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The Law of Relationships

Stephen Bohr
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Stephen Bohr

President/Speaker of Secrets Unsealed

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Conference

Recorded

  • September 3, 2007
    10:00 AM
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Stephen Bohr The Law of Relationships

Buenos Dias. Hey that was good. The reason I greeted you in Spanish is because I’d like to encourage the Hispanics who are in our midst to think seriously about beginning a branch of GYC that will serve especially the Hispanic churches. You say well, you know that causes division because you have the English and Spanish. But those who say that don’t realize that we have in the Hispanic churches many, many people who are not able to handle English. And they don’t really know anything about any of the issues that have been discussed here during this weekend. And they have the same types of problems with music and worship styles more and more as our English churches have. I know there are some young people in Chicago who are starting a branch of GYC, Hispanic branch, there in the greater Chicago area. And how wonderful it would be to start a branch in the greater Los Angeles area. So I’d like to throw out that challenge and hopefully somebody will pick up on it. And that way we’ll be able to serve our Hispanic churches as well. I have the Hispanic work very close to my heart because I grew up in the countries of Colombia and Venezuela. My wife is from Colombia, I have a daughter who was born in Colombia, I have a sister who was born in Venezuela and another sister who was born in Colombia, so our family’s very closely identified with the Hispanic world and we have a real strong passion for our Hispanic brothers and sisters.

Now, I’d like to invite just to bow your heads with me as we ask the lord’s blessing in our study.

Father, we thank you Lord for this wonderful mountain top experience. It has been not only encouraging, it has been inspiring to see so many young people, so many young adults with one desire in their lives and that is to commit themselves fully to Jesus and using all that you have given them to finish your work. Father, I pray that we don’t have to celebrate a GYC here next year. I pray Lord, that we’ll be able to celebrate it in heaven and there you will be our speaker, not David Gates. Father, we just long for the day when Jesus will come but we know that a special preparation is necessary, so as we study about that preparation for a while this morning we ask for the presence of your spirit. Father, I ask that you will open hearts and that you will give us understanding. Lord that you will give us willingness to fulfill the conditions necessary to stand on the sea of glass on that great day with Jesus and to follow him wherever he goes throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. We thank you father, for hearing and answering our prayer for we ask it in Jesus name, amen.

The law of God is a description of a society of perfect relationships. In fact, the law without relationships would be meaningless. After all, what good would it do to say thou shalt not kill if there’s no one to kill. What good would it be to have a commandment that says thou shalt not commit adultery if there’s no one to commit adultery with? What good would it be to say thou shalt not bear false witness if there was not someone to bear false witness about? Thou shalt not covet, what sense would that commandment make if there was no one who’s possession or who’s wife or whatever, we could covet? In other words the Ten Commandments are actually a description of a society with perfect relationships between human beings and also between human beings and God.

Now, I’d like to ask a very important question in the light of what I’ve shared with you in the first few moments. What is sin? 1 John 3:4, do I even need to read it? That is one of the favorite seventh-day Adventist texts in all of life. You help me with it, “he who sins transgresses also the law for sin is the transgression of the law.” Listen to what Ellen White had to say about this verse in the devotional book Our High calling, page 141, she says this, “the only definition of sin in the word of God is given us in 1 John 3:4, sin is the transgression of the law.” Which would mean that when we break the law, we have imperfect social relationships. Now I’d like to go a step further than just saying that sin is the transgression of the law because there’s something deeper than just believing that sin is breaking the Ten Commandments. I don’t think that we really have understand the depths of the meaning of what sin really is because we think that sin is simply breaking a list of rules. That sin means transgressing against some commandments that were written on tables of stone, but sin is far deeper than breaking some commandments on tables of stone. You see, the law is really a written description of who God is. In other words, the law is a reflection of the character of God.

One of my favorite national parks is Grand Teton national Park up in northwest Wyoming. One of my favorite activities, I haven’t been there for several years, but one of my favorite activities in going there was to go real early in the morning to a place where you have this absolutely calm and serene lake, it’s looks like a mirror. And to look at the reflection of the snow capped mountain and the pine trees and the snow in the crystal clear lake. And I have pictures and the interesting thing is, I don’t know which side is up and which side is down because the reflection is so perfect that it looks like the original. That is the relationship between Jesus and his law. The law is a written reflection of Jesus. Jesus is the law in bodily form.

