Revelation, and the God Revealed In It

Revelation, and the God Revealed In It

Scripture: Hebrews 1:1-2
Date: 10/13/2012  Lesson: 2
"However important it is to understand the way in which Biblical inspiration works, it's more important to know the God who is revealed to us through that inspiration."

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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California in the United States of America. It is by no mistake that you are joining us to study God's word together whether you are joining us live on the internet across the world - live on the internet - through radio, television, however you're joining us, I know that you will be blessed by tuning in, listening to God's word, and applying the things we learn today to your lives in the days to come. Let's start by singing so wherever you are pull out your hymnal and we are going to sing hymn #167 - 'alleluia! Sing to Jesus!' - This comes as a request from Joseph in Alaska, ariel, jessica, and betty in australia, sevane in the bahamas, pedro in barbados, ameidi, valencia, and abelino in belize, gina in California, serapio in Colorado, becky in florida, anthony in ghana, alex in hungary, stefanie in Illinois, angela in italy, ever in Mexico, Ruth in New York, kay in Ohio, and serapio in Texas. Hymn #167 - we will sing all three verses. If any of you were wondering, this happens to be my sister alisa singing with me today.

I thought you might think you were seeing double but you're not. If you have a special Christmas song that you would like to sing with us on a coming presentation, I invite you to go to our website at 'saccentral.org' and there you can click on the 'contact us' link and we are presently taking Christmas requests. Our next hymn is our new hymn for the week, hymn #26 - 'praise the Lord! You heavens adore him' - and this comes as a request from valencia, abelino, and ameidi in belize and higman in saint vincent and the grenadines. Hymn #26 and we will sing all three verses. Let's pray.

Lord, you see us and here we are praising your name because you have created us and you have redeemed us and you have promised us in your word that you are soon to come and you will take us home to live with you forever so there's nothing more that we can do than praise your name and uplift you to others, lord. Help that each to be - every day to be our goal is that we honor you and we lift you to others, that we can draw others to you because of who you are and not because of us. We thank you that we can come together and open your word as a free people and worship you and so please bless pastor white today as he brings us your word. Help us to apply them to our lives in ways that we have never before and that we can hasten your coming and do our part. We pray these things in your precious name, Jesus.

Amen. Our study will be brought to us by pastor harold white and pastor white is the administrative pastor here at Sacramento central. Good morning. Thank you musicians. I bet you could never have guessed that those were sisters up here, could you? What a beautiful day here in Sacramento.

We're glad all of you who are here have joined us and we welcome you who have joined us from wherever you are. Excuse me. I have been told by somebody at Amazing Facts that we have received requests for songs in like people from over 100 countries so whatever country you're joining us from this morning, we are so happy you're with us. We are in an exciting new quarter - quarterly - 'growing in Christ' and the lesson this morning is 'Revelation and the God revealed in it'. We have a free offer to make note of this morning - it's entitled 'the trinity' - it's offer #166 - written by Doug Batchelor.

Have you ever heard of him? Yeah? Good little book. You'll need to get your hands on this booklet. They're going to touch on this subject of the trinity just a little bit this morning in our lesson. All you have to do is call -866-study-more or -866-788-3966. All right, if you have your quarterly with you I would invite you to take it in hand and read along with me our memory text taken from Hebrews chapter 1, verses 1 and 2 taken from the new king James version.

Are you ready? "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to The Fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds;" okay, is the Bible a Revelation from God? Is it a Revelation of God? Is it from God? Now we, who call ourselves Christians, who profess to be Christians, we stake our lives on the fact that this book is God's word, do we not? So can you prove that it is? Well, that's what we're going to touch on this morning. Can we prove that this is the Word of God? Will there always ever be room for doubt for those who want to doubt? As the lesson there in the opening at the bottom points out, there will be two aspects to focus on this morning. First we will look at what the Bible says about itself and how it was inspired, how it came into being, is it indeed the inspired Word of God? And next we will see what it teaches us about the God who says inspired it. That's the two concepts this morning and first of all we want somebody to read 2 Peter 1:19 through 21 and somebody has that. Who has that verse this morning? Okay, right over here.

