Day Of Good News

Day Of Good News

Scripture: 2 Kings 6:24-33, 2 Kings 7:1-20
This sermon in the '05 Revive series is titled "Day of Good News." This talk on true revival revolves around the importance of our devotional lives. A love relationship with the Lord comes from taking time to get to know Him.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Good evening, Friends. I am glad to see each of you here in Fort Worth and, again, I am glad to welcome those who are watching via the television program. We are hearing reports of people who are watching in Central America, South America, Europe, many different parts of the world, the Far East. It was encouraging to hear that in France at 2 in the morning the program is being broadcast. I know other parts of the world, like Australia, they are taping it and then replaying it. We have friends in New Guinea and Fiji and I could go on and on. It is a thrill to be able to study God’s Word together. Amen.

The reason we are doing this revival is because Christianity is encompassed in two great statements of Christ. One is the Great Invitation, Come Unto Me, and then the other is the Great Commission, Go Ye, Tell all the World. The church does not do a very good job of the going into all the world unless we do a good job of the coming to Jesus.

We need to repeatedly come to Christ to renew, to revive, to refresh, to remember. And so it is very appropriate for us to have these meetings where we say, Lord, feed us that we might be the vehicle of reaching others. Amen. I think it is very presumptuous for us to think we have it together and we don’t need revival.

A couple of years when ago when we were planning the first revival, a few pastors said, “Well, Doug, the word revival is sort of antiquated and it is negative. It implies that there is something wrong.” I said, “Yes, there is. It is called sin. It is in our natures and we have to resist that and we do need a revival.” Amen.

In connection with these meetings, I hope that the groups that are coming here, you are gathering in your families praying, in your churches, even after the program goes off the air or while you are waiting before it goes on the air, we would encourage you to be praying in groups together because when you gather in Christ’s name, He is there. Amen. So please, we are hoping that this will swell into a crescendo of prayer as we reach our final weekend and then we don’t want it to evaporate. We are asking that the things that we learn we will incorporate in our lives and we will be stronger. It will sustain us, at least for a while, until our next revival. Because Jesus is coming soon, friends, and we have a perfect standard of Christ before us and we need to be moving upward.

Again, welcome. We have some bible questions. You have been waiting so patiently there.

Pastor Ross: We do. Actually, you know, Pastor Doug, before we get into the questions, let me share with you a story that somebody shared with me the other night who is coming to our meetings. You had spoken about the television and that there is a lot of stuff on television that is just not worth looking at. Well, he said his family never had a television for a number of years and then they decided to get one.

Well, they got the television and put it in their living room and they hadn’t had it for more than six weeks when a truck passing in front of their house lost a wheel somehow and that wheel came bouncing right through their front lawn, smashed through the window of their living room and wiped out their television. Well, they got a hint that must be God trying to tell them something. So I thought that was interesting.

Pastor Doug: So unless you want a big ‘ole tire coming through your window… That’s a good story.

Pastor Ross: Here is the question that was sent in. You spoke the other night about fasting. How do you know how long or how many days a person should fast?

Pastor Doug: Well, some people are in the custom of fasting on a weekly basis and I am not suggesting that we should like that proud pharosy (phonetic) who said, Lord, I fast twice a week, but some people do fast every week. Sometimes that might be just deciding to miss a meal or two, if you are on three meals a day.

If you are not in the custom of fasting, you will find like with anything in your body, you want to build. You do not want to begin your first fast by going 40 days. I don’t know if you would ever want to do that. But I have some friends that go almost a week. I have never done that. A few days, where I am talking about the no-food fast. So you want to build into it if you are not accustomed to it and your body does adjust.

There are actually some health benefits assuming you don’t have some other circumstances of low blood sugar. Of course, everybody says they get low blood sugar when they are hungry, right? So if that is your excuse, nobody will fast. But if you are healthy, it is good sometimes to just rest your whole system.

I just did a sermon on fasting in our church in Sacramento a few weeks ago and in preparation for that, I learned some interesting things. The medical community is almost universally agreed that more people and more health problems are caused around the world today by over-eating than under-eating. Have you heard that? And National Geographic said that we are now living in an age where there are more people in the world that are over-nourished than mal-nourished. It might do us some good to fast physically, but there are spiritual reasons as well.

Something about when you fast, it is like presenting your body, a living sacrifice. It is good for self-control to simply just deny yourself a while. Most of us will not shrivel up and blow away if we miss a meal or don’t eat for a day. You can sometimes drink some juice, but start as you can handle it.

Pastor Ross: So basically then you are saying that it is an individual that determines how long they are going to fast, they let the Holy Spirit convict them?

Pastor Doug: Yes, well, there are examples in the bible where there was sort of a national fast declared, like Esther’s Day. There was a death decree and we may face the same -- no, we will face the same thing some day. And she declared, have all of the Israelites, all the Jews, pray for me and fast for three days. And so sometimes our nation declares a day.

Do you that when we first started having our National Day of Prayer, they called it a National Day of Fasting and Prayer? They dropped the fasting part and then they just started calling it a day of prayer. Are you aware of that?

Pastor Ross: The second question is one that probably a lot of people are wondering. Is it perfectly wrong for a Christian to shoot another person during a time of war?

Pastor Doug: Well, this question comes in frequently. First of all, some say doesn’t the bible say “Thou shalt not kill” and if the bible says “Thou shalt not kill,” then isn’t the Lord conflicting with his own law by sending people out, when he sent out the Israelites at different times, to irradiate their enemies?

The Commandment actually translate “Thou shall not commit murder.” As a matter of fact, Jesus quotes it that way in the New Testament when he quotes that Commandment. There is a difference technically between murder and killing. You are technically killing when you swat a mosquito. And so you would be breaking the Commandment if you want to over-literalize that. Soldiers are typically not called murderers.

I am very thankful that there is a military that helps to both preserve and protect our county, aren’t you? But at the same time, it can be a real moral dilemma for a Christian where Jesus says to love your enemies and we commission to save life. If you are pressed somehow into military service, you might use Desmond Doss as our hero and say, I will save life, but I will not bear arms. And again at the same time, I do no want to condemn those ho might view it differently.

Are you aware that our whole church was split over this issue? It is a very volatile issue and I am not saying that I have all the answers to that, but biblically you have a lot of examples where God did allow the bearing of arms, Old Testament, New Testament, Paul said that the police do not bear the sword in vein. I am paraphrasing. There is authority and permission is given to the government to use force when necessary to preserve order and freedom.

