Solving the Messiah Mystery

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to night number two in this incredible series we began last evening together, "the most amazing prophecies." And I tell you what, could we have had a more summer-like day to get us to this moment? Hallelujah, only in Michigan. Next week we have winter but tonight we've got summer. Hallelujah. And I want to give a welcome to all of you who are watching all over the world.

Almost 2,000 sites, 41 nations and we are delighted that you have joined us this evening. All right enough of the business now. We're ready to go. We us John Lomacang? We are doing some great singing here. John, come on out here.

Get us singing again and then we're gonna have Danny Shelton have the prayer and then I'm gonna bring Doug Batchelor out here and let's get into q & a time in just a moment. That's right. We're gonna sing our theme song and I'm inviting our president of 3abn out here, Danny Shelton to join me. So, friends, let's all stand together as we sing our theme song, "give me the Bible." And you can join us from wherever you are together... Amen.

Let's remain standing as our prayer is offered tonight by my good friend, also founder and president of 3abn, Danny Shelton. Heavenly Father, once again, we want to thank you for this opportunity to be here today. We want to thank you for the blessed Sabbath that we've had earlier and the sermon by pastor dwight this morning that drew us back to you and to repentance. And we want to just thank you for Amazing Facts and Doug Batchelor that is here and the 3abn team, all of us that are working together. And we just pray, again, for the anointing of the Holy Spirit tonight that will be continued to be poured out in great measures.

And we pray for all the folks watching around the world that each of us will be drawn closer to Jesus. These things we ask and pray in your name, amen. You may be seated. Let me just say this, we had 500 of our leaders together two or three nights ago, we were doing a rehearsal for this big seminar. And I was introducing my friend doug to that group and I made this statement then and I don't mind making it to all of you here and those of you watching.

I've known a lot of people in my short life, but I have never known anyone, anyone who knows holy Scripture better than Doug Batchelor. He comes with credentials born of his journey with God since God found him in that cave. Let's give a warm welcome once again to our speaker for "the most amazing prophecies," Doug Batchelor. [Applauding] thank you so much. Thank you, pastor dwight.

Welcome back, doug. Good to have you. Good to have you, hallelujah. Amen. Wow, this is exciting.

Yup, we got a great crowd tonight. Oh, I'll take that. Oh, that's a dollar bill... Come on, that was for me. Now, when you drop money in church, where does it go? Did you see that? Okay, that was for church, but I'll give that to Amazing Facts, all right.

You can keep it. All right, doug. Look at, we've got a lot of questions. Some have been e-mailed in, some have been turned in. I've got one in here that-- and, obviously, we cannot ask all the questions.

Every one of the questions deserves an answer. It's just not gonna get an answer from you. So let's just--and we got somebody who transcribed some of these questions and some of this is in handwriting and some of this is in typewriting and then I'll get to number two on the back of an envelope. Here's an opening question, "is smoking a sin?" Well, what is sin? According to the Bible definitions, sin is the transgression of the law. Sin is knowing to do good and not doing it.

All unrighteousness is sin. By those definitions, I would say that generally speaking smoking is self-destructive and you categorize it as a sin. The Bible says, "thou shall not kill," that would include yourself. But having said that, I expect to see people in heaven, some, who smoked. You may not know that the most famous hymn in the world, "amazing grace," written by John newton-- smoked 'til the day he died.

But he lived in the day where doctors recommended smoking for lung problems, believe it or not. And so he probably didn't know. And so, you know, God looks on the heart. He Judges peopled based on what they know. We're living in a society today where it says on every pack, "warning, this stuff is gonna kill you," and we know better.

And so, you know, when I first came to the Lord, I was still smoking and even after I gave my heart to the Lord, it was a struggle for years. So I know God was working with me, but it's something I knew he wanted me to give up and he will help you too. And I don't want to jump to the conclusion every time I see a man smoking on the subway, "oh, that's a hell-bent sinner." I don't want to get caught by consigning people just because they're smoking to an eternal destiny. All right. That's a good answer.

Here's one that was turned in last night on site right here. "Please answer this if you are able." All right. I'm sure you are; okay, "as I have different opinions--" okay, apparently the person means, "I have heard different opinions from several pastors," all right, spiritual leaders, "and I feel the truth is very important so how do i--" I think what the person is saying is, "look, I got all these pastors with these different opinions, which one is right?" Well, Jesus warned us in Matthew 24 in the last days there'd be many false Christs and false prophets. You don't hide--well, I should say it this way, the best way to hide a diamond is to toss it in a pile of broken glass. You don't try to hide a diamond on black velvet.

It's very easy to spot. The devil is very threatened by the truth of Christianity and so he is trying to obscure it by surrounding it with broken glass. And buried in all of that, the worthless material, there is a diamond. And you just need to compare what's being taught with the Bible. Now, I should also say that, you know, when I drive down the road, I listen to different sermons and different preachers and I hear some great things coming from people who are from other persuasions and backgrounds.

I read some commentaries from people from other denominations and it blesses my heart; and I know they knew the Lord. Certain theological points, I disagree with them. And so I just--i expect to see some of these people in the kingdom and I say you eat the melon and you spit out the seeds. But judge everything by the Bible. All right.

Good answer, good. Just a few days ago, we all know that--this an interesting question. This man was captured in Nevada or Arizona, he's a polygamist. He had multiple wives and so somebody turns in this question, "why can't a man have more than one wife?" Well, it is true that you're gonna find some people in the kingdom like Abraham and like David and like Jacob and like Solomon that had multiple wives. Of course, they lived in a day where a lot of men went into battle and there were sometimes seven women for every one man.

A matter of fact, Isaiah 4 begins, "in that day, seven women will take hold of one man," because there were so many men that had been slaughtered that the women couldn't get husbands. And so in order to have security, sometimes they did polygamy. But they didn't know better. God winked at their ignorance. I'm in big trouble if I take an extra wife.

First the wrath of Karen, secondly, the wrath of God. Somebody would be--i remember when someone asked Benjamin franklin one time, "you can't show me one text in the Bible that says a man can't have more than one wife." And quipped right away he said, "certainly. No man can serve two masters." I think we'll leave it right there. In the beginning it was adam and eve. Adam and eve.

There you go. That's good. All right, here's a thoughtful question, "Pastor Doug, why do we not experience miracles today like the old and new testament miracles that the Bible describes?" Well, I think we do experience miracles. There are varying degrees of miracles. Jesus resurrected some people who had been dead for hours and others who had been dead for days.

He walked on water and he also parted seas. There's varying types of miracles. He's performed miracles for me. I just heard from the studio, they said, "doug, we don't know what happened but last night the receiver for your microphone was off through the whole program yet we heard you. We don't know how that happened.

