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What Sort of People- Part 3

C. Raymond Holmes
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C. Raymond Holmes

Pastor, missionary, retired seminary professor, and author

Recorded

  • June 12, 2016
    3:30 PM
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Father thank You for this NEW DAY Thank you for your grace and mercy love our new every day we thank you for your cleansing power. We thank you for the presence of your Holy Spirit who is our teacher we pray that your spirit would speak to our hearts this morning build our faith and our surrender to your truth in Jesus' name and meant it. While one. Time was up yesterday we were thanking God that. When we surrender to Christ he comes to dwell in our hearts and we are praising God that when that happens the Holy Spirit has access to the inner being and begins to work is transforming Grace remold and recreate us and to restore the image of God that was the last one Adam in needs and the day before yesterday we focused on the spirit's fruit of peace and patience. And we started talking about kindness and goodness Paul says it first Corinthians chapter thirteen verse four the love first of the spirits wrote which is foundational to all the rest. Is patient and kind not arrogant. Or rude I looked in. Webster's dictionary for a definition of kindness and goodness. But I wasn't satisfied with what I found and Webster's and then as I thought about it I realized that. What we really need is not a definition of goodness and kindness we need to description something that's more vivid like a picture and that would make an indelible impression on our minds not just on our minds but on our hearts so where to find such a description of course. You find it in the Word of God. So. In Mass you Chapter twenty. The first sixteen verses we find a perfect description. Of kindness and goodness it was it's a story about a man who was kind and good. Matthew twenty. It's always fascinated me by the way it starts it says for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard asked you're agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day and a nary a Sunday he sent them into his vineyard and going out about the third hour he saw others. Standing idle in the marketplace. And to them he said You go into the vineyard too. And whatever is right I will pay you I will give you so they went going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour he did the same thing and about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing and he said to them Why do you stand here I it will all day they said to him because no one has hired us he said to them you go into the vineyard too and when even in came the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman. Call the laborers and pay them their wages beginning with the last up to the first. Last hired up to the first tired and when those hired about the eleventh hour of the last ones hired. Came each of them received. A denarius. Now when those hired first came. They thought because they had seen that the last received a denarius. They thought they would receive more but each of them also received a denarius and on receiving it they grumble at the master of the House saying these last work the only one hour and you have made them equal to us who have been borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat but he replied. To one of them. Friend I am doing you no wrong. Do you not agree with me. For a dozen areas take what belongs to you and goal I choose. To give to this last work or as I give to you am I not allowed to do what I choose. What what belongs to me or do you begrudge me my generosity so the last will be first and the first last fascinating story now a lot of people. Would say that that's not the way to run a business but that's not the point Jesus was making in telling this story and if they had had a labor union backed and they would have made a lot of trouble Jesus was talking about the nature of the kingdom of heaven and what better way than to describe describe it by drawing a picture of it that would not be forgotten the rest of course grumbled and complained see to them the issue was fairness not generosity or kind or goodness first who says after agreeing with the labors for a denarius a day. He sent them into his vineyard in other words they said we don't work for that amount of money was the owner of the vineyard fair of course that's what they had agreed on he wasn't being unfair but he was being kind and generous to those who work only one hour now you know some people might think that he was foolish stupid but was he it's but. To be kind and generous and good. Now you get the same don't you. He said When you accept the Lord at seventy one you get the same. Gift as a person who accepts the Lord when they're ten years old and you wait today decent people would organize to put a stop to such an unfairness fully snus and stupidity from their point of view but he was not being unfair because he had negotiated with them as verse two says and later on he reminds them in verse thirteen I'm doing you a little wrong because you agreed with me for a denarius I was our contract I'm honoring our contract take what belongs to you but you have a right to in other words they really had no complaint they were jealous Jesus kindness and goodness. Wasn't an issue he had the lesson that he wanted to teach his followers who were citizens of the kingdom of heaven and so he tells this story Ellen White. Has a very interesting comment on this Christ's object lessons page three ninety seven she said those who came into the vineyard at the eleventh hour. Were thankful for an opportunity to work. Day would have been satisfied with the one didn't areas or even less because they were thankful for the opportunity she goes up excuse me their hearts were full of gratitude. So the one who had accepted done and when at the close of the day the householder paid them for a full day's work they were greatly surprised Can you imagine you know. All my can't believe that I only worked on our They knew they had not earned such wages she said and the kindness expressed in the countenance of their employer. Filled them with joy they never forgot the goodness of the householder or the generous compensation