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When Jesus Observes Our Reality

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
July 10, 2022 1:00 am

When Jesus Observes Our Reality

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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July 10, 2022 1:00 am

God sees us for who we really are. The church at Sardis was confronted by Jesus in Revelation 3 because they had a spotless reputation, but their hearts were rotten. In this message, we listen to Jesus’ rebuke, remedy, and ultimately the reward for repentance. Whose opinion could be more important than Jesus’?

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I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember, which is received and heard a brilliant and repent strong words for church words from Jesus himself, as recorded in Revelation chapter 3. What words would Jesus have for your church or mine today will learn what he said to the church at Sardis stay with us from Chicago.

This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer today will hear another message on what Jesus thinks of his church. Later in our broadcast Erwin Blitzer will speak on when Jesus observes our reality.

Pastor Blitzer comes now to open today's service and were so glad that you have joined us today. We hope that before you came here. You took out a moment at least to simply make your heart quiet in God's presence and invite the blessed Holy Spirit of God to direct us and to lead us today because we needed that we are totally dependent upon the Lord you take your bulletin you'll notice that in a moment were going to be singing together 767. You may turn to that. Now if you would please 767 for all the saints our Scripture reading today is by Tim Kurtz. Tim is a deacon here at community church and that he serves the Lord as a computer analyst working with software and other computer related matters were glad that Tim is on board and he's going to be reading God's word and will participate as we sing 667 we are reminded of the fact that we stand in a continuum. There is saints who have gone before us.

And when the Bible says in Hebrews chapter 11 that we are encompassed with a great cloud of witnesses. It is not that the saints are looking at us.

I'm sure that in heaven they have much better things to do, but rather we look to them and we think about all that they accomplished and their faithfulness. And that's a motivation for us as well as gratitude for their lives. The apostle Paul says that he gives thanks and bows his knees before the father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. There is a unity between the saints on earth and the saints who are in heaven, the saints triumphant who are in glory, and so as we think about them as we sing it is with gratitude to God and encouragement to our hearts to keep pressing on.

I shall pray and then after we have done that, we shall stand to sing our father, we thank you today that most of us as we look around this congregation. I'm sure come from families that were greatly influenced by Jesus Christ, if not explicitly Christian, and we thank you for all those who knew you as Savior who've gone on before.

Even as we pray, we are reminded of those who encouraged us while they were alive and now they are in your presence as we sing father and as we get gratitude for lives that have been well spent.

We asked that we shall be encouraged, and above all your name be monitored. In Jesus name, amen. Today's Scripture reading comes from first Corinthians 15 versus 5357 I'll read the standard print.

Please follow and read along in the bold print flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed when the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death where is your victory over death, where is your sting.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ will and that's exactly what the Bible teaches that when Jesus returns to this earth. It will be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, the trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise and then we will rise. Also on we will if Jesus comes when were still living. We will then join them in the sky and if he comes after we have died will be raised to join those who are living, and transformed by Jesus to actually believe that by the way, I hope you do, the Bible refers to that is what is known as the blessed hope and that is a blessed hope, and our father we pray for all who are hurting. We pray for our members, some of whom are here, some of whom cannot be here. Those who are disappointed because of what happened this past week in their personal lives. Those were going through times of struggle. Financial needs relational breakups and needs.

Father, this world is so broken. Would you look upon us in mercy. We pray, we thank you today Lord for the opportunity for Moody Church to be a light in the city.

We asked Lord that the light might shine clearly and brightly and that we might lead many to the warmth of the Savior whom we have come to know. We pray for the many who are listening and watching and they are doing so by the Internet and radio. We pray for them as well and then Lord Jesus we pray for the advance of the gospel around the world and in this community. Today we pray that Jesus shall be exalted that many people will come to know him as Savior and that your work might proceed with confidence and great might now Lord, we do love you. We pray for those who have never come to know Christ as Savior.

Today we ask that you shall reveal Jesus to them and they will believe pray in Jesus name, amen and I'm sure that all of us have met someone and afterwords we said to a friend. He's the real deal. What we mean by that we mean that what you see is what you get is a person of integrity. He can be trusted and that he's real no pretense.

