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Ecstasy, Agony, Harmony

Shane Anderson


Surprising insights on knowing Jesus.


  • October 6, 2018
    12:00 PM
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But it has a little break before your Sabbath we thank you that we can gather here and as a group of men in your name it's a little bit if we look at this very important topic how to know you how to know you better I 3 that you would stand in great measure your Holy Spirit to be here give us Wriston give us understanding and pray that you to glorify it in our lives because of our time here today British new name in it. Well thanks for being here this particular topic let me just say right here at the beginning. 2 things number one I do not claim to be an expert on this topic if somebody says I am an expert on how to know God intimately they haven't gotten to the humility part yet. God At the risk of gross understatement is an infinite topic and for all eternity we will get we will be getting to know him deeper and deeper in deeper So what I'm going to talk about today is not is not the end it certainly isn't for me in fact I do feel like I am going to be presented in some measure over my head because I'm going to tell you what I know from the words from the spirit of prophecy about knowing God deeply but there are portions of this I cannot say you know I've mastered this you know there's a you know I'm always there so I didn't come to journey with you this morning on this on this path and secondly what I'm going to show you this morning is how can I put this without standing to truth to convey it's organized that's too big and let me help you out when I started out college I started out as an engineering major I had dreams from the time I was this big to go and be a mechanical engineer working for one of the Big 3 in Detroit the lord interrupted my my progress in that direction and made it abundantly clear I need to take theology instead of engineering but the engineering didn't tests track with me and so I find stated there are some people didn't seem to naturally have a personality that engages them intimately with God I envy them it which I need to repent of my stand I understand but i wish i think i wish i wish i had that natural bent towards it I instead tend to be so much structured and I find it helpful to meet Don't be held back by the structure I'm going to show you this is but one way of looking at what does it mean to neural God intimately. I don't know if you've noticed or not there's been quite a bit of silliness that. Going around in Christian and occasionally adding a circle when it comes to how to know. Using Eastern mysticism those types of things that's not what they're seminars about this is about biblical understanding of what it means to know God Now that said I want to give credit where credit is due. Back in 1989 I think all of you except for you 2 gentlemen here will remember that 1989 That's true yes 189 there was a book came out by a lady named Janet Hagberg and jungle born in Robert Gerlach. And what they talked about what they talked about in their book is what I did based on a fair amount of my presentation on I've kind of taken it and. Put it together with my with my own experience and most importantly with scripture in the spirit of prophecy so. 6 stages of spiritual development of growing in the Lord I want to share with you the 60 ages. And it will take a. Ecstasy and harmony to know when Jesus Christ that's my health that's my prayer so without further ado let's let's listen to a little foundation did you bring a bible with you OK let's look at a couple things here if you're going to 13 if somebody looked at a phone call on you just a moment who did anything as for 11 to 13. And brave soul willing to read that one for us Gordon thank you John 173-2021 so we'd like to thank you for. 13. OK Yes And lastly John 1232 Thank you yes. Let's look at these are at least or text form special spiritual understanding the biblical time dating for what I'm going to share with you here and are a few minutes together. For 11 to 13 forth. So this is one of the problem texts now because it's a sense of the because you see what it's saying to attain maturity and just in case we missed the point to attend a. Wound you know now this is not about the elevation of men and instead this is about the intimacy of one's connection with Jesus that's what God is calling us to we're not called to be in the word We're not called to be in the true we're called to be mature and that means somehow that's hanging onto the of Jesus Christ this is a this is a mystery this is a mystery but it is nonetheless it is all the same at the very least if we believe. That baptism and a few moments in the words. We underestimated what God has called us to his promise to him. John 173. 20. And 20 in the 1st part of 21. This is one of my most favorite I have to say most favorite because I have many favorites there are many superlatives but this is one of my most favorite texts in all of the Bible and all the definitions that Jesus could have given for salvation he chooses this one and John 173 and this really trying to lie and then say May What's the next word they may know you are the true God and Jesus Christ whom you have said it is no one and I think most of your probably familiar with the biblical understanding of knowing that he wanted his young dog to get right back here. And it is knowing the essence and the depth of one another if that's what it meant it was the word for it sexual interaction between husband and wife. OK and here Jesus says this is eternal life he could have eternal life is forgiveness of sins and that's true there's no doubt about this he was part of it he could have said it is. Oh it is learning to have one this amongst ourselves in the church that's important but Jesus cuts right to the core and says this is the turn of life that we might know each other. Christianity at its root is a personal deep in in relationship to Jesus Christ that's where salvation is we arrive at 7 because we know the owner of the house. That's which is right here and then he goes on a 2021 and he points out it is saying this isn't just for the disciples that are sitting here right in my physical presence this is us living here at camp and I was right here today because all those down through the ages will believe in me and this will be assigned to the world if they are who they claim to be that they know. That a Communist guy isn't it that's going to send Christians $35.00. And there's a challenging to it many times there are people that will make the mistake of saying we must only keep our eyes on Jesus Now here's what I say that's a mistake because Jesus inspired the words here to say every now and you need to look at how you do it. Is examine yourself examine yourself to be if you are in the faith and there's no misunderstand what I'm going to ourselves for salvation this is not legalism it's not salvation by works and make no mistake the Bible itself clearly says there are times when we need to stop and look in the mirror and say How's it going and be. It that some people talk about. So waste your time it's not worth it examine yourself to see if you are in the face. And finally let's take a look here at John Chapter 12 or 