Final Events

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:8
Date: 09/01/2012 
Lesson: 9
"The reality of Christ's return calls us to continual readiness."
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We are so glad that you are tuning in - whether you are watching live on our website this morning at '' or on the various television networks, through dvd, listening on the radio - however you are joining us, welcome. And we are so glad that you are a part of our extended Sabbath school family. We have viewers and listeners all across the planet and that is no understatement. We have viewers from several hundred countries - a couple hundred countries - and it is very exciting because we get messages from you and song requests and so this is no exception.

We're going to sing your favorite songs right now. The first one is #340 - 'Jesus saves'. Pull out your hymnals, those of you at home, and sing with us - #340. This is a request from Daniel in australia, dorothy in barbados, flavio in brazil, barbara in California, ib in denmark, honeck in england, Michael in Ethiopia, maisie and karl in France, terrence in ghana, dave in Indiana, joyverby in Louisiana, tochi in nigeria, Joel in norway, jenny in south dakota, eliezer in Texas, luisa in thailand, jerusha in trinidad and tobago, and chashi and lameck in zambia. We're going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas.

#340 - 'Jesus saves'. I was just imagining - I was talking about all the nations - people on islands, continents, all together singing 'Jesus saves, Jesus saves' and one day, when Jesus does come in the clouds of glory and those that are ready are in all parts of the world, we'll all be together looking up into the skies saying, 'Jesus saves! Jesus saves!' 'O morning star how fair and bright' - this is our new one as we continue our quest to learn The Songs that we don't know in our hymnal. #18 - Another good one. This is a request from evanilson in brazil, onkoba in kenya and mary jane in Virginia. And we will sing #18 - the first, second, and fourth stanzas.

Lovely song. Thank you so much for sending in your requests. And if you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, go to our website at '', click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in your favorite hymns and we will do our best to sing those as soon as possible. At this time let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for loving us, for dying for us, and for leaving us with a hope - an everlasting hope that we will have everlasting life if we remain faithful to you.

When you left this earth you promised that you would come again and we know that you are coming - it's very evident when we look around us and we're excited that that day is coming very soon. May we each be ready. Thank you so much for blessing us with one day every week where we can spend it with you. We can forget about the things that we're stressing about and worrying about and we can just let go. Please be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together - that you would fill our hearts and fill this place and be with our extended family around the world - that we will always see the lesson that you have for us now.

In Jesus Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor mike thompson. He is our health and outreach pastor here at central church. Good morning everybody and Happy Sabbath. You're all looking good and blessed this morning.

Is Jesus in your heart? It's the only place you want him to be, isn't it? If he's not there, there's somebody else there and you don't want that one. So, again, welcome to Sabbath school. Before we begin, we have a free offer - it's offer #795 and I have a copy here before me. This is a beautiful gift. You see this book? It's called 'final events of Bible prophecy'? It's not just a book, but inside - see? - There's a - it's a dvd.

It's the final events presentation put together by Amazing Facts about - I don't know, three years ago now? Thousands and thousands of these have gone out. If you don't have one it's time to get one - you get one free with the book - special offer - and the number you need to call is 1-866-study-more or -866-788-3966. Anyway, we're on lesson #9 in 1 and 2 Thessalonians and - very interesting, exciting title - it's called 'final events'. And there's so much in here, we'll just scratch the surface this morning. Might as well tell you now, for those of you who are watching and like to kind of pick up some gleanings from the person who happens to be teaching, I'm not going to get to the end - in fact, I never do - so Thursday's part and Friday we just won't get to it.

I'll tell you that right now. There's so much here. But nonetheless, we're going to begin and do the best we can. There's a memory verse from Thessalonians 5, verse 8. It says, "but since we belong to the day, let us be sober having put on the breastplate of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

" So I'm going to go straight to Sunday and I'm going to begin - the title for Sunday is 'the two sides of judgment' - and I want to begin by reading the first short paragraph on Sunday's section. We read, "though the specific word 'judgment' does not occur in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verses 1 through 11" - that's our whole block of verses this morning - though the word judgment does not occur in this list of passages, "the passage is very much concerned with it." - That is, judgment, of course - "Paul wants the believers in thessalonica to be aware that God's judgment is not limited to something that happens in heaven at the end of time, but that it has real consequences for their everyday life." And that's true, you know, we do look to the end time with the investigative judgment, and I'm certainly going to talk about that this morning, but there's things happen here, today. You may do something that's good and God in his mercy sends you some immediate little reward of appreciation. You may do something that's not so good and it seems like certainly 'ooh, I shouldn't have done that today because payback is today.' Those things happen and you know what I'm talking about. But a lot of times we go through life and we don't particularly see anything dramatic in the way of payback, but it all gets written down in heaven for good or for bad.