Peter - and that's the first chapter and we want to read verses 19, 20, and 21. Peter chapter 1:19, 20 and 21 - and we're just about ready - just hang on for a second. Okay, if you'd read that for us please. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart; know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." Okay, thank you very much. Peter was a human being.

He's making a bold statement here that these words that we have recorded for us came from nobody else, originally, but from God as he moved upon men to write down the things God wanted for them to write. Now, where is the proof that the words written down really originated from God or at least that he was the one who gave the thoughts for men to write them down - not word for word in most places -but God moved upon people to write from their own perspective of what God wanted to write and one aspect to the answer of this question above all others is the concept of prophecy. Prophecy does more to reinforce our faith in the authenticity of God's word, probably, than anything else. Were there things written in the Bible long before they ever took place? Now, skeptics will say 'no.' They'll say, 'it's easy to write something afterwards and, you know, point out that - just say that it was written before and they will tell you there's no proof that these things were written before they actually took place. Bible-believing Christians can cite such passages as found in Ezekiel - the 26th chapter, for example, that talks about tyre - the city of tyre.

And we believe that this message was given in 590 b.c. About the destruction of the city of tyre and how it was utterly destroyed, later on, as prophesied. We need to go to the part of the passage that gives the critics a bigger challenge yet. The Scripture we're talking about does not just deal with the destruction of tyre, there was one important part to this passage. In that passage it also says - you know what it says about tyre? That it would never be built again.

The city would never be built up and inhabited again. That's part of the prophecy too. So, has that been fulfilled? There's never been a city been built there. If the critic really wants to prove his or her point then go ahead, go over there and build in that particular site. Build another city.

Thousands of cities have been rebuilt down through the hundreds and thousands of years - thousands of cities have been rebuilt - why not build on this site? Go ahead and prove to the world that this prophecy is not real and you can't count upon it being - the Bible being the authentic Word of God. Now there are other such prophecies that give powerful authenticity to the fact that the Bible is more than human invention. Thousands of people have been inspired by the second chapter of the book of Daniel. We all know about that, right? Perhaps that is the very first introduction you had into the world of prophecy. Maybe you hadn't been a Christian, you got a flier in the mail, you went to a Revelation seminar or evangelistic meeting and the very first sermon you ever heard from the Bible was on Daniel 2 and it just - wooh - blew you away that God would have predicted such amazing events to take place before they ever did - one kingdom rising after another in quick succession.

Yet the critic would say, 'no, no, no, those things were written after all four of those kingdoms came and went.' Well, their evidence doesn't hold up very good, but even if it did, the skeptic would still have a problem with their argument. Think about it - if, after four quick successions of world kingdom powers came and went, somebody came on the scene and said there would never be another world power to inhabit the world - there would never be another domineering world power to come on the scene - in fact, the next one would be God's kingdom - they would have been laughed and scorned by the critics and skeptics. 'What do you mean? Certainly there's going to be another world kingdom come to power.' But has there? No, there hasn't been - and that's been many, many years and many people have tried. So, yes, prophecy is one of the great tools of the evidence in the authenticity of God's word being all that God says it is. But let's go back for a moment to something we've already referred to.

Let's get three quick passages quickly, then I will share this challenge that I want to just throw out to the skeptics of the world. The first text is Ezekiel 26:14. Okay? 26:14 - Just hang on for a little bit. We're going to have three quick texts all of the same nature and then we're going to give a tremendous challenge to the skeptics of the world. Ezekiel chapter 26, verse 14.

