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Faith At The Breaking Point

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2022 1:00 am

Faith At The Breaking Point

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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February 6, 2022 1:00 am

Like Christians in ancient Rome, believers around the world today experience persecution meant to destroy their faith. We Christians in the Western church should ask ourselves honestly, “What would it take for us to deny our faith?” Christians in the end times of Revelation will neither submit to the Antichrist nor deny Christ—and many will be martyred because of it. How can we overcome like that when we’re under pressure for our faith?  

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According to an article in Newsweek magazine, Christians are being murdered for their faith from one end of the Muslim world to the other, and yet the mainstream media remains quiet. Like it was in ancient Rome, there's a war on to destroy the faith of believers in Christ, and this war is coming to our own shores. Today, we ask ourselves what it would take for us to deny our faith. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer.

Today, we continue a seven-part series on famines, deserts, and other hard places. After the music of worship, Erwin Lutzer will bring a message from Revelation chapter 12 on faith at the breaking point. Our service begins with singing. We turn the sun, shining the love of those, and in his mighty power, who lead the strength of Jesus Christ, his Lord and God of hosts. He who art in grace, glowing in sorrow, who take every birth to every death, that haunted by the Lord, that having all things done, that all your comforts pass, he may have come to pass your love, and stand on be that man.

Church of Christ, root for all your heart, hear the call of Christ the Captain. For thou will be in the state that they are strong, in the strength that God has given. With shield of faith and belt of truth, will stand against the temple of Christ, and God be Lord, whose battle cry is long, reaching out to those in darkness. See the thoughts where love and mercy lead, as the Son of God is stricken.

See the bones that cross beneath his feet, for the copper earth is raisin', and as the stone is rolled away, and Christ emerges from the grave. His virgin heart continues till the day, every eye and heart shall see him. For strength in God, with strength in every strife, give praise for every girl that he may find, with strength to win the prize of a servant, good and faithful. As saints are whole, still I will obey, retelling terms of his grace. Hear the call, and hunger for the day, when with Christ he will stand in glory. As saints are whole, still I will obey, retelling terms of his grace. Hear the call, and hunger for the day, when with Christ he will stand in glory.

I invite you to follow along with me in your bulletin as we read together from 2 Corinthians chapter 4. Please read aloud with me on the bold print, this is God's holy word. Therefore, having this ministry, by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning, or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth, we will commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

In their case, the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So we do not lose heart, though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. So we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Let me begin today with a question. What would it take for you to deny your faith in Jesus Christ? At what point would your faith break and you say, I can't trust him anymore, and I'm willing to deny him because of, and then you fill in the blank? I know somebody who denied Jesus Christ simply because of bitterness. He was angry at Christians who had done him an injustice, and he was right about that. But in his anger, he decided that if that's the way they live, I don't want anything to do with their Christ whom I had received. And so he stayed away from church and basically denied Jesus because he was bitter at Christians.

What a tragedy. Tragedy to be bitter at Christians, tragedy that Christians would treat someone unjustly, but don't deny Jesus because people have failed you. You look at Peter, who was there and on the Mount of Transfiguration, he saw Jesus in all of his glory. And yet when Jesus is being crucified, Peter, of all people, denies that he even knew him and swore that he didn't know Jesus. Throughout church history, there are many people who gave up their faith during the time of persecution. And one of the questions that the church had to face is simply this. What do we do with those who lapse during persecution and then want to be reinstated in the good graces of the church after the persecution is over?

And there was a division in the church as to what to do about Christians like that. What if you lived in a Muslim country over in the Middle East? I have in my hands Newsweek magazine, Newsweek, February 13th, 2012. I encourage you to get this magazine, that is to say this edition of the magazine. I'd have never dreamed that in Newsweek, a magazine that is not necessarily known for its conservative viewpoint would publish such an excellent article. The cover story is entitled The War on Christians. And if you look inside at the story itself, it talks about the rise of Christophobia from one end of the Muslim world to the other. Christians are being murdered for their faith. The author, who is a woman who is not a Christian, says that the Western news media is quiet about this.

