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HOPE As We Look Upward – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2023 3:00 pm

HOPE As We Look Upward – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Here's Anne Graham Lotz. Today Anne takes us to the book of Revelation chapter 1. And at the end of today's broadcast, be sure to take advantage of all that's available for you at that will help you in the process of living a life full of purpose in Christ.

Now, here's Anne with an important question for you. Can I ask you, what are you hoping for? Do you hope for safety as you walk down the street?

Do you hope for a good report from your doctor? Do you hope for reconciliation with that family member or friend that you've been estranged from? And one of the things I hope for, I hope for strength to stay strong to the finish of my life. You know, I've told the Lord, I don't mind if I'm battered and bruised, but I don't want to stay standing with the sword in my hand when he comes back, when I see him face to face.

Oh, Lord, give me strength to the finish. And what do you hope for? My hope is not in Washington, I can tell you that. So biblical hope is not a hope-so. Biblical hope is a confidence. And in this crazy world in which we're living, with all the chaos and confusion and corruption, with the disasters and the death and the disease, with the apathy and the anger and division, and it's just a mess. Sometimes we can tend to feel hopeless.

Where do we find real hope? And that was a question the early church was asking. When the book of Revelation was written, the Emperor Domitian was on the throne in Rome. He declared himself to be God, he demanded that he be worshiped, and when the early church refused to worship him, he poured out persecution on the Christians.

He burned them at the stake, he fed them to the wild animals, he crucified them on crosses. The early Christians felt they were hopeless, that they had no future. And where has hope found? And it was at that moment that God gave to the apostle John a vision of the glory of Jesus that has given hope not only to the first century Christians, but every century of Christians since then, right up until this moment in our day. Open your Bibles, if you would, to Revelation chapter 1.

And I just want to park for a moment on the first phrase. The revelation of Jesus Christ. We find hope through God's word, which is the revelation of Jesus Christ. And I know that's speaking of this last book, but I believe it's speaking of the whole book. From Genesis to Revelation, it's the revelation of Jesus.

So I'm not going to go through every book, and you'll be glad. But Genesis, he's the creator of everything. Exodus, he's the bondage breaker, the liberator. And Genesis and Leviticus, he's the lamb, the perfect lamb who makes atonement for our sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Numbers, he's our leader. Deuteronomy, he's the prophet like Moses who will deliver us not from slavery, but from our sin. Joshua, he's captain of the Lord's host. And Judges, he's the righteous judge.

Ruth, he's the kinsman redeemer. Song of Solomon, he's our lover, our bridegroom, lover of our souls. Proverbs, he's our wisdom. Psalms, he's our song in the night.

And I know I'm skipping as I go along, so I'm going to forget something. But Isaiah, he's the Lord seated on the throne, the wonderful counselor, almighty God, prince of peace, everlasting father. Ezekiel, he's the man seated on the sapphire throne.

We can go through the minor prophets, but we'll go on to Matthew. He's the Messiah, the fulfillment of that Old Testament prophecy. He's the servant.

Mark reveals him as the servant. And Luke, he's the son of man. And John, he's the son of God. Acts, he's the head of the church.

Romans, he's the fulfillment of the law. And you go on through in Hebrews, he's the high priest who ever makes intercession for us. And we come to Revelation, the last book in the Bible. And the last book in the Bible is unique, not in that it's the revelation of Jesus, because the whole Bible is the revelation of Jesus. But it's unique in that it reveals Jesus in a way that we're going to see him next. It reveals him in his glory, his majesty, his authority, his sovereignty. And it's John's eyewitness account of the future.

So for you and me, the book of Revelation is prophecy. For the apostle John, it's history. And he says in verse 2, he testifies to everything he saw, that is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. And John says, 28 times in this book, I heard with my own ears.

49 times he said, I saw with my own eyes. And the apostle John, remember he was the disciple of John the Baptist. He followed Jesus then for three years. And during those three years with his own eyes, he saw Jesus walk on the water and feed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. And he saw Jesus give sight to the man born blind and cleanse the leper and raise the dead. And the apostle John was there at the cross when he saw Jesus with his own eyes. He saw him crucified.

