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Hope When You Are Discouraged Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
October 30, 2022 3:00 pm

Hope When You Are Discouraged Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Welcome to Living in the Light with Anne Gramm-Lottes. Real genuine praise and worship is contagious. Who's praising Jesus because you are? This is Living in the Light with Anne Gramm-Lottes continuing in her step-by-step study of the book of Revelation and the eyewitness account of God's plan for our future. Here's Anne with today's message. In verse 6, in the center.

So get that. In the center around the throne. Now the throne is the center of the universe.

And in the center around the throne were four living creatures and they were covered with eyes in front and in back. And we're just going to go through and see that they're filled with praise at the very center of the universe. There is worship of Jesus. There is praise of Jesus.

It's central to everything. And these four living creatures, they're just so weird looking. But they're the cherubim and the seraphim of the Old Testament. The ones that were the closest to God. They're the highest of the created beings. And highest intelligence in the universe right next to God himself.

And they surround the throne and worship Him. But we know them in the Old Testament in Genesis 3. Do you remember after Adam and Eve sinned and God removed them to the gardening station. One of these beings in the door of the garden with a sword that turned every which way to protect that tree of life.

So Adam and Eve couldn't come back and eat of it and forever be stuck in their sin. And one of these cherubim and seraphim, they brought the visions to Daniel and to Ezekiel. And you remember when Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up and it was one of these creatures that brought the live coal from the altar and put it on his mouth and cleansed his lips.

And so these creatures do a lot of work. But they're at the center of the throne. And the first living creature looked like a lion, the second like an ox, the third like a man, the fourth like an eagle.

All right, hold on for a minute. Because in the Old Testament, Ezekiel saw them and they looked like that. And they're characteristics of Jesus. So Matthew presents Jesus as the lion because he's the king, the fulfillment of all that Old Testament prophecy. And Mark presents him as the ox. He's the humble servant. And Luke presents him as the man in his humanity. And John presents him as the flying eagle in his deity. So these are characteristics of Jesus. And this is the neatest thought because it says day and night they never cease to worship him.

So you wonder, as they're worshipping him day and night, do they begin to be conformed to his image so other people look at them and they see a reflection of the character of Jesus. Wow. And then I think, wait a minute. Think of all the work they did in the Old Testament.

Have they ceased to work? It says day and night. Look at that. In verse 8, they had six wings. They covered their eyes all around, even under their wings day and night. They never stopped saying, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who is and was and is to come. And yet it says they never stopped to praise him. And yet we know they did a lot of work. And so I was thinking, you know, is that a contradiction?

Did this John not know what the Old Testament said? And I thought, oh, and they never cease to worship. And while they worship, they do their work.

What a lesson. Why do we think we do our work over here and then we come here and we sing and we do our worship and then we go do our work and then we do our. No, our lives are filled with worship. We never cease to worship. The center of our lives, the core of us is praise of Jesus. And as we praise him, we work for him. And our work flows from our worship, doesn't it? That's why it was so important to the Ephesian church. They had put their work before their worship.

And they needed to get that straightened out because worship should be central. Praise should be at the center, at the heart. And we praise the Lord without ceasing. And we never cease to worship in our hearts. And by the way, we do our work and our work comes from our worship.

And while that happens, could it be that he conforms us to the image of Jesus so that even on our countenance, people can see something of the character of Jesus? I would make it worth it, wouldn't it? I remember once meeting a woman, I'll never forget. I just passed her by in the hall and I almost did a double take. She was an old woman, but she just had the light of the Lord on her face. And really, I felt like I could see Jesus, sense Jesus about her. And I thought one day, I'd love to have somebody pass me in the hall and do a double take and not even know me, but think, you know, there's something about her and something about her countenance, something about the way she handles herself. That's just got to be Jesus in her.

And I think in order for that to take place, and I could be wrong. This is my opinion maybe, but it requires suffering, pain, fire, brokenness. I don't know why that is exactly, except God just has to keep crushing us, doesn't He, to get us out of the way so that the life of Jesus can be raised up in and through us so that other people can see Him. And these four living creatures, praise that they offered was central. The praise that they offered was continuous.

They never stopped praising, and the continuous praise became contagious. Look at verse 9. Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, the 24 elders fall down before Him.