32. If you have the urge to or the inclination no matter how strong or weak it may be to look at yourself in the light of Jesus Christ it's because he is drawing you. I think of one particular person that I have known on and off over the years they give me a call oh probably 3 or 4 times a year and they they have they have some mental challenges but they're fairly high functioning and their concern is regularly this how do I know that God has accepted me now if you knew this person you would have to you'd have to kind of chuckle a little bit because their heart is of gold and they love to help people they study there where they go to church but again because not all the Pistons are firing like they should be they come back to this doubt and I reassure them each time I say the very fact that you're concerned about it tells me that the Holy Spirit still has access to your heart. If I be lifted up was he lifted up yes he was he died on the cross Absolutely that's what he's referring to if I'm listening I will draw them to myself you know Jesus wanted to drive me to fulfill what Jesus himself said in John 173 that you know. That's what Jesus longs for us to do just doesn't give us a privilege it doesn't give us the leverage with God Now we're best but I think our special favors and this type of thing we're far beyond politics when it comes to Jesus Christ this is now in the heart of God and being. Someone that has Jesus that abides with him and walks with him on a daily on the vine on that basis how does that happens let's look at some stages here. Page Number one the starter discovery in recognition of God what's this about is the life changing time we often refer to it as conversion this can happen with a thunderclap. This can happen something that takes place over time and when I talked about how we may not be able to point to the time that we were converted but that does not make us unconverted for some people it just is a small thrusters for some people do new can point to the day hour and 2nd when God intersected your life I'm just curious how many of you have one of those moments in your own life OK how many of you are more of the gradual type OK Interesting the gradual outnumber the both are valid both are valid and it's this discovery in recognition of God that gets us started in this relationship with us it always humbles us to shows us our powerlessness you don't need a Savior unless you realize you need a savior. As an example to this fall on the road to Damascus actually after not moaning I can Mark Chapter 5 The jailer in a Stanley policy analysts are sitting in there and they are going to kill themselves and all stop and it turns out the entire family is that there was this discovery and recognition that God is God and I am not brittle praise the Lord there are powerful times and often not always but particularly for those that have kind of this peculiar experience like boom it happened there is this ecstasy that comes there is there is there is this sense of how can other people don't know about this you know just as soon as you have and having one since forgiven and been right with God for the 1st time and it's an incredible thing. Now the 2nd stage is the life of discipleship when someone has his conversion experience and they are baptized Oh you know what. I have a handout that you can still win. So I decide what is here is stage 2 this is a time of learning and the long use is just a one page and it's by the way just the single taste of time of learning of the longing there's power in association and talking about church fellowship here you know these days and to be honest it's been around for a very long time there are always people that say why I can be just as good a follower of Jesus at home in my rocking chair as I can be at church and it's true there's no you can't no you cannot Bible specifically says that is not give up the habit of meeting together but continue to do so when all the more as we see the day of the Lord approaching going to church however the numbers may be is designed the ordained to help us to know him better and so I just want to encourage us right now is here here in Maryland on a faith and this is your church for the year I just want to encourage you to science from a place don't worry about how messy the people may be God is there it is the apple of his eye however imperfect and maybe this is part of God's plan for sure and I send him back sometimes it's the bad eggs ensure that we learn more. Then more so it's OK I understand it can you have it sometimes it can be difficult if people like me in the church and that makes it a challenge but I think we need to go yes. The discipleship handbook hot off the presses sounds like. An excellent excellent thank you yes this type of a saying needs to be I feel like need to be trying to get around there's so many times people want to little any of them so I was just one church because especially since they don't like this they don't like or whatever that is that's not the point the point is this is the Body of Christ if you wish to know Jesus go gold contrib. Do the best you can learn from what's done right and learn from watched and all there's authority found in the leaders and or the organization now this is very common. We've held a number of evangelistic series ever church I've been the preacher for those and when I baptized someone. 3 Sabbaths later if we're in the lobby this list doesn't happen but if it did if we're in the lobby and. They come up with a question as a pastor Shane what about that and such and somebody says something different than what I say so they're going to believe. They're going to lead me through that right now there's great danger in that by the way it's always dangerous when we invest too much already in people this is one reason why Ellen White and the founding. Pioneers of the avenues church insisted that we not settle our pastors pastors over our churches. Because they knew that we have this tendency to elevate them above human status OK now that's the home of the seminar as much as I think Gordon knows and chomping at the bit to say more about this but I was I was shows self-control and I do this except to say that this is a reality authorities found in leaders that just kind of the way it is you can probably think back if you were one of those people that maybe you went to a revelation seminar prophet seminar evangelistic series My guess is you had some pretty high esteem for whoever the speaker was in there and there's nothing wrong with that was improper bounce. And for those of you that are the ones that are being looked up to be careful these lead you lead the sheep of Jesus appropriately. At this stage ground just in the face now the life of discipleship is really important is where basic stuff happens this is where people go to Sabbath school for instance we're having a push right now at our church to elevate our Sabbath school attendance there are some churches I know where status crews on shaky ground you know what we find other stuff to do run on Saturday morning for some reason have a school particularly administration is a goldmine you need to be there you need to have these iron sharpens iron this is really really core stuff and it is core to the life of discipleship and coming to know Jesus better