If we believe in those things, it is hard for us to condemn Christians that are in those offices, in my opinion. I would not to be in that office, but at the same, I think we ought to be very careful about judging those who are.

Pastor Ross: Next question, where in the bible does it say “Thou shalt not gamble?”

Pastor Doug: It actually is not worded that way. It is thou shalt not play the lottery and it is in book of Hezekiah. No, there is no specific command. There are a lot of things that we do today; you are not going to find out anything about thou shalt not use heroin in the bible. They didn’t have it back then.

The practice of gambling, of course they did it at the foot at the cross. That ought to tell you something right there, the soldiers them, they gambled. The bible tells us in Proverbs, “He that makes haste to be rich will not be innocent.” Isn’t gambling trying to get rich quick? Or those who want to earn something for nothing at the expense of others? Should Christians support that? Should Christians support an industry that people become addicted to?

In Sacramento, right up the hill from us is Reno, and we have had people that we have ministered to that have lost everything because of gambling. They make that trip on a regular basis back and forth, 100 miles to Reno and a couple of hours, twice every day because they cannot resist gambling. They cash in their savings, they mortgage their house, they go into debt because they cannot stop. It is an addiction.

So how should a Christian support that addition? By our example and be a stumbling block for someone else. Maybe you are not addicted, but someone else can be. Oh, but Pastor Doug, I just buy a Lotto ticket once it gets up to so many million dollars. I actually had a Christian tell me a couple of weeks go, I only do it when the Lotto gets really high because I thought then I will give it to the Lord. God doesn’t want your money. He wants your heart. He wants your obedience, right? God can make all the money He wants, so do not gamble.

Now what would Jesus do? Can you picture Jesus there in Vegas yanking on that one-armed bandit saying, “Three sevens, three sevens.”

Pastor Ross: Somebody once said that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than being bitten by a shark on land, those are the chances.

Pastor Doug: That is right. You have a better chance of getting bitten by a shark on dry land than winning the lottery.

Pastor Ross: This question has to do with the covering of the head in church. Should we cover our heads when we pray?

Pastor Doug: It is interesting that in the Jewish heritage you do not go into a sacred place without wearing a Yamaka. I remember when we went to the Wailing Wall, they had a little barricade there and as I entered the barricade, they give you little paper Yamakas that the men are supposed to put on. In the Christian culture if you enter the church with a baseball cap on or with a hat on, it is considered disrespectful.

It does address in 1 Corinthians the covering of the head is a symbol of humility before God and it is talking about praying in public. You don’t find that custom repeated anywhere else in the New Testament and Paul says we have no other custom. It appears that it was a custom and whatever the custom of respect is, you follow.

When I go to some Eastern countries, as we enter the church on Sabbath, you all take off your shoes. They don’t wear their shoes to church and there is a big pile of shoes at the door. You hope they are there when you get out. But there is no command that says you have to do that. In our culture, it is not practiced. You want to follow the customs of respect to be a good witness and if you are some place where they cover their heads as a symbol of respect, then that is what you want to do.

Pastor Ross: I think we are out of time for tonight, but keep sending in those questions.

Pastor Doug: I should mention right now that if you want to send in your questions, we have a growing number, but we will do our best to get to your question, go to the Amazing Facts website and that is 05Revive.com and there are a lot of things you can take advantage of there. The free offer Night After Night is repeated there. The messages are going to be in streaming audio and video. You can listen and watch online in case you missed it. There are a lot of neat things there. Thank you.

Pastor Ross: All right, we have a free offer. The Armor of God, this little booklet is available to you. All you need to do is call the resource number, 866-905-Revive and revive is 7384. Just call that number and ask for Offer Number 173. Like Pastor Doug said, you can also find this on 05Revive on the website.

Also on that website, you can click and watch the previous night’s presentation. So if you want to watch it again, you can do so. If you have a friend and you were touched by the presentation and they were not able to make it, you can tell them about the website. So be sure to check that out and use it. It is a tremendous resource.

At this time, we would like to give you an opportunity to help contribute to the costs of putting on this Revival. At this time, our ushers will come forward for the offering and in your local sites, there are needs there as well. If your site is taking up an offering, that will be done at the same time.

Pastor Doug: Tonight’s subject is I think one of the most important. If you are interested, my dear wife, who I spoke to a little while ago, said that this is her favorite subject. As we travel together and I am trying to pick out different subjects, she says do that one on the lepers, do the Day of Good News. She says that is a good message and people need to hear that.

It really revolves around our relationship with Jesus and with each other. It revolves around the gospel and it revolves around what I think is the key to Revival. It is your devotional life, spending time listening to the Lord, communicating with Him through prayer, letting him speak to you through His word and then sharing that relationship with others.

Let me see if I can zero in on why I think this is so important. God wants Christians to be new creatures. He gives us a new heart. It is all built around a love relationship. I think we know that God wants us to obey Him. You cannot obey Him unless you love Him. If you love me, keep my commandments. Even in the Ten Commandments, it says showing mercy in the thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments. You have to love Him. If do not love Him, everything else is going to be a burden.

You cannot love somebody that you do not know and you will not love somebody that you do not communicate with. You must build a relationship with God. The better you know God, the better you love Him. The more you love Him, the easier it is to serve and obey Him. Does that make sense? So the secret ingredient for the Christian life being a blessing instead of a burden is a love relationship with Jesus.

So many people, I am convinced, go to church and they try to do the right things and they are convinced mentally, but they do not know the Lord. They do not have a love relationship with Him. That is going to come by taking time to get to know Him. So pray with me once again as we prepare to open the bible that God will speak to us.

Dear Father in Heaven, it is an awesome thing when we consider that this program here from Fort Worth is going up to the heavens and bouncing off a number of satellites and being received around the planet. Indeed this is the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world. Lord, we tremble when we think of the rest and then the end will come. Lord, we pray that tonight that gospel and the power of the gospel will be felt in our lives, that hearts and minds will be both changed and renewed. Help us, Lord, if nothing else, to be inspired and committed to get to know you better. We thank you for hearing our prayer, because we ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Kings 6:24, this is one is a series of miracles and experiences that took place during the time of Elisha, who of course had a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. “It happened after this, that Ben-hadad, the King of Syria, gathered all of his army and he went up and he besieged Samaria.” Samaria is the capitol for the ten tribes in the northern Kingdom of Israel. “There was a great famine in Samaria, and indeed, they besieged it until a donkey’s head was sold for 80 shekels of silver and one-fourth of a cab, about a pint, of dove droppings for five shekels of silver.”

