Witness and Service: The Fruit of Revival

Witness and Service: The Fruit of Revival

Scripture: Acts 1:8
Date: 07/27/2013  Lesson: 4
"The purpose of revival is to fill our hearts with such a love for Jesus that we long to share this love with every person possible."

Formula 4 Faith by Doug Batchelor

Formula 4 Faith by Doug Batchelor
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church and thank you for joining us today for central study hour. We're so glad that you're here with us wherever you're joining us from around the world. Whether you're watching live streaming at 'saccentral.org' or if you're here in the sanctuary, if you're listening on the radio or on the various networks. We're so glad that you're here with us and as is our custom we like to prepare our hearts for the study by singing. You know, in the Bible, when God's children sang amazing things happened.

I think of the story of Paul and silas. They were just beaten and hauled off to prison. What did they do? They prayed and they sang and as they were singing an earthquake came and it took off their - it just - their shackles fell off and the gates of the prison were opened. And then I think of the old testament - 2 Chronicles chapter - judah was about to get attacked by a multitude and - got a little nervous - jehosephat prayed. They fasted, they prayed and God said, 'this battle is in my hands.

The battle belongs to the Lord.' Do you know what they did? They sang. And the Bible says, in verse 22, 'as they began to sing the Lord set ambushes against the children of ammon, moab, and mount seir which were coming against judah and they were smitten.' Doesn't that make you feel like singing this morning? Amen. Whether you're happy, sing songs to God. If you're struggling, if you're sad, if you're discouraged, if you're angry, if something's bothering you pray to the Lord and sing songs to him and see what he can do. If you don't know what to sing, stay with us.

We're going to sing two of your favorites right now. These are songs that were chosen by our church family - our viewers - and we're going to sing 'at the cross' - hymn #163. This is a song request by greg in ArKansas, irene in australia, emma in bahrain, robert in belize, tonao in brazil, leon and betty in California, camilo in colombia, sherace, paige, max, Samuel and ishbah in england, paolo in italy, immanuel in malaysia, anita in Maryland, magalie and micha in mauritius, dennis in Minnesota, selina and jojo in netherlands, Daniela in norway, jessie in papua new guinea, freddy in the Solomon islands, maila and jacqueline in zambia, and master in zimbabwe. And apparently there were even more names that requested this song but the list would be way too long. 'At the cross' - hymn #163.

If you have a hymn request we invite you to go to the website, 'saccentral.org' and click on the 'contact us' link. It's very easy, just go in there and request your song and it will be sung on an up and coming Sabbath. Our next hymn is hymn #206 - 'face to face' -hymn #206, verses 1, 2 and 4. Amen. I just can't wait so I just love to daydream and imagine when I'm going to see him face to face.

I get so excited. Let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for this Sabbath morning that you've brought us here together to worship you, to sing praises to you, to love you. Lord, we pray that your spirit fill this room and fill our hearts. And lord, may we be touched by your presence.

Lord, please accept this worship service as a small token of our love for you. We love you Dear Lord. We thank you in Jesus' name. Amen. Today our lesson will be brought to us by our senior pastor here, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Thank you very much, jenny and our singers. We really appreciate it. I want to welcome our extended class that are watching via television right now. And we have a lot of Sacramento central members around the world. It always is very exciting to me when you hear The Song requests come in, literally, from around the globe and I've been traveling a lot this year and it's fun to go see people in every part of the world where at least they speak english - and it's also translated in spanish in other places - to see so many people who are a part of this class and that's very exciting for us.

In keeping with that thought, I want to share something very important with you. I haven't done this before but I thought about it and I think it's appropriate. As I travel, I don't always take my Sabbath school quarterly with me, but I do study it and the reason is because I not only have it on my laptop - I've got all the devices - I'm a tech geek. How many of you have a smart phone? Let me see your hands. Quite a few of you.

How many of you have a dumb phone? Just a simple phone. But if you can get on the internet with your phone - how many of you have like an ipad or you've got the internet? There's an application you can download. I study my lesson - the general conference has the whole Sabbath school study on an application and on both my phone and my ipad I just download this and as I travel I'm able to study it. Now here's the exciting thing, not only does the general conference have an application where you can study your lesson on your computer - because I already take my electronic stuff with me. When you travel, you know, luggage is getting expensive so I'm going lighter and lighter all the time to try and get it on the plane and so if I already have my Sabbath school study on my phone and on my ipad, I leave this at home and so you might be able to do that.

