on the cross? He died within a few hours of being saved by grace. And how do we know his works are any different?' Well, the most important work that he performed was the work of believing. Jesus said, 'this is the work, that you believe on the one the father has sent.

' And so, there is at least that work involved. Corinthians 3:13. "And each one's work will become clear; for the day will declare it," - have we all heard about the day of the Lord? You know, when you think about the day of the Lord it's often used to talk about the second coming and the day of judgment. "Each one's work will become clear; for the day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test every one's work, of what sort it is." Everything's going to be tried by fire, so to speak, to see whether or not it's genuine. Things might pass off in the world and have people convinced, but things are going to be tested by the fire of God where all the dross is burned away.

I want to read you another verse. There is no shortage of verses on this subject. Hebrews 10:30 and 31. "For we know him who said, 'vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'the Lord will judge his people.

' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Now, when I think about me being judged, it can be intimidating. When I think about my enemies being judged it's satisfying. How many of you remember reading in Revelation about those - it's a symbol - it's in a vision, but it talks about the souls under the altar that are crying, 'how long, o Lord, will you allow our blood to be unavenged?' And it talks about the blood of abel that cries in the ground. You know, there's so many people that are oppressed around the world and there's been so much wickedness and then you hear about these despots that grind down their people and they're brutal and they commit genocide and they flee from their country and they die of old age on the riviera. And you think, 'that just isn't right.

' How many are going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ? Just the lost or the saved or both? We must all - it is - I thought once you accept Jesus there is no judgment seat. No, there is. There's a judgment seat for everybody. In the final scheme of Bible chronology, where does that great judgment fit where everybody appears? You might call it the great white throne judgment. At the end of the 1000 years.

I just want to drop this in here. At the end of the 1000 years, when the new Jerusalem comes down. Of course, all the saved are in the city. All the good angels are there. Christ is there.

Jesus will then call from their graves all the wicked who have ever lived. They cover the earth like a sea. Ezekiel and Revelation refer to them as 'gog and magog.' That was the enemies of God's people in the old testament. It's a term that just represents gog - magog means the children or out of the matrix of gog. So it's gog and her children.

You've got Babylon and her daughters. It's talking about the wicked and the children of the wicked and they all gather, they surround the city of God, their devil rallies them to attack the city of God. They come against the new Jerusalem and just before they launch that attack, there's a panorama played in the heavens of the plan of salvation, everyone's life will individually flash before them at that time. They'll see in great detail, very vividly, how God did everything he could to save them and how they chose the path of selfishness - they resisted the Holy Spirit - just whatever was going on. And they're overwhelmed with a sense of God's justice and their sinfulness.

At that point, every knee will bow - doesn't the Bible say 'every knee'? There's a point where everyone involved in this cosmic conflict - every knee is going to bow, every tongue will confess - including the devil - that Jesus Christ is Lord. That is the great white throne judgment when everybody is going to be present at that time. So just to clarify this now, you've really got three phases of the judgment. When you think of the word judgment - there's a judgment that takes place before Jesus comes because, obviously, he's handing out rewards when he does come. That's called the pre-advent or pre-second coming judgment.

That begins at the house of God. The lost are already lost, they're not in the house of God and so, they are judged later. During the 1000 years, there's a time where the righteous are involved in judgment. Paul says, 'what? Don't you know that the righteous will even judge angels?' The righteous will judge. And so, we're involved in an aspect of the judgment where we're really evaluating why are certain people here that shouldn't be here.

I mean, stephen is going to wonder what in the world Paul - or Saul - is doing in heaven and the angels will show him the books and he'll look them over and say, 'praise God for his judgments.' There's going to be people missing that everybody thought would be there, but they had some secret sin. Those things done in secret will be proclaimed from the housetops. They'll be taken to - you know, uncle seymour is not there and everyone knew he was the head elder or head deacon and sang the loudest and smiled the biggest and gave the most and went on mission trips and how come he's not here? One of the things that comes out in that judgment is hypocrisy. This is during the 1000 year judgment and it's exposed. Remember Jesus said, 'not everyone that says, 'Lord Lord, but they that do the will of my father' are going to be exposed.

What did - how did Jesus feel about hypocrisy? Did he denounce it severely? the Lord wants us to be sincere on the inner parts. I heard a story about a $20.00 bill of currency that circulated for several years and did a lot of wonderful things. It bought medicine for some people that were sick and it bought food for some people that were hungry and it went even to church. And then the church treasurer took it to the bank to make a deposit and the trained eye of the bank teller looked at that twenty and said, 'you realize this is counterfeit? Can't take it.' 'Whoa, but it had done all these good things.' Counterfeit. Are there some people that are Judases in the church? Did Jesus have one that on the outside - apostle working miracles preaching sermons.

