Here in Wichita my brother used to tell me, he would say, "We have to get into these big cities and preach the gospel, because we're probably going to lose religious liberty and the ability to work in the big cities before we will lose it in the little cities." So we decided we could not neglect the big cities. And in addition to Wichita, you are all aware I suppose, that some people from our church here have moved to Topeka and are working in Topeka. And a young lady, who used to attend church here, was convicted of the Lord, that she needed to go to Dodge City. She is working there to establish a church. And of course, there are some churches near here, not in such large towns as that. But do not think that we do not believe in working the byways, but we have to finish the work in the big cities, too, because they are going to close up.
And we have been on television, by the grace of God. When we started we thought we might be on for just a few months, but we have been on television every week here in Wichita since 1987. And when you 'I are on television that long do you know what happens? People know that you are around. And I cannot go anywhere in this city without somebody recognizing me. Somebody comes up that I have never seen before, And they say, "I've seen you somewhere. Where did I see you?" "Well, did you see me on television?" "Oh yes, that's where I saw you. I saw you on television." And what have these people heard on television? Well, let me tell you. They have heard seminars on Daniel and Revelation, they have heard the Three Angels' messages, over, and over, again, they have heard about the Sabbath, and the Law of God and the signs of the times, and what is coming in the world.
The interesting thing is, so often, people tell me they believe what they are hearing. Thousands of people around here believe what they are hearing. But that does not take my burden away because you cannot be saved just by hearing. And we had a prophecy seminar here recently. A lot of people who came to our prophecy seminar and they believe what they have heard. In fact, if you would go to their home and try to talk to them about Sabbath and Sunday, they would show you fr the Bible and prove to you that the seventh day is the Sabbath and they could do it. They believe it. When I go visit them they believe it and they tell me of their friends and they are proving to them that it is wrong to keep Sunday because the Bible teaches to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. And did you know after you have proved to all of your friends that the seventh day is the Sabbath you are still not saved? And I still have a burden for these people.
And so, I decided a while back that I was going to write a pamphlet, but lam so busy I do not have time to write pamphlets. So finally I decided, that I would preach a sermon and then we would take the sermon and develop it into a pamphlet And this sermon has been going around in my mind for a long time, but I have gotten very serious recently on developing it. I call this "Why Many Will Be Lost While Hoping and Desiring to be Saved."
Now first of all, Adventist preachers do not preach their own ideas. We have to preach out of the Bible. And I want to show you from the Bible that the vast majority of the world's population is going to be Lost. We got that from the Bible. We did not make it up. Now other churches have accused Adventist preachers by saying, "Well you're teaching that we're all going to be lost." And we say, "Look, we're not the ones teaching you're going to be lost. We're just reading the Bible." The Bible teaches that the vast majority of the world's population is going to be lost and that is point the Christian world, too, not just the number one. And let's just see that from the Bible. There are quite a few texts on this, by the way, so I would like to invite you to open your Bible.
Let's look first of all at our scripture reading that we read a few minutes ago in Matthew 24:37. It says, "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." Now how was it in the days of Noah? Were the majority of the people saved or were they lost? Everybody was lost except for eight people. The whole world went to destruction. Jesus said, "Like it was in the days of Noah, that's going to be the way it is again. "Look in Revelation 1:7, "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him." Now why are they going to mourn? The New Testament is very clear that when Jesus comes the saints are not going to mourn. What does it say they are going to do? They are going to rejoice and be glad, but the world is going to mourn. Why are tit going to mourn? They are not ready. They are not ready. "Well," somebody says, "that's about those heathen people out there." No friends, we are not talking about the heathen people. We are talking about heathen people.
I want to read to you a statement that Ellen White wrote about this and then I want to read to you several more texts that will prove that what she said is correct. She says, "The great mass of professing Christians will meet with bitter disappointment in the day of God. They have not upon their foreheads the seal of the living God. Lukewarm and halfhearted, they dishonor God far more than the avowed unbeliever. They grope in darkness when they might be walking in the noonday light of the word under the guidance of One who never errs." That was written in 1903. Notice she says they do not have the seal of God. You have to have the seal of God in the last generation to be saved. Read Revelation 7 or Revelation 14. They are lukewarm. The last generation is spoken of as in a Laodicean condition; a lukewarm state. And the Lord says, "I'm going to spew you out of My mouth if you don't change, if you don't repent I'm going to vomit you out of My mouth." And Jesus talked about this over and over and over again.
In fact, He talked about it so much that one of the persons who was with Him finally got the idea. And so they asked Him because they wanted to be sure they were thinking exactly straight and they said, "Now Lord, are there really going to be just a few people saved?" Let's read that. Turn to Luke 13:23, is where he asked the question. Here is Jesus' answer in verses 24-29, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.' But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God."
