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The Close of Probation- Part 3

David Shin

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David Shin

Dr. David Shin is the President of Ouachita Hills College.

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  • June 28, 2014
    11:30 AM
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Today we conclude our 3 part series of messages in titled the close of probation I know it's been about a month and we've had different things like camp meeting and other special Sabbaths in the interim and I almost didn't do this 3rd part but I thought that would be appropriate since I didn't announce that we were having 3 parts to complete this series and so I want to invite you to turn with me in your Bibles to Hebrews chapter 3 verse 7 and 8 I have the page number on the screen and I want to go through a few verses that we touched on earlier in our series of messages the 1st part Hebrews chapter 3 verse 7 and 8 Page 1374 in the Bible that's there in the pew 1374 and here Paul is quoting from Psalms 95 or 78 and he's quoting a particular passage 1374 is the passage and he actually quotes this 3 times and again he designated a certain day saying in David today after such a long time as it has been said to day if you hear his voice do not what is your bible say hard in your hearts I want us to look at the other passage Let's go to Hebrews chapter I'll read the wrong one all right let's go to your a chapter 3 verse 15 the previous 13 Verse 15 and it says while it is said today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion and lets go to the rich after 4 in verse 15. It says For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was an all points tempted as we are I got my verses mixed up a little bit here all right so this is the verse that we're looking at not one time not 2 times but 3 times here in Hebrews Chapter 4 verse 7 and the other passages you have this solemn quoted today if you hear his voice do not hard in your hearts the implication of this passage is that the best opportunity that we have to respond to God's voice is the 1st time that you hear it Amen is the 1st time not the 2nd time not the 3rd time because as we do not respond to God's voice we are in danger of what the bible cause a process of hardening where our hearts become harder every time we do not respond to God's voice I've experienced this in Bible studies I sit down with an individual we study the Sabbath and they say pastor I see the Sabbath it's very clear I need to make a stand for the Sabbath but. Let me wait a little bit let me think about this let me not make a decision right now even though I'm hearing God's voice I want to postpone it and many times not all the time I will sit down with the same individual the next week same Bible passage same study and yet it's fascinating what will happen just in a short span of even a week I'll sit down with the same individual and they'll say Pastor. I just don't see it the same way any more now what has happened has the Bible changed has gone changed as the Bible truth about the Sabbath change no all of these things are constant and they remain the same but the difference is that through not responding to God's voice the 1st time the 2nd time something has happened within the heart of the individual in which they have to be calmed hardened to the voice of the Holy Spirit and they're no longer able to respond in the same way as before which means that with every spiritual decision that we make once we make that decision we change we get harder or we get softer to God's voice we are changing with every single moral decision that we make and once we pass through that portal that decision we come out on the other side a different individual and through a series of decisions not one decision but there were a series of decisions we ended up in a state that we were nowhere near when we started our journey are you following me here this morning yes or no which means that you could come to the place where you no longer hear God's voice not because God is not reaching out to us not because God is not calling but because through a series of decisions we have put ourselves in a position that we can no longer hear God's voice and me more some people as a pastor I'm afraid I have committed the unpardonable sin Well if you're asking that question you likely probably have not committed the unpardonable sin. Because the person that has committed the unpardonable sin through a lifestyle of choices have hardened their heart so much that they just don't care anymore the person that's committed that sin through a lifestyle choices doesn't even care about the nature of sin whether they've committed the unpardonable sin or not so this is the trajectory of what the Bible talks about when we think about the concept of hardening it means to become firm or solid to solidify to become set to calcify to make inflexible are on changeable or do become what is the last word up there to become some meant it that is what the Bible is talking about it uses this interesting word this figurative word of hardening and this is what it means that our characters are actually in phases in a 2 phase of forming an hardening we can always change by the grace of God but through these changes and through these decisions we can actually put ourselves in a position of character in which we can no longer respond to God's voice anymore this is what the Bible talks about in this process of hardening of calcifying becoming solid or becoming set this is a quotation from Picture X. and prophets and notice the language here the rejection of light darkens the mind and the hardens the heart she's using the same language as and Hebrews chapter 3 and 4 so that it is easier for them to take the next step in sin and to reject still clearer light until at last there what their habits now a habit does not develop immediately if this is a lifestyle of rejection until at last their habits of wrongdoing become what is the word up there become fixed what's another word for that hardened solidified calcified. It becomes fixed sin ceases to become sinful to them this is the scenario you hear God's voice you don't respond you become hardened you hear God's voice you do not respond you become hardened and through a lifestyle it's not one decision it's a lifestyle a series of decisions to the point that you become cemented in your behavior have you ever heard a word before or a phrase used He's just set in his what ways all you just can't change grandpa he's been doing this for 95 or 180 years he's just set in his ways he gets up at the same time it's like clockwork my dad is probably the most disciplined man I know this man. Is like