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America and Armageddon | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2021 3:00 am

America and Armageddon | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 25, 2021 3:00 am

Where is America in the end-times scenario? And what about the person who has never heard the gospel? In his newest message from Revelation, Pastor Greg Laurie reveals how God offers every opportunity to escape the coming judgment. Listen in to this latest study from Revelation: A Book of Promises. 

Notes

God takes no delight in judging people.

When God’s judgment comes it’s always just and right. 

Who are these people singing this song?

These are believers in the Tribulation; they have been martyred for their faith.

God takes it personally when one of His followers is attacked.

God’s people will stand on a sea of glass and nonbelievers in a lake of fire.

How did these Tribulation saints prevail over Antichrist?

By not taking his mark—they held on to the very end.

“In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

When a believer can praise God during times of difficulty, a lost world takes notice.

The song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.

Heaven is a real place for real people. 

Armageddon is actually the name of a place; it means, “Valley of Megiddo.” 

“If God is not, everything is permitted.” —Fyodor Dostoevsky

The United States may not be mentioned because our country is decimated in a nuclear attack.

America may not be mentioned because we simply decline as a world power.

America may not be mentioned in Scripture because a great spiritual awakening and revival takes place.

“Anyone who believes you can explain our victory in the American Revolution without the hand of providence completely misunderstands what happened.” —President George Washington

He who watches means, “to be awake.”

To keep your garments means to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

We should live every day as though it were our last day on Earth as well.

Scripture Referenced

Ezekiel 33:11

Matthew 5:10–12

Acts 16:25

Revelation 9:16

Romans 13:11–12

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

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

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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, harvest.org.

So thanks for joining me for this podcast. Looking at Revelation 15 to 16. Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Yeah, there comes a moment in life when that is actually what you should do. You should turn to God. And here in Revelation, we're coming effectively to the end, the grand finale, when the final blows are going to come against planet Earth. It's literally time to say our Father, but by and large, people will not say that. They'll pretty much die. As they have lived, hardened against God. This is why you never want to say, I'll wait until I'm on my deathbed to accept Jesus Christ. Now, if you called on God, on your deathbed, if you have the luxury of a deathbed, because not everyone does. Sometimes death comes quickly and unexpectedly. But if you had the luxury of a deathbed, why do you think if you lived a life opposed to God for years and years, that you would suddenly want to call on Him?

Chances are, you would be pretty hardened in your sin. No, don't wait until then. Because listen to this. There is a point of no return.

I don't know when it is. Only God does. But there can come a moment in a person's life where they've heard the gospel and rejected it. Heard the gospel and rejected it. So many times, their heart has become irreparably hardened. You say, you mean so hard where God wouldn't forgive them?

That's not the issue. So hard where they don't want to be forgiven. The Bible says, he who is often reproved hardens his heart and he will be cut off that without remedy. So listen, if I'm talking to somebody right now who has heard the gospel before, and you've said no to it, don't say no again.

At the end of my message, I'll extend an invitation for you to believe in Jesus and be forgiven of all of your sin. But at this point, historically, which is in our future, the earth is rejecting God. It reminds me of a quote I read from a French chemist who said in 1869, his name was Pierce Bartholot. He wrote these, what I think are prophetic words. Quote, in 100 years of science, man will know what the atom is. Remember, he wrote this in 1869. Man will know what the atom is. When science reaches that stage, writes Bartholot, God will come down to earth with this big ring of keys and say to mankind, gentlemen, it's closing time. End quote.

Wow, how true is that? So here's what we are chronologically. We're looking at what the Bible describes as the Great Tribulation Period.

It lasts for seven years. It begins with the emergence of a charismatic world leader that appears to be the greatest peacemaker of all time. I'm sure they will award him the Nobel Peace Prize, but in reality, he's not a peacemaker.

He's a troublemaker. And the Bible says, through peace, he will deceive many. This coming leader, identified in the Bible as the beast, a description of his character, the antichrist, which means not only instead of Christ, but against Christ, will help the Jewish people rebuild their temple, but then he will erect an image of himself in the temple and command people to worship him, and that will be the abomination of desolation, and it will mark the halfway point of the Great Tribulation Period. The last three and a half years of this time that is coming upon our planet will be like hell on earth, when God's judgment will fall upon the world. You'd think antichrist would turn to God, the opposite.

Antichrist is hunting down believers and is engaged in bloodshed on another level. Judgment is coming in full force. But know this, when God sends judgment, never off of a whim or haphazard.

