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What Is the Mark of the Beast? | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 18, 2021 3:00 am

What Is the Mark of the Beast? | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 18, 2021 3:00 am

In this Sunday episode, Pastor Greg Laurie takes on one of the most intriguing and sensationalized subjects in the Bible—the mark of the beast. Looking at today’s culture and technology, Pastor Greg will show you how to steer clear of deception and embrace God’s truth. Listen in for this newest message from Revelation: A Book of Promises.


Antichrist will introduce a cashless society, requiring people to take a mark.

The mark is future, not past or even present.

The mark is a visible, literal brand of sorts.

The mark is given as a sign of devotion to Antichrist and as a passport to commerce.

“The knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth” (Isaiah 11:9).

Antichrist is coming to deify Satan.

Antichrist is coming to defy and take the place of Jesus.

Antichrist’s time and reign will be limited.

Antichrist is coming to kill Christians.

We all have the choice to believe God or believe the lie.

Antichrist will rebuild the Jewish Temple.

Antichrist will help the Jews rebuild their Temple and then desecrate it.

The Antichrist erects an image of himself and demands worship.

They have the mark of the Father in Heaven, not Antichrist.

They sing a new song.

The 144,000 are sincere in their faith.

They follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

Following Jesus is something we do each and every day.

Scripture Referenced

Isaiah 46:9–10

2 Thessalonians 2:9–11

Matthew 24:15–16

2 Thessalonians 2:4

John 18:9

Psalm 40:2–3

1 Corinthians 9:27


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This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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A New Beginning
Greg Laurie
In Touch
Charles Stanley
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Summit Life
J.D. Greear

Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, and my objective is to deliver, hopefully, compelling practical insights in faith, culture, and current events from a biblical perspective. To find out more about our ministry, just go to our website So thanks for joining me for this podcast.

We're going through the book of Revelation together, and the title of my message is What is the Mark of the Beast? So I went to the market the other day, and I bought a few groceries, and as I was leaving, they had a nice little flower section. And I was looking around at different flowers, and I usually get my wife orchid.

She favors those. But then I saw something I rarely see. They had tulips. In fact, these are the tulips I bought for her. And I thought, well, those are beautiful, so I paid for them. And they cost a little more than I thought they should, but they were so impressive, I thought, I've got to give her these tulips. And as I'm walking to my car, I'm looking at them, saying, what a marvel of God's creation. They're so perfect. They almost look fake.

I can't believe these things. So I get home, and I put them in this little jar here, and I put some water in it, and I wanted to cut the stems, you know. And so I get a knife out, and they're not cutting.

I get a stronger knife out, still not cutting. I thought, wow, I didn't know tulips had stems that were so tough. So Kathy comes home a little later, and I said, I got you some tulips. And so then she went to cut the stems, and she said, Greg, these tulips you bought me are fake.

I bought my wife fake tulips. So I have a real tulip here for comparison. But boy, they do look a lot like the real one. So this is a real tulip here, and this is a fake tulip. The white one is real. The green one is fake. But look how close they are.

I don't know that you could really tell the difference if you didn't know better. Okay, so why are we talking about flowers? You're asking.

I have no idea. I just wanted to tell you that story. No, seriously. There is coming a world leader on the scene who's gonna be, for lack of a better description, a fake Christ. A phony Jesus. He's called the anti-Christ. The prefix anti not only means against, and He will be against Christ and His followers, but it also means instead of. Jesus said in the last days, there will come those that will say, I am Christ. And that's exactly what this man will do.

But he's a pretender. And we all know His number, don't we? It's 666. More people probably know that number from the Bible than John 3.16, which says, For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, and whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Oh, we don't know that, but we know 666. We get nervous about that number.

If it's in your social security number, maybe you wanna change it. If they give you a new phone number and it has 666, oh, I don't know if I want that number. We know that number is connected to evil. We know that it points to something ominous, and indeed, it does. The Bible teaches that there is coming this charismatic world leader, the anti-Christ, who will introduce a cashless society requiring everyone to take a mark. No one will be able to buy or sell or engage in any kind of commerce without the mark of the beast. And by the way, this may be one of the most intriguing issues in all of the Bible.

