Discipling Through Metaphor

Scripture: Matthew 13:34-35, 2 Samuel 12:1-7, Isaiah 28:24-28
Date: 01/11/2014 
Lesson: 2
"Jesus framed eternal truths in ways that went beyond mere intellect alone. Jesus spoke through concrete pictures drawn from everyday life in order to reach people where they were."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. It is by no accident that you have tuned in to study together God's Word with us. As we do every week we are going through study after study of God's Word, learning more about him and his love for us and I welcome you as you join us to study together, whether you are right here in our sanctuary, across the country, around the world - welcome and I know that you will truly be blessed. Before we begin our study I invite you to pull out your hymnals here and at home and we're going to sing together hymn #426 - 'I shall see the king' - and I don't have a list of people. I know there are many people out there that have requested this.

It just happens to be one of my favorites so we're singing that today. All three verses - 'I shall see the King - hymn #426. I truly believe with all my heart that we are about to see him break through those clouds and I pray that each one of you that is within my voice that you can hear, that that is the burden on your heart and the joy and the hope of your daily life. I just pray that you keep him close. If you have a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming study together, I invite you to go to our website at 'saccentral.

org' and there you just click on the 'contact us' link and you can request any hymn in our hymnal and we will sing that with you on a coming study together. Our new hymn for today is #624 - 'I want Jesus to walk with me'. This comes as a request from a very special and dear family friend from when I was growing up, ted v. Glassier, jr., And I also just want to greet my extended family from the bowden country church in bowden, North Dakota where I grew up and I know that there are many of you that watch us and so this is a request from ted and - hymn #624 - 'I want Jesus to walk with me' - we'll do all three verses. Let's pray.

Our Father in Heaven, we want to walk with you. Please just keep us faithful and we know in our heart of hearts that you will be with us through joy and sorrow and pain and that you will take us to the other side. And we are so grateful and so that is why we are here to worship at your feet. So please bless Pastor Doug now as he brings us Your Word, Lord. Just open our hearts and our minds to receive you more fully that we can carry the good news of your coming and your love and your mercy and your grace to those around us.

Help us to do our part and to hasten your coming. Lord, we just so look forward to your soon coming through the clouds of glory and I pray that each person listening to this presentation will be ready to see you and meet you in the air. I pray these things in the precious name - in the saving name of Jesus, amen. Our study today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you very much jolyne, and I appreciated the way they were singing the rounds in that last song, amen? That sounded very nice.

Welcome friends. For those who are a part of our regular Sabbath school class here at central church, we're glad to see you. We always have visitors, especially this time of year during the Christmas season. We know some folks are off visiting family and some of you are here visiting your family and we're glad that you're worshiping with us. I want to welcome our friends who are also studying via satellite, television or the internet from around the world and I was reminded of that again - some of you know I was gone for the last couple of weeks and - went to romania.

Amazing Facts - a team went there to romania to do some training and a brief evangelistic program and that was something that was very exciting for me, personally, because I'd never been there. And i, actually, if it's okay with you, you know sometimes during Sabbath school we have a little mission report. So if you'll indulge me I'll give you a little mission report of some of the things that happened there. I won't take too long. Now I went with - good, they've got some pictures up.

Hey that - a little amazing fact I'll start with. Do you know what the biggest building in the world is? The pentagon. You know what the second biggest building in the world is? This one. Yeah, this is the palace of the parliament and I'm standing there in front of it. Now that place is ginormous.

Imagine this: one-quarter of the romanian economy, for ten years, was put into this building. Can you imagine, in America, if we took one-quarter of our economy and put it into one building? The people don't know quite what to do with that because it was - it kind of didn't make them very - didn't make ceausescu - nicolae - very popular. But now the building - and it's only - it's so big, it's only like, I think, twenty percent or thirty percent is being used because it was just such a massive building. They took us on a tour and that's from the roof of the building overlooking bucharest - and they wiped out six percent of the city to make room for the boulevards and the streets - they just leveled things - churches, ancient landmarks - and so it's quite a controversial spot. We'll go on.

So we went to romania and went with the Amazing Facts evangelism training. This is cernica, it's where the theology institute is in romania, outside of bucharest and in the auditorium there we did a series of meetings. We began with some afcoe training - this is Pastor Ross, our pastor at Granite Bay, with his translator. We're teaching young men and women around europe - bulgaria - they came in and these pictures were taken, actually, by one of our afcoe graduates, Christian. These are the students and the pastors that were gathering for the afcoe training that we had during the program and that's one of our Bible workers, rose, in bulgaria.