That is sort of a disturbing place to park and consider, especially when the message is supposed to be good news. That sounds like bad news. As a matter of fact, I am not even going to read that whole chapter, because if you do, you will see not only were they eating donkey heads and dove droppings, but they had turned to cannibalism.

Just to give you the context of this story, and it has been repeated many times in history, when you wanted to overcome your enemy, you would go to the capitol. When the Iraq war began, the push was for Baghdad. That is where Saddam was. If you want to immobilize a snake, you crush its head. When they wanted to overthrow Israel, the Romans surrounded Jerusalem. They besieged it, meaning they would not let anybody in or out and the idea was to weaken them by starving them into surrender.

As you study history, there are a lot of examples of these sieges. Some lasted many years and some sieges failed. Tyre was able to resist the siege of many empires. They finally fell to Alexander the Great. Masada, I have been there to the big mesa up on top of the mountain out in the desert by the Dead Sea. Masada, Herod had the fortress and 900 Jews held off the Roman army for three years until they built this ramp and finally were able to get into the city, but they had all committed suicide, rather than become slaves to the Romans. But they had food and water, so they were able to withstand the siege.

Ancient Babylon bragged that they could withstand a siege of 20 years because they had plenty of water coming into the city and they had great silos filled with food. That is why Belshazzar was having a feast when the Persians were camped outside. He said, we are not afraid, but they realized they were not going over the walls, they were going under. They dried up the riverbed and marched under the walls and Babylon fell.

So a siege in bibles times, the idea was you surround a capitol, you surround your enemy, and it is really do you have the resources to feed and take care of your army long enough, who can wait out who, who is more persistent. Some of these sieges lasted for years and the conditions in the city, as they played this game of chicken, would sometimes get so desperate that they would eat each other.

Moses had foretold that might happen. Deuteronomy 28:53, he said “If you turn away from the Lord and you worship other gods, you will eat the food of your own body and the flesh of your sons and your daughters that the Lord your God has given you in the siege and in the straightness, wherewith your enemies shall distress thee.”

This siege, it does not tell us how long it went on. Before Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar, the siege lasted two years. The idea was you starve them so they cannot fight. This siege was so bad, they were eating donkey heads. You cannot help but wonder, if they had gotten to the place where a donkey’s head, the whole donkey is unclean, but the head is selling for 80 shekels, how much were the other parts selling for. A pint of dove droppings, they used to collect dove droppings for their gardens as fertilizer, but they were so desperate.

Let’s apply some spiritual symbols here. Starve them until they surrender. Starve them so they cannot fight. I have both heard about and have seen footage from POWs. I remember going through the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. My Jewish grandparents had friends that still had the tattoo marks. You would see sometimes a handful of Nazi guards watching over hundreds of prisoners of war.

I remember asking some of my grandparents’ friends, how is it that you didn’t just -- you know, I was young and foolish and I would say, why didn’t you guys just overwhelm them, maybe of couple of you would have been shot, but there were so many more of you. And they said, oh, you don’t know. We were starving. We could not fight. We had no fight left. They could have pushed us over with a feather. Starve them so they cannot fight.

This is what the devil is doing to the church. Starving us into surrender. It is hard to imagine that there could be so many bibles and so much biblical illiteracy. I do not want to be unkind. I expect to get a lot of off-the-wall questions from the pagans in our culture, but I get a lot of questions from even people in the church that make me wonder, does anyone read their bible anymore. We are, I think that a nation that is largely biblically illiterate now. It is like the children who answered these questions about the bible and some of them are trying to say who was Lot and they said, oh, we do not know, but his wife was the pillar of fire at night a ball of fire at day. They just didn’t know the answer. The epistles are the wives of the apostles and just there is so much ignorance about the scriptures because people are not reading their bibles.

But if you were to ask them about the cast of their favorite TV show, they know all their names, they know where they live, they know their habits. They read People Magazine. They have all the ins and outs because that is where their hearts are. Starve them into surrender. The bible is where we get the nutritional minerals that we need for the vitality to resist temptation. Thy word I have hid in my heart that I might not sin.

What did Jesus resort to, to resist temptation? Every time He was tempted, consistently what did He say? It is written and then what did He quote? National Enquirer? What did He quote? Time, Newsweek? He quoted the bible. You think He walked around in the desert when he was tempted by the devil? Did he walk around with a series of scrolls in his backpack or had he hidden it in his heart? They word I have hidden in my heart.

Keep in mind, when you look at the armor of God and that is I know our special gift for tonight and the reason for that is the Armor God, among the different implements in the Armor of God that you find Ephesians 6, only one of those things is a weapon of offense and that is the sword. It can be defensive, but it is an offensive weapon and that is how we go forth conquering and to conquer.

It is through the word of God that we are able to both defend ourselves from sin and to conquer for Christ. We need to spend more time reading our bibles and less time with all of the donkey heads and dove droppings that we are feeding on. Can I say it any plainer than that? I think in heaven’s eyes, you could not have any better examples of what people are feeding on. That which is unclean and the worst part of that which is unclean. Am I making it plain?

Friends, we need to read our bibles. Do you read your bible everyday? Or do you find that you start itching for the remote control? Do you have a regular time? How many of you have regular times to eat physical food, you try to. Do you eat everyday? Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

As a matter of fact, I have a few other quotes here on the same line. Jeremiah 15, 16, “Your words were found and I ate them.” Eating his words. There is physical, spiritual strength, so to speak. “Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.”

Job 23:12, “I have treasured the words at his mouth more than my necessary food.” And I always like to ask the question that if we are in a rush and we have to choose between our personal devotions and eating a full breakfast, what is going to keep you from temptation during that day? Raisin Bran is good, but what is more important to you, physical health or spiritual health.

I will submit to you it is even hard to have physical health unless you get spiritual health because a lot of our physical problems are because of spiritual problems. Did you catch that? A lot of people are never going to have physical health until they develop spiritual health and because of their bad spiritual health they have no self-control and they have bad physical health.

We underestimate how important it is to maintain, and if you do not already have it, to build, to develop a relationship with Jesus through His word. Pastor Doug, to be honest, when I read the bible, I do not understand it. Well, if it is the first time or if you are just starting, that is normal.

Whenever I go to a foreign country, I am always intrigued by languages. Whenever I hear someone first speaking in some new tongue, to me it is gibberish. It sounds like babbling, I do not understand it. But the longer I stay, I begin picking up a word here and there and then I will notice those words being used in conversation.

