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Spiritual Excellence

Randy Skeete

Presenter

Randy Skeete

Evangelist and revivalist from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Conference

Recorded

  • December 29, 2014
    11:15 AM
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00:00 Dear Father in Heaven as we look at Your word, dear God, please let Your spirit remain with us. I ask You once again dear God, put Your words in my mouth. I truly ask You to do that. I want no glory. Isaiah 42:8 says “I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another”—so Father take the glory but give us all the possible blessings in Jesus’ name we pray. Let God’s people say amen and amen.

 

00:32 Ellen White makes a very interesting statement in God’s Amazing Grace, p. 271.2 “God requires that His servants excel others in life and character.” Put that in your own words what did I just say? (We should be the best) in?—everything! God desires, requires that we be the best, we excel others in life and in character; so life means everything. The Adventists’ educational system should excel every other educational system on the face of the earth. The Adventists’ health system should excel every other health system. The Adventists’ family structure should excel every other family structure. The Adventists’ economic system should be more sound than any other economic system. We should excel others in life—everything that makes up life and in character. That’s a high, high, high expectation. One of the blessings God promises to those who obey Him is that you shall be the head only and not the tail; the head only, which means in everything you’ll be above. Matt. 5:17 see how Jesus puts it—excellence in spirituality.

 

03:15 Matt. 5:17—did I give you the other quotation? It’s Christian Service, p. 254.2? Okay I gave it. Matt. 5:17-19 it’s familiar what does it say? “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Notice the next verse Matt. 5:20 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven”—spiritual excellence. Jesus says if your level of righteousness does not exceed—you cannot be saved. Is God setting us up for competition? Absolutely not! But clearly God has a standard for us that is so high that no other standard is higher. “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Now Matt. 5:21 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” I want you to make a connection between verses 20, 21, and 22. Matt. 5:20 “except your righteousness shall exceed”—what does exceed mean? Go beyond, go above. What Christ is doing when He says “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Jesus said you have heard the saying thou shall not kill—for the Pharisees that meant don’t kill someone physically. Is it good to not kill people physically? (yes) I don’t want to live next to a man who kills people physically—I prefer to live next to a man who kills people spiritually rather than physically. I prefer to live next to a man who only lusts after women and doesn’t rape them. Even though both things are bad some are worse than others. For the Pharisees “thou shall not kill” meant don’t shoot someone, cut off his head, throw him into a lake, throw him into quicksand—don’t do that. Jesus wants to go deeper, He said but I say unto you whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment—Christ introduces a view of murder or killing of the 6th commandment that the Pharisees never saw. But what did He say in Matt. 5:20 to His disciples? “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.” Christ gives an example of the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees when He said in verse 21 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not kill”—that’s their level of righteousness. Don’t kill physically. What Christ is doing is giving an example of righteousness that exceeds. So He’s saying it is not enough not to kill physically, that’s how they understand it; but I want you to exceed them in righteousness. You have to see it at a deeper level. You have to go deeper in order to rise higher. Don’t even be unreasonably angry. Now, that’s a different approach to killing because we realize we can kill people emotionally. If a teacher consistently tells a student you are an idiot. You are a moron. You are a numbskull. You will never learn. That is murder. You’re killing someone’s dreams and hopes. That’s murder! That is righteousness that exceeds. I want you to see that when Christ said except your righteousness shall exceed to give examples of righteousness that exceeds—where does Christ go? Matt. 5:21 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill.” What was said by them of old time? (Thou shalt not kill) Where does that come from? (the 10 commandments) Which one? (6th) Christ is saying let me explain what I mean by righteousness that exceeds. He goes to the 10 Commandments. He picks one. This is more than just a physical prohibition. It is more than do not kill people physically; it means do not kill them emotionally, psychologically. Do not hold grudges against people. Don’t destroy them from the inside. That’s murder!

 

11:02 So to keep the 6th commandment properly we must watch how we treat people. We should not be the reason someone is discouraged and ready to commit suicide. We should not be the reason someone now hates the church and refuses to come to church. We should not be the reason someone is doing badly in school because the person is so discouraged by the way we have treated them. We should not be the cause of that! That’s murder. That is righteousness that exceeds. To give an example of righteousness that exceeds Jesus went to the law.