Okay mike. Ezekiel 26:14, "'i will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken,' says the Lord God." Okay. This is the prophecy about tyre never being rebuilt again. The next verse is found in Jeremiah 51:26 and then verse 37 - who has that? Right over here and then somebody else has Zephaniah 2:13 - who has that one? Okay, get that one over here. And, first of all, we want to have Jeremiah 51:26 and verse 37 - and this is a prophecy about another city called Babylon, okay? Jeremiah 51:26.

Jeremiah 51:26, "'they shall not take from you a stone for a corner nor a stone for a foundation. But you shall be desolate forever,' says the Lord." And verse 37, "Babylon shall become a heap, a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant." Okay, thank you very much. Zephaniah 2:13 - and just hang on for a second - this is the third city, nineveh - it's a little bit different in nature but pretty much the same concept. Okay, share with that. Zephaniah 2:13, "and he will stretch out his hand against the north, destroy assyria, and make nineveh a desolation, as dry as the wilderness.

" Okay, thank you so much. So we have three cities brought to ruin by God's leading and they were never to be rebuilt again. And so the challenge I throw out to the skeptics of the world in regards to the Bible being the Word of God is this: gather all the skeptics together from all over the world. Gather all your resources, all your money and just go to one of these places and rebuild the city and then we as Christians will have to hide our heads in shame and run and concede that you were right all along that we cannot trust the Bible. If you rebuild the city in one of these places we will have to say 'you were right and we were wrong, we can't trust this Bible to be God's word.

' You think the skeptics are going to take that challenge this morning? I don't think so but it wouldn't be fair if I wouldn't mention this little story - this experience - to the skeptics. There has been such a kind of attempt like this before that was taken and failed. A man who lived about a.d. 300, Who knew the words of Jesus in Luke 21:24, about the temple of Jerusalem and how it would be destroyed and never be rebuilt again. This man took it upon himself to try to disprove that Bible prophecy and disprove Jesus himself.

So he had the wealth - he had the means to rebuild the temple. He could have rebuilt the whole city of Jerusalem with his wealth and resources. His name was julian, emperor of rome. Accurately recorded were his intentions by people like edward gibbon who was an infidel in his own right, about how julian wanted to discredit Jesus and Christianity. He set out to disprove prophecy.

He utterly failed. And this is what edward gibbon had to say about it. Listen very carefully. "Julian could have rebuilt a whole city with his wealth and power but he could not rebuild a single temple. He began his work with a great flourish of trumpets advertised to the whole world his purpose and the reason for it.

He was going to disprove the Bible prophecies and so destroy Christianity. Account for it as you please, two facts remain. First, julian boasted he was going to disprove Bible prophecy by doing what the Bible said would not be done. Second, with all the wealth and power of the world at his command, he failed." Someone would come forth and say, 'well, didn't he fail because of a superstition of the people that were working there?' There were balls of fire falling in the midst and they got all nervous and they ran away and the project failed. Well, that's immaterial - how it fails, why it fails - God said it would fail, right? What the material thing is is what God says will always stand true.

Does this prove that the Bible is the authentic Word of God? Well, maybe not totally, but I sure would hate to be a skeptic and try to undertake such a building project. All building projects are a challenge but that one would be a major challenge. Go to a city where God says, 'don't ever build it. It will never be built.' And go ahead and try to have a building project there anyway. No, that's not a building project I want to be part of.

The same thing has happened with the prophecies of Daniel 2. Many men have come forth and said, 'I'm going to challenge that. I am going to make a world kingdom.' And one after another of those individuals have failed likewise. Well, we could spend all morning on Sunday's lesson about giving authenticity to the Bible being the Word of God. What we have to do in our own minds is to prove to ourselves that we believe it with all of our hearts and let nothing come in to alter that faith in the fact that this is God's word.

We could spend all morning on just the prophecies concerning Jesus and how they were accurately and minutely, in many respects, fulfilled to a t. Just on the life of Jesus and how there is absolutely no way anybody could have wrote those things down and come to some kind of conclusion and had those things take place. Well, we need to move onto Monday's lesson, 'the nature of inspiration'. This has been a thing that is hard for some people to grasp. I believe that some people have the idea that if it comes from God, originally, then there shouldn't be the least difference in anything reported by the different Bible writers - that every crossing of the t, every dotting to the I should be exactly the same.

