Revelation 7:9 Part 2
All right, if you have your Bibles, go ahead and pull those out and turn with me to the Book of Revelation chapter number seven. We’re going to be and just one verse today verse number nine Revelation Chapter seven verse number nine. We are in a series called Omega. It is a study on the Book of Revelation and the end times as we are marching verse by verse through the Book of Revelation and learning what the Lord would have us teach. Does anybody know? For those of you who have been in this series for us for a while, what is the point of the Book of Revelation? It’s exposed the very first five words of the book. It’s about Jesus. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ. All right. And so there, of course, there is end time elements around it, but it is about Jesus Christ. So if you’ve turned to revelation chapter seven verse nine, one more time I’m going to ask you to please rise and stand in honor of God’s word for our initial and primary reading of it today. After this, I looked and behold a great multitude that no one could number from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages standing before the throne and before the lamb clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. You may be seated. As we were going through this and I hit verse nine, I just had this deep conviction as we hit this point to stop here for a few weeks. There was a deep conviction within me as I read this text in one of the most powerful ones of the Book of Revelation, this imagery, this picture that is being painted from the Apostle John of what he’s seeing this great multitude in heaven, from people, from all tribes and tongues and languages. And they’re all there with white robes, which means they’ve received the righteous declaration. The righteousness of God has been imputed to them. Through Jesus Christ, they’re waving palm branches, which means this is a party. This is a party. OK. They are celebrating salvation. These people realize just what extent the Lord Jesus went through to save us. These people realize just exactly what they were saved from. And they were very excited about this and they’re in a mode of celebration about this. And as we were looking at this text and verse number nine, I was like, You know what? I can’t move on from this because I want all of my family and friends, everyone within the earshot online in person that will hear the gospel in this context. I want to make sure. They go to heaven. I want to make sure, you know. If you’re going to heaven or not, because there is a way to know. So what we’re doing is we’re branching off of Rev. seven nine, and we’re going to look at a text in Matthew Chapter 13. This text found in the gospel of Matthew, and there are two other parallels found in the other some synoptic Gospels The Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke. It’s called the parable of the Sower. And so if you would turn over there with me, Matthew, Chapter 13, we’re going to start reading a verse number three. Matthew Matthew 13. Verse number three. It says, and he told them many things in parables saying a sewer went out to sow. And as he sow, some seeds fell along the path and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on the rocky ground where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among the thorns and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain. Some 100 fold, some 60, some 30. He who has ears, let him hear. Jesus then goes on for a few verses and explains why he teaches in parables, half of his crowd, more than half of his crowd leaves because they’re frustrated, confused. And then he begins to explain what he means by this parable in verse number 18. He says here then, the parable of the sower, when anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it. The evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. And for what was sown on the rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself but endures for a while and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word immediately, he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and proves it. It proves unfruitful. And for what was shown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields in one case, 100 fold in another 60 and in another 30. So we began this conversation last week. This parable is referencing the responses that are elicited when the gospel is proclaimed. And essentially, it doesn’t all land on the same soil. In this parable, the seed represents the word of God. It’s what’s being deposited, the planter is either the Lord Jesus himself or it’s one of his followers like you and me that’s proclaiming the gospel to people. The soil represents the condition of the heart of the hearer of the word. Last week, we only got as far as covering the hearer that is on the hard soil or on the path. This person immediately rejects the gospel. Their heart is hardened to it. They’re likely self-sufficient, self-sustainable and self-righteous, they don’t need anybody to save them. They’ve already saved themselves. The idea of acknowledging their own sin and repenting of is the furthest thing on their