they had received Proverbs eleven seventeen says a man who is kind benefits himself but a cruel man hurts himself why is true you tell me what kind man. Benefits himself. Is that a motivation for kindness. To get some benefit. Good cringe benefit Yeah. I mean as. I did. And. They feel like they have to do. It we almost Yes. Wrong. It well I want to be like I do you know yeah. So what you're saying is that kindness comes back to us. Right that's right. Now she said the immediate. What we're to do. Benefit is peace so the kind person you feel peaceful. Because you know you did the right thing you did a good thing. Or. Good for one's mental health why do you say that. How true that is Proverbs twenty one twenty one says whoever her so those righteousness and kindness. Will find life. Righteousness on her I've never heard somebody say about some someone else he or she is a good person I think that's probably the highest compliment anybody could ever receive. Does kindness break down barriers. You know when I was growing up and walked even Illinois. Between Milwaukee and Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan. We never locked our doors didn't have to Nowadays you don't dare leave home without locking your door. He says in rural America you can still leave your door unlocked Well anyway I remember those days so whoever pursues right just innocent kindness will find life righteousness and honor but it seems that Jesus was trying to illustrate something else not what we might call. The selfish reward. Promised in this verse but something that Ellen White captures. And her comment the reaction and the response of those that benefit. From the kindness and the good day they would have been satisfied with what they had earned even one hour's pay and they were surprised. Astonished at such generosity but the overwhelming kindness filled them with joy it says you say there was something that was more important than the wage there are things in life that are more important than money but we so often live as though money were of the most the most important thing this is precisely why I think that. God's request of the tide is a test test of our faith every time we receive wages. We have to deal with the question which is more important my money or my relationship with God The older I get the more I become aware that everything I have every single thing that I have is a gift of God. They never forgot the source. Of this sheer goodness that came their way I'm nuts to point to Jesus one of. The ones he was speaking to and he wants us. To get from that story and in his great sermon Sermon on the Mount by the way if you read the Sermon on the Mount carefully all the way through you will be a manes to discover the whole thing when you get past the Beatitudes the whole thing talks about Christian behavior. And lifestyle the whole thing. There's not a word in there about justification by faith. Let me just read. The visions talks about what to do about anger lust divorce Oh yes retaliation of. Love your enemies. Giving to the needy that comes the Lord's prayer then fasting then laying up treasures in heaven. Not being anxious judging others asking that will be given a golden rule a tree in its fruit build your house on the rock that's what it talks about Jesus most famous sermon is all about what it's like to live in the kingdom of heaven and be a part of that and Vironment is amazing and he puts it like this in Matthew five sixteen he says Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and if glory to your father who is in Heaven God gets the credit God is school or a FIDE one his people live that way. And in John fifteen verse sixteen he says I chose you. And I appointed you. Do you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide old as he doesn't say and make fruit he says bear it that your fruits of abide and the words that the impact. And the influence of the way you live will stay remain and continue so that he says whatever you asked the father in my name he may give it to you. Now it's your light on who lights your light and says Let your light shine before others. It's your light but who lights it Jesus said John eight twelve I am the light of the world whoever follows me well not walk in darkness but will have the light of life John twelve or thirteen six read while you have the light believe in the light that you may become sons daughters of light it's the spirit's fruit but when he produces that fruit in the you it becomes your fruit let your light shine and the way to light the Reminds me of a new interesting story when I was a student at Northern Michigan University got to go back a little bit. When I graduated from high school I didn't know what I was going to do my father said you're going to learn how to lay bricks so I did. And I was earning pretty good money. And I had it when I was in high school of my I met a teacher an art teacher. And I took his art class. He be friended me and I needed a friend. And I was attracted to this man. Was a good man. And he managed to awaken in me. A talent for art. And so I developed a vision to become an illustrator and so my plan was to save enough money laying brick. So that I could attend the Art Institute in Chicago and take their courses and become an illustrator and so I developed my gift and I learned how to paint and draw and so on until the Lord got ahold of me and completely changed the direction of my life and my creative abilities or channel from art to sermonizing and writing and so up when I was a student at Northern we had tended. St Mark's Lutheran Church which was right across the street from the campus of Northern Michigan University. And when the pastor there his name was John hup. Finished when he learned of I was preparing for ministry invited me to preach my very first sermon I preached in that church I remember I worked a month on that sermon and I practiced it and when I practiced it it took me the twee twenty and thirty minutes to preach the sermon. But when I got up. In the pulpit to preach that's arm I was so nervous my legs were actually shaped like that. And my mouth was dry. I talked so fast I was done in ten minutes. And I remember the pastor was sitting in the last pew on the left side and I quipped I said a man and I sat down and I I looked over there and he