It was fun, Karen and I went to Russia and I did not speak any Russian, even though my grandparents were Russian Jews. But back when the iron curtain first fell, we were among some of the first evangelists that went to Russian and we did some meetings there. We went to a town where there was nobody that spoke English. They got us a translator who learned English from English books. Sometimes the translation was strange because she had never been to America and American in really different from English in England. Everything I said when I was preaching I would then hear her repeat.

We were there, I forget, for over a month. That is a crash course when you have someone translate everything you say back and forth all night long. You say it in English, she says it in Russian. You start picking things up really fast. It is like a crash course. As a matter of fact, if you want to learn another language, go to that country with a translator and do evangelism.

Towards the end of the series, I would get excited and start preaching and she would try to match my excitement and she blew out her vocal chords. Then we had no translator. Then I had to meet with the conference officials who did not speak English and that was awkward without the translator. But it was a miracle of tongues because I was able to understand, we had a piece of paper and every now and then we drew a picture. So between our hieroglyphics and what I had learned, we had a meeting and I knew what they were talking about. You just draw the little person getting baptized and that is baptism. But you pick it up.

This is the way it is with the bible. When a baby first hears its parents lean over the bassinette and cooing their baby talk, typically parents do not say to the baby profound deep things. As a matter of fact, some parents sound like fools when they talk to their children. It is amazing they learn to speak at all. But the baby smiles, does not know what mom and dad are saying, but I do not know what they are saying, I do not know what those sounds mean, but I think they like me. And they keep listening. The more they listen, and it does not happen overnight, the more they listen, the more they understand until pretty soon they grow, the mature.

Some of us never outgrow the milk of the word because we are not listening to our parents. We are still talking baby talk and we do not understand the bible because we have never gone through that learning process of making yourself listen.

When I first started reading the bible, do you think I knew then what I know now? I remember whenever I came across the word brethren, they do not speak King James in New York where I grew up. Whenever they said brethren, I thought it was breathen. And I always thought that must be some spiritual term, the breathen gather together. Wow, that is heavy. So just to give you an idea how little I understood. I would read something in the bible, if your right hand offends you, cut it off. I thought, I do not think I want to read this anymore because I did not understand. I thought it was endorsing mutilation. But the more you read, the more you understand. But you need to discipline yourself to do it.

How many of you, when you pray, your mind wanders? Come on, fess up. So what do you, give up praying? You get good at what you practice. You keep praying. If your mind wanders, bring it back. That is one of the beauties of Christianity is God sanctifies your mind. Your mind should not just be constantly going whichever way your thoughts wander. I think you can discipline your thinking and your focus. The Holy Spirit will give you that gift. If you see your mind is wandering, you would be surprise, the Holy Spirit will tap you on the shoulder and you will go, oh, Lord, I am so sorry. And I am so ashamed sometimes of where my mind wanders while I am praying.

But God knows the devil is there trying to just -- so bring it back and even pray while you are praying that God will help you pray. Do you ever do that? Help me pray right. We just knelt down on the platform and John lead out in prayer and said, Lord, help him as he prays and help him not pray too long. No, I’m just kidding. But there is no carpet up here.

So God knows this and you just keep reading, you keep praying and you grow into a mature Christian and it gets to be just something you love. When you first feed a baby, if you were to initially give that baby gritty food to start out with, you just think of colic. Their stomach and their system cannot handle it. You have to give them pabulum and eventually you introduce something that is a little more coarse and a little more grist and pretty soon their systems develop and the next thing you know, they are eating coconuts whole. They get to the place where they can handle it. But they grow into that.

That is what will happen with your knowledge, with your prayer life, with your relationship, but you have to stay at it. This was a problem, even in the early church. That is why the apostles were saying, here I should be giving you the meat of the word, but it is necessary that I keep giving you milk because you have not matured. So this is not a new problem, is it. God’s people need to spend time reading the word. If we do not, we are easily overcome.

Another side effect is, as you read in this story, and I do not want to read it, it is so disturbing, the rest of that Chapter 6 there tells about who women fighting over whose boys they are going to eat. The siege had gotten so bad they were resorting to cannibalism.

Notice what is happening here. The devil besieged them, the city of God, the capitol of the Israelites. It prevented them from going out. It prevented anyone from coming in and then they started to self-destruct. This is a dynamic that happens to churches all the time. If we allow the devil to cut off our food supply, we stop baptizing people. People stop coming in. We stop evangelizing, people stop going out. And we end up devouring one another. You would be surprised. There are a whole lot of vegetarian cannibals out there that would never eat meat, but they will bit and devour one another. Tofutti people is what they are.

Galatians 5:14, “For all of the law is fulfilled in one word, even this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, but if you bite and devour one another,” see, they had problems with cannibalism even in the Galatian church. When the church is starving for the bread of life, they begin to eat each other. I have seen this happen over and over again.

It is such a wonderful thing to be involved with Amazing Facts because we really see our ministry as two-fold. Not only is it very much with an emphasis on evangelism and outreach, but it is also in-reach in trying to do revival and nurturing of the church. We find one of the best things to help in-reach is outreach. You go to a church and you start getting the church involved in evangelism and many, many, many times I have seen this dynamic played out whereas some church is embroiled -- as a matter of fact, most churches seem to have some kind of internal struggles, unless there is only one person in the church and then they are probably schizophrenic and struggling with themselves. But in any church where there is more than two people, there is conflict where you have people involved. You go to these churches, there are all the little disputes and the fractions and schisms and you know what happens, they are usually arguing over minor things. They are wondering why people are not coming in. It is because they are biting and devouring one another.

But then you get involved in evangelism and five, six nights a week you are preaching the word. You are feeding them. They are getting good spiritual nutrition. They may not be feeding themselves yet, but at least they are getting fed. All of a sudden the priorities begin to change and instead of that being internal strife and self-destruction, they start realizing what the purpose is.

New souls start coming in and you know what happens? Who are the best evangelists in a church? The ones who just get baptized. It is so true that people have that first love, they do not know they are not supposed to convert the world. They come in and they say, wow, this is the truth, we have to tell everybody. And they are bringing all their friends and it is wonderful.

