Discipling the Nations

Scripture: Isaiah 56:7, John 12:20-32, Acts 1:7-8
Date: 03/08/2014 
Lesson: 10
"God's final work is incomplete until the eternal gospel expressed in the message of the three angels found in Revelation 14 has crossed every racial, ethnic, national, and geographical boundary."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. A very special welcome to those of you who are joining us here in the sanctuary to study together. A very special welcome to those of you that have either tuned in for the very first time or you're a regular studying member with us every week, welcome from across the country and around the world. We know it is by no accident that you have joined us to study God's Word together to become closer to him and learn more about his soon coming. We always begin by singing a couple of hymns together and today is no exception.

So if you are at home and you have a hymnal nearby, I invite you to pull that out and we are going to sing together hymn #88 - 'I sing the mighty power of God'. This comes as a request from frank in barbados, novelette in japan, oketa in the sudan and faren and Solomon in england and also many more requests for this song from all over the world. Hymn #88 - we will sing all three verses of 'I sing the mighty power of God'. When we were practicing that song earlier, I was reminded that when I was a little girl we used to sing this in boden, North Dakota and it just reminds me so much of growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere and you could see the sky and you could hear the birds and you could watch the things growing and this song just talks about how God is in charge of every single thing. Praise the Lord.

Our creator and our Savior, amen. If you have a special hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming study, I invite you to go to our website. It's very simple: 'saccentral.org' and there you click on the 'contact us' link and you can sing any hymn in the hymnal with us on a coming study together and we will try our best to sing your favorite with you. Our next hymn - as you know, we're learning new hymns - right across the page - hymn #89 - 'let all on earth their voices raise'. And it doesn't look like anybody on the planet knows this song, but it does remind us of all creatures great and small so if you kind of know that song, you're going to know this one.

Hymn #89 - we'll sing all three verses. Let's pray. Lord, what a privilege it is this morning to proclaim your grace and your mercy and your love towards us. And please help us not to be unmindful of everything that you have done and as we study together and we learn more of you, help us to just take that to heart and to be willing to share your love with others around us. Lord, the world is quickly coming to a close.

Please help each one of us that love you with all of our hearts to do our part to hasten your coming. Please just bless us. Bless Pastor Doug and Lord, just take us home soon. We pray these things in your precious and holy name, amen. Our study today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Morning. Thank you jolyne and our musicians. That sounded beautiful learning these new songs. How is everybody? Happy Sabbath. I want to welcome our friends who are watching via television or satellite, internet - some are, I know, still listening on the radio.

I have a friend who has a radio station in europe and they take the audio of these programs and they play them on a number of places in europe. And so, I want to welcome all those and some of the people who are extended members of Sacramento central. And, by the way, you know I should probably say, I think most of our friends know, because there's been some communications out there, I'm technically not the pastor of Sacramento anymore. I want to thank central church. They're being very nice in letting me come as a guest teacher right now.

We're in a little bit of a transition. As some of you know, I'm now pastoring the Granite Bay church, which is a suburb of Sacramento. Can you call it that? And when I get done here, I zip over there and preach the sermon the last few weeks. And so I want to thank central church. We have no ability at granite bay for taping - can't even stream right now - the internet's so slow over there.

And so central's being very nice to allow me to be a guest teacher while they're doing a search here for a senior pastor and figure out what the next step is. We trust when the dust settles we'll end up with one extra church doing media programs so that you'll have even more media content. And so that's the plan. I hope you'll pray about that. Anyway, thank you again, central family, for letting me be a guest teacher here.

I appreciate that. Our lesson is on discipleship. We're on lesson #10. Oh yeah, in the interest of rumor control, we've been getting rumors at Amazing Facts, 'we're so sorry that Pastor Doug has resigned.' No, I didn't resign from Amazing Facts. I'm still there, I just moved churches.

Lesson #10 - it's 'discipling the nations' and we have a free offer. We're going to talk about like in our study today, Jonah, who was sent to other nations besides Israel so we have a book called 'the sign of Jonah' - we'll send it to you for free and just ask for offer #149. If you call the number on the screen the number is -study-more - that's -788-3966 and we'll send this to you and hopefully you'll read it and share it with somebody else - and it's free. Our lesson today is really dealing with the theme that it's always been God's desire that the message of salvation goes to the world - to all nations. There's a danger that we sometimes can think that it is for a select few for a small group of people who are predestined - that it's only for one nation or for one race and this is a mistake.

