When airplane pilots experience vertigo they loose a sense of reality and are unable to use their senses for direction. They must rely on their instruments to determine their true position. In the same way, Christians must follow the Bible to determine our true reality.
I don’t know if you remember back to July, 1999 or not but many of us were very saddened to hear of a tragedy that took place that had to do with the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette. It seems like the Kennedy family has almost been under some type of a curse with all of the difficulties and the problems that have beset them. If you will remember what occurred, John F. Kennedy, Jr. was navigating the single engine plane. It was a 6 cylinder, piper Saratoga and he and his wife had only been married three years. I think what happened to John F. Kennedy Jr. to be very instructive to all of us.
In researching this topic, I found an article written by a writer and a pilot; his name is Eric Nolte. He gives quite a few of the details of what occurred and what most of the experts feel occurred that day. I’d like to quote some of what he had to say, also to refer to that particular article. He leads off by asking the question: "Why did Kennedy die? What happened?" Even though he wasn’t a real experienced pilot, he should have been able to navigate his plane. It says in the last few minutes before Kennedy’s little single engine plane went into the seas off Martha’s Vineyard, its radar that was tracking the plane, verified and showed evidence that probably what he was experiencing was total confusion from what we would call vertigo. It says this confusion steered Kennedy down a horrific spiral, death spiral into the sea. This kind of battlement and panic that killed Kennedy arises in the mind of pilots when there is a struggle between contradictory signals going on in their inner ear and their rational facilities. It says reason and emotion were at war with one another. All of the pilots senses when this occurs tells him that his plane is flying level; that everything is o.k. He can be flying upside down, he could be flying sideways and generally what happens, going by your senses under these circumstances, you cannot tell what is happening. It says appearing to be perfectly right side up and the aircraft’s instruments are two different things. When you find yourself in this type of situation you must go by instruments, not by your senses. It says the airplane’s flight path creates forces that befuddle ones own awareness. It says to judge by the sensation of the seat of your pants, you literally can’t tell up from down, left from right. You have no way of knowing, you’re helpless. Here is the crux of the matter as this author points out. The pilot’s emotions drown out the flight instruments and what the flight instruments are telling him where if he just looks at the flight instruments they may be telling him, look your nose is down, you’re veering to the right, you better pull up and straighten out or you’re in trouble. But when he looks at the instruments and then he feels his senses, he feels well everything is o.k. As the author brings out; what is essential is seeing rightly. You’ve got to be able to interpret what you see and he explains that every beginning student taking flight instructions is expected to pilot a plane in bad weather. Now that just occurs. He is taught how to solely navigate by instrument and just looking at his instruments and not looking or going by his senses. Since its not very difficult or very hard to keep an airplane level if you fly into soup, if you fly into clouds, it’s night, you can’t see anything on the ground to get a prospective. See that’s the problem, if you can look at the ground, well you can tell maybe where you are but without that ability, you have difficulty. It says you can fly along very happily without any view of the world outside of the cockpit and you’re watching your instruments and everything is going well. You’ve got the pitch, the roll, the yaw; everything is working the way that it should. The tricky part with instruments comes when the inevitable distraction takes place.
Perhaps the air traffic controller will tell you that you need to change radio channels, you’re going out of our vector and you need to have another controller pick you up. So you look down, you fumble with the knobs and you look up and uh oh what’s going on?
Generally you don’t feel the fact that you’ve turned or that the nose is pointed down but your instruments say you are; but the inner ear see compensates for this and so what happens you’re drawn between the two, what’s right. Apparently John F. Kennedy Jr. went by his senses and not by his instruments. So the real skill of instrument flying consists of the ability to regain control when you’ve gone off course because invariably a pilot will veer off course and when he does, you’ve got to have the ability to recover.
This lifesaving skill is called recovery from unusual altitudes, or attitude I should say, where the mind and the instruments have to be gone by, not just the senses.
