Seek the Lord and Live!

Scripture: Amos 5:14, Amos 5:1-15
Date: 05/04/2013 
Lesson: 5
"Amos reminds us that only in seeking the Lord is there life."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. We're so glad that you're tuning in and joining us like you do every week from across the country and around the world. Whether you're listening on the radio or on our website at '' or on the various television networks - however you are joining us welcome. I want to say a special welcome to those of you who are joining us on Facebook and live streaming. We've had some people tell us where they're watching from and we have denmark, Canada, Oregon, germany, California, Kentucky, ArKansas, florida - just to name a few.

I know there's many more of you, so welcome - extra special welcome. We, of course, sing your favorite songs and today, is no exception. We're going to start with #214 - this is a great song to get us going this morning - 'we have this hope' - #214 - we're going to sing both stanzas. This is a request from kathy and scott in Arizona, la tricia in ArKansas, brother Peters in aruba, ed in australia, lucas and aurel in austria, tammy and becky in California, charles-awah in cameroon, deng in Canada, martin in chad, juan in colombia, ritva in finland, Ruth in Illinois, Peter and Joshua in indonesia, the wong family in malasia, gilbert in the Philippines, kenny, thelma and Micah in the seychelles, julie in Texas, and kathy in Washington. #214 - 'We have this hope'.

I love that song. Thank you so much for requesting it. Our next one is #50. This is my absolute favorite - other than silent night - and it's jolyne's as well and so we are just ecstatic that we get to sing that this morning. I don't remember - I think I was probably 14 when I decided this was my favorite song.

And so, of course, in boarding school and different parts of the country I would always pick this. And so, every vespers or worship - whatever - we would sing 'Abide with me' - all four stanzas. And so that's exactly what we're going to do right now. This is a request - other than from jolyne and I - monica in australia, valencia in belize, corina and francisc in California, mavis in china, juan in colombia, sherace in england, joanel in florida, francois, samba, eliane, maisie and karl in France, dustin in honduras, alex in hungary, reena in india, ernie in iran, maisie & karl in mauritius, shayle in Montana, Esther in netherlands antilles, ngaira in new zealand, nerissia in Oregon, lemuel and ria rose in the Philippines, denese in south africa, michelle in thailand, gideon in trinidad and tobago, kaweesa in uganda, Martha in zambia, and trust in zimbabwe. Was that the united nations? That is exciting.

So we're not the only ones who love this song. #50 - All four stanzas. Thank you so much for picking that song. At this time let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for promising that you will always be with us no matter what we're going through in life - whether it's sunshine or shadows, darkness - whatever it is - we know that you are with us and I just pray that at this time we would sense your presence in a very special way as we open up Your Word, we study together - be with our extended family around the world who are tuning in and joining with us.

We thank you so much for each one of them and I pray that you'll be with our speaker as he brings us the lesson study right now. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor mike thompson. He is our health and visitation pastor here at central church. Good morning everybody.

Happy Sabbath. Thank you choir. They do a nice job, don't they? They do. Welcome to central study hour - I almost forgot what it was - and I wish you all a very happy and blessed day. There is a free offer - ask for offer #774 - it's called 'compromise, conformity, and courage'.

Now there's a title for you. There's a subject - written by Pastor Doug Batchelor. And you can have this free if you call - in the United States - 866-788-3966 or -866-study-more. Okay, we're in 'major lessons from the minor prophets' and it's lesson #5 and it's called 'seek the Lord and live'. And we are continuing in the book of Amos - I think Pastor Doug began there last week.

As I was walking through I saw he had some maps and things, but that's where we are again this week - in Amos - and we're looking here about how God's prophet reminds us that only in seeking the Lord is there life - is life - there is no life outside of God and his truth. Before we go any further, again, just a little recap of the situation on the ground here with Israel - the northern kingdom. I want to read this from a little book that I had - it's just a condensation. There's a picture of the Israel to which Amos was sent - he was from the southern kingdom - he was sent up to the north. the Kingdom of Israel - ten tribes founded this kingdom around 931 bc by jeroboam - ended in 722 bc after two years of constant spiritual apostasy.

