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Called. Chosen. Committed.

Shawn Boonstra
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Shawn Boonstra

Speaker/Director for the Voice of Prophecy media ministry.

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Conference

Recorded

  • August 5, 2017
    10:45 AM

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Our theme this year at A.S.I. is “Called. Chosen. Committed”; and so I think, this morning, I want to spend a few minutes with you talking about one key aspect of what that means. Just one little sliver of it. Our text this morning is going to be 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. And a few of you noticed on the way in, “Shawn, you're wearing a tie.” Yes, I am. Don't get used to it. If they hand out ties in heaven, “Gentleman, would that be disappointing, yes or no?” Second Thessalonians 2.

 

Let's pray, Father in heaven, we believe that the Bible is not like every other book. This is the voice of our Creator, our God reaching through to our sinful world and asking us to take a step in your direction. And I ask this morning that the world would fade away for a moment and we would recognize Your voice in these words. And that when we are done, the direction you would have us go would be clear. I ask that you forgive my sins and that you make me fit to speak this morning. I beg that you would take a coal from Heaven's altar and anoint my lips with it so that what we hear is not human opinion but truth from the throne of God. And it is our covenant with You this morning as always that when You speak, we will follow the Lamb wherever He goes for that is our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Second Thessalonians 2 and verse 3. Paul writes, “Let no one deceive you by any means for that day [the second coming of Christ] will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of sin is revealed.” He's writing in advance about the Great Apostasy that would begin very early on in the Christian Church. “The son of perdition,” he writes, “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worship so that he sits as God in the temple of God showing himself that he is God.”

 

I am convinced this morning that that passage that we have just read describes the greatest threat that you face between this moment this morning in this auditorium and the moment that Jesus comes again; but maybe not the way that you think. We're very used to reading that passage with an external set of eyes.

 

We have no problem identifying the son of perdition. “There he is.” We know who that is; but I want you to look at it through new eyes this morning and you might recognize an even greater threat buried in what Paul has just written. And to do that I want to take you back to the pages of the Old Testament and I want you to look at the story of Saul, the son of Kish, who is a very ordinary average young man doing something very ordinary and average the first time that you meet him. He's out looking for his father's missing donkeys. He's like every other farm boy who's ever had to go and chase some livestock that broke through the fence. He's ordinary and he's average; but when you start to read the story of Saul very carefully, you notice very quickly, he is not like every other boy, not even close. In some regards, and you might want to think about this, this coming week, in some regard, Saul is a lot like Lucifer just before he fell. The Bible says he's gifted, he's choice and he's very attractive, easy on the eyes. He’s a kind of guy who turns the head of every young lady when she walks into the room; the kind of guy, I hated when I was out shopping for a wife because you can't get the attention of everybody when Saul, son of Kish walks into the room.

 

First Samuel 9 and verse 2, and he [that's Kish] had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. The Bible says there was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. This is literally the best looking guy in the whole country. He's the Brad Pitt of the day; Pierce Brosnan; the Cary Grant; the Ryan Gosling; The Shawn Bo- no I'm kidding about that. He's the best looking guy in the country. And in addition to being good looking, the Bible says, from the shoulders upward, he was taller than any of the people. He's got the whole package. He's so amazing. He probably doesn't even have hair growing out of his ears this guy. I mean not that, I'm bitter about the way the Middle Ages turned out but this guy's amazing.

 

