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Witnessing For Jesus

Conrad Vine


Conrad Vine

President of Adventist Frontier Missions



  • February 18, 2017
    10:00 AM
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The Heavenly Father I thank you that we have the freedom here in America to gather here today I thank you for the freedom of speech freedom of conscience and freedom of association. And Father I thank you that. As of today we still have those freedoms. And Father we have brothers and sisters around the world stay meeting underground meeting for fear of a knock at the door meeting with a spouse in prison or meeting forth in fear of being beaten up by the police. And so Father we counted an incredible privilege and gift to be sitting here in Loma Linda this morning. And fathers we gather here today we're not gathered just to hear a sermon but father I believe we gather here to meet Jesus afresh and so I ask defiance of that as I speak My Words will be from your throne of grace I ask that each one of us will meet Jesus afresh as we spend these next moments together. I ask Father that our feet will be willing to go where you direct that our hearts will be willing to be changed that our minds will be open to your transformation that our lips will be willing to sing your praises now hands ready to do your deeds so father speak through me this morning this is my humble prayer and she says name I ask a man. So I bring greetings from my wife and two children. Part of the good news for two days on the husband of one wife and that's good news the penalty for bigamy is more than one mother in law and so. It's a self correcting mechanism. If you have one to buy Solomon Roache the futility futility everything is futile with a thousand wives that's a thousand mothers in law that's two thousand women that's six anniversaries or birthdays a day it's no wonder he said everything is futile but. I want you to turn your Bibles today to the Gospel of Mark Chapter four. And we're going to be. Picking up the story the end of where Jesus has been preaching all day he's given the parable of the sower and the end of the day he's very tired and he gets into a boat with his disciples to cross the sea of Galilee and he's going to cross from the east side of Galilee to the west side of Galilee and we're going to pick the story up and Mark Chapter four we're going to begin verse thirty five so I've been reading from the new revised stands it invites you to to follow in your Bibles mock Chapter four verse thirty five and this is what who read it says on that day when evening had come he said to them let us go across to the other side and leaving the crowd behind they took him with them in the boats just as he was other boats were with him verse thirty seven a great wind storm arose and the waves beat into the boat so that the boat was already being swamped I want you to imagine the geography here Jesus is crossing from the western side of the Sea of Galilee he's crossing across to the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee he is crossing from what was considered the Jewish side of Galilee where cities like Capernaum and Beth as there were he's crossing from the western side across to the area was known as the Decapolis the Decapolis was ten cities when Pompei the Roman general a colleague of Julius Caesar when he was conquering in the Middle East he conquered this region in about eighty B.C. sixty sixty three and he established these ten cities as a showcase to the superiority of the Greek and the Roman gods this was pagan territory and Jesus is crossing from Jewish territory the ETS Israel that the Holy Land of Israel he's crossing east into Gentile territory and his disciples ago in with them and in no self respecting Jew of that time would want to cross from Jewish Galilee across to Gentile Galilee thank you and it says that a great wind storm arose and in the geography of the middle. East there's not many places we can go skiing in the Middle East there's a mall in Dubai where you can go skiing you can go ice skating in Dubai strange that may sound but in the Middle East if you can if the his the Sea of Galilee just to the northeast of Galilee Yes I'm looking from your side from north east of Galilee you have the Golan Heights and the top of the Golan Heights you have Mount Hermon and Mount Hermon is covered with snow year round and the waters from Mount Hermon flow down into the River Jordan and they flow down to the east down into Damascus and so Damascus is has historically been a beautiful city due to the fresh waters from the the snow of Mount Hermon and on Mount Hermon the air is cold and the Sea of Galilee is a very low very low height above sea level and so what happens is cold air slides from Mount Hermon off the Golan Heights down into the Galilee Valley and what happens when a massive cold air comes in contact with a massive war map you have a storm and if you're a sailor you know that when you're sailing for instance on a small sailboat if you look at the water and the sailors call them catspaws I'm you know that there was winds coming there's a storm or a squall coming your way because you look at the surface of the water and even if you can't see the wind the water looks like little cats kind of dancing across the water still catspaws on the water that tells you that a storm is coming on the Sea of Galilee you get no such warning on the Sea of Galilee these cold air masses slide off Herman down into the Sea of Galilee and they collide with the warm air on Galilee and these ferocious storms arise almost out of nothing and the disciples are crossing the sea of Galilee they are going from Jewish territory to pagan territory and all of a sudden they're caught in the midst of a storm and these are experienced fishermen they know what they're doing but they believe that the boat is about to be swamped and they're in fear for their lives and so in verse thirty eight says that but Jesus was in the stern asleep on the cushion and they woke him up and so. To him Teacher