Is God patient or what? Is he? Yeah, he is. Of every one of its nineteen Kings it is written, 'he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.' The south did a little better than that, they had some that did what was right, but the north every one. God sent the nation fourteen prophets to help them, counsel them, warn them, but without avail. They always rejected the admonitions of God's messengers. The record of the Bible gives us the following sad picture - and we're looking at some of this this morning.

So such indeed was the sad picture that we see as we look up north and we see the ten tribes which split off after the time of Solomon. Their capital city was samaria and they had 19 Kings; however, it can never be said that God did not do his best to try and communicate with them. It can never be said that God did not try and do his best to help them understand what the problem was. And God certainly tried his best to help them understand what they needed to do to resolve things - to get things straight and to save themselves from a lot of pain and grief and even death. But as we know, you know, they continued in rebellion.

But what Israel needed was to do what was clearly stated, very succinctly in Amos. We're looking here in Amos chapter 5, verse 14. Amos comes up to the northern kingdom - he was a southerner, you see, and he was there in the north - and he said these words - words given him from God - he said, "seek good and not evil, that you may live;" that's verse . And verse 15 - more than that to actually not just seek good, but to "hate evil, love good." And, of course, that is what all people in every age have needed to do. If they thought anything of attaining to holiness and if they cared anything for eternal life.

And that includes us as well. We should not be any different and each of us here today should really heed the words of Amos, 'to seek good and not evil, that we also may live.' Not just in this temporary setting but, of course, it has eternal ramifications as well. But you know as well as I do in seeking good, very often we mean well, but we often try to do it in our own strength, right? You've seen this many times - you may have experienced it many times. There are many sincere, very conscientious Christians - they hear something and they're convicted and they say, 'I've got to get that straightened up. I need to take care of that.

' And they seek and they seek and they try and they try, but they fail. Why? Well, they may hate the evil and love the good but can't do it because they, like us - every one of us - we have this thing called a fallen nature - just a legacy handed down from adam, which has been skewed even more in subsequent generations. I - I suppose I have a worse fallen nature than my parents did - in theory at least. And I suppose that they had a worse fallen nature than their parents - each generation is the weakest and the worst. And I've said this before, of course, and you've heard other people say it, the glory is that God's going to take the weakest generation that ever was and he's going to do the greatest work that this universe has ever seen.

Fallen human beings seeking God - becoming like him - and taking to this world the - not just the gospel - but for they, themselves, to be a living demonstration of what the gospel is in a person's life. That's why we're here. God wants to do this in us. So there's a failure if you try to do it yourself - as good as your intentions might be - and God knows this. This is why God's biddings - he always makes them his enablings.

This is why - if you read just a few verses before in Amos chapter 5, verse 4, God makes it clear that we are to seek him first. Michael's here ready to go, right Michael? Michael, if you would read - do we have a mic for mike here? Thank you. Amos 5:4 - the full verse - and Amos 5:6, just the first part of Amos 5:6. So Amos 5:4 and Amos 5 - first part of verse 6. Amos 5, verse 4, "for thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: 'seek me and live;'" verse 6, "seek the Lord and live," okay, that's fine.

Thank you very much. Yeah. Seek the Lord and live. You do this, there's a consequence and it's a very, very good consequence. But, unfortunately, Israel didn't do that, as we know, they preferred to seek other things - idol worship and the counterfeit gospel - if we can use that term - and the perverted practices that went along with that.

There were consequences. It led to national disaster under the hand of the assyrians. So, you know, there's a high price to pay for anybody or any nation that goes contrary to the plainly stated will of God to pursue a false gospel of satanic origin. It leads to spiritual blindness and confusion. And where people are blind and confused they lose their way.

