Heaven's Best Gift

Scripture: Zechariah 9:16
Date: 06/22/2013 
Lesson: 12
"Zechariah has some wonderful Messianic prophecies that point to Jesus and affirm our faith in Him."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. It is by no accident that you have found us - whether it's live on the internet to study with us this morning or on the radio, on television - however you've joined us we are so glad that you continually and faithfully tune in with us and study God's Word together. We're like one big happy family and someday soon in heaven we are going to see the culmination of all of us together at the Savior's feet. Amen. I can hardly wait.

But until then we will continue to study and sing together. Today is no exception. I invite you into your hymnals - for those of you that are home pull them out and sing along with us. We're going to do a round a little later so you can determine at home who is going to sing what part with us. Hymn #308 - 'wholly thine' - is our first hymn today.

This comes as a request from jacqueline in Canada, florence, marvin, laurel, jim, diane, jamie, and buffy in florida, wilfred, Karen, and stacy in grenada, sharola in guyana, emron in jamaica, joyann in new york, gilbert and benito in the Philippines, hakim in st. Lucia, freddy and sandy in the Solomon islands, tito and alma in south dakota, grace in tennessee, trinity adventist international church in thailand, and denise in trinidad and tobago. So hymn #308 and we will sing all three verses. If you have a favorite hymn you'd like to sing with us on a coming study, it's very simple. You just go to our website at 'saccentral.

org' and there you click on the 'contact us' link and you can request any hymn in our hymnal and, as you know, if you're tuning in week by week you know that we are actually going through the hymnal and learning all The Songs that totally get skipped over and we are finding some treasures in there. So go ahead and make your requests and we will love to sing those with you. Today is no exception of a new song - hymn #58 - and this is a round so what we're going to do is the three of us are going to sing together The Song all the way through and then we're going to do it in a round. I'm going to take the first part and Daniella and jennifer are going to take the second part. So here we go - 'hark the vesper hymn is stealing' - it's very simple.

Amen. If any of you paid attention, at the very bottom of the hymn it says, 'jubilate means be joyful' - that is every Christian's opportunity and honor - is it not? - To be joyful because we are redeemed and Jesus is coming again soon. Amen. Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, we are joyful this morning that this is not all there is and we are thankful that you have promised in Your Word that you are coming soon and as we look around us we know that Your Words are true so lord just keep us faithful and keep us hooked into you always, every day - every moment of every day.

Help us to be shining lights to a dark world around us and lord, to give others hope and to point them to you - that is our only hope. We invite you now as we study Your Word, lord, just open our ears and our hearts to you so that we have a deeper and richer relationship with you that you long for. Help us to long for the same thing 'til we see you face to face. Lord, we can hardly wait so keep us faithful. We pray these things in your precious and holy name, amen.

Our study today will be brought to us by pastor harold white. He is the administrative pastor here at Sacramento central. Good morning. Thank you for our musicians. Jubilate - that's a good word, isn't it? Well, we want to welcome all of you who are here in Sacramento and everyone who is joining us by live streaming, radio, tv, satellite - we want to welcome you in a special way this morning also.

It seems like a long time since I've been up here and it's just the way the schedule works out sometimes. Maybe that's why some people say - have been coming up to me saying, 'pastor white, I hear you're retiring.' Maybe that's wishful thinking on some people but no, I'm not retiring. By the way, don't you have to be old to retire? Right. Right. No, you don't have to be, I guess, but anyway.

I'm getting old, yeah, that part is acceptable too. Well, we have a free offer to offer this morning. It's #156 - it's entitled 'the high cost of the cross' and it discusses things in here like 'why did Christ die?' To free us from the penalty of our sins - and 'what were the hidden costs of Christ's sacrifice for you?' That's a good question. And 'what is the difference between the first and the second death?' Those are some of the issues in this little booklet and you can get it by calling -866-788-3966. Also, this booklet can be read online so just go to 'amazingfacts.

org and search for that title. Can't get any easier than that, can it? Well, we're having some good studies in the old testament and I just happened to be lucky to get Zechariah entitled 'heaven's best gift' and, of course, that's talking about Jesus. Zechariah had a lot to say about the coming Messiah and we get some of our jewels about Jesus in this particular book so what a wonderful lesson. You can't go wrong by talking about heaven's best gift. It's just a wonderful thing.