Allow me to read you an amazing statement from Ellen White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible commentary vol 5 page 1131. I just love this statement, you know you could have several sermons just on this one statement. She says this, “What speech is to thought, so is Christ to the invisible Father.” You think then you speak, at least I hope you do. Let’s not be like Peter who put tongue in fourth gear before he had his brain in first gear. “What speech is to thought, so is Christ to the invisible father. He is the manifestation of the father and is called the word of God. God send his son into the world, his divinity clothed with humanity that man might bare the image of the invisible God. He made known in his words, his character, his power, and majesty that nature and attributes of God. Divinity flashed through humanity in softening subduing light, He was the embodiment of the law of God.” What does the word embodiment mean? The key word there is body right? In other words, the law of God is Jesus is the law in flesh. He is the law in person. She says “he was the embodiment of the law of God, which is the transcript of his character.” In other words, it’s his character in written form. The law of God is simply God’s character written down. And Jesus is the law on legs if you please.

I want you to notice Psalm 40:7, 8 on this point. This is a messianic prophecy. It’s when Jesus is going to become incarnate and he’s speaking about his experience at the incarnation. And notice what this messianic prophecy has to say. “then I said, behold I come, in the scroll of the book it is written of me, I delight to do your will Oh, My God and your law is within my heart.” What was Jesus? Jesus was the bodily manifestation of the law, he was the living manifestation of the law. He was the law in living flesh.

Now, I want you to do a little bit of thinking. You have the written law and you have the living law, which is Jesus in person. When you transgress against the law, what are you breaking? A list of written rules or are you breaking your relationship with Jesus? In the Bible quotes, sin is spoken of as transgression of the law, but many, many times, dozen of times, the Bible speaks of sin as being against God. Against a person, not against a list of rules written on tables of stone, but sin is really against a person because the law is found in Jesus as a person. So when we break the written law, we’re really breaking our relationship with Jesus because Jesus is the embodiment of the law.

Allow me to give you some bible texts. You won’t have time to look up all of these. The Bible texts that refer to sin as transgression against God. I thought the Bible says that it’s transgression of the law. How many of you believe that sin is the transgression of the law? How many of you believe that sin is transgression against God? How can it be both? Very simple, God is the law in person.

Now, notice these texts this is only a small sampling from the Bible. Remember when Joseph was enticed by Potiphar’s wife. Genesis 39:9, Joseph says “there is no one greater in this house than I nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and break the seventh commandment? Is that what it says? No, How can I commit adultery and sin against whom? God. So what is adultery? Is it breaking the seventh commandment or is it sinning against God. It’s actually both, but we usually emphasize what? The law. And that’s why sin isn’t serious because sin is against an impersonal code. But sin is against the person.

During the plague of locusts, Pharaoh was extremely concerned and even though Pharaoh was a pagan king, he knew that sin was against God. Notice Exodus 10:16, in the context of the plague of locusts pharaoh says I have sinned against the Lord God and against you. Did he understand that sin is against a person? He most certainly did.

When Israel worshiped the golden calf, Exodus 32:33, we find God speaking. It says there, “and the Lord says to Moses, Whosoever has sinned against the Ten Commandments, I will blot out of my book. Is that what it says? No, it says, Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book. Sin is personal.

You remember the story of Achan when he stole the gold and the silver and the Babylonish garment and he hid them under his tent, under the ground. Finally, he was discovered, he was brought before the congregation and he admitted his sin. Notice, I didn’t say confessed his sin. There’s a different to admit your sin than to confess your sin. Notice Joshua 7:20, it says, “and Achan answered Joshua and said, indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel and this is what I have done.” Let me ask you, had Achan stolen? Had he broken the commandment that says thou shalt not steal? Absolutely, because do you know that the reason why Israel was not supposed to take anything from Jericho was because Jericho was the tithe of the land. God said, after Jericho when you plunder cities you can keep anything. But Jericho’s the first city and the first city, everything belongs to me and it’s to be used in the service of the temple, of the sanctuary. You have the principle of the tithe. Ellen White brings out that point. So he was stealing the tithe. That makes it serious, because it’s not stealing against human beings, it’s stealing against God. And he realized that he had sinned against God.