There's a statement, right near the end of Sunday's lesson, from 'Acts of the Apostles' p. 451 - The book by Ellen white - and it's speaking here - these are the results of accepting a false gospel as the Israelites did. "Satan will work with all his deceptive power to influence the heart and becloud the understanding to make evil appear good and good evil." Now I've read this many times - have you ever wondered, 'now how can somebody look at something black and say it's white? How can anybody look at something white and say, 'no, that's not white. That is black.' You think, 'no! You're blind!' Well, the people do that with spiritual things - you realize that, of course - and I've sat with people and, you know, they were not evil people. I mean, I sat there looking at them and, depending what the discussion was - there was somebody the other week - pastor white and I were talking to a certain person and it was plain as the nose on your face that they were deluded.

But could they see it? No. And that's the scary thing. And we tried to tell this particular person, 'you know, we want to be kind to you but you're deluded.' And you know, that person got a little bit upset and that's how people are when they ride a hobby horse. Now, it's all right riding a hobby horse if it's kind of a benign issue - you can fall off and dust yourself off and, you know, life doesn't come to an end. But if it's salvational material that you're riding a hobby horse with and you're on the wrong horse and the saddle's back to front and it's a white horse and you swear it's black, you're not - you're not heading in a good direction, right? But this is what the devil does if we get off track and we allow ourselves to be attracted to things which may be kind of interesting, spectacular, appeals to us, but it's not the kind of gospel that gets right inside and starts hitting you where it hurts - where you need to buck up and change things in your life.

You've heard it said by me before - a sermon once in a while needs to make us feel uncomfortable. Do you agree with that? Yes, it does. We don't necessarily like that sometimes but, you know, we need it. And God gives me little sermons sometimes for me and I think, 'oh lord, I am so sorry. I didn't see that.

I was looking at something thinking it was black and it was white.' Anyway, here's the point - what I want to make this - satan is good at blinding people - getting them to think that black is white. But do you know - I think it's in Desire of Ages - didn't get time to get the reference - but it says there that he - his power to deceive is tenfold more - greater now than it was in the time of Jesus - tenfold. So is he good at what he does? Yes. He's extremely good at doing bad, especially at deluding people. And so, as Christians, our only hope is to strengthen the mind and heart because, you know, it's the thoughts and the emotions - there's a statement in 'mind, character, and personality' it says, "the thoughts and feelings combined comprise the moral character.

" Character - and it's that character which determines whether you'll have eternal life. So where does it begin? The thoughts and the feelings. So where do you take the thoughts and the feelings? Well, you take them to the cross, you take them to Jesus, you take them to God's Word. It's the only safe place to take your brain and your heart. Only safe place.

If we don't do that then the devil has access to the brain and the heart and he does these terrible things to us. The question asked - I think the lesson asked, 'what can we do to be preserved from delusion or deception?' Something like that. Well, we know that, don't we? Here's the lamp. Here's the light. But we have to do it.

We have to take the time. Well I was going to say a bit more about taking time to do that but we really have got - we've got to move on - but the Word of God, nonetheless, has to be given its right place in the mind and heart so it can put down those roots - those deep, strong tap roots that will tenaciously get in around the rocks in our brain. You know, you try and pull a plant up and it's got its roots all around those rocks in the yard? Well, alright, let's use that analogy: I've got rocks in my head, but if I get truth wrapped around them the devil can't come and pull that truth out as easily as he wants to. Just as an - just an analogy there. But, you know, if you get spiritual rocks in there and they get really hard and they fuse together, I want a brain like that.

Now I'm open to misunderstanding there, but I want it in the spiritual realm, you understand what I'm talking about? Now, if the apostle Paul could have been born, what? 15 - No, about 1,000 years early - no, about 700 years early thereabouts - 800 years early - and he could have been there with Amos, going up into the northern kingdom of Israel, I don't doubt for one moment he would have quoted these words. Let's go to Hebrews 5, verses 11 through 14. Hebrews 5, verses 11 through 14. And I'll just read this if you don't mind. Here we dealing, remember, with being deluded by the devil because we've gone off chasing idols like the northerners did.

