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A Call to the Nation
Welcome to Living in the Light with Anne Graham Lotz.
God loves to take ugly brown stains and transform them into masterpieces of His grace. Thank you for joining us today and welcome to this week's edition of Living in the Light, the Bible teaching ministry of Anne Graham Lotz. Anne's message isn't an easy one to hear because it reminds us of the consequences of our sin and of our need to confront our sin and then let God transform us by His grace.
Here's Anne. I know there's some of you living in the consequence of your sin. Every time you get up in the morning you see your face in the mirror, you see the consequence of your sin and you're reminded of it and you're bound by it and you live in those if onlys. If only I hadn't such and such and I think the first way to get out of the if onlys is to confess it before God and name it for what it is. God, it's my fault.
I didn't do what you told me. I didn't do what I should have and I've sinned against you and I've sinned against my brother, sinned against my family and I'm not going to point my finger at anybody else. It's me and me oh Lord who have sinned and you just name it.
But I think another thing that encourages us is to know how God can use it. There's a story, a true story, years ago in the highlands of Scotland and these fishermen had gone out fishing all day and they'd come into the little pub at night and order their drinks and while the maid was getting their drinks one of the fishermen was describing the fish that got away and he threw out his arms like this and just when he threw out his arms to describe the fish that got away the maid was coming with a tray of drinks and his arm hit that tray and all those drinks smashed up against the whitewashed wall and everybody just froze in the pub as they heard the sound of crashing glass and all the brown ugly stain on this whitewashed wall and they're just staring at the mess and before anybody could do anything a man in the corner jumped up and pulled a piece of charcoal out of his pocket and he began to sketch around the ugly brown stain and as he sketched that ugly brown stain was transformed into a magnificent stag that was running across a highland meadow and then he signed it and his name was Sir Lancier and he was Great Britain's foremost wildlife artist. Some of his works hang in the Biltmore estate in Asheville and the idea being that it was just an ugly brown stain until the master artist took hold of it and transformed it into something beautiful, something that was a masterpiece of art and listen to me what is the ugly brown stain in your life? The consequence to sin that you live with.
You just name it for what it is then you bring it to God and you ask him to start sketching and God loves to take ugly brown stains and transform them into masterpieces of his grace but you have to give it to him and you have to acknowledge that's what it is. It's a consequence of your sin. It's not your mother's fault. It's not your spouse's fault. It's not your employer's fault. It's not the way you were raised.
It's whatever. You're an adult now. You're responsible for your decisions and even if it was something that was done to you in childhood you're responsible for your response to what was done to you and you just bring it to the cross. Name it for what it is. Take responsibility. Give the stain to the Lord.
Ask him to sketch something beautiful. He can do it. So would you be objective about the problem that you're immersed in and would you be submissive? What's your attitude towards the discipline? God brings it into your life and you go through a consequence. You complain.
You grow resentful. Are you angry with God because you know he could get you out. You know he could heal that disease. You know he could solve a financial problem.
You know he could reconcile that relationship but he doesn't. So are you angry? Are you wrestling with him? Are you offended or would you be submissive? And Hebrews is telling you and me that when our Father allows us to go through a consequence he's using it as discipline and we need to submit to our Father's hand and you can do so knowing that he loves you. In verse 6 the Lord disciplines those he loves. God loves you and the fact that he disciplines you and is involved in your life like that is evidence of his love for you. That you're a legitimate child and he's your father.
You're his child. Verse 7 and your hardship is discipline. God is treating you as sons for what son is not disciplined by his father. If you're not disciplined and everyone undergoes discipline then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. In other words, one evidence that God loves you, that you belong to him, is that he doesn't let you get by with a thing.
And aren't we glad? And we sense his involvement in our lives that he cares enough to never mind the planets and never mind you know the kingdoms that are coming and going and the war that's going on. He's leaned out of heaven and is getting involved in your life to discipline you because he wants to make you over into the image of his dear son. He's your father and he's teaching you. Verse 9, moreover we've all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the father of our spirits and live? Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best but God disciplines us for our good that we may share in his holiness. So would you submit to the discipline?
Whatever it is. I think the more we struggle against it the more painful it is. And yes we can ask to be released but if God doesn't release us then we just submit to it and ask him to use it. To teach us not to do that again. To teach us about holiness and doing the right thing the next time. To conform us into his image. You and I need to be submissive to our father's hand. In Jeremiah chapter 18 Jeremiah went down to the potter's house.
