(Elder Gettys:)Our speaker this morning is Doug Batchelor, who arrived at the church this morning at 5:15, California time. So he could even be a little sleepy, but we're going to give him the full time. Doug, we welcome you to the pulpit of the McDonald Road Church.
Pastor Doug Batchelor of Amazing Facts:
Thank you, Pastor Don. Good Morning. Happy Sabbath. As the pastor said, my body clock is a little different than yours. When I woke up this morning it was three o'clock in California and so I'm running on fumes right now. I'll make you a deal: I'll try not talk in my sleep if you don't let me talk you your sleep. Please pray for me.
I'm here in the area for the next few weeks as many of you know because Amazing Facts is going to be working with 3ABN in conducting a special series of meetings that is unique. So many times when we come together to broadcast an uplink series, it's more specifically, evangelistic in outreach in nature. Something I've observed as I travel everywhere I go, one consistent theme I here is, "The church really needs something, the church needs revival. People are yearning to have a new birth, to find their first love, to experience that fervor of Christianity" and that really resonated with me, too.
We've been praying about it for years. We planned something. We came to this area partly because of the satellite broadcast technology and the time zone is easier to go on the air from the Eastern Time zone than to wrap around the world the other way. And also because of the strong presence here and we believe that we would have the support of a live audience. We're hoping you folks come to the convention center and pray with us and for us and participate.
The meetings are called, "04 Revival." They begin next Friday evening. At six thirty the doors open, it starts with music. John Momican will be there. Danny Shelton and the Amazing Facts team and we hope that you will come. If you have any friends who maybe once walked with the Lord or have become discouraged, some young people you know that maybe are not attending. We're hoping these meetings will help them to rediscover their experience with the Lord. They don't have to be just Adventists. This is for Christians. We may speak in terms that Adventists recognize from time to time, and that's important, but I would say that any Christian friend you want to invite would benefit from the messages. So, please pray for that program. One reason I came a week early is just because of my own need to spend time in prayer and study in preparation. So I hope you will pray for the presentation. Pray for Pastor Doug. I don't want to be so presumptuous to think that I have any skill to provide, it will be God's Spirit that does it, but there's a promise in the Bible. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 it says, "If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
So that is what we are doing. We are setting a time to come together to pray and to return to the Lord in a special sense. I think this meeting has a very important potential. That is the reason we are here. I heard somebody say that Amazing Facts was coming to the Collegedale area for fund raising. I want to tell you that is repugnant to me. Because there is a lot of work and expense in doing this and that is the last thing on our minds. This is really something we are doing from our hearts. And I hope that you will benefit. It will also be on the HOPE channel as well as 3ABN, and so we hope that you will pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of Prophecy says that before the Lord comes to visit the earth with judgment, there will be a primitive revival of Godliness among God's people. And I have a feeling that it is not because God is looking at his day planner, figuring out when he is going to pour out the Spirit, it is not like God has a clock and he says it is not quite time, God is waiting on the Church. He is ready. He has promised to send the Spirit; I think we need to pray for it. And that is our purpose. To come together as a church to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to do the work he has given us to do.
Now, that's not y sermon this morning. I just wanted to ask you to pray about these meetings. I encourage you to do that.
Turn in you Bibles to the book of Joshua. Joshua 9 is a story about when the children of Israel were taking possession of the Promised Land. Something very interesting transpired. This story has tugged at my heart as an excellent demonstration of the Gospel. Joshua 9 starting with verse one. This is the story of the Gibionites, and it tells us, And it came to pass when all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan, in the hills and the lowlands and all the coasts of the Great Sea toward Lebanon-- the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite heard of it, That means they heard about the walls of Jericho falling. They heard about how Ai was overcome. The children of Israel had finally gained a beach head in the Promised Land. They were really nervous.
Now one reason they were nervous was that they new what there intentions were. Their intentions were, basically, to annihilate the resident kingdoms. Let me read this to you. Deuteronomy 7:1,2. (Moses is speaking) "When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgasites, and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nation greater and mightier than you, ans when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them." Now they were allowed to make covenants with surrounding nations, but those nations that were entrenched in the Promised Land were going to be a permanent threat to God's purpose because of their paganism and their practices and the diabolical worship. He said, "either they leave or they are exterminated. This land, you are not going to share it, you cannot serve two masters, it is yours." And those nations knew what Moses had said to them. They knew that they had been marked for destruction. They say what happened to Jericho. You remember why Achan was cursed. God said, "don't spare anybody, don't spare anything," and that was their marching orders for those seven nations. So you can understand what the thinking was of these nations. Joshua 9:3, But when the inhabitants of Gibeon (these were Hivites) heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy.
