Discipling Spiritual Leaders

Scripture: Luke 6:12-13, John 16:7-14, Isaiah 57:15
Date: 03/15/2014 
Lesson: 11
"In the end, a combination of knowledge and experience that produces unselfish love will be the most potent force for any disciple-maker to possess."
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church right here in Sacramento, California. We're so glad that you're tuning in. Whether this is your first time or you are a regular that is part of our family across the country and around the world, welcome. We're going to start our program like we do every week - with singing your favorite songs. So whether you're listening on the radio, watching live at our web site at 'saccentral.

org', or on the various television networks, you've sent them in and we're going to sing them and keep doing that. So our first song is #88 - 'I sing the mighty power of God'. We're going to do all three stanzas. This comes as a request from lois in bermuda, hezron in brazil, clara, Esther, and caddie in nicaragua, and Mark in zambia - and there were several more names from different places on the planet. But we're very excited to sing your favorite #88.

So join with us at home and right here at central. We'll do all three stanzas. There is not a place where we can flee but God is present there. Is that comforting? He's always there. He's always watching out for us.

That is. If you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, go to our web site at 'saccentral.org' and click on the 'contact us' link and you can pick any song that's right here in our hymnal and we will do our best to sing that for you on an upcoming program. Of course you know what we're going to do now. We're going to sing our new song - and join with us as we learn #90 right on the other side of the page. 'Eternal God, whose power upholds'.

This is from kenyon and felicia in new south wales, australia and joyce in nairobi, kenya. And so they already know this song, so sing extra loud in kenya and australia and we will teach this to everybody else. It is actually an alternate tune for 'o little town of Bethlehem'. The first time I heard this tune was with 'o little town of Bethlehem' so I was very excited to find another Christmas song in the hymnal with different words. So let's learn this together - 'eternal God, whose power upholds'.

We will do the first, second and fourth stanzas. Wasn't that beautiful? Beautiful. So #91 will be our new one next week - so you can get a head start on learning that. And at this time let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you for bringing us here to open up your word and study together and sing songs, to praise you.

I pray that you will come and live in our hearts, that you will open up our minds to what pastor mike has to share with us today, and I pray that you'll be with each person here and our extended family around the world. You know each one. You know the struggles and the temptations and the hurt of each heart and I just pray that you will bring comfort where it's needed and speak to us so that we will always follow your will. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

It's good to see you all and thank you choristers - they always do just a wonderful job, don't they. We have a little infomercial first, and it's a good one. It's 'compromise, conformity, and courage' and it's written by your good friend and mine, Pastor Doug Batchelor and this is offer #774. And if you call 1-866-study-more or 1-866-788-3966 you shall receive this book free if you live in the continental United States of America - offer #774. And Pastor Doug is talking about well, compromise and conformity and courage.

It's very easy to want to be politically correct - nobody wants to offend anybody - but, you know, as Christians, we don't want to offend anybody anyway, do we? But, you know, when you stand for the truth and it's already going against cultural ideas of etiquette and all that kind of stuff, you can find yourself in a place where there's conflict and so you have to have the courage to stand for the right though the heavens fall. So this book is yours free if you contact Amazing Facts. We'll do another little thing about this toward the end. But we're on lesson #11 - they go quickly, don't they? Lesson #11 and it's called 'discipling spiritual leaders' and we have a memory text this morning - you probably get worried when you see me bring a bunch of papers up here, but I have my own way of doing things. We have a memory text here, it's in Luke 6, verses 12 and 13.

This is from the new king James version, "now it came to pass in those days that he" - that is, Jesus - "he went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples to himself; and from them he chose twelve whom he also named apostles:" so Jesus made a start in making his first selection of who would be the first leaders of this infant Christian church. And, as we look back, we realize that in human terms he didn't have a lot to work with - but that's in human terms, praise God. God sees things differently. But it says this - still on Sunday's - last Sabbath's section, sorry, the introduction, second paragraph, "the disciples' preparation for leadership certainly involved the receiving of knowledge, but spiritual growth was uppermost.

" And we'll be kind of reinforcing that this morning. They needed an experience in the things of God - of faith. Can you learn faith from a book? You can read about it, but the only way you learn faith is, well, the same way you learn to swim - is by jumping in the pool. "The need to learn the things by experience of hardship, of sanctification, and of self-sacrifice, along with an intellectual understanding of doctrine and theology." - We need both - "knowledge alone was insufficient preparation for the rigorous challenges ahead. Jesus gave them both.

