Sermon delivered October 9, 1999

by Pastor Kent Crutcher

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

The Real Thing

I'm sure that many of you remember a few years back when there was war during TV commercials between soft drink companies. I don't know why they call it a soft drink because it does a hard job on the body. Which soft drink is the best. It was called the "Cola War" because each advertisement tried to out do the other company with catchy slogans and taste tests. The "Cola Wars" were fierce. Back and forth, back and forth. Slogan and taste tests. Finally, one company came up with a slogan that you probably remember: "It's the Real Thing." That was a mean slogan. It wasn't bad for the commercial company, because you still remember the slogan. It's the real thing. This implied that the other company was producing an inferior, copy-cat, counterfeit product. Do you want to drink that, or the real thing?

During the series of meetings that Wendell Stover just held for us, he showed us many different counterfeits that Satan has produced and is producing here in these last days.

With all the counterfeits that surround us, how can we possibly know the Real Thing? Actually, I just gave you the answer. In order to know the Real Thing, you must know the Real Thing! Did you catch that? In order to know the real thing, you must know the real thing. I've known people who spent more time studying Satan's counterfeits than they spent getting to know the Real Thing, Jesus Christ. Oh, but it's important that we know what the enemy is doing, but he's going to fool people who spend more time studying that, than they spend studying about the Real Thing. Jesus Christ. Because that's the best way to know a counterfeit is to know what is real to begin with.

When banks or stores teach their employees how to distinguish between counterfeit money and real money, they don't usually show them what counterfeit money looks like because there are all kinds of counterfeits and new ones are produced each day. They show them the real money and say, "Study this! Any thing that is different than this is the counterfeit." After being sure about what real money looks like, any thing that is different is counterfeit. They study the real thing so they will know the counterfeit. It would be impossible to study every counterfeit because new ones are created every day.

I remember the first time I saw one of the new hundred dollar bills that came out. I thought it was a joke. Somebody had placed it in the offering plate and I saw it go by and I thought, "What was that?" First of, it was that a hundred dollar bill that was going by in the offering plate. And second, it looked funny. Maybe somebody put it in for a joke for the treasurer. I asked the treasurer about it and he told me, "That's the new real one hundred dollar bill. It's genuine." "What?" "Yes, it has changed." Our Real Thing never changes. We don't have to worry about Jesus changing tomorrow from what He was yesterday. We can always be sure what the Real Thing is. We don't have to worry about it. We ca be sure there will be no changes. Get to know the real thing and you will know what the counterfeit is. You don't have to concentrate on the counterfeit.

I've known people that: "Oh, I'm going to study the New Age Movement so I'll know how to avoid it." They studied it and studied it and got pulled right in because they forgot what the Real Thing was.

In order to know the Real Thing, we must KNOW the Real Thing! Everything else does not measure up to the real Lamb of God. When the Bible describes one of Satan's counterfeits, it also shows the Real Thing. It shows how to escape deception and how to triumph in the end. In each verse of hope, the people of God have something in common to help them to avoid the counterfeit. And that is an enduring, patient, love relationship with the Real Thing, with Jesus Christ. They have constant communion with the Lamb of God!

You may be thinking that He is way up there, ruling the Universe , and I am down here, a speck on a tiny planet covered with millions upon millions of people. How can I have communion with Him? How can I find Him? Does He know about me? Does He care?

Revelation 3:20 has the answer. Turn there now. This text id describing the Laodicean church, God's last-day church, and how God relates with the people of this last-day church. Revelation 3:20. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. What does that tell you? We don't have to go searching for Him. He searches for us. He found us. He knows our address! He is standing at the door. He has made the trip from the throne of the universe to your very heart's door! He stands there patiently knocking. He doesn't force His way in, but gently knocks on the outside. "If you're here, please open up so I can commune with you, so that I can eat with you." Will you get up off the couch and turn the TV off and open the door? Will you let Jesus into your heart?

