Share This Episode
Living in the Light Anne Graham Lotz Logo

Awakened to the Cross – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
August 8, 2021 3:00 pm

Awakened to the Cross – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 181 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Encouraging Prayer
James Banks
In Touch
Charles Stanley
JR Sports Brief

Ann Graham Lotz. I believe he's saying to the pastors and the leaders of the church, watch out. You're the shepherds.

Guard the sheep from the wolves who are trying to tear them apart. So I would take a moment and just ask you what your view of God's Word is. You're listening to Ann Graham Lotz on the weekly teaching ministry, Living in the Life. And today, Ann takes us to the book of Revelation chapter 2, to one of the most religious cities of the day. It was the seat of emperor worship with the temple of Zeus, which was also one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, an intellectual center of its day. But unfortunately, the Christians accommodated themselves to it. Here's Ann with today's message.

Awaken to the cross. Pergamum was a very international city. They had a great medical university.

They had a library that had over 200,000 cuneiform tablets. They were intellectual, religious. When the church was planted in Pergamum, the church community was thrilled because they thought, now we're going to plant a church there and it's going to impact the culture.

And instead, the culture impacted the church. So Jesus says, these are the words of him who has the sharp double-edged sword. He identifies himself with the word of God. The living word identified with the written word. He says, I know where you live, where Satan has his throne.

I think that's the big altar of Zeus that was on the mountain that's centered in the city. But they had been faithful, even to the point of death. Nevertheless, in verse 14, I have a few things against you. You have people there who hold to the teachings of Balaam. And he talks about the teachings of the Nicolaitans. And I don't exactly know who they were and what they were teaching, but I'll tell you this. They were taking people away from faith in God's word. They were sowing doubt in God's word. They were disregarding God's word, belittling God's word, finding myths and errors and, you know, all the kind of stuff that they say about God's word. And the thing he was correcting the church for was that in their midst, they had people like this. The leaders of the church weren't that way, but the leaders had allowed the people to come into the church and they were beginning their little whisper campaign. You don't really believe that. And you don't think a snake would talk and all those animals can get on the boat and, you know, who's ever heard of man rising from the dead. And, you know, they're more than one way to God.

That's just such a narrow-minded view. We all have our own religion and God will, you know, and allow them to creep into the church. And I believe he's saying to the pastors and the leaders of the church, watch out. You're the shepherds. Guard the sheep from the wolves who are trying to tear them apart. So I would take a moment and just ask you what your view of God's word is.

And that may need to be settled. My daddy had a wonderful testimony that actually he shared with my daughter Mara. We climbed on his bed and I asked him to share with her the story when he was a young man and he had been in a group of young men and they were belittling the word of God. And he said he didn't join the conversation.

It was something that hurt him, just hurt his heart. And so he went out into the woods and he took his Bible and wrestled with his view of God's word. And finally he said he just decided he put his Bible on the stump and he just decided, you know, I don't understand it all. I can't answer all the questions, but I believe because it's God's word that it's true. And I'm going to take it as truth from Genesis to Revelation. I'm going to preach it and believe it. So the difference it makes to put your faith in the word of God.

So it may be that you need to wrestle a little bit and you just decide, for me, I've decided God is a gentleman. He doesn't lie. I can take him at his word. And what he says is so. And I believe this book, every part of it was written for people like you and me.

And I believe the nouns are nouns and the verbs are verbs. And I can take it literally. That means I take it as a piece of literature.

And I know in the Psalms there is poetry and I know prophecy as symbolism. And you know, when I get to heaven, I don't want to get to heaven and find out that I threw out the story of Adam and Eve because I couldn't believe in a talking snake. Or I threw out the story of Jonah because I couldn't believe a fish could swallow a man.

And I threw out the story of the resurrection because I don't believe people rise from the dead and find out that I was discarding the truth. So decide. Yes. Amen. And I believe you in a unique way are living in Pergamum. You and I need to take a stand on God's word. It's God's word.

