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A Ministry for This Time

Kameron DeVasher

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Kameron DeVasher

Director of Sabbath School & Personal Ministries, Michigan Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

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Recorded

  • February 6, 2021
    10:00 AM
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Before we do any study however we must begin with the word of prayer so what you got your head at this time Heavenly Father we thank you so much for this beautiful warm day in Loma Linda California we thank you for those who are in other places tuning in right now will be watching later on and Lord for everyone within the sound of my voice this morning I would ask that you would sin as you have promised to do your Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth let the Bible be clear today let our message be relevant applicable to where we are in this world history and help each one of us not only to be the Cypriots of the Gospel but missionaries for you for we pray it all in Jesus name Amen just please take out your Bibles and go to the Book of Acts we're going to start our message this morning with a brief survey of the 1st few chapters of The Book of Acts and I mean brief this is not nearly exhaustive It is not comprehensive but we're going to draw out a few made points and hopefully we have a thread through these opening chapters of The Book of Acts to highlight something that was a unique challenge that was facing the early church and I believe a strikingly similar challenge exists for the last day church today Acts Chapter one Verse 8 you're very familiar with this very famous passage where Jesus the very last statement he makes to his believers as recorded in the book of Acts just before his ascension says this but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in Judea and some area and to the end of the year. He says eventually going to go to the whole earth but it can start in Jerusalem then go to Judea and some area and then to the rest of the world very simple and look at the very next verse now when he had spoken these things while they watched he was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight literally the last words of Jesus was the strategy for taking the gospel to the world is going to start where you are in Jerusalem go to deal in some area and then to the ends of the earth and then literally the next thing he sins into heaven disappears from their sight acceptor to told you this very brief survey we got one verse from chapter one was go to chapter 2 in Acts chapter 2 we understand the disciples heeded the call of Jesus His instruction was regarded and they stayed put in Jerusalem praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and waiting for the promise that had been given and of course the Day of Pentecost comes and the Holy Spirit was poured out as promised and the Apostle Peter and other disciples were given the power to speak in other languages and they begin to preach a message by the way I'll briefly say this that I believe the 7th Day Adventist Church should be more Pentecostal I assume the amens were muffled because of the masks but be careful what I mean by that now when we use that term today in our contemporary context the term Pentecostal has some images that might come to our mind by very loud music demonstrative worship styles I grew up in the south because holy rolling right hands and the other kind of you also I think of speaking in unintelligible tongues you might think about faith healing is all kinds of you know into costal images but if you go down the line of the things I mentioned how many of those are actually recorded in the book of Acts Chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost for instance how much music was played on the day of Pentecost Well I don't know but none of it made it into the Bible record that's not to say that singing is bad her music is of course not but it surely wasn't a power that moved today there was no mention at all of it how about faith healing. The Bible is imagine anyone being healed on the day of Pentecost again the gift of healing is valid and praise the Lord if you're sick and he revives you that's fantastic but that's not what happened on the day of Pentecost you have a speaking in unintelligible tongues wasn't there either in fact the Bible goes out of its way to list the nations that could hear they were amazed not because they couldn't understand but because they could what made the day of Pentecost power hose the outpouring of this Holy Spirit and the people the messengers of God had anointed having the courage to stand up and speak in plain language what the Bible said about present truth they had a message that stirred the heart of the people and they were moved by the power of the Word of God in the Holy Spirit Notice it says in verse 36 listen to the peal that was made therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly based on the Bible passages you just quoted no assuredly that God has made this Jesus Now look closely comma who you crucified it wasn't a generic sermon about some you know esoteric a theory a love concept is like you kill your own Messiah and God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ now 1st 37 when they heard this they were cut where to the heart not only did they recognise it was true they were convinced what he was saying was right but they were convicted in the heart that it applied to them and then the natural response is I've got I've convinced by the truth I'm convicted by the truth and now what do I do with this they asked said to Peter and the rest the apostles Men and brother and what shall we do everything you're saying is true and you're right and we're wrong and Christ was the Messiah and now he's on the throne and we're down here we're in of course you know the message it's been the message of John the Baptist and Jesus and now the disciples. Peter said to them repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit now it's a beautiful powerful thing but you got to remember when Jesus said in Chapter one Verse 8 about going to all the world he was speaking to the remaining 11 disciples and a few disciple you know other followers that were gathered together in fact when they gather the upper room there is about 120 and now the passage reveals that at the end of this one sermon in verse 41 of Jack Chapter 2 then those who gladly received his word were baptized and that day about 3000 souls were added and it does not just say to Jesus it says they were added to whom to them or to the church because friends when you come to Jesus you become part of the Body of Christ which is the church so now the church is $3120.00 or so and noticed the character change in these people the same people that have killed Jesus just 50 days earlier keep reading as we go. Verse 44 now all who believe were together and all things in common and sold their possessions and goods in the by them among all as anyone had need there is a personal ministering spirit there is a sacrificial you know desire to give to the cause to help out directly to be part of this great movement that God was raising up he was beautiful verse 45 and sold their