Recovering from unusual attitude consists of one essential belief, that you cannot trust your feelings and that your instruments are a window on reality. For a pilot who is not watching his instruments and gets turned upside down or begins to spiral or begins to go off in a different direction is not looking at reality. He’s going by his senses, by his feelings, by his emotions, what they tell him but he’s not going by the reality of the situation.
The author brings out; you cannot cheat reality. You may think it’s not real but you can’t cheat reality. What if you went up to the top of the Empire State Building and decided that reality says there is no such thing as the law of gravity. So, it’s o.k. to jump off and there have been a few people who’ve rethought the tall buildings with the single bound and they’ve launched themselves and you can begin to flap your wings. Do you know what happens? Reality is, there is gravity and it will smack you into the ground and you will die and that’s exactly what happens. Reality is not relative as you know the culture, some of the culture people would like you to believe. Reality is reality, not what you think it is. So in the mud-wrestling contests between the rational faculties and the feeling moods of the mind, the trained pilot will always trust his instruments because that’s the only thing that can save him. If you don’t, you’re dead; it’s that simple. This apparently is what killed John F. Kennedy Jr. as well as has killed thousands of other pilots who’ve made the same mistake.
Now the reason why I site this story, I think there’s a lot that we can learn from a tragedy such as this that has occurred and has occurred not only to John F. Kennedy Jr. but also to a lot of pilots. There is one word I would like for you to write down today if you learn nothing else from this sermon when you take this with you. That word is reality. If I can burn into your mind today that you must always follow your instruments and that you must always watch reality, then I would feel that this baccalaureate sermon was successful.
All of you ABC students have had the opportunity of a lifetime. You’ve been told that many times. One that many of your parents, many of your friends would love to have. How many of you would really love to be able to come to ABC, take seven months off, skip house payments, skip car payments, skip working, letting someone else take care of the children, whatever else there might be and come and sit in classes for seven months? Many will never have that opportunity but for seven months you’ve been instructed out of the scriptures. Every book of the bible has been covered, major doctrines of the church have been covered. Ambassador Bible Center was founded on the principle that the word of God is the foundation of knowledge. I hope all of you have seen the plaque out front, there’s a rock out front of the building with the plaque on it. It is the same type of thing that was at Ambassador College; the Ambassador Colleges that the word of God is the foundation on which all knowledge rests. That foundation this year has been built brick by brick, in other words class by class. Seven grueling hours a day, five days a week the students have sat in classes.
Sometimes you see their eyes glazed over (of course that is somebody else’s class, they’re sitting on the edge of their seats while I’m teaching) and you find that with all of the activities, working late and things of this nature, it’s really a struggle that they sometimes have to remain focused and stay alert.
You have embarked on a journey and many of us, perhaps your parents and friends have been pursuing for decades and that is a journey on the road to eternal life. That is something that God has offered to all of us and it is a journey that we’re engaged in. You are engaged in running a race; the objective of that race is eventually to have eternal life. It is God’s gift that He wants to give to all of us and He will make available to every human being eventually. If you veer from that goal, if you veer from that calling, you are out of touch with reality and that is what we want to take a look at today. The reality of the calling that God has given to us and what we have to do to maintain it. In Hebrew chapter 12, verse 1, Paul summarizes what had occurred in chapter 11 where he had described all of those who were men and women of faith.
Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:1Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
American King James Version×Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
So there is a race that we run. For most of us it is not a hundred yard dash, it’s not a short race, it’s an endurance race. You don’t know if you have five years, ten years, twenty years, forty, fifty to live God’s way. Some of the servants of God lived God’s way for hundreds of years. Whatever it is you and I have to endure it. We’ve got to be prepared to run the whole race. Now in order to do that we:
Verse 2: Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Now this race is a little different than most and that is that everyone who runs the race is supposed to win. God has not called us to be losers. God has called everyone if you finish your race that you will be a winner.
We find that many of the early disciples of Jesus Christ; let’s go back to John 6 where you find this account mentioned in verse 65 were offended over His statements, were offended by what He said.
John 6:65 John 6:65And he said, Therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father.