that's an example of this the disciples prior to the cross you know it's interesting the disciples very much I mean you know obviously they believe that Jesus was the Messiah the Son of God And so obviously they elevate him you know they're still in the stories and actually some of the left over some of the dangerous of their elevation authority and organisation still lingers Jesus has an interaction with the Pharisees and afterwards the disciples come up there. Is you know that you you know think of them you know. As though Jesus was to be worried about that because they were OK They were still in these early stages and I was there as their development in their relationship with Jesus they were having still gets a call to differentiating between what was other God and what was not against those of you that are in spiritual leadership positions take it seriously make sure that people understand that they should only follow you and if you follow Jesus that's where Paul said that's the policy that. Stays in the 3 the productive life this is someone confident use of gifts and talents is common here we are successful for Christ and everybody gets at least one spiritual gift and I've never met someone who only has one we all get something in the body of Christ God given to us as he sees fit and this is how we get to work for the Lord this is powerful powerful stuff that tries to get what's going now 5 years ago now he just called me yesterday and he's been actually on his face. He's been telling a story. It's incredible the things that he will meet people in restaurants and he just has a gift a gift that I don't have certainly not to his extent and he can go from total stranger to half an hour later he'll have a Bible study set up for that night and he baptizes People like it's not a good that's not my gift you know my mind I'm going to be a Republican and of course it's set in there he excels at this stuff and I tell you what when he has an experience like the one he just recently has the right to long title details a guy was driving drunk young men driving drunk passes them in the car the gentleman I baptize follows him follows linkers lights out and gets them to pull over the kid leaves again and goes into a parking lot where there's only one way out. The guy that has blocked the entry with his car so the drunk I cannot get out and says I'm here to help you. He prays when the kid goes to jail the guy that I was visiting when there's not a bible studies not just with this young man but with 2 or 3 of his friends well you know if this continues he's going to be you know going to be baptized who knows of his friends are going in and for the guy that identifies 5 or 6 years ago he is walking on cloud 9 because these are his gifts I mean this is that he is out there in the trenches on the front lines with people that I couldn't reach you know personally and so it's an exciting time when you have these gifts that God has given to you and you see him use your gifts and for you know that you know it could be a teaching administration helping other people general all of these things that God gives when you use the for God's glory and the truthfulness that's exciting stuff that we're energized by achievement this stage rewards us often publicly he may be as simple as you know so a church leader standing up and saying boy I really appreciate my brother sister so so as I'm doing for the Lord amen every So they miss it maybe rewarding them with more responsibility in the church some sort of church offer some sort of ministry outside of the church these are the things that reward us kind of extremely and publicly now examples it's the disciples in Matthew 10 a move 10 Jesus sends them out and they come back rejoicing that even though there are the evil spirits the demons submit to their word it just is incredible time of celebration you know I just prior to Mount Carmel you get the impression that when he lied you talked to King A had and says there will not be rain that he's kind of timid and wavering in his voice and just kind of all I wish I didn't have now is a guy who knows exactly what the Lord wants him to do and he does it with confidence and already. Stage 3 is the last of the external stages. And externally this is in other words this is the last of the stages that have specifically to do mostly to do I should say with other people on the outside with working corporately with the church this type of thing we're going to move now to something that is different notice that most Christians appear to stop at stages 2 and 3 now let that sink in for a moment. And then there are 6 total ones that I want to share with you today most Christians stop at $2.00 and $3.00. It tends to be it's not a problem free but it is most once it tends to be the most enjoyable to it it incorporates fellowship if you're the kind of person like fellowship this can be a great place to find it even more than just you know the Lord is working is using us it's a nice place to be and because of that most Christians stop here but I want you to notice something Jesus said to His disciples something that was pretty profound He said I no longer call you servants I call you what. I call you friends. There is nothing wrong with being a servant people misunderstanding the sinister absolutely nothing it is a high calling to be you know what you know the old saying A better to be a door keeper in the kingdom of God and you know it is that that any type of service for Jesus Christ is an honor and a privilege and it's not all there it's just that I no longer call you servants I call you friends. I'd like to add that I'd like to have Jesus would you like a G.'s D. that about you you know not you you my servant but now you my friend. There is no God is God talking here there's something more and yet most Christians stop here what is it that's next why did they turn back well let's do some exploring the journey inward and again this is not an eastern mysticism silliness OK And I think we're going to see that real clearly here let's check out what's going on here there's a deep and very personal inward journey Christ is calling you to truly make him your own will and a lot of people scratch into the design was made before let's keep going here you begin to question things about yourself and God that you once thought were settled you know many times when someone is new to the faith because particularly an advantage and we we know little Bible truth we have things no that other denominations just don't even pay attention to anymore you can't most nominations won't even crack the Book of Revelation or Daniel they say all these are irrelevant or not understandable and yet Adventism specializes in these things and so when people 1st come to faith in the average church many times life is black and white and we know the truth and we know what's not true maybe they've left behind certain habits or a practice is religiously speaking and they know what they don't do anymore they know what they're doing now instead and they praise the Lord for it and then God asks them to look in the near. Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith test yourself there are new awareness is an insight and not all of them are happy ones reflection on who you really are here's the key now for those of you that if at least cracked the door on stage number 4 you know exactly what I'm talking about right here. There are things inside of us that when we were baptized we made our commitment to Jesus Christ. We assumed they were completely gone and they were they were and then little behold they raise their ugly head again and we are attracted. If you follow me. The devil whispers in our ears we heard earlier this morning and instead of being completely repulse there's a part of us like oh. And then we catch or so wait what what was what is what has what is going on here. This stage unsettled because wholeness looks and feels much more like weakness I mean we're studying our Bibles we're going to church you know we're doing these things we're doing ministry for God and God is making us fruitful perhaps you know and still this stuff is is here you know this is Lord is this really me as we look in the mirror. Now a good example of this I think the best one in Scripture is Joe during his 1st and 2nd test members 1st 2nd test the 1st one loses his family's property is the animals all that stuff is gone OK the 2nd Test demo says Ah well he didn't turn to me because he didn't let me touch is it his person and so God says OK you can test him again a 2nd test he's covered his body is covered with sores he is you know if anyone does or sympathy in the Bible surely job at this point would be the guy OK And this is where chilled is. You know what is going on got you know I've stood for you. And then all of this stuff happened suddenly he is to roll in to the mirror and the only thing left to see is who he really years or maybe more precisely who he is not and thought he was. There at some point during stage for many people meet a profound challenge and a good name for it lol. The wall you see it's one thing to have some revelations about the depths of one's selfishness. When God persists. And brings you face to face with this intended trouble seemingly impenetrable wall of who you are a good name for it is the wall there what's this all about sometimes it's referred to as The Dark Night of the soul old on the result of wounds resurface we cry out Why haven't I overcome these things yet these things are particularly this particular 2nd bullet item here is particularly true for those that had difficult backgrounds. My parents separated the 1st time when I was about 3 years old they married each other again they separated again from each other about a year and a half later and life was chaotic from as far back as I can remember I love my mom and my dad you know the folks there were parents all of that and life was really challenging when I came to one of my walls in my life it had very much to do with all of that the mass of what happened when I was younger. When I meet people that had this. Period just a cool bringing their parents love each other they remain married forever they're still married today they had 1.2 children a white picket fence 2 cars in the garage life was wonderful they grew up in the church I just look at them and say. God bless you. However I can relate I mean I get it intellectually but my heart doesn't resonate with that because that was not my experience that's what I craved but I didn't have it I didn't have that and many times the wall has to do with things that we spot we had left behind but actually we're still waiting there you see God in His mercy when we get baptized It's almost like he puts his hand over parts of our heart so that we don't have to see it full. It's a very merciful thing to do can you imagine if God at conversion were to show you all the depths of your selfishness and every degree you know everybody would just melt and become a puddle on the floor but God in His mercy says we're going to take this one step at a time I'm going to take you if you're able to do this this is why these types of doubts don't come with belief union of spiritual growth in Jesus they come later on and that's why when you feel well I'm getting ahead of myself here many feel like God has rejected them that quote it's all over that their faith is dead now chances are they're not going to tell anybody about this because they're looking at people in stage $2.00 and $3.00 which dominate most churches and that boy they're not going to get this they're not going to get this as rigid just between them and maybe God if they're feeling up to it Depression is common during this phase at stage 4 and particularly after wall there for many believers bailout they do not wish to face the truth about themselves. Now when I say bailout let me be real specific here they bail out of one of 2 Asian usually either they leave completely You've probably seen it happen somebody used to be you know stellar in the church and when working for God and all of this and then they're gone they left you know so something happened some crisis took place perhaps in or out words and then they're gone or more commonly they go back to and he guesses. Stages to entry. To the old way of doing to his room because it's safe if they have pronounced Richard if they get back into it I'm going to go on God I can't figure out what's going on here and I don't want to figure out what God is for facing there I'm going to go back to the old way of doing it now you can do that for a little bit and you just might be OK You make a habit of it and you'll become a hypocrite. Because you will you will know maybe other people will know but you will know that when you do teachers out of school or when you make a comment at Sabbath school or a Republica church that sounds so spiritual and you in your heart don't believe it. You become a hypocrite OK I don't see that hateful and just if there's no other way there is if you do if you refuse to deal with what Jesus Israel is holding out to and you go back and Firstly you're saying in my way not yours and he still loves you no he's not coming after you with His will that he still loves you still wants you but it's going to be difficult to move forward in the depth in your relationship with Jesus so some of the things that many Christians still in the earlier stages look at someone confronting the wall and conclude that they have fallen away from God. Job's close friends there's just again this is the best example I know of in Scripture his close friends show up to comfort him to help him write and instead I mean they're just they're feuding bullets at this guy because they are back if I can use the rubric than I'm presenting here they are back in the earlier phases they're sincere in their faith but they are in mature in their feet and they look at Jill supposedly there's this pillar of the faith who's now can you know the same things that he's saying and this is a pastor see you know you need to repent Clearly you are not with the Lord. But the opposite is true at this stage God is instead preparing that person for a deeper walk with him if they will accept His love in difficult to accept invitation to grow. It's not apostasy it's an invitation to intimacy it is just the sense of the Father's presence that has left not the father himself this is really really important if you if somebody is at the wall you know they're not feeling good right now and it just so easy to feel like God left me God rejected me it is not true the sense of it may not