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Why Unusual Business is Business Unusual

Mark Finley
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An extraordinary mission necessitates an extraordinary commitment with extraordinary sacrifice. Business as usual will never create unusual, life transforming, world changing results. The times demand an unusual commitment to an unusual task.

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Mark Finley

Assistant to President for Evangelism at the General Conference

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Conference

Recorded

  • August 4, 2018
    10:45 AM

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Copyright ©2018 ASi Ministries.

Free sharing permitted under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 (US) license.

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It is well with my soul.

My wife and I have been coming to ASI for well over 25 years and every convocation is an incredible blessing to us. We deeply appreciate ASI. It has been become part of our DNA and we look forward every year to the convention.

Somebody asked me not long ago—they said “Now Pastor Mark you and your wife are 73 years old and when are you going to retire?”

And I said “Where is that verse in the Bible? I didn't quite catch that one.” Our ministry continues to expand in a radio and television ministry around the world.  Our evangelistic ministry continues to grow. I still have a few sermons left in me. And so I am just thanking God for the joy of health, for the joy of service.

We have what we call the Living Hope Evangelistic Training School. If you did not get our little brochure about our classes, we run intense classes on how to do health ministry, how to be effective in preaching, for laypeople; classes on church growth and evangelism. The wonderful thing about our classes is that they're all free. Jesus has given us so much that at this point in our lives, after 50 years of ministry, we want to give away what we have; so if you want to schedule one of our classes, if you haven't gotten one, we are in Haymarket, Virginia—Living Hope School of Evangelism—and there's a class schedule that will be at the door if you haven't gotten it.

Let's bow our heads and pray and ask the Lord to especially draw near.

Father in heaven, we thank You for the Word of God. We thank You that the Word is a creative Word. That the seed of the Word planted in the soil of the heart is life transformational. So as we study Your Word today I pray Thee that You touch our lives. Come and may creation take place all over again in this auditorium. Where there is darkness may there be light. Where there is barrenness, may the fruits of the Spirit grow. Where there is death may there be new life we pray in Jesus name.  Amen.

Have you ever noticed how children, particularly young boys at 10 or 11 years old, are often quite forgetful? Now their forgetfulness is selective forgetfulness.  As a lad of 10 or 11 I had difficulty remembering my chores and mom would often ask “Mark have you made your bed?”

And my response was “Oh mom, I'm sorry, I forgot.”

“Mark, have you cleaned your room?”

My response, “Oh mom, I'm sorry, I forgot.”

“Mark have you taken out the trash today?”

“Mom, I'm sorry, but I forgot.”

And I remember my mother with a smile would say “Mark, if you forget one more time, I'm going to tie a red ribbon around your finger so you'll remember when you get up in the morning.”

No boy 10 or 11 years old wants a red ribbon tied around their finger.

Sometimes we need a red ribbon tied around our finger. Sometimes we tend to forget the obvious.  And this is precisely what 2nd Peter is all about. It's about a red ribbon tied around our finger. It's about the glory of the Second Coming of Jesus that's so easy in the hectic pace of the 21st century to forget.

It was about A. D. 65. Peter was a prisoner in Rome condemned to death by the Roman Emperor Nero. He knew that the end was near. And there was one thing on his mind, one thing that filled his imagination, one thing that captured his attention, one thing that dominated his thoughts, one truth that swallowed up every other. The Christ the loved, the Jesus that gave his life for him on Calvary's cross, the Christ who redeemed him, the Christ who accepted him in spite of his failures, the Jesus that gave him grace to continue his ministry, the Jesus of the second chance, this Jesus was coming again.  And Paul [Peter] writes to scattered believers throughout Asia in the 1st century. But his words ring with eternal relevance in the 21st century. They come echoing and reechoing down the corridors of time.

If you have your Bible—and I hope you do—take it and turn to 2nd Peter chapter 1.  And this morning we're going to look at 2nd Peter, we’ll look at chapter 1 where Peter talks about the certainty of the advent. We will look at chapter 2 where he talks about the judgment in the light of the Advent. We’ll look at Chapter 3 where he talks about the delay of the Advent and he confronts the scoffers head on. 2nd Peter chapter 1. We look there beginning at verse 12.