No, there's always a reason for judgment. And understand, God takes no pleasure in judging people. God says in Ezekiel 33, 11, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people.

I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. You see, God is loving. God is gracious. God is forgiving.

But if you don't respond to his love, if you don't receive his forgiveness, then you are effectively bringing judgment on yourself, because God is also just, and God is also righteous. And now judgment is coming on the earth, described as bulls of judgment. You've heard of the Super Bowl. These are like the Super Bowls of judgment coming upon mankind. Jeremiah said of it in Jeremiah 30, verse seven, this day is so great there is none like it. But understand, God has given warning after warning for people on the earth to turn to him. Don't forget, he raises up the 144,000 messianic believers, combing the planet, proclaiming the gospel.

I've described them as kosher Billy Grahams, telling people to believe, and many do, but not all do. God sends an angel flying to the heavens, preaching the everlasting gospel. It's sort of like an angelic mop-up operation in case someone misses it, because people ask the question, what about the person who has never heard the gospel?

How could a God of love send them to hell? Everyone will hear the gospel. The Bible says the whole world will hear the gospel.

Then will the end come. If this isn't enough, God raises up these two witnesses. Remember, we looked at them in Revelation 11, and they speak to the people. But no, there are so many that still do not believe, so now judgment is finally coming. Now, let's go back to the Bible, and let's look at the Bible, and let's look at the Bible, and let's look at the Bible.

The final chord, it just drove them crazy. Here in Revelation, in effect, God is playing the final chord. But something is missing from this prophetic puzzle. Let me restate it. Someone is missing.

Who? Well, the United States of America. You know, one of the more interesting things about Bible prophecy is not who it mentions, but also who it doesn't mention in the last days. America is still the greatest superpower on the planet. That, of course, could change in time, as you are aware with the emergence of China and other shifts that are happening globally.

But right now, we are still the reigning superpower. But yet as we look at the end times events, you really don't find America in them. You see Israel clearly. You find Iran there. You find Libya there. You can make a pretty good case for finding Russia and even China, but I can't find any passage that clearly identifies the United States of America.

So where are we? How could a nation of our stature and our size and our significance not be mentioned in the prophetic scheme? We're from a heavenly perspective, and we get a better handle on the why of judgment. Let's read Revelation 15, starting in verse one. We'll stop there.

We'll stop there. Remember Saul of Tarsus. This was a religious dude who thought he was doing the will of God by hunting down followers of Jesus. He presided over the death of the first martyr of the church, the courageous young man named Stephen. But the reality is that Saul of Tarsus was under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He was immediately down followers of Jesus.

He presided over the death of the first martyr of the church, the courageous young man named Stephen. But the reality is that Saul of Tarsus was under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Lord was calling him and he was fighting with God and one day as he was on the Damascus road on his way to arrest more Christians, the Lord spoke to him and his statement was Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? Interesting, why are you persecuting me? The reality is Saul was persecuting God's followers, Christians, but Jesus took it personally.

Hey man, you're persecuting me. Then the Lord says, it's hard for you to kick against the goats. What does that even mean? Well a goat was a sharpened stick. So back in those days before they had extra horsepower, if you wanted your horse to move, you poked him with a stick and they would move faster. The idea God is saying is I'm trying to get your attention, you're kicking against it.

Why are you doing that? And of course Saul was converted that day and became the great apostle Paul. But God doesn't like it when his people are persecuted. So here we have this fiery lake, the sea of glass. God's people will stand in a sea of glass and non-believers will stand in a lake of fire. Now I know when you mention the fact that there's a lake of fire or a place called hell or a final judgment, that in the minds of some seems unfair.

But is it? I love this statement from J.I. Packer who writes, and I quote, Scripture sees hell as self-chosen. Hell appears as God's gesture of respect for human choice. All receive what they actually choose, either being with God forever, worshiping him, or without God forever, worshiping themselves, end quote.

C.S. Lewis made this statement along the same lines. Quote, there are only two kinds of people in the end, those who say to God, thy will be done, and those to whom God says, thy will be done. All who are in hell choose it without that self-choice. There could be no hell. So if you end up in this lake of fire, that's on you. I'm sorry, it's on you, because you've rejected God's offer of forgiveness. You've rejected his salvation, and you've effectively sealed your own faith. As I've often said, God doesn't send people to hell.

