Your Evil Deeds Follow You

The Influence Of Evil
W. A. Criswell
Longtime Pastor of FBC Dallas
W. A. Criswell

In Amarillo, I had a friend with whom I graduated from high school. We were in the same Sunday school class and were good personal friends. We went to Baylor University together, and to my sorrow and amazement, the young fellow turned out to be an infidel, an atheist. I went to his room one night to talk to him. He was seated under a lamp reading Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason. Tom Paine had been dead for one hundred fifty years, but really dead? The influence of that evil-thinking man has extended through the decades after his body turned back into dust.

   Think of the dividend for evil that wicked people will receive at the judgment bar of Almighty God. We never escape the influence of evil in our lives.

SHADOW MINISTRIES

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Acts 5:12-16

 

 

On the radio, you are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Shadow Ministries, the unconscious influence that always attends our lives.  Just as a man cannot rid himself of his shadow, it always follows wherever he, is so the influence of a man’s life always attends his way and finds its repercussion in eternity.  I would think that so much of what is done in the name of the Lord, such as at our church camp; those ministries are so small, they are so hidden away, but you never know what God is doing.  You never know the repercussion of the seed that you have sown.  And that is the sermon tonight.

In our preaching through the Book of Acts, we are in chapter 5.  Let us turn to it and read out loud the text together.  Acts, the Book of Acts, the fifth book in the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, chapter 5, and the text is verses 14 through 16.  Acts chapter 5:14-16.  Now with the pastor, read the text out loud together.  Acts 5:14-16 together:

 

And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.

Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

There came also a multitude out of cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

[Acts 5:14-16]

 

Now, you saw in it the passage of the text that gives rise to the sermon: “that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them” [Acts 5:15].

The temple area, as you know, was a great area.  It covered twenty-six acres.  And on the eastern side of the temple, on the eastern boundary of the court of the Gentiles, above the Brook Kidron and the winepress, Gethsemane, down there in the valley and then the rise of Mount Olivet on the other side.  In the porch of Solomon on the eastern side, there did the apostles gather with the multitudes and preach the gospel of the grace of the Lord Jesus.

Now there would be coming up to this temple, the fisherman Simon Peter.  There was just a certain number that he could touch out of the multitudes that thronged the preaching of the gospel.  So, finding the way that the big fisherman had of coming up to the house of the Lord, and noticing how he came into that temple area and finally to the porch of Solomon, they would bring their sick people and lay them along the way, that at least the shadow of Peter might fall upon them and they be blessed by just the passing of that tremendous man of God [Acts 5:15].  And that gives rise to the thought of the sermon tonight: Shadow Ministries – wayside ministries; unconscious ministries.  How people are influenced whom you never know, maybe never see, maybe after you are dead, maybe after you are dead a thousand years, the unconscious influence that always attends our way.

There was a great magnate, the president of a vast railroad system in America, who died.  And they announced that his service, a memorial, would be at two o’clock on a certain afternoon.  And at two o’clock on the dot, at two o’clock that afternoon, everything stopped on that vast railway system in honor and in memory of the great and famous president of the railway.  They brought everything to a halt.  Every train stopped; every wheel ceased to turn; every man stood still where he was; every workman laid down his tools.  And for three minutes the entire system shut down, and everything stopped in that vast railway corporation.  All except one thing, and that was the influence of that man in the casket.  It continued on, not stopping three minutes or five minutes or a year or a century, but it goes on forever.  So it is with every man’s life.  There is repercussion that never stops, even from the humblest life.

Sometimes the scientists tell us some of the most unusual things.  One of the things I read was this; that you could drop a pebble in the vast, illimitable ocean.  And the molecular disturbance from the dropping of that one pebble reaches out to the farthest shores of the sea.  If that could be true, think how much more is it true in the life of a man who lives in this earth.  The body dies.  It turns back to the dust of the ground from whence God shaped it and made it.  But personality and soul and influence never die.

Oh, when I look at history and think of the long and extended shadows of men who make that history, I stand in wonder and amazement before it.  There would not be volumes enough in the world to describe the influence of Alexander the Great upon human history – turning the whole world into Hellenic thinking, Hellenic architecture, Hellenic language – in which the New Testament is written – Hellenic thought, Hellenic culture.  It is the basis of our civilization today; the extended shadow of that young man who conquered the world when he was twenty-two years of age.

Did you know, one time looking at the courses taught at Oxford in England, I counted two hundred courses in Oxford on Aristotelian philosophy.  Aristotle died three hundred years before Christ.  And yet today, there will be something like two hundred courses in the great university of England in Oxford teaching Aristotelian philosophy.  And dear me, what could I say of the influence of a man like Nietzsche and Bismarck and finally Hitler?  Germany, as long as there is a Germanic people will never get over or survive the terror and the horror and the hurt of Nietzsche, and Bismarck, and Hitler.  So all of life follows a train like that; the influence that never ceases long after we are gone.

Now let’s I am going to take it two ways; one, the influence for good and the influence for bad.  Let us take the worst first.  A man does not die when he dies.  Would to God that were true with evil men, but the influence of his life lingers on and forever to the great judgment day of Almighty God [Revelation 20:11-15].  I had a friend in Amarillo with whom I was graduated from high school.  He and I were in the same Sunday school class.  We were good personal friends.  We went to Baylor University together.  And to my sorrow and amazement, the young fellow turned out to be an infidel – an atheist.  I went up to his room one night to talk to him.  And as I walked into his room, he was seated there under a lamp reading infidel Tom Paine’s Age of Reason.  Why, Tom Paine had been dead for a hundred fifty years.  Are you sure?  The influence of that evil-thinking man has extended through the decades after his body has turned back into the dust.  Think of the thousandfold dividend for evil that wicked men shall receive at the judgment bar of Almighty God.  We never escape the influence of evil in our lives.

Nathan the prophet said to David, “The sword shall never depart from thy house” [2 Samuel 12:10].  And thereafter, for the generations and the generations, the story of the household of David and the kings of Judea is written in human blood.  O God!  If it were just I, if it were just me and my house – but the families and the lives that are touched in the years and the years and the years that follow after.  The Lord God said to Manasseh, “Because of your sins, Judea will be destroyed, people carried into captivity, and the holy house of God burned down with fire” [2 Kings 21:10-15].  O Lord, the influence of a life for evil – it multiplies, it continues on forever; but enough.

Let us speak of the influence of the life for good.  You know, one of the most beautiful and precious passages, and one of the finest theological foundational truths in the Word of God, is this, written in the fifth chapter of the Book of Romans: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life” [Romans 5:10].  You have heard, if you have been here in the services before, my exposition of that passage – “saved by His life.”  There are theologians who say that refers to the days of our Lord when He lived in His flesh – saved by His life.  Oh no; oh no!  If when we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son – by the death of His Son, then how much more shall we be saved by the life of the Son of God; that is, His resurrected life – His life in glory.  For the life of our Lord, poured out into this world, lives forever!

The Lord is as much alive today as He was when He walked the shores of Galilee.  The influence of the life of Jesus is a thousand times a thousand times greater now than it was when He opened the eyes of the blind [Matthew 9:27-30], and when He healed the lepers [Mark 140-42; Luke 17:11-14], and when He raised the dead [John 11:43-44].  Jesus is alive [Revelation 1:18].  The greatest truth I know in human history is Jesus is alive, and He is here.  He is in our hearts [Matthew 28:20].  He guides in the way; He leads; Jesus, saving us by His life [1 Corinthians 15:3].

So it is with the lives of every good man; all good men who ever lived.  The repercussion of the influence of their lives is forever.  I could hardly think of how it will be when Simon Peter stands at the great judgment day before the great King.  Think of the influence of his life through the years and the generations.  I think of the apostle Paul.  Oh, what an infinite reward will be his, when God unravels the skein of the influence of the great apostle to the Gentiles!  If we could speak of these mighty men of God whose names are household words.  On the tomb of Dwight L. Moody are written these words, “He that doeth the will of God shall abide for ever” [1 John 2:17] and how true that is.

But we are not Simon Peters; we are not apostle Pauls; or even Dwight L.  Moodys.  What of the humble influence of that sweet disciple of Jesus whose name you never heard of, and whose life you are not conscious of, but there is an influence that God blesses through the years and the years?  Did you ever stand at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, just across the Potomac from Washington?  On the sarcophagus there are written these words, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”  And when I stand there and look at that monument and read those words, I think of that soldier – an American man who was cut down on a foreign field of battle – who lies there, but nobody knows his name.  With what multitudes of honors and words of appreciation and gratitude have been bestowed upon that man,  but nobody knows his name, or who he is.  In a thousand times and in a thousand ways are our lives just like that; influential, but known only to God.

Look, do you remember the story in the Bible of the little maid, the little girl in the household of Naaman, who was the captain of the hosts of the king of Syria?  And it was through the testimony of that little girl [2 Kings 5:3-4], that the great man was cleansed.  He was saved and became a follower of the true God of heaven.  And there is not a more beautiful story in the Bible than the story of the healing of Naaman [2 Kings 5:5-14].  What is the name of that little girl?  Nobody knows; and you won’t know until you get to heaven.  But think of the repercussion of the testimony of that little child in the household of Naaman the captain of the hosts of [Syria].

Take again, do you know the name of that little boy who was in a crowd – five thousand men – and they were, as the day passed, hungry, listening to the Word of God?  And lest they faint by the way, the Lord said, Feed them.  And the apostles said, Feed them?  Five thousand men?  Feed them?  Yes, said the Lord, feed them.  And they went through the great throng to find food for the multitudes.  And all they found was a little boy’s lunch.  He had five little biscuits and two little fishes [John 6:9].  He gave that to the Lord.  They placed it in His hands.  The Lord blessed it as He always did – saying grace at the table.  The Lord blessed that little boy’s lunch – five little pieces of bread and two little fishes.  And then the Lord broke, and He broke, and He broke, and the disciples passed the food out to the people – the bread and the fish [John 6:10-13], and the bread and the fish.  It was a marvelous miracle of God, and it was followed by one of the most magnificent sermons in the whole Bible, the message on the true manna from heaven: Christ, the bread of life [John 6:31-58].  Now you tell me, what is the name of that little boy who gave his lunch to Jesus?  What is his name?  You do not know.  Nobody knows.  And we will never know until we stand before God’s great throne of grace, at the judgment day, at the bema of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10].

Take again, do you remember when the apostle Paul was about to be destroyed – slain, ambushed in the way in Jerusalem?  There was a plot on the part of the Jews that they were going to call for him as though they wanted to interrogate him.  And as he was going to be led before the interrogators, they were going to destroy him – to slay him, to assassinate him on the way.  And there was a little boy, Paul’s sister’s son, who overheard the plot and came to the Roman centurion and told him of the threat, and the danger to the life of God’s great apostle and missionary – and saved the life of the apostle Paul [Acts 23:12-33].  What was the name of that little boy?  Do you know?  Nobody knows.  Nor will any one know until we stand at the judgment bar of Almighty God [2 Corinthians 5:10]; the influence, the unconscious influence of these who do something good for God.

Let me ask you again.  Do you know the name of the man who in the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago won the famous White Sox ball player named Billy Sunday to Jesus?  Do you know the name of that man?  I never heard of him.  I never heard of him.  But think of the enormous influence of that humble man who in that mission won that famous baseball player of the Chicago White Sox to the Lord Jesus, his name Billy Sunday.  Think of the name who won him.

Tell me, do you know the name of that humble layman who had in his Sunday school class, a young man, a teenager?  [He] found out that he worked in a shoe store in downtown Boston; found his way to the store, asked for the young fellow, was told he was in the stockroom.  He went back there and the young fellow was on the top of the ladder, working with those shoe boxes way up there on the shelves.  And that layman stood there at the bottom of the ladder and asked the young fellow if he would come down that he might talk to him about Jesus, and won him to the Lord.  That was the conversion of Dwight L. Moody.  Do you know the name of that layman?  Think of what God did through him – and yet his name unknown.

Or, tell me just once again – and we could multiply this for the night; tell me, do you know the name of that Moravian missionary who won John Wesley and George Whitefield to the faith?  I have no idea who he was.  His name has been lost in the world.  But oh, dear God, think of what John Wesley and the great Wesleyan revival did for England.  And think of George Whitefield who began in America the Great Awakening that swept into it the mighty intellectual preaching of Jonathan Edwards.  But who was the name of that Moravian missionary?  Nobody knows.  Shadow ministries, things that humble people do for God but nobody ever realizes, ever remembers, ever knows.  But God knows, and God blesses it through the years.

My time is gone.  May I conclude quickly? That’s the reason, that’s the reason, that when a man dies, he doesn’t receive his reward then.  You don’t receive your reward until the end of the world, until the end of time.  For you don’t die when you die.  And it is only God that can unravel the scheme through all of human life.  And when you stand at the judgment bar of the Lord Jesus [2 Corinthians 5:10], without exception those who stand there are surprised.  “Why, Lord, when did I ever see Thee sick, and ministered to Thee? Or in prison, and came to see Thee?  Or hungry, and fed Thee? Or naked, and clothed Thee?  When did I ever do these things?” [Matthew 25:37-39].  And the Lord will say, “When you did it unto one of the least of these, you were doing it unto Me” [Matthew 25:40].  And God writes it down in the Book of Life.  And that’s why your reward is never bestowed until the end of the age.  Your influence goes on and on and on, and on and only in heaven will you ever know what it means.

Hastily, may I illustrate that?  Listen to this that I have copied.  A woman, a woman whose name has been forgotten, gave a tract one day to a very bad man named Richard Baxter, who read it and was converted.  Richard Baxter became one of the great preachers of all time.  Then Baxter wrote a book, The Call of the Unconverted, which brought a multitude to God; among them, Philip Doddridge, who in turn wrote a book, The Rise and Progress of Religion, which brought tens of thousands into the kingdom; among them, William Wilberforce.  Wilberforce wrote A Practical View of Christianity, which brought a multitude to Christ, among them being Leigh Richmond, who wrote a tract entitled The Dairyman’s Daughter, which has been the means of the conversion of uncounted multitudes.  So the influence went on and on and on.

