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Scared or Prepare

Steven Grabiner

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Steven Grabiner

President, Outpost Centers International

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Recorded

  • February 20, 2021
    11:30 AM
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Let's turn to the scripture reading the book at Daniel and some of you when you heard Barry read the scripture reading you you some of you were like wow we're going to dive into Daniel 11 and some of you are like oh I hope we're not going to dive into Daniel 11 so. We're not going to go through a full detail of Daniel 11 if you're interested in that you know and we could have a study some time but that's not my main focus this morning but in Daniel that end where you do have this little tiny picture in the verses that we looked at verse Daniel 11 verses 32 and 33 we see tension reading from the New American Standard slightly different than the English standard version from which Barry read by smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant but the people who know their God will do what they'll be destroying or they'll displace trained. What else translation. They'll take action so the people that know they are God even though there is this conflict around them they are going to take action and then verse $33.00 those who have the insight those who have understanding those who have inside among the people will give understanding to the many yet they will fall by storage by flame by captivity by plunder for many days now we just see in that little tiny microcosm small part of Daniel 11 and we're going to come back to Daniel leaven in a moment we see this conflict and then we see the people of God. And the people of God No matter what's going on around them are able to continue to share they have insight they're able to communicate understanding to others people of God The ones that know their God They display strength and they take action so that's a really important point that I want to draw out of this chapter going to come back to it momentarily but I want to ask a question I want to raise a question this morning. And really the basic question is as Christians how should we be living in our current climate in the United States and the world in general there's a variety of concerns in our country right we think back to this last year where we're in the midst of a pandemic Fortunately it seems to be. Lessening but we're still in the midst of it we've had a year of social unrest we've had perhaps the most Rocky presidential transition since Rutherford b. Hayes and if you don't know about that you can go look that up later we've had the storming of the Capitol and we've got a vaccine and people have all sorts of different opinions on that as they do about masks and a variety of other things it's almost like we're all in a big movie here and we're watching the same movie on the screen. But we're really seeing 2 different movies. It's like the same things are up there. But we're interpret them very differently and so the question really is how does a Christian make sense of all this how should we respond at this times and really want to answer this question in humane ways what we shouldn't be doing and what we should be doing so again Chapter 11 let's jump back to the earlier part of Daniel 11. Daniel Levin in the 1st couple of verses let me give you just this overview very high 40000 foot view of this chapters of Daniel 11 in verse one it says in the 1st year of deer use the meat I rose to be a protection to him and this is Gabriel speaking to Daniel verse 2 I tell you the truth behold 3 more kings are going to arise or stand up in Persia. And then there will be a 4th King who again riches more than all and as soon as he becomes strong he will arouse the empire against the realm of Greece verse 3 a mighty king will arise or stand up and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases most commentators see that verse in verse 3 a representation of Alexander the great verse 4 but as soon as he has arisen His kingdom will be broken up and parcelled out to the 4 points of the compass not through his own descendants not according to his authority or his sovereignty sees me for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others so what does this say the Angel sees a king king of mentions Derrius some questions about who that is a slave that aside for now and then he sees these other kids coming up in Persia and then he sees this other king arising most people see this as Alexander the Great and when Alexander the Great dies his seed his descendants don't take over the kingdom but generals do and they divide the kingdom into 4 parts. 2 of the parts really won't interest us today but the 2 parts that do interest us are the the rule over Syria and the rule over Egypt and the rule over Syria is portrayed in Daniel 11 by this phrase the king of the north and the rule over Egypt is portrayed by a king called the king of the South so Syria and Egypt and the 1st the most part of Daniel Chapter 11 is talking about these battles back and forth between these different kings up until around verse 20 and then it transitions a bit but I have a question for you if you're an Armenian you're going from Syria to Egypt or if you're going from Egypt to Syria what land do you have to Pastor. What you have to Pastor you have to pass through Israel you have to pass through where God's people are. And that is the main point I want to extract from this chapter now I'm going to leave away the historical details but the king of the north and the king of the South are continually fighting and who is caught in the middle. God's people the actors may have changed since Daniel's day but the truth of the matter is today there are still opposing evil forces king of the North whatever you want to call it