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HOPE As We Look Inward – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
April 2, 2023 3:00 pm

HOPE As We Look Inward – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Here's Anne Graham Lotz. You and I don't stand in judgment over God's Word. God's Word stands in judgment over you and me.

Drive the stake of your faith down deep into God's Word. Welcome to Living in the Light with Anne Graham Lotz. Anne concludes today with part two of her message titled, Hope as We Look Inward. She's currently teaching on the seven churches of the book of Revelation, and that's found in chapters two and three. Last time, Anne examined the first three of these seven churches. They were Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum. And today, she wraps up her message with insight on the final four churches.

Let's find out more about this as we join Anne Graham Lotz now. Chapter 19, the armies of the world gather together on the Jezreel Valley and Israel, and they're coming against each other to go to war against each other. So I don't know if it's over the Middle East oil or they're just fed up with the Antichrist or whatever their issues are, but they're all coming together to fight against each other.

And at the moment, they would annihilate the human race and blow everything up to smithereens. The sky unfolds, and there's a white horse with a rider whose name is Faithful and True. And if they didn't know who he was, they would look on his sign and say, the Word of God. And he's got that double-edged sword that comes from his mouth, and they aim their guns, they turn their missiles, they deploy their bombs, and they go to make war against the Lamb.

Can you imagine their arrogance and their pride? He speaks a word, and they all drop dead. You and I don't stand in judgment over God's Word. God's Word stands in judgment over you and me.

Drive the stake of your faith down deep into God's Word. The promise is if you do that in verse 17, I will give you the hidden manna. This is the most precious promise in the Old Testament. Manna was the bread that came down from heaven that fed the children of Israel in the wilderness. And they took some of it, they put it in a jar, and they hid it in the Ark of the Covenant. So they would always be reminded of the way God had provided for them in the wilderness. And the hidden manna is when you open your Bible and you read it, and you're meditating on it, and God just seems to speak to you.

There's a phrase, there's a verse, there's a passage that, you know, you read it and it says one thing, somebody else could read it, they wouldn't get the same thing, but it's the hidden manna just for you. The Pergamites did not listen, there's no church there today. Thyatira is the fourth church, and end of chapter 2, it was a very small town, small church.

Commentators wonder how it made this list, and I wonder if it made this list because, you know, when you're very small, very insignificant, from a small town, from a small church, you think nobody notices you. And did they think they were so small God wouldn't notice them, and therefore they could get by with something, and he wouldn't see them. But he says, look at me, verse 18, these are the words of the Son of God whose eyes are like blazing fire, feet as burnished bronze. That's the Son of God looking at the church, and he's angry, getting ready to trample them in judgment. So what in the world provokes the wrath of the Son of God? Verse 19, can I just read it? He says, I know your deeds, your love, your faith, your service, your perseverance, you're now doing more than you did at first, and it sounds, my goodness, that's a wonderful church, and you hear his applause.

And then he says, what's provoked is anger. They were involved in immorality, and I'm ashamed, they were led by a woman, Jezebel, and she was immoral, and by her very example, and seeming to get by with it, the church thought they could get involved in immorality, and she led them all into sin, just by her example. So, who's a professing Christian, and they say the right things, they do the right things, they do the right things, they're serving, they're involved in church, but you also know they're looking at things they shouldn't, they're going to places they shouldn't, they're involved with people they shouldn't be, they're not honest at work, and they seem to get by with it. And you think after a while, you know, maybe that's not so important, maybe that's just, you know, what God said for a time way back then, but maybe our world is different today, and we sort of go with the flow, and their example you take is permission to get involved in sin yourself, and the sin in particular was immorality, sexual immorality. It's one thing to be surrounded by that in the world, it's another thing for that to creep into the church. I was at a major seminary, great evangelical seminary, and the president told me their number one problem was pornography among the students.

They would go back into the stacks in the library, and they'd get involved in, they had no idea that anybody would know what they were doing on the computer. And I appreciate what the pope said recently, that pornography is something the devil uses to just come in and get his hooks in you, and I personally know three outstanding preachers who are involved in pornography, and one by one they repented and put it out of their lives. If that's you, if you're addicted to that, you know, the Bible says where the spirit of the Lord is Lord, there's freedom.

