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Final Charge: Make Adventism Good Again

Israel Ramos
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Israel Ramos

Pastor in the Michigan Conference


  • January 4, 2020
    5:30 PM


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This was presented at the g.. By many or by few in Louisville Kentucky for other resources like visitors on. Dot org. Thank you so much thank you so much for that wonderful special music I want to thank the music team in the evenings you will every every musician but I want to thank you specially at this time for the wonderful gift of music. Throughout church history one of the greatest battles that the church has had to fight. Is the battle dealing with culture. When Jesus began his ministry. Started the greatest movement of all time the Christian church. It was something that was unpopular. And yet over time as a message began to take its root in the heart of people. People began to accept the teachings of scripture the message of Jesus. But this multitude became mixed and somehow some way. Culture began to impact the church. We live in a society today. Where the church is not only in danger of being impacted by culture but it is also in danger of being impacted by politics. I'm not talking about politics that take place between one person and another but I'm talking about global politics national politics. It seems as though everywhere you look politics has invaded our thinking wherever we turn wherever we look we see that politics is dominating the conversation and it has so change the mentality of even Christians that now we think that in order to change the world that in order to change the church the same methods of politics must be applied. My brothers and sisters. If you don't believe this to be a legitimate problem just scroll down to latest social media. Everywhere you turn or everywhere you read it seems as though politics and culture have so gripped our minds that that is what we talk about more than even our walks with God and I want to tell us today that it is impossible for us to advents the kingdom of God and to prepare an army of young people to meet their god while focusing on politics and while focusing on culture. Politics divides. The models have been stated throughout in the United States throughout the last several years I am with her Let's make America great again. And I want to tell us today that I'm with him. And more than making America great again we need to make Adventism good again. The church can only be changed the world can only be won not by something as a practice of as greatness. It will be won it will be changed by something less dramatic something less attractive something less beautiful and charming and shiny. And that something is you and me let a spray Father in heaven as we open your word speak to our hearts bypass the human instrumentality. And through the foolishness of preaching apply your word to every individual heart that is present here today it is my prayer in Jesus' name amen. In his book Good to Great. Jim Collins speaks of different organizations good organizations that over the process of time became great organizations he differentiates these organizations by different criteria for example he excludes Coca-Cola because he thinks that Coca-Cola had always been a great brand but there are certain organizations that started off as a good organization Fortune 500 companies yet they lacked something that took them to the next level the level of greatness and so in his book he outlines principles on how organizations and people can move from something that is good to something that is great why because we live now in a culture of greatness and so as he speaks in his book of these different organizations he discovers that he shares principles of how what is possible for someone or some organizations to go from good to great one of the foundational principles principles of his book is this that good is the enemy of great in other words the reason why many people don't achieve greatness is because they're content to settle with goodness. I want to tell us today that that great many times is actually something that is overrated let me share with you a story. When I was a high school student Washington Hills Academy. I remember very clearly the principal of the school Mrs Clark standing before a group of anxious students Me being one of them we were in our 3rd year in high school. And she began to hand out envelopes that contained the scores of each student who had just recently taken a standardized test the p.s.a.t.. And as she shared these envelopes she began to try to calm our nerves by saying listen guys don't worry in the history of our school most of our students do very well on these tests and she said as a matter of fact never in the history of a school has anyone scored below this certain percentile I opened up the envelope to discover that I was part of a particular group of people. Like for the 1st time in history I created a new and distinctive group that scored in the one percentile. I think that to this day no one in Washington has a cat in me has scored in the one percentile Now if I was to ask you here tonight this evening how many of you know someone that has scored in the 99th percentile of a standardized test I would guess that many of you would raise your hands as a matter of fact in the work that I'm involved in today I come across people who score in the 99 percent tell of their tests and who know other people who do the same so much so that they are unimpressed by this