" You notice I'm using a different microphone right now, and they've got the other one fixed. But I just said, "praise the Lord. That was a miracle." Miracles seem to come in waves. I always laugh at the story in the Bible in the book of Judges where gideon is talking to an angel and he said, "whatever happened to the good ol' days when we had all the miracles we heard about when the people came out of Egypt?" Here you've got gideon saying, "there used to be miracles long ago." You know how many great miracles came after gideon? Elijah bringing fire down from heaven and all the miracles of Jesus and I could go on. So they seem to come in waves.

And I believe before the second coming, God is, again, going to pour out his spirit on all flesh and you're gonna see signs and wonders. I believe the same thing, absolutely. Just before Jesus comes, a new wave of Holy Spirit power. Yup, that's good. Okay, "you state on tv--" probably talking about that special that we did with your "final events" dvd promoting that.

"You state on tv that the end is coming to all mankind on earth." This person lists his name. "Does it not state in the Bible also that it is a world without end, amen." Well that phrase "world without end, amen" is drawn from a hymn, I believe. It's not in the Bible. But there's really nothing wrong with it. It's talking about the new earth, the new heaven and the new earth will be a world without end.

And the reason that's in The Song is because this one does have an end. Jesus often talks about the end of the age or the end of the world. And so, yeah, we don't want this one to go on forever, trust me. No, we don't. Okay, here's another one.

His name is listed here. "I'm curious about how you take the timing statements in Scripture--in the Scriptures. What about when Jesus and the apostles said that his coming and the end of all things was soon, near and at hand ,000 years ago?" Well, that is a good question. First of all, those statements are often made in the context of some events that did happen. In Matthew 24, Jesus is talking about the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel ceasing to be a nation and being scattered.

And that did happen within their lifetime in 70 a.d. Matter of fact, Christ said, "this generation will not pass away." A Bible generation is 40 years. He made this statement approximately 30 a.d., 40 Years later, Jerusalem was destroyed. But then again, how long is our life? If you have 3 score in 10: , 80, 90, 100 years; what is that compared to eternity? It's soon. It's very short.

And when a person dies, their next conscious thought is the resurrection--or resurrection of the righteous of the wicked, but it's gonna seem very soon. So in the scope of eternity and in the scope of your life, we all have very little time. And I would venture to say that when Jesus does come, most people will think it's too soon. All right. I think we have time for one more.

By the way, there was a question in here, and I'm gonna skip over it, "we are told that if we accept Jesus as our lord and Savior, we'll not go to hell." You're gonna do a teaching on this incredible prophecy about the millennium and so we'll hold that question until then. All right. Here it is. Oh. "My question is Revelation 19, and 21; is this before or after satan is bound because chapter 20 talks about satan being cast into the pit after that.

Thank you for your time," and then the name. That is a complicated question. In Revelation 19, those verses talk about the beast and his crew being thrown into the lake of fire. Then it goes in chapter 20 and it seems like the devil is not in the lake of fire. One of the things you'll learn with the book of Revelation is that each chapter seems to backup and recover some of the territory in the previous chapter.

And that's what's happening there through the book and that's what's happening in that question. And when we talk about the millennium, I think that's gonna be clear then as well. We have a whole evening to talk about that. Thank you, Pastor Doug. [Applauding] I sure appreciate that.

Well, tonight's program is a very important study dealing with what I think is the most important prophecy in the Bible. It's actually a series of prophecies. We have a corresponding lesson for the groups that have registered. And you might also find this at the website. It's called, "the supreme sacrifice," dealing with the subject of Jesus, who I believe is the authentic Messiah.

You know, this dollar's just staring at me so I'm gonna put that there because it's just sitting up on the stage and we will give it somewhere. Our study tonight is dealing with the mystery of the Messiah, the Messiah mystery. And i, as always, I like to start with an amazing fact. Many of us have heard about the nobel peace prize; of course a very prestigious award that people covet in the fields of peace and science and physics, literature. It's an interesting history how that award developed.

Alfred nobel was actually the inventor of dynamite. Now, he did not invent nitroglycerin but nitroglycerin was very unstable and there were a lot of accidents where people were using it. Matter of fact, alfred nobel's brother even died in one of those accidents. And he developed a way to stabilize nitroglycerin and basically invented dynamite. They called him mr.

Dynamite. It was nobel's blasting powder and it greatly contributed to the expansion of the industry and the world at the time. He became very wealthy as a result and it was helping with the mining and the railroads and construction. But then they discovered its use for military purposes. And during the various wars and conflicts, they began to use dynamite for demolition, for destroying armies and something interesting happened.

In 1895, alfred's older brother died. The newspaper got the report mixed up and they printed his obituary while he was still alive. And he read how his name was smeared and he was blamed for all the death and destruction. And he was a pacifist. He never wanted his invention to be used that way.

It greatly devastated him. So, of course, in his will, he established a foundation for the nobel peace prize. And someone who was at one time known for destruction, today is known for peace. You know, it's an odd thing to have your obituary in the paper while you're still alive. It's odder still to have someone write your obituary before you are born.

And I'll take it one step further. I'll submit to you that I believe that Jesus wrote his autobiography before he was born. It's the Bible. Now, the most amazing prophecy that we're gonna deal with tonight is actually a series of prophecies. A lot of people question whether Jesus really is the Messiah.

Was he the Messiah? Many people say he was a holy man. My Jewish family, they're still looking for the Messiah to come. They say, "Jesus was a great teacher. He was a great rabbi." And even in the koran, they talk about Jesus as a prophet. But they don't say that he was the Savior.

They certainly don't say he is divine. So who was Jesus? Can we trust what the Bible says about him and where do we go for the answers? "There are over 300 old testament prophecies that provide a number of precise identifying characteristics regarding the Messiah." And so if we look at some of those tonight, it'll help us know if Jesus fits the bill. The first prophecy that you find in the Bible, the very first prophecy is in the book of Genesis. You find it in Genesis 3:15 after adam and eve had sinned. the Lord spoke to them and he said, "I will put enmity between you and the woman.

" And he's talking to the serpent. "I'll put enmity between you and the woman between your seed, your descendants and her seed"; the seed of the woman. And it said, "he," the seed of the woman, this is a prophecy regarding the Messiah, will "bruise your head." The seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent but the serpent would bruise the heel or impede the progress of the church and the seed of the woman. You know, right there in the Garden of Eden, this prophecy is very profound because after adam and eve sinned, what happened? These robes of glory they wore went out. They discover their nakedness, they tried to cover it with fig leaves.

God said, "that will not do." The Bible says they made apron of fig leaves. Not only was it the wrong material, it wasn't enough material because God then gave them tunics, robes, of skin. Well, something had to die to cover their nakedness. And it was at this time God established the sacrificial system. So there, in the garden, as they were wearing these skins to cover their nakedness, God explained that someday, his son would come, that he would die for the sins of the world and their sins.