You can be set free, you just turn off the computer, throw it away if you have to, throw away the magazines, don't channel surf on TV, you just put those disciplines in place, get an accountability partner. But if you don't, the warning is, Jesus said, that he would not only judge her, but it would impact her family. So he called on her to repent.

Then he speaks to the remnant in the church. Her principle is that God is not mocked, he demands holiness from his people, especially the leaders of his people. Are you a leader?

If you're a parent, you're a leader of your people. If you're a pastor, study school teacher, Bible teacher, prayer group leader, Bible study facilitator, you know, I don't know what your position is, but God forbid that it would ever be said that somebody fell into sin because of what they saw in my life. Jesus said it'd be better if a millstone was hung around my neck and I was thrown in the deepest part of the sea than to stumble somebody like that. The promise in verse 26 is if you overcome this immorality he will give you authority over the nations and I think that's spiritual power to impact this generation with the gospel for Jesus. And that kind of spiritual power is directly linked to purity in your life. Could it be that's one reason the Christian church in America is so impotent and we're not impacting our nation with the gospel and we're morally and spiritually bankrupt to the point of just being shocked at how far we have fallen, how fast we have fallen, morally and spiritually.

I'm not speaking politically, economically and all that kind of, I'm talking about just morally and spiritually. God doesn't pour out his judgment on us as my mother would say, you will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. And could it be because we lack the spiritual power to impact because we lack holiness.

So ask him to search your heart. What sin is there that's keeping you from being holy as he is holy? What is holiness as being like Jesus? In Jesus there's no pridefulness, no unrighteousness, no judgmentalness, no meanness, no unkindness, no selfishness, no sinfulness at all. So if we're to be holy as he is holy there should be no pridefulness, no judgmentalness, no self-righteousness, no meanness, no unkindness, no sinfulness at all. You hear what the Spirit is saying.

The church at Thyatira was not, there's not even a town there today, not even rocks in a field. Fifth church is Sardis chapter three and Jesus says, look at me these are the words of him who holds the seven stars and the seven spirits of God. And he's describing himself as someone who holds the balance scales on one side of the sevenfold Spirit of God that's the Holy Spirit on the other side of the leaders of that church. And you know people say, well God's going to weigh my good deeds against my bad deeds and if my good deeds outweigh then I'm going to be okay. And he weighs us but he doesn't weigh our good deeds against our bad deeds, he weighs us against the perfection of the Holy Spirit and he told the church at Sardis you don't measure up.

So what was the issue? I know what you're doing right he says, actually the only thing he commended them for was that they knew people who were doing something right. I know what you're doing wrong verse one you have a reputation for being alive but you are dead.

They put on a great show of being Bible totes, Bible quotas, just living their lives to impress people with how spiritual they were but it wasn't authentic. And he said I know what you need to do, wake up, repent, be real, your deeds are not complete. When I was doing this study years ago came to this passage and the Lord whispered to me, and you have a reputation for being alive all over the world, you have a reputation for being alive but as I look into your heart you're dying.

You have an image and a reputation but it's not authentic. And then he said wake up and I knew exactly what he was talking about. He was talking about my early morning prayer time and I'm such a sleepyhead you know, I love to sleep, I love my bed, I love to stay there to the last minute and then I would bounce out of bed and go hit my day and you know pray during the day. Can I just tell you my mother prayed at night on her knees beside her bed for hours at a time, prayed in the morning and also prayed on the hoof. But I prayed on the hoof but I wasn't praying early in the morning because I was just so sleepy and even if I did I was just you know not wide awake. And when he said Ann wake up, your deeds are not complete because they're not begun with prayer, they're not bathed in prayer.

Wake up and put that prayer time back at the beginning of my day. God doesn't look on the outward appearance. He's not impressed with your reputation.

He wasn't impressed with mine. He looks on the heart and he's not fooled by our phoniness. I could have labeled this phoniness because the church at Sardis was phony but I applied it to prayerlessness because that was me. The promise, he says you'll be dressed in white and that's a right relationship with him that others can see.