" And Jesus is the same wonderful teacher today that he was then and he wants us as his disciples - to have that same preparation. But again, we read there in Luke chapter 6 - I want to turn there again to Luke 6 - beginning here of how Jesus started choosing those who he wanted to disciple and polish and groom and prepare for the great work that lay ahead of them as charter members of the Christian church. And as we read there in Luke :13 - I'm going to read it again - Luke 6, verse 13, "and when it was day, he called his disciples to himself; and from them he chose twelve whom he also named apostles:" apostles means 'those who were sent'. And the next couple of verses you see it's got listed there who his disciples were, but I want us to go to the verse before, verse 12, which we read, and - at least - I don't know if it was actually in the memory verse, was it? Yes, it is. Well, we're going to read it again because it's very important - verse 12, "now it came to pass in those days that he went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

" If Jesus felt and realized and understood the necessity of prayer, then how much should we? The next day he had a momentous task of saying, 'you, you, you, you, you - twelve times - and there was more than just twelve there, there was a whole group of people, but...he prayed all night. He prayed all night. And if Jesus needed to pray for wisdom and discernment in choosing what was the right thing to do in this instance, choosing his disciples, then I say again how much we need to pray for wisdom. But his example of prayer that we get here - how he prayed all night if necessary, that became an example to his disciples that they needed to follow that and there were times it was because they didn't actually pray that they missed out on some tremendous light and blessings. And if they missed out because they didn't pray, we can be sure that we will miss out as well.

So we've got to learn - we have to learn to pray. So there's a lesson in this for all us as well. You've probably heard it said that prayer is a breath of life. I mean it is, you know, you can live for days without food - actually, weeks without food, depending on how many - how well nourished you are. You can live for weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without air and prayer is the breath - it's air for the soul - there's no substitute for it.

There's no shortcuts. We live in an age, unfortunately, where it's instant this and instant that. And I've spoken about this before. You want mashed potatoes? You don't have to peel them, you open a packet, mix them with some water, put a bit of something else - put a bit of margarine - put it in a microwave - three minutes - instant mashed potato. How's that? And you know, we sometimes carry that thinking, I believe, into the Christian life.

You watch something on television - I don't watch garbage anymore, in fact, I rarely watch television. But, you know, normally - you remember if you watch television. I won't put anybody on the spot. But you see a life crisis - a life crisis comes up and within minutes to 55 minutes, crisis comes up, resolution comes, it's solved, and everybody lives happily ever after and rides off into the sunset. Life isn't like that.

So we have this idea that everything should be right there. And in the Christian life, it's not like that - and in the prayer life, if we want to see God work in our lives - either the power to resist temptation or the ability to receive wisdom or to work for God or to pray for people, it takes not drive-thru Christianity. You drive up to taco bell there's somebody there, 'yeah, what can I get for you?' 'Oh, three bean burritos, please.' 'Okay.' You drive through the window, give them your card, within three minutes you've got your meal, and you're on the way. You can't pray like that. There's no drive through.

It has to be real time. And if you need to spend 30 minutes on your knees, spend 30 minutes on your knees. If it needs to be an hour, two hours, three hours - you stay on those knees and you pray yourself through. That's what we need and Jesus was trying to - he needed to teach his disciples the need of doing this and he set this example in his own life. Now, of course, the context here is discipling, you know, what is it? What's the lesson? I should read the title sometimes.

'Discipling spiritual leaders' - prayer is so important. Jesus knew what it was to agonize in prayer. I want us to go to Hebrews 5 and verse 7 - Hebrews 5 and verse 7. And here's - he's our mentor. He's our example.

Jesus had so much resting upon his shoulders and in his humanity he was just - just as frail as we were in his humanity and he came to realize that - from an early age - that he was the Savior. Imagine carrying that around. And so we read this - Hebrews 5, beginning in verse 7, speaking of Christ and his prayer experience. It says, "who, in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications," - what does it say? - "With strong - strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him." Jesus - there were times, many times, when in his human frailty, he fell to the earth and like us he had to supplicate the throne of grace and he prayed, sometimes with strong crying and tears. I mean, the passion and the determination and the devil was on his track all the time trying to take him down and the pharisees trying to take him down.