be there. Jesus himself said if your if your heart is all what did Jesus say if I lifted up I will say I will do this I will draw you to me even at places where we feel at our lowest it just might be that that old phrase is about to be true for us the night is darkest just before dawn. The sort of other examples of this job after the 2nd. Elijah after Mount Carmel you know what do I Judith what do you do you know say instead of sitting down and praising the Lord for the great thing that just happened about Carmel he runs off 40 days 40 nights across the desert ends up in a mountain cave and what is his contention when at last he and God talk his contention is. Right in the only safe Frost one remaining Why do you want to how do you go from Mount Carmel one of the most powerful exhibitions of the power and justice and faithfulness of God and fire from heaven to being in the cave and saying I'm the only one left on me and only one. Somewhere between Mount Carmel the fire coming down and that time in the cave in larger was brought face to face with who he really was a few people have had cause for arrogance more than any Rajah because of the great things that God did through him and so God at that moment said this is this is an opportunity to help Elijah take a step that he has not yet taken Elijah Actually you are not all that used to it you are not the reason that the fire filled from the sky I love you you know my servant and you are not the reason and you are not the only faithful. Mary after the death of Razr if you never would Mary said Mary is the one that you know just hunger Jesus' words but she's not hanging on his words at this point when Jesus finally shows up she says Lord if you had been here he would not have died. Now there there's there is death a transition from what Mary was in fact nicotine is coming to Jesus that night in many times women even makes his phrase makes his response to Jesus talking about salvation negative is how can these things be I think many times we think of that as an admission of ignorance it's almost certainly not the case for instance the whole idea of the metaphor of rebirth but the Jews are familiar with that this was not a new thing for them gee the Christian church did not come up with that idea the Jews already had in place I think that would make a demon said how can these things be he was at odds with himself he's a fairy you know he's in the Sanhedrin he's got all of this clout and spiritual authority and yet he knows that he does not know God in his heart that's why he shows up at night to see someone who claims to be the Messiah and seems credible. And once you know Ellen White. When I 1st when I 1st saw this in my study in the in the stuff it's incredible when she was 101112 years old. She had an experience you can read about it in my sketches pages 20 to 42 this is before she was a 7th Day Adventist. She was a believer in God She was a devout believer in God and she has this incredible spiritual interaction with God and the words that she uses to describe it despondency doubt fear a wall of darkness isn't that interesting that's actually the phrase to use a wall of darkness between her and the father some of you remember what it Elder. Stockbridge Stockbridge talent I believe was her minister at the time against this before the evidence church and he sees the debt and the complexity of what Ellen White was being faced with at that tender young age and I'm paraphrasing here I don't mean to be exact words but what other Stockbridge said he said or he said God must be preparing you for something extraordinary for someone of your tender used to be going through something of this magnitude. Sometimes the little development the credit that she deserves she was she was a humble servant of God to God for going and preparing for the very early age when she comes in the 17 year old an 1844 there been a lot of water into that bridge already at that point between God and her. Now if we are willing if we are willing to face the truth that God is giving us at that particular time he will take us through the wall he won't take us around it it won't take us over it he will take us through it. You know anywhere with Jesus I can safely goal is not just to him it's true and even though you may feel like the one you know asked at the worst level spuriously maybe that you've ever felt if you put your hand in Jesus and do the next indicated thing that he's asking you to do you will make it through that experience and you will be better for the magnitude of the difficulty is usually the magnitude of the benefit on the other side so let us pause here for just a moment. Some of the are sitting here not in your heads and I don't know what's what's going on in your mind you do some of your saying you might have been through the wall with God before you're at the wall right now. Those of you that are at the wall right now let me give you a word of encouragement don't give up keep going if you don't know what the final step is just do the next one just do the next day if that's all you know I had somebody call me this week that was in crisis and I said I absolutely have no idea what to do I feel like God had been in me and so what do you think just might be the next thing to do I thought for a long time and then they told me something that they felt they needed to go and talk to somebody I said perfect Go do it. Pleased to sail by the weekend the clouds are starting to lift because it doesn't matter if you don't know the final destination how you are going to get there what does matter and God always provides God will always provide what the next step is even if that next step is this you trusting God to give you the next step. You follow me so over to me to be action it may just be God's name Trust me it's OK Hang on we're getting there just hang on I'll tell you what the next step is just do the next indicated thing from God and you'll make it you'll make it through Keep holding us here and keep working through this is our fellowship and a good friend can be very helpful. The. Wise men who ever lived you know or 2 are better than one he said and brought a strand of 3 courses Not Easily Broken ask God for those people in your life find them sometimes. People have these friends naturally Sometimes you have to go looking for good news and they are out there keep your eyes open and it could be helpful to tell them this is what I'm going through can you pray for me even if you don't give them all the details you can have somebody say please pray for me I'm going to tough spot right now. If you keep doing those things and you keep moving through you'll get through that wall and Stage 5 miles around the journey out with got here transforms us there's a new sense of God's acceptance there's a renewed calling in ministry all truth does not deny this is really important all truth is not denied but it is instead much more deeply apply I grew weary of hearing people say sometimes implication sometimes in private conversation you know if you're going to talk about the law of God we're kind of beyond that we left that behind and we just love God now. That's a that's just silliness that's just silly it we're talking about God or God revealed himself in his words in a relationship without Jesus now God's Will God's law stands