Sequential Evangelism and Witnessing

Sequential Evangelism and Witnessing

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:2
Date: 05/05/2012  Lesson: 5
"In all evangelism and witnessing, it is important that we first present the simple truth of the gospel."

The Power to Share by Doug Batchelor

The Power to Share by Doug Batchelor
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We are so glad that you are tuning in - whether this is your first time or you've been with us for what seems like forever, we are really glad that you are part of our Sabbath school family here at Sacramento central. There are many of you that listen on the radio or watch live on our website at 'saccentral.org' or on our various television networks. And you are definitely part of our family because every week you send in lots of your favorite hymns. And this morning we are going to sing those for you - two of them.

The first one - pull out your hymnals - #86 - 'how great thou art' and we will do the first, second and fourth stanzas - #86. Just a couple weeks ago we're - the family was up visiting the redwoods and that is - if you've never been to the California - northern California redwoods, it is a wonderful experience. You feel so small. Those trees are huge. They've been around, some of them for a couple thousand years.

And it puts into perspective how really, really small you are. And, of course, those trees are small compared to some other things. This week, in California, we've actually had some weather. It's been raining and hail and sunshine and we had thunder. And the boys, for the first time, had heard thunder and it's one of those things - you try to explain what thunder is and it's something Jesus made.

We can't reproduce it. And it makes you realize that there is a big God out there and he has made a beautiful world. Even though we have sin and, of course, it doesn't look like it did before the flood, but there is still beautiful things that we can look at and think of our creator. I forgot to read the long list of names - I'm so sorry - of everyone that requested that song and it is a really long list so I hope those of you at home, who did request 'how great thou art', realize your name is on here and I see it and God sees it and you can go ahead and request it again, but we are going to go to the next song, which also has a long list of names. #88 - 'I sing the mighty power of God'.

This is from movin in antigua and barbuda, kenyon and felicia in australia, jorjette in the bahamas, karla and sharon in barbados, vivian in colombia, janice in england, katie, linda and ken in Georgia, heder humberto in guatemala, harold in Idaho, dave in Indiana, beverly and javar in jamaica, sekanao in malawi, David and Samuel in Mexico, leo and dorothy in Michigan, taneisha in Minnesota, sharine in netherlands antilles, beth in New York, castalia in nicaragua, joeper in thailand, kathy-ann in trinidad and tobago, and rowena and alicia in the united kingdom. #88 - And we're going to sing all three stanzas. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much that you are mighty and powerful and that we can come to you no matter what our problems are. We can flee to you and you will put your arms around us and you will protect us. Thank you so much for loving us, for dying for us, and for promising that you're going to come back for us very, very soon.

We ask that you would pour out your spirit this - at this time, as we open up Your Word and we study together, that you'll be with our speaker and our extended Sabbath school family around the world. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by, oh, where'd he go? There he is. Pastor mike thompson - he is our health and outreach pastor here at central. Thank you very much debbie and the choir - and it's good to see Matthew singing.

Matthew's mom is somewhere around, I understand. I'm looking forward to meeting your mother Matthew. He's not listening. Yeah, okay, where's Matthew's mom? Oh, nice to meet you. And Danielle, right? Nice to meet you both.

Well, good to see you all this morning and welcome to central study hour. Before we begin, we have an offer and it is offer #134 and it's called 'the search for the true church'. This is a little book which was written by pastor Joe Crews, who was one of the early leaders of Amazing Facts, and you can have this book absolutely free, if you live in the continental United States, and you need to call 1-866-study-more, and -866-788-3966 and offer #134 - 'the search for the true church'. Anyway, once again, it's good to see you. We are, this morning, on lesson 5 of 'evangelism and witnessing'.