And so, if you would join me this morning in reading the memory text - it's the niv version - Zechariah 9:16. I appreciate you joining me. "the Lord their God will save them on that day as a flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown," - that's a nice verse, isn't it? Zechariah, of course, lived in old testament times and he was writing specifically to the Jewish nation and we could say then oh, of course, this is applicable to the nation of Israel and we would be correct. But we would also be correct that it is applicable to us because - especially - especially, perhaps - when you are talking about the coming Messiah and the Messiah we know that already came - everything that is said about him is applicable to us in our times.

Many of the prophecies about Messiah are for all times and for all people and in all places. Many of the prophecies that have been exactly fulfilled down to such minute details, is sure inspiring to one's faith, isn't it? I mean, you can just - you can just have such faith in the fact that this Bible is, indeed, God's Word. Only God could predict things thousands of years in advance and them being fulfilled exactly as they were. I'd like to have somebody start us off this morning by reading John 5:39. I don't - have that right over here.

John 5:39 is a new testament Scripture, of course, and Jesus is the one talking in this particular passage of Scripture and it says a lot about - on how we should approach the study of, particularly the old testament. So John chapter 5, verse 39. "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me." Okay. Thank you very much. So Jesus is saying, 'search the Scriptures.

' What Scriptures existed when Jesus said that? Only the old testament. So this is a very wonderful passage for some of those Christians who say, 'we're just new testament Christians. We don't really want to go by that old testament.' But Jesus knew how important the old testament was. One of the pleasures of working here at Sacramento central is associating with the other pastors and how - such insights they have to the Word of God in some of our staff meetings and listening to them preach and teach. Pastor Batchelor - one of his - I don't know - favorite things to do is find the type of Christ in old testament people.

Have you ever noticed that? He can find and apply how Christ applies to old testament people - sometimes whether they were good or not so good. It's just amazing how the Bible does that. Okay. Well we want to turn to Sunday's lesson and in my quarterly - I don't know about your quarterly - but it was entitled 'the robe of a jew'. Now I searched this page over and over and I searched the chapter in Zechariah and I wondered, 'what is it talking about 'the robe of a jew'? Well, I finally came to the conclusion there was a typographical error.

It means 'the role of a jew' - I really think that's what happened there. Somebody has Zechariah 8, verses 1 through 5 and we want to get that going this morning. Zechariah 8 - this will kind of launch us into our subject matter for the morning and especially here on Sunday entitled 'the role of a jew' - not the robe of a jew but the role of a jew. Zechariah chapter 8, verses 1 through 5. Okay.

"Again the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, 'thus saith the Lord of hosts; 'I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy; and I was jealous for her with great fury.' Thus saith the Lord; 'I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain.' Thus saith the Lord of hosts: 'there shall yet be old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.'" Okay. Thank you richard. The lesson points out it was God's plan for Jerusalem to once again be a safe place where old people would sit in the streets filled with children playing and laughing. Doesn't that sound peaceful? You know, when I grew up here in America in a little bitty town in Iowa, the streets were extremely safe.

Nobody - we didn't lock our house - never thought of locking a car. All of our toys - I bought a brand-new schwinn bike - never thought of putting it in the house or anywhere. It was always right outside - never anybody bothered it. But you can't do that now, can you? You can't hardly go anywhere and do that now. I don't care if you're in a gated community - I heard about a gated community just recently that people were getting in and some of the new homes - they were stripping them of all the copper and things like that.

You can run, but there is no place to hide these days. And that's kind of what the condition of Jerusalem had become and it was a longing of the prophet and the many peoples that it would get - be peaceful again and that's - there just doesn't seem to be any safe place. So what makes our world unsafe? And what was it that made Jerusalem so unsafe? Well, for Jerusalem it was because they had been conquered by another nation and they were under their control, for one thing. And why were they overrun by conquerors? Well, because they had gotten away from the divine plan of God, right? Every time they would stray from God somebody would come in and take them captive and they would be then in subjection to this nation - such as Babylon at one time and so forth. Our cities and our towns have been taken over - have been conquered, haven't they? Maybe not by another nation, but by things - by hollywood, television, videos.

I mean, our country here in America is being taken over by amusements of the lowest nature, gangs, and guns, and sexual promiscuity. Aren't these things conquering our nation too? And it's because of sin, isn't it? Sin is taking over. As a child, one of my major fears - as a child growing up here in America, one of my major fears was that some communist country was going to come over and bomb us and take control of the United States of America. Now, I suppose people in those countries - maybe their fear was that we were going to do that to them. But I remember bomb shelters and things like that.