If you - I'd like to begin with something that's not in your lesson per se, but I think it's very relevant, acts chapter 10. Let me find out where our microphones are. Who's got the microphones for our Scripture? We've got one there and I don't know if we have one on this side. Someone - I'll just get you ready - someone got verse - we've given you verse - Genesis :3 - who has that slip of paper? Genesis - alright, we'll get you a microphone over here for - just a moment. The next person will be Haggai :7.

That's you, okay. So just get you prepared. But in acts chapter 10, how many of you remember that the apostle Peter, he was praying on his roof one day, waiting as they prepared dinner down below and he fell into a trance and had a vision and it was a vision of this sheet-like structure being lowered from heaven - by the four corners - and in the sheet were all manner of four-footed beasts and the way it's worded there is 'unclean animals'. And then he hears a voice from heaven that says, 'arise, kill and eat'. Peter looks and he sees that sheet is full of things that they had been forbidden to eat.

He said, 'not so, Lord. I have never eaten anything common or unclean in my whole life.' And God says, 'do not call common what I have cleansed'. Well he's wondering what this means. He knows he's not supposed to literally take something out of the vision and cook it for dinner - he knows they're cooking dinner downstairs. He's wondering, 'what does this mean?' And it happens three times and each time he says, 'not so, Lord.

I've never eaten anything unclean.' He's wondering if he's being tested like Daniel and he says, 'I'm not going to eat anything unclean.' And while he's wondering, some people knock at the door, the vision goes away and there are some messengers who have come from a gentile saying, 'please come, speak words to us.' Well, a gentile is not supposed to go - a jew is not supposed to go into a gentile's house because they had this idea that because God had chosen the Jewish people, they were favored, they were predestined to be saved but the other nations out there, they were dogs, they were cursed, they were lost. And I know, it's hard for us to get our minds wrapped about that, but this was their mindset. So in acts chapter 10, verse 28 Peter, relating this vision, he says to them, "you know" - he's talking to cornelius and his family - "you know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean." That was a breakthrough for them. What? The Gospel - see, when Jesus said 'go preach the Gospel in all nations beginning in Judea - sorry, Jerusalem, Judea, samaria, then the outermost parts of the earth' - they thought that meant to the jews who were in Jerusalem and Judea and samaria because they were scattered everywhere.

They called it 'the dispersion'. There were jews all over the roman empire. They were merchants in every part of the known world back then and they thought, 'we're supposed to go tell them about Jesus.' You see, you can understand part of the reason for their misunderstanding is Jesus, before he went to heaven, he said 'go not into the way of the gentiles, go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' Well, Jesus was saying, 'until the time of the jews is fulfilled' - 34 ad, the stoning of stephen - 'you are to have' - the message first was to go to the jews. Even Paul said, 'to the jew first, then to the Greek.' So there was an order. Why? Why to the jew first? Well, because God had given them the oracles of truth - let me explain it this way: when I do evangelistic meetings and I share the three angels' message, I find the best group for me to start with are people who have some biblical background because I don't need to start from scratch.

I need to teach them the relevant practical truths, for one thing, that the Sabbath is still in existence, the truth about you don't die and go right to heaven and hell before the resurrection, the truth that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Starting with people that have some biblical background or some confidence in the Bible, it is a much quicker work to do - they're a quick study. You take someone from some pagan country or an atheist country that has no Bible context, it's a lot more work to do. So it made sense that Jesus said, 'go teach the truth about me being the Messiah. Start with the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

They already are looking for the Messiah. I don't have to talk to them about the Ten Commandments. I don't have to talk to them about the sacredness of the Scripture. I don't have to talk to them about, you know, certain aspects of righteousness and cleanliness. They know that.

They don't know I'm the Messiah.' So there was a special truth. Go first to them. And then, they preached exclusively to the jews. At pentecost, when they were baptized, who were they? 'There were dwelling in Jerusalem devout jews from out of every nation under heaven.' They were jews. So the Lord finally, after stephen was stoned and after that time was cut off for the Jewish nation in 34 ad, that was the end of the 490-year prophecy of Daniel chapter 9, they are now supposed to take the Gospel to everybody and it took a while for the Lord to get that through to them.

And this vision to Peter - Peter was one of the first - later to Paul. It's interesting, Paul, who is a witness of the stoning of stephen - that ending point for that prophecy, he becomes the most profound apostle to the gentiles of any. And so, the Gospel is not supposed to go to one specific people, but it's to go everywhere. Now I'll show you how that appeals - or how it applies to us as Christians today. Alright, who has Genesis 12:3? Over here.