against us if possible Paul makes that abundantly clear in a relationship with Jesus God's will becomes candy for the soul it is freedom itself James makes that clear look deeply into the law to give liberty that is freedom here so we're not even altruistic behind it just more deeply applied here in the cockiness of earlier stages is gone I have never in my life I was my 2nd church there's a guy that been recently baptized he knew that he could convert all of the city of Everett which was a city of about $250000.00 people north of Seattle by putting flyers under the windshield wipers of people at mall parking lots now praise the Lord for ministry I love that enthusiasm and I'll supply them with pamphlets but you may go to convert the entire city that way and there are limits to what you can do right and that cockiness of a it's not you know I look at the skills that I've got a set of that's the way in the stage there's a new sense that now God will qualify the quality of one's ministry rather than merely one's personal energy skill talented cetera. We surrendered to God's will allowing him to fully direct our lives we say wait a 2nd did I do that before there was this next phrase here we need the consequences of complete obedience to God and are no longer afraid of those consequences. While they were doing consequences. I think you know. There can be consequences to standing for Jesus there could be consequences at your place of work for instance for making decisions about Jesus there can be negative consequences to come back and at this stage it's not that people are just willy nilly and does matter for somebody else or inconvenience to somebody else instead instead there is this settled out of it's already. Going to work with it when to do the best we can and if it brings the negative repercussions that's OK because this is for G's. But examples of this Joseph forgiving and helping his brothers what a transformation you know and when I talked about this transformation for justice begin when he was on the camels riding with the traders on his way to Egypt to be asleep right there he had to make a decision as he sees a stronger stance off in the distance write it am I going to whine and complain and moan old poor me forever or am I going to stand with Jesus and he made the right decision and that led to the place where while he can actually go from having undoubtedly at times negative thoughts about his brothers to actually forgiving and helping them Hannah receiving C.N.N. and then giving him back to God for seeing the Chapter one she pleads for a child pleads for her and then she receives it and then she gets into. Some 6 final stages a life of love. We're no longer motivated predominately by her calling our work or our personal goals this is not to say those things are are not important they are important but primarily we are driven by the life that we live in God knowing Jesus is enough. No injuries is enough. Total B.D.'s is our goal but from the heart and not merely the head now against so many people particularly those that have stayed stuck in ages 2 and 3 they will look at this and there was they are OK This is what I was looking for this is you know it's almost illegal list again total beatings being our goal surely that must be illegal no no no a 1000 times no this is from the heart and not merely the head what I mean by this step to Christ page 46 she says those who feel what's the word she used feel those who feel the constraining love of God Do not ask how little may be given to meet the requirements of God They do not ask for the lowest standard but aim of perfect conformity to the will of their we deem or with earnest desire they yield all and manifest an interest proportionate to the value of the object which they seek. How many you've never been in love with a woman before. You remember those days don't you. When you would do it go buy her a gift you didn't go down and find the absolute worst cheapest gift you could find you bought something that was proportionate to the value of the object which you were seeking Didn't you now you may not have had much money like me when I was courting my beloved but I did the best that I could with what I had because she was special to me she was the number one person in my life as far as humanity was concerned and I would do most anything to honor her to help her to continue to move her until that day when he said I do and then continue to do it even after that as well because I want to be with her proportionate to the value of the object which obviously how much more with Jesus Christ how much more you see the difference between I'm going to have myself again to do themselves that if you love me keep my commandments this is the expression of love this is Jesus himself it's the overflow in the look it's not OK you're gonna do it you know come I've got to do this and I'm going if you're going to accept the way I got to know this is because of love a dramatically different thing. If to Christ again here those who profess to serve God Well they rely upon their own efforts to obey His law the former a character and there are those excuse me there are those who profess to serve God Well they rely upon their own efforts to obey His law to form a right character and secure salvation their hearts are not moved by any deep sense of the love of Christ but they instead seek to perform the duties of the Christian life and that which God requires of them in order to gain heaven now would you read the The last phrase there with me so much religion altogether narrow religion is worth nothing how much nothing wow wow this sounds like heresy to some Christians you're really talking about in particular sometimes in the Aves true church but of the Prophet herself this is what she said is right to do such a religion is worth nothing there the call goes on when Christ wells in the heart the soul of me will be so filled with His love with the joy of communion with Him that it will prevent him in the contemplation of himself will be forgotten love the Christ will be the spring of action. It's a fraction of Christ without this deep love that mere talk dry for morality and heavy drudgery. Now I've been there and I think on this last part I had been there and there was come times when I stopped and then just. Because that love was not deep in my heart. So that you can relate. We're being invited to something better is something that is real that's genuine that's heartfelt it's to the core of who we are so that's life will continue his value is placed on God 1st and then another 2nd here to stimulate a restatement of Jesus you know what are the what are the greatest commandments right now the Lord your God my heart soul and mind was a neighbor as yourself that examples of this even Moses you know I do know what those guys have in common. Yes yes. They did they went to heaven right that he did it without dying in Moses and he did die if I did not they all are there in the giving of my. Job at the end of his life. At least the end of the story that we have to Paul Paul makes that statement to live is Christ and to die it is gaining it regardless of the consequences I will strongly Jesus I will be with you I want to be with you and Ellen why later in her ministry and many others throughout history it's