She translated the bulgarian messages for us. The meetings that we did in romania went out in several languages. Chuck holtry, one of our afcoe teachers, and I was teasing him. I said, 'you're talking about the biggest fish you ever caught in this picture.' Then I said, 'now I'm talking about the biggest fish I ever caught, in that picture.' And the pastor's talking about the biggest fish he ever caught, in that picture. These are pastors that we - were doing the training with us and we can go on.

Then the actual meetings began, which was really neat. They were uplinked on hope esperanza tv, which is hope in europe and romania. They've got a great facility there so they broadcast this to 300 different locations in romania plus dozens in spain - do you know there are more seventh day adventists - romanian seventh day adventists in spain than there are spanish seventh day adventists? There are more romanian seventh day adventists in italy than there are italian seventh day adventists. I think this is also true in portugal. The romanians went all over europe.

On Sabbath we scattered three different directions. I went and spoke at a high school, where several churches got together, in alexandria outside of bucharest. That's my translator, kristi. He's also the editor for the romanian publishing house and he did an outstanding job. And boy I ate really good while I was over there.

Next picture - I gained weight. This is in front of the publishing house. Now what you see there is just the front of the building. It goes back three times that far. It's a very long building.

They've got their own printing press, their own bindery, and a whole team of workers. And we're holding up some Amazing Facts books that they publish and one they're going to publish - our 'hidden truth' magazine. And on the right there is elder compian - he took us around. He's the secretary for the union. It was fun to know they watch Sabbath school so they're watching this now.

Many of them speak english and they teach english in all the schools there so they tune in for our Sabbath school program. Next picture. While we were there we also did various and sundry recordings. We did some interviews and tapings. People there have been watching Amazing Facts programs in romanian for years.

For instance, our 'final events' dvd is in romanian and it went all over the country. The new program we did on Revelation is in romanian and so they're now spreading that. And so we did some interviews and that's just what these things are, we're just preparing for some tapings there. Boy, the music was outstanding. They just - you know, I was making fun of them and said that I think all romanian people have some kind of genetic defect because they could all sing and their pitch was perfect - at least what I heard - and just incredible music.

I'd sit there - they'd get done singing, it'd be time for me to preach and I'd just be so spell-bound I'd forget. Also, not only singing but with the instruments as well. The meetings were very well attended. People came in buses. A lot of young people came, not just from the college itself but from the other churches and had just a great experience there.

Yeah, programs not only went out on esperanza tv, but they went out over the internet and I'm just curious, were any - some of you here - did any of you here see any of the meetings on the - yeah? Yeah? Uh huh. I see most of our romanian members go...because it's in the middle of the day here, or in the morning when we'd be doing the meetings there, so we were getting e-mail from people around the country who were watching and we heard really good reports. They said that they believed there were thousands of people at the sites - the hundreds of locations around the world - that were making decisions for baptism. We left shortly after it's done. They then get all those - that information all came in via the internet site and they're going to give us a follow-up report.

This is one of the last Sabbaths - oh, here's a neat story. Someone e-mailed this to us. This is a girl who is tending an outdoor food stand in spain and someone walked by and they recognized what she was watching on her phone and someone took a picture of her watching our program on the internet and they were thinking - they put a little caption on there, 'I wonder if her boss knows that she's not paying attention to the food stand.' But, yeah, so she was watching the esperanza - that was sent to us from someone in spain that was watching. We did have some baptisms at the end - I think there were about or 12 people baptized, but the romanian people are very careful - and I appreciate this - they don't baptize someone right at the end of the meetings after one day in church. They make sure people are grounded and well cleared and well trained.

So these people who are baptized have been going to church for some time. The ones who are making decisions from our meetings, they'll be going to church for awhile and they get them grounded, they make sure that they understand the teachings and then they have the baptisms. And, yeah, it was a great experience. We had some fun too. Our last night there - there was a number of funny things happened, but our last night there Pastor Ross and i, we needed to finish the program and then we had to fly out really early in the morning.

I think Pastor Ross was getting picked up at 5:00 in the morning, which meant that he had to wake up at 4:00 in the morning and he wanted so much to get back to his room. As we pulled up to our hotel there's a busload of what, evidently, are dancing gypsies - because they're all in these uniforms - these gypsy costumes - that are getting off and going into our hotel - and this is like 10:00 or 11:00 at night. And we've already gotten back late - poor Pastor Ross, he gets to his room his electricity won't work. He's only hoping to get four hours sleep - so they have to move him to another room that night - just for his four hours of sleep. So he finally gets in the other room he calls, he says, 'doug, I'm just letting you know where I'm at if you need me.