They are silent. I am amazed, by the way, the extent to which the mainstream media protects what is happening and protects Islam. She says that we are accused of Islamophobia. But then she says, and now I'm quoting directly, but a fair-minded assessment of recent events and trends leads to the conclusion that the scale and severity of Islamophobia pales in comparison with the bloody Christophobia currently coursing through Muslim majority nations from one end of the globe to the other. The conspiracy of silence surrounding this violent expression of religious intolerance has to stop. Nothing less than the fate of Christianity and ultimately all religious minorities in the Islamic world is at stake.

Newsweek, February 13, 2012. She goes on to point out as she gives a survey of what is happening, whether it's in Egypt or other Islamic countries. She points out that in many of these countries, you are killed for dishonoring Muhammad, but you don't have to say anything against Muhammad or the Quran. Just being a Christian is to dishonor him. To believe in the Trinity, which is contrary to Islam, is reason enough for you to be put to death.

At what point would you and I deny Jesus? Now, I have to be quick to point out that not all Muslims agree with Sharia law. Let me tell you what happened in Canada in the year 2004 in the province of Ontario. The premier decided that Sharia law could be practiced in certain Muslim enclaves. And there was established at that time a ministry called the Islamic Institute for Civil Justice. What happened is there was such an uprising of Muslim women in Ontario. And these women said, Mr. Premier, we came from countries where there was Sharia law. Sharia law, they said, is legalized violence against women. They said it justifies marital rape. And then they went on to say that already in these enclaves where you have Muslim schools, girls 13 to 15 are being married forcibly to men twice their age.

And this would only continue to exacerbate the violence against women. As a result of that, the premier backed down and said no Sharia law in Ontario. And you and I need to stand with every Muslim who stands against Sharia law.

And we have to say that we are on your side. And we will stand with you against Sharia law. As a matter of fact, there's a small group of Muslims.

Now, let's clap. There's a small group of Muslims, in fact, who hope to reform Islam and actually say that Sharia law should not be a part of their religion. Unfortunately, as you well know, many of these who live here in America are living in hiding, oftentimes because of multiple death threats. But we must stand with those who stand with us for religious freedom.

But in other countries, people are not necessarily that fortunate, are they? Let me quote from the voice of the martyrs. And it says that these kinds of notices are increasingly being found on the doorsteps of Christians in Muslim majority nations. In the name of Allah and of his final prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, the true religion of Islam will arise in your area and you cannot stop Allah's will.

We have been watching your family. We have seen you go to church and seen you pray to your false god. We know that you are infidels and we will deal with you as our holy Quran declares in Surah 9 27. Fight those who have been given the scripture and believe not in Allah or the last day or follow not the religion of truth. If you and your entire family do not leave your false religion and follow Islam, you will be killed. Your sons will be slaughtered and your daughters will become Muslim wives, bearing sons who will fight for Allah in this region. Your only option is to flee tonight.

Leave your home and everything behind. Allah Akbar, what would you do? What I decided to do in this series of messages titled famines, deserts and hard places, is to ask ourselves the ultimate question of how we would endure persecution, personal death and even death to our families and to our children. How would we do in those circumstances faced by millions of Christians today? And in order for us to get a handle on this, I decided to talk about the most difficult time that is ever going to come upon this planet.

It has not arrived yet. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that a time is coming, he said, the likes of which have never been on the earth before nor will ever be afterwards. I say to myself, Jesus, what could you be speaking about? Could there be anything worse than the Holocaust?

The answer is yes. Certainly the Holocaust, nothing can be worse than it locally. But what has happening or what happened in the Holocaust is going to eventually become worldwide, a time of suffering on this planet, the likes of which we have never seen. Now, you know that here at The Moody Church, many of us believe that we are going to be raptured before the tribulation begins. What a happy doctrine that is. And many of our friends who are post tribulation is to believe that we're going to go through the tribulation. As I often say, they will be very glad someday that we are right. But at the same time, everybody agrees that there are going to be God's people and saints during the tribulation period. They will be converted evidently by the preaching of one hundred and forty four thousand Jewish people who have been sealed by God to proclaim the gospel. And they will come to saving faith in Christ.

