Sermon delivered August 21, 1999

by Evangelist Harold Turner

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the King James Version

Radiant Religion

My first scripture this morning is 1 John 3: 1,2. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (and daughters) of God: Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. Isn't that a wonderful appeal and call, and may I say, by the strength of the gospel this morning it is a possibility, and so may the Lord just pour out His spirit upon us here today because these meetings that Wendell Stover, I'm so privileged to be with Wendell in meetings now. I am the singing evangelist and, praise the Lord, he is a Forest Detamore, presenting the message. Those of you who are older know what I'm talking about. I'm so thrilled that I can be a part of this lifting up Christ, lifting up Jesus, and helping us to behold Him, and by beholding Him we become changed. And when He comes we'll be like Him.

But now listen. When is Jesus coming? Do you young folks know when Jesus is coming? Do you old folks, do you know when Jesus is coming? Do we know when He's coming? Do we know when we're going to die and meet the judgment? No! We don't know. But, it says, when He appears we shall be like Him. When should we be like Him? Just before He comes? If we don't know when that is, when do we get like Him?

All these things will be answered today from the Word of God. I'm so glad I can bring it to you from John. Oh, I love John. Oh, how I love Jesus, but i love John because he loved Jesus. He was evidently his best friend. John the revelator.

Our scripture today, John is so wonderful, yes, big John we had in the scripture reading today and then you have the little Johns, first, second, third. I like to think of them as first, second, third, and then Revelation as overdrive. It brings it all together, doesn't it. And what a joy it is when John brings that. In our scripture today that was read in John 4:4, In him was life; and the life was the light of men. Wow! What could be greater than that? In Him was life. He is life. And the life is the light of world. And so you have in this scripture so much, so much to behold and so much to rejoice about, because, really...

I believe that this is my theology, I really believe that God, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. You know, when the Bible says God, it means God the Father, God the Spirit, God the Son. We have in the Bible, God created. And it says the Spirit moved upon the face of the waters. But the Father said there on that first day, in the beginning of creation, He says, "Let there be light." And when He said that, Jesus came on the scene. And Jesus took over. He spake and it was done. We know in John 1:1,2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. The fourteenth verse says, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. That's Jesus.

Now, when the Word came in the beginning and made this world, that... If you're going to create something, invent something or do something, you need a little light on the subject, don't you. God said, "Let there be light." And the Light was His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came and then He created. Now, He did something else: you see, the Word was made flesh and He dwelt among us.

Here, Jesus is picture in the Word of God as, not only the Creator, but Jesus is our Savior. He saved this world. He made the world and he saved the world. We're worshipping here on the Sabbath, memorializing both events. In six days He made the world and rested the seventh day. Thus the Sabbath becomes a sign of the Creator. And then, you know, He worked thirty three and a half years saving the world.

Think of this: He worked the works of God. He did the Father's will. He obeyed every one of those commandments perfectly with infinite wisdom and infinite righteousness. And Jesus, after He worked thirty three and a half years, again on Friday evening before sunset, He says, "It is finished!" What was finished? Salvation was completed for you and for me. And then He died and rested all day Sabbath in the tomb. So, the Sabbath is a memorial of Creator and our Redeemer. The Light of the world.

I wonder, which is more difficult, for God, for Christ to have created the world, or for God, for Christ to create a new heart in you and me. And create a new-born being, alive forever for God. Which is the easiest?

Well, it took thirty three and a half years to work out salvation, six days to create the world. But which was the easiest? Everybody that has thought of that question have answered to me, they said, "Well, I believe it is more difficult to save me." And I think it is. He has to have our permission, doesn't He.

We find in John so much. Let's go on through that book of John. Let's go to the third chapter of John. John 3:16. For God so love the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. In Him was life. That life was the light. It says, if we believe upon Him, and as Delmar Andersen so beautifully and powerfully by the Holy Ghost power told us last Sabbath. As many as received Him, to then gives He power to be sons and daughters of God. Not born of the flesh, but born of God.

Okay. Here we have it. He says if you believe it, and we have to go a little bit further and say, "Receive Me." This is not just about the death of Christ, this is getting us ready for translation, for transformation to prepare us for translation. You know, that's real. We're to be ready for Jesus to come by this wonderful gift God has given to us. To believe in Him is not enough, you must receive Him, and it's not enough to just believe in the death of Christ. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.