Hebrews 5, beginning at verse 11 - and this is Paul writing here to the Hebrews in his day - says "of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing." Now here's some people here that they don't have the rocks - the spiritual rocks in their head and the word hasn't got rooted tenaciously inside their brain and their heart. There's room for improvement here. Verse 12, "for when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." Now, he said it very kindly, but he still said it. Verse 13 - and not of strong meat - verse 13, "for every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

" So what do we have to have exercised so we can discern between good and evil? The brain, right? We take the brain - right here to the Word of God and you exercise it. You know, some people will start reading the Bible and - okay, I understand that, but when you get to something that's challenging you might think, 'oh, you know, it's going to call for - it's going to call for effort here. It's going to call for some thinking and praying to figure this out.' You know what? If you're like me, the natural tendency is 'I'll read it in the commentary later. I'll move on.' But you know what I've learned? I've learned to stay my ground. I've learned to say, 'lord, I'll be honest.

I don't' understand this but help me to understand it.' And sometimes I've sat with that passage maybe an hour - sometimes I've taken, maybe, four or five days - sometimes a week - just on one passage to kind of really get it. And you know, if you persevere, it doesn't mean that you're a genius - I'm not a genius - but as you persevere and God sees you want to understand the truth, that thing will suddenly start to grow, as it were, and little phrases all start clicking in and you'll see connection with other part of Scriptures and - woow! - You've got this beautiful bouquet of truth, just fragrant and beautiful right under your nose. That - those are the things that God has hidden in His Word. So we might think, 'oh, to exercise my powers to discern good and evil.' It's such a blessing. It brings you joy and strength of mind.

So if the people - if the northerners up there - had exercised the powers of the mind they would have been able to discern both good and evil and Amos would not have had to go and tell them 'choose good and not evil.' They would have already had that figured out, right? Alright, have to move on here. We're going to go to Monday - oh, we have 29 minutes and 33 seconds left let's - 'religion as usual' - here's a little comment or two from Monday's section - top of the page. "More than most of the books of the Bible, the book of Amos focuses on injustice, cruelty, and inhumanity. The picture presented here is that of a religious people whose religion has degraded into nothing but forms and rights without the change of heart that must accompany true faith. That's where they were.

Of course, we understand that. Well, let's turn to Amos 5, verses 21 to 24 and let's have a look at God's reaction here to this pathetic mindset that they had. Amos 5, verses 21 through 24 and I'd like a volunteer to read this if they would. David is right here. Yeah, we're going to bring you the mic David.

Amos 5:21 through 24. Thank you very much sir. "I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.

Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" Thank you very much, David, I appreciate that. So anyway, as I read this, there was echos there immediately - of Isaiah - the things that he said to God's people. In Isaiah chapter 1, verse 10 of Isaiah. He's quite to the point.

He likens them to sodom and gomorrah. You want to turn to Isaiah chapter 1, verse 10, I'm going to read through to - well, I'm not going to read all of it - he says, "hear the word of the lord, ye rulers of sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of gomorrah." Now it's God that's actually calling his people this and, again, he starts talking about their sacrifices - verse 11, "to what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the Lord:" now bear in mind, with Amos, he's on about the fact that they're offering sacrifices to idols. The context of this is they're actually offering sacrifices, according to the law, but it's still useless in God's sight because of the attitude in their lives outside of the church. "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in all the blood of bullocks, or of lambs or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me;" and so on and so forth.

And he says in verse 15, "and when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear:" - that's a terrible thing - "your hands are full of blood." - And he says, "wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes;" - and then, of course, after all this God being what he is, in verse 18 he says, "come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." God is such an amazing being, isn't he? One minute he's calling his children - he says, 'you're like sodom and gomorrah. You just sicken me in my heart.' I mean, he's like a father, you know, he expresses his grief. He said, 'you need to stop this.' And then he says, 'put it away. Put it away' - he says - 'because I'll forgive you.' I'm glad he's like that. I'm really glad he's like that because there's been times in my life - I hope he's not had to say, 'Michael, it looks like you just got out of sodom after a month's vacation there.