And he was human, you know, he felt the wounds and many times he fell on his knees before his father with this burden on his shoulders and a bleeding heart because nobody seemed to understand - nobody seemed to care - even his own disciples. Jesus was alone so much and he would go with his bleeding and wounded heart to his father with strong crying and tears, 'father, help me.' And he stayed there until The Father reached into his heart and he felt those wounds heal and his cup was filled again. Sometimes he'd pray all night - imagine that - and he'd go back to work. And I think, if that was me I'd just be tired out. But no, he goes straight back to work and he has a whole day of ministry again.

What an example to his disciples who he was grooming for spiritual leadership. What an example to us. Still in Hebrews chapter 2, verses 16 through 18, what Jesus had to pray through in his humanity - it says, "for verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren," - that's us - "that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." - Verse 18 - "for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." And as a leader, in whatever leadership role you have, the only way that you will know how to succor those who are troubled is to encourage them to pray and to be able to tell them firsthand what your prayer life experience is. You can look them in the eye and you can tell them, "you know what? I know what you're going through.

You know what? Two years ago at this time I was burdened and I found no relief until I realized there was no shortcut. I had to fall upon my knees and I pled to God just as Jesus did and he helped me. And what he did for me he can do for you. You'll have a witness. You'll be able to look people in the eye and tell them with a confidence, 'what Jesus did for me, he can do for you.

' And they'll know that you didn't get that from a book. They'll know that you're not reading a script. They will know that that came right from your heart and that is the power of the personal witness that Jesus had to his disciples which inspired them. They did the same thing and that's the same kind of disciples that we can be as well. And we need to be, right? Just, I don't want to spend too long on this first section, but it's just, I mean it's totally pregnant with meaning here.

Michael is my good librarian. Could you find me 'desire of ages' please, there Michael in that little stack? I'm always glad to see you there, mike, every Sabbath. Oh thank you very much. I didn't mean you have to wait on me, but thank you. In Matthew 17 - I'm just going to give you the reference there - there is the experience of Jesus' transfiguration on the mount of transfiguration.

Well, let's turn there, Matthew . And, again, we see this demonstration that Jesus gave of praying, if necessary, all night. Matthew 17, verse - you can read it through verses 1 through 8, but I'm going to read the verse - first two verses - Matthew 17, verse 1 and then verse 2. It says, "and after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart," - and the next verse said, "and was transfigured before them and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light." They saw - they went up in this mountain, you read verse 1 - next verse - suddenly he's transfigured and they saw Christ in all his transplendant - if that's the right word - glory. But, you know, between the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2, there were things happening there that we don't read here in the Word of God.

But I want to share with you from the 'Desire of Ages' some information what happened there between the end of Matthew 17, verse 1 and the beginning of Matthew 17, verse 2. The chapter called 'he was transfigured' - I'm going to go to page 419 of 'Desire of Ages' and I'd like you to just bear with me as we consider this here. But page 419 - it says - it mentions here - Ellen white mentions about Jesus has had a very busy day. He'd been ministering to the sick, he'd been praying, he'd been all these wonderful things but she says this, "he had sent the thrill of life through many enfeebled frames, but he also is compassed with humanity and with his disciples he is wearied with the ascent of this mountain." - He's just dog tired - "the light of the setting sun still lingers on the mountaintop, and gilds with its fading glory the path they are traveling. But soon the light dies out from hill as well as the valley, the sun disappears behind the western horizon, and the solitary travelers are wrapped in the darkness of night.

" Try and see this. This happened between the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2. "The gloom of their surroundings seems in harmony with their sorrowful lives, around which the clouds are gathering and thickening. The disciples do not venture to ask Christ wither he is going or for what purpose." And here we read "he has often spent entire nights in the mountains in prayer." Why? Because he was encompassed with our frailties and there was so much resting upon his shoulders. "He whose hand formed the mountain and valley is at home with nature, and enjoys its quietude.

The disciples follow where Christ leads the way, yet they wonder why their master should lead them up this toilsome ascent when they are weary, and when he too is in need of rest. Presently Christ tells them that they are to now go no further. Stepping a little aside from them" - now get this - "the man of sorrows" - the man of sorrows - "pours out his supplications with strong crying and tears. He prays for strength to endure the test on behalf of humanity." His end was not far down the line and he knew this. "He prays for strength to endure the test in behalf of humanity.