king of the South whatever you want to call it and who's in the middle God's people and as you read there Daniel 11 sometimes a king of the North wins and sometimes the king of the South wins but always God's people are in the middle and I can imagine some Israelites thinking oh we like the king of the north better and some Israelites thinking I like the king of the south better the truth is both of these canes are really not interested in the kingdom of God. And that is part of the larger point of the Book of Daniel which is that God is going to set up a kingdom and the question for us is do we want to be part of that and we look around us in our world today we see all sorts of different things happening in different changes but you and I need to be focused on the fact that God's people will always be caught in the middle of different war evil forces. And the key thing for us is. To be looking for the Kingdom of God So let's go a little bit further here in chapter 12 Chapter 12 in verse is one so skipped a lot of historical prophecy on purpose not my intention this morning but in chapter 12 in verse one it says Now at that time my goal the great prince who stands guard over the sons of his people will rise will stand up will begin to rule and Michael we know from many different places is a symbolic prophetic name for Jesus but the Michael the Great for its who stands guard over the sons of your people what is Michael doing. What does the tech say verse one his guardian who God's people can in the north comes who's guarding God's people Michael is king of the south comes who's guarding God's people Michael and so for us you know no matter what player is on the scene in the world political Pay Pal player no matter which way winds of politics or oppression seems to be moving Who is guarding God's people. Michael and it's vitally important for us as we think of the time we live in as we think about being looking forward to the 2nd coming of Jesus the title of the sermon is scared or prepared I use this title quite a number of years ago and I had a different title and Devean insisted that I use this title so the concept of the title clearly is that we don't need to be so scared about what's happening around us but we do need to be prepared. And as we look forward to the 2nd coming of Christ and we see things moving in our social world in our political world and things begin to shift or unravel Michael Jesus is standing guard for his people. And part of the way he stands guard over his people is he says sin can only go this far he acts as a worse trainer on evil in this world. And as much as evil increases we need to realize Michael Jesus is standing guard for us and he is wrists training he is holding back the evil so God's people can become more and more like him. So going to keep coming back to this theme. But as I said part of the sermon today is what we should be doing in these unsettled times and what we should not be doing well let me share a little bit about what we should not be doing and let me introduce it by saying this there is a vast difference between grounded in biblical prophecy and what I mean by that is the 7th Day Adventists is a church born out of prophecy we we understand passages in the Book of Daniel we study not that it's exclusive to 7th Day Adventist but it's been part of our d.n.a. part of our. So sorry I just got an interesting text that. I'll talk to the person later so. Ok I lost my train of thought well take a deep breath yes refocus. Lost my train of thought completely there was one what we should not be doing thank you what we should not be doing there's a vast difference between being rooted biblically in Scripture. And reading prophetic events into what's going on around us Ok vast difference so what should we be doing well I'm going to give you a couple of illustrations of animals the 1st animal is an ostrich when we think about Auster TJ's the typical metaphor about an ostrich is that it hides its Where in the sand so we shouldn't copy that in fact in Proverbs 223 and in Proverbs $2712.00 the exact words are repeated twice Proverbs 223 and Proverbs 2712 both say the same thing they say a prudent man for sees the evil and the hides and self but the simple pass on and are punished so we do not want to be like I need to defend ostriches ostriches are actually very aware they don't hide their head in the sand you couldn't sneak up on one but that's the metaphor. Dr Seuss of The Cat In The Hat fame the Grinch Stole Christmas and so on and so forth in the 1930 s. and forty's he was a cartoonist he was a political cartoonist and one of his cartoons is a man selling ostrich bonnets So it's a bonnet that you could put over your head and then you had this long ostrich head which went down to the ground and there's a long line of people wearing these ostrich heads and the. Words say get your ostrich bonnet here relieves Hitler headache forget the terrible news you've read your mind is that easy it ostrich head so that's not what we should be like right we shouldn't be oblivious we shouldn't like oh I'm not going to think about anything that's a bad posture to follow but also a bad posture to follow is like the boy that cried wolf and I think this is a greater danger for us is to take things and say oh this is going to be that and the story of the boy that cried wolf when the real danger came how did people respond they didn't say you said this too many times and there's a tendency among us among Christians in different individuals to if you spend more time on facebook page than I do you'll see a variety of different things where there's this latest Oh I do have you seen this have you seen this that's crying wolf and governments people should not be engaged in that kind of activity. There's an article. From a review in Herald article it's written quite a number of years ago in 1902 where the author says we are not to