Put all that away. Come and ask forgiveness son, come on. I'll forgive you. God is amazing. You know, we get these straight testimonies from God's Word and that can be the thing that thumps us in the solar plexus and makes us feel bad and hits the conscience, but it's when he comes with those soft loving entreaties - that's the thing that just gets through into that heart and that's the thing that's supposed to melt us so, while we listen to these stern rebukes, remember whose mouth they came from - the mouth that expresses what is in his heart, not just his upset at the bad things we do, but how much he loves us.

God is great. God is good. I've got some verses here - Hosea 6:6 - he says, "for I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of good more than burnt offerings." Isaiah - sorry, psalm 51:17 - it says, "the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, o God, thou will not despise." That's David's prayer, psalm 51. David had done some bad things, right? And God sent nathan to rebuke him, 'thou art the man' and God was upset - deeply upset, deeply wounded and deeply hurt. But he didn't turn David away - David needed to repent and there were some consequences, but did God cut him off? No.

In 'Patriarchs and Prophets' the servant of the Lord describes that when David was having to leave Jerusalem his conscience was smitten - oh he was feeling terrible - but she says, 'never' - using my own words, but this is the thought - 'never was David more loved and pitied in God's eyes than he was at that time.' Yeah, even after committing evil. Now God didn't excuse it. God will not excuse one single sin. You have to repent for all of them - all of them. It was just a bite of the fruit that brought all this on us, so that's how important sin is.

Every one has to be repented of. We need to ask God to search our hearts, but when we ask forgiveness, it's done. Oh, by the way, to somebody brand new who's thinking about being a Christian or - don't just think about it, do it - but there may be somebody watching out there on the internet or somewhere around the world in three weeks. When I say every sin, I'm not saying that you have to go back and remember every sin you've committed in your life, no. You can't remember them all.

The ones today and yesterday you can remember, yeah, specifically mention them - and, yeah, keep it up to date. But 30 years ago did you tell a fib to somebody? You may have done, I'm sure I did. Oh no, not 30 years ago, I was an adventist then. Years ago, yeah, there we go. I had to think then.

Doesn't time fly. God knows. We just come with 'lord, whatever it was, you know, it was probably a fib or I stole something.' God knows. Say, 'lord, can you give me a blanket deal? Forgive me.' And he does. He knows you can't remember everything.

But every day, keep it up to date. Not that that's the legalistic keeping a check of this, but it says we do these things - we detect patterns in our behavior. We detect patterns in our thinking. We detect patterns in the things we do and you see, 'you know, I've got a trait there that really needs to be taken care of.' So you get the point there. It's not just tedious.

You bring it to God and say, 'lord, this thing keeps cropping up.' And that's when God says, 'finally, I've gotten through to you. Now we can get somewhere. Alright. So, the sacrifices of God are 'a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, o God, you will not despise.' And so God spoke of them figuratively and Isaiah's time was being likened to sodom and gomorrah. Let me just get here what I'm looking for here.

Okay, we might well ask, 'how could Israel in the north and judah, even in the south, how could they get like this in the first place? Where they looked at evil and called it good and looked at good and called it evil? Obviously satan, in many ways, had had access to their - to their minds and hearts with the result that evil took a hold upon them and they no longer brought forth the fruits of righteousness. So what is the thing that they could have done? Well, you know, as I was pondering this I thought, 'what would have been a preventive bulwark against evil in the first place? Well, obviously, you know, we've discussed that. You need to immerse your mind in the Word of God. But, you know, there is a - there is a - I want you to be turning to Joshua - be turning to Joshua, please. There is a - there is a power in looking back - and I think you'll agree with me on this, seeing how God has led you in the first place.

