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|SERMON TEXT: REVELATION 3:1-6|
I want you to turn to the third chapter of Revelation tonight beginning with the first verse and reading down through verse 6, and we're going to look at the fifth of the letters of our Lord to the churches of Asia Minor. We'll read this letter of Jesus to the church of Sardis. All right, beginning with verse 1...
We know a few things of historical interest about the city of Sardis. We know that it was the capitol of Lydia. It was a city which was commercially quite prosperous and well off. In the city of Sardis, for the first time coins were minted. It was also a place which was known as a center of the woolen and also of the carpet industry. It was a place that was filled with shopkeepers and amateur dance band musicians. It was a city which had had a very noble past, They were very proud of what they had been in the past. Located on a hill the city of Sardis considered itself to be absolutely impregnable, there seemed to be no way that an enemy could approach that city and overtake it, and because of this they developed a kind of complacency. They felt that they could never be taken, so because of that they were very often unprepared. On one particular occasion an enemy had come and laid siege against the city of Sardis and yet they couldn't find any way to get up the secret way and get in the city of Sardis. A man in the enemy army began to look carefully at what was going on there. One day he saw a soldier in Sardis drop his helmet and fall from the side of the embankments. He watched carefully as the soldier went down a path to get that helmet, retrieve it, and then go back up. And in so observing he saw the secret of how the city of Sardis could be taken. So in a time when they were not watching, in a time when they thought that they were absolutely secure, the enemy came by night, overcame them, and the city was taken. So the city in some ways was living on a past glory, it was only a shell of what it had been. It was a town that had a reputation but the reality did not correspond to the reputation. The city, in some ways, was looked down upon and despised because they were trying to pretend to be something they really were not. It was a town that had given over to ethical complacency and moral degeneracy.
Now there is a tendency for a church to take on the moral temperature of the city where it may be. Sometimes churches become thermometers. Now of course you know what a thermometer does, it merely registers the temperature of a room. Well sometimes that what happens to churches, churches just merely register the moral temperature of the city where God has placed it. Well God doesn't want churches to be temperature churches, but rather He wants them to be thermostat churches. Now a thermostat changes the temperature of the room. That's exactly what God wants a church to do, He wants a church to change the moral and the spiritual and the ethical climate of the city wherever it may be. I really am grateful to God tonight that in many, many different ways our city in Jacksonville is a better city because of the testimony of First Baptist Church. Folks, can you realize the impact that over 40 years of gospel preaching, over 40 years of faithfulness to the Word of God, over 40 years of an evangelistic ministry has meant to this city right here? Our church is not a thermometer church merely registering the temperature of Jacksonville, rather we are a thermostat and God lets us have a part in changing that atmosphere for good.
Well, here was a church, unfortunately, that did not take that approach, they became very much like the city where they were. Now the Lord Jesus begins this letter as He always does by giving a description of himself and in the description which Jesus gives of himself to the church you will find a clue to what it wrong with the church and also the source of the solution to the problem. Well look at verse 1 and see what He says about himself: These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. Well the seven stars obviously make reference to the pastors of the churches and the Lord says, I want you to know that I have my men in my hand, I am using them, I am working through them, I am speaking to you through them. But He also describes himself as the one who has the seven Spirits of God. When we looked at this in Revelation 1 we saw that this symbolized the Holy Spirit in the plentitude of His power, the magnificent power of God's Holy Spirit in the midst of the church. Now, folks, unless we have God's Spirit in our midst everything we do lacks real genuine power. There is no power in a church apart from the very real and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit and His power flowing in and through a congregation. The old hymn was quite well-written when it said, All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down. So here's a church that is in need of the Spirit of God.
Now when we look at this church I want to look at it from several different directions as we examine the letter of our Lord to this congregation. Number one, I want us to consider the condition in the church. Jesus begins by saying to them, I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest. Here was a church that had a reputation, I mean it had a name that it was alive. I have the feeling if you had ever visited that church it would have given all of the appearances of being alive. There were meetings in abundance to which to go, there were committee meetings going on constantly, there was an unending round of activities going on in the church. It must have been a veritable beehive of activity. There were promotions and publicity and programs, there were wheels within wheels operating, the church was a very busy place and it gave every indication of being spiritually alive and powerful. So the Lord writes and He says, I know about your reputation. If pastors in other areas had members who were moving to Sardis, the first thing they'd say to them is, Be sure and move your letter to the First Baptist of Sardis, it is the most active church in the town, that thing is really on fire, they are known far and wide. It was an aggressive church, it was a super church, and it was a church that had a reputation.
