Present Truth

July 7th Sermon for Young Disciples Church

 

Opening Hymn: Open Mine Eyes 326

Scripture Is. 13:12

Closing Hymn: Stand Up Stand Up for Jesus 618

 

 

The topic for this morning is “Present truth”. What is present truth? Present truth is truth we need at this present time. We start in the book of Job. Job is a type of the 144,000 that God tells us about in Revelation 7 and 14. We are presently all looking for the second coming of Jesus. Jesus is our blessed hope that we are all working for, waiting and looking for. But, as in the parable Jesus told in Matthew 25 about the ten virgins, there is a delay. Now there are two reasons for the delay recorded in Scripture. There are two kinds of servants described as living and working together, waiting for their Lord to return. In Matthew 25 the virgins who are waiting for the Bridegroom, are described as being wise and foolish. In Matthew 24:45 the wise and faithful servant is described as being set as a ruler over the Master’s household to give those of the household meat in due season. And that is what we want this morning – meat in due season. The evil servant’s reason for the delay is recorded in Matthew 24. The evil servant says that the Lord is delaying His coming. The other answer given in 2 Peter 3:9 as to why the delay, is that it is because of the goodness and long-suffering of God. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It is clear from Scripture that we, not the Lord, are the reason for the delay in the return of Christ. We are told clearly what determines the timing of the return of Jesus. The timing for Jesus to return is recorded in these words found in Mark 4:29: “But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”

 

It is explained exactly what this means in Christ’s Object Lessons page 69:

 

"When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. {COL 69.1}

 

Once the character of Christ is perfectly reproduced in His people, the delay is over. All who will be attracted to Jesus by His beauty of character, have come to Him, and become changed like Him in character. Then Jesus immediately comes to rescue His bride and there is no more delay. The long night of waiting is over. Present truth is the truth about the reproduction – the perfect reproduction - of the character of Christ in His people. So please do not yawn and go to sleep because you have heard this present truth before. It is still needed present truth today because the character of Christ is not yet perfectly reproduced in a statistically significant number of His people. Part of the evidence that this is true, is that we are still here on the earth. God is on trial before the universe. God answers the charges made against Him by the demonstration of the truth on each controverted point of truth. A demonstration can reveal reality that none can question or argue against. A statistically significant number of people are needed to win the God’s case in His judgment. God’s trial is going on right now and is coming to a closure at this time in earth’s history. The final charge that still remains to be answered by demonstration, is the answer to the two questions we find in the book of Job chapters 9 and 14.

 

Job 9:1 Then Job answered and said,

9:2 I know [it is] so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?

 

Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean [thing] out of an unclean? not one.

 

The present truth that we want to study this morning is the answer to these two questions that is the final issue in the great controversy.

 

The first question is answered by Jesus in His life and death on earth. Jesus took on Him our sinful nature and lived a sinless life by His Father’s power. Jesus is our example of how a man should be just with God. However, according to Satan’s charges – the way Satan presents things in the judgement of God – that life and death of Jesus on earth is irrelevant to the charge and proves nothing because Jesus is God. And God can do anything!

 

The second question: Who can bring a clean [thing] out of an unclean?, Job answered. Job’s answer was: “Not one can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing.” Now Job is talking about mankind. And Satan accepts this answer and says: “That’s right! It is impossible to bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing – even God cannot do that!”

 

Now there are some things that are impossible for God to do, but bringing a clean thing out of an unclean thing, is not one of them. What are some things that God cannot do?

 

Can you mention anything that is impossible for God to do?

 

Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2 tells us that God cannot lie.

 

Acts 5:39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

Acts 5:39 tells us that God cannot lose in a fight; God cannot fail unless His victory would override our freedom of choice.

 

God also tells us that He cannot change in character. That is because He is perfect in character. In Malachi 3:6 is written “For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” In James 1:17 we are told that there is not even a shadow of change in God: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

 

Another thing God can’t do is be tempted. James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

 

My current understanding is that the reason God can’t be tempted, is that He cannot be deceived. Deception is always part of temptation.