And if there's anything that's going to help the church itself to grow it's when we decide to get involved in evangelism and witnessing. It's part of what we need for our spiritual development and I'll mention that a little more further on, but I want us to go straight to the introduction here. There's a text - there's a memory text from 1 Corinthians chapter 3 and verse 2 - in fact, it's just part of a verse - Paul said, "I fed you with milk and not solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it." There was a problem there in corinth - and again, we'll look at that in a few moments. But I want to begin by saying this - that God is the God of order. Would you agree with that? God is not a God of chaos so, therefore, evolution should go out the window.

God is a God of order and as we study the Genesis creation account, we see most definitely there that God did things in a very systematic and orderly approach. For example, he didn't make the vegetation until first he created the earth to put it in, right? It would have caused a problem if he'd done it the other way around - well, God has no problems - I suppose he could have done that - hydroponics or something. Anyway, neither did he create adam, his crowning act, until he got adam's home ready for him. So we see this systematic thing by which God created the earth, had the food already prepared, and then he brought adam along to begin his existence, which was supposed to be for eternity, of course, but it wasn't. Anyway, that's kind of what we're looking at today.

And it's just as much God's purpose that as he created adam and as he created us - he knows all about us, but he wants us to understand and know about him. So again, God has a system prepared whereby he wants us to take certain sequential steps that we can get to know him from basically knowing who he is to, finally, as we follow that sequence of things that God's prepared - not just to know him, but to enter into a very deep and intimate relationship with him and, beyond that, to become his servants in telling others about God - about who God is and how they can know him and how they can, actually, have that deep, intimate relationship with him also. So, it's kind of what we're looking at during this week here of 'evangelism and witnessing' and it's called 'sequential evangelism' - that's - and felt needs - that's what we're looking at here. I want to read the first paragraph from Sunday's lesson, if you give me a moment to find it. We read, "sequential evangelism is a strategy based on the understanding that people will move from one church program to another when the programs are arranged in the right sequence.

" That's the theory, of course, it doesn't always work like that but it's still the right plan to have. And it works, just don't expect it always to be textbook because you're dealing with people, you see. "This, however, has to be done correctly or else it can do more harm than good." And I'm just wondering - actually I - this is the one I meant to read here. It says, "as we have already noted in earlier weeks, the discovery of individual or community-felt needs will influence how we approach people and the programs and services that we make available to them. As we understand felt needs we will better be able to plan a sequence of programs that meets those basic needs, whether for an individual or a community.

" Did we get that? Now, Jesus is the - was and still is the master teacher. He is our example in all things. And if we go to Luke chapter 9, verse 11 - let's have a look and see the approach that Jesus had in his sequence evangelism of meeting with people - meeting their needs and then leading them further on. So, we're looking at Luke chapter 9, verse 11 and is there somebody this morning who will be courageous enough to read this verse. Do we have a hand over here? You good to go dennis? I'm good to go.

"But the crowds found out there was - he was going out and they followed him and he welcomed them, teaching them about the kingdom of God, and the curing of those that were ill." Thank you very much, dennis, I appreciate that. So Jesus, he ministered to their - some pressing needs - there was a lot of sick people and he healed them. I read one statement that was in 'Desire of Ages', I believe - it mentions there that Jesus would go through some of those villages and heal everybody who was sick - even the ones that had brought it upon themselves - just very merciful. Of course, you know, Jesus never separated healing from forgiveness of sin, so we would assume that he said something to them spiritually. But, you know, sometimes in life - in illness - people get what they deserve.

Now, that doesn't mean everybody who is sick has been doing bad stuff. But some people, they do bring terrible illness upon themselves and they kind of deserve it. But you know what? Jesus is as merciful as ever and his desire is to heal and to restore. What a Savior. But here he sets before us an example that we are to follow to be effective in ministry.

Because, you know, many a hard and spiritually resistant heart - the only thing that has melted that heart and made it susceptible to even thinking and considering God is when somebody has come along and showed them a kindness - especially a kindness that they don't deserve. And this was the way that Jesus would work. And this is the way we should work, as well, to reach out and look for those who are suffering. And if you can't find them, trust me - they're all around. And if you ask God, he'll lead you to them.