You know, if I want to kind of re-warm and rekindle my heart, I look back at how God has led me over the - 44 years almost? When I was a teenager still in a rock-n-roll band - I look back and I see God's hand. Anyway, I'm saying this because I want to - I want us to go to Joshua chapter 4 and we're going to see here how the children of Israel crossed the river Jordan. You remember that passage there, where they were commanded to take twelve stones out of the water - Moses said - Joshua said, 'take twelve stones out of the water. Get twelve men.' And they came and they put them down on the other side of the bank and Joshua chapter 4, verses 6 and 7 - and this is what he said. He said "that this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, 'what mean ye by these stones?' Then ye shall answer them, that the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

" And actually, I should have read from verse 20, actually. But - well, I'm going to read it because it brings in the red sea as well. I should have gone here first, I apologize. Verse 20 of Joshua chapter 4. It says, "and those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in gilgal.

" - By the way, gilgal was one of the centers of this terrible worship that they had in the north. I wonder what ever happened to those stones. They put them there as a reminder - if they were there they probably just walked by them and not cared to look or they just dispersed them or did years before. Verse 21, "and he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, 'when your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, what mean these stones?' Then ye shall let your children know, saying, 'Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the red sea, which he dried up from before us until we were gone over: that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the lord, that it is mighty:" - now look at this: - "that ye might fear the Lord your God for" - what? - "For ever.

'" So he's telling them, 'if you look back at these ebenezers - you know, these memorials - and remind yourself how God led you' - he says - 'you will fear the lord your God for ever.' Just by looking back. And I really believe if north and south - if they'd done that, it would have - it would have done a lot of good. It would have been a preventive barrier in many ways. Now, I'm saying that so I can apply this to us. We need to look back in our history to see how God has led us individually and especially as a people.

You're probably familiar with the statement - I didn't have time to get it but what is it? 'We have nothing to fear except we look back and see' - oh come on, we've got to have somebody who can help me with this - 'see God's leading in our past' - yes, you got it word for word desiree? Alright - yeah 'and his teachings now' - past history - thank you very much. Why did Ellen white say that? Because, there's a principle that needs to be carried out in our life because when we look back and we see how the remnant church came into being - going to that great advent awakening in the late 1700s - early 1800s - getting up there to the mid s - you see that history in those 40-something - 50 years - how the Holy Spirit was moving upon groups of people unconnected in different parts of the world - to go to the book of Daniel, especially Daniel :14 - the 2300 days - and there was this idea going around that 'Jesus - we think he's going to come somewhere in the 1840s.' And, of course, over here, especially, we think of william miller and that great advent awakening which, as you know, October 22, 1844, something happened. They were mistaken in respect to the nature of the event. The calculation was absolutely correct, but the sanctuary was not the earth and the cleansing was not the fire of the last days. It was Jesus passing into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to begin the antitypical day of atonement.

That's what happened. And they finally understood this. You know, whenever I read back on those events, what does it do to me? The same, I hope, as what it does to you, I think. Wow, it kind of gets things moving again, you think, 'you know, we have not followed cunningly devised fables. We're a movement.

There's no virtue in us - only as we cling to Jesus. There's no virtue in us as a church. The only virtue we possess is what's in this book and the virtue in this book and in Jesus - the virtue of this truth is available for everybody. I tell that to people, by the way, when I'm studying with them to be baptized. I say, this might sound kind of arrogant to say that we believe we're the remnant church' - but I say, 'I tell you this, I consider myself an open-minded person' - and I says - 'I've been an adventist Christian now for, well, 43 years' - I says - 'as yet, I haven't found a church that has more light put together like it - like we find it in this church.

' - I says - 'if I found a church like - that had more - I'd join it - but I haven't found one yet.' So I tell the person, I said, 'this is why we don't want to sound arrogant when we believe that we're the remnant church.' And I tell the person, again, what I just told you. In ourselves we possess no virtue, it's just the virtue we get from Jesus and that virtue is available for every single human being and the virtue of this truth that we possess is available for everybody else. So we need to be humble, yes, but we need to recognize the value of these precious truths that God has given to us. We have not followed cunningly devised fables and we have people today in our educational system - people who are - I'll just say it - they're in the ministry and they don't preach these things. They don't teach these things because they're as blind as some of those false prophets up in the north country if Israel and the blind ones down in the south.