They send themselves there. Don't be that person. Now as we come back to our account, we find that these believers have prevailed over the antichrist, verse two. How?

By not taking his mark and holding onto the very end. Listen, it is my firm conviction that Christians will not go through the great tribulation period. I don't think we'll go through any of it. I think we'll be removed before the tribulation begins.

Why? The Bible says God has not appointed us to wrath, but to attain salvation to the Lord Jesus Christ. Think about it. When God sent judgment during the days of Noah, first he got Noah and his family safe in the ark, and the door was shut. And as the water came down, the ark went up. But Noah and his family were delivered from the judgment that came upon the earth.

Take the story of Lot and his wife. God got Lot and his family safely out of Sodom before the judgment fell. The tribulation period is God's judgment coming on the earth.

God does not pour his judgment on his people, you see. And so we will not be here for this tribulation period. Having said that, Christians will go through tribulation. Not the seven year period, but we're gonna go through hardship.

We're gonna go through trials. Jesus said, in this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. And not only will we have tribulation, we'll be persecuted, just like these folks were. Maybe not to the extreme they were persecuted, but we will face persecution. Second Timothy 3.12, of course, reminds us that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

And we too, like these believers, must press on and not be discouraged, but instead be encouraged. I love the statements of Jesus on what we call the Beatitudes. This was the beginning of his message that we know as the Sermon on the Mount. He starts with the word blessed.

And the word blessed can also be translated happy. So he said, blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. Or to translate it differently, happy are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven. Notice Jesus says that they say all kinds of evil against you falsely. Just make sure you're being persecuted for righteousness' sake.

Let's be honest. Sometimes Christians are persecuted for being jerks, for being mean, overly judgmental, condemning, harsh. That's not for righteousness' sake. No, let that persecution come because you're a representative of Jesus Christ. Let it be because you are living a godly life. In fact, if people wanna find something they don't like about you, let it be because you live a godly life.

They have to attack you for that. Remember the story of Daniel. He had people that hated him.

He was very influential in his role advising the king. And so they were looking for something to nail him on. And the problem was there were no skeletons in Daniel's closet. In fact, he prayed in his closet and opened the windows of his house and prayed. And they said the only way we're gonna nail this guy is if we find something regarding him and his god. And of course they got the king to unwittingly sign a decree that no one could pray to any god but him.

And but you know that story. He ended up in the lion's den. He was delivered by the Lord and so forth. But he lived such a godly life that they had to make stuff up about him. Yes, happy are those who are persecuted. Remember when Paul and Silas were arrested for preaching the gospel?

They were put into a Roman dungeon. And at midnight we pray, Acts 16 verse 25, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening. Listen to this, when a believer can praise God during times of difficulty, a lost world pays attention. And what are we gonna be singing in heaven?

Revelation 15 three gives the answer. We have two hit songs in heaven. We'll sing again and again. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the lamb. These are two songs. The song of Moses and the song of the lamb. Sing great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty.

Just and true are your ways, oh king of the saints. The song of Moses is basically declaring how the Lord delivered Israel from the Pharaoh. The song of Moses, as you may remember, was sung at the Red Sea.

The song of the lamb is sung at the Crystal Sea. The song of Moses is the song of triumph over the Pharaoh. The song of the lamb is the song about triumph over antichrist. The song of Moses is about how God brought his people out of Egypt. The song of the lamb is about how God brought his people into heaven. The song of Moses is the first song in scripture.

The song of the lamb is the last. These people have died for their faith, but they're rejoicing in heaven. You know, sometimes people say, when I get to heaven, I have a lot of questions for God.

Okay, go for it. I suggest to you, when you get to heaven, and you're standing there, and you see God in his glory, and you see Jesus at the right hand of the Father, and you see your loved ones that have died before you that you're reunited with, and you're in this place of complete paradise, that you're gonna say, praise you, Lord. I think you'll just join the chorus of worshipers. I don't think you're gonna barrage God with a bunch of questions, because I think when you see him in his glory, everything's gonna make sense to you. And in the same way, sometimes in life, if we'll just get our eyes off of our problems, and off of our circumstances, and look at the Lord, everything can come into focus as we remind ourselves, God is in control. God has not forgotten about me.

Even when hardship comes, we can still rejoice. You know, the Bible says, in everything, with prayer, and supplication, and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, the peace of God that passeth all, understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If you ever notice that verse says, in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving. See, we think thanksgiving comes after the prayer is answered, after God hopefully says yes. But no, Paul is saying, offer thanksgiving before you have the answer.