this incredible place to God is calling us to inspire from the sappiness. A little life with love and you just going to you know kind of. Like you know it's going to say you know what I'm talking about the sentimentalism here this is the real deal love that is stronger than death love that is courageous that is powerful that is just and merciful This is the love that God calls us too. Some things to consider. The stages are flexible and cumulative people do not go through the stages at the same pace nor are they called to learn the same things Point being if you're in stage 4 and you see some smiling happy stage 3 persons don't point to them and say curse you. You don't know how hard it is you know. God is working with Let let let let let let the Lord move his taste. But it takes 2 stages can be revisited and often overlapped this is very true if I do a poor job if I choose to ignore something that God has given me in a particular stage many times he will take me back to it because it's essential to my development as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Crises can be times for moving forward and for growth so when trouble happens I think this is one of the core reasons why the Bible says Rejoice. You know Jesus in a sermon on the Mount you'll be joyous when you're persecuted falsely accused in all men speak against you for so be treated the prophets in other words there is a goldmine to be given here it's not that it's fun it's much better than that it's getting to know God better than before it's not wrong to be at the earlier stages and less WHAT. In less God has called you to the next stage. So in other words again must be merciful to people through different stages of development. But if God has called you to the next stage and you're not willing to take the step Yeah there's something wrong with that you're cutting off the all your own joy and progress in the Lord when you when you do not face those things. There are 5 there are dangers at every stage even at Stage 6 I think actually sometimes it's interesting people are Stage 6 sometimes Christians are straight 6 but I have not met so many of them as I've read in print they will make the mistake of thinking that they have now grown past of the Bible for instance they just walk in the love of God OK What garbage it is a lie of Satan OK you never you don't you don't move beyond the one who is the definition of love if Jesus equates themself with the word which he does John chapter one who are we what follower of Jesus can accurately say well I don't even read the Bible anymore because I follow Jesus of closely what you know that's not how it works right so there's news at every stage and you were never quite safe in talking until the kingdom comes to be seen so one last thing here salvation came. In which they teach. Correct. So let that sink in a vision came in step one. Not 6. And what has that phrase here if you use it more than one place I think Christ object lesson was the it was the 1st place that she used it. She's talking about the seed that germinates gets planted in the soil the parable of the store and she says she has a state and I think I'm getting pretty close to she says that at every stage of our development we may be perfect isn't it amazing that the great I could be a new Christian a stage one and I've got a whole long ways to go and in Jesus Christ I'm perfect and then stage 2 I learn stuff that I didn't know in season one and I'm still perfect in Jesus Christ at every stage of our development we can be perfectly predictable. This is not working our way into the father's heart we do not do good things in order to be saved we do good things because we have been saved. This is the touchstone of a relationship with Jesus Christ and salvation comes all the way back in the beginning and then we enter into this relationship this is why Jesus said there's no excuse there's a Jesus did not say and this is eternal life that you were baptized. That and this is eternal life because an eternal kind of life is an unfolding relationship with Jesus to goes deeper and deeper and deeper. So that let me just ask you where are you here where you don't need to answer out loud or just between you and the Lord but you're in the stages where do you see yourself here now with the Bible study or test yourself examine yourself to see if you are in the faith take a look where is it you know where is God asking you to girl and if you are by my enemy or my wrist you I need to move quickly here the question naturally comes how do we move from one stage to the next Now we've talked about some of these waste you talk about continue with you know take the next step indicated step with the wall here keep trusting in Jesus let me just get some broad brushstrokes here very quickly here at the end of our time. God is calling us to maturity as we read that in the season for 13 how do we get there setting the stage for the stages of faith that you're going to grow a little bit when I tell you how to do this you're going to say really that's it. Good news good having a relationship with Jesus the difference in gross is not always easy but generally your friends it is simple. It is not always easy sometimes it's downright tough as nails but it is simple. Jesus does not require people to get their doctorate in order to enter the kingdom of Jesus put out their very basic things that if we do these basic things and we just keep doing them we will progress everyone Brauer. A little grown. So I mean this is fundamental This is basic stuff this is just that we don't have time to look at the the 1st thing 1902nd half of 9 through verse 13. God Here is is talking with Elijah there at the Cape case Elijah comes out and they have this conversation and we kind of look at it as a conversation Rembert this is prayer this is prayer God has communion at least his beloved right here on the side of that mountain OK. Prayer is absolutely essential if recommendation for you for one week pretty 3 times per day if they wanted this like a Muslim tagalong No no it's not here's my experience many people that are not accustomed to praying have a difficult time getting started so make it simple for yourself put it on your watch have it have you time are set for 6 hours OK but when you get in the morning when your alarm goes off you can pray and then 6 hours later it's pretty good 6 hours later you can pretty get the point is not to pray at 6 hour intervals the point is to help to get us into the habit of walking with Jesus throughout the day many times I can look back in times in my life where I went to the whole day without without having my ear cocked heavenward you know now I'm a pastor I do good stuff right you know by with an occupational hazard those people that are in ministry which spend their day doing good stuff right all day long who need to spot off and talk with the boss right we already know what he wants is dangerous stuff dangerous stuff so try it 3 times a day just for a week by the end of the week you can probably take off the time because you will start started to develop the habit of walking and talking would you say what do I say they simply talk about how your day is going and when I talk very clearly you know talk to Jesus as you would talk to a friend bring to him Your Thanks for your