Carter Conlon from the historic Times Square Church in New York City. John saw a people who were standing in the midst of it all and said, Oh, great and marvelous are your works. And you will sing that song one day if you don't give up your confidence in God. When times get tough, don't cast away your confidence.
Thank you for joining us for A Call to the Nation with Carter Conlon. In Revelation chapter 15, we find seven angels with seven last plagues. This comes from a vision that God allowed John to see in a future time in which God is going to judge this world in such a way that the Bible says it will be a time of trouble like this world has never seen. History has never recorded anything like what is going to happen.
But as we'll learn today, you can have confidence in a fearful heart. Here is Carter. John, beloved disciple, approximately 80 years of age, in prison. In prison because he chose to live for Christ. In prison because in the midst of a crooked society, he made the choice to stand out and shine like a light. In prison on an island in Greece called Patmos, and prisons then were not like the prisons now.
There were no television rooms, no gymnasiums, no heat, no kindness, most likely. Very difficult place to be for somebody who's walked with God all of his life and is now paying a terrible price. But even in the midst of that prison, though we can be bound, the Word of God can't be bound.
That's what the scripture says. In the midst of that difficult place, he says, I was in the Lord's day and I was in the Spirit. I was lifted up by God and suddenly this panoramic view of not only the churches of his time, but right through into the future to the coming of Christ, the ultimate triumph over evil, the creation of a new heavens and a new earth.
God comforted him by causing his word to live in his heart. In Revelation chapter 15, he says, Then I saw in verse one another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues for in them the wrath of God is complete. Now he's looking at a time when God is going to justly judge this world and the judgments of God in the last days are going to be horrific. It will be an anguish, a time of trouble such as this world has never seen. History has never recorded anything quite like what's about to happen in this world. And he says, And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire and those who have the victory over the beast.
This is a world ruler who's going to rise because of the fear in people's hearts who promises to bring peace. But he's really the devil incarnate over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God and the song of the lamb. Sing great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the Saints, who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name. For you alone are holy, for all nations shall come and worship before you, for your judgments have been manifested.
It's an amazing thing. John has this vision of a people. Now, whether it's an actual physical fact that one day will be seen or it's something God speaks to him in his spirit and just shows him whichever way you care to look at it. What he saw was people who had gone through some of the most difficult times imaginable, and they're standing at the throne of God and they're singing a song of worship that only those who have suffered and continue to trust in God can sing. Nobody else can sing this song. It's a song, I think, that is sung in measure by those who suffer silently. Even in this generation, those that are here today, there's a worship in Psalm that's deeper than anything you can produce with natural instrumentation or natural giftings or talent. There's a song in the heart that is so much deeper. It's the song of those who have been kept. John said, I saw them standing on a sea like glass.
It's the only way you could describe it. It looked like water, but somehow they weren't sinking in it. Somehow they were given the power to rise above the water or to stand upon that which should have drowned them. Even on this apparent sea of glass that I saw, it was mingled with fire, and it also speaks of those who have gone through times of unspeakable trial, times that should have burnt up their hope and their confidence, destroyed them, but it didn't have the power. They sang a song that's been sung all through the Bible. It started with Moses.
They sang this song and they said, great and marvelous are your works. God, you kept us when nobody could have. Nobody but you could have kept us.
Nobody but you. Nobody but you could have given us the power to endure what we had to endure. Yes, today we are enduring things. We live in a generation where those who want to live for God are vilified, cast out, mocked, made fun of. We're living in times when the news becomes more horrific almost by the day.
The unthinkable thought that babies are being allowed to be born just to be harvested for their internal organs and such like things. God's removing the veil now of all of our false righteousness and showing us what we really are and what we've really become as a nation. But John saw a people who are standing in the midst of it all and said, oh, great and marvelous are your works and you will sing that song one day if you don't give up your confidence in God.
When times get tough, don't cast away your confidence. Don't somehow come to the wrong conclusion that the worship of God means the absence of trial. It doesn't. That is exclusively a North American doctrine that gained a foothold in the churches in the last 30 years. But that's not biblical truth. There are people all over the world suffering for the cause of Christ. Talk to the Christians now in the Middle East and see what these men and women have to say.
But many of them have this same confidence. Oh God, even though we perish yet still we will praise you. Our bodies might be gone tomorrow, but we live forever.
We live forever. Who shall not fear you oh Lord and glorify your name? In other words, one day every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. This life is only a vapor.
We're only here folks for a very, very short time and then it's gone. Who shall not fear you and glorify your name? Feel sorry for the wagging tongues. Feel sorry for those who stand against God and hate righteousness.
Feel sorry for them because they will stand one day at the throne of God to face a deeper fear than they've ever known in their lifetime. For you alone are holy and all nations shall come and worship before you for your judgments have been manifested. This vision confirms the words of Paul in Colossians 1 verses 15 to 17. He says, he speaking of Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him, all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible whether the thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. In other words, Vladimir Putin was put there by God for God specific reason. Everything, every dominion, every principality, every power, all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things consist. In other words, God is in complete control of everything.