And we'd have routines in schools that if this happened we'd do this and do that - kind of like tornado drills. Well, that never happened but now we live in a day and age where terrorists are trying to infiltrate our country and we see that on every hand. And, as I said, some of the unholy and sinful practices in our world are like terrorists to the Christian person, aren't they? One thing I've noticed through the years - that some of our schools - most of our schools that I've ever been around - seventh day adventist Christian schools - have been kind of a sanctuary of peace compared to some of the public settings in the world. And that's a wonderful blessing. I mean, they don't - for the most part that I've ever known - they don't have the drugs - I mean, there's bad things happen on all kinds of campuses - Christian and non-Christian - but for the most part there's been very peaceful setting and not the terrible things that you see.

Now, the thing that we need to be concerned about - when churches and schools stray from the divine plan of God, are we any more - are we any less susceptible to be taken over than were the children of Israel in their day? And we let our guard down and these places of sanctuary and peace may not be so peaceful. We must make sure we protect our churches and schools with, of course, a 'thus saith the Lord'. But one lesson we learned from Zechariah's day is that very truth - that very fact. If we let down our guard with truth and righteousness, we will be in for trouble. Now somebody has 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 11.

Who has that one? Right over here. Corinthians chapter 10, verse 11. I think this is a very important text for us to consider as we go through any kind of an old testament study such as we're doing this morning in Zechariah. Okay. If you'd read that for us.

"Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." Okay. Thank you. Paul was saying - about all the things that had been written from the old testament were written as an example for us that we would learn. We must study these things and lessons, like we've been studying this quarter from the old testament, not just as a matter of history lessons - as interesting as that is. I mean, history wasn't my favorite subject as a child in school, but since you become a Christian it really becomes a much more interesting subject, doesn't it? But it shouldn't be just a historical lesson.

We must find some personal practical application for our lives today and that's what we want to do from this book of Zechariah. There is something else that we must put with this though, that it is up-to-date testimonies that have been given to the church. I'll give you an example: one of the greatest terrorist attempts, I think, used to bring God's people down today is not - at least here in America - is not persecution. Not too many of us were persecuted this week. Anybody persecuted this week because of their faith? Not here in Sacramento anyway.

Maybe some - it happens - but not on a large basis. We're not being shot at or killed or try to be killed because of our faith in the Bible or God. But the biggest tool that the devil used today - guess what it is. It's prosperity. It's prosperity.

The devil saw, in times past, where he used persecution and people shed their blood and became martyrs, that this blood became the seed of evangelism and the church grew and prospered. And the devil scratched his head and said, 'that isn't going to work. We've got to change our tactics.' And he went to work - turned things around to bless - bless with prosperity. In times of ease and prosperity is a time most when God's people have strayed. And in America - I just heard it this past week on the radio - national public radio - that according to the latest surveys, there are more agnostics and atheists than ever before here in the United States.

More than ever before. And less people going to church. And, of course, as we know, even a lot of times people going to church become very formalistic - it's just denying the power thereof - remember that verse? Deny its real power? Even in our own churches we have to be careful. I mean, you can hear a powerful sermon on the nearness of Christ's return - I think you could preach that sermon just about anytime these days, right? Jesus must be coming soon with all the things going on and you hear this powerful sermon in church on Sabbath morning. You file out and say, 'nice sermon pastor.

Where's the food?' And 'what'd you do this weekend?' And 'oh, look - look what I bought this weekend.' 'Oh, isn't that nice?' And we get to talking about everything under the sun other than the fact that Jesus is coming soon. Isn't that how we are sometimes? Jesus is coming soon, right? Amen. We need to talk about it. We need to lift that up in our thoughts and our minds and it's - Great Controversy - listen to this - page 519. "Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect prayer and the searching of the Scriptures will be overcome by his attacks.

Therefore, he invents every possible device to engross the mind. There has ever been a class professing Godliness who, instead of following on to know the truth, make it their religion to seek some fault of character or error of faith in those with whom they do not agree. Such are satan's right-hand helpers. Accusers of the brethren are not few and they are always active when God is at work and his servants are rendering him true homage." Whew - and sometimes these accusers of the brethren are people who really study a lot. They study and study and study but it never really humbles them and they become accusers of the brethren and that's not a good thing to happen.