praises your requests your disappointments all of these things are fair game for time with Jesus and dory if you don't know how to do it just start just. Our. Next one where my printers are being. There I love this one this is really novel no one's ever talked about this. Bible study you say well what I already knew that you didn't really did you study like for instance let me give you some examples here again moving quickly that are biggest 83 phenomenal stuff your many attend religious services are refreshed and comforted by what's the word there the Word of God OK so the Bible is in play here but notice it's not of the right quality there comforted by the Word of God but through neglect of meditation watchfulness and prayer they lose the blessing and find themselves more destitute than before they received it often they feel that God is dealt harshly with them they do not see that the fault is their own by separating themselves from Jesus they have shut away the light of his presence it would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation it really irritates me that the eastern mystic type people have stolen a perfectly good word OK so let's make it clear this is not eastern mysticism this is the prophet talking to right a little white and so this is appropriate contemplation What does he mean by this hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ we should take it point by point and let the imagination grasp each scene especially the closing ones as we the well upon his great sacrifice for us our confidence in him will be more constant Our love will be quickened and we should be more deeply and viewed with a spirit if we will be saved at last we must learn the lesson of test penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross as we associate together we may be a blessing to one another if we are Christ's are sweetest thoughts will be of him we shall love to talk with him and as we speak to one another of his love our hearts will be softened by divine influences beholding the beauty of this character we shall be changed into the same image from glory to glory notice what this kind of Bible study does God uses it by His Holy Spirit to transform us if we do not have contact with the word on a regular basis this transformation doesn't happen. Simple it is simple that we don't want to make it more complicated but one final quote here Soskin amount of lessons page one let us imagination it's amazing that she says that imagination go back to that scene talking about here at the mouth and as we just witnessed the disciples on the mountainside enter into the thoughts of in feelings that filled their hearts now this almost seems dangerous it is almost seems like I lifted it from some anonymous tosser but this is I want you to read it for yourself here is what she means she doesn't mean go all the while don't you know imagine Jesus in the future to serve in lemonade and there can be no that's not what she's talking about she's saying take the Bible as it reads. And then imagine that you were there and based on the information that you'd read in the word what would it have been like but look at a cyclist and thinking that's what she says or enter into the thoughts and feelings that still their hearts a little like to the john in that crowd men like to be matter and he's got this this track record of working with the moment as a tax collector what what somebody like him and think about as he listens to Jesus opening words in Matthew 5 about persecution if somebody is that ties with the government and now he's Jesus they're going to be some trouble coming in their eyes and what Matthew thought about such things and this is Biblical contemplation this is a meditation not an emptiness of the mind but instead of selling of the Word of God and placing ourselves in that the context that we might be changed by Jesus does that make sense. Understanding what the words of Jesus meant to those who heard them and we may discern in them they knew the evidence and beauty and they gather for ourselves their day for us. So a prayer Bible study of the kind that she's talking about there and then a 3rd one here sharing your thoughts on to 6 those that claim to be followers of Jesus must walk as he did what did Jesus do you consciously work to minister to other people if you do this back up. There are some things about God that you can only learn if you are trying to help other people know God. There are some things about Jesus that you can only learn if you are trying to help someone else learn about Jesus. And these are lessons that you cannot beg borrow or steal you have to experience them the things that Jesus felt when people said yes the things that Jesus felt when he said no when people said no to his invitation you will never experience in the core of who you are what those things are what those lessons are until you are actively trying to do those things yourself you don't have to be a public you know is astonished the court looks at your gift and do it whatever it is whatever gifts God has given to you use them in some fashion be they private or public to help reach other people and you will learn things about Jesus that you cannot learn in any other way you see there's 2 reasons why the great commission was given one that other people might be saved and be in the kingdom and 2nd that you might learn to know Jesus. And one final 4th a point here always keep margin in your life this one almost seems like you're right what how does that apply to anything we've been talking about the last me. Personal belief I don't have a text to back me up there's just the gospel according to Shane I think that when we get to heaven and we're in that millennium time and we're going over the records there's going to be a ton of people were able to say it's not in heaven because they didn't have the time. Not in heaven because they were too busy. Not in heaven because they were too invested in women in sports in past times in money in their jobs in whatever it was they just didn't have space there was no margin in their life. You know they used to say you know the devil's in the devil's in the details and I think probably more to the point these days in particular the devil is in our business the constant push of deadlines and things that we think that we must get done instead of being with us. All I can say is don't let it happen to you be brutal with your calendar get out that knife and cut out the time and this is where God this is for God unless I'm dead I'm making the point that margin so you can do these things and you can move through those stages to face. The Father in Heaven you have been so gracious. In your deliverance of us from sin and in helping us Lord to know you better but we prayed that we would all be in a faith that we would indeed be men that follow you even when the Lord you bring us to is all experiences when you bring his face to face with the truth about ourselves the preload especially for those times that you were granted strength that you were granted I see you and Lord even when we cannot see that we would trust your heart that we would trust your purpose is for us. And into the deepest relationship possible with you. One of us in this way for we ask in your name. 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