Now friends, the thing that makes this statement of Jesus so scary is when you realize who He was talking to. Who was Jesus talking to? Was He talking to a heathen Roman? No He was not Was He talking to somebody the Pharisees called a person who feared God? They called people who were not circumcised, but they came to church, God-fearers. They were not members of their church. Was He talking to one of those? No. He was talking to people who were part of His professed people. This person who asked him was not even thinking about the Gentiles," but about the Jews, God's professed people . And He asked "Lord is there just going to be a few of them saved? We just read Jesus response. (see Luke 13:23-29)
Revelation is packed full of warnings on this point; just packed full. Let's read a few texts.. It says in Revelation 12:9, "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives [who?] "the whole world. . ." It does not say the heathen world. It says "the whole world." In Revelation 13:7,8, we read "And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." And how many people is that? Well look at Revelation 16:13, 14. It says, "I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, [that is miracles) which go out to the kings of the earth and of [how much of the world?] the whole world, [and what are they going to do?] to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." Notice the next verse what Jesus says, "Behold, lam coming as a thief Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."
The whole world is going to be involved and what is going to happen? Oh friend, we do not have time today to go into all that is going to happen, but you have read 1 Thessalonians 5. It is when they say, "Peace and safety." Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 teaches us that in the last days there is going to be a great international, religious, peace movement They are going to think they are going to have the greatest peace. They are going to eliminate war. And the whole world, they are going to think, is going to be converted. It is going to be the greatest false revival of all time. I want to tell you, friends, we are not looking at something that is crude. This is going to be so deceptive that these people are going to believe that they have received and are receiving and are full of the Holy Spirit And I want to tell you, they are going to work miracles. Ellen White said that those miracles are going to bring Seventh-day Adventists to the test Somebody is going to come to you and say, "I don't believe the way that you believe, but I know that God is with me because lam healing the sick" What are you going to do? If you can be deceived by what you see and hear, you will be deceived, period!
Look at Revelation 18:3. It says, "For [how many?] all nations have drunk. ." Look at Revelation 17:15, "And he said to me, 'The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues." This is a world-wide thing. And where is it going to end up? Well, here is where it is going to end up. Look back Revelation 6. And it says in verse 14-17, "Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" That is where it is going to end up, in a big prayer meeting, but it is going to be too late to be saved.
Have we given enough evidence from the Bible so that you can see very clearly that most of the world is going to be lost? Do you see that from the Bible? Why were these warnings given? Friend, there are going to be millions and millions of people lost. lam not a prophet, but lam just going to tell you my terrible fears. lam afraid there is going to be a lot of these thousands of people right here in Wichita, who hope to be saved, desire to be saved, but when I meet them on the street they say, "Yes, I believe it" But you can believe the truth and know the truth and still be lost There will be many people lost while hoping and desiring to be saved and while they know the truth. And I want to find out how can this be and how can I avoid it happening to me. That is what I want to study with you for a few minutes this morning.
First of all, one of the major deceptions of the last days is, (remember the devil deceives the whole world)-- and this idea is going all over the Christian world--, the idea that either you do not have to or you cannot keep the law of God. In other words, you can be saved in sin. And Jesus made this very clear in Matthew 7 that this was going to be a deception in the last days whereby many people would lose their souls because they would think that you do not need to keep God's law. And here in Matthew 7:21-23, here is what Jesus says, I am reading from the New King James Version, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." Notice Jesus says if you are going to be saved you must do the Father's will. "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name," notice they have the gift of prophecy, "cast out demons in your name," they are exorcists, "done many wonders" that is miracles, "in Your name." They heal the sick and they perform miracles in Christ's name. Notice that is not a test whether they are genuine. Here is the test. Verse 23, "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'" You who do what? Practice lawlessness. That is an accurate translation, by the way. The Greek word is "anomia". That means "against the law." They are not in harmony with the law. They are lawless. You can be a prophet; that is you can say you have the gift of prophecy. You have a gift from some spirit. You can work miracles. You can even cast out demons, Jesus says, and still be lost
Now, in the times in which we are living, as I visit around-- like all Adventist preachers visit people--I do not know how you can be a preacher and not visit people in their homes. By the way, that is what Jesus spent most of His time doing so it is all right to do. It is fine to spend more time visiting people in their homes than you do preaching or even teaching. And as I visit people in their homes, I notice that there are some very powerful deceptions that are around in the Christian world today to teach people that they can be saved in sin and they do not have to keep God's law. And what most of these center around is to try get a way out of keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. That is where it is all headed. That is the problem. But remember Exodus 24:12 says very clearly that the Ten Commandments is one law. The
Ten Commandments are not two or ten laws, it is just one law. Do not ever forget that. The Ten Commandments is only one law. God calls it one law. It is not ten laws, it is just one law. And if you break any part of it, you have broken it. That is what James says in James 2:10.