And they worship Him who lives forever and ever. And then if you go over to chapter 5, the 24 elders, they fall down and worship the Lord. In verse 6, then they start to praise the Lord. Then in verse 11, I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands and 10,000 times 10,000. They encircle the throne and the living creatures and the elders.

And a loud voice, they sang. And then they heard every creature, verse 13, in heaven on earth and under the earth and all that is in them singing. And the praise just ripples out from the central part of the throne and those four living creatures who ever lived to praise and worship Jesus. And it ripples out until it just becomes a crescendo of praise in the universe. And the whole universe is filled with praise of Jesus because real, genuine praise and worship is contagious. Who's praising Jesus because you are. And it's amazing when people see us in the fire and they see the suffering and the hurt and the things going wrong and they see us praising Jesus, it makes them want to know Him and it draws them to Him.

And they think, you know, I can go one more day with my circumstances and I can hang on for one more half hour. If she can do it, I can do it and they want to know Jesus and worthy is the Lamb of whistling. So don't let anyone or anything interrupt your praise. Our praise should be central. And from that centrality, then it just begins to go out in a continuous praise and a contagious praise and a praise that's costly. Because these 24 elders going back to chapter four in verse 10, they lay their crowns before the throne and they say you are worthy our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power.

You created all things and by your will they were created and have their being. And they took the crowns off their heads. And I'm assuming the crowns represented their success and their achievement and their position of greatness and their authority and their glory. And they took the crowns off and they just laid them at the nail pierced feet of Jesus. Sacrificing everything that they were and had and had done at the feet of Jesus because they knew without Him they could do nothing. That if they had achieved anything, it was because He had done it in and through them and had given them the opportunity in the first place.

And so they laid the crowns before Him. There's a very solemn picture in Corinthians three about the judgment seat of Christ. And if you and I have been to the cross, Jesus has taken the judgment for our sin, we will never come under God's judgment for our sin. But our Christian life from the time we receive Christ and the time we see Him face to face is going to be judged for our works. And by judged, I mean we're going to be rewarded for what we've done for Him. And Corinthians three tells us that our works are going to pass through the fire of God's holiness.

And if our works have been done in obedience to God's word because every day we took time at least to read a paragraph and ask what does it say and what does it mean and what does it mean in my life and we applied it and we lived it out and so we're obedient to His word and we surrender to His will and we do things His way. Then our life is like gold, silver, and precious stones and it passes through the fire of God's holiness and we're rewarded with a crown. And I'll tell you something, when I get to heaven, and this is something that motivates me every day, when I get to heaven and I see Jesus for the first time and I see the wound in His brow where the nails had been, that crown of thorns representing the curse that was on me from my sin and the wound in His hands and feet where the nails had been as He took God's judgment from my sin and He opened heaven for me and gave me eternal life.

I want to tell you something, I'm going to want to give Him something in return. I don't want to come to heaven empty-handed. And I wonder at that moment when I see Jesus face to face for the first time, well I have a crown that was given to me in reward for my life's work.

Will I lay it as nail-pierced feet? Or will I have the ashes of a wasted life to press into His nail-scarred palm? Can't tell you how many times I've thanked God that that moment is not yet. So for you, if that moment came today, would you have a crown to give Him or ashes?

Do you decide? And then from this day forward, never mind yesterday, okay? That was then, this is now, from this day forward, would you live your life all out with abandon, obedient to His word that you make to time every day to read? And you apply and you live it out, doesn't matter if anybody else is, you do it. And you surrender to His will even though He seems to be asking you a hard thing, something you don't want to do, but you say, Lord, you're in charge, I'll do it your way and I'll do it according to your will. So when you get to Heaven, He rewards you with a crown that then you have the privilege of laying at His feet. So it's costly praise, isn't it? That worship and the crowns that we receive are given for work that's not easy, and a life that's lived that goes against the flow in our culture today, and a life that increasingly will be in the minority and despised, and I think persecuted.

So it's costly. But I'll tell you what, on that day when we see Jesus, He's going to be worth it, a thousand times over, to have something that we can give Him in return for all that He's done for us. So Jesus is worth it, absolutely supreme as Lord. And we see that revealed by His position, revealed by His presence, revealed by the praise He receives. And in chapter 5, we see that Jesus is absolutely sufficient as Lamb. And in chapter 5, John says, Then, after this amazing scene at the center of the universe, He saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Now I'm going to assume at this point this is God the Father because of the context of the passage. There was a scroll in His hand, so God the Father had a presence, He was seated, He had a hand. He was holding a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. I believe the title deed to planet earth. And whoever possesses the scroll has the right to rule the world and fulfill God's purpose for the human race. And God is sitting there holding it.

