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Adventist Culture Vs. Adventist Faith

Wes Peppers
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Wes Peppers

Pastor, Traverse City & Kalkaska, Michigan

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Recorded

  • April 28, 2017
    7:00 PM
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Father, tonight we are so thankful to be in your presence. We ask Your Spirit to come, to move and shake our hearts tonight. We ask that Your righteousness would be planted in our hearts and that You would minister to us tonight Father; that Your Spirit would draw close in a very, very special way and that You would convict us of the things that need to change in our life; you would convict us of a deeper need of Jesus; that we would have an Adventist faith and not simply an Adventist culture. We ask you Lord to draw us towards You. And Father that You would transform our hearts that we would be truly converted. We would not just assume that because we've grown up in this culture that we're ok with that, Lord, thatwe would earnestly and diligently seek after You; that our hearts, Lord would be one with You; that we would forsake our sins, Lord. And that we would be wholly and completely Yours. We ask Your blessing tonight Father. And may You open us to Your truth, we pray these in Jesus' name. Let everyone say Amen.

 

I remember when I was pastoring one of my churches a few years ago, I pastored so many different churches now. And there was a young person who is actually the daughter-in-law of a very famous Adventist and I won't say who that person is. But this young lady and her husband who is the son of a very famous Adventist and if I mention his name you all would know him. So I'm not going to mention it. But they had just recently been married. They were in their 20's; they both had gone to school and university and they got married and that they moved to where I was pastoring and that's where they got jobs they settled there. And they were coming to my church and I had some conversations with this young lady. She was, you know, 23 – 24-ish. And she told me that even though she grew up in the church, even though she went to Adventist elementary school, Adventist middle school, Adventist high school, Adventist university, she really didn't know or understand what we believed. She had no idea what prophecy really was, the prophecies we believed. She had no understanding of the Book of Revelation; really no understanding of our Adventist beliefs, our Adventist doctrines, other than she knew, you know, every Sabbath we went to church. But she said, even with the Sabbath, I don't really know that I could explain it from the Bible. Don't really know that. I have never had it explained to me from the Bible. She told me that prophecy put fear in her heart because she was a, she always thought that people were fear mongering whenever they talked about Bible prophecy. And so she never studied it. Perhaps her parents kept her from it. And so she really didn't know why she was an Adventist or why she really needed to stay. And so I asked her if she'd ever really read anything about Ellen White and she said, “No. I've never read any of Ellen White's books.” She says,“but I wrote my senior year a paper in a class that was actually against Ellen White.” And she said, “I wrote about how why I didn't believe she was a prophet and all the things.” She said, “I found all the stuff online.”

 

And I said, when she told me this, I didn't know how much she had read so at that point I said, “Oh so you wrote a paper against her?”And she said, “Yes.” I said, “so actually how much Ellen White have you read?” And she said, “none.” I said, “Oh that's very interesting. It's kind of like the people that calls Seventh Day Adventist cults and when you start to ask them what they know about Seventh Day Adventist they really don't know anything about of them at all.” Usually people that say Adventist are cults are people who have heard that from someone else, who heard that from someone else, who heard that from someone else, right? How many of you have been down that road?And I always love that that question.

 

You know, for most Adventists, when people say, “oh, they're just a cult”, we tend to clam up. We, “woo, I don't know what to say to them.”You know. As if they have some superior knowledge. So I just, when they said,“I had to smile and say,so tell me what makes you think that Adventists are cult?” And they usually don't know. So I can use a back at them.

 

So, anyway, this young lady, she was very troubled in her heart because she had no peace in her heart. And it was very interesting because we were in just the next couple of months going to have a Revelation Bible Seminar, Bible Prophecy Seminar. And I encouraged her. I said, “Look, why don't you come to the prophecy seminar and you're gonna understand the prophecies; you’re gonna understand the beliefs; you're gonna understand about Christ; you’re gonna understand what He's done for us; you’re gonna understand everything.

 

And there was another lady in my church who really hated the Adventist message. Sometimes, I don't even know why people belong to the Adventist Church when they actually don't like it. There are certain online magazines that are closer to here than the arc of Michigan and I won’t say which ones. But I read some of these articles and I'm like, like these people will bash the Adventist Church like if I, if I felt so badly about something like this, the last thing I would do is to continue to be a part of it. I don't really know why like I can't find anything Adventists, like some atheists would be more in favor of Adventism than these people, right? So anyway, this lady was in my church and she, she told me one times, someone had nominated her for the head deaconess job, and she says, “Oh well I could probably never be the head deaconess.” So I said, “why is that?” And she said, “well because I don't believe in Revelation Seminars and all those things that you'd probably want your head deaconess there to serve food and these kind of things. I just couldn't do that because I don't believe in those things.” I said, “Oh that's very interesting.” I've been praying for this lady and this lady was the greatest thorn in my flesh in that church. “You see that white patch, right there?” That's where it came from. Ok. So I've been praying to this lady and it just so happened that when I was talking to this young lady about coming to the Revelation Seminar, this other lady was standing there too and she always thought it was her job to protect people from my messages in the true Adventist message. And so this young lady said, “Yeah.” She says, “I really think I really feel impressed that I should go to those meetings.”And the other lady was like, “you're going to go to those meetings?” And she said, “yes.”And she said, “Well I think I better go with you too. I'm gonna go with you.” You know, she's gonna be her protector, right? And so this young lady comes to the meetings. And night after night she was blown away by what she heard. She said, I never, I. She said, “I never had any idea about these types of things.” We studied Daniel 7, we studied Revelation, we studied righteousness by faith in Christ as well. And every message but we study the prophecies and we study Revelation 13. She said, “I had never had any idea that the United States was talked about in prophecy. Never had any idea.” Revelation chapter 10, how many of you know what Revelation Chapter 10 is all about? A couple of people. That the Adventist Church, the rise of the Adventist Church was actually predicted in Bible prophecy in Revelation chapter 10. She said, “I had no idea why I was an Adventist. But now I know that being an Adventist is actually in the Bible.” It's actually in the Book of Revelation. And so then she said, “I had a dream that.” She told me that she had a dream that Jesus returned to the earth and she was unprepared. She was not ready to meet Jesus.