American King James Version×And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."
We understand that God has to call.
Verse 66: From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Verse 67: Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
Now notice the response here from Peter.
Verse 68: Then Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
What we find is that the bible, the scriptures, the word of God contains the way to eternal life; contains the way to the Kingdom of God.
So if I could summarize it what we find is that the scriptures are the instruments that God gives to us to guide us to our final destination. Just like a pilot, once he gets into the dark or he gets into the clouds has to follow his instruments, you and I live in a world, in a society that the bible describes as being in total darkness and yet God tells us to fly. He tells us to live a way of life we’ve been called to live and the only way that we will ever reach our destination that we’re shooting for which is God’s Kingdom; eternal life is if we keep our eyes on the instruments. Once you take you eyes off the scriptures, once you begin to use human reasoning or you begin to follow your own senses you begin to loose touch with reality.
Again I hope all of us when we’re through today will realize that this world is living, not in reality but in a sort of make believe. People in the world are flying upside down, they’re flying into the ground; their way of life, the race that they’re running, the way that they are living leaves them straight to death, not to eternal life and only those who have been set on the right course, given the proper instruments and told to how to interpret those instruments are going in the right direction. There is no other way to tell right from wrong, good from evil, than to look at our instruments. Back in Psalm 119, David understood this clearly and I think he probably articulated this as well as anyone has. You notice what David said here:
Psalm 119: 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
God’s word is like a lamp, a candle lamp, a light and it illuminates so that we know how to walk. So what you find is the word of God is a lamp to guide us in this world of confusion, world of chaos, conflicting ideas, philosophies, approaches. You’ll find that man has for six thousand years tried every form of government, every form of religion, every political system that can be dreamed of, every economic approach that man could even think of and none of them have worked. How do we know what works and what does not work? Well one thing we used to use as a slogan with our young people: Gods’ way works, Gods’ way does work and we have to follow that.
Psalm 119: 97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day,
Verse 98: You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me.
So where do we get our wisdom, where do we get our understanding and knowledge and how to go? Well, it comes from God’s law, God’s way of life as revealed through the scriptures. In fact in Matthew 13, verse 44 we find that Jesus Christ described it this way: that once you find the right way and you know the right way to live and I think most of you when you came to ABC knew the right way to live, were living that way but you came here with the idea of preparing yourself better, of putting on more of the armor of God, to strengthen your relationship with God and notice here what happens and this should be the attitude that all of us have:
Matthew 13:44 Matthew 13:44Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
American King James Version×"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Your willing to give up everything for the truth, what is right.
Verse 45: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,
Verse 46: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."
Well, you’ve had the pearl of great price exposed to you this year; the word of God, the way of God, the scriptures, the truth and you’ve had the way that leads to eternal life.
We all live in this world, this society around us yet we’re told that we’re not to be a part of the world. In order to get away from the world, we’d have to go to the backside of the moon and that’s not possible so God says, even though we’re not a part of this world we have to live in it. Since the Garden of Eden, we realize that man has been sitting under the wrong tree; the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Let me explain one of the greatest battles that all of you will face as students as you leave here and you will encounter when you go home. Satan the devil has geared the popular culture in society around us to throw you off the track, to pull you off course, to steer you in the wrong direction, to put you into a death spiral. The way of this world is the way of death.
Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×For the wages of sin is death
Is not the way of life, but the way of death. Now the problem is Satan has a way of life that appeals to all the five senses. We know that God, the way that God has called us to live, is called a way of life. It is the way that we are to live. Satan has a way of life also; it’s extremely attractive. You know why it’s attractive? Because it appeals to all the five senses. It appeals to everything about a human being.
Notice Hebrews 11, verse 24, the example of Moses.
Hebrews 11: 24 By faith, Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
Verse 25: Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.
Passing there means temporary pleasure of sin. The bible does not say that sin does not give you temporary pleasure, it does. Why?
Because it appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, it appeals to human beings and everything about us.