He is who he says he is. He's the real deal. What we mean, I think, is that the inside of this person is essentially the same as the outside. The heart matches the head matches the performance Jesus when he looks at the church in the book of Revelation chapter 2 and you can turn to that. Actually, chapter 3, I should say he's speaking to a church here that is not the real deal and what a message he gives to this church. Chapter 3, verse one. This is the church at Sardis. Remember that the letters of the church of Revelation begin with Ephesus and then they go counterclockwise and eventually if you were to do that in modern Turkey you could come to these places.

It is the church that is in Sardis now. Can you imagine being a member of the church and you get a letter from Jesus and could there be any person in all the universe whose opinion would be more important than his you get this letter from Jesus and it and it is a letter of strong strong review.

What would it sound like now.

I decided to do this. What if I were to read this letter and then put Moody Church were Sardis occurs. This is going to be very strong. I asked you to look at what church you think it best represents Moody and I have not chosen this church is best representing us.

I would like to think that this isn't true of us. But let's just hear what what this must've sounded like to the congregation at Sardis and to the angel of the church at Moody right to the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die bride not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember then what you have received and heard it, keep it and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I have come against you yet I still have a few names that Moody people who have not soiled their garments and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy, one who conquers will be clothed with us in white garments, and I will never blot out his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches while what a strong letter. The letter begins by saying that I'm the one who has the seven stars and the seven spirits. The seven stars of course are the angels or the leaders of the seven churches, and then you also have the seven spirits of God. What could that possibly be a reference to. There aren't seven independent spirits of God, it refers to the fullness of the spirit. Jesus is saying that there are seven churches and each one can have the fullness of the Holy Spirit. I have the seven spirits in my other hand what we'd like to do for the next few moments is to walk through this passage with all of this staying that Jesus gave to this church and to do so and to walk through it by pointing out first of all, just leave the strong review then will get to the remedy and then will get to the reward. That's the agenda as outlined by the way, is not minded comes from John Stott who wrote a book on the seven churches and I have benefited much from reading it and today his outline. I mean, excuse me, I should say my outline is essentially from his book, so let's walk through this passage of Scripture and let's see what Jesus has to say to Sardis. First of all, he says there's this sharp rebuke. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead if you wanted to join a church. Sardis was the place to join Sardis would've had ministries to the poor ministries to widows industry in the community. It was an active beehive of activity, it had a reputation that spread beyond its borders as a church that was constantly being involved and sacrificial. That's what everybody thought of Sardis you have a name you have a reputation that you are alive, God comes along and says my opinion is very different to you are dead spiritually dead. The differences between physical health and spiritual health. Physical activity but where is the Holy Spirit. Where are those ministries that are transforming because the gospel is a part of those ministries and therefore you are doing something that bears much spiritual fruit that will last forever. Where is that kind of activity. I don't find did God says in Sardis. I'll know I'm reminded of Jesus when he was here on earth and spending time with the Pharisees. That's the way in which he, he looked at them as individuals. He said that you sing the right songs you hear the right words, you honor me with your lips but your heart is far from me and God says I'm looking at your heart, and my opinion is different from yours.

You think you're doing well and I say that you are I'll lie you are a hypocrite that he made this astounding statement. He said that outwardly you are like attunement that has been adorned its whitewashed Yunnan ossuary is basically a bone box. It's ossuary's that were found in that famous tomb in Jerusalem were supposedly the bones of Jesus were found but now everybody, of course, denies that those are the bones of Jesus, but in ossuary was this bone box and sometimes they had all kinds of paint and ornamentation and that Jesus said that you are like that. Outwardly, you appear to be righteous you say the right prayers. You give the right gifts and using the right hymns and you go to the right church, but inwardly you are like dead men. Bones filled with rot. We've all met people like that. Have we not Jesus strongly rebukes this church.

But what is the remedy. He gives five imperatives and will look at them very quickly. First of all, he says, wake up, you can't tell dead people to wake up. I mean you can tell them to wake up but they probably won't hate you can go into the funeral home and say wake up and know what they just aren't going to wake. There must've been some people at Sardis who were not dead but simply sleep and so this may be an appeal to the Christians to say wake up. Don't you see what's happening around you. Don't you see that your church is lost.

