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The Gospel Mission – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2022 3:00 pm

The Gospel Mission – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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This is Anne Graham Lotz. There will be conflict, and Paul lays it right out on the table. You're going to be, when you go to share the Gospel, there are going to be those who will contradict you, push you back. Chapter 3, mark this. There will be terrible times in the last days.

The last days, technically, are from the first coming of Jesus to the second coming of Jesus, but I believe we're in the last of the last days. I believe this is a description of our world today. This is a description of American culture, anyway. People will be lovers of themselves. This is where all the godlessness begins. It's in the heart. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive.

Now those are just individual people. Then it spreads to the family, where you have children who are disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, disrespectful. Without love, they're heartless, unforgiving. That leads to a society that's godless, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and that permeates the church, that has a form of godliness but denies its power, have nothing to do with them.

Can't you just see it? The godlessness that begins in the heart, it's just seeped out until it's saturating our culture. We're almost like Genesis 6 where everybody thinks evil all the time continually, even within the church, and we have a show of religion with all of the traditions and the rituals and the talk and the seminars and the videos and the programs, but we deny the power, which is the power of the cross to change lives, the power of God's word to hold up a standard that still stands. God's standards of holiness have not been lowered because of our progressive, modern, whatever culture. His standards are the same, and they deny that.

Then look at this. This is such an interesting paragraph, and I wish it wasn't so, but I think it's a prophecy of the unique attack on women in the last of the last days. These are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, women who just go by their emotions, women who just want every new fad, women who just, you know, I could tick off the programs they watch on TV, magazines they look at, the stars that they follow, the reality TV shows they watch. They're loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires. They always learn, but they're never able to acknowledge the truth that the real problem is sin. They need to come to the cross, repent of their sin, give their hearts to Christ, pick up the gospel baton, be a messenger on mission.

Instead, they go from conference to conference or thing to thing, and they're emotional and they weep and they laugh and listen to all these programs and they watch all these things and, oh, you know, maybe they go to church on Sunday. And then it says that just as Janus and Jamborees opposed Moses, these men opposed the truth. So who were Janus and Jamborees? And I don't know, nobody knows for sure, but we would guess that they're the magicians in Pharaoh's court. And do you remember when Moses went to Pharaoh and he was trying to get Pharaoh to let God's people go and Pharaoh says, well, who has sent you? And God says, I am has sent me. And then Moses took his staff and he threw it on the ground and his staff became a snake.

You remember? And then those other two magicians, they took their staffs and they threw them on the ground and they became snakes. And then Moses' serpent ate up their serpents and Moses reached out and picked them up and became his staff again. But Janus and Jamborees were opposing Moses and Moses was the true deliverer. So for Janus and Jamborees to oppose him, they were offering a false way of liberation for the people. And today, I look back at the women's movement and I see the destruction caused by Janus and Jamborees who would offer them a false way of liberation, a false way to be satisfied, a false way to be fulfilled, a false way to pursue your own selfish interests and that's where you're going to find happiness and come outside your home and then go back in your home, then have the office and then have the home and then you're just so busy and everything's, and now look where we are. Women have never been so despised, depraved, used as sex objects, disrespected.

It just, how can it get any worse than what's going on today? Because that was a false way of liberation. So be smart. You're going to have pushback. You're going to have opposition. And even in the midst of that women's movement, I thank the women's movement for some things and I've called myself an evangelical feminist because I know what I believe and I stand for it and I take the opportunities God gives me and refuse to submit to some of the restrictions people place on me that God hasn't placed on me. But I want to offer genuine liberation for women and men and children and that's through the cross of Jesus Christ. Surrendering our lives to him.

He's the liberator. So when you go out on this mission, there'll be conflict. You're going to have opposition and that will lead to persecution, okay? Verse 12, in fact everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

That's just part of the normal life of a messenger. So when you're persecuted maybe they'll just raise their eyebrow, you know, and sort of look at you funny. Maybe they'll just leave you out of their invitations when the neighborhood gathers together you won't be included. Maybe it'll be more serious where you're demoted at your office or you're fired from your job or your spouse walks out or your children actually rebel against you because you're putting your faith in Jesus. You know it can be a serious persecution but Jesus said, when you're persecuted you rejoice and be exceeding glad because you're in good company. They've persecuted a lot of people before you and it's just part of it. So don't say why me?

