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Hope When You Are Discouraged Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
October 23, 2022 3:00 pm

Hope When You Are Discouraged Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Welcome to Living in the Light with Anne Graham Lotz. When you're in that vortex of evil and your life is swirling in every which way and things are unraveling, the anchor that holds you is that Jesus is seated on the throne.

Our anchor, Jesus Christ. It's Anne's message today here on Living in the Light in her ongoing series from the book of Revelation. If you've never read Revelation or it's been a long time or you've tried to read it but you just lost your way, Anne's series will give you a new understanding of God's love and mercy, His life-changing hope. These two chapters, Revelation 4 and 5, I think are the most thrilling in the Bible. I would put them right up there with Genesis chapter 1 and the creation of the world and Luke 2 and when God became incarnates and the Creator became creation at Bethlehem and right up there with John 20, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

And these two chapters, it's like Revelation peaks early, you know, and these are thrilling. So I just pray that the Lord will give me energy and strength and words to convey what I think is here, not only the thrill of what one day is going to take place but what it means for you and me today. Do you ever wonder sometimes if it's just worth it to go through all of this and to live the Christian life?

It's like a salmon swimming upstream, you know, the whole tide of everything is against us and is it worth the effort and the energy and the sacrifice and the pain and the suffering and disappointment and some things that come with it. And I was thinking to myself, I wonder one day if I would want to ask Abraham, was it worth it to leave Ur of the Chaldeans and travel 800 miles to the west and land in Canaan where for the rest of your life you lived in a tent and in the end you had nothing more to show for it than basically one son and the unfulfilled promises of God. Was that worth it? And then did you ever want to ask Daniel, was it worth it to, you know, pray three times a day and wind up in the lion's den? Have you wanted to ask Moses, was it worth it to leave the treasures of Egypt and end up leading a band of ex-slaves in circles in the wilderness and never even getting into the promised land? Have you ever wanted to ask Jeremiah, was it worth it to preach for over 60 years and never have a positive response to your message? Have you ever wondered if it was, wanted to ask John the Baptist, was it worth it to speak the truth to Herod's face and wind up with your head on a platter?

You know, was it worth it, Mary, to say, be it unto me according to your will and the son you would conceive you would live to see crucified on a Roman cross? Is it worth it? Is it worth it to live a life of authentic faith and discipleship?

Let me ask you, is it worth it? Is it worth it to live in obedience according to God's word and live your life submitted to his will and do things his way when nobody in your church is living like that? Is it worth it to get up early in the morning on Sunday and go to church? Especially when you're the pastor and nobody listens.

Or you're the one in the pew and the pastor really isn't speaking from God's word and you want to be a part of God. Is it worth it? Is it worth it to forgive the person who's wounded you and reach out in reconciliation only to be rejected and wounded again?

Is it worth it to tell the truth in your business and wind up paying more taxes? Is it worth it to speak the gospel to your neighbor and lose their friendship? Is it worth it to live a life today that's different from everybody else?

A life in obedience to the word and submitted to his will and doing things according to his will and nobody around you in your family or your church even takes God seriously like that. Is it worth it? And I'm just going to answer you.

Yes, yes, yes, yes. You know why? Because Jesus is worth it. And because he's worth it, as we look upward we have the hope of a new day. And so in chapters 4 and 5 John says heaven is opened and I looked up and we're going to see what he saw.

And it's thrilling. So if your Bibles aren't open already, open them if you would to Revelation chapter 4. In verse 1 it says after this, after what?

After all those messages to the churches. And it's interesting from this point on the church isn't mentioned again in Revelation. And the bride is spoken of in heaven at the wedding feast of the lamb but the church is no longer on earth. So some people think somewhere in between chapter 3 and chapter 4 is the rapture of the church. I don't know if that's so or not but I know the rapture is so. And that term is not in scripture but there's going to come a time the Bible says and I believe it's any moment when the trumpet is going to sound and the dead in Christ will rise and we who are alive and remain on the earth are going to be caught up in the air to be with Jesus forever and ever and ever. And that moment is coming and that begins a time of judgment on earth that we're going to talk about when God pours out his wrath on this earth but we're going to be in heaven celebrating with him. But maybe that takes place in between these chapters and now this is something that we're actually going to glimpse.

I don't know if that's true or not. I don't know if this is when the rapture takes place but I know John says after this I looked and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And that could be a sermon all in itself, couldn't it? That there is a door open in heaven and Jesus has opened heaven for you and me. But John lets us peek inside and we see what he saw and I was thinking the center of the universe.

