- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2007

The following are excerpts of a sermon given recently at Hagerstown Seventh-day Adventist Church by youth pastor Josue Sanchez:

With your words, you can affect so much. You can make a person happy. You can make a person sad. If that person has been having problems for a long time and he or she is so depressed, you just go around saying, “Hey, you look sharp in that suit today” ding get a smile. He feels better.

The same way, you can feel very bad if someone says that was a fair judgment when Jesus was judged and someone asked Peter Jesus .

But Peter looked at Jesus, and Jesus was looking at him. Can you imagine those eyes of Jesus? Can you imagine? Do you think that Jesus would look at him with some scrutinizing eyes, like, “Look, I just told you you were going to do that”?

No, something special was in Jesus’ eyes that made Peter leave, cry, repent and move on with Jesus afterward. Something in the attitude of Jesus helped Peter go on, and Peter doesn’t talk about this specifically in 1 Peter, but I believe that if you look at 1 Peter 3:15 you will find there’s something that I believe that attitude of Jesus toward Peter. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

I discovered this verse probably about two years ago. I may have read it before, but it did something special in my mind when I was in Vancouver. It changed my life as a Christian, it changed my life as a pastor, it changed me because suddenly I felt free.

When I was a student back in Spain and France, something that I hated with all my soul was someone coming and saying, “Hey, you’re a philosophy student; you must know this, right?”

What do you think? Just by the fact of having something asked to me like this, I’ll go blank. I get very nervous. That’s why I never do anything like Bible questions and answers because I really get nervous.

Once, before I met and I wanted to meet her family, so I went to Italy. I spent a couple of weeks . I was trying to impress. Here comes the father and says, “You’re a philosophy student?” Sir, yes, sir. “So if you’re a philosophy student, then you must know in what year did Joshua cross the Jordan, right?”

For the next 20 minutes, they gave me such a list of data and events from the Bible that I didn’t even know those things existed, and I was so nervous, but they knew a lot of the Bible and they were making it a very hard time. I hated it, but the knowledge that they had was imposed on me without gentleness and respect it hurt, that knowledge from the Bible.

So when the Bible tells us you’ve got to go and always be prepared to give an answer, the first thing I thought was, “OK, what year did Joshua cross the Jordan?”

Well, no, the Bible doesn’t say that we need to know every little thing, but think of what you like from the Bible. Is there any story in the Bible that you like especially? Is there a parable, anything in the Bible that you like? What’s your passion? If you have a passion, if you have something that calls your attention, focus on that, so you will enjoy your knowledge and won’t impose that knowledge on someone.

One thing that is important when we read the Bible, when we study so we are prepared to give an answer, when we acquire such knowledge in the Bible, we need to keep in mind that we are reading primarily for future application.

The Bible is the light. I like holding the light. But if we don’t read the Bible thinking that we are going to apply it, what we do is focus on ourselves. The Bible this huge flashlight that is amazing, so powerful. When we don’t want to apply it and teach it to other people this self-centered knowledge makes us be quite scary to people that are not familiar with the teachings of the Bible. We may have the best flashlight in the world, but it does nothing if we point it on us.

The knowledge we acquire from the Bible is meant to be applied and shared. When we take that knowledge in the Bible and we point it at people, suddenly everything becomes colorful.

I want to get more love from Jesus. I want to get more knowledge from the Bible, so I can share more.

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