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Research Suggests. So Does God.

Randy Skeete
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Randy Skeete

Evangelist and revivalist from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Recorded

  • February 24, 2005
    12:00 PM
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Copyright ©2005 Restoration Ministry.

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00:00 Every night I ask you questions and I say don’t answer me; I just want you to think. I want you to answer me now, just say yes or no. Say it audibly so I can hear you. Are you honest people, yes or no? (yes) Are you reasonable people, yes or no? (Yes) Are you fair-minded, yes or no? (Yes) Are you good-looking, yes or no? The roof should've come off. You are good-looking. But I’m more concerned about fair-minded, reasonable, and honest because my presentation requires that from you, for you to receive it as it is in Jesus. Let me come straight to the point. Most people go to church on Sunday. Yes, most people do. Most people do because they believe that's the right thing to do. You really can’t condemn a man too heavily or at all if he sincerely believes that is the right thing to do. The Bible does say of God in Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at.” Where there is genuine ignorance God overlooks it and I told you last week genuine ignorance means two things: 1) I did not know 2) I had no way of knowing. Most people observe Sunday as a sabbath; yet the Bible tells us very clearly that the sabbath of the Lord is the seventh day. So what we have is a conflict between what God says and between what the overwhelming majority of the world’s population says. The absolute question is: who is right? Let me first take a look at the eight texts in the Bible that mention the first day of the week as we continue with the subject: research suggests and so does God. The reason for the title is this: one of the things that make me smile when I read research papers is that the researcher or researchers frequently suggest. Research suggests that vitamin E is good or bad for you. Research suggests that exposure to sunlight is not as bad as some people think. Research suggests, the evidence points, the data indicate, there is seldom a categorical statement: research proves. Now, I’m no researcher but my guess, my layman’s guess, is that by suggesting, then if the next research project from across the country comes up with something different you can always say, well, I just suggested. God can come down to our level and He also suggests for our consideration. I want you to look at what the Bible suggests. Since we have almost a reverential approach to what research suggests and this is a research institution, let’s take the same honest approach to what the Bible suggests.

03:35 Matthew 28:1 as we continue: research suggests and so does God. The Bible says, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.” First usage of the expression “the first day of the week” and all that verse tells us is that in the end of the sabbath, the chronology: sabbath was done “as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week” meaning the first day of the week comes when the sabbath of the Bible is passed. Let us go to the next passage: Mark 16:1 and 2 -thank you again for coming. May God bless you for your sacrifice of time. “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.” All that verse says is essentially what Matthew 28:1 said that after the sabbath was passed then the ladies came to embalm the body of Jesus Christ. Mark 16:9, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils.” She was the first one to see Him. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. Again like Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Mark 16:9 just tells us when they came: the first day of the week, early in the morning Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene out of whom He cast seven devils. Let's go now to Luke 24:1, our fourth verse.

