The Gospel Comes to Thessalonica

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:13
Date: 07/07/2012 
Lesson: 1
"Our assurance of God's promises must be based on our confidence in His Holy Scriptures."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church right on the west coast of the United States of America. We are so glad that you are tuning in and we invite you - if you are ever in the Sacramento area - to come and visit us. Come to one of our Sabbath seventh day services and join us. We love to have visitors and today is no exception. I am so excited to introduce to you the adventist university of indonesia.

They are here behind me and they are an amazing choir. We've already been treated and I know that you are in for a great surprise. They are currently on a two-month tour of Canada and the United States. There's thirty members in the choir and they are going to be singing two special pieces for us on the air. The director of the choir is Christine tambunan and they are going to sing 'in majesty he will come' and 'crown him king of Kings'.

Relax and enjoy this beautiful music. Oh my. Thank you. I'm listening to those first sopranos and it's like the difference between a good choir and a great choir - it's about those first sopranos wherever you are - and everybody else, of course. Thank you so much adventist university of indonesia.

I think I'm going to go to indonesia next time I decide to go somewhere. At this time let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, we thank you for taking us to heaven just a few minutes ago imagining what it's going to be like to be there with this choir from indonesia and all the people here at central church and everyone around the world who loves you. One day, no matter what our musical level is on this earth, we're going to be able to sing and play and praise your name forever in heaven. Thank you for giving us that assurance and that thing to look forward to.

Come and be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together. Fill our hearts. Change our hearts and make us like you. Be with Pastor Doug as he brings us our lesson study. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Well that was wonderful. Praise the Lord. I want to thank all these young people for that beautiful music and about oh, eight, nine months ago I had the privilege, while in indonesia - matter of fact it was the last day I was there - the day I flew out - and I said, 'you know, I haven't seen the university.' And they said, 'well, it's about a five-hour round trip and depending on traffic it could be ten, you just don't know.' And jakarta has I don't know, about 18 million people and million vehicles and - but I said, 'look, if there's a chance I can still make my flight I'd love to go to the university.' So we drove out of town and it's just such a beautiful campus and - up in the hills and lovely young people - so I'm delighted that we were able to have them here at central church today. Hopefully they're singing for the church service too, I have to check the bulletin.

Good. Praise the Lord. Get as much mileage out of that as we can. Welcome friends. I want to welcome those who are visiting - part of our central class - and always we know we have some who are watching on television, satellite, or on the internet - some listen even on the radio and we're thankful that you can tune in.

We want to welcome and greet those who are part of the extended Sacramento central church family. We have some members scattered around the globe who have no local church they can attend and we greet you as well. Today is a unique day, sometimes called uni-que - no, it's unique because we're entering a new lesson. We're going to be studying and 2 Thessalonians now for the next quarter and so this is very exciting. This is a couple of books in the new testament that adventist evangelists especially enjoy because adventists believe in the imminence of the return of the Lord and these books talk a lot about the coming of Jesus - that's why you'll see on the cover of your new quarterly it's got a picture of the coming of Christ - one of the central themes in the book.

And we have a special offer that's going to go with our quarterly - these next few lessons anyway - and it is the first study guide in the amazing facts popular study guide series and it's called 'is there anything left you can trust?' If you do not have this or you've never done it - you know, everything begins with a foundation in the Bible - the dependability of the word of God, which is part of our first lesson, and once a person believes in the Word of God, everything else can begin to fall into place, so we'd like to send you this simply for asking and it's offer #103. It's called 'is there anything left you can trust?' It's one of these beautiful color study guides - easy to go through - a lot of great information on the dependability and reliability of the Bible. It's offer #103 and call the number 866-study-more - that's a free phone call, I believe - -788-3966 - we'll send it to you and we trust that once you read that you'll get addicted and you'll want to go through the whole study guide series. That's our secret strategy. Why don't we turn then to lesson #1 and I assume that you've read the introduction to the series - lesson #1 'the Gospel comes to thessalonia'.

