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Focus on the Gospel – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
April 3, 2022 3:00 pm

Focus on the Gospel – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Here's Anne Graham Lotz.

Oh, listen. Don't forget the message. There is power in the cross to change hearts and to change lives.

Black, white, Jew, Gentile, Arab, Israeli, Muslim. There's power in the cross to transform human life. We're so glad you've joined us today for Living in the Light with Anne Graham Lotz. Anne has titled today's message, Focus on the Gospel, and it's taken from Romans chapter 1, verses 1 through 17. From this passage, Anne has discovered three unique and important characteristics for having a heart of the gospel, and she's going to illustrate those three things today. The first is conscience of God's call. It's the basis of our being able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The second is being convinced of God's compassion. This involves being personally informed and interceding on behalf of others and then getting involved because you're indebted to the Lord Jesus Christ for His salvation.

And then the third characteristic is being confident in God's cross. So let's join Anne now as she teaches more from this encouraging subject of focusing on the gospel. Here's Anne. Several years ago, I can't remember dates anymore, you know, but it was several years ago, I was invited to be a part of the National Broadcasters Association delegation to Israel. So I went to Israel with a very special group of people, and one of the things we did, we went down to a farming community on the Gaza border, and it was when the missiles were just raining like rain, you know, just coming in thick and fast. And we went to this little farming community and they said, when you hear the siren go off, you have 30 seconds to get into a bunker. The siren went off, we all dashed into the bunker. I was on my face in the bunker, and then you come out and the iron dome is taken out the missile.

You see it looks like a little white cloud, but it's not. It's the missile that's been exploded. We went in the underneath bunker and we were briefed, and the head of that community, she was head of the security for the community. She was five months pregnant and she was terrified.

And the little guy that showed us around was just a farmer. And I remember his eyes just so wide with terror. And while we were there, his home was hit by a missile, and his mother and his baby were not there, thank goodness. But his home was hit, and when we left, we were in the car and the siren went off. And on a four-lane highway, we had to get out of the car, lay face down the ditch, and look up and you see the puff of smoke where the missile had been taken out by the iron dome. And I came back, and I want to tell you something. I was angry. How could this be? How could people who are trying to make a living and farm in their community and grow crops and have babies and raise children, how can it be that they have to live in that kind of horror and terror for no other reason than they exist?

There wasn't anything they were doing to provoke the Palestinian attack, it's just because Israel is there. And I came back, and I'm going to tell you that information was heavy on my heart like a burden leading me to intercede. And for me, it's hard for me to keep my concentration in prayer.

I don't know if sometimes you have that. And so I write down my prayers from time to time. And so I wrote down a prayer that actually was about an hour long, and I posted it on our website, invited people to pray our website, invited people to pray with me. And we had about 25,000 people who joined me in prayer.

It was called 911, and it's still on our website if you want to look it up. 911 prayer for Israel. And I brought a portion of it to read to you so you can understand how the information leads to intercession.

I believe the information allows God to give us the burden that's on His heart so that we can then ask Him for what He's wanting to give us. So this was a portion of my prayer. Our Father in Heaven, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, You are the eternal I Am. We know that You so loved the world that You gave us Heaven's treasure when You sent Your only Son to die so that anyone and everyone who places their faith in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Yet we also know that Your great heart of love still longs to pour out Your blessing on the city and the people that You have uniquely chosen as Your own. Jerusalem, the house of Israel, the Jews. We pray with compulsion for the peace of Jerusalem and for the whole house of Israel. Your people and the city that bear Your name are surrounded by a vast multitude of hostile evil men seeking to kill and destroy. And now these demonic forces are on the verge of being equipped with nuclear weapons. Your people are subjected to the continuing barrage of enemy missiles, mortars that are destroying farms and families, incendiary balloons, communities and children while dealing with a raging pandemic.

While one ceasefire after another promises peace, when Israel's land is divided and surrendered for peace, when people cry out for peace, there is no peace. Are you not the God who rules over the nations? Power and might are in your hand.