got up slowly from his seat and he started walking slowly was a long aisle slowly down the aisle toward the front and as he walked down the aisle he put his hand on the end of every pew as he was walking down and I thought I was a little. Later I realized what he was doing. Because when he got up to the front he went to the pulpit and he proceeded to preach for fifteen minutes. While he was walking down the he was preparing a sermon a message to fill in. Well that whole experience and worshipping in that church was such a blessing for us I decided that I would paint a picture of the building the church building was brand new just been built a year or so before that. And I decided to paint a portrait of the of the church building which turned out by the way to be my last painting I never did another painting and. We were living in a sixteen foot trailer and there was no room and all to paint a large painting in there so one of the church members graciously let me tell you the picture at their house which was just a couple blocks. From the church and it was a picture of this brand new church building. And it was very dark clouds. And light shining out from the windows of the church on the snow. And I called the picture the light in the darkness and I gave it to I gave the painting to the congregation as a gift just for as a thanks for the fellowship that we had enjoyed for two years. And the opportunity to preach there because he invited me to preach more than once well about four months ago I got an e-mail. From a Lutheran pastor that I have maintained a friendship with over the years. And he said that Saint Mark's Lutheran Church and Market is closing its doors on July thirty one they have so few members that town afford to run the church anymore. So immediately I thought what about my painting it's been hanging there in the entryway for fifty nine years I never saw it again until about four years ago when there was up a meeting there of which I was invited and Shirley and I went and I was able to see it for the first time since one thousand nine hundred fifty seven. So I started to inquire about that what's going to happen to my painting. Well thank God the church board voted after I began to inquire they voted to return it to me. There's going to be a reunion of people that used to go to that church belong to that church on July thirty that's a Sabbath. We're going to. Skip church investment on that day and we're going to go over there because I wanna I wanna meet these people again some of us I haven't seen since the fifty's and receive my painting back and I'll be able to tell them this story because the people that are there now they don't know all this. Anyway it's about that wide and about so high. And my wife's first question is What are you going to put it what are you going to do with it. I don't know I didn't know what am I going to do with it and finally one day I woke up real early in the morning and I was praying about this and the Lord gave me D.N.C. I'm going to give it as a gift for the Michigan conference new office building in gratitude for the privilege of serving in this conference with the exception of three years I was in the Philippines we have served in the Michigan conference for my whole time in the administration astri and I think that would be an appropriate thing to do because it symbolizes the fact that the church is light in the darkness not a light as though it was one of many. But the light. In the darkness so I can't wait for July thirtieth. It's going to be quite a day. It's interesting that this happens but those. While you have the light believe in the light that you may become sons of light and when we're good and kind like Jesus to other people the father gets to glory. Let me ask you now before we pause for just a minute. Does the tree identified the fruit. Or does the fruit identified a treat now the fruit reveals what kind of a tree it came from. You can see a lot of trees like and around the berry and springs area there are a lot of orchards you know and you can see these trees but you don't know what kind of trees they are on til the fruit ripens and you know that's an apple tree it has apples on it it's a peach tree it has peaches on it you don't get peaches from an apple tree so the fruit identifies the tree that's why when we have the fruit of the Spirit God gets the glory. Because the fruit identifies the tree the source which is God Himself OK We move on some time ago I I heard a news report that the Pentagon in Washington D.C. was was considering. Making the sharing of their faith on the part of military personnel. A court martial of tennis they were thinking about it and it was also reported that this thinking was attributed to strong pressure from atheist organizations in our society which referred to the sharing of face as treason and also as a threat to our national security and when I read that I sat there and think thinking about it I thought whatever happened to religious liberty Whatever happened to the freedom of speech both of which are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States the First Amendment. Which reads like this this is what it says Congress. Shall make no law. Respecting an establishment of religion. Or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Or abridging the freedom of speech. Those are the exact words of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States now what exactly does the First Amendment prohibit what it prohibits is. It prohibits the Congress of the United States the law making body from making any law. That would establish a particular religion or church. And that would impose a religion on the American people that's what it prohibits it prohibits. No law making body from doing that and it also prohibits. The Congress of the United States from making any laws that would prohibit stop any citizen from exercising or practicing his or her face in other words it said the government of the United States cannot restrict you or prohibit you from practicing your faith. And that is further reinforced in that Congress is prohibited from making any law that would deprive any citizen from exercising his face and exercising his freedom of speech sharing his faith in other words the restriction of the First Amendment is on Congress not on you and