The Gospel comes to thessalonica, actually, and I should probably begin by giving you a little history because this is - we're going to be talking a lot about and 2 Thessalonians - give you a little bit of history on what was thessalonia or the thessalonian books and what was thessalonica - it was the name of the city. I've got a couple of maps I'm going to put up on the screen right now, and so for those who are at home you should be able to see them as well here in our sanctuary. So here you've got macedonia which, of course is the northern part of the mediterranean and of greece - still there today - and you can see there up in the aegean sea, one of the central ports was thessalonica and you'll see just below that is berea - that comes into our story. To the right of thessalonica you had Philippi and it's about where you see thrace there and that's going to come into our study, this morning, as well. This was a very important city.

It dates back to about 350 years before Christ - is when it was founded. You may or may not have heard of Philip of macedonia or macedon and Philip had a daughter that was named because of the victory against thessalon and you've heard of nike shoes? Nike? Nikky or nike or nikea means victory and so she was named for the victory that he gained over thessalon and it was called hence thessalonica. Now Philip - his daughter - had a step-brother - or half-brother, actually. Philip had a daughter named cassander - or thessalonica - she married cassander - the brother of thessalonica was alexander the great. Does that sound familiar? Who, afterward, went out and began to, of course, conquer the world - conquer the persians for greece.

Very important city - by the time of Christ there was about two hundred thousand people there. One reason thessalonica was so important is because it was the main port there on the aegean sea of macedonia. It was one of the largest cities of macedonia, and it was the second largest city in the byzantine empire which was, of course, after Paul - after Paul's time. So strategically - very important city. You know, I tell people that ask why I'm here in Sacramento, I say, 'Sacramento's a pretty important town.

Do you realize that two main arteries of North America - interstate 5 going north and south there on the west coast and interstate 80 that goes through chicago and New York goes through Sacramento.' And so I try and tell them how important it was because of the highway. We are sort of on the intersection here. Thessalonica was on an intersection of the roman roads that went across to the east and so, a very important strategic city. I say that because when you plan about where you're going to build, what's the three words in real estate? Location, location, location. Did you know that in doing evangelism - if you're spreading religion you want to be at the crossroads so that you can communicate that and it's all about location, location, location, and so Paul knew this was a great place to go.

We'll tell you how he ended up there in a minute. I think we have one more map that's going to also include Philippi - there it is. You can see up at the top - this represents Paul's third missionary tour through asia minor and you can see, up at the top if your eyes are good - it may be difficult - it might be easier if you're watching on a home monitor or television right now. You can see berea, thessalonica, and Philippi as well as appolonia and amphipolis. And so they made this tour there through macedonia and that was a very important place for them to plant the early church.

All right, so with that background, let's get into the lesson and we're going to be studying, during this quarter, book number 13 and 14 in the new testament. You find 1 Thessalonians after the book of Colossians and 1 and Thessalonians come just before and 2 Timothy in your Bible. We have a memory verse. Memory verse is 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 13 and I always invite you to say this out loud with me. One more time, it's 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse from the new king James version is what I'll be using.

Are you ready? Here we go, "for this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe." And so, one of the central messages here in the books of the Thessalonians is that the Word of God was appreciated for what it was - the Word of God. Now just to give you a little background, what leads to the work being done in Thessalonians can be found in the book of acts. Matter of fact, you may, if you did your lesson, begin to wonder - here we're studying 1 and 2 Thessalonians and really there's very little study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians because it's background that you find largely from the book of acts that leads up to this. If you'll look, for instance, in acts chapter 16, verse 9 - now, we're invited in the lesson to read acts 16:9 all the way through 40 and I don't know if we'd get to anything else if we studied all of that but we do need to get some background on how all this played out. And I want somebody to look up Thessalonians 2:2.

I've got - I gave that out to somebody so who had that verse? We gave out little stamps - okay, let's get you a microphone and in a moment I'll have you read that - you'll have to probably be patient because we're going to read some other verses first. Acts 16:9, "and a vision appeared to Paul in the night." - For an apostle, the Bible records that he had more visions than Peter, James, and John and Jesus appeared to Paul several times - "a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, 'come over to macedonia and help us.'" - Now they were trying to figure where they were to go next and they tried to go here and they tried to go there and it wasn't working out and, you know, the doors were closed and they're praying about where God wants them to go and, you know, one of the first criteria in knowing the will of God is being willing to go wherever he wants and Paul and silas they were willing to go. And finally, God told them, through a vision - they saw this man saying, 'come. Come talk to us.