I may get an e-mail for that - maybe one or two - but you know what? It's the truth and I'm saying it. We have to. We have to. We've no time to mess around, friends. It's time to seek good and not evil that you may live because probation is almost ready to close.

We need to seek the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Husbands, love your Christ - husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it. Alright? That he might clothe her in that beautiful righteousness without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. We need the wedding garment on. We need the wedding garment on.

Let me read you this from 'third selected messages', page 419, paragraph 1 - the reason why we need the wedding garment is yes, so that we'll be righteous in God's eyes, and when the judgment comes up God looks and says, 'look at this person here, they were in the gutter but this faithful soul from this church up there or in the south or this young man from Sacramento central church - my son Michael gave them a book and they found Jesus and they're out of the gutter and look at them. They're beautiful and righteous.' God delights in righteousness, you know, he just loves righteousness. So God, with joy, and Jesus, with joy, will say, 'father, I shed my blood for them and it was not in vain. I will' - and he points to the recording angel - 'I will that their name be kept in the lamb's book of life.' And the angel keeps it there. But you know, there's some coming out.

But it's not just that, it's so when we have that righteous robe on, we are protected in the time of trouble. Let me read you this: selected messages - what did I say? - It may start just over the page 418 and goes on to 419 - it says, "the time is right upon us when there will be sorrow in the world that no human balm can heal." And can you see it coming? "The flattering monuments of man's greatness will be crumbled in the dust. Even before the last great destruction comes upon the world." And it says this: "only by being clothed with the robe of Christ's righteousness can we escape the judgments that are coming upon the earth." I kid you not. When those plagues start being poured out, I want a place to hide. And, you know, you hear some people are kind of cavalier, you know, 'I don't care about God.

' You know - swagger around - 'I don't care about God.' Listen, I've said this before, all the tough guys, when God pours out those plagues, they'll be on the floor squealing like little girls. Yeah. Their masculinity will be shown for what it really is - just bravado, yeah. So a real man is a wise man. He finds a place to hide.

My dad was in the british army during the second world war. He was in the royal artillery. In england everything is royal - it's the royal navy, the royal artillery, the royal air force - but he was in the royal artillery and he was in north africa and italy and he described how they, you know, they had guns and they'd shell germans and move on and the germans would find them and shell them and he said, 'son,' - he says - 'Michael, when you hear those shells coming in, you don't feel like being a hero.' - He says - 'you just want to find a place to hide.' And when those plagues start coming down, I want a place to hide and I'm sure you do as well. And you shall have one if you have upon you the robe of Christ's righteousness. Whatever struggles you may have in attaining to that - and it's through faith in Christ - but we still have to make the choice - whatever struggles, whatever sacrifices you have to make to secure that robe, trust me, it will all be worth while.

Everything - I was going to say every sacrifice - everything you may have considered a sacrifice, because it's not - what we give up, what we sacrifice is a pittance compared to the sacrifice Jesus has made for us. Tuesday, well, it's Tuesday and we still have seven and a half minutes left. 'Called to be a prophet' - it's never been easy to be a prophet and it wasn't for Amos. Like all the prophets before, he met with opposition, ridicule - you know, the prophets often met with physical abuse and sometimes they were put to death. And so, here's Amos, he goes - and I'm sure he got a lot of this bad language and all those other things, but it's interesting and very sad that in his case his chief antagonist was a person called amaziah.

He was the priest of bethel. He was a spiritual leader there in the northern kingdom of Israel. In Amos 7:10-17 it describes how amaziah gave a false - gave a false report to the King saying that Amos was coming and he was conspiring - he was up to no good. And so amaziah comes to Amos and he tells him, 'you know you need to be out of here. You're just making a nuisance of yourself.

Go back to where you came. Go back and get with your southern friends. Tell them what you've got to say. We just don't want you here.' Well, it was pretty bold but, as a consequence - there were consequences that would come to amaziah for his arrogance and his brazen opposition against God's people. You see, because when he was giving lip to Amos, he was giving lip to God.