So if you travel or you want to do your lesson at work, it's real handy that way. Amazing Facts has an application where you can actually watch the Sabbath school study guides and I'm going to tell you how to get that really quick. I know this is going to seem like a shameless promotion but I think it will help you in your study. Very simple, if you've got a text phone - you're never going to hear a pastor say this during a live broadcast - take out your text phone, make sure it's muted, and what you do is you simply text '99000' and say, 'getapp'. If you text '99000' and say 'getapp' it'll send you a link.

You can download the amazing facts app. It not only has the entire Sabbath school studies that we do, you can play them - they come through clear as a bell - no jumping - at least on my - it's just very smooth. You can watch the lesson presentation. But it's got all of the amazing facts books that are free, the study guides if you want to give Bible studies. This whole quarter is dealing with revival and reformation and doing evangelism.

You could do evangelism that way. You'll have all the study guides right there on your ipad, on your smart phone, on your android phone. It works on all of them and - so you might do that. Hopefully they'll - yeah - they'll have it up on the screen. Now our offer is also in keeping with the theme of evangelism.

We're doing something we've never done before. We figure if we're talking about revival and reformation and doing evangelism and soul winning, then Amazing Facts wants to mean business also. We're offering something free that was very expensive to produce, but we think it's that important and we're this close to the end. Anybody that asks, Amazing Facts will send you - and we're hoping there's at least one for every church - this is a manual on how to do evangelism. It is beautifully illustrated.

It is very simple in how it explains how to go - four months before the meetings begin, three months before the meetings begin, getting a committee together, how to do it, what a bridging event is, how to develop the small groups, how to do the evangelism. It's got the whole manual on how to do an evangelistic program that your church can set up a committee and you can do soul winning. It's still proven - in spite of people that speak negatively about public evangelism, statistically it is still the most effective thing. Now Amazing Facts always - we have people that write us and say, 'we learned the message from the internet and we were studying online' or 'we saw the programs on tv' but, ultimately, when you do public evangelism then people come. And I just did an interview with some of our folks here.

They started out watching on tv and then they saw the evangelistic meetings and that was the bridge to finally bring them in. So if you call and ask for offer #790, we will send this to anybody who asks for it. Hopefully, that's within north America, but if you are interested overseas you have to call our office - we have to figure out what - how to do that with the postage. The number again is 866-788-3966 and we'll send this to you if you promise to use it. That sound fair? You're just curious or you just want something for kindling don't send for it.

If you're going to use it and read it then we'll send that to you. Alright, we're going to get into our lesson. Our lesson today is #4 - we're going through our quarterly on 'revival and reformation'. I really appreciate pastor finley's quarterly that he's written and we have - it's 'witness and service: the fruit of revival' - 'witness and service: the fruit of revival'. Our memory verse is from acts 1, verse 8 and I'd invite you to say that with me.

This is from the new king James version, acts 1, verse 8. Are you ready? "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and samaria, and to the end of the earth." Why does God give us the gift of the Holy Spirit? So you can be witnesses for me. The reason - and obviously people who are filled with the Holy Spirit are revived, right? If you've got a people baptized with the Holy Spirit that is a revived group. Well, we'll talk a little bit more on how does that happen. But he gives us the Holy Spirit so we can speak in tongues.

Is the Holy Spirit a fruit of the Spirit or a gift of the Spirit? Jesus said you'll know them by their fruits. The Holy Spirit is a gift of the Spirit. You will know them by their fruits and so the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, so forth but he gives you the Holy Spirit so you can be a witness. Now if one of the ways you're a witness is by having this miraculous ability to preach and teach in many languages and that's a gift of the Spirit, well that is a way to witness. But I think - I've been to churches before - used to be part of a church and they said the whole purpose in getting the Holy Spirit - made it sound like so you could babble in tongues and that was it.

And everyone would get together and babble and say, 'wasn't that a wonderful service?' Weren't reaching anybody by doing it. The whole purpose of the holy spirit is that you may be witnesses in your life and go out and reach other people. Alright, Christ's parting commission and his promise. Now someone look up for me Mark , verses 15 and 16. We gave this to somebody - gene, I think, has that assignment.

And while we are getting cued up for that, I'll be reading some of the others. We're going to look at the commission - various forms of the great commission in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - get the clear teaching of Jesus. I think most of us know Matthew :19-20, "go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father and of The Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe some of the things that I've commanded you" - I knew our church would catch that - "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." I'm with you always is what Jesus said. Now he wants us to go everywhere. Now Matthew - I like Matthew because in Matthew 11:28 you've got the great invitation: "come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

" Come to me. Then you go to Matthew 28 and he says, 'go'. And the whole gospel is really summarized in the great invitation and the great commission. The great invitation is talking about we come to Jesus - it's this love relationship. Then after you come to Jesus then you've got the great commission: you go for him.