Thanksgiving for the fact that God is on the throne, and he's paying attention. Look at Job. Look at all the horrible things that happened to him. It all started when God was bragging on Job in heaven.

And the angels of the Lord were there, and Lucifer, a fallen angel, was there as well. God said, have you considered my servant Job, a perfect and upright man, one that fears God and shuns evil? Satan, and I'll loosely paraphrase, said, don't give me a break. Job praises you because you bless him, because you've given him so much cool stuff. Let me have some time with Job, and we'll see what he's really made of. Now, when I look at what happened to Job after that, it makes me say, Lord, if you're ever, for a fleeting moment, feeling a little proud of me, please don't brag on me, especially if Lucifer is around. Poor Job had never read the book of Job. He didn't know how the story ended. He didn't know about some cosmic conversation between God and Satan.

All he knew is one day things were going well, and the next day, everything fell apart. But through all of this we read, Job worshiped the Lord. He worshiped the Lord, and that's what these believers are doing in heaven. They're worshiping God, and it's happening in heaven. Look at Revelation 16 one.

I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on earth. Listen, there's a temple in heaven. Heaven is a real place for real people, and sometimes we forget that.

See, there was a temple built in Jerusalem, but it was a copy of the genuine article. In fact, in Hebrews 8 five it says, they serve in a place of worship. That's only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. I bring this up because we have these weird views of heaven that's been reinforced by Hollywood and songs and even cartoons, people laying around on clouds, plucking harps, little baby fat angels hovering around.

I don't know where those even came from. And you think, wow, what a boring place heaven must be. That is not biblical heaven. That's imaginary heaven, or a caricature, if you will, of heaven. Heaven is a real place for real people where we will do real things. And the best stuff earth offers is a pale imitation of heaven. It's a lesser version. It's a shadow of things to come.

C.S. Lewis, to quote him again, made this statement, and I love it. All the things that ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of heaven, tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. Lewis concludes, if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. Earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy, but to arouse it to suggest the real thing, end quote.

He just nailed it with that. He's saying basically the best experiences of earth will be better in heaven. What do you love about earth? Well, maybe you love beautiful sunsets. Well, you're gonna see a lot of those in heaven. I don't know, sunsets, but you're gonna see God's glory on display.

Maybe a fine meal with your friends. Oh, you're gonna have the finest meals you ever had because the Bible promises the wedding feast and times that we will eat together with the great men and women of God. Oh, well, I like to be with my family. Well, you will be reunited with your family who have believed in heaven.

You see, the thing is is on earth things can fall apart. Families can have dysfunction and conflict and friends that you eat with can one day no longer be your friend, sometimes even turn into your enemy and eating. Well, that just produces weight gain. It seems like all the food I like is fattening. Why could I not like kale more?

Why could I not like these things that are healthier more? Oh, eat some vegetables. I don't wanna eat vegetables. I wanna eat pizza. I wanna eat Mexican food.

I wanna eat Italian food and pasta and meatballs and all that stuff. Well, that's not good for you. Well, in heaven, whatever we're eating, it's gonna be awesome. And I don't think we're gonna get fat eating it. And if we do, and that is the new glorified body, we'll all be fat together.

I don't think so. But anyway, the real thing is heaven. This temple is in heaven, and this is where the judgment is emanating from. But now we come to Revelation 16, verse 12, and we're looking at the final battles coming upon the planet, the battles of Armageddon.

I'm gonna tell you where that word Armageddon even came from. By the way, it's only mentioned one time in the Bible. So let's read Revelation 16, verse 12.

Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon. Now we know the dragon is Satan. And out of the mouth of the beast, we know that's the anti-Christ. And out of the mouth of the false prophet, that's the religious leader, guru-type sidekick of the anti-Christ. Verse 14, they're the spirits of demons performing signs which go out to the kings of the earth and the whole world to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. Now in the middle of all of this, Jesus gives us a personal word. Verse 15, behold, I'm coming as a thief.

Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. And then verse 16, and he gathered them together in the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. Armageddon. Now actually, Armageddon is a place. It's from the root word, Megiddo. And we get the word Armageddon from it.