At any rate, you do have saints living during the tribulation. And so because I want to talk about the worst possible scenario, we're going to speak about the tribulation today. And then we're going to ask the question, how would we endure? And then, of course, we're going to end this message by talking about why they were able to endure. And then everybody who is listening today, we are going to leave today with all fear gone. It's a promise.

Thanks for being on this journey with me. In the book of Revelation, we find that Antichrist arises before he does. And I want to just say a word about the four horsemen of Revelation in Chapter six.

You need not turn to it because we're going to hurry over it very quickly. But in that passage of scripture, we have four horsemen. The first is a white horse, evidently Antichrist. He comes with a bow, but does not have an arrow because he is going to conquer. And a lot of his conquering is going to be without war.

But lest you think there's not going to be turmoil on planet Earth. The next horse is a red horse with a sword that is able to take all peace from the earth. The next horse is a black horse that's famine, starvation that we're going to be talking about. And then you have death, a pale horse. In fact, it says that with the coming of this rider, catch this. He has the power to kill one fourth of the world's population, which today would be about a billion people dying.

Can you even imagine it? But now we're going to look at the tribulation directly and with your Bibles open to the 13th chapter of the Book of Revelation. Revelation Chapter 13. And it is here that we have the rise of Antichrist and the awesome power that God allows him to have for a little while. You'll notice it says in Chapter 13, verse one, I saw a beast rising out of the sea. And then it describes it. And we don't have time to go into the description except to say that this is a description of certain empires that were in existence in the past.

And he is the embodiment of them all. And it says, and to the dragon gave his power and his throne and his authority. That is, the dragon gave to the beast.

Let me get this clear. The dragon gave to the beast his power and his authority. Who is the dragon? It is the devil, as we shall see in just a few moments out of his heads. One of his heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. Now, I have to stop here and say that Antichrist is going to want to duplicate everything that Jesus did. And so Jesus had a resurrection. He is going to be put to death. Perhaps it will be fakery, but the world will believe that he has been raised from the dead.

He has a mortal wound, but it's healed. And everybody wonders after the beast. In fact, there are at least 15 parallels between Antichrist and Jesus.

We can't mention them today. That's a separate message. But another is the Trinity itself. You'll notice in this passage of scripture, you have the dragon who corresponds to God the Father, obviously in a negative way. You have Antichrist who corresponds to Jesus, the opposite of Jesus. And then you have the false prophet, which basically plays the role of the Holy Spirit in directing attention toward the beast so that people worship him.

This will become a little clearer later on. But I want us to understand the awesome authority of Antichrist. It says in verse five, And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for 42 months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling so that those who dwell in heaven. Also, verse seven, it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.

That is to put them to death. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all who dwell on the earth will worship it, with an exception that I'll talk about in a moment.

Every time I read this, I get chills. Imagine the authority given ultimately by God to Antichrist. Now, of course, he receives his power from the dragon, but always remember that the dragon also is in God's hands.

As Luther famously said, even the devil is God's devil. And here's a man who has authority over all the earth and all of the dreams of people throughout the centuries. That there would be one unified religion that would finally unify the world has come to pass. We're all worshipping the same person. We are all in sync.

Everybody is obeying. And at last, the world has unity. So Antichrist is given this kind of authority and there is finally a one world religion.

But notice the martyrdom. It says it was given over every tribe and people and language and all who dwell on the earth will worship it. I just can hardly believe that all who dwell on the earth will worship it. Everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain.

Unless your name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. All those on planet Earth whose names were not in that book, they will worship the beast. When I was in China a number of years ago with a religious leader, I remember he made an amazing statement. He said persecution wiped out all liberalism in China. What liberal theologian is going to want to go to the wall for Jesus? Everybody is going to bow down. Everybody is going to worship the beast except this unique company of people whose names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. He said, Pastor Lutzer, I don't like this doctrine.