Do you remember? And he saw the potter making a pot and it was broken and cracked and the potter had to break it down and remold it and reshape it until it was a vessel that was spit for the potter's use. Now I have a friend who loves to do ceramics and he takes an ugly dull colored weak piece of clay and he puts it on the potter's wheel and he begins to spin it and you know how they do the pressure with their fingers and and the way he puts the pressure onto that lump of clay determines whether it becomes a vase or a bowl or a jar and then when he finishes it he paints it but when it's all finished it's still dull colored and soft and not usable and so he puts it in the kiln and he heats it up to about 1700 degrees fahrenheit and then at the proper time he takes it out of the kiln and it's brilliantly colored and it's strong and it's something that would be useful and sometimes God puts us in the kiln doesn't he? And he shaped us and he's molded us and he's used the circumstances in our life and then he puts us in the fire and he turns the heat up and he allows us to go through the consequences and I'll tell you something Malachi tells us that when the refiner is leaning near the fire to purify the gold that's when he's the closest is when the fire is the hottest you remember the three Hebrew children when they were in the fiery furnace Nebuchadnezzar said wait a minute I threw three in there but I see four and the fourth is like the son of God because the son of God came to be with his children when they were in the fire so if you're in the fire even if it's a fire of your own making Jesus draws near to you and he won't let you be subjected to any more heat than he knows you can stand and you may think it's more than you can stand but he knows he's the master potter and he's going to transform you into a vessel into which he can pour his glory and Paul said in Corinthians we have this treasure this knowledge of God and the glory of God in earth and vessels of clay so when people look at you and me just these clay pots that are being molded and made by the potter they don't see us they see the glory of God in us they see Jesus sticking out all over so would you submit to the potter's hands he knows the pressure to bring he knows the circumstances to allow he knows the heat to turn up until he just molds and makes you after his will until you're just exactly the shape and the size and the color and the strength so he can pour his glory into you and other people will see Jesus you and I are to be objective about the problems we face we're to be submissive and we're to be responsive verse 12 therefore strengthen your feeble arms and your weak knees that's the picture of a runner who is just about to drop out of the race and I think he's saying if you're going through the consequences of your sin and you're facing these problems and it's gotten hard then just shape up strengthen your weak knees and don't quit don't collapse stop feeling sorry for yourself stop complaining stop saying that somebody else's fault just shape up and keep running your race one of the things that struck me as I was doing this passage was God doesn't let me get by with a thing and I understand the chastening disciplining hand of God in my life and I thank him for it and I'm grateful for it but you know what's hard for me it's when I see his hand of discipline in the lives of one of my children and I see my father allowing my children to experience the consequences of their sin and their wrong choices and live in that and nothing is more heartbreaking as a parent and maybe that's also part of God's discipline in my life because I haven't been the perfect parent that's for sure and I need to confess my sin as a parent and then I just need like Abraham to take my child and lay him on the altar and say God you can have my most precious possession you can have my child and I'm going to trust my child to the potter's hand let the potter have his way in my child's life because more than anything I want my child to be an earthen vessel into which God can pour his glory so that other people can see Jesus in the life of my child that doesn't come without that doesn't come without cost so what are the problems that you're facing in your life so whatever the problem is would you be objective is it the consequence of sin and therefore is God using it as discipline in your life would you be submissive and just let the potter have his way and then be responsive stop complaining feeling sorry griping complaining be offended with God and just yield to what he would have in your life and don't quit so would you readjust your attitude towards your problems and would you readjust your attitude towards people verse 14 make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy without holiness no one will see the Lord and I think that means without holiness that you receive at the cross when your sins are forgiven you're never going to go to heaven and see the Lord but I think it also means with that holiness in your life and mine nobody else is going to see Jesus in us and is there any bitterness verse 15 see to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many is there some bitterness in your life because a spouse dumped you because a parent rejected you because a church threw you out because a boss fired you there's something in your life and you're deeply bitter and nobody here knows it it's just deep down in your life and it's rooted in your life and you know the thing about a root of bitterness is if you came to me and explained to me what the situation was I would say you know you deserve to be bitter a root of bitterness is justified that's why they're so hard to up roots because something that was done to you or something that happened wasn't right and it's an injustice and you're bitter about it but listen to me your bitterness is not going to affect the other person the bitterness will destroy you and it says it's going to rise up and defile your whole life and listen to me in the old testament when an animal