It's a location. But we know this as a word that speaks of finality. Whenever someone invokes Armageddon, it means something big and epic and destructive. Signing a peace agreement with Japan and bringing World War II to a close, General Douglas MacArthur standing on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo made this statement, and I quote, we've had our last chance. If we do not now devise some greater inequitable system, Armageddon will be at our door, end quote. President Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States was astounded by the complexities of the Middle East after he took office. And on May 15th, 1981, President Reagan scribbled in his diary these words, sometimes I wonder if we're destined to witness Armageddon, end quote.

I wonder what General MacArthur and President Reagan would think of what's happening in the news today. Again, Armageddon is talking about the location of the final battles which will happen in the Valley of Megiddo. I've stood at the Valley of Megiddo.

It's a massive plane. Many biblical battles were fought in that place, such as Gideon defeating the Midianites and Deborah and Barak fighting their enemies. But why is Megiddo the location of the final conflict? Well, maybe we get a clue from one of the greatest military figures of all time.

You've probably heard of him. His name was Napoleon Bonaparte. And standing at Megiddo in 1799, he made this statement, and I quote, all the armies of the world could maneuver their forces on this vast plain. There is no place in the world more suited for war than this. It is a natural battleground for the whole earth, end quote.

So there you have it. Now there is demonic power behind this conflict. Verse 13 mentions unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast. You know, I was in a pet store the other day and they had a lot of lizards and snakes and some amphibians, some frogs. They had a frog that was like this big.

It was like this big. And it's not an aggressive frog, but it is so creepy looking. So these are like spirits like frogs, these demon spirits motivating them to go and fight this massive battle. You know, the devil is behind the war in our world today. And now the church is gonna be removed. I mean, think about how bad things will be when there's not the presence of Christians speaking up for what is true.

This is how all hell is able to break loose so quickly. Look back historically at the atheistic communist governments and how many of their own people they have killed. Historians say at least 100 million people have been murdered by atheistic communist regimes.

Think about this. If the atheistic Joseph Stalin believed that he would stand before a holy God, do you think he would have done what he did? Do you think he would have been as cruel as he was? As Dostoevsky said, quote, if God is not, everything is permitted, end quote.

If there's no God, if there's no afterlife, if there's no final judgment, why would a person not do whatever they wanted to do? Mao Zedong did it in China. Hitler did it with Nazi Germany.

Stalin did it with Russia. And now the Antichrist will do it on a level like no one has ever done it before. So now we have two superpowers facing off in the Battle of Armageddon.

The forces of the Antichrist, that's 10 nations confederated under him, and another force identified as the Kings of the East. This is big. This is bigger than Godzilla versus King Kong. This is the biggest battle of all time.

And they come through the Euphrates River. We were first introduced to this last day's superpower called the Kings of the East in Revelation 9, 16, which says the number of the army of the horsemen was 200 million. Question, what nation on earth could field an army of 200 million? There's only one answer, and that's China. I'm not saying that China is certainly the Kings of the East, but they're the only nation that could field an army of 200 million people. Understand, when John wrote this on the island of Patmos 2,000 years ago, there were not 200 million people on the face of the whole earth. And yet he's speaking specifically about an army of 200 million. The population of China is 1.98 billion, and the population of America is around 318 million. China announced in 1997 they could raise an army of 352 million soldiers.

So they could put 200 million on the battlefield and have 152 soldiers left to defend China. We don't know. We'll see. Well, maybe we won't see.

I don't expect to be here. If I'm seeing it, I'm seeing it from heaven along with you. But that brings us to the question I raised in the beginning. Where is the undisputed superpower, the United States of America? How could a nation of our stature and size not even be mentioned in the prophetic scheme? Okay, so let me offer a few ideas.

Number one, and I don't like this idea, but I have to put it out there. The United States may not be mentioned because our country is decimated by a nuclear attack. Now, we know there's just arsenals of nuclear weapons. We know that there are rogue nations like Iran and North Korea who have threatened to use those nuclear weapons. There's someone around 1,700 to 27,000 nuclear weapons. No one really knows with certainty, and if they do, they're not really telling us. But clearly, there is enough firepower to blow our planet up multiple times. Is it possible one of these weapons is launched against the United States? I hope not, but if it was, that would explain our absence from the last day's scenario.

Another possibility, this is far more likely. America simply declines as a world power. We know historically, nations rise and fall.

Every nation has a beginning, middle, and end. The might of ancient Babylon only lasted 86 years. The powerful Persian Empire did better. They went on for 208 years.