possessions and goods and divided them among all as anyone had need the results verse 46 so continuing daily with one accord in the temple I have to add right here notice they didn't it does not say so continuing weekly with one accord in the temple. Their religion was not just on the 7th day sabbath it was a daily experience they were a community of faith they were fellowshipping together praying together study together witnessing together says in verse $26.00 so continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house to ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord what's the next word everyone added to what the church how often daily those who are being saved so we had 3000 begin and then beyond that through their personal ministry activity they were adding daily to the church those who are being saved are we clear so far. Actually after one we start with a codger of the remaining few Jesus gives the great commission to go to all the world Acts Chapter 2 The Day of Pentecost really unleashes the big you know seed investment if you will the big starting chunk $3000.00 plus through their ministry daily things are adding the church is beginning to grow in God's name is to be praise Go to accept or poor. Accept or for we see another powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit this time the gift was not healing and it was not even speaking in tongues it was speaking with courage they had prayed for boldness and that's exactly what they were given x. Chapter 4 verse $31.00 and when they had prayed the place where they were simple together was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the word of God with what boldness I believe that we as 70 have in his need to speak the Word of God with boldness more often than we do but notice the result of this outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the preaching of the Word of God and see if you see a parallel between there in Acts chapter 2. Verse 32 now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own but they had all things in common verse 34 nor was there any one among them who lacked for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them now carefully watch so far almost word for word I did a call to the experience of the converted people in Acts chapter 2 but now the church has gotten a little larger there continue to add and grow still preaching the word they got a straight message it's all good but now as the people converted now watch one white scene almost insignificant difference but I believe it's the headwaters of a great crisis to come look closely at Acts Chapter 4 verse $34.00 again now nor was there anyone among them who lacked for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that they were sold verse $35.00 and laid them where at the Apostles feet and they distributed to each as anyone has need Did you see the difference the difference in Acts chapter 2 the disciples the original apostles You know Peter in the gang they were involved in the daily distribution everyone gave on their own they were doing personal direct ministry but now that the church is growing they say you know what we can't do everything we're going to lay the Apostles feet and they begin to distribute keep that in mind is now no good Acts Chapter 6 watch this acceptor 6 verse one. And again we're looking at early church life and looking for parallels for these last days. Acts Chapter 6 verse one now in those days when the number of the disciples was what's our word this time multiply notice we were added then added daily now we've gone from addition to multiplication the church is a continuing to grow keep in mind by the way we're all still in Jerusalem no one's going to Judea Samarian certainly not to the end of the earth but the church in Jerusalem is getting bigger and stronger and according to Scripture multiplying watch this now. In those days when the number of the disciples is multiplying there a rose a come plain. I like to sometimes make the offhanded comment that this is when it officially became a church. When there arose a complaint. But notice the nature and substance of the frustration What is the issue at hand says this. There arose a complaint by the Hebrew cut against the hebrews by the Hellenists now you got to understand this is not pagan versus religious This is not Jew versus Gentile this is Christian versus Christian but they have subcultures there hellenist believers there's the Hebrew believers they have the same faith but they have a different culture and that started to you know there start to be some rifts in the body. Now what happens. There arose a complaint against the hebrews by the Hellas because their widows were neglected in what activity but they leave distribution time outs from Acts Chapter 4 who we now know is running the daily distribution the Apostles. And they start coming to them not only do they look to them to do it now they're looking to them to solve all the problems that sort out their frustrations and iron out the hiccups and start being a problem solver for every local issue. And there's a danger here. The danger is if the disciples start caring for every nickel and dime problem that comes up in the local church they're never going to go to Judea and Samaria and certainly not to the interior they recognize this and notice what they recommend 1st to them the 12 some of the multitude of disciples and said it is not desirable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables therefore brother and seek out from among you which in our Harlington the church we call set up a nominating committee. Should seek out from among you. 7 men of good reputation full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom whom we may appoint over this business but we will give ourselves continued to prayer into the ministry of the word let me be clear there's nothing dishonorable or ignoble or any way problematic about serving tables and doing local hands on tangible ministry it's a necessity it's honorable it's lovely it's too good work it just wasn't their work you see the difference they said this is going to be a problem. Now I like to also joke that in verse 5 we see one of the 1st Americans in the early church look at verse 5. And the saying pleased the whole multitude. Of men. And of course that introduces us to the 7 that were chosen name Chief among them was Stephen who is going to have storing role in Acts Chapter 7 when he's called before this and he didn't answer for his faith and he does so with power with conviction with boldness and at the cost of his life the 1st Christian martyr was not one of the Apostles it was a lame member of the church who had been set apart to wait tables. But he was also a missionary for Jesus Christ using the words that were. That's an important point the final passage we look at now is Acts Chapter 8 starting with verse one. Notice what happens here and I believe the Lord orchestrated the resolution of the dispute in Acts Chapter 6 to prepare them for what was coming in Acts Chapter 8 Chapter 8 verse one this is after Stephen has given his powerful last moments of life testimony he looked into heaven and said I see Jesus sitting at the right hand of God the same message that Peter spoke by the way he was preaching about the present truth