Now look how that began.  A woman whose name has been forgotten gave a tract one day to a very bad man, and the influence went on and on and on, and it stands to this day, and forever.  When that woman stands at the bema, at the judgment bar of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10], that is a poor attempt, but God can unravel all of the influences that followed after.  And when that forgotten woman stands at the judgment bar of Almighty God, and the Lord bestows upon her her reward, think of the amazement that will overwhelm her, drown her in glory and in gratitude and in praise to God.  You don’t know what you do when you do something good for Jesus – speaking a word in His name; sowing the seed – shadow ministries; the unconscious influence of those who love Jesus.

We must sing our song of appeal.  And while we sing it, in the balcony round, and there is time and to spare, come, come.  The press of people on this lower floor, come; “Pastor, this is my family, we are all coming tonight.”  “This is my wife, the two of us are coming tonight.”  “This is my friend, I am bringing him tonight.”  As the Spirit of God shall press the appeal to your heart, make the decision now and come.  On the first note of the first stanza, down one of these stairways, down one of these aisles. “I have decided for God, pastor; and I am on the way.  Here I am.”  A child, a youth, a couple, a family, somebody you; come now, gladly, wonderfully, while we stand and while we sing.

Jesus Christ is that Lamb

WORTHY IS THE LAMB

By Adrian Rogers (Click Link Below to watch this sermon)

https://www.lwf.org/sermons/video/worthy-is-the-lamb-2341

Find Revelation chapter 5 and when you’ve found it look up here. Revelation chapter 5.
The scene is in Heaven right after the rapture of the church.
May I ask you a personal question? Thank you. Here’s the question: do you have a cause
worth living for? May I ask you another question: is what you are living for worthy of Jesus
dying for? May I ask you another question: when you get to where you are headed, now, listen
to this one, when you get to where you’re headed, where will you be? You are all headed
somewhere. When you get to where you are headed, where will you be?
Now, I want to talk to you about living a life that is worthy; worthy of Jesus. Many of us
are shoveling smoke and plowing water. I mean, after it’s all over, it will make no difference
whatsoever.
A Reader’s Digest article once said that in order for a person to be happy, for a person to
be fulfilled, for a person to have a meaningful life, they needed three things. Number one, they
need someone to love. Number two, they need something to do. Number three, they need
something to hope for: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. Now I
think they’re basically right, but they didn’t give the answer. The answer is Jesus. He is all three
of those things. He’s the one that we love. He’s the one that we serve. And in Him, in Him, in
Jesus is our hope.
Now, Revelation chapter 5 is beyond a shadow of any doubt or peradventure one of the
most glorious chapters in all of the Bible. And I have titled our message today, “He Is Worthy.”
But I could title the message, “O what a Savior,” because it means exactly, precisely the same
thing. Jesus Christ is the only One worthy of my love, my life, my all, and yours. And you will
never, listen, you will never have satisfaction, you will never have true fulfillment, you will
never understand why you were made, why God created you, until you come to worship the
One who is worthy.
Now, there’re three things I want to say about the Lord Jesus Christ, and I pray God will
write these upon your heart today. First of all, Jesus is exclusively worthy of worship. Now look
if you will in Revelation chapter 5 verse 1. John is in Heaven now and he says, “And I saw in the
right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book,” literally folks, the word is a scroll, something
rolled up, “a scroll written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a
strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy.’” Now this is the whole question,
“Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in Heaven, nor in
earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept
much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
And one of the elders saith unto me, ‘Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root
of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.’”
Now what is all of this about? Well, when God created the world, God turned this world
over to Adam and said, “Adam, you’re the king of the Earth. Eve, you’re the queen. I give you
dominion.” And God gave to Adam and Eve dominion over the whole wide world. He gave this
to Adam.
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But then Satan came into the Garden of Eden, as you remember, and crawled his slimy,
corroding path onto the pages of history. And he beguiled Eve, and he ruined Adam. And he
was, what we’d call today, a con-artist. And he slicked them. And they sold the farm to him as it
were. And he went away with the title deed to all creation. They took that dominion that God
had given to them and they turned it over to Satan.
Le
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back. He’s our near kinsman. That’s the reason He stepped out of Heaven and became a man.
He had to be a man to redeem us. Our inheritance was lost by a man; it has to be redeemed by
a man. But not just any man, because this man who redeems it has to have the price of
redemption and the price of redemption, as we’re going to see, is the precious blood of the
Lord Jesus Christ.
Now John sees this book and he wants this book opened. He wants the seals broken.
But, an angel gives a challenge, “Who is worthy? Who is able to open the book?” Notice in
verse 2, “And a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book,
and to loose the seals thereof?’”
In order for a person to be worthy, number one, he had to be a near kinsman, and
number two, he had to have the price to pay. And so, they’re looking around, there’s a search
for someone worthy. No man in Heaven, none of the saints: Peter, James, Paul, Andrew, Moses,
David, none in Heaven was able. Nor in the Earth: no man all around, John as he looked at all of
those who might be living, of all of the saints on the Earth. And if he were living today, he would
see that the presidents and the kings, it doesn’t say who is willing; it says who is worthy.
There’re plenty willing, Mussolini and Hitler and Genghis Khan, Charlemagne the Great,
Napoleon, they were all willing, but they weren’t able. “No man in Heaven, nor in earth, neither
under the earth.” There’s no demon spirit, none who have died, none who have gone ahead,
none in the netherworld. There’s none that’s able to open the book, neither to look upon.
And so John begins to weep great salty tears. Is there no hope for planet Earth? Yes, yes
surely the redeemed are in glory there around the throne. But what about this Earth? This
Earth that is such a mess. This dominion that God made. Is the devil going to get it? Is he going
to keep it? And John’s tears represent the tears of people from the time that Adam and Eve
looked down upon the broken and bruised body of their son, Abel, that was murdered by
another of their sons. And John weeps and our world is filled with tears and saturated with
buckets of blood and oceans of tears and John says, “Is there no hope?” Yes, we’ve been
redeemed, but what about the Earth? What about God’s creation? And John begins to weep,
because look in verses 3 and 4, “No man in Heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was
able to open the book, and I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open, to read the
book, and to look thereon.”
Why could no man do it? Well, because all of those of us who are in Adam are slaves.
You see, Adam became a slave of Satan. He was brought into bondage. Now, the child of a
slave, the son of a slave is a slave himself. And we were all born into slavery. We were all born
as slaves of Satan, descendants of Adam. And not only does the master own the slave, but he
owns all that the slave owns. So we are slaves and we’re bankrupt. There’s no way that we can
redeem, there’s no way that we can buy back what Adam lost because we do not have what it
takes. That’s the reason Jesus came to Earth. He came as the second Adam to undo, or to put
back right what the first Adam did.
By the way, that’s why He was born of a virgin. Had He not been born of a virgin, He
would have been a son of Adam. Being born of a virgin He’s the Son of God. Now if He’d been a
son of Adam, He’d have been a slave. And all that belonged to Adam would belong to Him, the
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slavery and the bankruptcy. But He is born of a virgin. The Holy Spirit of God generated in the
womb of Mary that holy life. And now, though He’s perfect man made of a woman, He is not a
son of Adam. He is the Son of God; Son of Man and Son of God. He was born of a virgin to be
what He was: sinless. He was sinless to do what He did: to die on the cross to pay our sin debt.
For the Bible says, “We’re not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with
the precious blood of Christ as a lamb without spot or without blemish.” He had to be a perfect,
sinless sacrifice. He could not offer any corruptible sacrifice. Only the blood of Jesus Christ, the
sinless blood of Jesus Christ could pay the debt. And so the Lord Jesus Christ stepped out of
Heaven and the Lord Jesus Christ is exclusively worthy.
Now listen to me. Listen, there is no way, I hope you’ll listen to this, I hope you will hear
this. There’s absolutely no way, there’s not one scintilla of an iota, one half a hallelujah of a
chance of anybody anywhere from the time of creation till the time of consumption ever going
to Heaven apart from Jesus Christ. That’s it. You say, “That’s narrow.” You’ve got it. You’ve got
it. You say, “You’re bigoted.” Well, don’t call me bigoted, just call Jesus bigoted. He’s the One
who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”
That’s Scripture. The Bible says, “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there’s none other
name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
Here’s the first point of our message: Jesus Christ is exclusively worthy. No one else
could do it. John says there’s no one in Heaven, Earth, or beneath the Earth that was worthy to
open this
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It’s not about us Lord. Not about me; it’s about You. Did you think everything’s all about
you? Do you think you’re the center of the universe? It was all created by Him and for Him. And
He’s the One who is worthy of our worship. He’s the creator. No one else can create. Men talk
about creating life in the laboratory. You can’t create life in the laboratory. Man can take what
God has synthesized and create some life-like substance in the laboratory. Suppose my father’s
a master builder and he can build magnificent houses. And when my father’s away, I get my
father’s tools, my father’s plans, my father’s materials and I build a dog house. And then I point
at that dog house and say, “You see that dog house? That proves my father doesn’t exist.”
That’s what man does to try to say that he doesn’t need God.
There’s a story going around about a man who got in an argument with God and said,
“Look, You’re not the only creator. I can create now.” He’s a scientist. “I can make a man.” God
said, “Well, let’s see you do it.” So the man says, “Well, I’m gonna take this, these elements out
of this dirt.” God said, “Uh, uh, uh. Get your own dirt.” Get your own dirt.
There’s only one, only one who can create. And friend, listen to me, His name is Jesus
and He’s worthy. He’s worthy because of creation. Secondly, He’s worthy because of Calvary.
Now go to chapter 5 and look at verses 6 and 7, “And I beheld, in the midst of the throne and
the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven
horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He
came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne.” The Lamb,
there we see the sacrificial Lamb. He’s the one there in the glory. And He comes and takes this
book out of the hand of this mighty angel. It is the title deed to all of the Earth.
Now, John is weeping. No one is able. Who’s able? Well, here comes the Lamb. The
Lamb says, “I can take this book and I can open it.” Well, John, really is expecting to see a lion;
because, the lion of the tribe of Judah, but there is a Lamb that is there.
And notice if you will, in this verse. What does John see when he sees this lamb? Well,
first of all, he sees a redeeming lamb, a redeeming lamb. You know the Greek word for Lamb is
amnos. But that’s not the word that’s used here. The word that’s used here is arnios. And what
that word arnios means is a little pet lamb. John, expecting to see a lion, and he sees a lamb.
And not even a lamb that’s fairly good size. He sees the most helpless of creatures: a little
arnios, a little pet lamb. You can’t conceive of anything weaker than a little lamb.
You remember in the Passover when they were to take a lamb, a firstling of the flock,
and sacrifice it? God said they were not to just take any lamb off the streets. They were to
select a perfect lamb, a lamb without spot and a lamb without blemish. And then they were to
take it and keep it in their home for four days. Now, can you imagine what would happen in a
Hebrew home if you had a little lamb like that for four days in your house? You imagine how
the children would feel about that lamb? This little lamb. They would cuddle it; they would hold
it; they would pet it; they would snuggle it; this little helpless creature until they had identified
themselves with it. This word arnios is only used one other time in the, in the Bible where Jesus
said to Peter, “Feed My little arnios. My pet lambs.”
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And so here’s what John sees: he sees this one, this lamb, this little, tiny, innocent,
helpless Lamb, but wait a minute. John says, “This Lamb is different.” John looks at this Lamb,
and he finds some characteristics about this Lamb that I want you to see. For example, this
Lamb as though it had been slain is now standing. This redeeming Lamb, this one who shed His
blood, He’s now standing. That is, He’s no longer dead. He’s a lamb, as though it’d been slain,
so He still has the marks, the nail prints, but now He’s standing. He laid down in death, but now
this Lamb has risen.
He is a redeeming Lamb. He is a resurrected Lamb. Now watch this, and He is a reigning
Lamb. Look in verse 6, chapter 5 and verse 6 and notice how He is described, “And I beheld,
and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a
little Lamb as if it had been slain,” that’s a redeeming Lamb, “He stood,” that’s a resurrected
Lamb, “having seven horns.” Now in the Bible, in Bible prophecy, a horn speaks of power. Seven
is the perfect number. This Lamb is omnipotent. He has seven horns.
Now notice also, and He has seven eyes. Eyes speak of wisdom. Not only is He
omnipotent, He is omniscient. He sees everything. “The eyes of the Lord run to and throughout
the whole earth.”
And then notice also and there are, “Seven Spirits of God sent forth to all of the earth.”
Again, seven the perfect number, He is not only omnipotent, He’s not only omniscient, He’s
omnipresent, “To all the earth.” There’s no where that He is not! What a Lamb!
Now in the Bible, here in the book of the Revelation, we’re going to see the devil. What
is the devil? A great red dragon with a tail so long he sweeps a third of the stars from Heaven.
And then we’re going to see the beast out of the sea, the antichrist with his militant millions.
And who comes against them all? A Lamb, the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus. The redeeming
Lamb, the resurrected Lamb, the reigning Lamb.
And Jesus is worthy because of creation. He is worthy because of Calvary. And he is
worthy because of conquest. I want you to notice also, look in verse 5, “And one of the elders
said unto me, ‘Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath
prevailed to open the book.’” Do you see that word prevailed? It’s the Greek word, nikao. It’s
the word we get our word Nike from. It speaks of victory. Some of you kids have tennis shoes,
how many of you got any tennis shoes called Nike? That just simply is, it’s the, it’s the symbol of
victory. It’s the name of victory. This Lamb is Nikao. He is the One who has prevailed. He is the
One who is the victor.
So if you were to ask the Lord Jesus, “Jesus, by what right do You have? How can You
take this book and open this book?” He’d say, “I’ll tell you why. I’ll tell you why I’m worthy. I’m
worthy because of creation; I made it all to begin with. I’m worthy, number two, because of
Calvary; I have redeemed it and I bought it with My blood. I am the precious Lamb of God. And
number three, I am worthy because of conquest; I have prevailed.” And friend, He has. And I
want to tell you, I love Him with all of my heart, with all of my heart because He is worthy. He is
worthy. He is exclusively worthy. And there is none other. No one else can open this book. He is
exceedingly worthy through creation, through Calvary, through conquest.
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Now here’s the third thing I want to say about Him: He is eternally worthy, He is
eternally worthy. Chapter 5 verse 8, “And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and the
four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden
vials,” the word vial here is better translated bowls, “full of odors,” which means incense,
“which are the prayers of the saints. And they sung a new song, saying, ‘Thou art worthy to take
the book, and open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy
blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God
kings and priests.’” And then, skip on down to verses 13 and 14, “And every creature which is in
Heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in
them, heard I saying, ‘Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power,’” now listen to this, “‘be unto
Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.’”
He is eternally worthy, forever and ever. There was never a time when He’s not worthy.
Never will be a time when He is not worthy. He is worthy of our worship. This is the eternal
song of the ages.
Now here we enter the throne zone. And we see there in Heaven this praise symbolized
by harps and by bowls. The harps is our worship expressed. You know, the Old Testament
Psalms were sung to harp music. And then the bowls are incense. And, it speaks of our praise
and of our prayers.
Now, are we still praying up in Heaven? Well, these prayers, as we’re going to see later
on in the book of Revelation, that are mentioned here are prayers that have already been
prayed. They may have been prayed by your grandmother or by your great grandfather, or by
the apostle Paul. But now they’re collected, these prayers are up in Heaven, and they’re sweet
incense. And God has not forgotten a single prayer. Now sometimes we don’t see our prayers
answered and we think perhaps they’ve been forgotten. Or sometimes we don’t see God
working and we think that God is not working. But here we see these golden bowls full of
incense.
When the high priest would go into the temple, he would take a bowl, a basin of
incense. The aroma would perfume the air. And that’s only an illustration of the prayers of the
saints. Did you know that when you pray, it’s a sweet smelling savor in the nostrils of God? And
when you praise, the Bible calls that the sacrifice of prayer.
Have you thought that perhaps God didn’t hear your prayer? Let me ask you a question:
how many of you have ever prayed this prayer? And every hand ought to go up. “Thy kingdom
come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Have you ever prayed that prayer let me see
your hand? We’ve all prayed that prayer.
Alright, now I want to ask you a question: has God’s kingdom come? Is His will being
done on Earth as it is in Heaven? No. Did you pray a prayer therefore that was not answered?
Friend, that prayer is heard and you’re going to see the answer to that prayer here in the book
of the Revelation. Because one of these days His kingdom will come and, “The kingdoms of this
world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ.” This is what it is all about. God has
not forgotten. And your prayers are there as a sweet savor in the nostrils of almighty God.
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So, now there’s a song in Heaven. I want you to notice the refrain of that song in
Revelation chapter 5 and verse 12, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.” Do you know what
we’re gonna be singing in Heaven? We’re going to be singing about the blood. Now the Bible
says they sang a new song. It’s not new in the sense that nobody’s ever heard it before. It’s new
because we’re now redeemed up in the glory. “And when in scenes of glory I sing the new, new
song, it will be the old, old story that I have loved so long.”
The refrain of that song; think of the reach of that song. It’s going to echo and thunder
from the highest Heaven to the lowest Hell. Look in verses 13 and 14, “And every creature
which is Heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such are, are in the sea, and all
that are in them, heard I saying, ‘Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power to the Lamb forever
and ever.’” From every possible sphere, they’re going to give the Lord Jesus Christ glory.
Everybody’s going to confess it. “‘As I live,’ saith the Lord, ‘Every knee shall bow to Me and every
tongue shall confess to God.’”
Now look up here for a moment. Reach down and touch your knees. Okay, now stick
your tongue out at me. Feel that tongue, touch those knees, listen to me and don’t you forget
it, everyone listening to me. Those knees are going to bow to Jesus Christ. That tongue, I tell
you as I’m standing here, will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every knee shall bow; every
tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Osama will confess
it. Madeline Murray O’Hare will confess it, the famous atheist. Look up here and let me tell you
something. She is not an atheist now. She is not an atheist now.
Jesus Christ, hear me my friend, He is exclusively worthy! There’s none other! No one
can open this book. He is exceedingly worthy because of Calvary, because of creation, because
of conquest. And He is eternally worthy forever and ever and ever. If I had a thousand lives, I’d
give every one to Jesus Christ. The wisest thing that anybody could ever do would to be to bow
the knee to Jesus Christ. Because friend, you may not receive Him as Savior, but I will promise
you, one day you will confess Him as Lord. One day you will. Why not receive Him as Savior?
Would you bow your heads is, in, in prayer? Every head bowed and every eye closed.
How many can say today, “Pastor Rogers, I know by the grace of God, I have repented of my
sin. I’ve trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. He has redeemed me. He has
changed my life. And I have a changed life as a testimony. I know that I am saved and if I should
die today I’d go straight to Heaven.” If you’d give me that testimony, would you lift your hand?
Hold it up. Alright, now take it down.
If you couldn’t lift your hand, may I help you right now to get it settled? Salvation is a
gift. And therefore, you can receive it by faith today, you can have the experience of knowing
Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. I’m not talking about an emotional experience. It
may or may not be emotional. I’m not talking about seeing a vision. I’m talking about receiving
Christ.
May I guide you in a prayer? We call this the sinner’s prayer. Would you pray this
prayer? “Dear God, I know that I’m a sinner. I know that I have no hope apart from the Lord
Jesus Christ. He alone is worthy of my praise and my life. Thank You Jesus, as the Lamb of God,
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You paid my sin debt with Your blood. You were slain, but You were raised from the dead. And
now You reign forever and ever. And I now by an act of faith receive You into my life, right now
I receive You. I do. Come into my life. Forgive my sin. Cleanse me. Save me, Lord Jesus. Thank
You, Jesus, thank You. Now, Lord Jesus, give me the courage and the obedience to make this
public. In Your name I pray, Amen.

