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How Far Will God Go?

Daniel Jackson

Presenter

Daniel Jackson

President, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists

Conference

Recorded

  • April 30, 2016
    11:30 AM
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Good morning. Good. You can hear me and i can hear you. Two things. A confession. And a profession. Made. Every time that i speak these days. Number one. The confession. My name is daniel jackson. I am a broken human being with. Out the amazing grace of god. And my lord jesus christ. I would not progress. But rather. Regress. And just in case you hadn't noticed. You all are just like me. A man came to me one day said pastor i want you to take my name off the church books. And i said to him. Tell me why. He said because i smoke. And when i come to church everyone can smell myself. And i said to him i don't want you to take your name off the church books because there is only one difference between you and the person sitting next to you on the pew. You can smell their sin. But wouldn't it be great if god would attach an order to every sin. Then when we came to church we would say as we walked in the front door it's. My name is dan jackson and i am a sinner and that readers would say. We know. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of god. All of us. Need redemption. All of us need to be healed from our broken ness. I'm a broken human being i don't say that because i'm trying to put on a humble act. I'm saying it because it is the truth. Secondly within the context of the seventh day adventist church. There is only one true. North and to his name is jesus. He must be the center. And the substance of what we preach. And what we teach. And how we act. And how we relate to one another because he said. By this will all men know that you are my disciples. In that you have love. One for the other you know. I'm going to offend some people here in a moment and i'm really sorry but i have to tell you that. Sometimes when women. Prepare or. They look weird. Now you're going to understand this in just a moment and. It's not really meant to be an insult but. You know what i'm talking about. When i was a kid. In my house. My mother and my sisters all was. Looked weird. On friday night. They looked like they were getting ready to get on the next space ship right. One friday night. I made a decision. In my foolish. Youth. That i would sneak out of the house. And i would go to a dance. And i did. I don't know how to dance. But i went to the dance anyway to dance. And i remember i will never forget. I was standing. With this young woman. Trying to move. And i was standing directly in front of the entrance door to the dance hall. There were steps leading up to the dance hall. And i will never forget the appearance. One step at a time. And the further up they went. They were attached to my mother's head. And she came into the dance hall way out of her comfort zone on a friday night. And she stood there. And she did the most effective thing that any person could do. She stood in the dance hall. She never yelled she never came and grabbed me. She stood there and cried. And so frank. Effective was that. Treatment that i have never gone back to another dance on friday night or saturday night sunday night monday night tuesday night wednesday or thursday night. A woman who loved her son. Went way out of her comfort zone. To bring him back. How about god. How far will god go to develop eternal friendships with people. How far will he go. We read as our scripture reading. Luke chapter fifteen verses want to do and this is an amazing statement. Now the tax collectors and sinners we're all gathering around to hear jesus. But the farriss and the teachers of the law. Muttered. This man welcomes. Sinners and eats with them. It was about two months before the time when. He says. Would be crucified and he was in a place called perea and. Everywhere he went he was followed by. Publicans and by sinners. By those who wanted to trap him in his words. And take the report back to headquarters. The farriss to begin to look at the scripture and the history of the scripture the farriss and the surgeon says. Basically looked down. They branded and labeled everyone. It was the only way that they could maintain their own self. Conceived. Superiority. But what they did not realize. In this statement. He. Fellowships with sinners. And he eats with them. Was that their very condemnation of jesus was an affirmation of his ministry. That's exactly why he came here not just come to hang around with goody two shoes. He came to deal with every person. With all needs. At any time. He is now the pathway to better health. I was preachin a sermon similar to this one day. And as i was preaching a man jumped up in the balcony. And he said. The church is filled with hypocrites. I looked at him and i said brother. Why do you think i joined. Then i went on in my sermon and. Then the same guy jumped up again and then when he jumped up he yelled this time. You're trying to save everyone. And i responded to him. So it was god. The people who came to jesus. Felt that in his presence. Even for them. There was. And i skate. From the pit of sin. The farriss had only scorn and condemnation for them. But. Christ jesus. Your friend and mine. Greeted them. That's children of god. Is strange indeed from the father's house. But not forgotten from the father's heart. Jesus saw your turn of value when people. He did not pick and choose. Those to whom he would extend his grace. I appreciated what john mcintire said last night. About grace. And the boundless grace of god. Every person was valued. Every person. Regardless of his or her. Situation. Found grace in jesus. Sometimes. Humanly speaking. We think we can win. People into shape. Maybe we can put a little pressure on them. Call them to our standard criticize them. Until somehow they see the light. Went to read romans chapter two verse four. Where paul makes the state when he says. God's. Kindness is intended to