clockwork and over a lifestyle of this my my sister used to say when she would be in her theory of consciousness in the morning she always knew what time it was because the shower would go on exactly precisely to the 2nd 4 30 am every single day which she'd hear the shower for 30 look over at the clock after a while she just knew what had happened there were a lifestyle a series of events those neural pathways had become so settled that now it's not just the path it is a free way that just happens automatically and this is not only in the sense of like driving or riding a bicycle it is the same for our moral neural pathways you can become so set in your ways that it becomes very difficult for a god to speak your heart and I use the illustration of cement. Our characters are like cement when I was in Cademy I had the privilege to the detriment of the people that I was working for of working with cement I do not have a practical bone in my body and this is the challenge of cement I discovered by practice is that there are 2 phases for the sake of illustration of cement there is the forming stage is not correct there is a stage when it's pliable moldable that you can form it you can put those forms in place and you can roll the things out and create even designs on them and there is that period that window that time period that phase in which you can still mold the cement in the direction that you want but as this some men it's a chemical reaction reacts with the carbon dioxide there is a process that that phase does not remain permanent other words you cannot mold it and form it forever eventually it will pass into the solid state the fixed state the calcified state and once it has hardened try forming it it just doesn't work you have to go there with a sledgehammer and break it up that is the only way to alter that state it is in a solid calcified state and our characters are the same Our characters are in 2 phases the forming stage and the fixed stage the forming of the character and the fixed character. And we'll see in another passage that this goes not only for good but for evil I'm not saying that it's impossible for us to change but the end Natta me of our character is positioned or created by God to be in these 2 phases meaning that we have the opportunity today by the grace of God to allow God to form our character but it will not be for ever this way to face 2 stages the forming of character and the fixed character and I want to invite you to turn with me in your Bibles to Revelation chapter 22 in verse 11 as we go to our scripture reading this is the last chapter of the last book of the Bible Revelation chapter 22 in verse 11 and we've heard this many times in in reference to the close of probation Revelation chapter 22 in verse 11. We believe a 7th Day Adventist that this is the final proclamation that takes place before what we call the close of probation Jesus stands up in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary at any makes this pronouncement at the end of what we call the investigative judgment and this is the phrase that comes out of the mouth of the high priest which is Jesus Christ in the heavenly sanctuary revelation judge $22.00 in verse 11 he who is on just let him be unjust what your bible say still he who he is filthy let him be filthy still he who is righteous let him be righteous still and he who is holy let him be holy still Now whenever you study the Bible and you see a word repeated multiple times you know that this is a emphasis by the author by the Bible writer so here you have 4 times the word still is repeated 4 times there are 2 categories if you were to break them up the category of good character is in there right on just filthy those are negative characters righteous and holy those are good characters so you have 2 categories in this verse supported by these 2 subcategories but overall there's 2 categories the righteous character and the unrighteous character both of these characters are going to be set are going to be solidified. Are going to be calcified are going to be fixed this is the final pronouncement that comes out of the mouth of God At the close of probation. When I was a child and I was taught this verse in reference to the close of probation I used to think that God would arbitrarily stand up and say Alright guys closer probation you're a righteous OK you're going to be righteous right now if you're on righteous guess what it's too late you're unrighteous you're kind of like locked in position by a proclamation coming out of the mouth of God I've come to the conclusion that this is quite the contrary in reality Jesus in this passage is making a pronouncement of the reality that has already happened on planet Earth OK Jesus is not arbitrarily standing up and say are up to lay guys whatever you are right now you are stuck tough that is not what is happening in this verse and that does not correlate with my understanding of how Jesus Christ operates in the plan of salvation what is happening in this passage is that Jesus is making a pronouncement of the reality that has already happened here on planet Earth which means that in this passage there is a universal accelerated unified solidifying of character on planet Earth that on planet earth there is an accelerated unified development of character from the forming stage to the fixed stage and that at one point in human history every single character Listen to this very carefully every single character on planet Earth will be fully mature solidified and fixed at the exact same time the righteous character. And the unrighteous character so that not only planet Earth will see but the entire universe will see 2 characters one that is just like Jesus and the other that is just like the devil and once that maturation is taking place in every character is cemented Jesus stands up and makes the pronouncement of the reality that is all ready taken place not because of God's choice but because of our choices. And our lifestyle this is exactly what is happening Revelation Chapter 18 we don't time to go there but the Revelation Chapter 18 says that the whole earth is lit with the glory of God which means that before Jesus crumbs there will be a manifestation of the character of the love of God on planet Earth that is on precedented in human history that the world will see as never before the love and the character of Jesus Christ there will be light unprecedented and the entity that accelerates the character development process is light. Why did Pharaoh harden his heart why was his heart hardened in such an accelerated period because the 10 last plagues was Grace it was unprecedented light showing to a pagan and heathen King the power and the glory of God