You remember when Saul offered the sacrifice, when he failed to wait for Samuel. You won’t have to look up all of these verses because I knew that I was going to start a little bit late and I want you to stay because there are some amazing things that we’re going to take a look at here. 1 Samuel 15:24, “then Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.”

Do you remember when David committed the sin of adultery and murder. When Nathan came to see him, Nathan told him a little parable. Basically he said there was this man who owned everything in the world and there was another man who owned only just a little sheep. And do you know what that man who owned everything did, he took that man’s little sheep for himself. And then, Nathan says what do you think should be down with that man? He should die. And Nathan said, thank you very much, you are that man. He wanted David to incriminate himself. 2 Samuel 12:13, even though David had broken the seventh commandment and the sixth commandment, David says to Nathan when Nathan says you are the man, I have sinned against the Lord. And we all know his penitential psalm, psalm 51. His psalm of repentance and notice in verse 4 what David had to say. “against you, you only have I sinned.” Now wait a minute, he broke the commandment that says don’t commit adultery and the one that says don’t commit murder. And yet he realizes that this sin is against God. “Against You, you only have I sinned and done this evil in your sight, that you may be found just when you speak and blameless when you judge.”

And then we have the story of the prodigal son. He goes out into the world as a young man, selfish, he says give me, give me, give me. By the way, when he comes back he says make me, make me a servant. When he leaves he selfishly goes out into the world and he lives it up. And then you know the story, he ends up among the swing and couldn’t even eat the food of the swine. Talk about hitting rock bottom. But then he remembers the love of his father at home. And he says, I’m going to go back home and he prepares this speech. He’s going to go back and say, “I have sinned against heaven and against you.” Against whom was the sin of the prodigal son? Against God in heaven and against his father.

So what I want you to do now, being that the law and Jesus are interchangeable. The law is Jesus in written form. What I want you to do is think that when we break the written law, we’re really transgressing against whom? We’re transgressing against Jesus. By the way, when you transgress the written law of God, the law can’t feel it. The law is written on tables of stone, stone is cold, it’s hard, tables of stone don’t cry, they don’t feel pain. The tables of stone can’t feel offended, they’re inanimate, they’re unfeeling. But, Jesus who is the embodiment of the law does feel it. By the way folks, when the Christian world crucifies the law on the cross, they’re really crucifying Jesus because Jesus is the law in bodily form. This explains a quotation from the writings of Ellen White which you know I used to read about the sin of the Jewish nation and the sin of the Christian world at the end of time and I said okay well, these appeared to be two different sins, but they’re the same sin. Great Controversy page 22, “that great sin of the Jews was their rejection of Christ. The great sin of the Christian world would be their rejection of the law of God, the foundation of his government in heaven and on earth.”

Let me put it this way, the Jews claimed to believe in the reflection and rejected original. Whereas Christians claimed to believe the original and they reject the reflection. It is the same sin because the law is a written reflection of Jesus Christ and to crucify the law is to crucify Jesus Christ afresh. That’s why sin leads to breaking a relationship. Breaking the law is breaking a relationship. Notice Isaiah 59:2 you know this verse. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God. And your sins” what is sin? Transgression of the law. “Your transgression of the law have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.” Is sin personal? Listen up folks, when you realize that sin is personal and it’s transgression against a person, then the law becomes spiritual. When you have it on tables of stone, it’s only the dead letter. That’s the problem with the Pharisees, they were always trying to measure up to the law, for them the law was a list of regulation to measure up to. Whereas the purpose of the law was to show a reflection of Jesus so they could be like Jesus.

Let me give you an illustration. I grew up in the city of Caracas Venezuela. I studied all my primary education in Spanish, that’s the reason why I speak better Spanish than English, and I preach better in Spanish than in English right Mary? But anyway, I studied all of my primary education in seventh-day Adventist primary school there in the city of Caracas. My father was the president of the conference where the school was and it just so happens that the school was on the first floor and on the second floor were the offices of the conference. So sometimes during recess, you know I would go to the second floor to my dad’s office and I would sit down on his desk chair and I’d do like I saw him do, I put my feet up on top of the desk. And I’d play like I was president. and of course, many times I would go to the waste basket to see what I could find that was interesting.