What I want to present is the life of Christ. The Life of Christ. And that life of Christ when you receive His life, you're receiving His living. It is a real experience. Praise the Lord we can have a little joy in experiencing that daily walk with Christ here on this earth before we die, before He comes, and live with Him now. Because, when He comes we shall be like Him. My friends, we must be like Him today. That's the beautiful part about it. It's wonderful that we can all enjoy that relationship with Christ today and be alive in God through receiving Him.

Go to John 3:36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth in him. I have good news and bad new for you. There are only two kinds of people here this morning. There are the dead ones and the live ones. It's just pure and simple. If you have Christ, you're alive. If you don't, you're dead. You see, it says that in Ephesians 2:1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

But Christ makes the difference. Things are different now. Something has happened to me. There's a song wee love to sing. I hope they still sing it at the youth gatherings. He Lives. Sing it with me. "He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today, He walks with me and talks with me, along life's narrow way. He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives. He lives within my heart."

That's it. You see, if Christ is there, you are alive. For in Him was life, and that life in your life creates in you a light to the world. It's live and light, light and live. You know, that's the answer to our being ready for Christ to come. It's to receive His life.

Thirty three and a half years He lived on this earth a sinless life. In Him there was no sin. We're not only justified by that life, we're also sanctified by that life.

I like to think of a text of Scripture in Hebrews 10:7 where it tell us so beautifully, Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O, God. In Psalm 40:7 it says, Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Ah, He loved the Father. He says, "I've kept my Father's commandments." That was His pride and His joy. To prove the devil was the greatest liar of all the universe and to prove that God is love and that His law is love, His nature is love and has been and evermore shall be, the high and lofty one, who inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15), changes not. With Him there is not variableness nor a shadow of turning (James 1:17). God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). And He says, "I came down to this earth to prove that Your will is to be done. Hebrew 10:9,10. ... Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Isn't that great? Not just justified. You are sanctified or made holy by the offering of the body of Christ once and for all.

Before He died, He said "It is finished (John 19:30)." What was finished? The living of the law of God, the perfect obedience. Matthew 5:48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Jesus preached that. I wish He were here today, preaching and teaching and telling of that gift, what He did for you that you can be sure that you're saved. And it says, you know, "perfect as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." That's pretty perfect, isn't it? And that's what Jesus did when He was on this earth. So it is that sanctified, holy, perfect, life that Christ lived that He gives us.

Notice also Hebrews 10:14. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Isn't that great? So, you see, In Him was that life of perfect obedience, and that life is the light of men. We're not SADventists, we're JOYFULventists going about letting the world know that we are alive. Not by what we say, but what we do, how we live, how we treat our neighbors, how we have a tremendous eleventh commandment, that Jesus gave us in the sermon on the mount, which says (John 13:34), A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

And this church does it. I love this church. I love the people. You're greeted four or five times as you come in. One dear gentleman there is hugging the people as they come in. And I love this, because that's proof that in the world, in this world we can keep the commandments of God as Christ puts them down, love to our Father and love to our fellow men. Matthew 22:40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Jesus kept the letter of it. He kept the spirit of it. He gives to you that wonderful gift. You see, the New Covenant is the Old Covenant, everlasting covenant, the New covenant is that he write that law of God in your heart, in your mind. But the law of God is different than it was given at Sinai. Listen. The law of God is different now than it was given at Sinai. Do you know the difference? Since Sinai, Jesus has obeyed it. Have you got it? Since it was given at Sinai, Jesus has ratified the covenant (law) hasn't He? And that life of obeying the Commandments of God. There it is.

And so, when He writes it in your mind and your heart, what does He write in your mind and your heart? The way you keep it or the way He kept it? The way He kept it. He writes it in your heart and in your mind, obeyed! And you are covered with His life, His living, His righteousness. That's what this message is all about. This is why there is this church. Because we're presenting to the world that the law has not been done away with, it has been established because Jesus has come and that law has been obeyed. And we receive that obeyed, sanctified law in our lives.

That's love. Without that we don't have John 5: 24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. That's it! You see, ...the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). Eternal life. So you pass from death to life.

I love it all, but I go to John 6:40 for something that is so beautiful to me and to all of us. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. You know, the older I get, the more that looks good to me. Yes! But if I should die... You know, I won't die. What? You say, 'You're not going to die?" No. I may sleep a little while. I'm not going to admit to death. I'm alive. I'm alive forever. I may sleep, but whenever wakes me at the next breath after I've breathed my last one here, the next one will be in the presence of my Creator, my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Because I get that life now. I'm alive now. And I'm alive forever.