Now, when we are studying why so many good people who hope and desire to be saved are going to be lost,--we cannot do an exhaustive study--, but we need to look at those parts of the Bible that are used, to teach people that they really do not need to keep God's law or they cannot keep it. Now there are three or four books in the New Testament that are almost used primarily to teach this heresy. One is the book of Romans and the other is the book of Galatians. And the other are the letters to the Corinthians. And I want to just look at a few texts in these books. I wish I could look at all of the books, but we do not have time so let's just pick one. Let's just look at a short one which is the book of Galatians.
There are people who are going around today teaching that from what is taught in the book of Galatians that you do not need to keep God's law. And that people who teach that you do need to keep the law that they are somehow legalists. Have you ever heard that? But I want you to notice something in the book of Galatians--, we do not have time to get into an exhaustive study--, but I want you to turn to Galatians Sand notice something very plain, this is so plain you cannot misunderstand it. You can be a child and not misunderstand this, you do not have to be a theologian. I want you to see what it says in Galatians 5:19-21. It says, "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery. . ." What is adultery and fornication? It is breaking the seventh commandment Is that right? That is what it is. Alright, we have gone through the seventh commandment "uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry. . ." What is idolatry? It is breaking the second commandment. Is that right? That is what idolatry is. We gone through two commandments now. "sorcery. .." Now if we looked at sorcery or witchcraft that is breaking the first commandment. The first commandment says "You shall have no other gods before Me." "hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy.. ." What is envy? That is coveting something or somebody else. That is breaking the tenth commandment. How many commandments are we at right now? We have already covered four. What is the next one? "murders..." What is that? That is the sixth commandment Do you realize, right -in these two verses Paul has mentioned five of the ten commandments? And I want you to notice what he says is going to happen to the people who break them. "of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Now friends, that is in plain English, that is as plain and simple as you can state it. And that is out of the book of Galatians. The very book that people use to try to prove that you can be saved in sin and that you do not need to keep God's law. Why have we overlooked those two verses? They are right in the middle of the chapter and that is some of the plainest instruction in the whole book And five of the commandments are mentioned and it says if you break them, you are going to be lost, you are not going to be in the kingdom of God. How can we miss it?
"Oh," somebody says, "then what is all he talking about in all the rest of the book?" It is not difficult, friend. Two things. Number one, Paul is attacking the concept that you need to keep the ceremonial law; that you need to offer sacrifices, that you need to be circumcised, that you need a human priesthood, that you need a earthly temple, that you need to keep all of these ceremonial laws. He is attacking that because those are not valid after the cross of Christ and he makes that very clear in the third chapter. That is one thing that he is attacking, but that is not all that he is attacking. Even if you are talking about the Ten Commandments, you cannot obtain forgiveness of sins by keeping the Ten Commandments because you have broken them in the past and you cannot get a pardon by keeping the Ten Commandments. And Paul says if you believe that you can be circumcised and you can be justified by keeping the law, you have made the cross of Christ of none effect. Now that makes sense. He is not against the Ten Commandments. He says right here inverses 19-21 that if you break them, you are not going to inherit the kingdom of God, but he is against a wrong use of the Ten Commandments. You cannot get forgiveness of sins by keeping the Ten Commandments. If you could get forgiveness of your past sins by keeping the Ten Commandments, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross. But it is interesting that people do not want to keep the fourth commandment They try to make the book of Galatians against the commandments.
Did you know that the principle of every single one of the Ten Commandments is mentioned as binding in the New Testament? Every single one. Now we just went through five in two verses. In fact, most of the Ten Commandments are mentioned as morally obligatory many times in the New Testament "Oh," somebody says, "how about the fourth commandment?" Listen, are you aware of the fact that the apostle Paul devotes almost a whole chapter in the book of Hebrews showing why it is necessary for Christians to keep the Sabbath? And he is not talking about the legal keeping of the Sabbath like the Pharisees did. He is talking about the spiritual keeping of the Sabbath. A legal keeping of the Sabbath will do you no good.
Since that is the one that is most in controversy, let's just take a quick look at that in Hebrews 4. He talks about the lack of faith so the gospel did not profit them, in verse 2. And in verse 4 it says, "For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works." He is quoting from Genesis 2.Is he talking about the Sabbath inverse 4? That is what he is talking about. He is talking about the seventh-day Sabbath and he specifies that is what he is talking about. And then he talks how the Children of Israel did not enter into the Sabbath rest. Let me explain that very quickly. The fourth commandment says, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Here is the problem. I cannot keep the Sabbath holy unless lam a holy person and I am not a holy person. But every command that God gives, with that command, is a promise. And so the Sabbath is a promise, if I accept it, that God will make me a holy person. You can read that in Ezekial 20:12, 20. He says, "I gave them My Sabbaths that they might know that Jam the Lord which sanctifies them." The word sanctify means "to make holy". The Sabbath is a promise that God will make you a holy person. But the Jews refused to enter into this experience of holy living. You see you are not holy unless you are keeping all the law because the law is holy, Romans 7:12. A person who keeps the Sabbath will be keeping all the rest of the law, otherwise, he cannot keep the Sabbath.