Now we can be grateful that with the presence of a few righteous people, God holds back the forces of evil. That's what he's doing in the world, isn't he? Still? He's holding back the winds of strife, to some degree. It doesn't seem to be politically correct to ever connect the dots between calamities and sinful people. And we have to be careful. We can't be the judge that if something bad happens to people it's because you're a sinful person, but we must understand that sin brings calamities and when we have votes taking place in our senates and so forth that are totally against the law and the Word of God, then we know there's going to be calamities in our land and they're going to get more and more frequent.

Now, I'd like to say something that maybe some people may not agree with and, so I'll say it carefully and I'll say it - actually, preface it with the concept that I really can't prove, in a way, what I'm going to say, in a sense, but I'd like to think that enough of - if enough of us here in Sacramento central were choosing to live and surrender our all to Christ and allowing him to come into our lives to live a righteous life and promote a righteous truth to the world around us, I'd like to hope and think that that may hold off some of the calamities happening here in Sacramento. You think that's possible? I mean, it's happened in the past, hasn't it? Remember a conversation between Abraham and God? Very interesting, in Genesis 18, God has this conversation - Abraham has it with God and he says, 'well, God, you know, beg your pardon, but if we can find righteous people will you spare sodom and gomorrah - don't destroy them?' And God said, 'sure, yeah, if you find 50 people.' And so Abraham comes back again, 'oh, peradventure, let me talk to you again. What if I bring it down five?' And he kept bringing it down to ten - he finally got down to ten and God said, 'yes, if you find ten people I won't destroy sodom and gomorrah.' He couldn't find ten, but he would have saved them for ten people. What if there's 1400 people here in the Sacramento central church really tuned into God? Maybe we can ward off some of the calamities. Oh, they're all - they're going to come eventually.

We know that, right? They're going to fall everywhere but maybe we can - buy - buy some time. That's not a good way to say it either, but it's something to think about, at least. Righteous living does pay off though, right? It is the best way to go. That's the least lesson that needs to be learned. There is something even bigger that's borne out - somebody has Zechariah 14, verse 9.

Somebody want to have that? Way back there. Zechariah 14, verse 9 - and this is a bigger lesson that was applicable to the children of Israel and it is also applicable to us who claim to be God's children in these times. Okay, if you'd read for us Zechariah 14:9. "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one lord, and his name one." Okay. Thank you very much.

And the lesson brings out how God's people were not to be isolated, but they had a responsibility - they had a mission. They were supposed to go out and tell the whole world that there was one king - one lord - one God. They didn't do very good with their responsibilities, by the way. The whole world was to be drawn to worship the one true God. That's the ideal.

They didn't do well. Instead, what we often find was they despised people. They despised the people they should have been winning to God. Now you're not going to get the gospel commission filled very quickly if you despise people you're supposed to be winning to God. I mean, if you - if you really hate somebody, do you think you're going to win that person to Christ? No.

It takes unconditional love to be able to do this. God has unconditional love for us or we'd be sunk. I remember giving Bible studies to many people through the years and some of them say things like this: 'pastor white, you're not going to ever get me to do this.' Or 'you're never going to take that away from me.' And I'd say things - I'd say, 'well, you know, I'm not here to get you to do anything. I'm not here to take anything away from you. I'm here just to study the Bible.

' And over the course of time it was very interesting to see the spirit of God work upon their hearts and then give up what they told me 'I was never going to'. Of course, I couldn't make them give it up, but God got through to them and that's the power of God. And that's just simply going out and mingling with people and loving them with unconditional love despite the choices they are making, right? That's our mission and, as I said, earlier this lesson was entitled 'the robe of a jew' but I believe it was 'the role of a jew' and that same role is our role today, is it not? We have a gospel commission to take to the entire world. We actually have been given the magical solution - well, there's nothing magic about anything in religion - true religion - but we have been given the simple solution and that is simply to lift up Jesus and what is the promise? That he will draw the whole world to him. So our responsibility is just simply to lift Jesus up.

If we do that when we study with people, if we do that with our lives, then we will see people drawn to Jesus. So in all of our messages, in all of our day-to-day living, we are to lift up Jesus. Now, how about this? Can we lift him up if we make a choice to do something other than his divine will? Nope. Can't lift him up in a right way that way. Can you lift up Jesus by being grumpy and negative? Or by expressing a lack of faith? No.

