The Christian Life

The Christian Life

Scripture: 1 John 3:16
Date: 12/15/2012  Lesson: 11
"Anyone can call himself or herself a Christian. What, though, does that mean in practical terms?"
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church in Sacramento, California. We are so glad that you are tuning in - whether you are listening on the radio, watching live at our website - 'saccentral.org' - on the various television networks from across the country and around the world - we're so glad that you have chosen to join with us for this program and to sing praises to God and to open up His Word and just study together like we do every week. So, like we do every week, we're going to pull out our hymnals and we're going to start with #118 - 'the first noel' - wonderful Christmas song. This is from ariel, jessica and Mark in australia, vivian in bolivia, nicola in germany, David in ghana, Karen and wilfred in grenada - let's see, we have a whole bunch of names - suvarna in india, we have magalie and micha in mauritius, we have tess in the philippines, patrik in sweden, michelle in thailand, olive and doreen in england, rory, patrice, and beth in New York, and natasha, rose, naomi and nathan in vanuatu and all over the world. So, that's just a few of the names.

We are glad you sent in your favorites and if you are watching online, you still have three weeks - two weeks - we'll make it two - two weeks to send in your favorite Christmas songs and if we don't get to sing them this time, we will hold them over for next year. So go ahead, send them in and let's sing. #118 - First, second, fourth and fifth verses. Have you ever stopped to think about the faith of those wise men? You know, they're looking in the night sky, they study the stars and they see something different. You know, so they go back, they look in the Scriptures and, you know, like 'i remember something'.

But to then go from 'look, there's a different thing in the sky.' To 'let's get on our camels and let's just head out and follow it.' Not knowing where they're going other than following the star - that took faith. I always hope that we will each have that same kind of faith - that we will follow the star that leads all the way to heaven. If you have a favorite song that you want to sing with us on an upcoming program, go to our website 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in your favorite songs. We love hearing from each and every one of you - our extended Sabbath school family around the world. Our next one is my second favorite song after 'silent night' - 'away in a manger' - #124.

This is from jizelle in antigua and barbuda, errol and sheila in the bahamas - let's see, a whole bunch of requests here - gifty in ghana, dale, eris and krystal in grenada, manick and gladwin in india, anthony and nathan in kuwait, jemecia in saint kitts and nevis, chiemela in saudi arabia, lilin in south korea, michelle in thailand, and william in Wisconsin. We're going to sing all three stanzas - #124. Father in Heaven, it was a dirty animal stall where you spent your first night. You left the glories of heaven to come and be born in a stable. Thank you for loving us that much.

We can't even wrap our minds around what you did, but we thank you from the bottom of our hearts that we have the assurance of salvation because of what you did. May we never lose sight of what you have done for us and what you have promised - that one day very soon you're coming to take us home and you're preparing mansions for us right now in heaven. Thank you. Thank you for this season where we can focus on your birth and may we internalize that gift. May nothing in this world be too much of a sacrifice to give up for you.

Be with us as we open up your word - we study together. Be with Pastor Doug as he brings us the lesson study. In Jesus' name, amen. Our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Morning.

Thank you Debbie, musicians and, yeah, happy Sabbath. How is everybody. I know we have some visitors today because at the time of this recording it's following the thanksgiving holiday and I know we have some of our folks that are away - a lot of folks travel during this weekend. And I just want to welcome everybody who may be tuning in either through the internet or through satellite and I want to say greetings to our extended members of the Sacramento central church - we not only have members that are here in Sacramento, but we've got a special service that we provide here from central church for people who are scattered around the world that maybe pick up the broadcast through satellite or the internet but you don't have a local church that you can attend and we've got a means to help you be part of the church family. If you'd like to know more about that then you can go to 'saccentral.

org' - 'saccentral.org' and inquire about 'i'd like to know what does it take to be a member?' And, of course, that means you'll be a seventh day adventist too so you may want to study and know more about that. But I want to welcome you. By the way, we do have a free offer - today's lesson dealing with 'growing in Christ' talks about the Christian life and one of the practical sections is dealing with marriage and so we're making this available to anybody. It's called, 'keys for a happy marriage' - it's offer #164 - call the number 866-study-more - that's 866-788-3966 and we'll send that to you. Let me think.