But it is a twisted reality because it ends in death. You and I must always use the scriptures as our guidebook to determine what is right or wrong. In Isaiah chapter 5, God shows very clearly that generally man does not do that. Chapter 5, verse 20, God prophesized, this is a prophecy shows what happed to Israel anciently and also what is happening today:
Isaiah 5:20 Isaiah 5:20Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
American King James Version×Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
So what you find is the world today is based upon upside down values. Black is called white, darkness is called light and so people don’t know that they are being bombarded by the wrong approach. As verse 13 brings out:
Verse 13: Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge.
We are destroyed for lack of knowledge and what kind of knowledge? Notice the last part of verse 24.
Verse 24: Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
So what you find is that Satan the devil will bombard us with humanistic ideas, different philosophies, different approaches. The bible calls this sitting under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or the pride of life that people have. The pride of life simply means to trust in ourselves, to trust in our own abilities, our own way of thinking, our own way of solving problems. In other words trusting in the stability of earthly things and when you do that you go into a death spiral that leads to death. No matter how badly we might believe something, no matter how badly we might have a certain attitude or opinion or way of life, unless it squares with the scriptures and comes from God, it is a very off course, it is a going astray and this is a problem. So remember, you and I have to fly by instruments and not just by the seat of our pants. That instrument that God has given us is the word of God. You’ve had that expounded to you this year. See it doesn’t do any good, I could climb in an airplane if the pilot happened to have some problems, you know what? I could look at the instruments; I’d have no idea how to use them. So you’ve got to be able to properly interpret those instruments. You’ve got to know how to use them correctly.
Remember one of the points that I mentioned from the article on why articulated that it is essential to see things rightly? You may see the instruments but if you misinterpret them, then you’re in trouble. Now the problem with human beings is that humans tend to do that. Why do we have so many religions in this world? Why do we have so many divisions? Why do we find that people come up with so many different doctrines? They all claim to get their beliefs out of the same book. They claim they worship the same God and yet they have different ideas about who God is, what He looks like, what He’s accomplishing, what His purpose is, what our reward is going to be about and they don’t all understand the bible, the book, as it should be. That is one reason why we have ABC, that is to be able to pass on to the next generation the precious truths of God, the way of God and to give you an education whereby you are able to see the bible as a whole and look at it holistically and not just isolated. To often people establish their beliefs on isolated scriptures that they misinterpret and they misuse and they end up going in a wrong direction.
Proverbs 16: 2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.
So every way of a man seems right to him. Most people aren’t going out deliberately saying: "Well this is what’s right, I’m going to do what’s wrong and you’ll strive to disobey in that way." Now Proverbs 16, verse 25 that we’re all very familiar with says:
Proverbs 16: 25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
It seems right, it seems right but the end is the way of death.
How many times do people think that they know how to have a happy marriage and they disobey the laws of God concerning marriage?
How often do people think they know how to rear their children and yet they don’t go by the principles articulated in the bible? They think they know how to get along with one another and have proper relationship and yet they go to war with one another? They kill one another. What you find is that man thinks he knows the right way and yet he doesn’t. The reality of the situation is this; remember we’re talking about reality and the reality of the situation is that man does not know how to direct his steps. He doesn’t know unless God shows him.
In Second Thessalonians 2, verse 10 we find a very interesting scripture that I think certainly applies as much today as any time in history of the church of God. It talks here and I think we have a prophecy set in the end time because it’s talking about a falling away and it’s talking about the fact that there will be falling away, after that a man of sin will be revealed and this man will come on the scene and Jesus Christ Himself will come back and He will take care of him, throw him in the lake of fire. But I want you to notice what happens to those who are deceived. Let’s read verse 9.
II Thessalonians 2: 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
So again we find Satan’s influence here.