Do you not care that we are perishing. And that times in our lives where it seems that the storms of life hits us and we wonder is God asleep at the wheel in my life as well. There are times in our lives where everything seems to be going just fine and out of nowhere a storm hits us and these are cycles they turn to Jesus and they wake him up and these teacher they say do you not care that we are perishing we know that we are perishing but don't you care about it and sometimes in the midst of of the storm of Solmes of life we sometimes go a bit overboard like those disciples as well and we start to question well is God asleep at the wheel is God busy somewhere else does God really know what's happening to me Does God really care that my life is being swamped by these storms right now. And Jesus away. And he has a beautiful phrase isn't in verse thirty nine says you woke up in your beauty the wind and said to the sea Peace be still then the wind ceased and there was a dead calm. When I was a small boy my mother used to read me from Maxwell's bed time Maxwell's Bible stories I remember there was a picture of Jesus standing in the boats that the sea is as calm as may be and I don't know is a mirror and you see the reflection of the moon down in the in the in the water and the disciples are all sitting in the boats and Jesus standing there completely calm and I wonder is that really how it was because Jesus comes the storm in the wind but was this just a regular storm was number of clues that tell us this was not a regular storm the first clue is the use of the verb rebukes and if you spend the time this afternoon and look through the Gospel of Mark you will see that the word rebute only occurs when Jesus speaking to a demon. That's the first clue the second clue is that Jesus doesn't stand and say Let there be peace. What the grammar professors would say when it may be use of subjective No he doesn't say let there be peace he says you be still it's a second person singular imperative is the same that if you're walking through Walmart's and you have a small child and the child is kind of whining because the child wants chocolates and you're going to buy that child any chocolate you look down and you hiss be quiet. You be quiet I'm not getting any chocolate be quiet. Has anybody ever done that. Now I have. The simplest solution is just never take your children shopping. And so Jesus doesn't just say let there be peace he uses a second person singular and it's imperative which means you be quiet this isn't a general come on for the storm to cease Jesus speaking to a demonic being that does not want him to cross the sea of Galilee. Now I don't know how you feel about demons but if I were to say Put your hands a preview believe in the reality of Guardian Angels anybody who believe in God and angels OK You just voted for the reality of demons as well. And. As missionaries we come across demonic possession an awful lot. Even here in the United States we come across the reality of demon possession not so much demon possession but harassment among many Adventists many Adventists walk with a shadow in their life from something that happened in the past and they're not sure how to deal with it and they think that people will think them crazy if they ask anything about it and so Adventists live many times with a shadow in the past that they have no idea how to get rid off and the good news of the gospel is that Jesus never lost a battle with Satan. And Jesus commanded the twelve from the seventy to do three things to proclaim the good news which we do to heal the sick hence Loma Linda and third to cast out demons which we don't say anything about anymore but those. Of the three commands Jesus gave His disciples and he never rescinded those commands and so Jesus he stands in the boat and he says you be still and there is there is silence and the disciples are amazed and Jesus said to them in verse forty why are you afraid Have you still no faith and they were filled with Orton said to one another and the King James batches has what manner of man is this that even the wind in the waves obey Him You are all you've all heard that expression what manner of man is this in the boat with us who's just calmed the waves Well if you keep your things in Mark for we turn back to the Psalms you see why the disciples ask this question if you turn back to the Psalms and to Psalm one hundred and see where it is now. Some hundred seven so much to some hundred seven some hundred seven talks about people who are caught up in different circumstances or tragedies of life some hundred seven talks about those who go into the deserts and one there in the deserts that nests that there are very thirsty there perishing and they call on the Lord for help and the Lord delivers them some hundred seven talks in verse ten through sixteen about prisoners who are in distress they're in prison possibly unjustly imprisoned and how they cried out to the Lord in their distress and how God save them verse seventeen onwards talks about those who are sick and they're sick unto death and they cry out to the Lord and the Lord heals them. And then in verse twenty three the passage we're going to look at just briefly here it's all about those who going down into the season their boats and they've and counts of the storms on the C.S. verse twenty nine verse twenty six says of some hundred seven they mounted up to the heavens they went down to the depths their courage melted away in their calamity they reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits end verse twenty eight Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and he brought them out from their distress he made the storm be still on the waves of the sea why. Hush now in your bible is the word Lord's written in all capital letters. And what does that signify. It's the Tetragrammaton It's the fall that's a name for God ya a Jehovah's nobody knows how it was actually pronounced. The word Jehovah doesn't appear in the Hebrew. When whenever the Jews came to the fall that's a name