You're never going to lift up Jesus even if you just express doubt all the time or even half the time. We are to be people of faith and joy and positive and hopeful and filled with courage. That's lifting up Jesus because that's how he always was and I assure you that's how he is today. We probably can't ask ourselves a more important question than this: are we sharing God with the world around us or are we allowing the world around us to infiltrate our lives more than we're sharing him to the world? Most of us would probably be shocked, maybe, if we did an actual worksheet on our time spent. We would probably find that it's such a small fragment of time that we really devote to God studying, praying, and sharing.

You think about your week. How much time this week did you study, did you pray and did you share Jesus with somebody? Small, small amount of time for probably most of us. Now I can't say that for you - maybe that's not true. I hope so - I hope it's not. And it isn't that we don't want God - we do.

But we can often be like the people found in Monday's lesson entitled 'the King of peace'. Somebody has Zechariah chapter 9, verse 9. Who has that one? Right over here. Zechariah 9, verse 9 is a prophetic utterance of something that would be fulfilled in the book of Matthew, for example, in one place chapter 21, is something that Jesus did not too long before he was going to calvary. So if you would read Zechariah , verse 9, please.

"Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion; shout, o daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." Thank you. Thank you very much. So as I said, this prophecy found fulfillment in Matthew 21 when Jesus told his disciples to go and get this animal and he would sit on the back and this was a common scene for Kings taking the throne and so the people were filled with anticipation - 'he's finally going to take over the throne. We're finally going to be free from the Romans. It's finally going to happen.

He's going to be king.' And I would imagine that you have wondered - as many others have - why in the world did Jesus do that? Why did he build up their anticipation so much? He knew how they were going to react. Why did he - why did he allow this to happen to - that they - he knew that they were going to be thinking, 'this is it! He's going to be king!' And then just a short day or so later he was going to be crucified and I don't know that it could be said any better than a little place in 'desire of ages', page 571. It says, "it was necessary then that the eyes of all the people should now be directed to him. The events which preceded his great sacrifice must be such as to call attention to the sacrifice itself. After such a demonstration as that attending his entry into Jerusalem, all eyes would follow his rapid progress to the final scene.

" That's why he did it. He had to do it. He had to grab the people's attention. 'Now you're going to see what I came to do.' It's like parents with children, if you don't get their attention, you're sunk. You've got to get their attention first or they're not going to do what you want them to do.

Get their attention. My wife's a preschool director. She's working with little ones all the time. One of her favorite sayings, I'm sure is - I've heard her say it many times - 'do you hear what I'm telling you? Do you hear the words I'm telling you?' And she says it over and over until they - she has their full attention and then she tells them what she wants to tell them and that's what Jesus was doing here. People were disappointed but they couldn't help but catch the message that Christ really wanted them to get.

It didn't come all at once, but as they saw him crucified, as they saw the events unfold - especially after he rose from the grave and then ascended to heaven - then all the pieces came together because they were riveted upon him for that special weekend. And the lesson asks us 'what can we learn from this event about the danger of false expectations?' I can't tell you how many people I've talked to over the years who've come to me and they have all kinds of expectations - full of energy and hope and faith - they just know something's going to happen. They just know God's going to bless in this adventure or this and that and so often it doesn't happen like they thought it was going to happen or hoped it was going to happen. Did you ever notice that God answers our prayers sometimes with what's better for us instead of what we really wanted? That seems how God does it and I'm glad he does it because often the blessings never come in exactly the way we want them. So I guess the questions we have to ask ourselves, again, 'what kind of Christ are we serving?' Are we serving only the Kingly Christ or are we serving the lowly sacrificial Savior that tread this path towards calvary? What did Jesus say? He said, 'take up your cross and follow after me.

' He didn't say 'take up your crown and follow me.' The crown comes eventually, but take up your cross. Well how do we know? How do we know which one we're following? Are you willing to work for Christ even if it's a lowly task - something that you may never ever get credit for or something you might never be admired for? Get recognition of? Or are you willing to go the extra mile sometimes as Jesus always was? He always went the extra mile. Another way to check your attitude is to ask yourself 'how do you respond when you don't get what you want?' Do you go around pouting about it or say, 'well, the Lord had a better plan and I'm going to follow the Lord whatever that plan is.' I often think of the disciples when they were on the boat - you remember when Jesus was tired and he went to sleep and the storm came up and it was a desperate storm and they started getting their buckets and bailing out the water and as fast as they bailed out the water this boat kept sinking more and more and they were doomed to die - in their minds they were going to die. And then a flash of lightning shines on Jesus and they see him and they wake him up and they say, 'master, don't you care?' Which is about the most stupid question you could ever ask Jesus because that's all he ever did was care. But they said, 'here, master, wake up!' Now here - what if they'd done this: 'master wake up! Here's a bucket.