And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us."
But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, "Perhaps you dwell among us; so how can we make a covenant with you?" They had been told not to make a covenant with those wicked nations.
And they said to Joshua, "We are your servants." And Joshua said to them, "Who are you, and where do you come from?" No doubt they were being a little evasive.
So they said to him: "From a very far country your servants have come because of the name of the Lord your God. For we have heard of His fame (That's what Rahab had said.), and all that He did in Egypt." <.b> "and all he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond Jordan to Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtoroth.
"Therefor our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying , 'Take provisions with you for the journey , and go to meet them, and say, "We are your servants; now therefore, make a covenant with us."' In other words, "We'll pay you taxes. We'll serve you. Make a covenant that you'll spare us."
"This bread of ours we took hot for our provision the day that we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and moldy. And these wineskins which we filled were new, and see, they are torn; and these new garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey."
Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions (they examined some of their provisions); but did not ask counsel of the Lord
So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them.
Now I am going to pause right there. I want to talk about these ambassadors, and what was represented by this story. First of all, you can look at this story just for its historical value. The children of Israel made a covenant with their enemies and they did not take counsel of the Lord, and they got in trouble because of that. Sometimes we engage in relationships, and we are going, based on our senses, instead of inquiring of the Lord. And I can't tell you how many times I've heard stories about the young man that finds a young women, and based on his senses, and what he sees, like Samson, he says to his parents, "Get her for me, she pleases me well," and he did not inquire of the lord. And those relationships and those covenants sometimes turn into catastrophes. We run ahead of the lord, we don't seek his counsel, especially in these important decisions. Or we get into a business arrangement and we forget to inquire of the Lord. We simply look at the bottom line and from a carnal perspective; we say, "It looks like a good business plan to me." But we are become unequally yoked with unbelievers, and we are not inquiring of the Lord. We are consulting our senses instead of consulting the Lord, and we get into trouble.
Well, is of course a very obvious, surface message in this story. But I want you to look more specifically at the symbols that are in this story. First of all, Joshua enters the Promised Land to execute judgment on the enemies. Now you may already know, but I like to repeat it: the name "Joshua" is identical to the name of Jesus. Yeshua is simply the Hebrew way of saying Jesus, Jesus is the Greek was of saying Yeshua. Jesus is the English pronunciation of the word. It is the same name. Joshua enters the Promised Land and he executes judgment on the enemy because he is going to take possession. You know the Bible tells us that our Joshua is coming to this world to execute judgment because this is His world, and the meek will inherit the earth. And so, in order for us to be spared, we must make a covenant, or we are doomed. Are you listening? This story is a story for you and me, because what happened in this story will soon be repeated. Jesus is coming. And unless we make a covenant, we are marked.
Now what was it that enabled them to make the covenant? I want you to notice. It says they came as ambassadors. You know, the Bible tells us that you and I, if your are a Christian, you are really an ambassador of another kingdom. What is an ambassador? An ambassador is an authorized representative of aother kingdom that is representing their kingdom in a foreign realm, and they are supposed to live under the laws of the place were they are, without violating the laws of their kingdom. That is what every Christian is. Paul says "I am an ambassador for Christ, in chains." And that is sort of a fitting description of the Christian. You and I are here as representatives of another kingdom. We are living in the world, but we are not citizens of this world; we are citizens of another kingdom while we're here.
I remember when I grew up in New York City; I lived two different places in Manhattan. Most of the time I lived on 81st St, Central Park West. But when we first moved there I was six years old, we lived on 51st St. East Side, just few blocks away from the United Nations. My mother let my brother and me pretty much come and go up and down the streets. Back then it was a lot safer, and many, many times we would go down the street toward the United Nations and play. They had a park there. I remember seeing. . . It was always intriguing to me to look at the officials and dignitaries that would come and go from the building wearing what I thought was their bizarre clothing. You know the people from India, the ladies were wearing their saris, and there were people wearing their turbans, men wearing dresses, all kinds of strange gear. They were not ashamed of what they were wearing because they were representatives of their "kingdom" and it was perfectly understood in that context.