And he heard him shout out with his own ears, it is finished. And then he saw him bow his head, take his last breath. And John saw Jesus die on the cross. Three days later, John ran to the garden, ran into the tomb. He saw with his own eyes that the tomb was empty, except the grave clothes were lying there.

It looked like an empty cocoon, as though the body had just risen up through it. And that afternoon with his own ears, he heard that familiar voice say, peace, it is I, be not afraid. And he turned and with his own eyes, he saw Jesus of Nazareth standing in front of him, the fresh wound on his brow where the thorns had been and the fresh wounds in his hands and feet where the nails had been.

And 40 days later, he was standing on the Mount of Olives. And as he watched Jesus in his man's physical body, the body lifted up through the air and it lifted up through the clouds of glory. And John saw with his own eyes, Jesus ascend back into heaven. But that's not all John saw.

So with the same eyes, it's all the things I've described, the same ears that heard the voice of Jesus and the same eyes and the same ears have seen Jesus come back. And he tells us in the book of Revelation, what do you see? He's seen wars on a worldwide scale, so devastating that the blood of those slaughtered rises to the height of a horse's bridle. He's seen pestilence like COVID take out a third of the earth's population. He's seen stars falling from the sky like Star Wars, like satellites, like Scud missiles. He's seen mountains falling into the sea. He's seen a beast rise up out of the sea, who the Bible calls the antichrist, who rules the world in defiance and rebellion of Jesus. And he's seen a false prophet, a religious leader who has power to do miracles in the name of the antichrist. And he's seen a dragon, the devil himself, giving them both power. And he's seen demons flooding the earth. And he's seen angels. And he's seen men and women in white robes standing under the altar, crying out, how long, oh Lord, those who've been martyred for their faith.

And they were told just wait a little while. He's seen angels preaching the gospel across the sky. And in the end, he saw a battle of Armageddon. And all the armies of the world gathered together to make war against each other.

They were there to annihilate the human race and their rage. And that moment, the sky unfolds. And John said, I saw a white horse whose rider is named faithful and true, coming back, followed by the armies of heaven. And the armies of the earth that had gathered to make war against each other, see the rider on the white horse.

They know who he is. He's the son of God. He's the lamb coming back to rule the world. And so they take their guns and their missiles and their bombs. And instead of aiming them at each other, they go to make war against the lamb.

And he speaks a word. And they all drop dead. And the apostle John says, I've seen it all. I've seen around everything, over everything, under everything, through everything, at the beginning of everything, at the end of everything, Jesus Christ, absolutely supreme. How would we know the end of the story if the apostle John hadn't written it down for us in the book of Revelation? The Revelation tells us the end of the story, the third verse says, blessed are those of you who continually read it, who continually study it, because the time is near. And the unique blessing of saturating yourself in the entire Bible, but also in the book of Revelation specifically, only book of the Bible that gives a specific blessing for those who continue to read it, who continue to study it, the unique blessing I think is twofold.

One is when you saturate yourself in this book. You see Jesus. You find hope in the person of Jesus Christ. Even when the world seems like it's hopeless and everything's falling apart, and evil is on a rampage, and the bad guys seem to be winning, the book of Revelation tells you how it all ends. So the blessing is that we see Jesus in a way we never would if we didn't have this book. And the second blessing, I believe, when it says the time is near, I think one of the things the book of Revelation does, it gives us a timeline. You know, there's a timeline to human history, and that's one problem with evolution, because they say there's no timeline, there's no accountability, you're just cosmic accident, you came from nothing, you're going nowhere, you have no purpose, and that's so contrary to everything the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches human history has a timeline. It began at creation when God created Adam and Eve, has a midpoint when Jesus came, lived on earth, died on the cross, rose from the dead, ascended back to heaven.

That's the midpoint, and it has an end. And human history will end, as we know it, when Jesus Christ comes back to reign and rule on this earth. And the time is near, and it's a lot nearer than when John wrote it.

And I believe it's very near. Blessed are you when you read this word, and you study this word, and you saturate yourself in this word, because in this word you focus on Jesus. So, you want to find hope?