There is a statement here - you should have read this before, I hope. 'Ministry of healing' page 143 - we're looking at what Jesus did. And this is what it says here, "Jesus' method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed his sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence; then he bade them 'follow me.

'" We may, sometimes, some of us may have an approach that we see somebody who's hungry and we want to go and tell them, you know, maybe we're newly baptized - full of zeal - and that's fine. But if you see somebody sick on the street corner or somebody who's crawling around ill or hungry, just remember the Mark of the beast - tell them about the Mark of the beast - has it's place but at that moment in time they don't really care to know who is the beast and what is his Mark. They're hungry so get them something to eat and tell them, 'you know, I'm doing this because Jesus came into my life. He loves me so much and I'm loving him trough you and I'm loving you through him, so I want to buy you something to eat.' Do that. There's time for other things.

Everything in its place. Ecclesiastes 3 says there's a time and a season - even for telling people who the beast is and what the Mark is. And woe betide us if we don't - we've been told to do that but let's do it in the right setting. Here in Matthew 25 verses 35 through 40 - I'd like us to turn there. Matthew 25:35-40 - and I'm sure we have somebody over on this side who would like to read.

Mike is here. "For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to the one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'" Thank you very much mike, thank you. I appreciate that. So, again, Jesus is showing you that we need to meet people's needs.

Now, we know very well for a fact that, while we should have programs laid out - we have a good, robust health ministry team at our church and I'm really proud of them in the right way. They're really go-getters. We had - they had a health fair some - about three months ago and about two - nearly three weeks ago - dr. Derose got on board and they got on board with him and they had a hypertension workshop here in the church - I think which was filmed - I was out of town at the time - I was with debbie in the redwoods. So, we're glad for that.

But, you know, such things as hunger and sickness - they - those things, when they happen, they can happen at any time and they have not the slightest regard for your sequence of church programs. Here it comes. So we've got to be ready to be able to break out the mold and not be so - what shall I say? Set in concrete with our - we've got to learn to be flexible people. If somebody calls you at 2:00 in the morning and they're in hospital and, you know, they've got some ache in their tummy or something like that, you can't say, 'well, you know, I'm sorry but right now we're working on cooking schools, this kind of thing. We're going to be dealing with what you've got in a few months' time.

' No - I'm being stupid now - but what do you do? You hang up the phone and you find out where they're at and you go whether it's 2:00 in the morning or not. That's how Jesus was. So, we need structure but we need to be minutemen and women wherever possible. Matthew 25:35 and 36 - we read this as well. Well you read through that - you read through to 40, didn't you Michael? Thank you.

Thank you very much. It's interesting still staying in that passage there, Matthew 25. It's interesting to note the surprise of those who Jesus commends in the judgment. They were his faithful servants. They learned to follow his methods.

They counted it a joy to unselfishly give of themselves and if it was 2:00 in the morning to just go. It became part of their life. It became instinctive to want to do these things. And in the judgement, Jesus will commend them and we'll notice their surprise here as this happens. I want to read Matthew 25, verses 37 through 40.

"Then shall the righteous answer him saying, 'Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and came unto you?' And the King shall answer and say unto them, 'verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'" Isn't that - something in that's wonderful that these people have just done these things and they weren't chalking up brownie points in their book. Jesus comes and says, 'you did it to me' and they're just dumbfounded. Well, Lord, I didn't realize that.' When goodness springs forth like that, that's a real sign of spiritual growth. And we need this, as well, for our spiritual growth because it's a two-way street. And I've mentioned this before.

There are people in need and God could send vaccines, if were needed, down from heaven. He could send food down from heaven. He could just speak the word and everybody would be healed and all the hungry would be filled and there would be no problems in this world. But there are people in need and one of the reasons those people - that is not the sole reason - but one of the reasons they are there is because God is giving us an opportunity of ministering to these people. And sure, you know, we're God's hands.