was defiled it was unacceptable and could it mean at the end of your life you've made the decision to know god to pursue him and all of his blessings to bring him honor and praise and glory and at the end of your life you find the whole thing was defiled because of this root of bitterness deep down oh listen to me don't waste your life because you're rooted in bitterness pull it out bring it to the cross crucify it and I know the other person doesn't deserve your forgiveness but you know we forgive other people not because they deserve it we forgive other people because god for jesus sake has forgiven me and you didn't deserve his forgiveness either think about that he's forgiven you all of your sin and who knows how repulsive your sin is in his sight not just one sin but I mean a whole lifetime of sin and he's forgiven you and you say well I've confessed you said no listen to me you haven't confessed at all you don't even know it all you confess the sin that comes to your mind but how many sins do you and I commit that we're not even consciously aware of and therefore they never are confessed and we never say god I'm sorry and you're waiting for this person to come to you and say they're sorry you just forgive them anyway and you forgive them because god for christ's sake has forgiven you and you know something it's an act of worship you're not doing it for the other person you're doing it because you love jesus and he's forgiven you and your response to him your gratitude for the cross is that you extend forgiveness to that other person and then you leave that other person to god back in verse 14 make every effort to live in peace with all men but I wanted to point out your relationship with yourself is there somebody here who's not at peace with yourself and there's something that you've done in your life and you just can't forgive yourself and god comes to you and says listen I sent jesus to die for you and you've claimed him by faith as your savior I forgive you and you say god thank you but I can't forgive myself you know what you're saying that you're more righteous than god that your standards are higher than his when god says I forgive you then you say god thank you and I don't deserve it and I'm not worthy but if you forgive me then I choose to forgive myself would you do that make peace with yourself verse 16 see that no one is sexually immoral is there any sinfulness in your life involving another person any sexual immorality anybody here having an affair anybody here wishing you could have an affair anybody here with your eye on somebody else that doesn't belong to you stop it repent of your sin you know where an affair begins when you say and I would never commit adultery but I enjoy watching those things on tv or I enjoy those programs or you know adultery and sin just begins with a thought doesn't it just one little thought that we don't crucify and then we have a second thought and then at the end just the heart is so desperately wicked you have no idea where those thoughts are going to lead so you just bring them to the cross and sexual immorality as I've been bumping into it lately is taking place on the internet the pornography that's so readily available somebody's given my address to somebody and the address has come up and I just hit that spam button every time and I've never gone into one it would scare me to death to be locked into one of those things I've read about them I've heard about them and I know there are people within the church within the church I know there are people within the pulpits of the churches who are totally addicted to pornography on the internet and if that's you go home take your computer and throw it away Jesus said if your eye offends you gouge it out if your arm offends you cut it off he didn't mean that you're to maim yourself he just meant that whatever's leading into temptation cut it out of your life and it'd be better to lose that 1500 computer or whatever it is than it is to stand before a holy god and know you've lived in immorality and would you also re-examine your attitude towards gods verse 16 see to it that no one is godless like Esau who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son and after it as you know when he wanted to inherit this blessing he was rejected he could bring about no change of mind though he stopped the blessing with tears and Esau traded the spiritual for the material and he traded the eternal for the temporal and he lived to regret it make sure there's no casualness in your attitude towards gods and that you put effort and energy into pursuing knowledge of him that you would know him exactly and personally and experientially and that you would make that decision a decision that you follow through in a commitment for the rest of your life so make sure there's no casualness and would you put God first in your life make him your priority would you choose after the challenge we've had from Hebrews and we've been challenged to know God exactly and personally experientially would you choose to get to know God now by recommitting your life refocusing on Jesus and readjusting your attitude and reclaiming the privilege of knowing God in a personal relationship look at this verse 18 you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and is burning with fire now this is going to describe the Old Testament approach to God so this isn't the way you and I come today you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire to darkness gloom and storm to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words so those who heard it beg that no further word be spoken to them because they could not bear what was commanded if even an animal touches a mountain it must be stoned the site was so terrifying that Moses said I'm trembling with fear it was terrifying to draw near to God in the Old Testament but that's not you and me praise God we live on this side of the cross verse 22 but you have come to Mount Zion to the heavenly Jerusalem the city of the living God all listen when you come to