 

12:00 Matt. 5:27 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery”—where is Christ going again to give an example of righteousness that exceeds? (to the law) There is no higher example of righteousness than that which the Law expresses. What Christ is saying is the righteousness that will save you is the righteousness expressed in the Law.—“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but”—but: contrast—“I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her”—has already broken the 7th commandment. That’s a higher level so in order to keep commandment 7 we have to be careful how we look at the members of the opposite sex. If you’re a young man, here comes a young lady with tight, tight jeans as if someone painted them on. You have to watch your eyes so nothing happens up here. That is righteousness that exceeds. Can you be disfellowshipped for lusting? No, not from an earthly church but from the church above. Can you go to prison in Malaysia for hating someone? No, but in God’s prison that’s where you go because that’s murder. Christ finds the highest example of righteousness in the 10 Commandments. Our subject: Spiritual Excellence. The most excellent life then is the life lived in conformity with God’s Law. John 14:21. Our subject: Spiritual Excellence.

 

14:28 John is my 2nd favorite book. My favorite book is Genesis: the beginning of everything. Most Bible scholars believe the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not actual history, they’re just myths. You have to believe they actually happened because Jesus believed they happened. John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them”—everyone has the Commandments; they know Moses brought 10, in that sense we all have the Commandments. But that’s not enough. What else does Jesus call for? Keep them. So “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them”—another word for keepeth them, one word—obey—“he it is that loveth Me and he that loveth Me shall be”—is shall present, past or future? I shall be there (future). Something interesting in that verse; it says “and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father.”—Future. But does the Father already love you? Yes! Then we are seeing that when you obey God there is a level of love revealed to you that’s not revealed to the disobedient.

 

16:02 John 3:16 “For God so loved”— the world. There is a general love that the world enjoys from God but there is an intimacy with God that is only reserved for the obedient. Once again, “He that hath My Commandments and keepeth them, He it is that loveth me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him”—future—“and will manifest Myself to him”—will, shall, will—future. In other words, it’s as if God is standing in Heaven and He has a basket full of blessings for us all based on obedience.

 

16:48 Matt. 5:45 “for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” I said that to say there are some things God does for everybody; right or wrong. When the sun rises does it rise only for the good? No! Does the rain fall only for the sinless? No! There are some things God does for everybody! Example are there murderers in Malaysia right not? most of them in prison. Did they wake up this morning? Who do you think woke them up? Who woke you up? What’s the difference? He woke them up. He woke you up. No difference. Well, there should be a difference. You’re a child of God; that’s a murderer, who presumably is not. There ought to be things that God does for us that He does not do for the general population! You can’t have the sinner having the same blessings as the saint. There must be a higher level and so Jesus says “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest myself to him.” Many times we do not see Christ clearly because we are not obedient.

 

18:20 John 14:22 “Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou will manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” All will, will, will based upon a condition: if you keep God’s word or law or obey. There are blessings God only bestows on the obedient. There are blessings God bestows on everyone regardless of their spiritual condition but there are some special blessings reserved for the obedient. Is God partial? Yes. Is God unfair? No. Are some angels higher than others yes or no? Who’s the highest angel in Heaven? Gabriel. I ask again are some angels more powerful than others? Yes. Does that make God unfair? No. Was there an animal in the garden smarter than any other animal yes or no? (yes) Which one was that? (serpent) Was God unfair to the other animals? No! God has a system where some have more than others; some are more powerful than other; some are brighter than others. Ellen White says the angels that function as generals, or sergeants, or leaders they are taller than the angels they lead. So among the angels, the angelic army, the commanders are taller. Does that mean God hates the short angels? (No.) He arranged it that way. There are some blessings God only gives to the believers. Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 524.1 when I read that I couldn't believe it but I believe it now. “The Savior blessed all who sought His help”—when Christ was on the earth—“He loves all the human family but to some he is bound by peculiar, tender associations. His heart was knit by a strong bond of affection to the family of Bethany and for one of them His most wonderful work was wrought”—what was that? raising Lazarus. She’s saying Jesus deliberately reserved His most amazing miracle for a family He was closest to.