But they would have another chance of life. And in this cryptic prophecy was given about the woman, the serpent, the lamb, the seed of the woman. It's interesting then when you go to the last book of the Bible in Revelation 12, again it talks about "the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, the devil and satan who deceives the whole world." And there he is, he's infuriated with the woman. In Revelation 5, you've got the slain lamb. So you've got the same characters there in Revelation that you find in the prophecy of Genesis.

There is a war that is raging between the serpent and the seed of the woman. And that is the Messiah. Well, as we begin to study the authenticity of Jesus, it might be good to begin considering, where did he come from? And that's gonna be our second question, "where did Jesus come from?" Well, let's take it from his own lips. In John 6:38 he said, "for I have come down from heaven." Well, the Lord Jesus is either divine or deranged when someone tells you, "I've come from heaven." You've got to find out if they're telling the truth. I actually met somebody one time that told me they were Jesus.

And I was up by myself living in the cave in the mountains. This fella walked into my caved yard. I had my own yard. And i--after some casual chitchat, I said, "you know, so who are you?" He said, "my name is David harper," something, I can't remember the third name. And he said, "I'm actually Jesus.

" And at first I wanted to say, "you're crazy. Get out of here." But then I thought, "but what if he is?" You know, I was a baby Christian back then. You better take it slow. I finally found out he wasn't. He stayed with me 3 days, he ate all my food and made a mess and I knew Jesus wouldn't do that.

But I'll tell you more about that another time maybe. But when someone says, "I've come down from heaven," well, you better sit up and pay attention. What else does Jesus say? John 18:36, about himself, "Jesus answered, 'my kingdom is not of this world.'" He said he was a king, but of another kingdom. Question number three, "did Jesus really claim divinity?" Or is it something that others have attributed to him trying to deify Christ? The Bible tells us in John 8:58, "Jesus said to them, 'most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'" What did God say to identify himself to Moses there at the burning bush? "I am that I am. I am the self-existing one.

" And if you've got doubts about whether or not Jesus was claiming divinity there, the jews listening to him had no doubts because they immediately took up stones to kill him for his claim of equality with jehovah. So Jesus made some very bold claims. You know, that used to always trouble me. I'd talk to my relatives on the Jewish side of my family. And they'd say, "oh, we believe Jesus was a good man.

He was a great prophet, a good rabbi." I'd say, "really? I said, so you think he told the truth?" "Yes." "Well, he said he was the Messiah. Do you believe that?" "Oh, well, you know--" so you've got to find out. It's one way or the other. Again, John 10:17, his divinity, "therefore my father loves me because I lay down my life that I might take it up again. No one takes it from me but I lay it down of myself.

I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again." Anyone here say that they can die and then resurrect themselves? Jesus claimed divinity. Furthermore in Mark 2:10, he also said he had the power to forgive sin. "The Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins." And even the jews listening said, "God and God only can forgive sin," because ultimately all sin is against God. David said, "against thee and thee only have I sinned." And so to claim that power, Jesus was claiming the attributes of divinity. Was he mad or was he telling the truth? I think that there's evidence in the Bible that will help us find the answers.

So question four, "where do we go to evaluate these claims?" What source do we go to? We're gonna look a little bit at history, but mostly we're gonna go to the Bible itself. "How do we evaluate his claims?" John 5:39, Jesus said, "search the Scriptures, these are they which testify of me." The Scriptures testify of who Jesus is. And again Luke 24:27 after he rose from the dead, he's walking from Jerusalem down to the little town of emmaus and he's talking to two disciples and he said, "oh, fools and slow of heart to believe all the prophets have spoken ought not Christ the Messiah, to have suffered these things and entered into his glory." And then it says, "and beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded unto them--" in how many? "All the Scriptures, the things concerning himself." How many of the Scriptures concerning himself? Now, I remember someone took the time to explain this to me when I was a baby Christian. I was very thankful. When you think of the Bible, you've got the new and the old testament and you could-- pretty close to, there you go.

You've got the old testament which is about 3/4 of the Bible. This was written before Jesus. This section of the Bible is filled with predictions of the Messiah and prophecies so they would be able to identify him when he did come. Here in the new testament, you've got when he was born. Matthew tells about his birth and so does Luke and so forth.

And so you've got both the new and the old testament. But it is, principally, in these old testament Scriptures you find the prophecies we're going to be considering tonight. But all the Scriptures, new and old testament, are inspired and they all talk about Jesus. One of my favorite forms of study is looking for Christ in all the different stories and passages of the Bible, and I see 'em everywhere. You'll, maybe, see more of Jesus tonight too.

That's my prayer. Hebrews 10:7, here Paul, talking about Christ being the Messiah says, "then I said--" and he's actually quoting from the Psalms-- "behold I have come in the volume of the book it is written of me; to do thy will, o God." The volume of the book; it's written of Christ. The central focus of the book all the way from Genesis to Revelation is about Jesus. Matter of fact, the first words in the book of Revelation are, if we're gonna study prophecy, "the Revelation of Jesus Christ." What did I tell you last night? The purpose of prophecy is to reveal Christ. It's redemptive and he is the Savior.

Now let's gets more specific. We're gonna look at a number of characteristics that will help us continually narrow the focus to identify Jesus. Number five, "what people, tribe and family would the Messiah come from?" Where do we look in the world to know what people he would come through? Well, beginning it tells us in Genesis 12, God said to Abraham, "in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." Through Abraham, the original Hebrew it would come through his descendants. God called Abraham and then through his descendants the Messiah would come. Focus continues to narrow.

Furthermore saying to Abraham's son, Isaac, "I will give to your descendants all of these lands and in your seed," meaning in your descendants, "all the nations of the earth will be blessed." So you've got Abraham, Isaac, who's next? Jacob. They usually come in a little trinity of names. A star shall come out of Jacob. A serpent shall--I'm sorry-- a scepter shall rise out of Israel. A scepter is something that a king holds, of course.

So it tells us about Jacob. Jacob then, when he's blessing his sons in Genesis 50, he tells what tribe among the 12 sons the Messiah would come through when he blesses judah. He says in Genesis 49:10, "the scepter shall not depart from judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until shiloh come." The word shiloh means tranquil or peace. And this is saying, "the prince of peace will come and unto him the gathering of the people will be." Then within the tribe of judah, there was a specific family that the Messiah would come through. It was the family of jesse.

Jesse was The Father of David and from the house of David. "There shall come forth a rod from the stem of jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him." By the way, I used to think that Christ was Jesus last name. Like you know, John smith, Jesus Christ. The word "Christ" actually means anointed. So when you say, "Jesus Christ," you're saying, "Jesus" or "yeshua" is how they would say it in Hebrew.

Christ is a Greek word. Cristos means the anointed. The word "Messiah" is the Hebrew way of saying the anointed. Jesus is the anointed. That will come up again later tonight.

Now, it tells us that he would come from the house of David. We're going to jump into the new testament and see if Jesus met the criteria of coming through these tribes and people that were identified in the old testament prophecies. Start by going to Luke 1:26-27. "Now in the sixth month, the angel gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named nazareth." Don't forget, what city? Nazareth. "To a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David.