There's been more speculation, more sensationalism, more silliness about this topic than any of the other last day's events. Now, maybe 10 years ago, if I was teaching on this, I would illustrate with some things I read in the news about how close we are to this mark. But I don't even need to do that anymore, do I? We all know that the tech is pretty much here where we could be identified by a mark. We read of microchips being implanted in pets, and now in some cases, even in humans. I just saw a video for a well-known website where they're saying you don't need a wallet anymore.

You can just scan your hand or wave your hand and make your purchase. I hear that Elon Musk, the creator of Tesla and SpaceX, has implanted a little chip into the brain of a chimpanzee. And I saw a chimpanzee playing a video game with this artificial intelligence added. So clearly we can see this tech is already here.

Think about this. The Bible predicted this technology that the antichrist will harness and use for evil purposes 2,000 years ago. John is on an island in the middle of nowhere, and the Lord gives to him what we call the revelation, which is the unveiling of the eternal, the unveiling of the future. At this time, there were no computers or tablets or smart phones.

This was the age of spears and stones and wood. This was incredible that John would have this kind of insight. And by the way, that's why you can believe the Bible. It's the one book that dares to predict the future, not once, not twice, but hundreds of times with 100% accuracy. Okay, so let's read that passage that refers to the mark of the beast. Revelation 13, verse 16, says he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and no one can buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him to this understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. So God has predicted the future, hasn't he? And by the way, that's not risky for the Lord. It wouldn't be any more risky for God to predict the future than for you to tell me what you had for dinner last night.

I hope you can remember what you had. And so when the Lord speaks of the future, it's easy. Why? Because God lives in the eternal realm. So everything is in a continuum to him. So when he says this will happen, he knows it will happen exactly as he says it will. I love this passage, Isaiah 46, verse 9. The Lord says, Do not forget the things that I've done through history, for I am God.

I alone, I am God, and there's no one else like me. Only I can tell you what is going to happen before it happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.

How true is that? So the Lord has told us this is coming. We know it will. But we don't know when it will happen exactly. You know, there's a lot of speculations, and I mentioned recently conspiracy theories that people come up with about the Antichrist trying to identify him, which is a bad idea, and it's futile, and trying to figure out what the mark of the beast might be. Now because of the coronavirus, we have the vaccines that are available to the public, and on more than one occasion I've read articles about is the vaccine the mark of the beast? If you take the vaccine, are you indeed taking the mark of the beast? So I'm going to answer that right now to the best of my ability.

The answer is no. It is not the mark of the beast. No one's going to take the mark of the beast accidentally. Because in fact as we study scripture we realize it's not just taking the mark on your right hand or forehead. It's a pledge of allegiance to the Antichrist himself.

No one is going to take it by accident. And by the way, the Antichrist will not be revealed until the rapture of the church. So if you know who the Antichrist is and you think you know what the mark of the beast is, congratulations. You missed the rapture. Now I'm being facetious of course because we don't know. So the point is it's pointless to try to identify Antichrist or even the mark that he will use.

Let me summarize. The mark of the beast is future, not past or even present yet. The mark is a visible, literal brand of sorts. The mark will be given as a sign of devotion to Antichrist and as a passport to commerce. And here's the thing.

You'll know it when you're getting it. There's even an angel that is going to fly through the heavens warning people to not take the mark. So no one's going to do it again by accident. So don't freak out if you go to Disneyland and they put a stamp on your right hand.

It's ok. You have not taken the mark of the beast. But when this mark is employed during the great tribulation period that lasts for seven years, there's going to be a one world government, a new global economy ruled by one man. I was watching a business news channel the other day and they were talking about the changing economy. And one financial expert said, and I quote, the real answer to all this is some kind of a banking union where everyone signs on board there needs to be some kind of banking overlord. A banking union that everyone will bow down before.

I thought, wow. He may have just described the Antichrist. Yes, he'll be an overlord if you will. And in this case, people will technically bow down before him. You'll have a choice during the tribulation period. You can either take the mark and worship the Antichrist or starve.