SERMON OUTLINE
SERMON TITLE: Worthy Is the Lamb
SERMON REFERENCE: Revelation 5
LWF SERMON NUMBER: #2341
We are grateful for the opportunity to provide this outline produced
from a sermon preached by Adrian Rogers while serving as
pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee.
This outline is intended for your personal, non-commercial use.
In order to ensure our ability to be good stewards of Adrian Rogers’ messages,
Love Worth Finding has reserved all rights to this content.
Except for your personal, non-commercial use and except for brief quotations
in printed reviews, no part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means
—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—
without the prior permission of the publisher.
Copyright ©2019 Love Worth Finding Ministries, Inc.
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1) INTRODUCTION
a) The scene in Revelation 5 takes place in Heaven right after the rapture.
b) There are three questions we each should ask ourselves:
i) Do I have a cause worth living for?
ii) Is what I am living for worthy of Jesus dying for?
iii) When I get to where I’m headed, where will I be?
c) Jesus Christ is the only one worthy of our love, our lives, and our all.
d) We will never have satisfaction, true fulfillment, or understand why we were created
until we come to worship the One who is worthy, Jesus Christ.
2) JESUS IS EXCLUSIVELY WORTHY (Revelation 5:1-5)
a) When God created the world, He gave Adam and Eve dominion.
i) Adam and Eve turned that dominion over to Satan when they sinned in the Garden.
(1) 2 Peter 2:19
(2) Luke 4:6
(3) 2 Corinthians 4:4
ii) Adam legally lost dominion to Satan, and now it has to be legally regained.
iii) Leviticus 25:25
(1) When a man lost his possession, God made a way for it to be bought back
through a near kinsman redeemer.
(2) This is a picture of salvation.
(3) Jesus is our near kinsman.
iv) Jesus legally bought back what Adam lost.
(1) Our inheritance was lost by a man, and it had to be redeemed by a man, but not
just any man.
(a) The price of redemption is the blood of Jesus Christ.
b) Revelation 5:2
i) In order for a person to be worthy to open the book and loose the seals:
(1) He had to be a near kinsman.
(2) He had to have the price to pay.
ii) No man in Heaven or on Earth was worthy, and no demon spirit was worthy.
iii) Revelation 5:3-4
(1) No man is worthy to open the book because we are all in Adam.
(a) Adam is a slave to Satan, and the children of a slave are slaves themselves.
(b) As descendants of Adam, we were all born as slaves to Satan.
(i) Not only does the master own the slave, but he owns all that the slave
owns.
(c) We are slaves, and we are bankrupt.
(2) Jesus, the second Adam, came to Earth to regain what the first Adam lost.
(a) Had He not been born of a virgin, He would have been a son of Adam.
(i) Though He is perfect man made of woman, He is not a son of Adam.
(ii) He is Son of Man and Son of God.
(3) Jesus was born of a virgin to be what He was: sinless.
(4) Jesus was sinless to do what He did: die on the cross to pay our sin debt.
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(a) 1 Peter 1:18-19
c) There is no way to Heaven apart from Jesus Christ.
i) John 14:6
ii) Acts 4:12
d) Jesus is exclusively worthy.
3) JESUS IS EXCEEDINGLY WORTHY (Revelation 4:10-11)
a) He is worthy because of creation.
i) Revelation 4:11
ii) It was all created by Him and for Him.
(1) We are not the center of the universe.
iii) No one else can create.
(1) Scientists claim to “create” life in a laboratory.
(a) Man can only take matter that God has already created and synthesized and
then make a “life-like” substance from already created matter.
b) He is worthy because of Calvary.
i) Revelation 5:6-7
(1) The sacrificial Lamb, Jesus, is the only one who can take the book, the title deed
to all the Earth, and open the seals.
ii) What does John see in the Lamb?
(1) He sees a redeeming Lamb.
(a) The Greek word for “lamb” is not the word used in this passage of
Revelation.
(b) The word for “lamb” used here is the word for a little pet lamb.
(i) John, expecting to see a lion (the Lion of the tribe of Judah), instead sees
a lamb; but not just a lamb of fairly good size, but the most helpless of all
creatures: a little pet lamb.
(ii) This same Greek word for a little pet lamb is used only one other time in
the Bible, when Jesus told Peter to “feed my lambs.”
1. John 21:15
(2) He sees a resurrected Lamb.
(a) This Lamb, as though it had been slain, is now standing.
(i) The Lamb still has the nail prints.
(b) The Lamb is no longer dead.
(3) He sees a reigning Lamb.
(a) Revelation 5:6
(i) In Bible prophecy, horns speak of power.
(ii) The number seven is the perfect number.
1. This Lamb is omnipotent.
(iii) This Lamb also has seven eyes; eyes speak of wisdom.
1. He sees everything.
2. This Lamb is omniscient.
3. 2 Chronicles 16:9
(iv) The “seven Spirits of God” shows that He is also omnipresent.
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1. There is no where that He is not.
c) He is worthy because of conquest.
i) Revelation 5:5
(1) The word “prevailed” is the word we get our word “Nike” from, meaning victory.
(2) The Lamb is the victor; He has prevailed.
(a) The devil in the book of the Revelation is described as a great, red dragon.
(i) The beast will also rise out of the sea, and the Antichrist will come with
his militant millions.
(b) The one who comes against them all is the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ.
4) JESUS IS ETERNALLY WORTHY (Revelation 5:8-10, 13-14)
a) There was never a time when Jesus was not worthy, and there never will be a time
when He is not worthy.
b) In this passage, we see in Heaven praise that is symbolized by harps and bowls.
i) The harps speak of our worship expressed.
ii) The bowls are incense and speak of our praise and our prayers.
(1) These are prayers that have already been prayed.
(a) God has not forgotten a single prayer that we have prayed.
(i) When the high priest would go into the temple, he would take a bowl, or
basin, of incense; the aroma of which would fill the air.
(ii) This is an illustration of the prayers of the saints.
(iii) When we pray, it is a sweet smelling savor to God.
(iv) When we praise Him, the Bible calls that the sacrifice of prayer.
c) There is also a song in Heaven.
i) Revelation 5:12
ii) We will sing in Heaven to the Lamb.
(1) The refrain of that song:
(a) We will sing about the blood of the Lamb.
(b) We will sing a new song because we’re now redeemed up in the glory.
(2) The reach of that song:
(a) It will echo and thunder from the highest Heaven to the lowest hell.
(b) Revelation 5:13
(c) From every possible sphere, they will give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.
(d) Romans 14:11
(i) Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
5) CONCLUSION
a) The wisest thing anyone can ever do is to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
b) Even those you do not receive Him as Savior will one day confess Him as Lord.
c) Do you know Jesus personally? If not, you can pray to Him today by asking Him to come
into your life.
d) Call upon Jesus today. Repent (turn) from your sins, and turn to Jesus. Ask Him to
forgive you of your sins, and acknowledge Him as Lord of your life.
i) Romans 3:23
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ii) Romans 10:9-10
iii) Romans 10:13
iv) Acts 16:31

Don’t Die as an Atheist

WHAT IS WRONG WITH BEING AN ATHEIST

Dr. W. A. Criswell

What Is Wrong With Being an Atheist?

Psalm 14:1

The title of the message is What is Wrong With Being an Atheist.

In Psalm 14:1 and in Psalm 53:1 the psalm begins, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”  And Psalm 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”  As though for the Lord to say that one time is not enough. He repeats it in the exact syllables in the exact sentence.  It is the fool who says in his heart, “There is no God.”

And when you look at that statement closely, you will find it to be one of the most astonishing in all the Holy Scriptures.  That is the only thing that is ever said about the existence of God in proof, or in defense, or in argument, or in forensic presentation.  Search the Book from beginning to end and nothing else is ever said concerning a defense of or an argument for the existence and the reality of God.  That’s all.  God just makes the comment, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” [Psalm 14:153:1]; and nothing else is said.