Go ahead and read that for us. "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Alright, even though many of the Jewish people thought 'we have been chosen because we are Abraham's seed, even in the promise and the covenant that God made with Abraham, he made it clear 'it's not just for your descendents, but through your descendents all nations would be blessed.' The idea was not that God just saves one race of people, but that he committed his truth to one race and through that race, the Messiah would come and that race would be the first to proclaim him. When Jesus was introduced and proclaimed, who were the first ones to introduce him? It was the apostles - it was jews. God didn't want them to stop, but the Jewish nation was to be a nation of priests. Now what good is it if you have only priests in a church? If everybody in the church is a pastor, who do you preach to? Kind of tough, isn't it? If everybody is a chief, then who's an indian? You know that old one? Can't say that anymore, it's not politically correct, but how many of you remember that saying before it was ruled out? And so, yet, the priests had someone - they needed people to make atonement for.

They were supposed to be reaching out. And so if Israel was to be a nation - matter of fact, I need to read that to you. Exodus 19:6, "'and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'" - Why? Because they were to represent Jesus to the rest of the world. And Peter repeats this. 1 Peter 2, verse 9, "but you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people" - and so these people, the believers, were to then make atonement for the lost and bring them to Jesus.

Alright, go ahead please, read for us Haggai 2, verse 7. "'And I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the desire of all nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,' says the Lord of hosts." Now, more specifically, that temple that he's talking about was - Haggai lived during the time when they built the third temple. You've got the tabernacle in the wilderness, you've Solomon's temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, then Ezra and Nehemiah came back and Haggai prophesied while they built the third temple and they said, 'boy, this third temple is - wow - it's small. I mean we had fire come down when Moses' temple was dedicated and fire came down when Solomon's temple was dedicated and it was so big and glorious and this third temple - it's pretty small and there's no fire - no glory.' And Haggai said, 'don't worry, the glory's coming because the Messiah will come into this temple.' And that was the temple that Jesus taught in. And he said, 'you know, my Father's house will be a house of prayer' when he was in that temple.

Some of you have read the book 'Desire of Ages'. How many of you have read that book? 'Desire of Ages'? Oh, you all ought to read that book. How many of you read the book but you didn't just raise your hand? I'm looking out there - I know some of you read that book and you didn't raise your hand. And if you - you need to read that book. That's the best book on the life of Christ that you're ever going to run into.

And it's called the 'Desire of Ages'. Based on this verse says the 'desire of nations'. But all nations were to come to the temple. It wasn't just for jews. You remember Paul - why was Paul arrested and sent to rome? Because they accused him of bringing a gentile - which he didn't - into the temple.

But wasn't - they had one part of the temple called 'the gentile's court' - there was a place gentiles could come but you couldn't go any farther than that until you were a jew. But through Christ - he said, 'destroy this temple that is made with hands - I'll make a temple without hands' - all people were invited to that temple. The body of Christ is the church, right? And so everybody is supposed to get this message. Alright, let me read to you Isaiah - now this is part of our memory verse but I'm going to read the whole thing. Isaiah 56, verses 6 through 8, "'also The Sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve him,'" - did, even in the old testament, did they have a provision where even foreigners could join the Israelites? Sure.

'The stranger who joins you.' If it was a man, they'd have to be circumcised. They'd have to be willing to obey the laws. They would be welcomed to become part of Israel. You didn't have to only be Jewish by blood. Coming out of Egypt there were a lot of other slaves that left Egypt with the Israelites called 'the mixed multitude'.

Many of them were ingrained and intermarried and became part of Israel. People like uriah the hittite - hittites were not jews, but uriah became an Israelite. He worshiped the God of Israel. There were many like that you see through history. "'The Sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants - everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast my covenant'" - they were to embrace the covenant - to keep the Ten Commandments - "'even them I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer.

" - They could then come into the temple - "'their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.'" - Doesn't Jesus quote that? - "the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, 'yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.'" So it was always God's plan that Israel be representatives to bring everybody to God - the whole nation - whole world was to be brought to the Lord. Micah 4:1 - somebody look up for me Isaiah 2 - I think I've given that out to you - Isaiah 2:2 - who has that verse? Okay? We'll get you a microphone. And I'm going to read Micah 4:1 and 2. "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and the peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, 'come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us his ways, and we shall walk in his paths' for out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

" Now did that happen? Well, it has happened in one sense: after Jesus, did the Gospel then go to many nations? When Christians around the world and, you know, even if you say, 'Christians - the bigger family of Christians' - as opposed to thinking of either protestant or catholic or a specific denomination - Christians around the world, what book are they reading? Aren't they reading the book written by Moses, Peter, James and John - the Bible? Are they worshiping - are they learning the ways of the Lord from the Israelites? And so, in a sense, all nations flow - people out of every nation have turned to Christ. So, partially, that has been fulfilled but it's not completely fulfilled yet. Alright, I think we've got someone - you're going to read for us a similar verse - Isaiah 2:2. "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it." You notice how that is virtually identical to the prophecy of Micah that we just read? If you're wondering if a prophecy is sure - you think if two prophets say it - you've got the mouth of two witnesses - that's a definite prophecy. So this is word for word - Micah says - Micah is basically quoting the prophecy of Isaiah, because Micah comes after Isaiah.