He must himself gain a fresh hold on omnipotence." Why? Because he was omnipotent but he put that in a filing cabinet and he locked the drawer and he threw the key away. He had to live on this life as a man. So he had to go - he has to go seek omnipotence from his father, which he actually possessed in himself, but never used it. He has to get "a fresh hold on omnipotence for only thus can he contemplate the future. And he pours out his heart-longings for his disciples that in the hour of the power of darkness their faith may not fail.

" That was his burden and so he stays there on his knees and we read this: "the dew is heavy upon his bowed form but he heeds it not. The shadows of night gather thickly about him, but he regards not their gloom. So the hours pass slowly by." So here he is, this is your Savior, this is your friend. He was burdened that night for his disciples and he was burdened for you. That's where he carried you upon his heart.

In his humanity he had to go and plead at the throne of omnipotence that his strength fail not - that his disciples' strength fail not and that yours fail not either. Now the burden of his prayer is that they may be given a manifestation of the glory he had with The Father before the world was, that his kingdom may be revealed to human eyes, and that his disciples may be strengthened to behold it." This is the longing of his soul, 'father, there's this trial coming. Please, please give them something to hang onto.' And it says he pleads - what does he do? "He pleads that they may witness a manifestation of his divinity that will comfort them in the hour of his supreme agony." And you know what it says next? "His prayer is heard. While he is bowed in lowliness upon the stony ground, suddenly the heavens open, the golden gates of the city of God are thrown wide, and holy radiance descends upon the mount, enshrouding the Savior's form. Divinity from within" - he lets it out the filing cabinet now, just for a moment - "divinity from within flashes through humanity, and meets the glory coming from above.

Arising from his prostrate position, Christ stands in Godlike majesty. The soul agony is gone. His countenance now shines 'as the sun' and his garments are as 'white as light'." But had he not prayed, we wouldn't have that story to read about this morning and be encouraged. We don't know half the story, do we? We don't know half of it. It's never been told.

Read verse 17 - chapter 17, verse 1 - he goes on the mount - oh, and he was transfigured - praise the Lord! But what happened in between? Now here's another point here and I'll move on to whatever day is next and we can learn from this. Remember Moses and Elijah, they came down and they spoke to him? He wanted - God wanted his disciples to witness to hear the conversation between Moses and Elijah, but because the disciples were sleeping, they missed out on some stuff and they were poorer because of that. Let us learn this as well. His disciples, in Gethsemane, when he said 'pray' they fell asleep, right? If they'd been listening to his prayer they would have been strengthened. So this is a lesson that when you feel the Holy Spirit go call you to pray, go and do it because God may have something special that he wants to tell you at that moment in time, which he may not repeat.

Listen to this - it's in the same thing here. Speaking of Moses and Elijah, it says, "these men" - that came down on the mount - "these men chosen above every angel around the throne, had come to commune with Jesus concerning the scenes of his suffering, and to comfort him with the assurance of the sympathy of heaven" - and so on and so forth. And it says here, "through being overcome with sleep, the disciples heard little of what passed between Christ and the heavenly messengers. Failing to watch and pray, they had not received that which God desired to give them, a knowledge of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. They lost the blessing that might have been theirs through sharing his self-sacrifice.

Slow of heart to believe were these disciples, little appreciative of the treasure with which heaven sought to enrich them." And they lost it. They realized after the fact and, you know, where we fail God still, you know, he still helps us out. We still get a blessing but oh, what could have been their experience, right? So enough on that. I hope and I assume you get the point there. I've got more comments but I have to move on to Monday.

Okay, let's move on to Monday, 'knowledge and experience'. This is - there's two parts to this and we're told that biblical knowledge and theoretical instruction are all vital parts in the curriculum in the school of Christian discipleship. We need that. But along with that is the equally important aspect of a practical experience - of a spiritual experience. These have to go together.

Now I have a good friend called dr. Herbert douglass. He lives just - I live in roseville - in rocklin and he lives just up the road in lincoln. He's a good friend of mine. He's a good friend of a lot of people.

He's very easy to make friends with. And we were privileged to have him right here this last Sabbath here talking about the great controversy theme. And I remember when we had him about a year ago in our Sabbath afternoon class - discipleship university - and he had a wonderful way of explaining things which, you know, if I was more learned myself, I would have probably thought, "yeah, I've heard that before.' But I actually hadn't. But when I heard it, it made perfect sense. He spoke about when you're dealing with truth, very often there is an elipse.