kind of score and I think to myself they're all average but when I tell someone that I've scored in the one percentile these people are shocked. They think to themselves Man I thought you need to be a lot smarter to score in the one percentile. Greatness is often overrated we think about people who seek to accomplish great things and we discover that the truth of the matter is greatness is overrated. Also all in Scripture and in the church. Great is the enemy of good. Great is the enemy of the good think about it we live in a society today where Instagram has taken over we take pictures of ourselves on our phones in our beds in the morning acting as though we woke up with our make up done hash tag and just woke up. We want to be great and this obsession that has caused many to come up with the dream of dropping out of school to launch a Go Fund Me campaign to become self-employed and start up a company that will make them millionaires so they can be an awesome Adventists philanthropist. But when the philanthropic opportunities come knocking on our doors. And the offering plate is passed a church we don't have enough money to give and we don't take advantage of those opportunities many times in other words we don't do something because it is not great enough. We talk about our need to go protest and go marching down the streets and promote social justice and yet we walk down the streets of our city every day homeless people asking for food asking for support. And they go by without our notice because that is not great enough. In other words because we seek to be great we neglect the little opportunities that God places before us day after day after day. Heaven doesn't value Greatness It values the common little things that are often neglected and we find this in Scripture term with me if you would in your Bible so the Book of John John Chapter 12. The Bible says in verse one Then Jesus 6 days before the Passover came to Bethany where Lazarus was which had been dead whom he had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper and north to serve but Lazarus was one that was with them and he sat at the table with him then took Mary a pound of white men a spike not very costly and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair and the house was filled with the odor of the aunt mint then see if one of the disciples Judaist Judas Iscariot Simon son which should be trade him why was not this one even sold for 300 pence and given to the poor this he said not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief and he had the bag and he bear that which was put there in then Jesus said Leave her alone against the day of my burying has bearing has she done this the poor you have with you always but me you don't have with you always. John tells us a story about Jesus and he lays the context by telling us that this event takes place just 6 days before the Passover In other words it takes place just 6 days before the death of Jesus Christ on the cross the Bible tells us that Jesus is in Bethany which is translated as the House of the poor if you look at Mark's account and Matthew's account you discover that there is another group of people the Pharisees they've also gathered together and on their radar their topic of conversation is also Jesus they are gathered in the city of Jerusalem which is translated as the city of peace the purpose of their gathering is to talk about Jesus put it it's not to honor him as a matter of fact they're gathered together to come up with a plan to crucify the Son of God 2 groups of people meeting talking about Jesus but with 2 different purposes friends the question that we must 1st answer is Why are we here tonight the fact that we are here at a conference that is seeking to speak about Jesus Christ does not guarantee that everyone is here because we want to honor him just because Jesus is being spoken of just because Jesus is being talked about does not mean that we are gathered here today to honor the Son of God. In Bethany they're there to honor him and I'd like to think that the reason why we are here today is not to spend a nice evening in a cool hotel or to enjoy the great food or to ride on a school bus or to hang out with our friends or to get away from our parents or to visit a new city put I'd like to think in my heart of hearts that the reason why we are here tonight is because we want to honor Jesus Christ. However as this group of people gather in Bethany the house of the poor to honor Jesus Christ something interesting takes place the Bible says that sitting next to Jesus is a man named Lazarus this is a man whom Jesus has raised from the dead the greatest miracle that Jesus performs in the book of John there are 6 of them the culmination of these miracles is the resurrection of Lazarus someone who has been in the grave so long that his body is beginning to decay and the Word of God demonstrates so much power that it has the ability to transform a dead end decaying body and give life into that dead into that lifeless form. On the other side Matthew tells us and Mark tells us there is a man whose name is Simon This man is the one who has actually thrown the feast. The Bible says that this man used to be a leper outcast of society outcast of the church because Jesus has given him as health this man of great means seeks to celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ and so to honor him he throws a feast the Bible tells us that there is another character in the story a woman by the named of by the name of Martha she is also invited to this feast but the reason why