Now you remember that this is the fifth of the letters that our Lord is writing. When you take these seven churches, the seven locations, and look at them on the map of Asia Minor you will observe that they are in a circular fashion. So the postman of Patmos delivered the first letter to Ephesus, and then from there he moved on to Smyrna, and then to Pergamos, and then to Thyatira. Well, by that time the word was getting around that the Lord Jesus had written some letters to the churches, so the folks in Sardis knew that they were next on the list. I think they must have planned a big Sunday for that day. I mean everybody was going to be there that day to listen to the letter of the Lord. It was Super Sunday and Sardis. So can you imagine how it must have been as the letter of the Lord Jesus was opened up and the Lord begins by saying to them, You have a name that you live. I can see them as they nod approvingly to one another, they are so glad that the Lord is aware of their reputation, they are so glad that the Lord knows that they are heard of far and wide. But they gloated a little bit too soon because Jesus continues by saying, You have a name you are alive but you are dead. Now, folks, I want to tell you something, that must have been a stunning service that day when that letter of our Lord was read. There is a difference between reputation and reality. Now reputation is what folks think you are, reality is what Jesus knows you are. So the Great Physician came and He felt the pulse beat of the church of Sardis and He pronounced them dead.
Now what does the Lord mean when He says the church is dead here? What is the message for us? What is the warning in this lesson for our hearts tonight? Well, I think the first thing we can say is that outward appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes there can be the appearance of life and yet there is no life there. I remember when artificial flowers were first made, they're not as old as you think they are, I like real ones by the way, but I got a flower at a wedding yesterday and I looked at that thing and I'll declare I thought it was absolutely a real rose. It was not until I got out of the wedding and took it off of my lapel that I felt it and it was really cloth. They make them look so very real. Well when they first started doing artificial flowers they made wax flowers. Do you remember those wax flowers? And they could make those look pretty good at a distance. So one day I saw this beautiful bouquet of roses; I said, Oh my, how pretty. I love roses. I love the smell of roses. So I just walked right over there to that bouquet of roses and I just stuck my big nose right there in the middle of those roses and when I did I hit those wax roses and there was no pleasant odor there and there was no softness there, artificial. They had the appearance of life and yet they were very, very dead. A few years ago I was in a revival meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, and the preacher said to me, One of our men wants us to come and have a meal with them today. So I said, Okay. And it just happened that this man who was a very wealthy man was also a big game hunter. He'd go over to Africa and he'd go on these big game hunts. So when we got over there that day we were ushered into the den and, man, that was the biggest den. It was bigger than most houses are. I walked into that den and when I walked in, at first it startled me because I looked right over there and there was a lion, I mean a full-size lion. And then I looked right over here and here was a rhinoceros, I mean a rhinoceros. And then I looked around and there were big old snakes all over the tables in that house. Well I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that all of these wild, vicious animals were dead, they'd been carried to a taxidermist and he had stuffed them, and they were not real, they just gave the appearance of reality, they were dead but they looked alive when you first looked at them. Deceiving appearances, outward appearances can be very, very deceptive. It's amazing now what they can do with a dead body isn't it? I was thinking this morning, I was looking out there and Homer G., brother preacher, and I was looking at him grinning, I was looking and him and he was looking at me, grinning at me, and I thought, What's he grinning about? Is he just imagining how he's going to make me look when he has my funeral? And I was watching the other night a program and they were talking about how they're training these guys now to know how to be very artistic and very creative in what they do. They can do wonders with a dead body in a funeral home. And you go over there and you look into the casket and I want to tell you that body has the appearance of life, but I want to tell you something, you can walk over there and you can say, How you doin? He won't say nothing. You can say, Well you're not very friendly are you? Nothing. You can say, Well I think I'll just slap you. You slap him. He ain't going to do nothing. It's dead. I mean it's dead dead. It has the appearance of life but it is very, very dead.
The Lord Jesus is giving us a very important warning. He is saying to us that you can go through the motions, you can give the appearance of spiritual life and yet the Lord Jesus who looks into our hearts and He knows our spiritual condition can say about us, You are spiritually dead. It is possible to live in a past brilliance. It is possible to live on the light of a past brilliance. They tell me that there are certain stars in our galaxy that take 33 years for the light to reach this earth. In other words, from the time that the light is emanated from that star until the time you can see it in our sky at night takes 33 years. In fact they say that some of the stars you're witnessing now, you're seeing right now, are already dead. I mean they're not even there. Actually, what is happening, it is shining by the light of a brilliant past. It is no longer there, it is dead, it is lightless and lifeless. Well I want to tell you, folks, that there are some churches in this world that are living in the light of a brilliant past and you can go by their building and they may be massive and you can inspect their budget and it may be huge, but when the Lord Jesus Christ puts the divine stethoscope upon that spiritual body His pronouncement is, You have a name that you are alive and yet you are very, very dead. Oh, listen, folks, this is a warning. You say, Preacher, why are you preaching this tonight, do you think our church is dead? I really do not. I do not believe that this is a dead church. In fact, folks, I'm going to tell you, with all of my heart I believe it is a live church, there is spiritual life about this church. I'm just simply preaching it, number one, because this is where I came to in the Bible but, number two, I had a lot rather do preventive preaching than remedial preaching. I had a lot rather try to ward off a problem before it comes about than try to deal with it after it's taken place. So here's a warning. Not that we are a dead church, I do not believe we are, but it is a warning for us that we can never live on past successes, we can never bask in past glory.