They need what we can give them. But, in a sense, we need the opportunities of serving people because, as I say again, it helps us - helps us to grow. It's part of our spiritual development program and God has a sequence of that for us as well. It can all kind of serve as a barometer, if you like. God already knows where we are in our growth, but it can serve as a barometer to angels and the unfallen universe to see just where we're at in our character development.

Whether we're growing like Christ or whether we are not. I want to read another statement this morning. It's from 'Christ's object lessons', page 384. I love this. It says, "when self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously.

" You know that experience? You ever see somebody trying to love somebody who has irritated them? Trying to - trust me, I've been there. Especially when I had a little girl who was much younger. It says, "when self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously. The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within." This is to do with character development. "The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within.

" So let me say something. I'll say it kindly, but I'm going to say it. Won't ask for a show of hands, but my guess is there's probably a fair number of us in our church this morning, and God loves you all and so do i. We should all love one another. But my guess is there's quite a number of us who go to work every day or stay home every day - whatever is our situation.

We eat, we drink, we, you know, clean the house, we go to bed and we go on day after day like this and that's fine, nothing wrong with that, but my guess is, through all that activity, there's some of us, we don't reach out to anybody. It's not that we don't like them, we just 'well, I don't have time right now.' Or 'I don't have the opportunity.' There are those in this church and beyond who just don't reach out and take the Gospel to other people. Who've never yet given a Bible study or just read a verse to somebody or got a little tract at the abc - they sell them in packets really cheap. And you can load up your pockets or your purse and just give them to people - or leave them on a bus when you get off. I told you this before, if you're frightened leave one on the doorstep in the dark and then run.

Whatever, but do something. You know, it's easy enough and we shortchange ourselves, apart from the people we don't bring the light to, we shortchange ourselves because the completeness of Christian character will not be attained unless we reach out and happily inconvenience ourselves in doing something for other people. Because how can we become - how can we have the completeness of Christian character and have the impulse to help and bless others constantly, when we're not in the practice of doing that? You get the point? So, I'll say it lovingly, but I have to say it because it's true. And I know it's true because, again, I've been there. You know, if - I had a nice vacation, well, a short one - about two weeks ago.

Yes, we went to the redwoods and watched the ocean and enjoyed the rain and might as well have been in england, but anyway, we had a nice time. But just in those three days, as much as I was enjoying it, I wasn't visiting people and I wasn't giving Bible studies and, yes, we all need a break from everything sometimes, but you know what? At the end of the week I had a little kind of a hollow feeling inside. And I was happy to get back to work. I shouldn't call it work. Happy to get back and do what God's called me to do.

I promise you, if you make it a habit of reaching out to others, you don't have to be a pastor, you don't have to be a preacher, you don't have to be a teacher, you can do something and God'll show you what to do. You'll get a taste for it. You'll enjoy it. It will become part of your life to the point that when it's not happening you feel such an emptiness inside. So, I'll leave that with you, okay? Now, we are still on Sunday, right? So, I want to say this to this aspect of sequential evangelism and felt needs and so on.

While yes, we have our programs and we should have them, I want to tell you that the greatest asset that any church or any church programs can have as part of their content is to have church members involved that love other people. That is the greatest asset, because we can have the best health ministry team in the world, we can have programs back-to-back, we can have evangelism series going on, and we can pack this place. But if the people come in and we're standing on the doors and we're opening the doors and closing doors and handing fliers out, and we don't try to talk to these people and we're not personable, these people will come and get information and they'll probably get very good sound scientific information in our health outreach and good theological truths in our evangelism, or a mix in both programs blended together, but unless they make contact with a warm body - we don't want a church group that's kind of like an answering machine, you know. You don't get a real person. You ask a question you get an answer but it's from somebody who's - you can tell it's their job.

