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A Personal God

Randy Skeete

Presenter

Randy Skeete

Evangelist and revivalist from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Conference

Recorded

  • September 3, 2016
    12:00 PM

Series

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00:00 Father in Heaven, I bow in Your presence, dear God, to thank You for this stupendous honor of speaking for You. It is an honor that angels would love to exercise but it is denied them and given to sinners such as I. And so, Father, as I stand in the consciousness of that honor, I ask You first of all, dear God, cleanse me from sin, wash me thoroughly, Father, remove every spot, every stain, every defilement, that I may stand in this pulpit, dear God, as an instrument that You can use. I pray that Your Spirit will possess my mind and the self-same Spirit will enlighten those who are listening to this message. Please, dear God, because You love us and for the sake of Christ come very close, surround this place with angels that excel in strength that we may worship in safety. I pray, dear God, not only for us but wherever Your people are worshipping You now, bless them, draw close to them, dear God, and somehow unite our hearts as one. Father, if it pleases You answer this prayer. I offer it in Jesus' name. Let God's people say amen and amen.

 

01:32 Our subject: a personal god. Reading from the King James Version, Genesis 1:1; have you found that? (laughter) —it’s amazing how Adventist have lost the ability to find the books of the Bible because everything is on a phone, screen, i-pad or tablet and so the need to use the mind to memorize the order of the books no longer exists. Who can recite the books from Genesis to Revelation? Come my handsome young brother, who is not wearing a hat. [Aden, is 13 and turning 14 on October 2. He proceeds to recite the books of the Bible.] God bless you! Aden, you must be a vegetarian (laughter). The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first Day.” How was light created? What did God say? (Let there be light.) Genesis 1:6 “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second Day.” How was the firmament made? What did God say? (Let there be a firmament.)—we can trace this formula all the way down. The third Day: “let the earth bring forth grass,” Genesis 1:11. “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven,” Genesis 1:14. “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life,” Genesis 1:20. “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind,” Genesis 1:24. It is let that, let that, let that. But in Genesis 1:26 the Bible says “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image.” There is something very personal about Genesis 1:26. “Let Us”—is not explicitly stated on the other Days of creation. Something else that was not stated in the creation of light, the firmament, vegetation, sun, moon and stars, fish, birds, or the land animals, was the statement “in our image.” Our subject is a personal god. “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” now if this is the case and God calls upon us to reason, we can reason back from humanity and make some serious conclusions about God. I said that clumsily let me say it differently, the sanctuary on earth was built based on the heavenly pattern, the heavenly sanctuary. As a result of that, we can examine the earthly sanctuary and draw some reasonable conclusions about the heavenly sanctuary. So we can assume that the heavenly sanctuary has the most holy place. We can assume that the heavenly sanctuary has the original Decalogue. We can reason from the image to the original. Let's apply the same level of thinking or line of thinking to Genesis 1:26 “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image”—we can look at mankind and draw some conclusions about God. It will not be perfect and it will not be exhaustive but it will have some degree of reliability. What can we learn about mankind? Mankind is a personal creature. We are personal beings. We have personal relationships: we're happy, sad, glad, afraid, anxious. This personal side of a human being is part of the image of God; therefore we can conclude that God is a personal God. God cannot create in His image and create an impersonal being that is in His image. Two horses can't produce a cow. A mango tree does not produce a durian. And so when God made after “His kind” if I may use that expression, while God cannot be created so He did not create us as gods, but created us god-like and godly. Ellen White says of Lucifer in The Faith I Live By page 66, para. 2 “God made him good and beautiful, as near as possible like Himself.” [FLB 66.60:2, March 1] This was a created being, the Bible says so; God made him a little lower than the angels so then we can assume, that to a fairly large degree, we were made like God. In Patriarchs and Prophets page 45, para. 2 Ellen White writes “Man was to bear God's image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is ‘the express image’ (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father; but man was formed in the likeness of God.” [PP 45.1:2] So when Adam came from the hand of God, Adam looked like God. Because of sin that resemblance has been marred, disturbed and deformed. Adam looked like God in all precision, not