Am I forgetting anything else? I told you all how good you looked, didn't i? Good morning. Okay. Our lesson today - we're going through our study on 'growing in Christ'. This has been something of an evangelistic program and today's lesson 11 talking about the Christian life - and I'm just going to tell you right up front, it's not nearly long enough. We're just touching very quickly on some of the aspects of the practical things of 'what does it mean to be a Christian and to live the Christian life?' I have a plethora of Scriptures that we're going to consider but we have a memory verse from John 3:16 - you've heard of John 3:16, well this is John 3:16 and it's in the lesson from the new king James version.

If you would say that out loud with me when I start - you ready? 1 John 3:16. Here we go, "by this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." Real Christian love means a willingness to lay down your life. In the world the priorities are first you've got to take care of yourself, and then you take care of others and then you take care of, you know your - well, of course, yourself and your family and then others and then the government and your country and so forth and then God back there somewhere. But in the Bible it's really a different sequence.

It's first comes God, then others, then yourself. Love the Lord with all your heart as you love your neighbor as yourself. And that's really the key to happiness. And the purpose for Christian life is to bring glory to God and to love and serve your fellow men. And we're going to be talking about some practical ways that you address that.

Now, in one of the most deadly misunderstandings that I hear circulated in Christian groups - our church as well as others - is a misunderstanding of what it means to be saved by faith. We are saved by grace through faith - no question. We're not saved by works lest any man should boast. But there's a lot of misunderstandings about once you are saved by grace is there anything you need to do? You know, as soon as you talk about doing anything someone says, 'uh! That's against the rules. Anything you do is going to be considered works so don't even talk about or focus on anything you do or you'll be legalistic and works oriented.

' That's not true. I was listening to a good message this week by a minister who believes in righteousness by faith - not of my particular denomination - and he's quoted where Jesus said, 'except your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees you cannot be saved." And a lot of people say 'that just means that the kind of righteousness that we embrace is to be of a superior quality than the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees because they were trusting in their own righteousness' and the speaker went on to say, 'no it's not true. They were a righteous people. They believed in living righteous lives and we need to believe in living righteous lives too.' The Christian life is not just forgiving. You know that old bumper sticker 'Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven'? That's not true.

We are not 'just' forgiven. We are justified and then there is a sanctification. There should be a practical difference in the Christian's life. Well, how do those differences manifest themselves? You know, I think it was James who said - oh, I better get focused here on my lesson because I've got some verses I'm going to give you - James 2:14, "what does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" And the understood answer to that question right there is no. If a person says faith, faith, faith but their faith is not demonstrated in a transformed life then you question the authenticity of their faith.

Alright, we're going to talk a little bit about what the purpose of life is. Under the first section 'stewardship' what is our purpose? Our happiness or our holiness? Did Jesus come to bring us happiness and make us happy or did he come to make us holy? It's really he came to make us holy. If you pursue happiness as your goal then you're not going to ever be happy or holy. If you pursue holiness, on your way to holiness you will find happiness. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and as you seek first his kingdom and his righteousness in the pursuit of God's righteousness you will find joy and real happiness while you're looking for holiness.

Another way you might say this is if we live for the glory of God and by being vessels that are filled with his spirit - holy vessels - 'be ye therefore holy' God says, 'for I am holy' - you find that happiness. Corinthians 10:31, "therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." We are to live for the glory of God. And you know why we're in trouble? Why is there unhappiness in the world? It's because we've fallen short of the glory of God. By the way, that's Romans 3:23, "for all have sinned" and what is sin? Falling short of the glory of God. So living for the glory of God, making the glory of God the criteria by which you measure everything, that's going to ultimately bring you happiness.

Falling short of the glory of God is sin. I'm going to read something from Deuteronomy 8 - it's in your lesson - Deuteronomy 8 starting with verse 11 - and here Moses said, "beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments, his judgments, and his statutes which I command you today, lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and that he might test you, to do you good in the end then you say in your heart, 'my power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.'" the Lord is warning them. He says, if you forget that everything comes from God - he brought you through a sterile and an empty wilderness and supplied all your needs to remind you that every good and perfect gift comes from God - that he is the one who gives you everything. Or we can start thinking we've acquired these things by our genius and our wisdom and we forget the Lord. You know, one of the things we learned from the book of job is you can have everything one day and lose it all the next.