And one day, according to the story, the best looking man in the whole country goes out to find some missing donkeys. What's stag muffin Saul doesn't realize, at least at the beginning of the story, is that those donkeys are not missing by accident. There's a Divine appointment. He's supposed to be somewhere. God wants him in a little village called Ramah of Benjamin because the elders of Israel have just called a meeting with the aging prophet Samuel, who shuffles into that meeting. “Fellows, why would you call a meeting on a Wednesday afternoon at two P.M.? I know you think that all I do is preach on Sabbath, but I've got a full agenda, I'm very, I hope this is important.” And he knows something's up because everybody falls quiet and finally somebody working up some courage begins to speak nervously, “Well, Sa, Samuel, we have all been talking and well, we really think that you're the best prophet we've ever had. We really, really do and you may even be the best prophet since the days of Moses. I mean, guys what do you think? Do you think anybody's ever been better than Sa-- We are so convinced of it that we actually went down to the trophy hut right there by the post office and Ramah and we made you this plaque. Look at what it says Samuel, it says for fifty years of faithful service and you can hang this in your study and every time you look at it you'll know how much we love you.” “Guys, really you called me in the middle of the week to give me a trophy that couldn't wait for pot luck you could have done that at pot luck, I'm busy. What is really on your mind?” Because anybody with experience knows that when the world butters you up for no reason, the ax is about to fall. “Well, Samuel there is one other thing and this is not easy to say; but we kind of notice that you're not the same as you used to be, Samuel. Things have changed. We have noticed that at church board meeting the other night, after the meeting, you went looking for the keys to your ox cart and it took you thirty minutes to find them even though they were in your hand the whole time. And we noticed that even when you are sort of able to find your keys you fall asleep in board meeting and when you're awake you can't hear what we're saying and we see that things are changing and so we're just kind of thinking you know what's going to happen when Samuel, the prophet, is gone. We think that while you're here with us, it might be time to draft some kind of a succession plan.”

 

“Oh a succession plan, guys, ah if that's all this is ,you think, I don't realize I'm getting up there in years, I've got a plan, I've already been training my two boys Abijah and Joel. I'm sure you've noticed these two boys, I've been training them and they're going to take my place.” More awkward silence. “Well, Sa, Samuel, that, that's the thing. We don't want your boys. We're not comfortable with Abiah and Joel.” And according to the Bible, they kind of had a point at that moment. First Samuel 8 verse 3 says that those two boys, Abiah and Joel, did not walk in the ways of their father. In fact, it says they turned aside after dishonest gain; they took bribes; and they perverted justice.

 

Now that might be perfectly acceptable in 21st century North American politics, but that is completely unacceptable in the camp of Israel. Completely because leadership in Israel, at its very beginning, didn't actually legislate anything. They didn't pass any laws. Samuel didn't write new laws. He didn't really make any decisions. The only role of human leadership in the camp of Israel was kind of a coaching role. They were there to direct the people back to the One true ruler they had, the God of Israel. He, he, that, that was it, it's a coaching role and if Samuels’s boys were morally compromised in any way, they could never have their father's job.

 

So the old prophet has to think for a minute, just like you would if you discovered that you've outlived their usefulness and your one legacy, your children, nobody wants that, it's a disaster. “What do you guys, what do you guys suggesting?” “Well, here's what we think Samuel, just, just hear us, so we've been thinking about this for quite a while, I mean, here we are now we're living in the land of Canaan, we're no longer slaves, that's a long time ago, and we're free and respectable people, and we have culture now and we have industry now, and we have college degrees. And we hear the event going to get a symphony orchestra down on the city of Jerusalem. We are completely different than we used to be and we think that now it's been so long and we've grown so much that maybe it's time to grow up and become a real country.” “What do you mean a real country? “You are a real country. You are better than a real country. You are God's chosen nation.” “No, no, Samuel. That's the point. That's what you're missing. You haven't been paying attention; we're not a real country. Have you not noticed Samuel that every other country with our exception has a king and every other respectable religion, every of the church has a responsible human being, a highly trained professional at the top of the organization and we're just starting to get a little bit embarrassed because after all this time, we still look like a nation of peasants and we want to graduate, we want to graduate from prophet to king.” “Oh, ge, gentlemen that is not a good idea. That is not what God wants to.” “Listen Sam, you don't understand because you're just from another generation. You don't get it. You're out of touch with the times. You should probably watch a little more C.N.N. Maybe Samuel, you ought to get a Twitter account so you can keep up with what's going on. Talk to a few millennial focus groups because they all know that here in the 12th century good professional leadership absolutely requires a king. That's how things are done and that's how everybody else is doing it.

 

And they were right. That is how everybody else was doing it. But everybody else, folks, was not the kingdom of God. If everybody else was not the chosen people, everybody else was not God's remnant church, and God's people have never been like everybody else, nor should they be. It shouldn't happen. God's people have always swum upstream. God's people have always been countercultural. And that's why it ought to bother us when people are for ever looking outside the walls of our own movement and coveting what everybody else has. It doesn't make sense. Well, sure, pay makes sense to pay attention to the culture, yes, it does; it's not what I'm preaching. Yes, it makes sense to make friends with other churches and know what's going on but that's not what I'm talking about.

