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
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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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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
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,
PAGE 9 Copyright ©2019 Love Worth Finding Ministries, Inc.
Transcripts are used by permission of the Rogers Family Trust.

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.


Biblical Reason for Hope


Dr.  W.  A.  Criswell

1 Peter 3:15

11-25-73    10:50 a.m.

On the radio and on television you are sharing with us the service of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the message entitled A Reason for Hope, In Defense of the Faith.  There is not one time in a decade, or maybe in two decades, that I will prepare and deliver a sermon like this; but, in my preaching through the Book of Simon Peter, in the third chapter and the fifteenth verse, the passage to which we have come, there is this text.  And preaching from the text, I felt that it would be highly in order if this one time I were to present why it is that we do, in the name of Christ, certain things.

Reading the text in 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 15, “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” [1 Peter 3:15].  “Be ready always to give an answer,” an apologia.  We have taken the Greek word apologia and have bodily taken it into our language: apology.

For the centuries that it has been used, and correctly used today, it will have the meaning that it has here; apologia, a defense.  But in our recent times, “apology” has come to refer to an obsequious asking for pardon when someone thinks he has made a mistake or done something wrong.  But that is a late-added meaning to the word.  The word originally meant what it is here, an apologia, a defense.

For example, in literature one of the great pieces of literature is entitled Apologia Socrates, the Apology of Socrates, the defense of Socrates for his life.  Or again, doubtless one of the most beautifully written and certainly chaste in language of all the essays ever penned in the English tongue is the Apologia pro Vita Sua, by John Henry Newman.  That is an apology, a defense of his life.  In the first Christian centuries, when the faith was so sorely beset in the Roman Empire, there were men like Tertullian, and Justin Martyr, and Athenagoras, who wrote in defense of the faith, and they were called  the “great apologists.”   Well, that is the way the word is used here, and correctly used, “Be ready always to give an apologia, a defense, an answer, to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope”—elpis, he does not use the word pistis, “faith,” but elpis— “for the hope that is in you” [1 Peter 3:15].

He uses the word hope here in the same sense that it is used in the twenty-eighth chapter of Acts [Acts 28:20] and in the first chapter of Colossians [Colossians 1:5,23,27], hope here referring to the faith of the Christian.  The reason he uses the word hope is wherever, whenever the Christian faith comes under great trial and persecution, the creed takes on a color for the future, it just inevitably does.  The people who are under great trial and persecution have a tendency to lift up their hearts and their faces to a redemption that the Lord will bring when He comes again.  So he calls it hope.  But the word hope refers here to the whole Christian creed, the faith of the child of Christ.  So he admonishes us, “Be ready always to give an answer, an apology, a defense to everyone that asks you a reason for the faith, the hope that is in you” [1 Peter 3:15].

And that is what I shall seek to do this morning.  We are going to take some of the things that we have given our lives to and that others look upon with askance, and we are going to give a reason why we have committed to the Lord in faith, in hope, our lives.

All right, first of all, the religion itself; we will plead for a man to come to Christ, “Accept the Lord as your Savior.”  Then the man replies, “I look upon religion as a crutch and I am self‑sufficient and able to stand on my own feet; I do not need it.  It may be all right,” he would add, “for weak women and unknowledgeable and unknowing children, but as for me, I am not a candidate for its necessity.  I don’t need a crutch, and religion is just that: a crutch for weaklings.”  Well, let’s look at that just for a moment.  So he is self‑sufficient; he stands on his own feet; he doesn’t need God and he doesn’t need Christ and he doesn’t need a Savior and he doesn’t need religion.  It is a crutch, and he doesn’t need it.

May I take a leaf out of the life of our world? In 1912, the Titanic made its maiden voyage out of Liverpool, where it was built, to New York City.  And on that far-famed unsinkable ship there were something like 1,600 of the socially elite of both continents, America and Europe.  But that night in the North Atlantic the Titanic that couldn’t be sunk brushed a great iceberg and tore away a part of its right side, and the ship began slowly to sink beneath the bosom of the waters.  And as the ship went down, the dance orchestra that had been playing for the happy and joyous guests that night, the dance orchestra withdrew to the bow of the boat that was last to go down.  And as the orchestra played, they were playing the music of this Christian hymn:


Nearer, my God, to Thee.

E’en though it be a cross

That raiseth me . . .

Nearer, my God, to Thee.

[“Nearer my God to Thee,” Sarah Adams]


And as the 1,600, including that orchestra, went down to a watery grave, they sank to the strings of the melody of that Christian hymn.  “But you see, it’s a crutch, and I don’t need it.  I can stand on my own feet; I am sufficient and don’t need God.”