But that's not really how inspiration works. God allows for the different personalities, the different circumstances of people's personalities and characters to come through. He gives them the thoughts and they write from their own perspective quite often. But even through it all, a clear and united message comes and the lesson gives an example of the three different Bible writers who wrote about the sign that was placed above Jesus' head when he was on the cross. Each inscription is a bit different.

I don't know if you knew that before this lesson but it says it a little bit differently. But does the difference change the content or essence of what is being said on that little sign? No. It gives the writer the ability to write from his own perspective. And are there other cases of seeming discrepancies in God's word? Yes there are. Have any of them ever been insurmountable as to finding explanations? That's the key point.

At first, sometimes, some of these discrepancies seem very challenging to the Christian. But as time goes on and people continue searching and sometimes things are discovered and, you know, they uncover artifacts from the earth and cities are raised back up - they find, 'wow, it was that way.' And an explanation is given so clear and concise that there's no room for argument. To me, it is as if God allowed some of these things to happen so that people's faith could be tested, but then proven in the end - that you can trust God's word even though at times there seems to be some discrepancies. It was like I was reading one time that many years people would - skeptics would say, 'oh, you know, about the story of the children of Israel Marching around jericho seven times in one day - that's an impossibility.' Well, it would be an impossibility to March around the Sacramento area in one day seven times, but as time went on they unearthed the city and found that it was a size city that was easily able to March around seven times in one day. Excavations revealed that it was a total possibility to do that.

And think about it - it was a walled city so you would understand logic - just logically thinking that 'yes, this is a size city that could be Marched around.' If it was the size of one of our cities today then you'd have kind of like the eighth wonder of the world with a wall that size or kind of like the wall of china kind of thing going on. But that's not the way it was at all. So, as time goes on God's word gets more authenticity to it all the time. My take on this has been, through the years, there's so much to base our faith on that if somebody comes along with a challenge to you - a complaint - don't even let them bother you for a moment. Just don't let it bother your faith for a moment because there are so many more things that you can put your trust in and it's just happened all too many times to let that thing bother us.

If we want we can continue to find things to test our faith. God doesn't remove all possibilities to doubt. For example, on the subject of creation versus evolution: is there enough evidence to prove within a shadow of a doubt - without a shadow of a doubt - that the world was created in six days. Well, most of us would say yes, but a lot of people would say no. In fact, they say no and they teach the opposite.

They actually teach that there's not enough evidence - you can't prove that the world was created in six days. In fact, we have this whole body of information, scientifically, that says you're wrong and we're right. But just within evolution and creation, when I consider some of the arguments, the ones for evolution become the most absurd to me. Like, if you took all the letters that are found in a big dictionary, how many times would it take you to throw them up and they'd actually come down in the form of a dictionary? How many times would it take you to throw them up until they actually came down in the form of a dictionary. Well that's as absurd as any as you can get, and that's what really is what you're thinking about when you think about the 'big bang' - well the big bang is even more absurd than that.

So, if you want to have your faith tested, start believing in evolution. I mean, that would test my faith more than anything in creation. In fact, you can find so many things to support creation - and the flood - I was out in the middle of Kansas one time and there was nothing out there but these big rocks and embedded in these rocks were sharks' teeth. Now, does that give you an idea that there was a flood some day or what? I just tell you that these people that believe the other it just blows my mind away but 'faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.' The more you hear the word of God or read it, the more faith you will have in it - especially if you approach it with a positive faithful attitude. That isn't to say that we shouldn't blindly jump into the Bible and just accept everything blindly - we can test the Word of God.