I had to move to another room.' And then 2:00 in the morning I wake up and the gypsies decided, for whatever reason - I don't know if they had had a few drinks - they decided to dance in the halls and so they're dancing up and down the halls and they're banging on all the hotel doors. In don't know if they wanted us to come out and dance with them or what was going on, but I didn't open the door. I kept saying, 'you've got the wrong room.' And we're just trying to get a couple of hours sleep so we can wake up real early and go to the airport and catch our - so finally, 4:45 in the morning I call jean, because I know he's about to catch his plane, and I said, 'so how did you sleep last night?' And then the other thing I forgot to tell you is when ceausescu - am I saying his name right? Ceausescu, when he moved a bunch of the people into these government blocks, he made them leave their farms and they abandoned all their dogs. And there are 70,000 dogs roaming around the streets of romania that don't have owners. But they can't deal with them because every time they say, 'look, we've got to do something about these dogs' then all of the animal rights people, like brigitte bardot - they come to romania and say, 'oh, please, you've got to just love and take care of the dogs.

' The dogs didn't bother us but they barked all night long outside of our hotel room. And so between the barking dogs and the dancing gypsies we didn't get much sleep our last night. But it was funny. We were laughing together. Anyway, the Lord really blessed the trip and we're already looking forward to - it was cold.

I want to go back in the springtime. We went in December. I hear it's just really beautiful in the spring. And so we just want to praise the Lord. The Word of God has gone out.

They're going to use these programs for years to come. Our lesson - now this is exciting for me also because we're going through a new quarter study on discipleship but I'm just entering into it now and today we're going to be studying lesson 2. For those who might be visiting here at central church, we study the lesson three weeks in advance to provide time to record, edit, provide subtitles for people, and send it off to the various networks that carry the program. And so, today we're on lesson #2 in 'discipleship' and we have a free offer that goes with our study today and it's a little book by yours truly called 'the sign of Jonah' - the sign of Jonah - and it's talking about some of the metaphors in the Bible and you'll see that there are a number of metaphors in the story of Jonah for Jesus. Jesus said, 'no sign'll be given but the sign of Jonah.

' And there's a lot of types of Christ in this book and in the story of Jonah, so if you'd like a free copy of that, just turn - call the number on your screen, which is 866-study-more - that's 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #149. We'll send it to you for free. We just ask that you read it and then hopefully you'll share it with a friend after you do that. Our lesson today is 'discipling through metaphor'. The study guide is dealing with the issue of discipleship.

And in this study we're going to look at a number of ways that God teaches through parables and that's really what our memory verse is about. So if you want to say the memory verse with me, it's in Matthew , verses 34 and 35 and I'm going to be doing it from the new king James version, if you're ready, Matthew 13:34 and , "all these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable he did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 'I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.'" Now here he's actually quoting from psalm 78, where the Bible said that the Messiah, when he came, would be teaching with parables. Why did Jesus teach through analogies and metaphors and parables? And why is that important for us to understand in the context of discipling? Well, you know, I think it's because it's such a wonderful way to teach theology with pictures and illustrations in a way that you can remember it. And that sounds very simplistic, but Jesus knew for us to be able to not only remember but to understand the principles of theology, teaching in parables really embeds them in our minds. And so this was a favorite method of Jesus and it's something for us to remember in teaching and discipling others - the use of illustrations, metaphors and analogies.

Alright, we're going to start out with some of the old testament examples of these metaphors and analogies. For instance, you go to psalm 23 and David was a master at this. There's quite a few - Moses used metaphors and analogies, the Judges did, king David did - and here we go. People always save this psalm for funerals and it's really not a - it shouldn't just be relegated to funerals. It's really talking about our ongoing daily relationship with Jesus.

"the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." - Want means 'be in need' - "he makes me to lie down in green pastures;" - now what do you see there? Don't you see like a beautiful spring day, no wind, flowers in a field of clover and the shepherd standing by guarding the sheep and they comfortably sit down there, close their eyes and chew the cud perfectly content and relaxed? - "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters." - Gently running - it's not a flood - there's no danger there - "he restores my soul;" - it's just daily refreshing and healing - "he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." - You know, a shepherd goes before his sheep - someone once was in the middle east and they saw that this man was driving the sheep and they were on a tour and they said to their guide, they said, 'I thought that it says that the shepherd leads the sheep. It looks to me like that man is driving the sheep.' He said, 'yeah, well he's not the shepherd, he's the butcher.' And, you know, the butcher drives them into the pen to be slaughtered but the shepherd leads the sheep. And, you know, just in romania they've got a lot of sheep there. I was - saw another example of a shepherd. He was walking, actually, along a railroad track - a path by a railroad track - and all the sheep were there in a line behind him - just herding behind him.