What the Bible does, it just presents the Lord God; never defends His existence, never argues for His reality, the Scriptures just present Him.  Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God.”  And the Christian dispensation:

In the beginning was the Word . . .

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth . . .

For the law came by Moses, but grace . . . came by Jesus Christ.

[John 1:1417]

That’s all; just presents Him, just as a man does the president of the United States.  The smaller the man is, the elongated introduction is made; but anytime the executive leader of America, it’s presented always with this same word, “Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.”  That’s the way God is presented, “Ladies and gentlemen, and all creation, and the angels in heaven, the isles of the sea, and the nations of the earth, God!”  “In the beginning God . . .” [Genesis 1:1].

Now there has to be a reason for that.  So as I study it, as I turn it over in my mind I have come up with these reasons; to me, why it is that God just presents Himself, never an argument for His existence or a defense of His reality, just “This is God.”

Number one: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” [Psalm 14:153:1], then he’s dismissed, why?  Reason number one: the questions of the atheist are irrelevant and inane.  They have no pertinency.  They don’t face reality.

It’s like this.  In ancient Athens, Plato taught in the academy.  In ancient Athens, Aristotle taught in the Lyceum; in ancient Athens, Zeno taught in the Stoa.  He called his pupils Stoics.  So as Plato stands in the academy, or Aristotle stands in the Lyceum, or Zeno stands in the Stoa, and they are surrounded by their incomparable masterpieces – there is no literature beyond the Bible like Plato’s Republic, or like Aristotle’s Metaphysics, or like Zeno’s Moralities.  They are tremendous masterpieces.

So as those men stand there before their pupils, and one of the pupils stands up and says, “Plato, do you exist?” or “Aristotle, do you exist?” or “Zeno, do you exist?”  What would be the reaction of those tremendous philosophers who are teaching their pupils, surrounded by their tremendous masterpieces, and one of the pupils stands up and asks, “Do you exist?”

Take again, Rafael, the sweet painter of all time.  He was beautiful in his personal appearance.  He was beautiful in his gentleness and kindliness.  Everybody loved Raphael, and he was endowed with an incomparable genius in making a canvas live in the sight of God.

By the side of St. Peter’s in Rome Raphael built his house.  And there he had fifty chosen pupils.  And Raphael stands in front of his pupils and he’s surrounded by his tremendous masterpieces.  Just think of what that man could do.  Here is The Coronation of the Virgin.  Here is The Sistine Madonna.  Here is The Transfiguration; died, and it wasn’t finished.  He was buried beneath that beautiful picture.  And he stands there, and in the mist of his lecturing to his pupils, one of them stands up and asks the question, “Do you exist?”

Or Rembrandt: bought his beautiful home on Breedstraat in Amsterdam.  And standing there before his class, surrounded by his tremendous masterpieces, Jacob blessing the sons of Joseph, John the Baptist, or The Adoration of the Magi, and as Rembrandt is standing before his class, one of the members stands up and says, “Are you real?  Do you exist?”

Or think of those men that surrounded Thomas Alva Edison in that vast laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey.  And as Edison speaks to those pupils, those scientists, and he’s surrounded by his great tremendous discoveries and inventions, here’s the electric light, there’s a battery, here is a phonograph, and as the great inventor speaks, one of his students stands up and asks, “Do you exist?”  The inanity and the irrelevancy of the question is a rebuke in itself.  That’s God.

The Lord presents Himself talking, revealing, explaining, speaking, judging, wooing, persuading, living.  And He is surrounded by his great masterpieces.  “The very heavens declare the glory of God . . . and the whole earth, day unto day, uttereth speech and showeth knowledge”[Psalm 19:1-2].  And in the midst of the presence of the living God, and in the midst of His vast masterpieces, some little insignificant man made of the dust of the ground stands up and says, “Do You exist?”  That’s why God says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” [Psalm 14:153:1].

Francis Bacon, the tremendous English essayist, wrote, “A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to God.”  One of the most unusual things I’ve ever read in my life, written by John Foster, who was born in 1770; he’s talking about the atheist and the material universe as being, in his persuasion, just an accident, just a coordination and development of fortuitous atoms.  So he speaks of the atheist as “denying the cause for anything, even his own existence.  He denies the existence of God by an assumption of knowledge which transcends the limitations of his own negative decree.”  Then he writes, now you listen to this:

The wonder turns on the great process by which a man could grow to the immense intelligence that can know there is no God.  This intelligence involves the very attributes of deity himself.  For unless the man is omnipresent, in some place where he is not, there may be God.  If he does not know, if he’s not omniscient, absolutely every agent in the universe, the one that he does not know may be God.  If he is not himself the chief agent, if he’s not the great creator himself, if he himself is not the chief agent in the universe, and does not know what is so, that which is so may be God.  If he is not in absolute possession of all the propositions that constitute universal truth, the one which he lacks may be God.  If he cannot with certainty assign the cause of all that he perceives to exist, that cause may be God.  If he does not know everything that has been done in immeasurable ages past, some things back yonder may have been done by God.  Thus unless he knows all things, that is, precludes another deity by being one himself, he cannot know that the being whose existence he rejects does not exist.

How do you like that?  Or, as a little boy, a guy came up to him and said, “Son, I’ll give you an apple, if you’ll show me where God is.”  And the little fellow said, “Listen, mister, I’ll give you a barrel of them if you’ll show me where He isn’t.”

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” [Psalm 14:1,53:1].  And one of the reasons, as I think of that, is his questions are inane.  They are irrelevant.

Number two: why does God say, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” [Psalm 14:153:1], and then dismisses him, there’s nothing else?  The second reason: speculations of the atheist are vapid.  They are void.  They are empty.  They are sterile.

You know, it’s a remarkable thing resounding through the Bible, not one time, but many times, such as Psalm 111:10, “The reverential awe of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” translated, “The fear of the Lord, the reverential awe of the Lord,” and repeated again in Proverbs 1:7 and in Proverbs 9:10, “The reverential awe of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  That’s the way we start, is bowing before the great high God.  Well, I have said the speculations, the metaphysics of the atheist are vapid.  They are sterile.  They are empty.

A sophisticated self-important high school, college senior, said to a freshman who’d just enrolled, he said to him, “What would you think if in ten minutes I can pulverize the idea of God, annihilate the idea of God in ten minutes?”  And the freshman replied, he said, “Sir, I would think the same thing as if a gnat were to climb up the side of Pike’s Peak and say, ‘Look at me, in ten minutes I’m going to pulverize this thing with my left hind foot.’”

A hop toad and a green lizard were watching an express train hurtle by in West Texas.  And as those two creatures watched that train thunder by, the hop toad said, “You know, they say that somebody made that train.  What idiocy.  It made itself.”  And the green lizard said, “And you know, somebody says that there’s an engineer that drives that train.  What idiocy.  It drives itself.”  And a red ant overheard the conversation, and he climbed up on a spike and he said, “And they tell me that there is a president of this railway system.  If he exists I dare him to come and strike me dead.”  Does God listen to the vapidity and vacuity of such inanity?  “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” [Psalm 14:153:1].  And the Lord never argues, defends, expatiates; that’s all.

No atheist ever gave an intelligent answer to the mystery of the cosmos all around us.  And no atheist ever gave an intelligent answer to the meaning and the purpose of a man’s life in this earth.  Somehow he misses the great, and precious, and marvelous wisdom of God.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:19-20, “That which may be known of God is manifest . . . for God has shown it unto us.  For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.”  Isn’t that a remarkable passage?  “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen” [Romans 1:20].

How do you see the invisible?  Paul says, “They are seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and the Godhead” [Romans 1:20].  Isn’t that a remarkable thing?  And you contemplate that sentence for a minute.  Back of everything you see there are invisible forces that create it, that make it, that move it, invisible laws of gravity, or motion, or physics, or chemistry, or thermodynamics; and by the eye of faith, or searching, or belief, we are introduced to those invisible things in matter, in mind, in heart, in soul, in life.

As God’s Book says of Moses, “He endured as seeing Him who is invisible” [Hebrews 11:27].  Isn’t that a remarkable thing?  The realities actually are things unseen.  And we only appropriate them and see them with the eye of faith.  That’s what God says.

Isn’t it a strange thing?  The answers, the speculations, the metaphysics of the atheist are sterile and empty.  It is like drinking at a mirage; it never quenches the thirst.  It’s like eating food of fancy; it never satisfies the hunger.  It’s like reading a book that has no meaning.  It’s like building a house without a plan.  It’s like running a train without an engineer.  It’s like living a life without any purpose or without any meaning.  God says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” [Psalm 14:153:1].  His speculations are empty.

All right, number three: why does God write that in the Book, and that’s all?  Number three: the character of the atheist is bankrupt.  It could not but be lost on a student of the Bible that Paul quotes this psalm, Psalm 14 and Psalm 53, in that tremendous passage in the third chapter of the Book of Romans when he concludes that all mankind is utterly depraved [Romans 3:10-12,  23].  There is sin in all of our faculties.  We are a fallen humanity.  Our mind, our hearts, our souls, our emotions, our wills; all are fallen.

And he quotes that Psalm that begins with, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” [Psalm 14:153:1].  What Paul is avowing is that when a man denies the existence of God, character and righteousness disintegrate and evil flourishes in the land.  And do I have a poignant remembrance of that.

One of these radio and television stations in the city of Dallas – and all of you will remember this yourselves – they took a notion that they wanted me to debate Madeline Murray O’Hair, the most infamous atheist in existence.  So against the advice of everybody in the church, why, I said, “Why, I’ll do that.”  Well, when the night came for the television and the radio to carry the thing on for four solid hours, well, what they did, they took us into a reporters’ room, and sat us down there, and all those reporters were up there at the front.

And then at a signal, why, they were, said now, “Ask them anything you please.”  So a young reporter from the Houston Chronicle asked the first question.  And brother, did that question set fire to her shuck, did it light her fuse, did it blow up her dynamite cap.  She exploded.  So when we went into the conference on television and the radio, she was livid.  She was furious.

The question was this, and it dumbfounded me, and I never had an opportunity to answer.  And I wanted to be nice in answering the question.  I never had an opportunity because she simply went into a tirade.  The question was this.  He said, “Dr. Criswell, do you think that you are lowering yourself in condescending to debate this atheist over here?”

Oh, did that plow her up, good night!  Well, anyway because of the television cameras and the situation there, I had to sit about six inches away from that female.  And every fifteen minutes there were commercials, you know, whatever they do.  So they’d carry on for fifteen minutes and there’d be a commercial.

Well, in those commercials, that critter would talk to me.  I can’t quote in mixed company what she said.  I’d blush to repeat what she said to me in an outhouse.  Do you know what an outhouse is?  I grew up in an outhouse.  I’d blush to quote what that woman said.  You can’t imagine.  That is, I couldn’t.  I just wasn’t ever introduced to a woman like that: filthy, dirty, in every imagination of her mind.

And that’s why it was amazing to me when her son William Murray, Bill Murray, who was the young fellow concerning which the Supreme Court outlawed prayer and the reading of the Bible in the public school system, William Murray, son of Madeline Murray O’Hair says miracles have happened in his life since he denounced atheism and gave his life to God.  Sixteen-year-old Murray – was the plaintiff in his mother’s three year court battle that began in 1963 and resulted in the United States Supreme Court decision to ban state-mandated prayer in public schools.  He stunned the Christian community last month when he said he was born again into Christianity, and made a public apology for his role in his mother’s suit.  “I began searching for meaning in my life, thinking surely there has to be something else than this.  My self-search for communion and meaning brought me to my knees.  And since then there have been miracles in my life.”

He was a drunkard.  The alcohol vanished.  He smoked four packages of cigarettes a day.  That vanished.  “The minister,” to whom he made his confession of faith, “told me that I needed to make amends.  And I believe in that.  When you’ve done somebody wrong, and you get right with God, ask their forgiveness.  So I decided to come back to Texas and apologize.  Having done that, I felt a burden off of my soul.  How my life has changed.”  And I have a long magazine article, and I don’t have time to follow it through, concerning the confession of faith of that atheist, Madeline Murray O’Hair’s son.

Now what I was saying was that the third reason why God calls an atheist a fool is because of his bankruptcy of character.  I want to go back to her.  This is again in a national magazine.  She is speaking about herself.  “I’d describe myself as a sexual libertarian.  I will engage in sexual activity with any consenting male, any damn time I well please.  Sex is where you find it.  I’ve had five affairs,” and I don’t know how many since then,

I’ve had five affairs, all of them real wing-dings.  I’ve enjoyed every damn minute of them.  I think young people should be able to have their first sexual love affair whenever they feel like it.  In the case of most girls, this would be about thirteen or fourteen; for most boys it’d be around fifteen or sixteen.  Whenever they want to try it, they should be allowed to go at it without supervision or restriction; in their parents’ bedroom, on a grass park, it doesn’t matter, anywhere.

What did I say?  The character of an atheist is bankrupt.  That’s why God says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” [Psalm 14:153:1].

My time is gone.  I have one more.  I have one more.  Why does God say that?  “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”  Number four: the end, the ultimate destiny of an atheist is ignoble.  It is not exalted and marvelous.  It’s desecrated to the very earth in which he’s buried.  His death is ignoble.

In my reading, I came across an incident in the city of London, where in 1899, and still existing, is the Society for the Advancement of Atheism.  And every year, the article says, they have an annual banquet.  And in this particular banquet not long ago the president of the London Society for the Advancement of Atheism gave the first toast.

And in the toast he referred to the apostle Paul.  And in his reference he said, “The apostle Paul was blinded on his journey to Damascus”[Acts 22:11], and then eloquently added, “and he remained blind the rest of his life.”  Well, that was smart and the members of the society guffawed, and applauded.  And while they were applauding, the president was seen to totter and to fall.  And when they went to his assistance, he was dead.  And the banquet broke up, the article said, in confusion and disarray; the death of an atheist.