Hundreds of years had gone by between the two of them. He's saying, 'this will surely happen.' Why does Micah repeat the prophecy of Isaiah? Isaiah lived during the time of Solomon's temple - it was destroyed. And now they're wondering, 'oh, that prophecy about the temple being built and all nations flowing into it, I guess it's never going to come true.' You know, we've got some prophecies and people say, 'I don't see how that's ever going to come true. How will you ever have a nation like America with all of our commitment to freedom - personal choice - that we could ever be compelling people to worship a certain way. That'll never happen in America.

' But they were thinking, 'how will the temple ever be built again after it's just ruins?' Micah said, 'it will be built again and nations will flow to it.' And was it rebuilt? It was. And then it was destroyed after the time of Christ and they thought, 'how is it ever going to be built again?' And Jesus said, 'destroy this temple and I will raise it up.' And the church was raised up. And is there going to be a day when we'll all be together in the new Jerusalem and all flesh will come to worship before the Lord from one new moon to another and one Sabbath to another? So we wonder 'how could this prophecy ever be fulfilled?' When God's Word says it - the whole world will change but his word won't change. It'll happen. Don't ask me how it all fits together but it will happen.

None of God's Words fall on the ground. Alright, then - I like also that Jonah is another example of the prophecies about the Gospel going to the nations because Jonah - when God says 'arise and go to nineveh and preach to them' - 'nineveh? The assyrians are our enemies. You want me to preach that you're going to destroy them in forty days. They've got to repent? Well, let's just skip warning them. Just destroy them.

They're heathen, they're dogs, they're lost.' God said, 'no, I want you to go east and talk to them.' And Jonah said, 'no, I'm going west.' He didn't want to do it. And God finally had to get his attention. Now you know why Jonah's an interesting story, Jonah is the only jew in the story. There are many people in the story but Jonah's the only jew. You've got the captain, you've got the sailors, you've got the ninevites.

You've got - it talks about children, it talks about animals, it talks about worms, it talks about whales, it talks about plants. The book of Jonah is a very, very interesting, inspired book. It talks about the weather. It talks about zoology. It talks about the people repenting, the animals repenting - I mean, Jonah covers everything and the only jew in the book is Jonah and the only one who does not want to tell about God in the book is Jonah.

Everybody in the book listens to the message of God: the wind listens, the whale listens, the worm listens, the plant listens, the sailor listens, the captain listens, the King listens, the animals listen, the children listen. The only one who doesn't listen is Jonah. The only one in the story who knows the Word of God is Jonah. He's the only one who doesn't want to tell the Word of God. Now, do you think there could be a message in there for us that sometimes the people of God are the ones that are the most reluctant to share the message of God and we think nobody really wants it.

No one will really listen? What did Jesus say? 'The laborers are many, the harvest is few'? No, he said 'the harvest is great. People are out there hungry. They want to hear the word of truth. They're perishing. They're coming to the church and waking us up and saying, 'what meanest thou o sleeper? Why don't you call upon your God? We're perish - the world's ending, how come you don't tell us what the truth is?' That's the world wondering what's wrong with the church.

'You say you believe that the world's ending. You believe Jesus is coming. You don't act like you believe it.' But this is a message that's supposed to go to the world and we don't take it next door. Huh? That's the message of Jonah. And finally Jonah listens to the Lord - well, when he finally repents he tells the sailors, they repent, they turn to God.

He goes to nineveh, they repent and they turn to God. Biggest revival in the Bible is in the story of Jonah. When a whole nation - a whole country repents because of the preaching of one person - that's a pretty good evangelistic meeting. The worst evangelistic meeting in the Bible is probably Noah. Preaches 120 years - you know, we have a six-week meeting here and you folks thing, 'man!' Noah had 120-year evangelistic meeting and he could only get his family to attend, right? Nineveh is the best evangelistic meeting in the Bible.