live upon a time excitement you may not be able to say that Jesus will come in $12.00 or 5 years and neither are you to Prof is coming by saying it may not be for 20 years so here's this balance don't say it's going to come next year don't say this means this and don't say oh I'm just going to be and I'm not going to worry don't be like the ostrich and don't be like the boy that cried while. As part of my works president of o.c.i. work with a number of people in different parts of the world and I had an interesting contact the other day from somebody in Russia and the union president in a part of Russia contacted a ministry leader there who contacted me there was a video by an American about the vaccine and it had to do with whether Ellen White. Endorsed vaccines or not apparently there was an article in the review in Herald in which it said that Ellen White got a vaccine and the article was quoting Ellen White secretary but there's some question whether he remembered it right or not but that the person took that and blew it into this whole large conspiracy maybe she used the word conspiracy let me use the concept unfounded idea. A fellow pastor shared an idea with me not that long ago that one of his members came to him and said that if you get the vaccine I hope I'm not offending anybody. One of his members said that if you get the vaccine it's like failing the test in Daniel one and it will prepare you to receive worship the idol in Daniel 3 that is founded. What. Nonsense. People share all sorts of crazy ideas on Facebook and then they write evidence for the resurrection what kind of message does that get. We could be clear as crystal bright as day in the biblical message what does the Scripture say What's it telling us we could be anchored there but when we're you know out in these various different things. That's really an area we should not be spending our time now of course somebody is going to say well what if it's true well and I remind your heart of how I started to sermon we live in between the king of the north and the king in the south metaphorically speaking we live God's people are always in between these different powers and our protection is. Michael stands guard over his people. He's the priest in the sanctuary in heaven and part of his work is to protect and guard his people. A friend of Jeremy's His name is Harrison Hayes and he had a short video on unfounded ideas and he had 2 interesting thoughts that I wanted to share with you one of the reasons that unfounded ideas are conspiracy theories traction with us is that sometimes we think that fee here will motivate us into action now fear can be a good motivator but it's a good short term motivator it's not a good long term motivator. God does not scare people into submission. Romans chapter 2 verse 4 it's the goodness of God that does what leads you to repentance 1st John for verse 18 you know perfect love has. Has no fear because it casts out fear and that's what God wants us to do he wants to cast out fear from our hearts so many of these concepts you know they they make us scare but they don't help us being prepared another reason we like these kind of ideas is that within the human mind and human condition is a designer for certainty and when the pandemic 1st broke in one of my. Letters that I wrote to the church I recommended a small acronym act a c.t. and we'd like certainty but really certainty is a bit of an illusion. We like certainty we like things to be clear when we really want certainty but the acronym that I shared e.c.t. Act stands for this 1st of all except that there is uncertainty and then the sea was control what you. Whatever it is and then that she represented take action so we we don't like uncertainty and some of us don't like it more than others but as humanity certainty is a key element for us and these conspiracy theories they saw sort of give us a sense of security of certainty we know what's going to happen. But what is really is a certain thing we need to depend on. That Michael stands guard over his people that it's certain that. That Jesus Christ gave in south for us as Paul says in 1st Corinthians 2 in verse 2 he came to Corinth I determined to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified. So there is a lot of uncertainty as just having an email conversation with someone the other day whose son had passed away and in the e-mail she was sharing with me again you know how uncertain life is for us really you know we're here and something could happen. She lost her son unfortunately too coded but it could be any number of things we do live in an uncertain world but as Christians we don't have to have a certainty because we live by faith in Jesus Christ and our faith is rooted in something that is certain. Which is the unchangeable love of God toward us we are often in danger of getting above the simplicity of the Gospel part of human nature we like something unique we like something that's going to startle we like something that's going to create excitement we want something that's going to shake up the present order of things and I agree the present order of the way we live does need to be shaken up what's going to shake it up is when we get serious about having a change of heart when we get serious about letting Christ live inside of us preparing us transforming us when we get serious with the question What shall I do to be say so. Michael stands guard over his people Daniel Chapter 12 let's go back to Daniel 12 and verse one at that time Michael the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people will arise he's going to stand up he's going to begin his reign as king and his intercession is going to stop when that happens what's the next result. There will be a time of trouble such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time and at that time your people everyone who was found written in the book