Folks who have been in the church for years seem to sometimes take it for granted. I hope I never get to that place. It is such a wonderful thing to know the truth. I remember, I hope I never forget, what it was like not to know what the purpose of life was and to think life had no purpose. Just knowing that there is a purpose, knowing that God has a great plan, knowing that there is a truth, that there are absolutes, that is so liberating. It is such a wonderful thing. People learn the truth, especially after they have been searching and wandering and bouncing from thing to another and one religion to another and one addiction to another, they find Jesus and they are set free and they come to the church and they are just beaming. They look around and they wonder who died. Everybody looks so depressed.

You can always spot them. They start out on the front row and then after they are in the church for a while, they gradually move back. Nothing against those of you who came late and are in the back rows. But isn’t that true? If you ever notice the cameras at Sacramento Central when we do Sabbath School from week to week, you will see these people in the front row and they are just so excited and you can sometimes just look at them and tell by the way they are helping you read the scriptures for the Sabbath School program and they are looking in the Old Testament for Revelation. You know they are new in the church, but they are excited.

I know I told this story before, but some of you have not heard it and it is experience that I had and I cannot change it, so I will tell it again. When I first accepted this message, I had never been to a Seventh Day Adventist church. Now, I know that seems unusual, but I am one of the people, and there are many out there, that basically read his way in.

That happens a lot with 3ABN. We have 3ABN in Sacramento as well as a lot of communities and people walk into church and they say, well, I’ve been watching for three years on TV and now I want to get baptized. We think, have you been here before? Nope. Well, let’s study and you start studying with them and they know it all. They are ready. That is how I was. I read my way in. I didn’t get satellite reception up in the cave, but I did have some books. So I talked to a friend and they said, are there people somewhere that believe these things? They are all over the place.

So I decided to go down to this church in town and I should mention at this point that I had read about our entire message, almost. I read Steps to Christ up there, I read the bible through, I read Prophets and Great Controversy and Prophets and Kings and I don’t think I had read Acts of the Apostles yet. Daniel and the Revelation, the Sierra Patmos by Stephen Haskell, Daniel the Prophet by the same author. So I was up there in a cave all day long. I read and read and read. Even though I was a high school drop out, I understood. So I do not understand someone who cannot understand, because if I could understand it with my limited education, I only finished 9th grade. I understood it.

But I had not read about dress reform. Back then, I would wear anything. So I put on my overalls and I had this mental idea, if these people have the truth, I wonder what the church is going to look like. I pictured this white chapel beautiful stained glass and a halo sort of around it. All the people inside had halos, too, and their feet did not touch the ground. They just sort of hovered and slid as they went from place to place and they all wore very light, illuminating clothing and beamed with smiles and just oozing. It is not realistic, I realize, but I thought, oh, these people have the truth. I had been to so many churches looking for the truth, I thought now I am going to church, they have the truth. I had these very unrealistic expectations.

So I showed up at the Palm Springs Seventh Day Adventist Church and they have forgiven me since then for telling this story. I just had my overalls on and a pair of hiking boots with no socks. That was it. I got to the door of the church, I have long hair and a beard and I am just really kind of rough looking. Someone met me at the door, a greeter I suppose, and said, can I help you, and I said, is this the something Seventh Day church? I didn’t even have the name right. He said, well, yes, we are glad you are here. And I knew he was acting.

But I came in and I sat down I wondered why all the front pews were empty in the church. I was afraid to move up there because I thought that must be reserved. So I sat back with everybody else and after the preliminaries, they divided for Sabbath School. I did not know back then you were not supposed to go to the whole thing. I did not know that the first half called Sabbath School was optional. I thought when you go to church, you go to the whole thing. When it opens up, you go. Do we have a little conviction going around right now? I hope so. No, I had better not say that. Every now and then I am going to say it.

I even hear of a pastor that does not show up for Sabbath School at his own church. I was late this week at Fort Worth. But really, are we hungry for God or are we punching the clock? So they divided for Sabbath School and I followed a group, I wanted to have a good discussion, so I followed what I thought would be the most educated group because I wanted to learn something and I guess I followed the doctors and professionals group. They went into this room and they sat down. There were a bunch of chairs that were in a circle. The room was pretty full, except for two empty chairs and they were on both sides of me. No one wanted to sit next to me.

Years later when I told this story at an It is Written partnership meeting, Nellie Vandaman came up to me later and she looked a little troubled. She said, you know Brother Doug, I do not know how to tell you this, but George and I go to that church a lot and I distinctly remember being there that morning and that whole experience. She said, you looked really scary. I said, I know, I forgive you.

But then they started the Sabbath School study and it just happened it was the 490-year prophecy in Daniel chapter 9. I had finished reading about that up in the cave and it was still fresh in my mind and I was so excited because I thought Jesus came on time the first time, he is coming back on time and I wanted to tell the world. When I found out that they were going to study this, I thought great, there are still some things I do not understand, so this is great. I’m on the edge of my chair. The Sabbath School teacher says, so now when did this time period begin? I’m looking around the room for someone to say something and nobody said anything. They all are looking at their watches and counting ceiling tiles and so I sheepishly raised my hand and said, 457 BC. Everybody turned to look at the hippie, like where did you learn that? So I shrank back in my chair and they had a bunch more discussion.

A little later, he said, when did this time period conclude? Some of them actually looked at me, I said 34 AD. And the reason I tell this story everywhere I go is because I learned something back then. I think the reason that Sabbath-keeping Christians are not more excited about what they believe is because they simply do not know what they believe. They are not studying. They are not reading. Do you know why this is so critical? The bible tells us that we are going to be brought before kings and rulers to get an answer for our faith someday. If we do not even know how to share it with our neighbor, how are we going to defend it when we are being grilled for our faith? You should be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you the reasons for the hope that is in you. It is so basic to understand. It is not that difficult because the proof texts are there in abundance. You cannot understand it.

What is more important than knowing why you believe what you believe? We do not believe cunningly devised fables and I hope you are not part of the church because, well, this is where I was born and I have grown up. If it is, you have better discover why for yourself because God has no grandchildren. You all must have a personal relationship with Him. You need to know why. And it is a wonderful thing. When I meet people who are raised in the church and they say, you know, I went through the church and the schools and everything, but then I started reading for myself.

Now I know why and I am so thankful for the truth. They discovered for themselves. They are on fire and they are feeding the homeless and they are at the evangelistic meetings and they want to get involved because they have gotten the fire. They have discovered the reasons. There are reasons to be excited.

