Arming for Victory

Arming for Victory

Scripture: Ephesians 6:13
Date: 11/17/2012  Lesson: 7
"Every believer must be personally and individually armed as we each find ourselves immersed in the great controversy."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. We are so glad that you are tuning in for another central study hour. Every week we get together, we open up God's word, we study together and, of course, we sing your favorite songs. I want to welcome those of you who are listening on the radio, watching live at our website at 'saccentral.org', or the various television networks, dvd - however you are joining us, welcome. I hope that you've had a wonderful week and you're ready, just like we are, to start singing.

Our first request is #205 - 'gleams of the golden morning' - #205. This comes as a request from our worldwide family - jizell and arah in antigua and barbuda, kenyon, felicia, John, and lola in australia, birdie and ralph in the bahamas, ocian in england, Karen, wilfred, naomi, Israel, linda, and diana in grenada, lois and howard in guyana, marilyn in honduras, hezron in india, valerie in Massachusetts, leo and dorothy in Michigan, howard and dian in Mississippi, errol in the netherlands, gershwin and marilyn in New York, sandie, vern, jamie, jenny and jared in North Carolina, freddy and sandy in the Solomon islands, joan in tennessee, edwy and kristen in the united kingdom, tamah in the u.s. Virgin islands, and william in Wisconsin. 'Gleams of the golden morning' - wonderful song - we're going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas. Join with us.

It's so nice to have handerson back - and his family - handerson is our choir conductor here at Sacramento central, but he lives in chico, which is almost two hours away so we are very happy when handerson gets to come for church service and Sabbath school and play for us this morning. Our next song, as we work our way through the hymnal singing The Songs we don't know - here is a beautiful one - #32 - 'when in our music God is glorified'. Looking in the special little book that accompanies the hymnal that tells you the history of each song, this one was written by a man whose last name was engelberg and he was very gifted in music. At the age of ten he wrote his first big piece that was played at some royal academy of music and by 18 he was getting master's - Batchelor's degrees - very, very gifted in music and with his music they said that it's more complicated - it never has a place that repeats itself so it just keeps on going. And this is a good example of that but it's a beautiful song.

And we have requests for this as well - it's florence in Alaska, someone named Alaska that lives in Arizona, joyann in barbados, ricardo in brazil, amanda in Canada, and rut in the netherlands. And there is a note attached to this from ricardo in brazil. "I'm not a seventh day adventist, but I love your songs and sermons...i feel God's presence when I'm gathering with this special people. Thank you for this website and the amazing songs you and everbody sings on Saturdays at 2:00 pm here in brazil! Thank you!" It's always nice to hear from our viewers or extended family around the world and thank you, ricardo, for sending in that nice message. We're going to sing all four stanzas of our new song as we learn it together.

I love that song! 'When in our music God is glorified' - I hope that is in each of your homes and in your churches - wherever it is that you are singing praises to God - that they are truly songs that God can be glorified in. We like that at central. We hope that all of our music glorifies God. If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us - a Christmas request - make sure you hurry up and get in your Christmas songs now because we're going to start singing those very soon with you on the air so you have a couple more weeks to get those in. Go to our website at 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link and send in your favorite Christmas song. At this time we will bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, we pray that everything we say and we do and we sing will glorify you - not just today but for the rest of our lives may we always be in tune with you. May we always love you. And I know that there's times when I'm sure you question our love for you.

I pray that each day we will strive to be more and more like you so that there's no question to you or to the world that we are Christians in the full sense of the word. Father, come and live in our hearts. Be with us as we open up your word and we study together. May you just fill us today with your spirit and fill this place with your presence. 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 Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. Thank you very much debbie and kula. I wish you all a very good day. You're all looking very happy and cheerful this morning. Praise the Lord.