Love the Lord, love your neighbor. Come unto me, go for me. And that just, you know, it's like you breathe in, you breathe out. You take blood in, you let blood out. Your heart and your lungs - it's all a rhythm of receiving and of giving and it's all summarized in coming to Jesus for the purpose of going for Jesus.

Some people come to church every week but they never go. They are just constantly coming to Jesus wanting forgiveness, wanting to feel good and they never tell anybody and your religion will become stagnant if you're only taking and not giving, it becomes stagnant. You've heard me say before you've got, there in the Jordan valley, two seas - very different. Both seas - bodies of water - are fed by the same river. Jordan river runs into the sea of Galilee and the Jordan river runs into the dead sea.

But they're very different. One is full of life after thousands of years of fishing. The other one is dead. It doesn't have mosquito larvae. It doesn't have a pollywog, there's nothing in it.

It's because one is constantly taking but it's also giving. The Jordan river runs into the north side of the sea of Galilee and runs out the south. It's kept fresh because it's receiving and giving. The dead sea, because it's the lowest place on earth, it evaporates before it can run out the other side. It only takes and it becomes a sinkhole of minerals and it is so bitter and concentrated that nothing can live in it.

And so, that's what happens to us. We become stagnant. If we're constantly - it's like Lukewarm - we're constantly taking and we're not giving, your experience is going to become bitter. You've got to be letting the Lord fill one hand so you can give with the other hand. Come to me and go for me.

Alright, Mark 16:15 and 16 - gene? "And he said to them, 'go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature and he who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.'" Notice a couple things here: if you look in Matthew he said, 'go and teach.' If you look in Mark he said, 'go and preach.' Are teaching and preaching different? Well, they are, because the Bible says that Jesus went throughout their villages teaching and preaching and so it says that they're really two things. Preachers are really - it's the proclamation - teaching is more education. It says he sat down and taught the people, which is a little different from when he stood up and preached and so teaching is you kind of use the socratic method where you're asking questions and they might be asking questions and you're answering and it's a little more interactive that way. Preaching is just, 'listen here' and you proclaim, you know? But both are involved. Teaching and preaching - but they involve going.

By the way, do you think that the last words of Jesus should have a first priority for Christians? Last thing he says here in these gospels is 'go - teach, preach, make disciples.' Alright, then he tells us what to teach: 'all things I've commanded you.' And you look in Luke 24, verse , "thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Where was the Holy Spirit poured out? In Jerusalem - it started there - "beginning at Jerusalem and you are witnesses of these things." - You are witnesses - take this message to all the world about Christ and his forgiveness. That's an important emphasis that Luke makes. John - John is always different. John chapter 20, verses 21 and , "so Jesus said to them again, 'peace to you!'" - When he appeared in the upper room - "as The Father has sent me, I also send you.'" - He just sort of summarized it: 'I've been sent and as you've watched me for three and a half years, I want you to do what I did. I want you to forgive as I forgave.

I want you to live as I lived. As The Father sent me I'm sending you.' And he said, "peace to you!" "And when he said this he breathed on them and said to them, 'receive the Holy Spirit.'" - Now that's interesting, they received some form of a baptism of the Spirit even before pentecost. I mean, forty days later they received the Holy Spirit in a special power, but he even promised them the Holy Spirit right there and he breathed on them. By the way, how did God animate adam? After God made adam he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. How did Jesus animate the church? He breathed on them.

And so a new creature - the church - was born, you might say, after the resurrection. Now why is it important that we go. Well, for your salvation and for the salvation of others. How important is it to the Lord that people are saved? God so loved the world that he sent his son. The coming of Jesus and the death of Jesus are a testimony that this is a priority to God.

God is absolutely desperate. If you're a parent and you look out the window and you see your child is in the street and you're up on the second or third floor and they're playing in the street and you see a truck coming and they don't see the truck but there's a man standing on the sidewalk and you shout out 'grab my child! Little brother left him. He's going to get hit by the truck!' And they say, 'it's not my problem, it's your child.' Or 'I'm busy' or 'later' and they don't, how would you feel? How does God feel when he says, 'people are perishing and I want you to go and tell them so they don't die, but they live and not only do they live but they live a much better life than even this life because they'll live forever in paradise' and you don't tell them? Is that indifference excusable? It's a good question, isn't it? Are there people who will not hear if we don't tell them. 'Oh, he'll get someone else to tell him.' No. There's cause and effect.

There are people who will not be saved if the church does not tell them. There are people who may not be saved because I did not take the opportunities I had. You need to live with that reality too. Through your life have you missed opportunities? That ought to make you shudder - it does me. So I want to do my best to be open to the Spirit's leading to seize those opportunities.