' Some have wondered, 'was that man dr. Luke?' As you're reading through the book of acts you'll notice up until - oh, I forget - it's chapter 19 or so, it says 'Paul went here and Paul went there. They went here and they went there.' And all of a sudden you get to the next chapter and it says, 'we went here and we went there.' In Paul's work in macedonia he picked up a hitchhiker who was a doctor named Luke and so some scholars have speculated that the man that said, 'come over and help us.' Could have been Luke he saw in vision that had been praying for truth. And you can't prove that, really, one way or the other, but it's just something to think about. After Paul saw the vision - I'm still in acts chapter 16 - "after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the Gospel to them.

Therefore, sailing from troas, we ran a straight course to samothrace, and the next day we came to neapolis." - Polis means city in Greek and, you know, a metropolis? Metro-polis - that's where that comes from. "And we were staying in that city for some days. And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a riverside where prayer was frequently made and we sat down and we spoke to the women that resorted thither. And a certain woman named lydia - a seller of purple in the city of thyatira who worshipped God, heard us. Whose heart the Lord opened and she attended unto the things that were spoken.

" - She responded - believed the things that were spoken by Paul. "And when she was baptized and her household, she besought us saying, 'if you judge me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there.' And she constrained us." Now, after we accept the truth, we want the messenger of the truth to abide with us. Of course, Christ wants to abide with us, doesn't he? After he saved zaccheus he said, 'today I must abide at your house.' You don't want the truth to get out of your sight. And that's what lydia was doing. All right, so the church and the work began to grow there and you'll see here in verse 16, "it happened, as they went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.

" This girl was a soothsayer and they were doing it for money, not for truth. "And this girl followed Paul and she cried out saying, 'these men are servants of the most high God who proclaim the way of salvation.'" Now, you know what's interesting? Do you remember during the ministry of Jesus that sometimes devil-possessed people would follow Christ and say, 'we know who you are. You are Jesus.' Were they telling the truth? They were. Why were they doing that? Trying to give mixed signals. I mean, do you want the endorsement of the devil? And so it confused people.

And so basically the devil was trying to ride on the coattails of the dependability of Paul and of Jesus and so tried to get some still credibility from that. Well, you know, this happened a day or two and they didn't say anything about it - she was, after all, telling the truth - but when Paul realized what the devil was up to it says, this she did for many days," - I'm in verse 18 - acts 16, verse 18 - "but Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the Spirit, 'I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.' And he came out that very hour." But while she no longer has this spirit of divination - then her masters realized she wasn't going to do her fortune telling for them anymore, they were going to lose their profit. Now, do you know how the people that are involved in this astrology and this fortune telling - they can also, with a certain degree, get people's attention. For instance, does the devil know what's going on in your personal life right now? A lot of things - sure he does. I mean, if somebody had a little hidden camera in your house they'd know a lot of things.

Some of you make pocket calls by accident and people who are listening, they know some things maybe they shouldn't know. I mean there's all kinds of things that people - your phones get left off the hook and people have these conversations and well, the devil knows what's going on in your personal life. So you speak to a person whose got the Spirit of divination - the devil can tell them, through his diabolical Revelation, 'they're having marriage problems right now. They're having trouble paying off their vehicle - financial problems.' And so this person says to you, 'I understand you're having marriage problems and you're having problems paying off your car. And it just so happens that your child is going through a divorce with their partner' and you're going, 'how did they know all of that?' And so the devil will reveal things to these people that have the Spirit of divination of just stuff going on in your life.

The devil doesn't know everything about the future but he knows what's going on in your life. And so you automatically assume that they've got this power and then they say, 'and I'm going to tell you what God's plan for your future is, but you've got to pay me.' So they tempt them by the devil revealing certain things he does know, and then they get money and then they begin to manipulate their lives by pretending to reveal future things and what God's plan is for them, telling them sometimes to do awful things. I know people who have gone to see soothsayers and diviners and palm readers and they've been given advice to sell everything and go on some pilgrimage to some country and it just turned into a terrible disaster. But the devil took them off course of God's plan for their life because they went and listened. 'Oh, but they had power.