Well, learn to like it and learn to appreciate it and don't complain about it. If you want to know whether or not your name is in this book of life, you can find out. And the way in which you find out is you receive Jesus as your savior, acknowledging your sinfulness, receive him as savior, as having died in your stead for your sin. And when you do that, I promise you, you will be received and you will know that your name was in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. Most of you know that your name is there through faith in Jesus Christ. But notice they do not worship the beast.

No, no, no, no. And then he goes on to say in verse 10, if anyone is to be taken captive in captivity, he goes, if anyone is to be slain with a sword, with the sword he must be slain. You know what this means? That there is a certain company of people whom God has actually marked out to be martyrs. Earlier in chapter six, right after the four horsemen, it says this.

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, come, and I looked and behold, a pale horse. And then verse nine, it says he opened the fifth seal. I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, O sovereign Holy Lord, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth? Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer. Notice now, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. What an interesting passage. Gives us real insight as to what is happening in the spirit world with those who have gone before. Can they talk?

Yes, the soul before the resurrection takes on all the characteristics of the body. They can talk. They can be clothed. They have a sense of justice. They know who they are and they are waiting the time when justice will be brought. And God says just a little longer, just a little longer.

You wait. The day of justice is coming because there are still others who have to die for the faith and their number is not complete. So here we have worldwide martyrdom. And then we have worldwide, a worldwide economic system. How is the beast going to get everyone to worship him and him alone? Can't there be certain pockets of people in far lands where nobody is bothering them and they are still worshipping the living and the true God and they're not being martyred?

Is that possible? Well, actually not. And it all has to do with economics. You'll notice it says in Revelation, we're still in chapter 13, the second beast. And really, as I mentioned, he takes the role of the Holy Spirit, trying to get the whole world to worship the beast.

And this is his responsibility. And the way in which he does it is there is a mark that has to be had if you want to do business. You'll notice it says he causes those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. That's verse 15. And also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or on the forehead so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark that is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. Let the one who is understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and that number is 666.

And throughout church history, all kinds of ideas have been given as to what it means. But this much we can be clear about. There's a time coming when you will not be able to buy or sell. You won't be able to go into jewel and buy a loaf of bread. You'll not be able to make any monetary transaction at all.

So you're going to be starving. You're going to be put to death unless you are willing to take the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast in the forehead or the hand could be a computer chip. And as a result of this, all the world is not only unified religiously, it is unified economically.

And that is very important. Let me tell you how I think this might come to place. I was talking with a man who has responsibility, his organization, one of the largest investment companies in all the world. And he's a Christian man, and he said, you know, there is this talk about the American dollar no longer being the means of international currency.

But he said, nobody really wants to go at the yen. The euro is in trouble. He said, we're still the best house on the block in a very difficult, dilapidated neighborhood.

Like a friend of mine said to me, we're still the best horse in the glue factory. So obviously, the American dollar is still going to have its strength. And then about two weeks ago, I came across some financiers who are giving advice to the G20.

And I found something very interesting. They are proposing three things that they think have to be done immediately. One is to have an international currency that is created. You know, since it's going to be international, let's just call it the int. That's a new currency. And what happens is, in Europe, if you have the euro, it might take two euros to buy an int. It might take five dollars to buy an int. But the value of our dollar and the value of the money of other countries, therefore, on the world market has to be determined as to how many ints you can buy, and you need them to do worldwide trade.

Well, in the end, people will begin to think to themselves, why should I even have American money? Given the global nature of our economy, why don't we just all have ints? And in this way, you would have a one-world system, even with a one-world currency.

And you couldn't buy or sell. And of course, maybe it's a cashless society and the computers do it all, so that there's no underhanded trades, etc. Everything is public and everything is controlled. That's the first suggestion that they are making to the G20. The second is that all banks, particularly in America, be nationalized and be strictly controlled.