On the inside, greed and selfishness. And so, that will be exposed during that 1000-year judgment. When people are saying, 'why aren't they here?' And 'why are they here?' Interesting reunions in heaven. I always think about I'd like to have the video camera rolling when David and uriah and bathsheba have a little conference in heaven. I expect them all to be there, don't you? It will be interesting.

And I've mentioned already the one between Saul and - yeah, Saul and stephen. It will be interesting to see the conversation between David and jonathan. You know, one was lined up to be king and - just some very interesting reunions that are going to be happening there in the Kingdom. And that will be interesting to watch. So, - I lost my place.

And it was really important too. All right. Did I have someone that I - have I given out another Scripture yet? No? All right. I'm not going to just yet. Go with me to Revelation 20, verse 12.

So you've got the pre-advent judgment, the investigative judgment or the judgment during the millennium, and then you've got the executive judgment when sentences are meted out and the saved are saved and the lost are lost. Does Jesus say that it's not just the things done in the body but it's also how we treat others? You know the parable Jesus gives in Matthew chapter 25 - I think it starts in verse 31 - of the shepherd who divides the sheep from the goats and all the sheep are saved and all the goats are lost. So, if you're going to be a shepherd or a goatherd, be a shepherd. Those goats represent the ones who saw their neighbor hungry or thirsty or naked or a stranger or in prison and did not minister to them, where the sheep are the ones who did. And Jesus said, 'whatever you did to others, you did it to me.

And you notice what's interesting about that parable of the judgment? So often when we think about things we'll be judged for we think about, as Paul said here in 2 Corinthians, 'those things done in the body.' We think about sinful thoughts, sinful actions, 'I'm going to pay for my sins in the judgment.' But in that parable it's not sins of commission - in Matthew it's sins of omission. Everyone understand the difference? Sins of commission are when you commit a sin - you tell a lie, you rob a bank, you do something wrong, you personally act badly. Sins of omission are you see people in need and you don't feed the hungry, you don't give water to the thirsty, you don't clothe the naked, you don't visit someone in prison, you don't go to the hospital and see those who are sick. You don't clothe the naked and Christ said, 'you're neglecting me when you neglect them. And here you've got all these church folk - maybe they've been in church and they say, 'Lord, when did we see you in all these?' He said, 'if you didn't do it for the least of these, you didn't do it for me.

' You know the story - the parable - of the rich man and Lazarus? That rich man, this is Luke chapter 16, I think it's verse 19 - or is it Luke 19? Luke 19 maybe - no, it's Luke 16:19, yeah. I get more dyslexic as I get older with my Bible verses, sorry. But is that rich man going to torment because he ate too well? Does it ever say why he - does he automatically go to hell because, I mean after all, Jesus said, 'hardly shall a rich man enter the Kingdom' and he was rich so he was disqualified? Does it mention any sin that the rich man commits? Does it say that when he ate well there's - he wore purple clothes - he had lavish beautiful clothing. Was that his sin? Or was his sin that Lazarus laid at his gate, full of sores, and he never cared about him? The only thing that mentioned that he's guilty of, per se, is a sin of omission. And so, when we think about the judgment, we also want to be aware - we want to be not only avoiding doing what's bad, don't neglect doing what's good.

Revelation 22:12. "Behold, I'm coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every one according as his work shall be." What's the last chapter in the Bible? Revelation 22, right here. You're looking at some of the last verses in the Bible. It says, 'I'm coming soon.' The Bible ends by saying, 'even so, come Lord Jesus.' 'And my reward is with me to give every one according to his faith.' Is that what it says? It says, 'according to his works.' So we're not saved by our works, but our works demonstrate whether we've been transformed. You know, all that was an introduction.

Now we're getting to the next page. 'Judgment and grace in eden' - in the Garden of Eden. Let's look here at Genesis chapter 3 and I'm going to go - I tell you what, I want someone to look up for me - I haven't given this to anybody yet, so just - this is - I'm just going to throw this out there. Somebody, if you would read Genesis 4, verse 8 for me. Okay, we've got a hand over here.