An elipse comes from the term 'elliptical'. You know elliptical? You've got a circle right? And elliptical form is this way and you see this in astronomy. You've got the sun and you've got planets and some planets go around, but some planets, their orbit is elliptical - it's more like this. And with truth, you get elipses sometimes. Elipses - I'll give you an example: okay, to have a full rounded Christian experience - the elipse of a full rounded Christian experience is that you have two things there.

You have practical, biblical instruction around which, in that elliptical orbit, you have actually the practical application and experience. Those two parts form an elipse and if you take out the biblical knowledge part, you don't have a Christian experience. And if all you have is just the theoretical knowledge and you don't have that experience, the elipse is broken and you do not have the complete Christian experience in life and you can apply that to many things. You take the righteousness by faith, put that in an elipse, what are the two things you get in righteousness by faith? Well, in that elipse, righteousness by faith actually comes through the new birth. I mean, that's what it is, but part of that new birth is - the two things that form that elipse is justification and sanctification.

But they're both there together. When you have that, then you have the true experience of righteousness by faith. But if you take one out you're just left with justification and no sanctification. That's not much of a Gospel. It's only half of a Gospel.

And if you just believe in sanctification but you don't have God's Word that says, you know, here's the commandments and if you break them you've sinned. Then your sanctification is really, it's - what's the term I'm looking for? It's presumption. You know, 'God loves me. I've got this good feeling about everything. I'm okay.

God's okay.' But you're not following the word. You get the point here. You have to have the two and Jesus taught his disciples and followers many rich and wonderful truths. I mean, we all know this. He was the greatest Bible teacher that ever was and ever has been, but we notice that what he had to say was more complete and rounded - well, let me put it another way, what he had to teach his disciples he knew could not be fully complete and rounded - they could not get the full education - he could not convey that to them, the good teacher that he was, in his humanity unless they too realized that - good teacher as he was and example that he was - they needed to have, themselves, that personal experience with the Holy Spirit.

I hope you're following me here. I'm not trying to make it more complicated, but I think you get the point. Let's go to John 16. This is actually in the lesson. John chapter 16 and you realize - I'm not speaking heresy - when Jesus made it clear that they needed more that what just he was telling them about.

John 16:7 through 14. I'm going to read it here. This is Christ talking to his disciples and this is actually in the upper room. It says, "nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgement: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my father, and ye see me no more; of judgment" - okay, let's move down to verse 12.

He says, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." - He says, 'there's things that I want to tell you but you wouldn't be able to understand them because it would be kind of more on the theoretical sense. He says, 'you wouldn't be able to bear them. You wouldn't be able to grasp it.' But look at verse 13, he says, "howbeit when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into" - what? - "All truth:" - so was all the truth embodied in Christ? Sure it was. And he could have given them, theoretically, all the truth, but he said, 'you've got to have an experience that goes with that.' - He says, 'so I have to go away so the Holy Spirit can come and dwell within you and he will lead you into all truth.' And what he's actually speaking about was, when the Holy Spirit came on pentecost, those who were willing to receive the holy spirit, they were born again. You know, the Christian life is simply this: if you have a conversion experience, everything else falls into place.

It does. It does. Being born again, Jesus said in John 3, he's saying, 'except a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.' You see, if you don't have the Holy Spirit you can't see. You can sit down all day with a Bible - unless you have the holy spirit and you're willing to let the Holy Spirit teach you - I've spoken to people like this. I've spoken to people who say, 'pastor mike, I read the Bible and it's boring.

I don't understand it.' There is a person - visited me for the better part of over a year - 18 months - they're not here so I can speak. And I would talk to them one week and I would explain passages of Scripture and this person was a very smart man - it's male, okay, I let it slip. But anyway, a very smart person and I'd give them some very fundamental things and they'd go away and they'd come back the next week and it was still, 'you know, I don't really understand it.' And I'm thinking - I actually asked them - I said, 'are you cherishing - are you practicing stuff on the side you shouldn't be doing? I mean, is something blocking your mind? And 'no' - I'd take their word for it but unless you have a conversion experience - unless a man or woman is born again, Jesus said you cannot see the kingdom of God. You cannot discern the Spiritual requirements. You cannot discern the Spiritual truths of God's Word.