for God ya hey vav hey ya way if that's how it was pronounced they would never actually say it because it was too holy they would say I don't know I which means Lord instead I mean the ninth century the mass Retic scribes to who puts in Deval pointings and Hebrew scripts and they didn't know how it was pronounced so all they did was they added to the valves of adult I so the constants of yacc way and when you merge those two words you get over that's where it comes from if your job is witness and a comes to your door point out to them that the word Jova does not appear anywhere in the Hebrew it's so helpful starting point for the conversation but if you turn back to mock chapter four. You understand why why the disciples say what manner of man is this that even the winds in the waves obey Him because the Psalmist says that it is just over God who has the authority to calm the waves and still the storm it is the job of God the creator of the universe who alone can calm the waves and so when the disciples see Jesus stand in the boats and say you be still and the Kunda and the storm disappears. As observant Jews they would know the Psalms they would know that is only just over God has the intrinsically fartsy to have control over nature and so is the disciples get off the boat there is a question on their minds which is who exactly is this man Jesus of Nazareth. Who is he. What manner of man is this Jesus of Nazareth that even the wind and the waves obey Him because the Psalmist is already. Revealed that it is the Creator God alone who has the authority over the wind in the waves so that's the question in the disciples minds is the question on many people's minds around the world today in much of the Muslim world the question is who exactly is Jesus Christ. And that is the essential dividing line between Islam and Christianity who exactly is Jesus Christ. And everything else stems from the answer to that one simple question so let's come to consider the story here they get out of the boat much up to five in verse one read the first five verses and it says that Mark five Verse one they came to the other side of the sea to the country together scenes and when he had stepped out of the boat immediately a man out of the tombs with unclean spirit met him he lives among the tombs and no one could restrain him anymore even with a chain for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains but the chains the wrench the parts and the shackles the broken pieces and no one had the strength to subdue him night and day among the tombs on the mountains he was always howling and bruising him self with stones and psychiatry might say he was engaging in self harm behavior I want you to imagine for a moment's what this man's body looks like. And he's beating himself with rocks he has broken chains on his hands his body is battered and bruised and bloodied and beaten and he's probably got scabs with some POS losing out here and that his body is a complete mess he should be in a R should he not with a body like that. And his body is completely destroyed but not only is his body destroyed his mind is not his own he's a man who though he is alive he's condemned to live among the dead among the tombs the local community will have nothing to do with this man it says they tried to restrain him with chains the only other place that verse word restraint is using the New Testament is James Chapter three where. Where mankind has tamed every wild animal but we've yet to tame the tongue so his man is treated like a wild animal by his local community they say signs live among the tombs with the dead even though he is alive this is a man with no friends with no friendship with no home with no family with no hope for the future and brothers and sisters this is where Satan would take any one of us given half a chance. And young people don't be under any illusions as to where Satan's temptations will ultimately take you they will take you into a sea of brokenness you have no comprehension of today. This is a man. Who is living but he's actually alive he's physically alive pussy's he's almost dead. He's a man without hope without friendship without family and yet it was Jesus intends to cross the sea of Galilee to meet with him. When if if you were to look at this perspective from the story of the disciples This is a story full of ritual uncleanliness No self respecting Jewish societal would ever make this journey to meet this man why is that will first of all they're crossing from the Jewish side of Galilee to the Gentiles side of Galilee they're going from the Holy Land of Israel to polluted pagan soil so when they came back into Jewish countryside they would wipe the dust off their shoes this is a guy who is filled with an unclean spirit which means you know he's he has unclean spirits that he's unclean this is a guy who lives among the tombs and the book of and Mosaic Law If you had contact with the tombs you Asaram only unclean this is a guy whose body is physically unclean he's living in gentile unclean territory and just down the road two thousand pigs which are unclean animal looked after by swine hoods and unclean profession there are multiple Barrys one cleanliness the that would say to those disciples you need never. Ever go to meet this man. And yet Jesus Cross comes he passes he doesn't just cross a lake he passes through multiple barriers been cleanliness in order to meet the man behind those barriers when cleaning us. And that pocket bout possibly is the gospel. And we may not be sitting in that position here today but I know that there are some of us here today and I don't know anybody here really but I know just because we're all human that some of us today have would've and could've and should haves in our lives. The some of us here today have things that we are glad nobody knows about that some of us here today have things in our lives even today that we are glad that nobody will ever hear about will know about we have any idea about there are people in this congregation today who have things in our