You and I are ambassadors of another kingdom. And we don't want to disgrace our King. We are to reflect Jesus. Those ambassadors knew how to speak the native tongue. They understood the currency of their kingdom. They understood the food of their kingdom, and the clothes of their kingdom. And too often we get so comfortable in this foreign land that we begin to eat, and to drink, and to talk, and begin to spend like the citizens of the enemy realm, when we are not to forget that we are really ambassadors to represent our kingdom for Christ.
So here they come as ambassadors. And they take old sacks on their donkeys. Now I have this feeling, they really don't live very far away, but they are trying to convey that they really do live far away. Now some of you are going to say right off, "How can these Gibionites be types of salvation, because they are using deception?" Well, so did Rahab. And she was commended as faithful. In times of war it was not uncommon to use deception.
I am not saying that God condones deception. Matter of fact, people struggle with the parable were Jesus commends the shrewd steward. . . You know which one I am talking about? The parable where Jesus says there was a certain steward, he was going to be fired, he knew what was coming and so he went to all the people who owed his master money and he said take your bill quickly, where is says 100, write down 80. Where it says 80, write down 50. He made friends by doing under the table arrangements with his masters debtors, so once he was fired, they would take him in. And Jesus commended him for his shrewdness. He wasn't commending him for his dishonesty. Here is what he commended. He saw judgment was coming and he thought ahead to save himself. He said, "That unjust steward is wiser than the children of this generation because he was thinking ahead!" He saw judgment was coming, and here the Gibionites say, Look what happened to Jericho, look what happened to Ai. We are doomed unless we make some plans.
Well, you and I are in the same boat, friends. This world is cursed, marked for destruction. Joshua is coming and we need to think ahead if we are going to survive. So, how did they do that? They are working towards a covenant that will save them. That is our goal, isn't it? A saving covenant with Joshua?
And so they plead their old bags. They've got these old, torn, holey bags. What does that
represent? Haggai 1:6,
Have any of you felt like that before? You are working hard and you are putting your money in your pockets and when you get home it is not there, and when you turn your pockets inside out, lo and behold you've got holey pockets. It is sort of like living under a curse. Remember, the Lord said that when we are not faithful in returning our tithes and offerings, he said you are cursed with a curse. When we run home to embellish our own houses, and we leave the house of God destitute, he said you are putting your money in bags with holes. When we forget about God, we are under a curse. Holey bags. Old wine skins.
What does the wine represent? Jesus, at the last supper, gave grape juice to the disciples. New wine. He said, "I will not drink it until I drink it again new in my father's kingdom." That old wine is the wine of Babylon. Remember, the kings of the earth get drunk on that wine. It's fermented. The wine they gave Jesus when he died on the cross was bitter wine. He tasted it and turned away.
You know, I always think it is intriguing to remember the first miracle of Jesus. What was it? He turned water into wine at a wedding. Now was that fermented or new wine? It was new wine! Jesus is not going to make 120 gallons of booze for a party. It was new wine. That is why they said, "Where did you get this? I mean, you could get old wine all year long. You could only get new wine during the harvest. They were surprised. The first miracle of Jesus was: He gives pure new wine at a wedding to his people, his church. The last thing that Jesus does before he says "it is finished," the very last act of his life, was he tasted sour wine, fermented wine turned to vinegar that is given to Him on the cross.
You know what that symbolizes? A blood transfusion. That wine was a symbol of the blood of the covenant. Christ gave us His pure blood to cover our sins. He takes our sinful blood, he gave a blood transfusion to the human race. That old wine. . . Jesus said, "No man takes new wine and puts it in old wineskins." Christ compared His gospel to new wine.
You know, I am belaboring this a little bit because among the things the church needs a revival in, there are still a growing number of even Seventh-day Adventist Christians out there that think that a little alcoholic wine in moderation is okay. That's blasphemous. It is a drug. Of all of the drugs that afflict our society: cocaine and crack and all of that, none of them causes more devastation than alcohol. How can Christians ever support it is beyond me.
It says, these wine skins. . . we took new wine and now it is old, fermented, and the skins are cracked. And they've been patched, trying to hold it in. And our sandals are old and patched." Remember when the children of Israel went through the wilderness, one of the miracles was God said, "The shoes on your feet have not worn out." Wouldn't you like to buy some shoes that lasted forty years? I used to work for La Vida Mission years ago in New Mexico with the Navajo Indians. And at one point a buddy, Dave Boatwright, and I drove all the way to California to a church that donated, somebody worked for a shoe store, and they had all these shoes that had gone out of style, this is back in the 80's. And they donated a truck load, and we took them to the mission. Well, I found a couple of pair that fit me and these were like disco boots, but they were well made leather. And you know I started wearing them to church Sabbaths, because they were the nicest thing I had that I could wear Sabbath. I wore them last week this is over 20 years ago. The things won't wear out. You know the things are starting to come back in style. I might be part of the reason for that. The Lord blessed them. They were mission shoes. But the Gibionites' sandals they said, "were new when they left. But now they were tattered and patched."