Well, one day I was looking through the waste basket and I found an envelope. And the envelope had twenty belivoras. At the time the exchange rate was three belivoras and thirty cents per dollar. This was back in the 60s. that was a lot of money. Now I knew that somebody had thrown that there by accident, but you know the old fleshly nature said, finders keepers, losers weepers. And so, I took that twenty beliva bill and I said oh, just think what I could buy with this. Started working it over in my mind. I knew it was stealing and I didn’t want to sin alone and so I found a friend of mine and I said, you know I found twenty belivas would like ten? And he said, sure! Now in front of the school we had all kinds of vendors. They sold candy and potato chips and cookies and soda and gum and all this stuff.

So when recess came, we had the banquet of our lives. I mean, we went to the front of the school, what didn’t we buy. But of course, the teachers keeping a close eye on everything noticed all of the money we were spending wasn’t normal. So the principal called us into his office and he said, where’d you get this money? Well, our parents gave it to us. Stealing and lying now. But the principal wasn’t about to accept that, he says okay I’ll call your parents. No, don’t do that. So he kept on doing the inquisition and eventually we had to admit what had happened. I’d found the money, we’d kept the money, and we’d spent it. Most of it. He said you know what I’m going to do, I’m going to call your parents and I’m going to tell your parents what you’ve done. When he said that. I said, Uh oh, I’m in trouble now. Because back then parents didn’t side with their darling angel children which most of the time are little devils. I knew that when I got home, I was going to face the whip and I was sorry that I’d taken the money because I was going to get punished. I knew that I had stolen, thou shalt not steal. I knew that I had lied. I’d broken the Ten Commandments. And I was sorry that I was going to get punished. That is until I got home and my mom opened the door. Tears streaming down her cheeks, she says the principal called, I’m disappointed in you. This isn’t the way that we taught you. Tears streaming down her cheeks, I would have taken a hundred lashes and not see that. You see my sin was personal; it wasn’t only breaking a list of rules. The Ten Commandments didn’t cry, but my mother cried because sin is personal.

You know many years ago, W. D. Frazee who for a long time was at Wildwood institute down in Georgia. Anyway, he was a very spiritual man. I remember him giving an illustration. You know these two girls came to him and said we have this sin that we keep on committing and committing and we can’t seem to overcome this sin. Elder Frazee looked at them and he said, Okay. He said, how about if every time you commit that sin you have to take a hammer and hammer nails through your mother’s hands. Would you quit committing the sin? Or would you nail the nails to the hands? Of course they said, no if you put it that way. We would never think of driving nails through the hands of our mother. Yet sin nailed Jesus to the cross of Calvary. It caused him pain because he took upon himself our transgressions of the law. When a husband goes out and commits adultery, yes he’s breaking a commandment that says thou shalt not commit adultery. Let me ask you does it cause his wife pain? Does it cause his children pain? Does it cause his church pain? Does it cut off his communion with God? Yes it does. Because breaking the commandment is breaking the relationship because God is not like that.

When we go to the movie theater, of course nobody from GYC. And we watch illicit sex, violence, lying, cheating, spiritualism. And I find it unconscionable that people would be telling their young people that it’s okay to go to the movie theater. To this day I can’t understand it. How you could go to watch movies that portray things for which Jesus died. Do you understand what I’m saying? Jesus died, buried the illicit sex and the spiritualism and the lying and the cheating and the adultery. So how can I with all good conscience go and sit in the movie theater and enjoy that which led Jesus Christ to the cross of Calvary.

There’s a commandment that says remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. You know the problem with the Pharisees, they saw that as a rule. They didn’t see it as a commandment of relationship. That’s the reason why they said, don’t you dare heal anyone on Sabbath because we have a commandment to not break the Sabbath. Do you understand me? It was all about them and keeping the rule or the regulation, but they didn’t realize that the purpose of the Sabbath was for them to have communion with God and to bless their fellow human beings. And when they broke the Sabbath they were actually sinning against people and sinning against God because they were depriving God of that fellowship which would build their relationship upon him.

