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When we look at the Revelation, we should be shocked by the reaction of those who see Jesus face to face. First, John. And then the twenty-four elders. Look at the reaction of John:
After John hears the loud voice of the Lord, “as a trumpet”, and sees the seven lampstands and the seven stars and the “One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band” – John is so overwhelmed that he “fell at His feet as dead”. Dead. John had reached his ability to function and all his systems had shut down.
Have you ever responded like that when you encountered the Lord Jesus? Have you ever known anyone who has? And, if not, did you ever wonder why?
The Twenty-Four Elders
But when the twenty-four elders see Christ, their reaction puts us to shame. Consider the following:
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Revelation 4:9-11).
And then their praise continues:
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:8-10).
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever (Revelation 5:11-14).
What Are We Missing?
I think it’s kind of obvious, don’t you? What we see in the Revelation is a far cry from what we experience each Sunday in church. Which makes me wonder, why?
Has God changed?
Does He allow Himself to be worshipped one way by the twenty-four elders but expects less from us today?
Or is He now content and satisfied by our lukewarm adoration of His Son?
Is He, like us, more concerned about what we feel comfortable with than what His Son deserves?
Has the Father finally determined that “it’s all about us” and not about Him?
I think not.
There is so much more we need to know and understand about how to truly worship the Lord that is found in the pages of the Revelation. So let’s find out more together, shall we?
The expectation for our future, as a Nation and as the church, are grim indeed. We are going to face some very tough times, and have to navigate some very rough waters, especially for those of us who live in the United States.
During the Tribulation, the Bible teaches that Israel will stand alone. No longer will we be her protector. God will fill that role. In fact, the US is not even a minor player in the end times scenario. Look at Ezekiel 38 and 39 if you need convincing. The prophetic future of the US is almost non-existent. Something must happen to us to bring us down to the point we can no longer protect Israel. Can you see it coming?
Just look around.
We are facing unprecedented times in America:
Our trade war with China, and soon the rest of the world
The coming 2020 elections and all the chaos that will surely follow, regardless of who wins.
The overt attack on Christianity in the media.
The almost insane push of the homosexual agenda.
Judicial tyranny at every level.
The widespread corruption in our honored institutions and the government.
Natural disasters run amok, earthquakes, drought, hurricanes, flooding, etc.
Hatred among citizens.
The public talk of a Second Civil War.
Mass shootings and other acts of terror on almost a daily basis.
And it only gets worse.
Because of these, we will need to learn to lean more on the Lord than ever before. Sunday School faith will no longer cut it. Church, as we have known it in the West, will become more and more obsolete and irrelevant. Your personal faith and trust in the Lord will rapidly become the most important thing in your life. And it all hinges on one word:
Trust During the Coming Darkness
The classic Old Testament teaching on trust is found in Proverbs 3:5-6. There our Lord gives us a profound if/then promise, the very if/then promise we so desperately need as we see the darkness approaching. Consider His words:
(if) Trust in the LORD with all your heart, (if) and lean not on your own understanding; (if) in all your ways acknowledge Him,
(then) and He shall direct your paths.
As we look at this promise, we are compelled to ask ourselves a few questions about the joy of having the Lord directing our paths.
What would you give, especially when we see the coming darkness in our world growing stronger, to have the Lord of All direct your life?
What would it be worth to you to have the confidence to run to Him for shelter and refuge and to know you are welcome under His wings?
What confidence in dark days would that give you?
As we begin to see the darkness come over our land and persecution confront the church in ways unimaginable just a generation ago, it is well past time for each of us to understand and embrace the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit like never before. As Appollo Creed said to Rocky to shake him from his fear, “There is no tomorrow!”
And Appollo was right. There is no tomorrow. The time for spiritual preparation is today. Actually, it should have been yesterday, or last week. The time for fervency towards our Lord cannot be put off any longer. The well-worn excuses about family responsibilities, career advancement, and the general business of life seem trite at best, and will mean nothing when persecution comes. And it will come. Most assuredly it will come. The Scriptures promise persecution.
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution – 2 Timothy 3:12
That is, of course, unless you aren’t particularly interested in living godly in Christ. Then you may be pretty safe, right up until the time you take the mark on your hand or forehead. But that’s another issue for another time.
How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit
The key to living a life of assurance and confidence in Him is learning how to remain filled with the Holy Spirit. And before you can remain filled, you have to be filled in the first place. This is what this message talks about.
We talk about some steps you can take to prepare yourself for His filling. They are as follows:
First, you must desire to live a life that will please the Lord.
Second, be willing to surrender your life totally and irrevocably to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Third, confess every known sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and experience the cleansing and forgiveness that God promises in 1 John 1:9.
Fourth, ask Him, by faith, to fill you with the Holy Spirit. You can pray something like this:
Dear Father, I need You.
I hunger and thirst for a more vital relationship with You. I admit that I have been in control of my life. And, as a result, I have sinned against You. Thank You for forgiving my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now confess and turn from my sins and surrender the control of my life to the Lord Jesus. By faith, I invite You to fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled. You promised to fill me if I ask according to Your will. I pray this in the authority of the name of Jesus Christ.
To demonstrate my faith, I now thank You for filling me with Your Holy Spirit and for taking control of my life. Amen.
But that’s not the end of it.
There is so much more to learn.
You will need to understand the basis of God’s filling, and it has nothing to do with the amount of time you spend praying or the people who lay hands on you. The basis is on the command (Eph. 5:18) and promise (1 John 5:14-15) of God. And the filling of the Holy Spirit is given to you the same way you received salvation, by faith.