The glory of Greece was eclipsed after 268 years. Mighty Rome ruled for nine centuries, and the United States, well, we're moving on in the years, but we could be getting closer to the end than we may think. Isaiah 40, verse 15 says all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. So we might just decline as a world power. It's possible we could be one of the nations united behind the Antichrist.

I certainly hope not, but I can't rule it out as a possibility. Here's a third option, and I have to say, this is my favorite choice. America may not be mentioned in scripture because a great spiritual awakening happens, a revival spreads across our country. That's not to say a revival would eliminate us as a world power, but if one were to sweep America, we would have a godly influence and our time left, right? And if we were suddenly raptured, if millions of Americans were raptured and millions of Americans suddenly were caught up to heaven, certainly that would affect our country.

Think about it, people in the military, people in the economy, people in commerce, just suddenly taken, suddenly removed, that would certainly cause a country to potentially collapse. Listen, America has spiritual roots. The only other nation in the world that we are like is the nation of Israel that was established by God.

I believe God wanted America to exist. Imagine a world without the United States of America. Imagine what could have happened in World War II when Hitler with his military machine was marching across Europe, England and her sites, other nations that they had already conquered, like Norway, even France, and it would have continued on.

Who knows what would have happened to so many Jewish people? We already know six million of them were murdered by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, but America stepped in. Some would say we should have stepped in sooner, but when the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor and we entered the war and declared war on the Empire of Japan and then Germany declared war on us, we went in with everything we had. It changed the world.

What would the world have looked like if America had not stepped in at that critical moment in time? God raised this nation up. Against all odds, this nation came into being in 1776. What some people don't realize is our nation was built on the foundation of a spiritual revival. A preacher from England named George Whitefield came to our shores and proclaimed the gospel, and thousands and thousands of colonists came to believe in Jesus, and it was in that soil of revival that the seeds of liberty were planted, and the great American experiment began. Our first president, George Washington, made this statement, and I quote, anyone who believes you can explain our victory and the American Revolution without the hand of providence completely misunderstands what happened, end quote.

That's right. Washington knew as he led our troops into battle against the mighty British Empire that God was with us. We had a flag that we would fly back in those days, and it had the branches of a tree pointed up, and the words on the flag were appeal to heaven because the soldiers in our military who were fighting the British knew they needed God's help, the Continental Army. Yes, our nation was born in revival, and we need another revival. You know, we sing God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her and guide her to the night where the light from above.

We need that light from above. We need God working in our nation again. Is there really any hope for America? Will our streets ever be safe again? Will we see good prevail over evil again? Is it going to end up that way?

What is gonna happen? It is my belief that America basically has two options before her, revival or judgment, revival or judgment. So we need to choose revival.

You say, I don't even know what you mean when you say revival. It means to choose God. It means that we say, Lord, we need a spiritual awakening in our nation, and we need it now, and let that revival begin with me. Judgment is coming to the earth, we know that. That's what we see in the book of Revelation.

It's not a matter of if, it's only a question of when. But my hope is before this judgment that we read about in the final book of the Bible comes, that we will have at least one, maybe two, maybe three spiritual awakenings. We've had four great revivals in American history. The last was called The Jesus Movement, The Jesus Revolution. It's been over 50 years since that awakening.

Don't you think it's time for another one? Let's pray to that end. Let me close with a verse we already read. It contains the words of Jesus to you and me right now. In the middle of all that scripture is saying about Armageddon, Jesus says in Revelation 16, 15, behold, I'm coming as a thief. Blessed is he that watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and see his shame.

So this is a word to us. In the middle of all of this, Jesus is saying, listen to this, I'm coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches.

What does it mean to watch? It means to be awake. This is a reference to the rapture. In the rapture, Jesus comes as a thief in the night. We don't know when the rapture is. It can happen at any moment. But in the second coming, we know when that is. It happens at the end of the tribulation period after the battles of Armageddon, and I'll get to this in the future. So when he says I'm coming as a thief, it means I'm coming to you unexpectedly if you're not ready.

So it really comes down to this. He'll come like a thief to the unsuspecting. He'll come like a friend to those who are watching and waiting. If you're not ready, he'll be like a thief. A thief doesn't call you up and tell you when they're coming. Hey, how's it going, man? My name is Joe Thief, and I'm coming to your house.

This is the phone, by the way. I'm coming to your house at around 3.12 in the morning. So be aware, no thief's gonna do that. They're gonna come when you're not ready.

They're gonna kinda case your house and figure out the best time to hit, and then come in. Well, for those that are not ready, Jesus will come as a thief in the night. But for those who are ready, we'll welcome His return.