lives you don't want our spouse to know about is that true somebody say yes hope your wife isn't sitting next to you. But each one of us if we're human carries somewhere in our life a skeleton in the closet that we wish was not last. And each one of us so we're nicely dressed up on Sabbath morning. Each one of us knows that our righteous deeds really are filthy before God. And. The good news of the gospel is that there is no barrier of shame or guilt in our lives today that the Son of Man is not willing to reach through so that we might find eternal life. And so my invitation if you today is not to focus on the would have seen the good as in the should haves was to focus on the Son of man who comes looking for us one of the titles of Jesus is the son of David and in first time in chapter seventeen. David says to Saul that when I was a shepherd boy and a lion would come and take one of the Lambs I would go after that lion and I would fight the lion and I would get a lot back from of that story. Now Auster self if you were a shepherd boy with a hundred sheep and a lion came and took a lamb. What would you do would you hustle ninety nine to safety and say that the one line is called a bad debt provision for the able write some of the balance sheets by next spring will have twenty more lambs anyway why would I risk my life for one damage one. That's what I'd probably do if I were if I were a shepherd with one hundred sheep why go and fight a lion for a lamb that's already in its mouth and imagine what a lamb looks like in a lion's mouth is he come ere by that know. That lamb is bloodied he's probably in shock his body is already ripped to shreds and some pots. That lamb is deaths door that lamb could pass wait any moment and yet David went and fought that lion for that lamb. For David's no lamb was a lost cause and Jesus is the son of David and none of his lambs today that is any of us here this morning none of us is a lost cause either he is coming fighting for you and there is no barrier of shame or guilt in your life today that you may think that I am beyond the reach of God's grace that God can save everybody else but my sins are just too gross The good news of the gospel is that the grace that was given us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world that grace was given knowing in advance what our sins would be. If we think about that passage and second simply one of verse nine God gave us grace before the foundation of the world it means that before this world was created God knew every sinew it ever commits. And you'd already made full provision for your forgiveness and there is nothing you're going to do today that God is going to say well I've forgiven her for everything else but that one got me by surprise I'm sorry. He has already made full provision for forgiveness. So if you hear nothing else today I want you to hear this the son of David is the Good Shepherd and he's coming for you that you might receive eternal life and there is nothing in your life that will come between you and him no matter what the self respecting Jews there is disciples may say about. That verse six says when he saw Jesus from a distance Iran and he bow down before him and he shouts at the top of his voice What have you to do with me Jesus son of the most high God I had your you by God do not torment me for Jesus said to him verse eight come out of the man you unclean spirits and so this demoniac he senses in Jesus someone who can help him and he rushes down from the tombs down to the beach and he falls at the feet of Jesus and he opens his mouth and it's the demons that speak. And as we said before Jesus never lost an encounter with Satan. But likewise Jesus only healed those who asked for healing. Judas was possessed by a demon John chapter six Jesus says into one of the was the day of the loss we will get the word diabolical from that that means Judas while he was the conference Treasurer was under Satanic control and don't don't apply that beyond what I'm saying right here OK I'm serious I'm not I'm not making suggestions I'm saying the conference Treasurer was demon possessed for three years and none of the other disciples realized that Jesus never healed to Judas why because Judas never asked for help. But everybody else who came into contact with Jesus even the father who brought his boy in Mark nine and then the equivalent passage in Luke even the father brought his voice is Lord I believe help that my unbelief just the act of bringing the boy to Jesus was enough to give Jesus the permission he needed to hear. And we can intercede on behalf of our loved ones. And we can intercede with God's knowing that he hears our purpose and he answers our press so want to encourage you today not to give up in your prayers for your loved ones. And in this story have of the demoniac you falls at the feet of Jesus and it's the demons who speak and you do meet people today I find them in my life and ministry who are really possessed by demons and. When it happens you know it it's like the eye goes cold and they speak with a different voice often and there's a sense of evil in the air when you come face to face with with a demon where. Jessica was serving in Laos. As a student missionary. Over there occasionally exorcisms or performed and we had a young student missionary from from the east side of the states went to Thailand last year and she was studying with a young Thai girl and it was coming to the point where she was going to ask the Thai girl if she wants to be baptized and give a life to Jesus Christ and before she could ask the question this young Thai girl looked looked at her with a contorted face and this voice came out and said This girl is mine I will never give her up. And our student mystery was kind of freaked out by this because this is clearly not the girl speaking and she realized this girl was actually a demon possessed. This is very real and it happens now well today and the good news of the gospel as I said before is Jesus has never lost a battle with Satan but here when it said Jesus asked him verse nine What is your name he replied My name is legion for we are many and you know a legion was about five or six thousand heavily armed infantry they were the hearts of Roman military power the Roman Empire was ultimately built on the minds of the Legions and wherever the legions went whole communities were destroyed the communities were killed raped or in slaves and a new Roman city would be built. When Julius Caesar. When he came to Britain in forty four B. C. he invaded for across from goal a modern day France and the Senate who was giving him problems behind his back they wanted a report from him so he simply wrote back a very famous report veni vidi vici I came I saw I conquered that was his report to the Roman Senate but I came I saw I conquered for the Britons living in Britain the time meant that for centuries afterwards Britons were sold into slavery across the Roman am. And whole cities were destroyed and the way of life of the Celts was was pretty much destroyed wherever the legions went there was oppression and when this demon says My name is legion for we are many he's given an indication of the depth of the oppression that this man is experiencing this man has no earthly hope of ever escaping from this demonic oppression. He has no way of fighting these demons and so. We read on verse ten says he begged him not to send them out of the country now they're on the hillside was a great herd of swine feeding and then clean spirit speck Jesus said send us into the swine that's a sense of them so he gave them permission and then clean spirits came out into the swine and the herd numbering about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea and they were drowned in the sea and I have never studied medicine but I hear that when you study medicine you are taught that whatever else you do do no harm is that right. And when Jesus healed this man did he follow that principle. Did Jesus do no harm when He healed this man of his demonic oppression. Well. There are many parts of the world today where people's wealth is held in their animals and it was no different back then and there are parts of the world today where a community will hire one or two or three professional shepherds and a shepherd will walk through the community in the early hours of the morning and all the sheep and the goats will walk out of their individual pens in their own homes and they'll follow this ever growing hood out of the mountains. And there are parts of the world today where if your child is sick you sell a sheep for fifty dollars and then you take your child to the physician or it's time to pay your school fees you sell two sheep for a hundred dollars That's the going rate to many parts of the world and then you can pay your school fees for your children or if your daughter is about to get married you sell you know quite a lot of sheep and then you have. Pay for the wedding that way. So these two thousand pigs represent a lot of money for the local community they are the ancient equivalent of a mutual fund where everybody pulls their animals there into the care refused wine herds and those pigs all go off the cliff down into the Sea of Galilee and you can still see the place today the western side of the Sea of Galilee has a kind of a flat Sure line and the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee has a steeper Scotland's about two hundred feet drop and you can still see where those pigs went off that's that cliff. Did Jesus do no harm. While he brought an economic hurrican to that local community. I first came to America in July two thousand and seven. And I was pastor in Minnesota and then the stock market crashed sometime in mid two thousand and eight then we remember those days. And the dominant emotion on N.P.R. It was fear rule Thea. And you drive to visit somebody in the evening and it was say on N.P.R. Market Watch program say today the stock market dropped five hundred points. Now that didn't mean much to me but I asked my members Well how's life going say well pasta the stock market's dropped from thirteen thousand eight thousand I've lost half my retirement. My monthly check is hot I can't survive this month. There was fear among Adventists position retired Adventists in two thousand and eight when they saw the stock market collapse. And when Jesus came to town he likewise created a stock market collapse for the local people of those communities and why did he do it. What lesson was he trying to teach us well I believe the lesson is very clear and it is this in the eyes of God Each person hates a day's worth more. And all the wealth this world has to offer. We are worth more in the eyes of God than all the wealth of Wall Street's in the gold of Fort Knox and there is nothing in this world as important as valuable to have any father as you sitting in the pew here today. Now we don't hear that very often many of us live lives where all we hear is negative comments where people impugn our motives and question our value and you know say oh you know you put on weight you've lost to my weight too much weight I've learnt my wife's that you like this dress to simply say yes it's the safest thing to say. I have no idea whether it's new or old Don't ask me that question I'm an honest guy you're smiling Does this ring a bell maybe. In the eyes of God you are worth more than all the wealth this world has to offer. And we need to hear that. We need to know that we are valuable in the eyes of the creator of this vast universe and there is nothing as important in this universe as each one of us and our eternal salvation. So no matter what words you've heard in this last week words of criticism words of complaint words of hate at times words of bitterness words of of shame words of argument words of anger today I want you to hear these words you are more important to God than all the world wealth this world has to offer and that is why Jesus comes for you because you are worth more than anything else in this world and so the pigs go off the side of the cliff. And the swine