It's like why not me, you know? So there'll be conflict, opposition, persecution but you and I are to continue and remain confident in what we know. Verse 14, but as for you continue in what you've learned and have become convinced of. Are you convinced of the gospel?

Then you continue in it. Convinced of the truth of God's word then you continue in it. In fact he says in verse 15 that you've learned from infancy the holy scriptures that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ. All scripture, that's Genesis to Revelation, everything in between. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness so that you may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. And it's God's word from beginning to end that's inspired, the Holy Spirit is the breath of God. He took fallible men, yes they were fallible, he worked through them but he produced an infallible word that is inerrant and infallible, inspired.

Don't let anybody tell you different. That's an attack that goes back to the Garden of Eden. Yea, hath God said. Are you sure that's God's word?

You sure that's what he meant when he said that? That's the devil, that's the father of lies whispering in your ear. This book from beginning to end is true. Jesus said every jot and tittle.

You can just take it to the bank. When I get to heaven, if I find out in the Old Testament instead of 200,000 people killed in battle, it should have been 20,000, I really don't care. I just don't want to get to heaven and find out that I thought, you know, I've never heard a snake talk so I just don't believe that and I toss out Adam and Eve and I know all those animals couldn't have gotten on that boat so I toss out the story of Noah and I know a fish could never swallow a man so I toss out Jonah and then when it comes to the resurrection, what you do with that, I've never seen a man raised from the dead, that must have been a spiritual something or other and you just pick and choose your way through scripture according to what your finite mind can understand?

I don't think so. And Jesus himself referred to all of those stories, do you know that? And he's the son of God. He is the truth, he doesn't lie. So you just take God at his word and if we don't understand it, that's okay.

We'll understand it all one day. But this book is true, inspired, inerrant, infallible, you wrap yourself around it, saturate yourself in it. You and I are to continue in the word of God and it's God's word that's sufficient to enable you, equip you for this mission, this impossible mission of taking the gospel into the world and it's God's word that will give you the strength and the foundation on which to stand.

I remember when God first sent me into the world outside of my home and my city and actually it was the first time outside of my home into my city into his teaching Bible study fellowship and I was scared to death and I told God I just couldn't do it. And he seemed to just whisper in my ear, and I know that. This was from Revelation chapter 3 but he said, I know you can't but I can. And I said, God I'm too weak to do that. And he said, and I know you're weak but I'm strong. And I said, God I'm so inadequate I don't have the education, I don't have the training and he said, and I know that but I'm sufficient.

You walk through the open door. And I loved him for not telling me and you're stronger than you think and you've got more ability than you know. He just admitted to me that I was weak, inadequate, insufficient for the task but that didn't make any difference because he was in me and he would fulfill it. So he was saying walk through the open door and I was saying, God I just don't think I can and what do I have? I know what I don't have.

I don't have strength and I don't have training and I don't have adequacy. And he said, and you hold on to what you have. And when I said what do I have he brought to my mind, and you have the scripture. You have my word and you have me.

So you hold on to what you have. Walk through the open door. And I did. And I walked through that door scared to death. There are now multiple classes in Raleigh with hundreds of men and women studying God's word.

It's all over the world. I've gone all over the world sharing God's word and now concentrating somewhat on video and audio and social media and still speaking but taking God's word, finding I can, oh I can give you testimony after testimony. God's word is relevant for whoever's out there and God's word is sufficient. And he will through the word equip you for every good work. You just hang on to it, okay? You hang on to it.

Get a grip on God's word. Every day you read it. Every day you apply it. Every day you obey it. Every day you live it out. And increasingly, like Genesis chapter one, every day God's word went forth, all the changes didn't take place in the first day.

It was day after day after day after day. It was a progression. That Enoch's walk, remember one step at a time every day for 365 days of the year for 300 years? So you just continue in what you've learned. So be smart and God will be with you. He will give you the discernment, the wisdom.

You're going to be opposed but you continue in what you've learned. And then lastly be serious about the charge. In verse one he says in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who will judge the living and the dead and in view of his appearing and his kingdom I give you this charge. And that's a very solemn charge. In view of his appearing any moment we're going to stand before him and he's the judge and we're going to give an account to him for our lives not for our sin, okay? All of that accountability Jesus took on himself on the cross. The guilt of our sin and our shame. Jesus has taken that but we're going to give an account to God for the way we carry out the mission. We're going to give an account to God for the way we live our Christian lives and he says in view of the fact that any moment you're going to be standing before the judge I give you this charge. Preach the word.