He probably had his head sheep that was trained. - "He leads me in the paths of righteousness" - where does Jesus lead us? - "For his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," - there were safe places and there were valleys that a shepherd might lead his sheep that had a lot of caverns and holes where jackals could come out and spring upon the sheep. But if the shepherd was with the sheep and he had his staff there, which he would use to club off the varmints, the sheep didn't seem to mind. - "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," - you mean the shepherd would actually sometimes lead the sheep through dangerous places? Does the Lord sometimes allow us to go through trials and tribulations? Did Paul say that we must, through tribulation, enter the Kingdom of God? But we don't worry because it says, "for you are with me;" - what did Jesus say? 'I am with you always.

' - "Your rod and your staff, they comfort me." - Why would you be comforted by the Lord's rod and staff? Because he's armed against the enemies that might come against you. - "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;" - you see a shepherd leading the sheep down into deep dark green meadow and there might be woods and caves and hills around that have some dangers but they found a safe place in the midst of that. And the Lord, even in this world with sin and the devil and all the problems, he can lead us into green pastures right before our enemies. - "You anoint my head with oil;" - sometimes sheep got hurt or wounded and they'd be anointed. There's healing that happens here - "my cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." You don't need mercy once when you come to Christ, you need mercy all the days of your life, don't you? And the good news: it says, 'I'll dwell in the house of the Lord forever'. It ends by talking about eternal life. Who better than David - and, you know, it's interesting that God used David to share this because shepherds were really seen as just the lowest of the low. The society back in the time of even David - to say you are a shepherd - do you remember how the Egyptians reacted when Jacob's family went to the pharaoh and they said 'we're shepherds'? They said, 'shepherds are an abomination to the Egyptians.' It was like, you know, just a caste of very low, dirty - they lived out there with these animals, they smelled funny - and to say 'the Lord is my shepherd' was a very unusual analogy, but it talked about the love for the sheep. Now, with that in mind, and knowing how David loved sheep - you remember when David went to Saul and king Saul said, 'how dare you think you can go fight against Goliath? He's a man of war.

' And David said, 'oh, you know, when I was young a lion came and took one of the lambs and I risked my life to save one lamb. And then a bear came to take another one and I risked my life to save the lamb from the bear and from the lion and so I think I can fight the giant.' The point is: David would risk his life for one - you know, if I had a hundred sheep and a bear came, I'd say, 'fair enough.' I've got ninety-nine left, you know? But David, he was willing to lay his life down for one. Keep that in mind as I read the next parable and metaphor from the old testament. After David sinned with bathsheba - God is very merciful and he's very patient and he gave David plenty of time to repent - months went by. Bathsheba, of course, was pregnant and had the baby.

The baby was born so you know at least 8, 10 months, a year went by and when you think about it, it's hard to imagine that this king that had been so spirit-filled, through whom God had written inspirational material that you have in your Bible, like the psalm we just read, could day after day get up and do his work and go about his business, stifling his conscience to just ignore the fact that he had committed adultery in a major way and murdered a loyal friend at the hands of his enemies. Can - if David can be that self-deceived - and here he was operating - a church member in good standing, you wonder, are we capable - is the human heart capable of us forgetting about what we've done to God and not dealing with it, not repenting of it? So, because God loved David he said, 'look, I need to get your attention. You can't go on like this. You need to deal with what's happened.' So nathan the prophet comes to him - another example of discipling through metaphor. Sometimes when you're working with other people and you want to reach them it's hard to just come right out and say, 'what in the world's wrong with you? Don't you see how much you're sinning? Don't you see what a terrible thing this is that you've done?' Nathan chose to use an illustration so David would see himself through the story and it would really be - you've got to condemn yourself.

And so listen to the story. "Then the Lord sent nathan to David and he came to him and he said - David is sitting in judgment. He is listening to different cases. Nathan the prophet comes and says, 'I've got a special case I need you to weigh in on.' He said, 'there were two men in one city. One was rich, the other poor.

The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb.' - Wasn't even full grown - 'which he had brought up and nourished and it grew up together with him and his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and it lay in his bosom. It was like a daughter to him.' - Now, I know you might think that's strange, but I've seen families that, you know, they have a family farm and they - summertime the door's open and the sheep kind of comes in and out of the house and - I don't know what you'll think of me, but I told you years ago we had goats that we milked and we lived in a pretty rough cabin and we milked the goat in the house. Kept the house clean so don't worry about that, but it was like a family pet. I won't ask how many of you keep dogs in your house.

No, I will ask. How many of you keep dogs in your house? Come on, 'fess up. Biblically, goats are clean, dogs are not so there, we settled that. Okay - 'and it lay in his bosom like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man' - his rich neighbor - had a big ranch next door and, you know, you often prepare for a traveler.