They knew everything that was happening in my family.' Well, the devil knows what's happening in your family. So you see how he was using these people and they got big money too by doing this. Anyway, all of a sudden she's lost this ability because she's been saved from the diabolical influence and now her masters are very angry that - when - it says in verse 19, "when her masters saw the hope of their profit was gone, they seized Paul and silas and dragged them into the Marketplace." I should add - rome declared, during Augustus caesar, that thessalonica would be what they called a free city. And they sort of had - they were still under the authority of rome but they had their own appointed governor so there was quite a bit of democratic freedom in the country, but they still needed to respect roman law. It was called the great roman pax or roman peace.

So they're brought to the authorities - "and they brought them to the magistrates and they said, 'these men, being jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs that are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.' Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten. And when they had laid many stripes on them they threw them in prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge" - now, is this in thessalonica or in Philippi? This is in Philippi. Do you remember the story of the Philippian jailer? But it plays out in the book of Thessalonians in just a moment. "Having received such a charge he put them in the inner prison, fastened their feet in the stocks" - but you know this story - "at midnight Paul and silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were.

..opened and everyone's chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awakening from sleep and seeing the prison doors open," - he almost killed himself. Paul said, 'don't do it.' And he said, "men and brethren what must I do to be saved? Obviously God is with you.' And the jailer and his household are baptized and instead of the church being destroyed in Philippi, it's strengthened. So the Philippian jailer, he begins to meet with lydia and her family and so this whole church begins to grow there; but they've got to get out of town - and after all, they did see a vision that said that, you know, they were supposed to be going to macedonia and so they go deeper into macedonia - they come to the capital of thessalonica and you'll find that in chapter 17 of acts. Now, I did not forget about you.

You're going to be reading for us 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 2. 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 2, "but even after that we had suffered before and were shamefully treated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the Gospel of God with much contention." Okay, we've just entered the book of 1 Thessalonians to study. Paul is telling them, 'you remember what we went through before we got to you? We were shamefully treated' - where? In Philippi. They kind of had to leave Philippi. Matter of fact, after the earthquake opened the prison doors and after the magistrates realized that Paul and silas had been beaten and they were Romans - Romans had a certain protection - that their freedom as a city could be taken away by the Romans for not keeping roman law - they were terrified and they very kindly asked Paul and silas to leave and were hoping they would not be reported.

So they'd been shamefully treated, they went with their backs all raw and suffering for the Gospel of Christ, they went to thessalonica. Now have you seen sometimes in your life that sometimes during a low time there's a high time? Sometimes after a high time there's a low time. After Jesus is on the mount of transfiguration, where Moses and Elijah appear to Peter, James and John and God The Father speaks and there's that glory - immediately they go down the mountain into the valley and there's a demon-possessed boy. You know, you've got David reaching the pinnacle of his kingdom and he conquers all his enemies and then he falls with bathsheba. He kills Goliath and then king Saul starts to try to kill him.

I mean, it's - often life is a series of mountains and valleys and you just need to know that. And the valleys are there so we can trust God and when we learn our lesson he says, 'look, I'm giving you a break, you can go to the mountain for a while. And so, after they had that terrible trial, they ended up having success in thessalonica. So go to acts chapter 17. They've heard this vision 'come over and help us.

' They go to the capital of macedonia. Acts 17 and we can look - and this is under Paul's preaching strategy - acts 17, verses 1 to , - now somebody - acts 17:4 - I want somebody to read verse 4 for me, I'll read verses 1 to 3 - we've got that hand right here, okay? We'll get you ready. I'm going to read 1 to 3, "now when they passed through amphipolis and appolonia" - of course there was a great Greek and roman God appolos - this is appolonia, the town named after appolos - "they came to thessalonica where there was a synagogue of the jews" - and I should say right here there was a large Jewish community - ,000 people - major road, a lot of trade - do you remember during pentecost there were jews out of every nation under heaven? There was a big Jewish community that was in thessalonica. "And Paul, as his custom was," - now what's a custom? Something that you did once or that's a pattern? It's a pattern. "As his custom was he went into them and for three Sabbaths he reasoned with them from the Scriptures explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead saying, 'this Jesus who I preached to you is Christ.

