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An Original Song, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
November 17, 2020 7:00 am

An Original Song, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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What place does music have in your walk with Christ? Is music part of the way you draw close to God? This is a good opportunity for me to take a moment and just encourage you to fold into your life sacred music. Music that will inspire and encourage you to glorify Christ, to stand for Christ, to patiently wait for some answer from Christ, to surrender to Christ.

I wonder, who are your musical counselors today? Music is powerful, isn't it? Music can lift up your spirit.

It can calm you when you're anxious. And the lyrics to good sacred music can teach you, just like a sermon can teach you. Music is an important part of the Christian life. God uses sacred music to teach us and encourage us.

But did you know that He's going to continue to use music right up to the end? In Revelation 14, we read of a time in the tribulation when 144,000 witnesses learn a new song that God composed for them. The account of that future time is our text today, here on Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. If you're able, open your Bible to Revelation 14 as we study together. Now, when these men were introduced back in Chapter 7 and here again in Chapter 14, we're told that they're not only sealed, selected by God, but they're marked. You'll notice in Chapter 14, verse 1, we're told the seal was the name of the lamb and the lamb's father.

This was a visible sign. This was a visible mark, mimicked, of course, by the Antichrist, who marked all of his followers with the number of his name, which we learned totaled the sum of 666, or 666. His seal will not be able to protect his followers.

It will be, so to speak, washable ink. But God's seal to protect these 144,000 marked at the beginning of the tribulation was a mark of divine possession and divine protection. Now, when they were marked back in the beginning of the tribulation, millions of Christians have already been martyred. Revelation tells us and informs us in Chapter 7 that they're going to be martyred believers who come to faith after the rapture and they're going to represent every nation and tribe and people and language. But these men, marked, protected, will be unstoppable and their ministry will be global. John Phillips' commentary wrote of these men, no other age has produced a veritable army of believers like this, marching unscathed through every form of danger. It has been theirs to defy the dragon, to bait the beast. Their calling has been to preach the gospel from the housetops when even to name the name of Christ called for the most dreadful penalties. They've been able to laugh to scorn all the grand inquisitors of hell. They've walked the streets in broad daylight, careless of the teeth-nashing rage of their would-be assassins, true witnesses in the most terrible era in the history of mankind.

The devil knows about this coming band of conquerors and writhes already in an agony of anticipation. They're not only selected by God and sealed by God, they are sexually pure for the glory of God. These men were known for their purity. In fact, you notice in chapter 14, verse 4, it informs us, these are the ones who have not been defiled with women. They've kept themselves chaste, to use, as I believe, a figurative word, parthenoi, a virgin, in the same way that Paul references the church that he will present as a pure virgin. Now, the misunderstanding of this particular verse has led to a tragic theology. This twisted interpretation that some have come up with in the early church, especially the third and fourth century, developed the belief that a perpetual state of virginity exalted a Christian to higher levels than those who married.

With that, of course, came the belief then that Mary, who must have the highest exalted state, would have been a perpetual virgin, although the gospel accounts plainly give the names of her sons, born to her after Jesus was born, Matthew 13. But the church so glorified celibacy that they believed marriage and the marriage bed was a defiling thing. The Gnostics in the early centuries, who always reversed the truth, held that marriage was actually from Satan.

Not sure if some Gnostics had bad experiences or what, but they believed it was from the devil. Marcion, a church leader as far back as the second century, who was eventually kicked out for heresy, fortunately, taught that marriage was corruption. He even set up a church only for those who were unmarried while all others were barred. You could volunteer to work in the nursery in that church and not risk any time away from worship. Thank you, sir.

I'm glad you enjoyed that. In fact, they believed then, and they still believe to this day, that priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes must remain undefiled by women. You study church history, and first of all, you'll find priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes who sired many children and then absolved one another from the guilt of that particular sin. Celibacy did not create greater purity.

It created greater potential for immorality of all kinds. In our own generation, it's discovered all over again. Listen, the teaching of the New Testament reveals that marriage is honorable. In fact, Hebrews 13, 4 says the marriage bed is undefiled. It is undefiling.