and in unprecedented light was not only unprecedented opportunity but the converse of that in not responding to it is accelerating character development and hardening so unprecedented light means acceleration in the process which means that the end of time that God's glory the light will be so unprecedented there will be unprecedented opportunity but in the same breath there will be unprecedented acceleration of the hardening process so that those that do not respond to God's voice in the end of time will be placed for the lack of a better illustration in a microwave of acceleration to take them from A to B. the hardening process will be Excel aerated in the end of time right now I believe we are living in that accelerated process solemn thought I believe that we are on the very edge of eternity that right now we have the opportunity today when today to choose to allow Who is going to be the person forming and fashioning our character we have this window of opportunity I believe that no one in this room just by you entering the doors of this ng where today none of you are in that set category right now none of you are in that hardened state. All of us have hope all of us have the opportunity to allow God to form us to shape us after the image of God on a day in and day out opportunity and you will never have a better opportunity than today and you have this window by the grace of God but it's an accelerated window the forming process I have never seen accelerated so much as we approach the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ I take the example of Anthony Anthony just last year was on a different page he was on campus was not a member of our church he accepted the truth and in a very short turn of events his life was dramatically change and alter and I'm seeing people accelerated through the process of justification and sanctification in preparation for eventual and immediate glorification when Jesus comes a 2nd time this is what we are experiencing right now we have this window we have this opportunity. To allow Jesus to recreate his image within us and all he wants is our cooperation and our submission to his handiwork you don't have to recreate yourself God can do it God will do it he's the only person that can and we have this opportunity this is what we are talking about in reference to the relationship between the close of probation and character development we are in the forming stage right now and the question is which character is being developed in you and me. How do we allow Jesus to recreate his image within our lives this is a question and we alluded to it earlier in our presentation in 2nd Corinthians chapter 3 verse 18 it says but we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord our being transformed this is a very interesting tense in the Greek are being transformed it's an ongoing process of transformation into the same image from glory to glory from one character to another character just as by the spirit of the Lord this is the principle of how you become like an individual in character you think about them you meditate you absorb your mind with thoughts about the individual in this case Jesus Christ and you become like him in character and we touched on this principle of media I'm not saying that everything that comes across the airways is evil in nature but the devil has the leverage the media for one purpose and one purpose alone he knows this principle of beholding you become and by allowing our minds to become absorbed. With the programming that is straight from the Devil's mind and heart coming into our own minds and hearts through a series and through a program and through a lifestyle of choices he is forming not the Jesus Christ but the image of the devil upon our characters this is what's happening this is the medium of the media and this is the agenda there's only going to be 2 characters in the end of time one that is like a character of Jesus Christ and the other that is like the character of the devil and the program the program for that becoming like the devil I'd say a large majority of the program comes across the airways what is on the airways adultery murder lying fornication all of these things are programming the individual not to become like Jesus Christ but become like the devil and this is what's happening this is the agenda in the great controversy between good and evil and we just have to ask ourselves the question which character in my forming by answering where do I spend the majority of my time if it is here you're on the program you're on the fast track of a certain character that will become set though you come solidified as we approach the end of time. This is the program the book. That God has given to us to help us to become more like Jesus can you say man you know this is it is the Bible and this is where we need to spend our time and I know that I preach on this every year and I have in my annual sermon a calendar every single year at least once if not twice or 3 times you're going to hear me preach a sermon about daily devotions because this is one of the ways that God recreates his image upon us this is not salvation by devotions Don't get me wrong you don't have to have a timer but this is the important principle that by be holding you be calm and if you hold Jesus Christ each and every day you'll become like Jesus Christ and I'm going to be talking a little bit more about this in our upcoming sermons through this summer and we're going to be offering not today but in the future for those that have covenanted to spend time in Bible study and are interested in this in this correlated Bible readings I've started in my personal devotions this program of the correlated Bible readings have you have you ever heard of this before OK Some of you have and this is a wonderful book and it gives 3 systematic Bible study plans correlated with the following books OK so you can read through the Bible in one year or 3 years or 5 years following this plan there's actually 3 plans in here the one year the 3 year and the 5 year plan for reading the Bible through and the beautiful thing about this is that in addition to reading the Bible through you are given a program where you can read it through with the comp of the ages series steps to Christ that's from the mount of blessing and Christ object lessons which means if you follow the one year program you will have completed the entire Bible the 5 conflict age of serious steps to Christ thoughts from the mount of blessing and Christ. Object lessons in the beautiful and the nice thing about it is that it's 5 days a week 5 days a week you can be on the 3 year plan or the 5 year plan and I'm just been checking this thing often by the grace