Let me paraphrase that. Pass the baton. Give out the gospel.

That's a command. Preach the word. Be prepared in season and out of season. When you know you're in the passing zone and when you're not sure you're in the passing zone. When you have the opportunity. When you're not sure you have the opportunity.

Just any 24-7 you're ready to share the gospel. And to correct, rebuke, encourage with great patience. There you go again because we just for the hope of harvest, right?

Great patience. We may not live to see the fruit of our ministry but there will be fruit. His word does not return void. Careful instruction because the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires they'll gather them a great number of teachers to say whatever their itching ears want to hear. They turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside the myths. But you, keep your head. Be smart. Endure a hardship. Be strong. Do the work of an evangelist. Be serious. Discharge all the duties of your ministry. Be serious about the charge.

We're not playing games. This is not a holy hobby. This isn't just something you come up to be inspired by and you go home and you live the same old, same old. This is a serious life and death charge. So you get serious about the charge and you get serious about the crown. Verse 6, I'm already being poured out like a drink offering. And you know the beautiful thing, the drink offering was the last sacrifice made.

Did you know that after the burnt offering? Then the drink offering was the last act of worship and Paul is saying I'm getting ready to make my last sacrifice. Getting ready to give my last act of worship.

Pouring my life out like a drink offering. The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight.

I've finished the race. I've kept the faith. Now there's in store for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day. Not only to me but also to all those who have longed for his appearing. And the thing that is so impressive is that Paul at the end of his life has no regrets.

Is that not stunning? Can you imagine five minutes before you see Jesus being so confident that you've lived with that gospel message in your hand as a messenger taking it out on mission to the whole world between your own two feet and you've done the best that you can and you're confident that you've done the best. And your life has been a drink offering poured out and you're ready to receive the crown that he's going to give you. Paul says in Corinthians that our lives from the day we receive Christ and the day we see him face to face are going to pass through the fire of God's holiness. And if our life has been saved but lived according to what we want to do and according to our will and we do things the way people around us do them and people in our church do them and we're good and we're nice but you know we just sort of go with the flow then our lives are going to be like wood hay and stubble. They're going to be burnt up when they pass through that fire. You'll be saved the Bible says but as though by fire. But then he says if you live your life in obedience to God's word and you've surrendered to God's will, you're doing things God's way then your life will pass through that fire but it will be like gold, silver, precious stones. And you're going to be given in reward for that a crown that one day you can lay at his feet.

So I remember a speaker asking when I was in the audience and it's impacted me every day of my life since. When we get to heaven and for the first time we see Jesus and the wound on his brow where the thorns had been, the wounds in his palms and his feet where the nails had been and for the first time fully comprehend what it cost him to open heaven for us and take away our sin and invite us to live with him forever and prepare a place just for us and for the first time we comprehend what that cost him. On that day we're going to want to give something to him in response for all that he's given us. And on that day what will you have to give him? Will you have a crown?

Actually nothing would be enough, right? But a crown that was given to me in reward for my life's work would at least be something to lay at his nail scarred feet. Or would you have on that day the ashes of a wasted life depressed into his nail scarred palm? I think that choice you make today so that five minutes before you see Jesus, like the apostle Paul, you have no regrets. Never mind yesterday, okay? From this day forward you have no regrets because you're serious about the charge and you're serious about the crown and you're serious about the cost.

There's a personal cost, laying it out on the table. Verse 10, the apostle Paul said that Demas has deserted me because he loved this world more. Demas was a co-worker. Paul was abandoned at the end of his life. Verse 14, Alexander the metal worker did me a great deal of harm.

He was attacked. There's a personal cost to this. And I won't go into it but I wrote a book wounded by God's people. I know what it's like to be abandoned in ministry and to be attacked in ministry. There's a personal price to pay. Are you willing to pay the price?

There's a material cost. In verse 13 he says, when you come bring the cloak that I left, my scrolls and especially the parchments. At the end of his life, Paul had material needs. He was cold. He wanted his coat. He was bored. He wanted to read. He wanted to write something down. He had things on his heart. He wanted to express on paper.