 

Apart from telling a lie, failing, changing in character, and being tempted which involves deception – is there anything else that God cannot do?

 

God asks this question in Genesis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?

 

So the issue is clear. What the universe is waiting for – is the demonstration of what Satan charges God is not being able to do and what God claims He can do. And that is to bring a clean man and woman and child – out of an unclean man and woman and child. God has already done this in Jesus – at the cost of His life. But the universe is waiting to see the final blow to Satan’s kingdom. The final blow to Satan’s kingdom is the demonstration of God’s power in bringing a clean thing out of an unclean thing in you and in me and in a statistically significant number of people, all living at the same time; in one generation. God says:

 

Isaiah 13:12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

 

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

 

Isaiah 66:8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? [or] shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

 

We are living in that day spoken of in Isaiah 66:8. I want to be part of that nation born at once. That nation is the 144,000 who reflect the character image of Jesus fully.

 

Now we all say that we believe that this birth of the 144,000 in a day is not too hard for the Lord. However it takes in addition to faith in this statement, the demonstration of that faith; the walking the path of God to be a part of that accomplishment and be the final witnesses that win God’s case in His judgement before the universe and before this world.

 

There are four things that we need, to be among that group that proves the power of God to the universe and to the whole world and wins His case. And God has to win His case before He can safely end the great controversy and destroy sin and sinners with no fear and no questions asked about this action of God.

 

The four things we need are:

 

1. The righteousness of Jesus.

2. The faith of Jesus.

3. The Spirit of Jesus

4. The love of Jesus.

 

The four words that are used in I Corinthians 1:30 to tell us the four things we need to justify God in His judgment are:

 

Wisdom

Righteousness

Sanctification

Redemption

 

This is what God makes us in Jesus. These are the four things we need in order to be among the 144,000 and make that demonstration that results in the destruction of Satan and sin.

 

Did you know that to destroy Satan and his works is the reason Jesus came to this earth as a man? This is what we are told in 1 John 3:8: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

 

So let me just say in passing – a very politically incorrect statement: When you sin, you testify for the devil and in sinning, you are letting the devil rule you. When you resist temptation and by God’s power overcome the temptation, you are testifying for God and are letting God rule you. In the same way that the devil cannot force anyone to sin, God can’t force anyone to overcome temptation to do righteousness. It takes our yielding to and cooperation with the impulse to sin or to do righteousness.

 

We can look very briefly at point today.

 

Let’s look briefly at how God makes Jesus our righteousness.

 

The righteousness of Jesus comes in two parts, or we could say in two flavors – imputed and imparted. The moment we come to Jesus by faith, take hold of His merits, confess our sin, placing it on Jesus, the sin Bearer, and accept His pardon – we have the imputed righteousness of Christ. Because we are that moment covered with the righteousness of Jesus, God sees us as having never sinned. This is the starting point of the path to holiness and heaven. We have to travel the whole length of that path and be totally transformed for God to bring a clean you out of the unclean you that you were born. Because of the nature of freedom of choice and free will, this rebirth process must take place each and every day for eternity! One reason the change in righteousness from imputed to imparted, takes a life-time is because as soon as the perfect reproduction of the righteousness of Christ is in you – then immediately Jesus reaps you in death or in life – and this lifetime is over. The change in nature that Jesus makes in us is difficult and does take time. It does take a lifetime for that reason also to change our habits of thinking and acting from thinking and acting like the devil to thinking and acting like Jesus. How does Jesus make this change in our lives? This method of education of God is clearly explained to us 16 times in the writings of Ellen White.

 

A classic description of this process of imparting the righteousness of Christ to you is described in 16 different places in the Spirit of Prophecy. One of these 16 places is 1T187:

 

God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Said the angel: "God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people." Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus. Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: "They are joined to their idols, let them alone," and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.

 

Now we do not have time to continue much more. My experience in presenting this topic is that some people get discouraged and some even get offended with the concept of total transformation of character to have imparted to them the fully developed, perfect character of Jesus. But this is present truth. This is what is holding up the marriage that began October 22, 1844. This is what the universe is waiting to see happen.