Now, that takes me to the next part of this, but before I tie that off, you need to commit to a personal devotional life, friends. If nothing else, this Revival will be a blazing success if you, at the conclusion, or even now, commit to having the time at least every morning, and I hope you pray when you go to sleep at night. The best thing is morning, evening and at noon, Psalm 55:17, Daniel three times a day, as David, prayed. And that is best thing, but at least start somewhere, Amen. And have a devotional life. Read your bible. Oh, Pastor Doug, I cannot read through the whole bible in a year. Well, read a few versus. Do something. If you are starving, even crumbs taste good, Amen.

Do something and then try to memorize some scripture. Want me to tell you the best way to memorize it? Share with somebody else. Read a verse during the day. I cannot tell you how many times this has happened to me. The very thing I read that morning, someone needs during the day and in sharing it with them, it fortifies it in my own mind and I remember it. Say, Lord, give me an opportunity today to share with someone else what you have shown me. But if you are going to have a relationship with Jesus, you have got to have a personal devotional life.

In California, about 100 miles from where we live, they have the famous Golden Gate Bridge, which is now one of the older bridges. It used to be one of the wonders of the world, but it has been surpassed in size and length many times now. You wonder why an iron bridge like that doesn’t just rust away and drop off into the Bay. Because they are constantly maintaining it. The corrosion from the salt air and the elements would oxidize it and it would just crumble.

But over a three-year period of time, they have a crew and they start at one end of the bridge and they are scraping and painting with fresh paint and by the time they get to the other end of the bridge, three years have gone by and they go back and they start over again. They are constantly painting and maintaining. If they do not, it will crumble and fall away.

Your relationship with Jesus needs constant maintenance, friends. That is a fact. Not only with Jesus, with each other. You have to maintain relationships. You have to scrape and paint all the time. Anyone married, you know what I am talking about. Your relationship with Jesus is your bridge to heaven. You need to maintain it. You need to invest some time in reading the word, in prayer, in sharing your faith, not to mention incorporate worship.

Now going back to our story in 2 Kings, I am going to jump to Chapter 7. People in the city of Samaria are starving to death. They are eating dove droppings, donkey heads and each other. But there are some individuals that were even worse off, if you can imagine that.

Verse 3, “Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate and they said to one another, why are we sitting here until we die, for if we say we will enter the city, the famines in the city will die there. If we stay here, we will die also. Now therefore come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep alive, we will live. If they kill us, we will die. We are dying anyway.” What a tragic scene.

In the best of times, lepers had a really tough existence. They were not allowed in the city because of the law, they are unclean. But they used to hang around the city gates and sometimes colonies of lepers would form a little distance from cities and they would beg near the gates. They could not get within 50 paces of somebody and they had to cry out unclean. It was considered the scourge of God.

As a matter of fact, the word leper in the ancient term means smitten. They figured these people were smitten by God. They had colonies sometimes because there was no cure back then. They might have had hundreds of people, but because of the famine, think about these poor lepers. You have the picture in mind, completely surrounding the capitol city of Samaria is this Syrian army, like a big circle. Then you have this big no man’s land outside of arrow shot. They always camped outside of arrow shot of the people in the city so you could not fire at them. In that minefield between where the soldiers are and the city walls, you have these lepers in no man’s land. They cannot go in the city, they cannot escape, they are besieged. What are they eating? You can imagine why there are only four left.

A little footnote, one Jewish rabbi who was part of the Sanhedrin said that one of those four lepers was Gehazi, the servant of Elijah who had been cursed with leprosy because he coveted the coveted the gold of nahamen (phonetic). We cannot prove that from the bible and I have my doubts, but just something to think about. Could have been, he did live there.

They have all died off except four. They realized that if they do not do anything, they are going to die. They realized procrastination would be the death of them. That was the first step they made. They said we have to get up and draw near. We have to take some action. We need to surrender. They were going to draw near and surrender. Isn’t that right? And they thought even if we die, we need to draw near and surrender because the worst that can happen is they will kill us. We are dying anyway. What have we got to lose? Perhaps they will have mercy on us.

Are you listening? They made this live and death decision, because if they did nothing, they are going to die. Do you know how many people perish eternally because they keep procrastinating? They keep thinking their circumstances are going to change, somehow they are going to get good enough to come to Jesus. Circumstances will be easier. The devil will see to it that it is never convenient, that the moment is never right. You have to say, why do I sit here until I die. I am going to come to Jesus. I am going to surrender. I am willing to die if that is what it means, but I am going to get up and surrender. That is the only way you will really begin to live. You have to sometimes reach that point of desperation.

They were hoping the Syrians would have mercy on them, maybe give them a drink of clean water. I do not know what they possibly could have been eating, because in the best of times, they were throwing things over the wall. Now nobody is giving them anything. Eating weeds and varmints and grasshoppers, who knows. Starving. And they said enough of this.

Often things do not get better until you get to the place where you are really wiling to die. To be a Christian, you have to be willing to die. By the way, you are dying anyway, in case you did not know it. We are under a death sentence. We are on death row. We are dying. Spiritually we are dead. We are physically dying. We wax old and these bodies are mortal and corruptible and we are all under a death sentence. If we do not do anything, you know what is going to happen. If we stay here, we are going to die. We need to surrender. Jesus said you come and follow him, you take up your cross. But you live. You start living when you are willing to die for Christ.

I know it sounds like a contradiction, but Jesus said, he who seeks to save his life will lose it. But if you lose your life, if you surrender to Jesus, then you start to live and you save it. If you think, I am going to save my life and enjoy this world, you will lose everything. But if you say, Lord, I am coming to you, I am going to draw near, will you accept me, will you have Mercy? I am willing to lay my life down, then you start to live. This is really what the Good News is all about.

“So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians. And when they came to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise, to their amazement, there was no one there. For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses and the noise of a great army. So they said to one another, look, the kings of Israel have hired against us, the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us.” Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee when no one pursues.”

And evidently, the Lord had maybe sent some angels to stir up dust on the horizon or cause a rumbling or who knows exactly what they saw or heard or felt, but they had some mirage or some illusion that another army was approaching and they were not expecting any resistance because they knew the Israelites were starving. They thought the city was going to be breached any day or they would wave the white flag, so they had come very relaxed and complacent. All of a sudden they hear an approaching army and they think, oh, no, we are not ready for battle. They panicked and the Syrian soldiers got up and they fled. They fled in such haste that they left all of their possessions behind. As a matter of act, it says that all the way from their camp to the Jordan River everything was cast off.