necessarily. Man was to bear God's image both in outward resemblance and in character. If God is a personal God and the heavens declare the glory of God and the whole earth is full of His glory, we should see evidence of that personal side of God in creation. Let's go to Genesis 2:7 the Bible says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Let's examine the chronology Genesis 2. Verse 7 “the Lord God formed man.” Verse 8 “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” And so we have Adam, a home is provided especially for him. Verse 9 “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” We have the creation of man, verse 7. The garden home of Adam, verse 8. The fruit trees a source of food, verse 9. We skipped 10-14 about the four rivers that branch from the main source of water. We go to verse 15 “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Verse 7 Adam is made, verse 8 a garden is made for him, verse 9 a source of food, verse 15 work. Verse 16 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” He gives him a restriction and He gives him the consequences for violating the restriction; by the way, if sinless people needed restrictions how much more do sinful people need them? And so we review the list. Verse 7 (Adam created), verse 8 (home made), verse 9 (food), verse 15 (work), verse 16 and 17 (restriction). Genesis 2:18 “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him”—that's companionship. Genesis 2:19 “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the earth, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” In verse 19 God gave dominion, supervision, managerial responsibility, oversight, not ownership. If God had given Adam ownership there would have been no need for Adam to report to God but because he was a manager, a supervisor, he had dominion, a responsibility to report to his Creator; that way God ensured there would be on going fellowship. All these things were put in place but who's missing? (Eve) We're talking about a personal god. God could have made Adam and Eve at the same time. Why did He make them at separate times? And he dealt with Adam. The Bible does not record everything God told Adam, it tells us what we need to know. But God interacted with Adam on a personal level as an individual without anyone else around. God made first Adam by himself; interacted with him on a one-to-one [1-1] level. When that was done Genesis 2:21 “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept”—a deep sleep. How does the Bible refer to death? (sleep) So in some sense Adam was dead. Notice I said “in some sense” to protect me from theologians who may seek my life at the end of the service. “In some sense” he was dead; he was removed from the scene. Is that acceptable? not just asleep. What does the Bible say? (a deep sleep) he was conscious of (nothing) and that's death. In that condition, having removed Adam from the scene, God made Eve. He interacted with her on a personal 1-1 level. When he completed His interaction with His daughter then He brought them together. For God the 1-1 interaction, the personal relationship takes precedence over the group relationship. And so if you're waiting for your family to get you to heaven you're wasting time. You need a relationship with God for yourself. Too many people join the church but never join Christ. God is a god of 1-1 relationships. We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ that every man may give an account of the deeds done in the body according to that which he has done. Every man, individual, one by one—the word man being generic—every person—God is a personal God. He made personal human beings to have personal relationships. In Patriarchs and Prophets page 46, para. 2 the very first line Ellen White writes “God Himself gave Adam a companion.” [PP 46.1:2] Patriarchs and Prophets page 46, para. 1 “After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion” [PP 46.1:1]—sounds similar to Patriarchs and Prophets page 46, para. 2 “God Himself gave Adam a companion.” Page 46, para. 1 Adam saw that to each animal had been given a companion. Who gave Adam his companion? (God) Who gave each animal its companion? (God) Let’s read in our Bibles Genesis 7:1 “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation. 2Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 3Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female”—now let’s read microscopically, keeping in mind what we read in Patriarchs and Prophets page 46, para. 1 “Adam saw that to each animal had been given a companion.” God tells Noah in Genesis 7:2 “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his FEMALE.” And his female not: the male and his FEMALES. (Amen!) The male and his FEMALE. When God made the animals, God's arrangement was one lion: one lioness. (Amen!) One Tiger: one tigress. (Amen!) One buck: one doe. (Amen!) One bull: one cow. (Amen!) One stallion: one mare. (Amen!) One whatever: one of the other. (laughter) I don't mean to sound silly but even for the animals it was monogamy. (Amen!) The animals don't marry, you understand, but it was monogamy. 