she is invited is to serve and so she is serving the guests. Finally we're introduced to a woman in verse 3 This woman has no introduction regarding why she's there we don't know why she's supposed to be there she doesn't have any specific any special task that she is accomplishing she's not be the person in charge of the feast she's not Lazarus from Christ as re raise from the dead at the Bible just says that there is this woman named Mary who comes into the story because she takes an alabaster box breaks it open and begins to pour its content on the feet of Jesus Christ the Bible says that the effect is significant the Bible says that this uninvited woman on top of being uninvited does something that is unimaginable. She breaks this perfume and the perfume begins to fill the air with it's a Roma so that the whole house is full friends of theirs anything that's radical that's radical to go to a party that you are not even invited to. And to instead of sitting down quietly and observing what is going on. You open up a bottle of heavily scented perfume. And you dump its content on the feed of some of Jesus Christ and you begin to weep over this man. Talk about awkward moments this is one. People begin to look at what is going on and the Bible says that the response of the people there is not a positive one. Judas. Begins to get upset. And he begins to whisper to the other disciples what in the world does this girl think. Why was this waste made it's all to me he would have stated something that begins like a whisper when you compare the different accounts of the gospel writers something that begins like a whisper mounts up and builds up steam to the point where people are now beginning to openly rebuke this this person this woman Mary what in the world were you thinking Why have you wasted all this money it could have been sold they say for 300 pence 300 denarii other accounts tell us that it could have been sold for even more than that. And so we are now introduced to the cost of the Give that this woman gives to Jesus Christ the cost is $300.00 denarii in the parable of the workers that go into the vineyard you remember that the 1st group of people came they made a deal that they were working in the farm and they agreed upon the price the price was one done area and then the people that came the next hour the next hour the next hour and finally the 11th hour workers received one denarius well and the point of the parable was simply this that the people that worked 11 hours were upset that the people that only worked one hour received the same wage they said to themselves and to their master how was it possible that these individuals that worked only one hour will receive the same compensation that a person would receive when they worked an entire day or the point of that parable for this purpose is this that a person who worked in entire day would receive a salary of one binaries. And the Bible says that this woman Mary who poured this perfume on the feet of Jesus. Poort a gift under the feet of Christ that was worth 300 denarii that's in other words 300 days of working. If Mary live today that's about a year. And she worked minimum wage. That would probably be about a $20000.00 gift Have you ever stopped to think about that. Because if you did all of us and you'd be thinking to yourself why did she waste that much money. I mean when we buy perfume when we buy cologne. Our stuff comes nowhere near the price that Mary paid for which she gave to Jesus and when we use these kinds of gifts we use them sparingly or we spray it and then we walk into it. So I can get the whole body right there's a science to how we use these expensive perfumes. And we think to ourselves Mary I mean couldn't you just have put a little bit of perfume on the feet of Jesus that would have been enough. But Mary wasted an entire pound. Of spikenard on the feet of Jesus Christ it's no wonder. That the comment was made. Why was this waste made. By all appearances the gift of Mary was not a gift of greatness or an act of greatness but one of wastefulness. But what determines whether or not Mary wasted on Jesus. Well whether she gave him a good gift this depends upon what Christ has done for us. Whether or not we consider the gift of Mary to be a good gift or a waste depends on how we value the gift that Jesus has given to us. You see for Mary it was not a ways to waste on Jesus because Jesus had done so much for her it was Jesus who raised her brother from the dead it was Jesus who cast out 7 demons out of her it was Jesus who saved her life when at the at the point of being caught in adultery the rest of the of the society wanted to put her to death and because of everything that Jesus had done for her wasting on Jesus was not a waste. Secondly what is it critical for us to acknowledge about the story is a fact that Mary not only wasted on Jesus but she wasted on Jesus at the right time. Jesus was 6 days from his crucifixion and at a time when people sought to honor Christ with measured gifts Mary gave everything that she had. Many times we say we don't want to give everything that we have to Christ it would be a waste or sometimes we think we are willing to waste on Jesus but not right now let me waste on Jesus when I have something significant to offer him Mary says to you and to me no waste on Jesus and waste on him right now. It is better to waste on Jesus now with what we have then to wait until we have something greater to offer him although society has played with our minds to strive for that which is great Jesus saying no don't strive for that which