herds in verse fourteen says they run off I'm told in the city in the country then people came to see what it is that happened they came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there clothes and in right minds at the very man who had the Legion and they were afraid those who'd seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood in the world bag is an imperfect which means they didn't just say to Jesus why. Would you please leave. Imperfect isn't it imperfect to me they kept on saying Jesus thank you for healing this man but would you please leave Jesus getting late you bet S. head back across the lake for the next storm arrives Jesus we've heard a lot about you it's nice meeting you once but would you please go back to the Jewish side of Galilee please please please would you leave they were begging Jesus leave repeatedly this wasn't just a casual thing that maybe got lost in translation. No they made it very clear to Jesus thank you but no thank you now get out of town. The demoniac he's sitting there and says he's clothed in his right mind is not a beautiful expression. That those eyes that once cleaned with with with a satanic hatred now glean with love of God that those hands that were beating himself and picking up rocks and smashing his body in despair and rage in futility those hands and I was sitting peacefully in his hand in his lap but now instead of being naked and shameful to all who see him he's now clothed in fresh clothes this man truly is a new creation this is what Jesus would do in any of our lives if we would simply ask him to and given that permission. And he wants to have that see that new creation in each one of us starts from myself all of us that possibility of being a new creation where the old is passed away in the new has come and we praise the Lord for that that is what God wants in our lives this side of heaven not just once we get to heaven he wants us to as you saw in our Sabbath school lesson once I characters to get rid of the works of the flesh and he wants us to only exhibit the fruits of his spirit. So when we come to Jesus Christ and we ask him to allies we giving him permission to changes every single day we're getting up every morning expecting that by it's how we go to bed I will be a different man or a different woman and I'm praising God for that change I'm looking for that change I'm not stopping me saying this is who I am and I'm not going to change we're looking to change will. Looking to grow we're looking to mature. For those people and they they see the demoniac and they see the pics and says they began to beg Jesus to leave and we say how could they possibly do that. While we're not that different to them. Because those people they chose pigs over people did they not. They value those pigs more than they did a life that demoniac. To them their material wealth was more important than the salvation of one's human being. My father was a pastor for two years and you said he said how somebody uses their budget their money is a good indicator of their walk with God. So I give an example hypothetically UN one thousand dollars a month it's probably not true but it's a hypothetical example and if you want a thousand dollars a month and you would show your budget to somebody and it said Rent four hundred food three hundred cellphone one hundred eating out one hundred and gasoline one hundred I gives an indication of their values and then you see somebody else earning a thousand dollars a month and they have tied one hundred food four hundred rent three hundred fifty offerings fifty gasolene one hundred that gives an indication of their values does it not. So how you use your money is an indicator it's a barometer of where we are with God. You cannot say I'm a Christian and then allow your finances to be used purely for the kingdom of self rather than the Kingdom of God. And we may say in two thousand and seven everybody like two thousand and eight. Bashed the bankers of Wall Street that was their fault the crash happened and we like to externalize these things because we don't like people to talk about our own money and our own credit cards on our own bank accounts. But how we use our money truly is an indicator of our walk with God keep your fingers in Mark five and so with me to Luke so. Eckstein. There's a passage there Luke sixteen verse ten that when I was growing up my parents would often quotes at me and they would say Connor and they would say if you are faithful in a small thing then God will see that and he will give you something greater than if you had that when you're growing up if you are faithful in a small thing you will be faithful in much if you are faithful with that dime God can trust you a dollar if your faith or that dollar God can entrust you ten dollars if your faith with ten dollars got on trust you with one hundred dollars and so forth anybody here that well we were taught by our parents based on this passage that if you are faithful organizing the drinks for youth of events and God sees that you are faithful then God will expand the tense of your responsibility so now you're asked to lead a youth a vent and after a while you may be asked to serve as one of the elders in the congregation and so forth and so forth that as you as we are faithful in small things so God enlarges the tent of our responsibility to anybody else hear that from your parents yeah I heard it many times but look what Jesus says in the next verse this is something we don't often talk about sixteen eleven Jesus says if then you are not faithful with dishonest wealth Mammon or I.E. the bucks in your pockets who will in trust to you the true wealth. You think about the implications of what Jesus saying if we are not faithful and honest with God with our dollars we can never expect to grow spiritually God will never give us spiritual growth if we are not faithful with our financial means. So we're halfway through the month and I don't know whether you return a faithful tired or not but I want to encourage you today and challenge you if