Help us with our buckets. Save us!' You see, that's what I think we do with God, we say 'lord, I've got this problem - I'm sinking - I have this problem. Here's my bucket. Here's how I want you to fix it.' And then when God doesn't take the bucket from us and fix it the way we think he should we say, 'I don't know, serving God just doesn't pay off.' But what the Christian should do is say, 'lord, you take your bucket and you use whatever bucket you want to and fix my problems or help me fix it or whatever. I don't know the answers but I know you know the answers.

' Well, that's why Jesus told us we must be willing to take up the cross. Are you bearing the cross for Jesus? I hope so. Now, I know how easy it is to categorize our list of duties just in normal life. You know how it is. You've got this to do, this to do, this to do, and this to do.

Four things, let's say. And in your mind you kind of categorize them 'this is an 'a' thing - it really is important but it's hard. This is a 'b' - it's not quite so hard. It's kind of - it's really important too. Ah, 'c' that's an easy one.

'D' is really - oh that's where I'll start. I'll start with item #d. Oh boy, this is good.' And then when it gets down to the crucial moment you're stuck with 'a' and 'b' and you don't have time to do them anymore and things are getting all messed up on you. Isn't that how we often do? Priority #1 is to share God with the world. That's priority #1 for the Christian.

But you know how it is. It's easier to do other things. I'm not chastising, that's just the way the world is. But I've found, in my own life at least, when I have those 'a', 'b', 'c' and 'd' priorities, if I do the 'a's and 'b's first, boy life begins to hum along after you get them done. Life is just so much more pleasant when you do that.

Well, anyway, somebody - let's turn to Tuesday's 'the one pierced'. Somebody has Zechariah 12:10. Who has that? Right here. Somebody else has John 19:34 through 37. Right here in the front and we'll get that one after that.

And while they're looking those up, I'm going to read Revelation :7, which says in - it's in keeping with these verses - Revelation 1:7 says, 'behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, amen." So keep that text in mind while somebody shares with us now Zechariah 12:10. "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." Okay. Thank you very much. And now, I think he handed the microphone right up here in front to you.

Right here. And that's John 19:34-37. John 19:34-37, "but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled.

'Not one of his bones shall be broken.' And again another Scripture says, 'they shall look on him whom they pierced.'" Okay. Thank you. Boy, we've got some good readers. That's what I say. People with some good voices.

That's really good. Thank you each one. What will looking on the one pierced do for people? Well, that depends on the person, where he's at in life, the circumstances and so on. You will notice that the purpose, at least, that God desired of those that looked upon the one who was pierced, had to do with grace. Did you notice that word in Zechariah? In the text that was just read? He wanted to pour the Spirit of grace on his people.

That's his desire. Now what is grace? Well, grace is unmerited favor, right? Unmerited favor. Grace covers a gamut of issues from the forgiveness of sin, which is truly unmerited favor - forgives us of sins. He doesn't have to forgive us our sins. Well, in a sense, maybe he does.

Since Jesus died on the cross - think about it - maybe having to forgive us our sins is not the right way to say it, but since Jesus died on the cross, if we truly repent, doesn't God the father almost have to forgive our sins? He will automatically because of Jesus' death. So anyway - but there's more to grace than just forgiveness. Grace extended to the repentant sinner supplies the power that we need to change. That's what repentance is all about. You sin, you ask for forgiveness - that's good - but you ask for a heart of repentance that means you turn around from that sin and don't do that same thing over and over.

And grace is the power that gives us that kind of experience also. So grace is a wonderful word. Now, right now, those that look upon the one pierced are often convicted in their heart that 'it was my sins that pierced the Son of God and put him on that cross.' Pierced his side - it was me - it wasn't just the roman soldiers, I am responsible for that happening. And it brings great remorse and conviction to the heart and we confess our sins and that's good. Others look and turn away and say, 'I don't want any part of that.