Basically no mark, no merchandise, no seal, no sale. One thing is clear, we've never been closer to the Lord's return than we are at this moment. Now it's not all bad news because the Bible promises a new beginning. The Bible promises a new world when righteousness will reign supreme, light over darkness, good will prevail over evil. And isn't that good news? Because we read so much bad news right now, horrible, awful things that happen every day in this fallen world of ours. Why are things going to be so much better? Because the Bible says in Isaiah 11, 9, the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth.

How wonderful that will be. Right now the knowledge of the Lord does not fill the earth. Many don't even want to hear what God has to say. One of our passions here at Harvest Ministries is to get the gospel to as many people as possible and to reach unexpected people in unexpected places. And indeed the Bible tells us before Christ comes back, the gospel will be preached all around the world. And then one day, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.

But before that comes, it's going to get pretty dark. And that's what Revelation 13 is telling us with the emergence of this antichrist figure. Now if you heard my message last time, which was titled, Who is the Antichrist? You remember some things I pointed out.

But in case you missed it, here's a little recap. Number one, antichrist is coming to deify Satan. He's coming to deify Satan. Revelation 13 for us is they worship the dragon.

Revelation tells us in chapter 12 the dragon is Satan. So they'll worship Satan who gave authority to the beast. And the beast is the antichrist.

And they worship the beast saying who is like the beast and who is able to make war with him. So ultimately there's going to be full tilt Satan worship happening on the planet. Number two, antichrist is coming to defy and take the place of Jesus. So he wants to deify Satan and he wants to defy and take the place of Jesus. Revelation 13 five says, There was given a mouth speaking great things in blasphemy and authority to continue for 42 months.

And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle. A third thing I'd point out about antichrist, his time and reign will be limited. He'll rule for a seven year period.

The first three and a half years will be peaceful. And that's why some will hail him as a peacemaker. But in reality he's the ultimate trouble maker.

He'll show his true colors at a certain event I'll talk about in just a moment. And number four, he is coming to kill Christians and followers of the Lord. Verse seven says, It's granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.

And authority was given to him over every tribe, tongue and nation. We're also told in Revelation that there'll be some kind of a assassination attempt against antichrist that he will survive. And when that happens, people are gonna worship him and the devil himself. Now, the antichrist does not act alone.

He has a partner in crime and that person is identified as the false prophet. Revelation 13 verse 11 says, I saw another beast. And remember, beast is not a description of how they appear but more a description of their character. Another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

So a lamb is a passive creature. A dragon, we already know, is Satan. So the devil's speaking through him. But he appears, oh I suppose religious and pious like a lamb. He has all the authority of the first beast in his presence. The first beast being the antichrist. He causes the earth and those that dwell in it to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.

Antichrist survives that assassination attempt. And here's the verse, verse 16. And he causes both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on their right hand or their forehead. So he's sort of implementing this mark in the culture. And again, this is in the future.

So here's the thing. We wonder why would anybody take the mark of the beast? And the answer is given to us in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 9 which says, speaking of antichrist, this evil man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and wonders. He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction, listen, because they refuse to believe the truth. It's not that they haven't heard the truth. They refuse to believe the truth that would save them so God will send a great deception upon them and they will believe the lie. They'll believe the lie. What is the lie?

That people in the tribulation period will believe. The lie is pretty much the same thing that goes back to the Garden of Eden. Satan was peddling this thing way back when. Remember our first parents, Adam and Eve, were there at the garden and there at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By the way, the Lord said you can enjoy all this garden, just steer clear of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Scene two, Adam and Eve at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A lot of times we get ourselves into trouble without the devil's help. So there they are standing by this tree and the snake comes to them, the serpent, the devil, and says, has God said you can't eat of every tree in the garden? Go ahead and eat of this fruit for in the day you eat you will become as a God knowing good and evil. Now people always say when Adam and Eve ate the apple in the garden, the Bible never says it was an apple. I don't know about you.

I wouldn't even be tempted by an apple. Who knows what it was? It probably glowed and pulsated with light.