Yes.  Are you sure? Take again: in 1915, the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U‑boat precipitated the entrance of America against Germany in the First World War.  And in the icy cold waters of the North Atlantic when the Lusitania went down, there was a group of singers called, known as the Royal Welsh Male Choir.  And in their desperation they were clinging, that group of men, to a disabled life raft.  And as the life raft itself disintegrated, the men who were clinging to it one and one and one began to find themselves unable to hold to it longer, and in those cold, chilly waters and in the great swells of the sea, began to drown, sinking beneath those dark waves.  And the little group that remained, some of whom were rescued, began to sing a song.  Would you like to know what it was? Let me quote it for you.  That group of Royal Welsh male singers began to sing this hymn:


Abide with me;

Fast falls the eventide;

In the deepening darkness,

O Lord, with me abide.

When other helpers fail

And comforts flee,

Help of the helpless,

O abide with me.

[from “Abide with Me,” Henry Francis Lyte, 1847]


“But it is a crutch, and I don’t need it.”  Are you sure?  There will come a time in every life when a man desperately needs God—where can I find Him?  And we know God in the loving mediation and in the dying grace of Jesus Christ [Romans 5:8].  “Be ready always to give an apologia, an answer, to anyone that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” [1 Peter 3:15].  When people respond to the Lord, we receive them into the church.  We raise our hands and acknowledge their coming, and we vote for them to be members of the church.  So there are those who say, “That is an unusual custom, and it is not a biblical doctrine or practice; why do you do that?” Well, a part of the criticism of such a practice in the church I can understand, when they say, “God adds to the church,” and “We don’t do it; God does that.” That is true.

In 1 Corinthians 12:13, by inspiration the apostle Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into the body of Christ.” When a man belongs to Christ, God puts him in Christ.  When a man belongs to the church of the Lord, God puts him in it.  But that’s not all; there is something more.  You see, the church is the church triumphant someday, the church invisible, the church of the firstborn [Hebrews 12:22-23].  God’s redeemed will be gathered before His throne of glory someday [Jude 1:24], and to that church a man is joined by the baptism of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:13].

But you see, I also belong to the church visible, the church militant, the local church, which is the only church we have anything to do with [Hebrews 10:25].  The church invisible and triumphant we will see in glory someday.  You will never see it here, for the only church you will ever see here is a local congregation.  That’s what you find in the Bible: the churches of Judea, the churches of Galatia, the churches of Macedonia, the churches of Achaia.  That’s what you find in the Bible, and that’s the only church that you will ever see or have anything to do with in this mortal life.

Well, how is it that somebody becomes a member of that local church, how is he received? Well, he comes down the aisle and he says, “I have been saved, and I want to join the church.” Well, who receives him? Somebody has to.  Who receives him? Well, the people do not receive him in the church; the minister receives him.  Somebody has to, so the minister does.  The minister would say to the man, “Listen, you are sot drunk.  You have no idea what you are doing, and I will not receive you.  You wait and sober up and see whether or not you want to be a member of the body of Christ or not and accept Him as your Savior.”  The minister has to do it.

Well, why does the minister not do it in our church?  Because we believe that the ordinances are not in the minister but in the church.  They do not belong to the pastor, they belong to the congregation.  And when a man is saved and comes forward and says, “I have been saved, I want to be baptized, I want to be a member of the church,” instead of my receiving him, because the ordinance of baptism is not vested in me—I am a servant of the church, I am a fellow elder with my people, I am a fellow member of the congregation of the Lord—but it belongs to the congregation, the ordinance is invested in the church, and the church receives the man.

How else do you know that?  Because in the first Corinthian letter, chapter 5, there is a man living in incest, and Paul says, “When you are gathered together as a church, he must not be counted among you.  He lives in incest, he is living with his father’s wife, his stepmother; he must not be counted among you.  Dismiss that man that he might learn, to be saved, the mind of God” [I Corinthians 5:1-5]. Then again, in the second Corinthian letter, in chapter 2, Paul says, “When the church is gathered together, receive him back.” He evidently had repented and got right with God.  “Now take him back” [2 Corinthians 2:7-8].

That is the church.  The minister ought not to exclude anybody from the church; the minister ought not to take anybody back into the church.  According to the New Testament, that is the obligation and prerogative of the house of God, the people of the Lord.