 

21:45 When you have a chance, which means today, read Desire of Ages, 57:524 (Lazarus, Come Forth). See what she says about how Jesus loved to go to the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus because they listened to His words, they appreciated Him, they obeyed Him, and He knew He could speak freely. When he came to the multitudes He spoke in parables. He treated them differently but He loved all. Christ wants to speak to you plainly; to the multitudes in parables. God is closer to some people than He is to others, deliberately. It was even demonstrated among the disciples. On very sensitive and specific occasions whom did Christ take with Him? which three disciples? (John, Peter, James.) He left the other 9. He loved them but He had a special work for these men, a special connection possibly. He would take them with Him! When He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and to suffer He came to the gate of the garden, He left 8 of the disciples because Judas was gone. He took 3 further in to really see Him in private agony. He only took Peter, James and John. How close are you to God? Are you among the large multitudes way back or are you among the Peter, James and John that Christ always has right around Him? Do you understand the privilege of Christ wanting to have you right next to Him? There is too much satisfaction with general spirituality. What do I mean by that? I don’t kill people. I come to church. I don’t work on Sabbath. I don’t take exams on Sabbath. I don’t curse my mother. I don’t sleep around so I’m a good person. And please keep doing that. There is an excessive level of righteousness; except your righteousness shall exceed. In the O.T. in the entire Bible, God was closer to the Israelites than He was to any other nation; yet He loved all nations because He told Abraham and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. God loved all nations; He was closest to the Israelites.

Exodus 19:4. Our subject: Spiritual Excellence.

 

24:43 I’m not going to discuss sinlessness that’s too obvious. I want to approach it from a different perspective; what does it take to be close to God, closer than other people? We’re not in competition we just want to do what God wants. Ex. 19:4 “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself.” Now again, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians”—what did He do to them? The 10 plagues. What happened to the army? Destroyed, drowned—how many of them? Every single one! God says “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself.”—how many nations are in that verse? Two—the Egyptians and the Israelites. Whom did God bring unto Himself? The Israelites. Did He hate the Egyptians?—no. “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people”—God says, that was Jesus speaking, you will be special to me above every other nation. But the condition was “if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then”—the result is, in other words, closeness to God is inseparably connected to obedience to God. What am I saying? The foundation of spiritual excellence is a willingness to do whatever God says. Obey God! See the results produced in the life.—“Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is mine.” Go to Leviticus 20:26.

 

27:58 Lev. 20:26 “And ye shall be holy unto Me: for I the Lord am holy”—what moral condition is expressed in that verse? (holy) Holiness! What does God say? You must be holy—why?—because I’m holy. You must be holy because I am Holy—“and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”—what does sever mean? If you’ve severed your finger what have you done? You’ve cut it off. If you’ve cut it off you’ve severed it from your body. God says “and ye shall be holy unto Me: for I the Lord am holy and have severed you”—cut off—“from other people, that ye should be mine.” Here’s another condition for righteousness that exceeds. You must be cut off from the world! You can’t dress like the world. You can’t eat like the world. You shouldn’t speak like the world. You shouldn’t date like the world. You shouldn’t spend your money like the world. You shouldn’t go places like the world. God said I have cut you off so that you may be Mine; without that cutting off you can’t be mine! Gen. 19:4 4 “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself.”—Egypt represents the world of sin. I have brought you out of the world of sin to Me. You could not be mine while you were in Egypt; had to get you out. Another condition of righteousness that exceeds: a separation from this world; cut off—for too many Christians the world is attractive.

 

30:12 Many Christians follow Jesus this way: we put one hand in the hand of Jesus, or both hands but while He’s pulling us along we’re looking back. Well, I just miss the party. I just miss the drinking. I just—the world is not out of the heart. Every time the Israelites in the wilderness ran into trouble what did they want to do? Go back to Egypt. That’s one of the reasons God told them don’t keep horses. You can get on them and ride back. Don’t keep horses. My brothers and sisters, do you realize the standard God has for you? As we talk about spiritual excellence, someone recite Genesis 1:26.