of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary. And instead this time is fascinating by the way you can look at Acts Chapter 7 The people who stone Stephen the Bible says they too were cut to the heart they understood his message clearly they were convicted that it applied to them but instead of receiving the word gladly they rejected it violently but the message was still clear it says Now Chapter and Verse one at that time a great persecution arose against the church which was where at Jerusalem and they were all scattered throughout the region to Ga and some area except the Apostles keep in mind what just happened there persecution came upon the church and the Bible says quote They were all scattered but then it adds comma except the Apostles so friends who were the very day they were scattered. It was all the late members of the church the people who were specifically not Apostles they were scattered and what does it say they did verse 4. Therefore those who are scattered waited for the apostles so your bible says double check your pastors sometimes we treat you so is there for those who are scattered when everywhere doing what activity preaching the word. If we had time we talk about how they went into a place called Antioch and that's where they were 1st called Christian is from these lay people ministering directly now. This is why I give some interesting insights about this persecution. And I was told I started this message by saying we're going to look at the early church experience and parallel it to our day today. If I were to ask you what was the greatest challenge facing the early church was the great danger that we were confronted by in the app a stalwart day. It might be tempting to say persecution. There were literally hunted down they were put in jail some were even killed like Stephen that would be the easy answer and there's an element of truth to it but dare I say that they had a greater danger than persecution and that was stagnation. Listen to this counsel from Mrs White This is from the Book of Acts of the Apostles page one of. The persecution they came upon the church in Jerusalem resulted in giving a great epithets to the work of the Gospel Now notice this bench resting phrasing she writes success had attended the Ministry of the word in that place. Comma and there was danger in that interesting they were so successful that they came into danger success had attended the Ministry of the word in that place and there was danger that the cycles we linger there too long unmindful of the Saviour's commission to go to all the world. Forgetting the strength to resist evil is best game by aggressive service they begin to think that they have no work so important as that of shielding the church in Jerusalem from the attacks of the enemy we've got a big church now we make sure that all our members are taken care of and protected and there's doctrinal enemies and physical enemies and political enemies we got to hunker down and we've got to stay here and stay tight and hold on it was a white cause that a danger instead of educating the new converts to carry the gospel to those who had not heard it they were in danger there's the word again of taking a course that would leave all to be satisfied with what had been accomplished there's a danger in success because it leads to satisfaction and friends we have a gospel to give the whole world and until that Mission Accomplished we should have a holy divine this satisfaction even when things are going well because they could go even better were to go even farther it could be preached even more boldly we can have another way we can get out there somehow so she continues to scatter his representative abroad where they can work for others God permitted persecution to come upon the persecution was ordained of God to them out of Jerusalem because where did say they went they went into Judea and some area the very places Jesus said it's going to go driven from Jerusalem to believers quote went everywhere preaching the word again friends the greatest threat to the early church was persecution it was stagnation What began as a movement of committed individuals grew to the point the church members could easily lose sight of their personal missionary mandate for many of the focus shifted from their duty to serve others to the expectation of the church serving them and I would submit to you today. And for context I'm a product of the 7th Day Adventist Church from my birth until now I was born to 77 his parents in a 7th Day Adventist hospital I went to 77 to schools I got a degree in religious education because that's what I'm uniquely suited for I was educated in religion I've been a pastor teacher. Bengals to campaigns and let me tell you there's a similar danger in administers institutionalised if you haven't already understood this let me tell you now when you leave here you'll likely go somewhere that doesn't have scores of local churches to choose from with countless ministries designed to match your interests and your schedule and your age group and your cultural demographic and your preferences whatever those might be it may be tempting when you go out to the middle of nowhere administers. To get frustrated and declare that this church doesn't meet my needs friends is it possible that we have adopted or developed that problematic attitude that instead of being called to serve we expect to be served Now let me be patently clear this is not a political speech and I'm not making any controversy or comics comment about current events but I will say this some day according to scripture in the Spirit of Prophecy God's people will face a similar persecution that the early Church faced to be sure this pandemic crisis is not the Great in time of crisis foretold in Revelation 13 Revelation 13 makes it clear that the final issue will involve the civil in forcemeat of counterfeit worship we're not there at this point having said that our current circumstance has been an interesting test to reveal our priorities. And I'm speaking not just here because I am I want to see publicly affirm the work of the local in the university church in the Abbott hope Sabbath school and all the different creative ways that people are trying to continue to you know keep the church we're going we're standing out here in a parking lot which if I was not mistaken the last time I was here we were inside but you do have to do your old with the punches you made it work praise the Lord but I can tell you I've heard from many many many church members and pastors and church congregations that haven't adopted a kind of well we'll just hunker down and get through it until we get quote back to normal I would hope that's not the thinking. I'm concerned however that too many of us feel that our church is weathering the current crisis well if members can somehow her hear a sermon each week and return a faithful top as long as all the members have access to a sermon Lifestream zoom you know however else you do it and if we have enough funds to keep the status quo the Lord has blessed I would submit to you that survival should never be the standard of success for Christian. We must never forget the Lord's own counsel about those who are waiting for his return when he said quote Occupy till I come I like the way that's