05:48 Luke 24:1, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. 3And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.” Again, as in the case of Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1 tells us very simply that the first day of the week was when they came to anoint the body of Jesus. The sabbath was past and gone. Text number five, John 20:1, the Bible says, “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” Same sentiment as in the preceding four verses. Mary Magdalene she is mentioned in Mark 16:9, the first person to get to the tomb, she sees the stone taken away from the sepulcher. It was yet dark. She could hardly wait for the sabbath to be passed. She was so eager to come and anoint the body of her beloved Lord Jesus Christ who had exercised her of seven demons and whom she loved so dearly. John 20:19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”All that verse says is that on the first day of the week when the doors were shut the disciples were not gathered for church service. They were scared to death. They were in a room trembling for fear of the Jews. They were hiding and not worshipping. The sixth text: Acts 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.” Upon the first day of the week Paul preached unto them. That’s all it says. “Ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” They came together to break bread. This was not unusual. In Acts 2:46, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house.” The verse there says daily, in the temple. That word daily: every day they were in the temple, every day they were breaking bread. They ate their bread with gladness and singleness of heart. So the fact that they broke bread on the first day of the week in Acts 20:7 does not make that special. They did that every day. So if Acts 20:7 is an argument for first day observance than everyday of the week is a similar argument because Acts 2:46 tells us every day they were in the temple and breaking bread from house to house. I was examining the evidence in the book of Acts. Acts gives us the life of the early church. Let’s go to Acts 13 and look at the life of Paul particularly. Next to Jesus no one taught the Bible as well or as clearly as the apostle Paul, a very educated man--he would have fit in very well on the campus of Loma Linda--a well educated, reasonable man. I'll show you a text in the Scripture where Paul was always reasoning with people. You see it is easy to reason with intelligent people such as you are because you see the truth quickly. You assess the statistics quickly. You analyze the data quickly. And then you come to reasonable conclusions that you are sure that your similarly educated peers can support. You have to do that or you’re laughed out of the institution. Acts 13:14, “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.” That’s Paul and his companions on the sabbath day and sat down. Then Paul was asked to preach. He preached a very long sermon-all the way down to Acts 13:42, the Bible says, “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.” Now, we have two sabbaths that Paul was there. Acts 13:44, “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” Paul and his companions worshipped on the sabbath day given to us by Scripture; not by opinions, not by conditions, not by what is custom. Custom that has no Biblical foundation. Looking again at the life of Paul, they are now in Philippi, Acts 16:13 the Bible says, “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made” old KJV word prayer was wont means it was the custom for people to go by that river side on sabbath and pray and worship. So Paul went where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. That was their church. They did not have gentry Jim. They did not have that lovely temple called University Church or Campus Hill or that structure that dots this area. By the riverside where prayer was wont to be made. That was the custom of the believers in the town of Philippi. Let’s go to Acts 17:1, “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:  2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” Here we have Paul reasoning as his manner was. Manner there means custom. Went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures. The Scriptures are very reasonable. Do you know God is not unreasonable? He calls us in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together.” God wants us to see that obeying Him makes sense. He wants us to see that His religion appeals to the intelligent mind. And it really does. A God who created heaven and earth, who created the atom, and the cell, and the mitochondria, that God must be reasonable and organized and scientific. And so Paul reasoned with them three sabbath days out of the Scriptures. Let's go to Acts 18:1, “After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth.” He had this fancy meeting in Athens. It did not go very well because, I guess, he departed somewhat from the reasoning he’s accustomed to doing; his success was not that great in Mars Hill. Now, he comes to Corinth. Acts 18:4, “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath day, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” Every sabbath day, how long was he there in Thessalonica? Acts 18:11, “And he continued there a year and six months.Every sabbath. Acts 18:4 says he reasoned. Acts 18:19 that verse ends by saying “entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.” Paul was always reasoning because what he was saying made sense. If what I say doesn’t make sense I cannot reason. The bases for Paul to be able to reason is what he was saying made sense. Sabbath observance makes sense, when it’s done on the platform of faith. You may call that contradictory. It’s not. Science and faith are not contradictory concepts. As we’re told in Hebrews 11:3, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were formed by the word of God.” Through faith! Now the scientific method reverses that: we understand first then we have faith. The Bible says no, you’re reversing it. You come with faith, you will understand. Faith and science they go together. Now, let’s go back to Acts 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” This is the single New Testament verse that is used to show that the early Christian worshipped on Sunday. Let me show you something which I consider my own version of statistics. I'm not a statistician but I know you respect statistics.