Nothing has escaped his control. Yes, this world is unraveling in its darkness. This world is going on the trajectory the Bible clearly says it was going to go on, but it also all of that is in the control of God.
God has allowed it for the sake of one soul still who will turn to him and find him a savior for all of eternity. This vision of John shows you and I in advance the ultimate victory of those who choose to trust God. Even though we may have to walk through unspeakably dark times, the days ahead are going to be hard my friend. They're going to be difficult.
It can happen overnight. Madmen are getting access to nuclear weaponry now. You know, I don't have to convince you. You already know something is on the horizon, but I am not afraid of the days ahead of me and neither should you be. There should be faith in your heart and faith in my heart, especially as the days grow darker and humankind launches its final assault against the Lordship of Jesus Christ. And that's where we're going now. This world is launching an assault against Christ. That's what the battle has always been about.
And very, very soon it's going to be very, very dark. Our opening text tells us that they sang the song of Moses and of the Lamb. So here they are at the throne of God, standing on what looks to be water, but it's holding them up.
Fire burning around them, but it's not consuming them. And the scripture says they sang the song of Moses. Theologically, they knew something. They had walked through it.
They had experienced it. Exodus chapter 15. Let's go through it together, beginning at verse one. It says, Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord. And so here is Moses and the children of Israel after they had come through the Red Sea, when God had miraculously delivered them from the power of Pharaoh and his army, when he had brought them into a place of promise. It didn't mean in that place that they wouldn't have to fight. It didn't mean that they wouldn't suffer. It didn't mean in the promised land that some weren't going to die in claiming the inheritance of God's people for it.
But they knew the faithfulness of God. And here's the song they sang. I will sing to the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously.
The horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea. This is your song. This is my song. This is the song that you and I will one day, we're going to meet again at the throne of God.
And this is going to be our song. I will sing to the Lord. He has triumphed gloriously. All the power of hell that came against me, everything that threatened to swallow me, every enemy that told me I wasn't going to make it, every stray thought that came into my heart trying to tell me to give up, every word that's ever been spoken over my life, God threw it into the sea of his word and drowned it there. The Lord is my strength, verse two in my song, and he has become my salvation. He is my God and I will praise him. My father's God and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war.
The Lord is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his armies cast into the sea. His chosen captains are also drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them.
They sank to the bottom like a stone. Your right hand, oh God, that right hand is where Christ sits, has become glorious in power. Your right hand, oh Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of your excellence, you have overthrown those who rose against you.
You sent forth your wrath. It consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of your nostrils, the waters were gathered together.
The flood stood upright like a heap. The depths congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, I will pursue. I will overtake. I will divide the spoil. My desire will be satisfied upon them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.
And this is exactly what the devil is trying to do today to the testimony of Christ. You blew with your wind. The sea covered them.
They sank like lead in the mighty waters. Oh, who is like you, oh Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand.
The earth swallowed them. You in your mercy have led forth the people whom you've redeemed and you've guided them with your strength to your holy habitation. Folks, I want to tell you something. God is not going to fail you. You put your trust in Christ. And some of the days ahead might be difficult. And some of our paths might be hard.
Some of us may lose our freedom even for a season. I don't know what the future holds, but I know that God holds my future and God holds your future. And I know that one day you and I are going to join in this vision. We're going to stand on the sea of glass. The water didn't drown us.
The fire didn't burn us. And we're going to declare the faithfulness of God. Well, I gave my life to Christ and he promised he would never leave me or forsake me.
And he has been true to his promise. And here I am to worship him. Here I am to give him glory. Here I am to shout holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are filled with his glory. The people will hear this song and be afraid. Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. The chiefs of Eden will be dismayed. The mighty men of Moab, trembling will take hold of them. And all the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them. By the greatness of your arm, they will be as still as a stone till your people pass over, O Lord, till your people pass over whom you have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance in the place, O Lord, which you have made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O God, which your hands have established. We're going to sing that song.
But I want to challenge you to start singing it now. Start declaring the faithfulness of God, no matter how difficult and dark your situation might be. Because keep in mind, it's only for a moment. It's only for a moment.
And then it's gone. We're living in a world and somehow we can get so consumed with everything around us that we start to think this is the only reality. I've heard many people say, well, I've got to leave church and go back to the real world.
I beg to differ. You're leaving the real world to go back to that which is going to pass away. Don't forget that. This is real. This is eternal. This does not pass away.
The worship of God, the fellowship of the saints, the confidence of those who believe in Christ, the assured future of those who have trusted in Christ for their salvation. This is real. This world will pass away. The heavens and the earth will be dissolved, the scripture says. There'll be recreated.
There'll be a new heavens and a new earth one day. So you're not going back into the real world. You're leaving the real world to go back into that which is going to pass away. Keep that in mind when you go out there.
Keep that in mind when people try to tell you that you have no future. Keep that in mind when the devil tries to tell you you're never going to get through this or your sorrow is so deep, you're not going to survive as if everything is just here and of this life. This life is a vapor. Tell me how long will this have seemed 100 million years from now when you and I are still talking about the things of God, still singing at the throne of God, still walking into the ever increasing wondrous depths of the revelation knowledge of Jesus Christ. Light becoming more light, becoming more light, all through eternity, never ending.