Luke chapter 1000 verse 13 I like the way the New King James says do business till I come makes me think of Jesus saying oh you don't know I should be about my father's business their early church had the option of all the persecution coming we're not popular now it's not politically expedient it's not safe it's not this is not that we better just wait hold fast what we have and then when things open up then we'll go. And it might be tempting to do the same thing now and I'm not just talk about the pending I'm talking about the big crisis has come what happens when it's a civil enforcement of a religious test we do we just hunkered out what is the position of God's people in these last days he was Jesus who told us to occupy till I come now that's not to say that we should do it on safely or we should be in any way a thorn in the flesh to the civil authorities we've been told to honor those and respect them the Lord is in it and we want to be good cooperators so we must use our creativity to find a way to be about our father's business while still living at peace with all men we understand and it's going to take some critical thing is going to take something out of planning something out is going to come up with an idea have a thought try something new experiment a little bit test the waters and see what we can still do and yet be faithful and I believe the Sabbath school is uniquely suited to wean us from our institutional stupor while maintaining the bonds of Christian fellowship and energizing and engaging every member and soul winning service that's the purpose of Sabbath this is accomplished when each of the 3 key elements of Sabbath school work mission fellowship and Bible study and prayer are clearly understood and properly prioritized I'm going to talk about each of those 3 components of Sabbath school and this should be our expectation of every local church that we go to that we're going to be part of a movement highlighted by these 3 elements 1st of all mission we are told repeatedly in no uncertain terms that Sabbath school is supposed to be a mission focused soul winning enterprise in far too many of our churches Sabbath school is seen as a study club for the Saints and we don't ever expect a new person ever come. In fact we don't even invite people to step is cool if you said have you had a friend who is a not have is it what time is church start not attend happens with say 11 o'clock and forget the $930.00 we were gathered together singing songs and studying and praying together we just write it off but Sabbath school from his very inception was designed to be a soul winning enterprise quote This is from councils on Saturday work page 61 the object of Sabbath school work should be the in gathering of souls again from the same book page 10 the Sabbath school should be one of the greatest instrumentalities and the most effectual in bringing souls to Christ by the way if you were to go outside of our North American context maybe say Africa or South America or parts of Asia you would notice something unique in that is that people come to Sabbath school in equal if not greater numbers than they come to the worship service mark our brother Jim Howard is a general conference out of school person Ministries a party had the opportunity go to Africa do some Sabbath school training and at 930 the place was packed out because the people had left their homes literally hours before to walk or ride bicycles to get the Sabbath school on time I'm going to be coming back to that theme in just a minute because relents a practical applications and step on your toes but it will be towards the end so hopefully we'll have a relationship by then but I would submit to you that in every week there should be a powerful and pointed mission element in every local Sabbath school just a sad as call itself is not merely a preliminary to the worship service the Sabbath school mission program is not an optional preliminary to the status quo Bible study class indeed the mission program is a vital component that helps make Sabbath school a line and of course the weekly Sabbath school mission program should highlight 3 essential elements of soul winning labor like a funnel they flow from the broadest. To the most personally applicable 1st part number one inside of the Sabbath school mission program there should be 3 things that are highlighted every week number one the global mission report you can so Mission spotlight or interview for a missionary or talk about some supporting ministry that you're going to be giving to but somehow highlight the fact that with is not a congregational local thing the 7th Day Adventist Church is not just another denomination it is a worldwide movement to hasten the coming of Jesus sometimes we get so centered right where we are like we're still in Jerusalem right and we think the whole world is right here but friends I have news for you only about 6 percent of the 7th day of its movement is happening here in North America 94 percent or so of the rest of the admin is family is somewhere else besides here and there's going like gangbusters there is winning souls are holding campaigns are doing Bible study labor they're telling people about you they're bringing their friends it's a dynamic and we need to hear about it we need to pray for them and yes we need to pay for them Sabbath school by the way is the one place in a local church where they take up an offering entirely given to foreign missions if you ever want to look it up sometime if you feel really happy and you want to get discouraged you can look up the administration giving trends over the last century I don't have in my hand I can tell you interestingly enough the highest percent because they take your stuff I have and then what portion beyond tide is given to Mission offerings right the highest percentage of Beyond tired of giving that went to the global mission happened during the Great Depression if I'm not mistaken for every $10.00 and type of 6 more dollars were given to foreign missions if I have my numbers right right now for every $10.00 in tide $0.39 is given in global mission. People don't come to Sabbath school anymore we loose talk to the mission focus we don't take other offerings we don't watch the Mrs Follette we don't talk about mission and also in the movement becomes just a congregation is hunkering down in Jerusalem mission must be central to our status quo program we must continue after the global mission because here's the problem much as I just lot of global mission here's the problem with global mission we come to think of the term missionary has always having that prefix foreign missionary like oh look at that what exotic place they are in those people groups are interacting with strange languages what strange customs Oh that's what missionary work is way over there when the reality is friends if you haven't noticed we are in a mission field right now there is plenty of ripe fruit just waiting to be harvest here in the Linda in Southern California across the North American mission in the Michigan conference we have a work to do right where we're planted so yes we need to talk about global mission but we also talk to highlight local mission what is it we're doing right here where we are so give those testimony show those videos talk