And finally, when he goes to the other nations, they're hungry. Why did they want to stone Jesus when he began his ministry? You remember the first time they tried to stone Jesus? He went to nineveh - no, nazareth, sorry - he went to nazareth and he stood up to preach and he said, 'there were many lepers' - I'm paraphrasing - 'there were many lepers in the land of Israel in the days of naaman, but unto none of them - none of them was cleansed - I'm sorry - 'there were many lepers in the land' - that's what happens when you paraphrase - 'there were many lepers in the land in the days of Elisha; none of them was cleansed except naaman the syrian. And there were many widows in the land in the days of Elijah but Elijah wasn't sent to any Hebrew widow, he was sent to a canaanite woman.' And Jesus tells us 'many will come from the east and the west and sit down in the Kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the children of the Kingdom' - the natural ones - 'will be in outer darkness.' They became so upset they thrust him out of the synagogue, they took him to a steep bluff on the hills near nazareth and they were going to toss him off a cliff but he somehow got out of their hands and walked through the crowd and escaped. Why were they so outraged that he would say that the message of truth is to go to the gentiles? They were occupied, at that time, by the Romans and they were just - they found great satisfaction in thinking these are - they're all lost - they're all dogs. We've got the truth.

They don't. We're going to keep to ourselves so that they're lost.' And they kind of cloistered themselves and they sequestered themselves. They said, 'we are the frozen chosen.' Now we wouldn't do that, right? I want to show you a story in the Bible. Turn with me to Luke 16. The Gospel is supposed to go to the nations.

In Luke 16 we've got the parable - it's only found in Luke 16 - of the rich man and Lazarus and we'll start with verse 11 - no, 19 - sorry. "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared" - or feasted - "sumptuously" - lavishly - "every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom.

The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.' Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' Abraham said to him, 'they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'no, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'" Alright, typically when we read this parable of the rich man and Lazarus, we instantly drift off into a discussion of the state of man and death. Do people go right to heaven and hell as soon as they die? And a lot of folks point to this parable - of course this parable has absolutely nothing to do with that.

First of all, it's a parable, which is pretty clear from the very strong symbolism that's in there; the idea that everybody that dies somehow fits into Abraham's bosom would give Abraham a pretty big bosom. The idea that people in heaven and hell can talk to each other is also a pretty horrific thought and the idea that one drop of water would cool a person's tongue who is burning in hell - it's full of symbolism in the story. It's very interesting: all the jews - they said, 'we'll be saved because we're Abraham's children.' They expected to go and be close to Abraham. The gentiles, they believed in Greek mythology - that when you're lost you go to hades, ruled by a God called pluto. Jesus used great irony here - it's a paradox - he has the gentile going to the Jewish place of bliss and he's got the jew, the rich man, going to the heathen place of torment.

So everybody listening back then knew that this was an illustration. They also knew that it had nothing to do with the state of the dead. What Jesus was saying - the jews thought they were rich and increased with goods because they had the truth - they had Moses and the prophets - they had the Word of God, while the gentiles around them, like beggars, they called them dogs. Remember Lazarus, the only thing he gets is the dogs licking his sores. And some people say, 'this must be a true story because Jesus used an actual name in the parable.

' Lazarus was about the most common name that you could have back then. It's related to the name 'eliezer' - it's a Greek version of it - Lazarus. And it is interesting that Jesus raised someone from the dead by the name of Lazarus and they still didn't believe. So he might have used the name to illustrate 'I'm going to raise someone by that very name and you still will not believe. But don't put anything into the name.

I mean, how many times have you heard someone use a story and they say, 'one day, John doe was doing this or that.' And you know John doe is just a - it's a label - it's filling in. So he just plugs in one of the most common names - it was like bob or george or frank or ed or John and - but what does it really say? The jews believed 'because we have the truth and because we're Abraham's seed and because we have Moses and the prophets, we are saved. We are rich.' But the reason God gave them riches was to feed the starving around them that they called dogs. They thought, 'they're unclean.' That's why it even says in Revelation, 'for outside are dogs.' Remember a woman - a gentile woman, don't forget, came to Jesus pleading and said, 'please heal my daughter.' This is one of the only times Christ went up to where Elijah went, near tyre, and there was a syrophoenician woman - a canaanite woman - and he said, 'it's not appropriate to take the children's food and give it to the dogs.' Jesus used the language the apostles were expecting from the other priests to show them how wrong that was. And she said, 'yes master, but even the dogs get the crumbs.