God you're coming home this is where you belong you've come to thousands upon thousands of angels and joyful assembly who have gathered to serve you to the Church of the Firstborn whose names are written in heaven that's you that's us you have come to God who so loved you that he gave his own son for you the judge of all men to the spirits of the righteous men made perfect to Jesus who loved you so much you went to the cross and mediates a new covenant the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel because through the blood of Jesus you can enter right in to the most holy place and I think this is an awesome picture of prayer that through the blood of Jesus you can reclaim the privilege of entering into the most holy place listen when you go home would you make a commitment every day to get on your knees and reclaim the privilege of entering the presence of God in prayer would you start praying on a daily basis consistently just talking to God it doesn't have to be fancy doesn't have to be in King James English it's just talking to God it's a privilege Jesus won for you through his blood how grieved he would be if you didn't claim that privilege because you were afraid you couldn't pray right just pray just talk to him and reclaim the privilege that's yours through the scriptures see to it that you don't refuse him who speaks do you know how you refuse him who speaks by just not reading your Bible going home and not opening up the word not spending time meditating on asking what does it say what does it mean what does it mean to me and you just refuse him who speaks and I'll tell you something if my daddy called me and he called me on the phone and halfway through the conversation I just said daddy I can't talk to you now and I hung up I can't tell you I would never do that when your Heavenly Father has a word for you and he wants to speak to you and he speaks here this is where he calls you this is where he talks to you and when he speaks to you you give him time and you give him attention let him say what's on his heart you open up your ears and listen by reading that passage and meditating on it and seeing how it apply to your life and asking yourself those questions and you're going to find a living God speaking to you don't refuse him who speaks if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth how much less will we if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven and I think the warning is if you don't spend time with God you're never going to get to know him you know a relationship takes time doesn't it we know that just if we're married you can't have a relationship with your husband or wife you don't make the time to be with them and just to enjoy them and the same thing is true with God you talk to him in prayer and he talks to you through the word and you develop a personal living relationship with God so would you do that when you go home would you make the time every day to read your Bible and just spend time in the word don't refuse him who speaks and he speaks to his word and would you reclaim the privilege not only through prayer and Bible reading but reclaim it through worship verse 28 therefore since we're receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and offer our God as a consuming fire and Romans 12 one tells us how we are to worship God acceptably and it's by offering ourselves as a living sacrifice and we all forgot our eyes and the things we look at and see and we all forgot our ears and the things we listen to and hear and we all forgot our hands and the things we do and our feet and where we go and our heart and our emotions how we feel in our mind and what we think and our lips and what we say and we just give him our whole lives and our lives are a living sacrifice and we lay them down before him and say God you can just help yourself that's the only reasonable worship I know of in response to the fact that he's given everything for you and he laid himself down on the altar for you and withheld nothing from you how can you withhold anything from him it's not reasonable it's not acceptable so would you reclaim the privilege of knowing God exactly and personally and experientially right now by claiming the privilege of prayer and Bible prayer where you talk to him Bible reading where he talks to you and worshiping him as you live your life as a living sacrifice living your life for what to bring him glory and to bring him honor and to bring him blessing and to get to know him in the process and how do you do that Jesus is enough you don't have to look any farther anywhere else you just look at Jesus he's enough to know God now here's an with this final word are you thinking that you'd really like to come in out of the cold that you long to have a closer relationship with God but you don't feel worthy are you so conscious of sin and failure in your life that you feel totally inferior and unable to have fellowship with him are you convinced you're a nobody and therefore would never be accepted much less welcomed into his presence praise God our entrance into his presence isn't based on our own worthiness but on the worthiness of Jesus Christ when we enter God's presence in Jesus name we're as accepted by God as Jesus is because God counts us as his own dear children for a child there's no place quite so safe and secure as within the father's arms Jesus invites you and me in his name to come into his father's presence through prayer crawl up into his lap by faith put our head on his shoulder of strength feel his loving arms of protection around us call him daddy and pour out our hearts to him listen to me Jesus is enough to find out come to him then fix the eyes of your faith on him you've been listening to living in the light and when you go to an Graham lots org there are free resources to help you in your study of God's Word and desire is that you embrace a God-filled life step-by-step choice by choice living in the light
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-03 18:29:12 / 2022-12-03 18:39:03 / 10