about the local opportunities for so winning outreach I praise the Lord for the restoration program that's involving the service component 10000 little gift baskets and packages to go to front line workers who might need a little encouragement. Inside of them have a longing for deeper peace they can only find in Jesus Christ but does not stop there the 3rd and essential element of sadness will mission program not only global which is their work local which is our work but there's a final step in when we guess what it is it's personal outreach What is my work I don't know if you've ever sat on a committee I noticed we had our Advent hope leadership seen by the way every local Sabbath school should have a Sabbath school council that helps operate it thank you for being so organized but if you have a great idea and a great I initiate if you want to start you all vote yes we're going to do it. Any time we do something it doesn't get done there has to be a point person it says here and I said to me I'll make the phone call all set this thing up I'll bring it all do take too many times our mission program we look at is like look with their doing and even look what we're doing Hey men we forget the most essential component is Lord what am I doing every week I would challenge the savage leadership to make sure there's an opportunity a resource that you can pass out where there's a glow tractor some tip about how to speak and engage people in spiritual conversation how to invite people to to your local Saudis who had to offer a Bible study you know what are the resources and tools were the training we can give you so that you can be a missionary not just theoretical but leave your equip to do work notice what Mrs White tells us Christian service page $211.00 let the missionary meeting that would be the Sabbath school mission program be turned to account in teaching the people how to do missionary work. Goes on to say in councils themselves who are paid 62 what evidence can we give to the world of the Sabbath school work is not a mere pretense it's interesting question how can we show that it's a real thing and it's not just some formal pretentious thing we go through Here's the evidence it will be judged by it's what do you think fruit as all things are it will be judged by its fruit it will be estimated by the character and the work of the pupils not just a go leadership but every member of the Sabbath school by God's grace will be transformed in the likeness of Jesus and serve as a coal a berth for him that will be the evidence of a successful Savage's. By the way we used to publish books perhaps we still do but I'm going to tell you this was this this is from 19 prophecies with me all the way across the country you better tune in because this was worth the effort I don't know the publishing date on this but if I'm not mistaken it's the 1000. I want to say forty's or so but it's called the soul winning Sabbath school Sabbath school you speak about this one from the 1960 s. evangelism through the Sabbath school right now we think about sad about we make it better we just want interaction we have Bible study but what about bringing new people what about soul and what about missionary this is what used to be let me proceed briefly read to you one of the passages of the testimonies of the local Sabbath school in this area some 60 years ago we read from the southwestern part of the United States we received this encouraging report on Branch Sabbath school evangelism So if you go by the way I would hope it's not become a mega sound as. I heard one of the men I assume that represented 100 others you know interesting enough Mrs White rights on more than one occasion never never build massive institutions now praise the Lord for organizations and institutions that do good work and we need but there's a danger here you know I almost wish there were fewer 7 to have it because now it was 21 plus 1000000 of us we've got this now I think it moved better when we were scrappy insurgency and every man had to be in this fight in the fight anyway we go on I digress from the southwestern part of the United States we receive this encouraging poor branch out of school ranches and quote the rich status quo work has blossomed into the greatest single soul winning activity in our district amid the widespread acclaim enthusiasm of the membership the 3 steps we took in presenting the program to the churches were inspired in list and Act 3 words the magic word in making this program a success is simplicity. By the power of the spoken word prayer and persuasion we convince the membership that this was a simple way to work for God so simple that they needed no formal training no additional knowledge of the scriptures just a willingness to sit down with one or more not had been his friends and studied the Bible together with a special quarterly as their guide so they made an appeal how many of the Sabbath school want to go out and meet someone who wasn't satisfied and lead them through bible study and they got volunteers and here's what happened the response was most gratifying the membership committed themselves to 100 branch Sabbath schools the old and young children newly baptized members and no one Adventists which are tending church but not yet baptized were fused into one vast surging program of soul winning what was the outcome one newly baptized member is conducting 5 branch Sabbath school a not administering 3 branch Sabbath schools and then print this he says she has also enroll scores in the voice across the Bible course and several of her contacts are attending our Banjul signee and she wasn't even bow ties yet goes on more than 90 out of the 100 branches have a schools commitments have been activated at this moment and others are to follow in a short time friends there was a time right here in North America where Sabbath school was the engine of so winning in the local church the members were not just on the books they were out in the streets and they weren't just members they were missionaries we must revive that movement if we're going to follow in the footsteps of the early church where every member was scattered preaching the Word of God and finally fellowship talk about the 3 key elements of Sabbath school we have a mission we have Bible study fellowship and now finally has our 2nd fellowship one of the keys is that a school success is its interactive formats Now this isn't a new idea at all. I don't want to come up here and put on pretense and say like I've got this radical new thing it's called small groups it's all been in a church my whole life and every year I hear some pastor get up and talk about this radical idea called small groups it's not new it goes back past the atmosphere of St You go past history if I'm not mistaken it started with Moses when God brought them out of them out of Egypt and there was this massive multitude he said you know you need to organize and have leaders over hundreds and fifties and even 10 God has always wanted his people to interact in small groups and there's a reason why because it's hard to get lost in a small group in a big church there could be this is big enough right now people could have slipped out and I would have noticed but if we were sitting around a circle or one of yours got up and left I'd feel