You remember the story in Genesis of Adam when he sinned. You know when Adam sinned at first he looked at it as only disobeying a rule that God had given him and he was not repentant. I’m going to tell you when he was repentant. He knew that he had disobeyed the law. By the way in that one commandment were contained all the Ten Commandments in principle because Eve coveted, Eve by tempting Adam brought death into the world through sin. She committed spiritual adultery because she chose a different lover. She stole because the fruit didn’t belong to her. She violated the principle of the Sabbath because she trampled upon her creator. She wanted to make herself God. She dishonored her heavenly father. In that one commandment were contained all of the principles of the Ten Commandments. And when Adam sinned, he was sorry because he says I’m going to die. He was sorry about the consequences and the fact that he wasn’t converted is shown by the fact that when God comes and says to him What have you done? He says, the woman. Do you know the greatest sign of lack of conversion is casting the buck. And of course, Eve says the serpent you made. They weren’t sorry at all about their sins. Do you know when Adam really was converted and he saw that his sin was not breaking a rule but against a person? When God told them to get a lamb or two lambs. In a world where there had never been death, and God says you take the knife, you pick up that lamb that you called and he came to you without any fear. You take that knife and you slit his throat. And you can imagine Adam taking that lamb, slitting his throat, the blood pouring out of his neck and suddenly the lamb is limp in his arms. When you think that Ellen White says this, Conflict and Courage page 22 “as Adam witnessed the fast signs of decay in the falling leaf and in the drooping flowers, he mourned more deeply than man now mourn over their dead.” Just a leaf and a flower, imagine what it felt like when this lamb was limp in his arms with blood pouring out of that lamb. And then God says to him, that lamb represents your creator. Some day he’s going to come, he’s going to be the seed of the woman and he’s going to crush the head of the serpent, but it’s going to cost him his shed blood.

Let me ask you, do you think that Adam now looked at sin differently? He sure did because he realized that sin was going to lead Jesus Christ to the cross of Calvary. It was going to kill his creator. And he saw the horrendous nature of sin. By the way, God not only had him slay the animals, but then God took the skins and made garments, and the Bible says that God clothed them. In other words, the death of the lamb was going to provide the covering of nakedness. Isn’t that beautiful. This is what is meant in Zechariah 12:10, where it says, “And I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications: and they shall look on me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for [his] only [son], and greave for him, as one greaves for [his] firstborn.” But God wants to do more than we can even imagine young people, brothers and sisters.

What Jesus wants to do is take that law and embody it in us. In other words, he wants to take those tables of stone and he wants to place them in our hearts so that our life will be an unfolding of the law like the life of Jesus was an unfolding of the law. He wants to embody his law in us, but before he can do that something needs to happen. What needs to happen is God is not going to write his new law on an old heart.

Go with me to Ezekiel 36:26, 27, did you know that God is the heavenly cardiologist? He does not perform bypass operations, he does not change valves or put in pace makers. The only type of surgery that Jesus performs is transplants. Notice the promise in Ezekiel 36:26, 27 “I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you:” but before he can put in a new one he says, “I will take out the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I give you an heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do [them].” Not because you have to, but because your new heart impels you to do so.

You know one of the problems that we have is that we look at the Ten Commandments as laws on tables of stone and what we do is we compare our lives, how am I doing? And when we resolve the problems with one commandment and we’re working on the next the old ones come back because there’s no way with your own heart that you can keep God’s law. It’s impossible. That’s why God wants to take out the olds heart and he wants to put a new heart. That’s a promise. You can take it to the bank if you consent. But you have to willing to give up the old heart. But then Jesus does more than that. Not only does Jesus promise to take out that old stony heart, that selfish heart, but he promises once he’s changed our heart to take that law and write it in our hearts and in our minds so that we are the embodiment of the law.