is great strive for that which is good and that which is good is giving everything that we have to Jesus Christ at the right time and that right time is now. A good work is better than a great work and so Jesus responds to these people leave her alone. In another passage in Scripture and marks a counter in Matthew's account it says she has done a good work. And to the Marys. Of today. Jesus response is Why do you trouble them why do we trouble people that radically seek to give God everything that they have leave them alone. They are doing a good work Mary's good work. Was more valuable than everyone else's great work the Bible tells us that the story of Mary will be told everywhere the gospel is preached and I've often wondered why that is why is a story so significant that it that it should be mentioned when ever where ever the gospel is preached although we think Mary's gift is great it actually isn't. Turning with mere Bibles just a few pages over to the Book of John chapter 19. John Chapter 19 verse 38 and after this Joseph of Varus materia speaking after the crucifixion of Jesus being a disciple of Jesus but secretly for fear of the Jews be such a pilot that he might take away the body of Jesus and Piet and pilot gave him leave. He came therefore and took the body of Christ and there also came with him nicotine this which at 1st came to Jesus by night and brought in a mixture of murder and aloes about $100.00 pounds in weight and they took the body of sorry yeah and they then took the the body of Jesus and well did in linen clothes with spices as a matter of the juices to bury did you just catch what Nicky Demas and Joseph of Wrath with the of did. If you want to talk about a great gift this is a great gift. The Bible says that Joseph of heiress Matilda and Nica Demas took the body of Jesus Christ. And they gave him a gift of Mer which by the way is comparable to spike in its value it was a gift that was given to the Kings very costly and it says that they took this murder about a 100 pounds worth. And whistled they buried the body of Jesus Christ. If you want to talk about a great gift there was no greater gift in the gift that nikka Demas and Joseph of our from the FIA gave to Jesus Christ it was 100 times more the gift of Mary or. The listen listen to what the desire of ages says concerning the gift of Joseph of Vera thier. The fragrant gift which Mary had thought to lavish upon the dead body of the Savior she poured upon his living form. At the burial this sweetness could only have pervaded the tomb now It gladdened his heart with the assurance of her faith and love Joseph Verisign the thea and Nica Demas offered not their gift of love to Jesus in his life with bitter tears they brought their costly spices for his cold unconscious form the women who had bore spices to the tomb found there Aaron in vain for he had risen. But Mary pouring out her love upon the Savior while he was conscious of her devotion was annoying 1000 his body for his burial and as he went down into the darkness of his great trial he carried with him the memory of that deed in earnest of the love that would be his from his redeemed ones for ever did you catch the significance of what is said there in the book desire of ages. She tells us that the gift that Mary gave was a reminder of Jesus during the darkest hour of his time it was a reminder. That it was a reminder what does it say here was a reminder of an earnest of the love that would be his from his redeemed ones for ever. In other words the gift of Mary was was supposed to be the 1st fruits in the mind of Christ. A reminder of the love that you and I when we go to heaven would demonstrate to God to him for the rest of our lives during the darkest hour of Jesus' life. As he walked from place to place the trial after trial after trial to the very cross itself there was but one reminder. That there would be something special after this hell that he experience would all be over and that reminder was given to him by none other than Mary herself think about that now friends nobody nobody no human being. Has ever saved humanity but when Christ wrestled over my salvation. Mary's perfume encouraged him to save my life yet nicotine as host of the Verisign Afia they gave a lot of money to Jesus. But it was worthless it was worthless because it fell upon a lifeless form. And this is why the story of Mary is forever told the story of Mary is forever told because if there was any human being who played any role in your salvation and mine it was Mary it was Mary's perfume that encouraged Christ although all these people will forsake you although Peter as run away although John is nowhere to be found I believe that you are Jesus Christ the Son of God goal and die for my sins and when you are resurrected and when you come as a King of Kings and Lord of lords and when the redeemed of the earth enter into the gates of heaven there will be more Mary's that will show their love and devotion to you throughout eternity Jesus in the darkest hour of your life press on and save humanity. Friends greatness is the enemy of goodness because if we wait to be like Joseph of Arras material if we wait to be like naked Demas if we wait to become millionaires before we give everything that we are to the cause of Jesus Christ we will never do it. Will never do it. Greatness never comes. Don't do something great. Do something now. Forget the obsession with trying to become something better and better and better although as though something as though we can make ourselves good enough to be useful in the service of Christ it