The Jews refused to enter into this rest from sin. It talks about that inverse 5. But notice that did not do away with the Sabbath just because they did not keep it. It says in verse 6, "Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience. . ." How was it they did not enter into the Sabbath rest? Because they were breaking God's law, that is why. "Again He designates a certain day, saying in David, 'Today,' after such along time, as it has been said:
'Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains there-fore.. ." Notice this is something that remains all the way from, when it was originated (see verse 4?) It is something that existed at creation and it still remains. The way I like it best is the way it is said in the Greek. It says there remains a "sabbitismos". Does that word sound at all familiar to any English word that you have ever heard? That means "the keeping of the Sabbath". It is not something that is new at the cross of Christ It is something that remains from creation.
Now friends, if you want to try to get Sunday-keeping out of this, you need to find Sunday-keeping back in the days of creation, but there is not Sunday-keeping in the days of creation. lt is only the seventh day and this is something that remains. And this keeping of the Sabbath that remains, remains for who? The people of God. Are you one of the people of God? Now notice verse 10, it says, "For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as. . ." Now I want to spend quite a bit of time on that two-letter word "as" inverse 10.
What does the word "as" mean anyway? Exactly the same way. He has ceased from his words "as" God did from His. Well now, I want to ask you, how did God cease from His work? Did He cease from His work on Sunday or Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday or Friday or Sabbath? Which day of the week did He cease from His work? On the Sabbath. And if I have entered into His rest, Jam to cease from my work "as" - AS - exactly the same way, as God did from His. Which day did God cease from His work? On the Sabbath. By the way, friends, this book was not written two or three years after the cross. This was written decades after the cross.
Well now, let's look at verse 11, "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest . . ." Now what rest is he talking about? He is talking about the Sabbath rest And I want you to notice carefully the words because a lot of English-speaking people do not recognize what they are reading in the first part of verse 11. "Let us [labor] therefore be diligent to enter that rest.. ." Do you know what that is? Now if you are a grammarian, that is first person plural command. That is the form of the verb. This is a command. It is a first person plural command. You all know what a command is. Did you know that the New Testament contains an absolute command for Christians to keep the seventh-day Sabbath? There it is right there in verse 11. "But" somebody says, "what if I don't?" Look at what will happen if you do not "Lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience." See the Jews did not keep the Sabbath. By the way, Jeremiah told them, he says, "If you don't keep the Sabbath, this city is going to be burned down with fire." And they did not do it and it was burned down. You can read that in the book of Jeremiah. The Lord told them through the prophets, He says, "You haven't kept the Sabbath. The land is going to keep her Sabbaths. I'm going to give the land seven years' of rest."
"Lest anyone fall. . ." Do you want to fall? Do you? I don't. If I do not listen to this command, what is going to happen to me? I am going to fall. Oh, but when I visit people in their homes, do you know what they tell me? They say, " Pastor John, I believe the Sabbath." Oh! that is so wonderful. But when I was a young pastor and people used to tell me that--when I visited in their homes--, I just felt like jumping up and down, and I felt like I was on a cloud. But then I found out something I did not like to find out. People can believe it and not do it.
And there are thousands of people in Wichita like this. lam telling the truth, friends. There are literally thousands of people in 'Wichita, that as a result of hearing the Three Angels' message preached, as a result of hearing Adventist preachers preach the word of God, they believe the seventh day is the Sabbath. And if you talk to them, they say, "I believe it." Now they are not here. They might be mowing their lawn or washing their cars or doing any of the hundred other things.
And that is what I want to get more particular and study with you about Because I want you to see that even if you cross the hurdle, you are not arguing as to whether the law was nailed to the cross or all those things anymore. You know that a careful examination of the Scriptures proves that all those arguments will not stand up under candid observation or investigation. That still does not mean you are saved. Remember, what we are studying is why many good people will be lost while hoping and desiring to be saved. People that believe the seventh day is the Sabbath. They are not hung up in Romans or Galatians anymore. They believe the seventh day is the Sabbath. Well what is the problem then?
Look at how Jesus pointed it out in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:24-27. It says, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will like him to a wise man who built his house on the rock and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." What is the problem? They hear and they know. They even believe it.
But they do not do it. Are you a hearer or are you a doer of the word of God? Which are you?
Now we have had no problems at our house with all these heavy rains we have been having because our house happens to be built on a rock and that is literally true. Any of you who have been out to my place know that it is built on a rock. In fact, we had to move a few thousand dollars' worth of rock to build it. It is built on a rock and it is higher than all the surrounding places and before we get swept away, all the neighbors are going to be down the river because we are higher than any of them. But I want to tell you, I built my house on the rock this time because you see, I have had some experience building on the sand. Because between 15 and 20 years ago, when our family moved to Texas, we built a house on the sand. And we built right at the bottom of a, not a big hill, just a little hill, the bottom lot of the hill, a five-acre plot and we built a house there. And I want to tell you it was the most beautiful gardening that you ever saw; four feet deep of sand. You could stick a shovel and you could just dig right down four feet. I mean when you put the leach line in for your septic tank that everything drains perfectly. It was beautiful. And you could plant anything. And as long as you got water and fertilizer to it would grow perfectly.