They've been given the script to tell you this. You get the point, don't you? You've got to be warm. You've got to be warm. Even if in your group you've just got a handful - we should all be warm - just a couple who are warm, they can warm everybody else, hopefully. That's how we need to minister.

The worse thing we could ever encounter in the judgment is Jesus coming to us and saying, 'you know what? On this occasion, this occasion, this occasion, this occasion' - well, he'll tell the angels 'just open the book and turn the pages and let them see all these events that I ordered, all these people that I sent them to you, and you hardly said a word to them.' Do you want that on your head? I don't. I want it to be written there that I was a friend of sinners, like Jesus was. I want it to be written there that - nobody needs to know about this - but all I had that day was ten dollars and that was my money for taco bell, that was the allowance my wife gave me that day. All I had was ten dollars for taco bell but, you know, with a smile I pulled it out and gave it to that person. Nobody needs to know about that but, you know, Jesus writes that down.

And that shows where the heart is. Now, some people are going to accuse me of sermonizing so let me move on here. Monday - 'milk and solid food' - let's turn to 1 Peter 2:2 and if somebody will read 1 Peter 2:2 that would be just wonderful. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby." Thank you very much. Thank you so much.

Desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby. Jesus - salvation through Jesus Christ is the milk of God's Word inasmuch - and I want you to get this - salvation through Jesus Christ is the milk of the word inasmuch - that's the point - inasmuch as it is the first truth in order of importance that the newborn spiritual infant must ingest, assimilate, and experience if they are to secure eternal life. There's no other truth that supercedes this in any way. And in all our teaching and all our preaching and all our seminars and Bible studies, this must be kept prominent above everything else. Salvation is in Christ.

And it must never be assumed that because we speak of salvation in Christ as the milk of the word - should never assume that that implies that there's no meat in it. Oh, friends, in that milk of the word the life of Jesus, his character, what he wants to do in us - yeah, it's milk inasmuch as it's first and it's milk when we start, but we continue down that path of studying his life and his ways and his character and having a deep living experience with him, and that milk just naturally gives way to solid food and you become a strong mature Christian. And this is what God wants us - wants us to have and to experience. We've got to deepen that understanding. Deepen our spiritual relationship with him.

This is why this all-important subject - do you hear me mention sometimes this term 'Christ our righteousness'? If you read the Scriptures, especially Hebrews, for example, that's a wonderful place to go - Revelation and you read the writings of Ellen g. White in relation to 1888 thereabouts and beyond. And we get this issue - this subject rose up called 'Christ our righteousness'. Now it wasn't new, it had always been there and Ellen white certainly subscribed to it all the time, so did James white, but it had been somehow neglected. And there was an awakening, especially through the preaching of jones and waggoner.

And it's sad that some of their histories have been a little bit distorted and watered down in some ways. Ellen white - now it's true they turned around and went in another direction, both of them. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the fact that when they preached in 1888 it was Christ our righteousness and Ellen white took up this theme, as well, in her writings and you see it in 'Desire of Ages' and 'steps to Christ'. And this is the experience that the church - the church needs this.

And if we need it to become what we need to be and what God wants us to be, when we study with other people, we've got to bring them into this experience as well, otherwise they're just going to be informed, very well informed, believers of biblical - certain biblical truths. But you've got to have the meat come milk of the word in Jesus Christ. And God's waiting for us to get this - we're still kind of crawling around in the nursery in so many ways. We can't get off the bottle, if you like. God's waiting for us to have - to come to him for this experience.

And when we have this it transforms the thoughts, the feelings, the life, and this - it results in a sublime oneness with Jesus. That's why he invites us to come and eat and drink - to eat his flesh and to drink his blood - so that our character growth will ultimately - and our moral perfection will actually blot them out. And this all depends upon us having this experience with Christ. You know, so often when you get a set of Bible studies - and this is still in respect to the lesson - it's evangelism and witnessing. When you get a set of Bible studies - it can be amazing facts, it can be other - steps - not - yeah, steps to life - I used to work there.