This is the center of the universe. This is the throne room of God. Several years ago I went to Buckingham Palace and I was not invited. I had to buy a ticket to go in like all the other tourists but you know how you go through the rooms and then one of the most interesting rooms was the throne room. It's where the queen does her official business and I actually thought it was sort of disappointing.

It looked rather ordinary and there's a throne there and I'm sure it's much more impressive when she's sitting on it but that's where she conducts her official business and this is the throne room of the universe. And then I went online this past week and I looked up the Oval Office because the President of the United States is the most powerful man in our country and because our country leads the world he's considered the most powerful man in the world and the Oval Office is his official office. It's where he resides in power. People come from all over the world seeking an audience with a presence and they want entrance into the Oval Office and it's oval because it's oval.

And they have curved windows that face the south lawn and a fireplace on the north end and two sofas in front of the fireplace and the President gets to design his rug and it's very warm and sort of inviting looking and it almost seems trivial when you consider what John's going to show us. This is where the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, this is where they reign. This is the seat of their power.

This is their official, where they do their official business, alright? And so John lets us peek inside and we see that Jesus Christ is absolutely supreme as Lord and it's revealed by the position that he holds. In verse 1 it says, I looked and I heard the voice that first was speaking to me like a trumpet said, come up here and I'll show you what must take place after this and at once I was in the Spirit and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. In fact, the throne is mentioned 12 times in this chapter. This is the center and there's someone sitting on the throne and we know God the Father sits on the throne but we know Jesus sits at his right hand and so for our purposes in this chapter we're going to think of this as Jesus sitting there on the throne in absolute control and he's revealed being supreme as Lord because he's seated on the throne, that's his position. And to be seated on the throne is to be in power, in authority, in control, in charge. Have you ever doubted that he's seated on the throne?

You know other kingdoms come and go and rulers rise and fall and Jesus is always seated on the throne. And I remember when my 28 year old son called and said, Mom I have cancer and it was life threatening and at that moment I remember consciously having the thought, Jesus is seated on the throne and this has caught us by surprise but it didn't catch him by surprise. It was part of his purpose for Jonathan's life and we prayed together on the phone that Jonathan would live to bring glory to God, which was his purpose. Or he could die to the glory of God.

The glory of God is our, you know, bringing him glory is our purpose. Something caused you to doubt that he's in authority, that he's in control, that he's in charge. Maybe when your prayer hasn't been answered for your child the way you prayed. Maybe when your spouse walked out. Maybe when you got the pink slip and you were fired from your job right before you should have retired and now what do you, maybe it's when you lost your retirement.

You know I don't know what the issue might be, maybe it's something in your family, something in your church, something in your business, something in your health. Sylvia Hatchell, who's a very precious friend, the women's basketball coach at the University of North Carolina was inducted into the Hall of Fame. One of the three winningest women's coaches in the country went into a doctor's office. They put her in the hospital with leukemia and she called me and that was what I told her, Sylvia, Jesus is seated on the throne.

We're totally in shock by this. By the time I talked to her they were already putting the ports in for the chemo. They poured into her 24-7.

It was amazing. And she rested in the confidence that Jesus is seated on the throne. Listen, when you're in that vortex of evil and your life is swirling in every which way and things are unraveling, the anchor that holds you is that Jesus is seated on the throne. He's in charge.

He's in control. And Sylvia, just to add on to that, she was in hospital for a month. All of her tests have come back great.

She went for four days each month for four months for the rest of her treatment. She may have to have a bone marrow transplant, but right now her leukemia is officially in remission for which we praise God. And she is praising God and telling other people what He's done and how He's answering her prayer and she's strong in her faith. And Jesus is seated on the throne. And I believe she's in His hall of fame.

And He's using her for His glory. The time that I'd set aside to come up here, I was in the hospital looking after my husband and we had all the complications. We couldn't figure it out and I was having to make decisions and push the doctors and call for meetings. And then we got him home and then we had a complication and he was very frighteningly having episodes that looked like seizures.

And I just had to leave him and come up here and it's like, whoa! And I rest and I hold on to the anchor that Jesus is seated on the throne. And He's not going to allow anything to come into my life or my family's life that's outside of His control. It's under His control and He allows it for our good and our good is not to be happy, healthy, problem-free, prosperous.

Our good is to be conformed to His image so that we can become like Jesus and He allows all these things to work out that purpose in our lives so that we can bring Him glory. Jesus is seated on the throne. John said, I saw Him there and He's still today seated on the throne and one day Heaven's going to open and we're going to look up and we're going to see Him seated on the throne.

Until that day comes, we can do that by faith. So I don't know what your swirling circumstances are, what the situation is in your life where up seems down and down seems up and you can't quite get your bearings. Your anchor is Jesus and He's seated on the throne. He sees you. He knows what's going on.