 

When we covet what others have we're missing the boat. “Pastor, have you seen? There's a new church in town? Have you seen what they do? They have thirty trained professionals on staff including a staff psychiatrist. They write a bestselling book every six months. They put a Starbucks in the lobby because everybody wants Starbucks and they get 20,000 people every week. Have you seen it, Pastor?” “Yeah, I have. And my reply to that is so what? Is that what God asked His remnant church to be?”

 

And when we always, always and forever talk about what other churches have and what other churches do, what other churches teach and we wish we could be like them and we behave like God somehow forgot about the Seventh Day Adventist Church in short changed us than it is high time for God's people to open their Bibles and remember that this is not another denomination, this is the prophetic movement of God - the remnant church of Bible prophecy. We were not called to be like everybody else. We were called because we were not to be like everybody else.

 

“So Samuel, we want a king.” First Samuel 8 verse 6 says that Samuel is displeased; so he prays. And he gets a shocking answer from God. Verse 7, “LORD said to Samuel, heed the voice of the people and all that they say to you [give him what they want.] [What?] They have not rejected you but they've rejected me that I should not reign over them.” There it is again, I don't know if you caught it, but that was our opening verse again. It's a different context in a different age in a different situation but it's still there, there it is the biggest problem you face between now and the second coming of Christ, it's a different generation, but it's the man of sin problem, it's still about the throne of God. It's still about the throne of God. “LORD, how could you tell me to give them what they want? I don't like it.” “Samuel, I don't like it either. It hurts but I'm not gonna force these people into my kingdom. That's not who I am. I don't make slaves. If they want slavery, if they wanna go back to Pharaoh, they want another round of slavery, I'll let them go, but I'm not gonna make them slaves.”

 

You realize that's exactly what Israel's asking for. They’re asking to go back to slavery. They want another Pharaoh. It's amazing to me what people are willing to do. What they're willing to lose. What they're willing to compromise because they cannot bring themselves to believe that God might actually know what He's doing and He's going to keep His promises, even on the days when it doesn't look like it. These people in this story have a direct relationship with the creator God of Heaven. They have the Spirit of Prophecy in their midst. And what do they want? More slavery under a new pharaoh.

 

Before we cut our tongues and say, “oh, what a bunch of dummies,” we should probably remember that it is the story of the entire human race right down to this day. Garden of Eden the ideal situation; have everything you need, what do we do? Hand the keys to a fallen angel who makes slaves out of us for thousands of years.

 

“Moses has been up the mountain, Aaron, for so long we don't know if he's ever coming back.” “Relax guys you do understand the cloud on that mountain is actually the presence of God. I don't think there's anything to worry about at all.” “I know but we don't know if he's ever going to come down and that's the problem. We don't know how to relate to that cloud. We don't know how to go up that mountain. We're not allowed near that, that seems so intangible and we don't know if we have direct leadership anymore. Moses has been missing so long.” “What you guys suggest?” “OK, well listen Aaron, here, here's the thing and it will listen just, just here the whole thing out we would like to have and we understand it's not really god but we really would like to have one of those calves we used to see in Egypt. We won't treat it exactly the same but we can relate to that, that's what we've known for generations and it's relatable and we want it to.”

God actually brings that story up in here when they ask for a king in 1 Samuel 8. He says in 1 Samuel 8 verse 8 that the request for a king is “according to all the works which they have done since the day I brought them out of Egypt even to this day which with they have forsaken Me and served other gods.” My people have done this again and again and again.

 

This is the biggest problem you face before the Second Coming of Christ. It happens when we stop believing and we personally behave exactly like the man of sin and we climb up on the throne of God and we try to second guess what He says and what he promises. It's what happens. And sometimes we don't do a permanent look, “LORD, I'll just get up here and make one or two decisions then I'll get off the throne and You'll be God again; but I'll just make it. That's what happens.

 

We can't trust God to be the real king in our lives and you know it never works when you take control of - The Old Testament - the story of people who climb on the throne for five minutes. Jacob – “I know how to get my inheritance.” Abraham – “I know how to get a baby.” - leads to huge disasters every time and believe me this morning the man of sin is the flagship but he's not the only one who does it.