So these lepers, they come to the outskirts of the camp near twilight. The sun has gone down and they have that lingering glow of the setting sun and they are just going to plead for mercy. I tell you, it must have been a pitiful scene as they came limping cautiously like cowering dogs to the edge of the camp, looking around fretfully, wondering if an arrow was going to strike them down. But the closer they got, they could not see anybody. They heard the snorting of the horses and the spitting of the camels, I don’t know, but the animals were left behind, the bible says.

Keep in mind because these sieges lasted for years, their tents were full of all the provisions. I cannot believe how much I collect in a hotel room in ten days. You have a little spare time and you walk through Target and you come home with this stuff and you think how am I going to get all this into my suitcase. Two years, they had all these provisions. Not to mention they had looted all the countryside around Samaria, so there are tremendous resources. These lepers come and there is no enemy.

Instead of getting a few crumbs, listen to what happens. “When the lepers came to the outskirts of the camp and they went into one tent, they ate and they drank and they carried from it silver and gold and clothing.” Here they are starving, there is food. They are dry with thirst, there is something to drink. They are wearing rags, there are wonderful robes and clothing. Not only that, their pockets were empty. Believe it or not, they were still using money in the city, 80 shekels for a donkey’s head. They had no money. They get wedges of gold and silver.

Look at how much they got when they came to the place and surrendered. Please think, oh, I would like to be a Christian, but you have to give up so much. Those people who think and say that have no concept of what Christianity is all about. You get so much more than you lose. Does Christianity cost something? Yes, it does, but it pays a lot more than it costs. And if you think that there is some benefit or some value in the world, love not the world nor the things in the world, for if any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, it is of the world and the world is going to pass away and the lust thereof, but he that does the will of God will last forever.

Even when Jesus said to the rich young ruler, go sell all you have and give it to the poor, take up your cross and follow me, you know what I left out, did you catch it? A lot of people forget that. They think, oh, give it to the poor, follow me, He said you will have treasure in heaven. So you might have to let go now, but you will have treasure in heaven. Yes, it does cost something to be Christian. You might have to deny yourself some habits and worldly pleasures and lusts of the eyes and lusts of the flesh and the pride of life, but you get so much more.

Peter said, Lord, we have forsaken everything to follow you. What shall we have? Jesus said, that’s right, there are some of you who, for the Kingdom of God, you have forsaken houses and lands and friends and even family, but you will get a hundred fold more. In this life, when does it begin? Jesus said you will get a hundred fold more in this life, there will be persecution and eternal life in the world to come.

If any of you can make an investment that was a sure thing and you would get 100 percent return, how many would invest? You can, invest in Jesus. Give him your heart. You will have one hundred times more.

I lost my family when I became a Christian. My immediate family I grew up with all thought I was crazy. The sort of just abandoned me, thought I was a kook. But you know how much more family that I have now? More than I can handle. It’s true. Everywhere I go, you folks have been so nice. Come on, we’ll feed you, and we have family everywhere. If I needed a place a stay, how many of you would let me come to your house, even though I snore. I do not snore. Karen does. Are you watching, Dear?

So they came to the outskirts of the camp and they ate and they drank and notice what they carried from it. Silver and Gold and clothing and went and hid them. They found this incredible resource. They found all of this treasure. And what did they do? They buried it. Now, you can’t really blame them at first because maybe they thought it was a trap. The king of Israel, later when he heard about it, he thought it was a trap. He said they probably were treated to draw us out because they know we are week and they are going to pounce on us. And so they said, oh, we do not know why they are not here, but they are not here. And so they probably ate as much as could like chipmunks, stuffed it in their cheeks and their holy garments and they bundled it up and they carried it up with their spindly legs by the city wall and they probably found some old tomb or some hole they dug and they buried. And then they said you know, we do not know how long this siege is going to last. Maybe we should get some more.

You know, we have to plan ahead, right, when you are a leper. So they start to tiptoe back, don’t see any has returned, so they go into another tent and they get more silver and gold and food and clothing. They, huffing and puffing, go back up because it was up hill to Samaria and somewhere near the walls there, they bury it again. And through the night, they are going back and forth and they are taking these resources and you wonder how much they actually collected before they came to their senses.

At that moment, somewhere between verse 8 and verse 9, who were the richest people in Samaria? Four lepers. The Lord is wonderful. Just the way that God tries to emphasize for you and me that we are good enough for him. Some of us think we are not good enough. He goes out of His way to choose very humble instruments to do great things, to let us know, first of all, that the Lord respects humility, that God will use those who are on the very lowest strata of the social scale. And that is where Jesus came to me. Jesus came down born in a barn, was not afraid to associate with the poor. People said, can anything good come out of Nazareth? God uses humble instruments.

The bible tells us that if he is willing to use them, he is willing to use us. In Corinthians, Paul reminds us, “Not many wise, not many noble. God has chosen the scouring of the world to reach the gospel. He used Mary Magdalene, somebody raised in Nazareth. He used the ones who may not have the education or the benefits of social grace and he reaches people with them.

One of the problems with the church in the last days, the Lord says that we like those lepers. Our poor and wretched and miserable and blind and naked, but we do not know it. If we realize it, He will do for us what He did for them. Doesn’t Jesus tell us there in Revelation, I will give you gold, I will give you eyesob (phonetic), I will give you Raymond, I will give you all of these things if you will at least acknowledge your condition. Those lepers knew their condition. That is why they humbled themselves and surrendered.

If the church today could realize what our condition is before God, if we would humble ourselves before the Lord. We have been talking about James. Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Humble yourselves in the sight of God and He will lift you up. We need to repent of our sins. We need to realize that we are lepers. We are unclean and it is only by an act of His grace that we are going to be restored.

They came to that realization, they drew near. In verse 9, this is one of the great verses in the bible. I just love this. “As through the night, they are taking this treasure and they are burying the treasure,” not only it is a symbol for God’s people not sharing the message, but there is lot of God’s people that have resources and we are burying our treasure, like that unjust servant who took his talent and instead of investing and multiplying in God’s kingdom, he buried it in a drawer somewhere. We need to stop hiding our treasure, Amen.

“Then they said to one another, we are not doing what is right. This day is a day of good news and we hold our peace. If we tarry to the morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Come now that we may go and tell the king’s household.” This day is a day of good news. What does the word Gospel mean? Good news. We should be happy. This is good news.

If you look on the face of someone who has just been baptized and they are saved, they should be smiling, they are joyous. There should be exuberance. It is like when Miriam celebrated after they crossed the Red Sea. She went out, they could not contain themselves. They were banging the tambourine and praising God. Now, I am not recommending that you start doing that right now. I am just saying that is the time to rejoice. New life, good news. And yet, more people would be attracted to our religion if we would reflect the happiness that we feel from the gospel.