I'm talking about real confidence in this crazy day in which we live. You find hope when you focus on Jesus through the word of God, when you read your Bible. Not just to prepare for Sunday school or a Bible study or to teach or to give out, but when do you read it for yourself?

Listening for God to speak to you through it. This past year has been so intense for me that I've always made time in the morning, more or less time in the morning. Actually, COVID was good because I could take my watch off and spend as much time in my morning time as I wanted, but I spent time in the morning. But I started at night. Actually, I did this maybe three years ago. And when I crawl in bed at night, I read five chapters a night.

And I think next year I'm going to slow down a little bit and take it a little bit slower than that. But I have just loved reading through the Bible, and I use a new, different one each time and I just take a pencil and I underline phrases that stand out to me, just to go to bed with God's word on my mind. So, read your Bible.

Read your Bible. Don't miss the blessing that God has for you because you neglect it. And God knows some days are crazy and you're sick or, you know, but I'm talking about make it a habit every day to read your Bible asking God to speak to you through it.

Opening your heart to the little whispers of the Spirit. So you find hope as you focus on Jesus through the word. You find hope as you focus on Jesus through worship. And we worship Him through our music, through our song, through our praise.

Yes, we do. Praise God. But we also worship Him. Worship means to attribute worth, worth-ship, to attribute worth to Him. And we attribute worth to Him in three ways in this passage. As in His deity, in His humanity, and in His eternity.

But let's look at His deity. In verse four, grace and peace to you from Him who is and was and who is to come. That's the member of the Trinity we think of as God the Father. And from the seven spirits before His throne, that's the one we think of as the Holy Spirit.

He's referred to as a number seven because number seven is perfect and the Holy Spirit, of course, is God. And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness first born from the dead ruler of the kings of the earth. So right there we have the Trinity. God the Father, God the sevenfold Spirit, and God the Son. And I'm not going to try to explain the Trinity to you because I can't. I just know our God is one and He's three in one. And this is underscoring the fact that Jesus Christ is God. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, equal in will, equal in power, equal in personality, equal in emotion, equal in intellect. God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, God the Son.

Jesus Christ is God. Genesis chapter one, verse three, you find Him. And God said, let there be light.

And there was. And all the way through Genesis one, you have that little phrase, and God said. And whatever God said was so. And we would think that's nouns and pronouns going out of the mouth of God until we come to the Gospel of John chapter one, verse one that says, in the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. And verse 14 says, and the Word became flesh.

And I've seen Him full of grace and truth. His name is Jesus. Christmas is about the incarnation of God. When God became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ. So don't make Jesus out to be smaller than He is, less than He is.

I can get very offended. And I won't name some things, but when people put words in His mouth or make Him into some sort of a TV character. He's the Son of God. He is God in the flesh. So we worship Him for His deity. We worship Him for His humanity.

In verse five, the middle of verse five, to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood. He's the Savior who redeems us. He's made us to be a kingdom and priest to serve His God and Father. To Him be glory and power forever and ever.

Amen. He's the Lord who rules our lives so that we fulfill God's purpose. And verse seven, look, He's coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And He's the King who's returning for you and for me. So in His humanity, He is God, but He's also fully man.

And in His humanity, He's the Savior who redeems us with His own blood, the Lord who rules the details of our lives so we fulfill God's purpose, and the King one day who will return for us. So there was a time years ago when I was struggling with feeling very inadequate, very inferior, and very small, very unimportant. I felt like a nobody. And actually, I had to say later, I am a nobody, you know?

So it's sort of freeing to just admit I'm a nobody, but I was just struggling with that. And I was meditating on these verses, and I heard God seem to whisper to me, and, who's the most important man in your life? And so I immediately said, my father, my husband.

And then the whisper was like, well, who do you think outside your family? Who's the most important man in the United States? And I thought, well, probably that would be the President of the United States.

