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Place Your Hope in Jesus

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
December 16, 2022 10:00 am

Place Your Hope in Jesus

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Living in the Light
Anne Graham Lotz

Here's Anne Graham Lotz. Jesus promises hope, and biblical hope is not a hope-so. Biblical hope is confidence. Place your hope in Jesus. It's the theme and title of today's message here on Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz and her text from John chapter 14 and Revelation 21.

Here now is Anne. It's about this time of year when my daddy was here. I would ask him what he might like me to give him for Christmas, because he was somebody who seemed to have everything.

If he didn't have it, then he could get somebody to go get it. So I would have to ask him what he might like me to give him for Christmas. And usually about Thanksgiving is when I would ask him, and then he would think a while, and then he would come up with something really interesting, some of the things he came up with. And I applied that to the way I celebrate Christmas years ago, because Christmas can become a burden, can't it? What I call the holiday hassle, so much busyness, the shopping, the wrapping, the decorating, the list making, the cooking.

And after a while, it just can become overwhelming, so that rather than be something I enjoy, it's a burden. So I decided years ago to ask the king what he might like for his birthday. So I just asked him around Thanksgiving what he might like for me to give him for Christmas, which is his birthday. So every year, it takes a while maybe, but he'll whisper something to me. And it's usually something that's sacrificial in nature, something I wouldn't do except the king asked me to give it to him for his birthday. And when I do that, then all the way through the Christmas season, I have this little secret joy.

And sometimes he has me give it, you know, earlier in the month, sometimes it's closer to Christmas, sometimes it's after Christmas, but it just gives me a lift, and it helps me feel like I'm celebrating Christmas the way he would want me to. And you'll have to ask the king what he wants you to give him, but I know something that he wants. For right now, just pray with me. So Lord Jesus, we bow before you, and we do want to celebrate your birthday every day. We want to live our lives to the praise of your glory. So we thank you for this morning. I thank you for those who have planned this, promoted it, those who have come. And we ask now that this wouldn't be just an event we check off on our calendar, but this would be a divine encounter with you. So we're asking, please dear God, that you would fill this beautiful sanctuary with your presence, that whether it's because of the word spoken or in spite of it, that you would speak to our hearts, that we would hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit whispering to us.

And so we ask you for your blessing now, and we ask it in Jesus' name and for his glory. Amen. You know, we were talking in the back about the state of our world, the state of our nation, and we're just in a myth. You and I are living in a troubled world.

Job report shows the sharpest decline in U.S. history. Inflation is just sucking the life out of our economy and out of our budget. Israel believes Iran is poised to have a nuclear weapon, so we're living in a troubled world. What about your world? What have you been going through this past year?

Disease, maybe someone you love actually has experienced death, disaster, division. I was in Home Depot this last week, and I was just trying to spark a spiritual conversation with the guy that was helping me. So I asked him about Christmas. He said, no, he said, I hate Christmas. He said, I'll spend it by myself. It's just another day off. He said, I don't like my family.

And I thought, you know, there are people like that. Christmas is not a blessing because you're thrown together with people that you don't get along with and it's your world, a troubled world. So this is the Lord's word to you, okay, and I know this. So open up your spiritual ears. If you have a Bible on your device or if you brought your Bible, this is a very familiar passage, John chapter 14, the first six verses. And Jesus is speaking to his disciples, and I believe with all my heart that this is his word to you. So listen to me reading this, but I want you to hear the voice of God speaking to you. This is his word. Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Trust in God, trust also in me. In my father's house are many rooms. If it were not so I would have told you, I'm going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I'm going.

Thomas said to him, Lord, we don't know where you're going. So how can we know the way? And Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me. In this passage, in a troubled world, I see our hope based on four things. Jesus promises hope and hope, biblical hope is not a hope so. Biblical hope is confidence.

Living in a troubled world, you and I can be confident of four things. One, confident in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He says in verse one, don't let your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in me. So who is Jesus that we would trust in him the way we trust in God? I mean isn't he the baby born at Bethlehem? You know, isn't he the savior dying on the cross and didn't he come 2,000 years ago?

And yes and no. He came in the flesh 2,000 years ago but Jesus has always been. So before creation, before history, before time, before space, before anything was, Jesus was already there. Colossians tells us that there's nothing that's been made that he didn't make.

That's in the whole universe as well as this planet and as well as your life. He is the creator of everything and the creator who was seated on the throne of glory, adored by millions of angels, the son of the father, one day got up from his throne and he took off his glory robes and he came to earth. Christmas, listen to me, is not about Santa Claus and gift giving and even doing something nice to somebody and being loving and having parties and big meals. Christmas is about God coming down. God came down to earth in the flesh. So it tells us that God cares.

It tells us that God is involved with those who are living in a troubled world. So he came down, he submitted to a woman's room for nine months, went through the human birth process and Jonathan Cahn in his book of mysteries describes it so eloquently. He says the one who created the universe stepped inside it and became a helpless baby. The one who is the Lord God Almighty became the weakest of beings. The one whose hands stretched out the heavens were now too weak to even hold the hands of his mother. The eyes that could see the end from the beginning now could barely focus. The mouth that spoke the universe into existence now uttered a baby's cry.