will be what rescue delivered so yes when intercession stops and literally all hell breaks loose and there is a time of trouble such as never was which is imaginable unimaginable what happens at that time. People are rescued. As long as they're looking to him. As long as they're keeping their attention on him not getting distracted with unfounded stories or conspiracy ideas or or things that are drawing our tension away from what is really true let's go to the Book of Revelation Revelation Chapter 7. I mentioned that Jesus serves as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary he's there ministering for us and we often think of the work that he does in terms of intercession and receiving our prayers but we don't often think of his work as restraining evil which is part of his work as a High Priest and if you were to read back in the Old Testament particular book of numbers you would find experiences where priests restrained evil let me just give you one example you can read it later number 164-6248 you can jot it down in the back of your bowl of dinner or someplace it describes the restraining work that that air in the high priest did and you find this throughout the book of Numbers where priestly acts restraint or held back to you Paul that is part of what Jesus is doing so in Revelation Chapter 7. In verse starting in verse one Revelation 7 starting in verse one and after this I saw 4 in Joel standing at the 4 corners of the earth and metaphorical language describing how they're standing at all parts of the world holding back the 4 winds of the earth so that no wind would blow on the Earth or on the sea or on any tree burst through and I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun having this seal of the Living God and he cried out with a loud voice to the 4 angels to whom it was granted to harm the Earth and the sea same do not harm the earth or sea or it trees till we have sealed the bond servants of God on their foreheads. What's the picture in this chapter angels and what are the angels doing. They're holding back these winds of destruction it's given to them to let them go there is a time when you're going to let them go when there is a time when those winds will blow but that is after God's people are sealed or it's after God's people are prepared one starts people are prepared for angels that go once God's people are sealed before angels like oh and then there comes this time of trouble described in Daniel Chapter 12 The important point for us to grass is that Jesus is holding back these winds of strife. Longing for us to be involved in preparation and the preparation revolves around where are we looking there's a psychologist His name is. Child Deni. First name Richard child genius believe and he's written a book on influence things that are important ways people get our attention and one of his rules is that what is salient is important or in other words what's right in front of you becomes very important and you see that in the news in the news focuses on something everybody's talking about it the news stops talking about it and what happened to the issue. That's gone. So I have an illustration in my head that I'm not going to share with you let's move on sorry. The point is this media puts things in front of our attention in front of our eyes to get our attention what we begin to focus on raises in importance and so the question for each one of us this morning is what is most important for us. Is being prepared most important for us is that we're our attention is going is the loveliness of Jesus' most important for us is he is compassion his care is that acting as a draw into our mind a magnet toward our attention. You and I we have no idea. How much we owe to Christ for the peace in the protection that we have today we have no idea of how God is continually holding back evil in this world our hearts should be filled with continual gratitude for what God's doing yes you we can see evil encroaching here and there but there is so much abundance of freedom that we still have so much opportunity to fall in love afresh with Jesus Christ. That's not just us it's also everybody in the whole world has an opportunity for this. When we think about what's to come often times we become anxious we become scared we don't want to face those things but let me share with you that perhaps a little bit of trouble would be a good thing for us. Let me demonstrate that let's turn to the Book of Acts Acts Chapter one I'm not asking for trouble. And certainly not asking that you will have trouble. Acts Chapter one. And next chapter one we see persecution falling upon the church. Stephen has been put to death excuse me and Stephen had been put to death in chapter 7 verse 8. It says Saul was in hearty agreement with putting Stephen to death and on that day what happened to the church in Jerusalem. A chapter one Acts Chapter 8 person one. On that day something happened to the church injuries one isn't. They are scattered before they were scattered what happened before they were scattered. What persecution and not that day great persecution started and then the end result is that the church is scattered now I'm sure if you were living in Jerusalem at that time and persecution started you might be thinking oh no what's going on. Clearly you would be before that things were kind of God 3000 people were converted 5000 people were converted churches growing we're making progress in Jerusalem things are good and then persecution happens let me read something to you this is from the book called Acts of the Apostles not the book actually apostles but the book Acts of the Apostles. And notice what it says here forgetting that strays to resist evil is best of grain best gain by aggressive service they church members began to think they had no work so when Portland as that of shielding the church in Jerusalem from the attacks of the enemy