And there's a supernatural power to God's word, isn't there? So we just preach the word. Preach the word. Preach the word.

It's like somebody told me it's like planning landmines. Now I know that's not politically correct but when you preach the word it's like planning landmines and then the Holy Spirit can come and walk along them and explode them into real faith whenever he chooses. But we're just going to preach the word, right? And the response to the word is up to the Holy Spirit, not us. So we're just going to be faithful to the word. And so Jesus is telling the church at Pergamum, you need to repent of having these people in your midst who are weakening those under you in their faith in my words. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church. This is the principle, I believe, that you and I don't stand in judgment over the words. The word stands in judgment over us.

Revelation 19 I think is the most terrifying chapter in all of scripture and it's when the sky unfolds, the white horse is there, the rider whose name is faithful and true, and the armies of the worlds who had gathered together at Armageddon to make war with each other look up and they see the Lamb and they know who He is and they unite in their rebellion and they aim their missiles and their guns and their battleships and they go to make war against the Lamb. Is He afraid? Does He even bat an eye? He just speaks a word and they all drop dead. You and I don't stand in judgment over the words. The word stands in judgment over us. The promise to those who overcome, what I would say would be a political correctness or however you want to view this that would diminish the word of God in your midst. Those who overcome, He says, I will give you some of the hidden manna. The manna was the bread in the wilderness that came down from heaven and they hid some in a jar and put it in the ark and I think the hidden manna is what we discovered during our workshop. When you read a passage of scripture and you can read it and it's a blessing and you just go right on to the next passage but if you stop and you list the facts and you look for the lessons from the facts and you put the lessons in the form of a question, the hidden manna comes out and He will give you insights into God's word and He will give you precious things to feed you and speak to your heart that not and if you never share it with anybody else it's just for you but it may be that He will speak to you so that you in turn can share that with somebody else and it's the very thing they need to hear. It's a hidden manna. Do you have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying, the heart catheterization revealing a political correctness in our midst that if we're not careful we'll pull our people away from the word of God? Would you repent? Do something about it?

If you're the leader you can do something about it. Do you have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying? A church at Pergamum did not. There's no church there today. The next church is Thyatira. These are the words of the Son of God whose eyes are like blazing fire, whose feet are like burnished bronze.

Thyatira was such a small town people don't understand why it's on this list and sometimes you can be so small in your church, so small, so insignificant in some isolated place you think God doesn't notice you and you can get by with whatever. And this church thought they could get by with whatever and Jesus is looking at them with eyes of blazing. He's angry.

I hope I never see him looking at me like that. He's coming in judgment against this church. The stunning thing in verse 19, I know your deeds, your love, your faith, your service, your perseverance, you're doing more now than you did at first.

Wow! They're doing a lot. They sound wonderful like you'd want to belong to that church and then you find out what's going on. What has provoked the anger of the Son of God? Immorality and I'm ashamed to say they were led into it by a woman but it could have just as easily been a man. Immorality in our midst, provoking the wrath of the Son of God. Oh if that's not a message to the church today in America. I will tell you that he warned Jezebel and he said if she didn't repent he would take it out on her and her children and it would go from generation to generation.