Remember, when Abraham had - those travelers came - he killed the fatted calf to prepare a feast for them. - 'And a traveler came but he refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare for the wayfaring man who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and he prepared it.' He butchered this one family's pet and he fed it to a stranger.' - And David hears this story and he is outraged and you can just see the rage in his eye and his veins are standing out. - 'And David is greatly aroused against this man' - I mean here nathan shot right to the heart with this metaphor to the shepherd who would die for his sheep. And he says, 'as the Lord lives, the man who has done this will die! He's going to pay back four-fold for the lamb because he did this thing and had no pity.' Nathan says, 'you're the man.' Wow, talk about a zinger, nathan - David probably collapsed on his throne, shocked by the truth. It hit him like a ton of bricks and then he, you know, repented.

You read psalm 51 and - is it psalm 32? There's a couple of Psalms of repentance - and you'll see how he poured out his heart and he went through great repentance. But what did it take for nathan to teach David about his standing before God? It took a story that he would relate to. And so that's what Jesus did. You know, sometimes it takes a little bit of creativity and prayer to develop analogies to teach, but good teachers, good preachers, and good Bible teachers - you don't have to be a professional - you learn how to sometimes help people. I used to struggle with folks that, you know, I'd be studying with people that were trying to quit smoking and they'd say, 'Pastor Doug, you know, God knows I love him and I'll get - I'll be done smoking one of these days.

I'm going to give it up. I'm working on it. Can't I go ahead and get baptized now and I'll give up the smoking later?' I'd say, 'well, let's talk about that.' You don't want to discourage them. But I'd say, 'when you're baptized you're born again. You're like an innocent new baby.

And I'd say, 'now, what would you think if you were walking down the street and you saw a lady's got one of those strollers that pushes twins but it's got the hood up so you can't see the babies. So you thought, 'oh, I'd like to peek at those twins.' And you walk around and you look in on the twins and there they are and one's got a cigar in its mouth and the other one's spitting tobacco.' I said, 'would that look wrong?' And they went, 'oh!' And I said, 'so does God want his babies blowing smoke rings?' 'Yeah, I guess not.' I said, 'you know, it represents being free when you're born again.' I said, 'why would you want to go into the waters of baptism and come up and, you know, burp smoke?' I said, 'it doesn't...' And through the analogy they went, 'yeah.' So sometimes people need to see a picture that helps them understand a truth and there's a lot of this in the Bible. That's why I like reading the Bible, it's full of stories. Okay, let's go to some other old testament symbols. You've got the symbolism of the wine bottles.

You find this - and this is in your lesson - in Jeremiah 13, verses 12 and 13. Now, I didn't - haven't given out any Scriptures yet. Someone look up for me Revelation 16:19. Did we give that out? You've got that? Let's get you a microphone. And then somebody should have Romans 9:22.

I don't know who has that. Oh you - alright, you'll be next eddie. So first we'll do Revelation :19 - in just a moment. Let me first read Jeremiah and this sets up the context of what we're talking about. "Therefore you shall speak to them tHis Word:" - God is speaking to Jeremiah - "'thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'every bottle shall be filled with wine.

''" - Well, you might think, well, that's a good thing. That's like when Jesus turned the water to wine. No, keep reading. - "And they will say to you, 'do we not certainly know that every bottle will be filled with wine?'" - Of course a bottle's filled with wine. In other words, Jeremiah's saying, 'every wineskin will be filled with wine.

' They're going, 'yeah, well, what's wrong with that?' - "Then you shall say to them, 'thus says the Lord: 'behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land - even the Kings who sit on David's throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem - with drunkenness! And I will dash them one against another, even The Fathers and The Sons together,' says the Lord. 'I will not pity nor spare nor have mercy, but will destroy them.''" And so here he's talking about that there's going to be a lot of bloodshed and this represents judgment and wrath. For example, when you get to Revelation, the writers in Revelation draw upon this. Revelation 14:8, "and another angel followed, saying, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the'" - what's the rest of that? - "'Wine of the wrath'" - you usually don't think of wine connected with wrath. It's not wine connected with wrath at the last supper.

It's not wine connected with wrath in, you know, Jesus - the wedding feast. But in this parable it's talking about the wine of the wrath. Jump down to verse 10, "...he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of his indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the lamb." So here it's talking about a wine of judgment. Now go ahead, read yours, mike.

Revelation 16:19, "now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath." Alright, you know what would sometimes happen? When people drank fermented wine - now keep in mind it's - in Jeremiah it uses the word drunk. In Revelation 17 it uses the word drunk. Jesus - what kind of wine did he make for the wedding feast? New wine. What kind of wine was at the last supper? New wine.

