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Focused on Jesus – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
July 18, 2021 3:00 pm

Focused on Jesus – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Anne Graham Lotz from today's message of hope on Living in the Light. When it comes to leaving a godly legacy in an ungodly world, not only do we need to be fired up, not only faithful to Jesus, but we need to be focused on Jesus through prophecy and through praise and through patient endurance and then through prostration. Welcome to Living in the Light and the Bible teaching ministry of Anne Graham Lotz. How would we know the end of the story? How would we know where we're headed?

How would we know the climax of human history if it wasn't for prophecy? Anne's message today is taken from the book of Revelation chapter 1 titled, Focused on Jesus. Here's Anne. You know several weeks ago I was walking with a friend. We loved to walk around the lake about two and a half miles and we came around one bend in the trail and there's a couple in front of us and they were both staring intently upward and then they were sort of turning around like this and they were staring upward and then the wife went and she started pointing upward and I knew what she was looking at.

There's an eagle's nest in the top of this tall pine tree but I knew the eagle wasn't there. I knew the baby left and so I knew it was empty but because they were staring and she was pointing, I looked up to see what she was looking at. And when we focus on something very intently, often people will follow our focus. I think it may be what happened to Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb. Remember when she went and she stuck her head in and the angel said, why are you crying? And she said, they've taken my Lord away and I don't know where they've taken him. And I wonder if the angels just looked with that focus over her shoulder so they were staring intently past her because Mary turned around and she saw a man standing in back of her and he said, woman why are you crying? And she said, sir if you're the gardener, you know she thought he was the gardener. So if you've taken my Lord away, tell me where you've taken him.

I'll go get him. And he just said one word, Mary. And it was the Lord. But she turned to see him and I wonder if it's because the angels were focused over her shoulder and she was looking where they were looking.

So where are you looking? Where is your focus? And when it comes to leaving a godly legacy in an ungodly world, not only do we need to be fired up, not only faithful to Jesus, but we need to be focused on Jesus. And it doesn't mean that everybody that sees us focused on him is going to receive Christ, but I think at least they're going to give him a glance.

At least they're going to look his way. And I think our focus is more effective when it's against that backdrop of struggle, pressure, stress, hard things. You know that these trials have come into your life so that Jesus would be revealed through the fire.

And so I don't know what the trials are that you've been in, but as we said it's a platform and when you're going through the struggles and the turmoil is all around you and sometimes it just gets so hard because it hits us at every level on every side and it's just boom boom boom boom. And at that point if we can keep our focus on Jesus somebody else is going to look his way because we are. In the first century A.D. the early church was being persecuted and shared a little bit of that Friday night, but it wasn't Nero. It was Domitian that was on the throne when Revelation was written. And Domitian was also somebody who was a madman with absolute power.

He declared himself God. When the early church refused to worship him he poured out persecution upon them. He burned them at the stake, fed them to the lions, crucified them on crosses, and they had pressure, trouble, stress every which way. I expect every family living in that area, every single person had been affected by persecution in one way or another. Everybody maybe had a family member who had been thrown to the lions or burned at the stake.

They had friends. It was just permeating the Roman Empire and it was at that moment that God gave to the Apostle John a vision of the glory of Jesus to help the early church and everybody all of us since then to stay focused on Jesus. So turn to Revelation chapter one. John is challenging you and me to stay focused on Jesus through prophecy and through praise and through patient endurance and then through prostration. So let's look first of all at staying focused on Jesus through prophecy. The revelation of Jesus Christ. I don't know what your attitude is towards the book of Revelation.

Maybe you're afraid of it because you know you go through that imagery and the symbolism and it's just so weird and it is like science fiction except there's some reality to it and you just don't want to go there. Or maybe you're fascinated and you're just trying to find everything and see what it means. But the book of Revelation, the primary purpose is not prophecy. The primary purpose of the book of Revelation is to reveal Jesus. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ. The word revelation means to lift the veil and through prophecy God lifts the veil and we see something we wouldn't see except we had the prophecy. So in the Old Testament as we shared the Old Testament saints from Adam and Eve they received the prophecy the seed of the woman that would come that would take away their sin bring them into the right relationship with God.