And the third is that there be an audit of the United States, England, and Switzerland, so that finally all the finances of the world are known so that they can be properly regulated. However it comes about, the fact is that economy, the economy is going to be the means by which people will be forced into a one-world religion. You either have the mark of the beast, and you play ball with him, and thereby give your allegiance to him, or you and your family starve. You will be put to death.

That's the way it will someday be. Now the question that I need to ask you is, at what point would you lose your faith in a situation like that? Would you look around and you see that nobody, very few people, are not playing ball with the Antichrist? Very few people are willing to stand. Would you be able to stand?

Would I be able to stand? And I'm the first to tell you, I don't know. I think that it is very easy to be critical of others and to think to ourselves, oh yes, we'll be strong, but you never know what you will do. I saw a program on PBS the other day that deeply, deeply disturbed me. In Afghanistan, where you have opium dealers, they gave some money to farmers to grow opium, and then the government came and destroyed their crops, and in order to get their money back, since the farmers had no crops now, they decided to take the children of these farmers. Little seven-year-old girl, and it is known that they abused these children.

In fact, the report said that they live in a country where there is this kind of abuse routinely of young girls, and therefore nothing really is said about it, but everybody knows that it's happening. What would you do if somebody came to you and said, you either deny Jesus Christ or we will take your children, and they will be sexually abused and starved. Would you then still be faithful to Jesus? Before I answer that, I need to get now to the main text that I have in mind, and that's the 12th chapter of Revelation.

Being a logical German, we're going backwards from chapter 13 to chapter 12. The question is, how did the Christians during the tribulation period maintain their faith against horrendous opposition? What you have in chapter 12 is the rage of Satan. Satan is so angry, and let me give you some reasons why he is angry. He's angry, first of all, because he wasn't able to kill Jesus when Jesus was on earth. The woman that's referred here in the 12th chapter is actually Israel, the nation Israel, but the woman within the nation Israel who gave birth to Jesus is Mary. And you'll notice this is in verse 4. You see, Satan was standing by, Jesus was born, and he was trying to use Herod to kill Jesus. But lo and behold, Jesus did die according to God's will and purpose and was raised again and actually taken to heaven. And you'll notice it says she gave birth to a male child who is the one who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and then the woman, Israel, flees into the desert during the tribulation period, et cetera. But notice this, Satan is very angry because he thought that he could kill a little baby born in Bethlehem when he was born.

He was unable to do that. Reason number one. Reason number two is he's thrown out of heaven. Verse seven, now there was a war in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of Jesus Christ have come. For the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before the throne. And they have conquered him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony.

For they love not their life, even unto death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to you on the earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows his time is short. People debate as to when this happened.

Many of us believe it's probably during the tribulation period. But notice this, three reasons why Satan is full of rage. Number one, he couldn't kill Christ when Christ was here on earth. Number two, he's thrown out of heaven. He's humiliated. He no longer has direct access to God, where he can accuse us before the throne, as evidently he did in the book of Job. And third, he knows his time is short.

Three and a half years, and then hell awaits. Now, if he was really wise, he wouldn't oppose God, because then he knows that his suffering in hell would be just a little less. But he can't help himself. He so hates God and God's people that as long as he still has existence on this planet before he is turned into hell forever, he's going to do all the possible damage he can.

Woe to the earth, for the rage of the devil is there. But how did the saints overcome him? Where did they get the strength to stand in the midst of such opposition? Where does a Christian get the strength to stand for Christ, even if nobody in his whole district is standing for Christ, and he has to die alone as a believer?

Where is that strength? They overcame him, number one, because of the blood of the Lamb. The fact is that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, his crucifixion was a tremendous victory. He was buying out from this earth people from every tribe and tongue and nation, and was purchasing them, and there was nothing that the devil could do about it. The devil tried to oppose him, but he couldn't. In the presence of Jesus, he had to stand down, give in, and let Jesus do it. The resurrection proved the fact that Jesus triumphed over death and that Jesus ascended into heaven, totally victorious, above all principalities and all powers and every name that is named. And Jesus is there today with all authority under his feet. That's why he told us we could evangelize.