So there's a big difference. Have you ever been to a house that was full of people drinking the other kind of wine? Do you know what's the number one cause of violence in north America? Alcohol related - it's alcohol related. And so people knew that when they smelled that twang of the alcohol in the wine, then people that were full of that - often there was violence and wrath and he's just saying it's going to look like this - a drunken bedlam. Go ahead read - I think now we've got Romans 9:22. "What if God, wanting to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?" So again, you've got another analogy.

The Bible says, 'God is the potter, we are the clay.' There are vessels, the Bible tells us, that are full of treasure and good things and then there are vessels that are going to be smashed. Jesus is pictured in Revelation as coming with a - as a scepter - an iron scepter - to smash the kingdoms of the world. And so, here it's talking about judgment on the drunk and then there are vessels that are saved and preserved. And so what's in your vessel? Another analogy in the Bible. Alright, let's talk here about architectural wisdom.

Architectural analogies that you might find. Why don't we start out by going to the parable of two builders in Matthew 7. Somebody look up for me psalm 11:3. Who has that verse? Did we give that out? Psalm 11, verse 3? Alright, we'll give you a microphone. Let's get you a microphone.

Yeah, when we're ready. Just hang on a second. And in the meantime, I'm going to read Matthew 7, verse 24, "therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house...and great was its fall.'" Alright, first I'm going to ask you, what is the same about the wise man and the foolish man? What's the same? They're both building. The storm comes to both, right? They may both be industrious.

They may both build good houses. What's the one difference in the story? The foundation - what they're building on. One is building on rock - matter of fact, if you read this same parable in Luke, it says the wise man digs deep and lays the foundation on the rock. That is, he gets down through the topsoil and sets it on the rock. You know, we were doing net 99 in New York city and while we were doing it, they were actually building a skyscraper across the street.

They were doing just the foundation work and during the day - fortunately they stopped before our meeting began - but during the day, all day long while we were editing, they were blasting with dynamite in the rock in New York city and they had all these cables and chains laying over this stuff and you could look out the window and see - everything would get real quiet, everybody would leave this pit and it would go 'kaboom!' And the chains and all the stuff that would hold in the blast would go like that. They'd move it away. They'd carry off the rock because they were getting down into the bedrock in order to build really high. If you want to go really high you need a good foundation. Alright, read for us psalm 11:3.

Psalm 11, verse 3, "if the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Boy, I can't say enough about that. What will happen to us if the foundation - what's the foundation for the Christian faith? 'He that hears these words of mine and does them', right? What's the foundation for the seventh day adventist church? Hopefully it's the same thing. Are there some people who mix cultural relevance in with the Bible? Or tradition? They say, 'oh, we believe. We believe in the Bible but you need to also balance things out with whatever your traditions are and you've got to kind of weave in whatever's going on in the culture and just see if you can fit the Bible in.' It's not just having the Bible, it's how you apply the Bible. It's the hermeneutics of how you study the Bible.

You can have a Bible and some people study the Bible with just some very superstitious methods and that, actually, cracks your foundation. It causes all kinds of problems. You want to be able to study the Bible and say, 'what does the word say?' And as you compare Scripture with Scripture you want to have a rock-solid foundation. If the foundations are destroyed, what shall the righteous do? What's the foundation for any culture? The family. When the devil wants to destroy a nation, he doesn't have to go to the politicians to begin.

He can go right to the families because every community is made up of families and if the families start to disintegrate, the communities and the neighborhoods and the states and the counties and it just works its way up and it all goes down to the foundation of what's happening in the families. And, of course, the best foundation for the families is God and His Word. Someone read psalm 118, verses and 23 - I think we gave that - we've got a hand right back here - let's get you the mic. Thank you, al. And in the meantime I'm going to read job 38, verse 6.

Speaking of the making of the world, job asks this question: "to what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone?" That's interesting, job is talking about a cornerstone because that comes up several times later in the Bible. And when the world was made, what was the foundation for our planet? Upon what was it placed? You know the foundation of our world is the Word of God too. "And God said" - brought everything into existence. Alright, we're ready. Psalm 118, I think.

"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes." Now there are several references to this verse from psalm 118 that you're going to find - and that's, by the way, verses 22 and 23 - you'll find that in the new testament. Jesus refers to the stone that was rejected. Paul refers to the stone that was rejected. Peter refers to the stone that was rejected.

