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1. The Great Cosmic Equation

Michael Dant
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God battles to bless us, but we fight Him. In this message we look at the effect that our free will has on God and His ability to help us, and others through us.

Presenter

Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 

Recorded

  • April 23, 2016
    11:00 AM
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We are in barking. On a two weekend. Journey. On a topic called delighting in the almighty. Delighting in the almighty. You know. I'm a fourth generation seventh avenue ist. I went to seventh avenue schools from first grade through graduate school to underage university. And i never learned to delight in the almighty. It wasn't till i was forty four years old that i first learned what it means to enjoy god. And so what i'd like to share with you this weekend. This sabbath. And next sabbath is a little bit about my journey. A little bit about some of the things that i have learned about how we can relish god. How we can love him with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength. So i hope that you can come this afternoon. We're going to have a great time of sharing a fellowship together. I have powerpoint slides for my presentations and then we have the. Workbooks that somebody to did a great job of making up a whole can get one of those. That will help you to reflect on it. And to learn a little bit better and. Kids can come to my friends. If i had learned. When i was six or seven or eight. What i'm going to be sharing with you now. If i had learned that. Then i think of the advantages i could have gained. All my life. Why is it i have to live for decades. Before i can learn to enjoy god. So i'd like to encourage to the kids to come. If you're six or seven or older. I'd like to see you there. Because this is not a hard topic. But it's a critically important one. Also in your bulletin you should have received a points to ponder for today's. Sermon. This is for you to spend some time with when you get a chance this afternoon or tomorrow morning for devotional time or whatever. This. Has all of the major quotes from the bible. And from ellen white. Or from any other source that i quote. Uses all the major quotes from my presentation this morning. You don't have to do any scribbling down. Of a note to where things are found. Because everything that i'm sharing with you in terms of the statements will be on that sheet. And like to encourage you to spend some time without go over them again prayerfully. And ask yourself what is this. Saying to me personally. Let's begin with prayer. Heavenly father. I just pray that you will touch each one of our hearts. That you will open our minds to understand you better and understand how the christian life works better. And how we can. Relish you. Father we thank you for these blessings. And we pray for your guidance now in jesus' name amen. On october fourteen thousand nine hundred eighty nine. Dick hoyt ran. Twenty six point two miles. He swam. Two point four miles. And he bicycled one hundred and twelve miles. To complete the hawaiian. Iron man. Competition. Now for most of us. That would be an incredible feat. Wouldn't it. But what really made this amazing. Was that dick did. With his one hundred twenty five pound quadriplegic son in tow. Rick was born with. Spastic quadriplegia. And cerebral palsy. For the first eleven years of his life. He could not communicate with his parents or anyone around him. At the age of eleven they took him to tufts university in boston. And then made this special computer program. That would show letters on the screen. And whenever the next letter for his sentence that he was building showed up. He would bang his head against a sensor. He would select that. Letter and then go to the next letter. And he could then spell out sentences. To those around him and his first sentence. It was go bruins it turns out he was a sports fan. Who knew. At the age of fifteen. Rick asked his dad. Can we run together. In this five mile charity run for a lacrosse player has been injured. I want to show my support for this injured player. And it's a five mile race. But. Can we do it together. And his dad said to him you know. I'm not very good shape i don't know if i can even do it by myself. How my going to push you five miles. But he said i'll try. We'll see what happens. Well. They did make it. Throughout the entire time. The entire run and afterwards. Rick laboriously spelled out to his father. There. When i'm running. I feel like i'm not handicapped anymore. That statement changed his father's life. From that time on. To begin to look for every opportunity to give you some this experience. Let's not feel you nick happy anymore. And they ran it over a thousand races together. Why did dick do it. Why did dick put himself through all that effort. All that training. All that pain. All the suffering all that time why did he do it. He did it because he loved to see the smile on his son's face. That my friends is love that. Love is one of the most powerful forces. In this world. There is the same kind of love that jacob had for rachel. That allowed him to work for her for seven long hard years. And then to be able to say. They seem to him but a few days. Because of his love for her. Love is the great motivator. Love turns the have to or the should do. Or the must do. Into the get. Do. Love transforms. Our life. No wonder then that god wants us to love him. No wonder then that. Those are the greatest commandment. Is that our shout love the lord your god with