John the Baptist said, he who is coming after me is mightier than I am, whose sandal I am not worthy to carry. If the old wine represents the false teachings, patched sandals represent a faulty walk. We went out hiking in Hawaii a few weeks ago, and Nathan was hiking over the volcanic rock and he busted his sandals. And you know what? He limped all the way home because he had one good sandal and one bad sandal. Finally Karen felt sorry for him, she gave him her sandals and she limped all the way home. If your sandals are bad, your walk is bad. And your walk with the Lord represents your life. We should walk even as he walked. It is hard to do when you sandals are torn. And their garments were worn out. When the prodigal son came home, the father took the best robe, having those torn clothes represents the filthy rags that we have when we come to Joshua (Jesus). Old garments. All we are like an unclean thing ." Isaiah 64:6 "all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.
Remember when Joshua, the high priest, stood before the angel of the Lord, it says he was clothed with filthy garments and God gave him clean. When Bartimaeus came to Jesus he threw aside his rags when he came to Jesus.
Joshua 9:12, "And the bread that we took hot from our ovens is now dry and moldy." You know, the Bible talks about a day when there's going to be a famine for the word of God. And dry and moldy bread is almost worse than no bread. It's bad bread. You can get sick from eating moldy bread. And there are a lot of churches out there that have got bread but it's dry and moldy. I remember a quote where Ellen White says that so many of the sermons are as "dry as the hills of Gilboa."
Why do you spend your money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me and eat what is good and let your soul will delight itself in abundance. - Isaiah 55:2. So they come with their moldy bread. That represents the teachings. Could I share something with you? And I may touch on this a little bit during our revival. I came out of (before I was a Seventh-Day Adventist) what you would call a charismatic church. When I first became a Christian I went to church on Sunday. Lovely people. It was a non-denominational fellowship called, Faith Center. Matter of fact, after all these years, this year the pastor of that church I contacted him, it was interesting he is watching our programs. He said, "You were one of those hippies that used to come to our church." I said, "Yeah, yes." But you know, I keep my finger somewhat on the pulse of what is being proclaimed in other churches. And, you can surf through the radio and T.V. Sunday mornings and listen to some of the messages. And you know, there are a few good preachers out there, even in these other churches, and I am blessed by what they say. Sometimes you need to eat the melon and spit out the seeds because you know there are some things they don't have right, but you know God speaks to them. But by far there is a famine in the land, and there's a lot of bread out there that just has absolutely no nutritive value. They are eating that which is not bread. There is a generic form of Christianity out there that is this sort of "sloppy Agape," empty non-nutritive substance. Foam, like clouds with no rain. Makes lots of noise and thunder with no rain. And a lot of people are starving because they are eating moldy bread.
And they said that they came from a far country. The Bible says that sin has separated us from our God. You remember when the prodigal son came home. Where did he go when he left his father? "And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living." - Luke 15:13. That far country represents the distance that Jesus came to save us. We are in a far country. And then they come to Joshua and they say, "Make a covenant with us". That covenant often involves two things. A sacrifice and a meal. They would sacrifice a lamb, and then eat together. You will find that in almost all covenants. And Jesus, when he made the Lord's supper, they ate the Passover, they ate together and they had a sacrifice together. That's what the Passover lamb was. And He enters into this covenant to spare them. This was a wonderful thing.
Now go back to the story--Joshua chapter 9.
Joshua 9:16. And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. The children of Israel said, "Oh we weren't supposed to make covenants with out neighbors. We're supposed to drive them oyut and annihilate them "Oh, we weren't supposed to make any covenant with our neighbors, we were supposed to drag them out and annihilate them!" And they came to this city on the third day and they realized it was the city of Gibeon. And the children of Israel did not attack them because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. They had made a covenant they could not break. Then all the rulers said to all the congregation, " We have sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel; now therefore, we may not touch them!" What spared the Children of Israel when the angel of judgment came through the land of Egypt? There had been a covenant made, there was blood on the door, and he said, "I can't touch them," and he kept on going.