That's a paraphrase of Genesis 3 15. But anyway through prophecy they could see the Messiah. They didn't know his name but they longed for the seed of the woman and we go on through the Old Testament and the prophecy lifted the veil and revealed Jesus to them in a way they wouldn't had they not had the prophecy. So we focus on Jesus through prophecy and through prophecy that's revealed by God and then John goes on to say he made it known by sending his angel to a servant John who testifies to everything he saw that is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. And so John is saying this is my personal testimony. It's an amazing thing because John you know for you and me it's prophecy for him it's history. I've counted right in one translation 49 times he said I saw with my own eyes 28 times he said I heard with my own ears. So this is John's eyewitness account of the future what's still future to us but he saw it he heard it. So if he were here he might want to share his testimony with you so I'd love to stand in for him so if you'll just humor me for a moment I'm going to share with you his testimony. And he would say if he was here something like this that I was a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth for three years and on many occasions I saw Jesus do some of the most amazing things. I saw him feed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish and I saw him cleanse the leper and give sight to the blind and I saw him actually raise the dead back to life but I'll never forget that Thursday night and we'd all gone upstairs to have a last supper with him and while we were there having supper he shared all sorts of things with us and he washed our feet and taught us that if he did that were to do likewise he taught us about heaven he taught us that we would be persecuted because of our identification with him he taught us that he was divine we were the branches that we couldn't do anything without him that taught us about the holy spirit who would come in his name and then he asked us to come out and we followed him we overheard him praying to his father and he took us to the garden of Gethsemane and went in to pray and he asked James and Peter and myself to go in and the inner part of the Gethsemane pray with him I went to sleep when I woke up I saw with my own eyes the Roman soldiers placing him under arrest and because I'm a relative of a high priest I followed at a distance and I slipped inside that courtyard and with my own eyes I saw him placed on trial before Annas and then Caiaphas and then the full Sanhedrin and with my own ears in the end I heard them convict Jesus of Nazareth for blasphemy nothing more nothing less just blasphemy claiming to be the son of God and I saw with my own eyes as they took Jesus and they took him to Pilate and placed him on trial before the Roman governor on trial before Pilate and then Herod and then back to Pilate and I saw as Pilate told the crowd and I heard this man is innocent seven different times the Roman courts said this man is innocent but then Pilate turned him over for flogging and when they brought him back and he stood on the judgment hall platform in front of a crowd that was now beginning to riot you would have a hard time identifying him as a person much less know exactly who he was the blood and flesh was ripped from his body still had a noble bearing and dignity and the crowd riot and crucify him crucify him and Pilate asked for a basin of water and I saw Pilate wash his hands of responsibility and say this man is innocent but you can crucify him and I saw as they put a cross on his back and they took him up to Calvary and stripped him of his clothes and laid him down on the cross and drove the spikes through his hands and feet and I saw them raise that cross and planted in the ground like a tree I saw Jesus of Nazareth crucified on a Roman cross and I stayed at the foot of the cross for six hours at one point he even noticed me and asked me if I would take care of his mother which I did for the rest of her life and then at the end of six hours I heard with my own ears it is finished and I saw with my own eyes as he bowed his head and he deliberately refused to take the next breath I saw Jesus of Nazareth die on that Roman cross and you understand my whole life fell apart all my hopes and dreams everything I believed in just crashed into little pieces at the foot of the cross because I thought Jesus was the Messiah I thought he was God walking the earth in a human body I thought he was the Redeemer of Israel I thought he was the Son of God and he had died on a Roman cross and I went back to that upstairs room with the other disciples and we locked the door and we barred the windows we were terrified the Romans would come get us and in my grief the hours just ran together and before I knew it it was Sunday morning and I heard somebody banging on the door I thought the Romans had come to get us but I heard a woman's voice and I opened the door and it was Mary and she was saying something about the tomb being empty and grave robbers and Peter and I looked at each other we had the same thought we ran through that open door through the early morning streets of Jerusalem we came to the tomb where Jesus had been buried the stone was rolled away just like Mary said I ran inside and I will never forget what I saw nothing except for the grave clothes and I was there in Bethany when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead you remember and he told Martha to unwrap him and when Martha finished unwrapping Lazarus those grave clothes were lying there like a pile of stinking rags and the grave clothes of Jesus weren't lying there like a pile of stinking rags like somebody had taken the body off naked the grave clothes were lying there like an empty cocoon as though the body was still inside and I knew Jesus had risen from the dead but I was more confused than ever so I went back to that upstairs room with the other disciples and we locked the door and we barred the windows and Sunday afternoon with my own ears I heard that very beloved familiar voice say peace it is I be not afraid and I turned and I looked and I saw