And the virgin's name was mary." Indeed both Joseph and mary were of the house and the lineage of David. Furthermore you know there's even a prophecy in the old testament that said, "Jesus would be born of a virgin." Now, there have been some through history that have claimed that but it's a very rare claim. And the prophecy said this about the Messiah and yet it was fulfilled in Christ. Here's the prophecy. Five hundred years before he was born, closer to seven hundred actually.

"Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name immanuel." And the word "immanuel" means God with us. Matter of fact, Matthew, in the new testament, quotes us and he says, "Jesus is the fulfillment of this because mary was a virgin." You go then to mary 1:18. We read the prophecy in the old testament. Let's go to what happened historically in the new testament and see if it was fulfilled in Christ. "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: after his mother, mary, was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

" And I'm sure as there are skeptics and cynics today who doubt that, there were back then, but all you can do is believe what the Bible says that an angel visited her and that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. I believe it because he's the only person who's lived a holy life. Furthermore it even tells us the place of his birth. Old testament prophecy, you go to the book of Micah 5:2 and it tells us that he was gonna be born in o little town of what? Bethlehem. "Yet, out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that will be ruler in Israel.

" So it's foretold. You look it up, Micah 5:2. Now, we've got a problem. Where is the Messiah supposed to be born? I just read it to you. Bethlehem.

Where was mary when the angel came and she discovered she's pregnant? Nazareth. Somehow God needs to get her miles south. It's 70 miles as the crow flies from nazareth and they weren't flying with a crow. It's even farther then that and she was great with child when they made the trip. How is God going to accomplish that? It tells you, God used the ruler of the roman empire to do it for him.

"And it came to pass in those days--" Luke 2:1, "it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed and all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city." This census was taken so he could tax the people. And it goes on to tell us, "and Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of nazareth into Judea unto the city of David." Now, Bethlehem is sort of a suburb of Jerusalem and it was often called the city of David. Sometimes they call Jerusalem the city of David because he moved his capital there. So God fulfilled the promise that the Messiah, while being called a nazarene, was born in Bethlehem to be taxed with mary, his wife, a spouse and it goes on to say that she was great with child at that time. And then you know this part.

Luke 2:6, it says, "so it was that while they were there the days were accomplished that she should be delivered and she brought forth her firstborn son and she wrapped him in swaddling cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no room for him in the inn." This always amazes me, friends, when you think about it. Jesus is called the bread of life. He said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." The word "Bethlehem" means house of bread. Here you've got the bread of life that is born in the house of bread. And they place him in a manger.

A manger is place where grain, bread, is put to feed the animals. Here you've got the bread of life who's placed in a breadbasket born in the house of bread. Jesus is the bread of life. You know, I was thinking about something last week. It doesn't matter whether you go to the poorest fair in the poorest country, there's usually bread on the table.

You can go to the fanciest restaurant that you can find but they don't feel the meal is complete unless there's bread there. I mean, even if you go out for fast food; the hamburger is between what? The bun. The beans and the cheese are wrapped up in bread. Kentucky fried chicken, you've got your rolls. Pizza, bread.

You've got bread everywhere. I mean, bread is the essence. It's like every meal is built around the bread and Jesus when he said, "I am the bread of life," he said, "I am the bare essentials. You can't live without me." And here you've got the bread of life born in the house of bread. That always amazes me.

"For unto you there is born--" I'll finish out this verse-- "this day in the city of David--" that's Bethlehem-- "a Savior who is Christ the Lord." Now, what's amazing is not only is their testimony in heaven, the angels declare this is the Messiah. Then they appeared to the shepherds. You've got the testimony of the wise men, testimony on earth. If you read in Mark 9, you've got the testimony of Moses and Elijah. They appear on this mount of transfiguration.

They are flanking like stereo speakers, Jesus. They're both pointing to him and saying, "he is the one that we talked about. He is the one that we foretold." Moses, the law, Elijah, the prophets pointing to Jesus saying, "he is the one." You know, it's amazing that anyone could read the Bible and question that Jesus was the central focus of all of the prophecies regarding the Messiah. The devil knew he was the one. That's why he inspired herod, that deranged king, to send his soldiers into Bethlehem and to massacre all of the babies, years old and under because his throne was threatened.

He was inspired by the devil to do that because the devil wanted to eliminate Jesus before he could complete his work of saving you and me. But God saved him, an angel warned Joseph and he took mary, fled into Egypt and after they heard that herod the great had died about 4 years later, they came back again; didn't want to live in Bethlehem anymore because his son, who was just as much a tyrant was reigning there, so they went back to nazareth. Now, a lot of people have speculated and they said, "where was Jesus during the missing years?" You know, from the time of his birth until he begins his ministry at the age of 30, he just--you know, all the brilliance of what Jesus said. I remember when I first read the Bible, even though I had a Jewish background, I went to catholic schools, I was basically biblically illiterate. And when I first started reading the Bible, I couldn't believe how much I'd been missing.

I just read it so I could argue with Christians, had no intention to believe it. And one of the things that astounded me was the brilliance of Jesus. I know that sounds like a strange thing to say to people in a church. But I was amazed how many times I had heard him quoted through my life and I never knew it came from him. I'm reading through the sayings of Christ, he talks about turning the other cheek and I look up I go, "oh, so he said that.

" "Going the second mile"; "not casting the first stone." I'm going, "wow, all these brilliant things that people quote all the time, Jesus said them." So when he makes this claim to be the Messiah, we've only got a few alternatives. He was either insane or he was deluded, a deceiver or he was telling the truth. And I don't know anybody who could be so concise and brilliant in what he says be insane. He was so honest that he laid down his life rather than deceive. Only alternative I was left with was that he was telling the truth.

And some of the skeptics, they look at the brilliance of what Jesus said and they said, "well, during those missing years since he didn't have a formal education, he must have gone and learned from the great teachers in persia or india or gone--he must have studied there in alexandria at the university. How could he be so brilliant and be a carpenter's son?" And they try and put him somewhere else and there's a lot of books that are written on that. But the Bible tells us where he was. He wasn't missing. That's a myth.

It tells us exactly where he was. You can read here in Matthew 2:23, "and they came and they dwelt in a city called nazareth that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets he shall be call a nazarene." Now some have wondered, "did Jesus take the vow of a nazirite where you don't cut your hair?" And you know the jury's still out. It is possible. Some people could take that vow for a limited period of time. Jesus may have taken that vow up 'til the time of his baptism.

And there's just no way to prove that. And that's why you see most of the pictures portraying Jesus with long hair 'cause they figure, "well, he took the vow of a nazirite, probably didn't cut his hair." It goes on and tells us in Luke 2:51, where was Jesus during that time? "He went down with them and came to nazareth and he was subject unto them." He was subject to his parents. He grew up in nazareth. There's no question about it. And when he went back to his hometown to preach, they all knew who he was.