 

So let me just observe a few more things and then we are done – unless there are some questions about what has been presented so far. And I want to tell one mission story. That will take a few minutes. Do we have time for 4 encouraging observations, possibly some questions and one mission story?

 

Here are four points about the perfection of the saints that can encourage us – if you think that perfection of character requiring a life-time is too much, not possible in this life-time, etc. etc:

 

  1. God makes the claim that He can make a man and a woman and a child more precious than gold. This is not my claim or your claim. Is there anything too hard for God?

  2. You or I are the only one who can stop God from doing what He died to accomplish in you and me. As long as we do not check out of the training school God has us in – we will graduate with full honors – God having imparted to us the perfect righteousness of Christ!

  3. Sin is what the program is designed to remove from our lives. Now there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about sin. Sin is the transgression of the law of God. That is what sin is. That is the only true definition of sin. There are many descriptions of sin. But only one genuine definition of sin. What is the law of God? God has many descriptions of reality. These are sometimes called natural law. But the law that sin is specifically concerned with, is the law God spoke Himself and wrote Himself with His own finger in stone. This ten-commandment law is the reflection – the statement of reality - concerning the character of God.

  4. There is no way to make God more pleased with you than to permit Him to remove sin from you. There is no way of making God more sad and hurting Him more than to refuse to let go of sin and choose the devil and sin over Jesus and His righteousness in your life.

 

Are we now done? Are there any questions? Have I offended anyone?

 

Can I tell you at least one mission story from Africa having grown up in Africa and having spent 12 years as a missionary doctor?

 

I was born in Los Angeles, California. My parents went to Africa as missionaries when I was two years old and they took me with them. Apart from furloughs, I spent the next 30 years in Africa. We lived initially in what was then called Bechuanaland. Now it is called Botswanna. Botswanna is a country that is very rich in diamonds. Then we lived in Zambia which at the time we first went there was called Northern Rhodesia. My mission service for 12 years consisted in flying to 10 different mission hospitals in 7 different countries in Central Africa. I did reconstructive surgery for leprosy patients. This story took place at one of our mission hospitals in Zambia called Mwami – which means “King”. There was a student missionary there from this country that was assigned the work of showing me the patients I was to see and that were ready for surgery. She twisted the piece of paper she had the names of the patients written on nervously and asked if I would see a patient that was not on the list. . . . .

 

The reason this is my favorite mission story is that it illustrates the plan of salvation. We are by birth and by performance, headed for death. The question is: “Do we want to die?” If we want to live, there are certain things we need to do. We have to believe the reality of our life and death situation and that in Jesus there is life – eternal life. We have to sit in the sunshine of God’s presence, beholding Jesus as in a glass darkly. By beholding, by having our minds on Jesus, we become changed into His character image. What ever we behold, whatever gets our attention changes us. So be careful what you behold, what gets your attention. We have to drink of the water of life – ask and receive the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. And based on creation, and redemption, we owe God our money, our time, our life, our all. We can refuse to serve God with our whole heart and mind and spirit. But if we do we are on the pathway to death. God asks “Why will ye die?”

 

Now I want to make an appeal to you all.

 

Is there anyone here that has never asked Jesus to be their God and their King – that would like to do so at this time? Stand where you are to let God, the angels and the universe see your decision. My appeal is to stand up for Jesus.

 

Are there any who started the total transformation process to become an adopted son of God, and become like Him in character and nature, but have fallen off the path. Maybe you got tired and left the way because the process seemed so long and so difficult to die to sin and self, or something else looked more attractive – or for whatever reason you became discouraged, but this morning you would like to get back on the pathway to God? Would you be willing to stand and encourage fellow travelers to keep on keeping on?

 

Are there any who are in God’s training school and enjoying the battle and the march, who would like to redouble their efforts to be like Jesus in character and please Him more and more because of a growing love for Him? Would you be willing to stand in reconsecration to Jesus?

 

Closing Hymn: “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus”.