Now what are the signs of spiritual life in a church? I mean how do you know when a church is alive? Well, one of the signs of life is growth. If a church is growing you know that church is alive. I think that includes numerical growth, I think that's a part of it, but I think more than that it means spiritual growth. I think this is an indication that a church is really alive. If I am alive physically I am continuing to grow, I am continuing to develop, I am continuing to mature, and the day I quit growing is actually the day I start dying. So a church must be characterized by growth. A church must also be characterized by harmony. If there is life in a church there will be harmony. When the body gets in trouble, that is the physical body, it gets in trouble when there is disharmony in the body. In other words some invading cells attack the normal cells and they get in rebellion and in conflict with one another and finally the disease cells overcome the well cells and death and disintegration set in. Well the same thing is true in a church. If a church is a living church there will be harmony, there will be unity in the fellowship. And then of course, if a church is a live there will also not only be these things, but if a church is really alive there will be emotion. I am alive, I am a living person, and because of that I think, and because of that I speak, and because of that I laugh, and because of that I weep, and because of that I am alive, I have emotion, I am a real me. Well a church is to be like and there are times when the church cries, there are times when members of the body have hurts and the body weeps with those who weep. And then there are times when the church laughs and sings and smiles and they join together in the joy of some member of the body. So a church must have life.
Well I think as you look down through these words of the Lord you will find why this church had a name that it was alive and why it was spiritually dead. I want you to look at the last part of verse 2. Look at what Jesus says, this is so interesting to me. He said, I have not found thy works perfect before God. Now connect that with what He said back in verse 1. He said, I know thy works, you have a name you're alive, you're dead. Now he says in verse 2, I have not found thy works perfect before God. When you read the word "perfect" there don't think of it in terms of sinlessness. Most of the times in the New Testament the word "perfect" does not mean sinlessness. Think rather in terms of the word "completeness" or "fulfilled." And the Lord Jesus is saying, I have not found your works completed before God. In other words, Your works have not fulfilled themselves. Your works have not reached their intended definition. Now here's what Jesus is saying, Jesus is saying, You're praying but your praying is not reaching the throne of God, you're singing but your songs are not reverberating on the streets of glory, you're giving but your gifts are not being deposited into heaven's bank. No completion, no spiritual fulfillment in what they were doing. Now this is a problem sometimes churches get into. The church of Sardis must have been great at starting things but they didn't complete much. Churches start a lot of things but they don't complete a lot of things. I like what D.L. Moody was quoted as saying. D.L. Moody said, I had a lot rather say this one thing I do than to say these forty things I dabble in. And I think God blesses a church when it has a single mind and when it determines that what it does it will do in the power of the Spirit for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and for the good of others. I was talking to my wife coming up tonight about doodling. Do you remember playing Doodling. Any of you older folks remember Doodling? When I was a boy we used to play Doodle Bug. You'd get under the house somewhere and you'd find these doodle bugs and there would be this bored out place in the dirt, it had a little mound of dirt around it where it bored down in there and you'd get you a stick and you'd play doodle bug, you'd get that stick, you'd put it down in that hole and you'd go around and around and around and around and you was doodling. And you had a little saying, you'd say, Doodle Bug, Doodle Bug, come get your supper. Isn't that cute? Doodle Bug, Doodle Bug, come get your supper. I used to think it was the doodling you did, I have now come to believe it was you poking that little old bug with that stick, he's got to get out of there somehow. You'd just doodle, doodle, doodle. You could just spend a whole afternoon doodling, just doodling. You know there are churches like that? They're just doodling. What ya'll doing up at church? Oh well, we're doing this, we're doing that, just doodling, doodling, Doodle Bug, Doodle Bug. The Lord said, I have not found thy works perfect before God. What He's saying is there is no spiritual fulfillment in what you do, you're not doing it for my glory, you're doing it for your own selfish gain, you're doing it for your own purposes and you're own desires. So the Lord Jesus looks at this church and He sees the condition in the church.