How deep will these problems seem then? These things that want to threaten us, these things that try to tell us will never get through. You can't pass through the waters. You'll never escape your past and they also sang the song of the lamb and I believe this song of the lamb is our final declaration. It is a declaration that death has no power over us. Death has no power. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. That's what the apostle Paul said. Death has no power. Jesus said to his disciples, not a hair of your head is going to perish. Now most of them died. Well, they all died eventually, but they died violent deaths in many cases, but he wasn't talking about their physical body.
He was talking about who they are. You will not perish. Yes, your physical body will perish.
Live long enough and it will perish naturally. Your physical body is going to die, but you will not die. Every promise of God to you will be yay and amen. I believe that this song is our final declaration that death has no power.
The grave has no sting. Hardship has no finality and that sin and death, all that sin and death had to throw at us was swallowed up in Christ and in his final victory over evil in this world. Though this world tries to think it can exalt itself above the knowledge of God, Christ has already triumphed over it. He is already Lord of all.
He is already sitting in a place of absolute authority and absolute power. That's got to be deep in your heart now, deep in your heart. If you're trusting in your retirement plan, you might be sorely disappointed by the end of this next week. If you're trusting in our military to keep us safe, we're living in a world environment now, when there's no assurance of anything like that anymore. We're living in an era the Bible clearly warned us about, but also told us that there are people who will have oil in their land. And even though it gets dark, they will see the coming of the Messiah. When all these things begin to happen, Jesus said, lift up your head for your redemption draws nigh. Don't let your heart be afraid. Don't lose your confidence in God.
Don't cast away. All the things that you've learned to bring you to this point of worshiping God only a few more days or a few more years, and this is all going to be over. This theater won't be here. New York City will be gone. All of these things are going to be gone. And you and I are going to be standing at the throne of Almighty God.
And it might be sooner than we think. For I believe with all my heart that we are living in the days that Paul the Apostle encouraged the early church with talking about days of darkness and difficulty coming in the earth. But suddenly a trumpet sounds in heaven and the dead in Christ are raised and we who are alive and remain shall be gathered together with them in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. I'm not promoting an escapist theology.
An escapist theology is one that at all costs chooses to live in a place with its head in the sand saying no harm, no hurt, no trouble, no trial, no difficulty will ever come my way. I'm not saying that, but I'm saying my eyes are fixed on heaven now as David the Psalmist said. And I hope it does happen in my time. And I hope it happens when we're having search together. I hope it happens when we're singing samba, samba, samba.
I do with all my heart. That moment that Christ spoke about when he comes for his church on the earth. Yes, there will be people that will have to go through some very dark days after that. Others will be given opportunity to receive him as savior.
Most will pay with their lives for doing it. Paul says in second Corinthians chapter one verses eight and nine, we do not want you to be ignorant brethren of our trouble, which came to us in Asia. We were burdened beyond measure above strength so that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. It's so important that this deep abiding trust in God become the center of your heart and your mind. Now this deep trust in God because the days ahead are going to be dark and I'm not a gloom and doomers because I'm not thinking about the darkness.
I'm thinking about the light. As dark as the days may be, I have a promise that we are going to be a city set upon a hill that cannot be hidden. I thank God for that with all my heart. Psalm 98 is a prophetic Psalm and it talks about a type of worship that's going to come to this world. I believe in the last days. Psalm 98 says, Oh, sing to the Lord a new song for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gained him the victory. The Lord has made known his salvation, his righteousness. He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his mercy and his faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. And John saw a cloud of witnesses that have not yet had to endure, but they will soon. And so from the beginning to the end, there have been witnesses that have endured trial, hardship, difficulty, and yet they've not cast away their confidence. They haven't lost their song, the ability to declare the faithfulness of God.
Hallelujah. That's why I believe in these days, many will soon be asking you for a reason for the hope that is in you because their hope is gone. But your hope is not in the things of this world.
It's in the promises of God, in the faithfulness of God, the future that God has given, ordained for your life. And so if you are afraid today, and there's so many reasons to be afraid. And if you're afraid, it's not a shameful thing to admit it. But if you are afraid, I'm going to invite you today to join me here at this altar or stand between the screens in the annex or in North Jersey. And for those that are at home and we're just simply going to do what the Bible says, Greg, maybe we can sing that song all over again. The Lord is high above the heavens. We're going to sing it, we're going to shout, we're going to declare him to be faithful.
I'm talking to everybody who's struggling with fear, you're struggling with panic attacks, you're struggling in the work environment, you're afraid, you're going to lose your job, you're afraid you're not going to be able to pay your bills, you're afraid for your family, you're afraid for the threatenings that are around you, the difficult situations you're facing. Take a step of faith. Stand before the throne of God and sing the song of Moses. You brought those people through and you will bring me through. Sing the song of the Lamb. Christ died, Christ rose, Christ is coming back and I am in his hand. You've been listening to Carter Conlon from Times Square Church in New York City. For more information and resources to help you in your walk in Christ, log on to tsc.nyc. That's tsc.nyc. And be sure to be with us next week for A Call to the Nation with Carter Conlon.
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