it someone would notice it right but there's a minute there's a ministry to this is or wisdom to it right think about this in March after so we show you a quick example Mark Chapter 6 Jesus is teaching His disciples who of course would be the Apostles in the early Church in just a few short years in March after 6 you know this experience Well I'm not I'm just going to paraphrase it for you for the sake of time but Jesus here feeds the 5000 but if you've ever looked at the passage it starts in verse 31 I believe but we'll skip down to the salient part here in verse 39 Mark Chapter 6 or 39 then he Jesus commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass Now if Jesus wanted to have you thought about this if you look at the Bible story he commands his disciples to have the people sit down and then he has been organized into groups with structure within the groups and it's a tedious task if Jesus only mission was feeding the 5000 could he have done it in a more effective way have ever thought about how you could have done it faster or easier or simpler. Sure my 1st thought was Why can you just say everyone hold out your hands about heads for prayer then they open their eyes. But then it dawned on me even that's got a middle man why can you say everyone just got his Ripper in a city said a man who directed posset maybe even illegal a little little little lingering taste you know oh what a pleasant way he's still life but no he goes to the Securitas route this labyrinth like you know pathway of how are we going to get from here to there he said I want you to talk to them and make them sit down in groups on the y. know because he was training them for Jesus didn't just come to minister he came to train others to minister he was teaching them how to work and he said when I leave you're going to be confronted you know in Acts chapter 6 which they've never heard the Book of Acts yet but you know it's coming there's going to be a whole group of people looking for you to distribute things don't do it and instead organize them for labor so that every member can be a missionary and. This is what makes this common in desire of Ages 369 in Christ's act of supplying the temporal necessities of the hungry will to do is wrapped up a deep spiritual lesson for all his workers Christ receive from the father he imparted to the disciples very important to the motor to now wait there's one more step. Things trying to drown it out but you've got to hear it. Not the trains are saying but you know what I mean. Notice the process again Christ receive from the father. He imparted to the disciples He stepped to. They imparted to the multitude and if I were writing the book I put a period there. But Mrs White astutely noted one more step and up people to one another friends I would submit to you that many if not most of the people who are fed on the day that Jesus fed the 5000 did not come in to wreck contact with either Jesus or any of his disciples. Because they were organized for service. Jesus knew what he was doing and he was preparing to organize the church to take the Gospel to the world. So f. small group fellowship format. We can care for each other. We can keep up with each other with someone to slipping in their faith we can call and check on them. Not sure where else to stand trying to subtly walk around by Miss Weeks by maybe it's over here but you recognize that the Christian fellowship aspect is so essential and you don't get that in the large church often times the Sabbath school is uniquely suited for member care and personal ministry outreach Can you imagine a church family were Every member was actively engaged in personal Bible study small group fellowship and so when he went labor throughout the week what would our works of services look like if that were the case it wouldn't matter if there are 50 or 5000 on the church books it wouldn't matter if there was a powerful preaching from the pulpit or even if there were a pastor in the room and all. I know it sounds crazy but this is exactly what Mrs White Invision when she wrote into testimonies volume 7 page 1000 that quote There are times now this is what I'm about to read to you seems so counterintuitive from our current circumstance but listen carefully she writes. There are times when it is fitting for our ministers to give on the Sabbath in our churches short discourses full of the life and love of Christ but the church members are not to expect a sermon every 7 I think about a covert lockdown that's the only thing we try to give people let's assume it let's live stream it let's go to the door talk to their window but somehow make sure they get a sermon we act like the sermon I don't have time for this speech Mark but you know I'm going I'm going to take the time I'm only out here every so often it might be my last year goes. I believe there's a species of Catholicism in our practice right now on a 7 day having a church if you go knocking on doors actually people who want Bible studies. I would you like to study the Bible if they're an active evangelical of some other stripe they'll say No thanks I've got my group on Sunday night it was not appreciated have a good day going to be if there maybe an atheist or maybe a really you know angry person I know I don't want that get out here may call your name and that's good because you've got a wound for Jesus Good for you. But if you go to a 9 times out of 10 you go to someone who's a Roman Catholic dear committed Roman Catholic friend nothing against Catholics let me be clear but their response will be almost word for word this no thank you I'm Catholic. And what they mean by that is Bible study is for other churches. In their mind salvation doesn't come through a personal study of the Word of God it comes to the vehicle of the sacraments of the church does that make sense so for instance. When our good friends go to a Catholic Mass they're not there to hear a stirring message and up until the 1960 s. it was even preached in the local language in fact the priest wouldn't even face the people they would turn around you're there to get the sacrament to get away from the tongues that's where salvation inference I believe there's a species of that mindset in the 7th Day Adventist Church today when you ask Are you a faithful member of the 7 devils church you say yes but you never print 10 prayer meeting you know if they're studying yourself a school lesson in the week you're not there to contribute during lessons study and we know this by the way any time you want to take attendance in the local church you do it at 930 or 1115 you know it's 1115 because that's when most of the people there 1129 that right before the 1st pastor gets up to preach that's the sweet spot so we know if I get dressed up if I slide in if I hear a little bit of the sermon and I can even leave early but the Sermon on the air has become the wafer on the tongue and that is not the church that God and Bishop every member is supposed to be actively engaged in missionary service for him it's continued she goes I because then you think well what if you don't give a sermon every Sabbath What do we get from church that's why dress up right. Here it is let church members during the week actually they're part faithfully and on the Sabbath relate their experience the