In order to understand this, you need to know - there's a Bible story that's in Jewish - it's in Jewish literature but it's not in the Bible - in other words, it's in Bible history. You remember when Solomon was building his temple - reading about that? He constructed the temple where all the stones were prepared at the quarry in advance so they would not hear constant banging of chisels outside the King's palace and also it was a sacred place. So all the stones were prepared - cut to their dimensions - cut very square, smooth, exact and then they were transported to the building site and after the foundation for the temple on mount moriah was prepared - because part of it dropped off a little bit - there was this one unique cornerstone. Now, if any of you have done any masonry before, you know that in order to have a good building - a good run - you've got to have your corners straight. You've got a corner - if you're corner is not perfectly level one way or the other, the walls start to get tillywonkered and everything else goes wrong.

The cornerstone sets the trend for the rest of the building. So having this right stone - also, because this stone was at a lower position, it bore weight. And so, it needed to be perfectly cut. Well, they brought this stone - the bottom where the stone set on the mountain was an odd shape because it was resting on rock and so they brought this stone to the location - this big odd shaped rock - and they put it there almost first. And as the site was being prepared the workmen kept running into this stone.

Well, they didn't have good communication between the quarry and the work site and they said, 'this thing is just - we keep bumping into it and skinning our knees on it and backing into it and hurting ourselves and it's just a nuisance and it's odd looking. What in the world is it doing here?' And they said, 'let's get this out of the way so we can work.' Now these are the foundation prep workers - so they take this big stone and they roll it off down to the kidron valley. Well, a few months go by and they say, 'okay, time for the cornerstone.' So they take some of the stones that have come from the quarry and they put them down and they say, 'this isn't right. That doesn't fit. This one doesn't fit.

' And they just thought 'nothing's Marked right.' They found another stone, they started building, and it cracked because it wasn't the right stone. It didn't stand the test of pressure. And finally they thought to ask the quarry, 'where is that original cornerstone?' They said, 'that was the first one we sent to you.' And they said, 'was that the big old monstrous stone that was in our way all the time that we rolled off in the valley?' And sure enough, they dug it out of the valley. It was such a good quality stone it hadn't been damaged and they put it up - it became the cornerstone. That story about the cornerstone that was rejected is seen now through the new testament literature - but the story itself is not in the Bible.

So you needed to know the background of that. By the way, you do find that mentioned in 'Desire of Ages'. It talks about the cornerstone that was rejected. So with that in mind, Jesus is the cornerstone. This is a metaphor that's used.

Ephesians - go here, for example - Ephesians 2:19, it says, "now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." So the metaphor that God uses here is: the body of Christ is like a temple. And not only is it true that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit - there's a metaphor - but you, collectively become the body of Christ - not just one of you, but altogether. He wants to inhabit the church as a people. We become a temple. You can go and look where Jesus said, in John 2:19, and he said, ".

..'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' Then the jews said, 'it has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?'" But what was he talking about? He was talking about the temple of his body. So, again, Jesus is speaking in a metaphor that his body was a type of his church. Alright - and there's probably many others that you can think about. Some of you remember the story where Jesus said, in Luke - what is this - chapter 14? Anyone who is building a tower, if he doesn't sit down first and count the cost, he'll begin to build and not finish and then everyone'll drive by and they'll see this half-finished building and they mock forever and say, 'he thought he could build a tower and he only got halfway done.' And so there's an illustration that if you're going to start something, make sure you can finish it. You know when I use that metaphor? Families'll sometimes come to me and they'll say, 'Pastor Doug, the Bible tells us that we should be fruitful and multiply.

' - Young couples, you know - 'so should we just have an indefinite number of children? Is it inappropriate for us to plan how many children we have?' And I say, well, let me give you a parable. Any man who's going to build a tower, make sure that he can count the cost.' I said, 'you don't want to have more children than you can adequately provide for, that you'll have time for, and that you'll be able to rightly raise.' I said, 'you need to, you know, plan. Some of you may not have the disposition and the nerves for twenty kids and so you need to know that. Count the cost.' And so, you know, Jesus gave us those parables about towers, not just for building towers - that principle can be applied to a lot of different areas in life. Okay, agricultural analogies.

Now, where's the first place we go when we think about the farming analogies? Go with me to Matthew chapter . And I think we all know this parable very well, where Jesus is talking to us about the parable of the soils. Verse 3, "and he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, 'behold, a sower went forth to sow; and as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.

And some fell among the thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!'" And then, of course, the disciples come and they say, 'what does this parable mean?' Some of the parables of Christ - some of the analogies - needed some explanation. Now, first of all, have you noticed that Jesus was very appropriate in that he used metaphors that people could understand? For example, when he teaches the parable of the soils, he's probably walking down the road with the disciples. Do you remember when they were walking down the road one Sabbath and the disciples were rubbing the grain in their hands? They're obviously in farm country, right? And they were eating some of the kernels.