We've got a microphone. Genesis 4, verse 8. And before we get to that, I'm going to be reading Genesis 3, verse 11. After adam and eve sinned, God said to them, when they ran from the Lord, "who told you" - and he said, "who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat? Then the man said, 'the woman that you gave me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.' And the Lord said to the woman, 'what is this you have done?' And the woman said, 'the serpent deceived me, and I ate.'" And so, now they've disobeyed and there's a judgment. And the Lord says to the serpent - I want you to notice - verse 14 the Lord said to the serpent - verse 16 to the woman he said - verse 17 to the man he said.

So you've got three involved here. You've got the man, the woman, and the serpent. It's interesting, when you get to Revelation you've got the woman who has a man child and there's a serpent. These are the three primary characters. You've got the seed of the woman, who is the man Jesus - the second adam, and you've got the serpent, and you've got the woman - the church.

Anyway, that's another sermon. "So the Lord said to the serpent, 'because you've done this you're cursed more than all cattle, more than every beast of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I'll put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.'" Here's your first prophecy in the Bible regarding salvation. "To the woman he said: 'I'll greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you'll bring forth children.

" You know, where it says 'your conception' there, some have wondered if that's talking about when they first conceive - that's different than giving birth - they wonder if it's an allusion to morning sickness. "In pain you'll bring forth children; your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.' Then to adam he said, 'because you've heeded the voice of your wife and eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'you shall not eat of it': cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you'll eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles shall it bring forth for you, you will eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you'll eat bread until you return to the ground. For out of it you were taken; for dust you are and unto dust you'll return.

'" All right. What was the penalty for eating from the wrong fruit - eating the forbidden fruit? Death. What judgment does God give them? Well, ultimately, but he gives them life enough - he gives them probation. He postpones their death so they can find eternal life but there is judgment, there is punishment during that time of postponement. But was the punishment designed to destroy them or to redeem them? Did God tell adam you're going to work in the sweat of your brow as a curse? Or did it end up being a blessing because he needed it? Everything that is given here ends up being, in some way, a redemptive blessing - even God's grace is seen here in Genesis.

God could have said, 'eat the forbidden fruit, you die, curtains. Any last requests? Here's a cigarette, you may as well smoke it and - because you're going to die in a minute and just get the angelic firing squad.' Is that what he did? No. He gave them time. That's because there was grace there. Can you see that? You also see it in Genesis when you go to chapter 4.

And I think I gave out Genesis :8 dealing with cain and abel. Do you want to read that for us? "And cain talked with abel his brother; and it came to pass when they were in the field, that cain rose up against abel his brother and slew him." All right. He murdered his brother. Now, do we all agree that murder is a sin? Why didn't God - here you've got the first murder in the universe. I mean, as far as we know the devil hadn't murdered anybody yet.

A lamb had died prior to this, but this is the first human that had been killed. God could have struck him with lightning. And instead, you go to verse 15 it says, "the Lord said to him" - Genesis 4:15 - "'therefore, whoever kills cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.' And the Lord put a Mark on cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him." Cain complained to the Lord, 'my burden, my penalty is too more - too much than I can bear.' God showed grace to him. I mean, right from the beginning, while there's judgment, God is so gracious. Another reminder, you can still see the effects of it in the world around you - that there is a judgment - is related to the flood.

That's our next section and if you turn in your Bibles to Genesis 6, verses 5 through 8. "And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart." You know it makes me sad to read that. I don't know about you, but when God looks down and - it hurts when God is hurt. It should hurt us.

So the Lord said, "'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.'" So here's this great judgment, but notice the next verse. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." There was somebody that still loved God and while God is going to judge the wicked and those who reject his mercy, those that love the Lord, they find what? Those that are sorry for their sins - did Noah ever sin? Was the first sin of Noah when he built the vineyard? Or he probably sinned before that too, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. That was his sin after he was over 600. So, even though Noah had sinned, he found grace. He didn't deserve it because he was looking for mercy from God and God saved him.

So here you see a world gone bad and God judged, but some were saved. Some found grace out of that. Was it just Noah or was there another time that happened? What about Matthew - you read in Matthew 24, Jesus said, "for as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of The Son of man be." I forgot, I left a verse out here. Jesus not only compares the judgment of Noah to the last days, what other judgment does he compare it to? Lot. Was there a judgment that came on sodom and gomorrah? Why? For its sin? Did anybody in sodom find grace? Lot did, right? He sent angels and he saved him out of it before the judgment came.

He saved Noah through the flood. He saved lot through the inferno that went down on sodom and gomorrah. Are there going to be people - will there be people in the last days that are going to find mercy and grace here in our world? But is there going to be a judgment? Now this quote's been attributed to billy graham and it was attributed to his wife Ruth graham, but I'm not sure what the source is, but essentially it said that 'either God is going to have to apologize to sodom and gomorrah or there is impending judgment that is coming soon.' Because the things that you see in the world today are just - as vile and rank as what we read about happening in sodom. So, if there is judgment, then I think we're living on the cusp of that right now. Does anyone want to say amen? All right, thank you.