And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll? Who is worthy to rule the world and fulfill God's purpose for the human race? And I can think of a lot of people who are willing. I think Vladimir Putin would be willing to rule the world. I think there are other dictators and probably people I don't even know about who would be very willing to rule the world.

But that's not the question. Who is worthy to rule the world and God dies? And says the universe was searched. No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. And every age, every generation, every planet, every black hole, every nation, was searched for somebody who would be worthy to rule the world and fulfill God's purpose for the human race.

And no one was found. Not Abraham, the friend of God. And not David, a man after God's own heart. And not Isaiah, the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. Not John the Baptist, who is as great as any woman who had ever been born. And not Mary, the mother of Jesus. And not Paul, the greatest evangelist. And not Peter, who opened the door for the gospel to go to the Gentiles. And not even John, who's recording this vision. No one was found who was worthy to rule the world or fulfill God's purpose for the human race.

And so John says, standing there, this old man with his long gray beard and his weather-beaten face. And he says, I wept and I wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or even look inside it. And John wept with shame for the human race.

Failing to be who God created it to be. Wept with shame for himself because he knew he wasn't worthy to rule the world either. As much as he loved Jesus and served Jesus and he wasn't worthy.

And I think he was weeping in despair because you know something, think about it. If there's no one who's found who's worthy to rule the world or fulfill God's purpose for the human race. That means in the end, the devil is won. And hate wins out over love. And evil wins out over good. And the cross was just a dirty joke and Jesus is just weak and ineffective and there's somebody greater than he is. And oh, in the end, that means there's no hope at all.

No new day coming. And John stands there and he weeps and he's just sobbing with shame and despair and hopelessness. And then one of the kings got up from his throne in verse five and he said, John, do not weep look the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David. He is triumph. There is one man John in all of the universe.

He is able to open the scroll in his seven seals. One man who is able to rule the world and fulfill God's purpose for the human race from God's perspective. And his name is Jesus.

He is unequal than his position. Oh, listen to me. Praise God is right.

But think about your own life. If there is one man who is able to rule the world and all the details and make it all come out right and please God and do it perfectly. And why would you not surrender your life to him? Why do you think he's not able to rule the details of your life? Why do you think things are out of his control? We read the newspaper.

We watch the news. We see things going on in our world and it's filled with stories of people with broken homes and broken hearts and broken dreams and broken lives because they have submitted to a leader who is not able to rule rightly. And they don't know it and they crash from one thing to another, one lie to another, one deception to another, because there's only one man who is able to rule, to rule your heart, to rule your life, to rule your circumstances, to rule this planet, to rule the universe. And his name is Jesus, unequal to his position.

And he's undisputed in his power. In verse 6, then I saw a lamb. So John was told, look, there's a lion of the tribe of Judah. And he turned and looked and he didn't see a lion. He saw a lamb looking as if it had been slain because there were the wounds on his brow where the thorns had been and the nail prints in his hands and feet and bearing the marks of Calvary.

And down here they can joke about the cross or say it wasn't an historic event or talk about Jesus as just being a good man but not the Savior, not the risen Christ. And in heaven, the memories of Calvary are precious. And he's wearing the scars that he bore for you and me. And he's standing in the center of the throne encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. And listen to his description, he had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits. So let me just translate that for you. Seven horns, that's his strength.

That's perfect. That's his omnipotence and his seven eyes. He sees everything. That's his omniscience and the seven spirits of God sent out over all the earth.

That's the Holy Spirit, the spirit of God who is omnipresent. Okay, just another way of saying what we read in chapter one when it said that Jesus said on the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, he is omniscient. And he is the one who is and was and is to come. He's omnipresent. He's almighty, he's omnipotent. Just the same way of saying that. Okay, just a different way of saying the same thing. So he is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. And look at this in verse seven. He walked over to the one who seated on the throne and he came and he took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And nobody said, whoa, wait a minute. Who do you think you are?

And we need to discuss this and we need a committee to decide if this is something that we can do, you know. He just walked over and took the scroll. No one disputed him. And you understand he's asserting his right to rule the world because he owns it. Doesn't he? He made it at creation.