of God I'm on the one year plan and there's this habit cycle that I've been learning about in one of my audio books in and I'm just finding that I just get satisfaction in the morning I read in the conflict ages and the Bible and I go through and then I go to my little feeling here and I have a pencil and I check it all oh it feels so good I mean just sense of satisfaction and and then I every now and then I go through and look through all my checkmarks and I'm like praise God I mean I'm just you know and I'm looking forward to the moment that I make my last check mark and I'm going to start all over again so this is this is what you can do because you can never say I. Don't need to do that again isn't that right this is an infinite word of God So I want to encourage just you going to be hearing more about this and we want to make this available for you but we want to also encourage that there be some commitment if we do offer this to you as well so you can be hearing more about this in the upcoming weeks and months here but I've just personally been blessed by this study and you want to make this a habit on a daily basis just like you eat breakfast at a certain time you just want to get through the the habit where you get up in the morning and those neural pathways are so strong you go exactly to that chair you grab the Bible that's in that same place just without thinking you know just grab it and you open it like clockwork because that habit that trait of character has become solidified it has become said and I believe that by the grace of God You can get to the place. They're a lifestyle of choices where you think like she is a man and you love people like Jesus and you care for people like Jesus naturally because through saying yes to Jesus Christ that habit that character that lifestyle has become solidified in your heart and mind and that's my desire I don't know about your friends as we move forward in this journey the message of hope here this morning is that all of us right now today have the opportunity to let Jesus form his character within us and man one invite you to stand with me as we prepare to close every head bowed and eyes closed which one open the doors of the church here this morning my 1st appeal is this if you want to say Lord Jesus the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak help me by the grace of God to spend time with you each and every day you want to say Lord Jesus help me if that's your desire and Swan invite you to raise your hands here this morning said Lord help me to spend time with Jesus I want have Jesus make his image in my life the blood God bless you here this morning on make my 2nd appeal if you have not fully accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and you hear God speaking to your heart this morning you heard his voice a long time but today you hear him saying. Calm I want to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior I recognize that Jesus died for me I recognize I'm a sinner but he's the savior I recognize that I don't have the ability but that he has the capability of friends and you just want to respond to God's voice today and say Lord I've been holding out but today I recognize is my best opportunity and you want to say Lord. I want to fully accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord today I want to invite you to come forward for a special prayer this morning so someone here said Lord I want to accept you as Savior of my life Jesus died for you friends Jesus purchased God bless you my brother God bless you Heaven is rejoicing God bless you brothers or someone else. You heard God speaking to your heart and you want to say Lord I accept that provision here today. We're just giving the opportunity this morning. For you to respond to God's voice he says If any man open the door I come in to him. My 3rd appeal this morning is this. I want to say Lord Jesus. I have an area of my life that I'm struggling with. We all struggle at certain points of our Christian experience. But you want to say Lord this particular area I need special prayer. I need to lay this area on the altar and perhaps God is the only person that knows about this area and that's OK I want to say Lord I surrender I want to lay this area on the altar before God Today I give you this certain struggle in my life please give me the victory you want special prayer this morning I wanted you to come forward as well lord I have an area in my life that I need special prayer for a certain struggle certain challenge that I want to lay on the altar before God. Our Father and our God. We stand before you today not because we are worthy but because you are. We recognize our sinfulness yet at the same time we recognize you as our See. And Lord today I pray for my brother who has accepted you as Savior and Lord of his life Lord we know that heaven is rejoicing right now we know that you have accepted him you have died for him father and I just pray that you would shield him that you would build him up we claim the promise that if any man be in Christ he is a new creation the old all things are passed away all things are become new and I pray this from my brother here today thank you for his decision we know that right now in that instant his name was written in the Lance book of life and we thank you for that I pray for those that have come forward that have a challenge in their area a struggle in a certain part of their life that they want to submit before you. And Lord we have come. Lord there is not nothing that is too difficult for God and Lord we we have grappled with this we fall in many times and it's not our track record that matters it is our willingness to allow you to make us more like Jesus that's the most important thing and I just pray for every individual you know the heart you know the struggle you know the challenge you know the area of their life that they have battled with perhaps for many many years and I just pray today that you would give them courage Lord give us all hope that you will never leave us or for sake of us we surrender this area of our life before you and we know that there is no place more invincible yet more helpless than the soul that feels his nothingness and leans on the merits of the blood of Jesus and that's what we're doing here today and I pray that you would cover every single individual that's come forward grant us the victory grant us the peace that passes all understanding we thank you that you have heard and answered our prayers here this morning for we ask these things in Jesus' name and for his say. Amen and Amen publish. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W.W.W. audio verse or.

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