Job had - well, he was living large, wasn't he? Big family - everybody healthy - big house, big bank account, well respected. He had it all and in a couple weeks he lost it all. And I've seen that happen - not just to job - in different respects, how many of you know somebody who seemed to lose everything all at once? Yeah. I can tell you a story - I think I've told it several times - about a family that was just moving and had everything in a truck and the moving van hit a logging truck head on and all of their stuff - the truck exploded - and all of their belongings were out - it didn't explode in a fire, it just ripped open - all their belongings were sprayed across the highway. I actually came upon this accident - that's how I learned about it.

And I went to the hospital to visit someone and that's when this family was brought in and they survived - the truck driver died - it was an adventist family and that day they lost their job, they lost their possessions, they lost their health - and people were stopping on the road picking up their stuff and putting it in their vehicles because it had just sprayed all their belongings - they lost everything in one day. And I remember visiting with the mother in the hospital and she said, 'boy, if it wasn't for the lord we wouldn't have anything.' And so, yes you can, you can lose it all in one day. It helps to remember who owns it all. Alright, psalm 24 - you're first, mike. Psalm 24:1, "the earth is the lord's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.

" So if you glance at that picture of planet earth from the moon that's so famous, or from one of the shuttles, or the hubbles - hubble - everything there belongs to the Lord. So if you have anything that is on planet earth that you think is yours, you're mistaken. It all belongs to God. You know, I heard about some clever entrepreneur who decided to start selling real estate on the moon. And I guess because nobody had claimed the moon - even though America went there and came back - he thought, 'well I'm going to claim it.

' So he claimed the moon and he began to sell the real estate and people were buying it from him. He had it all plotted out and he was giving them their deeds to acreage on the moon. He said, 'yeah, it's going to be colonized someday and you better get yours while it's cheap.' So there are people out there that own a deed to moon dust but, you know, not only does the Lord own the earth, he owns the moon too. So they don't really own anything. Alright, next one is psalm 50, verse 12, are we ready? Psalm 50, verse 12, "if I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is mine, and all its fullness.

" Now while we're talking about stewardship, everything in the world belongs to God - it's not just talking about the stuff - that would mean the people, right? Weren't we made by the Lord? And if that would not be enough by itself, after we were kidnapped by the devil, Jesus came to redeem us. So he owns us by creation and he owns us by redemption - we're a hundred percent his. So if God says, 'here's what I want you to do with possessions that are under your control' - is he within his rights? What percentage of our possessions belong to God? A hundred percent really, when you think about it. You belong to God and your life, your breath, every heartbeat that you have belongs to him and if you should stop breathing and if your heart should stop beating - and if time lasts it will someday - what do you take with you? I mean, they might bury stuff with you like they did the pharaohs, but do you really get to use it? I remember going to see king tut's treasures in cairo years ago. And his stuff had sat in the grave with him for thousands of years and when they discovered his treasures he hadn't touched any of it.

He hadn't used anything. It was all still there unmoved. And so, I saw a poster one time of a hearse pulling a u-haul. Can you take it with you? Nope. It's like job said, 'naked I came into the world and naked I'm going to leave.

' And so whatever we have now God gives us some stewardship over those things and in the Christian life we recognize that we will give an account to God for how we use the time that he's given us and how we use the means that he's given us and the influence that he's given us. That would be through your words and through your life and, really, it all belongs to him. Now in the early church - we, you know, I often hear people say, 'well, you know, ten percent belongs to God.' That's our tithe. You might add a little bit of offering upon that. Some churches teach ten percent tithe - ten percent offering.

And there are churches that mix up tithe and offering - they figure that tithe and offering are all just jumbled up together and people really just misunderstand these. The tithe was specifically set aside for the ministry and the proclamation of the gospel. Offerings were anything above and beyond tithe. And, you know, there's a lot of churches that they write out a faithful check for tithe and they think 'I've paid my tithes' and they don't understand they give nothing to the local budget and then the local program has no money because all the tithe is sent on to the conference and so a lot of local churches struggle. That's why some churches are - they're leaning towards congregationalism where they say, 'all the funds here stay here and we'll decide what we send on.

