Don’t Die as 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.



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

Charles Stanley

KEY PASSAGE: 1 John 4:7-11



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.


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.


  • 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


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.
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
PAGE 2 Copyright ©2019 Love Worth Finding Ministries, Inc.
Transcripts are used by permission of the Rogers Family Trust.
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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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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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
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
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,
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How to be Rescued from Despair

What Jesus did on the cross was enough to get us all the way to heaven. ================================================== The slightest smidgeon of sin will banish you from the presence of God forever. Martin Luther understood this and spent hours each day confessing his sins. But he ran into a quandary: Sins, in order to be forgiven, had to be remembered. If sins aren’t remembered, they can’t be confessed. If sins aren’t confessed, they can’t be forgiven. And what if there are things that God considers sinful but you aren’t aware that they are sins? Luther eventually connected the dots, and in this message, Pastor Lutzer takes us through the passages in the book of Romans that led Martin Luther to saving faith in Jesus Christ—and the start of the Reformation. Romans 1:17-18, Romans 3:22-24, Romans 4:3, Romans 6:23, Hebrews 10:10-14

Praying the Right Way

Getting Prayer Right……By Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer…..

Dr. Erwin Lutzer

You can’t understand prayer until you properly understand God. Prayer. It shouldn’t be a last ditch effort to get what we want. It should be like oxygen: something we can’t live without. Our first concern with prayer should always be the glory of God—His faithfulness and mercy toward us. Secondly, if our prayers don’t lead us to yield to God’s will, we haven’t really prayed. And finally, we need to be persistent. If all of our praying consists of “I need…” there is no relationship with God. We’re not making room for Him in our lives. We need to learn to just enjoy God without coming to Him with a list of “needs.” So, what is the proper way to pray? Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words. The closest the Bible comes to giving a “pattern” for prayer is the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Please understand that the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite to God. It is an example of the things that should go into a prayer—worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to pray for the things the Lord’s Prayer talks about, using our own words and “customising” it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness. God’s desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.