For example, at Caesarea when those in Cornelius’s household were saved, they were gloriously saved [Acts 10:34-46].  Simon Peter said, “Can any forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit the same as we?”[Acts 10:47]. That is what I do exactly.  This man says he is been saved and he wants to be baptized.  Is there anyone in the congregation that objects?  All of you who are in favor and are grateful to God that the man has found the Lord, with the pastor, hold up your hand high,” and I add, “and say, ‘Amen.’”

I don’t have to do it that way.  I could say, “All of you that are in favor, stand on your heads.”  We could do that just as well.  Or we could all say, “All of you that are in favor, give the preacher a ten‑dollar bill.”  I would like that very much.  There is no way to do that particularly, it is an expression of the will of the church.  “Can any man forbid water?” Are all of us one heart and mind?  And in our church, we all are.

They say to me, “Pastor, one good thing about the First Baptist in Dallas, there has never been a negative vote in the church since you have been there for thirty years.”  The reason is, I don’t give them a chance to vote negatively.  We are all for it, we are all happy in it, and I know we are.  So I say, “And that is all of us.” That’s right.  The church receives them, and that’s why we receive them here.

All right, again, “You people that are called Baptists, when anyone comes forward and receives Christ as his Savior, you baptize him, you immerse him.  Now, that’s a thing that is alien to practically all of the Christian faith.  We sprinkle them as babies, we christen them as babies, baptize them as babies.  Why do you baptize in water? Why do you do that?”

I listened to a radio program last week that I could not believe my ears.  This is a great theologian who is speaking.  He is a man of world reputation who is answering.  There is a panel and evidently by the tone of the voices—because I tuned in late; I was driving my car, visiting, and as I visit in the city in the hospitals, going around in my car, I always turn the radio on and I listen to it.  Well, there was a panel, evidently of young people, college young people, and they had this theologian there.  And some of those young people were asking this theologian and great preacher why he didn’t baptize, why he sprinkled his converts.

All right, listen to his answer.  His answer, first of all, he says, was that the Jordan river is too shallow for anyone to be baptized in.  That was his first answer.  I don’t know why these things pop into my head, but when he answered that—that was his first answer—when he answered that, I thought immediately of the story of Elisha and Elijah.

When Elijah and Elisha approached the Jordan river, Elijah took his mantle and smote it, and the waters scattered hither and thither, and the two went over on dry ground [2 Kings 2:8].  Just beyond, a whirlwind took Elijah up into heaven, and Elisha saw the chariot of fire and the horses of Israel.  And when Elijah went up to heaven, the mantle fell from his shoulders down to the ground.  And Elisha picked it up, and, turning to the waters of the Jordan, smote the river and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?”  And again the waters parted, and he went over on dry ground [2 Kings 2:11-14].

What I thought when he answered was, “If the water was that shallow, why didn’t he just take off his sandals and wade across?  Why go to all of that trouble of smiting it with the mantle of God?  Or, if he didn’t mind getting his sandals wet, just walk across it.”  I have baptized in the Jordan River in the driest of seasons.

What else did he say?  His second answer was, “The Greek word baptizō does not mean immerse.” This is a theologian and a far-famed preacher, answering a panel of young college students. “The word baptizō, ‘baptize,’ does not mean to immerse.  It does not mean to dip.  We sprinkle.”  Out of 10,000 instances of the use of that word, let me choose just one out of 10,000, because it was a common, ordinary Greek word, as you would use the word “dip,” or as you would use the word “immerse.”  It was just a common, ordinary Greek word, baptizō.  Out of 10,000 ordinary uses of it, let me choose one out of Josephus.

Josephus was alive when Paul wrote; he was in the first century, in the days of the writing of the New Testament.  Let me choose just one incidence: Herod the Great was a butcher.  Augustus Caesar said, “In Herod’s household, it would be better to be ahuos than a huios,”  you would be safer to be a pig than a son, for Herod the Great killed most of his family out of envy and jealousy and fear of them.

Well, Herod the Great, the one who was king of the Jews when Jesus was born and killed the babes at Bethlehem [Matthew 2:16], Herod the Great married Mariamne.  She was the last of the Maccabean princesses, the Hasmonean family that the Jewish nation loved because Judas Maccabaeus had brought liberty to the country from the dreaded Syrian oppressor Antiochus.  Well, this Herod the Great was married to the beautiful Mariamne.  She had a brother, a Maccabean prince named Aristobulus, and she asked Herod the Great to make Aristobulus high priest.  The young fellow was seventeen years of age, tall and beautiful, handsome.  Out of deference to his wife Mariamne, whom he later killed, out of deference to Mariamne, he made Aristobulus, her brother the Maccabean, high priest.