 

31:10 I said recite. I didn’t say look. Someone who has a Bible and has read it at least twice in their lifetime recite Gen. 1:26 at least the first sentence or the first two sentences. Nice and loud who will do it?—don’t make me cry; somebody give me at least the first two sentences of Gen. 1:26. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”—that expresses God’s job description for you; everything you and I do—for you and me—it must reflect the image of God. That is righteousness at a higher level. God did not make us for ourselves. He made us for Himself. Conflict and Courage, p. 21.5 “God created man for His own glory.” (CC 1-15, 21.5) Then the life man lives must glorify God. If my life does not glorify God I am living for the wrong reason. I have no right to live. You didn't get what I said. Let me say it differently. Jeremiah 1:4, 5.

 

32:49 We read from Conflict and Courage, p. 21.5 “God created man for His own glory.” (CC 1-15, 21.5) That’s why man was made. We read in Gen. 1:26. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”—same thing. Now Jer. 1:4 “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”—why did God give Jeremiah life? Look at Jer. 1:5 God said—“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee”—in the womb—“and I ordained thee a prophet”—for what reason? Quiz question: why did God give Jeremiah life? to be a prophet to the Israelites, or the Jews in Jerusalem. If Jeremiah had decided to be an accountant, he would have been living a fraudulent life. He would have had no right to live. Put bluntly: when you live contrary to God’s will you have no right to live because if you’re contrary to God’s will then you are attacking God. Anything contrary to God is an attack on God’s system because Jesus said he that is not with Me is against Me. A life that does not support the will of God is a life that attacks and undermines the will of God and such a person should not live. God created man for His own glory. I finish Conflict and Courage, p. 21.5 “that after test and trial the human family might become one with the heavenly family”—that was God’s intention. I want to make them one with Me. I can’t imagine the results of that union. “It was God’s purpose to re-populate heaven with the human family, if they would show themselves obedient to His every word.” (CC 1-15, 21.5) God wanted after time to take the human race and unite it with the divine family; not the angels, the human race. Ministry of Healing, p. 397.1 Ellen White writes this remarkable statement “Next to the angelic beings, the human family, formed in the image of God, are the noblest of His created works.” As Adventists do we believe there are people in other worlds that have never sinned? Yes! We call them the unfallen worlds. Ellen White is saying when God made us He made us higher than them. The only created beings higher than us, when we were made, were the angels. That’s why Ps. 8:5 says “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.” The Hebrew word for angels is actually gods, elohim. We were made a little lower than gods. In summary, Ellen White writes “Those who lived before the flood were only a few steps from God.” (CC 1-28, 34.5) Even though they were sinners, they were so powerful, so intellectually mighty; Ellen White says they were just “a few steps from God.” What am I trying to say? God has always had as His ambition for us the highest quality of life possible for a created being.

 

37:12 And so the Bible says “Thou has made them a little lower than the angels.” but we live as though we were made a little lower than the animals. My brothers and sisters, God’s desire for you and for me is that our lives will be lived at such a level of righteousness and spirituality that when people see us they will literally be looking at Jesus because when Jesus came in your form, with your nature and mine, He said to Phillip in John 14:9 “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” That was the relationship Jesus had with the Father. He reflected the Father perfectly. Now we must have the same relationship with Jesus reflecting Him perfectly. Now if a looks like b; and c looks like a—finish it—(c looks like b) So if Jesus looks like the Father; and we look like Jesus—finish it—we look like the Father. That’s the level of spiritual excellence reflecting the very character of the Father. That’s what God wants—even with the carnal nature that we have—not as a ruling power; the ruling power must be the Spirit. 

 

38:48 The Bible can tell you more effectively than I in 2 Pet. 1:4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”—we are to be partakers of what? the divine nature or character of God; we must. Not a nature similar to it; we must have the same character. Heb.12:10 speaking of parents and children “For they verily for a few days”—meaning earthly parents—“chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” 2 Pet. 1:4 says we must be partakers of the divine nature. Heb. 12:10 says we must partake of His holiness—not the holiness of Gabriel. That’s not high enough. We must have a level of holiness that is reflected not in Gabriel but in God and that must be done while we are in human flesh.