That's the wonder of Christmas. When you stand at the manger and you look inside at that little baby you're seeing the face of God. God came down and then he grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. So when you look at Jesus you see God. When you hear Jesus you're listening to God. When Jesus reacts to something you're seeing God react. When he responds you're seeing God respond.

When he loves and forgives you're seeing God loving and forgiving. And then he went to the cross and he gave his life. Listen don't let anybody ever tell you he was murdered. Don't let anybody ever tell you somebody took his life. He gave his life. You can't take the life of the creator.

You can't take the life of one who is the resurrection and the life and the Lord of life. He gave his life to make atonement for your sin and mine. You cannot just tell you that he died for the sin of the whole world. Yes he did.

But it doesn't apply to you until you claim it for yourself. So he died on the cross to offer you salvation but you have to claim that gift that he offers. He died on the cross. He gave his life. He was buried in that borrowed tomb.

Three days later he rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and the Bible says he ever lives to make intercession for you. He understands what it feels like to live in a troubled world and he's praying for you. So in our troubled world place your faith, your hope, your confidence in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. And secondly you place your hope in the place that he's preparing. So Jesus said in verse 2 in my father's house or many rooms if it were not so I would have told you I'm going there to prepare a place for you.

He's gone ahead. He's preparing a heavenly home for you and he knows the colors that you enjoy. He knows the landscape you like to see. He knows the music you want to listen to.

He knows the people that you want to be with and he's preparing that for you. To illustrate it when my daddy was here I'd go up to see him and I'd go into the kitchen and on the kitchen counter there was a tray with my favorite coffee mug and my favorite coffee beans and then I would look in the refrigerator. My favorite yogurt would be in the refrigerator that I would have for breakfast. I'd go upstairs to my bedroom and beside my bed there was a vase of flowers and a handwritten note that said to Ann welcome home darling I love you daddy. And I know that and when daddy got too weak to do that he had his caregiver do that but I knew what he was doing. He was wanting me to know that when I came home I was welcomed. I had been expected.

I'd come home. I'm the father's child and Jesus is preparing a place for you. He knows what you want, what you enjoy, what will make you feel so that when you walk through heaven's gates you will know that you've been expected, you're welcomed, you're at home, you're the father's child. He's preparing a place just for you and he's preparing a place that's perfect and I'm going to slip over to Revelation for this. I love Revelation 21 and I'm just going to read a few verses but verse one says then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth that passed away and there was no longer any sea and I don't know if that means in heaven there are no oceans or seas. I hope that's not what it means because I love the beach and I'd love to hear the waves and see the seabirds and all that kind of stuff.

We love the beach, don't we? But I wondered if it meant that there's no more separation in heaven because seas separate us from each other, don't they? They separate continents from each other and countries from each other and people from each other and families from each other and maybe it means when we get to heaven there'll be no more separation from those that we love. We've put their faith in Jesus and so I wonder what's separating you now from those that you love.

Mass will do that, pandemics will do that, lockdowns will do that, but sometimes it's hard feelings, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, critical spirits, gossip, slander, divorce, prison, sickness, contagious diseases like the new variant, famines, fires, floods, mudslides, earthquakes, hurricanes, racial prejudice, pride, political parties, denominations, different languages, religions. None of that is going to be in heaven. There'll be nothing that separates us from each other ever again.

It's a perfect place. There's no separation and, oh listen to me, there's no suffering. Chapter 21 of Revelation verses three to four, and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, now the dwelling of God is with men and he will live with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There'll be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.

In what way have you suffered this past year, past few years? Years ago I found my husband unresponsive in our pool and put him on life support. Three days later he was in heaven.

He went to glory. Three years later my father followed him and went to heaven and although he was 99 we expected him to go but not that morning and six months later I was diagnosed with cancer. Went through chemo, radiation, all the after-effects of all that. I know a little bit about suffering and I know some of you have stories that would make me weep and some of you haven't suffered to that extent but you know suffering is sort of relative. If it hurts it hurts and things that cause suffering.

My son had covid two weeks then he went into the hospital was placed in ICU for eight days. Still doesn't have full capacity in his lungs. Maybe your loved one was on a ventilator. Maybe your loved one actually vowed and can I just tell you I'm so sorry but in heaven there's no more death. No more grief. No more broken homes or broken hearts or broken lives or broken hopes. No more hospitals. No more funerals. No more wheelchairs. No more rapes. No more violent crime.

No more famines or failures. No physical handicaps. No blindness.