Verse 10: and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish,(in other words, they perish, their ways are leading to destruction why, notice) because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
When you leave here you must and I think from most of the students that I’ve talked to, most students have really cultivated a love for God’s way, a love of the truth. What is truth? Thy word is truth. That’s what we’ve been talking about all year long. So you’ve got to love the truth and this is true of all of us. I think you will find that many who have departed company from us, many who’ve gone out, maybe have gone back to their former ways, former religions, and former ways of life, gave up the truth. No longer hold on to those essentials. It is essential to see things correctly. Many people study the bible; we’re not the only ones who study the bible.
There are seminaries. People who study the bible, people who write books on the bible, they write articles about various aspects of the scriptures but let’s understand this; spiritual understanding is revealed knowledge. No man can understand without God revealing. You can have a 200 I.Q., you would be so brilliant that everything you ever read you remember and boy you could do research, know every Greek word, Hebrew word, Aramaic, everything you could ever think of and be totally blinded to the truth because God must call and open a person’s mind. So what we find, not just a matter of studying the scriptures but you’ve got to have those scriptures rightly interpreted and have God’s spirit to lead and guide you. In order for all of us to learn and profit from what we have studied, what we’ve been taught, you know something has to happen.
I know most of the students did not sit in class, take notes and go home at night and reread all of their notes, put them in perfect order and read all of the books that they’re going to cover the next day and study them ahead of time and look up things in commentaries; didn’t have time. My son and daughter-in-law were here this year and they would be in class till four or four thirty, at five they were at work, sometimes he would work till midnight. Then go home, go to bed, to get back up about seven and you go to class in the morning at eight-thirty. So what I’m saying is this: When you leave here, whether you stay here or you go back home or you move someplace else, don’t pack your notes away in boxes and take them out in five years from now and wonder what’s in this box? No, get those notes out, use them, review them and apply them. Remember, knowledge is of no use unless you apply it. Why do we have knowledge? Its got to be put to use.
You’ve got to do something with it. ABC is really just a springboard in your Christian development, your Christian life. It is to give you a running start, sort of a springboard to the future, to grow as servants of God now and in the future in the Kingdom of God. Remember the principle brought out in the bible to whom much is given, much is required. It’s better to know one thing and do it than know five hundred and only do one or two, it’s better to do what we learned.
So I would like to encourage all of you to realize that you’ve been given a tremendous amount of knowledge. As we used to say at Ambassador College, you sit on a gold mine. You have your bibles; you have all kinds of wonderful notes and handouts that you’ve been given. So over the next few years, you will have an opportunity to take that and to digest it and to use it. So, that’s something that you need to do.
I’ve noticed something special about this particular class this year, the class of 2003; that they seemed to have developed a special closeness for one another. I think you’ll find that many of them have developed really true close friendships, there’s sort of a close family environment and family relationship among the students. Coming here for seven months, there’s a common bonding that takes place. Any time you’re involved in any type of effort and there’s sort of like a team involved, there is a bonding that takes place. You’ve all had common experiences this year, you’ve spent much time together in classes, you’ve spent much time together in social events, you’ve been involved in work environment. Many of you have gone out on various service projects and I’d have to say that all of the classes of ABC have been wonderful examples of serving in the local church area and volunteering to help in the community. Many of you will depart when you go home but you will have lasting memories of the relationships that you have developed here. Those just won’t disappear, they’ll be there and I’m sure most of you will want to stay in contact with each other. I understand there are already plans to develop a web site so everybody can share information and have a class reunion here, down the road so it shows that there’s some of these lasting contacts that have been made. One of the lasting benefits of attending ABC in person that you do not receive by just downloading something off the Internet is the camaraderie; the friendship and you know the lasting relationship that you have developed. God has created the human family, as we know, the human race with the capacity to establish and maintain wonderful relationships with one another. God created us that way, we’re social creatures. This is why people get married, this is why they have families, they want to have a relationship with a special person and then they want to have children and have a relationship with them or at least they have normal emotions and feelings, they do. We learn on the human level the lessons that God desires for all of us on a spiritual level and what I mean by that; let me rephrase it this way, what is the most important relationship that you and I should have? You develop many wonderful relationships this year with people many of you never knew and now you’re deep friends. What relationship is it though that God wants us to develop more than any other relationship? Is it a relationship just with another human being and the answer is no. It should be our relationship with God, that what we do on the physical level within our families, within a group like this should teach us the value of having a proper relationship with our maker. In Second Corinthians chapter 6, verse 18, God has this to say that if we come out of this world, if we obey Him, if we do what is right, notice what He says:
II Corinthians 6:18 "I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
God desires a family relationship with us. He is our Father. We are His children and He wants us to have that relationship but how can a human being have a relationship with God? We’re human, He’s divine, we’re flesh, He’s spirit, we’re the earth, He is of the above, we exist in the physical dimension, He exists in the spiritual dimension. So how can we have a relationship with Him? Well God is the one who takes care of that because first of all He begins to work with us, He begins to call us, He opens our minds. God makes it possible where He imparts to us His very divine nature so that you and I can have a link, a contact with Him.
II Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
Verse 3: as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
So when God gives us His holy spirit and that spirit of God unites with the spirit in man that dwells within us then God imparts to us His very life, His holy spirit is His life essence, He imparts that to us, He imparts His power, His life, His godliness.
Verse 4: by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
So you and I can partake of that very divine nature.
This makes it possible for us to have a relationship with the most important being in the universe. How important is it to know the most important being that exists? Why I think it’s very important. What if you can say I know the most powerful human being alive? Well if you say the President of the United States or whomever you might want to point a finger at.
Well people might be impressed. You can say well he’s got influence, he has power, I can go to him, I can ask for things and he’ll do things for me. Stop and think about having a relationship with the most important being in the universe is the most important thing you can do. Most important thing you can do as you leave here is to maintain and continue to develop in the future, a vibrant close relationship with your Father. To have that close relationship with your elder brother, Jesus Christ and the reason you can have a strong relationship is the same reason why you have a strong relationship with one another today and that simply is; you spent time with each other. The last seven months you spent almost night and day with one another and socializing and working. A Godly relationship cannot be established unless you spend some time with your maker. How can we have a relationship? How can I claim I have a proper relationship with my wife if I never see her, if I’m never around her, if we never talk, if the two of us don’t plan together if there isn’t some type of a relationship that is there? The same thing is true here. A Godly relationship comes about because we spend time in prayer and in bible study establishing that relationship. I believe that one of the greatest neglects in God’s church today, one of the greatest problems that we as God’s people are faced with is neglect of our relationship with our God; neglecting that relationship, being careless in our approach toward God. I think many of us if we can look back to when God first called us, first brought us to His truth, His way of life, that there was a vibrancy that we had were we could not get enough of God’s word and where we didn’t know how to pray that effectively, we learned how to pray, we spent time on our knees in prayer and yet today we find that those things tend to go by the wayside. You know, I’ve pastored churches for almost forty years and I’ve seen among God’s people this growing tendency: "Well I understand the scriptures, I know it all." Yet back in 1994/95 we found that people who we thought knew it all, who understood it, did not and somehow something slipped, they did not hold on to the instruments that God has given to us to guide us by but they allowed that to slip and they got turned upside down and unless they right it they are in a death spiral. So it is important for us not to neglect that. The bible warns us over and over and especially in the book of Hebrews, not to neglect so great salvation. The word neglect means not to be careless with, we are not to be careless with that type of relationship. When you get careless with a relationship with your mate or your children, first thing you’ll find is that relationship is not as strong and vibrant and as healthy as it should be. A Godly relationship should priority number one in our lives. Nothing else is more important than to have that type of relationship with Almighty God. A Godly relationship is not self-centered; it is not centered on the self. God must be the center of our life, of our thoughts, of our actions and that give us a clue if we’re watching the instruments or not. If we find that we go long periods of time without prayer, without study, without thinking of God, thinking of His plan, thinking of the Kingdom of God, then we’re not looking at the instruments; we’ve gotten our eyes off and we are going to veer off path.