That's why Paul said, 'I have been faithful to preach and my hands are clean from the blood of any man.' Once I understood this message I told everybody I could. And don't worry, I mean, God forgives. I don't want you to live with constant guilt, but you ought to have enough. If you're not motivated by love then use guilt - use whatever it takes. Right? And tell people.

And if you're not doing it for the right reasons then do it for the wrong reasons but do it. Do something. And share with people. God wants people saved. Let's read some verses on that.

Someone look up for me Ezekiel 18:23. Who has that? I gave it - mike - right here - get your microphone. Pancho, yeah - hold your hand up. I'll get to you in just a moment. I always like to get people locked and loaded so they're ready.

Timothy 2, verse 4, it says, God "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Some of you know what calvinism is - the idea of 'once saved always saved' and 'the elect' and 'God's going to save who he wants' and he just sort of looks down from heaven and he goes, 'eeny, meeny, miney, moe. I love you, I love you not, I love you, I love you not.' And he decides he's going to save some and not others. And then you've got people who believe in free will - that we get to choose. We - seventh day adventists, methodists, and a lot of other denominations are of the category of Christians that believe - and there's even baptists - some baptists are split - some are freewill baptists and some are calvinistic baptists and you'll hear both - even on the radio. I'm talking about the panorama of Christianity.

But there's a danger with the calvinistic teaching. It's sort of like God has his elect and he's going to save who he's going to save and there's nothing you or I can do about it. The danger with that doctrine is there's a very lackadaisical attitude among those congregations about you and I have a choice to do something and there are people who have a choice to accept Christ and if you do not do anything, they might perish and God does not want anyone to perish. It's not like God just doesn't want the elect to perish, he doesn't want anyone to perish, see what I'm saying? And so this idea that God is choosing some to be saved and some to be lost makes it sound like he wants some to be lost. No, he wants all men to be saved.

For instance, 2 Peter, 3:9, "the lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish." 'God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish.' He wants 'whosoever' to come to him. Alright, read for us Ezekiel :23, please.' Ezekiel 18:23, "'do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die' says the Lord, God, 'and not that he should turn from his ways and live?'" How is he going to turn? How is she going to turn? You know, I think it's very interesting - and our lesson next week will talk more about the conversion of Paul - Saul at that point - later changed to Paul. But after he saw the Lord, Jesus did something miraculous to intervene in reaching Saul. He said, 'lord what do you want me to do?' You know, he's struck blind. God said, 'someone will come and tell you.

' And from that moment on Saul had to depend on other people to lead him by the hand and then he was in someone's house praying and then ananias came. God used other people - he says, 'look Paul, you are sincere and you're sincerely wrong. I am going to intervene.' Every now and then God will intervene to save a person and directly speak to them. But these road to damascus experiences are very rare. 99.

99999 percent of the time God is going to reach people through people. Every now and then an angel will show up and talk to someone. And we love those stories, don't we? Sometimes God just has to go out there and you've heard the stories of the bushmen in africa and an angel appeared to them and said, 'look, I want you to go to this mission and they're going to tell you what to do.' Because they were never going to be reached unless God intervened - this whole people. And so sometimes God intervenes but most of the time he is going to use you and me to reach people. What a privilege.

Wouldn't angels be a lot more effective? Wouldn't they be more efficient? More accurate? Why does he use us? Because in using us, not only are we reaching others, we are being reached while we are being used. Something happens to us in reaching out. The greatest joy in the world is when God uses you to save another soul. And it's just wonderful for me - not only to baptize people - what's really exciting - because, you know, there's an attrition rate among people who come to the Lord. Even Jesus had that.

It's when you see them years later and they're then serving the Lord, they're doing Bible work, mission work, evangelism - it just thrills me when you see that it stuck. We've all seen people that kind of hop in and they hop out. And then I watch people who come in slowly and they stay. You know they put their roots down carefully and they study and I think, 'boy, it took forever for them to get baptized.' Those people usually - they stick because they thought it through. You know what I mean? And so it's exciting for me when you see that and it's the greatest joy and it has a sanctifying influence on you.

By the way, while you're sharing Christ with someone else, the Holy Spirit has to go through you to reach someone else with the living water. As that water is running through you, it has a purifying influence. You are actually touched by the refreshing of that spirit as it goes to someone else. And so that's why you want to be involved. Revelation 22 - still dealing with the first section here - 22:17, of course, this is the last chapter in the Bible, "and the Spirit and the bride say, 'come!' And let him who hears say, 'come!' And let who thirsts come.