'" Now, is that sheep stealing? If you're a Christian and you go into a Jewish synagogue to preach about Christ are you sheep stealing? Well, if you're a jew you probably think so. I can promise you, my Jewish family and friends would say, 'that's very distasteful. You come to our synagogue on Sabbath, you come to our temple, and you start to try and convert us to Christianity and you're proselytizing our members. You are sheep stealing.' That's exactly what they would say. Paul didn't see it that way, but can you see how others see it that way? All right, now we're going to read verse 4 and I'll explain, I think you're lined up for acts 17, verse 4 - we ready? We are.

"And some of them believed and consorted with Paul and silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude and of the chief women, not a few." All right, now his evangelistic meeting - the best thing is if you can have an evangelistic meeting that lasts about a year. You know, in the early days of the advent message, evangelists would go to a district and they'd pitch a tent and they might be there a year. They would sometimes be there six months just during the good time of the year. When the weather got bad they'd strike their tent and they'd maybe go somewhere else but to preach the Christian message it's not just a few doctrines and you say, 'oh, that makes sense.' It's really a whole new life - it's a lifestyle. I mean, even Jesus did an evangelistic meeting for three and a half years.

His principle work was among twelve apostles and there were some other disciples, but to really teach the whole message, it takes time. You know, when I first started doing evangelism, we'd go somewhere and I did somewhere between 32 and 36 presentations and I know that because I recorded them all and I know how many tapes I had so I know exactly how many presentations. And as time went by and pastors would say, 'well, Pastor Doug, we'd love to have you come and do a series of meetings but, you know, it's hard to keep the church coming to church for long in our church because everyone's so busy and can you shorten your meeting down to, you know, 32 meetings?' Or 'can you shorten it down to 28?' And it went from 36 to 32 to 28 and then they said, 'can you shorten it to 24?' And then they said, 'can you shorten it to about 22?' Our storacles of prophecy was 22 at first. And they said then, 'can you shorten it to about 20?' And then they said - it sounds like Abraham pleading with God over sodom, doesn't it? And then they said, 'can you do it in 16 meetings?' Well, that worked for me. It was two books of eight cassette tapes apiece - I remember that.

I got it down to 16. And then I remember when I did a series at dwight nelson's church and we did the prophecy - no most amazing prophecies - we got it down to 10. It was really - it turned out good because our target group there was we were talking specifically about what are the prominent adventist teachings that are different from maybe other churches where we talked about the state of the dead and we talked about the punishment of the wicked, talked about the second coming, talked about the Sabbath truth - so we just did it in 10 meetings - most amazing prophecies. And I tell you friends, it's really hard to do it that quickly and that was just two weeks. So Paul - it says how many Sabbaths did he reason with them? Three Sabbaths.

There was a riot after three Sabbaths and he had to leave town. But you know, in those three weeks of working there, they raised up a church and that's pretty incredible. Now, the reason he could do that - the only reason he could do that is some of the core leadership of that church were jews. Let me explain how it works. If I get dropped off in - if I just get dropped off in china and someone says, 'doug, here's a buddhist community, raise up a Christian church.

' Well, I'm going to need three years. I might need a year. If I'm going to get dropped off into india and I get dropped off into - we've got manjeet up front here who is a sikh, right? If I get dropped off into a hindu community - it's going to take me a little while to explain the whole Christian - what the Bible teaches, right? It's a little more work to do it that way. If I get dropped off into Mississippi - the Bible belt - it's not going to take as long because they already believe the Bible, they already believe in Jesus, they already understand the fundamentals of salvation oh, there may be some nuances that would be different. You could do it a lot quicker because they've already got the groundwork.

So what Paul did is he started in a synagogue where he didn't need to convince them about the truth of God, he didn't need to talk about the Exodus and Moses, he didn't need to talk about the Messiah coming, but they misunderstood some things, didn't they? He had to talk to them about Jesus was the Messiah. Did Paul have to do a lecture there about clean and unclean foods? They knew that. Did he have to talk about baptism by immersion or did they know that? They knew that. I mean, they knew John the baptist and how he did it. And so, you see, they already had a pretty good foundation in the Jewish faith so that's why Paul's practice was first go to these places and then he had the quickest success.