 

The biggest problem you face between now and the second coming of Christ, listen to me carefully and don't misunderstand what I'm about to say. But the biggest problem you face personally is not the little horn power of Daniel 7. “What are you saying Pastor?” That's a yes. It's a real problem and you should be paying attention but it's not your biggest problem personally. Your biggest problem isn't the rapid decline of western civilization even though that should probably concern you if you're trying to raise a family in this day and age. It's not your biggest personal problem. Your biggest personal problem is not another bad decision coming out of Supreme Court. It's not an executive order from the White House. It's not another decision coming out of the Congress. Your biggest problem is not the people who sit beside you in church. Your biggest problem is not your wife. It's not your husband. It's not your kids. It's not your boss. It's not your parole officer, gentleman. It is not even your mother-in-law. The biggest problem you face between this moment and when Jesus comes again is sitting in the very seat you occupy at this moment. It's you. It's this tendency you have to trying to control - behave exactly like the man of sin - climb up on the throne of God and pretend you're in charge even for a minute. And if you can't get that impulse under control, if you can't let God be the king of your heart, then you're headed for a world of hurt really.

 

Where do you think is gonna happen when everything that's going on around you find that comes to a head. I hope you've been paying attention to the world. People driving trucks through the crowds of pedestrians in Europe; bombs in the airport; shootings in public places; the economy ballooning to an all time high; and yet the debt levels, the same as it was in 2008. NATO started to pile up; armies against the Polish border with Russia; NATO launched a missile this week over the Sea of Japan; people getting beheaded and burned alive on You Tube. We're finally figuring out that our highest public officials have been lying to us and the system actually might be rotten to the core when all of that comes to a head and it will. When it finally blows up and it feels like the Spirit of God has been lifted from the earth and Moses might never come back down from that mountain then at that moment when this earth is plunged into midnight, how are you gonna react? Because if you have not yet given up your claim to God's throne you're gonna find a very hard to resist the first person who comes along and offers a little bit of peace and security and he's gonna be very convincing because the Bible says “he will bring fire down from heaven in the sight of men.” And if you're still trying to run the show at that point, you're going to stumble.

 

Listen carefully because the next few verses in this story have shaped world history since the moment it happened. And it's one of the most important keys to understanding the Book of Daniel. What's about to happen? Now before we read it, I wanna give you a refresher course from high school history because if you are like me, you slept through some of high school history or maybe were even absent. My kids aren't here. 1517 - Luther nails a 95-theses to the church door, roll where there. And then the Reformers begin to think about everything that happened since that awful moment in the 4th century when we invited the Roman emperor Constantine to be the king of the church. What we did in the 4th century is a direct parallel with what Israel did with Samuel - 1 Samuel chapter 8. We invited the king into the church. So Constantine brings peace. He ends the Diocletian persecution - just brings it to an end. And he looks at the Christians, he said, “this will be the glue that holds my empire together, they were united under persecution, they will hold my empire together.”

 

You should have gone to a church board meeting before you came to that conclusion because two crises emerge immediately - the dawn of controversy of North Africa over readmitting apostates; the Arian controversy on the nature of Christ. And the church can't solve those disputes themselves. You know what they did? They made a direct appeal to Constantine. “Hey, you like Christians, solve this for us.” But he's so busy with the affairs of the empire that he appoints the bishop of Rome to take over the whole matter and for the first time in history, the bishop of Rome becomes first among equals. He rises in influence. Are you with me this morning? What we did, it wasn't the outside pushing its way in. It was the inside, asking the outside to come. We begged the Emperor to take over the church. That's what we did. And once the government sets foot in your church, you will never get rid of it.

That model was not what Jesus established. He expected us to live directly beneath God, the way Israel was supposed to. How do I know? Luke 22, He says to His disciples, the kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; but not so among you. “I don't want to king for the church.” But we did it. We married Roman politics and Christian faith that gave us more than a thousand years of darkness, complete with burning people at the stake.

 

The Reformers open their Bibles and they realized what we had done in the fourth century and so they set about the work of freeing themselves from the biggest mistake we have ever made. Now the Reformation was about all kinds of things. Yes, it was doctrinal – sola fedis, sola scriptura. It was very doctrinal; but at the very core of it, the Reformation was really an attempt to undo the king we brought into the church- that's what it was.