You're never off of His mind. He's praying for you and so we see that His lordship is revealed by the position that He holds. It's a position of greatness.

He's in control and it's a position of glory. The one who sat there had the appearance of Jasper and Carnelian. Jasper looks like a diamond and a Carnelian looks like a ruby so if we can just imagine.

At one point I went through the Tower of London. I don't know if you've done that to see the crown jewels and they have diamonds, I promise you, that are as big as goose eggs and they have rubies that are as big as hen's eggs and they're set against this dark velvet. They're just spectacular and the lights come down on so they flash and sparkle and I can only imagine what the light from a diamond and a ruby and mixed and given off from a living being, what it would look like, glorious. It's the heart of the Shekinah glory. And we know that the character of Jesus is His glory, right? His goodness, His mercy, His kindness, His justice, His righteousness, His love. His character is His glory so it's like the character of Jesus in all of its spectacular facets looking like the light that comes from a diamond and a ruby and just glorious. Something that our minds can't comprehend and our eyes have never seen, our ears couldn't possibly hear.

It's something that's almost beyond description. It's a position of glory and it's a position of grace because do you know something? In the Old Testament, when the high priest went into the most holy place and he would do that once a year, he wore a breastplate and on his breastplate were 12 precious stones and each precious stone was carved with the name of one of the tribes of Israel and the first was a jasper and the last was a carnelian. And it spoke of the fact that when the high priest went into God's presence, he carried the names of God's children on his heart. So listen to me, when we go through chapters 6 to 19 and you see God pouring out His wrath, you don't have to be afraid because the one who sits on the throne at the center of the universe who's calling all the shots, who's in charge, carries you by name on his heart. If you've been born again, if you're his child, if you've been to the cross, if you've been cleansed by his blood, you're his child and your name is written on his heart. So it's a position of grace. We see him seated on the throne and he's our savior. He's our Lord. The one who redeemed us with his own blood and rules our lives so that we can have purpose and meaning and one day it will come to take us to be with himself, our shepherd, seated on the throne in all of his glory and his greatness and his grace and that my name would be written on his heart.

That's not anything I deserve. That's just his grace, isn't it? So we see his lordship revealed by the position that he holds and then by the presence that he has and it's a presence that's signified by four things that I see in this passage. One is his mercy and in verse 3 it says, Surrounding the throne was a rainbow resembling an emerald that encircled the throne and you remember the first time and I don't know exactly, I don't know if this is a right interpretation, but this is what came to my mind. The first rainbow we see in scripture, you remember? In Noah's day, old Noah, I hope one day I get to meet him.

I know one day I'm going to meet him. He's such a remarkable person. You talk about somebody who lived a life for the worthiness of Jesus when nobody else was. When the whole world was melting down, everybody did evil all the time continuously and God just got fed up and so he decided he was going to destroy the world and Noah was a righteous man walking with God and God said, No, I'm going to destroy the world so build an ark and that's what Noah did and I don't think he was a carpenter, but he learned to and for 120 years he built that ark and you wonder where did he get the money and where did he get the labors? Did he have to work during the day to make money during the day to pay for his labors at night and they worked for 120 years and then finally when the ark was finished, he stood in the door and he was preaching righteousness to his generation. Nobody responded and all the animals start showing up and God brings the animals to him and they get them all settled and in seven days Noah's on the ark getting everything settled, preaching righteousness and nobody was responding and so God shut the door.

Have you ever thought what happened next? What did Noah hear when the door was shut? And suddenly I'm assuming the vapor canopy that was over the earth at that point ruptured and the water fell on the earth and the fountains of the great deep that had been in these huge caverns burst forth and the water gushed up from underneath and you could hear the screams of the people and the animals outside everybody coming under judgment and then it rained for 40 days and 40 nights and then there was that silence, airy silence.

The whole world a watery wasteland for over a year Noah and all those animals and his family just floating in that boat and then the water recedes and the land dries up and the door opens and he comes out and he sacrifices some of those precious animals just in thanksgiving for his salvation from judgment. And you wonder what he thought. How did he feel next time the thundercloud rolled up? You know there hadn't been rain on the earth until the flood.

And then there's a thundercloud and all of a sudden there's a clap of thunder and the lightning flashed. Was he terrified? And did he think, oh no, God, having been saved from your judgment am I going to come under it again?

Am I going to lose my salvation? And God knew he would be terrified. And so God said, no, I'm going to give you a sign of my covenant and I'm going to put a rainbow in the clouds. So every time you see the clouds roll up and that rainbow is there you remember, I remember, you're saved. When my children were growing up my husband promised that they could go to New York City for their 16th birthday and he was from New York.