' And that causes problems for international missions and the work of the church on a global level, right? So a lot of misunderstanding about that but the reason I set it up that way is the new testament church - it's not just about tithe, it's much more. You know, I get questions every now and then and, forgive me, I'm going to sort of take section one and section two on tithe and I'm going to co-mingle them here. We get questions frequently during our evangelistic programs and once a week on the radio program - we don't get this question every week but we get it frequently - does the new testament teach that you're supposed to pay tithe? Isn't that an old testament law?' Now I always think that's so interesting - you know why? Because so many pastors that have a problem with the Sabbath - I'm talking about other denominations - they say, that's an old testament law - we're not under the law, we're under grace - that's the law of Moses - we're not under the law of Moses.' They say that when you bring up the Sabbath but when it comes to tithe they have no problem with the old testament law because they have - and they always go to Malachi and they go to these old testament passages that talk about tithe and they quote from them freely. When it comes to ten percent they don't have a problem with the old testament. When it comes to one seventh of your time they have a problem.

And I just think that's interesting. But really you find tithe in the new testament also. For instance, if you go to Matthew chapter 23:23 - Jesus is speaking - if you've got your Bibles there this would be red letter, "woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith." Now the scribes and the pharisees were - I told you - they were just big on righteousness and they not only paid tithe of their finances, they paid tithe of their herb garden - the mint in their garden. You know, they had one plant with ten leaves they take one and say, 'this is for the Lord' - and the cummin and the parsley and everything else - they would pay tithe on those things. They were very particular - 'one tenth of all our increase we give to the Lord.

' And probably with our garden I don't think I'd go up and down the rows and take one tomato and one melon and one zucchini - I'd probably just give a whole lot of zucchini away because I don't like it - and call it good. Or something like that. But, you know, you want to pay tithe and be faithful and - but, matter of fact, Karen and I paid tithe on our mandarins - our little tree - we've been trying to get mandarins out of that tree for years and it finally - we got a little crop - we're probably going to get a whole box full. So for thanksgiving day we went - Karen and I went to visit pastor harold white and doreen - some of you see our Facebook page. We brought them some mandarins - we paid our tithe to the pastor from our tree.

But Jesus said you're paying tithe on your herb garden and you're neglecting the weightier matters. And what are those weightier matters? He says, "justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done" - and notice in the end of that verse it says, "without leaving" - these are the words of Jesus - "without leaving the others undone." He didn't say tithe is now abolished, he actually reinforced it. He said, 'don't neglect to pay tithe on these things, but don't forget the weightier matters of justice, faith and mercy.' And then again, somebody look up for me 1 Corinthians 9:13 - who has that? Right here - alright - get you a microphone. Corinthians 9:13 - just a moment.

While we're getting to that, what did they do in the new testament when it came - when the Holy Spirit was poured out - when it came to offerings? Did they collect the tithe? Let me read some verses to you that should make you nervous. Acts 2:44 - you might want to jot these down - acts 2:44, "now all who believed were together, and had all things in common," - that almost sounds like communism - "and they sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need." So here it's not just for the priesthood it's - they're taking care of everybody. Now, a lot of them were poor, you know, the early church were from fishermen and shepherds and they were taking care of the needs, but they sold their possessions - let me give you another one - acts 4:32, "now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own," - any of the things. He didn't say ninety percent is mine, ten percent is yours. They didn't say anything they possessed were their own - "but they had all things in common.

" They opened the doors of their houses and they opened up their cupboards and they shared for each other and they wanted to get the gospel out. They realized everything belonged to God. The attitude of the early church was pretty different from even our attitude today. "Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need." So, Pastor Doug, are you telling us that we should go sell our house and our land?' I think the day's going to come when God's people are going to do that again. When Jesus came the first time the gospel went to the then-known world because there was great sacrifice and generosity in the early church.

I think the work is going to end the way it started. There's going to be great sacrifice and people will be doing again what barnabas did when he sold his lands and he came. And why did ananias and sapphira drop dead? Because they pretended to give all and they didn't. So when we talk about tithe - it's that section there it says, 'tithe a mere pittance' - is a quote - matter of fact, I'm going to read this - I haven't forgotten you've got a verse there, I remember, but let me read this here. Testimonies 4 p.