you'd never started it if you have done it before covenant with God that this month you'll be faithful with your tide and for every month for the rest of your life if you want to grow spiritually you must be honest with God with your finances. You cannot steal from God and ask him to give you a blessing in return. And why is being on. Honest with God with your tithing so important your life of faith is very simple let us say that your budget is a thousand dollars a month and the tires on a thousand dollars is how much one hundred dollars and you are but your income is a thousand dollars and apart from tide your expenditure happens to be a thousand dollars you know humanly speaking that you should not be returning that tired because otherwise you can be sinking into debt every month but you choose to be faithful to God and take him at his word you say God I cannot I have a thousand dollars worth of expenses a thousand dollars' worth of income but I'm going to honor you first on the first check I write this month is my tithes. In that month you now have nine hundred dollars income and one thousand dollars expenses you are waiting for the rest that month to see how God covers the gap. And he always does. When you create that space in your life every month if you're paid a monthly basis or every two weeks when you return your tie you are creating space in your life for God to come through in a very direct way for you and that's why returning your tie is such a faith building exercise. That's my experience with god. My wife and I decided to we got married we would run one car and be faithful our tides that was it dials on the my agreements and God has blessed us incredibly I've just done my taxes and. I had no health bills for twenty sixteen mean nothing. If you want a blessing that is having you not having five thousand dollars in doctors' bills medications is remarkably similar to getting a five thousand dollars pay increase for the. Very similar. So if we want to grow spiritually as a congregation I want to challenge you today to be faithful in your tithing and God will grow you spiritually he will give you true wealth that's the promise of Jesus if you're not faithful with your dollars Why Will God and trust you spiritual wealth and the converse is true if we offer a thought without. Tithing God will grow us spiritually and we will grow in numbers and we will grow in our walk with him let's come back to him back to march up to five and so we continue the story that our time is coming to an end here says Jesus was getting into the boat verse eighteen the man who had been possessed by demons begged him to might be with him but Jesus refused and said to him Go home to your friends and tell him how much the Lord has done for you and what mercy he has shown you and he went away and began to proclaim the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him and everyone was amazed. So this was the first mystery that Jesus ever sent out this is before the twelfth before the seventy this is the first of a missionary he never sat in Advent hope he never went to seminary had no degree to his name he never sat in a Sabbath school class had never sung a hymn of praise he never even read the Torah this guy is a gentile who's who's had a contact with God and experience with God and he's the first missionary that Jesus sends out when he can send him out I think you can send anybody else here don't you agree. So Jesus sends out this this this this can this heal demoniac and he says to the demoniac he says Go and tell people what God has done for you. And who does he send the demoniac to. To the people who just rejected Jesus to his face. And the next time Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee in Chapter eight there are four thousand people waiting to hear him. People who have repeatedly asked Jesus to leave to his face. I. Mentioned earlier today about bringing people for God intercessory prayer you may have a child or a loved one who's wandered away from the faith. They may have turned their back on God They may have said we don't want you in our lives God We don't aim thing to do with you. But the lesson from this story is that Jesus sent a missionary back into those people's lives because in the eyes of God a first second or third refusal is never a final review. While there is life there is hope for you or for your children or for your loved ones who wandered away from the Lord we should never give up hope for those who wanted from God So if you have a child who's wandered away from the faith this is speaking bluntly but it's the truth you have a child is one the way from God never assume that God has given up on them and we should never give up either they may tell us to our faces we want nothing to do with God But God has placed us in their lives as a witness to his power and His grace and His truth and to his love. We are to never give up on those who wandered away from the Lord and so Jesus senses demoniac back to his people who just rejected Jesus and four thousand come to hear Jesus the next time you cross the sea of Galilee an incredibly effective missionary wouldn't you say. And in the in this final bit here you see the answer to the disciples questions in much up to forces what manner of man is this that even the wind in the waves obey him and in March up to five in verse nineteen Jesus says go home to your friends and tell him what the Lord has done for you and what mercy he has shown you and verse twenty six says and he went away and began to proclaim how much Jesus had done for him. These two verses apparently Jesus says Go and tell the people what God has done for you and the man went and told people what Jesus had done for him so the answer to the disciples question what manner of man is this that even when the waves obey him is given at the end of the story Jesus is God among us he is Emanuel he is God incarnate and he has the authority to heal and to cost off the chains of Satan and to turn us into a new creation that is his good is all thirty and that is what he intends