Remember I brought out that one of the major points that was stated in the article is that you can’t cheat reality? Reality is reality whether you think so or not. The only way we can navigate in the darkness of this world is by the word of God. A person may again not think that gravity is a reality; you can jump out of an airplane without a parachute and on the way down you can enjoy the free fall; "Boy isn’t this nice, wow, feel the breeze, this is great." Then a few seconds later, kerplunk, you smack into the ground and every bone in your body is crushed and the life oozes out of you body. But what you find is that true reality is what we have to look at. The true reality is the spiritual dimension. All physical is temporary. The physical is temporary it is not lasting. I don’t care what society says and this again is the struggle that we’re all faced with and that is people may espouse various ideas and they can begin to influence us in our approach. People can espouse evolution and say God didn’t create the earth. People may say that God is dead. People may claim there are no absolutes. People may say all knowledge is relative and you find all of these ideas and philosophies floating around out there in society, what we call the cosmos but that’s not reality. The reality is that the spiritual dimension does exist and God wants to take us from this human, from this physical, give us eternal life so that we can exist in another dimension, that we can exist on the spiritual level. Notice back in second Kings, chapter 6, I think there’s a lesson that we can learn, especially as we study some of these examples from the Old Testament. You might remember here the example of Elisha and his servant; the King of Syria was upset because it seems like there was a spy in his court, he kept telling the King of Israel, every move he made and his servant said: "It’s not true, it’s the prophet Elisha, what you whisper in your bed chamber, he knows, God reveals it to him." So the king said: "O.K. we’ll take care of that, we’ll send an army down here and we’ll take this Elisha and you bring him back to me."
II Kings 6:14 Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.
Verse 15: And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"
Verse 16: So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
Now if you had been back there at that time, is that what we would have said? There’s more with us than with them. I’m sure the servant of God looked around, I mean the servant of Elisha looked around and said: "Who’s he talking about? Is there an army hidden here somewhere, squirreled off somewhere in an amphitheatre or hiding out in a house."
Verse 17: And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
There were angels encamped about the true servant of God. They were there to help, to intervene which if you remember, they did.
Well brethren, the same thing is true. Now I site this example not that you and I should go around trying to ask God to show us the spirit world. The point is though; we need to be aware that God is with us.
What does the reality say? God says He puts His angels about us. We find that God is with us. He said: "I will never leave you, I will never forsake you or I will never abandon you, I will always be with you even to the end of the world." So we have that promise, that’s reality, everything else might look something different but God says He’s there, He’s with us and so that’s what we hold onto.
Back in Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 27, we find what motivated Moses again.
Hebrews 11:27 Hebrews 11:27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
American King James Version×By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Moses was willing to leave Egypt. He was motivated to obey God because in his minds eye in his awareness, (you might say in his spiritual eye or awareness) he knew that God existed, that God was with him and he feared God more than he feared Pharaoh and you and I have to realize that if God be for us, who can be against us, that’s the reality, that’s real because that’s what the guidebook says, that’s what our instruments tell us. You see we need to always think of the bible as our instrument panel to guide us and to lead us and what it says is real, doesn’t matter what your senses say. You see the main component of reality is faith. As verse 6 of chapter 11 says:
Verse 6: But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Now a lot of people in the world believe God is, they say I believe God; they talk about God, you can see the polls and maybe 75% of Americans say they believe in some type of a higher being but He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. In other words, if you and I will live by the guidebook then He will reward us. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. What motivated the servants of God to obey? You find it was faith. There are two words that are constantly used throughout this chapter, by faith Noah, by faith Abraham, by faith Sarah, and you find that servants of God were moved to action by faith. When we see the reality in other words we understand what God’s will is, then faith is what turns us on. Obedience is nothing more than faith in action. Compromise is a lack of the reality of God in a person’s mind. You see the guidebook, what it says, you see the around and you begin to waffle. Which one do I trust in? Which one do I believe? Reality is that you’ve always got to trust in God. Realize that you cannot follow compromise because that’s not reality.