No one can withstand you. So we are compelled to pray for your people because they're facing their enemies without the strength, wisdom, peace, comfort, security, hope that you reserve for those who are indwelt by your spirit through faith in your son Jesus. They have no deep blessed assurance that their sins are forgiven, that eternal life is theirs, that a heavenly home is waiting to welcome them. We ask, great Creator God, that You give sight to those born spiritually blind. Open the eyes of Your people to see You for who You truly are. Don't let their sight be dimmed or distorted by centuries of religiosity and rejection of the truth. Open their eyes to Jesus as their Messiah. Then show up in great power, giving Your people supernatural strength to withhold vengeance, to execute justice, to remember mercy, to walk humbly as they acknowledge that victory will be won not by their might nor by their own power but by Your Spirit. Yet we do ask You for victory over the enemy in the name of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, in the name of the Messiah, in the name of Yeshua, Jesus.

Amen. When I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, I'll be honest with you, I don't believe there'll be peace in Jerusalem, not permanent peace. I don't care how many people sign that Abraham Accords. There won't be peace until the Prince of Peace comes back and establishes it, but we can pray for it. And every time I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, I'm saying, Lord Jesus, please come. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Just looking up. Zechariah 12 10 says that one day the Jews are going to look on the one whom they've pierced and mourn as for an only son, mourn because for 2,000 years they've rejected the one who is their Messiah. And that mourning is going to be repentance and they're going to turn to Jesus. And Paul says in Romans 11 26 that one day all of Israel will be saved.

I don't know if that means every single person, but it's going to be a messianic nation. So a heart for the Gospel is conscious of God's call to the person of Jesus Christ for the purpose of sharing the Gospel. We know the mission is to share the Gospel. We know the message is the Gospel. Okay, second characteristic. Heart for the Gospel is convinced of God's compassion for God so loved the world.

Just wrap your mind around that. And lastly, you're confident in God's cross. The same power that brought forth everything into existence that had no existence in in creation. The same power that brought his children out of Egypt, out of slavery with a strong powerful hand and then the same power that opened up the Red Sea so that they could cross over on dry ground. The same power that rolled back the Jordan River so they could cross into the promised land. The same power that brought down the walls of Jericho. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead. The same power that transformed Saul of Tarsus into Paul the Apostle. That same power is available today. It has not been depleted, diluted. There is power in the cross of Jesus Christ.

Oh yes, there is. We're sharing the Gospel with what I would call a righteous Jew and a lovely, lovely man whom I dearly love. And I'd share the Gospel with him multiple times but this last time I was just a little bit bolder. And so then he just was honest with me. He said, Ann, I believe there are two tracks and you're on one track to God but I'm on another track to God. And I thought, no, I didn't argue with him. But Paul said the power of the Gospel for the Jew first and then the Gentile is the same Gospel.

There are no two tracks. So there's power in the cross and I just want to pick up on the phrase in verse 16 that says it's the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Has anybody ever asked you, huh, you know, what are we saved from? I don't need to be saved. So of course we're saved from an empty way of life. We're saved from futility. We're saved from darkness. We're saved from ignorance. But one of the primary things we're saved from, can I just tell you, is hell.

So I don't hear too many people do this and I don't want to be offensive but this is what the Bible says. I'm going to describe hell to you and I won't give you the text but it's a biblical description, okay? Hell is a place of great suffering, weeping, gnashing of teeth.

The only time I gnashed my teeth was in childbirth because it hurt. It was so painful. And hell is a place of intense physical torment forever and ever. Hell is described as a bottomless pit. If I fell into a bottomless pit I would feel like I was always falling. I was never safe. And hell is described as a lake. Undulates, changes, you'd never feel like you were standing on solid ground.

Always feel insecure. Hell is a place of total darkness where the sun never rises, it never shines. People say, well, you know, I'm going to go to hell, all my friends are there, we're going to have a party.

Well, your friends may be there but you're not going to see them. It's dark. You can hear those screams of agony but you'll be in darkness and it's a place of solitary confinement. You're all alone in hell.

You know, the worst time when I'm sick is in the middle of the night when it's all dark. There's nothing to distract me from the pain and the agony. Hell is like that on steroids forever and ever. Hell is described as a fire, place of intense thirst, dissatisfaction, torment.