' Because of the changes they think are in store for them. And so, that's the quick look and that's - unfortunately, these people will look again - once again they will look upon the one pierced, only this looking won't be a good one, it will be a time when they look up with the most horrendous horror that could be experienced by mankind because they will realize that they could have accepted the one pierced and they didn't - they rejected it - and they will be subject to the second death. And again, the wording in the text in chapter 12 is very interesting. 'Those who correctly look at the one pierced, mourn for him as one who mourns for his only son.' That's a correct response from those who truly look upon the one who was pierced for them. Now, again, it's not something that we can act out and something that will just come as a quick look every now and then.

If you're not mourning over the uplifted one and the piercing that was done to him because of your sins and my sins, then that kind of indicates that you're not looking to the one pierced in the correct way. And perhaps you were feeling kind of good about your supposed goodness. Well, - or your supposed righteousness - but what does the Bible say about our righteousness? It's like filthy rags, Isaiah :6 I believe it is. And if you really want to understand that text, go to a commentary sometime - it's not a text we should discuss probably in public, but it really tells you how serious God takes that. But those only who go on to realize that they need help from him to change their ways or else they will continue to pierce him and because of that will die the eternal death.

So the correct look will lead to changes. Okay, let's see. As we said, one quick glance now and then is not enough. It is the reason that we have been told that we should spend a thoughtful hour with Jesus every day, right? We've talked about that before - I have - and if we spend a thoughtful hour with Jesus every day, especially the closing scenes of his life, that is the best way to lead us to mourn as we should over our sinfulness. I can't tell you how many people have come to me over the years complaining about how terrible things are going in their life and how low their faith is and so on and so forth.

And I can almost guarantee you in most of those cases those people were not spending a thoughtful hour meditating on the life of Jesus because if you really do that, you're going to be drawn to Jesus. We often say, you know, 'lift up Jesus so the world can be drawn to him.' And we apply that to the world, which we should - we should lift him up so the world can be drawn to Jesus, but we need to lift up Jesus so that we can forever stay attached to Jesus. We must lift him up in our own mind - in our own life. And when we spend that time with Jesus, when we come together we're going to be talking about Jesus and what he's done for you this week and what he's going to do for you in the near future. Well, we must move on to Wednesday entitled 'the good shepherd'.

Somebody has Zechariah 13:7 through 9 - Zechariah 13 - alright, over here. Okay. Zechariah 13:7-9. We have quite the panorama given us in this passage about the good shepherd and the accuracies of these prophecies and how they were exactly fulfilled in the person of Christ is so wonderful. Okay, read that for us if you would.

"'Awake, o sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is my companion' says the Lord of hosts. 'Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn my hand against the little ones and it shall come to pass in all the land,' says the lord, 'that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'this is my people'; and each one will say, 'the Lord is my God.'" Alright. Thank you very much.

When Christ, the true shepherd, was smitten did the sheep scatter? His disciples scattered, didn't they? They scattered very quickly. But we are not left off the hook, are we? If we come up to responsibility and we have an opportunity to share Jesus and we don't, isn't that like we scatter? If we shrink from sharing Christ when we have a golden opportunity to - that's like scattering. So it's interesting language, 'those that will come through the fire' it seems to give a percentage of those that will be saved - only one-third. Well, as you look around in the world today and I wonder if one-third wouldn't be kind of a positive number. You wonder, sometimes, will an optimistic percentage, perhaps, I don't know, but let's get a little personal with ourselves here at this point.

Think of the times when you, as one of the sheep in the fold, you wandered off and partook of some grass that the divine shepherd didn't want you to partake of. Well, how did that affect you? It's kind of a poisonous grass you partook of. It wasn't a very nice experience - and don't tell me that you've never done that because then I'd say, 'you're on some kind of grass right now that you shouldn't be on.' Because we've all wandered off the path from time to time and when we have - think of how you suffered for making the choice you did. How did the good shepherd treat you? Did he come after you with a baseball bat and beat you over the head? 'Get back into the fold!' No, he doesn't drive us back into the fold. The good shepherd never drives, he always leads, right? 'It's your choice.

You want to be in the fold, you can be in the fold. I want you to be there so much I let my son die for you to be there but it's your choice.' So he never drives us but he comes to us and he wants to put his arms around us and gather us back into the fold. That's a good picture, isn't it? And we can't ward off some of the ramifications that come because of our choices, but he's always there to help us in every way possible. One more little thought there on Wednesday - it says in verse 6 of chapter 13, "and one shall say to him, 'what are these wounds in thine hands?' And then he shall answer, 'those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'" First of all, that's kind of sad. 'I was wounded in the house of my friends.