But we were on the sand. About a year after we moved in there we had some rain. In fact we had about eight inches in one night. Pretty soon the rain was running over the road and it was running over the ditches and it was running right toward our house. And I got a shovel, it was Sabbath evening right after sundown when this thing started and we already had water in the house, but I was trying to keep more water from getting in the house. And I was out there and I dug a ditch, but that would not hold it all. Then I went up there and dug another ditch and that would not hold it all. And then I went up and dug another ditch and that would not hold it all. We had ditches going by my house on both sides and I had a whole bunch of rivers trying to divert the water away from my house. And about one o'clock in the morning the lightening was going up and down and I said, "Lord, if You don't turn this off, I can't stop it. If you don't turn this off, I'm sunk" So I know what it is like to build on the sand and have the rain come. Let me tell you, when the rains come, it feels a lot better to be up on the rock And the rain is coming. The storm is coming. Where is your house? Is it down in the sand like I used to be? Or is your house up on the rock? Where is it? Are you just a hearer of the word who says, "Oh yes, I know that the seventh day is the Sabbath. I know that what you are preaching is right." Friends, that is not enough if you are not doing it. If you are not living in harmony with what you profess or believe, it is not going to do any good. That is what Jesus said.
Look at what James said about it. He talks a lot about this. Now we cannot prove this, but we believe, it is commonly believed, that the person who wrote this book was so-called, not really of course, but so-called the brother of Jesus. That is he was a son of Joseph and lived in the same house where Jesus grew up. We believe that both James and the letter of Jude were written by men who were in the house where Jesus grew up. That might make these books a little more interesting for you to read. And look at what James says in James 1:22-25. He says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
Oh friend, how is it in your life? Are you a hearer only or are you a doer, too? "Oh," somebody says, and this comes to me often, "Pastor John I can't" We are living in a pessimistic age so people think like that today. Before World War I we were living in an optimistic age and so we had all kinds of people claiming to be perfect and you can read what Ellen White wrote to them. But today we are living in a pessimistic age, especially since World War II. People say, "Oh I can't." Ever heard that? "I can't. I want to, but I can't." Remember, there will be many people lost, good people, while hoping and desiring to be saved.
I met a man one time, his wife was a faithful Christian, and he told me, "I would do it, too, if I could overcome smoking, but I can't." Let me tell you something. his going to be hard medicine, but it is the truth. If you believe that you cannot, then you cannot. Just remember that. By the way, when I was a young preacher I used to show people all the different steps that you took to become a Christian. You needed to learn about repentance and confession and consecrating your life to the Lord and manifesting faith and being accepted in obedience and I went overall these things. But when I studied the gospel of John he did not go over all these things. He made the gospel so simple he just reduced it to one word, "believe." Now you look through the gospel of John and find out how many times he tells you, That you only had to do one thing to have salvation and that is believe. What does that mean? Jesus said one time if you can believe, everything is possible. Can you believe that God can live out His life within you and that you can keep the law and do His will through His power? Can you believe? If you can, you can be saved. If you cannot, you are lost.
Why, why? It seems so awful and so unnecessary. Why will so many good people be lost while hoping and desiring to be saved? Oh, some of them are deceived by this thing that we went over that you do not have to keep the law. But then there are people who believe it and they decide they are going to live it, but they make a mistake. Now we do not have the time to investigate this one carefully. It would take far too long. But do you remember when the devil was tempting Jesus one time, the first temptation recorded in Matthew 4? He came to Jesus and said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." Do you remember that? It says, "But He answered and said, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by [what?] every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." I have been studying the last few days, and concluded that even if you believe and you decide to do it, if there is a plain instruction in God's word that you ignore, that you are in a dangerous situation. Jesus said a man shall live by every word. Now, by the way, God is so concerned that you understand exactly what He expects of you that in this book anything that is really important will be repeated over and over again. You will know what God is teaching on any subject by the time you get halfway through the New Testament I can guarantee it So it is not something that is obscure. But if you make a mistake by not following clear instruction in the Bible, you are going to get yourself in a dangerous position. And there are a lot of things that we could look at on that, but I want to look at just two.
The reason I am going to look at these two is I want you to see that if you do not follow clear, biblical instruction from the word of God, even if you believe the seventh day is the Sabbath, you believe the law, you have decided to follow the Lord, you are still going to get yourself in a dangerous situation. lam not saying that you are going to be lost I do not know. But you are getting yourself in a dangerous situation. Have you discovered yet, as I have discovered, that any time that God says anything, it is dangerous not to pay attention. Have you ever noticed that? Have you had any experiences in your life where God said something and you did something different, but you found out later that you really should have done it the way the Lord said to do it? Have you ever had that experience happen in your life?