The Bible is open to all questioning and the more you dig in it the more you'll find out how reliable it is. Now I've run into people who seem to want to question everything. It's like they can't ever come to the point where they decisively believe in something and it's like if they - it's like they want to question everything and in so doing it's kind of like they're making themselves sound smarter than you. Well, I don't think that's smarter - I think God wants us to come to the conclusion of some matters, don't you? He wants us to understand some issues and to say, 'this is what's revealed in the word of God and we can trust it to forever question' - and not to be decisive on issues - leaves a bad impression in people's minds. There are concrete truths and we need to cement them in our mind, don't you think so? We move onto Tuesday's - let's move onto the title of 'mystery of the triune God'.

Now I was happy that this particular day's lesson didn't go into a deep, deep study of the trinity because we don't have time - that's a full lesson in itself. So what we want to do is kind of do an overview of the subject and I think a good place to begin is Genesis 1. We get some pretty heavy indications of a Godhead there. Verse 1 tells us of a God who creates - "in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Quickly, in verse 2, we're introduced to the Spirit of God and how he moved upon the face of the waters and I emphasize 'he' because we're talking about a masculine form of the noun. Always the Spirit is in the masculine form, it's never introduced in the neuter 'it' or 'that'.

Then you jump down to verse 26 - we have God saying, "let us make man in our image after our likeness" so we quickly have God and a spirit of God and an indication that certainly there is more than one entity of God by using 'us' and 'our'. The next indication we have of someone special in the Godhead is the first promise of salvation in Genesis 3:15 but we don't have enough information in this one text to say, 'well, this salvation experience is going to provide salvation - is The Son of God. There's not enough in that text, but God communicated more details to adam and then to the Patriarchs and Prophets that this, indeed, this Messiah was coming - would be The Son of God. Isaiah, for example, gives us this verse in chapter 9, verse 6, "for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace.

" So we have this God but he's also a son - a prince. What is a prince? A prince is a son. He's The Son - he's also the mighty God. That's a very telling verse and very descriptive. And so, by the time Jesus comes and proclaimed himself to be the son of God, the religious leaders didn't balk at the fact that he used this concept that the Messiah would be The Son of God, they just balked at the fact that he was saying he was him.

People understood, by that time, that the Messiah that was coming would be The Son of God. They didn't question that as much as they questioned the fact that he was saying he was him. So you can see how clear it had become to God's people that the son of God would be the Messiah. And then, during his ministry, you have all three entities in one place more than once. At his baptism the voice of God The Father, Jesus The Son, and the Holy Spirit coming down in the form of a dove.

'They are one in mind and purpose and character.' That's a quotation of inspiration. 'They are one in mind and purpose and character but not in person.' That is a concept still not quite clearly from the Scriptures. Jesus gets ready to go back to heaven and he tells everybody that it is expedient that he goes because then he can send the Holy Spirit and the holy spirit will convict, comfort, teach, and so forth. Now a force or power doesn't do those things - only an entity does - a real being teaches, convicts, comforts and so forth. I have a really dear friend, she is a wonderful lady, she has been a jehovah's witness most of her adult life and yet she has accepted the fact that the Bible teaches that the seventh day is the Sabbath and she has accepted that truth, but she has a hard time with this concept that the Holy Spirit is a person.

In her mind the Holy Spirit is a force or a power. But we never refer to the power of electricity, for example, as 'he gave me power to turn on my toaster to toast my toast.' Or the wind, 'he sent the wind to blow down the house.' No, it's always 'it' - the wind came, it blew down the house. The electricity it gave me power to toast my bread. Why did Jesus say it was expedient for him to send the Holy Spirit? Because Jesus had taken upon the form of humanity and retaining that form throughout eternity. So, in essence, it's hard - it's hard to really grasp that he gave up his omnipresence - but the Holy Spirit is omnipresent.

He can be everywhere at all times. He's omniscient and he's all the other omnis. Angels excel in strength and power but they do not have any of the omnis. They are not omnipresent, they are not omniscient, they're none of the omnis. Now they can travel, I guess, at lightning speed from heaven to earth in just a split second it seems like but they don't have omnipresence - they can't be all places at all times like the Holy Spirit can.