The gospel don't you see that your ministry is not permanently transforming that people are not coming to Christ as Savior wake up and that's maybe what God is saying to us as a church and as a nation. Don't you see where we are headed.

Don't you see that your lives are full of pleasure and all kinds of recreation, and you basically have squeezed me out wake up when I was in Germany recently. I woke up at about 6 o'clock in the morning. It was a Sunday morning and I heard some bells chiming at a church and I knew I'd miss the first few. I wasn't going to count the number of bells that were ringing but I thought well I'll write the chimes I should sail all all begin counting like counted 14 6 o'clock in the morning and you hear 14 chimes. I told somebody in Germany, you know, it's later than it's ever been. Maybe that's what God is saying to us folks. It is a later in America than it has ever been way and then the Lord says them strengthen what remains.

You know their new believers that are wobbly there there ministries that are transforming you strengthen those you pray and you seek God and you work with others and you do all that you possibly can to rescue what you've got. And to make it better. So the Scripture says, wake up, strengthen what remains and then notice Jesus throws this in if you will not wake up.

I'm still in verse three, if you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Would you like to be the member of a church where Jesus when he comes is against that church.

I would not want to be a part of the fellowship like that. Could you imagine if this is the meek and the mild Jesus that most people know and think that that's all that there is to him. So what he says is strengthen what remains and then will take imperatives three and four together.

Remember what you have received a number four is keep it remember what you've received a says what is it that they receive will certainly the gospel, which apparently had been lost in the church. They had also received the Holy Spirit and the power of the spirit that they were quenching the Spirit they were grieving the spirit.

Maybe that's why this letter begins with the words of Jesus. I am he who has the seven stars in my right hand, and I suppose that the seven spirits are in his left hand. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the stars on this hand in the spirit in this hand were brought together and the church experienced again the transforming ministry of the Holy Spirit of God is see Christianity is a supernatural religion and if we can explain everything we do.

By by some human explanation we've not yet understood the fullness of the spirit and the remarkable work that the spirit can do among us. I'd been a part of revival meetings, particularly in Western Canada in the early 70s were the Holy Spirit did in an hour.

What sermons and programs could not do in 10 years God began to break hearts.

There was repentance there is restoration between teenagers and their parents and people were making things right and builders who had cheated people in their building where were going and spending rate deal of money actually even mortgaging their houses to make things right and to pay people off the conviction of sin was so overwhelming and so the text says remember remember those days when sin troubled. You remember those days when you struggled against it. Remember that and get back to what made your life transforming and great for the cause of the kingdom, and then he says repent and that can be applied to both the dead and the sleeping repent, repent means that we change our minds were going in this direction and then we choose and we go in the other direction because we sincerely turn from our sins to God. Repentance. That's what it is. And Luther was right when he said it's the responsibility of the Christian to live a life of daily repentance you repent. Today I repented this morning.

I repented yesterday morning and I will repent. Also, tomorrow morning, God willing.

When I when I again come before God deal with the sin issues turn from that sin to Jesus Christ and so he says repent and you know you've often heard me say that when you're going to jump across the chasm. It is much better to do it in one long jump then into short one. It really is when you repent might as well do it up right to get to the root get to the thing that keeps causing you to stumble. Jesus said if necessary, pluck out your eye or take off your handy speaking symbolically, but he sank what ever you need to do to leave your sin behind and serve Jesus do it do it and that's the message that Jesus brings to this church. What we have looked very briefly at the strong review we've looked at the remedy very clear remedy that Jesus gives what is now the reward reward is literally out of this world you know if if you did nothing else but read and I hope that you are reading and rereading the message to the seven churches.

If you did nothing else but simply read all of the promises that are made to the over commerce, and if the Holy Spirit of God showed you actually what you are reading you. It absolutely your mind would boggle because I can't get my mind around this. This series of messages by the way, has done a whole lot more for me than I ever guessed it would because I want to be in overcome her. I want to be among those who receive these rewards, but look at what it says it says that but I still have some people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments. There are those who aren't into immorality and moral impurity and dishonesty and deceit and you can still take their word to the bank so to speak, and trust them there still some people who have not succumbed to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. There are sums names by the way, should underline the use of the word name yet you have a few names Scott is interested in people.