Reading that, I couldn’t help but think about Dr. A. N. Hall, twenty-eight years pastor of the First Baptist Church in Muskogee, Oklahoma, a man who looked like George W. Truett, talked like him, a great saintly man of God.  In his age he said to his deacons, he said, “If anything ever happens to me, I want you to call Dr. Criswell to be my successor.”

And on Christmas Eve in 1940, he died suddenly, just closed his eyes on this earth and opened them in glory.  And on his desk he was preparing his sermon.  Guess what it was?  “My First Five Minutes in Heaven.”  They appointed the pulpit committee at twelve-thirty, the first Sunday in January.  And at one o’clock they called me on the phone.  It was from that pastorate I came here.  That’s the faith.  And to be welcomed by the angels and by our Lord and by the saints in glory, that’s God.  Now may we stand together?

Our Lord, it’s a glory road, this highway to heaven.  What a fulsome life that has meaning every step of the way.  Our sorrows have meaning.  Our trials have meaning.  Our age has meaning.  Our death has meaning.  God lives and the Lord purposes some wonderful thing for his children [1 Corinthians 2:9].  We praise Thee, blessed Jesus.  We offer Thee the sum, and substance, and meaning of our lives.  We only wish we could serve Thee better and love Thee more.

And in this moment while our people pause in awesome reverence before God, you, to give your heart to Jesus, or to come into the fellowship of our dear church, a family, a couple, or just one somebody you, down one of those stairways, down one of these aisles.  “Pastor, today, I have decided for God, and I’m here.”  Some of you, “I want to be baptized as it says in the Book [Matthew 28:19], as Jesus was baptized[Matthew 3:13-17], and commanded us to follow Him through the waters of the Jordan [Matthew 28:20]; I want to be baptized.”  Or, “I want to put my life in this church in promise of a letter.”  However God shall say the word, make the decision now in your heart.  And when we sing in a moment, take that first step and welcome.  Thank Thee, Lord, for the sweet harvest, in Thy wonderful name, amen.

Love

 

With countless songs, books, and movies dedicated to love, you would think we actually understood what it means. But the world has warped our view of God’s most precious attribute, leaving humanity longing for the real thing. In this message, Dr. Stanley teaches us what love really is and how it affects our lives. Learn how your life can be transformed when you allow God’s love to wrap around you and flow through you to others.

Love Lessons

https://www.intouch.org/watch/expressing-godly-character/love-lessons

Charles Stanley

KEY PASSAGE: 1 John 4:7-11

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE:John 3:16

SUMMARY

Do you believe God loves you?

We are all very familiar with John 3:16, which clearly states that because God loved the world, He sent His Son so those who believe in Him would never perish. We usually think of God’s love as generally applying to everyone, but maybe not specifically to us personally. However, the Lord wants us to know we’re loved by Him and to love Him in return. Only then will we be able to give and receive love in our relationships as He desires.

SERMON POINTS

To understand how important love is to God, we need only look at His Word. In the Old Testament there are 250 mentions of love, and the New Testament uses love 234 times—and of those, 72 are found in John’s gospel and epistles.

In 1 John 4:7-11, the apostle John mentions love in every verse.
[7] Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
[8] The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
[9] By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
[10] In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
[11] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Love Lessons

Since love is such an essential part of our lives, we need to understand what it truly is.

  1. Love is more than an emotion. It’s a commitment to another person.
  2. Love is not free. It actually demands something of us. We can’t live for ourselves in isolation and at the same time love someone else.
  3. Love looks beyond the flesh. Its focus is the heart and spirit of a person, not the external appearance. The connection is both emotional and cerebral, not merely a physical attraction.
  4. Lust has nothing to do with genuine love. Our world has substituted lust for love, and this has become very obvious in the sexual revolution, which is still continuing to this day. Lust is focused on self—what I want or need from the other person. But love is concerned for the loved one—what I can do for him or her.
  5. Love cannot be bought. It’s a gift that is given freely, and one that is received without cost.
  6. Love desires to give with no strings attached. It doesn’t demand that the other person be a certain way or do what is desired before love is given. Genuine love is freely bestowed without qualifications or requirements.
  7. Love is generous and unselfish. True love is othercentered, not self-centered. It’s always looking for ways to give, not ways to get.
  8. Love is more fulfilled in giving than in receiving.Those who genuinely love others find great satisfaction in generously giving to them. They are especially gratified when they can supply what someone else really needs or desires.
  9. Love is forgiving. Carrying the weight of anger, resentment, bitterness, or jealousy chokes a person’s spirit and hinders the ability to truly love others.
  10. Love desires to express itself. Love is demonstrative and must be expressed. When God’s love is in us, it flows out in sacrificial giving.
  11. Love is a happy emotion.The happiest people are not those who have everything money can buy, but those who know how to love.
  12. Love enjoys seeing others happy. That’s because the focus is not on getting for self but in sacrificing for others. In seeing the pleasure others experience, there is great enjoyment.
  13. Love is fulfilling and enables us to feel complete.When we know how to give and receive love, it gives us a sense of completeness, competence, and worthiness.
  14. Love hurts when others hurt. Genuine love is characterized by compassion and mercy expressed either through direct interaction or more distantly through prayer.
  15. Love does not keep accounts. There is no record of who did what for whom. Love is not a matter of paying and receiving, but of giving without expectation of return.
  16. Love may be very painful.This is especially true if the love isn’t mutual. It may require repeated forgiveness.
  17. Love doesn’t require anything in return. There are no conditions or requirements placed on the other person before love is freely given.
  18. Love is patient. It waits until the proper time, whereas lust wants immediate gratification. If ultimatums are given, it’s not genuine love.
  19. Christ’s death on the cross is the perfect example of love. Jesus came into the world He loved to give His life as a ransom for sin, yet few people loved Him in return. When we continue to love unresponsive, ungrateful people, we are following Christ’s example. This is possible because after we accept Him as our Savior and Lord, He pours His love into our hearts, enabling us to love others no matter how ugly they behave toward us.
  20. Love is its own reward.Knowing that we are loved by God and being able to love Him in return is an amazing blessing. It sustains us when we feel forsaken and unloved by others. And if loved ones die or leave us, we have a Friend who will never desert us.

Love isn’t found in advice from magazines, books, or people. God is the source through Jesus Christ, His Son, and the place to look is the Bible. It begins with accepting the death of Jesus Christ on the cross as the greatest act of love ever shown. He died to pay our sin debt in full. And when we believe in Him and repent of our sins, all the mess we’ve made of our lives is washed away. Our sins are forgiven, and God will remember them no more.

Now His love is poured out in our hearts, enabling us to love Him in return and to receive and give love to others. If we don’t have Christ and His love in us, our lives are empty, and we are poor, needy, and wretched. The only One who can satisfy our longings is the One who died for us on the cross. His love for us is beyond all explanation and human comprehension.

RESPONSE

  • Do you feel loved by God? Why or why not? What does God’s Word say about His love for you (See Romans 5:8 and 8:36-39)?
  • Are you able to give love, or is something hindering you from expressing it freely to others? What hope do you find in 1 Thessalonians 4:9?

What Jesus said About Your Bible

WITNESS OF CHRIST TO THE WORD

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Luke 24:27

11-16-80    10:50 a.m.

W. A. Criswell

And we are no less grateful to the uncounted thousands of you who pray for us sharing the hour on radio and on television with all of us in the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor delivering the message entitled, The Witness of Christ to the Word, to the Bible.  In our preaching through these morning hours, we are following a long series of doctrinal sermons.  The series now is in bibliology, the doctrine of the Bible.  The series at night, at seven o’clock, concerns human problems, and the message tonight is entitled Haman, the Gambler’s Fading Gold.

I have never lived in a gambler’s world, and there are ten thousand surprises about it.  I never knew, for example, that eighty percent of American people gamble in some form or another.  I never knew before that it is addictive.  I never knew before that, as alcohol, one out of every ten who socially drink become alcoholics.  And I never knew before that one out of ten who gamble become compulsive gamblers.  Ah, it’s a whole world revealed to me.  The title of the sermon tonight; Haman, the Gambler’s Fading Gold; the message this morning on the Bible; The Witness of Christ to the Word.

As a background text to the doctrinal message, we turn to Luke 24; the last chapter in the Third Gospel, Luke 24.  And at verse 25, Jesus said unto them: “Ho anoetos.  Ho, not understanding ones, not thinking ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” [Luke 24:25-27].  Verse 44: “And Jesus said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Torah, in the Law of Moses.”  That’s the first great division of the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures.  “Fulfilling all things written in the Torah, the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets” – the nevi’im.  That’s the second great section, division, of the Hebrew Bible.  “And in the Psalms,” the third great division of the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures is the ketuvim, the Greek hagiographa; in English, “the Writings.”  And the number one book in that section is the Psalms.  So He uses the word “Psalms” for the whole ketuvim.  “All things must be fulfilled written in the Torah, in the nevi’im, in ketuvim, concerning Me.  Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures” [Luke 24:44-45].  The attitude, the witness of Christ to the Word of God, is all determinative to us who look upon Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  The reverential love and devotion of the Orthodox Jew to the holy Old Testament Scriptures is one of the most moving and beautiful scenes you could ever look upon.

I was in Jerusalem shortly after the war of 1948 that ensued in the creation of the modern Israeli state, and they had just captured Mt. Zion, on the top of which is located the traditional tomb of King David.  And they had turned the tomb, the building, into a synagogue.  It was filled with worshippers, and especially Orthodox rabbis.  And after reading the Torah, the Law of Moses, they kissed the words on the scroll, then they kissed the tassels of the scroll, then they kissed the sheath into which the scroll was beautifully and carefully and tenderly placed, then they kissed all of the sheath.  Then they beautifully and reverently placed it in the ark.  As I looked at those Jews and those rabbis and those dear people in their beautiful and reverential love for the Old Testament Scriptures, I could not help but think of our Lord who belonged to them – one of them: “salvation is of the Jews” [John 4:22] – and His own attitude and spirit of reverence, and devotion to the Word of God.

The Bible that Jesus loved is our Old Testament Scriptures, book for book, word for word.  And the love that He had for that Book is the love that we enshrine in our hearts, in the same Book, the same Word.  All of you who belong to this church and have listened to the pastor for so many years are of alike persuasion concerning the infallibility and inerrancy of the Word of God.  Any church after five years is exactly like its pastor.  They reflect his persuasion and convictions.  So this congregation, having listened to the pastor now for thirty-seven years – this congregation has a deep, reverential, respect and love for the Word of God.  But we are all most unique, peculiar, separate, apart.

When you look at the vast world of Christendom, and especially expressed in its academic community, the attitude of the academic, theological world is ever one of deep skepticism concerning the inspiration and the infallibility of the Word of God.  And the contrast, the attitude and spirit of our Lord against the background of the modern, ordinary theological community – we have but to see it as the Lord speaks of it, and looks upon it, in contrast to the way they speak of it and they look upon it.  For example, to them; to the liberal academic theological community – and by that I describe practically all of Christendom – to them, Adam and Eve are mythological characters.  They were not real, nor was there any real garden of Eden.  For the most part they are persuaded of Darwin’s theological explanation of where we came from.  Our race grew out of some primordial ooze, and our forefathers were chimpanzees and orangutans and anthropoid apes and simian monkeys.

Against the background of that theological persuasion, the Lord Jesus, in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew [verse 4-6], will base the foundation of the home, of marriage, and of the family upon Adam and Eve – that God made one man for one woman, Adam for Eve, and Eve for Adam, and that she was taken out of his side, flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones [Genesis 2:21-24].  And that on that basis, of the original purpose of God, is founded the stability of marriage and the home.  That is the Lord.  And that is the Lord’s attitude toward the Bible.

Look again.  To the whole liberal academic community – and as I say, I’m speaking of practically all of Christendom – Deuteronomy, the fifth book of Moses; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy – to the whole liberal academic community, Deuteronomy is a forgery.  It was a fake, pawned off on the Jewish nation in the days of King Josiah, a thousand years after Moses was supposed to have written it.  That is the attitude of the academic community.  But to the Lord Jesus, He quoted Deuteronomy as the word of Moses more than any other book in the Bible.  That’s Jesus.

Look again.  There’s not a liberal theologian in the world that believes in the authenticity of Daniel.  To them, it is a spurious document and not written as it purports to be in, say, 600 BC, but written, actually, in 165 BC.  And all of those marvelous prophecies in the Book of Daniel are actually history written back as though they were prophetic.  The whole academic, liberal world believes, without exception, that Daniel is fakery and forgery and spurious documentation.  But the Lord Jesus, in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew, will speak of Daniel as a prophet [verse 15], the great prophet-statesman to whom God revealed the denouement and the consummation of history.  That’s Jesus.

Take again.  I don’t suppose there is a liberal theologian in the world but that laughs and scoffs and ridicules the idea that Jonah was ever swallowed by a great fish.  To them it’s a royal joke.  And when you read their writings, the fact that such a thing might ever be, betrays a weak and an adolescent mind.  But to the Lord Jesus, as in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Matthew, He based the great fact of His resurrection upon the raising of Jonah out of the heart of the whale, out of the belly of the whale [verse 38-41].  That’s the Lord Jesus.

I remember one time, seated as you are there in this congregation, listening to Lee Scarborough, the president of the Southwestern Seminary and one of God’s great, noble men.  And he was speaking about Jonah.  And he said his little boy came in from Sunday school and said, “Daddy, I heard a story at Sunday school this morning that I just don’t believe.”

Dr.  Scarborough said, “Well, son, what was it?”

And the little boy said, “Well, the story was about a man named Jonah, and that he’d been swallowed by a big fish, and that he lived in the belly of the fish three days, and then the fish vomited him up, and he’s still alive.  And I just don’t believe any such thing as that.”

So the father, Dr. Scarborough, called the little boy to his side and said, “Well, son, let’s go into my study here and let’s sit down together, because I also have trouble with Jonah.”

So they sat down together and the great preacher said to his little boy, “Now, you say, what is your problem?”