Also, it speaks of a positive judgment and that is - in the final judgment, judgment is given in favor of you and God's people and you have eternal life. So, it's looking at two sides of judgment here, but first of all, I want to say a little about the negative side of judgment and there's the example, of course, of adam and eve. There's the negative side of judgment, of course, which they got straightaway. Condemnation of death came upon them. They had to be out the garden.

God cursed the ground when he said to adam, he said, 'by the sweat of your brow you have to go out there and make a living.' He turned to eve and he said, 'you bring forth children but it's going to be through a lot of difficulty and pain.' And so, there were immediate consequences but the big long-term negative aspect of the disobedience was, of course, the sentence of death - eternal death - which, immediately, the divine gavel dropped and they were under that death sentence. So God made it real clear. He warned them very clearly. He says there's zero tolerance for sin - you can't do it. The moment they sinned, down came that gavel - death sentence - could not be provoked.

And so we see here this - this prime example of the negative side of God's judgment that, unfortunately, many people are going to receive and experience at the very end of time. We don't want to be the objects of that. But again, in line with the lesson, there's another side of God's judgment that was also manifest in the Garden of Eden - right there at that very first moment when our - when our parents sinned - our first parents sinned - there comes this terrible pronunciation of death and yet, right there and then there is a temporary stay of execution all at the same time. Why? Because God in his deep, deep, compassion and mercy toward his erring children decided that something needed to be done - something was already arranged, by the way, that there would be a temporary stay of execution and we praise God for his mercy, because from the legal side of things, God had every right to just start all over again. And no angel, from a legal standpoint, would have been able to level any accusation against God of being unfair or unjust.

But yet, here comes this temporary stay of execution which, when this temporary stay of execution came, it was like the first glimmerings of a tender forgiving love that over the centuries, these glimmerings, like the sun, was to rise higher and higher in the sky and become more bright and glorious until its radiance would finally bathe the whole world in this wonderful love and mercy of God and that was, of course, when Jesus came. So, you see that dark picture - suddenly it's dark - but then straightaway there's these little glimmerings of light. A couple of weeks ago I was up - it was before the crack of dawn, and I was out on this piece of land where I go to pray sometimes - I love to see the sun come up - don't worship it, but I love to watch it come up - and there were these little fingers - these first fingers in the east - just kind of - like these gentle fingers just kind of reaching up to, if you like, caress the face of the morning sky. There's a bit of poetry for you. These fingers, you know, beautiful and these little fingers of hope breached the dark horizon of adam and eve the moment they sinned.

And that light was to become more glorious and finally, in that full Revelation of Jesus when he came down here. The coming of a Savior who, through his death, he would secure a full pardon - that temporary stay of execution was to be done away with and replaced by a full and a complete pardon. And access to the Tree of Life, which had been lost - immediately - that was one of the immediate judgments that came upon adam and eve - access was to be restored again to the Tree of Life. And that lost dominion, as they were removed from eden, another immediate judgment on the negative side, and yet ultimately will be replaced by that judgment given in favor of them as they repented whereby they can inherit again paradise, which was lost, will become paradise restored. And so, there was a negative judgment but a positive judgment.

We see the two sides of God. His righteousness and his mercy both right there in the garden of eden and they're not opposites. God does not have a split personality, it's not like a - and I'll say this kindly for anybody with schizophrenia - I don't mean it like this but, you know, somebody with schizophrenia can be two different people all at the same time and God's not like that. His justice and his mercy are not in competition with one another, they both meet in the essence of his love and God is love. I wish we could talk a bit more about it this morning, this mystery of how righteousness and mercy more meet in God and they're not fighting one another.