You can’t cheat reality. When it’s all said and done, God is the one who hands out all the marbles. He’s the one who gives eternal life. He’s the one who throws the wicked into the lake of fire and so we all answer to God.
One things concerning faith, always ask yourself: "What would Jesus Christ do in this case, what would He think?" If you can honestly picture Jesus Christ as an example sitting in front of a computer and watching pornography or committing adultery or working on the Sabbath or not tithing then you’ve got a problem, you don’t understand the instruments very well. We have to arm ourselves. One of the things I found out very early on in my Christian experience is that if you find you have a weakness with a certain thing, arm yourself with a certain course of action; give yourself ten reasons why God’s way is right, why you should be doing this because when you get in the middle of the temptation or problem begins to overwhelm you, it seems like those things go out the window and you get tempted and you find yourself giving into a problem but if you’ve armed yourself with reasons you can begin to think about those and you can begin to look to the instrument. Give yourself ammunition to resist and overcome and above all we should pray for the ability to recover when we veer off course. Everyone veers off course occasionally, hopefully not far. You may see the plane begin to lean a little to the left and the nose begin to go down and you say: "Uh oh, this is not right," the instruments say this and then you begin to go back to what you should be doing.
You could try to travel across this country. If you wanted to go from Cincinnati over to Los Angeles; of course the best way is to fly but if you were going to drive, what you would need is a good map and you would follow that map and it says you start here, you go there and if you follow the map you’ll end up in Los Angeles. But as you’re driving along you might miss a road sign somewhere, there might be a detour; first thing you know, uh oh, how did I get on this highway? Then you have to get your map back out, look at it, get back on the route and keep going. That is exactly the way we must be, we must be constantly looking at our instruments, constantly reading the scriptures, constantly making ourselves aware because what I have found over especially the late 80’s and into the 90’s is that there was so much knowledge and understanding that we lost because it was not being repeated nor articulated. Why does God give us the Feast every year? Why do we have the Sabbath every week? Why are we told to study our own bibles? Because you begin to loose these things, you’ve got to constantly go back for refresher courses so to speak, upgrade your instrument training; learn how to use the instruments properly. This is our guide that points us always in the right direction. It is possible for people to fly upside down spiritually and not recognize it. How is that possible? Well one last scripture, Revelation chapter 3, verse 16, I want you to notice about the Laodiceans here, Mr. Pinelli emphasized last week the lethargy aspect of this. Let me emphasize the instrument aspect.
Revelation 3:16 Revelation 3:16So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.
American King James Version×So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.
Verse 17: Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked."
Now does a poor person in this society know that he is poor? Somebody who makes maybe $5,000 a year and tries to take care of a family of five on that and drives through Knob Hill where the houses start at a million dollars and people make six figure salaries, he realizes that he’s not as well off as they are. Does a blind person know that he is blind? On the physical level, well yes; if you’re blind you can’t see and a person who is poor or a person who is blind or what about somebody who is naked. If you’re naked, you know you’re naked. You can look down and you can say: "I don’t have a stitch on, I’m naked." You’ll realize you’re naked. But spiritually speaking, people can be naked, not have righteousness, can be blind, not see, can be spiritually poor and think they’re rich, think they’ve got everything and they’re not facing reality. The reality is they’re flying upside down, they’re in a death spiral and they’re headed to the ground unless they come to see their condition.
Brethren, we have in Revelation, chapter 3, a prophecy for the end time and this prophecy is there and we need to realize it applies to somebody and we need to make sure that it does not apply to us. We need to make sure that we are doing what is right.
So let’s make sure we keep the reality of the spiritual constantly in front of us. We’ve all been given knowledge that leads us on the road to eternal life. You have understanding of how to live a superior life now in the flesh and how to eventually have eternal life.
Remember a pilot senses may tell him that he is flying level, everything is o.k.; only when he begins to check his instruments and keeps his eye on his instruments can he truly tell. The instruments are the reality, not just the physical senses. So brethren let’s make sure and ABC students as we go into the future, that we keep the reality of God with us continually.