We'll look forward to His return. Then when we read we should keep our garments, that simply means be ready to go at a moment's notice. Be ready. You don't wanna run out of the house in your PJs and your Hello Kitty slippers. Well, I wear Hello Kitty slippers.

Actually, I don't. But the idea is you wanna be ready to go. You have your clothes ready. You have your bags packed. You've got your cell phone charged. You're ready to dash out the door.

You've got your car keys or whatever it is you need. Let's say that somehow we knew that Jesus was coming back at three o'clock in the morning tomorrow. Now, I think all of us would have our Sunday smiles and come quickly Jesus attitude around 2.45.

Don't you? But we don't know when He is going to come. He could come tonight, He could come tomorrow, He could come in a week, in a month, in a decade.

We don't know. But we know this. We should live every day as though it were our last day because someday it will be.

Either the day Christ comes or the day when our time is up. So we need to be awake. Have you ever noticed when someone wakes you up in the middle of the night you always deny it? Have you ever got a call late at night? And I don't like those late night calls. I think nine o'clock is a cutoff time. Don't call anyone after nine o'clock. But you gotta call at 12, 15.

Your heart jumps, you think this can't be good. No one calls at this time. So you get that call or maybe it's like four in the morning and you answer hello and they always ask you this. Did I wake you? And we deny it.

No, no, no. Just say, yeah, you woke me up. Why are you calling me at this hour? See, this is the idea that we wanna be awake.

We wanna be alert. Listen, I think these words of Jesus are really relevant to all of us but I think they're especially relevant to older believers. You see, when you're a younger believer, you're willing to take risks. You're willing to leave your comfort zone. You're willing to do bold and audacious things for Jesus but when you get older, you become more conservative. You become more careful.

You become more cautious. And I think the person that maybe really needs to listen to this word of Jesus about waking up is the older believer. In Romans 13, the Apostle Paul says, knowing the time, it's time for us to awake out of our sleep for our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. So let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Wake up and be ready. Coming back to my illustration about Johann Sebastian Bach, he woke up when the final chord had not yet been played. God is playing the final chord. We're listening to the last notes. Now is the time to believe in Jesus Christ. Don't put it off. I mentioned this earlier.

Let me come back to it and I close with this now. Every time you hear the gospel and say no, your heart gets harder. You say, well, what do you mean the gospel? Here's the gospel.

The gospel simply means good news. Here's the good news. The good news is God loves you. The good news is God has a plan for you. The good news is you can spend all eternity in God's presence and find the meaning and purpose of life here on Earth if you believe in Jesus.

Here's the bad news. We're all sinners. We've all fallen short of God's glory.

We've all broken his commandments. So if we will turn from our sin and put our faith in Christ, we can be forgiven because Jesus died on the cross for our sin because we could not save ourselves. And as I've said, the same Jesus who died on the cross and rose from the dead is ready to come into your life and forgive you of all of your sins. In a moment, I'm gonna pray a prayer.

I did this earlier in our service, but I'm gonna do it again because sometimes people tune in early and tune out and sometimes people tune in late. So this is for you who are not sure if you're ready for the return of the Lord. This is for you who are not sure if Christ is living inside of you. This is for you who are empty and lonely and afraid. This is for you who have had suicidal thoughts lately and you're even thinking of taking your own life.

This is for you that feel like you have a big hole inside of you. This is for you who deal with a guilt that keeps you up at night. This is for you who want a fresh start in life, who want to begin again. You can begin again if you're born again. Jesus said you must be born again, which means born from above, a spiritual rebirth, a new beginning, a fresh start.

You say how does that happen? By simply asking Christ to come into your life. So I'm gonna pray a prayer and I'm gonna ask God if you need Jesus in your life right now that you would pray this prayer as well. So again, if you want your sin forgiven, if you want Jesus to come into your life, if you want to be ready for the Lord's return and you want to go to heaven one day, just pray this prayer out loud after me. Let's pray.

Pray these words, Lord Jesus. I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Now I invite you to come into my life. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. Thanks for listening to our podcast. And to learn more about Harvest Ministries, please subscribe and consider supporting this show. Just go to harvest.org. And by the way, if you want to find out how to come into a personal relationship with God, go to knowgod.org. That's K-N-O-W-G-O-D dot org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-25 18:28:58 / 2023-11-25 18:47:31 / 19

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