 Peter writes from Rome. He's an old man now. His hands are trembling. There are deeply etched lines upon his face. His hair is gray, but yet he writes. He writes from a passionate heart. He writes from a convicted soul. There is something the old man wants to say. He wants to speak to us here at ASI this morning. 2nd Peter chapter 1. We look there at verse 12.

Therefore I will not be a negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth. Peter puts it clearly. He says I want to remind you of some things, some things that are obvious that are so easy to forget.

The Greek philosophers had a saying and the saying went something like this: time wipes out all things. Time wipes out all things.

The promise of Christ's return came 2000 years ago. But in the passage of time, in the hectic pace of our society, it's easy to have the Second Coming of Christ some place remotely back there in your brain. Some place in the consciousness, and Peter says—2nd Peter 1 verse 12—therefore I will not be negligent to remind you of all things.

The passage of time causes us to forget, and Peter is concerned not with novelty, he's not concerned with some innovative new truth, he's concerned about taking believers back to the eternal truths of Scripture.

 I'm not here this morning to wow you with novelty. I'm not here to impress you with eloquence or time setting. I'm here to remind you of what you know already. Jesus Christ is coming again, and that coming, that coming is the greatest hope of the ages.

Here in chapter one, Peter discusses the certainty of Christ coming. And he's speaking not only to his generation, but to ours. He's speaking not only to the 1st century but to the 21st century. He's speaking not only to scattered believes in Asia but to gathered believes in Orlando. He writes to remind us of eternal truth of the return of our Lord.

You know it is so easy to forget. Life tends to go on as normal. The ebb and flow of life seems to be as it always has been. We are born, we live, the decades pass, we die.

And Peter shakes us up. He says, “Never forget that death is not the end. Jesus Christ is coming again.” It's so easy to forget, to become complacent, to become half hearted, to become lackadaisical, and Peter says “Listen to me. There is a divine certainty. All of life is moving to one grand glorious climax. Jesus Christ is coming again.”

It's so easy to forget. Life presses in on us. There are family responsibilities, financial pressures, health concerns, and a 1000 other things. And Peter says “Listen to me, there's a divine certainty—Jesus is coming again.”

In 2nd Peter chapter 1 verse 14 to 16, let's go back to pick up verse 13.  The aged warrior of the cross is dying now. His strength is ebbing away. He's been through the battle. His body has been battered and bruised and bloodied. He focuses, in verses 13 and onward, on the brevity of life.

Now there are two interesting words there. Verse 13. “Yes I think it is right as long as I'm in this tent to stir you up by reminding you.” Now circle the word tent in your mind. “Knowing that I surely must put off my tent”—again the word tent—“just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.  Moreover I will be careful to ensure you, that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.”

Now notice what Peter says. He talks about the tent. He's writing to scattered believers in Asia of a Jewish persuasion. When Israel wondered in the wilderness they lived in tents. And for 40 years they wandered there, but they had a destination. 

Now notice the second word, beside tent, that Peter uses. It is the word decease. You see that there at the end of verse 15. “Moreover I will be careful to ensure you always that you have a reminder of these things after my decease.”

The word decease in the Greek language is the root word for Exodus. So what is Peter saying? Just as Israel lived in tents that were temporary dwellings on their way to the promised land during the Exodus, so every single one of us are travelling through life. We travel in these feeble bodies. We travel in these frail bodies. We travel in these tent-like structures, but there is a destination. That destination is the Second Coming of Christ. That destination is eternity. That destination is the Promised Land. We are all on this exodus, a journey through the desert of this world. We’re pilgrims passing through this world on the way to glory. We have a destination. We are not wandering mindlessly to nowhere. If life is going nowhere, if there is no end in sight,, if we are drifting aimlessly along in the cosmos life has no meaning.

You know there are epitaphs on the heathen graves and one epitaph goes like this: “I was not, I was, I am not; so eat drink and be merry because sometime you will be like me.” What hopelessness. “I was not, I was, I am not.” After death, this epitaph, “So eat, drink and be merry, because one day you'll be like me.” In other words, life is not going anywhere.