Well, I want to mention just two areas. The Lord has placed certain privileges in our reach, that we may not have a short time from now. But when God has placed certain privileges within my reach, [You have to take advantage of the opportunities.] Whether it is physical or spiritual, you have to have food to survive, but God is not going to feed you. Now He provides the food, but He is not going to feed you. You are either going to have to grow it or go to the store and buy it and then you are going to have to prepare it and eat it. And did you know that it is the same way with spiritual things? And I want to tell you, friends, I see today multitudes of people, they believe the truth, but when I visit them in their homes it becomes very clear that they are not making spiritual progress in their life because they are not taking advantage of the spiritual opportunities that God has put in front of them.
Let me get very specific. Open your Bible to Hebrews 10:24, 25. It says, "And let us consider one another. . ." We are to consider one another. By the way, this is directly opposite of the world because the world's program is that you consider yourself. But the Bible says you consider somebody else, consider each other. lam responsible and let me tell you one of the reasons lam preaching this sermon is because this responsibility gets very heavy on my heart sometimes. I know that the day is going to come that the Lord is going to ask me, "John, did you do everything that you could for every member of that church so that they are saved? This one over here is not saved. Did you do everything you could do?" I am aware that I am going to have to give an account. We are to consider one another. And if we see a brother or a sister that is in trouble spiritually, we are not to just go off on the other side of the road and let them go down. We are to consider one another. "In order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
Now let me ask you this question. Do you see the Day approaching? Well then, does this text have special application to us? Now please do not misunderstand. lam not trying to coerce you or anybody else to come to this church. If you want to go to any other Historic Adventist church anywhere in the country, that is perfectly fine and there are some around here that are within driving distance. lam not talking about which local church you go to. lam not talking about that. But lam talking about whether you go or not. lam not talking about which one you go to, but I am talking about whether you go or not. Because that is what the Bible is talking about.
"Oh," somebody says, "Pastor John, I'll just worship the Lord at home." Do you want me to read you what the Lord says about that? "The faith of most Christians will waver if they constantly neglect to meet together for conference and in prayer. If it were impossible for them to enjoy such religious privileges, then God would send light direct from heaven by His angels to animate, to cheer, and to bless His scattered people. But He does not propose to work a miracle to sustain the faith of His children. They are required to love the truth enough to make some effort to secure the privileges and blessings vouched safe them of God." You want the reference for that? Let's see if I can find it I can't find it. I will have to give it to you later. I do not remember whether it is from the book Lift Him Up or Our High Calling. I will have to look it up for you.
See if you were in prison in solitary confinement, you could not go to church. I have been in jail ministries where we went and had church for these people in solitary confinement I have been in those places to give them some religious privileges. They cannot come here. By the way, there are some people right today who would like to be here, but they are in prison or in the hospital or somewhere else. They cannot come here. And she says if it were impossible, what would God do? He would send angels direct from heaven to minister to your need. That is what He did for Daniel and his three friends. But the point is, friend, right now today, lam not in prison and lam not in the hospital. That might be at some point in time and then I can ask the Lord, "Lord, I can't meet with your people, please send some angels direct from heaven to minister to my spiritual needs." And the Lord has promised that He will do that. But when Jam not in prison and I am not in the hospital and lam not in a concentration camp and lam not out in some cave somewhere, what does the Bible say I am supposed to do? I am not to forsake the assembling of myself with other Christians. And most Christians, what will happen, she says their faith will waver.
So Ellen White was writing to a person one time and they wanted to know about this very thing,-- the necessity of assembling themselves together with others--and is very interested in the way she answered this question. She says, "It is safe for you to be where Jesus is." By the way, do you think that is true? Do you think it is safe to be where Jesus is? "Oh," somebody says, "Jesus is everywhere." Yes, it is true that the presence of Jesus is everywhere, but there is one place that He has promised that His presence will be personally exercised. Do you know where that is? Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, lam there in the midst of them." And Ellen White quoted that text and she said to this person, "It is safe for you to be where Jesus is."
I could read you many other statements. I could read you many texts from the Bible such as Malachi 3:16, 17. It talks about the people, that God looked down on this world and saw that there were some people who believed in His name, that they were gathering together and they were talking about Him. And God called one of the angels and said, "You write that down in a book" It is called the Book of Remembrance. "You write that down. They are meeting and exhorting one another. You write it down in a book And those people who are meeting together and exhorting one another, lam going to save those people." It is a very interesting promise. It is one of the strongest promises in the whole Bible. The people that assemble together for the purpose of worshipping God and serving and obeying Him, the Lord says, "If you do that, I'm going to save you in the day of wrath." That is how important it is to the Lord. Read Malachi 3:16, 17.