And in celebration of the occasion, they dressed up Aristobulus in beautiful garments, high priestly garments, with a miter on his head, the breastplate, the beautiful robes, the bells, and the pomegranates.  And at the head of a great procession, Aristobulus, tall, young, and handsome Maccabean, was leading the Jewish priests and the worshipers from the temple through the streets of Jerusalem; and the people went wild.  They were mad with joy and excitement and praise, following Aristobulus the Maccabean, just made high priest.  Well, out of the palace Herod heard the commotion, and he went to the window and saw what it was: that Aristobulus was being accepted and acclaimed in paeans of praise and glory by all the populace.  So he said in his heart, “I must do away with him.”

And this is the way he did it.  He gathered all of the family, his family, and went down to Jericho, to the warm springs where he had built a big Roman bath—great big; you would call it a swimming pool, a covered swimming pool, a Roman bath.  So he said to his servants privately, “Now I am going in swimming with Aristobulus, the young Aristobulus, and after I have been in the pool with him for a while, I am going to leave.  And I am going to Mariamne and the house, the winter palace down in Jericho.  And when I am safely away, I want all of you servants to take Aristobulus out into the pool, and I want you to play with him, and I want you to play with him until you drown him.”  The servants said, “We understand.”

So Herod the Great took all of his family down to Jericho to the warm springs, and he and Aristobulus and the servants went swimming.  And then after a while, according to plan Herod the Great dressed and went to the winter palace in that warm country with Mariamne and the family.  And while Herod was gone, Josephus writes, “And the servants took Aristobulus out into the middle of the pool, and they baptizō and they baptizō and they baptizō Aristobulus until he drowned.”  All right, you just translate that, “And they sprinkled him and they sprinkled and they sprinkled him until he drowned.”  It is intellectually ridiculous.  It has a plain, simple meaning; and thus it is why we do what we do.

Not only does God say that we are to baptize our converts [Matthew 28:19], but it has a profound meaning.  The apostle Paul will say, not once or twice, but many times, we are buried with the Lord in the likeness of His death, and we are raised with the Lord in the likeness of His resurrection [Romans 6:3-5].  Baptism has a profound meaning, as does our Lord’s Supper.  This bread represents His body given for us.  And this red, crushed fruit of the vine represents His blood which is spilled out for us [Matthew 26:26-281 Corinthians 11:23-26].  So baptism has, according to the Scriptures, a divine and heavenly meaning: we are buried with the Lord in the likeness of His death—buried—and we are raised with the Lord in the likeness of His glorious resurrection [Romans 6:3-5].  Burial and resurrection: this is the heavenly meaning God has given to the holy ordinance of baptism.

Just one other: be ready always to give an apologia, a defense, an answer, to anyone that asks you a reason for the faith that is in you, the hope that is in you [1 Peter 3:15].  I choose just one other, and this may be just mostly your pastor, but your pastor is very much that way.  One of the ministers here in the state and belonged to our church, one of the ministers left our church.  He and his wife left and joined another church; they did it in the days when I was preaching through the Bible.

I preached through the Bible for seventeen years and eight months, and preached through the Revelation for two years, closing that long series.  So the minister left, and he said, where everybody could hear him, and scattered it everywhere anybody would listen to him, he said, “Criswell, the pastor of the First Church in Dallas, has gone to seed on dispensationalism, and all he can preach about is the second coming of Christ.”

Well, if a man preached the Bible, one out of every four verses of the New Testament refers to the coming of the Lord.  And if he preached the Old Testament, there are many, many, many times more references in the Old Testament to the second coming of Christ than the first coming of Christ.  There are very few references in the Old Testament to the first coming of Christ, but they are legion to the second coming of our Lord.  And your pastor is a Bible preacher; that’s all he does.  When you invite anybody to church, you can just know before you go that you are going to hear a sermon from God’s Book.  He is that kind of a preacher.

Well, preaching the second coming of our Lord, which Paul calls “the blessed hope” [Titus 2:13], giving a defense, a reason—if anyone asks you about “the hope that is in you” [1 Peter 3:15]—and the pastor preaches the visible, open, personal return of our Lord: these dull, stolid eyes, and this weary world one day will lift up its head and see the reigning God of all creation coming in power and glory [Revelation 1:7]; I preach that.

I believe that so much so that I ask these little children that the fathers and mothers bring to me—and I have three families that are already scheduled to come to see me tonight—anytime a child is received in the church and he is baptized, I talk to the child personally.  And one of the questions I always ask the child is this: “Son, or little girl, the Lord closed the memorial supper with these words: ‘For as oft as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show, you dramatize, you present the Lord’s death till He come’” achri hou elthē [1 Corinthians 11:26].  “Until He come, Son, what does that mean, ‘Till He come?’“ And there will never be a child that will fail to answer, “That means Jesus is coming again.” Then I will ask the youngster, “Do you believe that?”