meeting will then be as neat inducing season bringing to all present new life and fresh nigger when God's people see the great need of working as Christ's work for the conversion of sinners the testimonies borne by them in the Sabbath service will be filled with power with joy they would tell of the precious experience they have gained in working for others and only briefly touched on this last one which of course is the largest portion of the Sabbath school time but that is Bible study and prayer and again I'll say if you missed this morning study it was a blessing you missed out so Lord please forgive me for my tardiness. Sin the spirit of reform in my life let me get up earlier next Sabbath morning and all through the week let me study so when it comes time to stand up to contribute I have something to say rhyme willing to read or I can recycle memory verse but I'm going to be part of making this Sabbath school live I refuse to pucker down and just watch and be a mere observer when we've been called to occupy so he come so want to close our message today with 4 simple ways very briefly you can put into practice the very things we've been discussing here number one show up you want me to slow down and spell it for you. Show. And I mean to everything that happens in your local church you want to turn your church upside down you want to see a revival of primitive godliness amongst the people God has called in these last days to be his messengers go to prayer meeting Yeah he was a leader you don't start a new ministry one of the problems we always have these days there are many things to do something have to start a new ministry and also that means coming up with an acronym and getting a team and getting now these great things with acronyms and teams and organizations but you show up at what's going on is already a radical step in the right direction show up a prayer meeting show up at Sabbath school come to a potluck with a dish have mercy. I don't care for us the Roman from your dorm room help somebody else listen to this oh I got to show you this passage we're not going over long I promise we're almost done Luke Chapter 4 I don't know if you've ever seen this is scripture I know you've seen this passage but look closely at it with me Luke Chapter 4 when Jesus comes home to his home church in Nazareth. Verse 16 notice the writing here loose the same author of The Book of Acts tells the story of Jesus and His earthly ministry and says in verse 16 of Luke Chapter 4 quote so he that is Jesus came to Nazareth come up where he had been brought up Notice it does not more timidly call it his home town. It reveals something that happened to him there he was brought up there now notice how that is tied to the next phrase where he had been propped up comma and as his custom was he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read friends why did Jesus go to church every Sabbath day was in the synagogue every 7th day yes because he was Jesus the Son of God Yes it was because it's right but according to this passage just because he was brought up to do it is just something you do if you were to finish by the way the end of that story How popular was Jesus received when he stood up to read that day they were literally trying to take him over a hill and kill him now I've heard urban legends of mean elders in the local church cold congregations that are not loving and warm but I have never heard of a young person or any other person going to a local church and there being so rude that they dragged him out into the parking lot to execute them after the service but that's what happened to Jesus you know where he was next week in the synagogue on the Sabbath day because that's how he had been brought up and that's what his custom friends we need to make it a habit I don't hear it's sunny or rainy hot or cold friendly or foe I'm going to be where God has told me to be and then listen to this it is a sad failing she writes counsels us out of her work once again I notice I keep referring to that recount as on how I was who were the speech was 69 it is a sad failing with many there always behind time on Sabbath morning they are very particular about their own time and I might say and their professors time for your local context they cannot afford to afford to lose an hour of that but the Lord's time the only day out of the 7 of the Lord claims as his he requires to us to devote to him quite a portion of this is squandered away by sleeping late in the morning. Doesn't it give you comfort by the way that they had the same problems then as we have now you know and there's the quintessential attendance passage of Hebrews chapter 2 and with the Apostle Paul talks about don't be like those who have made a habit of not coming to religious service and we might say all these millennial he was talking to the 1st millennial same problem it's almost as if people are people all the way through I digress sleeping late in the morning she goes on in this they are robbing God because of going to be behind and everything it makes confusion in the family and finally results in the tardiness of the entire family at Sabbath school and perhaps that meaning Now why can we not rise early with the birds and offer praise and thanksgiving to God Try it brothers and sisters have your preparations all made the day before and come promptly to the Sabbath school and meeting and you will be you will therefore not only benefit others but you will reap rich blessings for yourself so members of the church and Sabbath school show up and that's point number one point number 2 as we close this is for the Sabbath school leaders I would encourage you to change your posture stop chasing the crowd and let them chase you one of the things that happens I've noticed is that we now have made the worship service the one stop shop for everything that happens in the local church because we know nobody comes out of school and we know nobody comes a prayer meeting and we know they're not going to be there for the other so we put all the announcements all the special features all the videos all the highlights all the Baptists all the things in the worship service then we look at the past and say why do you go so low and keep it up because it builds character but the reality is we have these long gardens of prayer in the worship service because nobody comes to prayer meeting we try to do our Bible study in our outreach in our Mission Programs in and out with their it even can we can we be real for a few seconds we people last night when we discussed talking about this discipleship handbook I asked the question when do we want to talk about when to a time during the program do we want to promote it to do it right at the very beginning at 9 o'clock and you know what the answer was no why not. Because not everybody is going to be there how I wish you to prove them wrong but this brings added hope this is the mountaintop of 7 school experiences and you've got the same problems everybody else s. right we know if we have an important announcement or something want to highlight or something we want to get the word out on we can put it in the beginning Wouldn't it be great if you put all the good stuff at the differences and I've never had anybody take me up on this but to be a fun challenge I'm not