 

There is Brother John, one of my students. “Good to see you, man.” John Carcano got a powerful testimony to give. He came to give his testimony here.

 

So she had a dream that Jesus return and that she was unprepared to meet Jesus and when she woke up from that dream God overly convicted her that she should read the book, “The Great Controversy.” And when she read that book, she said, “That book saved my life.” That book saved my life. And her whole life was transformed because of the Bible, because of Christ, because of prophecy, because of these books that are, you know, they're often we call the read books but they're often the read books that often go unread. And they sit on our shelves and read but unread, right?

 

So this story, this young lady basically produces the springboard for our message tonight which is called Adventist Culture, Adventist Faith. This young lady had a culture but she did not have a what? She did not have a faith. She grew up in the church. She was raised in the church. She went to church all of her life but her faith was lacking and there was a battle between a culture and a faith and we see that happening too often today. And I believe today as we are living in the time before Jesus is to come that this is a great and terrible problem in the Adventist Church that we have a lot of people who love a culture but do not have any idea what a faith is all about. And I think that it's one of Satan's last day sinister deceptions that will leave a lot of people unprepared for Jesus when He comes; lot of people who think that they’re right with God but in reality they are lacking.

 

So let's go this evening into the Bible, we're gonna see that this is actually not a new thing.This is not something that is just popping up on the end of time but it's actually something that has always existed for a very, very long time. So please go with me in your Bibles to Genesis chapter 25. Genesis Chapter 25 and we're gonna see an example of this right here in Scripture. Genesis chapter 25. Genesis chapter 25 and verses 31. I'm sorry 21 and on.

 

Genesis chapter 25 and verse 21. Notice here, the Bible says,“now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife because she was barren and the Lord granted his plea and Rebecca his wife conceived but the children struggled together within her. And she said if all is well why am I like this? So she went to inquire of the Lord and the Lord said to her two nations are in your womb.” How many? “Two peoples shall be separated from your body - one people shall be stronger than the other and the older shall serve the younger. So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth indeed they were twins and her womb and the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over, so they named him, they called his name Esau. And afterward his brother came out and his hand took hold of Esau's heel so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when they bore them. So the boys grew and Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a mild man dwelling in tents. And Isaac love Esau because he ate of his game but Rebecca loved Jacob.”

 

 So these two boys were in their mother's womb from the very beginning, right? They were twins. They were in the womb. They came out together; one came out and he became a hunter; one became kind of a mild man. And the Bible tells us and Ellen White tells us that Jacob was much more spiritual than Esau, right? And so I want you to think about these two boys. Were they both raised in the same household? Yes or no. Did they both have a very strong spiritual heritage? Yes or no. Their grandfather was Abraham, their father was Isaac, and so they had a very rich heritage. I'm sure as they were growing up, these boys sat and listened to their father and grandfather tell stories about their faith and about their, their experience and their wrestling's with God. Both, you can say, were raised in the church and in the faith. Yes or no? You catch that phrase, you understand? Both were raised how? In the church. Then we use that phrase all the time today. “Oh were you raised in the church or did you come in or are you a convert?” Right? People use this phrase in the truth. Both knew the truth, didn’t they? Both knew the truth, I mean they had the exact same experience, the exact same mentoring, the exact same up raising, the exact same stories. Both had the same knowledge of God. Both were princes of God.

 

But something happened there was a difference between the two. There was a difference between the two. And we’re gonna talk just about that for just a minute. Now look with me in verse 29 and we're gonna see where this difference really began to manifest itself.

 

Verse 29, “and Jacob cooked a stew: and Esau came in from the field and he was weary: and Esau said to Jacob,please feed me with that same red stew for I am weary: therefore, his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, sell me your birthright as of this day and Esau said, look I'm about to die so what is this birthright to me? Then Jacob says, swear to me as of this day; so he swore to him: and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; and then he ate and drank, arose and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”

 

So, I mean, if you look at this text, it’s, it almost sounds from the text like the birthright wasn't even really that big of a deal, right? Bible says, Esau came in and said, “Man, I'm hungry, give me some stew.” Jacob said, “Give me your birthright.” He says, “What is this to me? He eats that bowl of soup; he eats that bread. He gets up, the Bible says, and he goes on his way as if it's nothing. As if he's just giving him, you know, like a piece of bread or something. I can't, it means nothing to him. But this is the birthright that would cause him to be the spiritual head of his family and his tribe. It was the priesthood of his entire existence as a, as a nation or as a tribe- one of the tribes of that region. He was giving up something precious.

 

And Ellen White tells us that Jacob, though he was deceitful, though he was sneaky, though he had these, these issues with constant deception, that's why his name was called Jacob, because from the very moment of his birth when he reached out and grabbed his brother's heel, he was trying to be that first born, right? He was wanting to be that first born. But even though he had this, there where Jacob means supplanter or deceiver. Even though he had this problem, Ellen White says that he was by far the more spiritual of the two. And she says, in the book Patriarchs and Prophets, I just read the day, she says that he would sit and think about and he would desire to be the spiritual head of his family, the spiritual leader of his family, and he wanted that birthright so badly because of what it meant spiritually for him.

 

I mean think about that for just a minute, do we sit all day long and think about and desire the spiritual blessings that God has for us? How many of you do that? I mean, raise your hand or think about that for just a minute. And even though Jacob didn't go about it the wrong way or the right way, I mean his motive was right. He wanted that thing. He wanted that blessing, right?

 

Now, Esau on the other hand, the Bible says that he despised his birthright. And Ellen White goes on as she says that the reason he despised the birth right is because he saw it as a restraint to be the spiritual head of his family. He did not want that. But here's what he wanted. He wanted to have - the reason he even wanted to be the first born in the first place is because he wanted that earthly inheritance because the oldest son would get the double portion.

 

So here, here's the bottom line, and don't miss this point, Esau used his - the faith that he grew up with - He saw as a means to gain earthly benefit. Are you with me? He used the, the faith, he wanted the physical earthly blessing of the faith without the spiritual responsibility and the spiritual accountability. Are you with me today, yes or no? So you could safely say that Esau valued the culture of his, of his faith so that he could gain something earthly from it; but he did not care nor did he want the spiritual blessing that comes with it. And so Ellen White says that when he sold his birthright, he actually counted it as a relief to himself because “Oh now I don't have to be spiritually accountable. Now I don't have to be spiritually responsible.”And so he sold off that birthright just to gain a bowl of soup. He sold his divine destiny. He sold his divine blessing. He sold his divine inheritance for the indulgence of an earthly pleasure that lasted but for one moments.

 

How many of us today have done just that? How many of us have cast off the heavenly favor, the heavenly desire for something deeper for something more that would draw us closer to Christ? How many of us have cast that off to have just simply an earthly pleasure and an earthly indulgence? How many of us today have sold our birthrights as princes and princesses or sons and daughters of the Almighty? Have you ever done that before? He quickly cast off the restraints of his religious upbringing at the first temptation of fleshly nature.

 

You know what Ellen White says? She says that there are a lot of people in the ranks of God that sit in the church pews that if they had the opportunity to partake of the flesh and they knew that no one would know, they would do it in the heart and a heartbeat. They would do it in a second. They would do it in a moment. But you know what friends? That type of mentality doesn't recognize it, doesn't realize that God is always watching. We are always in the presence of God and God is not watching to see where we're gonna mess up, God is watching to see how he can bless us; how he can strengthen us; how he can draw us more closely to Himself: but we have to be willing to say, I'm not going to cast off my divine favor. I'm not going to cast off my divine inheritance just for a simple earthly indulgence that last for a moment. And how often are we doing this?

 

In Genesis chapter 27, Jacob goes in and we won't read it but he goes in and he deceives his father, right? How many remember this? And he puts on those - he puts on the goat skin and he cooks up the stew and his mother helps him. His mother is on the deception. He goes in and receives the blessing from Isaac. And it wasn't the right way to do it; but still in his heart, he knew he wanted it. But that one deception cost him a whole lifetime of repentance and a lifetime of grief and a lifetime of problems with his own children and with their own son. And so Jacob though he didn't go about of the right way, he still desired that spiritual blessing.

 

But Jacob, the difference between Jacob and Esau is that Jacob ultimately at Bethel received an experience a life altering and a life transforming power that took control of his heart. Amen. He poured out his heart before God and when he wrestled with God on his way back to Egypt or not on his way back to Canaan when he was about, was about to be wiped out by his brother, he wrestled with God and prevailed. Amen.

 

You could, we cannot imagine the wrestling that was taking place in his heart. When he wrestled with God and he was recognizing his own sin and when the day broke when the dawn came about, he was still in the middle of that wrestling. And he, the moment he realized who he was wrestling with, he was wrestling with the Almighty One. When was the last time you wrestle with God through the night for your sins or for the sins of some other for some person that needed to be save, that needed that transform transforming power? Also when was the last time that you wrestled through the night with God and prevailed? Amen. Amen.

 

Esau. I wanna read this to you. Esau both started with the same spirit a foundation. What made the difference? “Esau was immersed in the faith of his fathers as a child but his preference for the culture of his faith rather than possessing faith itself did not lead him to seek transformation of heart as it did for Jacob. He sought the blessing of God and the benefit of the culture simply for earnest earthly gain.”

 

And let me tell you what friends, I believe this evening that there are a host of Seventh Day Adventists who have grown up in the church, who love the culture, who love the blessings, who love their veggie dogs, who love their super links, who love the grillers and the and the starters and the parters and whatever else are is out there. You know the chop loins and what are some of the pork ones, the, I forget what they are but you know stripples and all these things. And instead of eating the beans, we eat the image of the beast, right?

And we love, we love the Sabbath and we love to let go of everything and we love all these things, we love the culture and the Adventist culture is a great blessing isn't it? And when I talk about this, you must understand, I'm not saying the Adventist culture is bad or sinful; but if it's left to itself without the faith, and then it becomes a poison. Are you with me? It becomes a curse. Too many Adventist are enjoying the culture but their faith is weak if it exists at all, if it's even weak at all.

 

And this goes all the way back to Jacob and Esau even before that with, with Cain and Abel. There's a battle between - are we going to have the culture of God or the faith of Jesus? Are we gonna have a culture of that that gives us blessings or are we going to be willing to become uncomfortable in the faith?

 

Go with me toMatthew chapter 3. Matthew chapter 3. And you find another example of this. Matthew chapter 3 with John the Baptist. Matthew chapter 3. I'm sorry to wake up just a little bit, just a little bit, your prayers are working. All right. So if I say something crazy, you can blame it on the plane.Right?

 

Matthew chapter 3 and verse 4,Oh, I’ll just start in verse 1, Bible says,In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,  and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.”

 

So John the Baptist came and I want you to notice some very distinct features about John the Baptist. He had a very specific message to preach. What was the message? The message of what? Repentance, right? And that's not a very popular message in the world today, isn't it? Isn't it? Isn't it? It’s not a very popular message at all, is it? Because you have to tell people that “Hey the way you're going is not right. You need to turn around and go the other way.” That's a message of repentance - to be going one way and the message of repentance is we turn around and do what? We go the other way because of the way that we're on is not going to lead us to good things, is it? We need to turn around. Good things are only one direction and that's upward, right?

 

And so as Seventh Day Adventist and he was to preach this message of repentance and preparation for the first come of Christ. Yes. Seventh Day Adventists do we have a very distinct specific message to preach to the world, yes or no? It comes in three parts. What are they? The first, second, and third angels’ messages. Does it include the message of repentance, yes or no? It includes that message, doesn't it? So our message down today's world is it very popular? What do you think? -  not a very popular message is it? Because it requires faith which requires surrender which requires self-sacrifice and crucifixion of self. Correct? And that's anything but popular in the world today. Everybody's focused on self -self-exaltation rather than self-renunciation, right?

 

And so, I was just hearing on the news today, as I was sitting in the airport, this lady was talking about how she didn't like to have. The only kind of conversation she'd like to have - more comfortable conversations. That's the one of the new phrases - comfortable conversation. What in the world is that? It's a conversation that only, only makes me comfortable. If I get uncomfortable, I don't wanna do it.

 

We are so driven by comfort in this nation and in this culture. It's despicable like God is an enemy of comfort in many cases. Not spiritual comfort but earthly comfort, right? It's an enemy to God and it’s enemy to God's people and so God's word seeks to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Amen? Amen.

 

And so John came to afflict the comfortable and to comfort the afflicted, right? So he has a very distinct message just like we do.  John was giving the message for the first coming of Christ: Seventh Day Adventists giving it for the second coming of Christ, right?

 

So he says, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Now verse 4, “he was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.”

 

Noticed that John had a very distinct way of dressing and had a very distinct way of eating. Was that interesting? He wasn't dressed like everyone else. He didn't eat like everyone else. He didn't speak like everyone else. He didn't act like everyone else, did he? He had a very distinct way of living.

 

What do you say? You have people today that say, “Well, you know, if I don't dress like my friends they're not going to receive me and I'm not going to be a…”The popular excuse today - “But if I don't dress like the world or I don't do what they do and eat like they eat, all these, I'm not gonna have any influence over them. So in order to have an influence over them, I have to do everything that they're doing.” Well, I would disagree with that because if you're doing what they're doing, then you're doing every what? Everyone else is doing and they outnumber you and you're gonna get outnumbered, right?

 

But notice what happens. John was very distinct in the way he ate, the way he dressed, the way that he spoke, the way that he lives. And notice the result of that. It says, verse 5, “Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him.” So who came out to hear John preach? Everybody. Even though he looked funny, he talked funny, he ate funny, guess what? That drew people. And guess what? If you stand out from the crowd, it's going to drew people.

 

I was sitting on the plane today with a man and God put me beside him. He's a very sincere man; very godly Christian; and he's a businessman; not an Adventist; and he lives right here in Ontario. So I could, maybe somebody want to go off for Bible studies, I don't know. But I'm gonna send him The Great Controversy. And he was talking to me and he started talking to me about, about the Book of Daniel and prophesy and how he doesn't understand the Book of Daniel and all these different things. And then he asked me, “So tell me about the Sabbath. I wanna know about the Sabbath.” And so I told him about the Sabbath and then he and then he tells me, “You know I grew up in the Catholic Church but I just didn't feel like it was right and I just couldn't, couldn't figure things out.”And he says, “I just can't do that.”He says,“I just know there's something funny going on about that church.”And you know again we have, there's godly people in that church and, and all those things which were dealt here, we don't have to go over all that stuff but, but, so this guy's right, you understand. He's right. And he's asking me who live a very distinct lifestyle why I believe what I believe. See?

 

You never going to get people to ask you questions, when you're doing what they're doing because they already know what they're doing and they already know what they're doing is not the best thing and they're ready know that their hearts are empty by doing that thing. So if you're doing that thing with them, then they know that you're probably empty too and they're not gonna ask any questions. Are you with me? Make sense. So you only get people to notice when as when you are living so out for Christ; when the love of Christ so dwells in your heart that you want to please Him in everything and you love Him more than you love your own life because He loved you more than His own life. Amen. And so that's the only way to get people to ask questions, you see. And so John was distinct but the people saw it and they went out to him. How many of you can say amen to that?

 

Now look here in verse 7, But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism,[I kind of fear because of this was like if the Bible was written in line 2017, it would say, “but when he saw many of the Seventh Day Adventists coming out to his baptism,] he said to them, “Brood of vipers! You know what that means? You dirty little snakes in the grass.That's what it means. He says, “who warned you to flee from the wrath to come.” It’s like, “what makes you think that you should be baptized? Who told you about the truth, right? And I fear that he might say that to many Adventists. You might say it to me, I’m not excluding myself in there. And then, he said, this was the issue, what was the issue going on? He says, “therefore” at the end of the verse, sorry verse 8, Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.”

 

 So make sure you understand this - the issue with the Pharisees and the Sadducees was never that they didn't know or understand the truth, was it? That wasn't the issue. They knew the truth. They knew it better than anyone else. The issue was for them - bearing fruits of repentance and we have another word for that I thought, I think I might have heard somebody say. Yes, sanctification. But conversion. They were not converted. They were not converted. They knew the truth. They practiced the truth. They were Pharisees; but they were not converted.

 

And I believe today, I fear, it's my greatest fear that there are many Adventists who know the truth but they are not converted. We are not bearing fruits worthy of repentance. Our hearts are hardened against the Gospel. We love the truth and we love our health message and we love the Sabbath and we love all these things but the Gospel is a foreign thing to us. We have not borne fruits of repentance; we have not been broken upon the Rock. And therefore just like the Pharisees and Sadducees, just like Esau; many of us are embracing a religious culture that is not bad a bit of in itself but will send us to hell if we have not been broken upon the rock of Christ. And our hearts have been poured out before Him and we have not surrendered ourselves and allowed His righteousness to dwell within us by faith; we have not taken His life for ours.

 

And he said, “bear fruits worthy of repentance and do not think to say to yourselves we have Abraham as our Father.”

 

Do not think to say to yourselves tonight “I'm a fifth generation Seventh Day Adventists.” I had a guy come to me one time, he said, I'm the great, great grandson of Ellen G. White and I said, “That's nice.” But I don't really care because God does not have grandchildren. That's all say that together please because some of your falling asleep. Some of you are fulfilling these words in my very ear; in the very hearing. Let’s say it together, God does not have grandchildren. God only has children. And for you, young people and for you, old people, you do not get into heaven because of your parents' faith. You do not get into heaven because you are multi-generational Adventist. Your sins will cause you to be lost as rapidly as the guy out there shoving a needle in his arm this very second. You with me? You will be lost the same. You need a savior.

 

Jacob was raised in the faith. He was the man through whom God birth the lineage that led to Christ; but yet laying his head upon that rock when he fled from his father and his brother after he deceived them; he recognized he needed a Savior. His sin was ever before him; he needed a Savior. And you and I need a Savior today.

 

 John said, “even now the axe is laid to the root of the tree and every tree was not bear fruit is cut down and thrown in to the fire.”

 

Go with me to John chapter 6. John chapter 6. John chapter 6. John chapter 6. Jesus. The people were following Jesus for a reason. Notice what it says here. John chapter 6 verse 26. Well let's back up here. Verse 24, “when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, [where he was, they were looking for Him]nor his disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus and when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi when did you come here?”

 

You notice the Bible says that they found Him; but they really had not found Him if you understand what I'm saying here. “Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek me not because you saw the signs but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.”

 

Same issue coming out with Jesus. You've got a people that really like to be around Jesus because He's a pleasant person. He's really cool. He says a lot of great things and at the end of the day what does He do? He fills our belly and we like that because we don't wanna go home empty handed. Jesus says, “you don't follow me because you really understand the difference I can make in your life and in your heart; you follow me because you see the earthly blessing that I'm giving you. But what if that blessing wasn't there? What if you, you didn't just have a better job because you keep the Sabbath? But what if you got persecuted and lost your job because of the Sabbath? What if you got persecuted and were going to lose your life because you kept the Sabbath? Would you then still follow me? Would you then still pursue me?”

 

He says, “Do not labor for the food which perishes but for the food which endures to everlasting life which the Son of Man will give you because God the Father has set His seal upon Him.” Then they said to him, “What shall we do that we may work the works of God?” They were still thinking, like what we do, because like “we want more bread,” that's all we want we want the earthly blessing. Jesus answered and said to them, “this is the work of God that you believe in Him whom he has sent.” Jesus said, “you believe in me for the sake of what I can do on the inside of your heart; not what I can do on the outside.”And so when He began to make that distinction; when He began to make that separation; He began to say “look if you think you're following me for the earthly blessing, you've got it all wrong, you must have a faith that goes deeper than the earthly.” Notice what they started to do. This is what they did, “therefore they said to Him, what sign will you perform then that we may see it and believe in you what work will you do?” They still didn't get it. They were still like just thinking to themselves, “Well, if we're to follow you for more these, what sign you going to do?” He had already worked the sign. Are you with me?

 

Now, don't miss this. Don't miss this. I'm gonna read a couple things: “They were following the culture because it had brought great prosperity but they missed the point that the culture was to lead them to the faith. They followed Jesus because of the loaves and fishes not for His presence. They ate from His hand but not from His heart. They followed Jesus to have their stomachs filled with bread rather than the real heart filled with His Spirit and His presence. When they revealed the bread they were searching for was Himself they scoffed. They wanted to make Him king because He'd be able to feed them.

 

Now don't miss this dear friends, religious culture wishes to sit at Jesus' feet but only to be fed conveniently and this life without any discomfort or preparation for the next life. How many of us fall into the same category today? We follow Jesus because it's a nice thing to do. Respectable conventionality, I think is what someone call that once. Respectable institutionalism. That's been the destruction of how many people throughout the ages. There are those, well let me just say this, biblical faith will seek the spiritual bread even at the expense of the earthly bread.

 

You see in this westernized culture; we find it difficult to even fast one day. That's like a foreign thing. Don't raise your hands and maybe; I'm not trying to judge and I don't know, but I'm just going by what I see on the general level. But how many, when was the last time you fasted for a day? When was the last time you fasted from a meal in a day? Just did without one meal. People in this, in those days might not eat for two or three days just out of sheer necessity just like they just didn't have it, you understand what I mean. They felt their need. We don't feel our need. We can eat as much as we want, whenever we want. And I'm not only talking about eating; I'm talking about all the comforts of this western culture. We're so comfortable.

 

On the way here, I was like ask, “Can you turn on the air conditioner?”, it's really hot. I'm like used to Michigan weather, right? And I'm just, I'm just thinking like I am whining about the weather. I'm preaching a sermon; I just whine about but the heat. We’re just too comfortable. And I fear, I fear that we have reached a place in American culture where if it demands physical earthly discomfort for the sake of spiritual gain, we would we would just forget about it. We would just forget about it.

 

So now you come to modern day, you have, I give you an example the Old Testament gives. Two examples of the New Testament and now we come down to the last days of Earth’s history.

And I won't go through the whole thing with you but in Matthew chapter 25, you find the parable that speaks about us today here and now. They all speak to us. They all say the same message; but now you have where really hits our situation, Matthew chapter 25. You have the story of the ten virgins and you'll find, they all have the lamps. Five are wise; five are foolish. The foolish did not take oil in their lamps. What's the lamp a symbol of? The Word of God. “The Word is a lamp unto my feet.”  What's the oil a symbol of? The Holy Spirit. And the fire is a symbol or the light is a symbol of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of my heart and shining outward, right? And five of them didn't carry enough oil with them and it's talking about the last church that becomes lukewarm because all ten virgins even though five had enough oil, they all fall what? They all fall asleep.

 

And let me tell you friends, the reality is, the Adventist Church is asleep and I'm not saying that condemningly but I'm saying that alarmingly because I am included in that. I'm included in that. We are sleeping.

 

And then the Bridegroom came - a cry was heard at midnight, “Go out to meet Him.” They all rose and trim their lamps and the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil. Our lamps are going out with they said, “No, since there should not be enough for us and for you. will go on rather to those who sell and buy for yourselves and while they went to buy the Bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with Him in the day to the wedding the door was shut and. Afterward the other virgins came saying “Lord, Lord, open to us” but he answered and said, “Assuredly I say to you, I don't know you.” That's got to be the most difficult words - three words- four words that Jesus would ever speak. Because the reality is the ones he says “I don't know you,” He actually does know them. He knows them all too well. Are you with me? He knows them too well. The problem is they don't know Him. And too much in the Adventist Church, we are afraid to speak about the Holy Spirit and the outpouring of Holy Spirit because we're afraid if we talk about the Holy Spirit too much we're going to become like Pentecostals and God forbid if we did that. God forbid if anybody raised their hand during church, right?

 

And I'm not saying I'm, I'm in favor of Pentecostalism so don't take that message out here, okay? Pastor West Peppers came in and tried makes all Pentecostals. No, no, no, we’re not going that. But, but we are too afraid of the Holy Spirit and here's why. Because it's the Holy Spirit that alone that can do a transforming work in our hearts. It's only the Holy Spirit that can lead us to a brokenness and repentance to where we can actually become vulnerable in the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit alone can lead us to the place where we need to be to be ready for Christ's coming and because we are too comfortable with where we are at we hold it at arm's length. And I say, we hold Him in arm's length. And notice this, if you wanna notice this, it says that those who went, those they said, they said, “give us oil.” They said, “no, we can't give it to you, go buy for yourself.” You ever wondered like where do they go to buy it? Like it, like if they cannot because probation is as basically closing at this point and they cannot buy any more. Jesus says, “I counsel you to buy from me,” right? Faith, the gold tried in the fire which is the faith tried by difficulties and etc. Jesus says, “buy from me.” But the time is close for them to buy from Jesus, so who are they going to buy from? “Go buy from those who sell.” Satan always has a counterfeit, doesn’t he?

 

Real quick. Real quick. Revelation chapter, I never knew this before but it blew my mind when I first saw it. Revelation chapter 18 and verse 22, “The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore.”

 

Look at this, look at this, The light of the lamp [that sounds familiar from Matthew 25] shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery [He’s speaking to Babylon] all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth."

 

When they, when they say to the other ones, “Go buy for yourselves,” when they turn, they cannot get up from Christ any more. Probation is closed. So, so they turn and there's merchants there to sell to them and where are those merchants from? Babylon. And so, they buy from Babylon and they get swept into the ranks of Babylon and they're lost. Now these are all virgins - ten virgins who had lamps, who have Bibles. They all at one point have oil in their lamps. So they all at one point had the Holy Spirit but they fell asleep. And that sleep, that time of sleep cause their oil to drain. So these are Seventh Day Adventists - these are good Bible-believing Seventh Day Adventists. They pay their tithes; go to church on Sabbath, they fellowship lunch; they come to Advent Hope; they go to the university church. They’re good Seventh Day Adventist people and they come and they end up being swept into Babylon. They end up buying from the merchants of the earth.

 

And there was one lack. What was the lack? It was the Holy Spirit - and the Holy Spirit leading them to the feet of Jesus, who alone could redeem them and save them from their own sin. That's where we're at today.

 

And I want you to look at this. I wanna just say a few things here. Let me. You know I hate reading to people. I don't like doing that because I don't want to seem like I'm just like looking at my screen and not looking at you; but I have to say these things right. I've been on the plane all day, so I have to read if that’s ok. You're OK with that? Right? I'll try to read it with enthusiasm. Ok.

 

A contemporarily view [these are my words; I'm just putting them on paper]. A contemporary view of the parable and its application would allow us to say that there are those cultural Adventists who have secluded themselves from the world, understood truth, and yet they still enjoy the world's pleasures and benefits. And let's just be honest though the pleasures of the world are pleasurable and there's no doubt about it. If these wouldn't be pleasurable, it wouldn't be so hard. Those who profess Christ with Adventism but cannot in the life testify and bear fruit of a change of heart only admit that they are the product of a nice culture rather than divine grace.

 

Some of us belong to a nice culture but not of faith. They appear to drink of the life, the water of life, yet they are as destitute as the hills of Gilboa. Without an entire surrender of the will, they did not experience genuine conversion. Without this they neither come to Christ nor practice self-denial to lead others to Him - to Him I should say.

 

They want, notice this, this is a product of a nice Adventist culture. They want deliverance from evil but not from sin. We like the protection that the Ten Commandments give us.

 

We want to be freed from evil, we don't want bad, we got this mindset, “if I just, if I just do what's good, no bad stuff is gonna to happen. Really bad stuff happens to those people out there that do drugs and alcohol but as a good Adventist, no bad things will happen to me.” So we want the deliverance from evil; we don't want deliverance from sin. Consequently, we seek our own kingdom rather than His.

 

True Adventism by contrast seeks not only escape from the consequence of sin but more importantly receives freedom from the root of sin itself to surrender to Jesus and everything. As a result the new heart seeks actively to advance the kingdom of God through sharing its faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This new heart is filled with the power of grace because it is in constant surrender and communion with the leadership of Christ. In addition, true Biblical faith views God's Commandments and counsel not merely as church rules but as a grace from the heart of Christ for an abundant life. In other words, the things that we practice are not church rules but they are blessings from God. Amen. It accepts the plain straight truth of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy with joy recognizing that it desired of infinite love in the strong delusion of sin that God gives such straightforward instructions. Anything short of this is a sure indicator that one is only culturally Adventist but not a transformed Adventist.

 

And I wanna show you real quickly a little slide show. You think about what I just said for a second. Here's a big difference between these two. Ok. Watch this.

 

Adventist culture says, “I believe in the Bible.” Do you believe in the Bible? Is there anything wrong with believing in the Bible? Hope you believe in the Bible. Amen. Hope we all believe in the Bible. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with Adventist culture but the Adventist faith says, “The Bible has changed me.” You understand the difference between the two?

 

Adventist culture says “I believe in Christ” and Adventist faith would say, “I’ve accepted Christ. I have received Him.”

 

Adventist culture would say “I've heard about Jesus all my life” and Adventist faith would say, “Jesus lives within and without me.” Amen.

 

And Adventist culture would say “I have heard about God all my life that Jesus is coming soon.” Adventist faith would say, “I believe Jesus is coming soon and that radically transforms the way I live my life.” And I would add to that every day in every moment.

 

Adventist culture says “I try to live right.” Ever said, ever said that before? “I try to live, I tried to, I tried to follow.” But the Adventist faith says, “Jesus lives His life through mine. And therefore I can do all things through Christ was strengthens me.”

 

The culture would say “I was raised in the church.” The faith would say “I am the church, the body of Christ.”

 

 The culture says “The Sabbath is the right day.” The faith says, “The Sabbath brings freedom and restoration to my faith and my relationship with Jesus.”

 

Nothing wrong with these things on the left; it's just not the faith, it's the culture. We can, now let me just say this - that both culture and faith can live in harmony with each other. They're not opposite of each other. They are not enemies. But the one without the other is just religion; it's just a culture. You understand?

 

Adventist culture – “I'm glad I have my Sabbath.” Nowhere in the Bible does it ever call it my Sabbath. It's the Sabbath of the Lord your God. Amen. They’ll raise my hand Pentecostal, right? The Adventist faith says, “it's not my Sabbath; it's God's Sabbath. I don't take my rest, I take His rest. I rest in Him; not resting apart from Him.” Therefore, my nap; there's more to Sabbath rest than a nap.

 

Being Adventist, culture says, “Being raised in the church, I haven't really done anything bad in my life. Ever said that before? “I don't really have a testimony. I have not really ever done anything bad.” Well, Adventist faith says, “I’m a sinner in need of God's grace.” Your sin, if you've been raised in the church or you've never been in the world, your sin still sends you to hell just as fast as the other guy.