You have to be really careful - God is a holy God. So what happened - where am I looking here? Verse - Amos 7:16 and 17 - it says - this is what - this is the swift pronouncement of judgment that came upon him. "Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: thou sayest, 'prophesy not against Israel,' therefore thus saith the Lord; 'thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.'" And which land were they taken to? Well, they were dispersed by the assyrians. The assyrians were cruel, heartless people who cared little for human life or property. And it must have been a terrible thing when - when that happened.

But here's this man - supposedly a spiritual leader in the country here but where - I want to go now to - yeah - a parallel situation that we find back in Jeremiah. So here's the parallel situation, first of all, Amos he goes to the north, he's met by this false prophet - this false - sorry, this false spiritual leader, this false priest. Now we look in Jeremiah - some years later - he's down in the southern kingdom and he goes and he preaches the message that God wants him to preach - it's in Jeremiah chapters 27 and 28 - we don't have time to read it but just make reference to it. And here's a parallel situation where the southern kingdom - Jeremiah's seeking to get them to accept the fact that they have to come under the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, because they have been bad, they've been naughty and they have to accept this chastisement. And it won't be forever - it'll be for 70 years - you'll be taken captive and those of you who remain over there, you will find that your children, probably, they will come back but it won't be the end of the kingdom.

So he said, 'look, you must submit to Nebuchadnezzar. He is God's instrument. If you do that, go there, build your homes, plant your vineyards, get married, have your children - but if you rebel - if you rebel, Nebuchadnezzar will come down upon you and he will come down upon you hard.' This was God's true prophet telling them to accept what was their rightful due. But Jeremiah finds himself confronted - not this time by a priest with a false gospel, but this time, a false prophet. Well, false prophets, especially, with a lying message.

And, again, in Jeremiah 28 you find here there's this story about these yokes - Jeremiah made this yoke and he goes in before the King and he says, 'you know, you've got to wear this yoke.' And then the false prophet comes along and he says - and I'm using my own words here - 'thus saith the Lord' - he steps in now to put down what Jeremiah has said - he said, 'thus saith the Lord,' - he said - 'the King of Babylon - you shall break this yoke and within two years you shall go back home again.' He lied - he told an absolute lie and there was repercussions because of that also. Let's go to Jeremiah chapter 28, verses 15 through 17 - Jeremiah , verses 15 through 17 - the false prophet was hananiah - and here's the doom that was pronounced on him by Jeremiah - Jeremiah 28, verses 15 through , "then said the prophet Jeremiah unto hananiah the prophet, 'hear now, hananiah; the Lord hath not sent thee, but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord; behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord.' So hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month." Now time's nearly gone but, in conclusion, I want to say this: where was the priesthood in judah at this time? What about the other priests who were supposed to be ministering in the temple? Weren't they supposed to defend God's truth? Shouldn't they have stood on Jeremiah's side and said, 'listen everybody, you need to listen to Jeremiah - he's preaching the truth here'? Nothing of the sort. Nothing of the sort. In theory, they were supposed to uphold truth but they were not.

I have a lot more to say but there's a few seconds left. But anyway, be that as it may, this is a - this is a statement that Ellen white gives to ministers of all time, but especially ministers this day, we have to stand for truth, warn the flock about heresy, and preach the truth. Testimonies p. 321, "In this fearful time just before Christ is to come the second time, God's faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the baptist. A responsible important work is before them and those who speak smooth things God will not acknowledge as his shepherds.

A fearful woe is upon them." Well, we're done. That's all we have for today, but, again, I want to encourage you to call 1-866-study-more or -866-788-3966 and ask for offer #774 'compromise, conformity, and courage' - great little book by Pastor Doug. Amazing Facts will send this to you free if you live in the continental United States. God bless you. We will see you next week as we continue on with 'major lessons from the minor prophets'.

If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at ''. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location. So many possibilities.

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