1-1 Now Ellen White, “After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion”—by whom? (God)—“but among them ‘there was not found an help meet for him.’” [PP 46.1:1] God is a 1-1 God. We see that in the way He constructed the human family and we see that in the animal kingdom; but why would God apply that also to the animal kingdom? Signs of the Times November 25, 1880 para. 21 “Animals have a kind of dignity and self-respect, akin [similar] to that possessed by human beings.” [ST Nov. 25, 1880 para. 21] If that didn't give you a Biblical headache let me give you this quotation: Ministry of Healing page 315, para. 3 “The intelligence displayed by many dumb animals approaches so closely to human intelligence that it is a mystery. The animals see and hear and love and fear and suffer. They use their organs far more faithfully than many human beings use theirs. They manifest sympathy and tenderness toward their companions in suffering”—so when one elephant is suffering other elephants sympathize, researchers have discovered—“Many animals show an affection for those who have charge of them, far superior to the affection shown by some of the human race. They form attachments for man which are not broken without great suffering to them.” [MH 316.24:1] That's one good reason to be a vegetarian. She is saying animals mysteriously have a consciousness of who they are, they feel, they hear, they love, they fear, they suffer, they form attachments that if broken causes suffering. Now, if animals are made that way, you can understand why God says, one for you; one for you; one man: one woman; Mr. Animal: one Mrs. Animal. God is a God of personal, individual relationships. Sometimes I stress this so heavily, I wonder if people think I am speaking against the family: no, I am not. When Christ was on the cross—Mark 14:50 tells us—“And they all forsook Him, and fled” Who were they? (the disciples) they left Him; so they're gone. Those are His people that abandoned Him. The Bible says in Mark 15:34 “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” Who left Him? The Father, for a while, turned His back. If the father left can His Spirit stay? (no) If the father left can His angels stay? (no) Christ was in what condition? (alone) Why? (to save us) And so in Hebrews 1:3 “Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”—when He had by Himself—it was Christ and the lost world. This world is one of billions so you can view this world as one lost intergalactic child. Every planet has a name, Psalm 147:4 “He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.” This means God has an individual relationship with each and every star. The Milky Way has 400 billion stars, I'm told, and there are over 100 billion galaxies. God has given a name to every star and He calls them by their names. We love to be called by our names because it's personal, 1-1. And so Jesus says, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the 99 in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” [Luke 15:4] Reminds me of the words of Malcolm X “by any means necessary” to find one. “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over 99 just persons, which need no repentance.” [Luke 15:7] My brothers and sisters, what God desires from the very foundation of His heart is a personal relationship with you. That at the very bottom, has nothing to do with anybody else. At the highest stage, it does because we are all interwoven in the great web of humanity. Yes, love your brother. You can't love God without loving one another; yes, but at the very foundational level it is you and God. God is in Heaven—we don't know how far that is—but God has promised to dwell with us: that's personal. The Bible says in John 14:21 “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. 23…we will come unto him, and make our abode with Him.” God desires to dwell in you. And so He says to the Israelites in Exodus 25:8 “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” But on occasions God refers to Israel as one person; Exodus 4:22 “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 23And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first born.” And so God regards Israel as one person, my firstborn son. Let him go that he and I can have a relationship in the wilderness. My brother and my sister, God is longing for a personal relationship with you that is not first and foremost attached to the church, your family, your friends, the members of your fraternity or sorority, just you and God. Now, if many of us understood that, there would be fewer people depending on others to tell them what to do: people leaving the church because their friends left. They do this because their friends do it. When you understand that your relationship with God is first, foremost, foundationally 1-1, it matters not what other people do if what they do is contrary to what your god says. And so I come to church dressed properly because that's what God wants, even though everyone else in church dresses as though he or she is going to the market. I study the quarterly because that's what my god wants even if no one else studies it. Recall the words of that great leader Joshua, he said, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” [Joshua 24:15] “As for me and my house,” Joshua could have said “as for my house” would that have included him? (yes) But he separates himself as an individual, “as for me and my house” meaning if my wife doesn't follow God (I will follow YHWH) If my children don't follow God (I will follow YHWH) If the pastor doesn't follow God (I will follow YHWH) Why?