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A Final Generation Part 2

Steven Grabiner

Presenter

Steven Grabiner

President, Outpost Centers International

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Recorded

  • February 9, 2019
    10:45 AM
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Good morning everyone and privileged to be with you glad each one of us here and as Richard mentioned there is going to be a wonderful meal after this I wonder if they're going to be serving ice cream. So what scuse me so. I get a little insight as I was watching the children story you know that whole beautiful container of soy ice cream just got wasted but. There was an interesting feel a straight in there wasn't there I mean maybe you didn't get the impact as you weren't watching it and you're didn't have the saliva going as some of us on the front did but here was something tasty delicious and what happened to it it got ruined why because soap was put on it right and of course. That would be the wrong thing to do to put soap on ice cream obviously and then as I was watching it I was thinking you know that really goes with my sermon in a certain sense in that there are beautiful true this in Scripture that get perverted when something wrong is added to them and we could think about that in lots of different directions but it really relates to why topic this morning which was also followed up from last week the final generation we started talking about this and again it's a beautiful truth which is very Christ centered and yet it gets perverted or it gets misapplied or it becomes. What's the word I want. That becomes repulsive to us just like ice cream with. Dish soap on top of it. And actually as he was doing it I was thinking is that what's he going to do is he going to pour dirt on that thing but the dish soap was a real good visual smelled nice looked really pretty but certainly is repulsive and the same thing with Bible truths it's often the case that there could be a beautiful truth of Scripture but something's added to it and then that truth becomes repulsive so let's see if we can get the beauty out of this truth this morning final generation Last week we started talking about this and. Pardon me my phone has decided it wants to stop working so give me a moment. There it goes but it's going without me which is OK as long as my friends in the sound booth well. Just help me out so there is a final generation this is what we talked about last week right there is a final generation Jesus is going to come do you believe that yes OK So we're agreed on that and because Jesus is going to come that means there will be a final generation Do we agree on that obviously if he's going to come there has to be a group of people that are there at the end of time this final group of people do have a unique work of character change they're going to go through something called a time of trouble which is unparalleled in earth's history but the other main important thing 4th one on that list is that Christ's ministry in heaven is at the center it's where Jesus is doing now in heaven that is of great importance to us and the last point on that list is the great controversy needs to be wrapped up and that the sin needs to come to an end would you agree with that So those are all true and those are all beautiful and we can embrace those as well but I like to continue the topic and what really got me going on this is a book that someone gave me and it's called God's character and the last generation is published by Pacific press and most of the writers most of the writers work at the seminary and they're Or are all very godly very dedicated individuals I don't agree with everything in this book and this is what got me thinking about this and 2 of the concerns of the writers are on your screen 1st concern is that the writers in this book would question the fact whether the last generation makes any contribution to God's been to Kasia or do I mean by that we're in a great battle we recognize that yes or no we call that battle what. The great controversy between good and evil and it's important that God's character be vindicated and we'll see how that vindication clearly take place at the cross but the question is is there a role that the last generation plays in that vindication the authors in this book the writers of this book would say no so we'll explore that momentarily and then the other concern that they have and I would be concerned about this as well is that some people might say that we need to have absolute perfection or absolute sinlessness and. So I would I would agree with the writers that if somebody is claiming absolute perfection that's something we should shy away from but it raises the question what is absolute perfection anyway so these are the 2 things I want to discuss with you this morning from the scripture and see if we can find out what the true aspect about the history at least what the true ask aspect about this is from my viewpoint and what is Scripture really saying so I invite you to turn with me to Revelation Chapter 2 out verses 10 through 12 and this is another in the Book of Revelation as I mentioned last week there are 7 manger of these him sections this one is very unique it's found in chapter 12 which is the chapter in the Book of Revelation that really talks about this cosmic conflict the battle between good and evil and the war that began in heaven Revelation 12 or 7 tells us that. And so as we look at this this passage I want to keep in mind some questions 1st question is can it be said that the final generation in any way contributes to God's vindication Ken can we say that or is that something we should stay away from saying and then of course the last question would be what about the character development of this group of people so let's look at the song Revelation Chapter 12 in verse 10 and there's several interesting points about it 1st of all