Notice Jeremiah 31:31-34, beautiful promise. Do you know what the different between the old and the new covenant is? It’s very simple. Most Christians say, under the old covenant you have the Sabbath, under the new covenant you don’t. Under the old covenant you have the law, under the new covenant you have grace. False. Under both covenants you have the law, but it’s written in a different place. Under the old covenant the law is written on tables of stone. Under the new covenant the same law is written on the heart. Notice Jeremiah 31:31-34, “behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, though I was an husband unto them, says the LORD.”

Why did they break the covenant? You remember that Moses went up to God at the top of the mountain and God says Moses, I want you to relay a message to the people. Moses said okay, what is the message. God says, this in Exodus 19. I want to make a covenant with the people, I want to be their God, and I want them to be my people but for that they have to obey my voice and keep my covenant. So I want you to go down and I want you to ask them if they are willing to have that covenant relationship. And so Moses goes down and he says to the people, I’ve just been up there in the mountain with God. God wants to make a covenant with you, he’s wants to make you his people and he wants to be your God. Do you accept? Do you know what the people said, all that the Lord has said, we will do.

How long did that resolve last? You know it’s really interesting, in Exodus 32, you have the story of the golden calf. The worshiping of the golden calf. Do you realize that after Israel worshiped the golden calf, Moses was up to the top of the mountain and God says this people so soon afterwards broke the covenant, disobeyed my voice. He says, I’m going to get rid of them. Moses says, no Lord, what are the nations going to say about you? It’s going to be a reflection on you, and in that conversation it’s interesting to notice that God says to Moses about Israel, their you’re people. Moses says no they’re not they’re yours. God says you take them to Canaan. Moses says, they’re not mine they’re yours. Because Ellen White says that God had disowned Israel. So the covenant written on tables of stone where you try to measure up didn’t work. So what kind of covenant did God say he was going to perform?

Notice verse 33, “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days says the Lord, I will put my law [is it the same law? Sure] I will put my law in where? Their minds and write it on their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be my people. and now notice nobody’s going to have to tell you, you can do this on Sabbath and you can’t do this on Sabbath. Because when the laws written on the heart you will do by nature what the law requires. It says in verse 34, “no more shall every man teach his neighbor and every man his brother saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me,” why, because they have the law in the heart. “they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

By the way, you’ve read that verse, Galatians 2:20, i have been crucified with Christ it is no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me and the life which I know live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Those who are in Christ, they no longer live but Christ lives, Why? Because they have the law written in the heart. Now here comes the critical question, how do we get the law into the heart?

Listen to what I’m going to say, this is very important. The work where God promises to take out the old heart and give us a new heart, that work can be instantaneous. But the work of writing the law on the heart is a process. It does not take place over night. The question is, how does the law get from the stone into the heart.

Go with me to Psalm 119:9-11, this is written especially for young people. “how can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to your word. With my whole heart, I have sought you, oh let me not wander from your commandments. Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.” What does it mean to have the law in the heart? It means to have the word of God where? In the heart and who is the word? This is Jesus in written form. The Bible is an expansion of the Ten Commandments. The whole Bible is an amplification of the Ten Commandments and the Bible is Jesus in written form. So how do we get Jesus inside? By studying his word and by contemplating Jesus in his word. That way the law comes through the eyes, and it comes to our ears. And it goes into the mind and it goes into the heart. And the more we do it, the more God etches the character of Jesus as found in his law in our lives.

Ephesians 5:25-27, powerful passage. “husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her.” Why did he give himself for her? “That he might sanctify and cleanse her.” How does Jesus cleanse and sanctify the church? notice, “With the washing of water by the word.” What does the water represent? The Holy Spirit. Imagine the Holy Spirit is the water and the word is the soap. The Holy Spirit uses the word, the soap to clean us, but how does the soap get inside? It gets inside by us planting the word of God in our minds and in our heart through our eyes and through our ears primarily.