But if you're born again - and Jesus wants us all to have the born-again experience - we'll have the elipse, right? We'll have the truth. We'll have the practical experience that elipse - we'll put a label on it called 'born again'. Praise the Lord, I'm on my way to the Kingdom of God. And again I say, if you take one of those away, you've got nothing. If you just have the Bible knowledge minus the heart conversion, then you're religious intellectuals or legalists, to use an old term.

The opposite danger is - from legalism - without the experience is the other side of the coin. There's just an emphasis on emotionalism. 'Oh, I feel the Spirit. I feel this and I feel that.' Very subjective - there's a lot of religion today going around that is based - it's based on that and it's dangerous because it's minus a strong doctrinal foundation that is built upon Scripture. And you break out of the elipse and you're wide open to impressions which you feel.

'Oh, that was the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit just spoke to me.' And people can talk like this with conviction. 'The Holy Spirit just spoke to me and I just know it. I feel it in my heart.' But it can be very, very, very, very dangerous because it can lead to an unbalanced counterfeit Christian experience which is on the other end of the spectrum from legalism. And there's much found like that in Christianity today - even spiritual formation, which has made its way into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

I'm just going to speak straight. Spiritual formation - stay away from it. Just stay away from it. I've just made a bunch more enemies but, you know, I have to speak the truth up here. Because it opens the door - it opens the door to spiritualistic delusions - regardless of whether it produces nice feelings or not - it may - you know, the devil is so deceptive he can give you feelings of even goodwill toward people.

'You know, it must be the holy spirit because I have this kind feeling in my heart that I'll go give this person here $20.00.' Be very careful. Remember, satan offered to give Jesus the world. I mean, that was certainly kind of a kindness, wasn't it? 'I'll give you the world if you'll worship me.' So we must - we must, must, must be very, very, very, very careful. But let me read this: Tuesday's section, first paragraph it says again - and this I'm repeating here - "spiritual knowledge is indispensable for spiritual transformation. Christ himself was regarded as the master teacher in open classrooms bordered by seashores, mountains, and God's created wonders, Christ disseminated formative - transformative knowledge.

The Holy Spirit awakened previously seared consciences to accept these truths. Disciple making is incomplete without experience, but experience must be directed by knowledge." I just - I just said that but I want to mention this: there is another thing that has come into the Seventh-day Adventist Church - I'm not going to name it - and I'm not going to name it because I sincerely believe - I believe with all my heart that people that are involved with this are very good people. They are very kind people. They've got soft hearts and they mean well so I'm not going to name what they're doing. I'm not going to trash them because God loves them.

But I'll honestly tell you I think they're off track and they've broken out of the elipse here. They're sincere people who look around in the church and they see different factions, you know, maybe differences on the nature of Christ, on the ordination issue - women's ordination - you know that - the sanctuary service, 1844, and all this stuff and they look and these people are - they're nice people. They look and they say, 'you know, why can't we all be friends? Why can't we all get along together?' And, you know, that would be so nice. And I watched one of the sermons - it was about a 28-minute sermon I watched recently on a particular web site and there was this person and they were saying, you know, it doesn't matter if you're this or that, we all need to come together. We need Jesus.

' That is the point. We need Jesus. You know, I say 'amen' to that. They're kind of saying, 'we need to forget the differences and we need to all be united in Jesus. And can you say 'amen' to that? Absolutely.

So I don't hold it against them but, along with getting together with Jesus in that elipse - the remnant church - there's the elipse of the remnant church - the remnant church says there's two things that form the elipse. One is Jesus the Lord our righteousness, but the other one is Jesus with the third angel's message, which is God's last message to the world today. So while there's Jesus, yes - and we need Jesus, we don't throw the distinctive doctrines out that make us Seventh-day Adventists - that break down those things that make us different from even other religious groups. What you're actually doing here - you're just opening the door for acceptance and induction into ecumenism. So it's kind of like an ecumenism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church - let's forget the differences - let's all come together in Jesus - and we level the playing field.

And when we do that, we get rid of our distinctive doctrines like the third angel's message. Then you remove the barriers that make us different from any other Christian denomination out there. So what are we setting ourselves up to do? Be part of that other ecumenical movement that is out there that is based on all kinds of pluralistic views of the Bible - and they're out there - views that have no time for the seventh-day Sabbath or the third angel's message - pluralistic biblical views that say, 'no, there was no six-day creation, there was no flood in Noah's time.' Need I say more? Need I say more, dr. Stone? Absolutely not. So we need to be sure that while we - and I'll say this - I think we all need more of Jesus.