it's the only him in the Book of Revelation that talks about our enemy the accuser their brother in which is Satan Revelation 12 in verse 10 then I heard a what everyone I heard a loud voice in they have been saying who is a loud voice who's the loud voice Well it doesn't say who said that very good trees it doesn't say it doesn't say and so there's lots of suggestions through this loud voice is there are times when a group of people can be said to have spoken with one voice so possibly this is the court in heaven the living creatures and the $24.00 elders wherever they are it could be them it's an unidentified loud voice in heaven but what does it say salvation. Right where are we verse 10 salvation now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come this is the kind of a point in the story where this loud voice in heaven I'm going to suggest it's the united voice of the $24.00 elders and the 4 living creatures in there their role as part of the divine Council they are saying now all the salvation the power the kingdom the authority of our Christ has come and that is something that we should say amen to when God ultimately takes his reign and we looked last week in Revelation 19 and we saw that at the end of the story in Revelation is when that's actualised But here's this voice in heaven and they're saying now is the time and we are excited Why what's the reason given for it what's the reason for their celebration for or because the accuser of our brethren who accuses them before God day and night has been thrown down who is that accuser of the brother and by the way. That Satan and we can see that just by the few verses before that in fact in Revelation Chapter 12 there are a 6 a series of successive falls or a casting downs that Satan encounters he's cast down earlier in the chapter and then he's cast down here and then later on is passed down to the earth there is a series of falls and if we think back to the history of the story of this battle between good and evil in the scriptures as well we know that Seaton whom the being we call Satan here in Revelation 12 originally had his origins as in unfallen being and I as I a chapter 14 and as equal 28 describe this and how he was perfect in his ways from the day he was created until a nick really was found within him so the 1st fall is is a fall from his position he was created and he falls he's now he's a fall in being he's working to overthrow the government and then there's a fall where he is. Unmasked before the heavenly agencies and that's what it's talking about here his character is being revealed Satan's character that is and he is being revealed he's being cast down the question for us is how is he cast down what is it that casts him down what is it that causes this fall and if we look in scripture it's important for us to kind of get a broad view of this and so let's look back in Revelation a few verses and then let's look into the Gospel of John what is it that makes Satan defeated Well the next verse back in Revelation 12 talks about the blood of the lamb so that's an important marker for us and if we go back to Revelation Chapter 5. And you know we've been studying this in Sabbath school so familiar territory for many of us Revelation 5 in verse 6 excuse me relation 5 in verse 5 John hears that there is somebody that's victorious the lion from the tribe of Judah the root of David and what has this lion from the tribe of Judah the root of David what has he done he has prevailed we could translate that word in most modern trend most modern translations describe that as he has overcome he is victorious and then we see verse 6 How does the victorious lion look what is its inverse 6 I saw between the throne in the living creatures in the 424 elders what does he see a lamb as of slain How is Satan overcome how is he cast down how is he defeated well verse 6 tells us he's defeated by the slain lamb in other words it is in Jesus' death that C. is exposed if we think back to the cross there at the cross love unselfishness stand face to face where they come together selfishness embodied in Satan and his egging on those that were persecuting Christ save yourself save yourself love displayed in Christ's willing self sacrifice so if we're trying to kind of put this together one aspect here in Revelation 12 is it's really pointing our attention back to the blood of the Lamb back to the death of Christ as the place where Satan is on man's let's look at another verse Let's go to John Chapter 12 in verse 31 you could check out those other verses as well later by John Chapter 12 and verse. 31 and 32 John 1231 this is just before Jesus is about to be crucified What does he say no the judgment is upon this world now the ruler of this world will be what cast out thrown down same root word in the original and I if I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men to myself so what is it that initiate this casting down of Satan it's the death of Jesus Christ when Jesus goes on the cross and he reveals God's character it's it's like we could think of Jesus' life in 3 different stages there is his life as a human being being victorious over all temptations then there is the experience to 70 in Calvary where it comes to a head and he fully manifests who God is and Saint is cast down then there's a 3rd phase which is what he's doing now for us but in that 2nd phase of his life in his ministry he reveals who say in IS and sin is cast down so if we think back to the original question that I put up or point is that I brought up on the screen there's a question about the last generation if Jesus ultimately is the one that passed down say and vindicated God can there in any way be room for God's people for the last generation also to participate in that so let's keep that in mind let's continue here desired ages page 490 this is a beautiful promise by the way this is a promise that's unadulterated it has no. To show on it the beautiful