Nor do they know all things like the Godhead does. They take orders, happily I might add, and do God's bidding, but they are limited in comparison to God The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. Now, does all that give us a perfect picture of God's nature? No. Or a perfect picture of the trinity - the triune? No. As the lesson points out, we may never, ever know the deep details of God's nature, but do we have enough to base our faith on? I believe we do.

I know I do. I am not going to sway my faith from trusting all this to be true. To try to prove otherwise has proven fatal to probably millions of people down through the ages. Think about this, could we handle knowing all there is to know about God? Could we handle it? We couldn't. Adam and eve, before they fell, they couldn't handle it - they didn't know all about God.

I wouldn't want to know all there is to know about God yet. I want to be spellbound by the concepts about God that I can't even begin to grasp yet. I want to be spellbound by thinking there are things that I'm going to learn throughout eternity that I could never even think about grasping while I was here upon this earth. I accept the fact that I am so much lower than God that it's just unbelievable to even think about. So that's where I come from.

Even though we understand there are to be three persons of the Godhead, we must thoroughly understand the fact that the oneness of the Godhead - as the lesson points out, there is a oneness with them that excels anything we can think of - in mind and purpose and character they are one. They don't just finish each other's sentence, for example, they are in full compliance and syncopation with each others' sentences. Now I think twins and triplets kind of give us a little - a tiny little glimpse into the oneness of the Godhead. You ever known twins that almost complete each others' sentences? My wife has a sister - they're not twins but they should have been. They have so many things that they are on the same page at - even though they're thousands of miles apart from each other - I've seen it hundreds of times.

I mean, it's just like they're thinking the same thing, they say the same thing, they're going through the same thing - it's uncanny and amazing. And even after 44 years of marriage, my wife and I will oftentimes say the same words - finish the same sentences with the same words and we just have to laugh about it because we've been together so long. So, there is a oneness with the Godhead that it's just - they're totally one. I've referred to this concept before but it's really a staggering insight to the oneness of the Godhead. They have - scientists and so forth - have taken pieces of metal and ground them down so smooth - they just made them so, so, so super smooth that when you stick two of them together it is impossible to pry them apart unless you have special techniques, I guess.

But the reason that it's impossible for these two pieces of metal to be pried apart because they're so smooth that there's so many contact point and all these contact points come together and it's impossible to pull them apart because of their smoothness. And when we think of the Godhead, they are connected at every possible contact point there is in the universe. You can't pry the three apart no matter what would happen. It's an impossibility. They are one and God, when Christ was here upon earth, his longest recorded prayer in John - his desire is that we have that same oneness with them that nothing will pry us apart from him.

The more you can contact with God on every single point and the problems you have - the reason you find yourself having problems is because you allowed a contact point to come loose and air gets in there and a crowbar gets in there and starts yanking it apart and pretty soon you don't feel connected to God like you know you want to be connected to God, because you've allowed the contact points to separate. So every time you go to the Bible think about this: 'lord, help me to contact with you. On every point I come across today, help me to cement that contact with you.' Yes. Let's move onto Wednesday's 'the attributes of our creator'. We've already talked about this concept a bit, but to put God in the position of creator puts us in our place as the created - creator.

Created. A universe of difference. Creator can come down to the level of created as we see Jesus doing, but the created can never go up to the level of the creator and that was the problem that lucifer had. That was his demise - he wanted to create. He didn't possess the ability or power to create.

When he found out Jesus was going to be the active agent in creating this world he got all blown out of proportion, jealous, and it was the beginning of his demise. He wanted to create. He wanted to be the creator and if he would have been able to create, God would have had - would have had to lend him or give him that power. You would think that that would have been enough for him to retrace his steps, but he wanted to be like the most high. He wanted that position.

And I've always pictured this scene at the end of everything upon this earth. When the holy city comes down out of heaven with all the saints and all the angels and satan sees all the wicked of all generations raised to life and he sees that there's more with him than there are with God and he thinks he has one last chance to overthrow the Kingdom of God and he takes all those - he Marches all those wicked people - Marches toward the city and his intention is to overthrow it. And when God comes down with that city - I always picture this in my mind that God pauses in front of all the universe he says, 'satan, here's your chance. All this Great Controversy started because you got jealous, because you wanted to be the creator. Okay, here's your chance, in front of the universe create something.

' And lucifer, now called satan cannot even produce one blade of grass. He can't create anything. The only thing he can hold up is a piece of artificial turf from the debris of this earth. All that he has ever put forth has been artificial. All of his pleasures, all of his excitement has always been artificial and that's all he's able to produce when God gives him this great chance.

Oh, it may not play out like that but it sounds good, doesn't it? His thrills and pleasures have all been artificial. Well, let's move on. Somebody has Hebrews 11:6 - who has that to read? Right back here, thank you. "But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him." Thank you very much. Before you come to God you must believe that he exists.

That makes sense, doesn't it? A lot of that comes, I believe, with the measure of faith - the Bible says that God gives to every man. He gives us all a measure of faith to begin with somewhere along the line. But what a person does with that determines the end. If you don't continue to study the Bible - faith adding to faith - then you lose hold on God even existing. And the lesson pointed out that the Bible doesn't spend any time trying to prove that God exists - that it spends most of the time trying to teach us about what God is like.

It assumes that he exists. The more we read the Bible with an open heart, the more assumption of his existence becomes a reality to us and it just comes with the territory. Sometimes you hear children telling their parents something like this: 'i didn't ask to be born.' Maybe you've said that to God, 'i didn't ask to be born in this sinful world. I'm having all this trouble. I didn't ask to be born here, why didn't you create me on one of those unfallen worlds?' Well, I've always loved to ask classes this question: if you could right now change places with somebody on an unfallen world, would you take that opportunity? Would you do it? If you could go to an unfallen world right now with somebody and they could come here, would you trade places with them? A lot of people say, 'yeah.

Wow, I'll go there today!' Others kind of think about it then they say, 'no, I wouldn't.' I would say I wouldn't. It's very appealing - escape the misery of this world - the trials - but think about what you'd be relinquishing - you'd be relinquishing a place on this earth and the people on this earth have been the ones that The Son of God died for. You are a very special person. Jesus came down from heaven to die for you. Angels and people from other fallen worlds, they didn't sin.

Now, I don't know - it's not because I think we're going to be super-special. I don't think that's the right purpose or reason, but there is - there is something to the fact that living on this earth - angels cannot even sing a certain song that we'll be able to sing, right? We'll sing about redemption. They can't even sing that song. We sing it. So there is a special concept about being here on earth.

Well, let's move on to Thursday's entitled 'the activities of God'. There is one concept that I can hardly grasp - how people can come to the conclusions they do. That is, that there are some people who believe that God does exist and that he created, but that he created us and then he just left us to be on our own. How do you come to that conclusion? That's an amazing position. To me, you either believe in God and that he's going to be there for us, or you don't believe in him.

But how can you believe in a God who would create and then abandon us? Certainly you do not find that concept in the Bible. Okay, somebody has Genesis 11:9 - does somebody have that for us this morning? Okay, right up front here. Genesis 11:9, "therefore is the name of it called babel because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth and from thence did the lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." Okay, thank you. Is God's activities with mankind always of a positive nature? Well, the people back then would say, 'no. Why did you do this to us? Well, it doesn't seem very positive to them - it was meant to be positive because they were going in a wrong direction in life so God allowed this to take place and actually brought it about so that it would change the course of their actions.