This is a day of good news and we remain silent. Do you tell other people about your Jesus? Or are you afraid? The best thing you can do to save your own soul is start reaching out to others. Oh, but Pastor Doug, I am really in no position to tell anybody anything because I am just prepared and I am not consistent enough. If you wait until then, you will never tell anybody.

That is why Peter said, Lord, you do not want to use me. I am a sinful man. Now, what did Jesus say? Follow me and I will make you fisher of man. You may not be one now, but we will start where you are at, start sharing what you know and I will make you a fisher of men. As a matter of fact, even after Peter followed Jesus for three and a half years, Jesus said to Peter, Peter, Satan has desired to have you that he might sift you like, but I prayed for you that your faith fail not. And when you are converted -- why did he say when you are converted? He had been following, preaching, doing miracles. That was part of this conversion process.

Start sharing with others what you do know. I have seen it happen many times. People who are living a mediocre lukewarm Christian life, somehow circumstances thrust them into a place where they are sharing their faith with someone that they work with or someone in their family and in giving it away, they are converted. Start sharing what you do know. It is a day of good news.

If you bury it, what did it say? This is a day of good news and we hold our peace. If we tarry till the morning light, some mischief, some evil, something bad will happen to us. If we do not give away the gospel, you do not get to keep it. Not everybody is a preacher, but everybody has gifts that can be used in soul-winning. God has given everybody, when you have been baptized, you are given gifts of the spirit. Praise, say Lord, what are my gifts.

I dare you. Pray tomorrow morning. Pray tonight. Say Lord, bring me in contact with someone tomorrow to whom I can witness. I prayed that prayer living like a hermit in a cave and God sent a helicopter with a news crew. He will give you somebody. God is looking to and fro through the earth for people who are willing to be used, Amen. This is a day of good news. God wants us to get out there and share with other people and that is part of the conversion sanctification process.

The first century church had that first love and the thing the Lord was worried about, He says do not lose your first love because it is that love for God, that appreciation for the good news, that is what mobilizes us. So many of our churches and just, you know, we are massaging ourselves and who was it, Paul Harvey that said instead of being fishers of men, we are keepers of the aquarium. Isn’t that right? We become institutionalized instead of having that mission and that vision.

Today is the day of good news and we hold our peace. If we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us. Come now that we may go and tell the kind’s household.

The gospel is something like electricity. The only way electricity can get in you is if it can go through you. It is like the difference of the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. The reason the Dead Sea is dead is because it takes and it never gives. The Jordan River runs in, but it never runs out. The Sea of Galilee, they are still fishing today because the Jordan runs in one side, but it is constantly running out and so it is alive.

If you are only coming to church week after week and taking, saying what is in it for me, you are going to be dead. But if you are saying Lord, what can I do for you? How can I serve you? That is when you will come alive. It is just a Christian principle. God cannot fill a hand that is closed. As you give it away, you become a channel of life and it flows through you. It is like when I told you about the bread.

This is a day of good news and we hold our peace. If we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us. Come that we may go. You know how I started out, great commission, great invitation. Great invitation come unto me. Great commission go ye. Come that we may go and tell the king’s household.

Your King Jesus has a lot of sheep you do not know about that may not be in the fold and He wants you to tell them. There should be an urgency. Jesus is coming soon. Oh, pastors and preachers have been saying that for years. Yeah and one of these days, one of us is going to be right. Isn’t that right? One of these days, people are going to hear it for the last time.

I have already seen it true, that I have preached to some groups and then I hear that my sermon to them was the last sermon they ever heard. That is very disturbing for me and I always wonder did I say the right thing.

I do not want to end on a sour note. I want to end on a positive note. I want you to have the love of the Lord in your lives. That is going to come from fixing your eyes on Jesus, spend time painting the bridge, Amen. You have to spend time in the devotional life. You will know Him better and if you know Him, you will love Him and if you love Him you will not be able to keep the good news to yourself that Jesus saves. Is that your desire, friends? (Jesus Saves performed)

That is one of my favorite songs. Do you know why? And he didn’t sign my verse. There is a verse in there, highest hills, deepest caves, Jesus saves, Jesus saves, Amen. That is where I found the bible, in a cave. If the Lord can reach me through His word, He can reach anybody. No biblical background, but I found a bible. I started reading the bible and the power of the word changes our lives.

And you know what, friends, I have been reading all these different books, but when I read the bible, I said there is something different about this. And when I started out reading it, I thought this cannot be true. It is not scientific, it is a collection of fairy tales. But something about it, there is a power in the word.

Jesus tells us that except you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you. John 6:26, 27, “Jesus said do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures the everlasting life, which the son of man will give you because God the Father has set his seal on him.”

The gospel is good news, friends. Some of us need to rediscover what that good news is. I understand in North America that the bulk of the advertising dollars are spent on the food that is the least nutritious. There is a famine in the land for the word of God. And the majority of the American dollar spent for food is spent for the least nutritious food. Not only is that true in the physical diet, I think we probably spend a lot more time eating spiritually that which is not bread.

I would like to encourage you, before this series is over, scale back if you have the courage. Turn off your televisions. Some of you, if you cannot control it, you might get rid of it. Do not wait for a truck to come through your living room window. Start spending time getting to know Jesus and His word.

Will you covenant that you will do more of that now during this series? Would you like to say Lord, I am going to pray for this series and I am going to pray that I can know you better and love you better and serve you better? Is that your desire? I would like to ask our group here and Fort Worth and those who are watching, if you are gathered in churches or home, I would like to have you stand in God’s presence as we close with prayer this evening.

Lord, as your people rise up before you, we want to make a covenant that by your grace, we are not bragging like Peter did, but by your Grace, we will follow thee. We want to know you better, speak to us through your word. Help us to understand that heavenly language that comes from your word. Lord, forgive us for eating that which is not bread. Give us the victory over so many of the distractions that media provides that is spiritual junk food, Lord, and we need the victory. Help us to feast on that which is going to give live to our souls, that will bring instruction and comfort and conviction.

Bless this people, bless this church, Lord. I pray that you will break the siege of the enemy and help us to tell the good news that Jesus is coming again and that he does say this is a day of good news. Forgive us for holding our peace and burying our treasure. Help us to take our life out from under that basket and set it on a hill that all might see. We thank you for meeting with us and hearing this prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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