is not the capabilities that we now possess it is not the capabilities that will ever possess that will make us worthy to work in the service of Jesus Christ it is only what God can do for us. There are moments in history when greatness is eclipsed. Story is told about a woman by the name of Julie mosse she was a student studying in California trying to earn a degree in education and as part of her. Experiment program. She signed up to run one of the most difficult races in the United States and really around the world it's called an iron men which by the way outgoing president Moyes he didn't run 2 thirds he ran the whole thing and maybe a little extra We had to make that correction for him because I know just in switch the story a little bit there. Julie must embark upon this journey. No training. Had never even completed the 3 disciplines that make the race the race begins with a 2 mile swim more than 112 miles on the bike and then you topped it off with the full marathon. Julie mosse had never completed all 3 things. And when she showed up in Kona Hawaii. She started the race. To her surprise and to the surprise of many people watching on television she was actually in 1st place. As she began the marathon she began to build the distance between her and the 2nd place person by more than a minute or more than a mile. But something happened towards the end of the race about $400.00 yards or so before the finish line. She experienced dehydration and she had no nutrition in her body she says that she actually had carried with her a Snickers bar but because the t.v. cameras were there she did not want to open it up because it was melted and she would not look nice on t.v. so she threw the thing away. 40400 meters or yards before the finish line her body was completely depleted of energy. And she began to stumble towards the finish line. Her body actually looked as though it was deformed and convulsing she struggled to put one foot after the other and although she was determined in her mind to finish the race she fell down to the ground. She got up she saw the finish line in front of her and she began to walk towards the finish line putting one foot after another she fell again this time she cannot get up and she begins to explain what is going through our mind and she says I made a deal with myself that I would finish the race and I'm going to finish the race and so she put her hands in front of her she spread her legs behind stood up like a tripod and forced throughway up and began again. But she felt. The person behind her got closer and closer and closer and finally passed her up. Pastor up just before she finished the race. Julie speaks of this experience and she said that at that point she said to herself I quit. There's no point in finishing this race I lost the race there's no point in continuing and it was at that time that a voice came to her and said you made a deal with yourself that you would finish the race so finish the race. And so she began to crawl and crawl and crawl until she crawled over the finish line television reporter said the sport of Iron Man will never be the same again. When you run most races they say now you can run walk or crawl across the finish line you know what's significant about this. What's significant about this race is the fact that although Julie must never won and although she made a fool of herself by many accounts crawling all over the finish line although she is known as the person who wobbled across and looked as though she was convulsing although she's known as the woman who went to the bathroom on herself as she crossed across the finish line. Nobody remembers I shouldn't say nobody because some people do but rarely do we remember the person who even won the race. We remember Julie mosse but we have to go back and look to see who it who was it that actually won this race friends being number one is not what it's all about or yeah we need to strive for excellence but excellence is not determined by what we achieve excellence is determined by how much of ourselves we're willing to give and when a person gives all to anything that person is recognized friends we don't live in a time where Jesus needs your riches we don't live in a time where Jesus needs your greatness we don't live in a time when Jesus needs our talents we live in a time when Jesus needs you now. That's the time in history that we live in today a time where Jesus does not need our greatness he needs us now. I want to challenge you this evening as we conclude this great conference. What has been the driving force in your spirituality. We have more than a 1000 people coming to prayer groups that's great or. But what we have one person going a prayer group every morning in your house in your room when you're by yourself. All we have many buses going out on outreach. Handing out stuff rebuilding churches. But what we have one person. Go back home and do something for their community or all alone without the spotlights. We've accomplished a lot of great things but will we do what is good when we go home that's the question that we need to answer. So my appeal for you tonight is this how many of you. Feel God's call upon your heart to not do something great. But to do something now as you've been sitting through this conference in this convention as you walk down the halls and you see the different boots that are here you pass by administering to your missions. People are dying all over the world dying all over the world without even the opportunity of knowing the name of Jesus Christ there are people that have come here