God's good, isn't he? Okay, we have an offer for you this morning. It's called 'the armor of God'. It's a little book written by Pastor Doug - for those of you who are looking in, it's offer #173 and if you call the number -866-study-more or -866-788-3966 we will send this book to you absolutely free. Now, again I mention to you it's written by Pastor Doug and it's actually the theme this morning - the armor of God. As I was looking through this, he's got all the bases covered.

He's got the helmet of salvation - we'll be looking at some of that this morning, he's got truth, he's got - near the end here, I was looking just near the end, it's about prayer. Now, we all need prayer, do we not? Now some people say, 'you know, I was doing this and doing that and finally I prayed.' You know, prayer should not be the last thing that we resort to. Prayer needs to be the first thing. That's right. So whatever you do, get this book.

It's on about 'stand your ground' and this morning we'll be looking at in the lesson, standing your ground. So it's offer #173 - 'the armor of God'. -866-Study-more or -866-788-3966. Okay, so we're on lesson #7 this week and it's called 'arming'. We're arming for victory and there's a memory verse I'd like to read first.

It's from Ephesians chapter 6, verse 13. It says, "therefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand." And those of you who have the lesson, you'll see the key thought at the beginning is this - and I will read it - "every believer must be personally and individually armed as we find ourselves immersed in the great controversy." And that's true. I'd like us to go to Ephesians chapter 6 as we begin this morning. I remember I was presenting the lesson a couple of weeks ago and we were in this very same chapter - Ephesians chapter 6 and it reminds us very clearly here that we're not wrestling or fighting against flesh and blood. Ephesians 6, verse 12, "for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

" So we're not fighting against human enemies, we're not fighting against flesh and blood, we're fighting against fallen angels who are prepared, they're trained, they're organized, they are determined to stop us in our tracks, to just bring to nothing our mission - but along with that they are determined to steal from each one of us our own salvation that we might go the same ultimate path that they are going and that is, of course, into the lake of fire and who wants to go there. Therefore, the Bible admonishes us - and I'm reading, again, from Ephesians 6, verses 10 and 11. It says, "finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of" - whose might? - "In the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Now, this is repeated twice in verse 13 - again it says 'wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God.' If God repeats something twice, three times, it means he wants us to sit up and take notice of it. And the point here is that if we do not put on the armor of God, we will not be able to stand, it's just as simple as that.

Now, as you know, as we already mentioned, our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness. But nonetheless, we can still learn something as we look at a human army - a human army should not venture out on the battlefield - on the field of conflict - without first having pre-armed itself and we need to learn to do the same thing ourselves. See, there's nothing worse than you heading out at the beginning of the day to fight the good fight of faith and the devil attacks you and you're looking for your sword or you're looking for your helmet or you're looking for your shield. We have to pre-arm first - and the place where we pre-arm first - before we go out on the field of conflict is in the camp. We get armed in the camp.

That's where we get ready for the fight - otherwise, we run out there looking for the shield, looking for the sword, looking for the helmet and the enemy's sword's already drawn ready to take us out. We don't want to do that do we? So we arm in the camp and, of course, the Spiritual parallel here that I'm speaking about - there's a good old, simple, down to earth thing we call morning devotions. Morning devotions, yes. Reading the Word of God. Not just reading it but letting that word percolate down into the fiber of the being bringing spiritual strength and power.

To be forearmed means that we can then go out against the powers of darkness and not only that, of course, supplicating the throne of grace for spiritual strength and power. And, you know, the weaker you sense yourself to be, the stronger you will be in the might and power of Jesus Christ. the Spiritual power will come down from above and he will clothe us in his armor - actually he'll clothe us in his righteousness - then we can go out and then we can fight. And somebody might be here this morning and say, 'well pastor mike, before I venture out of the house and I go to do battle, as soon as I wake up in the camp the devil's already there. So, you know, I'm already being assailed from the get go.