I'll tell you a story - and I don't know what you'll think, but it's a true story. When I first began to get involved in evangelism, I did it as a layman. I didn't come into ministry the normal route. I didn't know that I could. I had a wife and three kids and thought going back to college didn't seem very practical and I ended up in Texas working, but I was in a part of Texas - I don't know if anyone knows where dickens, Texas is - it's about miles outside of - or 70 miles outside of lubbock in the panhandle - it's all cotton country.

There was no adventist church for 70 miles - the closest one was lubbock, Texas - but all the people I was working with were all baptists and methodists and church of Christ. If you know Texas and you know that part of Texas, you drive - every 10 miles is a town because they all used to be farming towns every 10 miles and every miles there will be a methodist church, a baptist church, and church of Christ - there may be scattered assembly of God but there are at least those other three churches everywhere. And today it's kind of sad, as you drive around that part of Texas, since a lot of people have fled the farms, a lot of those churches are closed and you can find a lot of those churches are either dilapidated, they're empty, or they've turned into people's homes. But I started - and I'm talking now 25 years ago - I started meeting all these people and I thought, 'boy, what a great evangelistic field.' So you know what I'd do is I would drive into lubbock on Sabbath and I'd go to church there and on Sunday I would visit methodist church, church of Christ, baptist church. Because I thought, 'these people love Jesus.

' I met such wonderful people and they were all inviting me to church and I thought 'sure, I'll come. I'll come and visit.' I wanted to make friends with them. And so I'm sitting in the methodist Sunday school one day and I still remember mrs. Cumby was teaching the Sunday school lesson and the methodists use a quarterly just like we do - matter of fact, we might have gotten it from them - and they're going through their quarterly and their quarterly - their lesson was on, for the next three weeks, the sanctuary - of all things. So, I'm sitting there trying to bite my tongue in the Sunday school class - it only had, you know, eight to ten people in it and I'd - every know then I'd raise my hand and make a little comment and they're going, 'oh, oh.

' Because look, friends, if a Seventh-day Adventist doesn't know something about the sanctuary, they're just not worth their salt, right? So even though I'm a layman, I'm a seventh day adventist, I know something about the sanctuary and so I made comments two or three Sundays in a row. Finally, mrs. Cumby said, 'brother doug, I really don't know anything about the sanctuary. You seem to know about it. Could you teach our class?' So I said, 'well I don't know if that's - I don't know how the pastor's going to feel.

' This is one of those churches where the pastor came and did the sermon first and then he left because he had another church. And they said, 'oh, he won't mind and I asked the other - 'oh no, please, brother doug, will you teach our class?' So I started teaching Sunday school. And that went on for several weeks. Well, other weeks I was invited to go for church to the baptist church locally because we had made some friends with the baptists and they invited us to come to the baptist church. So Sunday the family and I we'd go visit the baptist church and they were studying Revelation.

And so I got into their Wednesday evening Revelation Bible study and they got into the four hundred - they were also studying Daniel - they got into the 490-year prophecy of Daniel and they laid it out and it was just all wrong - in my opinion - it was just all wrong. And they had, I mean they were calling the Messiah the antiChrist and there was all kinds of things - I said, 'that's very interesting.' I said, 'you know, I read some really interesting books by steven haskell on this,' - I said - 'let me share with you what - he's got a little different take on this and I know a lot of good Christians believe this differently.' I said, 'can I share that with you?' They said, 'well sure.' Because they admitted that the study they had been given didn't make a lot of sense. They were working from some paperwork that didn't make sense and the Numbers didn't add up. And I gave it to them and it's like a light went on. They said, 'wow, that makes such great sense.

' So, I was visiting these different churches and I went to a different baptist church. In the church of Christ - the church of Christ where there are no musical instruments - how many of you know what I'm talking about? And they sing - boy they can sing and they sing harmony - but they don't use any musical instruments in this church and men are not allowed up front. It's not just no men pastors - I'm sorry, women are not allowed up front - it's not just that there are no women pastors, they were not allowed to stand up front in this church of Christ. Any of you know what I'm talking about? From Texas? The old church of Christ? No musical instruments - you're supposed to make a joyful melody with your voice. And they're very conservative but their pastor got sick - they had an older pastor and they had two or three men in the church and the rest of it was women and the two or three men said, 'no, I'm not getting up to preach.