lead you to repent. It is not the judging and condemning that do the work of conversion. People don't change. Because they are damned. Either by us individually or collectively. It is god's goodness. Paul says. Leads to repentance. That is not to say that there aren't times. In our lives or in our collective experience. Where we do know i have a need to act discreetly. Based upon the word of god. To deal with issues i am not talking about throwing out the. The bible and the teachings of scripture. But so. This experience happens. If it develops in a context of criticism and happiness. And jesus begins to tell three stories. Three peril. Balls found in. Luke chapter fifteen. The parable of the law sheep. The parable of the lost. Corn and the parable of the lost son. And before we dig into these stories. I want to make some observations. Observation number one. And you can follow through with this we are writing it down write it down but. The lost sheep. Are lost. But they don't know where the lost coin. Is alienated. Represents the person. Alienated. Right at home. Right at home. The last son. Represents people who have just dismissed. God. From their lives and. Each of these stories fascinatingly enough. God is portrayed in different ways. In the story of the lost sheep. God is portrayed as the shepherd who seeks. In the story of the last point. God is portrayed as the woman who sweeps. In the story of the lost son god is portrayed as the father who waits. And then. Embraces. I want to make this statement. Plain today. That these three stories. These three representation. That jesus makes. Are an introduction to who god is. He defines himself in these stories. The omnipotent omniscient omnipresent. Immutable. Any trouble god says to the human family. Look at me. This is who i am. And this is not some kind of soppy sub standard. Jackson interpretation of scripture. When you read those three stories. You look into the mind of god. We too often. Attempted to lecture only to put god in a box. A box of art of all our devising. But god can and will never be defined by human terms. He defines himself. The third observation is this the bearer of the parable. Demonstrates the character of god. Lived out within the context of human broken this. Listen to the scriptures. Romans chapter five in verse eight but god commands his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners. Jesus died for us. You don't get the impact of that. Until you begin to dig more deeply into the text. And you basically could render it this way. But god shows his love to you and me. In that on the very worst day of our lives. At the very and worst moment of that day. When we had rejected him. Jesus died for us. You can only say hallelujah. Praise god when you contemplate that. Lamb and taishan is chapter three verse twenty one. Yet this i call to mind therefore i have hope. Because of the lord's great love because of the lord's mercies. We are not consume his compassions fail not. They are new. Every morning. Great. Is your faithfulness. You go to bed at night. And there is a god who wants to establish an eternal friendship with you. Who wants to grow up with you. You sleep. But he doesn't romans chapter eight verse thirteen one. If god is for us who can be against us. He who did not spare his own son. But gave him up for us all. How will he not also. Along with him. That is. Along with jesus. Give us all things. Friends. We serve a benevolent god a god who gives a god who has provided an eternal pathway to health. And from a little book called christ object lessons i'm reading this brief statement. Christ. Will never abandon the soul for whom he has died. The soul may leave him. And be overwhelmed with temptation. But christ can never turn from one for whom he has paid the ransom. Of his own life. Jesus. Will not turn away. So he begins to tell these stories. And they are wonderful stories. They ought to be a part of every person's. You know read it over and over and over again. Here we have the first parable from luke chapter fifteen beginning with verse three then jesus told them this parable. Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety and nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep. Until he finds it. And of women he finds it. He joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says. Rejoice with me. I have found my last. I tell you. This is jesus speaking. I tell you that in that same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven. Over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine right as persons who do not need to repent or. We might contextualize that and say. Who don't think they need to repent. His name was robert. He was sitting next to me that a pot luck lunch. He was seventy two years old and. If there are visitors here today a pot luck lunch. In a seventh day adventist context. Is a righteous time when we can eat everything. That is vegetarian. And i'm sitting next to robert. And as i'm sitting next to him. The pastor comes behind and he says. Robert why don't you tell pastor dan your life story. And he looked at me and said would you like me to do that i said sure. I'd love to hear that. And he began to talk. And i want you to know that in all that he said he was talking. From the perspective of a humble christian gentleman. He was not beating his chest. He said when i was sixteen years of age. I robbed a drug store. And because i had a gun. They put me into the elevator and me to adult court. And i was sentenced to three years in prison. And after being in prison for some time and getting accustomed to the life in prison. And what they did to me. He said. I made a decision that when i got out of prison i would find a judge who sentenced me. And i would kill him. Then he said. And i did. And i'm sitting next to this guy. Pot luck. And he's got a knife and fork. But he went on he said. I took his wife and his daughter. At the same time as i murdered him and i came across into the inn or went across into the united states where this was happening. In