But we have to move on. And so, all down through the centuries, anybody and everybody must turn their face toward that light that was just a glimmer in eden but yet came to midday brightness and glory at the coming of Jesus. They can turn their face toward that light and there they can find a full pardon like our first parents did and in the judgment, be accounted worthy of entering in through the gates of paradise of God restored. Daniel 7:26 - somebody should read something so I'm not doing all the talking. Somebody please turn to Daniel chapter 7, verses 26 and 27, please.

Sue - right here - thank you barry. Daniel chapter 7, verses 26 and 27. "But the judgment shall sit and they shall take away his dominion to consume and to destroy it unto the end and the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the most high, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and all dominion shall serve and obey him. Thank you very much sue, I appreciate you reading that. There's the ultimate positive judgement that is waiting at the end of the line and those who inherit the Kingdom can be every one of us - every one of us - because the grace of God is all-sufficient to save all of us and besides.

So let's always remember that judgment should never be seen as something that always donates darkness, fear, condemnation, hopelessness, and eternal death. Now, of course, it will be, of course, if we choose to reject God's mercy and remain in a wedded relationship to sin, but it doesn't have to be that way, you see, ample provision has been made to not only deliver us from the guilt and eternal consequences of sin, but also from the power of sins that often as it's controlling our lives - and we can experience that even now, here, this morning as I speak. It's not an experience that can only be reserved for some time in the future when we finally get to heaven. And God's last generation of saints - this experience of separating from sin and fully reflecting the righteousness of Jesus - that is going to be demonstrated just before he comes in this final generation. I want us to look in Revelation 7, verse 3.

This is speaking of the sealing here - Revelation 7 and verse 3 - do we have anybody else who wants to read a verse here? Manjeet? Right down here, ray. "Saying, 'do not harm the earth, the sea, and the trees 'til we have selected the servants of God on their foreheads.'" Thank you very much. Here is the sealing and it's before the close of probation because we're told here before the winds blow - 'hold off, hold off, don't let the winds blow or hurt anything until I've sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.' And so, here they get this before the close of probation and, therefore, their names, when their called up in the investigative judgment - we're dealing with judgment here this morning, reveals as their characters are scrutinized, they're found to have perfect, perfect righteousness in their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And so, this positive judgment, which is made in their favor, which we read in Daniel 7, they receive it and they're counted worthy to inherit the Kingdom of Christ, which Christ actually receives that kingdom at the close of judgment. He receives that kingdom and then he comes to receive the heirs of that kingdom and that is us, his children.

So this is a joyous side of God's judgment and all this that we're talking about, it was all prefigured way back at the time of the fall at the very moment when God passed that negative sentence of death upon adam and eve. There was a promise given - Genesis 3:15 - let's turn there. And Genesis 3:15 actually - in Genesis 3:15 is encrypted the dna of our salvation - if I can kind of use that figurative language - it was encrypted there - there wasn't a lot said, but if we look at this promise it's just full of meaning. Genesis chapter 3, verse 15 and I will read this, if you don't mind. Here God is - during this discourse he speaks to adam, to eve, to the serpent - but here, right in the middle of this, verse 15, God says, "and I will put enmity between thee and the woman" - he's speaking to the devil here, of course - but he says, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed.

It shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel." Now, we have to unpack this a little bit, but as we do here's the whole Great Controversy - how it gets resolved. There's a promise - there's three things I want to mention here, one - to resolve this terrible thing that just happened, they got the sentence of death. But here's this promise to reverse that - ultimately a positive judgment. #1 - Here is promised the coming of a Savior who would die for our sins and reverse the sentence of death. That Savior being Christ, of course, referred here as the seed - he would be bruised - he would receive a bruise in the heel.

And point #2 - through his life and his death, he would secure the final destruction of satan, himself. He would actually - as it says here - he would bruise the serpent's head. So we find this in here as well. I don't have time to read it this morning, but if you look in Hebrews chapter 2, verses 14 and , it makes it very clear that when Jesus came to this earth and he took upon our fallen flesh, 'through death he destroyed him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.' And it says also, 'to deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.' And the third point, through Christ's grace working upon our hearts, God would implant the enmity within us needed to break the natural love for sin that lives and rules within our fallen natures. He says, 'I will put enmity between thee' - speaking to satan - 'I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed.