Whoever desires, let him take the water of life" - how? - "Freely." So is God restricting salvation to an elect - select few or to everybody? Whosoever will. So I reject this concept that God has a few that he wants to save and there's only this elect. God wants everyone to be saved and he wants everyone to be involved in reaching everyone. Alright, acts 20, verse 2, 'receiving the promise' and it tells us in verse 40 here - maybe before I read that let's just get the next person set up. Matthew 4:18 - who has that? We gave that verse out to someone? Are you ready? Matthew 4:18 - okay, we'll get that to you in just a second.

I'm going to read acts 2, verses and 41, "and with many other words he testified and exhorted them," - this is Peter preaching on the day of pentecost - "saying, 'be saved from this perverse generation.'" You know, I just wonder if back in the days of Jesus if Peter was causing - if Peter is calling his generation perverse, what would he say today? I just wonder. "Then those who gladly received His Word" - how should we receive the word? Gladly - "were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them." From the simple spirit-filled proclamation of the word they were convicted. You go to acts :4, "however, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand." And there were probably women beyond that as well. So you've got three thousand being baptized and then you go to acts chapter 4 - five thousand being baptized and people were responding to the invitation. They were receiving and then they were sharing and the church was growing.

Now, when God calls us he calls us to follow him for a purpose. Alright, go ahead, read for us Matthew 4:18 through 20. Matthew 4:18 through 20, "and Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then he said to them, 'follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed him." There's a lot we can learn from this. Just before I comment I'm going to read Luke's rendition of the same story - or a similar story.

Luke 5:9, "for he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, The Sons of zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, 'do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.' So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed him." Now as you read the gospel, you're going to - if you're a good student, you're going to notice there's a discrepancy in the story of his calling the fishermen. One time they're cleaning their nets, another time he fills Peter's boat with fish and he says, 'follow me.' Why is that? Because Jesus called them in a couple of different segments. You're talking about the ministry of Jesus going on for three and a half years.

When they first called them they were out just cleaning their nets. They began to follow him. They went through a season of teaching and preaching and then they ran out of money and Peter and John and andrew and James - they went back and resumed fishing again. Maybe Jesus went home to see the family and then he said - they were getting busy with their - they hadn't come back to follow him again. They got back in their work and he said, 'look, you've got to come follow me.

' And he preached from their boat, prayed, filled their nets, and says, 'you guys are afraid you're not going to have your resources if you follow me. You've got to stay following me.' And you know, that's why Jesus said 'if a man puts his hand to the plow and looks back' - they were starting to look back and wondering if following Jesus as itinerant preachers - how were they going to be sustained? Christ filled their nets that time to show them, 'don't worry, I'll teach you to catch men and you'll be sustained by that.' It says, 'ye that preach the gospel - those that preach the gospel are fed by the gospel.' You remember when Peter ran out of money once, he had to pay a temple tax? What did Jesus tell him to do? He said, 'well, so that we don't offend them - we want to obey the laws of the land - Peter go fishing' - this is a loose paraphrase. And he went down to the sea and he said, 'cast in your hook' - not a net this time, a hook - 'and the first fish that you bring up is going to have a piece of gold in its mouth. Take that and pay them.' Did you ever hear me tell the amazing fact about some marines that went fishing on sam rayburn lake in Texas? And they caught this trout - true story - and the trout - when they brought it into the boat it was plopping around the bottom of their boat and a gold ring fell out of its mouth. And they thought that was interesting and they looked at the ring and it was a class ring from united technical institute.

We have one version of that here in right up on 5 - they had one in Texas - and they cleaned it off and it had a man's name - I don't remember the name - they took some wd-40 and a toothbrush that was in the tackle box and they cleaned it off and they read the name and they said, 'well, somebody probably lives around here' and they got on their iphones, right out there on the lake, they called two or three people by this name - the second one said, 'is this a joke?' They said, 'no, we found a class ring from united technical institute.' They said, 'I lost that' - she handed the phone to her husband and he thought it was a joke - he said, 'I lost that ring 20 years ago fishing on the lake.' Caught a fish - and they met up with him and gave him his ring back. What are the chances of that? So when the Bible says that Peter caught a fish with a piece of gold in its mouth, can it happen? Sure it did. If you're fishing for men, every now and then you'll catch a fish that's got gold in its mouth. I don't mean their teeth. And the Lord will supply.

And, you know, if you're shepherding the sheep, every now and then you get to shear the wool, right? You're sustained by the gospel. People will come in that will support the work and Jesus was saying, 'trust me.' Did people support the ministry? The Bible says, 'and there were certain women that followed them that ministered unto them of their substance.' Judas was the treasurer and there were problems there - we know about that - but people gave money to support them as they went around preaching the gospel. So they needed to be called a couple of times into full-time ministry to trust and 'follow me' - he says - 'I will make you fishers of men.' You know what that means? As you follow he will teach you - it doesn't happen in one day - 'as you follow I will teach you.' Some of their methods were wrong. They went through one town and the samaritans wouldn't accept Jesus and James and John said, 'lord, give us the power of Elijah. We'll call fire down and burn up the whole village because they didn't accept you.