But what did Jesus say would be the condition of the world? What would be the attitude of people just prior to that judgment? Peter 3, verse 3 to 7. "Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'where is the promise of his coming?'" - Now when Peter talks about these scoffers, is Peter talking about scoffers in the world? Or have the people in the world and the lost - don't they always scoff against God? He's talking about there will even be scoffers in the church. "Scoffers will come in the last days walking according to their own lusts and saying, 'where is the promise of his coming? For since The Fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.' For they are willfully ignorant - they willfully forget: that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water." There was a judgment. They willfully forget the judgment that happened back in the days of Noah and in the days of lot and they say, 'ah, you know everything - the sun goes down, the sun comes up, sun goes down, sun comes up.' - And you know what they love? They love it when they get some goofy preacher that starts setting dates for the second coming and so far, you realize, all those dates have come and gone. And that just hardens them in their sin.

'Oh yeah, that's what they always say. All things continue as they were. They said the atom bomb was the end of the world. They said that it was world war I and then they said it was chernobyl, I mean everybody - it's always 'the planets are lining up in 1986' - ha ha ha' - scoffers. Mocking.

But Jesus will come. But the day of the Lord - you know what Peter said? 'The day of the Lord will come.' It's going to happen. You can count on it - yep. The devil is exploiting the false teachings, but it's going to happen. And not only will that day come, that day when the Lord comes is a judgment.

So when you talk about the second coming, you realize the day that he comes is a judgment. That is a big judgment day. When the wicked run from Christ and call for the rocks and mountains to fall on them, isn't that a judgment of sorts? And when the righteous are transformed and given glorified bodies and they're caught up in eternity to meet the Lord in the air, isn't that a reward of sorts? So there is a judgment right there that's all woven into the second coming in itself. And, all right, let's go down to 'commendation and grace' - I'm sorry - 'condemnation and grace'. I misread that.

John 3:17 through 21. I was preaching one time and I was waxing eloquent - talking about how the angels worshiped Jesus and I got my word prostrate and prostate mixed up - and that's not the worst mix-up I've ever made. I think one time I was talking about the - I wanted to talk about the condescension of Jesus and I talked about the condensation. I know you're laughing because you've probably done stuff like that. John 3:17.

"For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. 'He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that God has sent light into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because'" - why? Their deeds are evil. Because "'for everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed. But he that does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

'" Now friends, we are living in a time of judgment right now, prior to the second coming of the Lord and I think that we ought to experience a genuine conviction and repentance and conversion about that and then we ought to have peace because there's grace. You know, I was reading a story years ago when pioneers were crossing the great plains. And back then when they made very slow progress because they were using oxen and they had their wagons, this group of travelers were going across the plains and they saw in the distance some smoke, and that really unnerved them because the grass was dry and pretty soon they saw the smoke was coming closer and then they could see that there was a line of fire a few miles away that was racing towards them with the westward winds. They knew they'd crossed a river a day earlier, but there was no way they were going to get back to the river before the fire caught up with them and here was this fire just racing towards them. Well, one in their group knew what to do and he started a fire behind them that took off burning towards the river.

They were able to have enough time for those embers to die down where they moved their wagon train over onto the burnt ground and one little girl she saw the fire, now still racing towards them. She said, 'will the fire get us?' And her father said, 'no, we're standing on the ground where it's already burnt. We're safe now.' And so, when we surrender our lives to Christ and we are in Christ, you're really safe from the wrath of God if we have surrendered our lives to him, because the wrath of judgment that belonged to you already burnt on Jesus. He already took it and you're standing where the fire has already burned and it's the only way for you to be safe in the judgment - is to not only have Christ as your intercessor, he is your advocate, he is your defense attorney - and the good news is God has committed all judgment to The Son. So, having a knowing relationship with him is our best safety.

Amen? I want to remind our friends, in closing we do have a free book we're happy to offer you. It's called 'to live in his sight'. You just call the number on the screen and we'll send that to you. And for those teachers in your midst that are interested in the notes that our teachers here have - new place at the Sacramento central website where you can download the notes such as they are and just go to saccentral.org and you'll find them there. God bless you until we study again next week.

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 was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit Sabbathtruth.com if you missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location, so many possibilities. Amazingfacts.org.

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