we have a youth director from Hong Kong. Who is telling me that they need people to go to Asia to serve as missionaries. There are people places that need people who will serve in some of the most dangerous places in the earth. Who will boldly share the gospel of Jesus Christ not in a big massive place like this. But home by home person by person with little success. But people who understand that greatness is never something that is revealed openly but rather it is something that is only estimated in the private halls of heaven. You've heard the stories of people that need to go beep they need to go preach sermons all around the world. People who will go who will sacrifice their education who will pay for themselves to go who will work and make money and pay for themselves to go people who will go door to door in different places in the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ whether it's through an evangelistic campaign. Or in the darkest places in earth's history these are the kind of people that we need and these are the kind of people that we need now we need Mary's. That's essentially what we need someone that will not say. This is a waste someone that is willing to say I am aware. Of the sacrifice of Jesus made for me I am aware enough of the cost of Jesus paid for my salvation that there is no limit. To the wasting that I'm willing to do. To give back to my master I work on public university campuses more than 70 percent of our young people like you. Are attending schools that are not 7th Day Adventists. Many of these people are losing their faith by the time many of you reach my age. Many will have left the church. We need people to go as missionaries across the world and we need them across the street we need them on our public university campuses. We need people who will not go for greatness not go for numbers not go for fame. But people who will go no. I want to make an appeal to you if the Lord is calling upon your heart. To give your all to Jesus right now not tomorrow not next year not when you become something great but right now this appeal is for you. We don't want people who are impulsive We don't want people who have nothing to do we don't want people who have nothing to sacrifice no cost to pay. We want young people who after counting the cost and understanding the cost that Jesus has paid for them will say if I believe that Jesus is in fact coming soon. I do not care what everyone else is going to say I don't care that people if people are going to say man you're wasting your you you're wasting your means you're wasting your talents I want to give my life to Jesus today in service for him I want to do something good and not care so much about doing something great if that's you I want to call upon you to respond to this appeal I'm especially calling upon young people who are between the ages of 218 to 25 if this fits you you are a young person between the ages of 18 to 25 the prime of your good young adult life. And you sense God's calling to give. Everything that you have everything that you are to Jesus Christ today and work for him immediately give a year of your life to him I want to call upon you to come up here with me and answer this appeal the subpoena is not for everyone. The subpoena was only for a few If you fit this category between the ages of 18 to 25 and you have looked at your life you look at what God has done for you say I want to give at least a year of my life I want to give 5 years of my life I want to give everything that I have in my life Surendra to Jesus Christ because of what he has done for me I want you to come up so we can pray for you God bless you. God bless you. God is looking for a group of young people that will not focus on something that is great to do for him something now. We can close this meeting. Without making an appeal for that young person who has yet to give their life to God and express it to baptism. There are so many here tonight as we close this conference. But I want to give their life to Christ never been baptized you want to say I want to give my life to Jesus I want to make take my stand with God's people I want to become a baptize member of the 7 heavens church God's remnant church or prepare for baptism I want to study the Bible. I want to find out for myself what it takes to be baptized a disciple of Jesus Christ and that's you I want to raise your hand wherever you are never been baptized before you want to battle you want to be Baptizer see your hands God bless you want to pray for you. But a spring. Father in heaven. You have never asked us to be great. You've only asked us. To selflessly. Follow you with everything that you know. There's a group of young people before you tonight who want to follow you. And we want to pray that you bless them. There's a group of people tonight the wanna be baptized they want to give their life so you can baptism be buried and buried in Christ and resurrected a new life blessed those commitments and make them disciples of Jesus Christ Father as we as we get ready to welcome the soon coming of Jesus Christ give us. Give us. A deeper your need. To surrender everything that we have. To follow you. Is my prayer. And I offer it from my heart in Jesus' name. This is recorded at the g y c conference by many or by few in Louisville Kentucky. I see the supporting Ministry of the 7th Day Adventist Church seeks to challenge and inspire young people to take a sacrificial initiative for Christ to download other resources like this visit us online at www. Dot.


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