119 And 120 - this is in your lesson - "I speak of the tithing system - how meager it looks to my mind, how small the estimate" - of course, tithe is one tenth - "how vain the endeavor to measure with mathematical rules time, money, and love against the sacrifice that is measureless and incomputable. Tithes for Christ - oh, a meager pittance. Shameful recompense for all, for that which cost so much. From the cross of calvary Christ calls for the unconditional surrender." So when our hearts are really touched by how much Jesus gave and we talk about 'how can I afford to pay tithe this month?' It's a pittance when he owns a hundred percent. If I give you a hundred percent of my possessions to hold and then I come and say 'i'd like ten dollars of that hundred I gave you.

' And you say, 'ten? The whole ten?' I'd say, 'wait a second, it's all mine. Why are you so hesitant? You don't really believe it's all mine if you're reluctant to give ten back, right? You started thinking somewhere along the way it's yours. Have you noticed that when you lend money to people the longer they have it the more easy it is for them to forget where it came from? The more time goes by, if you bring it up they say, 'aw, it's been so long. You mean you still think it's yours?' Have you ever noticed? It's something about human nature. Alright, I was going to have you read 1 Corinthians 9:13 and 14, are we ready? Go ahead.

"Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel." Alright, so what was the old testament method the Lord had for sustaining the ministry of the proclamation of the word? It's tithe and offerings, right? And that was a law that he gave to the Jewish people in the wilderness? Where do you first find tithe mentioned in the Bible? Abraham gives a tithe of everything to melchizadek. Melchizadek was not a levite. The Bible says Jacob promised the Lord, 'of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to thee.' By the way, you know who he gave that tenth to? Because God brought him safely back into the promised land after his sojourn there in the land of mesopotamia - he gives it all to esau. Remember he took about a tenth of everything he had and he gave it to his brother when he came back because he said, 'lord, I promised that if you gave me anything I'd give it back.' He had tried to rob his brother of his birthright, remember? He was trying to show, 'look, I didn't want your money and I do this in good faith.' So tithe goes all the way back - it was the method. Now this is one reason you can know that at least tithe is still intact for new testament Christians because it says those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel so - meaning people of the church that sustain the proclamation of the gospel, what method should they use? If there's no different method given then it's going to be the same method that you already have.

Since there is no different method given in the new testament - the only different method in the new testament is everything - I mean, they're selling everything. They were sharing everything. So if you want to go to that, that's okay. But if you're not doing that then tithe is still there. Tithe is like kindergarten for a Christian, right? When the Holy Spirit's poured out I think there's going to be just incredible sacrifice made to subsidize the gospel.

And you know - let me just give you something to think about. I don't want to take all our time on this because I've got some real hot potatoes I want to talk about. If there's an economic disaster in our country, which could happen - in the world, if there's a real economic meltdown, will the gospel still need to be supported? What is the church going to do then, if you've got all these members that are out of work, to keep the gospel going? Won't it require extraordinary sacrifice? Some may be called upon to liquidate just to keep the gospel going. And so, it might mean a scenario like that that will happen. Malachi chapter 3 - you all know this - verses 8 to 10, "will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say, 'in what way have we robbed you?' In tithes and offerings.

You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed me, even this whole nation.' You know, I heard a statistic this week that only four percent of professed Christians tithe. Now a lot of professed Christians don't even go to church so among those who go to church it's a higher percentage, but among those who claim to be Christian, only four percent tithe. Even less than a tithe of Christians tithe. Do you get that? Boy, how far would the gospel go if every Christian paid a faithful tithe? The treasuries of God's work would be overflowing. You're cursed with a curse if you don't but then notice he says, 'bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there might be food in my house and try me now in this,' says the Lord, 'if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour you out such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.

And I rebuke the devourer for your sake.' And so, on one hand, when we are unfaithful in recognizing that everything belongs to God - a hundred percent belongs to God - he said, if you have faith that that's true, prove it by returning at least a tenth. And a hundred percent of your time belongs to God but we show that we recognize he's God by giving every seventh day. So your time and your means - Sabbath and a tithe are ways that we believe that God is our God. We worship him with our means. We worship him with our time.

It's all about glorifying him with your stuff and with your life - your time, right? Does that make sense? There's, you know, more - you've got the verse here in Nehemiah , "and the priest, the descendant of aaron" - this is verse 38 - "the priest, the descendant of aaron," - pardon me - "shall be with the levites when the levites receive tithes; and the levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse. For the children of Israel and the children of levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God." And so they would take a tithe of the tithe and it specifically stayed there in Jerusalem for the sustaining of the work. Now, they were back then, principally, an agricultural society. When we come to church and we bring our tithes today, not too many of us bring mandarins and wool or bring a bundle of cotton and, you know, a bushel of corn and - so our storehouses are typically not stored that way. Our storehouses usually say 'wells fargo' on them because it's funds that we use.