Remember the parable Jesus gave about the man who just said, put just a drop of water on my tongue, but it wasn't possible. The worst aspect of hell is that you're separated from God forever, the one who created you, the one who loved you, the one who gave his son for you and you're separated, can't see him, can't know him, can't ever be in his presence. So let's read the verse again. I'm not ashamed of the gospel because it's the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, Jew and Gentile, because we're all going to hell if we don't put our faith in Jesus. And Jesus doesn't condemn us to hell, it's our sin that condemns us. So if we just keep on in life the way we were born and we're all born sinners, Romans 3 23 says that we've all sinned, all come short of God's glory, so if we just keep on living our lives the way we were born, then we're just going to cruise right into hell, which is why God so loved us that he gave us his only begotten son, that when we place our faith in him we would not go to hell, but would have everlasting life. Romans 6 23, the wages of sin is death, separation from God, hell when we die, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. So the power of the cross is still sufficient to change hearts today, whether they be Jewish or whether they be Gentile. And I know right now the Jews have that hardness in their blindness, something's going on in the Jewish community.

It's like the Spirit of God is beginning to move in the hearts of his people, and I don't know if I'll be allowed to see those blinders come off and the eyes open, and then mourning for someone as for an only son, turning to Yeshua as their Messiah, but that time is coming, so and what are you trusting to change lives? I was invited recently to be on a televised panel discussion on racial healing and reconciliation, so I accepted. I thought it was very worthwhile. The moderator told me he would save me to last, so I said okay. So it was a panel discussion, so the moderator interviewed the different panelists, and as they shared one by one, they shared that they believed in order to change our nation, in order to change people, that the foundation of our nation needed to be destroyed. They believed that the Ku Klux Klan had infiltrated the police, so they needed to be defunded and done away with. They believed that we were saturated with systemic racism, so when it got to me, the moderator said, all right, Ann, what do you think? So I had to bite my tongue, and then I just said, you know, I disagree with most of what I've heard, but there was a panelist, a white guy that was on the panel, and he had been raised as a skinhead Nazi.

He hated blacks, and then he'd heard the gospel, and his life was transformed, and when he was on the panel, he was serving on the pastoral staff of a black church in the deep south, so I turned to him, and I said, what changed your life? It wasn't marching in the streets. It wasn't breaking windows. It wasn't defunding the police.

It wasn't joining Black Lives Matter. It was the cross. It was the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Oh, listen, don't forget the message. There is power in the cross to change hearts and to change lives. Black, white, Jew, Gentile, Arab, Israeli, Muslim, you know, whoever. There's power in the cross to transform human life, so that same principle that I gave that panel applies to the Middle East, doesn't it? It's the power of the cross that will bring reconciliation between Jew and Arab and Israeli and Palestinian and all that's going on there. The purpose of the cross, verse 17, in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that's by faith from first to last. So from the first time when you are converted and you meet Jesus, you put your faith in Him, you're made right with God.

But then you grow in your righteousness until the last day when you see Him face to face. So some people come to the cross, they get their ticket to heaven, and then they just feel like they go back to live their lives the way they've always lived them. But we come to the cross, we put our faith in Jesus, we're saved by faith, and that same faith that saves us is the faith we live by.

We don't live our own wits, our own common sense, our own logic. We live by faith in the Son of God who loves us and gave Himself for us, right? And it's a righteousness that's imparted and the righteousness is imputed, so we're saved and then we're sanctified.

The power of the cross is to sanctify us. Years ago I was diagnosed with cancer and I went through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation. Radiation was every day for a month and I would go to the hospital, they would lay me down this machine, then the little technicians would run out, then the machine would come down and I'd hear the beep and the whir and the whatever and I knew I was being radiated. The idea being that what the surgery didn't get, then the chemotherapy would get, what the chemotherapy missed and the radiation would get.