radar. Hard soiled individuals cover a wide spectrum of different people all the way from a staunch atheist to a pharisical religious type that utilizes religion and God to satisfy their own fleshly desires to be self-important and achieve righteousness on their own. Those with hard soil are subjected to the interaction of Satan, it’s the only one, as the evil one depicted as a bird here comes onto the scene and takes the seed away entirely. There’s no result of the planting at all. Oftentimes, those that fit into this category are subject to falling into the influence of false teachers. Which have long been the judgment of God against people who reject the true gospel. God basically says, OK, if you if you will only believe and follow your own version. Of the gospel, which is not the gospel at all, I’ll send you a preacher that will tell you what you want to hear and enable your falsehood so it will insulate you from the truth. Today, we have to look at a different a second type of hearer. It’s a seed that fell on the rocky soil. This is the superficial hearer. Here are the superficial convert. Matthew, Chapter 13, verse 20 is what covers this, and says that for what was sown on the rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself but endures for a while. And when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, he immediately falls away. The rocky soil here is the parable example of the heart of someone that is hearing the gospel. But there are troubling hindrances to the planting of the word taking good foundational root. Because there are things underneath the surface that lurk. There is the presence of a rock material the roots cannot penetrate to access the long term vitality to the water supply that they need to keep it healthy against the Sun coming out and scorching it. A root system developed to keep them from being blown around every time there’s a storm or there’s wind, or there’s some sort of challenge. A crop in this position is not me immediately noticeable because the crops root is not immediately hindered by the rocks, it takes some time to hit the rocks. So at the beginning, on the surface, it looks fine. At first, the crop appears to have no issues at all, but later it will not be able to withstand time, will not be able to withstand the pressure of nature’s elements without having a firmly developed, deep developed root system to protect it. An individual that exhibits rocky soil in their heart initially and immediately receives the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ with joy. This is a completely different scenario than last week where the hearer immediately rejects it. This person immediately accepts it with joy, with hype, with excitement. There is seemingly no resistance. On the surface, one would have no reason to consider this type of response to be ill placed or odd. After all, is at this the point in the church and evangelism to welcome people into the kingdom, it only makes it better that the recipient of this message receives it and is so excited. Or are things really as they seem underneath the surface? It’s actually a bit strange if you think about it, that a person’s initial reception of the gospel would be a one of immediate hype. After all, the call to being a true disciple of Christ is actually a call to die. A call to die to ourselves, so that Christ may live. Some cases that may be a call to physically die. It’s a call to abandon one’s preferences and prerogatives to immediately let everything that he or she knows behind to follow after Christ. The cost of discipleship is carrying our cross, literally our execution device, putting Christ above all walking in obedience and suffering for the gospel. These are big things. They are serious things. Often times the emotion that follows is hype, it’s sorrow. Why sorrow? Well, because sorrow over sin draws a person to genuine repentance of their sin. A person comes to Christ because they recognize they are a sinner and they are in need of forgiveness. This creates a moment of sorrow. Now, any of you that know me, I am not a hugger. I’m not a person that likes to hug. Shaking hands is about as far as. This goes. I’ve been standing in this room. In fact, one particular occurrence a young man that doesn’t live in this area. I was walking around the room as people were being prayed for. And big man, burly, burly mountain beard. This is a strong guy. OK . Grabbed me as I was walking by, pulled me. To himself, I’ve got security team is going to have to hype up, you know, I’m saying pull me into himself and began to sob into my shoulder. Confessing years of sin, years of drug addiction, years of alcoholism, years of just on and on, I is a stranger to me and he’s confessing his entire life into my shoulder. This man like sobs so violently my shirt was soaked, right? And this is kind of awkward for me because I’m not like a touchy feely kind of guy. But when that happens, right? I don’t care what they look like. You embrace them and you. Like Christ would do. And. Man, what an amazing series of conversations we had, after words, this man experienced a true conversion. He’d been a Christian for a long time, but this was the first time he really examined the depth of his sin. That God showed him and he he wept over it. Now, I’m not saying that every moment when one comes to Christ, and I’m not saying that everything has to look the same, not everything looks like a big mountain burly man crying in the shoulder of a pastor he’s never met before. It doesn’t all have to look the same, but there’s always deep sorrow involved with someone’s first trip through repentance. When you realize that your entire life you have been a rebel of God and that you have sinned and offended are holy and just God, and his mercy is so great that he still extends forgiveness to you, that’s an overwhelming idea. And when the Holy Spirit reveals our sin to us and just how bad it really is, it’s a very startling and life changing experience. It’s likely that a person that is just exhibiting this moment of hype is actually responding to a shallow presentation of the gospel, one that emphasizes the blessings and the benefits, but hides the costs. Maybe there’s music playing in a company with a gifted communicator that plays on the emotions of a captive audience, and in this environment, it can be easy to shift the focus off of making it about the gospel and the cost of the gospel and making sure that’s clear, making sure people realize what they’re signing up for. It’s easier to make it softer, more presentable to get more response. And we tell them that it’s easy, just raise your hand, fill out a card, come to a class . We even tell people, close your eyes because after all, salvation is a call to death, so it’s very unacceptable for it to be a public lifting of the hand that’s just asking too much. The danger is they are in even greater danger of being more insulated from the truth. They heard a message, but it wasn’t clear what they were signing up for. So there’s no true repentance or profession of faith. The superficial convert, they love the message, why wouldn’t they? It’s a message of something that doesn’t cost them anything and gives them everything they could ever want. The ambiguity of not being clear about the cost of discipleship gives them the margin to redefine the benefits of salvation. Health, wealth, prosperity. God is my cosmic candy bar machine and I just got put the right quater in the get the cosmic candy bar that I want right now in my life. So the response, of course, is without surprise, emotional euporia. They love the church, they love the people in the church, they love the preacher, they love Jesus, or at least the version of them that they have been presented or they’ve made up in their minds. They’re zealous attitude results. And I’m not saying these things are bad, but oftentimes this is what happens. Immediate high servanthood, sacrificial giving and being present every time the church doors are open now. I love all those things. Those are great. Nothing bad about them. But. There’s something about this hype. That draws them into these things very quickly. Church is excited to see this sort of thing. Why wouldn’t they be? Often dry seasons lead people, to fall faint in serving and giving and their fervor for ministry, they lose their vision. They have to be reminded of it, but Here comes the new guy so raw, so fresh and it feels like life is just coming in. He’s so excited. He’s so pumped until affliction comes. Trouble hits. This man’s life and all of a sudden, you’re like, where is he? The religious experience had given them an emotional response, but it had not changed their soul. It was not a rebirth. It was a hype. Matthew, Chapter 13, verse 21, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while and when tribulation or persecution arises, catch this This is key on account of the word. Immediately, he falls away. This type of convert comes to Christ on his own terms. He signed up for all the benefits, but he didn’t expect of it actually cost him anything. And when confronted with that cost, the high cost that comes with being a follower of Jesus, he won’t pay the price. Notice of the text says on a count of the word of God. This is not, you know, a lot of people at times you hear people say, Well, this is my cross to bear and they’re talking about Aunt Susie saying mean things to you at the Thanksgiving dinner or they’re talking about the four way stop. Highway 174 and Main Street. Or they’re talking about the car line at school. They’re like, Well, this this is my cross to bear. No, those are normal life occurrences that people that don’t know Jesus have to endure to. This is on account of the word. Which presents an interesting idea, are we living our lives in such a way that we are actually drawing persecution and affliction because we’re so loud about the gospel that it’s drawing opposition? John, Chapter 13, verse 16, truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. How dare us think that we can sign up and become disciples of Christ and think that we get to get a pass on suffering like our Lord did? He is so he’s our master. We don’t get a pass. Now your suffering does not equal salvation, we don’t get salvation by works, but suffering is a part of the deal that if we’re wanting to live godly lives, the word says you will be persecuted. This person builds their religious house on the sand of emotional experience, and when the storms of trouble come and beat on that house, he gone! Matthew, Chapter seven, verse 26 and 27, and everyone who hears the words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand and the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against the house. And it fell. And great was the fall of it. He has a surface level understanding, but he has no roots to hold him in. The scary part is, is that it can be a long time before the superficial convert is realized. There may not be a storm for a while. One of the biggest causes for Affliction is on account of the word is persecution. And if one of these people are actually good enough to dodge this, they may be able to fake this for a very long time. How many of us live in such a way that invites this sort of hardship? How many of us stand up for the things that matter to God, not to us, but to God? How many of us go to battle for the things that offend a holy God? How many of us get offended over the things that offend him more than over the things that offend our own personal sensibilities? A Scottish minister, William Arnett, he said this if the law of God has never rent the stony heart and made it contrite, that is bruised It small. You may be receiving the gospel in some temporary, superficial softness of nature. Obtain your religion more easily and quickly than others who have been more deeply exercised. But you may perhaps not be able to hold it so fast or retain it so long. He that endures to the end shall be saved, but he falls away in the middle. Shall not. So it’s important. To do an evaluation on ourselves, we all like to say I have root system, I’m good, but let’s let’s allow the Holy Spirit to make that determination in us. What are the marks of a true convert? What are the marks of a true disciple? We’re one of the first ones is a deep conviction of sin. Psalm 51 Chapter three verse, chapter 51 verses three and four for I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me against you. You only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. These words are written by who King David after his enormous catastrophic moral failure. This man. Saw a woman bathing on her roof. Slept with her. He was the king, by the way. Can’t really say no to the king, put that together. Then to cover it up killed her husband, who was one of his lead men on the field, at battle. If that wasn’t enough, this is part of the story that nobody ever brings up, that just baffles me. Then he married her after he’s dead. Well, that’s not good enough, I’m just going to take her from my wife to. And this was the time of year that a king was actually supposed to be out of battle, so he was being lazy. Sleeping in the palace he was read, the text is said that he was sleeping in the afternoon. He was hanging out at the court, the King’s Palace in the middle of the afternoon when he’s supposed to be on the battlefield and guess what? What happens whenever you ain’t supposed to be, where you’re supposed to be and you’re being lazy and you’re being a busybody and you’re worried about everybody else instead of yourself? What happens? Sin finds you. All of a sudden there’s a naked lady standing on a roof. Kind of weird, if that actually would happen to you, that’s what happened to David. That’s not in my notes. But what a mess. King David was, what a mess. Would you all agree? He’s a hot mess? But his remorse over his own sin is one of the key reasons why God says he is a man after my own heart. His contrite and his broken heart over his hand was something that caught God’s attention over and over and over and over and over again. If you don’t view your sin as a big deal, then you will not get broken over it. And that’s often a big problem with us. It’s human nature, we sin so much that it’s not that big of a deal, Republic says. Man, if only Flat Creek would get done. Then I’d have another place to be able to eat and we’ll finally have our entire repertoire of restaurants filled out. And then five months later, man, I hate Flat Creek. I’m so bored with it. What we need is an Andy’s. Right. That’s human nature. We sin so much. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to us anymore. But it is. God didn’t change his mind and soften his view. We did. I believe if we saw the full effects of our sin trickled down throughout time and space after relationships and through generations, we would mourn the devastating effects of it. Let me give you a good example of this, Abraham and Sarah. You guys know the story. God promised them a son promise that their descendants would be as numerous as a star, that they become a nation, that eventually the messiah, the savior of the world, would come through. This is God’s promise to them, but they’re old. This would have to be a miracle. They’re super old. OK. And so what happened was they got impatient, God made him wait a long time, God ever made you wait a long time for something? it happens. They’re waiting a long time. Abrahams, like