' It's speaking here about Christ being the source of enmity - the means of this enmity - and this explains how when Jesus comes into a person's life at conversion - and I can testify to this - that person no longer feels at home sitting in a bar with their drinking buddies. Why? Because something's happened inside. I remember clear as day, 43 years ago this month, I was baptized - about six weeks before I got out of that band and I was sitting in the - God had already worked on my heart - I was sitting in a bar one night, we were going to play - one of my friends came and they put down a big glass of beer - an english pint is bigger than an American pint I want you to know - big glass of beer, he says, 'here!' I looked at that - a few days before I would have taken that thing and oh - but I looked at it and I was horrified. I felt this revulsion inside. There was this enmity between me and this glass of beer, which before I just loved that stuff.

What had happened? God got into the promises of Genesis 3:15. He put enmity between me and satan and the things that satan had previously used with other things to get me to stay on his side of the question in the Great Controversy. I know - I know a good number of you in this room and I look at some of you and I see you smile and I know that you've had this similar dramatic experience. So right there in Genesis 3:15 all this - it is promised - that God will put enmity there and separate us from it - separate us from evil and sin and restore to us the promise of true hope and change and a positive judgment unto eternal life - they would overturn the impending negative conflict until eternal death. And all this is encapsulated right there at the very scene where the fall first took place.

And as you can clearly see, it all centers and still centers in Jesus Christ our Lord, our Savior, the lamb that died for us and the high priest that lives and intercedes for us. I have a book here, 'ministry of healing' - I know we won't have time so I've nothing to lose - I'm just going to read you this because it's just beautiful - it's - well, I'll just read it. 'Ministry of healing' pages 89 to 90 and I read this in the hope that it will encourage maybe somebody here or somebody watching out there with the fact that though you may be enslaved to evil and you're aware of this condemnation - this negative judgment hanging over your head, Jesus can overturn that and he can set you free and you can rejoice and be separated from the sin and evil that's taking you down and rejoice that when your name comes up in the judgement, before Jesus comes, you'll receive a - you'll receive a judgment in favor of good things. But let me read this, "Jesus knows the circumstances of every soul. The greater the sinner's guilt, the more he needs the Savior.

His heart of divine love and sympathy is drawn out most of all for the one who is most hopelessly entangled in the snares of the enemy." So that's where you are - you've got Jesus' full sympathy - "with his own blood he signed the emancipation papers of the race" - and he signed yours too - "Jesus does not desire those who have been purchased at such a cost to become the sport of the enemy's temptations. He does not desire us to be overcome and perish. He who curbed the lions in their den and walked with his faithful witnesses amid the fiery flames is just as ready to work in behalf - in our behalf to subdue every evil in our nature. Today he is standing at the altar of mercy" - okay, so he died, now see him if you will, by faith, as your great high priest. And see him there ministering for you and taking your case upon his hands when your name comes up in the judgment as you've accepted him as Savior.

See that as you read this bit here. "Today he is standing at the altar of mercy presenting before God the prayers of those who desire his help. He turns no weeping, contrite one away." I love that. "He turns no weeping, contrite one away. Freely he will pardon all who come to him for forgiveness and restoration.

He does not tell to any all that he might reveal" - you're safe with Jesus. We have some dark secrets. He's not going to send them to the national enquirer or put them all over some blog on the internet, he's aware that you feel bad about things. You're safe with him. He's a loving, kind Savior.

But when you come to him, he'll take you off - he'll cover up all your - he'll cover you in his robe and he'll bring you out for everybody to look at. But he will not put you to shame. "All that he might reveal, but he bids every trembling soul 'take courage'. Whosoever will take hold of God's strength and make peace with him and he will make peace. The souls that turn to him for refuge, Jesus lives above the accusing and the strife of tongues.

No man or evil angel can impeach these souls. Christ unites them to his own divine human nature. They stand beside the great sin bearer and the light proceeding from the throne of God. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin." Then it concludes with roman :33 and 34 - keep this in mind as you remember this judgment - you have an advocate. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect.

It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?" - Oh, the devil will try - but it says, "it is Christ that died, rather that is risen again who is even at the right hand of God who also maketh intercession for us." Isn't that beautiful? I could read things like that to you all day long. I just love dwelling on God's love and his mercy - it's the most wonderful thing. Finally, to conclude this section - we've taken about most of the lesson on this section - John chapter 4, verses 16 and 17. It tells us this, "and we have known and believe the love that God has to us" - when we see how that great light came down and shone - "God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.