So he's asking him to bring me. I don't have these things. I need these things. You have material needs? And you know, people have material needs and we blame God for not meeting them.

As though somehow we deserve to have all of our material needs met. And yes, I know Jesus promises, you know, if he takes care of the birds of the air, he'll take care of you and he will. But I'm just telling you, apostle Paul's testimony, at the end of his life, after just having lived an exemplary life, he had personal needs. He had material needs, emotional. In verse 16 he was deserted. He was all alone. And three times he says in this passage, Timothy, come see me.

Timothy, come see me. He was lonely. He wanted a companion. He wanted somebody there with him. He stuck in a hole in the ground.

If you've been to the maritime prison, now they've made little steps down in it. But it was just a hole in the ground. And Paul, after his incredible life stuck there, and so just because he's spiritual doesn't mean he's not lonely and wanting human companionship. At the end of his life, personally, materially, emotionally, physically, his needs were unmet. He never got his coat. Never got his parchment.

Never got his scrolls. Never saw Timothy again, to our knowledge. So don't tell the apostle Paul. Don't dare tell him that God wants everybody healthy, wealthy, prosperous, and problem-free.

That is so offensive. It's a lie. So what did he have? Following Jesus, gripping that message of the gospel, being a messenger of the whole world, staying on mission to the end of his life, cost Paul everything. So in which case was it worth it?

What did he have at the end of his life? And look at this. This is stunning to me. Verse 16. At my first defense, no one came in my support, but everyone deserted me.

May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and all the Gentiles might hear it. Let me describe this scene. Because Paul was brought up before Nero. Nero was the Roman emperor who was a madman with absolute power. He was diabolical. He's the one who crucified Christians.

He threw them to the lions. He burned them at the stake. In fact, in the end, he burned Rome and blamed it on the Christians and just poured out persecution on the church. So there's Nero sitting on his throne, and all the Roman officials looking down their nose, and then they would be in the Roman Forum opening it up for people to come in.

They've heard about this man who's turned the world upside down, and they drag Paul in, and he's all chained and manacled, and he was a Roman citizen. He had the right to call witnesses, and did Paul call witnesses? And nobody came. Nobody stood by him.

Nobody helped defend him. Nobody verified what he was saying. But the Lord stood at my side, he said, and look at him.

He's in the passing zone, and he says, I was able, and you could just see the thrill in his heart and his life. I was able to fully proclaim the Gospel one more time to the entire Gentile world in that Roman Forum. I told them, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that if you would put your faith in him, you would not perish, but you'd have everlasting life.

If you don't, you're going to hell. I think if you said, Paul, would you do it all over again? Oh, I'd do it all over again, a hundred times over again, for the thrill of presenting the Gospel to the Roman world in that passing zone.

Would you get serious about the cost? It may cost you everything, but the Lord will stand with you and see you safely home. Paul said he'd deliver me from every evil work, and see me safely home. Shortly after this, about three weeks later, assuming they came and dragged him up out of that hole, and marched him outside of Rome, and chopped off his head. And Jesus took him safely home, never mind, took a beheading to get him there.

He was home, with the crowns delayed at his Lord's feet. Well done, good and faithful servants, you completed the mission I had for you. So I wonder how many of us will hear God say that to us. The greatest fear in my life is getting to heaven and finding out that I didn't complete what he had.

I did a lot of good things. But will the Lord say, Ann, I didn't have that for you, and you would have known what I had for you if you walked with me more consistently, or prayed to me more fervently, or read your Bible more deliberately. So that's just up to you. But I believe what happens then, when we see Jesus, is determined by the choices we make now. So you've been given an impossible mission, to take the gospel to the world between your own two feet. So would you get serious about the charge, get serious about the crown, get serious about the cause.

Be strong, be smart, be serious. Until the day we see him face to face, either through death or the rapture, and we can pour out that drink offering, and our life will be over, and we'll have something to show for the life that we live down here, to the glory of God. You've been listening to Living in the Light with Ann Graham Lotz. If you'd like to share today's message, go to anngramlotz.org, where you'll find much to assist you in getting into the Word of God and praying and sharing Christ with others. Join us again here next week for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-09 09:22:54 / 2023-06-09 09:32:48 / 10

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