And when you're authentic we see him dressed in white that he's right with the Lord and I know nobody's perfectly right you know we're dressed in the righteousness of Jesus but but in as much as we can we want to be right with him and keep short accounts and spend time with him and it shows. And he also says I'll never erase your name you'll have a permanent relationship with God that God himself will acknowledge. So do you hear what the Spirit is saying? The church at Sardis was not listening. There's no church there today. The sixth church is Philadelphia and this is one of the two churches in which Jesus found nothing wrong.

Beautiful church. Look at me he said these are the words of him who is holy and true and holds the keys of David. He holds the keys to the doors of opportunity for you. I know what you're doing right, your deeds, your little strength, you've kept my word, you've not denied my name in verse eight. I know what you're doing wrong, nothing but I see a tendency to do something wrong because I see it in my own life. When you have just a little strength you feel like you can't really do what God's calling you to do.

You feel so inadequate that you just don't walk through that open door. And when the Lord called me to service outside of my home he called me right from this passage I'll never forget. We're taking a family vacation, Danny, myself, our three little children and his parents and we're driven to Cape Cod on that. My husband was from New York and we had four blowouts so every tire blew out on that trip and you know chaos in the car, chaos outside the car. We were pulled beside the road my mother-in-law was sitting in the back seat and she was just reading the Bible out loud you know and all the kids were fussing and whatever going on and she was reading and she was reading this passage and I said grandma pass me the Bible and so she passed it up to me and I said oh my goodness I think God is speaking to me through this passage because I had applied to start Bible study fellowship in Raleigh and I've been turned down and then I read in verse 8 and I know your deeds and I hadn't done anything and he knew and I love that about Jesus you know he doesn't pull any punches he knows he knew I hadn't done a thing for my mom and I had three children five three and ten months old at that time so busy you know with things inside the home but not really serving him outside the home and I know you have a little strength you didn't say and if you just try harder and you just work it up and you just you know he just said and I know you only have every young mother knows all they have is a little strength and I just had a little strength but he said you've kept my word you've not denied my name and because of my family identification I've been identified with Jesus but I didn't go around telling everybody who I was I just spoke up for him with my friends and in the community and when I had opportunity I'd not denied his name I'd kept his word I was faithful to my Bible reading because I was in love with Jesus and and then he called me into service verse 8 he opened the door and I felt when grandma was reading that passage he was saying Ann I know you've been turned down but I'm going to open that door for you and if I open the door for you nobody can shut it you walk through the open door so the tendency that somebody has when you feel weak inadequate insufficient is that you if you're not careful you'll let it translate into disobedience like you know better than he does you know God I really can't do that you must be joking but he wasn't joking and he said walk through the open door I didn't have an option at that point because if I wanted to call him Lord because if I wanted to call him Lord then I just had to say yes sir he's either Lord of all or he's not Lord at all and he called me to walk through the open door and in verse 11 he said Ann hold on to what you have and I said all right what do I have I know I only have a little strength I know I only have a little time I only have a little money I only have a little education I only have a little ability what do I have and in my mind's eye if you can see him I sense him smiling and saying Ann you have me and you have my word walk through the open door and I did it's my responsibility to walk through them holding on to what I have so what door is he open for you an opportunity to teach Sunday school an opportunity to gather the children in your neighborhood and start a little backyard bible club the opportunity to have a prayer group the opportunity to invite people in ask him to show you an open door then you walk through it and it's as thrilling as getting out of the boat and walking on the water because you discover what he can do in and through you if you'll make yourself available listen to me he will never call you to do something he doesn't equip you for and he doesn't enable you to do I know so walk through the open door the principle oh this is precious God is attracted to weakness did you know that that sense of inadequacy that sense of helplessness and weakness if you allow it it will translate into a deep dependency upon him and he can use someone who's dependent the promise is in verse 12 where he says to him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God a pillar a strong pillar in the temple in the presence of God in other words you walk through that open door holding on to what you have and other people won't even know you're inadequate other people won't know how weak you are they'll just see that you're a strong pillar right there in the presence of God they'll see your strength and it's not yours they see God's strength in you so are you listening the church