You can read in Matthew 13:55, they said, "is this not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called mary? His brothers and sisters are here among us." There was no question about where Jesus was. So don't entertain some of those fables and myths that you hear that, "oh, he went and he studied with gurus off in india. That's where he got this brilliance." No. He was inspired by the Holy Spirit. He studied the Scriptures at the knee of his mother.

He had, I think, the book of Deuteronomy memorized. You realize all three times that Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, he quoted from Deuteronomy and I don't think he had to pull out his scroll or his laptop to find it. It was right here. When would he appear? Now this gets really exciting. By the way, when you go home tonight, I'd invite you to read.

You say, "Pastor Doug, you're all over the place. How do I do follow-up study?" Read Daniel 9 because that sort of is the nucleus of our study tonight, Daniel 9. You know, there are prophecies in the Bible that tell when he would begin his ministry. One of the great most amazing prophecies in the Bible. When I first read this prophecy up there in the cave, I was running around just a big zero, but I was reading the Bible.

And I was so amazed that the prophecies foretold with such accuracy and precision the first coming of Jesus. That I'm not ashamed to tell you, I got up. I could not stand still and I was jumping up and down. I'm sure I looked a little charismatic. I was jumping up and down saying, "praise the Lord.

The Bible's true. Jesus came right on time the first time and he's probably gonna come back just like he said too." And I was so excited I was just like this. I couldn't believe it. Does prophecy excite you? The fact that God is in control is so exciting. It should bring peace to our hearts.

Now, if you read, in Daniel 9, the angel, gabriel, comes to Daniel. Daniel is praying one of the most beautiful prayers in that chapter and he's wondering how much longer until the Messiah comes. How much longer are you going to bear with your people? The children of Israel had a roller coaster experience, close to God, revival far from God. Daniel's in captivity because they had drifted from God. And he's wondering how long until the Jewish nation fulfills its purpose as a people.

You know what their purpose was? God did not pick the Jewish people. I can always say this. People are afraid to say it but I'm Jewish, I can say it. He did not pick them because they were better. God is not an elitist.

It's not their genetics, their dna. Matter of fact, God said, "do not think I picked you because you're better than other people. I picked you because you're a stubborn and a stiff-necked people." That's what God says. Because I wanted to show if I can save you, I can save anybody. Really, that's what it's all about? And he said, "I want you to be the people I'm going to sanctify.

You're going to be a nation of priests and I want you to introduce my son to the world." The purpose of the Jewish nation was to introduce Jesus to the world. God didn't send his son just to save one race of people. So Daniel's praying this prayer. The angel, gabriel, comes in response. And he gives him one of the most amazing prophecies in the Bible.

It's called the 490-year prophecy. Here's what he says in Daniel--I'm gonna have to summarize this tonight. So listen quick 'cause I'm talking quick. Daniel 9:24, gabriel says, "seventy weeks are determined for thy people and for your holy city--" listen to what's in this prophecy-- "to finish the transgression to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity." To be reconciled to God, to purge sin. Notice especially this part here, "to bring in everlasting righteousness to seal up the vision," to complete this vision, "and to--" you almost wait for a drum roll at this point-- "anoint the most holy.

" What does the word "Messiah" mean? The anointed. The most holy. This is a prophecy telling us that within that 70-week period the Messiah would be anointed. So something we need to understand is what's the starting point for this prophecy? If you're gonna have a time prophecy, you need a start and you need a finish. It tells you in the same chapter, Daniel 9:25, "from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem until the Messiah the prince.

There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks." Or three score and two weeks. Now, the whole prophecy has weeks. And how many days in a week? Seven times seventy is? Four hundred and ninety. Okay? So all of this is gonna be culminated, the purpose of the Jewish people that are cut off with the Jewish nation within that period of time. And he says, "but there's a division within that.

" He said, there'd be seven weeks and three score and two weeks. That adds up to 69 weeks, isn't that right? So, something's gonna happen at the end of the 69 weeks. It says the most holy's going to be anointed. Now, when you're studying prophecy, not every time you find the word "day" in the Bible does it mean year. But in Bible prophecies, these time prophecies, it is frequently true that a day equals a year.

Even many Jewish scholars accept that. I can give you a couple of examples here. You find, of course, in Ezekiel it says, "I have appointed you each day for a year." Ezekiel 4:6. You can look at Numbers 14:34, where it says, "for the 40 days you spied because you lost faith when you were spying out the promised land. You're gonna wonder 40 years.

" And then Jesus, one time--someone came and warned him and this is in Luke 13, he said--they warned him and said, "herod's gonna arrest you like he did--" I'm paraphrasing-- "John the baptist." Jesus said, "go tell that fox that I perform miracles, I do cures, I cast out devils. Today, tomorrow, and the third day, I shall be perfected," or be completed. Jesus did not preach three more days from that statement, he preached three more years. So even Christ understood, in that prophecy, the principle of a day equaling a year. So you've got 483 days and 69 weeks.

And if a day is a year, what? Four hundred and eighty-three years. I got a chart I can put up here on the screen that might make this a little easier. The going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem. Now, that command can be found in Ezra 7. And that command was given by artaxerxes.

It's right there in your Bible. That date is a very firmly established date in history. It's 457 b.c. It's telling us that 483 years after that which reaches when you factor in what they call the year 0, there really is no year 0. But the a.

d./B.c. Dating method. That reaches to 27 a.d. Now, we know exactly when Jesus was baptized because it tells us that it was in the 15th year of the reign of tiberius caesar in the gospel of Luke, 27 a.d. Christ began his ministry-- matter of fact, he came to the Jordan river 30 years of age.

Why did he wait 'til he was 30? A priest could not begin to minister until he was 30 years of age. Joseph went out over Egypt when he was 30 years of age. David began to reign as king when he was 30 years of age. They were types of Christ who began his ministry 30 years of age. You would not be respected as a rabbi if you were younger than 30.

Right around his 30th birthday, he went to the Jordan river where his cousin, John the baptist, was baptizing. John was introducing the Messiah. He knew that he was to be a voice that was preparing the world for the coming of the Messiah. And when he saw Jesus, the Holy Spirit revealed to him, this is the one. And he said, "behold the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world," John 1:29 pointing to Jesus.

Matter of fact, John said that several times. Those sacrifices that had been going on from the time of adam and eve all the way up to that present time all pointed to Jesus who was the lamb of God. He was the purpose, the fulfillment of all of those shadows and types. When Christ was baptized, the Holy Spirit came down and filled him in a special way. He then went into hand-to-hand battle with the devil there in the wilderness.

The Bible tells in acts 10:38, "God--" what's that word? He anointed. What does the word "Messiah" mean? Anointed. What does the word "Christ," acristos mean? Anointed. At the baptism of Jesus, what happened? "God anointed Jesus of nazareth with the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit came down. He began his ministry exactly years after the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem and that's appropriate that that should be the starting point.