' Here, same story, you've got dogs and crumbs, don't you? In Lazarus you've got dogs and crumbs - and he healed her daughter by the way. And so they said, 'we're going to - you're going to have to stay at our gates on the outside.' And so, wow, they both die. And what do you know, they change places - the ultimate trading of places. The rich man goes to the gentile place of torment and the gentile goes to the Jewish place of reward. And they understood what that meant.

And then he says, 'father Abraham' - remember, the rich man he's in hades but he's saying, 'father Abraham, send him to my Father's house for I've got five brethren.' You know, all the jews, there were different groups of the jews - you had the sadducees and the pharisees - some didn't believe in certain books and others did and the samaritans didn't believe anything, but the five books of Moses they all agreed on - five was a number for the Word of God. He said, 'I've got five brothers in my Father's house' - it's like the temple. And so this was all - the jews understood this was all a context talking about the Jewish faith. 'Oh, if Lazarus would go back and tell them because they don't realize that they might be lost. They can't be saved just because they're jews.

And he - Jesus said, 'they have Moses and the prophets.' 'Oh, but if someone went to them from the dead then they'd believe.' Jesus said, 'oh, you think so? They won't believe even though someone rises from the dead.' Not only did Lazarus rise, but Jesus rose and did they believe? Or did they try to kill Lazarus and pay off the roman soldiers to say it didn't happen, right? Signs and wonders won't do it. If the Word of God doesn't do it, nothing will do it. But the crux of this story is: what the Jewish nation was doing back then in saying, 'we have Moses and the prophets. We've got the truth. We are chosen.

We are predestined and you're all lost.' Not caring about others - Jesus said, 'you are going to have a rude awakening in the judgment when you find out that some of the people - the poor that were appreciating the crumbs of truth they had, they'll be in the Kingdom. And you, who were feasting on the truth but you weren't sharing it, you'll be in outer darkness.' See what the central message is? So if we - and now, that applies to churches today. It's not just a message for jews, it applies to every believer in every age. If we think we're saved just because we've got the truth - does the devil know the truth? Does the devil know the Bible better than most of us? Is that going to save him? Did the people who crucified Jesus have the Scriptures? You see what I'm saying? So the Gospel is supposed to go out. The Gospel is something you don't get to keep unless you give it away.

The Gospel is something you don't get to keep unless you give it away. It's like a muscle - you lose it if you don't use it. If you don't share it, it evaporates. If you want to keep it moist, you have to share it or it dries up. So, if - and you can look here in Matthew chapter 12, verse 39 - somebody, let me see, yeah, someone look up John 10:16 - who got that? We'll get you a microphone here.

We'll get to you in just a minute. Matthew 12:39, Jesus said "it's an evil and adulterous generation that seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will The Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Now what happened after Jonah was in the great fish? Where did Jonah go from the fish? To the gentiles. Where did the Gospel go after Jesus came from the tomb? The Gospel then went to the gentiles, didn't it? So that's just one of many similarities there. And then he says, "the queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

" Who is the queen of the south? Who came to hear Solomon's wisdom? Queen of sheba - that's the queen of the south. So the gentiles came to hear the wisdom of Solomon and she took the truth back to her country. Jesus said 'a greater than Solomon is here. I want the gentiles to come and hear this truth. I want it to spread everywhere.

' So, we've got to be careful that we don't make the same mistake that some of the jews - obviously all of the jews didn't make this mistake or there'd be no church today. The early church was all Jewish. But many of the leaders did make this mistake of rejecting the message. So I always say that if you want to be saved you have to be a spiritual jew, at the very least. I think that's what Paul says.

Romans 2:28, "for he is not a jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart," - we all must be spiritual jews. Romans 9:6 and 7, "but it is not that the Word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, 'in Isaac your seed shall be called.'" Abraham had several other children besides Isaac, but the Messiah was to come through Isaac - but - so there are other descendents of Abraham out there that might not be from the seed of Isaac. Galatians 3:7, "therefore know that only those who are of faith are The Sons of Abraham." "Only those who are of faith are The Sons of Abraham." So, many will come from the east and the west. The 144,000 that you read about in the last days, is that 12,000 of the twelve tribes of Israel all literal jews? Think about that for a minute.

Where are you going to get ,000 literal people from the tribe of manasseh and issachar and zebulon today? Do you know your Bible history? Those tribes were conquered hundreds of years before Jesus was born. They were scattered to assyria, they intermarried - there are, to my knowledge, there are probably no purebred members of those tribes. You still have a hard time. There are probably still jews - a jew is from the tribe of judah - but Israelites from the twelve tribes? I think it must be talking about spiritual Israelites there and yet, a lot of my evangelical friends think the 144,000 have to be literal jews. It's going to be hard to get literal 12,000 from these people that are purebreds because they're largely intermarried.