They've got some good lesson studies. It is written. Most time you find in a set of maybe 25 to 30 to maybe a little more bunch of lessons, you probably find one - one that is the one that's mainly dedicated to salvation in Jesus Christ. Probably about one and then there's a mention of Jesus as you go on through the other lessons. Now that's not a criticism of steps to life or other ministries or Amazing Facts that print these things, they've got to put everything in there, but I'm refer - I want to talk now to those of us who teach and who preach and those of us who don't give Bible studies - I'm talking to you as well because we need to start doing them.

And we can have another class in our church on how to give Bible studies - probably incorporate it into our discipleship university. I've got a plan in regards to that but I won't go into that right now. Even though the set of lessons that you might get to share with somebody, there might be just one - in the Amazing Facts booklets it's lesson #3 - it's called 'rescue from above'. And all the Gospel is there, I mean, it's all there but we need to take that and introduce it to somebody and go through it with - but don't, once you've done #3, don't say, 'okay, we've got Jesus out of the way, let's move on now. Where's # 20-something? Where's the Mark of the beast?' Yes.

Yeah, well, 20-something, we need to get there. We need to do the Mark of the beast and all those things, but again, a converted heart takes precedence over an informed mind - however rightly and correctly informed that mind is. You get the point? I'm saying as I usually say most times I'm here, I'm not telling you anything new. And I know I'm not - but we've got to, we've got to, we've got to go further in our seeking of God. We - somebody this last Christmas - I don't think juana's here - she's a very sweet lady I baptized - very sweet lady - she bought me a little gift.

She didn't have to but she did and it's on my desk in there and it's - it looks like, kind of th century person with his frock coat and his longish hair and he's praying, and it looks like it's all bronze and it - it's very nice, it's about this big - and he's kneeling by his prayer - by his chair, and there's that verse there that says, 'you shall find me when you shall seek me with all your heart.' And it's on my desk and it's inspiring to look at. It's not an idol - I don't worship it, but I tell you what, it's very inspiring and I look at this and it always reminds me that I need to seek God more than ever. That's every day that goes by because we're so close to the end. We must do that friends, we've got to do that. Oh, I mustn't get sidetracked or get in trouble - I get e-mails - so I'll keep to the lesson here, okay? But we - I'm looking here for yeah, what we need to do when we're studying with people is enlarge this aspect of Christ - we've got to flesh it out as we're doing the other things.

One thing that we need to explain to those that we're witnessing to and evangelizing as well, is don't just take that one lesson, do it, and move on. We need to explain to them the Great Controversy. And there are things involved in the Great Controversy - well, it centers around Jesus so it's the milk, yes, but oh is he the meat. You see, as you know in the Great Controversy, the adversary has said that God has a law that cannot be kept. And if it can be proven that this law of God cannot be kept and the adversary says, 'then I've won the argument in the Great Controversy.

' So what is going on? What happened? Jesus took our flesh and he came down here in fallen flesh. Didn't sin, had a pure heart, he had a will that had never chosen evil, but he was cumbered with fallen flesh and it was always trying to pull him down even though in his mind he resisted. But he could have sinned. He came down here to be our example and because he fulfilled that role, he was able then to go to the cross and be a sinless offering for us. And through that blood that he - through which he uses to intercede for us now, we secure forgiveness of sin - yes, praise God - but we also receive the grace to live, in our humanity, the kind of humanity that Jesus lived when he was down here in our shoes.

This needs to be explained to our student that we're studying with so they understand - they understand what's going on. I'm not here to labor the issue of the nature of Christ, but friends, it's an important thing and you really don't find Bible lessons that deal with this. So if they're not there, don't worry about it. Write your own. Introduce it yourself, but let them see that Jesus is an all-sufficient Savior.