at Philadelphia was and I've been in that church still there today the last church on the list is the church at Laodicea Jesus says look at me in verse 14 these are the words of the amen the faithful and true witness the ruler and basically he's saying what he's going to tell them is absolutely true and he doesn't mince words and they're not going to believe what he has to say because it's very different from what their own image of themselves was but when he speaks to you like he did with me about my prayerlessness like he did with when I lost my first love he what he says is true so he's the faithful and true witness learn from me he says I know what you're doing right nothing this is one church he doesn't commend them for a thing I know what you're doing wrong he says in verse 15 you're lukewarm let me just look at that you say I'm rich I've acquired wealth don't need a thing go up before that so because you are lukewarm neither hot nor cold verse 16 I'm about to spit you out of my mouth they made him physically sick and it was because they were lukewarm they they didn't care about a lost world they didn't care about the gospel they didn't care about Jesus they were just all in it for the show like a social club you know where they made their business contacts they came to meet people it was wealthy it was influential people were coming they were successful they had plenty of money they didn't need Jesus and he says I know what you need to do verse 18 you need to repent and I'm going to say that what their issue was was prides they thought they had everything but they didn't know they were blind and naked and they had never been born again their pride had kept them from the cross and I love verse 19 those whom I love I rebuke and discipline Jesus loves the Laodicean Christian he loves those who are proud self-righteous think they don't need him Jesus loves you and maybe it's not you somebody in your family you know like that a friend you know like that Jesus loves that person in verse 20 he says what you need to do he says here I am I stand at the door and knock if anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him and he with me he's speaking to the church and the church had locked him out and he's knocking at the door let me in let me in it's all about me it's not about this social club you've established let me in and I'll come in and we'll have sweet fellowship we'll have that personal relationship that I died to give you so I want to just apply this when were you born again can you pinpoint a time when you came to the cross by faith and confessed your sin told God you were sorry asked him to forgive you cleanse you with his blood believe Jesus died for you receive the eternal life he offers believe he rose from the dead to open heaven for you open up your heart invite him to come in in the person of the Holy Spirit choosing to surrender to him and follow him all the days of your life right into heaven when did you do that if you can't remember a point in time how do you know you've done it don't let pride keep you from coming to the cross humbly as a child the principle listen to me Jesus says religion is not a substitute for a relationship with God you must be born again verse 21 the promise is you'll have the right to sit on his throne you're sharing his glory the Laodiceans wanted to impress everybody they had so much pride he says you know you'll be impressive when you sit on my throne but the way up is down you first must come to the cross confess your sin repent turn away from it humble yourself claim me as your savior and your lord open up your heart invite me to come and live for me and then when you step into eternity you have the right to sit on my throne are you listening to what the spirit is saying a church at Laodicea was not and they're just rocks in a field today so after looking upward and falling down at the feet of Jesus like a dead man it's silent and still surrendered for whatever he has for your life then he says all right I'll take you seriously but now we're going to look inward and as he's shown his light into these seven churches has there been something he's pinpointed in your life busyness maybe a perfunctory familiarity with him that's pushed him to the periphery somebody put their work before your worship fearfulness afraid of sharing the gospel in this crazy culture in which we live afraid of the rejection the persecution the political correctness or could I call it wokeness craziness it's crept into the church the permissiveness the sinfulness the immorality led that way because somebody's example you think has given you permission to do something similar prayerlessness or phoniness timidness you're afraid to walk through that open door because you know you can't pridefulness has kept you from the cross maybe it's something else you know I don't know lust jealousy bitterness unforgiveness short temper you know I can just stay up here and guess all day long god knows and you know do you have ears to hear what the spirit is saying and if the lord tarries generations from now what will be remembered about you will your life just be rocks in a field nothing to show for the life you've lived here revelation 19 says let us rejoice and be glad give him the glory for the wedding of the lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready this message is all about getting ready to meet the bridegroom being prepared in your heart of hearts for that moment when you see jesus you've been listening to living in the light and when you go to anne gramm 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 / 2023-04-02 16:42:22 / 2023-04-02 16:51:44 / 9

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