Shakespeare once defined a life like this.  He said “it's a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

And I read an interesting contest in a college newspaper. And the college newspaper offered university students a significant prize if they could define life in one sentence. And here is the sentence that won the top prize in that contest on a definition of life.  “Life is the penalty that we pay for the crime of being born.”

What hopelessness. What despair in the secular world today. If there is nothing in life to live for but ultimate extinction at the end of the day, life has little meaning. If all of life is moving to absolute nothingness, if time is a fleeting moment, if every breath takes us closer to a step of oblivion, life becomes a cruel saga of pain suffering and injustice.

But the aged apostle breathes a breath of hope. Light pierces the darkness and he says, “Jesus Christ is coming again.” That all of life is moving to one great glorious climax. That one day the earth will shake, one day lightning will flash, one day the sky will be illuminated with the glory of God, and one day Jesus Christ will come.

Now Peter gives two great evidences of that. 2nd Peter chapter 1. He gives two great evidences of the return of our Lord. We start there in verse 16 and we look at the first of those evidences that he gives—the first witness. He says “for we have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his glory.  For we received from God the Father honor and glory, when such a voice came to him from the excellent glory, ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’, and we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with him on the mountain.” Peter says this: “Look. I've seen the Glory of God. I've seen the majesty of God. I was with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration and I was clothed with the glory of God. That was a miniature Second Coming, when God revealed His glory through Christ like it will be revealed in eternity. That's a witness. I saw it” Peter says.

But Peter says “Let me give you the second witness of this coming of the Lord.” Let your eyes drop down to verse 19. He says “We also have the prophetic word made sure.” Paul says, Peter says rather, the echo of the prophets.

The prophets have spoken in the Old Testament. Jude 14. Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied, “the Lord will come with 10,000 of His saints.”

The prophets speak. David declares Psalm 50 verse 3 “our God will come and not keep silence.”

Isaiah cries out in Chapter 35 verse 10 “the ransomed of the Lord will come to Zion with singing and everlasting joy on their heads.”

Daniel adds—let me add my word, Daniel says—“the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 2 verse 44.

Ezekiel speaks, Amos speaks, Micah speaks. Hosea speaks. Peter says the prophets are speaking down through the ages—listen to the prophets. The prophets speak of the of the Lord. The prophets speak of the return of Christ.

Each of the gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, John—herald it. The angels say at the Ascension of Christ “this same Jesus that you've seen go up into heaven shell so come in like manner as you see Him go into heaven.

And Jesus Himself says, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God believe also in Me.”

Do you have a troubled heart this morning?

A loved one has died of cancer. A child died prematurely. You lost a job. Your business went bust. You went through a tragedy of divorce. Up seems down and down seems up and your life seems confused. Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so I would it told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again.”

The Second Coming of Christ lifts our eyes from what is to what will be. They take our eyes off time and they focus them on eternity. We look from the mud of the earth to the glory of the joy of heaven. Here is what Peter is saying, “Don't lose hope.” Echoing and reechoing down the centuries through the voice of the prophets are the words “Jesus Christ is coming again.”

Now one of the greatest dangers facing God's people today is a loss of a sense of identity, a failure to understand who we are and why we're here. We exist for one prime reason as a church—as a people, as a denomination—to prepare a world for the return of our Lord, to reveal his love and grace and goodness, and the eternal truth of the gospel to a waiting world and a watching universe.

And as time passes and the Second Coming of Christ is delayed—because the Adventist movement was always in it for the Sprint, never for the marathon.  We were sprinters. Sprinting to the end. And we're part of a movement that really should not be here, but should be in eternity by now. But yet the longer time goes on, the more difficult it is to pass on to a new generation the passion, the urgency of the Second Coming of our Lord. And that's why Peter's message is so important. Because he says “Never lose hope.”

Chapter 1—the certainty of the advent.  Chapter 2—he takes on the scoffers and he takes on the rebellious and he says the judgment will come.  But it is chapter 3 that we want to focus on.  Take your Bible please and turn to 2nd Peter chapter 3. The words of this preacher may not be critically important, but the words of Peter are. And the Word of God still speaks. And the Word of God still changes lives. And the Word of God still transforms us inside. 2nd Peter chapter 3 we begin with verse 1.