“Yes.”  And I will say, “Do you believe you will see Jesus someday?” And the child will always answer, “Yes.”  I do, too; Paul calls that the blessed hope [Titus 2:13].

Now I want to show you, taking a leaf now out of the life of our Baptist people, how that is not strange in your pastor.  I am a fellow elder with my other preachers who preach the gospel of the truth and the hope and the grace of the Son of God.  Now the leaf out of our Baptist history: as you know, in the years past, Japan overran Korea, and for many, many, many years Korea was a part of the Japanese empire.  The Japanese at that time worshiped Hirohito as a god.  That’s what Shinto religion is; it is a worship of the Japanese emperor as god.

When the Japanese overran Korea and subjugated the nation, it came to the attention of the military commanders that these Baptist preachers were presenting another lord, Jesus.  So the head of the Baptist convention in Korea was brought before the commanding officer, and the commanding officer was grilling the Baptist Convention president concerning Christ, concerning the Lord Jesus, what they believed about Him.  And as he followed it through, they finally came to, “So He was raised from the dead[Matthew 28:1-6], and ascended to heaven [Acts 1:9]; then what?” And the Korean pastor boldly and unashamedly replied, “He is coming again, He is coming back” [Acts 1:9-11].  And the commanding officer said, “And then what?” And bravely the Korean pastor replied, “And then when He comes, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”[Philippians 2:10-11].  And the commanding officer said, “Does that include our emperor?”  And the pastor said, “Yes.”

“But our emperor is god.  He is divine.”

And the Baptist pastor bravely replied, “But when the Lord comes, he will bow his knee and confess with his tongue that there is just one Lord and one God, Jesus” [Philippians 2:10-11].

The commanding officer says, “Do you believe that for yourself?  Is that just what you believe, or do all of your Baptist pastors believe that?”  And the president of the convention replied, “Sir, we all believe it, all of us.” The Japanese military took every Baptist pastor in the nation of Korea and put them in prison and kept them there throughout the years and the years of that occupation.  Practically all of them died, all of them.  This man who was president of the convention outlived the occupation and died just a few months later, so harsh were the years of privation.  They literally laid down their lives for the hope we have in Christ Jesus [Hebrews 11:13].  And shall I stand here in this pulpit and be afraid or ashamed to preach that blessed hope? [Titus 2:13].


Must I be carried to the skies

On flowery beds of ease,

While others fought to win the prize,

And sailed through bloody seas?


Are there no foes for me to face?

Must I not stem the flood?…

I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,

Supported by Thy word.

[from “Am I a Soldier of the Cross,” Isaac Watts, 1721]


I make no—here the word “apology” in the other sense—I have no feeling of self‑condemnation when I preach the coming again of our blessed Lord.  I don’t think there is any hope in the Middle East, and I don’t think there is any hope in the middle West, and I don’t think there is any hope for the nations of the world, save in that One whose name is called “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” [Isaiah 9:6].  And oh, to lift Him up, to preach His name, and to invite souls to love Him and follow Him is the highest, heavenliest privilege of human life.

And that’s our invitation to you today; receiving our Lord, trusting in our Savior, giving your life to the blessed and coming and reigning Jesus [Acts 16:31], being with us here in the church.  As God shall press the appeal to your heart, a family, a couple, or just you, while we sing this hymn of appeal, on the first note of the first stanza, come.  In the balcony round, down one of these stairways: “Here I am; I make it now.”  On this lower floor, into the aisle and down to the front: “Here I am.” Make the decision now in your soul, and when we stand to sing, stand up.  Do it now.  Make it now.  God bless you, angels attend you in the way as you answer with your life, while we stand and while we sing.

Encounters with the Dark Side

The Invisible World & Power from the Dark Side..By Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer. Moody Church

The Bible says that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and we must “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Yet Christians have a great hope, for Jesus Christ (John 16:33) and our faith in Him (1 John 5:4) have overcome Satan’s evil. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Satan was an angel created by God who turned against God’s authority (Isaiah 14:13) and became the head of a kingdom of evil spirits called demons, his “angels” (Matthew 25:41). His power both in the heavenly realm and on earth is great and should not be underestimated. However, while Satan and his forces are formidable enemies, Jesus Christ crushed Satan’s power, fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. The cross of Christ won the victory (John 12:31). “The prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:11), and Jesus will one day destroy Satan’s power completely and purify creation (2 Peter 3:10).