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America & Armageddon: Ready or Not

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
October 12, 2021 3:00 am

America & Armageddon: Ready or Not

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 12, 2021 3:00 am

The book of Revelation is a spectacular look at God’s final judgment on sinful man. He pulls no punches. The judgment is swift, sure, and dramatic. But His provision for His own is equally dramatic. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us a look at the reality of the events of The Great Tribulation. But we’ll also be reminded Jesus will spare those who are His. And don’t forget, Pastor Greg has a brand new commentary on Revelation. Get all the details at harvest.org.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. The Bible tells us Jesus will return like a thief in the night. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie provides some relevant context. 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 at around 3 12 in the morning. No thief's gonna do that. They're gonna come when you're not ready. 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. The Book of Revelation is a spectacular look at God's final judgment on sinful man.

He pulls no punches. The judgment is swift, sheer, and dramatic. But His provision for His own is equally dramatic. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us a look at the reality of the events of the Great Tribulation. But we'll also be reminded Jesus will spare those who are His. And don't forget, Pastor Greg has a brand new commentary on Revelation.

Get all the details at harvest.org. The story is told of the great composer Johann Sebastian Bach. He was known to sleep a lot, and his kids had a surefire way of waking their dad up. They would go to a piano and play a composition. I guess that's what you do when you're the son of a composer. They would play the composition all the way through. He would still be sleeping, and they would get to the end and not play the last note. Every time, Bach would get up out of his bed, walk over, sit down at the keyboard, and hit the final chord.

It just drove him crazy. Here in Revelation, in effect, God is playing the final chord. 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 is Piers Barthelot. 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 Barthelot, 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 now judgment is finally coming. Let's understand what we are here in Revelation 15. We're in heaven and we're viewing what is coming to the earth from a heavenly perspective.

And we get a better handle on the why of judgment. Let's read Revelation 15 starting in verse one. John writes, and I saw another sign, great and marvelous. Seven angels having seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. And those who have the victory over the beast and over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, playing harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the lamb. 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 and all nations shall come and worship before you, for your judgments have been manifested.

We'll stop there. So who are these people singing this song? These are believers who have come through the tribulation period. They've been martyred for their faith. And they're before a sea of glass mingled with fire. Now that either symbolizes the fiery trials they went through on the planet or the fact that they were martyred. Or this may be referencing the fact with this water and fire mingled together that judgment is about to come on the earth.

Perhaps it's referring to both. So here we have this fiery lake, this sea of glass. God's people will stand in a sea of glass and non-believers will stand in a lake of fire. 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 going to go through hardship. We're going to 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. 2 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. 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. 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 Antichrist. And out of the mouth of the false prophet that's the religious leader guru type sidekick of the Antichrist. 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. 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 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 going to 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 a hundred 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. 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. 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. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know sometimes we can't always make it to church but here's the good news. Church is coming to you.

It's coming to you on your tv screen or on your tablet or your computer or even your phone. We do it every weekend and it's called Harvest at Home. We have worship. We have a message from the word of God.

If you want to find out more just go to harvest.org and join us this weekend for Harvest at Home. And now Pastor Greg continues our studies in chapters 15 and 16 of Revelation. 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 at around 3 12 in the morning. So be aware no thief's going to do that. They're going to come when you're not ready. They're going to kind of 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 want to run out of the house in your PJs and your Hello Kitty slippers.

Well I wear Hello Kitty slippers actually. But the idea is you want to 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 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 and a month and 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 get that call at you know 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 want to be awake.

We want to 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. 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. 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.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie leading those in prayer who want to make a change in their relationship with the Lord. And if you prayed that prayer just now we want to help you get started in your new relationship with God. Let us send you our new believers growth packet. It's a resource collection Pastor Greg has assembled to help you get started off right in your walk of faith and will send it your way without charge. Just write us at a new beginning box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300.

We can take your call anytime 24 7. Again dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God. You know the book of revelation is a rewarding study of Bible prophecy and in our current series and in a new book from Pastor Greg we're seeing the full picture of its authorship the time in which it was written and the circumstances in which our redemption takes place. The Apostle John wrote the book of revelation. John was one of the apostles that walked with Jesus Christ.

In fact in his gospel he described himself as the disciple that Jesus loved. He outlived all the other disciples and they tried to put him to death according to church tradition and a pot of boiling oil. But John would not die so instead they banished him to the distant island of Patmos.

An isolated little island out in the middle of nowhere. He was put on a ship probably in chains. And when he was placed on that island no one ever thought that they would hear from John again. Maybe even John felt abandoned by God I don't know but I know this much. Jesus Christ came to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos and the Lord took John into the future sort of catapulted him into the next dimension and he saw things that no man had ever seen before.

John had a front row seat to the beginning of the tribulation period. He tells us about the antichrist, the mark of the beast, the battle of Armageddon, and the second coming of Jesus Christ. He also tells us about the millennial reign of Jesus where the lamb and the lion will lie together. And John tells us about that momentous event when heaven and earth all come together in the same way that the man and earth all come together again. And he wrote these words down in a book that is simply called Revelation. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation means unveiling so this book is given to unveil to reveal Jesus Christ to us. And Revelation is our home for the next several years.

We hope you can be with us just as often as possible. But you can dig even deeper into this final book of the Bible by way of a new book Pastor Greg has just released. Tell us about this new resource Pastor Greg. Yeah I think far too often when we think of Revelation we think it's ominous and horrible and yes there are some very heavy duty events described in this book but it is a book that reveals Jesus Christ to us. It's a book that is filled with promises that's why we called it Revelation a book of promises. This is a book you would leave out on a coffee table or by your nightstand.

A book that is over 400 pages long but understand it's a very accessible book. The way that I wrote it I did so in a way that you can understand what the Bible teaches on the end times because I know you have an interest in these things. But I want to help you know how it applies to you. There's not a lot of theological verbiage that will confuse you. Everything is in down to earth terminology that you will understand and it will show you how all of these great events that are in our future apply to you in day to day living. I think you're going to love this new resource from Harvest Ministries that we're simply calling Revelation a book of promises.

Yeah I think you're right and we're making this new book available to thank you for your investment in the work we do here each day. It's an investment in changed lives for eternity. It's an investment in bringing people to Jesus Christ. So send that investment today to A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300.

We can take your call anytime that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time we'll move into Revelation 17 and a passage rich with symbolism. But Pastor Greg offers insight to help us understand the clear meaning. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-12 01:04:40 / 2023-08-12 01:14:23 / 10

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