 

Adventist culture says, “Jesus knows my heart.” You ever seen people say that? I had in one of my churches once, I had this guy, he was, he left his wife, he was the head deacon, he left his wife for a woman less than half his age who had divorced her husband to be with this guy. And this man was older than this woman's father; older than her father. And I pleaded with them both “do not do this. Turn away from this. Break off your sin.” And you know what their answer was? “Jesus knows our hearts.” I said, “Yeah, He does know your heart; but He doesn't possess your heart. He doesn't possess it. But the faith says “He possesses my heart. It's in His hands.”

 

Culture – “I follow the rules of the church.” There are no rules of the church, the so-called rules of the church are all biblical principles of faith that we ought to be living our lives by because we love Christ and Christ loves us. Amen. I follow God's truth because He loves me. I trust He has my best interest in mind. Amen.

 

Adventist culture – “I know the truth.” Adventist faith – “I live the truth.”

Adventist culture – “I know about Jesus.” Adventist faith – “Jesus knows me.”

 

Again, nothing wrong with those on the left, but there must be on the right. Amen?

 

Adventist culture – “I'm not sure that I'm saved so I keep the culture hoping to make it to heaven. I do the right things hoping, hoping it will be enough.” The faith says “I'm sure of Jesus' salvation to me because I've been born again in Christ.”

 

“I serve God because I feel guilty, if I don't.” You ever felt that way before? The faith says, “I serve Him from a grateful heart for what He's already done for me. Jesus has already won the victory for us. He's already paid the price, right? Now He's just simply applying the blood that He's already shed. Amen.

 

Then “I pay tithes and offering.” There's a few more here you don't mind. If you did, if you did, it wouldn't matter. J

 

“I pay tithes and offering to receive God's blessing on the rest of my income. Faith says “I return tithes as a witness to the world that I trust God to take care of my life better than I can.” Every time you return a tithe every Sabbath, it's a witness and a testimony to the world and to yourself that God will take care of you. Amen?

 

“I follow the health laws to avoid sickness and feel better. Good old Adventist health study, right? Some of you've been doing it for thirty years now. Good. Praise the Lord. But the faith says “I follow God's heath principles because I realized that I am His property and He gives me the very best so that I can give Him my best service.

 

The culture says “I'm not into prophecy.” The faith says “prophecy reveals Jesus; reveals God's plan for the world and His people.”

 

The culture says, “The Adventist church is another denomination.” I have a people say to me all the time, “I'm not into denominations.” I said, “Good; because as Adventists, we're not either. Because we're not a denomination, we’re what? [Movement] Not just a movement; but a prophetic movement.” Amen? People say to me, “I'm not interested in religion.” I said, “I don't, I don't do religion.” I said, “I'm not talking about religion, I'm talking about the truth here.” [I'm] By the way, people always say, “I'm not into religion.” I say, “You mean, you don't believe in taking care of widows and orphans?” Because in the book of James, he says true religion is this - to take care of widows and orphans, remember reading that text? James, somewhere in there James, 1 something. I said, “You don't believe in that?” Nothing wrong with religion as long as it the right one, right?

 

Culture says, “the church is irrelevant.” Ever hear people say that? Church is irrelevant today. But the faith says “the church’s God’s appointed emissary on Earth that brings the three angels message to the world.” I am the church. When people say “the church is irrelevant; the church is this and that” I say, “I didn't know you felt so, so badly about yourself, right? Because you are the church. Amen. We are the church of Christ.

 

“The church has a lot of problems” says the culture; but the faith says “the church is being transformed to be perfect bride of Christ.” Right? How may are thankful for that? Amen. That's the last one. Now, let's wrap this thing up. Shall we? You are so patient; you’re so kind.

 

I'm gonna read just a little bit more to you and then we're gonna be done. Ready? How many of you are tired? Good because I'm more tired than you. Listen to this and then we'll finish.

 

A culture does not empower you to live above this world; only comfortably in it. A culture sits in a pew week after week not being changed or seeking to help others change. A culture eventually denies the faith and denies His Jesus. A culture knows that it should trust completely in God but a faith actually does it. Adventist culture is indifferent to the church. It seeks to come only in Sabbath morning, sometimes not even a Sabbath school and simply fulfill its duty.

 

Had a guy say to me once, he said, he was, he was like utterly blown away, I preached a message something like this and he said, “You mean to tell me, he says, even though I pay my tithe like, he says, I like, he says, I have never not paid tithe like I have paid tithe my entire life.” He said, “You mean to tell me that even though I pay tithe, God wants to have a say over the other ninety percent of my income?” I said, I said, “Well, yes, after you pay the offering too.” As, as Adventists, as Adventists, we‘ve so emphasized the tithes, “Will a man rob God?” and we emphasize the tithe but the text says, “Will a man rob God?” It says, “In what way have you robbed me?” He says, “In tithes and offerings.” The offering is as sacred as the tithe and that offering is something above the tithe. And so anyway he says and then he says, “You mean to tell me that even though I come to the church on Sabbath and I serve all day as the head elder [He was].” He said, “You mean to tell me that God actually wants to, to be in charge of the rest of my, I mean I can't do whatever I want and I can't spend my money whatever I want after these things?” He was dumbfou... - it was like a revelation to this man. You see, God wants complete access to our entirety. Everything and all of it.

 

Adventist faith loves the church and seeks its well-being. [Let me just skip to the bottom here. I wanna make sure that we know this.]

 

Adventist culture alone will not meet the requirements of the judgment. You understand me? Adventist culture alone will not meet the requirements of the judgment. It's only Adventist faith which is the faith of Jesus. You see we always talk about having faith in Jesus; but (Jesus) God wants us to have so much faith in Jesus that we come to the place where we don't just have faith in Jesus but we actually have and possess the faith of Jesus.

 

When the Bible says “Here are those that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus,” what it's saying when it says the faith of Jesus, it doesn't mean to say, it doesn't mean, it is not saying the faith that is attached to Jesus, the faith that is of Jesus - the faith that is like “Ok, here, here's a piece of paper and this is the faith of Jesus and you have to have.” It actually means that when Jesus walked the earth and trusted in His father, the faith that He exhibited on the earth as a man, every ounce of it, every action of it, that is the faith that God wants us through grace to grow into. Are you with me? Does that make sense? So we actually have the same faith that Jesus had and we do the things that He did. That makes sense? Are you with me? And it's only that faith that will pass the judgement. You see Jesus, God doesn't want to just simply redeem us. He wants to restore us back into His image, you understand? If He, if He only needed to redeem us then as soon as you accepted Jesus you could just exit and go to heaven, are you with me? But there's a process of restoration that has to take place with Jesus.