On to me, all authority is given. At every level, Jesus Christ conquered Satan. He disarmed him, and he guaranteed the fact that for Satan, hell would be forever.

It would be just, but it would be a place of torment. Don't ever think that Dante was right, that there are going to be demons in hell tormenting people. Listen, in hell, Satan is not the tormentor. He is the tormented. He is the one who is going to justly suffer for his evil. And he knows it, and he's angry. And he accuses us still before the Father. Look at that Christian.

He believes in Jesus. Look at the war with lust that he lost this past week. Look at the war with anger. Look at the hypocrisy. And remember, don't ever argue with the devil when he comes and shows you your sin, because you will lose, and he knows a lot more about you than you even want to know. So don't argue with him.

What do you do? You go to the blood of Jesus and say that all of this may be true, but before the throne, my shirt, he stands, my name is written on his hands. He died for me. His blood was shed.

That's the ground of my victory. The devil is defeated. The accusations have no power against us, because Jesus paid it all. And then it says they overcame them by the word of their testimony. That doesn't just mean, you know, a testimony meeting where everybody stands up and says what Jesus means to them. It's talking about the fact that these believers stood upon the ground of the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the victory of the cross and the resurrection, and that these believers stood on that, and it was their testimony in that finished work of Jesus that gave them the strength and the power to be able to say no to the devil and to be able to say we are willing to die for Christ even if nobody stands with us. And then notice the next phrase.

I love it, and it's very important. And they did not consider their life even unto death. What it's saying is this. They love Jesus more than life itself. As the Apostle Paul said, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. They said, to me, death is gain because of Jesus. And isn't it? Jesus dies on a cross, and while they're burying him, what is he doing?

He's having supper with a forgiven thief, and they're hobnobbing on the other side. So what Jesus is really teaching us and what the writer of Revelation is teaching us is the fact that you and I should not love our lives more than we do Jesus. And let me say this. If today you love your life more than you love Jesus, very probably you'll not have the strength when the persecution comes. And throughout history, there have been many examples of people who did not love their lives more than they loved Jesus. If you read Foxe's Book of Martyrs, you'll discover that there were times when little children were being tortured, and their parents said to them, don't give in. Be brave for Jesus.

He is with you. And the parents encouraged their children who were being tortured to be faithful for Christ. Church history is strewn with examples like that.

Let me give you a contemporary one. About four or five months ago in Egypt, with all of the outbreak of persecution, which is worse now than it was previously, where the Arab Spring has turned into the Islamic winter, there were a group of teenagers, Coptic Christians, marching down the streets of Cairo with T-shirts that said, Martyr on request. In other words, if you want to kill me, here I am. I volunteer to die for Jesus. Wouldn't it be wonderful if in America today we had that kind of courage? Would not that be an example of God's greatness and power? You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, you raised the issue, though, regarding children. What would we do?

Well, first of all, let me say we don't know exactly what we would do, because we've never been in that situation. But no doubt throughout history, there have been parents that have been so committed to Jesus and so committed to him that they love Jesus more than their children and were willing to entrust their children into God's hands, believing that their souls will be saved even if they are taken from them and even if they also become martyrs for the faith or if they are abused. To believe that eternity is long, time is short, and we must be faithful to Christ no matter what. What an amazing difference a couple of chapters make. In chapter 13, I read to you how the saints, they were overcome by the Antichrist. It says, power was given unto him to overcome them, to conquer them.

That's a real downer, isn't it, to think that Antichrist is given power like this. Then we turn to chapter 15, and this is what it says. I'm going to quote some of the verses slowly, but I want you to follow. It says, And I saw a sea of glass mingled with fire, and them who had gotten the victory over the Antichrist, over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark.

So, yeah, he conquered them here, but now they're on a sea of glass, and they've gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark. And they stand on a sea of glass having the harps of God, and they sing the song of Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? And there they are singing victorious songs in the presence of God, because they love not their lives, even to the point of death. I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ today has to be delivered from fear, not just fear of martyrdom, but fear of witnessing, fear of political correctness, fear of this and fear of that, fear of the future, fear of the economics of the future, because it is only when we are free indeed can we live like free men and women, unintimidated by what is going on around us, because the truth has set us free.