Now what is the result of the Holy Spirit washing us with the word? This is an amazing goal that Christ gives to the church that he might present her to himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” How do individuals in the church become without spot or blemish? By the washing of the word, the holy spirit through the word. By the way, that’s why we never open the Bible without prayer. And do you know what happens when I start reading the Bible? The Bible starts reading me. For example, if I had problems with straying eyes and one day in my devotional I’m reading that text in Matthew 5, you have heard that it was said in old times, you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks upon a woman to covet her has committed adultery in her heart. I read that and now that’s reading me. Do you understand me? Scripture when it comes in rebukes sin, it expels sin because the Bible is the light. And Light expels darkness, but it has to come in or else we’ll be in darkness. The reason why so many people don’t have any victory over sin, they don’t look at all at Jesus, is because we’re spending our times feeding on junk.

2 Corinthians 3:18, “but we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed.” That’s a good translation, it’s better than the king james. “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the spirit of the Lord.” Do you see that’s it’s a process. Doesn’t happen over night. Notice this comment of Ellen White on this verse, it’s beautiful. Son and daughters of God page 337, “by beholding Christ, by talking of him, by beholding the loveliness of his Character.” I like that word she chose, she could have chosen the beauty of his character, no it’s the loveliness. “by beholding the loveliness of his character we become changed from glory to glory, and what is glory? Character. And it becomes changed from character to character. Thus we see that there is a work of purification that goes on by beholding Jesus.”

Couple of year ago, I was visiting a certain place. A lady comes up to me and she says, Pastor Bohr, do you know George Weekel? I said sure I do. I didn’t say that he was my student here, but I said I know him real well. She says, I kind of figure you did because you preach just like him. so I looked at her and I said, yeah he was my student for three years. She says, oh I’m sorry Pastor. Why do you suppose George has a lot of similar characteristics in his way of delivering sermons and his style? Because you can’t spend three years in a classroom and not have something stick to you.

You know there’s this husband and wife, the husband died a couple of years ago. But the husband and wife have been married for sixty years. It was really fun to watch them, they really short both of them. When ever they were walking down the street it was like in military precision. They kind of turn the same way, they smile the same way. When you went to their house, they liked the same food. So I asked them one day, I said, you know you just like a carbon copy, one and the other, how come? He said, you can’t spend sixty years with someone and not have something stick. Are you understanding what I’m saying? The more time we spend with Jesus the more the Lord writes his law in our hearts.

Listen to this statement from Desire of Ages page 83, you know this quotation. “It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day…” how long a day, I don’t have an hour! Are you kidding! I’m a busy person, you better take the hour because that’s the most important thing. The other things can wait, but not this. “It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point and let the imagination grasp each scene especially the closing ones.” Notice the result, “as we thus dwell upon his great sacrifice for us, our confident in him will be more constant. Our love will be quickened and we shall more deeply be imbued with his spirit if we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.” The Bible speaks about the flesh, do you know that the flesh has an ravenous appetite? What happens when you’re hungry? You eat. Our sinful nature, our flesh as the apostle Paul calls it, is a ravenous beast starved. How does that ravenous beast grow, by feeding him. How is that ravenous beast crucified? By starving him. if you feed your sinful nature with the wrong kind of music and with the wrong kind of television programs with the wrong kind of entertainment, guaranteed it’s a long life that you are feeding your carnal nature and you will have a carnal lifestyle because the carnal nature’s become strong and of course the spiritual nature you’re not feeding it’s getting feeble.

Do you know what God wants us to do? God wants us to starve the fleshly nature to death by focusing on him and on his word. This is what the Paul meant when he said, if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. And then as Christ is found in the heart, we can say with the apostle Paul I can do most things through Christ who strengthens me. Sorry, I can do some things through Christ who strengthens me. Okay, I can do all things accept overcome sin through Christ who strengthens me. You know what, there are people who say that we’re going to continue sinning until Jesus comes. Do you know what, what they’re really saying is that God is not powerful enough to help you overcome sin. They say oh the flesh is too strong, the world is too strong, the devil is too strong. So you’re saying that the flesh, the devil and the world is more powerful than God. Are you following me? If we met the conditions folks, if we allowed God to write his law, his word on our minds and on our hearts, our lives would be radically different. We would have the power to move the world and that’s what God is waiting for in his people.