" Verse 17, "herein is our love made perfect that we may have" what? "Boldness". When? "In the day of judgment." "That we may have boldness in the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world." Can you say 'amen'? Praise the Lord. Let's go onto Tuesday 'sudden and unexpected'. As the lesson states in Tuesday's section, "the second coming of Jesus will be sudden, unexpected, and inescapable for the wicked. The end-time is not the time for people to prepare for the end.

The time of preparation is now." Now, I'm not trying to nitpick with the wording here, because I'm sure the author and the editor - we're all on the same page, but it says 'the time for preparation is now' - in other - the time to be preparing is now. But I want to restate that. As seventh day adventists, very often, speaking of the second coming of Jesus, we tend to speak in this vein, 'well, are you preparing for Jesus' coming?' 'Are you getting ready for Jesus to come?' You know, that's good. We need to have this in every sermon or presentation. But you know what we really should be saying, don't you? We should be saying, 'are you ready now?' 'Are you prepared now in case Jesus comes now?' Or if he doesn't your probation closes because you walked through those doors across the road and we have a funeral for you next week.

And I don't want to sound flippant when I say that but, you know, life hangs on a very flimsy thread. We have no guarantee that we'll go to bed tonight. We might be resting somewhere else - cold, stiff, waiting for a funeral. Life is like that. So we must, must, must be ready.

And when we speak in terms of 'well, are you getting ready brother or sister? Are you preparing?' There's something about that, which in my mind at least, kind of suggests that we still have time to play around with here. Yes, we know it's coming - the second coming is coming, but we kind of keep projecting it off into the future somehow leaving us, perhaps, with the idea that we've still got plenty of time and we don't have to get too serious yet for the coming of Christ - we do a little further downstream. We can't do that - that's dangerous. There's a song - it popped into my head last night. I won't even try to sing it because I don't want to ruin a good thing here, but it says, 'are you ready for Jesus to come?' You know that one? Well, you know, let's try it.

Are you ready for Jesus to come? That's the one, yeah. I don't remember the rest. What is it jen? Are you ready what? Are you ready to look in his - that's right, yeah - look in his eyes - look in his face? Thank you. That is a good song. That's right on the money here.

So, when someone asks you 'are you getting ready?' Say, 'by the grace of God I'm ready right now. Are you?' We cannot afford to leave anything - we cannot afford to have loose ends - let me put it that way. We've got to tie them all up as soon as they come along. We tie those things up every day. We're tying up those loose ends as we go along.

And if our probation closes or Jesus comes, we're ready. Our bodies can be burned, we can be thrown to the lions, but what does it matter? Your name is in the lamb's book of life. All right. You see, what about Noah? When the flood came was Noah still pounding nails? No. It's a good thing as well - none of us would be here.

He finished pounding nails and pitching that big boat - everything was done, even before the flood came. In fact, he was sitting there seven days, right? 'I'm ready Lord. Where's the flood?' And it came - surely it came. So you get the picture here and I could give other examples - Daniel. Was he prepared to go in a den of lions? Yeah, yeah, he was all ready.

In you go - there were three worthies - were they ready to go into the fire? Yeah, in they went. But they were ready, you see. So anyway, won't labor this point too much, we have to move on here. But crises can come and those crises can - terrible results if they're not ready. I want just to look in Matthew - you can be turning there - some things that Jesus said about the suddenness of his second coming - Matthew 24, verse 36 - Matthew 24, verse 36 - and I will read this one.

Just keep going - Matthew 24:36. Jesus said this - speaking of his coming he said, "but of that day and hour knoweth no man. No, not the angels of heaven, but my father only." Then as you go through the rest of this passage here from - let's see - verses 37 through , actually, Jesus describes the outcome for - for two kinds of people. He speaks about the antediluvians - you read - see that in 37 through 41. He's speaking about - he mentions about the antediluvians, rather, in verse and he says, "as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ark and they knew not until the flood came and took them all away.

So shall also the coming of The Son of man be." Then he mentions people in the world. They're going to be unprepared - second coming - they're gone. They're done. And verse 42 says again, "watch therefore for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." And then in verse 44 he repeats this, "therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not The Son of man cometh." We've got this twice here - now, okay, we expected the antediluvians to be lost. We expect those who have no care for Christ to be lost when he comes, but here we're given a special warning about those who profess to be his people.