Friends, that's our only hope! We need to have this covenant. This covenant that is made by sacrifice. They said, "What can we do, we can't touch them?" Joshua 9:20, "This we will do, we will let hem live, lest the wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them."
And the rulers said to them, "Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation, as the rulers had promised them."
Then Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, "Why have you deceived us, saying, 'We are very far from you when you dwell near to us.' when you dwell near us?
"Now therefore, you are cursed, and none of you shall be freed from being slaves woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God."
Joshua 9:27. And that day Joshua made them wood cutters and water carriers for the congregation for the alter of the Lord, in the place which he would choose, even to this day.
Now let me give you the rest of the story.
They became a sub-people to the children of Israel for the remainder of their history, even after they were carried to Babylon and came back, they came back with them. They began to live among the priests and were called Nethenum. And the Gibeonites became a nation of servants in the house of God. And their job was to keep the fire burning on the alter, and to keep the water clean in the laver. They were to be gate keepers in the house of God. And you can look when Ezra comes back, it even mentions all the different tribes and Nethenum, the descendants of Gibeon. Matter of fact, years later, King Saul, who made all kinds of mistakes, he thought, maybe Joshua made a covenant with them but I'm not responsible for that, and he began to attack the Gibeonites, and God put a curse on Israel for breaking that covenant that had been made hundreds of years earlier. God means what he says, and He is going to keep His promises. And they became a nation of people who kept the fire burning and the water flowing.
Now think about this. The Bible says, except you are born of the water and the spirit. We need to be baptized in the fire and in the water. You cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
You know, you and I are those Gibeonites. Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says, "let us, like those Gibionites, make a covenant with our Joshua." What was it that enabled them to make that covenant? They pled their desperate condition. I remember reading in history, one of the unsung heroes. One of the most amazing stories, is about this man named, Cabeza de Vaca; Cow's head, that's what his name means. He left with an expedition of 600 people from Spain in about 1571, to create and establish a settlement in Florida. They all began to starve. They couldn't find a place. They were attacked by the Indians. And eventually their ships that left never came back for them. They had to make some rafts. The got whittled down to 300 from 600. Then they got down to about 40. Then one of the rafts crashed and they began to starve to death. Four of them were surviving. Two of them were washed off the raft and ended up on this island off Lousiana. One of the survivors was Cabeza de Vaca. Brilliant man, educated man. He had been the treasurer for the expedition. He lived on this island with a friend for six years. Starving, naked, they had lost everything. And one day the Indians came ashore, and they saw these two European men that were emaciated, starved, diseased. And it says the Indians, who were poor Indians in fact, when they saw them, they came to them and when they sat down and just wept just looking at them. They ended up saving them, but they made them their slaves. Eventually Cabeza de Vaca escaped, had all these harrowing adventures, and made it back to Mexico and it was his story that sent De Soto and Coronado back up looking for gold into the Americas. The guy had an incredible life. Isn't it amazing, making it back to South America? It's just quite a story. But I'll never forget. They saw their condition and the Indians sat down and wept at the Europeans and they had mercy on them and fed them. How different things were going to be later.
What do we plead when we come to Jesus? That we are poor and retched and miserable and blind and naked? We come to Jesus and we say, "We are from a far country, our bread is moldy, our wine is bitter, our skins are torn, our clothes are rags, our sandals are broken? We come and we plead our desperate condition. I bet when they left Gibeon, not only did they take moldy bread; I think they took the skinniest donkeys they had. And a donkey represents strength, they said, "We are weak. We cannot bear our burdens anymore. Make a covenant with us to save us." And based on their pleading, on their desperate condition, Joshua made a covenant with them. You know what the best prayer is, that you and I can pray? Our desperation. We come to the Lord and we don't plead our goodness, we plead our badness. We say without your help, we are hopeless. Please have mercy on us and make a covenant with us. And the good news is that when he makes that covenant with us, he won't break it. I even think that three days in here are a promise. Friends, have you made that covenant? Joshua is coming, this world is doomed. The only way we are going to spared is by pleading that we are poor, and retched, and miserable, and blind and naked. And recognizing our condition and asking for his mercy. I hope that is your prayer.
Hymn of Praise: #73, Holy, Holy, Holy Scripture: Luke 15:17-19 Hymn of Response: #291, We Have Not Known Thee
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last updated November 2, 2004 by Bob Beckett.