One more point and then we are done. Why will so many good people be lost while hoping and desiring to be saved? When I was a young boy going to, (oh about the seventh grade.) When I was just ready to go into the seventh grade, our family moved from Madison, Tennessee up to Colorado. And when we moved up to Colorado I got acquainted with a lady who was in the church and her boyfriend was not in the church. And I did not keep a diary or a journal in those days so I do not want to quote the exact number of years that this lady, who was a church member, and her boyfriend who were going together that they had been seeing each other, but it was many, many years. They were both middle-aged. It was many, many years. And I remember watching this situation. I had never seen anything like that before. The people that I had known before that time, they would get acquainted and within a year or two or three, they would get married. But these people, they never got married. They just kept going together. You know they would go out to dinner together and they would go to this event or that event together. They never got married) but they just saw each other.
And you know there are some people who want to go to heaven like that and they treat the Lord like that. They do not want to ever get married to Him. They do not want to ever become a part of the body of Christ. They just want to go with the Lord, be with the Lord. They believe the right theology, they know the seventh day is the Sabbath and that you have to be good and you have to follow the Lord and be filled with the Holy Spirit, but they do not want to become part of the body of Christ. I want you to read what the Bible says about this in Acts 2:47. It says, "Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to [what?] the church daily," Who did He add to the church? "those who were being saved."
Do you want to be saved? "Oh," somebody says, "Pastor John, do you believe that you have to belong to the church to be saved?" It is just the same as we were talking about a little bit ago. If you were in prison and could not attend church, the Lord will figure out a way to save you in prison. He will send angels to give you the spiritual nourishment that you need when you are in prison. And if you are off somewhere and you have no opportunity to learn the gospel, there will be people who will hear the name of Christ for the first time when they get there. They received the Holy Spirit into their heart, but in this world they were never a member of the church. They will become a member of the church triumphant There will be people like that. But the fact of the matter is, lam not one of those people. I have heard the gospel. I have a Bible. I do know who Jesus is. Do you? So does that apply to me? No, not really. So for somebody in this situation, who knows what I know and has a Bible like I have, can I be saved and not be part of the church? Well, let's read a few texts.
Look at 1 Corinthians 12. Now in 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul is talking about the church and he calls it the body of Christ. Notice verses 27 and 28, he says, "Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church. . ." So He is talking about the church and He calls it the body of Christ And notice what he says in verses 12 and 13. He says, "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. . ." Now let's think that over a little bit By one Spirit we were baptized. Now baptism by water is a symbol of baptism by the Holy Spirit. We have talked about this many times before. It does no good to have the symbol unless you have the reality that is symbolized. Baptism by water is a symbol of being baptized by the Holy Spirit, but God acknowledges and respects the symbols He has given. And God has told us through the apostle Peter that when you are baptized with water you will be baptized by the Holy Spirit and receive the Holy Spirit in your heart at that time. That is a Bible promise in Acts 2:38. That when you are baptized by water You are baptized by the Holy Spirit God does not just baptize anybody by the Holy Spirit and then they just go on their merry way, if you are baptized by the Holy Spirit, it says in verse 13, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into [what?] one body. . ." And what is that body? The church.
Well now, let me ask you another question. Is it necessary or is it just optional for me to be baptized by the Holy Spirit? How do you know? Jesus told Nicodemus, "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. . ." He does not say he should not or may not, He says he cannot. It is not possible for him to enter into the kingdom of God. And if I am baptized by the Holy Spirit, lam baptized into the body, into the church. "So," somebody says to me, "Pastor John, I believe it. I believe the seventh day is the Sabbath. I believe the theology and the Three Angels' Messages. I believe Jesus is coming soon. I even believe it to the extent I am willing to come to church and worship with God's people." Why will so many good people be lost while hoping and desiring to be saved? They are not willing to go all the way. Oh, they might believe the seventh day is the Sabbath. They know that Galatians does not teach that you can break God's law. They even believe that you need to come to church whenever you can and worship, but they are not willing to go all the way. They are not willing to be baptized by the Holy Spirit and into the body of Christ.
Oh friend, by the way, we had a baptism a few weeks ago and we are preparing for another one right now and we have people right now getting ready for baptism. And if you have not been baptized, friend, you need to be making preparations right now because there is coming a time, we do not know when it will come, I am not saying this to scare you, I am just concerned for your soul. There is coming a time when it will be too late. That man who fell of a pickup truck the other day when it was going 40 miles an hour we are hoping he will get well. That man, by the way, has heard the gospel. He went to a prophecy seminar that was conducted by Marshall a few years ago. lam not saying that he is lost. I do not know the condition of his soul. We are praying for him. But he is not a member of the church at this point. I would like to see him go all the way. We need to pray for that man. And there are people all over here, when Mike Thompson and I go over the names, there are people all over around here. They believe the truth, but they have not gone all the way with the Lord. How is it with you?