And for four years or eight years, and then it shifts. And then he said, well, he seemed to say, the whisper, who is the most important man on the whole planet? And so I was thinking, well, if the United States at that point was the most powerful nation in the world, then probably the President of the United States is the most powerful man in the whole world for four years or for eight years. And then this is what he whispered to me. And, the most important man in the entire universe, forever and ever, thinks you are so important, that he's the Savior who shed his own blood to take away your sin and bring you into a right relationship with me. And he's the Lord who rules the details of your life so you can fulfill my purpose for your life and fulfill your potential. Your life can have meaning, eternal significance. And, and, he's the King one day who'll return just for you.

I've never felt so unimportant again. I found myself worse in the shadow of who Jesus is. In his deity, he's God. And in his humanity, he's man, but as the God-man. He would have gone to the cross if I was the only one that needed a Savior.

Can I tell you that? If you were the only one who needed to be redeemed, if you were the only one who had sinned and needed your sins forgiven and cleansed and brought into a right relationship, Jesus would have come for you. He's the Savior who's redeemed you with his own blood, his own blood. And he's the Lord who rules the details of your life as though he has no planets to spin and no nations to arrange and no kings to dethrone and enthrone and, you know, leaders to come and go. He rules your life and mine when we surrender to him the details so that we fulfill. God has a purpose for you.

You know that? You're not an accident. He has a divine purpose for your life. And you surrender to him as Lord, he will rule your life so that you fulfill God's purpose. And your life takes on eternal significance. It doesn't matter if your name is ever in lights or if you're ever in a book or you're on the radio.

It doesn't matter if your life has eternal significance and you're bearing eternal fruit for his glory. And he's the King who's going to return for you. Jesus said, I'm going to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you, I will return to receive you to myself.

And that's a personal one-on-one receiving. Best way I know to explain that is every summer, my family, my children, grandchildren, we take a beach vacation. And if we're lucky, we hit the beach when there's a full moon. And because we go to the East Coast, the full moon comes up over the water. And when it comes up over the water, if I stand on the beach, I have a moonbeam that comes right to me. And if Mara and Trina are 100 yards down the beach, they have a moonbeam that goes right to them. And if Rachel Ruth is on this side with her girls and 100 yards down the beach, she has a moonbeam that comes right to her.

And I don't know how it does that. But each of us have our very own moonbeam. And when Jesus comes back, each of us is going to have our very own king returning just for me, just for you. So worship Jesus for His deity. He is God. And for His humanity, He is man, fully man.

And for His eternity. Verse 8. Verse 8 says, I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and was and is to come the Almighty. So the Alpha and the Omega, the Alpha was the first letter of the Greek alphabet. The Omega was the last letter of the Greek alphabet. So the alphabet sums up all of our wisdom, all of our knowledge.

And when it refers, when Jesus says I am the Alpha and the Omega, He is the fullness of God's wisdom. And we're going to use a theological term that says omniscience, which means Jesus knows everything. Think about it. He's never had a new thought.

Think about it. It means you have always been on His mind. He's always been thinking of you by name. He brought you into existence knowing who you would be, loving you before the foundation of the earth relayed.

He knows you by name. And when He was dying on the cross, He was dying to redeem you by name with His own blood. And when He rose up from the dead, He rose up to open heaven for you by name, to give you eternal life a personal right relationship with His Father here and now in heaven when you die. And when He ascended into heaven, He ascended with you on His mind, preparing a place for you. He's omniscient.

So praise God. You're on His heart. You're on His mind. Hebrews, as I said, tells us that He ever lives to make intercession for you by name. Jesus is praying for you right here, right now.

You online. He's the Alpha and the Omega. And He said, the Lord God who is and was and is to come, He is the eternal I Am.

Not I was, not I will be the I Am, the one who is, was and is to come. That's His omnipresence. Fully present in every generation, every age, every planet, farthest corners of the universe, the deepest black holes you can think of. Fully present everywhere. He fills the universe. Jesus is fully present everywhere in every generation, every age. He's omnipresent.

So when you feel alone, you're not. He's with you. God is with you. He's with you. He's with me right here. You've been listening to Living in the Light. And when you go to, there are free resources to help you in your study of God's Word. Anne's desire is that you embrace a God-filled life, step by step, choice by choice, living in the light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-12 16:24:29 / 2023-03-12 16:33:44 / 9

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