' And Jesus said, 'no, that's probably not the way to do evangelism.' He says, 'you don't know what spirit you're of.' That same village they wanted to burn up, later accepted Jesus. If you read in the book of acts did the people in samaria accept Jesus later? What if they'd burned them all up? Sometimes people you think that are being mean to you and you should pray a meteor hits them and - you don't know, they might be converted. Paul, who was stoning stephen - what if stephen had said, 'lord, rain fire down upon him.' Instead he said, 'father, forgive him.' Right? Was Paul converted later? And stephen and Saul will meet each other in heaven and the last picture that stephen had of Saul he was there presiding over his execution - his unjust execution. So be careful about hating your enemies, they could be converted and become your brothers some day. The disciples had to learn that and it took time.

It takes time - we're still learning that, right? And so it was through following Jesus they were learning to be like Jesus and the principles of 'how do you catch people?' Now I could just stop right here and talk about fishing. I'm a vegetarian but I like fishing. A few weeks ago I went and stocked fish in a pond and I go catch and throw them back. And it's fun, I mean, I won't ask for a show of hands but there's just something about casting your line into the dark mysterious water wondering what kind of creatures are lurking down there and what will come up. Deep sea fishing is really interesting because you have no idea until you get a little closer to the surface what in the world you got.

And so different kinds of lines or nets or methods - some fish you catch during the day, some you catch during the night. Some you catch with a lure, some you catch trolling, some you catch with a line just standing still in the water. All these different - and good fishermen know you have fuzzy lures and flies and you've got worm-like ones. You've got the silver spoon ones and you've got some that you kind of tug as it goes and there's all these different techniques - why? Fish are different. At different times of day you use different methods and different kinds of bait.

And if there's so many intricacies - there are whole channels - now this, to me, is boring, but there are whole channels where people just watch fishing all day - dedicated - and they've got channels for golf and that's what I think is really sad - people watching golf all day long. But there's a science to it that needs to be learned. And he not only said, 'follow me and I'll teach you to fish for men. Follow me and you'll be a good shepherd.' He used all these illustrations - 'follow me you'll be a good farmer. You'll cast a seed out and you'll have a harvest.

' Jesus tried to use - is there a science to shepherding? There's a lot to know about how to do it right and how to do it wrong. Is there a science to farming? There's seasons and seed and weeds and all kinds of things you've got to know if you want to get a harvest. And Jesus said, 'you follow me and I'll teach you how to be productive in a harvest. Whether that's wool or fish or grain.' And he said, 'follow me and I'll teach you how.' You don't know it. Right after you accept Jesus you're going to make some mistakes.

First evangelistic meeting I did I was in Texas in a tent. I was a layman, I was not a conference employee. I was just a layman doing evangelism. I had been doing Bible studies in different churches and had enough people from these different churches where I - I mean, I was going to church of Christ, baptist, methodist church - I was teaching Sunday school in methodist church. I'm not telling you all to use my methods, it's just God opened these doors and finally I went to the conference and said, 'give me a tent!' I don't know how I ever persuaded them because, to me, for a conference to give you their camp meeting tent - this kid out there in the middle of nowhere - but they gave me the tent and I decided to put together an evangelistic series.

And I think I'd only been to one evangelistic series in my life - well parts of another one - so I knew almost nothing about evangelism and I did so many things wrong. I mean, it was just - it was sad. I think I did, like, you know, I just preached, you know, the speaking in tongues - all these pentecostals there and right away I wanted to tell them about that. Then I told them about the beast and then I told them about - and I didn't kind of lead them along and use any kind of tact - and I think my audience went from 70 to 20 in about three days. Baptized two people but, oh man - and I remember an evangelist from lubbock, Texas came to visit my meetings and he said, 'doug, this series of meetings is really for you.

' I said, 'what do you mean?' He said, 'it's so - you're going to learn a lot. It's going to be really good for you.' I said, 'oh no, no - I'm going to reach the world, you know.' He said, 'no, you'll - this is really - this first series is always for the evangelist to learn how to do evangelism.' Ah now, looking back, I go, 'yeah, he was right.' I did reach a couple people but I had a lot to learn. You have to make some mistakes. You get the point? Don't be afraid of doing something wrong. If you're afraid of doing something wrong you'll never do anything right.