“Beloved, I now write to you this 2nd epistle of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder, that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken by the Holy Prophets” Again he's saying “I'm taking a back to the prophets. Christ indeed is going to come, and he's going to come soon.” Peter is not letting the church forget that Jesus Christ is going to return. Then he says this. Verse 3. “Knowing this first, that scoffers will come in the last days, walking after their own lusts, saying ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’”

Peter's point is clear. The scoffers can scoff, the mockers can mock, the ridiculers can ridicule, the doubters can doubt, the skeptics can skepticize—I hope my English teacher is not here, I made up that word. But that does not change the eternal truth one whit. Jesus Christ is coming in spite of their skepticism. Jesus Christ is coming in spite of their mockery. His coming is not altered by their unbelief. The certainty of Christ's coming is a reality. Jesus is coming again and that gives life meaning.

But Peter says something really fascinating here. Notice what he says. Verse 3. “Knowing this first, the scoffers will come in the last days walking according to their own lusts.” Listen to me church; our morality often dictates our theology. What you believe impacts how you live, but how you live impacts what you believe.  Many a man, many a woman reasons the way divine truth not because they don't understand divine truth, but because there is some cherished sin in their life that they would have to surrender if they gave up divine—if they accepted divine truth. If you are struggling with some divine truth, ask yourself this question: “Is it because I do not understand—is it more knowledge that I need—or is there is some long cherished sin in my life?  Is there some ingrained lifestyle practice, is there some questionable behavior, is there some deep seated selfish attitude that I'm reluctant to give up?” Often we plateau in our Christian experience not because we need more knowledge, not because we don't know enough, not because we need to discover some hidden truth, but because there is some hidden sin in our life, some long cherished habit lurking deeply within, some attitude of lust, some attitude of jealousy, some attitude of competition with somebody else.

There are attitudes and practices not in harmony with God's will that require spiritual surgery in our lives if we're going to be ready for the coming of Jesus. And there are times that surgery is painful. I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to our hearts this morning and reveal any [un-]Christ-like attitudes in our lives, so we can be done with them in the name of Jesus. I pray the Holy Spirit will so move among us today here in this place that will reveal cherished sin that deep down there in the heart, deep within the mind and that we can surrender it. I pray that the Holy Spirit will be so powerfully present here this morning that we will see our sin, surrender our sin, and by the grace of God become overcomers. What do you say church?

There's a wonderful statement in the book Desire of Ages and it's like this: “Holiness is wholeness for God. It is a surrender of the heart in a life to the principles of heaven.” Can you say that with me this morning? “Holiness is wholeness for God.” Together. “Holiness is wholeness for God. It is a surrender of the principles of heart—it is a surrender of the heart and life to the principles of heaven.”

What is holiness everybody? It is wholeness for God. It is cooperation and not competition. It is service and not selfishness. It is commendation and blessing others when you see them succeed, not criticizing them. It is giving and not grasping. It is respect and not revenge for those that do wrong to you. It is thankfulness not thoughtlessness. It is mercy not meanness.

Does Jesus have every part of you? Does he have every fiber of your being? Are you Christ’s and Christ’s totally?

Peter speaks to you this morning. What would the old man say if he were here? He would say “Is there anything in your life—any cherished sin, any selfish attitude, anything lurking deeply within—that would keep you from being ready for the coming of Christ?”

Now Peter employs 3 major arguments against the scoffers. He argues from the perspective of history, he argues from the perspective of time, and he argues from the perspective of the graciousness of God's character.  Take your Bible please and go to 2nd Peter chapter 3 and look at Peter's arguments.

He first argues from the perspective of history. We go and pick up verse 3 and then we move on from Verse 3 onward. “Knowing this first that the scoffers will come in the last days, walking after their own lusts, and saying ‘where is the promise of His coming?’” In other words the delay has been so long that Christ may not come. “For since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” So the argument of the scoffers is that history is a continuum and there's never been a change—that life and history have flown uninterruptedly.