 

Suddenly, over in England, Henry the Eighth is watching what's going on. He thinks “I like this. The German princes are free from the bishop of Rome. I would like to be free from the bishop of Rome that would be great because you can't get an annulment.” So he establishes the Church of England in this and of course all across Britain, faithful Bible believing Christians are saying, “whooh, we're gonna be free.” They weren’t. It doesn't happen because Henry's church is built for the wrong reasons. By the 1600s, it's in trouble. By the 1600s, the church’s telling the British, “Look, you can believe in your head whatever you want, go ahead believe the Sabbath.” That was there in the 1600s. Believe up here in an immersion baptism, go ahead. But when it comes time to worship, everybody does the same thing; you will be following the Book of Common Prayer.

 

By 1600s, there's no real freedom any more. And so to avoid going to jail, some of the dissenters, the British dissenters, actually start to leave the country. People like the early Baptists, and the Barrowists, and the Fifth Monarchists, and the Puritans and the Quakers, and the Sabbath keepers. All these people who eventually hand down their beliefs to God’s last remnant church - these are our spiritual grandparents. That's who they are.

 

Where do they go? Some of them flee. I'm proud to say, as a Dutch kid, flee to the Dutch Republic, which was the freest nation of its day. And when they get there, they run into another group that's fleeing persecution too. The Jews are fleeing Spain to get away from the Inquisition and they meet up in The Netherlands. And they begin to talk to each other and study together. And Christians begin to read the Old Testament in the original Hebrew for the first time in centuries. And they did have access to some very old Hebrew commentaries and they suddenly stumble across our story for today – First Samuel 8 verse 11. “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over, you he will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots. King gonna make you work for him,” it says. Verse 12, “he’ll appoint captains over his thousands.” There’ll be military conscription. Verse 14, “he’ll take the best of your fields.” There'll be confiscation and taxes to pay. And the Reformers are reading this, the dissenters are reading us; and they say, “Aahh, this might be the trouble we still have. This might be the reason; we still have trouble with human kings 2,900 years later.” And based on this story, they begin to dream of a place that wouldn't have a king. They begin to dream of a place you could live directly beneath God. It's the hottest topic of debate in the 17th and 18th centuries.

 

William Blake, Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, John Locke, John Bunyan, who's in prison for his beliefs, they're all discussing this. “We got rid of the bishop of Rome maybe we could get rid of the king.” And they pray for a place and while they're praying over this issue, they suddenly discover Deuteronomy chapter 17 where God anticipates the request for a king and He says, Ok, one day you'll ask for a king when you get to the Promised Land; but here are the conditions. Deuteronomy 7:15, “he shall be one from among your brethren.” He has to be a commoner. “You may not set a foreigner over you.” It can't be foreign-borne; neither shall he multiply silver and gold for himself. Verse 17. There were checks and balances to prevent corruption. I'm hoping this is starting to ring some bells. Also which shall be, here's the big one, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom he shall write for himself a copy of this law and this book and be careful to observe all the walls words of this law, the Supreme written law.

 

Let me ask you question? We're now in the 1700s, you have heard of a republic where the chief executive has to be a commoner; is not allowed to be foreign born; not allowed to get rich off the public purse; and must be subject to the supreme written law of the land. Ever heard of such a place emerging in the 1700s?

 

It is not a coincidence that the American Constitution describes a republic without a king and that a guarantees things like religious liberty under a supreme written law. Where did they get that idea? Every single one of those founding fathers, even though they were not all Christian, had been reading the works of the English political philosophers and the English dissenters and they used those writings to literally build the United States of America. But they did not, I mean they were, some were Deists, but they got the building blocks from the Reformation. That's why Ellen White, in Testimonies Volume 5, calls the American Constitution, a Protestant document because there's an unbroken chain of thought leading directly from the Reformation to the birth of America. That's why the Bible describes America the way that it does. Revelation 12 says, “The earth would open up to give the persecuted masses a place to go. “  Revelation 13 says, this brand new nation would be Christ-like, lamb-like and it doesn't even have crowns on its horns like the first beast because there wouldn't be a king. The founding fathers of this nation knew exactly what they were building I can prove it. 1787 - Constitutional convention, big debate on the floor over state representation. I know it's hard to imagine a convention where the delegates disagree, but it happened. And it nearly broke apart - this nation came this close to not being a nation. When suddenly, Ben Franklin stands up and suggests that everybody takes a break and go spend a day with someone they disagree with. Then he quotes the Bible by memory for two minutes off the top of his head even though he's a deist. Fourteen references something like that in two minutes. And then he makes a radical suggestion, “Before I sit down,” he said, “I suggest Mr. President [the chair of that meeting] that propriety of nominating and appointing before we separate a chaplain to the convention whose duty it shall be uniformly to introduce the business of each day by an address to the Creator of the universe and the Governor of all nations.” You tell me who did these people believe was the real King of all nations? If America wasn't going to have a human king it's because those founding fathers knew there was already One in this universe and they wanted people to account directly to Him.