Well, you know when you should start the day, biblically? You should start it the night before. Those prayers when you get up in the morning are very important, but those prayers before you go to bed are very important. Before you go to bed and before you have to go out and fight because it's time to go to bed now, right there in that time before you get into bed, immerse yourself in the word. There, look back on the day and say, 'lord, search my heart.' And if there's anything wrong between you and God, put it right. Confess your sins and say, 'lord, I'm going to lay down to sleep now and as I sleep sanctify me.

As I sleep put angels around my bed. As I sleep may the Holy Spirit be working in my mind so when I wake up in the morning I can renew this commitment to you. So it starts in the camp and it starts the night before. When do we begin the Sabbath? Saturday morning? No, we did it Friday night. That's how we get armed in the camp - start the night before.

And this will determine how effectively we're able to fight. Now the term wrestling here, as we read in Ephesians 6, 'we wrestle not against flesh and blood, implies our individual warfare is personal and up close - at close quarters with the powers of darkness. The Bible's not speaking here of we fight a warfare like we might now, in this day and age with the technology. You've got people who can sit over here in the united states behind a computer and be directing drones way off over some desert in the middle east to take out al qaeda terrorists. Click a button.

Bang! That's it. No, no, no, no, no. It's up close and it's personal and we wrestle and those of you who've done wrestling - I never was a wrestler but I've seen it. You know, you get the guy's sweat all over you and you get his breath all over you. That's the kind of fight that we have to fight.

And in the same way, the roman soldier was equipped with a relatively short sword - it wasn't a real long thing - you know, you do this from about - no, it was a short sword and he was especially trained to be able to skillfully use that sword in close-quarter combat and that's where we are, in close quarter combat. And the sword, as you know, is not only a defensive weapon, it's an offensive weapon as well and the roman soldier was equipped to do that. Now, Paul's symbology here, of this sword, equates with the sword of the Holy Spirit who supplies the power for both offense and for defense. But, again, the Spirit can only empower us as we immerse ourselves - as we go to the place where the Spirit is waiting for us - that is in the word, upon our knees before Jesus as we supplicate the throne of grace. And this - this arming in the camp, this arming in the camp has to take precedence over every consideration in your life and in mine because our salvation hangs in the balance and we cannot leave anything to chance.

Can you agree with that? It's got to be the first thing we do and this will make the determination between victory or defeat, eternal life or eternal death. You know, some people wonder why they may fall so easily to temptation - maybe there's somebody thinking here, 'you know, pastor mike, sorry but I fall just so easily to temptation.' But here's where we get back to devotions - and you really should start Sunday morning's devotions tonight before you go to bed. Here's how Daniel - here's how some people deal with temptation. First of all, they don't arm in the camp and then they sally forth and then temptation strikes and then you find them looking for the sword or the shield or the helmet or whatever else and they start negotiating, 'well, how do I deal with this?' Well, there's the example in Scripture of somebody who knew exactly how to deal with temptation and he's an example to us and that is Daniel. I'm doing all the talking.

Would somebody read Daniel chapter 1 and verse 8 please? Daniel chapter 1 and verse 8 - and while you're looking for that let me just remind someone who may not be aware of anything to do with the Bible - Daniel was a young Jewish boy and he was taken captive about -something b.c. By the Babylonians. The Babylonians came to Jerusalem and took Daniel and a lot of his friends away to this place called Babylon. Daniel was very smart and the king of Babylon saw that he was talented so he put him in the university of Babylon and he thought he would bestow favors upon this young Jewish captive and others like him. And one of these favors if you like is that Daniel and his friends - would somebody like to read this, by the way, Michael's here, please.

Thank you. Michael - wait a second Michael while I finish a little bit here. And so one of the King's favors was that these boys would be fed with the food and the drink from the table of the King of Babylon. That sounded very nice but Daniel knew that this was not going to be healthy for him. To be sure there would be a nice little pig there, maybe with an apple in its mouth or the equivalent of what grows in iraq.

And so it was this test - and it wasn't just something he said, 'oh, I don't want this!' Hey, you know, the King expected you to eat - to accept this favor. But let's see how Daniel answered this. Okay Michael, Daniel chapter 1, verse 8. Daniel chapter 1, verse 8. "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portions of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

" Thank you very much Michael. So what was the key word there that told you that Daniel had this already figured out? What was it? He'd already purposed - he'd already determined - where? He prepared in the camp - figuratively speaking. I guess he figured that stuff was coming and when it was put down he didn't think, 'oh, what should I do?' He was talking - he said, 'I'm sorry.' He said, 'i can't eat it.' It's a done deal. He'd already purposed. That is the way to handle temptation.

That is the way to fight the fight of faith when you have on the armor of God. That's why you need to arm in the camp so that when the temptation comes I remember this morning that I gave my life to Jesus. I remember this morning I discussed certain sins I have a weakness for and I already placed them in God's hands. Jesus' hands and he's given me the power by faith and when this comes I'm ready for it. And lo and behold it comes and that's it - bang! - I've purposed.

No! That's the way we fight the fight of faith. And what a difference it makes. What a difference it makes. So to prevail - to prevail in this close-quarter combat and prevail against the enemy, we must first engage in a close-quarter relationship with Jesus. That's where it's all at.

I'm going to move on now. Monday's section it's on about the girdle of truth and the breastplate of righteousness. So we have another verse here and I'd like somebody, if they would, to read that. 'Stand fast, therefore, girding' - what verse is that, by the way? Verse 14 - would somebody please read Ephesians chapter 6, verse 14? How about you ray? You look like you could read this for us. Okay.

Ray's our head elder - he's a good man is ray - a good friend of mine. Ephesians chapter 6, verse 14 and take note of this - this is part of the message this morning. We're going to look at the - the loins girt about with the truth and a particular kind of a breastplate which the Bible speaks about. We'll be looking at what the symbolism means. Thank you, ray, go ahead.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness." Thank you very much. 'Having on - the loins girded about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness.' Now, you were in the lesson - there were - on this particular day - Monday - there were several verses and if you read through them - we won't this morning, we don't have time - you see that some speak of truth and righteousness, some say - speak of righteousness and truth but, in reality, the way it works out - truth always comes before righteousness. I want you to get this - righteousness is the fruit of truth. You cannot receive righteousness unless you receive truth first. Now follow me here.

Jesus is truth. He is truth in a person. If you want to see what truth is - embodiment of truth - it was Jesus. He is the personification of truth. And he is the source of truth for us and he is the source of all righteousness.

TRuth leads us to Jesus who is righteous and as in following the truth and believing in Jesus - as we accept him as lord and Savior, then we become righteous. So truth always - righteousness always follows truth. And this is why he needs to be our Savior and our lord. Now there's many people - oh they want Jesus to be Savior - 'yes lord, save me. I don't want to go in hellfire, lord, I don't want to be lost.

I don't want to have to suffer the plagues of - oh, be my Savior please, by all means.' But having Jesus also as lord, which means he's there to rule your life, that's sometimes a different thing for some people. And they may go fine for awhile - 'Jesus is my Savior and Jesus is my lord' but Jesus leads us in a path that is progressive. Remember, righteousness is the fruit of truth and Jesus wants to develop our righteousness and, therefore, he seeks to give us more truth that we can understand and follow so that as truth grows to our understanding and we follow it, righteousness becomes - it develops in our character and people may do fine to a point until suddenly something starts to happen and they find they still want him as Savior, but lord - they find something inside that is a little bit resistant now to Jesus ruling my life in every instance. Well, there's an article that I want to read to you that says it far better than me. It's very well known.

I've read this I don't know how many times on this very spot in Sabbath school and even a few times that I've preached but I'm going to read it again this morning because it's very pertinent. This is from volume 1 of the testimonies, it's called 'the laodicean church' page 187. "Jesus leads his people on step by step." - Okay? They get more truth. He wants to develop them in more righteousness. "Jesus leads his people on step by step.

He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point but fall off at the next." In other words, 'Jesus is lord but I don't want Jesus ruling me in this point.' So they don't want him as lord anymore. So what do they do? They fall off. "At every advance point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord.

Said the angel, 'God will bring his work closer and closer to test and prove every one of his people.'" Are you with me so far? You may see yourself in this. I see myself in this all the time. "Some are willing to receive one point." Jesus says, 'I'm your lord, I'm the ruler of your life. You wanted me to be your lord so I'm showing you this is what you need to do. "Some are willing to receive one point but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol.

Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth." Did you get that? What do they prize? They prize something higher than the truth. And what is the fruit of truth? It's righteousness. And if you prize something higher than the truth and you choose that and you push the truth to one side, you have rejected that which is going to produce in you even more and more, the fruits of righteousness. They prize something higher - and the perfection of character that Jesus wants to make realized in our lives.

"They prize something higher than the truth and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus." A bit more, but I'm going to read it. We need this. "Individuals are tested and proved at length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the true witness". Now what's the counsel of the true witness? It's a special truth. It's a special truth-filled message for this time - for us - for the church of laodicea that Jesus, the true witness, gives us there in Revelation chapter 3.

That is truth. And if we follow that truth and accept it, that truth will result in the fruit of righteousness and Jesus will bring us to character development. So the context of this - it's speaking to us in the last hours. Read that little bit again. Here it says, "individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the true witness.

If they are not willing to be purified through obeying the truth" - here it is again - "and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions" - do you want the rest? "The angels of God have their charge. They are joined to their idols. Let them alone. And they" - that is, the angels - "pass on their work leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued to the control of evil angels." Who wants that? But here's the good point. "Those who come up to every point and stand every test and overcome, be the test what it may, will have heeded the counsel of the true witness.

They will have accepted that truth-filled message, followed on and the fruits will be manifest in righteousness" - and it says this: "and they will receive the latter rain and thus be fitted for translation." Which side of the line do you want to be on, friends? I know where I want to be. You're very quiet this morning. But whether you're quiet or not, that's the truth and you've got it. And we need to listen to it. And if we find there's something in that that disturbs us - hey, praise God! It means the Holy Spirit hasn't given up on you.

He's striving with you. Find some quiet place. Get back to your camp. Find your camp. Get on your knees and say, 'lord, pastor mike said something this morning that - ooh - really made me feel uncomfortable.

Please can we have a little talk, lord?' And he'll say, 'sure. Sure. Here I am.' Okay. So, the breastplate of righteousness - that's what it's all about here. There's the breastplate of righteousness and truth is a fruit of righteousness.

If you want that breastplate you've got to let Jesus be lord and lead you in the truth. So the physical breastplate worn by the roman soldier was to protect the vital organs, of course, especially the heart. We understand that especially. And, you know, interesting - you go back in the old testament - there's a couple of places it says about - I think it was joab when he assassinated abner the general - it says, 'he smote him under the fifth rib.' Fifth, left, intercostal space - those of you who are nurses or doctors you know that that's where the left atrium of the heart is - it's right there - just a little side there. Fifth left intercostal space - there and they knew where to go.

But anyway, the breastplate is to cover the vital organs. Physically, in the physical sense, the heart - but that breastplate of righteousness that Jesus gives us is to protect the heart in the spiritual sense. And when we have on that breastplate of righteousness, which is the same as receiving Christ's robe of righteousness, our heart is protected. He keeps our heart safe. Our heart, when Jesus comes in through the Holy Spirit, he makes our heart an impregnable fortress against the asSaults of satan.

