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Awakened to the Cross – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
August 1, 2021 3:00 pm

Awakened to the Cross – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Jesus against you.

The emotion and the passion infection in your relationship with me.

He wants the first welcome to living in the light. So glad you can join us for this weekly teaching our Bible teachers and grandma's, and her message today is awakened to the cross from Revelation chapter 2.

Here's their my husband had a heart catheterization. I can't remember lost track. I think it was just for us.

He had five different stents put in but they went into look again because he was having some difficulty if you know what catheterization is. Maybe it had one or your loved one is had one but anyway they just but somehow Dr. a vein in your leg and it goes up to your heart my husband lying on the table. You can look at this big screen like the doctor took me back in one of those sessions and the theater and showed me my husband's heart and arteries on the big screen over the table and when the dog goes through the arteries. They can see where the blockages are and so my husband had the stents put in his heart, open up blockages that were there and I would suggest to you that what the church today need as much as anything is a heart catheterization. We need to take a good look on the inside of us to see if there's some blockage to the flow of God's spirit, especially do we as leaders need this, we need to submit to the heart catheterization that we might see what's blocking the flow of God's life in his spirit in us because he flows in us to flow through us that he might impact those in our congregations in our ministries that revival might come so in Revelation chapters 2 and three, we see Jesus doing a heart catheterization on seven churches. I have no idea how many of these churches were going to get through but were going to start with the first one which is in Revelation chapter 2 of you open your Bibles to Revelation chapter 2 and don't take the time to read it to you but it's been referred to several times and it was the Ephesian church that have lost their first love. But I want us to go through this and pick it apart a little bit and just see what the blockage was and each one of these churches had a blockage. Some of them.

Two of them. It wasn't readily seen, but I can see a tendency to blockage in their lives. And as we look at the blockage in their lives.

It just helps the cousin we use their examination to examine our own hearts before God's of this is just between you and the Lord okay I'm going to see if I can be the one who sort of conducts the catheterization and in Revelation chapter 2 the church at Ephesus in the church at Ephesus was interesting because they had been under excellent leadership. The apostle Paul founded it.

John been a pastor there. Timothy was a superintendent and when this letter was written. It was written to the second generation of believers.

So these people in this church had been born and raised in the church pretty much, and so I relate to the church at Ephesus because I was born and raised in a Christian home. I can never remember not knowing about Jesus and have been under some excellent leadership and have been exposed a lot, not just through my my home life, but people have come into contact with books I've read in such an so when identify with the church at Ephesus.

What Jesus saw in them. I feel he seen in me, and I'm going to share with you some of that but I just want to stop and ask you, can you identify with the church at Ephesus. Have you been under excellent leadership, but it may not be an alive sense that you've not been mentored and discipled by somebody, but through their books or their CDs or in some other way you've been exposed to some terrific teaching and I wonder if you also came from a Christian home. If you were raised in the church and in which case it may be that what Jesus on them and what he saw me he sees in you, but it may be also. Maybe you want raised in a Christian church. Maybe you haven't been under excellent leadership and he still can see the same thing. So look in your heart. As we going to this passage, and he begins. All of these letters begin the same way and he always begins by putting their focus on him first look at me is basically what he saying is he begins every single one of these letters.

So, look at me.

This is Jesus thing to the angel of the church in Ephesus so that so the messenger to the pastor to the leader of the church in Ephesus write. These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands, so anything look at me. We know the stars of the leaders of the church. The lampstands of the church itself. In chapter 1 anything. Look at me I'm present in your midst, and I hold you in my right hand hold in my right hand the things I want to use a pencil before clock home and he sang a hold you and I want to use you and walking in your midst, and I believe we could say that today and he is here in our midst because I believe with all my heart. He wants to use you and he wants to use me in the strategic time of human history choices. Look at me, let me ask you where is your focus so easy when we come to something like this is and what supposed to be sweet fellowship becomes intimidation because we have lunch with somebody or we sit next to somebody and we hear about their ministry and all of a sudden ours is and does thriving or maybe we compare ourselves with the next person we think ours is better than that one poor guy unit is really struggling and thank God I gotta better church than that. And so in the comparison. Sometimes we get out of focus. Or maybe you're just thinking about the one who didn't show up in the one that you really wish to been here and Jesus is saying. Keep your focus on me, look at me nest where the catheterization begins keeping her focus on Jesus and then he says learn from me, because I know the things that you doing right and this church at Ephesus was doing plenty right. He says in verse three I know your deeds, your hard work, your perseverance, you can't tolerate wicked man yet persevered, you've endured hardship have not grown weary down in verse six, you hate what I hate, so they were doing many things right and saw believe what we can hear is just heavens apply.

Thank you, thank you for all of your business. Thank you for all of your hard work and time of apathy and complacency were people are just too busy to invest in the kingdom of God like a Jew. Leaders who made the time not only to major churches, but the drive side and really focus on Jesus and be awakened in your own heart and life and revived and he would say thank you and I love the fact that he says I know your deeds consumed so many times we do things nobody knows about right. We might have to turn on the lights, get the sound system together and call the pianist and arrange the music and put the hymn books out and you just said arrange the bulletin and there's so many things that a pastor or leader of a small church is responsible for. If you have a ministry you know you have the same thing so and sometimes our name doesn't show up in a program or were not the one that you're on the platform and it doesn't matter. Jesus that I know and if he knows who cares who else knows or doesn't know right and so he says I know and he wants to thank you and I believe if nothing else, he would send me out here to say thank you, thank you for your hard work. Thank you for your perseverance.

Thank you that you're doing more today than you were last year. Thank you that you have standards of excellence and you don't tolerate the wicked people and you hate what I hate, so it's okay and he says thank you so would you just receive heavens applause as to this okay. He just says thank I know what you doing right many things you're busy busy busy. But I know something that needs to be corrected. You're so busy losing your love for me. Verse four when he says I have something against you, you're losing your first love.

Remember when you first fell in love with your spouse is emotional, affectionate, but Jesus when I have a kinship you've lost the emotion and the passion and the affection in your relationship with me. He wants the first.

So let me share with your word of testimony had been teaching a Bible class for 12 years.

When God called me out of it. The last thing I told 68 leaders was right from this passage and I said you know as you continue in ministry. Don't let the mechanics overtake the ministry. Don't let your work, overtake your worship and the very same time I was telling myself and you be careful when you go out to this itinerant ministry that you don't become so busy.

God gets crowded out so I went out on the first things I did was a pastors conference and fee Jenny know where that was at look up on the map to see where Fiji was is a long way away and came back and that I was invited to Brazil and that a big pastors comes down there when I was there youth conference heard I was there so I went down farther in the South to do that you, as I came back I was speaking in.

I knew when I went to church. I no longer entered into the worship. I thought I was just tired and I knew what I prayed is like not prayers just hit the ceiling and I thought well you know I just can't concentrate on you no longer had really unsure why, but I thought you was jet lag and then I was reading this passage and nothing like the Lord spoke to me and I know your deeds on the went to Fiji and when I was there I took on someone else's sessions because he want us on the beach and so they dumped his sessions on man to double the amount of sessions and I know you went to Brazil and then you went farther south UW company come back and you speak and think for all of your hard work and your perseverance. Thank you, but have something against you, you're losing your love for me. I just bound to the next verse is under that one may not go around telling other people how to love Jesus and but you know he is when he's trying to convict you of something, he just brings you back and back and back and Stanley.

I got on my knees and the tears were coming and I said, Lord, tell me what you see in me and he told me I was so busy that I was neglecting him I wasn't spending time with him. I was losing my first love that passion that affection and one reason I went into ministry Martin Rees not start teaching the Bible is I want to get back in your word because I wanted the love that I had a few when I was a girl and you restored it to me and you mean I'm losing it can support the rod to three told me three things to do, from verse five. All right, remember he said and that he puts my name in it. So remember the height from which are fallen, and I think to be in love with Jesus is the pinnacle of the Christian life. All right is not just leading somebody to faith and is not just coming up with a good message is not just increasing baptisms in your church congregation as being in love with Jesus. And if you've lost that is a long way down his have you ever been in love with Jesus now missing when it's all about. But if you have been in love with him. Have you lost. Would you remember the heights. Remember what it was like when you loved him with all your heart mind soul and strength. You couldn't spend enough time in prayer you couldn't read his word and not your heart was on fire to run like those disciples at once and tell other people what Jesus had done for you. What you said.

Do you, your ministry came out of the overflow of your worship.

When did you lose that it's in the business is at least it was for me. Remember the heights. He said, repentance is the second thing. Repentance means to stop it, put it out of your life turn away from it. But if a first love is emotional, affectionate, passionate, and how you control those things so felt like he was sick and you got to be willing to put out of your life.

The love lesson as but I do know how to do that, says the Lord. I'm willing to repent.

I'm willing to stop not loving you. I'm willing to stop. Not having a first love for you, but I don't exactly know how to go about it. So after telling me to remember the heights and be willing to repent he said and return to the things you did at first. So I said all right what first thing and so in my mind, he took me back to the cross where a person I was a girl when I made that decision. But when I was first aware of what it cost you the take away my sin and bring me into that love relationship with him and his father and his spirit would it cost him to open the door to that love relationship. And so I went back to the cross and I confessed my dizziness and my lack of a first love is a sin, that it is. I told him I was sorry and then he sitting in the something else that you doing at first when you were in love with Jesus. Can you remember if there was something you were doing then that you're not doing now and I knew what it was. I knew what was for me. I had spent studying God's Word coming up with the fresh messages every week for my class and saturating the word. When I went out and about tonight ministry update messages I prepared. I just was regurgitating them without studying anything fresh and he was Saint Anne. You need to stop that you need to return to that personal Bible study and so I did. I picked up a legal pad and the pan open my Bible. I started due the three questions shared with you in that workshop. What does it say what does it mean what does it mean to my life on the book of Revelation, paragraph by paragraph, the first book I wrote was the vision of his glory based on that personal Bible study and as a result of remembering the heights and repenting of my sin and returning to the things that I did at first the cross and putting that Bible say back in my life within a weeks time. Even before I finish my study the book of Revelation was back in the action in the sense of passion and the worship was real in my prayers were connecting in all. I never want to lose that again, but I've come close and I'll tell you is is something we have to guard against people asked me what I think is the biggest challenge today in ministry and that's what I would say it is being so busy busy busy busy busy doing so many good things but somehow in the business. Jesus gets crowded out and even if we make time for him were so tired we don't give them our first attention, we don't give them our past. We give them our leftover motions are left over energy left over time, and he tells us like he said through Malachi, I just hate your leftovers just in case I didn't get the message. He gave me a little zinger and he said this. If you do not repentance. I will come to you and remove your lampstand lampstand is a sandwich.

A lamp is a felt like he was telling me that was my ministry. That was the platform he had given me so that I can let my light shine broader than if I was just all by myself a given me a broader ministry and he was saying and if you don't, but love for me back first in your life.

I'm in a drop your ministry and there was a time in my life when I was scared that God would call me in the service and then there was the time in my life and I was scared to death.

He would not when you love the Lord with all your heart mind soul and strength. You just want to do something for him and the more he give you to do the more you can worship him and say I love you Lord and in your service and your work is an act of worship like we saw with those for living beings, but it's interesting how we love and want to do something form so we do it we do something else meters and pretty soon you're right back into that cycle and we busy busy busy. So he says you need to repent and input love for me back first problem of your lampstand and I think that may be one thing that's wrong with the Christian church today. Lampstand has been removed. It doesn't mean he's going to come bulldoze your church. He just takes a spirit away. I've been in so many churches that have a lot of stuff going on, but they just feel devoid of the spirit of God so as he shines the light of his truth in your hearts. Is he revealing the blockage that there is a busyness that's crowding out your first love. When would you be willing to remember the heights and repents of your business and returned to the things at first return to the cross maybe is not just something that you return to that was in your life that has dropped away, but maybe it was something that wasn't in your life that you put out that is crept back in like a sin habits and attitudes of pridefulness will go through some of these letters, so it may be something like that is crept in. That needs to then go out. So for me it was the Bible study maybe for you it's prayer maybe for you it's witnessing maybe for you it's some habit of sinner and attitude somebody has done something and you just can't forgive them where the injustices made you angry and maybe there's a jealousy over somebody else's net whatever it is, put it out. Whatever it is, is not worth the trade-off visits. So he says listen to me. Have a principal for you and this isn't in the Scripture. I'm just reading into it, but I think the principle is this that love for Jesus must come first. He wants your love for him more than all of your service. Combine with the greatest commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and strength.

As the principal. The promise is in verse seven he resident ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to him who overcomes this dizziness and puts the first love back.

I'll give the right to eat from the tree of life, the paradise of God.

The paradise of God is his presence to the tree of life is eternal life and eternal life includes awareness of his presence that personal love relationship. Jesus said in John 17.

So when you put love for him back. First, you eat Epicurus by in your love for him and his love for you and you live in the presence of God aware of his presence in your life not mean we live by feelings.

You know that I'm not saying that.

But there is a deep no. He's in your life will never leave you nor forsake you.

He laughs you, you love him. Jeff here is to hear what the Spirit is saying to you.

I believe it's time to wake up to the cross.

You come back and repent of our busyness that would keep us from loving Jesus first the church at Ephesus did not have ears to hear Ms. no church there today you can walk among the ruins. Second church I just touch on is that Smyrna and Smyrna was very precious. He identifies himself as one who is the first and the last to dad and came to life again another with these relating to his audience. He understands persecution not just persecution, but hostility even to the point of death, and this little church in Smyrna was undergoing enormous persecution the afflictions the poverty somebody been put to death and he says don't be afraid of what you're about to suffer. And then he goes on to say you will suffer persecution for 10 days. Be faithful and serve this church. Actually, he was telling them to look at him.

He understands persecution there being present know what you're doing right they were doing everything right, you didn't find anything to correct them for but I see a tendency to do something wrong when he says don't be afraid. And I think there's a tendency when we share the gospel with somebody near thrown it back in our face would been rejected for the truth that we shared the next time we have the opportunity were not quite so quick to share the gospel.

We hold back and I think in this area of the country for your surrounded by hostility and people that live totally different lifestyles and the role and everything and when you share the gospel and you share the love of Jesus may come at you.

How intolerant. How exclusive you know how radical you are, whatever they say to you next time you have an opportunity to share the gospel.

Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid and the principal is that suffering is temporary persecution. Is it only last 10 days. I don't know exactly what that means. I just know that means is not forever this coming a day when that sky will unfold and everything was said about Jesus is going to be validated and they're going to see our Jesus not going to know we were speaking the truth in so don't be afraid to share the gospel. You can be rejected over and over and over and over again and it keeps on having asked God if you need to be more loving or change some technique or something.

But you know the gospel is offensive visits so don't be afraid to share the gospel and if you rejected it's only now here's a man with this final word.

I remember once when I was traveling to South Africa I had the opportunity to share the gospel with the European couple. I was very taken aback when instead of being polite and respectful as they disagreed.

They were vehement and angry. They verbally pummeled me into a sort of wide-eyed, stunned silence that night in my hotel room. I got on my knees with tears on my face and I asked God what I done wrong and I shared too many verses, not enough versus did I come across as judgmental or self-righteous. And to my heart. I heard a still small voice that seemed to whisper and I shared the gospel perfectly and they crucified me and I thought bingo. The rejection I received from that European couple was not necessarily because I had said or done something wrong.

I may have been very clear and done it exactly right. The problem, if that's what we call it, is that the gospel is offensive. If you tell a religious person that all of his righteousness is as filthy rags. If you tell a good moral person that he must be born again if you tell a person of another religion that there is only one way to God and it's through Jesus. That's offensive so don't be afraid to share the gospel. You may feel afraid, especially if you get the reaction I got but don't give into your fear, share the gospel just doing scare you can hear living in the light with and grandma's weekly and for ways to experience the God filled life as you pursue your personal Bible study go to n-gram lots.for to help you get started with free resources you can use and share with others join us here each week for living in the life

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