Now Peter meets that argument head on when he says, “for this they willingly forget, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old in the earth standing out of water.” He said they forget that God created the world.  At a historical period of time in history God broke through. The world was created by God. Then he says—he argues from creation, then he argues from the flood, the earth standing out of water—“by which”, verse 6, “the world that then existed perished being flooded with water.” Peter says look we're not skin covering bones. We're not some genetic accident. God created us, God fashioned us, we have purpose, and the God that created us is the Christ that is going to come and redeem us.  Then he says God destroyed the world with a flood once. You're willingly ignorant. You don't know history. God created the world in a historical period of time. God destroyed the world with the flood. Christ came at a historical period of time and Jesus is coming again.

Then he argues from the point of time. Notice verse 8. “But beloved do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a 1000 years and a 1000 years as one day.” He says they fail to understand God's view of time. God's relationship with time is dramatically different than our relationship with time. The delay of the Advent is from our perspective but God is doing things in a way that will settle the Great Controversy in the universe forever. The reason we've had a delay of the Advent is because—in the divine drama of destiny, in the light of the Great Controversy between good and evil—God's love that was revealed on the cross will be revealed in his people before end time and before a waiting world and a watching universe. God will have people that are so committed to him, that are so transformed by his grace, so charmed by his love, so attracted by the Cross, that they reveal to the world the life of Jesus, of unselfish love, of kindness and compassion. And here, Peter says God's never in a hurry. He's dealing with the Great Controversy in a way that His love and grace and power will be revealed to the universe. God's concern is the security of the universe forever. God's concern is that sin never rises a 2nd time.

Peter says to the scoffers, “You don't know history.” Peter says to the scoffers, “You don’t understand God's purposes in time.” But he says one other thing to these scoffers. He says you fail to understand the gracious character of God. Verse 9 “But the Lord is not slack concerning his promises as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

The delay of the Advent is not because God is tardy. It's not because he's slow to fulfill his promises. He is long suffering. The long suffering of God refers not only to the patience of God, it refers not only to God's desire to save all humanity, it refers not only to his gracious mercy, it refers not only to his patient longing to see every individual in his kingdom, but it refers also to His suffering. God is long suffering. He suffers long. And he's willing to suffer the pain and the agony of a sinful world to ensure the security of the universe forever.

This planet in rebellion brings sorrow to God's heart. He has endured the pain of sin for millenniums because of his great love. He doesn't want one person the lost. He is heart is broken over sin. His capacity to suffer is in direct proportion to his capacity to love. His suffering began the day that sin began and his suffering will never end until the day that sin ends. He is the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. And when God created the human race he took a risk, and that risk was to create human beings with the capacity of choice, knowing full well they could make wrong choices, and knowing that sin would bring grief to his own heart. But love could do no other. And as, day by day, Jesus sees the heartache and suffering in our world his heart grieves. And as Isaiah puts it, “in all their affliction he was afflicted.”

Ellen White describes it in the book education this way. “Those who think”, I'm reading Education page 263, “Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the Gospel think of it in relationship to themselves and to the world. Few give thought of its relationship to God. All heaven suffered in Christ agony, but that suffering did not begin or end with this manifestation in humanity. The cross”, and I'm quoting, “is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that sin, from its very inception, has brought to the heart of God. Every deed of cruelty, every departure from right, every failure of humanity to reach the divine ideal brings grief to Him.”

The greatest motivation to turn loose of sin is not the fear of hell or the joy of heaven. It is that One that loves me so much has pain in his heart every time I turn away from him. The greatest motivation to turn loose of sin is seeing Christ on the cross with nails through his hands and a crown of thorns upon his head and blood running down his face and knowing that he bears the sins of all humanity. And looking at that cross, knowing that my rebellion today, knowing that my selfishness today, knowing that my greed today brings grief and sorrow to his heart.

Peter comes to a conclusion. 2nd Peter 3 verse 10 and 11. In chapter 1 he talks about the certainty of the advent. In Chapter 2 he talks about judgment in the light of the advent. In chapter 3 he talks about the delay of the advent and the long-suffering patience of God, and then he says, in chapter 3 verse 10 and 11, “But the day of the Lord will come.” The delay of the Advent will not take place forever. There is a point beyond which God will not allow sin to go. There's a point upon which God's people on their knees seeking Him receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is preached at the end of the world. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens will pass away with great noise, the elements will melt with fervent heat, both the Earth and the works that are therein will be burned up. Therefore”, therefore, “since all of these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct in godliness.”

