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The Sermon Rarely Preached

Jonathan Zita

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Jonathan Zita

Associate Director, Review & Herald

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  • March 10, 2017
    7:00 PM
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Happy Sabbath. Are we clad that the week is almost over. Yes. I woke up very early this morning to be here so. I didn't get much sleep so I hope everything will make sense and you'll follow with me but I'm not really going to preach I'm just going to talk from my heart tonight and something that has been on my heart a lot now last few weeks and I just wanted to share that with you today. When I was sixteen years old I had just gotten my driver's license in québec I grew up and come back come back City and a lot of snow a lot of ice and one day I was visiting my friend who was also sixteen years old and he was sick so his parents told me Look why don't you take our car which is a very old manual stick shift a little Toyota a brown Toyota while you take our car and bring. Our son to the clinic. And just a. To bring him to the doctor so I said Sure no problem of course sixteen years old we want to drive any and any opportunity that we have so I got in the car he got in the car and we drove to the doctor it was actually New Year's Day And so we pulled up to the clinic. And it's closed you know and we're sick I can't believe what we thinking you know that it's New Year's and so we pulled up to the clinic and there was no car so what I did is is the clinic had a full glass. Had a glass door and had a glass windows and so I I kind of drove up to it to see the time and we saw a sign that says close and so forth and it was a little bit on a hill. So you know where the stories go. Right so I'm I bring the car close and this is an old car the transmission doesn't work very well and now I need to put it in reverse now that we realize a clinic is closed and it just wouldn't catch in reverse and so I put in reverse and I I you know for those of you who want to drive standard you have to you have to be careful how you press a little bit of gas and you have to press the clutch but it wouldn't engage for some reason it wouldn't get in and so every few seconds I was going closer and closer and closer and I and I'm praying and I'm saying Lord please help me and and I'm starting to panic and then. The whole. Class just shatters in a million pieces. And I look at my friend and my friend looks at me. And I'll tell you the rest a little later. Your Bibles turn with me to Romans Chapter thirteen we're going to look at a couple verses Romans Chapter thirteen something that's been on my heart lead three. Romans thirteen and we're looking at versed seven. And we're looking at verse seventy three here the Bible says. Render therefore to all their dues tribute to whom tribute is due custom to whom custom fear to whom fear honor to whom honor all no man anything but to love one another for he that loveth another have fulfilled the law and so in essence what the Bible verse is saying paid all that you all meaning if it's money pay it if it's respect pay if it's an apology pay it all no one nothing except what. And if you turn with midis equals thirty three. So that's in the New Testament if we can go into the Old Testament now easy kill we're looking at verse chapter thirty three. And looking at verse fourteen thirty three thirst fourteen. The Bible says again when I see into the wicked thou shalt surely die but then God contract he says if he turn from his sin and do that which is lawful and right if the we could restore the pledge give again that he had robbed walk in the statutes of life without committing iniquity he shall surely what. He shall surely what Live he shall not die and so what he says here is if the wicked turn from this and do what is right we store what was promised return what was Rob walking righteousness he shall live. Tonight I want to talk about restitution. You know my father was a pastor I grew up in the church I can't say I've ever really heard a sermon or presentation on restitution and so I started to study it out some time ago so one of the thing that kind of. Started me out is and some of you may not agree with everything I'm going to share tonight I'm going to share from the Bible but I would encourage you to go and study for yourself for the last twelve years with the straight Magill is a ministry I run purchases through my credit card and so I get points right and so throughout the years one of the best ways to get to redeem those points was to get what is called gas cards we have a company can a called here it's Exxon I think it's called and so Hundred dollar gas cards and and so throughout the last ten twelve years. I've literally gotten thousands of dollars and it's only lately I realize wait a second. This is increased to my income Yeah it's a gas car it's imperative but. I mean isn't it increased shouldn't I return to God What is is on that you know the font of it I don't even want to think about because I'm think it will that's that's a lot of money for twelve years and. But I sat down I started studying. And you know one thing I realize friends you can never out of God You can never get a god and. And so yeah I had I felt convicted and I talked to my wife about it and we wrote a big check and return it to God you know because that's what I felt and you know in the end when we sat down and did all our finances we were not in the red is not amazing how I didn't say we can't afford to give that money to God. And once again I'm just saying from personal experience this is my experience but restitution I do want to see a disclaimer before we look at some biblical principles about it restitution is not something you do so God can love you. Restitution is something that you do because he loves you right. It's maybe more a result of God's Holy Spirit working on your heart I remember when I was my little boy he was maybe. Three. Maybe three He's now nine. And ever since he was born almost every day I always tell my boy my girl I love you you know I just tell him I kiss them I love my kids and I remember when he was three I asked him just do you know that that he loves you and I many times I ask and I says Yes that and something. They're annoyed and they don't want to hear but I say I still ask and then I remember one day I said when you're bad when you're good you know that that he loves you says yes Daddy says when you're bad you know a dad loves you right and he looked at me. And he said Well. And my heart was I mean you could have taken a two by four and it wouldn't have hurt me more I said no. I love you all the time I love you when you're good but you're bad when you're very very bad that he loves you all the time and you know ever since then you know I'm and that's the way God is God loves us doesn't matter how good or bad God loves us you know but because he loves us and because his Holy Spirit works in us His Holy Spirit prompts us to live for him it's almost as if restitution is is from a heart that is filled with gratitude so it's the result of God's Holy Spirit working on your heart and I believe that many experience pitfall in this point why because when we accept God's Holy Spirit in our hearts the Holy Spirit leads us to live a life that is in harmony with God and if at any point along the way we say no I don't want to do that then we can never fully experience the peace that God wants for us and I don't believe that you need to find everybody so long that you stepped on and off for grass seeds you understand there is a balance but the Holy Spirit will guide the Holy Spirit convict the Holy Spirit will help us to see others that we have harmed or hurt and and to lead to bring restitution so to biblical principles that help us define. Restitution Matthew seven you can turn there with me Matthew seven looking at verse twelve it's a verse we all know but I think it's good to read it. In this context Matthew seven verse twelve the Bible says therefore Mashi seventy. Verse twelve. Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you do even to them for this is the law and the prophets so Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You the other day my wife came home from Wal-Mart and my wife you know she's the one that's better with money than me I tend to give more than I should and she and it's good we need that balance you know at first I was it was a little frustrating but then I realized God put us together so I'm the more giving and she's the more and so we work together right but but so she comes back from Walmart and realize that I think she had returned something or whatever and she realized she has ten dollars extra right. So she's she's praising the Lord for it right. Now thinking. No we should be praising the Lord for this right. I think we should go back and talk to them not me ten bucks whatever but this is when it clicked to her and to me too I said Sweetie. If they had. Charge you ten dollars too much would you have recalled back I course I would. Done right so if they charge you ten dollars too much your goal but when they give you ten dollars you don't go what's the logic there right I mean she's the one that will return it dollar around much a week to try to return things at the Dollar Store right so I'm saying Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You best of first basic Biblical principle when it comes to restitution the second one it found is common Leviticus Chapter six live it is because Chapter six verse four. Chapter six. Looking at first four and it's talking about a man who has sinned it says. In certain things that he has done Leviticus Chapter six or so for then it shall be. Because he have seen and is guilty that he shall we store that which he took violently away or the thing which he has the seat fully gotten or that which was delivered him to keep or the last thing which he found or all that about which he has sworn falsely he shall even restore it in the principle and shalt add the fifth part more there are two and given to him to whom in a pertain and in the day of his trespass offering for six and he shall bring his trespass offering them to the Lord around without blemish out of the flock with Die as to mation for trespass offering them to the priest and the crease shall make an atonement for him before the Lord and it shall be forgiven him for anything of all that he had done and trespassing there and so here we see that if you did something wrong there is forgiveness but before forgiveness is interesting it says look you need to restore or make things right give back what was stolen apologize for your part in whatever problem it's been make plain the truth that was lied about and notice it says even add twenty percent there on to offered then your offering and then you receive the forgiveness and you know it's true this law may have been for the Israelites in their time but I believe that the principle still applies in a certain way for us today what is that principle the principle says this wherever it is humanly possible and as far as we are able to we are called by God to make things right so these two principle the first principle to help define restitution is doing to others as you would have them do unto you and the second principle is wherever it is humanly possible and as far as we are able to we are called by God to make things right now it means if I steal one hundred dollars from you and then I say I'm still sorry but then I say you know what one hundred bucks I'm sorry but I. I can't really afford to ever give you the money back how would you feel about my confession you know would you really put any value to it. In fact the in the bible times I won't turn there but in Numbers Chapter five it says that if you couldn't repay whatever was stolen for example because that's how I stole from you and I can't pay you back because you're dead or you have no family that I can pay then I was supposed to bring the money to the temple I was supposed to bring restitution in their context to the church right at that time. This principle is also seen in the New Testament in Luke Chapter nineteen. I won't turn they're there because of time sake but we know the story of Zacchaeus and dine in Luke chapter one thousand verse eight he says I will give half of my goods to the poor and then if I have stolen anybody I will give him how many times twice three times how many four times I will give back and you know it when you really stop and think about it. I've also I've often thought about this. It seems that when there is work to do nobody speaks English right. But when there is money to be given out it's amazing how everybody speaks English. What am I saying I. Was thinking what was that he was thinking if he says if I have robbed I mean the guy was a tax collector for years you can guarantee that there was tons of people maybe that he didn't even Rob that showed up as his door to be able to get money and so when he made that statement when he was prompted Who do you think prompted him to make that statement it was a Satan it was the Holy Spirit working upon his heart that prompted him and he could a fault wait a second even though I feel this is the right thing to do to restore. If I have to stop and to reste door for. Times to every single person I'm going to I'm going to be a poor man. But he didn't count the cost or maybe he did count the cost in other words what he says that's not so important what's important is to follow that principle out of a heart that is filled with gratitude towards Jesus. Some of you may say John I think you put way too much emphasis on this you just need to ask God for forgiveness and and that's it God forgives you he loves you and he forgives you full and free none of this restitution business. The more and more I think about it the more I realized people don't have a problem with restitution people have problem with the consequence. Of restitution and the result of restitution meaning that the shame the loss of friends the loss of trust the loss of money so I I don't know if I could we store and nobody would know and nobody would it would be OK and if I didn't have to lose anything in the whole process but most people the issue they have is is is I have to hump it's humiliating I have to humble myself before my children before my spouse before whoever. Consequences. Steve cheated on an important exam. He then felt convicted about it so he went to speak to the professor and he confessed. So the teacher forgave him. Did explanation accepted but then his grade went from a baby plus to a D. minus and because he failed that example he failed the course. So steam was furious and say I should get a good grade why because I told the truth and I thought you forgave me. I did forgive you the teacher said but I have a basic principle and my principle is that no grades should be record. That is not our confession and forgiveness do not remove consequences and in the Bible the results of restitution are consequences that one person has to live with shame loss of respect loss of friendship loss of money God forgives any sin of the darkest character he done gives us peace but there are still consequences if you molest a child. The child may forgive you and God will forgive you if you are truly repentance but that doesn't mean that you don't go to jail. Doesn't mean that you don't have a criminal record against your name doesn't mean that you cannot work with the vulnerable like the elderly and the children doesn't mean that you will ever have difficulty getting a job if you get any at all if you allow two years if you lie to your spouse or to your child and then you ask for forgiveness which is restitution. They may forgive you and God will forgive you but you know it sometimes it takes years before that loved one can trust you again and until then there was always a question mark at the end of everything you say why. Because they wonder if because still trust you these are consequences. Galatians chick seven says You reap what you sow there's a lot of hereditary cause and effect natural consequences and so some of you may ask you know what is it really worth it is it worth it to bring about this restitution business one lady she heard this message and she came to the pastor and says I don't know what I'm going to do my my my husband he's not a Christian and I have a young baby but I worked for years in a. In a job. Like Walmart you know but in a store and I stole in money every now and then from there so throughout the years I've stolen hundreds of dollars I mean I'm not working now my husband. I'm barely We can barely pay the bills are you telling me that I need to go to that store owner and I need to tell him and my husbands not even Christian what he's what he's going to freak about me and this is a crime they could throw me in jail and and who's going to take care of the baby is it really worth it because God asked us to do that. I want to bring you back to the original story I started with. So the glass is all shattered I look at my friend my friend looks at me and we say all let's get out of here and it's funny how I couldn't find the reverse but I found the reverse so fast and I was out of there before you could say Jack Robinson right. Well I left the place. And the following year was a life changing year for me. I became I went that summer to be a student Vangelis to had amazing testimonies I accepted God's call for baptism that year. I accepted God's call to forgive my mom because of the divorce and everything that had happened I had a lot of bitterness against her and God worked a miracle in my life. I also accepted God's call to train for the ministry what made the difference that year is that I started to read my Bible consistently and that these are ages I started to see the goodness of God and how much he gave. For me that started to do something in my life and up you know when when I finally. You know the Holy Spirit It's amazing how my father being a pastor and you sit and you listen to so many sermons and it seems that it doesn't really do much for you but there's still seeds that are planted and the Comes a time of the Holy Spirit talks and talks and talks and there comes a point where it just so. Loud and I remember. One day I was just hit with the goodness of God. I. Remember reading this quote This is in pictures and prophets page sixty three. When Adam and Eve sinned and you know in Revelation we are told that the lamb was slain from the foundation of the the world so even before man sinned God had a plan they knew it was going to happen right and. I always thought that when man's sin. Is kind of like OK it's like God was not surprised so it's like OK Manson OK Remember the plan we had Yeah OK so let's put it on to feck everything's OK it's a go OK let's do it OK let's do it that's it bad but that's not what actually happened picture from Prophet It says that when man sin Jesus actually had to go in to a special meeting with his father while all the host of the angels are waiting outside and before the Father we are told he Jesus pleaded in the sinners behalf while the host of heaven awaited the result with an intensity of interest that words cannot express long continued was that mysterious communing the Council of peace for the fallen sons of men and you're thinking wow this is God God God knew God knew this was going to happen it's not like he was caught off guard why was the meeting so long and they had already decided before what took so long