And as you stop and think about that, is that how we should look at some of the trials we have? Should we look at this concept before anything else like, 'maybe what I'm going through is because God's trying to get my attention - he's trying to reverse my actions - he's trying to change my course.' Now it doesn't mean that it's always the case, but I would think that it would be really not very smart of us not to consider that aspect in the very beginning. Then - Genesis 19:24 - who has that one? Genesis 19:24, "then the Lord rained upon sodom and gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of the heavens." As I said, some people don't like to consider that it was God who rained down upon the people with this fire and brimstone. They will be the same people who say, 'God is not the one who is going to destroy people in the end.' Yes, we do bring judgment on ourselves - it's because of our sins that we - would result in death - but in Genesis 19, I think God spoke very clearly through Moses that he was responsible for the death of the wicked of sodom and gomorrah and it also refers to things like that being God's 'strange act'. It is a strange act because God, as we referred to earlier, is a creator - he is a redeemer - and to destroy is strange to his nature but it says, 'it is his strange act'. It's not the wicked's strange act.

It's not the devil's strange act because it wouldn't be strange to the devil - that's all he wants to do is destroy. And it wouldn't be the wicked's strange act because they fell in line with the devil and his lies. So it is God's strange act - he will be ultimately responsible for the destruction of the wicked. Do you have a hard time buying into that? I don't. If you - if you ate meat and you found out that every cow in the state of California had mad cow disease, would you want somebody to do something about that? The only thing that they can do about that is kill every cow in California so it stops spreading.

And the same thing goes with e-coli in spinach. You've got to get rid of it all otherwise it keeps spreading. Do we want this sin problem to spread again? No way. Nahum tells us that the affliction will not rise up again. That is, in essence, saying that this sin problem will never rise up again.

We can all say 'amen!' To that. We don't rejoice in this strange act of the destruction of the wicked anymore than God does, but we are - we will be forever grateful that it is going to take place - or that it has taken place once it does because we never want this thing to happen ever again. And then we have the passage mentioned in Exodus chapter 3, where God calls Moses at the burning bush and calls him to be his spokesman before pharaoh. This becomes a bit more personal to us in the sense that God places a call upon each one of us when we come to accept his salvation. He has a mission for you, he has a mission for me, and the question we have to ask ourselves - are we willing to go? Now you may have the same hesitancy that Moses had.

'I can't do this - it's too much for me.' But Moses went and God was there for him and with him and he will do the same for us. That's why I find it so hard to believe that people can believe there is a God that just created and left us to fend for ourselves. I can't tell you how many times God has been there for me and I just praise him for it. And then there is John 3:16 - the lesson pointed out - "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son." How more involved can God be than that? My wife was reading recently about angels and how many times angels, unbeknownst to us, have spared us and saved us and we'll never know until we get to the kingdom how many times God dispatched angels to save us and help us and guide us and to teach us and whatever - and to help John 3:16 to become a reality. The Holy Spirit is God's special comforter to come and help us and angels are his helpers to come and help us to find that John 3:16 becomes a reality.

God cannot be more proactive in our lives than that. And so for us to say he just is up there someplace and he's not concerned about us would be an awful thing to say. I'm going to read the last text this morning - it's found in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verse - I can't tell you - probably into the hundreds, I'm sure - that I've used this text at funerals because there's probably not a passage of Scripture that is more comforting and encouraging than this passage found in 2 Thessalonians chapter 4. Verse 17 says, "then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Who doesn't want to be involved in this kind of activity of God. That's what we're talking about in Thursday's - the activities of God within the lives of human beings upon planet earth. That is one activity I do not want to miss out on. I want to be caught up in the clouds with my brothers and sisters that I have known through the past 45 years as being a seventh day adventist Christian. So many that I have had the privilege of being a minister for and with - to whatever - and they fell asleep in Jesus.

I want to be there when they come out of that grave and meet them and go up in the sky - even though I don't like heights I'm not going to worry about it then. Our free offer this morning is offer #166 - 'the trinity' just dial 1-866-study-more or 800-866-788-3966. Thank you for joining us. Wherever you're joining us this morning, God bless you. We'll see you again next week.

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