Jesus of Nazareth standing in front of me I saw the wound on his brow where the thorns had been and the wounds in his hands and feet where the nails had been and he invited me to reach out and touch him and I'm here to tell you I have seen and felt and experienced the risen Lord Jesus Christ he's alive he's alive for 40 days he came and went and he taught us and about 40 days later we were standing on the Mount of Olives and reached out his hands to bless us as was his custom and as I saw him reaching out his hands to bless us I saw with my own eyes Jesus of Nazareth begin to rise up from the ground in his man's body I saw his body begin to go up through the air I saw him go up through the clouds of glory I saw Jesus of Nazareth ascend back into heaven but that's not all I've seen let me tell you what else I've seen with the same eyes and heard with the same ears I've seen wars on a worldwide scale so devastating that the blood of those slaughtered rises to the heights of a horse's bridle I've seen pestilence virus and cancer wipe out a third of the earth's population I've seen stars like scud missiles falling out of the sky and I've seen mountains falling into the sea and I've seen a beast rise up out of the sea to rule the world and I've seen a false prophet who does miracles in his name and I've seen a dragon give them both power and I've seen hell opened and demons flooding the earth and I've seen heaven opened and I've seen angels come out and declare the gospel in the sky for the whole world to see and I've seen the sky unfold and a white horse appear whose rider is faithful and true followed by the armies of heaven and I've seen him with the sword that comes from his mouth put down every enemy that's raised up against him and I've seen him establish his kingdom on earth and I've seen heaven and I've seen the place that's prepared for us and I want to tell you something around it all through it all over it all under it all at the beginning of it all at the end of it all I have seen Jesus Christ absolutely supreme amen that's John's testimony how would we know the end of the story how would we know where we're headed how would we know the climax of human history if it wasn't for prophecy revealed by God recorded by the prophets why so you and I can read it verse three blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy blessed are those who hear it and take the heart what is written in it because the time is near and it's much nearer today than it was when John wrote that and the blessing is the only book in the bible that promises a special blessing and it's not just reading it through one time but it means continuously reading continuously heating and one of the blessings and I think it applies the whole bible but one of the blessings when you read the book of revelation again and again and again is that it helps you stay focused on Jesus and in this day and time when there's so much craziness the way our world is so polluted and the youth defiant and so much disaster worldwide environmentally politically socially culturally morally spiritually we need to keep our focus on Jesus so would you focus on him through prophecy the book of revelation it's thrilling it is not a scary book the bad things that happen that's happening to the bad people but you and I are redeemed we're saved the rapture I believe based on scripture and there could be disagreement and I agree to disagree we won't know till it happens but I believe the rapture will take place before that period of great tribulation and God's going to catch us up to be with himself to live with him in his heavenly home and so I think a lot of the things described in the book of revelation you and I won't be on planet earth to experience but if we are he's going to be there with us and you'll walk us through it but focus on Jesus through prophecy he's magnificent he's the end of the story he's where we're going all of human history is going to be summed up in Jesus and we focus on Jesus through praise verse four john to the seven churches in the province of Asia grace and peace to you from him who is and was and is to come that's the one we think of God the father from the seven spirits before his throne that's the sevenfold spirit speaking of the holy spirit using the number seven because that implies perfection and the holy spirit is perfect because he is God from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness the firstborn from the dead the ruler of the kings of the earth that's God the son so we have God the father God the sevenfold spirit and God the son the things that the Jews say every day the Lord our God is one and yes he is but this is the mystery our Lord God is one but he's three and one and I don't understand the trinity and I can't explain it and I'm not going to try I just know there is the father and there is the son and there is the holy spirit and we praise Jesus for his deity because Jesus is God he's fully God and you find him in Genesis chapter 1 and verse 1 in the beginning God created everything that's the one we think of as God the father verse 2 the spirit of God hovered over the face of the deep that's the sevenfold spirit the holy spirit verse 3 and God said let there be light and all the way through Genesis chapter 1 it says and God said and God said everything God said was so and we think that's just nouns and pronouns coming out of the mouth of God until we come to the gospel of John chapter 1 verse 1 in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God and he became flesh and dwelt among us and we've beheld his glory full of grace and truth even Jesus Colossians 1 says nothing was made that wasn't made by him for him through him Jesus Christ is the creator in his godness in his deity he is the creator of everything and we praise him for his deity and we praise him for his humanity he says in verse 5 the middle of it to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priest to serve his God and father to him be glory and power forever and ever amen look he's coming with the clouds and every eye will see him even those who pierced him and Jesus is fully God and he's fully man now I don't understand