I learned awhile back something that was very helpful for me when I was trying to make decisions, especially about spiritual things. It was to try to project my mind into the future and say, "Well, a few hundred years from now when lam in the millennium, if I'm up in heaven or when I'm up in heaven, and I look back to today and the decision that I was making right here, what decision will I be glad that I made?" lam telling you, friend, the decision that I want to have made in the end, I want the Lord to be able to say, "I know that you were all the way for Me. You went all the way."
You do not want to marry somebody who is just half in love with you. And Jesus cannot save someone that is just half His. Why will so many good people be lost while hoping and desiring to be saved? They do not go all the way. Or it is simple, they do not follow the instructions. Jesus loves you enough, friend, that He died on the cross to save you from sin. He has done everything that He could do. He could not have done more. You will not be able to say in the Day of Judgment, "Well, Lord, You could have done more." We have been told that no one in the whole world will be able to say to God, "You could have done more to save me." Nobody will be able to say that! Not one person in this room will be able to say that.
If you are lost, friend, it will not be God's fault. And friend, I am praying it will not be my fault and that is why I preach so straight sometimes because I want you to be saved. And you can be saved if you are willing to follow instructions and do what God says. If you just believe, God has all the power you need whatever your problem is in life-and everyone of us has problems-but whatever your problem or besetting sin, God has all the power that is needed to deliver you so that you can overcome that. He has everything you need. All you need to do is believe. That is all.
Oh friend, when it is all over and the great majority, I believe it is going to be the great majority in Wichita, friend, lam sorry, but I am afraid it is going to be the great majority in Wichita just like almost everywhere else, are going to be lost Friend, I do not want it to happen to you. That is why I have talked to you today about these things. I do not want it to happen to you. I do not want your faith to get lukewarm or cold. I do not want you to be without the seal of God and receive the mark of the beast. I do not want you to get duped with all this slick talk about you can be saved in sin, just keep your sins confessed and it will be all right. It is not true, Mend, because it is not what the Bible says. My brother used to say there will be many people in the last day, the Day of Judgment, who will have all kinds of good excuses why they are lost, but he would say, "I don't want to have any excuse. I just don't want to be there. I just don't want to be lost." No matter how good your excuse is, if you are lost, you are still lost.
Friend, do not allow yourself to get sucked into something because of somebody else's character defect or problem saying, "Well, so-and-so did this or that, my pastor, my elder, my deacon or somebody else, they did that." What good is it going to do if they are lost and you are lost, too? Do not be one of the "good people" who is lost while hoping and desiring to be saved. Jam sorry it is so late, but I have to give you an appeal. I have to give you an opportunity to make a decision and a covenant with the Lord. I have to do it because I know that in times like this that people's souls can be saved or lost I am well aware of that. And friend, if there is somebody here, you do not need to tell me because what I am talking about is not between you and me. But it is between you and God. I want, you to talk this over with the Lord you need to make a decision right now and say, "Lord, I don't understand everything." There may be somebody here and you say, "Well, Pastor John, I can't understand all this business that you are talking about the Sabbath and the law. I can't understand all this theology." You do not need to understand all the theology, but you do need to make a decision with the Lord who is going to be your Lord or whether you believe in Him and are going to follow Him and obey Him. He can teach you everything you need to know. But you do need to make a decision. lf the Lord would come today, I wonder if there is anybody in this room that would be one of the "good people" who is hoping and desiring to be saved, but they are still lost? Would there be anybody like that here now?
Friend, if you have not decided to go all the way, you would be one of them. Now if you have not been baptized yet, but you have chosen to follow the Lord and have given your heart to Him, you could be saved just like the thief on the cross. But let me tell you, if you have not made a decision to go all the way with the Lord, you are one of the "good people". You are one of the good people because you are here. Right? All of Wichita knows you are one of the "good people" because you are here. But there will be many good people who will be lost while hoping and desiring to be saved. I want to pray for you. I believe in prayer and I believe that when we pray God answers prayer. But I want to tell you, friend, while I pray for you, I hope you will cry out to the Lord and if there is somebody here and the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart and telling you that you need to make a decision to follow the Lord all the way, do not turn the Holy Spirit away. Because you do not know when the next time is when the Holy Spirit is going to speak to you. Let me assure you of that. You and I do not get to choose when the Holy Spirit is going to speak to us. The Holy Spirit decides that So if the Holy Spirit is speaking to you now, do not say, "Well, Lord, a later time." I can tell you all kinds of stories about people who made that decision and the later time never came. And there are stories in the Bible about that
But right now, if the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart, and you realize that you have not chosen to go all the way with the Lord, remember this is nota decision between you and me, it is not a decision between you and any other human being, but it is betwee you and the Lord. Do not let the devil tell you that something bad will happen to you if you decide to go all the way with the Lord. It is a lie. God never does anything but good for His people. Let's kneel and pray and I hope that while lam praying for you, if you are one of the "good people" who would be lost if the Lord would come today, I hope that you will cry out and say, "Lord, I'm choosing to give my heart to You."