Do you believe that? The truth has set us free. So what we're going to do now is to be delivered from fear. Aren't you glad you came?

All right, four or five of you are. I wrote a prayer that all of us are going to pray together. It takes a few minutes to pray it, but if you look at the commas and if you are in the cadence of the prayer, and I will, of course, lead you, let us pray it together in faith. Would you stand, please?

Everyone stand. The prayer is going to be on the screens so that we can say it together for the honor and the glory of God. Let us pray it in sincerity. Let us pray it in hope. Let us pray it in great faith because we are on the winning side.

No matter what earth looks like, we know what heaven looks like, and we know where we are going. Praise God. And now, are you ready?

Are you ready? The war rise against me, yet I will be confident, for he will hide me in shelter in the day of trouble. He will conceal me under the cover of his tent.

He will lift me high upon the rock. I renounce fear of rejection, for David wrote in your holy word, for my father and mother have forsaken me, and the Lord will take me in. I renounce fear of witnessing about Christ, because your word warns the fear of man brings a snare. Therefore, I choose to fear you more than I do any human being. I affirm the Lord is on my side. I will not fear.

What can man do to me? I renounce the fear of losing my property and possessions, for your word says, I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I renounce fear of Satan, for your word says he has already been conquered by the blood of the lamb, and the word of our testimony. I renounce the fear of saying goodbye to a terminally ill-loved one, for Jesus promised, Let not your heart be troubled.

In my Father's house are many rooms. I go and prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. I renounce fear of death, for I affirm with the Apostle Paul, For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Thank you for the promise. Death is swallowed up in victory. I renounce fear of martyrdom, for your word declares, Do not fear those who are able to kill the body, but fear him rather, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. I renounce fear of loneliness, for we are promised, Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, and also, I will never leave you nor forsake you, and again, Peace I leave with you, my peace I gift you, not as the world gives do I gift you.

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let him be afraid. I renounce fear of intimidation, for Jesus said, If the world hates you, you know it has hated me before it hated you. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world. I renounce fear of false accusations, I accept this promise, Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you, and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you. I renounce the fear of being treated unjustly, for of Jesus we read, When he was reviled, he did not revile in return.

When he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. I renounce the fear of radical Islam and its desire to intimidate us. I renounce fear of political correctness. I declare that the truth shall set me free, and I choose to live as a free person in Christ Jesus.

I shall speak and not be silent. I renounce fear of curses, either known or unknown, spoken against me and my family. I renounce fear of manipulation and control.

I renounce the fear of being involved in public or political activity. I declare that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. I submit to Jesus as Lord of every area of my life. Jesus is Lord of my home. Jesus is Lord of my relationships. Jesus is Lord of my city, and Jesus is Lord of my nation. Jesus Christ is Lord above all false gods and religions.

Jesus is Lord over all the nations of the earth. I commit myself to be a living witness to Jesus Christ as Lord. I am not ashamed of his cross. God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of Christ. I ask now that you will fill me with your Holy Spirit and pour upon me all the blessings of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Grant me the grace to understand the truth of your word clearly and to apply it in every area of my life.

Give me words of hope and life as you promised. Open and bless my lips so that I can speak to others with authority and power in Jesus' name. Give me the boldness to be a faithful witness for Christ. Give me love for all people and a passion to share the love of Christ with them. Grant that I shall carry your cross as a badge of honor. In Jesus' name, amen. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Lutzer continued a series on famines, deserts, and other hard places.

As he spoke on Faith at the Breaking Point. Next week, part seven in this series and a message on developing a support system. This seven-part series can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. Call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Church's ministry.

Our thank you will be a set of CDs designed to help us prepare for the hard times that may be coming. Just call 1-800-215-5001. Or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614.

Mention famines, deserts, and other hard places when you write or call. Online, go to moodyoffer.com. That's moodyoffer.com. Join us next time for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
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