15:50 You do bio stats, take away statistics, research falls to the ground. Here is the one reference in the book of Acts. In the book of Acts 20:7, the verse by which most people observe Sunday. This represents the references to Sabbath keeping. How did I arrive at this? Acts 13:14, Paul was in the synagogue on the sabbath. Actually this figure should be 240. Acts 2:42, the Gentiles said come preach to us again. They preached again in Acts 13:44. Acts 16:13, Paul went by the riverside on the sabbath where prayer was wont to be made. Acts 17:2, three sabbath days Paul reasoned with them out of the Scriptures. Acts 18:11, one year and six months. Now, we still don’t have 240 or 239. Let’s go to Acts 16:25, but keep this in mind, one text supports millions of people observing Sunday. This represents what the disciples of Jesus Christ did. Statistically you tell me, can I reason with you? yes or no? Don’t answer. Can I reason with you statistically? Let me give you the other occurrences of sabbath observance. Acts 20:25, this is Paul speaking to the elders of the church of Ephesus, “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.” Why are his hands pure from the people’s blood? The next verse tells us, “27For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Paul was not afraid to let people know what they needed to know. Only then could he tell God, No one’s blood is on my hand. I did not hold it back. I did not water it down to please people. It is important that a preacher be able to say to God, There is no one from Loma Linda whose blood is on my hand because I told them as it is. Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Paul is saying they won’t do it while I'm here but when I leave they’ll try to deceive you. When I leave they’ll try. They’re coming from the outside and they’ll rise up from within. Acts 20:31, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” For three years!  And since it was Paul's custom to worship on sabbath for three years every sabbath Paul was reasoning and warning. Let me show you the stats again. This is what most people base Sunday observance on a Biblical perspective: Acts 20:7. This is the evidence the Bible suggests for the seventh day sabbath observance. I can write a paper. If you were to write a research report based on this, driven by the impulse of academic honesty, you would have to say research suggests that the sabbath is the seventh day. I can’t compel your heart. I can’t do that. But you told me earlier you’re honest. You said you’re reasonable. You said you were fair-minded and you also said you’re good-looking. Are you still honest, yes or no? Are you still reasonable, yes or no? Are you still fair-minded, yes or no? Your beauty is evident I don’t need to ask. Then what will you do? (sound of paper torn in two) Don’t do that. Don’t do that in your heart. This is the shortest sermon I’ll be preaching. All those who think I have been unreasonable raise your hand. All decent people who believe I have been reasonable raise your hands. God is watching us. I told you I like to speak to intelligent people. It doesn't take long for them to get the point. So I can close the Bible. We’re having service this sabbath I want you to come. I want you to come with statistical justification. I want you to come. Now, you cannot be honest in the laboratory when you do your research and be dishonest in your spiritual life. You cannot do that because at some point your religious dishonesty will spill over into the lab. You must be honest in everything and I think you desire to be. We have a service this coming sabbath and I want you to come. Two services one at 11:00, one at 5:00. I want you to come. I give you one more text. I ask for your response then I pray. Isaiah 58:13, 14 “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor it, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father.” God promises to those who properly keep His sabbath, He will cause them to rise to the highest level in whatever they do. I’ve told you. God is the God of incentives. I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, I will make you the best at what you do, God says. If you have the courage to take a stand contrary to what most of the world does but your stand will be based on Biblical evidence which suggests the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God. I did not even mention Jesus’ custom which was to keep the same day, Luke 4:16. I'm issuing a personal invitation to you if you've not observed the sabbath day. I just want you to come and try one, one. If you’ve smoked 50 years, you can stop smoking for one day. If you’ve been drinking 100 years you can stop drinking one day. If you’ve been accustomed to cussing like a fisherman for 45 years, you can spend one day and not cuss. You can keep one sabbath, one. If for no other reason than in honor of statistical honesty, one. I want you to come this sabbath, right here 11:00. All those who will come at my invitation raise your hand.  I want you to come. Stand up. Let me pray for you. I’m going to ask God to give you courage to stand by your decision. Don’t stand there because somebody else stood. Don't do that. Please don’t do that. Stand because you are standing for you. Don’t stand for someone else because God notices the discrepancy. Every head bowed. Every eye closed. Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I presented a simple message. Father, I believe the reasonableness of the message has touched the hearts of those who have come. Father, I also know that Jesus, the greatest preacher in the history of the universe, was not successful with everyone who heard him. But Father, I believe that Your spirit has touched hearts here today and people have decided they will come who perhaps do not have the religious tradition of observing the seventh day sabbath. When they come, Father, I want You to bless them, to show them that they have taken the right step. Bring us back tonight, dear God, to hear this message with additional information. Now take us safely to our various locations of business I pray and I thank You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

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