If you want to do it right you must first be willing to fail and make some mistakes. Try something. One of the problems we have in the church today when it comes to soul willing is we're so afraid of doing something wrong we do nothing very well. We're so afraid of doing something wrong we do nothing - we're so afraid 'I won't know what to say to this person. I feel impressed to say something but I don't know what to say.

' So we don't say anything. Well, maybe we'll say it wrong or you'll stumble over your words, but who knows? You might change a life and we need to pray God'll give us courage to try something. Now, if you don't know what to say, the fall back sermon all of us can use is your personal testimony. Tell - no one can argue with what God means to you. Tell your story.

You find many examples of that. For instance - alright, somebody look up for me John 4:28-30. We gave that slip out, I think, to somebody - who has that? Hold your hand up, kathleen, so we can see you. I'm going to read John - the gospel of John 1:40 and 41 - notice how often in the beginning of the gospel of John everybody's finding others and bringing them to Jesus. It says in John 1:40, "one of the two who heard John speak," - John the baptist - followed Jesus when he said, 'this is the lamb of God' he said, 'he is? Well I'm going to follow him.

' "And followed him, was andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon," - so where did he start his evangelism? With his family. He said, 'I'm going to go tell my brother.' - "And said to him, 'we have found the Messiah' (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus." Andrew, you know, it never says andrew preached a sermon. But if you notice in the Bible, a little boy - andrew finds a little boy, he brings him to Jesus.

The Greeks want to talk to Jesus, andrew brings them to Jesus. His own brother, he brings him to Jesus. Andrew is always just bringing people to Jesus. It never says anywhere that andrew preached a sermon. You see Peter and John preaching but andrew had a gift of just kind of talking to people and saying, 'hey, I've got someone I want you to meet.

' And introducing them. So you may not be a preacher. You may not be a teacher. You can be an introducer. We can do the work of andrew.

And then you have in John 1:44 - we're jumping ahead in the same chapter, "now Philip was from bethsaida, the city of andrew and Peter. Philip found nathanael and said to him, 'we have found him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote - Jesus of nazareth, The Son of Joseph.'" - Nazareth? - "And nathanael said to him, 'can anything good come out of nazareth?'" I mean, you know, nazareth had a bad reputation and I - you know - and so instead of arguing what does Philip do? He says, 'come and see.' You know, that's the same thing he heard Jesus say. They said to Jesus, 'master where are you dwelling?' Jesus said, 'come and see.' When you invite people to an evangelistic meeting, 'what church is putting this on?' 'Come and see.' 'What do they believe about the millennium?' 'Come and see.' 'Do you guys believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Are you calvinistic? Where do you stand on the tribulation?' 'Come and see.' Don't argue with them. That's good evangelism. I've had to counsel our churches before - just before a meeting begins when people are asking questions - say, 'come and see.

Oh, he's going to talk about that. You want to come - ask him that question.' Don't let them suck you in - get them in the doors is very important. Once they meet Jesus then things happen. Alright, someone's going to read for us John 4:28-30 - where is that? Over here, sorry. John 4:28-30, "the woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 'come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did.

Could this be the Christ?' Then they went out of the city and came to him." Well, that's a great story. Can the Lord use anyone and everyone to win souls? He deliberately uses some of the most unlikely candidates. He uses this woman of samaria who may have had a questionable reputation - Jesus comes from a town of questionable origins - and then he uses mary magdalene who had a questionable reputation and he tells them to go and tell others and that means if the Lord can use them, he can use anyone. This woman who had - I mean, she had been married five times and she's got this fella - everybody in town knows they're not married and they're living together and Jesus uses her and what was the first thing that she used? Her testimony. She says, 'come and see.

' And do you think the expression on her face said something too? She must have looked like she was in total amazement and belief and excitement - 'come and see! Come and see!' And, you know, sometimes your body language and your expression says a lot. 'Want to come to my church?' That's not going to work. 'Come to - aw, we've got the greatest - come visit our church!' We all want to have a church like that - that we're excited about, right? So you've got the personal testimony - who shares his testimony the most in the Bible, who knows? Paul does. You find Paul - and Paul had a pretty dramatic testimony - Jesus appears to him, right? There on the road to damascus and I counted four or parts of five times he refers to his testimony - not just in the book of acts, but also in his letters. Paul constant - and, you know, if you saw Jesus face to face would you always be remembering that? You'd be always telling people your testimony.

Well, friends, you don't have to have an angelic vision or have Jesus give you some epiphany on the road to say that you've got a testimony. If you have accepted Jesus and if there was a time in your life when you know you surrendered to Jesus, and you experienced that transformation, you've got a testimony. Tell what he means to you. If you don't have an experience then you need to have one. You need to surrender completely to the Lord.