So anyway, just while we're on that subject, Jesus said - Matthew - actually it's John the baptist that said, 'so do not say to yourselves 'we have Abraham as our father' for God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.' Do not say 'my mother was in the church - my grandfather was a pastor - I've been in the church for four generations'. Have you ever heard anyone talk about how many generations they've been in the church? Is it - does God have any grandchildren? God has no grandchildren. You all must be born again. If you're only born once, you will die twice - second death. If you want to only die once you need to be born twice - physical birth, spiritual birth - right? So there is no virtue - I mean, it's nice to have heritage, but you have no sanctifying value in saying, 'I've got three or four generations in the church' - you don't have any more ownership of Christ by that.

'We fall into the mindset of some of the jews back then in thinking that we've got this heritage - 'we must be saved, look at the great heritage we've got.' I really appreciate my mormon brothers and sisters for the wonderful genealogy work they've done. By the way, you wouldn't have 'ancestors.com' if it wasn't for them. That's how that all originated. And so - any of you ever log on to 'ancestors.com' to try and find out who some of your in-laws and out-laws are out there? It's interesting - it is kind of interesting. It kind of gives you roots, but you don't get any salvation virtue through your ancestors' blood.

We all must come to Christ originally to be saved. Amen? Now, with that in mind, when Paul says - and this is just extra, it's not really in the lesson - when Paul says in Romans 11:26, "and so all Israel will be saved," - all Israel will be saved - I've had friends from other churches that have read that verse that think there will be some revival that's going to go through Israel and every single jew is going to be saved because they're a jew. Paul makes this statement in Romans about all Israel being saved because if it's also spiritual Israel, then it is true all of the real children of Abraham will be saved - if you're a real spiritual jew. Does that make sense then? If not, then it sounds like God's going to save people based on their genetics. Doesn't the Bible say God is no respecter of persons? That people from every nation who believe in him will be accepted? God has made of one blood all people? So people from all different nations will accept him and people from all different nations will reject him.

Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn for they will see him coming in the clouds of heaven and people from every nation are going to reject him. More will reject him than accept him. But he has his children in every nation. Okay, I haven't forgotten about you. Who's got John 10:16? Let's go ahead and read that.

John 10:16 "and other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock, and one shepherd." Alright, so right there Jesus - he made it clear it's not just the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He said, 'I've got other sheep'. So if he's not just talking about the lost sheep of the house of Israel, who are the other sheep? The gentiles - people - a gentile is just a non-jew. It means everybody else. And so all these people from around the world - you know, I love this verse that you find in John 12:20, "now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast.

Then they came to Philip, who was from bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him," - he was one of the apostles - "saying, 'sir, we wish to see Jesus.'" Aren't there people all around the world out there who want to see Jesus? Do they want to see Jesus? Are they going to see him physically or maybe they see Jesus through us now. You notice before they saw Jesus they had to go to Jesus' followers and they approached Philip and andrew and said, 'we would see Jesus.' People are going to come to us and say, 'we would see Jesus.' So how are they going to see Jesus? How do we lead them to Jesus today like the apostles did back then? One thing is our example. We can lead them through the word because the word was made flesh. That is Christ, right? People are wanting to see Christ. In - let's go to John 7:35 - John 7:35, "then the jews said among themselves, where does he intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?" Now, I've just got to take a moment and give you a picture.

They used the words 'Greek' and 'gentile' interchangeably because Jesus said, 'salvation is to the jew first, then the Greek.' He didn't mean just people from greece. The Greeks - alexander the great had taken his hEllenistic teachings and philosophy and language all around the roman empire. That's why they sometimes call it the 'greco-roman empire' because even the Romans adopted a lot of the Greek architecture and the Greek Gods and the Greek ways. So the Greeks were - it was a word that was used to describe everybody else. You ever somebody say, 'it's Greek to me'? They don't mean that you're sounding Greek, it means 'it's a foreign language to me.

' So that word Greek was used to say anybody who was not a jew - the gentiles throughout the roman empire. And so, scattered among the cities of asia, which alexander the great had conquered, and rome, which alexander had conquered, and persia, which alexander had conquered, and india, which alexander had entered, and Egypt, which alexander had conquered, there was a Greek influence. The jews had been scattered through all of that. And so when it says 'take the Gospel among' - where's it going to go? Is he going to go to the Greeks and teach the Greeks - meaning the gentiles? So they thought, 'is he going to do this? He's not going to take the message to them, is he?' You know what that implies? They weren't doing it. Would Jesus do it? They had kind of written them off as lost.