And the little boy said, “Well, Daddy, I just don’t believe such a thing as that – that a big fish swallowed a man named Jonah, and lived down there three days in the belly of that fish, and he vomited him up still alive.  I just don’t believe that.”

And the great preacher said, “Well, son, I also have a problem with that story, only my problem is a little different from you.  What I can’t understand is how God could make a man.  I don’t understand that.  And I don’t understand how God could make a fish.  I don’t understand that.  If I could understand how God could make a man and how God could make a great fish, it would be easy for me to understand how He could put them together.”

That’s Jesus.  To Jesus, the miracle of the mightiness of God is the ordinary.  And when you look around you, if you will look with an unbiased mind, God signs His name to everything that He does: “miracle, supernatural, inexplicable.”  We don’t understand anything, nor do we explain anything.  We just observe it and marvel.  And if you are of a mind to be a Christian, to bow in the presence of the great maker and praise His name, that’s Jesus.

Look again, just once again.  We could continue this for hours; the attitude of our Lord toward the Word of God.  He would say, “Till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot” – that’s a little yod – “and not one tittle” – that’s the little horn on the ‘t,’ the tet of the Hebrew alphabet.  “There is not one jot or one tittle that will pass away from the law until all these things be fulfilled” [Matthew 5:18].  What an astonishing statement!  This heaven and this earth may pass away, disintegrate, burn up with unquenchable fire, but God’s Word shall stand forever.  That’s one reason I love my favorite verse: “The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth, but the word of God shall stand forever” [Isaiah 40:8].  That is the Lord Jesus.

Look at our Lord again, in His attitude, in His spirit toward the Word of God.  He came preaching.  If I could quote Mark, He came preaching with a Bible in His hand [Mark 1:14-15].  In the beautiful passage you just read, as He began His Messianic ministry there in the town of Nazareth in which He grew up, as His custom was, He went to church, He went to the synagogue.  And apparently, as the custom of the people was, they placed in His hand the scroll of the Bible.  And apparently, as His custom was, again, He delivered to them a message from the Lord [Luke 4:16-27].

Wouldn’t you have loved to have been in church that day, worshipping God, and the preacher is Jesus of Nazareth?  And He opens the place in the scroll.  He turns the scroll to Isaiah 61, verses 1 and 2, and He preaches to the people with a Bible in His hand [Luke 4:17].  That’s Jesus.  And when He delivers His message, it will be with illustrations out of that book.  In the message that you just read, after He reads from the scroll the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah, then applying that message to God’s healing of the human hurt and the human heart, He speaks of the Lord’s love for the whole world – you, us.  And He illustrates it out of the Bible in the days of Elijah and the awesome famine.  He was sent to Zarephath, to a widow in Sidon, to a pagan, to a heathen [Luke 4:25-26].  And He illustrates it again: in the days of Elisha a leper was healed, Naaman, a Syrian, a pagan [Luke 4:27].  That’s Jesus.

In the twelfth chapter of Matthew, He will speak of Queen of Sheba, who came marveling at the wisdom of Solomon.  And then applied it, “And there’s a greater than Solomon here” [Verse 42].  In John 3:14 and 15, He will use the beautiful story of the raising of the serpent in the wilderness that the man, bitten and dying, could look and live [Numbers 21:8-9].  And He says, “This is the Son of Man raised up, that anybody who looks may live.”  Nothing less could be required than just to look and live.  The way is simple to the man who will respond.  Or in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John: He is that manna, angel’s food, brought down from heaven that we may eat and live.  “Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness.  This is the manna that a man may eat and never die” [verses -50, 58].  That’s Jesus preaching the Word of God.

He used the Bible constantly for warning.  In the tenth chapter of Luke, it will be concerning Sodom and Gomorrah – the cities of the plain and Tyre and Sidon – judged by the Lord God [verse 12].  In the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Luke, He will use Noah and the judgment of God in the days of the Flood [verse 26-27].  And Lot, when the cities of the plain were destroyed by fire [verses 28-30].  That’s the Lord; the Bible.  And He used it for weaponry in the attack of Satan and the rulers of the temple who accosted Him so bitterly and so hatefully.

I want to show you how the Lord constantly used the Bible.  I’ve turned in my Bible – this is the Criswell Study Bible – I’ve turned in my Bible to the Book of Mark, and the twelfth chapter, and we’re going to look at just one page of it.  Just one page, that we might see how the Lord constantly used the Word of God.  Here, His weapons of attack and of defense – Mark 12.  Mark 12 begins with the story of a wicked husbandman who sent servants to receive the rent that was due him: And they beat them and killed them [Mark 12:1-5].  Then the husbandman sent his son.  “They will reverence my son” [Mark 12:6].  And they slew him also.  All right, His application; look at verse 10: “Have ye not read the Scripture?”  And He quotes Psalm 118:23.  All right, look again.  Beginning at verse 18, there is a discussion concerning the resurrection of the dead, and the Sadducees tell Him that old story, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!  This old woman who had seven husbands, last of all she died.  Now, in the resurrection, which one of those husbands will have her? [Mark 12:20-23].  Ha, ha.”  They’ve been silencing all those that believe in the resurrection for a hundred fifty years with that silly story.

Then the Lord speaks, “As touching the rsurrection, that they rise: have you not read in the Book of Moses?” [Mark 12:26].  And he quotes Exodus 3:6, “I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob.”  “He is not the God of the dead but of the living.  Ye therefore do greatly err” [Mark 12:27].  He bases the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead upon the tense of a verb in Exodus 3 verse 6.  It’s not “I was the God of Abraham and Isaac. I am,” as though they were living in His presence and in His sight.  That’s Jesus.

All right, look again, the next verse, verse 28.  A scribe comes to Him – and all of this is on one page – a scribe comes to Him and says, “Master, which is the first commandment?”  Then Jesus answered him and says, “The first of all the commandments is,” and He quotes Deuteronomy 6:5.  Then He says [verse 31], “The second is like unto it,” and He quotes Leviticus 19:18.  That’s the Lord.  Or look again, beginning at verse 35: the Lord asked those bitterly, opposing, opposition rulers a question of His own.  “How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?  For David himself said by the Holy Spirit,” and He quotes Psalm 110:1.  The Lord said unto my Lord, who is the son of David, how does David call Him Lord if He is his Son? [Mark 12:36-37].  That’s Jesus, His use of the Bible.  Always it’s in His hands; always it’s in His heart; always it’s in His thoughts.  Blessed is the Man.   And His meditation is in the Book, in the Bible, in the Word of God, by day and by night.   He would be like a tree planted by the rivers of water [Psalm 1:3].

Now last.  The tremendous witness of Christ to the authority and authenticity of the Word of God is found in this: the incontrovertible authentication of the message and ministry of our Lord Jesus is found in the corroboration of the Word of God, the fulfillment of the great prophecies written in the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures.  That’s the reason as a background these texts in Luke 24 beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, “He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” [Luke 24:27], “And these are the things that I spake to you and taught you, that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the Torah, the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, the nevi’im, and in the Writings the ketuvim, “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures” [Luke 24:44-45].   The great authentication of the messianic ministry of our Lord, that He is what He said He was, the Son of God and the Savior of the world, the great corroborating testimony is the testimony, the witness of the Word of God.

I want you to look at the amazement of that, the wonder of that.  He is standing there before them; He has been raised from the dead.  They crucified Him, killed Him, murdered Him, buried Him, and on the third day He stands there raised from the dead.  What is the great authentication of the truth of the message and ministry of Christ in the world?  What is it?  As He stands there before them, why doesn’t He perform some great miracle?  Wouldn’t that authenticate it?  His life was so wonderful and His deeds were so marvelous; they exclaimed, “It was never so seen in Israel” [Matthew 9:33].  And they had seen the miracles of Moses, of Elijah, of Elisha, but they’d never seen anything like that.  Why didn’t He perform a miracle?  Or again, why did He not refer to His great discourses?  As they listened to Him, they said, “Never a man spake like that Man”[John 7:46].  And that’s so true.  Not in all the literature of the human race is there anything that even begins to approach the wonder of the depth of the meaning of the words of Jesus Christ.  Why didn’t He refer to His marvelous discourses, His words?  No, what does He do to authenticate, to substantiate, to verify the truth of His message and ministry in the world?  He does it by the Word of God; the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures [Luke 24:44-45].

Justin Martyr, who lived, pastored the church in Samaria in 70 AD, Justin Martyr said, “To declare a thing should come to pass long before it is in being, and then to bring it to pass, this or nothing is the work of God.”  And the great French scientist and physicist Pascal said, “The greatest of the proofs of Jesus Christ are the prophecies.  They are also what God has most provided for.  For the event which has fulfilled them is a miracle which has subsisted from the birth of Christ even to the end.”  I say that is an astonishing thing!  Raised from the dead He stands there before them, and the incontrovertible authentication of His ministry is the Word of God! [Luke 24:13-3136-48].  The Lord said it!  And He fulfills it.

Christianity, the Judeo-Christian faith is unique in that respect.  There is no other religion that has prophecy in it.  There is no other religious book that has prophecy in it, and it is very explicable.  Gautama the Buddha or Krishna the Hindu or Mohammed the prophet dare not predict the future.  It would be most manifest that they are charlatans and deceivers.  They couldn’t do it!  But these men of God, speaking by the unction and power of the Holy Spirit, describe events thousands of years before they come to pass and will do it in detail as intimately and as minutely as if they were standing there face to face with the Lord or at the foot of the cross.  It is an astonishing thing, this thing of miracle in prophecy, the Bible!   For one man to speak of the coming of one like the Lord Jesus at one time in history would itself be a miracle.  But these are men, many of them who lived hundreds of years apart, who are describing
someone who is coming a thousand years yet, or seven hundred fifty years, yet or two thousand years yet or five hundred years yet; and as I say they describe Him as minutely, as if they were standing there looking at Him.  You’d see less of Him if you were looking at Him in the flesh.  It’s a miracle.  It’s a marvel.  But the most marvelous thing of all is this, I think, the predictions and the prophecies they made about the Coming One are contradictory.

In the first chapter of 1 Peter, Simon Peter writes about that.  He said, “The prophets, the prophets who wrote the prophecy could not understand it” [verses 10-11].  As the old rabbis, who pored over those prophecies, they couldn’t understand it.  And John the Baptist couldn’t understand it.  He said to the Lord Jesus, and said, “Is there more than one Christ?  Are You one and are there others yet to come?  I do not understand it”[Matthew 11:2-3].  And the angels in heaven, Peter writes in 1 Peter chapter 1, the angels in heaven could not understand those prophecies [verse 12].  Men of God moved by the Holy Spirit describing the coming of the Lord, they were contradictory.  In one breath the prophet would say, “He is a coming conqueror, Jesus the King!”  In the next breath, “He is lowly and meek and despised, riding the foal of an ass” [Zechariah 9:9].  And they couldn’t understand.

With one breath the prophecy would be made He is a great King, a coming King and in the next breath “He is despised like a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.  Despised and rejected of men, acquainted with sorrow and with grief” [Isaiah 53:1-3], in the same breath.  The prophecy would say, “He is the desire of all nations.  This great Coming One, who is to be Ruler over all the earth,” and in the next breath, they pierced Him, His hands and His feet, and they crucified Him between felons, and they buried Him in the earth [Matthew 12:40].  They couldn’t understand.  The men that wrote the prophecies couldn’t understand.  The angels who looked upon those words couldn’t understand.  And the disciples and the apostles and John the Baptist couldn’t understand.

The great authentication that Jesus is the Lord is the Word, the prophecy of God.  He is the only One who fulfills them, He and He alone.   But before you say that, an unbeliever will say to us, “Now wait, I have three objections to that account.  Objection number one:  the disciples reading those prophecies in the Old Testament Scriptures, the disciples made the life of Jesus conform to those prophecies.  My brother, most of those prophecies were fulfilled by His enemies who hated Him, not by His disciples and friends but by those who crucified Him, those who bitterly denied Him.

Objection number two the unbeliever says, all of these things that Christ fulfilled were written into the documents by His friends.  My brother, when Jesus lived that Bible was as finished and complete in those Old Testament Scriptures as they are today.  After the days of Ezra, hundreds of years before Christ, the Bible was a sealed and finished book, and any intrusion or spurious documentation changing would have been seen immediately by thousands of scholarly rabbis.  They couldn’t change the documents.

Then a third objection; all of those prophecies refer to somebody else.  My friend, somebody who?  Who?  Who?  These prophecies refer to Caesar?  Ridiculous!  To a Charlemagne?  Unthinkable!  To a Napoleon?  Unimaginable!  To a Churchill?  Never thought for!  There’s only one, and His name is called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace! [Isaiah 9:6].  All of the words in all of the prophecies point to Him!  He fulfilled them all, and in that sacred and holy testimony, He found the authentication for His divine message, and ministry, and witness to us today.  And that’s why, precious friend, God says in view of the plain evidence and the incontrovertible witness, it’s sin, it’s wrong to refuse the Lord, and if persisted in, it becomes an unpardonable and unforgiveable sin [Matthew 12:31-32].  The Lord has done all that even God could do in pointing to Jesus as the Savior of the world.  The Lamb of God!  Our King!  Our Lord!  “He that believeth on Him is not condemned:  but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” [John 3:18].  And John closes that great third chapter with that final witness, “He that hath the Son hath the life: he that hath not the Son hath not the life; but the wrath of God abideth upon him” [John 3:36].  God could do no more than God has done to lead our souls in reverential love at the feet of the Lord Jesus; to receive Him according to the witness of the Holy Scriptures.  He is God!  He is the Lord!  He is the fulfillment of all prophecy.  He is the Savior of the world!  He is the King of all creation!  And He is coming again!  And He is our hope, our prospect for peace and life and resurrection and heaven.  He is everything, our all in all.  The Book points us to Jesus, and Jesus points us to the Book.

Now may we stand together?