They were walking down the road one of these days and they could look out there and they could see a sower was sowing seed. Jesus sees that and he says, 'good time for a lesson.' They could all relate to it. Some of the seed was falling on the path and the birds were coming down snatching it up and some was falling in the shallow ground, there was some rocky ground and they could quickly visualize what Jesus was saying. When Jesus was telling the parable of 'follow me and you'll be fishers of men' who was he talking to? Fishermen, right? When Jesus said, 'if a man had ninety-nine sheep and he loses one, and won't he leave the ninety-nine safe?' Who do you think was in the crowd that day? Shepherds. And maybe if they weren't shepherds they all understood shepherds in their culture.

They would see these - some of you remember when king Saul became king - when Samuel first anointed him, who remembers what king Saul was doing when Samuel met him? He had spent three days looking for lost donkeys. And so, it wasn't uncommon - back then, it's as if you see your neighbor's ox or his donkey that's wandered away, bring it back to them. It wasn't uncommon in Bible times to have someone say, 'you know, my billy goat got away. Have you guys seen a billy goat?' And to be roaming the hills looking for their livestock that had somehow untied themselves and gotten away - so they could all relate to these analogies because it was part of their everyday life. In discipling today, in the 21st century, is it a little harder, maybe, for us? You know, in this generation that you're living in now, it's the first time in the history of at least North America that now the majority of people do not live in rural areas and farms? The majority of people leave in cities and suburbs.

So when I say, 'a sower went forth to sow' it's a little harder for our culture today to understand that. You almost need to say, 'they were surfing the internet and a pop-up came up' and just try to relate to spiritual truth for people today. Or, 'I was driving down the road and I suddenly got cut off and four cars were going down the road. One was an economy car - a prius - and one was a gas guzzler and one was' - you know what I'm saying? And so, if you're going to disciple today you've got to be creative and say, you know, I need to tell these stories and things. And people go 'aha! I understand that.

' And so, using relevant metaphors is very important. I did evangelism in the south pacific and I was on a small island that didn't have a lot of exposure to world events and I started trying to teach them about the visions of the roman empire and all these kingdoms that you find in Revelation and they're going (shrugs) and I just said, 'you know, I'm going to have to focus on something else out here.' And so you've got to be relevant for your audience. And Jesus, he was a master of that. So he used agricultural illustrations and there's another one - not only do you find these agricultural illustrations in the new testament, there's one in Isaiah 28. Here's one from the old testament.

"Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow?" - Now there's a rhetorical series of questions that God asks - "does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods?" He doesn't do it forever, he does it for the purpose of planting seed - "when he has leveled its surface, does he not sow the black cummin and scatter the cummin, plant the wheat in rows, the barley in the appointed place, and the spelt in its place?" - Now one of the things Isaiah is saying is every farmer back then knew you take the prime ground, you put your wheat there. Wheat was the crop for the people - the best food. You put the best seed in the best ground. Then you put - the barley was a little more durable - you could put it in a little rockier ground, but you fed the barley to the donkeys. During the time of Ruth there was a time of famine.

What was it that they were harvesting? Barley. And you read in Revelation about barley and wheat and it talks about famine in that parable there. And then he says - you know, you've got the spelt and you've got the cummin and they - you put them all in different soils and the farmer knows that. And he says, verse 26 - I'm in Isaiah chapter 28, "for he instructs him in right judgment, his God teaches him. For the black cummin is not threshed with a threshing sledge," - the seeds fall out very easily - "nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin; but the black cummin is beaten with a stick and the cummin with a rod.

Bread for flour must be ground; therefore he does not thresh it forever, break it with his cartwheel, or crush it with his horsemen." Now, as you read on in this parable here, Isaiah is talking about how God is fair and in the judgments that were coming - God uses good judgment and he appoints to everybody, really, what they deserve. And so you have to read the whole chapter to get it, but here he's using an illustration they could all understand - that any farmer knew. These are basics - that you don't harvest all these different things the same way. Even in the new testament Paul tells us about how to use these analogies. Paul talks in first Corinthians , when the children of Israel went through the wilderness, the red sea, he says, is a type of baptism.

That the rock that was struck is a type of Christ. That the pillar of fire is a type of the Spirit. That the bread that came down from heaven is a type or metaphor of Jesus - that bread. Even Christ used that metaphor. James, talking about the tongue, he said, 'look at the ships, they're turned with a little bitty tiller.

And look how powerful words are and how they can change things.' And so you see the disciples - and in the new testament - they followed the example of Jesus and they used a lot of these analogies. We're running out of time but we do want to tell our friends that if you like, we do have the free offer. Call the number on your screen. Ask for offer #149 and we'll be happy to send that to you. God willing, we'll study together again next week.

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