and I can't explain but I know he is God and he is also man and in his manness in his humanity he is the savior who redeemed me with his own blood he's the lord who rules the details of my life enabling me to fulfill God's purpose and he's the king one day who will come back to receive me to himself so I'll tell you how much this meant to me it was years ago but I was feeling very small very unimportant I don't know if you ever have those days I have them a lot and for whatever reason and on this particular day I was feeling smaller than usual and I was meditating doing my three questions on this passage and the spirit began whispering to me and who is the most important man in your life and I thought well of course my husband at that time and my father and and then and who's the most important man in the United States and I thought well the president he would have the power he would be you know I would guess at the top of the heap and and then and and who would be the most important man on planet earth and I thought well if the United States is still the leader of the free world and the president leads the United States I would expect the president the United States is perhaps the most important man not just in America but in the whole world but for four years or eight years and then he goes off and you know somebody else takes his place and and then there was this whisper Anne the most important man not in your life or in North Carolina or in America or on planet earth but the most important man in all of the universe the most important man in all of the universe not just for four years or eight years but forever and ever and ever thinks you're so important that he's the savior who redeemed you with his own blood he went to that cross if there's nobody else who needed a redeemer nobody else who needed a savior he would have gone to the cross just for you and and he's the lord that rules your life so that you can fulfill God's purpose for your life you can fulfill your potential he'll arrange the details of your life as a as we had nothing else to do and he's the king one day he will come to receive you to himself how can you feel unimportant when you're that important to the most important man in the universe I've never felt quite so small again and I want to tell you something I think the spirit would whisper that to you the most important man in all of the universe forever and ever thinks you're so important he's brought you right here so that I could tell you on his behalf that the most important man in all of the universe forever and ever thinks you are so important that he's the savior who's redeemed you with his own blood the lord who rules your life the king who's coming for you would you just thank him praise god and it's very personal you know we think well he loves the whole church he loves everybody and he's got people from every generation and and I don't exactly know how this works but I know we go to the beach every year try to take two weeks in july and we go down as a family and we usually catch the beach when there's a full moon and because we're on the east coast the moon comes up over the water and what I love at the beach is if I'm standing here at the beach and the moon comes up I have a moon beam that comes right to me and if Maro is like you know a hundred yards down the beach and she's standing on the beach the moon beam comes right to her and if Rachel Ruth is farther down the beach and she's standing a moon beam comes right to her now I don't know how that works but all of us have our own moon beam it's just coming to us and I don't know how it works but jesus is your savior as though there's nobody else who needed one and he's your lord as though he doesn't have a universe to run and planets to spin and nations to rise and fall and and he's the king who's coming back just for you so praise him for his humanity the god man would you praise him for his eternity in verse eight says I am the alpha the alpha and the omega that's his omniscience the alpha and omega that's the first and last letter of the greek alphabet the alphabet sums up all of our wisdom and knowledge and in his omniscience think about it jesus has never had a new thought he's always known everything which means you have always been on his mind he's always been thinking of you and when he came to earth he came down for you when he went to the cross he was dying for you when he rose up from the grave he was rising up to give you life when he opened heaven it was for you he's preparing a place for you in his omniscience he's always he's always been thinking of you always loving you by name he's omniscient and then the next says he's the lord god who is and was and is to come that's his omnipresence he's fully present yesterday fully present today fully present tomorrow every age every generation fully present in all of the universe all the planets fully present everywhere on planet earth fully present with me up here fully present with my family they're fully present back home with the family we've left fully present with the missionaries in the jungles trying to reach people with the gospel and fully present with the believers who are living in the gulags of north korea i pray for them almost every day i just some reason that's just in my heart the persecuted church praying for those who are being martyred because of their identification with jesus praying for the muslims in the middle east who have put their faith in jesus and their live under a death sentence and you know he's fully present everywhere because i have him fully present with me doesn't mean you have him less he doesn't spread himself thin he's omnipresent and then he's the lord god almighty that's his omnipotence no one is more powerful than jesus be sure to take advantage of all that's available for you at anne-gramm from anne's blog her messages bible studies books and videos all will give you a deeper richer relationship with jesus through god's word and thanks for joining us today for living in the light
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-21 16:36:59 / 2023-09-21 16:46:46 / 10

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