He's interested in name. You'll notice that he does this and that Pastor Herzberg would want me to tell you that it's very important for us to wear our name tags. By the way they are a great blessing here at the church. I know more people's names now at Moody Church than I've ever known. Because I can read, write, notice he says I have a few names in Sardis people and not soiled their garments and they will walk with me in white hats a sermon by they will walk with me in white.

I mean imagine walking with Jesus right now as I'm here I'm I'm remembering a cub game that I attended the Cubs game, 25, 30 years ago and afterwards we were worth the where the players were after the game.

I don't remember whether they won or lost.

Although we could all guests.

Possibly this is this that this is 20 or 30 years, but I remember all these kids trying to get autographs and they all wanted to take at least a few steps with their favorite hero. Their favorite sports personality and imagine walking with Jesus.

Where did you walk today you know Jesus and I took a walk. I walk with him in point. Imagine that. Now listen. He says that they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

And where does their worthiness come from their word, they because they have the right garments. There's no worthiness in the Bible of human beings. That is a worthiness that separates us from the grace of God. It is always grace that makes us worthy now look three promises.

First of all, the one who conquers will be clothed, and thus in white garments, and that garment is the righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to us because Jesus died for sinners and you see when we go there.

That's why we saying clothed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne because we stand in his righteousness, and we got the right robes, but also we don't soil those roads we don't taken for granted it on sale now that I'm a Christian.

I can live. However, I want to live because we we don't want be soiled as the other figure of speech would indicate. So we are given white robes and that's what makes us worthy to be in God's presence.

I've said it 100 times.

I hope to save at least 300 times before I die. That's why Jesus is the only possible way to heaven. Nobody else out there has righteousness to credit to us that God will accept that takes care of all those arguments that take place in university or what's wrong with this person or this religion. I'll tell you what's wrong they don't have the righteousness to give you so that you can get to heaven. That's one thing that's wrong and it's the major thing that's wrong, and now we can move on my alone up here today there's anybody else out and then he says I will never blot out his name out of the book of life.

Oh that's stopped many people is there a possibility of having our names blotted out, of the book of life very quickly.

In the Old Testament. Particularly, there is reference to the book of life, which is really the book of the living. When Moses said that either forgive these people or blot out my name from the book of life, he means the book of the living he means kill me, but forgive these people, by the way, think of the devotion that Moses had was willing to say kill me blot my name out of the bucket. It had to do with the register.

The town register when somebody died.

You erase their name. That's what David had in mind. I think in Psalm 68, when he said he said blot out the wicked from the book of life.

He's talking about the fact that these wicked people audit die got to take care of them. But when you get to the book of Revelation. What you find is now we are in talking about a different book. Were talking about a book that 10 is really the book of life elsewhere called the Lamb's book of life.

This is a book of not just those who are physically alive but spiritually alive, have actually been born again. So the question is can and name blotted out from that book that's the question and some people on this basis, and others have said that that means that a genuinely saved person can eventually be lost, and I suppose if you held that this would be one text that you'd like to use. Let's think about that a little bit. A lot of ink has been spilled discussing this phrase so I shall summarize very briefly. It is interesting that in chapter 13 of Revelation. Verse nine it says this all who dwell upon the face of the earth shall worship the beast except those whose names have been written in the Lamb's book of life from before the foundation of the world. It's the book of the elect. If you believe in Jesus. Your name was written in the Lamb's book of life from before the foundation of the world and some people think the world's been a lot around a long time. All you say well you know that's not fair, but but but but you know the motor borders but but but but but but but but but at the end of this message will tell you how you can find out whether your name is there. So don't complain too much. You can you can know whether your name is there and I'm ahead of the story are you telling me that someone whose name has been in the Lamb's book of life from before the foundation of the world is going to be erased within God's purposes, I don't think so. I don't think so. You'll notice that this promise does not say I will erase his name from the book of life. This is a promise that he will not do it.