Maybe it had its own theme song. I don't know. But when they saw the tree and the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasant to look upon and desirable to make them wise, they ate of it and then sin entered the world. But what is the lie that Satan was propagating? The lie is simply this. Don't believe the word of God. Believe something in its place. Hey, we believe the lie sometimes too. The devil will whisper in our ear, God doesn't love you.

Why do you even follow him? He's against you. That's a lie. Sometimes the devil will say, go ahead and do this thing. No one will ever find out. You'll get away with it. Well, that's certainly a lie.

He'll say, it'll be fun. And he'll whisper into our ears these things that are not true. And the only way to know the lie from the truth and to know good from evil is to have a good working knowledge of the Bible. All of us have been deceived by sin at some time in our life. All of us have known something was wrong but we went for it anyway, right?

And if you did, that means you listen to the lie. So now we're in the tribulation period as Satan is pulling out all of the stops for this last big play. He's wanting people to take this mark. I'm sure we'll be very popular. I'm sure there'll be a lot of pressure for people to take the mark. I'm sure all the celebrities on social media will say, I got the mark, did you? Have you got the mark yet? Make sure you get the mark.

The mark is awesome. The Antichrist is great. And people will be swept up into this and take the mark. You know, in life, some people believe the truth and some people believe the lie. As you know, I've written a book called Billy Graham, The Man I Knew. And one of the stories I tell in the book is about Billy Graham and a man named Charles Templeton.

You've heard the title of the book by Charles Dickens which was A Tale of Two Cities. This is a tale of two evangelists. One was Billy Graham who went on to change the world. The other was Charles Templeton who has been mostly forgotten. In the late 1940s, Billy Graham and Charles Templeton were both evangelists for youth for Christ. And some even felt that Templeton was the more effective of the two.

Very handsome, eloquent, great communicator, intelligent. Billy was a great communicator as well but he was a son of the South. In his own words, he would often say, I'm a country preacher. Templeton was more sophisticated. But as time passed, Templeton began to doubt his faith. And he encouraged Billy to do the same. Templeton said to Billy Graham, you can't really believe the scripture.

It's not really reliable. And Billy continued to believe the scripture but this did create sort of a crisis of faith in the life of Billy Graham. And so one night Billy was up at Forest Home Conference Center here in Southern California in the San Bernardino Mountains. Billy went out to a tree stump and he took his Bible and he placed it on the stump. And he made a commitment to believe what the scripture said. And he said, Father, I accept this as your word by faith.

I'm going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts because I believe this is your inspired word. So Billy made a choice to believe what scripture said even when he had occasional doubts. Leaving that place, Billy went on to preach in Los Angeles at a tent that had been erected. And that basically was the launch of his international ministry. Meanwhile Templeton walked away from his faith. He even wrote a book with the title, Farewell to God.

But the story doesn't end there. My friend Lee Strobel told me the story of when he went to visit Charles Templeton who was quite a bit older and was in very poor health. And Lee Strobel who used to work for the Chicago Tribune and was a well-known atheist who came to faith after watching how God transformed his wife was researching a book he was writing. So he went to interview this famous atheist, Charles Templeton.

And he brought up the subject of Jesus Christ. And much to Lee's surprise, Templeton said of Jesus, he was the greatest human who ever lived. And then Templeton went on to say to Lee Strobel, and you know what, this may sound strange, but I adore him. And I even would put it this way, I miss him. And then Lee told me he was really surprised when Charles Templeton began to weep. But the story continues on. A little bit after that, Charles Templeton was on his deathbed and his wife said that while he was there he said to her, he saw angels. He said, they're so beautiful. I see them now and they're waiting for me.

I'm coming. So thank God Charles Templeton, the evangelist who became the atheist and wrote a book titled, Farewell to God, came back to God and believed. But Billy Graham never stopped believing.

You have the same choice before you right now. You can believe the truth or the lie. And every day when you go and watch television or you listen to music or you go on social media, the lie is hitting you.

The lie is hitting you. That's why you need to fill your mind and heart with God's word, to counteract that. So Antichrist, he emerges on the scene as a peacemaker. And he does something that wins him the approval of many Jewish people in Israel. He rebuilds their temple. Now as you recall, King David wanted to build a temple for the Lord because up to this point they would meet with the Lord in what they called the tabernacle or the tent.