recommending it and I'm of 2 minds about it I'll just tell you in theory and do whatever you want with it but what if on one Sabbath day without any word without any announcement anyone who walks through the doors on time just quietly was handed a $100.00 bill. There wasn't like $100.00 machine work no it's just you were. Just a little gratuity no one announced anything about it there wasn't a promo video about coming next week 1000 just get it for show and. What would happen to attendance the next week. You would have to announce that you would have to put a promo video how like I g. post to really stop it somebody would mention it and they'd be there for their $100.00 the reason we don't come to Sabbath school is because we don't value it like we do $100.00 but we should want to be part of that mission teacher that mission program should hear the reports we could learn about the training opportunities we should get the resources we need to weaken the mission and that should be vital to our Christian experience so much so that will be there on time show up and that's number 2 is change your posture so I'm going to challenge the leadership team stop chasing the crowds put the good stuff where it belongs in the people missed it they missed out that's how the word of mouth got out about the $100.00 bill when you got 100 O.S.'s that was all you were that. Well you really missed it. What we put the exciting things where they're supposed to be in the word got out that there's good stuff happening and it's your responsibility. This one seems a little radical but hear me out number 3 soft inviting people to church start inviting people to Sabbath school. I mentioned this earlier this used to be and in many parts the world feel still is the place where nonbelievers connect with the church for the very 1st time and it's a beautiful thing about the Sabbath school you don't have to be a member of the church to be a member of the Sabbath school bring your friends and say I had this is Bible study group we talk about these really creative outreach initiatives We'd love to have you there and we do some things off the Sabbath hours to we get together have game nights we do these projects together these initial We love to have become just come check it out What do you carry a little business a card around with your or something you know somehow think of ways to generate interest of other your friends who are not part of who join in but for many of us it wouldn't even cross our mind to invite people to Sabbath school to say what time is church start we always say 11 starts at 9 30 am and. I'm sorry 9. And for those who are starting those reforms just call it 845 to be say finally last passage Oh by the way the other book if you were creative outreach ideas for Sabbath school there's this crazy little book called The 7th Day Adventist Church manual. I'm not going to ask how many of read it it's free by the way online the only book at the moment is going to completely free of charge I don't know maybe they're giving away books these days who knows. But this one you could p.d.f. online and look at Page 97 Listen to this does is one little paragraph about the Sabbath school ministries that could be happening says the officers teachers and all Sabbath school members should cooperate with other departments in all outreach mission missionary work as well as carrying on Sabbath school evangelism by means of regular Sabbath school classes and such activities as decision days I don't know if that is pastors Bible classes community guest days vacation Bible school and branch Sabbath schools including neighborhood Bible clubs and story hours. I don't know what a neighborhood Bible club is but according to church manual everybody over all the other 7 devotees who are growing are doing the stuff we wish you to shots go into our neighborhoods start inviting people to get creative about things we can do safely get effectively for the Cause of God So finally that passage of Scripture I want to look up as if he was Hebrews I'm sorry chapter 10 I'm talking 12 issues I have it here. I'm sorry it is temperate and I got a typo in my notes never trust the news Hebrews Chapter 10 I'm sorry verse 24 Let us consider you know a synonym for skin sitter shouted up. Ruminate cogitate really you know meditate upon think let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works when you come to church think about others how many times we go to the local Church of the Sabbath school program whatever the thing is going on and saying what will benefit me is it going to be interesting is it going to be dynamic will there be refreshments whatever the thing is but according to scripture we can see Consider think about one another in order to stir up a lot of good works and I like healthy peanut butter but you can't just take the oil off the top and put on the toast is terrible you can't drain off the oil and use the pace because that's concrete you can't do that either you have to do what with it stir it out and it might take a minute it might be challenging it might build some muscle but it's good for you you stir it up and that's the same language used hear about local church like think about one another so we can stir up love and good works I believe that every Christian has in them perhaps dormant but there is the desire for love and good works but it needs to be stirred up how do we do it not for staking this simmering of ourselves together as is the manner of some but exhorting one exhorting one another in so much the more as you see the day approaching. Prince I don't know about you but I see the day approaching we are living in a momentous precipitous significant time Jesus is coming soon my personal conviction is likely within the lifetime of many of the people in this congregation today and the admonition of the Lord is to occupy till he comes to be about our father's business he might say oh you're trying to change Sabbath school yes to make it better to make us each actively engaged in by God's grace let the missionary spirit sweep over God's Written church so we can see Jesus come soon and very soon let me ask you question has our presentation clear today praise the Lord 2nd question How many of you are going to commit in front of your friends they're going to put into practice the simple steps of like showing up thinking about one of their And being of service for their fellow man how many are going to willingly commit praise the Lord let's bear has for prayer Heavenly Father I want to thank you so much for this beautiful sunshiny Sabbath and thank you for any Sabbath regardless of the weather or the place it's a blessing to be with the people of God Please Lord help us to listen to the Scriptures and put into practice the things that we learn help us to be that great dynamic a living organism for so winning that you desirous to be. Bless this room the church Lord not in our own strength but in the wisdom of God in the organization that you have laid out and by the power of your Holy Spirit it will no longer be satisfied merely being members of this church. Make each one of us missionaries is our prayer in Jesus. 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 sermon leave a visit w w w audio verse or.

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