That little terminology there was from 'Desire of Ages.' He makes our hearts his fortress in a revolted world. And, you know, when Jesus lives in your heart - and he's promised to give us a new heart - Jesus makes your heart the - inside - it makes your heart a hostile environment against sin. Where before, you know, your heart may have been a ripe breeding place for sin and wickedness, when Jesus is there he makes your heart a hostile environment for sin. And the devil may try to find entrance. And if you imagine sin - I'm using a word picture here - but if you imagine sin kind of flies in your heart and it so - before it's found plenty of branches where it can roost and nest and lay its eggs and bring forth its young - it flies around in your heart and it's a hostile environment now.

There's no where for it to land. There's no where for it to make a nest. And so what does it have to do? It's obliged to leave. And that's what Jesus will do in your heart if you let him put on the breastplate of righteousness. Oh, you know, we have a God.

We have a Savior who is so powerful. Why? Because when Jesus was on this earth did he have to wear the armor? Sure he did. Jesus needed faith. Jesus, in his humanity, he needed all the things - all the tools - that we need. But he knew where to find them.

He knew where that camp was. He would pitch that camp before the day began and he would get there on his knees and he would supplicate his father's throne. And we can live the same kind of life. He's our example and he's the one who has the grace to make this happen. I want to read Ezekiel chapter , verses 25-27, if somebody would.

Ezekiel 36, verses 25-27 and I would like a volunteer - maybe on this side - sue is right here. Somebody could give sue the microphone. Keep your hand up sue so barry can see you. Thank you very much. We're going to read - what did I say? - Ezekiel 36, verses 25, 26, and 27.

Looking here, again - now, our God can give us this new heart. Jesus had this promise. Now Jesus didn't need washing and cleansing from sin, but he needed a heart that was galvanized - ready to fight the good fight of faith so I see no reason why Jesus - when he went to supplicate his father's throne - he didn't claim this as well. Okay sue, if you'd go ahead and read that. "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgments and do them." Thank you very much, sue. So again, just so nobody sends e-mails 'pastor mike is saying that Jesus sinned.' No I'm not. It was the last verse, really, that God empowers as he writes his law upon our hearts and minds and he gives us the strength. Okay, I want us to go to Romans :15 - Romans 10:15 - and we read these words here.

This is the next part of the lesson, actually, our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace that's - you'll find that in Ephesians 6. But we're speaking of the feet here and of standing. Romans 10:15 - I will go ahead and read this if you would indulge me. It says, "and how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:" - and this is the part here - he's quoting here from Isaiah 52. It says, "how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" I think it was a few weeks ago we had a Sabbath school lesson - I was on about having beautiful feet for God - I think it was here, but anyway, regardless, are your feet beautiful for Jesus? Yeah, they need to be.

I don't mean how they physically look. You may have toenail fungus, who knows what else - that's not the point here. But they're beautiful inasmuch - I'm going to move on and not get sidetracked here - they're beautiful inasmuch as not how they look but what they do. And so Christ has commissioned us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature - that's in Mark 16:15. But in order to do so we must personally, ourselves, have a firm footing - ourselves - and be strongly founded upon the rock Jesus Christ.

That's the way we get traction, right? To stand firm. If you don't have that going out - 'I'm going to have beautiful feet for Jesus' and you start walking up a hill with slick shoes and it's icy, you have no traction. You've got to have something where you can grip and it makes the point in the lesson that the roman soldiers often - some of them - they had like studded soles in their shoes. Play football - it's the same thing, isn't it? You've got to have a firm footing, especially as we encounter, perhaps, as we go out to preach the gospel to teach and there's various ways - God doesn't call everybody to be a preacher or teacher, there's many ways that you can - God'll show you little ways that you can witness and get the truth out. There's ways that you can do this - God'll show you.

But whatever way he shows you, from time to time we all encounter some opposition and some blowback and when that happens it's easy to get discouraged and start doubting but we have to be able to dig those feet in there, be strong on the rock, and say, 'you know what? I just took a beating but you know what? I'm still in the fight. I'm still on my feet. I'm still going forward here.' We have to learn to be strong, you know that? We have to learn to be - toughen up a little bit. I remember when I was first selling books in england - it's really hard - it's a very secular place. You get doors slammed in your face and you think, 'oh, I want to go home.