All right, I want to move on. You know, it's an absence of the sanctifying aspect of truth and Jesus is the one who sanctifies us - the way, the truth, and the life is our righteousness, is our sanctification, our redemption. And in the church of corinth, which comes up this morning, they had problems there. They had good information - the apostle Paul, I mean, he visited, he wrote two letters and they had all this truth. But you see, they weren't assimilating it as they needed to.

There was Christ the milk and in them the symbolism of just the milk and nothing else - it kind of fitted them - that they hardly moved on. That they reMained on milk and they reMained in the nursery crawling around. They just could not advance because - because Paul said, 'you are carnal.' That was the problem with them. And there in corinth he wrote and he said - he says, 'you're still - you're still carnal.' He was desperate to have them get onto stronger milk. But here's the thing, you see, if you don't take that that God gives you and assimilate it, and you're not willing in your heart to let God divest you of your carnality, you can have all the truth in the world - you can read all the texts about Jesus but it won't do any good.

This was a problem here. I'm reading 1 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 4 now - verse 14. They had all the truth but they were carnal. It says, "but the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." Such a carnal person can barely take the milk, let alone graduate to solid food. Such a carnal person is neither desirous nor capable of obeying God's Word.

We find this in Romans 8. I want to read Romans 8, verses 7 and 8. It says here, "because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So they that are in the flesh cannot please God." And it certainly didn't please God when this carnal-minded group here - and especially one person, became involved in open immorality. He was - had a relationship with his step-mother and everybody could see it.

And the leadership in the church should have been doing something about it, but obviously they weren't. And Paul was very concerned about this. In 1 Corinthians 5:1 he said, "it is commonly reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the gentiles, that one should have his father's wife." Isn't that ironic that there in corinth, which was a Godless place - a lot of immorality - but even the pagans, they had some standard of morality. At least in writing they thought it was really bad - it was of course - if a man should take his father's wife - his step-mother - and here, the worst thing of all, it was happening right there in the church that they could - everybody could see this. But the point I want to make here is that any group of Christians that is incapable of assimilating the Spiritual milk of the word, then the carnal powers are going to bear sway and such ones are then rendered incapable of leading anybody else to the milk and then the meat afterwards.

While a truly converted and loving Christian is a church's best human asset in its approach to the gentiles, so a gifted but unconverted church member is actually more than a curse, isn't it? Would you agree? Well, I agree. We'll ask ourselves, 'Lord, don't let me be that one.' So where are we? Where are we in all this? Are we carnal? Are we still on the milk? And if you're still on the milk, why? You know, a heart and mind still kept fed on worldly pleasure and desire is not able to appreciate nor desire any spiritual milk. Again, like those back in corinth, we remain trapped in the nursery and we never progress to anything else. But God is calling us, friends. And here too, I want to read the first paragraph.

We're looking at testing truths. Tuesday - it says, 'a testing truth is a biblical teaching that, once understood, challenges the individual to make significant changes in his or her personal beliefs or lifestyle. Some testing truths, such as seventh day adventists observe' - sorry - 'some testing truths, such as seventh day adventists observe, and the avoidance of unclean foods, impacts both belief and lifestyle. This underscores, once again, the necessity of leading people to accept Christ before urging them to do things for him.' Now, when we began we were talking about having systematic programs and meeting felt needs, which is all very well, but God hasn't established his church to become an agency to pander to every whim of every person that may be out there to draw them to Christ. There's a difference between providing a certain - providing a certain person's needs but not seeking to provide their wants.

An example is, just this last week, when it was easter, we got a card through our box at the home. There was a local church and it was advertising a helicopter that was going to fly over rocklin somewhere and drop, I don't know, 25,000 eggs over the church somewhere, and this was an incentive to - let's all go to the church and try and find a few of these eggs, you know? But the main thing I saw in the ad was they were having a free car giveaway. Well, that may be a genuine need for somebody - maybe they need a car, but I think you get the point. If we're just going to put a car out front - a nice brand-new car and invite people to come to church and if you're the 102nd one through the door, you've got a nice, you know, firebird or something like that. We don't want to attract people to church for that, do we? We want to attract people to church because they want to know Jesus and they want to deepen their relationship and their walk with him.