Now where's the great commission to go? These are our last verses we're going to consider. Alright, someone look up for me Romans 15:12. Who has that verse? We've got a hand over here. Let's pass you the microphone. Seems like we've been a little biased to my right hand side of the church today, with the verses.

And we'll get to you in just a moment. Matthew 28:19 - how many of you know the great commission by heart? We should know that, right? 'Go ye therefore, make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of The Father and the son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I've commanded you. Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.' - Or the end of the world. And so, did Jesus make it clear the Gospel is to go everywhere? Go everywhere and teach the Gospel. Alright, I think we're ready.

Go ahead and read for us Romans :12, please. Romans 15:12, "and again, Isaiah says: 'there shall be a root of jesse; and he who shall rise to reign over the gentiles, in him the gentiles shall hope.'" Now this is a new testament quote of an old testament prophecy that would be fulfilled after the quote was made. Paul is saying, 'the Gospel is to go everywhere.' And when Paul went to a town he would start out, you notice, in the synagogue and if they listened, great. But if they didn't listen, he would shake the dust off his feet and say, 'lo, seeing that you prove yourselves unworthy of the Kingdom of God, we are turning to the gentiles. But he'd go first to them because they had the background.

And some of the Jewish synagogues, when they heard it - like the bereans - they searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so.' They embraced the Gospel with all their heart and soul. Different towns - some of them accepted it. Some of them they stirred up mobs against the apostles and chased them out of town. You know who sometimes - if I go into a city and I do an evangelistic meeting, you know where the opposition typically comes from? It's not from atheists and agnostics in that city, it's from other Christians and sometimes we've had pastors that will stand up in the churches and say, 'whatever you do, don't go to this prophecy seminar.' Or they try to close down the public school where we're meeting - they'll go to their friend who is on the school board and say, 'don't rent it to them.' 'But we've got a contract.' 'Break the contract. Don't rent it to them, they're a cult.

' And you - it's amazing, you get this opposition from, ostensibly, other believers and that's what the apostles ran into. They'd go from town to town and they'd start preaching. And you know who'd try to turn the gentiles away? The jews. And they'd try to get a mob and chase them out of town. And so things haven't changed very much.

Great commission - Mark 16:15 - Jesus, again he said, 'go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized will be saved. Acts 1:7 and 8 - Jesus said - when they said 'when are you going to establish the Kingdom?' Christ said, "it is not for you to know the times or seasons which The Father has put in his own authority. 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." Now do you know, that's exactly how it happened. They started - the Holy Spirit was poured out in Jerusalem and then they went out preaching in Judea and then they went out to samaria and then they scattered to the ends of the earth.

Thomas went to india and others they scattered to the north and into asia and the Gospel went everywhere. Well, you know, I'm looking at that and I see our time is up. I'd like to, before we close, remind you that we do have a free offer if you missed it at the beginning of our lesson, called 'the sign of Jonah' and if you'd like this booklet that talks about the message that's supposed to go everywhere - and what is that secret sign that Jesus said would be the only sign given? We'll send it to you for free. Offer #149 - ask for that when you call 788-3966 - that's -788-3966 or 866-study-more - same number - and we'll study together. God bless you, friends, until we can turn to the Word of God together next week.

Amazing Facts changed lives. Nobody was there to defend me. Nobody was there to protect me. My question was: 'why did that happen to me God? Why didn't you intervene?' Once I hit my teenage years, everything just started coming out. I felt embarrassed about what had happened because for so long I felt it was my fault.

There were times that I prayed but it was prayers of resentment and anger and just yelling at God. I was so confused, so depressed and I could not bear any more of the pain. You know, what's the point of living? It's might as well just die. I started cutting myself but I heard a small, still voice and it said, 'stop! Give me a second chance.' And right there I just felt something completely different. I felt a presence there and I put everything down and I went to my room and I just started crying.

I realized that me and God connected so well and I no longer saw him as just a God that no longer cared, but I actually saw him as a father and I continued praying. One day I was sleeping. My mom came to the bed and she said, 'connie, he's here. He's in town and the Lord impressed me that you need to face the situation. It's time for you to forgive.

' When something so drastic and so painful has happened, forgiveness is very hard because you're vulnerable. You let go of that ego - that pride - that has taken over you for so many years. I prayed and when we confronted the situation it was the most amazing moment where we could pray, we could cry, and we could forgive. And because of that, I'm able to help others and tell others that there is hope and there is someone that does care. Together we have spread the Gospel much farther than ever before.

Thank you for your support. 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 is behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed.

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