Because by the way, you are the temple of God. And he wants to rebuild his church, doesn't he? He wants to rebuild his people. He went around doing good and healing--I'll finish my verse here. "All that were oppressed by the devil for God was with him." Number seven in our questions. What would Jesus do? Once he began his ministry, what was it going to look like? We'll go back--don't forget Daniel 9.

We're gonna return to that. Well, you know when Christ began his ministry, he stood up in his hometown church there in nazareth and he opened up his Bible to Isaiah 61. He read a prophecy in Isaiah 61 about the Messiah and then he said, "today this is fulfilled in your ears." They knew he was claiming to be the Messiah 'cause they took him out of his own hometown church and were gonna throw him off a cliff to kill him. What did he read from? It says in Isaiah 61:1, "the Lord has anointed me." What does the word "anointed" mean? "the Lord has anointed me to preach the good tidings to the poor. He sent me to heal the brokenhearted.

" Anyone here need Jesus? "To proclaim liberty to the captives." Anyone need deliverance? You need chains, broken habits resolved? And the opening of prison to those that are bound. Christ came to set the captives free. Captives to sin. The whole Exodus experience is talking about how Jesus saved a nation of slaves to demonstrate he can save you from whatever your slavery is. The slavery of sin.

Jesus said, "whoever sins is a slave to sin." We're all slaves. And Jesus came to set us free. Can you say, "amen?" When they sent enemies to spy on Jesus, they came back. And you know what they said? Even his enemies had to admit, they said, "no man ever spoke like this man." His contemporaries, even his enemies had to admit that. Finally when it came time to condemn him, even the high priest couldn't find anything wrong with him.

He said, "well, he must perish to save the nation." He didn't know how prophetic his words were at the time. Now we're going to look at some of the events that surround the scenes of the cross. You know, the prophecies about Jesus and the Messiah, they're scattered through history but the closer you get to the event of the cross, it's like a train coming. It gets louder and louder and there are more and more prophecies that focus on that axis of the plan of salvation. The cross is an axle on which the gospel revolves.

And as you get closer and closer to the center, the prophecies begin to multiply and intensify. You know, the final week of his life, we've heard about the triumphal entry and he told his disciples to go find this donkey that had never been ridden on before. They brought it to him and he rode this donkey into town, it's called the triumphal entry-- that had never been ridden. It was a little foal, a young one and he was fulfilling a prophecy. Zechariah 9:9, it's also repeated in Matthew.

"Rejoice greatly o daughter of Zion." Six hundred years before Jesus was born; and we know from the dead sea scrolls that this was written before it happened. "Rejoice greatly o daughter of Zion. Shout o daughter of Jerusalem. Behold your king is coming to you. He is just and having salvation lowly and riding on a donkey, the colt, the foal of a donkey.

" It happened exactly as the prophecies had foretold. "He is just and having salvation." That was a prophecy about Jesus that was literally fulfilled when he rode into Jerusalem through the golden gate. Just a little amazing fact I'll share with you. The golden gate--I've been to Jerusalem. You can still see it today.

You can see there's something wrong with that gate. It doesn't have wooden doors. It's all walled up. You know why? Because the jews have always believed that when the Messiah comes, he will ride through the golden gate. The turks in 1600s wanting to infuriate their enemies, the jews, they walled up the gate and they wanted to defile it, so they put a cemetery in front of the gate to prevent the Jewish Messiah from coming.

Of course they were 1600 years too late. Jesus did ride through that gate. It foretold how the Messiah would be betrayed in the prophecies. You can read in Psalms 41:9 written 1,000 years before Jesus' time. David said there, "even mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread has lifted up his heel against me.

" And again, Zechariah 11:12, "then I said to them, 'if it is agreeable to you, give me my wages and if not, refrain.' So they weighed out for my wages pieces of silver." Jesus was betrayed by a friend for what amount? Was it gold or copper or silver? I mean, how can you foretell that? Keep reading the prophecy, we're not done yet. "And the Lord said to me, 'throw it to the potter,' that princely price they set on me. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and I threw them into the house of the Lord to the potter." Then you go to the new testament and you read where Judas, after he betrayed Jesus overwhelmed with guilt and shame, he went to the temple. He threw the money down in the house of the Lord. He said, "I betrayed innocent blood.

" They said, "that's your problem. It's too late now." He went out and hung himself. They said, "what do we do with this money? We can't put it in the treasury, it's blood money." They said, "well, let's use it to buy a potter's field to bury strangers in." There's no question. How could Jesus have fabricated that? How could he have contrived that to make it happen? Betrayed by a friend with a kiss. Only two people recorded, that I can think of in the Bible, that kissed Jesus.

Judas kissed his face and betrayed him. Mary kissed his feet and worshiped him and served him. The manner of his death, question number eight or point number eight, I should say. Psalm 22:16, David foretold that his hands and his feet would be pierced. "For dogs have surrounded me.

The congregation of the wicked has enclosed me. They've pierced my hands and my feet." A thousand years before he was born. Crucifixion was not even being used for hundreds of years when David wrote that. How could they have known? It goes on to say in the same psalm. "They divided my garments among them and for my clothing they cast lots.

" And if you know your Bible even elementary, you know that they're at the foot of the cross. The soldiers gambled for his clothing. Exactly as it was foretold. It says here in Mark 15:24, "and when they crucified him, they divided his garments casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. When they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead.

They did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out." It said his hands and his feet would be pierced. It says, "I'll look upon the one whom they have pierced," just as the Scriptures had foretold. "For these things were done," John 19:33, "that the Scripture should be fulfilled, not one of his bones shall be broken. And again another Scripture that says, 'they will look on the one whom they have pierced.

'" Even John the apostle is looking at these old testament prophecies about the Messiah and he's saying, "look how vividly it's fulfilled in Jesus." Here are the soldiers. They go to the thief on the right, they break his legs. They go to the thief on the left, they break his legs. But they don't break Jesus' legs because the prophecies said, "they will not be broken. He is the lamb of God.

" The passover lamb, they were not to break the bones as a type of Christ. Now we're going back to Daniel. We've talked about his ministry. "He'll confirm the covenant," the Bible says. The covenant of salvation that God has made with his people.

By the way, there is no example in the Bible of the Messiah making a covenant with anything but the Jewish people. Did you know that? There's no covenant. It doesn't say, "I'll make a covenant with the gentiles and save them from their sins. The covenant of the gentiles is that they would become spiritual jews. That's what the Bible says.