me, I’m like getting any younger here. When’s it going to happen? So whether they decide to do well, it was it was Sarah’s idea. She’s like, Well, I think you should go and sleep with the maid servant and get her pregnant and that would be our our child, and I’ll just take it as my own. On this episode of The Old and the Restless. That’s jacked up, that is jacked up. So they try to fulfill God’s promises on their own timing and in their own accord. It’s sin. What does God do? Well, he’s faithful to his promises. Later on, he gives them Isaac, and Isaac becomes the first seed to the descendants that are numerous as the stars to become Nation of Israel and the Messiah comes to the Israelites exactly like God promised. He did his part. But what about Ishmael, the child that they had with the maid servant? He became the first seed to the ancestors of Islam. A thorn in the side of God’s people, even to this day. Our sin is a big deal and multiplies throughout generations it multiplies. Think of how the sins of your parents and your grandparents and your family affected you. There was you were not without damage and fruit from your form their sin, but just think about you. Think about the damaging effects as us, as parents on our kids and on our families, there is a multiplying effect of our sin. We very much have to look at it like it really is. It is a disgusting disease. And we need Christ to forgive us and rid us of it. And we’re completely dependent upon him. The second thing we see is a recognition of lostness. You have to recognize your lost and you need to be found. Luke Chapter 19, verse 10 for the son of man, came to see seek can save the lost. A true convert or a true disciple understands that you are lost without Jesus. You guys remember the song with singing that everything, amazing grace, amazing grace, how sweet the sound. I’m not going to sing. You’re welcome. That saved a wretch like me what I once was lost. But now I’m found. Was I just pointing at this side and said lost and this side and said found, I don’t know. That means I was blind. See you aint saying it now blind, but now I see you have to recognize your loss of a full embrace of the sinner to the reality that you’re hell bound, if not saved, is absolutely required for them to come to real faith because they must realize that Christ saves that Christ is able to save, willing to save and that he can save to be saved means you have to be saved from something or someone. And if you’re not willing to admit your loss, then how can you be found? You’re just in a sad form of self-denial or delusion. I think we’ve all been there. Repentance, you will not see a true disciple without repentance, Acts, Chapter three, verse 19 repent, therefore, and turn back that your sin may be blotted out. Mark Chapter one, verse 15 and saying the time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel. Now the different nuances of this word repentance. For those of you who are interested in learning a good resource for Bible study, there is a resource called the biblical senses lexicon biblical senses lexicon. What this book does is it takes a word into its original Hebrew and Greek, which is the original languages of the Bible, and it takes this word throughout the duration of the whole Bible and pulls its sense and its general meaning collectively throughout the whole thing. OK, so if you do that, if you look at the biblical senses lexicon and you pull out of it, the word repentance. Here’s what you get is to have a change of self heart and mind that abandons former dispositions and results in a new self, new behavior and regret over former behavior and dispositions. Repentance leads to a deep grief and sadness over your sin. When is the last time that we have just stopped and grieved our sin? I want to set on that for a second. When’s the last time you’ve grieved? Over your sin. It requires you to go deep into the shadows of your heart or to let God do that. That’s why seed planted on the rocky ground can’t go deep. The rock represents the hard places of a person’s heart that are unwilling to be submitted to Christ for his redemption and his glory. The gospel cannot take root in a heart that is still even partially in rebellion. If underneath the surface, there are parts of yourself that are in hiding that you are unwilling to submit to the father for his glory and redemption, healing and forgiveness, then those are the hard places and the gospel cannot take root. He wants all of you. He wants every hidden thing because nothing is hidden from the father who knows all. It’s only you in rebellion or us in rebellion that is holding that back from him. That’s why the superficial believer responds with joy, but then fades at trials because they never let the gospel the truth penetrate the inward parts of their soul and truly transform them from the inside out. They did just enough to look like a Christian on the surface. But they were just in it for the benefits. They wanted to go to the grocery store and not pay for the groceries. They wanted to drive the car and not have to put gas in it. They want sex, but they didn’t want a long term commitment