There is a very real danger that they - we - can also be lost unless we're ready, 'watching, therefore, for the coming of our Lord' because we don't know when that will actually be. We're going to look here in verse forty - I'm going to go to verse 45, "who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his Lord has made ruler over his household to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you that he shall make him ruler over all his goods." So that's all well and good. There's a positive judgment that this person will receive. But then we get a different judgment - a negative judgment still harking back to Sunday's part, "for those who profess to be his people" - but actually, that was something else - verse , "but if that evil servant shall say in his heart, 'my Lord delayeth his coming' and shall begin to smite his fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunken, the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him and in an hour when he is not aware of and shall cut him asunder and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Oh beloved, we've got to be really careful because we can all fit right into this little mold here just perfectly square. Don't you know it? I know it. I know it in my - I keep telling you - 43 years at the end of this month - I look back and my rod hasn't always been straight. And God in his mercy - I'm thankful that he delayed - for my sake, if nothing else. That may be kind of selfish but nonetheless I'm thankful.

So the one who says he - 'my Lord delayeth his coming.' There's nothing said in this passage about him giving up his belief in the second coming, right? He's an adventist - this man is an adventist looking for Christ - his coming. Obviously, there's much about religion that appeals to him. He likes the idea of Jesus coming and taking him to heaven so he won't be lost. He doesn't want negative judgment but it's obvious he still has a little affair going on here. He's got a love for sin in his heart.

And so, he figures, 'well, my Lord's delaying his coming so maybe for a while I can have the best of both worlds. I'm looking for Jesus but he's not coming yet and so maybe I can have the best of both worlds. Well, you know, that's a dangerous thing to do, is it not? It's a dangerous thing to do - to indulge in worldly pleasure, keeping your name on the church books, perhaps maintaining an air of respectability - nobody knows - they think you're a fine upstanding Christian man or woman, but in your heart you're saying, 'my Lord's delaying his coming, therefore...' Well, in verse 48 of Matthew 24, Jesus calls this kind of a church member - calls him evil. That's pretty strong language. So if I'm like this and I've got this mind set, I'm not being just a little bit kind of backslidden, I am evil.

God calls it evil. And so, as the Lord delays his coming, this person begins to indulge his worldly pleasure until finally the second coming of Jesus arrives and he's lost. He's absolutely lost. Jesus calls him a hypocrite. He's evil, he's a hypocrite, and he gets called out at his own game.

Because when you play that game you think you're playing it with God but, actually, you're playing it with the devil. The devil is really good with his cards, just really good with his cards. He'll play his hand. He'll play your hand, you put down all your chips then, finally, he'll sweep the table - you're done. There's a price to pay for being a hypocrite - having light and not following through with it, but I want to dwell now for a little while - well, okay, what is the - what's the recipe - what's the prescription then for this kind of dangerous behavior? I want to go to Luke 21 - Luke , verses 34 through 36 - Luke , verses 34 through 36.

Again, Jesus says, "and take heed to yourselves lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that the day come upon you unawares." If you're saying the Lord's delaying his coming, that's probably what most people would be doing. Verse 35, "for as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." And then he says again, verse , "watch ye therefore and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and stand before The Son of man. The solution here, friends, is nothing we don't already know about - it's prayer - it's prayer and the Word of God. But when he says here 'watch therefore and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things' - it's not so much the second coming he's talking about, he's on about the things before in verse , the things that will keep you unprepared and that is the things of this life - the surfeiting and the drunkenness and the cares of this world - and just this - engrossed in the things of this life. He says it's these things you have to escape from.

Then you're able to - as he says in verse 36 - then you'll be able to pass through these things and stand before The Son of man - in character - before the judgment. You won't stand there in the judgment but your name is there - that your life record is there and it's this that is presented in your behalf at the judgment and Jesus will either stand there and represent you or he cannot. So how do we escape this? Verse 36 again - he says, "pray always" - pray always. Some very kind person - you probably can't see this very well but in a moment I'm going to put it on the step here and I'd like one of the cameras to focus in on it - somebody bought me this for Christmas and I keep it as a centerpiece on my desk in my office just around the corner. I find it very inspiring - can we put it on camera now, maybe? I'll put it up here and maybe you can see it - all see it on the screen - but it's a gentlemen there who's praying and he looks kind of 19th century kind of stuff, you know, he's got like the smock coat on and he's got kind of longish hair and an old chair and his Bible's on the floor, but what we see there, to me, it's always a reminder that I need to pray.