We're not here to pander to indulgence - to make the church a place where people come because their real need is not the Word of God or sermons that would cut them for their own good but they have a desire for entertainment and food. You know I read you that statement - Christ's method alone will bring true success? 'Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed his sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence, then bade them 'follow me.'' But "and he said to them all, 'if any man will come after me,' and he's bid them follow him. 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

'" So all right. There's the milk. Now it says you need to get on to the meat as well, not just in your understanding, but in what I am calling you to do - to become mature servants, mature Christians to become servants to God and find others and teach them the right thing. I want to move on because time's nearly gone here. Jesus wanted love and affection, but he confronted people himself with testing truths - this is what we're looking at.

And we must - we've got to work in the same kind of orderly fashion before we too are able to - sorry, what was I saying? - Before we confront new believers with truth that challenge their thinking and practices. We've got to let them know Jesus first. But then, of course, there is the Sabbath. There is dietary things that God doesn't want us eating pork and shellfish and so on and so forth. God has given us a message that is wonderful, but it's not a popular one - the third angel's message.

But if that message is to be got out and we're to give it with the power of the latter rain, and take it to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, then we've got to allow Jesus to move us on from the milk to the meat. We've got to take up our cross and we've got to follow him, have we not? We've got to follow him. We've got to take our cross and follow him. And we'll be confronted by others too, who say that we're crazy for doing what we're doing. It says, as well, that only those who have been diligent students will be able to meet their final test when it comes - time of trouble - and here we are.

God's calling us to get into the meat and move on from the milk. We've got to know that word. And in that day, when the real trial comes, and Christians at large are confronted with these testing truths of the Sabbath - and that's going to be the major issue, as you know, God's going to allow the day you worship on to become the issue which decides which side people are on. There's going to be a lot of Christians, when they're confronted with this testing truth, what are they going to do? Are they going to turn around? And they're not going to walk with Jesus - they'll refuse to carry that cross. We must now, if we're lagging behind, we've got to ask God to help us to catch up with the light.

Because if we don't stand firm now, we won't stand firm then, when the real test comes. And it's coming, my friends, it's definitely coming here. Quickly before the time goes, let's go to John 6 - John 6:59-61. Actually, I'm going to go to John 6:66-69 - John 6:66-69. Jesus, just before this point, he had let the people know - there were people following because he fed them with the bread - the real bread - and he was letting them know that he wasn't there just to be a free meal service.

He wanted them to feed on the real bread which came down from heaven and that was him. And some of them said, 'oh, this is a hard saying. Who can hear this?' And so, there was quite a showdown at this time. And it says in verse 66 of John 6 "from that time, many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, 'will you also go away?' Then Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of life and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, The Son of the living God.

'" There's a test coming for every one of us. We need to be ingesting the meat now and be settled that when that test comes we're not in the valley of decision, but we've made our decision. So that when that test comes, and it will, we're not left at the last minute still trying to decide until we look and we see people walking away - people who have maybe been seemingly strong for years. They walk away and desert Jesus and then he turns to you - you may be the only one left and you may be wavering like this and he asks you, 'will you also go away?' You can't afford to do that friends. We've got to stay where we need to be and when we have that experience too, then we're really qualified to go out and bring others to ingest the milk and move on to the meat.

Then we will truly be evangelists, teachers, witnesses of God's order and then we'll see results for our labors. Okay, we have to conclude there. If the ushers would kindly come forward - oh yes, and the offer is #134 - it is 'the search for the true church' and you call number 1-866-study-more or 1-866-788-3966. If you've 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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