Peter’s urgent appeal in the blazing light of the Second Coming of Christ is an appeal to the church today. Its an appeal for holiness. Its an appeal for godliness. Its an appeal for a grace that is so powerful and life transforming that it makes you a different man or a different woman.

God has a problem, and God's problem is the sin problem. Sin reigns in the universe, and it rains in our hearts. And the central issue in the Great Controversy is over the character of God. Is the grip of grace greater than the grip of sin? Is God's love more powerful than selfishness? Will there ever be a group of people in this world who love Jesus more than they love sin? Whose hearts are more set on heaven than the things of this world? Whose minds are more fixed on eternity, who live totally dedicated unselfish godly lives of service?

What can break the hold of sin in our lives? What can transform us into His image? What can deliver us from the chains of evil that bind us? What can release us from the prisons that so often enslave us? There is only one thing that has the power to do it: the cross of Calvary. Why is the cross the remedy for the same problem?

At the cross we see love in action. At the cross we see the divine righteous Son of God suffering in agony, pouring out his life for us. At the cross we see the just dying for the unjust, the righteous one dying for the unrighteous, the innocent one dying for the guilty, the obedient dying for the disobedient.  At the cross the Son of God bears the guilt, the weight, the burden, the shame, the condemnation of our sin. At the cross we are freed from the shackles that bind us. At the cross love breaks our hearts. At the cross the chains are severed. At the cross we are set free. At the cross healing grace flows to heal our sin sick souls.

Listen to this amazing reference in Acts of the Apostles page 532. “Before the believer is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ.” O, Jesus that can't be me. I know myself better than anybody else knows me. I know this sinful wicked heart. Jesus, that can't be me, Jesus.

Notice: “Jesus will lead us to be obedient to all the principles of his law. But of himself man is unable to reach this condition. The holiness that God's Word declares he must have before he can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as he bows in submission to the discipline and restraining influence of the Holy Spirit.” Now listen to this one. “Man's obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ's righteousness which fills with divine fragrance every act of obedience.”

I cannot, but he can. I am not, but he is. I am weak, but he is strong. I am frail, but he is almighty. I am sinful, but he is righteous. And as we come to him, opening our hearts to Him, Jesus says, “My child, I am not only the author of your faith, I'm the finisher of it.” Jesus can finish in you what he began in you.

When you see your defects, when you see your weakness, when you struggle with those cherished habits, the cross is all-sufficient. Our Savior longs to do something in us so he can do something through us. He longs to do something for us so he can do something with us. He longs to change us so we can change the world. You have only one life to live.

Time is passing. Its the urgent hour. It's no longer business as usual; its business unusual. The present is rapidly becoming the past, and the future is rapidly becoming the present. In the floodlight of eternity, in the blazing light of the coming of Christ, will you to this morning make that full, complete, absolute, total, radical, all out commitment to this Christ of the Cross?

Recently, in fact it was last Sabbath, my wife and I were in a little village in England at a place called the Cotswolds where the houses, they have stone houses.  We were taking a Sabbath to refresh our souls. And I came upon a little stone house, and in that stone house there was etched in stone these words: “Every noble life leaves the fabric of it forever woven into the work of this world.” “Every noble life leaves the fabric of it forever woven into the work of this world.”  You’ve one life to live. What are you going to leave behind? What legacy will you leave? What will you weave into the fabric of this world? Will you live in the joyful light of the Second Coming of Christ? Committed to share his love, and his grace with others? Is there anything in your life—any attitude, any habit, any cherished sin—that keeps you from being the man, the woman, the young person that God wants you to be.

I love that old song: Come every soul of sin oppressed, There's mercy with the Lord. Only trust Him, and only trust Him, and only trust Him now. Beth is going to come and sing. I want you to bow your head and meditate and listen to the words of the song. Let Jesus speak to your heart. Let Jesus touch you deeply inside. Is there something way down there inside? Something that keeps you from being totally committed to Jesus? Have you been holding something back from Him? His plans for your life are amazing; far greater than you could ever imagine. Listen as Beth sings and let the Spirit of God speak to your heart.