We're not so much an agricultural society but there's still places in the world and some of these poor people, when they come to church all they can bring is a handful of rice and that's their tithe. And there are still some people that are that poor. Alright, so I think we understand those principles are still in place. Philippians 2, verses 2, 3, and , "let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

" And so, what's the idea with your resources? With your funds? I don't know if any of you have ever played uno. I'll confess we have an uno game in our house and the object of the game is that you want to run out of your cards first. And you're always watching - you're trying to get rid of your cards - you're always watching to see if the other guy is ready to get rid of his cards first. When you've one card left you say, 'uno' and you're so excited if you can lay down your last card and say, 'my hands are empty. I win.

' That's kind of how it is for a Christian. Isn't the object not to have anything left when Jesus comes? I mean, wouldn't it be sort of sad when - I've told you this before but I travel a lot and sometimes I go to another country and I convert some of our money into the local currency and whenever you convert your money you always lose a little bit in the conversion process. The banks and the money changers always charge a little bit to do that. Don't do it in the airport, you'll never get the best rate. I find that if I'm going to work with a church or do a week of prayer at a school, I go to them and say, 'i'd like to exchange some money.

' And you'll always get the best rate from actual people. You go to the bank and they'll take a big percentage. So I'll convert some and it's always hard to know exactly how much you're going to need. I invariably convert too much because what happens - I convert some money because I'm going to buy my own food. I'm going to do these different things - I'll pay for a cab, whatever - and the people where I go are always so nice.

They start bringing me food and they say, 'oh no, we'll drive you. You don't need a cab.' And I've got all this money I've changed and they've given me everything. I don't need to use any of it. So when the time comes I've got to go home, I've got all this money and this currency and I'm going, 'oh, I don't want to take it home with me because it will be worthless when I get off the plane in san francisco.' So I start trying to give it away or buy things for the people there because I don't want to have any of that currency when I get on the plane. You know what I'm saying? Your currency here is of some use while you're here, but when Jesus comes, if you've got money in the bank then you're going to be saying, 'what a waste.

It could have been invested in the gospel.' Now, having said that, if you're a Christian you ought to have a will and I don't think it's a good idea to spend everything before you die because if you have a family you ought to show your love and support for your family by leaving something for them. 'A righteous man leaves an inheritance.' There's a proverb that says that, I just don't remember the verse. And so, I think it says 'he leaves something for his children's children' matter of fact. So you ought to think about your family but what's really sad is when Christians do nothing to plan an estate and then it gets carved up often by the government and Judges and lawyers until there's nothing left and family often fights about it because the individual never made a plan about what they want done and that usually settles things. Now what's really sad is people with some means, because they haven't made any plans, nothing - they love the Lord, they went to church all their life - nothing of their estate - you think the government is going to leave some to your church? You're kidding yourself.

Nothing goes to the work of God if you don't make any plans. And so that's something that I think we have a responsibility to take care of. Don't wait until you're ninety nine before you think about it. You know, you ought to be thinking about a will as soon as you've got something to leave and make some provision that way. Say amen.

Ought to have an estate plan. And what's really sad - I heard about, who was it? Leona helmsley? She left one dollar to her kids and her grandkids and she left like 12 million for her dog. To care for her dog. Oh well, what do you say about that? Moving right along. 'Responsibility to one's self.

' Somebody look up for me Matthew 22:37. Who's got that? Over here. Matthew 22, verse 37. And while we're getting that I'm going to read 2 Corinthians 5:14 and 15, "for the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if one died for all, then all died; and he died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and rose again." You know one of the reasons you need to take care of yourself is because you love God. You are not being selfish as a Christian when you take care of yourself.

It is a loving thing to do to take care of yourself. I know that if I don't take care of myself I can't take care of you. I can't serve God. Part of the way you serve God is by, you know, not just burning everything up all at once. And, you know, if you just flare out your life - you need to ration the accelerator a little bit and your gas will go a lot farther, you know what I mean? And so part of being a Christian is - well, I'll tell you what, I'll let him read - are you ready for that? I'm going to let gene read this verse because it's really going to say what I'm about to say.