When I was dating a very pretty little girl of Southern College student. She lived in the dormitory, it was during vacation and I wanted to make a trip to visit her home. She lived over eight hours away in a state that I had never even visited before. I don't think I had ever crossed the Mason-Dixon Line before. I went to a faraway land called, "Indiana." I was so excited about this trip, and for some reason our eight-hour trip didn't take eight hours. I don't know if my watch was wrong or my foot was a little heavy, but I was excited to get there because I wanted to see that pretty little girl. Well, I arrived about an hour before they were planning on. They knew my estimated time of arrival. Now, what do I do. I don't want to show up early. So I drove around the block a few thousand times waiting for the right time to arrive. Finally, I could stand it no longer and pulled into the driveway a few minutes early. I pulled up into the driveway and I stepped out of the car and my heart was pounding. I was going to get to see her. I walked up to the door and I could hear the vacuum cleaner going inside. They were getting ready for me! I knocked on the door. And quickly, the door opened and there she stood with a smile on her face. She invited me in and I married her! Well, not right then, around four-and-a-half-years later. She welcomed me in! Then she couldn't get rid of me. What if I had knocked and there had been no answer? How would I have felt, after all that travel, being rejected? What if a voice had come through the door informing me that I was early and they were not ready for me yet? "Come back later." I would have been crushed.

Don't hesitate to open your hearts door when you hear Jesus knocking. Even if your heart has not been vacuumed today, even if there's something in your heart that shouldn't be there. He can clean it much more efficiently than you ever could. In fact, your heart will never be clean without Him inside. With Jesus living in our hearts, married to us, we will know the Real Thing and the counterfeits will not be a threat.

Jesus is not too proud or busy to knock on your heart's door. Are we too proud or busy to let Him in?

Jesus was not too proud to wash the feet of His dirty disciples and commune with them. Are we too proud to humble ourselves and commune with Him and each other?

The washing of one another's feet is not to demonstrate our humility as much as it is to demonstrate God's humility. Jesus said; "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." The Father Himself would stoop to wash the feet of one of His children, if we would let Him.

Back to Revelation 3:20. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. He wasn't talking about the perfect people, He says, "If anyone hears my voice, opens the door I will come in and eat with him and he with me." Verse 21. To him that overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

In the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ by washing one another's feet before our Communion Service. If you are a visitor to our church, we welcome you to participate with us if you wish. If not, please feel free to remain seated here in the sanctuary.

The women can go to the Fireside Room, the men can go to the Primary II Room, and married couples can either go upstairs or to the Primary I Room, whichever you choose. Let's separate at this time.

[This is a solemn occasion where people make things right with each other and we feel a special closeness as we realize the equality of each to each other.

Deacons and deaconesses have supplied pans, towels and water for us and we pair off. One person takes his/her shoes off. The other prepares to wash the feet. When finished they trade places and repeat. Often when we have finished or are nearly finished we sing some well-known hymn, often, "Blest Be the Tie that Binds." Most couples have a private prayer together before returning to the Sanctuary.

Upon returning to our pew in the sanctuary we meditate until everyone has returned. The ministers and the deacons walk down the aisle to the communion table and take their places.]

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (KJV) For I have received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new testament in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till he comes. Let us all kneel for prayer.

"Our Father, this morning on this special Sabbath Day we kneel in Your presence. We thank You for this communion service which You have given us for it reminds us again if the great sacrifice You made on Calvary, for Your body that was broken on the cross, for your blood that was spilled. We do not realize the great love that You showed for us but we'll be staying in eternity with Your great love towards us. We pray now, that You'll bless the bread and the grape juice. As we partake of it this morning, may it cleanse our hearts. Also dear Jesus, it points forward to Your second coming because we know that You are coming soon. The desire of our heart is that each one of us here may be ready to go home with You when You come, this I pray in Your dear name, Amen"

The Pastor uncovers the bread and he and the First Elder break the bread. The deacons stand ready to carry the tokens to the congregation. Each one is handed a tray that contains both the broken bread and the glasses of grape juice, and then they take them to the people. Then they return to their places.

The pastor speaks, "Jesus took bread gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." And we al eat the bread together. After a little time for meditation, again he speaks, "Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood or the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." And we all drink together.

We sing a hymn and as we leave the sanctuary, there are deacons with offering plates standing at the door for our gifts for the poor.

Opening Hymn: #249, Praise Him! Praise Him!
Scripture: Revelation 3:20-22
Closing Hymn: #407, Sent Forth by God's Blessing

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