to do in each I lives he is that good shepherd who intends to pass through every barrier of shame or guilt or or sin in our lives in order that we might become that you creation. And everybody it says. Was amazed. It's a beautiful story of Jesus. Who is alive and risen today. And is asking you today to exactly what he said to that first missionary So Jesus said to that man he said Go back and tell me what God has done for you Jesus did not say go back and give a systematic exposition of the twenty eight fundamentals. Now I learnt when I was ministering in Minnesota where they're mostly Lutherans that in a Lutheran service when they're preaching in the church they preach them into heaven and when you take the body outs to decide the grave the committal in the person is no longer in heaven but they read Paul's writings that we're waiting for the resurrection of the dead. And you kind of wonder are they in heaven or are they brought up by the grave and where exactly are these people. I also learnt that if you are engaged in a conversation with for instance a Lutheran pastor say well where exactly is this person are they in the grave waiting to be caught up to me Lord in the air or are they floating around in heaven right now the conversation doesn't go very far. Because people tend to argue about systematic theology and Jesus nowhere commanded us to teach systematic theology what he did come on DOS was to give our testimony what God has done in your life why is your testimony so powerful because nobody can disagree with it. If God has given you healing in your marriage that is your testimony if God has given you a sense of peace in your life then that is your testimony if you heard the teachings of Jesus and you determined to forgive those that hurt you when you were growing up and in so doing you found peace in your heart for the first time ever that is your testimony of God at work in your life. And a testimony can has three simple three parts my life before I met God how I met God my life after I met God three simple parts. And Jesus said that to money I go home to your friends and tell me what God has done for you and what mercy he has shown you. I want to challenge you as a congregation here today to go home from this place of worship and if you've never done it before write out your personal testimony. Think back of your lives what life was like before you were conscious of God in your life and how God entered into your life those significant moments and what God has done in your life ever since you may have to write it down. I travel a lot I keep this is my testimony kind of a few basic points just to down a number lope right shared out a lot of times particular on planes I was flying just recently and I've never flown first class before and I was praying God put me somebody you need to hear about you today and I was upgraded to first class I was so happy. And I sat down in first class and the guy next to me just couldn't stop talking I mean it just I just latched on to me I thought oh good grief just just let me sleep I'm tired it's four in the morning. And the conversation meandered meandered meandered and it turned out that. Some years before his wife visited an astrologer drawn up the horoscope and told that she would never have children they never had children. And he was heartbroken about this and he wanted to know is there a God who could deliver him from the horoscope and sat. And so I was able to share my testimony we had a prayer at thirty five thousand feet with his business men in it in first class it was an impromptu Bible study but Jesus said Go and tell your friends and family what God has done for you and emphasize the mercy he has shown you his mercy. So please today if you never prepared your personal testimony go home write it out and then pray over it and ask God today that in this coming week give me one person who lost me question about God and He will give you that one person. It will come about it's His perfect will that people hear the gospel. And you are going to go through this next. Tweek in expectancy waiting for that moment to arrive you're saying when is that moment going to come when somebody's going to ask me a question about you it could be at the gas station could be on a plane it could be on the coach could be could be anywhere. And when that moment comes you will know it and then you have to decide whether to stay the conversations the N.F.L. and how great the Patriots are and the Patriots fans here I hope so all. You take the conversation down a spiritual path and you start sharing what God has done for you. You will spend this entire week in expectancy of God on seeing that preface and he will do it. Because you've already prepared your testimony you know the basics of what you're going to say. And that man he went home and four thousand people were ready to meet Jesus when he came back what a beautiful thing if when Jesus comes back here in Loma Linda there are four thousand people for each one of us saying this is our God whom we have waited for and they will be standing there and expecting the coming of Jesus because we shared what God has done for us because we were willing to shed God's mercy in our lives. Is it time to stop yes. So. Yes Yeah all right so we'll draw to a close that. I want to. I want to thank you for being the witness that cannot be had here in Loma Linda. I. Want to thank you for coming together like this every Sabbath day. I. Want to encourage you. To spend this week in anticipation of your witness for Jesus Christ prepare for it pray for it expect it it will happen and when that moment comes claim the promise of Jesus that words will be given you from on high and the Holy Spirit will speak through you and we will see a harvest here alone and may God bless us as we serve Him as we live for Him and with him as we shine for him. This media was brought to you by audio first 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 sermon leader Visit W W W audio verse or.


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