promise desire be ages page 490 henceforth This is from the cross Christ followers were to look upon Satan as what Concord follow he is cast down upon the cross Jesus was to gain the victory for them and that victory he desired them to accept as what as their own so here's the point at the cross he is defeated and Amen God is vindicated at the cross through the death of Jesus Christ there's nothing you can I can do to change that that victory is secured but there's a little insight there on that slide that says that victory God wants us to accept is ours he wants us to believe that Satan really is the defeated fellow and I think many of us have difficulty with that in our experience so let's let's continue Saints cast down what was he called by the way Revelation 1210 he's called the what the louder he's called the accuser of the brethren and how frequently does he accuse day and night you know that just means all the time 2477 days every week 365 days very year he is doing what he is accusing now since the cross has he stopped his accusations. It's like OK I'm defeated I give up not in the least and we'll see that as we continue the passage but he's continuing his accusations but he is defeated and that when we think of the accuser the Reverend This comes from. 2 particular Hebrew text all Testament text The 1st is the Book of Job Job Chapter one and part of Job Chapter 2 and then the book of Zachariah and both of these passages are very insightful for us so let's turn back to Joe Job Chapter one and just to try to get a little summary here because there's very interesting dynamics that happen in Job Chapter one The 1st 5 verses describe poorest how job Israel richly blessed he is a great father by the way he prays for his kids all the time and I don't even know what they're doing but I'm going to pray for them just in case and I think all parents pray for their children's I would hope all parents pray for their children that way verse 6 and tells us in verse 6 that there's a day when the sons of God This is part of that divine Council really know who they are in detail but it's clear they're coming together before God and they're presenting themselves and who lo and behold is among them Satan apparently not fully cast down yet he is not question as to why he's there it seems like he has every right to be there he comes in and the Lord sees Him the Lord says Where are you coming from well going back and forth on the earth and verse 8 the Lord said to Satan Have you considered my servant job if you set your heart on my servant. For there is none like you mon the earth is a blameless man he's upright he fears God and he turns away from evil Now let's not be deceived. Joe was a man just like each one of us is a human just like each one of us has the same temptations like you and I do so how is it that he is described as a blameless man who hates evil without something inherent in Him This is the working of God's grace in his heart he's following God he loves God he's he's realizes God is blessing him and so he's following God and saying goes on and says we can read the passages but God no God You are making it easy for job to do this because you're blessing him so much and if you take away the blessings he's going to curse you to your face and then God says OK go ahead do it you want just don't kill him an interesting dynamic here if you think about it. And they want to give pause for God singling us out for something because of what happens here say and then begins to test God just use me test job but there's an important point here as Seton is accusing job or testing job by implication Who is he really testing and accusing he's testing and accusing God yes God job is following you know but only because you're doing all these things for and so the test happens and we're familiar here he loses his family he gets boils he's got a terrible life through it but he does not sin and choose got charged God foolishly he remains faithful Do you think that that in some way contributes to the vindication of God's character of course it does it doesn't take away where Jesus died on the cross that's the big full final glorious incontrovertibly demonstration of who God is. But job's faithfulness is importance so Here's a quotation from a writer who wrote this on the book of Joe She writes examples of human impropriety are used to impeach God what does that mean Satan uses our failings to impeach God And so while the matter at hand is a stance of leave the piety of Jove that's the how word focused the true challenge is what whether God's conception of justice holds up to scrutiny and child so while Satan is attacking job he ultimately is wanting to attack God the actions of man thus have direct implications for the questions of God's ultimate justice and for piety What's it saying that what job does impacts the universe's understanding of God's justice and I don't see how you can get around that it seems pretty clear to me in Scripture that yes Jesus is the center and job is only able to be faithful because because of the grace of Jesus Christ 100 percent that does not mean job's example was worth nothing what if Job had failed the test what would that have done that would have given ammunition to to the accuser of the brethren and so when we think of this in terms of Revelations Well the cues are is cast down praise the Lord he's defeated through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross but there's something else to it in that him so let's go back to Revelation Chapter 12 Revelation 12. Again the question is can we say that the final generation contributes in some way to the vindication of God Revelation Chapter 12 in verse 10. Sorry quotation here from signs of the times it says the honor of Christ must stand complete in the perfection of the character of his chosen people he desires that they whose they are his people you and me shall represent his character to the world this