But David wanted something fitting for the Lord. And as he drew up the plans for this temple, the Lord said no. So David's son Solomon ended up building this incredible temple which was ultimately destroyed and rebuilt by King Herod. King Herod was not a devout man at all, but he was a great builder and so that second temple became known as Herod's Temple. That was the temple that was standing when Jesus had his public ministry. And one day Jesus pointed to that temple and he says you see that temple? I'm telling you right now, there will not be one stone left upon another. He said that temple will be dismantled. And they thought he's out of his mind. We've been building this temple for 47 years.

How could that happen? Well it did happen when Titus and the Roman legions came in and destroyed the temple and dismantled it stone by stone exactly as Jesus said would happen. So that's the second temple. But the Bible predicts a third temple.

And that has not been built yet. So Antichrist will come and effectively erect this third temple and then he will commit what the Bible calls the abomination of desolation. Matthew 24 Jesus says, When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

And so what is the abomination of desolation? This is after the third temple is rebuilt, Antichrist erects an image of himself in it and commands people to worship this image. And so commenting on that, 2 Thessalonians 2, 4 says of Antichrist, he opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or is worshiped. So he is as God sitting in the temple of God whose coming is after the working of Satan and pretended miracles all of them lying wonders. This marks the second half of the tribulation. So again the first half of the tribulation Antichrist seems like a good guy bringing peace, rebuilding the temple. Then he commits the abomination of desolation erecting this image. And that brings the second half of the tribulation when he begins to hunt down followers of Jesus, hunt down Jewish people and a series of plagues come upon the planet and on it goes. And so this is a dramatic scene that is taking place. It reminds us a little bit of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Remember them? They are in the book of Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar erected a giant golden image and commanded everyone to worship it. And they refused. And they were of course thrown into the fiery furnace which was no big deal because the Lord preserved them and they came out to tell the story. But a similar story as to what the Antichrist will do. Now we shift gears from Revelation 13 to Revelation 14.

We go from horrific things happening on planet earth to some amazing things happening up in heaven. So look at your Bible again. Revelation 14 starting in verse 1. John writes, "'Then I looked and behold a lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with them 144,000 having his father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the voice of many waters and like the voice of loud thunder.

And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps, and they sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one could learn that song except the 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth. These are ones who have not defiled themselves with women for the virgins. They are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They have been redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, and they were without fault before the throne of God.'"

So 144,000. Remember them? We read about them earlier in the book of Revelation. And God had protected them in Revelation chapter 7. Wherever they went, God watched over them. And they're proclaiming the gospel. Who are the 144,000?

They're Jewish people who have put their faith in Jesus as their Messiah. But now we see they're not on earth. They're in heaven. Notice it's not 143,999 that made it to heaven.

No. All 144,000 make it to glory. And it reminds us of the statement of Jesus in John 18, 9, of those whom you have given me, I have not lost one. God doesn't lose His children. Have you ever lost sight of one of your children?

Maybe in an amusement park or a supermarket. That is terrifying, is it not? God never loses sight of you.

He always has His eye on you because you belong to Him. Now, as we wrap this message up, here are four takeaway truths about the 144,000 that apply to you. Remember, these are mere mortals. They're not angelic beings.

They're not superheroes. They're people who've been called by God. And these principles that are true of them can also be true of every follower of Jesus Christ. Number one, they have the mark of the Father in heaven, not the mark of the Antichrist.

So all marks are not bad. Revelation 14, 1, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. The Father's name. You know, you have a choice as to who your Father will be. You can either make God your Father, or you can be, as Jesus said, of your father, the devil. You know, when I was growing up, I had a lot of dads.

I'll put that in quotes. My mother was married and divorced seven times and had a bunch of boyfriends in between, and so there was my biological father, and then there was other guys she met, and she would literally say, this is your new dad. And they were all very similar, these men my mother married, the kind of guys that would hang around in a bar with maybe a few too many of their buttons on their shirt undone, and kind of swinger type dudes, you know.