Now Reggie, I can enjoy it for a day or two but then I want to get out of there, you know. And I was born in these mountains and New York City is sort of intimidating to me but my husband was born and raised there so he promised that they could go and they were excited and actually I think you made it on your 17th birthday, he was about a year late but they reminded him and they put little sticky notes all over his bathroom and his bed and the kitchen and just reminding him because they would never forget his promise but they wanted to make sure he remembered his promise because he'd be buying the ticket and taking them up and so God said, Noah, don't you remember my promise? You remember, I remember my promise to you.

You're saved. The New Testament, when Jesus led his disciples at the Last Supper when they took the cup and broke the bread and he said this is the sign of my new covenant and if you ever, listen to me, if you ever are tempted to doubt your salvation from judgment you look at the cross, it's the sign of the new covenant and you remember, he remembers, you're saved from his judgment, okay? So his presence is indicated or characterized by his mercy, the rainbow that circles it and by his authority. In verse 4, around the throne it says there were 24 other thrones. Seated on them were 24 elders. They were dressed in white and they had crowns of gold on their heads.

So I don't know who these people were. They were people or maybe they're sort of angelic beings, I'm not sure but it's obvious they're kings and they're seated on the throne because Jesus is the king of kings. Remember, that's one of his titles. And so he's seated on the throne and they surround him because he's king of the kings and the kings obviously are there to do his bidding. They serve him. They have positions of authority under his authority and they serve him. And the whole picture to me is one of dignity and seriousness and alertness and you know they're available and they're ready and they're willing and they just say the word and they keep their eye on him and whatever he wants they do and completely submitted to him while they're in authority over others.

And I just see his authority over the leaders of the universe and so available to serve. And when he's Lord, not only is it characterized by mercy and authority and let me tell you this, in the Old Testament, the reason I know they're serving him in the Old Testament only descendants of Aaron and Levi could serve in the temple. And there were 12 orders of priests but after a while there were more priests than could serve in the temple because of the descendants and they multiplied.

So they divided into 12 orders and only two people from each order could serve at any one time. So in the temple there were always 24 priests who were serving God within the temple. And so these kings are, I'm assuming, kingly priests who are in authority but live to serve the king of kings. And Jesus said those who are greatest in my kingdom will be servants.

You might want to remember that when we think something is beneath our dignity to do and whatever he calls us to do. So these kings are servants and his presence is indicated by the activity that's taking place. And this is a wild verse. I didn't know exactly how to characterize it but in verse 5 it says that from the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder.

It sounds like a rock concert. There are all sorts of things going on and there's activity in the presence of God. It's not boring. It's not quiet and somber and deadly.

It's amazingly electric. And wherever Jesus is things are happening and things are moving and there may be quietness and a pause and we're going to see that but in the throne room there's a lot that's taking place. And lastly his presence is indicated by purity because there's a blazing lamp before the throne.

And it says before the throne seven lamps were blazing. That's the seven spirits of God. That's the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the spirit.

We couldn't see him. So in scripture he's represented by things that we can see. These seven lampstands or the dove at baptism or the flame of fire at Pentecost.

It's the Holy Spirit. He is not the flame of fire. He is not the dove.

He is not the seven-fold lamp. But he is represented by those things so that we know he's present. And the Holy Spirit is holy. And so in the presence of Jesus there is holiness.

There's no sin. There's a purity. And it said in front of the throne was a sea of glass and I'm assuming if it was surrounded by a sea of glass it would be like a mirror and it would reflect his lordship and his authority and his purity and his mercy and his activity throughout the universe.

So I just want to apply these points, make this application. If Jesus Christ is seated on the throne of your heart, if he is Lord of your life, then these same characteristics ought to be seen in you and in me, right? When by faith you invited Jesus Christ to come into your life as your Savior and Lord, he came in, in the person of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is holy, totally separate from sin. One of the first things the Holy Spirit does when he comes into you is to give you the desire to be holy.

Increasingly, as you yield your life to him, he gives you the power to be holy. The intense purifying fire of the Holy Spirit burns away anything and everything that's not pleasing to God. What sin are you toying with? What habit of sin are you tolerating in your life? What attitude of sin, bitterness, selfishness, pride, resentment, anger, jealousy, unforgiveness, are you nurturing instead of crucifying? When we acknowledge Jesus as King of our lives, the Holy Spirit begins to work in our hearts to separate us from sin and all that is displeasing to God. One day our sin will drop away and the Holy Spirit's work will be completed. One day you and I will be like Jesus. Living in the Light
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-13 18:51:55 / 2022-11-13 19:03:12 / 11

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