 

 Newport Rhode Island, 1790, a Jewish synagogue is panicking because they know that America has been born as a Christian nation. Not the way that Christians in this century think of it, but in the original sense. And they panic, “What's gonna happen to us in the old world we were persecuted because we're in a Christian nation?” And George Washington hears about it and he writes them a reassuring letter, “Listen,” he says, “You can rest in peace. You're going to be fine. You're going to be free in this nation.” And then he says this, this is his letter, “May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants. Well, everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there should be none to make I'm afraid.” That's a direct quote from Micah chapter 4 where God described his ideal Kingdom; that's what it is.

 

Listen to me carefully; the founding fathers were building a Christian nation in the original biblical sense. What they were trying to do is rewind the clock to one day before Saul, before the biggest mistake we've ever made. What's really interesting is the way that Saul kind of foreshadows the whole fate of America, I mean in the beginning, he's Christ-like, he's lamb-like.

 

Look at the story. The Bible says Samuel anoints him in private. And he doesn't get the crown till he proves himself on the battlefield. Jesus is anointed, the day He goes to heaven - Acts chapter 2 verse 33. But He doesn't really a get His inheritance until after the judgment is complete. There's a parallel. The Bible says, Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit - became another man. First Samuel chapter 10. And of course, Jesus was anointed by the Spirit at the beginning of His ministry and He also became someone else - He became one of us. There's no question, in the beginning Saul is lamb-like; but you know, he's not a type of Christ because as he continues down the story, you discover he's really a type of the United States of America. He even is ultimately replaced by a messianic King who sits on David's throne.

 

Two years into his reign, Saul wants to go to the battlefield against the Philistines and he wants to have a sacrifice but Samuel is delayed seven days, the perfect delay, it's the language of the second coming. And he decides, “I'll bring fire on the altar myself, if Samuel doesn't come.” Which is exactly what the second beast does - brings fire down from heaven on the earth on the sight of men. This nation here was born exactly on time for the appearance of the remnant church, lamb-like in the beginning; but over the course of the 20th century, as we rejected the light of the third angel's message, the whole character of America began to change all through the twentieth century.

 

And now, we sit a heartbeat from midnight and the Constitution is under attack. Why should that matter to Adventists? Testimonies Volume 5, Ellen White says, “when our country show repudiate every principle of its constitution as a Protestant and Republican government then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and the end is near.” You've been paying attention to the last 15 years? You know the government listens to your phone calls? Because I know it I say things to see if I can hear a click on the line. They force people to participate in religious ceremonies; take your business if you want; forcing people to buy things they don't wanna buy; silencing people who say the wrong things on a college campus or on You Tube - That's just the last 15 years. And that's just the warm up. We have already seen Caesar stand in the American Congress; invited over to speak because we've run out of human answers. The bishop of Rome at the podium of God's last day Republic.

 

Let me say this, everybody had an opinion last year in 2016. Rough year at the ballot box. But it didn't matter who won that election. Doesn't matter because no human being is the answer you're looking for.

 

At the end of his life, Saul has to kill himself because if you want to run the show, you have to provide your own problems. The Philistines find his body, cut his head off. He's no longer head and shoulders taller than everybody else because in the end, he is not your king and nobody like Saul as your king.

 

But you move forward 1200 years in history; you will find your King writhing in agony on the cross we made for Him. We spit in His face and we mock His dignity and yet He pleads for you, “Father, forgive them for they don't know what they're doing.” That's your King.

