Sabbath, December 3, 2005
“And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.” Matthew 22:33.
• To understand what makes a church grow.
• To learn about and follow the teaching and preaching style of Jesus.
• To teach the truth without compromising.
WHY PEOPLE WERE ATTRACTED TO JESUS
1. What was one impressive characteristic of Jesus’ ministry?
Mark 12:37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
Matthew 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
2. Why were large crowds attracted to Jesus?
Luke 6:17, 18 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
“During His ministry, Jesus devoted more time to healing the sick than to preaching. His miracles testified to the truth of His words, that He came not to destroy, but to save. Wherever He went, the tidings of His mercy preceded Him. Where He had passed, the objects of His compassion were rejoicing in health, and making trial of their new-found powers. Crowds were collecting around them to hear from their lips the works that the Lord had wrought. His voice was the first sound that many had ever heard, His name the first word they had ever spoken, His face the first they had ever looked upon. Why should they not love Jesus, and sound His praise? As He passed through the towns and cities, He was like a vital current, diffusing life and joy. . . .” –Gospel Workers, p. 43.
3. How did Jesus capture the attention of the multitudes?
Matthew 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
“Again, Christ had truths to present which the people were unprepared to accept or even to understand. For this reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teaching with the scenes of life, experience, or nature, He secured their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons, they recalled the words of the divine Teacher. To minds that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance of the Saviour’s teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries grew clear, and that which had been hard to grasp became evident. Jesus sought an avenue to every heart. By using a variety of illustrations, He not only presented truth in its different phases, but appealed to the different hearers. Their interest was aroused by figures drawn from the surroundings of their daily life. None who listened to the Saviour could feel that they were neglected or forgotten. The humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a voice that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 21, 22.
4. What style of teaching did Christ use to explain the profound truths to the multitudes?
1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power:
“The reception of the gospel does not depend on learned testimonies, eloquent speeches, or deep arguments, but upon its simplicity, and its adaptation to those who are hungering for the bread of life.” –Gospel Workers, p. 155.
5. Why were Christ’s sermons so powerful?
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Matthew 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
“The officers who were sent to take Jesus reported that never man spake like this man. But the reason of this was, that never man lived like this man; for if he had not so lived, he could not so have spoken. His words bore with them a convincing power, because they came from a heart pure, holy, burdened with love and sympathy, beneficence and truth.” –The Review and Herald, May 17, 1887.
TEACH THE OLD GOSPEL
6. What themes should a teacher of the Word of God present to the people?
1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
“The Lord desires His servants today to preach the old gospel doctrine, sorrow for sin, repentance, and confession. We want old-fashioned sermons, old-fashioned customs, old-fashioned fathers and mothers in Israel.”
“The third angel’s message calls for the presentation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and this truth must be brought before the world; but the great Center of attraction, Jesus Christ, must not be left out of the third angel’s message….
“The sinner must ever look toward Calvary; and with the simple faith of a little child, he must rest in the merits of Christ, accepting His righteousness and believing in His mercy. Laborers in the cause of truth should present the righteousness of Christ.” –Evangelism, pp. 179, 180, 184, 185.
7. Should the truths we preach be ever compromised in order for us to gain greater acceptance and popularity?
Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
“To lower the standard in order to secure popularity and an increase of numbers, and then to make this increase a cause of rejoicing, shows great blindness. If numbers were an evidence of success, Satan might claim the pre-eminence; for in this world his followers are largely in the majority.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 143.
“As a people we are to stand firm on the platform of eternal truth that has withstood test and trial. We are to hold to the sure pillars of our faith. The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our only true foundation. They have made us what we are. The lapse of time has not lessened their value.
“No line of truth that has made the Seventh-day Adventist people what they are, is to be weakened. We have the old landmarks of truth, experience, and duty, and we are to stand firmly in defense of our principles, in full view of the world.” –Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 52, 53.
8. What great event will see the conversion of thousands who will take their stand with God’s people?
Joel 2:23, 28, 29 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month…. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
Revelation 18:1, 4 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory….And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
“There will be thousands converted to the truth in a day who at the eleventh hour see and acknowledge the truth and the movements of the Spirit of God.” –Last Day Events, p. 212.
“The time is coming when there will be as many converted in a day as there were on the day of Pentecost, after the disciples had received the Holy Spirit.” –Evangelism, p. 692.
“I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth. Satan knows this; and before the loud cry of the third angel is given, he raises an excitement in these religious bodies, that those who have rejected the truth may think that God is with them. He hopes to deceive the honest and lead them to think that God is still working for the churches. But the light will shine, and all who are honest will leave the fallen churches, and take their stand with the remnant.” –Early Writings, p. 261.
• What can I personally do so my church can grow spiritually and increase in numbers?
• Are you willing to teach and preach the truth, by word and example, without compromise?