How clear can that be? In fact, the apostle Paul, who encouraged singleness at one point and in one letter due to the persecution and uncertainty facing the church, he likened the union of a man and a woman, a husband and wife, as an illustration, in fact, the highest illustration of all of that, of Christ and his church, the mystery of the union of Christ with his bride. So these 144,000 are not kept from marriage. They're pure from the defiling immorality of their culture, a culture much like ours where sexual immorality and promiscuity is approved of.

It is applauded. And under the leadership of the antichrist and the rise of cult worship at the departure of the church, sexual sin will become unhinged. These men will remain faithful to their wives if they're married, virgin if they're not. John writes further of them in verse 4, these are the ones who follow the lamb wherever he goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God. They're an offering to God and to the lamb and no lie was found in their mouths.

They are blameless. The question remains for us today, after showing the depths of Satan's hatred and murder in chapter 12, after showing us the rage and murderous agenda of the antichrist, after showing us the deception of the false prophet in chapter 13, will these specially marked evangelists survive? Will God's power be stronger than the enemy who would seek to kill them? Will God be able to protect them over the course of seven years of earthquakes and plagues and pestilence? Will they be protected from the rage of the dragon who will make war, chapter 12 verse 17 says, against all who hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ? How could any believer survive? Especially these boldly testifying, unapologetically preaching, gospel delivering Christ, exalting evangelists who are in double trouble, right? They're Jews, which makes them a mark, hated by the antichrist and they are Jews who've converted to Christ.

Even more so hated. Will they survive? Anticipating this question that believers will have as to the sovereign power and control of God, the question John is about to answer is how many of the 144,000 sealed servants of God make it to the end of the tribulation alive? Now go back and read verse 1. Then I looked, chapter 14, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000. How many survived?

All of them. And I love the way John puts it. Then I looked, okay, he's already told us he's saying, and behold, it's like wow, would you look at that? All of them have survived the tribulation.

The number is not 143,999. Every parent, every spouse wonders if their loved one will return from some war zone alive and they cling to news of their well-being, right? Can you imagine how every wife, every parent, every child related to these evangelists will wonder if Daddy's going to survive if he's still alive? And they're going to cling to this verse during the tribulation like we can't imagine. Look, here it says, here it shows us that when Christ returns gathering there, waiting with him here, are every one of them alive?

They all survived. Now I want you to notice three statements that we did not cover when we studied these 144,000 special servants of God in the past. First, they are standing with Christ.

I'll give you two points actually. First, they're standing with Christ. We're told the Lamb is standing on Mount Zion, and these men, of course, implied standing with him. God is giving John a vision of the end of the tribulation period as Christ comes to establish his kingdom. In fact, just as a mental note, chapters 14 and 15, which we're now going to study as a unit, is nothing more than a preview of coming events.

John's already done this. He gives us an overview of something and then he stops and he gives us all the details. Then he gives us an overview, then he stops and gives us all the details. Now what he's doing is giving us the overview.

But let's ask and answer one question right away. Just where is Mount Zion? Now it could be a reference to heaven, and if there are those who believe that, that would be fine.

I think it misses the point of their survival, and I think the text will hint that it is not. It is not, but it could be throughout the Old Testament. Mount Zion is referred to as the place of God's throne.

However, in this text they will hear a voice from heaven, which further indicates it's on earth. Mount Zion can also be a reference to a very special piece of real estate on the planet. In fact, it's the most carefully watched piece of real estate in the history of humankind. It's this little piece of land that David conquered when he was first established as king. It was controlled by a group of people, idolaters called Jebusites. David marched with his army and they took this fortified hill. David decided, of course the plan of God was that he do so, but he decided to take that fortified hill and make it his palace. He built a city around that fortress at the top of that hill and he called it the City of David.

It's also called Jerusalem. Listen, the appearance of the Lamb of God descending to Mount Zion is a monumental moment in redemptive history. This signals the end of the tribulation and the coming kingdom of Christ.

We of course with him. John the apostle is given a brief vision of this moment when Christ returns in this particular part of the vision. The Lamb is met when he descends by the still living, still serving, still preaching, still following, still protected 144,000 Jewish evangelists and they are all still alive. So the purpose of this chapter's opening is to inform the believer that the victory of Jesus Christ is not only his, but it is for his beloved. It is for his representatives, those he marked uniquely to represent him. No one is lost.

I mean, if you don't get lost in the chaos and cruelty and confusion of the tribulation, why would anybody wonder if God has lost sight of them today? Here they are in victory, standing with him. Hasn't this stand of victory been the subject of singing throughout the years of the church in a unique way?

Certainly it has. One young 32-year-old preacher in the late 1800s was remarkably used by God in one specific event where he preached to 5,000 young men at the Young Men's Christian Association. We know it today as simply the YMCA.

It's a convenient way of dropping Christian out of there, but that's its origin, and some of them are more Christian than others. He preached to 5,000 young men. About a thousand of them stepped forward to commit their lives to Christ. He was going to preach again that night, but after preaching that morning, he went back to the farm, his family farm, and decided to go out to the barn and watch men shelling corn with a new machine. He was fascinated by it. He got a little too close to the machine, however, and his jacket was caught, and his arm pulled into the grinding gears of that machine, lacerated beyond repair.

Primitive medicine, the loss of blood. In a few hours, he would die. His father was there and reminded his son that there were going to be a lot of people, perhaps several thousand, who would gather to hear him preach that evening. What would he once said to them? Through strained lips, his last words to his father were, Tell the people to stand up for Christ.

That night, the assembly hall was packed with people. They had come expecting to hear him preach. Instead of hearing him preach, they heard the news that he had died, and his last words were delivered to them in a challenge.

A man by the name of George Duffield heard those last words and later sat down and composed a poem based upon it, put to music. Perhaps you know the hymn, Stand up, stand up for Jesus, you soldiers of the cross. Lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory his army shall he lead till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed. Revelation 14 introduces this amazing message of God's victory through Christ and God's protection over those who've been preaching for Christ. Here they all are with the Lamb standing in victory. And this should be a point of encouragement, ladies and gentlemen, to every Christian in every generation. We also have been marked, we have been sealed, Paul wrote, by the Spirit.

And the ones he seals, he does not lose. Not one of us will be lost. No matter how chaotic, no matter how confusing, not one will be lost. Now John informs us here that they are not only standing, but they are learning a new song. Look at verse 2. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harp. Now this heavenly orchestra and singers who are about to teach these 144,000 men a new song, we're told are playing harps. And you're thinking, there we go again, harps.

I don't want to play a harp, and I bet you I'm going to have to. Well, I found it interesting that the word for harp is the word kathardos. It happens to be the source of our word, guitar. Slight use of the word guitar.

In fact, the Greek word was created by the sound of a string being plucked. Kathardos, kathardos, kathardos, kathardos. Can you hear it?

Of course you can. You're wondering why I'm doing this. Because I want you to know, kathardos. I thought that was funny. I'm sitting in my study, kathardos, kathardos.

Greek is a fascinating subject, let me tell you. We have no idea what exactly the sound will be. They translated here harp. It could be several thousand guitarists. Some of you are thinking, there's hope now. There's hope now. And I think if there are, David's leading them, don't you?

I think he's out front leading away. It could be thousands of harpists joining in. We're not told what the string plucking instrument is. But this song will be a new song. The four living creatures are part of the teaching choir, verse 3. We're told the church is singing. We're not told exactly what. It's interesting that we're not given the lyrics.

Why? It's their song. It's their special song.

It's unique. We're just told they're singing. They're learning this new song by the hosts of heaven that they're able to hear.

Maybe it's a new song because their experiences in the tribulation for them are unique. Let's face it, not many of us have walked through a flood. Not many of us have walked through the fire. There aren't many Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's in here. Who were thrown into a furnace and came out unsinged.

Not many Daniel's in here. Uniquely experiencing the provision of God. Just because we're all equally saved. Just because we're all equally in the body of Christ doesn't mean that some truth isn't especially meaningful to you.

And to me. As we grow in Christ. This is hinted at as Jesus explained the actions of a forgiven woman who had been sexually immoral. And here she is. She's putting ointment on his feet. She's bathing his feet with tears. And she says, look, as he explains it, the love for me is great because she's been forgiven much. Her unique experience in life has brought her to a point of gratitude that you guys might not even sense.

One author wrote this of the new song. These were the only ones who could learn it in the sense that they were the only ones who could appreciate what it expressed. God had purchased them from the earth. Not just for salvation, but for their special ministry in this tribulation. You see, they are uniquely thrilled. They are uniquely prepared to sing this song especially composed for them. God has been faithful to them through seven unbelievable years.

And they've been faithful to him. And they've got this unique song they're singing. I wonder though, because this is a timeless truth for you and for me, I wonder what song you can sing that's unique to you.

I wonder what lyrics mean the most to you because of what you're going through. Maybe you're like the man I spoke with a couple of days ago who because of a fresh commitment made to Christ could identify with him should he hear it when he made that commitment that goes like this. All to Jesus I what? Surrender. All to him I freely give. That word all means something to him now it didn't mean before. All.

Everything. Maybe you're like that woman who called the office on Friday and prayed to receive Christ now identifying with the truth of the old hymn. Just as I am without one plea. But that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bids me come to thee O Lamb of God I come. Whenever I sing that I sing O Lamb of God I came.

Maybe for somebody here today you need to sing that for the first time in your life. Perhaps you can identify with these lyrics I was given recently that go like this. The anchor holds though the ship is battered. The anchor holds though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees as I faced the raging seas. The anchor holds in spite of the storm. And you would say that's me.

Right now. Or perhaps with fresh trust. You can identify with the writer who wrote his.

Close relatives a sister and brother in law. A song just for them. That the church adopted and has been singing that for several years when their youngest son was killed and they had such difficulty getting through it.

So he wrote a song especially for them and the lyrics go like these. God will make a way. When there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see. He will make a way for me. He will be my guide. Hold me closely to his side. With love and strength for each new day.

He will make a way. What song can you sing today. You know this is a good opportunity for me to take a moment and just encourage you to fold into your life. Sacred music. Music that will inspire and encourage you to glorify Christ. To stand for Christ. To patiently wait for some answer from Christ. To love Christ.

To surrender to Christ. I wonder. Who are your musical counselors today? I think we ought to be bathing our minds. I know I need it. I don't just need it on Sunday.

I need it every day of the week. That's why 99.9% of my music is sacred music. Because I want to be reminded of truths that will encourage me to be faithful to Jesus Christ. I don't need somebody telling me that I ought to leave my wife.

Or that she's just left me. I don't need somebody encouraging me towards sexual promiscuity. I don't need somebody to tell me to go after the things of the world. I need somebody to tell me to stay faithful.

I need somebody to encourage me to pursue Christ. Who is it that's been singing to you this past week? You know there's coming a day when Christ is going to come down and stand on Mount Zion. And that moment is going to be marked by music. Music.

So stand for him now. Sing for him now. In fact let the singing begin in preparation for that coming day. When music is based on God's Word and teaches us truth, it's a powerful tool that God can use to encourage us and challenge us. As we've seen today, God will continue to use music right up to and into the future time known as the Great Tribulation. The lesson you heard today is called, An Original Song. And it comes from the series entitled, A Preview of Things to Come.

It's a series from Revelation 14 and 15 and we'll keep working our way through it this week and next. You've tuned in to Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. The website where you can go to learn more about our ministry is found at wisdomonline.org. Laurie who listens through our website sent Stephen a note saying, I can't thank you and your staff enough for all you do. Your messages are always deep and speak directly to my life.

They leave me wonderfully encouraged. God bless your whole team. Well thanks for taking the time to send that note Laurie. You encouraged us by sharing so thank you. If you'd like to send a note and maybe even a gift to support our ministry, our address is Wisdom for the Heart, P.O. Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. Thanks for tuning in. Be with us for our next Bible lesson here on Wisdom for the Heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-27 03:57:46 / 2024-01-27 04:07:31 / 10

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