' And you wait for the rest of the students to come from college with the van and you know they're not coming for two more hours. You think, 'lord, this is so hard.' But you know what? He says 'go forward. Go forward. Go forward.' And you have to go. You have to learn to be tough.

Gotta be tough. We're talking about soldiers, right? I'm not naturally brave. I'm naturally timid and a coward. I'll just tell you right up front. But Jesus gives me courage.

If he can give me courage to go do things - me of all people - he can give you courage as well. So we've got to be tough. Okay, that's it. We have to be able to maintain our ground. But that's it.

I wonder how many of us, again, I'm going to hark back to morning devotions a bit here. How many of us have made it a priority to be firmly anchored in the truth? You know, firmly established in Scripture. Knowing tHis Word and knowing this spirit of prophecy. God has given us the Spirit of prophecy as a precious gift and I don't understand these people who just want to 'throw it in the lake' as one man told me one day. God has given this and we need to understand these things and read them.

And taking every opportunity to deepen our knowledge in God's word and in so doing deepen our personal experience with God. And also in prayer - what we've been told - it's in great controversy - I don't remember the page and I'm not giving it word perfect, but it says, 'only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures will come through the final crisis and that's almost upon us. Almost upon us. Also, as well, I was reading the same testimonies the other day - and I don't have the reference, it just came to mind last night and I didn't have time to get the reference but this is the thought - you may have read it yourself. She says there's going to be many of us, when that comes, and we're put to the test - our faith is - our beliefs are challenged by some of the great minds out there.

There are people out there that know more about adventist doctrine than what a lot of us do but they've studied it just for the purpose to look for what they think are flaws in it. There are no flaws, it's the truth. But in their smartness they think they've found them and they're going to loose these weapons on you and unless you know the message, you're going to be blown away. And this is why the servant of the Lord says at that time, it will be apparent that many of us will realize when we're challenged that our ideas of the truth - we cannot defend it from the Word of God. 'Well the pastor said it's this - and.

..' She also says we're going to be confused. We're going to be so confused so that firm footing - what do we need to do? We need to immerse ourselves in the word. It has to be a priority. And you know, along with that - I'm moving on here - along with securing a strong footing for the sake of our own salvation - not a question - I'm not asking for a show of hands - how many of us also are seeking to help others get a strong footing. I'm speaking of the lost out there.

The ones that don't know Jesus. How many of us are trying to help those people? Because there's so many of them that they - they don't know. They just don't know. How many of us, I wonder, have ever - ever tried to witness to our neighbors. I don't want a show of hands.

How many of us ever tried to witness to our coworkers. They're souls. Jesus died for them. How many of us have ever given a Bible study to somebody or said, 'you know what, I'm not very good at giving Bible studies but I'll go with you and I'll watch you and I'll be praying for you.' You don't even have to open up your mouth, you know. 'But I'll go with you and I'll be praying for you.

How many of us have ever had a burden to do that. When we have an evangelistic series at the local church - this church, churches out there - I know there's people out there watching this - somewhere out there in cyberspace or on 3abn. How many of us get involved or even express any interest in doing so? How many would rather stay at home and watch American idol or some reality show? Now, I'm not pointing fingers at anybody this morning and I'm certainly not trying to scold anybody, because scolding doesn't do any good anyway, but I'm just - friends, I'm just speaking from - I'm just dealing in facts this morning. I'm just giving you the facts. That's the reality of it.

The facts are that much or all of the above applies to many professed Christians and seventh day adventists included. There's been such a price paid for us. You know there are different postures that we take before God. There's a time to kneel before God in prayer and that's a posture, okay? There's a time to sit before God in church, and that's a posture that we need to adopt at the right time. But there's also a time to stand up on our feet before God and go out and spread His Word and labor for the salvation of lost souls.

That is a posture as well - standing up. Let me give you this illustration here from the apostle Paul. I want to read from acts chapter , verses 16 through 18 - acts chapter 26 verses 16 through 18. The apostle Paul here - he's giving his testimony before king agrippa and this is where he's telling him here - he tells agrippa about, you know, he says, 'i was on my way down the road and Jesus appeared to me' - in verse 15 - "and I said, 'who art thou, lord?' And he said, 'i am Jesus who thou persecutest.'" Now Paul, he's on the ground - I mean he's down there. This light just - he's on the deck.

But look what Jesus says, "but rise and stand on your feet." Okay, there was a posture that he was on his knees. But now Jesus says, "rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister" - now I want us to apply this to ourselves. "I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness" - a witness to who? The world, people, neighbors, coworkers, whoever. "To make you...a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the gentiles, to whom I now" - what? - "I now send you" so he says, 'Paul, rise and stand upon your feet.

You're going to be a witness and now I'm sending you.' And this is what he sent him to do - verse 18 - "to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me." Paul shod his feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace and those feet became beautiful feet as he rose up and he stood upon them and went forth to turn lost sinners 'from darkness to light. From the power of satan unto God that they might receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me' - that is in Jesus. So what's your posture like? There's a place and time to kneel, a time to sit here and listen, but there's a time when God calls you to rise and stand upon your feet - 'I'm sending you because there are people out there under the power of satan who I love and I sent my son to die for. And you're the one that I have chosen to go and witness.' You know, one day God is going to ask us what we did to stand upon our feet and have beautiful fee and go out - not give money - yes, we need your money. Yes, sure we do but God doesn't need your money, but go out and help those who are in darkness.

I want to read you a statement. It's another kind of a strong one. 'Divine love has been stirred to its unfathomable depths for the sake of men and angels marvel to behold in the recipients of so great love a mere surface gratitude. Angels marvel at man's shallow appreciation of the love of God. Heaven stands indignant at the neglect shown the souls of men.

Would we know how Christ regards it? How would a father and mother feel did they know that their child lost in the cold and snow had been passed by and left to perish by those who might have saved it? Would they not be terribly grieved? Wildly indignant? Would they not denounce those murderers with wrath hot as their tears? Intense as their love?' And this is the point - 'the sufferings of every man are the sufferings of God's child and those who reach out no helping hand to their perishing fellow beings provoke his righteous anger. This is the wrath of the lamb. Those who claim fellowship with Christ yet have been indifferent to the needs of their fellow men. He will declare in the great judgment day 'i know you not whence you are. Depart from me all ye workers of iniquity.

'' Now that is strong. That is very strong, but I take that to heart myself - not as one who is here to scold anybody, but I take it to heart as one who is a professed servant of Jesus Christ and I pray God that I will be faithful to him and that you will be as well. Well, I have to close on that note. But again, in closing, I just would encourage you - those of you who are looking in - to send for our free offer this week, which is 'the armor of God' - it's offer #173 and if you call -866-study more - -866-788-3966 we'll send you Pastor Doug's book which is somewhere on here - 'the armor of God' and it relates to what we've been looking at this morning or part of what we've been able to look at from Ephesians chapter 6 - it helps us to know how we're able to wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces - evil forces - who are bent on our destruction and also just seeking every way possible to upturn our mission and bring it to naught. Put on the armor.

You can get this offer #173 from Pastor Doug Batchelor - call 1-866-study-more - -866-788-3966. God bless you. Have a wonderful day. Impact your world. The Amazing Facts center of evangelism is the first and original Bible training school operating for over ten years.

You'll receive practical training in personal and public evangelism. Learn how to give dynamic public presentations, give compelling Christ-centered Bible studies, and all while gaining a personal, deeper understanding of God. Learn from Doug Batchelor and other world class evangelists. To enroll today visit 'afcoe.org' or call -422-7994.

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