canada. He said. I got as far as the. Oregon california border and the opera handed me brought me back to canada you've done no harm to the wife and the daughter. They brought me back. They sentenced me to life in prison with no hope of parole. Once in prison. I got into a fight one day and i killed another man. This was addressed for a human being. Let me ask you this question. Why would god waste his time. On the robards of the world. And enter a seventh day adventist lay person who had made a decision and that was that he would try to reach into robert's life. And he studied the story of this man then all the appropriate training got the permissions to see robert. And went in and on the first day. He said. And by the way for those of you who are afraid to witness for jesus. Listen to me carefully. While i do believe that education is good and appropriate that training is good and appropriate. When the spirit of god says to you do something. It is like a divine appointment. Get on the horse and ride baby. So we went to the prison. Stood outside the cell. Because robert was in solitary confinement. And this is how we introduced himself he said. Robert. God loves you. And so do i. And this kindly old gentleman said to me. You know i used to have quite a retinue of curse words i think i knew them all. And every time he would come to visit me. I would share all of them with him. But he kept going. He kept going. Kept going. We had not given. In the meantime this desperate. Human being called robert. Had a plan. Of his own. That is. He had a tooth brush. And he was rubbing it against the brick walls. In his cell and making it sharp. The sharp. As the sharpest knife he had planned to commit suicide but he had a rather unique way of looking at it. He had made a decision that when they came to feed him one morning. He would grab the colors of the guard or the collar here. And then slit his throat. And he said the guy would fall and then they would shoot. They blow me away and i'd be dead. That's what you call desperation. Absolute disconnect from the world around. And desperation and. Robert. Proceeded with that plan but as he was proceeding. This gentleman kept coming back. Same message over and over again. God loves you. And so do i and the night before he was going to bring into effect his dastardly deed. Robert decided to clean the few things that he had in his cell and put them in order. So he could die in peace. He thought. And in a little box. He found. One of those little bibles. A prison issue bible but actually his mother had given the bible to the present to give to him. And he said i opened that bible up pastor. And i was going to tear it to shreds. But before i could do that. He said. My eyes fell on the taxi said you no need to believe this. My eyes fell on. John chapter three verse sixteen. Sounds funny. It's not for god so loved the world. That he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him. Should not perish but have everlasting life. God is seeking an everlasting friendship with you and me. Tell me how far he will go. Robert. Looked at those words. And he said. Started to cry. He said my mother told me that. Now this guy is telling me that. Now. Now i'm reading heads. He said i took capello from off my bag. I wrapped it around my head. And i laid under my bed that night. But i will tell your pastor. By the time i got up in the morning. I had given my life to jesus. How far will god. Go for the roberts of the world. This is not just some. Fam. A man b. pamby phony baloney nonsense. This is reality. A transforming power from above. That can change. And radically revolutionize the life of anyone who comes in contact with it. Well you know robert became. Such a student of the bible after that. Our. Laymen did bible studies with him. And finally robert was baptized into the seventh day adventist church your brother and mine. Mind you when they baptized and they had shackles on his hands and on his feet. They were still afraid of him. But over time he began to minister to other individuals in the prison system. Eventually was made an assistant chaplain. And released from prison. And he sat beside me that day. A seventy two year old humble. Christian gentleman who had fallen in love with jesus christ. The lost sheep. Those who don't even know how less. They are. God reaches out to find them secondly jesus tells this parable. Luke fifteen. Of verses eight. And following. Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses. One of them. Doesn't she light a lamp sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it. And when she finds it she calls her friends and neighbors together and says rejoice with me. I have found my last coin. In the same way i tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of god. Over one sinner who repents. One person out of harmony with god. Is valuable to god. God does not give up. How far will he go. Well you know. It would be a little bit of a problem. If a woman today dropped a point on the floor and couldn't find it. There are all kinds of other problems associated with that that we'd want to talk about in a different context. But jesus was talking about how home in the ancient near east. Our home. That probably had a dirt floor. And the coin was a change in the pocket the coin. Was most likely a part of the dowry. That which was paid. And it was lost and the person sweeps. The floor until she can find it and when she finds it. She is filled with joy the person who is. Wandered or walked away from the acknowledgment of god right in their own home. In their own family. You know. Canadians are. A little crazy. That's why. Sports for canadians excel they generally wind up calling them the crazy canucks. Canadians love hockey. As a matter of fact. All of canada. Was angry at los angeles. When wayne gretzky came. They weren't saying nice stuff about los angeles. Especially in edmonton alberta. Which is my hometown. I am saved went to. I inherited a church. A congregation. Some time a many years ago. Which had done some things that were. They just appeared to be wrong they had this fellowship they had kicked twelve people out of the church. And when i became their pastor. They actually the first board meeting said to me pastor. We think we sinned. And you know i do want to make this statement to you. Congregations can make mistakes. Conferences can make mistakes. Union conferences can make mistakes. Divisions can make mistakes. And i'm not going any higher than that. And when we sin scripture tells us. If we confess our sin. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So if a congregation says to a new pastor. We feel like we've sinned. My instinct was to say to them. Well. What was this sin. They said we through twelve people out of the church that we shouldn't have. I said what are we going to do about it. They said. Well we've confessed. I said why don't you get on our knees and ask god to forgive us for that sin. So we did. We got on our knees we ask god to forgive us. And then i made them a promise i said i will try to find those twelve people. And i will invite them to come home. I set out to do that. It was not very easy. Enter hockey. My mother was a. Later. One night. As we sat at home and she was visiting in our home she said to my son and i. If you two want to go to walk again. I'll pay. And i'll come with you. There was no hockey game in our town that night but there was a game in a town about ten miles away from where we lived and so we talk or up on our offer. We went to watch hockey. She brought her knitting. Which is a canadian oxymoron. No one would ever understand that at all. But we went to this hockey game. And we're watching it with great delight. Until about halfway through the second period. The referee. Made everything. To kill his call. And i jumped to my feet. And i yelled. You bonehead. Which is not a christian thing to say. And after say. Saying that i sat down and the man sitting next to me said you know. That was a bonehead call. I totally agree with you. And he said to me. You don't move here in this town do you. I said no no i don't i'll. I live down in the town down the hill. He said. Oh that's nice. What do you do. And i told him. I'm a pastor. And he said. And what church. And i said. Baptist. I had to tell the truth. I told him i was a seventh day adventist. And then i apologized. But before i could get the words out hardly. He pulled back in his chair and said if you are a seventh day adventist pastor. What are you doing at this hockey game. I was kicked out of your church. For going to hockey games. And i looked at that man. And i said to him. You know what i just said was not christian and i apologize. It was wrong. But i want to tell you. This is a divine appointment. I have been looking for you. He was one of the twelve. And i said i've come for two reasons tonight. Number one is to beg your forgiveness for the way you have been treated. And number two is to appeal to you to come home. And he did. As a matter of fact i had the privilege of passing in that same place two times. They sent me back again because i figured i had done a good enough job the first time. But that. Occurrence took place on the first time. I spent three and a half years. In that church. And he became a wonderful deacon in the church. He was one of those deacons who would clean under the carpet to make sure that there was nothing wrong in the sanctuary. The second time. I pastored there. He passed away. But let me tell you this. When he died. He died with an eternal friendship with jesus. His name was alexander. How far will god go. To touch the alexanders in the world. Finally jesus tells this story it is a well known story i think people know the story of we call it the prodigal son. I call it. More like the lost boys. Because you see this kid had an attitude right. I mean we read the story in the bible and. It sounds so steroidal because the story says. Here's the son he goes to the father and he says. I want my part of the inheritance. But what he was really saying was. I wish you were dead. Now remember the old man in the story is god. Representing him self to the human family. I wish you were dead. Give me what is mine now. And he takes off and you know the story he does everything that he possibly can do to defy the upbringing that he has had. And the connection that he has had with his father. This last boy represents the person who just disses god. And says get out of my life. Now his older brother knows all of the sins that he has committed. Another fact the older brother. Gives a whole. Retinue these stories you know he says he is took off he drank. He fooled around with prostitutes. Now he comes home and you're throwing a banquet. He's angry at the father. But the kid left home. Totally dismissing the father. I want you to know the story i'm about to tell you is a personal story. And i tell it only with permission. It's sixteen years of age. Our daughter looked at us in the eyes and said. I'm leaving home. I don't know what the laws are in the state of california or in the united states or wherever it is that you live. But in canada. If you know where your child is. The police will not do anything to apprehend that child and bring them home. We knew where. She was where she went. The night that she left i wrote her a little letter. And it read like this. I will never ask. That god saves you from the consequences of your rebellion. I will only ask that god saves your soul. The relations between god and. Each soul. Are as full and distinct. As there was not an as though there was not another soul on earth to share his watch care. Not another soul for whom he gave his beloved son. I will only ask that he save your soul. And she left. Our hearts were broken. Absolutely shattered. Six months later we got a phone call. I had seen her. We'd had some limited communication with her. But six months later we got a phone call and she said dad. You are right you were right. I have made a fool of myself. I'm pregnant. That is not the kind of word a seventh day adventist minister wants to hear. Or the