"Jesus said to him, 'you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" We know we should love God. We know we should love our neighbor. But don't miss the part - it says, 'as you love yourself.' There is sort of an intrinsic understanding there that you should have a normal love for yourself. Now most of us don't have too much problem loving ourselves, but there are some people that just wear themselves out because they feel guilty taking care of themselves.

Jesus told the disciples there was a time to guard your health. Mark 6:31, "and he said to them," - they had been out teaching and preaching and he said, "'come aside by yourselves to a deserted place'" - that means a wilderness area - "'and rest a while.'" - He wasn't even talking about a Sabbath rest, they just needed a vacation. "For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat." I used to wonder - Jesus probably worked more than a lot of us do - he was just so busy because there were so many needs and it's hard to say no but, you know, sometimes you've just got to say, 'okay, it's time to go.' You know, I struggle with this sometimes, I'll just be very honest with you. Sometimes I go overseas and I'll speak in an auditorium where there are thousands of people and folks are so nice and I want to shake everyone's hand but I start getting tired. You know you've been up, it's a different time zone and you're just totally exhausted and the line goes on forever and then after you shook everyone's hand people want to talk and they want to visit and they have questions and you can get where you say, 'you know, I'm not going to be able to preach tonight unless I stop, go, and eat a meal and take a nap.

' You've got to do it. And so at some point you've got to say, 'i have to say 'no' to this person in line.' Somewhere along the way and say, 'thank you very much. Here's my card - e-mail me.' Or something, but you've just got to say, 'hey, I've got to take care of myself.' And some people feel guilty about having boundaries. As a Christian you've got to know how to have boundaries and to take care of yourself or you just - and you can't be feeling guilty about it all the time. Love the Lord, serve the Lord, take care of your neighbor, love your neighbor, but don't forget yourself and don't forget your family because that's good.

You need to take a vacation - you shouldn't feel guilty about that. I'm talking to myself because here I am at the end of the year again - December's about to start and I've got three weeks of vacation left I'm going to lose because I'm not going to be able to take it all. So every year it seems like I lose vacation and Karen reminds me, 'you've got to take your vacation.' So, I'm sorry, I'm just talking to myself. You have a responsibility to yourself and that means you also need to take time for worship. Luke 6:12, "now it came to pass in those days that he went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

" Jesus had to get off by himself for devotions. Part of love for yourself is taking time for your worship with God. Now it doesn't mean you have to spend all night in prayer but I'm just showing you that Jesus made that a priority and part of loving yourself is you're not going to have anything to give if you are not feeding your own soul. And the reason Jesus was able to teach and to preach and to help others is because he charged his own battery spiritually. We need that time with God.

Next section - 'Christian marriage'. Do I need to say that there's a lot of divorce even among Christians? A lot of people get married because they think it's going to make them happy and like other things I talked about you'll find out marriage will make you holy. I'm speechless. Not quite, but you know it is true. I'm just - I'm laughing because I think God has a sense of humor.

He puts two opposite people together that they're in love with the things about the other that they don't have in themselves that they find intriguing and captivating and then you live with that person and you think, 'a little bit was really exciting but a whole lot goes a long way.' And you start realizing now, 'the Lord put me with this person because there are things in that person that they are keen about that I needed in my life.' And so, if you look upon marriage as not only for your happiness, when you realize it's for your holiness, it starts bringing happiness. But that means there's a whole lot of adjustment that goes into marriage. And you know the one reason there's so much divorce is as soon as that person - they say, 'they're not making me happy anymore.' They get divorced. Well, if your idea about marriage is 'they exist for my happiness' you're going into marriage with the wrong attitude to start with. I think two people ought to get married because you believe God brought you together for ministry and for service.

Whatever your life is you want to be able to serve. Of course you should be attracted to each other and you should love each other, but then once you've made that commitment you are one and if you don't get along with your spouse it's like hating your own flesh. The best thing you can do for yourself is to love your spouse. The nicer you are to them you'll end up being nice to yourself in the long run. But someone said that 50% of even Christian marriages end in divorce.

That's not true. Well, it's sort of true but let me clarify the results. A lot of people in surveys will say they're Christians but they don't even go to church. They just mean, 'yeah, my parents were Christian and I was baptized. So I'm a Christian' but they don't live like a Christian at all.