He bought it at Calvary. Now he's asserting his right to rule it. And that scroll passes into that nail-pierced palm.

What a day of victory. Oh, how thrilling that the lamb is the Lord. And he walks over and he takes the scroll. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lord and each one had a harp. And the harp in the Old Testament represented the song.

It represents joy. And you remember when Judah was taken off into captivity and she went into Babylon and she hung up her harp. She had no song and the Babylonians came and said, sing us a song and she had no song to sing. She had lost her joy. There's somebody here who's lost your joy. You've hung up your harp.

Please note where you get it back. It's when Jesus Christ has the right to rule and you surrender that authority to him and he's the Lord of your life. And people think when he's Lord of my life, that's when my life dries up and I become miserable and I can't do what I want. Listen to me. It's the opposite. It's when you're under his lordship, there's a freedom because now he's in charge.

He calls the shots and you just do what he says. And there is deep joy. Your life counts. It has purpose and meaning. You have hope. You know, you're going to bear eternal fruit that one day will have eternal consequences in heaven.

And there's deep joy. They had a harp after he had asserted his right to rule and then he had bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Don't you wonder what was the last prayer that came in that filled up that bowl? And I wonder if he was waiting on my prayers.

How long would it take for bowl to fill up? You know, my prayer, Lord Jesus come and at some point in the future, that bowl is going to be full. And he's going to say, I've got enough. It's time.

Let's go. They sang a new song when he did that. You are worthy, and it's a new song, by the way. It's not about deliverance from Egypt. It's not even about the cross of the resurrection.

It's about his right to rule the world. You're worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were slain. And they talk about the cross being a tragedy.

Oh, it was the greatest victory there's ever been because you were slain. And with your blood, you have purchased men for God from every tribe, language, people and nation. Jesus is not a white man's God and Christianity is not an American religion. He is the Lord of all because God so loved the whole world he has given us Jesus.

He's the light of the world and he is purchased by his blood people from every tribe and nation. That means he's purchased people from the Islamic faith and Buddhists and Baptists and Methodists and Agnostics and Atheists and Catholics and people from every tribe and language and nation and tongue. And they all have to come to the cross in repentance of sin and receive Christ as Savior and put their faith in him. But when they do, they've been purchased with the blood of Jesus and they make up this wonderful kingdom. It's going to be wonderful to be in heaven, isn't it? And see the people around the throne worshipping the same Jesus.

Hearts filled with praise for what he's done. You've made them to be kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth. And Jesus is undisputed in his power, asserting his right to rule. And then I looked and I heard the voice, verse 11, of many angels numbering thousands upon thousands, ten thousand times ten thousand.

They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang, worthy is the Lamb who is slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and power. And the whole universe just rocks in praise. The whole universe just roars an acclamation of the worthiness of Jesus Christ. He receives all glory, all praise, all honor.

The universe just rocks in praise. The hymn who sits on the throne into the Lamb be praised and honor and glory and power forever and ever. Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess he is Lord because he is Lord. And he is unequaled in his position and undisputed in his power and he's unrivaled in praise. Worthy is the Lamb and is the Lord who is the Lamb coming back one day soon to rule and reign in this earth. And we have the privilege until he gets back of demonstrating in our lives what the kingdom of God would look like if Jesus was Lord of all. Now here's Anne with this final word.

Let me just close today with this added encouragement. If God is undisputed in his power in the universe and he is, why do we argue with him resisting his authoritative claim on our lives? He created you and me, he bought us at Calvary and he is the only one who has the right to rule our lives.

Would you yield the reigns of the government of your life to him? You and I need to stop resisting his will, stop arguing about his purpose, stop complaining about his methods and just submit to his authority. In Revelation 5.9, John says, they sang a new song. There's no greater cure for discouragement than a new song about the power and the glory of the one who has the right to rule. When we feel we need a new song, perhaps what we really need is to fall down and worship the Lord who is the Lamb upon the throne, surrendering our hearts and our lives afresh to him.

Then open your heart and sing. This has been Living in the Light. Please take advantage of all the free resources at angramlots.org to help and encourage you in your walk with God and in your study of his word. Join us here each week for Living in the Light.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-08 21:05:00 / 2022-11-08 21:11:02 / 6

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