Accept him. You ought to, by faith, experience some peace and joy and a transformation - you were dead, you're alive - you were lost, you're found. There should be a difference. You were heading for destruction, you're heading for life - and share your story with people. Tell what a difference he's made in your life.

And that's the most important sermon everybody can preach. And once that's happened you want to tell people about it. And, by the way, that's in acts :6-8 - where Paul is sharing his personal testimony there. I heard about a man and there's a lot of variations of this story because it's happened many times, but the version I heard is there was a man who was legally blind. He did have his eyes and he wore glasses but he had to use a cane.

You've probably seen people that can see somewhat but they still use a cane. Well, either this procedure was developed or he didn't know about it, but finally he went and he had surgery and after, you know, being 25 or something years old never knowing he could see - his eyes were totally corrected where he didn't - not only need a cane, he didn't need glasses. He was so - it made such a difference in his life. He was so excited that he went to that doctor when he had his final visit and they took the bandages off and he could see, he said, 'can I have some of your business cards?' They said, 'well here's a couple.' He said, 'no, no.' He says, 'let me see the box.' He'd take a stack of them - he was able to get a job - and on his way to work in New York city he went through the subway and as the train was taking him from one end of the town to the other he would go up through the subway and he'd see anybody with glasses and he'd say, 'I was blind. I went to this doctor and now I can see and I don't even need glasses.

' 'I was blind.' And he was so excited and he was telling everybody about the doctor. Isn't that what we're doing when we become Christians and we've had that kind of transformation in our life? We're looking for people who are blind that want to see and you pass out the business cards. It's not that hard. Give a Bible. Give them a tract.

There's something that everybody can do. So we are saved for the purpose of service. 'Desire of Ages' - here's a quote here I wanted to share with you - page 347 - talking about our personal testimony, "our confession of his faithfulness is heaven's chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world." - Wow - "we're to acknowledge his grace as made known through the holy men of old. That which will be most effectual is the testimony of our own experience. We are witnesses for God as we reveal, in ourselves, the working of a power that is divine.

" In your family do people see a difference? In your life can people see a difference? Your neighbors, the people you work with. It's always kind of sobering when someone talks to you, you've known for years and they say, 'oh, you're a Christian? I didn't know you were a Christian.' People ought to know. It ought to be seen in our lives. John shared that with his personal experience. This is in 1 John - 1 John 1, verses 1 through 4, "that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes," - we have seen it.

He starts his letter by saying, 'I'm giving you my personal testimony' - "which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the word of life - the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the father and was manifested to us - that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with The Father and with his son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full." We're telling you what we've seen, what we've heard, what we've witnessed, what our hands have handled. I touched him, I leaned on his breast, I saw him every day. God became a man. Personal testimony.

When someone tells you that - you know, Marketing agencies know this is true - there are a lot of infomercials that they have - there are certain channels that after a certain time of day they don't have regular programming. It'll say in a little box at the top, 'paid advertisement' - but if you don't spot that, you'll think, 'this is an exciting program.' And it'll have a couple of people that are up front and they've got this room full of folks that are going 'ooh and aah' and they're talking about this handy dandy vegetable chopper that changed their life and saved their family and their marriage and their health and everything. And the people are going, 'oh yes!' And they're clapping and the camera sweeps the people who are watching that look so excited and they'll come up and give a testimony, 'I had one of these too and my vegetables are so much better and my whole life came together because of this thing.' And people start to - phone lines light up and everyone orders these things and you know what's doing it? The testimonies. The personal testimonies. It makes a big difference and the people on madison avenue and the advertisers know - they've got a whole website that's called 'angie's list' where people will check out the references and you give your testimony about some service or project or plumber or something that you needed and they say, 'do I get a testimony?' Or you go to buy a product and you say, 'what are the stars underneath? How were they rated by others? Do others like them?' And so you get enough people that are giving a testimony that says, 'this is true.

This is good. This changed my life.' Folks are all looking around for purpose. A lot of unhappy people out there, right? And so your personal testimony is very powerful and my time is up. A lot more good stuff in this lesson, friends. Don't forget, this is very important.

If you missed this at the beginning I want to repeat it. Amazing Facts has decided to offer something that's a premium offer. It's actually very expensive but it tells a church how to go through the entire science of an evangelistic program - how it can be integral in your church. 'Evangelism pre work manual - growing your church from the inside out' - we'll send it to you for asking. Call the number - 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #790.

We'll send that to you if you promise to use it and we're going to see if we can do what we can do to prime the pump and stimulate revival, amen? Get involved in sharing our faith. God bless you until we study together next week. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day.

What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit Sabbathtruth.com. 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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