Listen. "I will raise him up. The Bible says, John 6:47. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. The elder says it's not something you're going to work to obtain. You have it. You have it. In verse 48 it says, I am that bread of life. Oh, I love that. What is so important about that bread of life? Verse 50. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. That's Bible, isn't in. If you eat that bread, you're alive now and forever. Okay? "This is the bread that cometh down from heaven that a man may eat thereof and not die." Verse 51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Amen! You see, that's it! That bread is His holy flesh. And that holy flesh, without it we'll not see God.

You say, "Oh, some day, some day." You've got to offer that Cummins Diesel to all the women too. I celebrated my golden wedding anniversary, and I hadn't bought a new pickup for seventeen year. So, I thought I'd do something great. I went out, (my wife encouraged me) and I got a Cummings Diesel. Tough. I talked to all the men, but a woman told me, "you offer that to all the women, too, please." And it has dual wheels. And it pulls that RV (recreational vehicle). You know, the evangelist has got a Ford. I pity him. But anyway, we're going along, you know, and I thought that I'd like to give one of those to every man here this morning. But you know, today I can't do that, of course. But God can do something. He gave us His Son. And His Son has given you men eternal life that we might not only be good, great, Christ-like men and women here, but be ready to meet Him when He comes.

So it says here, "He is that living bread." That is His flesh, His holy flesh, and that we have. I must hurry on to the little Johns.

1 John 1:1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life; Boy, I wish I could have been John and handled Him and seen Him and felt Him and loved Him and hugged Him. He did! He says, "It's the Word of Life, verse 2,3, (For the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;). That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you that your joy may be full. I love that. Don't go around here acting like you're dead. Maybe you are. We're alive, and we are indeed full of that eternal life. It says here (verse 5), This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is not darkness at all. Wow!

When I read that this morning I thought I've got to read this. This then, is the message: (verse 6) If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: You know, a lot of Seventh-day Adventists, and I've been one of them for all my life, break the commandment that says, "thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." We're breaking that commandment right and left. Bearing false witness. Going around like a mule eating briars in a briar patch. With a frown on your face and sour about this and sorry about that and criticizing this and that and the other. And looking upon the briars whenever. What's the difference?

Oh, I tell you the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. That's the fruits of life. And I'm so proud to be in a church that exonerates that. Can't you just feel it here, even visitors. Don't you just feel and see the love and the fellowship. As people come to our church here, it's not the doctrines and all that that saves people. It's the love of the truth and the love of one another; oh let it grow. Let this be a revival of a reformation that will transform our men and women to be ready fro translation and to be ready to meet Jesus when He comes because we don't know when He's coming. Let's be ready.

The Bible says in Leviticus 11:44, For I am the Lord your God; ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy. We are holy when we receive His holiness, His life. Saved by His life, that's our message. That's our loud cry. It's a loud cry. Then the early rain, the great thing that happened in the acts of the apostles, in Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. Oh! That must have been powerful.

They were eyewitnesses, John said, "I've seen Him. I've felt Him. I know His love. We love Him and we saw Him die and we saw Him resurrected: we saw all of that!" That was wonderful, but you know, they went about giving it and giving it to us in the bible, but here's the most wonderful thing in all the world. In the last days we are to be brighter than they. We're to shine greater than they. There's to be more power than they had. There's to be more life than they had. How do I know? We must close by going to Revelation.

Revelation 18:1. And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. You know, the work is not going to be shoved of in some dark corner somewhere and die away. This message that you are loving and receiving here today, which is the message of the life of Christ, my friends, it's going to go to the earth in a blaze of glory such as the earth has never seen nor heard of before. To be a part of that we must be alive today, and be ready and meet Him and have Him. This is the hour. It's striking for you and me. The last events will be rapid ones.

I think of that terrible devastating earthquake in Turkey. It just breaks our hearts to see those men and those women and boys and girls killed and injured. It's devastating. Everything trashed and gone. It's hard to believe, but more and more will be happening. More and more the signs are fulfilling , the end is here. Jesus is coming very soon. In these last days, we are to give this message of preparation. It is the message of truth, righteousness, Christ in His fullness. You know, the life that I've been talking about gives us eternal life. Life everlasting and all that. But I'll tell you what you need in your living today is the life of Christ in your living. His presence with you, His joy, His life, you need and I need here today.

1 John 5:11,12. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hat life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. Praise God!

Opening Hymn: #21, Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
Scripture: John 1:4

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