When I was a younger man, 18, I used to hang out at the Legislative Assembly in British Columbia because it was so much more fun than going to school. Two o'clock in the afternoon, they had a question and answer period - Question Time, they call it, question period were the loyal opposition, Her Majesty's loyal opposition got to ask questions of the government and embarrass them and you weren't allowed to insult each other but they made an art-form out of it, “Mr. Speaker would it be OK if I called my loyal a poem an idiot.” “No that's not OK.” But he got it done anyway. I came down one day out of the visitor's gallery and I walked out into the rotunda and there in a scrum of hostile reporters is the Premier of British Columbia, Bill Vander Zalm at that time. Some of you know who Bill Vander Zalm was. Now if you're just, you know, if you're American, he's kind of like the governor but not really because we have a fused executive and legislative function different matter. He looks up and sees me. I've got ripped jeans and a tattered t-shirt and he says, “Hey, it's good to see you.” I know he doesn't know me but he's trying to use me to get away from those reporters and he comes over and puts his arm around me. “Let's go for a walk.” We walk down the hallway. With the premier of British Columbia, I'm walking down the hallway out the door, out into a breezeway into his executive offices, as if we step into his offices, there are people sitting there that I have only ever seen on the news and they rise to their feet, “Mr. Premier, so good to see.” “Gentlemen, sit down, I'll be with you in a minute.” He walks me into his office, closes the door, asked me to take a seat, he says, “Just hang out with me for a minute. I don't want to talk to those guys.” “Huh.” He asked me, “What do you do?” I go to school up at the University of Victoria. “What are you taking?” Political Science. “Oh, that's a good degree.” Only a politician ever says that's a good degree. So, we talked a little bit. He asked me about my dreams and hopes and fears and then ten minutes later escorts me out the door, sends me on my way. And I slaved for that guy until he left office for free. Why? Because he took an absolute nobody and walked me into the halls of power and sat me down like I mattered. I slaved for him. So here we are. I'm not 18 anymore. Neither are you. If you're not sure, look around. But at this moment in the last gasp of this world's history, God has let us try every on. “You want Kings, OK.” The kings of Israel became so wicked that they caused the abomination of desolation - temple desolated. They were offering babies to Molech. We've never had self-government again. We've never been back. After that Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome - little horn power. And then something that almost, almost got it right - Second beast, but it fails too.

 

And in this moment, the rightful King of this universe has just slipped His arm around your shoulder and said, “Let’s go for a walk.” Here's what He says, Revelation 3:20, listen carefully to this, “if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me. To him who overcomes, [here it comes, listen] to him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on my throne.”

All this time, you've been trying to seize it, just for a minute here, just for a minute there, all this time you've been trying to plan your own life and run your own world and all this time, the Son of God has been planning to share His throne with you anyway. Are we gonna to trust Him? The only thing that stands in the way between now this moment right here and that moment then is you. So, when do you gonna let go? What are you still clinging to?

 

 I'll be honest this morning. I'm concerned about a lot of things we let distract us as a church. We were only asked to do one thing. One thing. God says, “Get down off that throne. Never belong to you in the first place, I asked you to go get my children and bring them home.”

 

I’ve searched my Bible for years now. It's the only job, He gave us. Testimonies Volume 5, after she describes the undoing of the American Constitution, how it's a warning, she writes this, “It is no time now to allow our minds to be engrossed with things of minor importance. While men are sleeping, Satan is actively arranging matters so that the Lord's people may not have mercy or justice.” Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. That was a long time ago and they went through a whole cycle in but if I'm looking at the prophetic landscape and I'm watching the news correctly, the cycles’ repeating and were there again.

 

I know its fun to get caught up in all kinds of things; but we do not have time to get distracted. And it is time to get off the throne and believe the promises of God and get back to the one and the only thing He ever asked us to do. And His promise to you is – I will share My throne with you. It's His. Let Him have it. Maybe you've tried to run your life your own way? I have. I'll admit, I pull an Abraham once in a while. Who I know how to make this happen? God's promises are good. If I read my Bible correctly He says, that the crowd that makes it is so big no man could number it. Our work does not peter out, it does not fizzle out, it does not whimper, and go into the darkness, it ends Revelation with the whole world lighting up with the glory of Jesus Christ with a mighty shout. But until we let go and believe God's promise, that's not going to happen.

 

Father, it's your throne and we believe we don't belong on it and You do. And we will trust Your promises and get the work done so that we can stand in glory with the One who gave us life to buy us eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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