and other words the church got to the point where it thought our job is to protect ourselves. And then persecution comes and then the church that it's because they forgot what their mission was what was their mission. To bring the Gospel to the world we don't exist just to protect ourselves we exist to communicate the gospel to world that needs to know about Jesus Christ. They forgot they thought they had no work so important as protecting the church instead of educating new converts to carry the gospel they were in danger of taking a course that would lead all to be satisfied with what had been accomplished and so God says I'm going to pull back my hand a little bit and persecution is going to come and the church is going to grow. Michael is standing guard over his people and we live in between Metaphorically speaking the king of the north and the king of the South and whatever may happen in the larger world around us you and I need to have our attention focused on Jesus Christ. Let's turn to that Hebrews Chapter 12. Hebrews Chapter 12. As long as Jesus is our intercessor in the sanctuary above the holding back influence of the Holy Spirit is going to be felt and it's important for us to realize that the work of the Holy Spirit does not stop outside the walls of our church. The work of the Holy Spirit is moving every place I understand that Congress has the lowest approval rating you know of anybody in the United States you know it's way down there right you probably agree with that they want to get to political partisan but even in the call them hunger Congress the Holy Spirit is speaking to people. And how many people are responding I have no idea but I believe that there are men and women in the halls of Congress at the Holy Spirit speaks to their heart and they may say the right thing at the right time to influence a conversation Michael stands guard over its people he's restraining evil so that the goal of the school can go forward you know no matter what the enemy does. Jesus wins the battle so he pressed Chapter 12 verses one and the following. Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us let us lay aside every incumbrance and the sin which so easily untangles ause and let us run within Durance the race at a set before us and I said in the beginning of the sermon there's things that we shouldn't do and there are things we should do we should not be involved in unfounded stories or conspiracy theories we should not be looking around and outward we should be looking upward. Well Jesus is still ministering the sanctuary in heaven means those are still holding back the wings of strife the ceiling work is taking place we should be looking to Jesus Christ Hebrews 12 in verse to fixing our audience on Jesus. And actually the Greek has this idea of turning away from something and looking at something else fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross despising the shame and I sat down on the right hand of the throne of God Where should we putting up we do putting our attention on Jesus Christ and what he's doing in the sanctuary above as Michael standing guard over his people holding back the winds of strife restraining the evil guiding his church ruling in our lives looking to him. Continually day after day let's not think that our only reason for existence is to protect ourselves we exist to reflect Jesus Christ Who world that doesn't know. And the Holy Spirit is working everywhere only spirits not limited. Within the confines of a church building so question for you rather than focusing on the uncertain. Let me ask your different question. We do know what is certain we do know we need certainty in our certainty as found in Jesus Christ that's where our certainty is found everything else around us is shifting sands for sure it's about my questions for you are what time have you set for seeking. Perfection of character through faith in Jesus Christ tomorrow all tomorrow's not very very certain is it none of us know whether we have tomorrow and next week we really don't know what next week will bring to each one of us but we do know is we have. Now we have today we have this opportunity to make a decision to seek Christ to come to him. To ask him to transform us as we spent the past couple Sabbath looking at stewardship in this whole idea of him being the lord of our life and giving everything to him. What's the time we're going to really make those decisions. What kind of character will God except in his kingdom De Jesus's interceding for us. My goal is still standing guard over his people he still holding back the winds of strife but even when those winds fully blow in when even that time of trouble comes a time of trouble that we can't imagine unlike any trouble that's ever been in this world God's people are still going to be delivered because Michael will always be watching over his people Jesus is continually watching over us. How should we respond. Turning our eyes fully to him don't you think. So the question what time what time are we setting to seek. One ness with Jesus Christ to let his goodness draw us closer to himself I appeal to each one of you today that make the time to day to day is the day of salvation today is what we have today is our opportunity to surrender to. Let's pray together Father in heaven we thank you for the continual intercession of Jesus 24 hours of every day 7 days of every week we just thank you that he's always interceding for us holding back winds of strife drawing us closer to himself we prayed Lord that we would open our hearts fully to his divine influence that we might reflect his character. In our hearts in our homes and to those we meet bless us each father keep us looking to Jesus in his name in. This media was brought to you by audio 1st a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit w w w audio verse or.

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