wife of a seventh day adventist minister. And i dear precious wife. Stood by my side. And we said to that young lady. We have six words for you. We love you. Come on home. And she did. I want to tell your friends. I want. I tell you that we never talked about it. What would be the point. Right. Look what you've done. This is not good for you to criticize to condemn. To dan at that point. Was meaningless. People choose. We raise them to use their brains. And when they use them in a way that we don't approve of. We create. Misery for them. But that isn't our job. Our job is to wait. And then embrace. Like the old man in the story. She came home. We never argued. We never fought. She started studying the word of god. She gave her life to jesus. Today she is the principal of a twelve grade seven day adventist academy. You see the story of the product of the story of the last call in the story of the lost sheep. Our grand representation of who god is about or what god is a part of who he really is. He is portrayed. So often. So fall aisha's like by our misspoken word. By a bad act by a rotten or a two toward people who we think are really broken. When in reality. All of us are broke and. All of us need. Every day. The touch of the. Masters hand. To keep us on balance. To keep us moving ahead. Listen to the statement. The value of a soul. Who can estimate. Who would know its worth or rather what you know its worth go to get some money and there watch with christ to those hours of anguish. When he sweat as it were great drops of blood. Look upon the savior uplifted on the cross. Here that despairing cry. My god my god why have you first taken me. Look upon the wounded head. The pier side. The marred feet. Remember that christ. Risked it all for our redemption. Put your name in there. For your redemption for my redemption. Heaven itself. Was imperiled. At the foot of the cross. Remembering that for one sinner christ would have laid down his life. For one sinner. Put your name there. You may yes the night. The value of a soul. God loves you. Regardless of what other people say. Regardless of your own self. Condemnation. Regardless. Regardless of what the of fish here now knows tell you. There is an inalienable truth. And that it is the that god loves you he is doing everything that he can. How far will he go. How far will he go for you. How far will he go for the city of los angeles. He touched the blind he made them see. He healed those with infirmities of all kinds. How i loved. Stories that we saw today. Because when we reach out with pure motives. To touch the lives of those in need. We become. The hands. And the feet. Of jesus god has done all of this. To provide us with a foundation. Was the basis upon which to live our lives. You know. Your healing. My healing is not an accident. It is a deliberate act on the part of rights just. Caring god. To change our lives. So that we may have the kind of foundation. To enter into an eternal relationship with him. I built a house once. They have heard me tell some of you may have heard me tell this story built house once. I call it my house some sliding bank. Smartest thing i did in the erection of that house was to hire a seventh day adventist contractor a member of the church i was about to pastor. To put in the foundation. And he did that when i came. I started from the foundation and i built up from there and. It wasn't like it was a massive thing to accomplish because it was a prefabricated house. The walls. The external walls came. She did that with the windows in. And so i kind of set them up a little bit like lego. And i got them all in place. And then i tied them together so they wouldn't go out of square and i started doing the interior buildings and. One day as i was doing. Interior walls. The building inspector. Arrived on the site. And you have to know that when a building inspector arrives on the side of your building. And he gets out of his car. And his arms are like this that. Either he's a. Pentecostal who just got a star occurrences. Or there is something really wrong. When he did hear arrived on the street. Got out of his car. When he threw r.p.'s one. And he yelled at the top of his voice. You have built your house. On the wrong war but. That is no small problem. I bought a lot i don't want to buy two. But you know i knew that was possible. Because the man right across the street who lived. Right on the light. Built himself a beautiful swimming pool and. When his neighbor who had worked most of his life in the far northern reaches of canada. Came to build his retirement home. He went to the man who built the swimming pool. And he said. In my whole life. I have never received such a welcoming gift as this. You build your swimming pool right on my lot. But i'm going to put a chain link fence all the way around that's on your side i'm going to put double gate so you can use my swimming duminy time you want. So i knew it was possible. But i looked at that building inspector in the face. And i said to him. I have not built my house. On the wrong. Lot. Because john. Hanks. Put the foundation in under this house. And have he put it up on this board. My house is on the right. Lot. Then he responded by saying well john hanks put the house on this lot. There it's on the right lot. And then he tucked his tail. Put his proverbial tail between his legs and drove off into the sunset. And then it was my turn. Praise the lord. Listen friends. There is only one true foundation for your life and mine. And it is jesus. I remind us all of paul's words it is the goodness of god. That leads to repentance. Let us be. The healers the hands. The feet. That reach out to the world. In blessing. So that one day soon. The great eternal friendship with jesus. Can be consummated. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading god's word through free. Sermon audio. And much more. If you would like to know more about your first point if you would like to listen to more servant leader visit. W w w. Or.

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