right so as the plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth for Christ is a lance lame from the foundation of the world yet. It was a struggle even with the king of the universe to yield up His Son to die for the guilty. Thinking you're thinking this is supposed to be. This is a done deal and yet Jesus has to convince the father and the father wants it but. But if you love your loved ones just try to multiply that by a zillion times the love between the Father and the son. And it's a struggle even for God the Father to let go. You know sometimes we see God as a being that has no emotions but we're created in the image of God the emotions that we feel was given. I guess. It's what makes us also God like in a certain way right I can just imagine the time when it was for Jesus to come down and become incarnate there had to be a time where he had to say goodbye to his father and I don't know how it went. But I can just imagine them having last words and you know you can always call him you know always be there you know just just I'm just a prayer way you know and I know father. But there had to be a point where after the father had a last word he had to let go of his son they had to come back. For the Son to let go of the Father and to come down to this Sindar twirled. And to die for us they had to come a point. And you know I have a son and I guess before I had children I would read these things and it would have an impact. But you know I love my kids. And if I knew. That after I hug my little boy or my little girl they're going to walk out that door and they're going to get shot. I would never let go of my child. But God like. And when I started to realize that much God love me. I was thinking wow. A god somebody that loves you that much. Friends that's what changed my life I surrendered my life to God I said you know what even I had to clean toilet bowl for this god with a toothbrush for the rest of my life. To find acceptance to find security to find love in such a God It seems that nothing else matters. And you know. God brought it to my remembrance about this event that I had done. And I'm thinking all right I have no money. I don't want to go to jail because this is you know I should've stayed on the scene this could be classified as a criminal they can take me to court or whatever. But friends let me tell you one thing. To be right with God. To be in the center of God's will. There is a peace. That nothing else can you and even if it means that you have no money even if it means that you go to jail even if it means that your father or your mother forsake you to be one with God. Is the ultimate goal I believe of our lives. And so I wrote a long explanation letter and I drove all the way to come back City I wasn't living there anymore. And I went and I gave that letter fully expecting that whatever I was ready you know I told them I don't have money but I'm willing to make payments I understand if they want to you know bring me to court whatever I deserve it I ran away. But praise God they decide not to. And and they forgave you know and that was like a burden off my back. But you know when the real burden left my back it was not when they forgave is when I decided to do my god had laid upon my heart that's when the birth. So look. I don't know how this message really is a placebo to you personally that's the Spirits job to speak to your heart but maybe there are people that you have hurt maybe there are things that you have taken we're all sinners you know. Maybe things that have happened in the past and you're thinking you know I don't even want to go with their. Friends. As you're thinking this thought. I want you also to think of the father hugging the son. And letting Christ girl. I want you to put the two together there's nothing that the father withheld so that you could have a chance a turn a life. Why would we withhold anything from. So I want you to think. And the appeal is very simple. I'm just going to have a quiet time of prayer where I'm going to give all of us an opportunity to talk to God and if there's something that's in your heart that you know that you need to make things right with somebody maybe it's whatever it is I don't know what it is. I want you to talk to God about it. Asking for help to make a promise tonight that you will by His grace work towards making things right God wants to do something great in your life God is looking for people that have nothing between them and their Savior and yes you can look at the pastors You can look at others and you can say well they haven't but I'm not. Asking you to look at anyone else today I'm just asking you to talk with God and to say Lord is there something. That you're calling me to restore is there restitution that needs to be made if it is to be restored to God Let it be done if it's to somebody else let it be done if it's for asking for forgiveness let it be done but talk with God And so all heads bowed eyes closed and I just invite you in the next few minutes just a minute talk with God. And if you can ask him to give you the strength to make that promise and if you have nothing that you need to restore to anybody Crees God pray for the brothers that need to make the decision right now. Loving Father we want to thank you for being so patient with us so many times we look at others or. How they've heard. Or how maybe babies are certain things and we try to justify our actions. But Lord when we look at you. And we look at the love that you've poured upon us every day. Or we stand without excuse in your presence. And Father there are some here in this room to have made decisions to restore. As others may be that their consciences have been pricked you want to lead them higher and they haven't maybe quite made that decision whatever it was to restore to you or to others. Credit your spirit may continue to speak to them. Don't give them peace or light. Until they can surrender. Unconditionally to you and experience father that peace that only you can give as we remain in this center of your. Father so many times we focus on ourselves to help us. Lord we're so weak help us the strength to be able to make the right decisions to allow your spirit to have his work in us. Give us the strength to humble ourselves to ask for forgiveness to restore what was taken and even if we may lose respect lose money lose reputation. Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about. It you would like to listen to more sermon. Visit W W W.

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