Wonderful, wonderful Lord, whose name is Wonderful [Isaiah 9:6], how could anyone hesitate before the all-inclusive testimony of the Word of God?  “This is the beloved Son, hear ye Him” [Matthew 17:5].  “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name, that whosoever believeth in Him should have remission of sins” [Acts 10:43].  He came to fulfill the prophecy wearing a crown of thorns, suffering for us [Matthew 27:29-50].  He is coming again [Mark 14:62; Revelation 7], wearing a crown of gold; King of heaven and earth.  And that great, mighty King who sits on the throne of God is my friend and my Savior.  He knows my name; He knows all about me and yet loves me, cares for me, died in my place, is my friend and fellow pilgrim.  O wonder of wonders that Jesus loves me!  How could it be?  It is too marvelous.  “Who hath believed our report?” said Isaiah [Isaiah 53:1].  It’s too marvelous that such a thing could be.  What a wonder of wonders.  We live in the midst of the amazing grace and goodness of God.  We love Thee Lord, forever.

And while our people pray and stand in intercession for you, a family, a couple, or just one somebody you, “This day I have opened my heart to the Lord Jesus.  I take Him, receive Him for all that He said He was; My Savior.”  Or, “We want to put our lives in the fellowship of this wonderful church.”  Or as the Spirit shall press the appeal to your heart, to answer with your life as God shall make appeal, make the decision now in your heart.  And in a moment when we sing our hymn of appeal, down one of those stairways, down one of these aisles, “Pastor, here we are.”  Ministers are here to welcome you; deacons are here to rejoice in your coming.  Do it now, make it now, and angels attend you in the way.  And thank You precious Lord for the beautiful harvest.  In Thy saving and keeping name, amen.  While we sing, “Here I am pastor, here I come.”