is really important if you were to describe Christ character in one world word how would you describe it Christ character in one word love God wants you and me to demonstrate that character to the world and what's that character it's love you know again it's a little bit like dish soap on ice cream if we think OK I'm going to be faithful and that means I'm going to be a hard nosed unapproachable legal istic person that it's not representing God's character God's character is a character of love and God wants to demonstrate that to the universe through each one of us he desires that we shall represent his character to the world so let's go back Revelation 12 verse 10 verse 10 tells us that the accuser the brethren is cast down he who accuses them before our God day and night and by accusing them he is accusing God verse 11 and they did what they overcame him that word overcame is use 3 places in the Book of Revelation in the form that it's used it's used in Revelation 56 talking about Jesus it's used in Revelation 321 talking about Jesus and it's used here talking about the followers of Jesus just as he overcame God's people overcome and by the way how did he overcome we think back to Revelation 56 How is his overcoming demonstrate it. Through sacrifice his overcoming is demonstrated through self sacrificial love willing to give this group of people overcome in the same way let's look at it in more detail. Overcame him how 1st thing by the blood of the Lamb they realize that they are entirely dependent on Christ's death and his mediation that is what gives them the ability to overcome they are not living as kind of a. Let me rephrase that you know sometimes we think of saints we have a very warped idea you can take a room walk from Jerusalem down to Jericho and you can follow the old Jericho Road the same road that Jesus told that parable about the man going down from Jericho and you can walk down that road from Jerusalem to Jericho takes a couple of hours' really interesting walk but part way along the way are these caves in the side of the cliff were holy people lived and they were holy because they separated from everybody they lived in these little caves some of them built walls so nobody could get to them that's how they demonstrated their holiness that's not what this is talking about these people are overcoming because they're showing God's love to the world around them they're impacting people they're not pulling back from people they're interacting with people in order to demonstrate Christ's love through the blood of the Lamb What's the other aspect they give their word of their testimony and then there's that last phrase they did not love their life even when faced with death. If you noticed in your Bible if you have the King James It says something like they overcame him by the blood of the lamb or because of the blood of the Lamb depending on your translation and by the word of their testimony and then it says and they did not love their life and to death what that's really saying is this they overcame him one by the blood of the Lamb 2 by the word of the testimony in other words they did not love their life and to death that last phrase is describing their kind of life they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by their word of the testimony in other words they were willing to die rather than dishonor their savior this is a picture I would say of God's people throughout the ages but it's also a picture of the last generation as a group they're going to be a group of people that would rather die than dishonor their Savior they would rather die than commit transgression because of the blood of the Lamb they're focused on what Jesus did at the cross and they share a testimony and their lives are so turned upside down by the love of Christ that they are not going to hurt him they want to honor him that is what God wants to do in his people in the last generation Now I mentioned in the beginning that some of the authors in the book that I pointed out were concerned about an expression called absolute perfection or absolutes and listeners and I'm not really even sure what absolute perfection is when God is absolutely perfect to think that any human could be absolutely perfect is absurd we can't be but being absolutely perfect and having a perfect character are 2 different things to be absolutely perfect means to be like God nobody's going to be like that right. That does not mean that God's people are not going to be victorious in their life that does not mean that they are like this Revelation 121012 Revelation 1010 souse me Revelation 1210 through 12 tells us that this group of people are willing to lay down their life rather than transgress they're willing to be martyrs rather than give up their faith that is what God wants to have happen among us and we there today well I doubt it kind of. I can speak for myself you know willing to lay down my life rather than him. But this is where God wants to bring us to right this is the purpose of the Gospel that we become so enamored with Jesus Christ that we are willing to experience this this is good news by the way this is not ice cream with dish soap This is straight good news that God's going to have a group of people that are so motivated by his love so focused on him they don't think that they're so good it's not like they're strutting on the stage of heaven you know I've overcome I've overcome no they're totally broken Lord I need your grace I see nothing good in myself I need your power but that power really changes their life that's what the final generation's going to be like question is do you want to be part of it I want you to be part of it and God's doing everything you can to transform lives so that you can be part of it. Question is will we submit to him will we continue to walk with him again they have total dependence on Christ they realize their own sinfulness they are not boasting in any way they