 

Come every soul by sin oppressed.

There’s mercy with the Lord.

And He will save you.  He will save you.

Trusting in His word.

 

Only trust Him.  Only trust Him

Only trust Him, now.

He will save you. He will save you.

He will save you now.

 

Would you like to say to Jesus this morning, “Lord, the best I know, I'm giving my life to You”. You know that's all God requires. We don't know everything about ourselves. The past for you is but a memory. The future for you is but a dream. But this moment is yours. This moment is yours.

Would you like to stand and say, “Jesus the best I know, I'm giving my life to you. And I want to be ready for your return.” When we make those kinds of decisions, come to this Christ of the cross, His arms are open for us.

You know I could offer the benediction and we could go out and say that was a nice meeting. But we're too late in earth's history for nice meetings. I have a special appeal. This is not a general appeal. But as I was thinking and praying about this message, I have an appeal to 3 groups of people.

First there is somebody here in this audience that you have been struggling with something in your life not in harmony with God's will. And the Spirit of God this morning has touched you about that thing.  It may be some habit; it may be some attitude. And just now I’m going to invite you to come and say “Jesus I'm giving that thing to You. I’m giving that thing to you.”  Beth is going to sing.

Secondly, there’s somebody here today that you have been disappointed. Something in your life has disappointed you. And that disappointment has fogged your vision of the coming of Christ. But you're walking out here with new hope today and you're coming to this altar and you're saying “Lord I'm leaving all those disappointments behind. I'm leaving them all behind, Lord. I'm coming to you to lay that thing down.”

And thirdly, there’s somebody here that maybe you've never made a full surrender to Jesus, and you want to do that today.  Just say “Lord I want to be ready for your coming.”

There's something in your life, come—forget about this audience—just come here and pray. Say “Jesus it’s yours.”

Somebody that had something in their life that's disappointed you and you've seen that thing and you say I'm laying that down—you come.

Somebody here who's never fully made a decision for Christ. You want to make it.

Let's sing, Beth. And if you know the chorus, when you come. Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now. Let's sing it together with Beth on the chorus. You just come as Beth sings.  Forget about the audience just come, bow your head and pray. Let God speak your heart. Let this be a special moment in your life. Look back on this at a time when God came and touched you and Christ spoke to you.

 

For Jesus shed his precious blood

Rich blessings to bestow

Plunge now into that crimson flood

That washes white as snow.

 

Only trust Him. Only trust Him.

Only trust Him now.

He will save you.  He will save you.

He will save you now.

 

Yes Jesus is the truth the way

That leads you into rest

To dwell in that celestial land,

And you are fully blest.

 

Only trust Him. Only trust Him.

Only trust Him now.

He will save you.  He will save you.

He will save you now.

 

We’re going to pray.

Here is the gracious good news. Jesus wants to save you more than you want to be saved. The longing of Christ is to have you in heaven with him. Heaven's not going to be worth it for him, if you're not there. That's what the cross is all about—His desire to have you with Him. That's what the Second Coming of Christ is about. He's not coming predominately to burn up a world; he's coming to take you home. He's coming to take you home. An ancient prophet, 2000 years speaks down through the ages, and his message comes echoing and reechoing down the corridors of time. Never forget it. Jesus is coming for you. Let that hope inspire your heart. Let that hope break down every barrier of sin in your life. Let that hope send you from this place compelled to serve him now and forever. Let's pray.

 Father in heaven, thank you. That life is not an endless journey to nowhere. Thank you that life is not some cosmic joke. Thank you there we're not moving to oblivion. Thank you for the blessed hope that Jesus Christ is coming again. Thank you that you want us in heaven so badly that you sent Christ to die.

Father the words of the song echo in our hearts and we trust you today, we come to you today. I pray for those at the altar today.  May the barriers of sin be broken down.  May the shackles of sin be released. Put new hope in our hearts where there’s been discouragement, new joy in our souls. Send us from this place as powerful witnesses for you now through all eternity. Amen

 This media was produced by Audioverse for ASI, Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries. If you would like to learn more about ASI please visit www.asiministries.org or if you like to listen to more free online sermons please visit www.audioverse.org.

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