in a marital covenant. They want an A in English, but they didn’t want to do the homework. They wanted to win the game, but not show up to practice, they want Andy’s frozen custard with other calories. It’s building your life on sand because it’s building your life on a lie. And when the storm comes, it will blow away the surface, reveal the truth and you gone unless you repent and allow the Holy Spirit to till up that ground. Right now! Another mark of a true disciples humility, Ephesians Chapter four of to with all humility, humility and gentleness with patients bearing with one another in love, you’ll never meet a Christian, a true believer that is an unrepentant, consistent, prideful person. It is an oxymoron. Now, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have Christians that struggle with pride, but real believers when confronted or will identify it and will repent of it and will apologize for it and will get on their knees and ask the Lord to transform them on a continual basis. They may have good days. They may have bad days. They may have bad months. That’s typically what goes with pride. Yeah. Bad months, years. OK. Pride is at the root of every sin, it was the motivation of Lucifer to rebel against God. It is. It is the heart of Satan. So the opposite, that humility is always a part of the conversion process. You have to admit your sin is your own fault. It’s not somebody else’s fault. It’s not everybody else’s fault that you’re a sinner, it’s your fault. It’s my fault, I’m a sinner. I got no one else to blame but me, I can sit here and blame my parents all day. I can blame my grandparents. I can blame this. I could blame society. I can blame TV. I can blame all these things because they provided the temptation. Now I’m at fault. I’m the one who perpetrated against God. I am the one who violated God’s holy ways. I got no one to blame. I’m not a victim. I am the perpetrator. Another thing you will see is the recognition of the need to be cleansed, Psalm 51 two again, David, wash me thoroughly for my iniquity, cleanse me from my sin. So this idea I’m I’m disgusting. It’s that time of year where every time I don’t know if you have the same problem, I do. Guys sweat, you know, walk outside and it’s immediate sun hits you. We’re at a cross-country meet and it’s like. I feel like I got a shower three times a day in this type of, you know, weather, sorry, too much information. Some of you are looking at me like, Yeah. Preach it, brother. Some of the other ones of you are looking to be like, Dude, this is gross. Move on. So I’ll take that advice. But this is saying I’m dirty and you clean and you take a shower. That’s what this means. You’ve got to recognize that hunger and thirst for righteousness. Matthew five. Six. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they. Shall be satisfied. There’s a hunger. I want to be righteous, I want I want a hunger for that. I want there to be righteousness in my life. I don’t want to walk in rebellion all the time. I want to walk like Jesus does. Only through his the power of his spirit. I can’t do that. Apart from that, but I want I crave holiness. I crave it. I know that’s where life is at. That that is the heart of a true. Follower. The superficial disciple convert may carry on for years in the church. You may hear them say I been baptize and serving, giving, maybe even leading. But it will be found out. And you have to understand being found out to be superficial is a good thing. Because if you just go on your whole life being superficial and not realizing it, you’re doomed to get it, called out to get to recognize it for the Holy Spirit, the knock on the door of your heart and say you are not a true disciple. You’re one of those guys that if you get up here, you die. Right now, you’d say, Lord Lord, did I not do all these religious things in your name? And I’d say depart for me because I do not know you better to know that now so that you have a window of time to repent. Everybody’s hearts beating. You still have a time to repent. Right? OK. For all of us. Testing will come and it will explode. It will expose our lack of life. It will expose the true depth of a superficial convert. When the cost of discipleship becomes too high, they will fold when pressure mounts, their faith will crumble and sometimes superficial converts, the guy and I have seen this over and over and over again. The guy who is the hype train and was like immediately on fire for Jesus. As soon as opposition arises, and affliction arises. All of a sudden. Not only do they just stop coming to church, but now they’re ashamed. Of what they once proclaimed. Matthew, Chapter 24, verse 13, but the one who endures to the end will be saved. It is interesting that very few things that are the very things that make a false convert wither actually makes a true disciple of Christ stronger. First Peter Chapter five verse 10 and after you have suffered a little while, the God of all Grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. So were the troubles of this life make a false convert a superficial convert wither away? It strengthens a true disciple. Amen. Let’s pray.