If you are Christ, then you are Abraham's seed. Back in Daniel 9:27 it said that after his baptism, "he would confirm the covenant with many for one week." The covenant that he had made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses. He had confirmed that covenant he had made with them of salvation for one week. If a day is a year in prophecy, how long is one week? Seven years. And notice what happens during that last 7 years when he begins his ministry at his baptism, 27 a.

d. He's gonna confirm the covenant for 7 years. But in the midst of that 7 years it tells us in 9:27 of Daniel, "he will cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." The whole purpose for the sacrificial system will have met its fulfillment in the middle of that time. How long did Jesus minister from the time of his baptism? Three and a half years. Let's read it from the Bible.

Matthew 27:50, "when Jesus died on the cross, he cried out again with a loud voice and he yielded up his spirit. Then behold, the veil in the temple was torn in two exposing the most holy place in the Jewish nation where the covenant was." The ark of the covenant had been there exposing it's empty now 'cause it had been captured--or when the temple was destroyed, they'd hidden the ark in the covenant and no one knows where it was. So when the temple of veil was ripped in two, it opened up and there's no covenant there anymore. When did that happen? When Jesus said, "it is finished," and he died on the cross. In the midst of the week that last 7 years when he confirmed the covenant, he caused the sacrifice to cease.

It's very important you understand this because, you know, there are some dear Christians in other churches that think the one who confirms the covenant is the devil, the antiChrist. Boy, you gotta get this right, friends. I mean, you can make some mistakes in the Bible but don't confuse the antiChrist for Jesus. That's a big mistake. I know once or twice I've been preaching at my church talking about the battle between Christ and satan, my tongue got tied and I got them mixed up and my wife stood up and stopped me.

She said, "don't mix that up." And I was thankful. You want to get this straight. Now let's go back to our prophecy again. This 490-year prophecy, the -week prophecy of Daniel 9. The going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem.

Sixty-nine weeks, Messiah is anointed, 27 a.d. In the midst of the week, a.d., Jesus causes the sacrifice to cease. But you're saying, "doug, there's another 3 1/2 years, how could he continue to confirm the covenant for 3 1/2 more years after he's gone to heaven?" Stay we me. We'll give you the answer to that. Also, another point, prophecies about his resurrection and ascension are replete in the Bible.

For instance, you just read Isaiah 53, when you go home, there's no question that Jesus is the fulfillment of that. He is the suffering servant there. "He made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death." Here Jesus is crucified between two condemned criminals, thieves, murderers. Makes his grave with them and yet, he's buried in a rich man's tomb. How can you ever predict that somebody is going to make their grave with the wicked and yet, be buried with the rich unless it's a mafia cemetery? I don't know how else that would apply.

Psalm 16:10, "you will not leave my soul in sheol," the grave, "nor will you allow your holy one," that's the Messiah, "to suffer corruption." The jews used to believe after days--or after 3 days, I should say, corruption set in. That's why when Jesus resurrected Lazarus after days, they went, "wow, he reassembled him. He was already decomposing." But the Messiah would not decompose. He would be raised before that happened. And then when he appears to them in the upper room and he's got the scars in his hands and his feet, they know that he is the one.

He opens to them the Scriptures. He said, "now I'm not done yet. We still must confirm the covenant for another /2 years." I'm paraphrasing. He says, "as The Father sent me, so send I you." So how does the Lord confirm the covenant for that last /2 years? I'm so thankful for Hebrews 2:3. Listen to what Paul says here.

It says how--and this is one of the most important questions in the Bible. "How shall we escape if we neglect--?" Some people don't deliberately say, "no" to Jesus, they just neglect Jesus. This is a question that nobody can really answer. "How shall you escape if you neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken of by the Lord--" catch this-- "and was--" what's that word? "Confirmed." The salvation covenant was first spoken 3 1/2 years by the Lord. Another 3 1/2 years confirmed by those who heard him.

The apostles, he said, "I have trained you to fill my shoes. I have confirmed it for /2 years. I made the sacrifice cease. As The Father sent me, so send I you. I'm gonna give you my spirit so you can do my work.

" And what happens 3 1/2 years later? It's very interesting. You can read about this in acts 7. Stephen is stoned. By the way, the word "stephen," it means stephanos, it means crown. We have a boy named stephen, be here next week.

Stephen preaches to the Jewish supreme court one of the mightiest sermons in the Bible. You can read it there in acts 7. His face is shining. He sees heaven open. He preaches with all the power that Christ preached with.

He could see Jesus' face empowering him. And you know what they did? The leaders of the Jewish nation, they plugged their ears, they took him out of the city, they executed him. Stephen dies very much after /2 years of the apostle's preaching. He dies very much like Jesus died. Mock trial, taken outside of the city, quickly executed and as he's dying, he prays for the forgiveness of his killers, just like Jesus did.

Christ confirmed the covenant for 3 1/2 years, caused the sacrifice to cease for the last /2 years. He did it through the disciples. You know, up to that time, they were not preaching to any gentiles. They were just going to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. When the Holy Spirit's poured out at pentecost, were those people from all over the world or were they jews? "There were dwelling in Jerusalem jews devout men out of every nation.

" Five thousand baptized later, all jews. They were just preaching in the synagogues. Right after this happen, guess who was a witness at the stoning of stephen? Someone named Saul whose name was changed to Paul who then became the apostle to the gentiles. Jesus is the Messiah, friends. Then the gospel went to the gentiles.

Here you've got the chart again. You've got the decree 457, baptism of Christ years later. The cross, 31 a.d. He causes the sacrifice to cease. Three and a half years more, he confirms the covenant just with the Jewish nation.

Seventy years--seventy weeks rather, were set aside for the Jewish nation to the present the Messiah to the world. All the early church, they were jews and they presented the Messiah to the world. Then the gentiles took it like wildfire. "And it's still available to jew and gentile," Paul says. You know, I just love this quote.

I found in the writings of flavius Josephus, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Jewish historian. Listen to the footnote in his history. He's a contemporary of Christ. "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man if it be lawful to call him a man." This is a Jewish historian; never claimed to be a Christian. "For he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.

He drew over to himself both many of the jews and many of the gentiles. He was the Christ. And when pilate, at the suggestion of principle men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the prophets had foretold these and ,000 other wonderful things concerning him." And it says, "and the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day." And what amazes me is that's all he says. You think here he's just uttered the most important thing in all of his writings and then he goes on to the next historical event. It says, "he was the Messiah.

" It's amazing. You read the prophecies and you can find clearly the time of his birth is foretold, that he be born of a virgin, the place of his birth, the time of his baptism, the type and the length of his ministry, the events of his betrayal, the manner of his execution, the resurrection and ascension." And it all happened right on schedule. Friends, when you look at the prophecies in the Bible, they create a kaleidoscope and it's the picture of Jesus. Squint a little bit and look at that picture on the screen. Do you see his face? That's made up of many different facets.

And as you read the Bible, you'll begin to see the face of Jesus that's in there. You know, I want to read something to you. Jesus is in every book of the Bible. Somebody did some statistical research to find out what is the probability of one person fulfilling all those prophecies and not being the Christ. Professor Peter w.