all your heart with all your mind with all your soul with all your strength. That's the great commandment. And your neighbor as yourself is the second. No wonder then that the first. Fruit of the spirit is love. And the second is. Joy. My friends no wonder then that as christians. There may be no or very few questions. That is more important than this one. How can i enjoy. God. How can i relish him. How can i love him. With all my heart with all my mind with all my soul and with all my strength. If christ be in us the hope of glory. We shall discover such matchless charms in him that the soul will be a namor. But a profession. Without this deep love. Is mere talk. Dr formality. And what. Heavy drudgery. No wonder. God commands us. The great commandment to love him with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength. You know the devil would have us all believe that the christian life is one of self-denying self-sacrifice and drudgery. But that's not true at all. The christian life is one of self-denying. Self-sacrifice enjoy. Yes it is self-denying. Yes. It is self sacrificing. But it's a life. Of get to obedience to the will of god. Of joyful. Enjoyment of him. Living with him in peace. Together. If we love jesus we shall love. Live for m l m i tell this and try to be less than page forty nine to fifty two percent are thank offerings to him. To labor for him. The very labor will be light. For his sake we shall covet pain. And toil and sacrifice. We shall sympathize with his longing for the salvation of men. We shall feel the same tender craving for souls that he has felt. This is the religion of christ. To love god with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength. You know this love that god is asking us. You know this love that god is demanding of us. Is not just a common love. It's not one love among many. This is a soul pervading self sacrificing all or nothing love. In which jesus is the core. Around which our whole lives revolve. That's the kind of love that god wants us to have for him. Now i'm not talking about a constant. Ecstasy of feeling here. I'm talking about joy you know my favorite definition for the word joy is a calm to like a calm delight. Wouldn't you love to have a calm delight in god. No matter what the circumstances. That's what god wants for us. You know what's interesting about this great commandment to love god with all of our heart mind and soul strength you know what's really interesting about this. It can't be obeyed. We have no way in our lives to turn up. Our love for god like a knob on a stove we just can't do it. I can't say i'm as ok. Starting right now. I am going to love god with all my heart mind and soul and strength. Can't do it. So where does this love come from that god commands of us. The bible says that. For love is from god. And everyone who loves. Is born of god and knows god. So now we have a little bit of a problem. A little bit of a conundrum. We have this god who commands us to love him with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength and. We have. That love coming from. So if we don't love him that way what's the problem. What is it. We are not accepting. We are not working with god to have that love. He was to give to us he can do it. He has the power. He has the wisdom. He has everything he needs to give us that kind of love for him. And yet like i share with you for the first four decades of my christian life. Even though i was a sincere christian all that time. I didn't have that love for him. I got in the way. My experience was a tepid love. A lukewarm love. Even though i was sincere. Even though i did all the things that i thought i was supposed to do as a christian. My love for him was tepid at best. How do i know that. Well. There are several indicators but one particular. Was that i did not enjoy prayer. Prayer is the breath of the soul. Prayer is the communion with the one that we claim to love. And yet i found it difficult. I can hardly pray for five or ten minutes at a time in my prayers didn't seem that effective. You know jesus could pray all night. And he could look forward to it. And he could do it again the next night. Jesus loved to pray and he could do it for long periods of time enjoy it but i could not. You know i i found myself during my. Forty years of christian life. I found myself looking for excuses to shorten my devotional time or skip it. Even completely. And you know. If we say that we love somebody. But we find ourselves looking for excuses to avoid them. We might want to re-evaluate our love relationship right. And that was certainly the case. In my experience. So what was my problem. Why did love not grow. In my life. Why after all those years of falling goddess of serially. As i knew how. Why did my love for him. Not grow. You know he asked most people. How. If your love grow well they tell you. Prayer. Bible study. Witnessing right. And it's true. These are three very powerful loven hansie antibodies. We cannot love god with all of our heart mind and soul and strength without those three wonderful things. But if i don't enjoy prayer five find it difficult and dry. Will force myself to do it cause me to love god. You know. If by themselves prayer and bible study witnessing were loving hands. Then the therapies would have loved jesus. Right. Avidly. They love to pray. They prayed on straight street corners. How often to do that they spent hours and days studying the scriptures. They went around on the world looking for converts. And jesus said to them. What do you scribes and pharisees hypocrites. Because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte. And