I'm not getting up to preach. I'm not qualified.' So they knew I had been visiting the different churches and they said, 'brother doug, could you preach for us? Even though you're not a member, will you preach?' I said, 'sure I will.' So I was invited to preach in the church of Christ church. And this is a great mission field. I thought 'this is great. These are lovely people.

They love the Lord.' Little different doctrines between the methodists and the baptists and the church of Christ but, you know, they all open their Bibles. They just, in my opinion, didn't understand some things. So I went to the conference president in lubbock - actually he was in amarillo - and I begged him - I said, 'I've got to get a tent.' I said 'you've got to give me a tent.' He said, 'our only tent is our camp meeting tent.' And I said, 'I've got all these people that will come to an evangelistic meeting if you can give me a tent.' And so I finally - I don't how I did it - I talked them out of their camp meeting tent. I'm out of nowhere, I mean, I'm just this kid from California and I'm like 20-something years old and I said, 'I've got to have a tent. I'm going to do a meeting.

' They gave me a tent. They lent me some song books and we did - we pitched a tent in a field there in dickens, Texas and from the three surrounding counties people came to the evangelistic meetings because I had made friends by going to these - like Paul went to the synagogues, I went to the churches and began to share our message and the Lord kind of raised up a little group there in dickens. So, anyway, when Paul says - as he goes from town to town - 'go to the synagogue because that's where the people are who already have the foundation.' He probably was accused of sheep stealing. I was probably accused of sheep stealing, but the way I understand it is Jesus said 'there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.' Is that right? Is it Jesus' will that all these churches are divided denominationally? You realize even as I speak right now there is a convention going on here in town where there are thousands of people, I guess - I haven't been there but just based on the advertising thousands of people who are gathered for the luis palau meetings - how many of you have seen the advertising for that? From all different churches they're coming together because they're wanting to hear the Gospel. So I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting God's people to come together based on truth, right? And so Jesus said 'all men will know you're my disciples by your love for one another.

' I think in the last days that God's people ought to reach out to Christians of all faiths and unbelievers - everybody - and bring us together on the word of God because there's only two groups when Jesus comes back. One group has the seal of God and they'll worship according to the Bible truth. The other will claim to believe in Christ but they get the Mark of the beast. So we've got to all know which ostensibly Christian group we're part of. There's only going to be one truth.

So, I still from time to time will go visit a church on Sunday because there's a lot of good people there and there's an opportunity to study or visit with someone - I'm happy to do that. And - but then what you should do - it's not appropriate for you to go stand out in front of someone's baptist church and hand out seventh day adventist literature - do you know that? That's not appropriate. If you make friends there and they want to study more, then you go to a neutral location, which is what I did there in Texas, and I'll preach the things that we understand together when I'm on their territory, but I'll say, 'look, if you're willing to hear what I believe then I'd like to invite you to this meeting and I'll share what I believe.' I think it's bad manners, if you're invited into one of these churches, to try and disrupt things on their property that they pay for with their beliefs. Do you know what I'm saying? You know, the reason I think about this is sometimes I'll rent a public auditorium to share a message and people will come in the lobby of the auditorium that I've rented to share a message and they'll come from, you know, some other religion and they'll start to pass out their religious literature to the crowd that I've paid to gather. Now is that ethical? Jesus said, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, right? Anyway, I hope that all made sense to you.

Paul would do this - he'd go from town to town. And you know why they would ask Paul? It was very common. Here you've got Jewish communities scattered all over the roman empire. They're wanting to know - they don't have internet, they don't have newspaper - they want to know what's going on in Jerusalem? What's the new thing that's happening? Paul, who was taught at the feet of gamaliel, he was a pharisee of the pharisees. He had his doctorate in rabbinical law, you might say.

They had this visiting theologian who comes, whose had visions from God, and they would all sit down and say, 'please tell us what you've heard.' And some places would say, 'wow, this is fascinating.' Like when he went to berea. It says that the bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians because they studied the Word of God with a ready mind to find out if the things that Paul was saying were so. Paul, after three weeks in thessalonica, some of the jews believed. Some of the jews were part of the synagogue. In the Jewish synagogue were also converts from the Greek religion - see, the jews had no problems proselytizing the converts.