We do. We need more of Jesus. I need more of Jesus but I also need the Gospel that Jesus brings with him as well and that is the everlasting Gospel that you find proclaimed in the third angel's message. The message is to go to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. And in Luke 6, verse 39, this is kind of what Jesus is talking about, if we let ourselves get out of that elipse and just go to one extreme.

What did he say? 6:39, "And he spake a parable unto them, can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?" Exactly right, Michael, exactly right. And I just want to kind of put the - could you get me my 'great controversy' please, mike? You know, I'll come and get it. Thank you. I want to take you just a little further before I move on from Tuesday. At the end - speaking generally, but generally there's going to be two - two blind groups which will amount to the blind leading the blind and, tragically, will fall into the ditch and these two groups, you're going to see them both fall in the very near future.

There'll be those which have cast away the truth of God's Word and based their faith upon feelings and signs and those, on the other hand, who it's just the Word of God and they don't have the experience. But nonetheless, they will - either group will open themselves up to spiritualistic influences. I'm reading from 'desire of ages' - sorry, 'Great Controversy' p. 588. It says, "as spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare.

Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the Spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power." You've read that before but verse - paragraph 4, just down here, it says, "papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power;" - okay? - "And protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded." - I'll read that again - "papists, who boast of miracles" - you know, catholicism does not rest upon the Word of God. They have the Word of God but it's mostly tradition and superstition and, you know, the history of how Sunday came in and all these kinds of things over the centuries.

That's just the nature of the roman catholic church - comprised of many fine people, by the way - "papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power" - because they're not resting on the Word of God - "and protestants" - what is a protestant? A protest was somebody who, not long ago, said 'sola scriptura. No, no catholic tradition for me. The Word of God - sola scriptura.' A lot of protestants - so-called protestants - don't know what protestantism means these days and it's because they no longer stand upon tHis Word and they have a Gospel that is - does not have the two things to form the elipse of justification and sanctification in the new birth and they depend upon - 'let's put aside the, you know, the things about God's Word that separate us. Let's go for the brotherly experience of one another and in Christ.' What they are doing here - it says here, "protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded." In Wednesday's section here, it's speaking about - where are we? Let me find it here - yeah, speaking about early leaders - speaking about the fact that the early leaders that Christ chose - they were, you know, what we might call uneducated men. But, you know, God very often uses that kind of person because - nothing wrong with education - don't get me wrong - but it is a fact - it mentions it in the lesson and it's in the Spirit of prophecy and it's very clear Jesus passed by all the rabbis and all those that had the doctorates.

He did - because he knew that intellectualism can get in the way and fill a person with intellectual pride. 'I'm an intellectual.' You know - so very often intellectualism these days you question things. Sign of a broad mind that you question things. It gets in the way. It blocks the channel.

So Jesus went - passed them all by. Now, there were some who became Christian. Nicodemus became one. He was a good man. So they're not all - they're not all on the wrong path.

You look at the reformation, I mean, there was wycliff - he was a brilliant man. There was huss - he was an intellectual and martin luther, but they're few and far between. Why? Because this intellectualism gets in the way. Jesus went straight for those who didn't have those hang-ups so they would be more inclined to be simple minded in the right way of being simple minded and be willing to be taught by him. And when you get that garbage out the way, the Holy Spirit can come in and really communicate with you.

And Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, he says, "take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." So Jesus, he could have been - well he was the greatest intellectual that ever was. He could have stood there and expounded on physics and philosophy and science but he didn't. He wasn't there for that purpose, but he could have blind-sided everybody. But he came humbly and meekly because when we're in a spiritual warfare we have to have, not human intellectualism and human strength, but we need to be humble so that the power of God can come in us to fight this warfare that we're confronted with. And notice, Isaiah 57:15 - here it spells it out - the kind of instrument that God looks for and the kind of instrument that God desires and delights to use - Isaiah 57:15 - it says, "for thus saith the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy; I dwell in the high and holy place," - and oh he does.

We need these glimpses of God in his glory - "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the Spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." That's why Jesus chose the disciples that he did. And it's okay for us to have college degrees - fine - but above and beyond that you need to be the kind of person that God looks down upon from his high and holy place and he says to himself and he says to the angels, he says, 'that's my kind of person. That's my kind of child. That's my servant. Him/her that is of a contrite and a humble spirit.

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