me it sets us free it restricts the government from messing around with us. There are people that want to get rid of that the Constitution makes it clear that the Congress cannot A government cannot establish a religion and then force you by law to adopt out religion and thank God for the first amendment more. And the government by law force you. Not to practice the religion you have adopted and also the government cannot by law force you to refrain from speaking about the religion you practice in other words we have the freedom to share our faiths pass all literature. Do public events you listen. Without any hindrance. This is very important. Because this is what is meant by religious liberty the right to freedom not only to choose a religion but to practice it without any hindrance or restrictions the framers of the Constitution recognized the value of religion and providing the moral framework of American society and in America religion has primarily referred to the Christian faith. Although not only. That today the specific target of secular forces are Christians and Christian churches because they are considered by some folks. To be troublesome and reactionary and even dangerous that's why this kind of thinking was going on you know let's in the military let's make sharing the faith a court martial offense. Because DE I think. That it's dangerous secularists you see believe that our country would be better off if limitations were imposed on Christians inhibiting and restricting our influence on public life and they hide this. Behind the euphemism separation of church and state. And you cannot find those words in the first amendment you cannot find the words separation of church and state in the entire Constitution you know where that came from. A letter that Thomas Jefferson had written to a friend and which he used the phrase separation of church and state but they're not in the constitution and so what these folks. Really mean. Is the imposition of silence on the voices of Christians when they use the phrase separation of church and state what they want to do is impose silence on you and me shut up they don't like. What you believe. We don't like what you stand for and they wouldn't hesitate to shut us up by law if they could and by the way this is why the Supreme Court to solve part. Because in our set up and our system that's the supreme court that decides and declares whether a law that's passed by Congress is or is not constitutional they want to silence us these folks because especially when we say what we say contradicts the secular view of life and a secular view a morality in other words they don't like the biblical values that we hold and they want us to shut up wide because they want a secular morality to dominate and rule our nation without any inhibitions or interference one of the results of this kind of philosophy. Are the rampant in both abortions that we have today how many babies have been aborted. Since. Roe versus Wade. Was passed by Congress. Something like fifty million and many of them what they call partial birth abortion in other words the child an infant is a viable human being almost near her do you think God is going to hold hold our nation responsible. Ultimately. We believe that human life begins at inception. Not at birth and when you see ultrasound pictures. You know of a developing Cetus you can only stand in awe at what you see doesn't take many weeks before you see perfectly formed little tiny fingers and know. On the face oh and here I could go on and on about that but I won't it's. It's horrible anyway and you see pictures I just recently got a picture of a fully. Developed child dead curled up in a bucket abortive and at the heart of all of this is the fundamental question. Concerning whether or not religion has not only illegitimate but a vital role to play in public life or all the framers of the Constitution recognized and wanted to protect thank God for the Constitution as the Word of God is the foundation of our faith so the constitution is the foundation of our nation and our government. But it's just a piece of paper. You can see it. At the National Archives in Washington and you've been there and you're been there. You can see the Constitution. Your original sing signatures on John Hancock is the biggest one it's just a piece of paper but it is as strong as you and I are the strength of it depends on. The citizens if we're not faithful to the precepts of the Bible. What then if we're not faithful to the precepts of our own constitution what's that what then what I have described you know you must say what does this have to do with the fruit of the spirit well. What I have described is the national social cultural context in which we are living today as Christian believers this is reality and it's serious and these are the kind of things that we should be thinking about when any election comes up local or national or whatever how do we as confessing Christians relate to it. How do we respond does God fortify us with what we need to cope and stay true to our faith. With the contemporary scene in which we are living today as the context and the background. Let's read that list of the fruit of the Spirit again. That presents the spiritual characteristics that give evidence of a living believing faith elations five twenty two but the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love joy. Peace. Patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self come troll by the way that's what we're going to be talking about tomorrow self-control and it done it ends against such things there is no law. And remember these are the spirits fruits we cannot achieve them we can only receive them but when the Holy Spirit produces them in us they become ours and that's reality to the fruit identifies the tree he produces his fruit in us and them powers us to use them we can depend on them they will sustain us they will make us strong in the controversy between good and evil right and wrong righteousness and on righteousness and that's precisely why Jesus said speaking first of false prophets in Matthew seven sixteen the Sermon on the Mount he said that they are recognised by their fruits and then using the analogy of a healthy tree that bears good fruit as opposed to a diseased tree that bears bad fruit he made