' That's terrible. I mean, that's terrible but what about it? Are there going to be some people in the Kingdom that didn't even know Jesus - they ask him, 'what are these wounds?' They don't even know about them? We say, 'isn't the only way to get to heaven by trusting Jesus as your Savior?' Well, yes, but there's also a principle borne out in some places in the Bible, such as Romans 2, where those - in Romans 2 it talks about those gentiles who were living to the law they had - it may not have been exactly according to the Bible, but they were living up to all the light they had and they will be in God's kingdom. They never had the opportunity to hear what we have heard so, yes, there will be people in heaven that will have to ask that question, 'where did those wounds come from?' And won't they get a story? They will get a story at that time. Well Thursday's lesson, entitled 'king of the whole world' - we could have spent the whole morning on the last chapter of Zechariah to be sure. There's a lot happening in this chapter.

Nations coming against Jerusalem, of course there's language describing all those of the world who live in opposition to the perfect will of God. Powerful people of the nations - of the world uniting - coming together against the truth of God. It's very applicable, really, as you think about it, to the last half of chapter - Revelation 17. Revelation 17 talks about the beast power rallies ten Kings who receive power for one hour from the beast. Together they oppose God.

It's the same scenario going on. Verse 14 in chapter 17 says, "these shall make war with the lamb and the lamb shall overcome them for he is lord of lords and king of Kings and they that are with them are called and chosen and faithful. So, yes, I think there's great correlation between the two passages. In the end, God becomes king over the whole world just as our lesson title says on Thursday's. And going back to Zechariah 14, verse 9, it says, "and the Lord shall be king over all the earth.

In that day it shall be - the lord is one and his name one." Don't you just love it when comparisons in the Bible come together and it makes such perfect sense? It's like a perfect jigsaw puzzle and all the people - all the pieces fit together so perfectly - the Word of God written by so many different people over so many years and yet there is such a beautiful connection. So here's the question: how much time should we spend in thinking about the time when all the glorious promises of God should be fulfilled. Should we spend some time in thinking about that? Yeah. Probably we don't spend enough time in doing that. You know, go back to some of the things we've talked about already.

What kind of Sabbath conversation are we engaged in? Are we talking about the glorious wonders that are awaiting God's people as we remain faithful to him? You know, I was out on a walk the other day - I think it was actually memorial day - so I was home and in the afternoon I went out and I looked up in the sky and it wasn't a sky full of billowy clouds and big thick clouds, but there were all kinds of clouds - thin kind of clouds all over the sky - and everywhere you looked was a different formation and different picturesque panoramic view. It was almost breathtaking. I thought to myself, 'my, I don't look up enough. God just painted me such beautiful pictures - just for me on my walk today - thank you God!' I mean, that's just a faint - a faint look into the future of what God is preparing for those who love him. Oh, God help us to look up more, right? Help us to look around at the beauties and the beauties in one another instead of the negative things in one another.

There's lots of those. You can find all the negative things about me you want, but there must be something good about me. You find that, will you? And I'll find the good about you because there are - when you turn your life over to Jesus there's good things to be said about each other, right? Amen. There's just so many things to keep our eyes upon Christ. Boy, we ran out of time, but one last rule of thought in - concerning verse 4 in chapter 14.

It talks about the feet of Jesus coming down upon the mount of olives. That's where he's going to come back - that's where he lifted off from this earth after his crucifixion and resurrection. He lifted off from the mount of olives - this is - he did not choose Mount Zion - the place of David's city. He did not choose mount moriah where the temple was, for that had just been the place of his rejection and his pre-calvary persecution. But he chose a place where he had often gone to - to spend time with his father in one-on-one communication.

Wasn't that a beautiful thing? That's where he's going to come back. So we look forward to that any day in the very near future. Well, we're running out of time. Bring to you again the free offer this morning - 'the high cost of the cross' and it's offer #156. Just call 1-866-788-3966 or you can go online - 'www.

amazingfacts.org' and look for the title and you can find this book online - 'the high cost of the cross' by Joe Crews. Okay, well, thank you for your participation, although we - in a class like this we don't get a lot of chances for participation, but those of you who read, thank you and we look forward to another class next week. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at 'amazingfacts.org'. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location.

So many possibilities. Amazingfacts.org.

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