 

So we must seek God personally with all our hearts and with all that is in us and be truly born again through a living faith in Christ. That's the remedy for Laodicea, friends. That's what we're missing. We have too long embraced and loved and hid behind a culture rather than a faith; rather than a faith.

 

To revive this love for the first time for some of us, it needs to be revived for others who may have be in the church for a very long time. We need to have it for the first time if we never had it. Maybe we've been in the church for 50, 60, 70 years; maybe you’re multi-generational Adventist who never had the Adventist faith. We've never had it.

 

I want to show you just a statement we're in a close with this. All [this is from Desire of Ages page 107] “All who become the subjects of Christ's kingdom, she said, would give evidence of faith and repentance. Kindness, honesty and fidelity would be seen in their lives. They would minister to the needy and bring their offerings to God. They would shield the defenseless and give an example of virtue and compassion. So the followers of Christ will give evidence of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In the daily life, justice, mercy and the love of God will be seen; otherwise, they are like the chaff that is given to the fire. You cannot reproduce heavenly kindness, heavenly compassion, heavenly love. You cannot reproduce that on your own until you've received it first from Him.”

 

You see friends, this is a matter, this is an issue of life or death for us. If Christ does not reproduce Himself in you, then we will be lost. Understand this? And that faith does not come by just sitting and hearing sermons week after week. And I know that “faith comes by hearing and hearing comes from the Word of God” but doesn't always say that it's preached. It needs to be preached but needs to be studied. That faith does not come by just simply returning your tithes all the time. It doesn't come by listening to Audioverse and I love Audioverse; but listen, when you listen to Audioverse, it ought to be a secondary thing after you've studied the Word of God for yourselves. Audio verse sermons are not for a devotional life. They are to compliment a devotional life because when you hear Audioverse, you're hearing a second hand account of the Word. That makes sense? I'm not discounting, I’m not saying that’s bad, as it's a very good thing, it will strengthen your faith so please listen to it; but don't let it be your primary source of God's Word. It's kind of like, for it's kind of like folks that when they eat meat, they say, “well, I'm getting to the vitamins from the cow that eats the grass and the vegetables” or “well, I'm eating the fish that gives me the omega 3.” With the fish, it's the omega 3 from the plant food, it doesn't come from the fish. You understand?

 

Your faith can't come from someone else's understanding and, and trust in the Word. It must come from your own experience. It comes from being alone in the audience chamber with only God. It comes from closet prayer and wrestling with God and being on your knees until you know that God has spoken to you, until you know that God has changed your heart, until you've seen the Word of God and the promises of God become real in your own lives - that's the only way you can have an Adventist culture that moves to an Adventist faith. Are you with me tonight?

 

So maybe tonight, you're here and you're a young person and you say “Good grief. I've just been living in a culture my whole life. I don't know anything about a faith. I think my parents have faith but I don't know if I have faith. I don't know, I've made that whole surrender to Christ. I don't know that He possesses all of my heart. Maybe you're sitting here tonight and you've been in this church your whole life and you say “that's me. I've been a good faithful Adventist all my life, but it's just been a culture.”

 

You know, Paul had to deal with this. Paul dealt with this. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He said, “In all things, I was above everyone else; but I lacked the one thing that could give me life.”

 

And let me tell you what friends, most people think of that and they think of all these conservative Adventist that do all these things but there are liberal Adventist as the don't know Christ. There are conservative Adventists who don't know Christ. There are moderate Adventists that don't know Christ. There are all kinds of Adventists that don't know Christ. Doesn't matter what side of the fence you're on, what matters is - are you on the side of Christ? Now let me tell you, I love the Adventist Church and I'm not going anywhere else. The only way to get me out, I think I heard Randy Skeete says, “The only way to get me out of the Adventist Church is in a casket” and then roll me out when I'm dead. I'm not. I love the Adventist Church and I love every one of its teachings. But if we've not had a faith, it's all in vain - means nothing.

 

So how many of you tonight wanna say within your heart “I might like the culture, I have a culture but the culture is not enough, I want to have the faith of Jesus and I want to have his faith.” And maybe you found yourself living in a nice culture, very nice culture, but you’ve realized, you realize like “Why do I still feel empty? Why do I still have this nagging in my heart? I don't have a peace of my life even though there's nothing really wrong. I just still don't feel connected with God.” It's because you're missing the faith element. Amen? And we need to go to our closets and we need to get on our knees and we need to wrestle like we never wrestled before. You say “I don't know how to do that.” Well just imagine tonight that tonight at midnight you're gonna die. I think that change, you figure it out. And everybody in the Bible that had the experience, Jacob and all these guys, Abraham, they all had to figure it out because their life was on the line. They went to God and they called out. The Bible says men began calling the name of the LORD and they call in the name of the LORD and He answered them. And He'll answer you today. How many want that experience today?

 

Let's pray. Father in heaven. Tonight, we ask that You would give us that faith. The faith of Jesus; not just a nice culture that will condemn us in the judgment, but a faith that would look to You and would carry us through the judgment unto life. And tonight Father we would pray that though we have a beautiful culture, that culture would not hinder us and would not allow us to be so comfortable that we don't reach for the faith that is beyond the culture and the culture is intended to lead us to faith. Father help us never to love the blessings and the joy of the earth without seeking with diligence the spiritual. And Father, help us not to be so comfortable that we hold the faith at arm's length and we think the culture is enough. May we wrestle, may we be on our knees tonight and every day seeking the faith of Jesus, seeking that Your Word may come alive in our hearts and our lives that Christ may live His righteous life through ours and that all of our righteousness is found in Him and Him alone. And Lord because the culture without the faith is just another system of works like every other religion on this earth, so we plead with you today Father give us the faith of Abraham, give us the faith of Isaac, give us the faith, faith of Jacob, give us the faith of Jesus. This is our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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