it clear that the world is able to recognise the fruit fall by their fruits not by our words apply our fruit what we produce. What impact we have on our communities on our nation. On our world I want to talk a little bit about faithfulness and gentleness listen to these a vivid examples of biblical faithfulness from Acts of the Apostles page five seventy five are she she's or she writes quote in all ages God's appointed witnesses have exposed themselves to reproach and persecution for the truths say. Joseph was maligned and persecuted because he preserved his virtue and integrity David the chosen messenger of God was hunted like a beast of prey by his enemies Daniel was cast into a dun of lions because he was true to his allegiance to have a job was deprived of his worldly possessions and so afflicted in body that he was bored by his relatives and friends yet he maintained his in a gritty Jeremiah could not be deterred from speaking the words God had given him to speak. And his testimony so outraged the king and princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit Stephen was stoned because he preached Christ and Him crucified. Paul was imprisoned beaten with rods stoned and finally put to death because he was a faithful messenger for God to the Gentiles and John was banished to the Isle of Pop most for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus and she goes on these examples of human steadfastness they are witness to the faithfulness of God's promises. Of his abiding presence and sustaining grace. They testify to the power of faith. To withstand the powers of this world it is the work of face arrest in God in the darkest hour. To feel however sorely tried and tempest tossed. That our father is that the Hell. They face alone. Can look beyond the sayings of the time to estimate a right the worse of the terminal riches you know I had to wrestle. Hard with the concept of the spirit of prophecy that does them was not a problem for me was all during my Lutheran ministry I had questions about infant baptism I bet ties many babies. During those ten years but I always felt uneasy about it. And the reason most simple I couldn't find any example in the New Testament of the baptism of babies so baptism was not a problem for me I was happy. To submit to that doesn't by immersion pioneer Memorial Church but the Spirit of Prophecy was a little different I really had to rustle it. And you know what it was a convincing me just reading what you had written the more I read statements like this. The more I began to hear. The the ring the sound of divine truth and I think that's why a lot of folks don't want to read Dylan one convicting just like the Bible. And its truth. Yet. Do you. Deals with the problems we're dealing with now. Well the message the messages of the three angels. And Revelation. Which not only identify the mission of the remnant people of God but also describe the nature of the times during which that mission is to be accomplished. And was like this Revelation fourteen twelve you know that verse here is a call for the. Patient and Goren's of the say. Those who keep the commandments of God. And their faith in Jesus puts two together. Keeping the commandments and having faith in Jesus are not separated so the situation that we face because we are living in the end time calls for and Durham's. Patient and or and not the words stick it out person here unwavering steadfastness. Don't give up or give in so the pressures and it calls for the fruit of the Spirit call gentleness mate there are some folks in our church now that are storing up. Some difficulty I hear I haven't seen it myself but I hear reports disrupting churches. Over the whole idea and trinity of you you know about it going on well how do we deal with. Be gentle with them. But don't we CAN I thought to myself What would I say if somebody. Came in and interrupted. Sabbath school class and started to rant and rave about Trinity and. Call us ignorant or stupid because we believe in the Trinity and decided that what I would do is. Wait till they're finished and say Brother Sister you're not being very Christ like today that calls for the fruit of the Spirit called gentleness the world we're living in today. Not anger but compassion God's Church has always been in trouble. Always from the very beginning because its destiny is to stand for righteousness in the struggle between good and evil. Till the close of time says Ellen White there will be a conflict between the Church of God and those who are under the control of Evil Angel acts of the apostles to ninety. But the promise of God is that Psalm thirty one twenty three The Lord preserve the faithful the face will bear we will hear witness will hear Jesus say to them Well done good and faithful servant you have been faithful over a little. I will set you over much enter into the joy of your master Revelation two ten do not fear what you are about to suffer. The faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life one who is faithful in very little Luke sixteen ten is also faithful and much we can thank God for the fruit of the spirit these qualities and these characteristics are just what we need. And times of spiritual struggle and conflict he produces them in us so that they can be used by his people in the great controversy admin Burke British philosopher a member of parliament. Once wrote this quote man of intemperate minds that is people who have lacked moderation cannot be free their passions. Passions are usually on reasonable and beyond self control. Their passions forge their testers or their chains was the right. Now now let's conclude with this statement by Ellen White from prophets and kings page five seventy one. She says But though the conflict is a sees less one none are left to struggle a low. I mean jewels help and protect calls a walk humbly with God never will our Lord be trying one who crossed in. His children drawn near to him for protection from evil. And pity and love he lifts up. A standard and touch them not. For they are mine I have graven them on the Paul of my. Male peers. And I have a volunteer to pray. Father. Out of. This media was brought to you by audio for years a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W audio verse or.

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