And the idea was that every day when I went through that radiation it would break down any cancer cells that it found until they would be broken and dissolved and they couldn't do their destructive work. Can I just tell you, the blood of Jesus is like that radiation on cancer. So when we come to the cross and we're forgiven of all of our sin, past, present, future, all of our sin was future to Jesus when we were saved. But we come back to the cross every day to confess our sin, not only to be restored in our fellowship with Him but to break that hold that sin has because we still sin, don't we? To be honest, we're saved but we're still sinners in our habits and our thought patterns and our actions and every time we're aware of sin, we bring it to the cross, plow the blood of Jesus and increasingly like that radiation on cancer, the blood of Jesus weakens the sin, weakens the hold until we can be set free.

Yes, you can. You don't have to live in depression. You don't have to live in that bondage. You're no longer a slave to sin.

You've been set free. 1 John 1-9, if you confess your sin, he's faithful just to forgive you. That happened when you were converted and to cleanse you every day when you come back to the cross. So the cross isn't just for them. The cross is for me and the cross is for you. We live at the foot of the cross and our gratitude for what God has done sends us back out to share the gospel with the world. The characteristics of a heart for the gospel match your heart. Are you conscious of God's call? Call first of all to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. When was the last time you spent time with him?

Not to prepare something, not to give out, not to really study, but just be in his presence without looking at your watch. For the purpose of then making a non, sharing the gospel. When was the last time you shared the gospel with somebody one-on-one? And are you so convinced of God's compassion for the whole world that you're willing to make the time to be informed and then to intercede and get involved as God leads you because you're indebted? And then lastly, are you so convinced, confident in the power of the cross? You know what your message is? You know what your mission is?

You know what your mission is? And you give out the gospel to the Jew first as God brings them across your path and then to the Gentile while you are growing in righteousness so that first Corinthians says we're changed from glory to glory till other people can see Jesus in us. That's the purpose of the cross, to save us and sanctify us for God's glory. So my challenge to you, if you're like me, would you ask God to enlarge your heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ? Pray with me please. And I don't feel I can give a message like this without extending to you the opportunity to receive Jesus Christ by faith as your savior. And it's so simple that you can miss it but you just come to the cross by faith. And I'm going to lead you in a prayer if you want to do that right now. Let me pray and then you pray after me.

Very simple. Dear God, I bow before you and I'm deeply aware that if I were to die today, I'd come under your judgment. I would go to hell.

That terrifies me. I want to be saved. And so I'm coming to the cross right now believing there's power in the blood of Jesus to save me. So I believe Jesus died on the cross for me. If I was the only one who needed to be saved, I believe he would have died for me. And I ask that you would cleanse me with this blood.

Forgive me. I claim him as my savior. And I believe Jesus rose up from the dead to give me eternal life. And I believe eternal life is a right relationship with you now but heaven when I die and I open up my heart, I choose to turn away from my sin and invite Jesus to come live inside of me, take control. And I know he'll come in in the person of the Holy Spirit who will never leave me, never forsake me. From this day forward, I choose to follow him all the way to heaven. And I pray this in his name. Listen, if that's your prayer, somebody who's listening, then God has heard.

It's not your words. It's the faith in your heart that God responds to. So you're saved. Welcome to God's family for the rest of us. Father, I ask now please that you set our hearts on fire for the gospel. That in this craziness in which we're living, people so desperate to be saved, Lord, we see the people falling out of the trade towers and the people falling off of that airplane and we want to scream and cry for the people all around us, Lord, that are falling, spiritually speaking, into destruction and judgment. Oh, Lord God, in the short time that there is left, use us to share the gospel in such a way that people's hearts and lives are changed. Give us an enlarged heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Oh, yes, please, Lord, we ask. We surrender our hearts to you for that purpose. Give us opportunities to share the gospel. Give us courage to open our mouths. Even if we do a bad job, Lord, you can take it and clean it up and wing it into people's hearts so that they respond. So we ask your blessing and thank you for the blessing we've received. Lord, I pray that any decisions that are made would not be snatched away by what comes after us, but seal it in our hearts, please. We ask in Jesus' name. Amen. Be sure to take advantage of all that's available for you at From Ann's blog, her messages, Bible studies, books, and videos, all will give you a deeper, richer relationship with Jesus through God's word. And thanks for joining us today for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-12 16:57:40 / 2023-05-12 17:07:01 / 9

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