are not saying that their nature is changed but they are being transformed in their character. Is a quotation the human agent that's us I love this quotation by the way the human agent is to go forward to reach the highest standard of what perfection of what not absolute perfection that's a heresy granted but there is a perfection of character now it's good news that we're ever we are in our life we could be perfect in our maturity in our character you know a little 3 year old is not expected to do what if there are 2 year old does and so as we're growing in Christ we can have the complete comfort and knowledge that we're growing in perfection but God wants us to reach the highest standard of perfection of character how do we get it grit your teeth try harder diggin your heels that's all dish soap to use that terrible analogy how do we get it what does it say by the holding the character of Jesus Christ when you're looking at what do you think attention to what's drawing your attention we become change we reach the highest standard of Christian Perfection character perfection by looking and falling in love with Jesus Christ that's really good news unadulterated Gospel Jesus Christ did something at the cross where he totally on mask saying he is a defeated fellow but God wants us to continue to show that in our lives and praise the Lord one day he's going to have a group of people that are united and having that be a reality for themselves let's go back to the passage draw to a close Revelation Chapter 12 in verse 12. For this reason rejoice and we haven't and you who dwell in them woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you having great wrath knowing he has only a short time so this passage ends with a conflicting cry kind of an end to final cry rejoice you're in heaven but those people that are on the earth whoa why because the devil's come down to you with great wrath why because he knows he's already defeated he knows he's just got a short time short whatever that means he knows that he just has a short time left he knows he's defeated and so he wants to bring as many people with him in the destruction that he can but praise God there's going to be a group of people that overcome him by the blood of the Lamb by the word of their testimony and because they don't count their own life so dear to them that they're willing to exchange it for the pleasures of this world they are willing to follow Jesus Christ no matter what it means so we're studying and Sabbath school this morning about the 144000 the great multitude the ultimate question is What can you do to be part of that group of people despite our own weaknesses you and I need to learn to trust fully in Jesus Christ and by looking at his sacrifice allowing it to transform and re motivate each one of our lives. Question simply is are you willing so week I came across something on the internet sorry. Don't try this by the way this is in Russia I don't know what in the world this guy decided to do but there is this big muck feel old and he decided to walk across it sounds something like something I would do but as he was walking across it he got stuck like he's stuck is stuck up to his waist in the mire and it just reminded me of us in relation to sin you ever feel about like when you're caught in sin and you try to get out and it just pulls you deeper anybody had that experience like no blessings on yours you never had that experience I have that experience where it's just you try to get away and it's just like sucks you down and down and down and that's what this guy thank you for others to this this guy is trying to get out and he's really trying to get out he can't so they bring a track over to read him and they start digging with the bucket and they dig on both sides of him like one on each side to try to pull the muck away that maybe you can slide over to one thing and get out but as soon as they pull it away the mark just comes right in and so then they start like trying to dig close to him and he tries to dig away and he is stuck that's the way we are stuck in sin so they just left him there and he died No kidding. Sorry got it the way I would tell the story. No so they get the bucket of the track Oh and they reach behind him and they scoop the mark and him out and then that bucket pulls up and all the muck falls out and then they lift him up in the bucket and then they put him on solid ground and it just reminded me you know we are stuck in a mire of sin and it takes someone else to get us out. And that's Jesus cries we cannot get out by ourselves we are entrapped and it's not enough to dig on the sides or in front behind we need to be completely rescued but I can bet you when he got out he did not jump back in he wanted to remain free Christ has reached down into the mire this world didn't just end a bucket he came into this world He came into the world in which we have to fight temptation and sin and came into it and then he walks alongside of us and say look I know how to get you out of this mire and in fact I will get you out of this mire so whatever the struggle is you're facing today whatever the battle is Jesus is able to rescue us from that mire of sin are we willing is the question do we want to be part of this group of people that will give glory and honor to him through our ages it's my prayer that we will Let's turn to our closing him. Closing him number 279. For closing hair to 79. Swear. To. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. The way. Let's pray together father heaven thank you for the beautiful truth that if we have faith in your that faith enables you to transform our heart and life thank you for what you've done for us in the person of Jesus Christ thank you that Satan is a defeated foe Father we pray that he may be defeated in our lives as well keep us Father teach us how to keep our eyes upon Jesus in His Name Amen.

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