I need to pray more. I can never get enough of prayer. But there is a verse there on the bottom of that piece and I won't - I'd like to tell you who bought me it but it'll probably make them feel embarrassed so I won't. But they're here this morning, so... But this is what it says - it's got Jeremiah 12 - sorry - Jeremiah 29, verses 12 through on this little piece here.

And it says there, "'then shall ye call upon me and ye shall go and pray unto me and I will harken unto you and ye shall seek me and find me when you shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you' sayeth the Lord." Jeremiah 29, verses 12 through - partway through 14. We need to pray. Is anything hard about that? Well it is if the things in this life are taking up all your time. Prayer needs to be a priority.

We all know this but, you see, we won't - it won't become a priority unless we choose to make it so. Simple as that. We all know that. And if we will make prayer that priority, the things that keep us having that mind set that 'Jesus isn't coming yet so I don't have to quite make the effort.' And so, because you're not really making the effort, you kind of slide around a little bit and you say, 'well, okay, I shouldn't do this, but I'll do it again.' You feel bad, but you do it a few more times. There's no urgency.

We must pray, pray, pray. And as we do Jesus will manifest himself to us. This is a statement from 'signs of the times' June the 9th, 1890 and it says this, "by the Revelation of the attractive loveliness of Christ" - and this is what you'll see if - he says, 'if you'll seek me, you'll find me.' "By the Revelation of the attractive loveliness of Christ, by the knowledge of his love expressed to us while we were yet sinners, the stubborn heart is melted and subdued and the sinner is transformed and becomes a child of God. Love is the agency which God uses to expel sin from the human soul. By it he changes pride into humility, enmity and unbelief into love and faith.

He does not employ compulsory measures. Jesus is revealed to the soul and if man will look in faith to the lamb of God he will live." So pray, pray. I'd like to say more but the clock has just gone on zero. I wanted to read from great controversy where it speaks of wrestling with God in prayer - how few know what this is. Well, that's all we have time for friends, but thank you for your participation and I'd like the ushers to please come forward.

Our offer, by the way, is 'final events of Bible prophecy' - a final events study guide and dvd - offer #795 - if you call -866-study-more or -866-788-3966 Amazing Facts will send this to you free in the continental United States of America. I grew up in a church-going family. I mean, we were at every meeting, I sang in four of the choirs there, I directed three - very involved, very active. It almost seemed like busy work sometimes, you know? I went to Sunday school, I knew about God, I knew about Jesus, but I didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My senior year in high school I got the news that my father had been murdered.

I played it off well. No one really saw that I was struggling with it. It just really felt like there was a hole that needed to be filled and I tried to fill it with drugs, with alcohol, with partying. After college I just stopped going to church altogether. One day, on a Sunday, because I didn't feel like going to church with my mom, I thought, you know, I should get a little bit of word.

She had the satellite system hooked up and I'm flipping through channels and then the logo pops across 'Amazing Facts presents'. I've listened to a lot of different ministers, but here was - this is the first time that he was actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible - actually pick it up and - I've never heard this before. Let me look through and find this. I went through all the storacles, I went through all the study guides and I just couldn't get enough. And then the Sabbath came up and he's going through the appeal and I'm just going, 'Lord, I hear you.

I have to go to church.' So I show up - it was funny, I didn't feel like I was going to be judged, anything judgmental, anything. And I walked in the door and I just felt at home. But there's still a problem - I'm still partying. I was still going out to the bars. At this time I was selling cocaine to pay my rent.

Sixteen days later I find myself in a life or death situation. I had just came back from a liquor store and I grabbed a bottle of vodka and there I am, high off cocaine, with my Bible in hand trying to do a Bible study and I heard an audible voice, 'just look at yourself.' And I did and I was like, 'what am I doing?' And I got on my knees - I said, 'Lord, if you do not take this away from me now I'm going to kill myself.' I was going to continue this lifestyle and I was going to end up overdosing, having a heart attack, whatever it was. 'You have to take this away - all of it.' And that day he lifted all of it away from me. It was all gone. When God does something in your life, he does it complete.

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. One location. So many possibilities.

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