Now I know how to close. Revelation 14:1 speaks about the 144,000. There’s one characteristic that I want us to notice. “then I looked and behold a lamb standing on mount Zion and with him one hundred and forty four thousand having his father’s name…” in the Bible the name represents the character. “Having his father’s name written on their foreheads.” Do you know that whoever has your mind has you. Whoever has your mind has you. That’s the reason why the devil infiltrates the mind because he knows that if he can control your mind he can control you. But to those who dedicate the time to Jesus, in bible study, in prayer, in talking about Jesus, witnessing for Jesus, we’re involved in spiritual things, a transformation takes place in our lives so that the character of God is written in our minds and in our hearts and therefore our behavior reflects he who is the king of our life.

Now this morning I want to make a call, it’s a three part all. As we close this wonderful series of meetings that we’ve had. First, all of those who are gathered here, I want to ask you, would you like God to fulfill his promise in your life and take out that selfish stiff necked hard heart. Would you like God to do that? Would you like the Lord then to take his law in the new heart and etch and write that law upon your minds and upon your hearts. You want to raise your hand if that’s what you want God to do in your life. Praise the Lord.

Now the third aspect of the call is more personal, and it takes more determination, we have to be more honest and careful in responding to it. I don’t want necessarily everyone to respond to this, unless you really feel it in your heart. How many of you would like to say to Jesus this morning, Lord I want you to take out the heart of stone, I want you to put in a heart of flesh, and then I am willing Lord to dedicate that thoughtful hour each day preferably early in the morning when everything is quiet, our mind is clear, we can hear the voice of God in a much clearer sense. If you’re willing to make that commitment to the Lord this morning that through the power of God you’re going to dedicate that thoughtful hour to contemplating Jesus first thing in the day, I’d like to ask you to stand at this time.

Norman was saying, you know if we go down to the valley and we live the same way we’ve always been living, we had a wonderful experience for three or four days, but God wants our life to reflect Jesus on a continuous basis, day by day until we have the experience of Enoch. You know what happened with Enoch? He walked with God and he walked with God and he walked with God and he was so closely identified with God that nothing earthly mattered to him anymore, except the people, saving the people, reflecting Jesus to the people, but nothing on earth, no possessions, houses nothing. In other words, he was strongly identified with Heaven. So Jesus said to Enoch, Enoch you’re not a citizen down there anymore, you have nothing to do down there. Come to the new Jerusalem and we’ll walk down the street of Gold now and evermore. Jesus is going to have a whole Enoch generation at the end of time. And I believe that GYC is being tremendously instrumental in building that generation. And I pray to God that as we leave this place, that beginning tomorrow morning, we will live up to our commitment and we will spend that time with Jesus. A year from now, we will say, Wow I don’t recognize myself. How about it?

Now before we have our closing prayer, there’s a special hymn that I want us to sing. You can hear the tune being played on the piano. I would be Like Jesus. Let’s all sing it, and then we will kneel and I will have a closing prayer. Let’s all sing together.

Our father in heaven, who is sufficient for these things? We’re weak, we’re sinful, we have no ability and no capacity to even come close to obeying even one of the commandments of your law. But we thank you that you have promised power in Jesus Christ. Power to overcome the most dreadful and powerful sin in the world because you are more powerful than all sin, than the devil, than the flesh, than the world. Father as we bring this wonderful long weekend to a close, I ask father that you will bless each one of us who are gathered here and kneeling before you. Father we ask that you will take out that heart of stone, that selfish heart, that you will place in us a heart of flesh, a converted heart and then father I ask that you will write your law in our heart and in our minds and that each day you will help us to dedicate that thoughtful hour to contemplate Jesus who is the embodiment of the law. It’s going to be a struggle Father, you know we’re busy people but we’re really not as busy as we think as are. Help us to put our priorities in order, help us to put you first in everything. Out time, our talents, our resources, our strengths, everything help us to lay it at the altar of sacrifice.

If anyone here is struggling with a specific sin or besetment I ask Lord that you will give them hope and the assurance of victory. Bless us now as we leave this place and to prepare to return home, send your angels to watch over us for the devil is angry about what happened here this weekend. Send your angels to watch over your people and protect us as we return home. And help us Lord to shine for you in each one of our churches. Thank you father for hearing and answering our prayer, for we ask it in the precious name of your son, Jesus, Amen.

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