Nowhere you ever read it. I will blot out his name. It's a promise to the faithful. Hey look, your faithful you're going through a hard time my promise to you is I will blot your name out of the book of life. When you stand before me always going to be very well thank you. And so what we have is that three promises. The white garments the book of life, and then he says I will confess his name you notice their name name name name name.

I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels, and I don't know what this is going to be like. But imagine now know use myself as an example, I could choose anyone else whose name I know here, but I might as well pick on myself.

Imagine being in the presence of the father, and you have all of the holy angels, and then Jesus says to the father.

This is there with can even take that into your spirit but I will confess his name to the father elsewhere. Jesus says that if you're ashamed of me and my words in this sinful and adulterous generation.

You know those of you businessmen. Nobody knows that your Christian because you're ashamed I will be ashamed of him when my father comes when I come says with a holy while faces it. I will confess his name before my father and before the holy angels. Nothing is private in heaven.

This is not some little thing done off in a corner. The hosts of heaven are there and there watching, and they are amazed at God's infinite grace.

What's the bottom line the bottom line is this, that when God sees you.

He doesn't see all the good things that you do. He sees your heart. That's what is after. And you know those of you who have never received Christ as Savior, but people think you have because you're such a nice person, but you've never really been born again. That day will declare it, I'll tell you if I Jesus said that some people who did many miracles in my name and in my name cast out demons and did the miracles. I'm gonna slam the door of heaven and their faces and say I never knew you depart from me, you workers of iniquity. And they're going to say iniquity. We served you, we preached in your name we went to church in your name. We sang hymns in your name. We affirm things in your name else and never knew him sorry, but you know what you have a reputation that you're alive, you are dead. You are never regenerated by the Holy Spirit. So I have to ask you a question today. Let's suppose that this isn't a large congregation as it is, but let us suppose that you and I were having tea together and I looked you in the eye. Your 2 feet from me and asked you had you been born of the spirit are you saved don't tell me the things that you've done are you saved, it's a good question because that's a biblical question. There was a $20 bill bought some groceries.

Eventually it cycled around and it turned out in the life of a woman who used it to buy medicine for her sick child, but in the end was disqualified because it's counterfeit fact is that you and I can do work and we can have the reputation that is sterling and inside the dead. I've known people who've assume that they are Christians because they are brought up in a Christian home. They go to a Christian church.

They sing Christian song, but the reality is not there and who are we looking at were looking at the Jesus about whom it says I am the one that searches the hearts that's what the text says the one who sees the hearts that's were dealing with. This is an Jesus thing Jesus word to me in Jesus's word to you. Let us pray father. Where do we go with this. What we do in light of the fact that you have spoken. I think of the many people who are here today we have a wonderful large congregation and I think of you going up and down the aisles and across the various places I think of the many hundreds who are listening to this and seeing it on the Internet around the world and your checking hearts and you know who we really are, who we really are. I pray that those who have never trusted Christ as Savior may do so right now I do say Lord Jesus, I have sinned, I have sinned. I am a sinner.

I'm spiritually dead, but at this moment I trust Jesus to give me life to forgive me to make me a new person would you pray that prayer right where you are right now and then. Father we pray for those of us who do know you as Savior, we discover that our names are written in the book of life. When we come to Christ by faith, and receive him and know that we have been received and we know that our names are in your book.

We pray that all father to whom you have spoken may know that. And for those of us who do know you already may we wake up in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Stand together and sing you then DVD on today's church. Our pastor looks or spoke on when Jesus observes our reality taken from Revelation chapter 3 another message on what Jesus thinks of his church next week will learn about our message of the church at Philadelphia as we hear Dr. Luther preach on when Jesus observes our vision what Jesus thinks of his church can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Church's ministry. Our thank you to you is a CD album with great powerful messages you could hear and then pass on to others. Call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church media 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to Moody offeror.com that's Moody offeror.com.

Join us next time for another Moody Church. Our with pastor Erwin looks or in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago.

This broadcast is a ministry of the Moody nature is


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