Stoner who authored the book "science speaks," he stated the probability-- he did a bunch of statistical calculations, I don't know how they do that-- "the statistical probability that just 8 of these prophecies, out of 300, of these prophecies being fulfilled in 1 person is in 10 to the 17th power." That's 1 with 17 zeros behind it. And some of you, let me put it in visual terms. Picture the state of Texas. You ever been there? You can drive a long time and not get across Texas. Cover Texas with quarters; every inch of Texas is covered with quarters so they're all touching, 2 feet deep.

Then ask a blind man to walk across Texas and find one specific quarter. That's the statistical probability of it being an accident that Jesus is the Messiah. Well, if you're gonna bet, friends, you better bet your soul that Christ is the one. Because--there's a lot more I can read about the statistics here, but I just don't have time to read it all to you. You know, there is so much good news regarding the promises that Jesus is the one.

I want to quickly cover this point here, this final point. Why did Christ come? The Bible tells us a, he came for three primary reasons. To be our example. He said that, "I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you." Christ is an example for you and me. B, he wants to show us how to love each other.

It says, "he's come to show us The Father." There's a lot of misconceptions. People think that God is this great despot up in the sky that's just waiting for us to do something wrong. God loves us. When Jesus said, "if you've seen me, you've seen The Father. I've come to show you the father," he was the reflection of The Father.

And when you look at Jesus, his love, his mercy, his kindness, his meekness, his tenderness, his patience, you're getting the picture of God, that God that loves you. He also came, of course, to be our substitute, to take our place. He took our badness and he offers us his goodness. He took our sin and he gives us his righteousness. He took our wickedness and he gives us his purity.

He takes our weakness and he gives us his strength. He took our shame and he gives us his glory. Somebody wrote this in a way I can't improve on. "He descended that we might ascend. He became poor that we might be rich.

He was born that we might be born-again. He became a servant that we might become sons. He had no home that we might have a home in heaven. He was hungry that we might be fed. He was thirsty that we might be satisfied.

He was stripped that we might be clothed. He was forsaken that we might not be forsaken. He was a man of sorrows that we might have joy. He was bound that we might go free. He was made sin that we might be made righteous.

He died that we might live. He came down that we might go up. He was born in a barn that we can live in a mansion." And I could go on, friends. Jesus came for that purpose. And he's come to you tonight because he wants to not only be the Christ, he wants to be your Savior.

Even the centurion who guarded the crucifixion, when he saw the events around the cross and he saw the devil's love for power in the mob and he saw Jesus' power of love, just standing on the sidelines, he said, "truly this was The Son of God." If you read the Bible, you'll find that too. Jesus is the one. He's the Messiah. He's the Savior and he's come into this world, not just to save the whole world but every individual. He not only died for the sins of the whole world, but he died for your sins.

Have you invited him to be your Savior? I'd like to invite John to come out. And I want to give you an opportunity to make a decision. Now some of you who are at the various locations, you have a card in your--and I'd like to encourage everyone to be still as possible here 'cause this is a sacred moment. You should have a card in your materials that says, "the Messiah mystery." And there's an opportunity on that card for you to answer some questions. If you think we do these seminars just to tantalize us with amazing prophecies, the whole focus of these amazing prophecies is Jesus and the whole purpose of Jesus is to save the world from sin and that means you.

He wants to save you. And it doesn't matter how big a sinner you are, he can save you. Maybe you've tried everything else but you haven't tried Jesus yet. I'd like to encourage you to put your trust in Jesus. He is everything.

Now while you pray about you decision, put your name, please, on your card. This is for you and we'll be praying for you here at the location. We'd like to have you turn them in to the ushers afterward at the locations. They've made arrangements where you're watching, and your cards to the leaders in your group. Be praying as you look at the questions here and I'll go through them with you in just a moment.

John. [Music] Jesus is all the world to me. My life, my joy, my all. He is my strength from day to day, without him, I will fall. When I am sad, to him I go.

No other one can cheer me so. When I am sad, he makes me glad. He's my friend. Man, is Jesus your friend? Is he your Savior? You can make a decision tonight. He wants to be your Savior.

He wants to be your friend. He already loves you. You can trust your life to him. He is the one. He's the focus of the whole plan of salvation.

Take your card please. I hope you've written your name on it and I hope that you're praying. If you feel the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart tonight, God has brought you to these meetings. He has a good plan for you. Everything in your life is better with Jesus.

When you have the anointed in your heart, the Messiah in your life, he can activate his plan for you. I'd like to ask you, question number one, if you'd like to check that box and say, "I believe Jesus is the Messiah foretold in the old testament prophecies." I hope everyone checks that first box. You believe that we've given evidence tonight? Just a few of 300 Scriptures we could use. Question number two, "I'm truly repentant for my sins. I accept the forgiveness Jesus freely offers me.

" Would you like that free forgiveness for all your sins? You could make a decision tonight to accept that. Check your card. We'd like to pray for you. Question three, "I want to surrender by life to Jesus and I desire to live a life of obedience to him by his grace." If that's your desire, don't be intimidated by that, but if that's your desire, check it. You can't do anything without him.

You can do all things with him. Amen? Question four and some of you want to seriously pray over this one. "I once knew Jesus but I have drifted away and I'd like to choose right now to recommit my life to him." If the Holy Spirit's striving with you to trust your life to the Messiah, check that box. The last question, you've got a lot of things swimming around in your mind. Maybe you have some questions.

You'd like someone to come and visit you. You can also fill this out at your locations. Cards are even online. If you'd like to fill one out online and send it to us, just go to Would you like to have someone visit you or call you or e-mail you and help answer some of your questions? You'd like to know the Lord better, check that.

Those here at this location, please leave your cards with the ushers as we go out, and we'll be praying over your decision, praying for you. Those who are watching, we'd like to ask the same. Before we have closing prayer, let me read something to you please. It's called "one solitary life." "Here is a man who is born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village.

He worked as a carpenter until he was 30 then for 3 years he was an itinerant preacher. He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family.

He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled more than miles from the place he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompanies greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial.

He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. And while he was dying, his executioners gambled for his only piece of property he left on earth, his coat. Nineteen long centuries have come and gone and today, he is still the central figure of the human race. I am far within the Mark when I say that all the armies that have ever Marched and all the navies that were ever built and all the parliaments that have ever sat and all the Kings that have ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man upon earth as powerfully as this one solitary life." All history's dated from his birth. No question that Jesus is the central character in the history of this world.

But is he the center of your life, friends? Tonight here in berrien springs and those who are watching, would you like to say, "lord, I want you to be the center of my life?" Raise your hands if that's your desire. Father in Heaven, we are so thankful that you've brought us together tonight to hear the good news that Jesus is the one. Help us to fix our eyes upon him. Help us to trust our hearts and our minds to him. Please come into our lives now.

We know that he wants to be with us now and through eternity. We thank you and ask this in His Name. Amen.





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