—because God and I have a personal relationship. That is what qualifies you for God's kingdom: a relationship with Christ that is so close that you can't tell where Christ begins and you begin. (Amen!) And so Jesus says, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. [John 14:9] That's between Christ and the Father. But the relationship between Christ and the Father must be reproduced in the relationship between the believer and Christ so that when we are what we should be someone should say which one of them is Jesus? Which one of them? There is a story of which the authenticity I cannot verify but it makes a point. This lady came into town to do some colporteur work. As she knocked on the door an old man came out. She started to tell him about Jesus and he said, I know Jesus. The lady said what do you mean?—he lives down the street. She said, Sir, you are mistaken. Jesus is in Heaven. The man said, No, no, if this is the person you just described, he lives down the street. And he was very serious. She said, Well, show me. So he took her to the house and out came a grey bearded man and he said, that's Jesus. Because that guy demonstrated everything she said about Jesus. Now Jesus said, I and My Father are one. In Christ’s humanity, in His humanity, we should be so much like Him that in my humanity and in His humanity you can't tell the difference; 1-1 because we serve a personal God. I was in Kenya. I did a crusade and this lady decided to be baptized. Her husband came to the baptism to stop it but God bless her; she decided to go on with the baptism because her husband is not her god. For too many wives their god is their husband. For too many husbands their god is their wife. For too many parents their god is their children. The children come ahead of God. The children decide if we go to church; the children decide if we sing. No, no, no. You and I must have one god. And He and we must be like this. I call upon you in the name of this Jesus develop a personal relationship with God. Yes, He has a church. Yes, He called the disciples. Yes, He said, Other sheep I have which are not of this fold. Them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice. Yes, He said that but He begins with one person. Messages to Young People page 203, para. 1 “The work of Christ was largely composed of personal interviews. He had a faithful regard for the one-soul audience; and that one soul has carried to thousands the intelligence received.” [MYP 203.61:1] Today, how many of you will say, Lord, help me by Your Spirit and by the Spirit-filled Word to develop a personal private relationship with You. Do you mean that? Hands down. God gave Pharaoh a dream. How many times? (twice) Joseph explained: God gave it twice that Pharaoh may know the thing is established of God. So God is a God who confirms. Let me confirm: how many of you will say, Lord, by Your Spirit-filled Word dwelling in my heart help me to develop a truly serious personal relationship with You? Stand up with me. If you go to church but you do not have a 1-1 relationship with Christ, you've never had it. There's someone right here: you've been going to church, your family Adventists, you may be a vegetarian, you do not have a personal private relationship with your Saviour, you don't have it but you're a nice person and today you want to say, Father, let this be the beginning of a personal walk with my Savior. If that appeal applies to you raise your right hand. You have not had that personal relationship, keep your hand up. You haven't had it but you're a nice person: you go to church. I want to pray for you from the foundation of my soul. Would you come? Come quickly. Come, come. You have not had it. You have had it with the church but not with Christ as a personal savior who died for you, not just the world. By the way, when you read the Bible read it as though it was written for you. For God so loved me—put your name in there—that He gave his only begotten Son for me—put your name—that if I believe in Him, I won’t perish. I will have everlasting life. Someone else come, you have not had and you know you haven't—a truly personal relationship with God. Christ—you want the day to be day one of that walk with your Savior. Come, come. Anyone has paper to write the names? Come, come. I want the names because I want to pray for you. I won’t put them in the newspaper. I’ll have them. I’ll pray for you. Come, get everyone's name. Please, anyone else? I have not had a personal private intimate relationship. So that every time I need, I go to Jesus Christ. Whenever something goes wrong I run to Jesus Christ. Whenever I have a joy I run to Jesus Christ. I have not had the instinct of going to Jesus; haven't had a private personal intimate relationship with Jesus so that you know He's with you even though you can’t see Him. Come. Day one of that walk and you maintain that walk through study of the Word and obedience to the Word. Desire of Ages, page 677, Ellen White writes “It is through the word that Christ abides in His followers.” [DA 677.72:1]That's why He says in John 15:7 “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you”—that's how He abides—“ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Jesus: He's a man, He's also God. Every time you hurt—because he's still human—Jesus feels the pain. Every time you're disappointed—because Christ is still human, while He's God—He feels your disappointment. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities.” [Hebrews 4:15] He goes through what you go through. There's someone in Heaven who feels what you feel. He felt it when your husband left you. He felt it when your wife left you. He felt it when your child went off into the world and started taking drugs. He felt it and still feels it because He has this infinite capacity to feel. He says, Come unto Me. Matthew 11:28. He never said come to the church. He said, Come unto Me. Yes, He has a church, He'll take you there but step 1) Come unto Me, all ye that labor—who is all? Male, female; Asian, American: white, black, blue, pink; educated, uneducated; single, married; whoever you are—Come unto Me, says Jesus; and you can come to Christ right now. Come and say, Lord, this is Day 1 of a serious personal private intimate relationship with Jesus: He was God and Man. Christ is human; which means He identifies more closely with you than He does with angels. Through His humanity Christ identifies more closely with you and with me than He does with angels. (Amen!) There is no angel that is full of the Holy Ghost. The promise to us is we can be filled with the Holy Ghost—which is the Spirit of Christ. That's a closeness no angel enjoys. Where is Christ now? On the right hand of the Father. By faith where are we, in Christ? (with the Father) Where does that put us? On the right hand of the Father, in Christ—no angel enjoys that, not even Gabriel. You and I, through Christ, sit on the right hand. Lord, I want today to be the first day of a personal private intimate walk and relationship with Christ. God's Spirit talks to you and He talks to you and He talks to you and He says, Stop drinking alcohol. If you continue it will capture you in what is called addiction. Stop. And He tells you and He tells you. And He tells that young man, Stop watching those sites. If you don't, you’ll find yourself in a hole that you cannot be dug out of. And He tells somebody else, Stop going to those parties; Stop going to that casino; Stop sleeping around. The spirit continues, Stop, stop. One day He will stop talking. Stop now and come. Father, a 1-1 relationship with a living being: Jesus Christ. He is God and He is Man. He understands me and He understands God. Let's pray. Lord in Heaven, forgive me if I preached badly. In my eagerness, dear God, sometimes I may go overboard. So forgive me to the extent I have done that. But, Father, I know You know what's in my heart: for people, as they are, to come to Jesus. If the cigarettes are in their pockets or if there condoms are in their purses or there are drugs in their pockets, let them come as they are and let Jesus deliver them. Let no one deceive himself, dear God, into thinking: let me improve myself a little bit before I come to Jesus, that is impossible. And so, Father, You said in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish” if you mean it, dear God, let Your spirit work feverishly. You said in 1 Timothy2:4, You “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” If You meant those words, dear God, and You cannot lie, move on somebody's heart. God, some of us have hearts like the walls of Jericho and only a shout from Heaven can bring those walls down. Father, I'm going to pause for somebody else to come and say, I know I need a personal walk with Jesus—you know in your heart you need that walk, you haven't had it; you've had it with the church, with your friends, but not with Jesus: on a personal private intimate level. Come. You're busy trying to make money and you have no time for Jesus. All the money will simply be firewood in the flames of hell that's all that will be—Lord, here am I. All I know to do is give my life to You—that's all you need to do and God will take over from there—Father, today is Day 1 of a personal private intimate walk with a real person called Jesus who is also God. That Man who died on the cross was the One who said, Let there be light. It is suicidal to resist the call to come to Christ. You don't come to God where you're going there's only one alternative: that's the devil. If Christ had not come down in the garden Adam and Eve would have had no power to leave Satan. Father, I resume this prayer pleading with You, dear God, to be merciful as I end the prayer, Father, do not close the door of mercy, someone is struggling, someone is so enmeshed in the world, dear God, that it seems almost impossible to come to You. Let that person understand that he or she need only cry out to Jesus and He will come and bind that strong man called Satan and spoil his goods. Remove from his prison those for whom Jesus shed His blood. God, put in us a love for a 1-1 relationship with You. Now, bless everyone who heard Your word. Let Your Spirit take my meager little effort, dear God, and perfect it and apply it to the minds of those who meditate on what they’ve heard during the day. Thank You for loving us. Thank You, dear God, for enabling us to be closer to You than the angels. Bless every activity for the remainder of this day. I pray in Jesus’ name and for His sake. Let God's people say amen and amen.

 

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