Jesus Has the Keys to Death & Hell

HE HOLDS THE KEYS | REVELATION 1:1-7, 17-18 | #2336  Dr. Adrian Rogers

Well, as we’re gonna see in our message this morning, He holds the keys, and the title of
the message is just that, “He Holds the Keys.” Find the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation,
the golden clasp. And if you’re here for the first time in this series, you’re getting here at good time
because we still have really not pulled out of the station. We’re still in chapter 1, trying to get set.
And we’ll pick up speed as we go along. But take this wonderful book, the golden clasp to the Bible,
the book of the Revelation.
Now it’s an interesting thing to write a book. I’ve written a number of books. I have a
wonderful book and the title of that book is, “The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority,” the subtitle,
“Getting an Upper Hand on the Under World.” Well, this book has a title. Look at it. It’s in chapter
1 verse 1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” that’s the title of the book. A title is very important.
I told my children, I’ve told them this several times when writing a book, if you will give me
a good title for this book I’ll pay you one hundred dollars. You talk about grandchildren getting
excited as well as my grown children. And that particular book on kingdom authority, my daughter
Gail said, “Papa, how about ‘Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld’?” I said, “I like that. You’ve
got a hundred bucks.” And so, that’s a good title. I can’t take credit for that. But nobody can get a
better title for a book than God gave this one, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which means literally
the unveiling, the unfolding of Jesus Christ. And beloved, we’re not here to study prophecy as much
as we are to love and worship and get acquainted more and more with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen?
So every book needs a title. And also, every book needs a target group. Now you don’t just
write a book to, “To whom it may concern.” You think of a target group. Well, who’s the target
group? “Which God gave unto him, to show unto His servants,” you see that in verse 1. The word
servants, Greek word doulos, which means bond slave. Are you a bond slave of the Lord Jesus
Christ? A bond slave was a person who was not captured against his will, but a person who
willingly submits himself to another person, becomes his slave, a bond slave, a doulos. Are you that?
Well you see, if you’re not a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ, this book was not written to you, nor
will you understand it. It’s to show to His servants. Now you’re going to have to be a slave of the
Lord Jesus to understand this.
Now, being a slave of Jesus is not so bad because the master is responsible for the slave’s
care, his upkeep, his protection, his health and all of that. It’s wonderful to be in the care of such a
loving master. Now I’ll tell you a good secret about being a servant, a slave. You know things other
people don’t know.
Friend, when you become a servant of the Lord Jesus, did you know that you’ll have a lot of
intimacy with the Lord Jesus, you’ll understand this book. So, we see the title of the book, we see
the target area of the book and then we see the subject of the book. Every book must have a
subject; “Things which must shortly come to pass.” That’s what it’s about. It’s about things that are
going to happen in the future.
Now you say, “Well, that’s two thousand years ago. I thought you said it’s things that are still
going to happen, and yet it says, “Things which must shortly come to pass.” Well, you need to
understand the word shortly. It’s a word that we get some English words from. Have you ever
heard of a tachometer? What does a tachometer do? Well, it registers speed revolutions per
second, minute, or whatever. Have you ever heard the word taxi? What does a taxi do? Well it gets
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HE HOLDS THE KEYS | REVELATION 1:1-7, 17-18 | #2336
you places in a hurry. What this means is, things that are rapidly going to come to pass. You see,
history at the end, it picks up speed. Have you noticed, and I believe we’re living in the end times,
have you noticed how things have just picked up speed in the last several years? Have you noticed
how everything just seems to be coming at us? It’s like drinking from a fire hose and looking into
the end of a loaded cannon all at the same time. Things are happening in the world today, friend.
Pick up your Bible with one hand, the newspaper in the other hand, and you can tell that we are
living in the closing shadows of the end of an age. And so that’s the subject of the book, “Things
which must quickly come to pass.” And the child of God ought not to be in ignorance in these
pregnant times in which we are living.
And so also, we’re going to find out who the author of the book is. Look in verse 4, “John to
the seven churches.” Now John, about 90 years of age, is on the island of Patmos. He has a vision
and he has a commission to write this book. As a matter of fact, the publisher came to John and
says, “John, I want you to write this book.” Actually, as we’re going to see in a few Sundays, God gave
him the outline of the book. God’s never given me directly an outline for a book. I have to kind of
work at it a little bit, but God gave John the outline of this book. John is the one who is
commissioned to write a book. So, he is the author.
And then every book needs a publisher. Well, who is the publisher? Well, look if you will in
this chapter. The publisher is the Trinity Publishing Company. It says in verse 4, “From Him which is,
and which was, and which is to come: and from the seven Spirits which are before the throne; and from
Jesus Christ.” Three times he uses the little preposition there, from, from, from. It’s from God the
Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Now normally when the Trinity is mentioned it’s
God, it’s Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But here, it’s Father, Holy Ghost and Son. Why is that? Well,
this book is particularly about the Lord Jesus Christ. And He’s left last for emphasis right here. But
every book has to have a publisher. And so Trinity Publishing Company, Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
have published this book and given it to us. And I’m so grateful that we can hold in our hands the
very Word of God. Aren’t you? And so, that’s the publisher.
Now, every book needs a dedication. And who is it dedicated to? Well, notice what he says
here in the last part of verse 5, “Unto Him.” Unto Whom? The hero of the book. “Unto Him,” unto
Jesus, “Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. And hath made us kings
and priests unto God and to His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Every
person who writes a book writes a dedication in that book. I’ve dedicated books to my wife, and to
my parents, to my grandchildren, to this congregation to those editors who’ve helped me, or
whatever. But John says this book is dedicated unto Him, unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some years ago, one of these paddle wheel steamers was going down the Mississippi, and
two little boys were on the wharf, and one of them said, “Look, look. Do you see there? There’s the
Captain. There’s the Captain. Hey look! Everybody! There is the Captain. I see the Captain. Do you
see him? Everybody see him? That’s the Captain.” And somebody said, “Why are you so excited
about the Captain?” “Well,” he said, “I fell in the Mississippi one time, and the Captain jumped in and
pulled me out and saved my life. And ever since then I just love to point him out.” That’s the way I
feel about Jesus. I tell, I love to say, “Look, there is Jesus.” I tell musicians and choirs, “Let’s sing about
Jesus.” I tell our teachers, “Let’s teach about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Let our fellowship be in the Lord
Jesus Christ. I want this to be a Jesus church, don’t you? I want it to be unto Him who loved us and
washed us and made us kings and priests.
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HE HOLDS THE KEYS | REVELATION 1:1-7, 17-18 | #2336
And I want to tell you three things about His grace this morning. First of all, let’s just think
four things about the Lord Jesus Christ. And the very first thing I want you to think about when we
think about the lord Jesus Christ is the grace of our risen Lord. Look if you will in verse 4,
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you.” Grace be unto you. And then fast
forward down again to verse 5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of
the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him,” here’s three things He does, “that loved
us, and that washed us and hath made us kings and priests.” Now let’s look at those three things that
our Lord does because of His grace.
First of all, He loves us because of His grace. Now if you have a Bible that says, “And He
loved us,” and some translations give it that, but a better translation is in the present tense, not the
past tense, “He loves us.” He loves us. When did He start loving you? He never did. He never
started loving you. He has always loved you. He loves you continuously. He loved you before He
swung this planet into space. He loved you before time began. You’ve been in the heart and mind
of God before the foundation of the world. He loves you!
Now come up close, I want to tell you something. He doesn’t love you because you’re
valuable. You’re valuable because He loves you. You’re valuable because He loves you. Why does He
love us? By sheer grace. That’s why we call it grace. He just loves us. “For God so loved the world.”
And I’m so glad that He loves everybody. “Wonderful things in the Bible I see, but this is the
dearest, that Jesus loves me. I’m so glad that Jesus loves me.” Say to yourself, “Jesus loves me. He
loves me.”
Now don’t get the idea that you can make yourself lovable. You can’t. You can’t. You know,
sometimes we get the idea that if we can just clean ourselves up, then maybe He would love us.
Well, if you’re going to look at this passage of Scripture, it says He loves us and then it says He
washed us. Doesn’t say He washed us so He could love us. When a little dirty child comes in the
house, the mother doesn’t wash that child so it can love that child. The mother loves that child so
the mother washes that child. Isn’t that true? God doesn’t change us so He can love us. He loves us
so He can change us. The love comes before the washing. He just loves us by His grace. And so I
want you to understand that.
Some years ago I read about a man who put a want ad in the paper for his dog. His dog
has strayed and he described the dog. And it went something like this, “The dog has bare spots
where there’s no fur because the dog has had a terrible case of mange. And the dog limps because
it was hit by an automobile and the hind leg was broken, and so the dog limps. And also, in the
other joints the dog has arthritis. And also the dog is blind in one eye.” And then he said, “He
answers to the name ‘Lucky.’” Well, what, what made him so lucky? He had somebody loved him
enough. And on it said, “Reward Offered.” He had somebody, that lucky dog, who loved him
enough to pay a price to get him back. Well friend, we’re not lucky dogs, we’re blessed dogs. Are
we not? I mean, that God loves us. God loves people like we are. And so the Bible says, “Unto Him
who loved us.” And so put down number one, He loves us.
And then number two, He is the one who has liberated us or loosed us. Now
notice it says, “Who washed us from our sins.” Well, you could put that down, “Who washed us.” But
some of you have translations that says, “Who loosed us.” The Greek word can mean either to wash
or to loose. Well, actually, I think it means both. And I think it’s a very significant word. He is the one,
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HE HOLDS THE KEYS | REVELATION 1:1-7, 17-18 | #2336
not only who loves us but has, past tense, loosed us, set us free. And it has the idea of, of using keys
to set someone free. Or else it has the idea of removing pollution. He has loosed us.
I’m a very absent-minded person. Now confession is good for the soul and I’m absent
minded. If I ever get a flying license, don’t ever get in an airplane with me. You would not want to fly
with me. I’m so absent-minded I can lose a pen when I’m writing with it. That is true. And what I
will do from time to time is I will take a felt tip pen, take the top off of it, be writing, answer the
phone, put that pen in my pocket without putting a top back on it. Have you ever done that? I hate
to do that. It’s always the nicest shirt. And I look in there and there’s that big spot right there. Now,
“Oh, good night, Adrian, you are so dumb. How could you do that?” I hate for Joyce to see it. And
I’ll go in there, you know, and I’ll go in the bathroom and I’ll scrub and I spray and I get all sorts of
things. Friend, there ain’t nothing take that spot out. As a matter of fact, I mentioned this earlier and
I’ve already received a note, a lady said, “Here’s what you do. You put hairspray on it. Hairspray will
take it.” I got news for her, friend, it won’t do it. And lady, if I could find you, if hairspray would take it
out, I’d pay you. I’d give you fifty bucks. It won’t take it out. Now there’s one thing that will take it
out, and that’s scissors. Scissors! You ruin a good shirt. And that stuff gets in there and it won’t let
go. Oh, I’m so grateful for God’s triple detergent, the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Friend, He is the one who says to that stain, “Let Go! Come out!” And He’ll make you clean,
friend. Absolutely spotlessly clean. God’s detergent is the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He’s washed us, this verse says, in His blood. “Oh, precious is the flow that washes white as snow.”
What is that? “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
Have you ever thought about His blood? His blood, the blood of Jesus. Friend, there’s no
other blood like that. His blood, absolutely unique. That’s the reason for the virgin birth. Without
the virgin birth, there is no salvation. Without the virgin birth, Jesus would not have been sinless. You
see, His blood is sinless blood. His blood is not contaminated blood. Whose blood was in the veins
of the Lord Jesus? Whose blood was poured out at Calvary? It was the blood of God. You say, “God
doesn’t have blood.” He did when Jesus was here on this earth. You read Acts chapter 20 and verse
28. There Paul speaks of the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood. God
purchased the church with His own blood. Now some people think that in a little baby in its
mother’s womb, somehow that the mother and the baby are sharing the same blood. That
somehow maybe the mother’s blood circulates in that little baby. No, not a drop of the mother’s
blood goes into that baby. As a matter of fact, that baby may have one blood type and the mother
may have another blood type. Well, there was none of Mary’s blood in the Lord Jesus.
I’ll tell you something else. There was none of Joseph’s blood in the Lord Jesus because
Joseph was not his earthly father. The Heavenly Father was the father. The Holy Spirit
overshadowed Mary, and Mary became pregnant by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit of God!
Now, the baby develops its own blood but this baby had none of Mary’s blood. This baby had none
of Joseph’s blood. This baby had the blood of God. That is the precious blood, the only thing that
can cleanse from sin. “Without shedding of blood is no remission of sin.” And, friend, He loves us, He
has loosed us. And then He has lifted us.
Look at it. And it says, “He has made us kings and priests.” Have you ever seen a real live
king, I mean, a real live king? Want to see one? Here I am. You say, “You’re a king?” Yes, sir. I’ll tell you
something else. Have you ever seen a Baptist priest? Want to see one? I’m a priest. But go look in
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the mirror and you’ll see a king and a priest, or a queen and a priest. That’s who you are in Jesus.
That’s what He’s done for us. He’s made us kings and priests unto God.
And so, you’re somebody. Now, you may not be recognized in this world. You may be
looked down on, ignored and nobody even calls on you to lead in silent prayer. I want to tell you,
listen, if you are saved, you are a royal blue blood. You’re next of kin to the holy Trinity. Jesus is not
ashamed to call you His brother. That’s what the Bible says. And you are in the family of God. You
are royalty. So you just call me “Prince Adrian.” But you’re also a Priest. You can go to God directly.
You don’t need any intermediary. You can go directly to God. God is no further from you than your
knees are from the floor. And really, if you can’t get your knees on the floor, He is no further from
you than the breath in your lungs and the skin on your body. And you can go to Him directly.
Now, thank God for His grace, Amen? Thank God for the grace, the grace of our risen Lord.
No wonder Paul begins this passage saying, “Grace be to you.” The grace of our living Lord, our risen
Lord.
Now here’s the second thing I want you to see. Not only the grace of our risen Lord, but I
want you to see also as we look in this passage the glory of our risen Lord. Look in verse 7.
Look at it, “Behold, He cometh with clouds.” Now what does that talk about? Talks about His glory.
“Behold, He cometh with clouds.” What clouds is He talking about? Well, he’s not talking about
cumulus clouds or cirrus clouds, or whatever other kind of clouds there may be; these clouds that
are moisture, dangling in air. These are glory clouds! What we would call the shekinah glory of God.
It is the effulgence of God’s glory, the outshining of God’s glory. You see, God’s glory is spoken of as
a cloud.
For example, when the Lord Jesus went up into glory, the Bible says the clouds received
Him out of their sight. That doesn’t mean the rain clouds or the sheltering clouds. It means the
glory cloud. The glory of God received the Lord Jesus. And then the angel said, “This same Jesus
which is taken up from you into Heaven will so come in like manner as you’ve seen Him go.” He went in
the clouds of glory. He’s coming in the clouds of glory. It was the shekinah cloud that led the
children of Israel through the wilderness, that draped itself over that mercy seat there as the Ark of
the Covenant was leading the children of God through the wilderness. That is the glory cloud. And
when the Bible says, “Behold, He comes with clouds,” it means He is coming in an outshining of great
glory.
And then this verse says, verse 7, that He’s going to be seen by those who nailed Him to
the cross; those who pierced Him. Now remember last week when we talked about all of the
attributes of our risen Lord? We talked, for example, about His clothing. We talked about how the
Lord Jesus Christ is dressed in a royal robe, “And gird about the paps with a golden girdle.” You
remember that? Well, these people nailed Him. Do you know the last time they saw Him, the ones
who are going to see Him again? You know last time they saw Him was naked. Now, our artists
today are kind, at least they put a loin cloth on the Lord Jesus Christ. But people didn’t do that
when they crucified a man. He was striped absolutely naked. The last time they saw Him, He was
hanging in shame. When they see Him again, friend, He’s coming in glory. Amen. Hallelujah. He’s
dressed with the royal robes, the robes of a priest, the robes of a king, and the robes of a judge.
That’s what all of this is about. The last time they saw Him, His hair was matted with crimson blood.
When they see Him again, His hair will be whiter than snow, speaking of His holiness and His purity;
that crimson blood will have turned to pure white when they see Him again. When they saw Him
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the last time His eyes were filled with tears of liquid love. When He comes again in glory, His eyes,
this passage tells us, if you read this chapter, like flames of fire seeing right through them. As I say,
not only does He see you, He sees through you. The last time they saw Him; there was a huge
spike that was driven through His feet, nailing Him to that cross. When He comes again, those who
crucified Him are going to see those feet like molten brass going forth in judgment. Remember
reading that last week? That’s speaking of our Lord coming in judgment. They’re going to see Him
this way. The last time that He was here they put a spear in His side, and out came water and
blood. When they see Him coming in glory, there won’t be a spear in His side. There’ll be a sword
coming out of His mouth, a sharp two-edged sword with which He would smite the nations.
Friend, it’s going to be different when the Lord Jesus Christ comes again. When they
crucified Him, His face was so battered, so bruised, so mutilated that you could not tell whether it
was the face of a man or an animal. When He comes again in glory, and I can hardly wait, His face
will be like the noonday sun, brighter than the glory of the noonday sun. And I say, “Even come,
Lord Jesus.” Listen friend, all the people of this earth, they’re going to wail because of Him. They’re
going to see Jesus. Humanity has a date with Jesus. “‘As I live,’ sayeth the Lord, ‘every knee shall bow to
Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’” He is coming. Oh thank God, thank God for the grace of
our risen Lord. Thank God for the glory of our risen Lord. He’s coming in clouds. Amen.
Now, here’s the third thing I want you to see. I want you to see the gentleness of our
risen Lord. Look at it here if you will in verse 17. John says, “And when I saw Him,” I mean, look at
Him. “Oh, I’ve never seen anything,” John said, “like that.” “I fell at His feet as dead.” John just
collapsed. He fell out. John is so overwhelmed, the glory, the majesty, the magnitude, the
awesomeness of our glorified, risen, ascended Lord, John just falls out! Now here’s the sweet part. I
want you to look in verse 17, “He laid His right hand upon me, saying, ‘Fear not; I am the first and the
last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.’” I love that. You know why
I love that? Because if we just read this first chapter and we saw Jesus Christ in all of His glory, we
might be afraid to approach Him. We might be like John, we’d just fall out. We’d faint. We’d say,
“Now, whoever You are, I’m afraid of You, but I don’t know whether I really want to have fellowship
with You or not. You’re so awesome, You’re so incredible, I just want to kinda shrink back from You.”
But I want you to notice what Jesus does. He reaches down, and He touches John. He lays His
hand on him. “Get up, son. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.” I just love that. Because friend, even
though His outward appearance has changed from when John first saw Him, even though now He
has this majestic glory, listen to me now, His heart is still the same. “Don’t be afraid.” He lays His
hand on Him. The right hand. The right hand of power. The right hand of authority. Jesus was always
touching people with His hand. Touched the eyes of a blind man and the blind saw. He touched the
ears of the deaf and the deaf heard. He touched the limbs of the crippled and those limbs were
straightened. I love the part in the Bible where those loathsome lepers are there dressed in their
rags, and everybody is standing back. And the leper had to say according to the law that day,
“Unclean! Unclean!” And people would just separate like the Red Sea when the lepers would come
to town. Nobody would want to get near a leper with his loathsome sores. But the Bible says Jesus
touched them. He laid His hands on the leper and touched them.
I may be speaking through television to somebody; you think you’re an untouchable. You’re
not. Jesus loves you, I don’t care who you are, how bad your condition is. Thank God for that touch.
That’s the reason I love the Gaither songs, “He Touched Me.” That’s the reason why that song has
just gone across America and around the world. He touched me! I believe that John could have
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inspired that song. He laid His hand upon me and said, “Don’t be afraid.” Now, listen, listen. Folks, if
you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ, you’ve got a lot of reason to be afraid.
Can you put your Bible in one hand, your newspaper in the other hand and see what is
happening? Can you see how everything is coming to a climax? Friend, this is a treacherous world
in which we’re living. These are dangerous days. But in spite of it all, our God says, “Look, I love you.
Don’t be afraid.” And as we see these things unfold, we’re going to be amazed as we see these
things unfold. What is coming to this earth? But I want you to remember that I am not preaching
on the second coming of Jesus Christ to put you into fear, but to give you comfort. And we’re the
ones who don’t have to go around with headline hysteria. I’ve said before, there are three kinds of
people in this world: those who are afraid, those who don’t know enough to be afraid, and those
who know their Bibles. Jesus says, “Fear not.”
And so, I want to move on to the fourth point. And we think not only the gentleness of our
risen Lord, but I want you to think of the government of our risen Lord, the government
of our risen Lord. Look again in verse 17. “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid
His right hand upon me, saying unto me, ‘Fear not; I am first and the last,’” now watch this, “‘I am He
that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive,’” He’s talking here about the resurrection,
“‘forevermore, Amen; and I have the keys of Hell and of death.’”
Now what does that mean, to have the keys of Hell and of death? Keys stand for authority.
They stand for possession. They stand for privilege, for right. That means the one who has the keys
is the one who’s in control. What do keys do? Keys open. What do keys do? Keys close. What do
keys do? They liberate. What do keys do? They imprison. And Jesus says, “Look, mankind has two
great enemies: Hell and death. And I keep the keys of Hell and of death.”
Now, when the Bible says here, “I have the keys of Hell,” it’s the Greek word Hades. The
Hebrew word for the same subject is, Sheol. And what it literally means is the realm of the unseen
world, the spirit world. When a person dies, death gets the body, but Hell gets the spirit and the
soul. Now, even the saved in the Old Testament went to Hades. Now that may come as a shock to
you. But the word Hades does not necessarily imply torment, though it might. You see, there is the
Hades of torment and there is the Hades of paradise. Now in Luke chapter 16 the Bible says of a
wicked, unsaved, ungodly man who died, and in Hades, it’s translated Hell in the King James, but it’s
the Greek word Hades, and that word is used some eleven times in the New Testament. “And in
Hades he lifted up his eyes being in torment.” So there’s a part of Hades that is called torment. But
Jesus also said to a dying thief who cried out for mercy when Jesus was on the cross, “Today you’ll
be with Me in paradise.” So Hades could either be torment or paradise. Now don’t anybody go out
of here and say, “Pastor doesn’t believe in Hell.” I believe in Hell. And I believe there is a lake of fire.
We’re going to study it when we get to Revelation chapter 20. Death and Hell were cast into the
lake of fire. Death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire. There is a Gehenna Hell and we’re going
to talk about that. We just don’t have time to talk about it much today. But what I’m trying to say is
that Jesus holds the keys to this underworld, this mysterious world, this unseen world where
departed spirits go. And Jesus holds the keys to death that has the body.
So when a person dies in the Old Testament, Hades got the spirit and death got the body.
Jesus is the keeper of the keys to both of these. How did he get those keys? By His resurrection.
Death, that cruel monarch of terrors clapped his bony hands and laughed his hoarse laugh and said
concerning Jesus Christ, “We’ve got Him.” But they didn’t have Him. Jesus was taken captive by
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death that He might lead captivity captive. And so, Jesus rose from the dead on that Easter morning
so long ago. And He did it in complete confidence and calmness. As a matter of fact, there’s a little
part in the Bible that I really love where it says that they came into the tomb where Jesus had been,
they found the napkin that was over His face, or the winding cloth that was over His face, folded. I
just wonder if Jesus didn’t get up and fold that very neatly before He walked out. He didn’t just
leave it on the floor. How’d you leave your bedroom this morning? He’s in complete control of this
situation. And here comes Death. And Death shrieks in terror because Jesus has risen. Jesus reaches
up and pulls Death from his throne, and the crown topples from the head of Death. And Jesus
throws Death to the dungeon floor, ignites the star of hope in that tomb. Puts His heel on the
throat of Death. Reaches down, pulls the sting out of Death. Breaks the crown of Death. Takes the
keys of Death and of Hell and becomes our risen, living, victorious Savior.
Oh friend, listen, we’ve got so much to be happy about. We’ve got so much to rejoice in.
This speaks of the government of our risen Lord. That’s the reason the Bible says in Isaiah chapter 9
and verse 6, “And the government shall be upon His shoulders.”
Years ago in Chicago there was a night club called, “The Gates of Hell.” Can you imagine
naming a nightclub “The Gates of Hell?” Maybe it’s pretty well named. That’s what some of them
are; “The Gates of Hell.” A young man wanted to go to that night club, so he asked a stranger on
the street, “Can you tell me how to get to the Gates of Hell?” It just so happened on that same
street was Calvary Church. And Calvary Church had a big sign out there that said, “Calvary
Church.” The stranger said to this young man, “Yes, I can tell you how to get to The Gates of Hell.
Just go right past Calvary and you’ll come to the Gates of Hell.” I want to say to you with a broken
heart, if you refuse the Lord Jesus Christ, if you go past Calvary, that’s exactly where you’re going to
end up, the very gates of Hell. But Jesus has the key. You want to be liberated? You want to be set
free? He loves you. He wants to loose you. He wants to lift you. If I had a thousand lives, I’d give
them all to Jesus.
Would you bow your heads in prayer? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. If you’re not
certain that you’re saved, would you like to be saved, would you? Would you like to know that you
really do have life? Jesus said, “I’ve come that you might have life.” Could I lead you in a prayer? We’ll
call this prayer the sinner’s prayer. And you can pray and accept Christ as your personal Lord and
Savior. You can do it right now. Would you pray this prayer? “Dear God, I know that You love me.
Thank You for loving me. And I know that You want to save me. Jesus, You died to save me and You
promised to save me if I would trust You. Jesus, I do trust You. I believe You’re the Son of God. I
believe you paid for my sin with Your blood on the cross. I believe that God raised You from the
dead. And now I receive You as my Lord and Savior. Forgive my sin. Cleanse me. Come into my life.
Take control of my life and begin today to make me the person You want me to be. And Jesus, give
me the courage to make it public. Help me never to be ashamed of You. In Your name I pray,
Amen.”
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