You got to stop it, break the cycle. So much and you know I've got three granddaughters and I can hardly bear the fact that they're growing up in this culture where everywhere you turn there's temptation to sin. Either to go through the mall and be greedy and covet everything that you see or turn on the tv and see them just in the ads things that I would never have wanted my children to see and you hear things and language and the way speak and I anyway we're living in such a wicked age but don't let it into the church. The church at Thyatira was told to repent or put Jezebel out. She was unwilling and so the suffering began and went down to the next generation. The principle I believe is that God demands holiness of his people especially the leaders of his people. God's standards haven't changed have they and we compare ourselves with each other so I think I'm better than that person not as bad as that person I'm okay and there's safety in numbers and God still is holy and we're to be holy as he is holy and to be holy means to be absolutely pure and our dear Lord Jesus you want a definition for holiness just be like Jesus and in him there was no meanness no unkindness no pridefulness no selfishness no unforgiveness no bitterness no hypocrisy no you know no sinfulness at all so if we're to be holy as he is holy and us there should be no meanness or unkindness or bitterness or unforgiveness or selfishness or hypocrisy or whatever else you can name all these sins that the catheterization reveals be holy be holy be holy so the principle is that we are to be holy and he demands it from us the promise this is interesting verse 26 he says I will give him authority over the nations and I believe that means power in your service that spiritual power to impact this generation spiritual power to change lives spiritual power to get answers to prayer is directly related to your purity no wonder the church is so powerless today so as he shines the light of truth into your heart as the catheterization revealed there is some sort of immorality sinfulness in your life in the life of your church that you need to deal with we need to bring some discipline back to the church don't we in a loving way and like Paul said we discipline these people not to just crush them but to bring them to repentance God's standards are high and church at Thyatira did not have ears to hear what the spirit was saying you know there's not only not a church in Thyatira there's not even any stones to look at in Thyatira people don't even go there because there's nothing there you have ears to hear what the spirit is saying I think it's time to wake up to the cross and come back and bring our sin of immorality and sinfulness wickedness whatever it is to Jesus the next church is that of Sardis and I relate to this one I relate all of them actually but this one especially these are the words of him who was the seven spirits of God and the seven stars that's the picture of Jesus holding the balance scales and the seven spirits of God that's the Holy Spirit on one side the seven stars that's the leaders of the church would include me in that and so he's holding up the balance scales and saying that he's the one who weighs us in the balance and you know people say today well God's going to weigh my good works against my bad works and if I have more good works and bad works then God's going to accept me and Jesus weighs us but not our good works against our bad works he weighs us against the perfection of his Holy Spirit and so he said to me and I have weighed you in the balances and I found you lacking I mean this I'm just telling you he spoke to me from this passage several years ago and so I said woohoo you know what is it he says I know your deeds he knows you have a reputation of being alive but you're dead and then he said wake up and I knew exactly what he was talking about I'm a sleepyhead so instead of waking up to spend time with him in prayer I was just rolling over I was just rolling over to catch as much sleep as I could and then I was bouncing into my day and I had other people praying for me and I was writing in on their prayers and I wasn't in that set aside prayer time and I had a reputation worldwide reputation of being alive but he looked at me and he said Ann you're dying on the inside that's a wake-up call so I went to Brookstone I got an alarm that when it goes off it's so loud it goes you know your heart goes like this and your eyes like this my husband's screaming what are you doing and there's no chance I'll go back to sleep I get out of bed and do my stretches and bands I had to learn that I couldn't just get out of bed and go into my prayer time I had to wake myself up and do my stretches walk for two and a half miles get my triple expresso then come back and I was awake and it's become the most precious time of my day I wouldn't take anything from meeting the Lord like that waking up Alan Redpath said what American Christians need the most is blanket victory just victory over those blankets in the morning wake up I came across a book I think it was on the New York Times bestseller list actually and I believe the author's name is Mark Batterson is that right the circle maker and you remember the introduction he talks about honey and I think I'm pronouncing his name right but he lived before the first century and it was at a time when Jerusalem was an enormous drought and the elders of the city knew if the drought continued then they would lose a whole generation and the fields were withering was a dust bowl hadn't rained and I don't know how many years seven years or something like that so they called on honey he was the rain maker and they said honey you need to pray for rain and they brought him out and so honey just drew a circle in the dust and he put himself in the middle of the circle and then he got down on his knees and he said God send the rain I'm not going to leave this circle until you send the rain and so as he prayed the rain began to come it was just pouring