when he becomes one. You make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. What else do we need. Besides the prayer and the bible study in the witnessing. You know. Sometimes those three things are compared to sunshine. And rain. And if you should soil. All the things that a plant needs to grow. But besides those three things. Besides the ideal. Growing environment what else do we need to grow. What else does the plant need to grow besides those three things. Here. Yes. But also need to see without the seed. No plans going to grow no matter how ideal the growing conditions. And that was my problem. I was missing the seed of love. And so the prayer in the bible study the witnessing that it worked for mean. What is the seed. Well i think we can find in the story of the rich young ruler. Here was a man who was a good ad minister who run youth had kept all the commandments. Who had done everything that he thought he was supposed to do. And yet he realized that there was something missing in his life. And he came to jesus to find out what that something was. The bible records a jesus felt a love for him and said to him. One thing you lack. Go and sell. All you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me. Do you think that god love this young man. Do you think that god wanted to save him. Here was a guy who wanted to turn a life. He craved did. He took time out of his busy schedule to find jesus and ask him this critical question. What must i do he knew there was something missing. And jesus said one thing you lack. What was that one thing that. Rich young ruler lacked. What was it what do you think it was and why tells us christ read the rulers heart. Only one thing he lacked but that was a vital principle he needed the love of god in his soul. This lack unless supplied with proof a little to him. His whole nature would become corrupted by indulgence selfishness would strengthen that he might receive the love of god his supreme love. Self. Must be surrendered. My friends the seed of love for god is the surrender of self. The seed of the love for god is the surrender of self in other words. If we want to love god with all of our heart with all of our mind with all of our so with all her strength. We must give god. All of our heart and. All of our mind and all of our soul all of our strength and makes sense right. The seed of love is the surrender of self. And that is what. I failed to do. All my christian life. To give myself. Wholeheartedly. Unreservedly unresistingly unrelentingly to jesus. And we're going to talk about that. A little bit more. Jesus knew that richard lugar had a self problem. And that this was causing his love to. Wing. And that this relationship is going to be a nonstarter. Unless he can get rid of all that is keeping him from loving jesus. And it's interesting what jesus said to him i don't know if you guys. The ritual are such a fascinating story or not the government really realized it before but what did jesus say to the rich and ruler. Did he say oh hey you want to go to heaven. No problem. Come and follow me. You've got a love problem. We're kind of together. Is that what he said. No he said go away. And do the seemingly impossible thing and when you're done come back on the top. Now that doesn't sound like jesus does it. I thought jesus accept us just as we are. He doesn't make us go and clean ourselves up before becoming him does he. Yes my friend. God does accept us just as we are. But he cannot accept us just as we have are unless we are willing to be changed to something different. And this is where the rich and ruler fell down. He was not willing to do what it took to love god with all of his heart and mind and soul and strength. Jesus was not saying to him hey go away. And love me more. And when you do then come and talk it's not what he was saying. He was essential he's saying go away and get rid of everything that is keeping you from loving me only. Go away get rid of the things that are keeping you from loving me. And he was going to help him do it too was it had some we had to do on his own power and strength. But the richer ruler wasn't willing. You know when. When jesus said to the rich and ruler. That he needed to sell his possessions. There is something very interesting we can learn about the christian life there. What jesus was talking about here was an ultimate bank transfer you see. The rich a ruler had a lot of treasure. On earth. But he had no treasure in heaven. And where your treasure is there your. Heart will be also. Jesus wanted to be his treasure. He wanted. God to be the. Young man's treasure not to the money that was on earth. And so what jesus was saying was hey. Transfer your treasure. From earth to heaven. Get rid of everything on earth that's. Precious to you. And then god will be your treasure. The ultimate bank transfer. And this. Bank transfer. Is is shown. Wonderfully beautifully. In the book of job. If you return to the almighty. You will be restored. If you remove one righteousness far from your tent and place your gold in the dust. And the gold of. Over. Among the stones of the brooks. Then what. Then what. Then the almighty will be your gold and precious over to you for then you will delight in the almighty. And lift up your face. To god. Isn't that incredible statement. If you want to delight in the almighty. If you want god to be your treasure. Then like the rich young ruler we also must get rid of. Every treasure. That is keeping us. Away from god. The ultimate bank transfer of our treasure. That leads us to our key phrase this morning. Read this together with me will you. The seed of love is the surrender of self. If i wish to love god with all my heart. With all my mind. With all my soul. And with all my strength. I must give god. All my heart. All my mind. All my soul. And all my strength. That's the seed of love. The surrender of self. That's the key right there. To delighting in the almighty god. What do you think would have happened if jesus had said to the rich young ruler. Hey no problem. You've got a love problem. I can help you come follow me. We'll do it. What do you think would have happened. If jesus had immediately invited the rich and ruler to join him. Well we don't really necessarily have to guess do we. He probably would have had another judas on his hands right. Judas we are told. Love the great teacher. And designed to be with him. He felt a desire to be changed in character and life. And he hoped to experience this. Through connecting himself with jesus and the savior did not repulse judas l.-y. tells us. He gave him a place among the twelve. He trusted him to do the work of an evangelist. He undoubting who with power to heal the sick. And to cast out devils. But. Judas did not come to the point of surrendering himself fully. To christ. You know what judas problem was judas his problem was not that he wasn't. With jesus. Is that he hadn't surrendered himself to jesus. Wholeheartedly. And that's the same thing that would happen to the rich and ruler. The rich or ruler. Wanted. Eternal life. But he wasn't willing to give himself wholeheartedly. Elmo says he wanted the heavenly treasure. But. He wanted. Also the temporal advantages his riches would bring him. He was sorry that such conditions existed. He desired eternal life. But he was not willing to make the sacrifice the cost of return a life seemed too great. And he went away sorrowful. For he had great possessions. My friends most of my life i was the richer and ruler. I also had these temporal advantages. This treasure on earth. That i was not willing to give up. It wasn't money. It was choices. Little choices. And i used to say to myself oh you know it's not that big of a deal besides god isn't finished with me yet. But it was those little things that i was holding onto that i was unwilling to surrender to god that kept me from loving him. Delighting in him. All my christian life. Those little things. But the good news is at least for me. Unlike the rich and ruler. God. Got through to me. God eventually brought me to the point where i was ready and willing to give him all of my choices. In every aspect of my life. All the time. And you know what happened. The moment i gave that to make that decision. The moment i made that commitment to god. You know what happen. My love for prayer skyrocketed over night i began to enjoy prayer. I began to relish it i begin to prioritize it to look forward to it i can spend an hour praying and enjoy it. Hardly realize the time going by and it become a became a priority to me. It became. Literally the most enjoyable part of my day. What happened. How did my prayer experience. Go from. Nothing to that. What happened was that because i attended a prayer. Seminar and found out a new prayer technique without it. Those are helpful. But nothing compares to conversion. Nothing compares to the power of conversion. In a life and my friends even though i was a seventh avenue just. All those years. Over four decades. I believe that the age of forty four. Was the first time that i was truly converted. Because i was the first time that i had good willing by god's grace and power. To give him to commit to him. All my choices. And he came in and converted me. You know there's another important aspect to the story the rich and ruler. And that is the cost of eternal life. What what what what what what i mean cost of eternal life. Is there a cost to eternal life. How many of you thought that. Eternal life was a free gift. You should be raising your hand right now to the bibles on your side right for the wages of sin is death. But the free gift of god is eternal life in christ jesus our lord. So what is his cost of eternal life thing. If this is true. If you turn in life as a free gift a why did jesus say to the rich a ruler hey get over it. It's free. Here it is go. Enjoy it. Why if it's a free gift. To jesus say. Go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor and then come and follow me. Why did you set the bar so high it's a free gift. How can a free gift. Cost so much. If you ever thought about that. This is important stuff. Remember the story of the pearl of great price. Jesus is the pearl of great price. And when the merchant man found it what did he do. The bible says that when he found one pearl great price he went and sold. All that he had and bought it. Do you recognize this anywhere. This is what jesus was at the rich and ruler to do. This isn't anything special. This is what. Each one of us does. When we find the pearl of great price. If we want to take it home with us. There is a cost to eternal life. And yet eternal life is free. And the promise of that embody. Yeah. Well. In the parable the pearl is not represented as it as a gift. The merchant bought it at the price of all that he had many question the meaning of this. Since christ is represented in the scriptures as a gift. He is a gift. But only to those who give themselves. Soul body and spirit. To him without reserve. l.-y. goes on we are to give ourselves to christ to live a life of willing obedience to all his requirements all that we are all the talents and capabilities we possess. Are the lord's to be consecrated to his service. When we thus. Give ourselves wholly to him. Christ. With all the treasures of heaven. Gives himself to us. We obtain the pearl of great price. This is the ultimate bank transfer again. When we give god our treasure. He gives us. Himself and the treasures of heaven. With it. But what must happen first. He is a gift. But only to those who give themselves. Soul body and spirit. To him without reserve. But still. Doesn't this sound a little bit deceptive say hey. Internalize a free gift. It'll cost sharing. The nest on a little bit like a little deceptive. How does that work. Well maybe a modern illustration can help us out. When nasa. Retired its space shuttle program. They gave away the space shuttles free of charge. Billion dollar spaceships the pride of the american space fleet. Give away free of charge. So why don't i have one in my backyard i think my kids would enjoy it when not you. Well it turns out the norden to make this. Space shuttle. Safe for kids or anybody. To be around. You have to decommission it. That means get rid of all the poisonous and not noxious substances and and. Materials that make up the space shuttle. And that will cost twenty eight million dollars. And then in order to get your backyard you to ten thousand foot runway. Now for those of you who don't already have a ten thousand foot runway in your backyard. That will cost you an additional five point eight million dollars. And of course. You're going to need a temperature and humidity controlled environment to store this national treasure. So that will cost you another eight million dollars so. The gift is free. But it's going to cost you forty two million dollars. Plus or minus a couple million. The gift is free but the ability to receive the gift costs. Everything. And that's how it is with jesus. Jesus is an incredible gift. A treasure. Beyond anything that we could possibly hope to earn. Deserve or merit. He gives himself to us freely. Eagerly. He gives them tough to us. But not everyone can. Jesus jesus was too big to fit in the life that is for the self. In order to receive this free gift we have to have some place where he can come and be absolute lord and master of our lives. That's how it works. That is why. The sea of love is the surrender of self if i want to love god with all my heart in mind and soul and strength i must give god. All my heart and mind and soul and strength. Do we love to pray. Do we enjoy our time with god. Do we enjoy working with him. Do we walk. Yoke to him. Unchained finley. Joyfully going where he goes. In the direction that he goes. At the speed that he goes. Or. Or do you have a lukewarm love. Do you where lukewarm love comes from. Lukewarm is hot. Mixed with a little bit of cold. You know. We are christians. We love jesus. We're not atheist we're not agnostics. We're not pagans. We love jesus we're christians. But if we let a little drop of. Worldliness. Come into our lives. What's going to happen to our passion. It's going to sizzle and die down. That is why. The seed of love is the surrender of self. Only as we give ourselves. Wholeheartedly. Unreservedly unresistingly unrelentingly to him. Can he keep that flame. Of passion in our lives. Where we live in this world. As one who walks among men. But not as one of them. There is a cost to loving jesus. But it's of a cost that god has allowed you and i to pay. He's given us the power of choice. And the power of choice. By god's grace. We can choose. Jesus. We can choose him as lord and master of our lives. We can choose to give him. All of our choices. Do you want to enjoy god with all of your heart and mind and soul and strength. Do you want to relish him. Do you want to walk with him in joy and peace. No matter how self-denying no matter how self-sacrifice no matter how comfortable. But to enjoy it with god. Walking and working with him. That is what god wants for you. That's exactly what god wants for you want you to love him with all your heart mind and soul strength. So that you can have this get to relationship with him. Even when things aren't. Come for for self. That's where god wants. Each one of us to be and we can be. It's one. Choice away. Let's pray. Heavenly father. I thank you for the privilege of being able to choose you above everything else. I thank you father for the privilege of being able to transfer my treasure to heaven. To love you with all of my heart and mind and soul and strength. Father what a blessing. What condescension that you have given us that we can enjoy you. And relish you. And walk with you and chase ilene joyfully and peacefully what. Blessings these are. I pray father that you will be with each person. In this room today. That you will help us be willing to do whatever it takes to enjoy that kind of relationship with you to love you passionately. We thank you for these blessings. We pray for them in jesus' name amen. Again i want to encourage you to come this afternoon. This afternoon we're going to talk more about how we can enjoy. God. And we're going to talk about what gets in the way of enjoying god. And then. Next sabbath. We're going to continue the series. He's talking about how god can give us the. Victory over these things that keep us from loving him passionately. And then we're going to look at some practical how to steps to become to surrender. I'm going to share a bit more with you my testimony so i hope that you can come this afternoon. And next sabbath. To complete the six part series on delighting. On the almighty god 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 audio verse. If you would like to listen to more service leader visit w w w. Audio verse or.

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