The jews in thessalonia - in thessalonica - they would try to reach the Greeks and the Romans that were worshiping many Gods. You'd realize they'd say, 'these are idols. They're bad.' And they'd try and convert them to judaism. Didn't Jesus say, concerning the jews, 'you cover land and sea to make one convert and then you make them two-fold the child of hell you are yourselves.' That's exactly what Jesus said because they turned into legalists. So, in the church of thessalonica, not only were the jews born by - born jews, there were converts to judaism from the roman/Greek religion and then Paul attracted some of the plain roman and Greek pagans that also heard him during those three weeks.

So the early church established in thessalonia - or thessalonica - I keep saying thessalonia - was a hodge podge of Jewish converts, proselytes from judaism, and Romans and Greeks that had converted. But then the other jews that did not believe - that were mad that Paul was preaching this about Jesus - they drove him out of town and he ended up going to berea. And the berean jews, they studied through and they received it. They said, 'if it's biblical we'll believe it.' Now, what was Paul saying? Did I - where am I now? Matthew 10, verses 5 and 6. You got that mike? Let's get you a microphone.

"These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them saying, 'do not go into the way of the gentiles and do not enter a city of the samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Okay. And then, of course, in Romans, Paul said that he would preach the Gospel to the jew first, then to the Greek. So as Paul went from town to town, if he was not received by the local jews who should be the first ones to hear it because they already have the foundation - remember when Jesus said, 'shake the dust off your feet.'? Paul kind of did that one time. He said, 'seeing that you judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life. Lo, we turn to the gentiles.

' That doesn't mean he never went back to the jews, it meant in that community. He would then go visit with the jews, many would accept - if they didn't he said, 'lo, we'll turn to the gentiles.' And so, that's even what Jesus said to the apostles. First go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then after pentecost he told Peter, 'I want you to go talk to cornelius and they began to go to the gentiles as well. Now, what was Paul saying? What was the message that Paul gave when he went into these Jewish synagogues to talk about Jesus? There were some big misconceptions about what the mission of Jesus was all about.

Who has Jeremiah 23:5 and 6? Right over here. Tell you what, we'll have you read that in just a second jolyne. Very quickly, Christians, regarding the second coming of Jesus, are backwards. They were backwards in Jesus' day. The jews in Christ's time believed when the Messiah came the first time he was coming like a king and they didn't realize that he was coming first quietly and he'd come like a king the second time.

First like a lamb then like a lion. Christians today think Jesus is going to come secretly, when he's really coming like a king. The devil has a tendency to have us get the comings backwards. They did not realize Jesus was coming quietly. They took these verses like the one we're about to hear - that talked about the majestic coming of the Lord - they thought that was how he was coming the first time.

Go ahead and read for us Jeremiah 23:5 and 6. "Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will raise to David a branch of righteousness. A king shall reign and prosper and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In his days judah will be saved and Israel will dwell safely. Now this is his name by which he will be called: the Lord our righteousness.

" And so they looked for this son of David that would come - that would reign in righteousness. They were right. Those are true. The Messiah was going to come, but they got the sequence of the prophecy mixed up and when Jesus came and died they said, 'no, that's not the Messiah. He's going to sit on the throne of David.

The closest Christ came to fulfilling their expectations was when he came down the mount of olives during that triumphal entry and they shouted 'The Son of David' - that's what they expected. They thought then Jesus was going to rally them into an army and overthrow the Romans and when he died they said, 'oh, another false alarm, he wasn't the Messiah.' You see how mixed up they were? So Paul's sermons were dealing with you're missing how the Messiah was going to come the first time - as a lamb. The second time like a lion. And Christians - many Christians are making the same mistake today - they're expecting a secret rapture to happen and then seven years of tribulation only on the wicked and they don't realize the next time Jesus comes is going to be the main event and that the tribulation happens before that. Not having that understanding right really is going to shake the faith of many.

We're out of time - I went a little over. Thank you for studying with us friends. God willing we'll do it again next week. If you've 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.

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