No lameness. No deafness. No diabetes. No heart disease. No paralysis. No cancer. No AIDS. No covid in any form or variant. No more refugee camps. No more refugee caravans. No more poverty or chemical weapons or airstrikes or guns or no more suffering at all. One day we're going to go to heaven and God will take our face and put it between his hands and he's going to wipe the tears from our cheeks and he's going to say oh welcome home child there's no more suffering here no more tears no more pain you've come home so in this troubled world you place your faith you trust in the person of jesus and you trust him when he says he's going to prepare a place just for you praise god this life is not all there is the best is yet to come and we're going home so you place your trust in his person and the place that he's preparing for you and in his promise in verse 3 of chapter 14 of john he says and if i go and prepare a place for you i'll come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where i am oh listen to me jesus is coming jesus is coming jesus is coming and you know how i know that he said so you can take him at his word jesus is coming for you and for me and he'll come for you in one of two ways you'll come for you in what we call the rapture when the trumpet blows and he descends and it catches all believers up in the air to be with him and because i can't describe it as well as paul let me read to you what paul says in first thessalonians 4 this is actually the passage i read at my daddy's funeral we used to have devotions every night as he got older he would ask me to lead devotions and it was such a an honor a privilege to read scripture and share something of what it meant to me and and then pray with my daddy and those who gathered and so this is what i read at his funeral with him lying in the casket in front of me chapter 4 verse 13 brothers or in this case sisters we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep and fall asleep that is just the biblical way of talking about a believer dying okay so falling asleep we don't want you to be ignorant about those who have died but the Bible says they've just fallen asleep or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope we believe that jesus died and rose again and so we believe that god will bring with jesus those who have fallen asleep in him so let me just ask you you believe jesus died and rose again so yes lord i believe so we believe that god will also bring with jesus those who've fallen asleep in him according to the lord's own word this isn't something paul made up this is what jesus said we tell you that we who are still alive who are left to the coming of the lord will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep in other words i'm not going to be caught up in the air before my mother and my daddy and my husband they're going to go first my daughter ray true says she hopes at that moment all the graves break open so the secular world knows that you know the secular world knows that you know they've all gone and they're caught up in the air and then it says we who are left till the coming of the lord will certainly not perceive those who are falling asleep in verse 16 for the lord himself he doesn't send just an angel the lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of god and the dead in christ will rise first that's my husband my mother my daddy after that in a nanosecond we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the lord in the air and so we will be with the lord forever therefore encourage each other with these words oh my goodness we are going somewhere god has a plan and a purpose and at the perfect time at that perfect moment and i actually think he's a little late but but he's never too late never too early at that perfect time he's going to come back and we're going to see the sky unfold we're going to hear that great trumpet blow we're going to hear him shout and we're going to hear the voice of the archangel and we're going to be caught up to be caught up in the air to be with him and our loved ones forever so when i look up i'm going to i don't know if i can take my eyes off of jesus but if i do i'm going to see my husband and my mother and my daddy and my grandparents my welcoming committee is enlarging it seems like every few weeks there's somebody else that's added to it and while i grieve i don't grieve as those who have no hope because i know i'm going to see them again if they have put their faith in jesus so when is that going to happen jesus said we can't know the day or the hour but i believe we can know the generation because he's given us enough signs to indicate when he's coming and there's two in matthew 24 i'll point out to you and one is in verse 14 when he said when the gospel is preached to the whole world then the end will come and right now think about it the gospel is being preached to the whole world it doesn't mean everybody in the world has heard the gospel but that everybody in the world has that opportunity and whether it's through written material whether it's through radio whether it's through internet whether it's in a live presentation whether it's in their first language or their second language the whole world the gospel is being preached to the whole world and you think about it in the last generation before my time we wouldn't have known about world evangelism it wasn't but after world war ii and there's this great global consciousness that's when in 1950 48 50 that's when the billy graham evangelistic association was founded organizations like youth for christ fellowship of christian athletes young life inner varsity as well as all the church missions group it just we ratchet it up in our effort to take the gospel to the whole world and jesus said when the gospel is being preached to the whole world then the end will come i believe we're living in then borrowed time the other sign he gave in verses 32 to 35 of matthew 24 he gave a parable it was a parable of a fig tree and he said the fig tree is dormant but when you see the fig tree beginning to put forth leaves and buds then you know the end is near the generation that sees the fig tree begin to bud is going to be the last generation and the fig tree in the bible represents israel all the way the old testament new testament in fact a few days earlier jesus had been talking to his disciples and he used the fig tree as an example or an illustration of israel so i believe in this parable he's speaking of israel and israel that had been dormant for 2 000 years think about it and those of you who are born after me you've never known a world without israel so you you don't quite get the drama of this but a nation that had been non-existent for 2 000 years was reborn on its ancient homeland with descendants of its ancient people with its ancient currency it's the ancient language in may 14 1948 it was declared a nation in the family of nations by the united nations america god bless her was the first nation to recognize her as such and jesus said when you jesus said when you see that happen the generation that sees that is the last generation you can hear living in the light with anne gramm lots weekly and for ways to experience the god filled life as you pursue your own personal bible study go to anne gramm and she'll help you get started with some free resources you can use and also share with others join us here each week for living in the light
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-17 22:29:49 / 2022-12-17 22:38:48 / 9

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