down he said oh no God I didn't mean that kind of rain because it was a gully washer and he said no he said I mean a soft gentle rain that would fill up the creeks and fill up the rivers and fill up the lakes and as he prayed the rain came in a soft gentle rain that lasted for days and the drought was ended and so I shared this with a group in my state the leadership group and I said you know something I would like to draw a circle all the way around the United States but I'm just going to center it on North Carolina and I'm going to first of all my city of Raleigh but then my state draw a circle and just say God I'm not going to get out of this circle just figuratively speaking until you send the rain until you pour out your blessing on this state and I just feel that their force is trying to pull us away from our foundation of faith and God has given our state a little reprieve and I'm praying just drawing the circle praying for his blessing so maybe you could just draw a circle around your city draw a circle around this state and say God we're not going to get out of the circle until you send the rain and it may not change the political landscape but it can change the church and it can change God's people in this state and oh prayer is the weakest part of my Christian life can I just tell you prayer is work isn't it the front line of the battle you get on your knees and you have entered into the battle for and the enemy will come against you do you know that that's why you can't keep your concentration that's why you get so sleepy that's why you get so scattered and you know that's why you start daydreaming it's the enemy is after you to keep you from that prayer because it's so powerful prayer is a fight and I had given up the fight so he shined his light of truth into my heart and showed me that I was prayerless and I had other people praying from a prayer team in my office a prayer team for myself this was before the office prayer team was established but I was substituting their prayers for my own and Jesus said you can't do that it's good to have people pray for you Ann but that's no substitute for you spending time and prayer with me the principle is that God is not impressed with our reputation you see we can have a reputation other people can be impressed but he's not and the promise is in verse 5 he overcomes will be dressed in white in other words we'll have a relationship with his father that he will acknowledge and other people will see and I think when you spend time in prayer and you spend time in his word you're developing that love relationship that even other people can sense about you and they know you know God in an intimate way so as the light of truth shines into your hearts does it reveal a prayer how's your prayer life when you spend time in prayer you know you every day you spend time in prayer but can you carve out a retreat time maybe it's just once a week maybe it's three days a week whatever it is but just be creative but make sure you're spending time in prayer that's where the power is you have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying a church at Sardis did not there's no church there today now here's an with this final word would you sincerely search your heart for any political correctness that has intimidated you into denying doubting or disobeying the truth of God's Word or just remaining silent about the truth then repent read study apply obey God's Word that you might be blessed would you search your heart for the specific sin of immorality impure thoughts fascination with the sexual or the sensual that's reflected in the movies or television programs you watch the books you read magazines you leaf through websites you visit places you go clothes that you wear then repent cut out anything and everything that tempts you to immorality even if it's just in your thoughts would you search your heart for prayerlessness whether the reason is weirdness or business or just spiritual weakness that hasn't made prayer a priority repent reactivate a daily time of prayer you and I were created to walk and talk with God to love and obey God to listen to him and to learn from him to glorify and enjoy God forever everything in your life seems okay yet you say to yourself so why am I so restless what's wrong it may be that your restlessness isn't because something is wrong but because something is right God may be awakening in you a desire for something more perhaps God and his grace is drawing you closer to Jesus to go deeper in your faith in Philippians 1 9 and 10 Paul prays that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and be pure and blameless King David prayed in Psalm 139 23 and 24 search me Oh God and know my heart see if there is any offensive way in me would you ask God to do that for you to search your heart to revealed you in the light of his word the sin that he sees first Corinthians 1 18 says the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it's the power of God it's at the cross that God demonstrated his love for you it's at the cross that even the vilest offender receives by faith a full pardon for his sin it's at the cross that God's grace is poured out as a fountain filled with his own blood and it's at the cross of Jesus Christ where millions of people have laid down all they are all they have as a debt of love to the one who died for them return to the cross and humbly repent he will give you hidden manna fresh power in your service and a personal relationship with himself that will draw others to Jesus living in the light is a weekly study in God's Word with teacher and author and Graham lots learn to listen to his voice then start making the choice to keep on going and believing and trusting who God is go to and Graham lots dot org take advantage of the many helpful free resources to get you started join us again for living in the light
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-16 23:01:44 / 2023-09-16 23:10:45 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime