Just before we go on to the next one, what a moment in my life. I had an entire van of about 15 teenagers watching me. It was over a hundred degrees, and did you know in Tulsa, Oklahoma it gets so hot that the blacktop is soft when you’re walking so the pavement moves under your feet. I was perspiring. I had to wear dress clothes and be an example, the church required that. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I was putting tracts as fast as they could in the door just to get the kids home, and the door opened. The most pathetic, sad face came out and I was two doors down. They said, yeah? It was Rayna, that was her name. She said, come on in. I went into a place with my Bible and the kids of course knew they were supposed to pray for me in the air-conditioned van as I went into a non-air-conditioned apartment. I went in and Rayna was there. There were multiple children around, all of them wearing nothing but diapers. Some of them were way too big to wear diapers, they were three or four and they shouldn’t have been still clambering around in their diapers. She was wearing about the most tattered thing you could see, and I started talking to her.
I knew she wouldn’t be interested so I said, I’m just here from this local church, it was called Tulsa Baptist Temple, I think it was called TBT. I said, I’m here training and we’re going door to door and I wanted to give you a tract. She said, okay. I said, well I left it at your door. She said okay. It was like she wanted me to talk to her, so I said, okay, I’ll just go through the Romans Road with you. Of course, I always have my Bible marked with the Romans Road, so I was ready. I went back and grabbed the tract, and it was very hot, and I was dripping. I said I’ll just read you some scripture if you’ll let me. She said okay. The kids were still crawling around on the floor in their little diapers, and I said okay, it says here in Romans 3 we all have sinned, and I read 3:10 on down, I went through the Romans Road. She said mmhmm.
Then I said it says in verse 23 that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and she turned her back on me. I thought that’s about as clear as possible we’re done. Then I noticed she was shaking a bit, kind of like the movement you make when you’re sobbing. Then, as a man I can’t handle a woman crying so I said ma’am and she turned around and she said while crying God sent you. I said what? She said God sent you. I said oh, I believe that. She said you don’t know.
She said, do you see all these kids? I said, yeah, I’ve been watching them. I started looking at the floor, there were chicken bones on the floor. Those kids were crawling over chicken bones and there were eggs shells on the floor. This place was filthy. This was title whatever housing, the kind that the government offers to people so they’re not homeless, but it’s just a step above that. Then I got over the perspiration and I could smell the diapers that hadn’t been taken out to the trash because everybody seemed to be wearing them. It was awful there and she was sobbing.
Then he shows up. This is Rayna the mother, and Donnie the father of all these ones crawling around came out. If you were in a place where people were meth takers or users, he would be the quintessential meth looking person, the whole thing. She said, he’s leaving us today, and boy, she had someone, a witness dressed up with a Bible and she’s going to use it. He is leaving us today. He had the most tattered pair of jeans on, he had so many holes and tears in them that it was embarrassing for me as a fellow man to look at. It was like how much can we see here? He was a mess, and she was a wreck, and the house was like a pig pen.
I said well, I’m actually on visitation. I’m not doing marriage counseling, remember I’m a youth pastor. I said we all have sinned, she said, we know that. I do and he does. She said we’re not even married. We have all these kids and we’re not even married; he’s leaving me. I said, yeah, you’ve told me that. I said do you want me to go on? She said yes, so I went on. I said right here in my Bible, it says, we’re all sinners and if you agree with that, we go to chapter 5 verse 8. By then Donnie has walked up and he’s standing there too so I read 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I said, Christ died for sinners and they both said we are. She kept reminding me that she asked God to send someone because he’s leaving me today. That was her favorite thing to say.
I said, okay my Bible says I’m supposed to go to 6:23 so I went to 6:23 and it says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I said that means you are sinners. You understand Christ died for sinners? I went on and explained Christ on the cross and all that. Mr. Meth head is looking right into my eyes just standing there with his falling off holy jeans, nothing else on just looking at me and I thought, this is bizarre. This is not how it’s supposed to go. They’re supposed to slam the door on you or something. I was starting to get nervous because when I lead people to Lord in their home, I always kneel with them. I was looking at my dress pants and wondering if there’s a place where there wouldn’t be eggshells and I wondered if the chicken bones had grease on them. Do you know what I mean? I’m being honest. I was hoping they’d pull out.
Salvation is a gift, so I go to 10:10 and have it all marked in my Bible. I said that if you confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead you will be saved, for with the heart “one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘whoever believes on him will not be put to shame.’ “ Verse 13, “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” I said the Bible says you have to ask Jesus to save you. She’s crying again and he’s just looking at me. It was amazing. It was a traumatic moment for them. They were poor. They were on welfare or whatever it’s called assistance. They were living in assisted housing. They had all these diapered children and garbage everywhere, but that wasn’t the real big problem. The real big problem was they weren’t saved. I answered all their questions. They had been to church. You know how faithful grandmothers always dragged those kids to church and VBS and everything. They knew all this, but I was the first person to ever visit them and share the Gospel.
A long story short, before long I’m on my knees with the chicken bones. I’ll never forget it. That was one of the greatest leading people to Christ moments I’ve ever had in my life. I said, while we were standing, what would keep you from trusting Christ? She said I prayed that God would send someone. My husband is leaving. Do you know what I mean? I said I’m not preventing him from leaving. What I’m talking about is do you want the load of your guilt and sin and your judgment that’s coming from God taken away and put on Christ? She said, I do. She went right down on her knees and so did Donnie the meth head, on his knees with us. What was so sweet they both cried. I explained calling on the name of the Lord.
I was only an intern there. I was an evangelist and I had flown there from Atlanta, and I was flying onto Huntington, West Virginia. I was only tasked with those kids for one week and it was the last day I was there. I shared the Gospel and told them about the church. We were in the area around the church, and they said the big church, we know the big church. I said you know what? It’s Saturday, you should go there on Sunday. I said and the man that’s dressed like me will tell people to come to the front if they want to be saved. You come right up. I said, do you have clothes for the kids? They said, oh yeah, we have clothes. I said it would help if you did that. I said to come right up and tell them you already trusted the Lord, but you want to be baptized and I left. I left that afternoon on an airplane.
Praise the Lord. I had friends in the church because I’d served there that week. I said, did somebody unusual come on Sunday? They said, this family came, they looked out of place. They were terribly dressed, and they smelled, and they had all these kids that were wearing clothes over diapers. They came right forward. They didn’t know when the invitation was. They waited long enough, the sermon was too long, they just came up there and said we got saved yesterday with the team and we want to be baptized. Boy that affected the church. They’d never seen someone like that. I told them also after we got up from leading them to the Lord that if you’re not married you really should get married. They told them we want to be baptized and be married and they did. That faithful local church baptized them, did a little counseling, and married them. They became attendees. He got a job. The Lord changed his heart. Did you know it works? Just share the Gospel. Say focus me, Father. Keep me in touch with You about why I’m here. Okay.
Why do we pray? We’re transitioning. That was the end of chapter 4. We’re in chapter 5, our 10th time and soon we’re going to be gone. Why do we pray every day for that one line in the Lord’s prayer? Let’s go through it again just in your mind. “Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” That means focus me. “Thy kingdom come.” Oh, why do we pray that? What is that praying for? Why did Jesus say after this manner pray every day for God’s kingdom to come?
Well, let’s back up and look where we are. We’re in Christ’s Church in Heaven, we’re in chapter 5, and that’s where we’re going. Why were we, while we were on Earth, supposed to be praying for that kingdom to come? That’s a great question. Think about the people that got this. Remember, that’s always the primary way to understand the Bible. The first canon of textual interpretation is what did it mean to the original recipients? What did this mean to those people in that little circle?
First of all, it meant that they were supposed to live in the ever darkening Roman empire. They were at the front end of the bad times. Nero was just the front end, and Domitian was the second iteration for the next two centuries. It was going to get worse and worse and worse and worse until they thought they were in the Tribulation. Christianity was almost going extinct. Remember we covered that yesterday.
How do you live when you think the world is ending and it’s getting darker and darker? That’s what chapter 5 is all about. I call it the ultimate kingdom. In Revelation 5 God lets us see in the future, Him launching His invasion of Earth that He promised in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is more amazing the more you read it.
Let’s start in chapter 5 and let me just walk you through the verses. There’s some fascinating stuff here. By the way, for some of you, the rest of Revelation is really interesting. Look at this, only two angels and two demons are named in Heaven. Have you ever thought of that? The strong angel probably refers to the meaning of the name Gabriel, which in Hebrew means the strong or mighty one. If you’re named Gabriel, your parents thought a lot of you. It’s the strength of God as Daniel 8:16 uses that word. The strength of God for this angel, the one that brought the message to Mary, and talked to Joseph in the accounts of Christ’s birth. This is Gabriel. He is that angel. Other named angels are Michael and one who’s a bad angel, a demon, a fallen angel and he’s called Satan. Also, Apollyon is named. We have Gabriel and Michael, the good guys, the good angels, the mighty angels.
Next week, I’m going to talk about angelology. It will be really fun, but there’s so much the Bible tells us. It’s fascinating, especially if you have a phonographic mind and you think in pictures when you talk about it. God’s throne is here and around the throne are seven pillars that are burning. If you put that together with what it says in other parts of Revelation, plus in Hebrews, those are probably the archangels because Jesus talked about them. He said the angels that always face God. Remember when Jesus said that there’s joy in the presence of the angels of God when one’s soul repents and comes to salvation? What is this joy in the presence of the angels who face God? What is that?
Well, there are these seven archangels that are all the way around the throne. They’re always looking at God, they’re ready to be sent off. They’re ready. They’re like clerks that work in the legislature, the pages, they just run off and do whatever. These are God’s angels. We only know the names of two of them. The Jewish people have named all seven, Rafael and they have all these names, but we know the Bible says there are two: Gabriel, the mighty one, and Michael, the prince. He seems to be the commander of the armies of God behind Christ. Interestingly enough, we know two bad angels’ names. I’m talking about what is described in Revelation as being in Heaven: Apollyon the destroyer and Satan, formerly Lucifer, the devil, the dragon, the serpent, all those things.
What people are named in Heaven? I’m not talking about in Revelation 1 to 3, that’s not Heaven where you have Antipas and all these others. I’m talking about 4 onward. What people are mentioned by name? It’s very interesting. We’ll cover that, but as you’re reading you ought to look for that.
Secondly, Jesus is forever the Lamb of God. In verses 5 to 7 Jesus is the Lamb. Look what it says in chapter 5 verse 5. “One of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose the seven seals.'” John looks where they’re pointing. “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.”
If I had a little lamb, sheep here on the stage, what would I have to do to make it look like it had been slain? I would have to massacre it. I would have to cut it up. Cut it somehow so it would bleed and die. Jesus in Heaven looks massacred. Have you ever thought that Jesus is going to look scarred and crucified? He doesn’t come back all blonde haired and with perfect skin. His visage was marred more than anyone. They pulled His beard, they actually pulled it out and hurt His skin and scarred His face. They pushed those giant spiky thorns down and mangled the skin of His forehead and around His head.
Bonnie and I were at the grocery store and the man that checked us out turned sideways and you could see that he had brain surgery because there was a scar as wide as your finger. It ran down the whole place where they cut him, pulled up the skin on his skull, took care of his tumor, and put it back down. You notice things like that. Did you know what John notices? A lamb as though it had been slain. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the Earth. What are we talking about? Jesus will still bear the scars of His crucifixion, but He is the Almighty, sovereign, in power with seven eyes, which is His omniscience, and seven horns, which is His omnipotence.
Keep going, verse 7, because “Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of him to sit on the throne.” The Father is sitting on the throne, the majesty on high. We don’t see anything. It says there’s the color of carnelian and jasper, the rainbow of emerald, all the lightning and the thunder is pealing and the fire and all the glitter and everything, but we don’t see any face because God is a spirit. He is the majesty on high and at His right hand is this scroll. That’s what we see in verse 7.
My third observation, the scroll contains the plan of God for His future and the answer to centuries of prayer. Most likely the scroll is the same scroll that’s in Ezekiel 2 and Daniel 12. It refers to the plan of God to take back the kingdom of the Earth temporarily taken over by Satan. Some people call this scroll the title deed of the universe. God’s holding it. It’s His battle plan.
Look at verse 8. This is fascinating. “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb.” That’s why you need so much room. They’re not just standing up there, they’re falling down all the time. I’ll never forget I was teaching through this at one of my pastorates. It was a good sized church, it had a balcony. I was preaching about this, and I said now we’re going to stand and sing, at the end of the message, Worthy Is The Lamb. It’s one of the songs of Heaven. I noticed this person, that as soon as I said that they moved out of their row, got into the aisle, and disappeared. I backed up a little bit and looked down the aisle. They were laying down in the aisle face down. They said I want to be like the people in Heaven. I thought now there’s a person that wants to not just be a hearer, but a doer. For the whole time we sang Worthy Is The Lamb they laid there. They were on their knees with their head down on the floor and I thought, wow, that is not normal. We like to be spectators, but in Heaven, we’re all participants.
Look at what is says in verse 8. “Fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are…” What does it say at the end of verse 8? What are the bowls of incense containing? The prayers of the saints. This is interesting. The prayers of the saints are being answered in God’s perfect plan. It’s a huge message in Revelation.
We’ll get to that in a second, but let me just show you this. I think Dr. Davis made this chart. I inherited it when I started teaching Revelation. He probably has a better version of it, but I inherited it many years ago. This is a chart of all the songs of Revelation. They start in chapter 4. Well, not songs, worship. By the way, angels don’t sing. As you well know, angels don’t sing. The last time they sang was at creation and they haven’t sung since. They won’t sing until the conquest of the universe comes back. They say they don’t sing, so be really careful. It never says in the Bible that angels are singing except in Job at creation. They’re offering worship, the four living creatures, the 24 elders. Then it’s the 24 elders and the four living creatures and it’s many angels and it’s every creature, then it’s the martyrs. See, we’re going through and Heaven is punctuated before the throne with all this worship offering.
What are these bowls of incense? Let me just say I’ll come back. I forgot that I have to talk about the words of the song. Did you know that your prayers are so important that God keeps them, all of them? If you compare Revelation 5:8 with Revelation 8:3 you find that there are these large bowls that are in front of the throne of God. When they’re starting all these plagues and all the judgments the angels are going with scoopers and they’re scooping out from in front of God these bowls of incense, which it says, are the prayers of the saints.
Have you ever wondered where all your prayers go? Is it like the notes you used to write to your parents that were so special after Sunday school and you gave it to them, and they read them and they kept them for a while, but you knew that sooner or later they would throw them away? Or all the emails that we send and after a while, people empty their bin and they delete them all. No, God doesn’t get rid of them. Our prayers are so important that God puts them in this bowl right at His feet of His throne and He uses them. I realize now that I’m going to talk about that in chapter 8 so I’m not going to talk anymore about what God does with our prayers.
Let’s look at verse 9 because it says this, “And they sang a new song, saying:” On that chart. I showed you this is one of those worship things, and this is the song that the redeemed are saying. “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” See angels aren’t redeemed. Do you remember what Paul said? He said, which things the angels desire to look into. They can’t understand why God is doing this for us. They’ve watched us. We’re rebels like the fallen angels, but He chose to redeem us.
You have redeemed us, the saints say. “By Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and have made us kings and priests to God; And we shall reign on the Earth. Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was 10,000 times 10,000 and thousands of thousands saying.” You’ll notice it changed when all of a sudden, the angels get in, they stop singing and they start talking because angels aren’t allowed to sing yet. Interesting. “Saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,’” and on and on. We know that so well.
My number five observation, redeemed, how I love to proclaim it. These are the words of the first song we see ourselves singing in Heaven. We’re singing about the redemption that Christ offered and performed for us. The song of our redemption, we who were slaves to sin, we who were sinners were purchased by Christ’s blood. God so loved the world that He gave His Son to die on a cross to shed His blood, to pay the price of our sin. Amen. My pillar, John, right? My quiet man, I like that.
Number six, Heavenly worship centers on Christ’s sacrifice to redeem us. You know, I think we don’t think about redemption enough. When I was, oh, I don’t have my pen. I usually have a pen right here, but when I was a youth pastor, I used to always have my pen right here. I would always illustrate the three great doctrines of salvation because kids need illustrations. I would say, this is you and show them the pen. This is you, dead, and I would lay the pen down. See how you’re lying still. Redemption is when Jesus Christ came to the slave market of sin, grabbed you, purchased you, and justified you. Justification means we have a correct standing with God. We’re no longer, He doesn’t see us down there like we are, we’re justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. You know that verse. Watch what happens. I move the pen closer to me. What’s that doctrine? Sanctification. The God who redeems justifies. He makes us saints in God’s sight. He sees us with Christ’s righteousness, but He’s holding us and has a purpose. God Himself, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “and may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely.”
Watch this, this is the sanctification of our lives. I don’t know about your life. I’ll show you mine. I go away from Him, and He pulls me back, constantly. God keeps pulling and pulling. Who’s resisting this process? Wouldn’t it be better if we just really did that Lord’s prayer thing and said our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Your name? I would like Your kingdom to come right now with me and I want to serve You like they do in Heaven. Thy kingdom come and Thy will be done right here where I am like You are in Heaven.
There’s a great group that goes out doing revival services all over the country called Life Action. They’re based near one of the places I pastored, and I used to love having them come to our church because they preach up the storm of the Gospel and dedication of the Lord and everything. Then at the front, they have one piece of white chalk, enough for every single person in the audience. They buy a lot of chalk and it’s all the way across the front. They say if you have listened and agreed to what we’ve talked about, the kingdom of God coming and you want to seek God’s control, take a piece of chalk. Before you run off and forget everything from church on your way to lunch, go out to your car and before you get in the car or whatever, if you’re riding your bike or whatever, take your piece of chalk and draw a circle on the ground in the pavement. Step inside the circle and before you leave just say, Lord, I want every day to say Your kingdom come, Your will be done in my life. In other words, I’m surrendering, I’m yielding. I’m offering myself.
Do you know what I used to love as a pastor? Pastors are usually the very last person to leave after the last person with the last need has gone. You’ve talked to them and prayed and counseled and answered the questions and everything else. I would send Bonnie and the kids on to wherever we were going next because it would always be an hour and a half, two hours sometimes till the last one left. You talk to everybody in need. Do you know what I used to love after they were at our service? The parking lot would be empty, and I would just walk around. I still do this. I could cry thinking about it. I would look and I would see everywhere in that parking lot, circles. I thought, what is God going to do with a group of people if they really keep that up?
You know what I’ve done? Bonnie knows this. One of the things I’ve decided to do is when I get out of bed in the morning, I scooch to the edge so I can fall off with a thud. I come off and when I go whomp, I pause right then when my feet hit the ground. I did it this morning, at 5:03 AM. I said, Lord, give me another day to live. I would like to live redeeming the time for You today. I didn’t use my chalk. I’ve stopped using chalk. It’s hard. Word of Life would wonder why all these circles are all over the speaker’s cabin but think about it. Okay.
We who were slaves to sin, and lost sinners were purchased from Christ’s blood. You all know what 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore,” what? “Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Number six, Heavenly worship centers on Christ’s sacrifice to redeem us.
What I thought we would do is, now we’re going on two field trips in this class. If you’re with Jeju in Korea you go to the Holy Land every year, and Thailand or whatever else they do. In my classes, our field trips are in chapter 4, we all stand in front of the throne and pray to our Father in Heaven. In chapter 5 we do this. Let me read it to you. The doctrine of redemption means… remember I told you that it deepens things if you hear something if you see something and if you on top of that say something. What really increases it is if you write something, if you use all possible mechanisms. To help you remember redemption, and what the doctrine of redemption means, I’m going to go through eight verses of what the doctrine of redemption means. That’s why I’ll read the verses in yellow that are coming, then all of us together are going to read aloud the words in red.
The Bible talks about the impact of this illustration with my pen and my Bible. I was dead in my trespasses and sin. Jesus redeemed me, justified me. Every day He’s pulling me closer and closer to Him. What I just said is an idea and it’s out there floating. Some of you are remembering it, some of you are thinking about other things, and some of you are trying to write something down. It’s just out there, an idea. How do you apply that? I thought I’d take you on a field trip and show you. I’m sorry. We have to do it again. I know it takes so much trouble. You have to close everything, but let’s stand again.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to start; this is the first one. I’m going to read the yellow and then together we’ll read out loud and I want you to think about what you’re saying, about the implications. Did you know, this is so much fun. I feel like I’m back at all the churches I pastored, I made all the people always do this. They never knew what was happening on Sunday. They didn’t know if they were going to have to stand up. We would sing hymns right in the middle of the service when it was applying what we just learned. It was amazing. By the way, from that church, we had so many people that went into ministry. I think the Lord got a hold of a lot of their hearts. I think part of it was the truth of God went from being, that was a great idea, to whoa, I just said that and you think of the implications. Okay.
Romans 3:24, I’m going to read, and then we’ll read that top big part. “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Number one, here we go. Jesus destroyed the record of my sins. Do some of you really feel like saints? If I walked right up to you and said, hello St. Kodak Film, hello St. Puma. They have words on their shirts. Hello, Word of Life. If I called you saint, would you smile or would you frown? Try it sometimes. I go to people and I say, hello, saint. Most of them quickly say, no, I’m not. Why do we do that? We don’t feel like it. We know us, but that’s what Satan capitalizes on. What’s he called? The accuser.
What he does is he says, I’m trying to think of who’s name I remember. I only remember John’s name over there because he’s the last one I met. He says, John! He reminds us of our sins. That’s Satan’s job. The accuser. Do you know what Jesus said? I’ve destroyed the record of your sin. I don’t know that you committed that because God already punished me like I did. I took the punishment and the record. The more you understand justification, the more boldly you’ll walk through life overwhelmed. That’s why in Heaven, we just can’t stand still. We keep falling down. Okay.
Number two, I’m going to read mine. We will go much faster. Some of you are going to pass out. You haven’t stood this long in ages during class. 1 Corinthians 1:30, “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” Number two, Jesus is all I need. If you really believe that, and if someday you get thrown into jail, if someday you’re separated from everybody you love on some Patmos thing, what they try to do is break you down and get you to deny Christ. Do you know what? He’s all you need. You don’t need your phone. I know that’s a little scary to some of you. You don’t need your phone. You don’t need that car that’s so important you name yourself after it. You don’t need your girlfriend or boyfriend. They’re nice, and your husband or wife is nice, but the only thing you need forever you already have. Jesus, He’s wisdom and knowledge and sanctification and redemption. Okay.
Number three, 1 Corinthians 6:20, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Number three, I belong to God. I won’t even comment on what that means. Do you think God would take something that He owns and take it to certain places and do certain things with it? Do you think God would do that? You belong to God and your body is His mobile temple. Do you think God’s temple should go to certain places? Very interesting.
Number four, Ephesians 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Number four, all my sins are forgiven forever. Don’t let Satan accuse you.
Next five, Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Number five, I am God’s workmanship. Did you know every unchangeable thing about you God picked? The way you were born, what family you’re in, what you look like, the things you can’t change even with all the cosmetic surgery that’s possible, the things you can’t change, the unchangeable features of your life, your parents, where you started in life, everything else, God picked all that. Yet most young people spend so much energy trying to not be who and what God put them into. He did all that intentionally. There’s something only you can do and that’s why He puts you in that family, in that place as that person.
Number six, Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Number six, God will finish what He started in me. Remember, He’s going to keep pulling.
Number seven, Titus 2:14, “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Number seven, I am set free from any bondage so I can be zealous for God. The righteous are as bold as a lion, but the wicked run when no one’s chasing them. There’s holy boldness Christ offers that you can look anybody in the eye and with confidence share Christ.
Here’s the last one then you can sit down. You guys are so good. If I could give out extra credit, I would give it out, but I don’t know how to do that. Here we go. I’m going to read Revelation 5:9, “And they sing a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll. And to open its seals; For You were slain, And you have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.'” Number eight, I will worship the Lord forever. Amen. You may be seated, and we only have 10 minutes left. Thank you for affirming your redemption with me.
I’ll tell you one quick story. I just have to tell you this. Bonnie and I were in Mexico City, actually a suburb. Some foundation somewhere, I still don’t know how they got my name, but they found me on our website, on our channel on YouTube that’s called DTBM. They found it and they saw something that I did, and they watched the video. This foundation contacted us and said we will pay all expenses, we don’t care where you are in the world, would you fly to Mexico City, to the airport and we’ll pick you up. We want you to speak in an auditorium to 250 church planters.
I said tell me about them. They said there are 250 church planters, couples. They said husbands and wives and some of them have given five years, 10 years, 15, 20, some of them 30, some of them 40 years. They’ve planted 250 churches ringing Mexico City. All of the churches have a minimum of 100 people in them that they’ve led to Christ. These church planters have led 25,000 people to the Lord and those 25,000 people are permeating Mexico City. People from Mexico City who live in Mexico City and Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world.
They said they’re doing a great job, but the only problem is that none of their children seem to be getting saved. Their children aren’t following the Lord. They don’t even go to the church plant; they’re just not interested. I said, and you’re asking me to do what? They said we watched what you did on YouTube, and we want you to do it there. I said, I have 4,200 “doings” on YouTube, what did you see? They said you had married couples together. Just like you stood up and reaffirmed what redemption means, I have an entire conference where we go through Ephesians 5 and everything that God says that the husband, reflecting Christ, is supposed to be. That part is half the conference, and everything that the Bible says that the wife, playing the part of the Church, is supposed to be is in the second half. The husband is saying I’m supposed to represent Christ in this drama, and you’re supposed to represent the Church. They said, you did that in a video and we want you to do that at the conference.
Bonnie and I flew there, and you know what? Oh, 11:43. I wish I could tell stories shorter, but it was so good. We flew in there and got to this little town. It was a German gold mining town from the 1800s where this conference was. It was a horrible place. They grow cilantro there. You can still eat cilantro, but I don’t anymore. They grow cilantro there because the land is destroyed by the slag from the silver mines, so nothing grows there, so it’s cheap land. The big companies get for free the sewage, the raw sewage of Mexico City, giant trucks of it. They’ve made big ponds and they pump the sewage into it and let it sink down and then they plant cilantro. Cilantro grows so well in nutrient rich areas. If you don’t know, public sewage is full of phosphates. It’s like liquid fertilizer. They grow the cilantro, and it grows amazingly well, big.
Then, what they do is they just bring firetrucks. They spray clean water and get all the toilet paper pieces and everything off the cilantro. They just blow each field clean. Then go out and pick it and bag it and sell it to Chipotle or wherever they sell that stuff to. One day the buyer came, the American buyer of cilantro. He came a day early and they hadn’t brought the fire truck yet. He walked out in the field and said, boy, this fertilizer smells strong. He said, what are all the white specs on all the cilantro? They said, oh, don’t worry about it, we’ll wash them off. Then he realized what it was. That’s the conference. Here I’m trying to teach a group of people, 250 church planters, and the place smells like a port-a-potty in August at the State Fair that’s been in the sun too long because we’re surrounded by fields of poop.
They asked me to teach those people, so Bonnie and I agreed to do it. I went through and I got to the first session, and I said, okay everybody, I would like you all to take your Bibles. The translator tapped me and said you have to speak like one sentence. He said, you talk too long and I can’t translate. I said sorry, I get very excited. I said, I’d like everybody to take your Bible and he translated. I said, I want you to go to Ephesians 5 and I want you to hold your Bible. What we’re going to do is just to practice tonight. I would like all of you as couples to stand and face one another and repeat after me. The translator said to me in English, what are you doing? I said I want them all to stand and face each other. He said, what are they going to do then? I said they’re going to affirm Ephesians 5 out loud to each other. He said they don’t do that here. I said well I’m speaking, you’re translating, you tell them what I just said. He said, no, I won’t. He said they don’t do that here. I said, okay, I can do sign language.
I went like this, motioning for them to stand up until they all got it. They all stood up and I motioned for them to face each other. See, I know sign language. Did you catch what that is? Face each other. I grabbed my Bible and held it up indicating to take the Bible. Ephesians 5. The translator finally said, okay, I’ll translate, but he said they won’t do it. I went through Ephesians 5 with them where it says, I want to love you as Christ loved His Church. The husband said that out loud looking into their wife’s eyes. I want to sacrifice for you. I want you to be the one person in the whole world that I would rather spend all my time with because Christ entirely focuses on us.
About the fourth affirmation from Ephesians 5 in our practice run something was happening. There were can lights as you have here. See the can lights? They shine straight down. Here are 500 people all standing facing each other, of all ages, some of them were in their seventies. They’d been church planters for 40 and 50 years and you know what you could see everywhere in the auditorium with these can lights? Two glistening trails running down the faces of 250 women.
When the first session got over, we were with them a whole week in the port-a-potty place, Bonnie was mobbed by people, by women. I couldn’t even see her. She just had this crowd around her. Do you know what those ladies said? They said my husband has never said anything like that to me in my life. We’re Christians, we’re church planters, we’re missionaries, we’re full time, we’re pastor and wife. He has never said that to me in my life. One of the women told Bonnie, I don’t care if he meant it or not. Just hearing him say it was the greatest thing in my life. They were all standing there crying. That was how we began our time there.
It ended up that they were so poor they didn’t even have all the lights on. These people are on a shoestring missionary budget. They didn’t even have all the lights there. While Bonnie spoke, she was speaking in her corner of the place, they kept all talking to each other in Spanish and they would come closer to her and push her. She thought, what is going on? They kept motioning her back so she would keep backing up. They’d all sit down for a while and then they’d all come forward. Finally, she realized what they were doing. She thought they wanted her to finish. They wanted her to get closer to the window so she could go longer, until the sun actually set. They weren’t trying to get out of there. They couldn’t get enough. That’s just what God does. Okay.
When God finally answers our prayer, what happens to unanswered prayers? Here we find the answer to the great mystery. After we pray them, God hears them. Do prayers become like deleted emails? No, God gets them and reads them, and poof, they’re gone. No, He collects them and here in chapter 5, He acts on them.
God’s rule is the context of the Tribulation. Oh, we have to go. Revelation follows the divinely planned confrontation of Moses. Remember I said everything in Revelation is tied to the Old Testament. The whole structure of these plagues that are poured out on the Earth follows the Exodus. I’ll just do one and we’ll pick up here, Lord willing, on Monday. Saints who love and serve God, struggle through life so Jesus comes to us. That’s chapter 1. Jesus walks among us in the Church. That’s chapters 2 and 3. Jesus brings us safely to stand in front of the throne. That’s 4 and 5. That’s saints.
Now, we talk about lost humanity. They believe in evolution, so the Creator shows them His power. Earth dwellers worship Mother Earth so God allows natural disasters to destroy the Earth. The first of the plagues are natural disasters. Then He begins to send divine environmental destruction by the time we get to chapter 16. God the Son, the Creator systematically destroys the atmosphere, the oceans, and land with earthquakes, smoke, fire, red tides, global warming, volcanoes, tsunamis, asteroids, comets, and meteors.
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