 

41:10 Many Adventists don’t believe that. What you don’t believe you never achieve. My young friends, if you submit your life to God without reservation, if you make His word the chief choice on the menu of your spiritual life, if you make that surrender to God day by day every day God will bring you to the place where the life you live spiritually will be the same life Jesus lived: a life which expresses a righteousness that exceeds—you’re not in competition, you just try to do what God wants. God wants you to reflect Him—in everything!

 

42:06 When Jesus stilled the storm on Galilee the disciples on the boat asked the question in Mark 4:41 “What manner of man is this?” That’s what the world must say as we come close to the ideal, what kind of people are they? Seventh-day Adventists! Seventh-day Adventists who when they understand the message given to them, who when they understand the historic calling, who when they understand why God raised them up will reach a level of development spiritually that will have them reflecting the very face of Jesus. (Amen!)

 

43:01 God has been waiting thousands of years for His character to be produced in people perfectly. Ellen White writes “In every age there have been some people who obey God perfectly.” In every age a person over there, a person over here; but the time must come when that reflection must be seen in an entire people. That is the end-time people that will be on the earth when Christ comes back—reflecting the very image of Jesus. If God spares my life long enough I’d like to be among them a people who hate sin perfectly and love righteousness. Many Christians love sin and hate righteousness because modern Christians love church they don’t love God. As I said—was it yesterday?—most people go to church to attend a service not to worship God; two different things. They go to be in a praise team; they go to do whatever—not to worship God because the basis of worship is obedience. That’s why Jesus said this people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matt. 15:8) The basis of worship is obedience!

 

44:30 I hope I’ve said something today: excellence in health; spiritual excellence that will remain with you. If you don’t desire that ask God to put the desire on your heart. The carnal nature does not desire the spiritual life. Understand me clearly. The carnal nature does not feel sorry for sin. The carnal nature does not confess. The carnal nature does not repent. The carnal nature does not desire righteousness at all—God has to put that desire in us from the outside in. Any desire to do right is a gift from God. If you have the smallest desire to do right that desire was placed in you and me by the grace of God; then we have to act on it! And so may God bless you my young friends, so that you realize that your age—do you know a spiritually upright young man is more impressive than a spiritually upright older man? Do you realize that? You take a young boy, my young brother here, 19, 20 and he’s upright. Then let’s say I’m upright. This man has lived most of his life; he’s already sown his wild oats. This young fellow has his whole life ahead of him, and he’s upright now? That’s impressive! You have no idea the effect you can have on people by being upright young people. The power you can exert! That’s why many people when they go door-to-door trying to get money they take little children with them. When that little child knocks—no, you’re not going to close that door! Jehovah Witnesses like to bring their little children with them. When they knock you cannot close the door on that little child, in a little suit—Good morning, sirumm—because a little child in a suit going door-to-door that is impressive, regardless of the church!

 

46:30 When that mother sent me that text last night, her son memorized Dan. 1—he’s 5. If I stood and recited Daniel—yes, that’s nice—but a 5 year old boy recites the book of Daniel, you drop what you’re doing! your jaw drops—what!? You are in a position to exert a greater spiritual force than I am because of your age! What you do, most young people: let me be wild now! The very time when you can be most powerful spiritually is the time young people say let me be wild and live in the parties, drink and smoke and sleep around. Let me do that now. When you’ve had many decades of that, you’re sick and tired, you come to God. No impression. May the Lord bless you and open your eyes to the possibility that you in your youth can represent God so perfectly that your very presence is a spiritual blessing to those around you. Let’s bow our heads.

 

47:36 Our Father in Heaven, we thank you dear God, You never change Your standards. Ellen White writes “Why cannot those who claim to understand the Scriptures, see that God’s requirement under grace is just the same He made in Eden—perfect obedience to His law.” That high standard you set for Adam is still the same. It’s for us through Jesus Christ, please God, put into our hearts a love for righteousness, a love for right doing and an absolute hate for sin of every size and shape. Bless my young friends dear God, bless them, break the hold the devil may have on them. Give them a love for Your word, a love for church, a love for spiritual songs, a love for good health, a love for moral cleanness. Bless all the other sessions. Father, as we partake of the lunch let us do so with the consciousness that food is a blessing from You in a world where so many people go hungry. Bless the afternoon sessions I pray in Jesus’ name amen.  

 

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