And I became very cynical, even as a young man, about a father. And then my mother married this guy in New Jersey whose name was Oscar Laurie. He was an attorney. He didn't drink. He didn't smoke. I don't know what my mom saw in him.

He was an honest man, a law-abiding man, a very moral man, and I remember that he took an interest in me and cheated me as a father ought to treat a son. So one day when I was coming out of school there in New Jersey, my mom had the Cadillac filled with all of our luggage, and I said, what's going on? She says, we're going to the airport. I said, where are we going? She said, to Hawaii. I said, oh, that's so exciting. Where's dad?

She said, he's not coming. And I never saw Oscar Laurie after that until many, many years later. So we land in Hawaii, and here's a guy I've never seen before that my mom had married, and she said, this is your new dad. And this man was abusive and violent. In fact, one night in a drunken brawl, he hit my mother with a wooden statue and almost killed her.

And so I became very hard against all of these things. But later in life, after I came to Christ, I sought out Oscar Laurie, who was still alive and had remarried. And I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with him and leading him to the Lord.

That's another story for another time. But I chose his name. I had a lot of names I could have chosen, as my daddy.

You know that expression, who's your daddy? Oh, I had all these names. I chose Laurie, which I was mocked for in school, by the way. I also went to military school, where you go by your last name.

So everyone called me Laurie. But I carried that name with pride because of the man that gave it to me and the man that adopted me. I chose him because he chose me. He chose to adopt me. I chose to carry that name. In the same way, we choose who our father will be.

You choose God as your father, or by default, you effectively choose the devil. This mark on the foreheads of the 144,000 is something that identifies them as God's children. It's sort of like an ID tag. Other people won't see it, but the Lord sees it. And by the way, God has put his ID tag on you. What does that mean? It means you belong to the Lord. Do you find that comforting?

I do. 1 Corinthians 6, 19 says, You're not your own. You've been bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God with your life. In the Greek, it's you're not your own property.

You've been bought with a price. You know, when I travel, I'll take luggage on the plane, and I have a little ID tag. So I was on a trip recently, and I was getting up, and I had my little piece of luggage that I was wheeling away. And some lady comes running after me saying, You took my suitcase. I said, No, ma'am, this is my suitcase.

I know. She goes, No, it's my suitcase. Open it. And I opened it up, and it was filled with women's clothing.

I'm really glad she chased me down. And the problem was I didn't check the ID tag. And sure enough, those two suitcases, mine and hers, were very similar. If I would have checked the ID tag, I would have known the difference.

And I'm glad she told me, because I did not want to wear women's clothing for my trip. So we have an ID tag on us. God can read it, and the devil can read it.

And when he sees that ID tag, he has to back off, because you are God's property, and the Lord will protect his investment. Number two, another thing about the 144,000, they sing a new song. I love this. They sing a new song. Do you have a new song in your life? Look at Revelation 14 again. And I heard the voice of loud thunder, and the voice and sound of harpists playing their harps, and they sang, as it were, a new song before the Lord. Now, a harp is a beautiful instrument, is it not?

So majestic. And of course, we think of it as heavenly, because we read of harps in heaven. But remember, a harp is a stringed instrument. So we could just as easily say they played their electric guitars, or the ukuleles, or their mandolins, or whatever it is. But these stringed instruments are being used to bring glory and honor to God.

But listen to this. Every believer has a new song. Over in Psalm 40, verse two, the psalmist writes, he lifted me out of a pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire, and he has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded, and many will put their trust in the Lord. See, when you come to Jesus, you're given a new song.

You have a story to tell, because God has lifted you and me and all of us out of a pit of despair. I remember when I became a Christian at the age of 17, and I'd been raised listening to rock and roll. The first music I remember listening to was the Beatles, and the 60s was sort of a golden age of rock.

I listened to the Beatles, and I listened to the Rolling Stones and the Animals and the Doors and Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, and the list goes on. So I loved all that music. Then I became a Christian, and I thought, well, I guess I have to give all that music up.