Of practicing Christians that go to church it's closer to 35% - but that's still terrible when you think about it. Of practicing Christians that actually attend church, 35% of those marriages end in divorce. That's not God's plan. By the way, good time to remind you we have a free offer on keys to a happy marriage that amazing facts will send you. Let me just read some things here - Malachi chapter 2, verse 14, "yet you say, 'for what reason?' Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and you wife by covenant.

" A lot of people have dealt treacherously with their spouses of their youth and he says, 'you've made a covenant with them.' And the Lord says that he's angry with that. He hates divorce. Again, Ephesians 5:28, "so husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself." And wives, that works both ways. He who loves - or she who loves her husband loves herself. And then, again, we get more questions at our radio program about 'what is the right criteria for divorce?' People are often asking 'what does the Bible say about divorce?' Because there's a lot of people struggling with this.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:31, "furthermore it has been said, 'whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you'" - and by the way, Jesus is quoting Moses in Deuteronomy - "'but I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.'" And that works both ways for men and women. If a person is getting a divorce, the Bible says the only reason that you are permitted to do this is for sexual infidelity. And, now, there are other grounds for separation but divorce is usually entered into with the idea that you're going to get remarried if, obviously, if the person is in a dangerous situation, an abusive situation, you have a right to separate. The Bible says that the grounds for divorce are sexual immorality and everybody wants to stick a wedge in there and redefine that and make it wider and wider and wider and I've heard all kinds of situations where I think, 'boy, I'd hate to be in that marriage.' But really, there's just these biblical grounds. Now, in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 - I just did a big study on this this year because I wrote a new book called, 'marriage, divorce and remarriage'.

We had so many questions on that I needed to write a book about it. In 1 Corinthians chapter 7 it says that if you have two pagans and one becomes a Christian and the unbeliever says, 'look, I don't want to be married to you. I didn't know - I wasn't in for this going in.' If that unbeliever departs then that Christian is free to remarry. It's talking about different circumstances than when two Christians get married. You see what I'm saying? And so, well you just have to read the book.

I don't have time to talk about this because I've got more. 'Christian behavior'. John 17, verse 14, Jesus in his dedication prayer said, "I have given them your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

" Now the Bible tells us that Christians should not look like the world. 'Do not love the world or the things that are in the world.' There should be a difference about Christians in the way they spend their money - did we talk about that? There should be a difference in Christians in the way they spend their time. The entertainment of Christians should not be the entertainment of the world. Do we agree with that? It should be different. It should be holy.

Whatever you do it should be holy and just and good. And Christians ought to, by their appearance, try to be holy. Christians don't have to wear burlap. We don't have to be fifty years behind the times in styles, assuming the styles are not immodest. Our clothing doesn't have to be cheap.

You can have quality clothing but it shouldn't be expensive and flamboyant. Let me read you another verse on that. Timothy 2, verses 9 and 10, "in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves" - and these principles apply for women and men - that they "adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety and moderation, not with braided hair" - now there's nothing against the law in the Bible with braiding your hair. It's talking about they used to weave all this bling - the word bling - they used to weave this bling in their hair and chains and gold and he says, 'we ought to be simple and modest. - "Not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing Godliness, with good works.

" Christians ought to look different. Do we believe that? In Revelation 12 you've got a woman who is God's church and then in Revelation chapter 17 you've got a woman that is not God's church. Neither of those women ever utter a word. How do we know who they are? Their appearance. One is clothed with light, natural beauty, the sun, moon and stars.

The light that God made. The other one - it's the gold and the pearls and the costly array and both of them may be beautiful, but what does God want? He wants us to be representing him in our appearance. So Christians, should we think about what we wear? Yeah. We ought to be sanitary. I think it's a bad witness when Christians are frumpy.

Now, if you're poor, you're poor. You do the best you can. But we ought to take care of ourselves and try and be neat and be clean because you are - why do we live? Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do, do all for what? The glory of God. That principle - do all things that would bring glory to God in everything you do. In what you say, the entertainment that you enjoy, your recreation, what you eat, what you wear all should be done - how you spend your money, your time, to the glory of God, amen? We're out of time but I got most of the lesson.

Thank you friends. God willing we'll be studying together again next week. 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'

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