From now on, it's kumbaya, 24 hours a day. So I went to this church called Calvary Chapel, where the Jesus movement was literally happening before my eyes. I walked right into the middle of a spiritual awakening, and these new bands were forming. One of those bands was called Love Song, and one of their songs was called A New Song, and the lyrics were, Sing into the heavens a brand new song. The one that we've been singing's been a hit too long. I heard this song and this new music that was being created, and it just washed over me in a beautiful way. We had our own music, and actually, I was watching contemporary Christian worship and contemporary Christian music in general also being born before my eyes. We had a new song, and we have a new story. When's the last time you told someone your story or sang your song? I'm not suggesting you have to literally sing to people. Jesus came into my life, and He can come into yours too.

No, not like that. But the idea is tell your story. When's the last time you told your story about what Christ has done for you to someone who doesn't know the Lord yet? It's a beautiful thing. Sharing your faith is life giving.

It actually replenishes you as you do so. Listen, when you draw people to Christ, you yourself will be drawn to Christ. When we make Him known to others, we effectively know Him better. I can think of times where I'm telling my story to someone, and I'm remembering all that God has done for me, and it encourages me as I'm sharing it with them.

These folks have a new song. Number three, the 144,000 are sincere in their faith. They're sincere in their faith.

Look at Revelation 14, 5. And in their mouth there was no deceit. They're without fault before the throne of God. This word, deceit, speaks of hypocrisy. There's no hypocrisy. There's no double standard. I told you Billy Graham was the same privately as he was publicly.

I didn't see any hypocrisy in this man's life. Sometimes people like to put on an act and appear to be something they are not. The technical definition of hypocrite in the Bible is the same word that is used for actor. An actor. Who is an actor?

It's someone that plays a part. They learn the lines. They get their makeup on. They go to their spot, and they act.

And that's what some people are doing. They're in the church. They've got the props, the Bible. They have the verbiage down, but they're actors. They're fakers. They're phonies.

They're not real. I think sometimes we misunderstand what hypocrisy is. We might see a Christian lose their temper and scream, and you'll point at an accusing finger at them and say, you hypocrite. And even the way you say it, it's like, you hypocrite.

Almost like people are enjoying it. Hypocrite. Now, just because a Christian loses their temper or does something else that's wrong like that, it doesn't mean they're a hypocrite.

It might just mean they're human. I'm not excusing it. I'm saying we're going to sin as Christians. The Bible says that we say we have no sin.

We deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But that's not hypocrisy. That's just messing up. That's just sinning. Hypocrisy is when I put on an act and appear to be pious when I'm not really even a follower of Jesus at all. Listen to this. Hypocrites are the ones who find faults in others but never themselves.

Let me say that again. Hypocrites are the ones who find faults in others, never themselves. So the hypocrites are often the most judgmental, critical people of all. The Apostle Paul feared being a hypocrite and being disqualified. And he spoke of it in 1 Corinthians 9, 27, when he said, I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should do. Otherwise, when I preach to others, I myself would be disqualified.

We're almost done. One last point. The 144,000 follow the lamb wherever he goes. Look at verse four. They follow the lamb.

We should do that each and every day. We've all been called to follow the lamb or follow Jesus. Jesus said, if any man come after me, let him deny himself and take up the cross and follow me. For whoever will seek to save his life will lose it. And if you lose your life for my sake, you'll find it. I think sometimes people feel, oh, if I follow Jesus, I'm gonna give up all my fun and all of my dreams and aspirations and just live this miserable life.

That's the opposite of what is true. What did Jesus say? Deny yourself, take up your cross, yes, but then he said, but if you seek to save your life, you'll lose it. But listen, if you lose your life, you'll find it. What this means is I say, God, I want your will above my will.

I want your plans over my plans and you'll come to discover God's plans for you are better than your plans for yourself and you'll see how much he loves you as those plans unfold. I think Jesus has a lot of followers that are like people that follow you on Twitter. I'm on social media.

I'm on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. I don't get people on Twitter. It seems like Twitter is the platform for angry people with too much time on their hands. It's always attacking one another and you'll tweet something and people will retweet it and they'll refute it and attack you. One of my favorite things to do is block people on Twitter.

You have two choices. You can mute them or block them. If you mute them, you won't see what they're posting.

If you block them, they can't copy your name in their tweet but who are these people? These are not followers. Why are you following me if you disagree with me? I think there are people like that that say, I'm a follower of Jesus but they're always fighting with him and rebelling against him and disobeying him. You're not a follower of Jesus, you see, but these people, the 144,000, they follow the lamb wherever he goes. Listen, following Jesus is something we do each and every day. One day, Jesus looked at a tax collector named Matthew. He didn't have any friends because he was a Jewish man who betrayed his fellow Jews and was working for Rome collecting taxes.

Not only the taxes that Rome demanded but probably a little on the top for his own benefit. Much to the surprise of Levi or Matthew, Jesus walked by his tax booth one day and made eye contact with him and said, follow me. Without a moment of hesitation, Matthew bolted up from that tax booth and became a follower of Jesus Christ. That phrase, follow, means follow with me. The idea is following Jesus is not something I do just on Sundays. He's not Sunday Jesus, he's Monday Jesus, Tuesday Jesus, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Jesus, you follow him each and every day. The phrase that Jesus uses to Matthew to follow him means follow with me or to put it another way, let's walk together.

Walking with God, not dragging God where I want God to go but getting in sync with God, discovering the will of God, seeking to pray according to the will of God. You can start doing that right now. When you do, you'll find the life you're looking for.

Listen to this. If you know Jesus now, he will know you then. If you say yes to Jesus now, he'll say, enter into my kingdom then.

If you say, I don't want Jesus now, then he'll say, depart from me, I never knew you then. Question, who are you following? Antichrist or Jesus Christ?

Emmanuel or Jezebel? God or Satan? You say, well, I'm not following Satan but I'm not following Jesus. Okay. You're following your father who is evil, the evil one, the devil, if you're not following Jesus.

Listen to this. Jesus said, you're for me or against me. I told you I became a Christian when I was 17 years old. I lived this crazy life with my mother. I ended up getting into drugs myself for maybe a little over a year. I was drinking and partying and doing all these things I never wanted to do.

I was empty and I was searching. I came upon this group of Christians on my high school campus who were having a Bible study and singing songs about the Lord. I sat down close enough to sort of eavesdrop on their conversation but not so close that my other friends, so called, would think I joined up with the Jesus freaks. I watched them sing their songs. I saw the smiles on their faces.

I remember thinking these poor, deluded people, look at them, they're nuts. Then I tried a new thought on precise which was, what if they're right? What if they found the truth? I thought, oh no, that's not possible. I quickly dismissed it. I returned to it.

What if it's all true? Then a guy got up to speak. His name was Lonnie. I don't remember most of his message but I remember one statement when he said, Jesus said, you're for me or you're against me. I was not an atheist. Whenever I was in trouble I called on Jesus. This was the first time I heard that I was either for or against Jesus. I looked at those Christians and I thought, well, I'm not one of them. Does that mean I'm against Christ?

That was the day I gave my life to Jesus. Let me close by saying this. You are for or against Jesus. This is an either or proposition. It's like when you get in an elevator. You're going up or down.

You can't go sideways. You have to decide. Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sin. He paid the price for every wrong thing you've ever done. He rose again from the dead. That same Jesus who died and lives is standing at the door of your life right now and He is knocking.

He's saying, if you'll hear my voice and open the door, I will come in. Would you like your sin forgiven? Would you like to know that you will go to heaven when you die? Would you like to be ready for the Lord's return?

Would you like your guilt taken away? It can happen for you right here, right now. He's just a prayer away. In a moment I'm going to pray a prayer. I'm going to ask you that to not have Jesus in your life yet to pray this prayer with me. To pray this prayer with me. It's a simple prayer where you're asking Jesus to come into your life as your Savior and your Lord.

If you want to go to heaven when you die, if you want to be ready for the Lord's return, if you want your guilt taken away, just stop what you're doing. I want you to pray this prayer. You could even pray it out loud.

Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, but I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. Now I turn from that sin. I repent of that sin. I ask you to come into my life to be my Savior and Lord. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-30 14:28:20 / 2023-11-30 14:46:03 / 18

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