But now, number two, the Lord also gives to us here the cure for the church. The Lord prescribes a cure. Now keep in mind He addresses himself to the church as the one who has the seven Spirits of God, so the solution to the spiritual deadness of the church is found in true spirituality. For instance, number one, there must be a spiritual alertness. Look at verse 2: Be watchful, that is, chase sleep, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die. Now of course this reflects back on the history of the church and the city of Sardis. They were asleep, they were not watchful, they were not alert, and the enemy came and took them unaware. Well you and I as Christians must be spiritually alert, we must chase sleep. A man goes out into the icy forest and the temperature begins to drop and it gets lower and lower and lower and lower, and then numbness begins to set in and frostbite begins to creep on the limbs of the man. And they tell me when a man is in danger of freezing he begins to get sleepy and whatever he does he cannot allow himself to go to sleep, he's got to fight sleep because to sleep in the moment when he's about to freeze can be deadly. Well the Lord Jesus is saying here, Be spiritually alert, strengthen those things that remain. In other words, He's saying, Don't you stop doing the things you're doing, don't stop your praying, don't stop your singing, don't stop your giving, don't stop your witnessing, but do those things in the power of the Holy Spirit, put spiritual life in those things.
I was reading this week, and I'd like to recommend this book to you, a book by David Seamons entitled, "Healing For Damaged Emotions." I think it's one of the best little books and one of the most helpful little books you'll ever read in your Christian life and understanding how God has to heal the broken emotions of some of God's people, even after the conversion experience. I was reading this book and he said that one of the things that happens when a person begins to experience depression is that they don't want to pray, they know they need to pray but they don't want to pray. And he said, of course that's the time to pray. Of all times, that's the time you need to pray. Don't quit the things you're doing. Strengthen the things that remain, the Lord says. Folks, I want to tell you something, I've been preaching for a long, long time and I've been pastor of churches for a long, long time, and I've been in God's business almost all of my life, I say this tonight not out of the top of my head but from the bottom of my heart, I have come to the conviction that there will never be any spiritual life produced in our preaching, in our singing, in our witnessing, in anything we do unless we do it in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Oh, listen, my preaching will be as dull and as lifeless as it can be if I do not preach in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. You remember that poem, "The Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner"? Remember that? Water, water everywhere and all the boards did shrink. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. And do you remember the poem depicts a ship and upon that ship there are dead people who are manning the oars and a dead person at the helm, they are there but they are dead, there is no life. There is nothing any deader than orthodoxy apart from the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
This name Sardis, by the way, literally means the escaped one. Prophetically, this corresponds to the period of time in church history of the Reformation and after. Now the Reformation was a return to orthodoxy, it was a return to the teachings of the Word of God on the most essential truth of all Scripture, what brings salvation into a person? And of course, Martin Luther rang out the truth that man is justified by faith in Jesus Christ alone. So this was the time that some came out of the church of that day, they were the escaped ones. But the tragedy is that they moved into a Protestantism which was orthodox, it was theologically straight, and yet it was void of spiritual power. Folks, you can be just as straight as a gun barrel theologically and as dry as gun powder spiritually. Amen? And amen. So we must preach in the power of the Spirit, we must sing in the power of the Spirit. Spiritual alertness.
Number two, there must be spiritual brokeness. Do you notice what He says here in verse 3? Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. And the Lord is simply saying here there needs to be some self-judgement on your part, there needs to be a spiritual brokeness on your part. Repent. Ask God to forgive you of a cold heart. Ask God to forgive you for not working in the power of the Holy Spirit. Now a broken heart, physically, is deadly. Some believe that Jesus died of a broken heart at Calvary. I think there is some medical indication that Jesus may have actually died of a broken heart at Calvary. It may very well be that His heart actually exploded at Calvary. When the soldier put the spear into the side of the Lord there came out blood and water. So a broken heart physically is deadly. What is true physically is just the opposite spiritually. A broken heart spiritually can be a very life-giving experience. Do you have a broken heart tonight? I mean do you ever get a broken heart about this city? As you ride up and down the streets of this city does it ever break your heart the spiritual condition of this city? If I could just take you right into some homes in Jacksonville and let you see the turmoil, and let you see the hurt, and let you see the anguish, and let you see the heartache in the lives of many of the people of this city, it would break your heart tonight. Oh, we need to be spiritually broken, that's what will put life in a church, it's when we're broken for the lost who need Jesus as their Savior.
Now Jesus says you better judge yourself because if you don't judge yourself I'll come and judge you. Self-judgement is always better. I heard about a Bible teacher, a noted Bible teacher, who went out for an evening meal and they left their two boys at home alone. Now that was a mistake, that was the first mistake he made right there, leaving those boys alone. Well, after the meal they returned to the home that night and when they walked into the house it was unnaturally quiet so they knew something was wrong. So they went into the living room and there, where they had had one of their favorite vases, they saw where the boys had evidently, in a scuffle, knocked over the vase and it was broken. The broken pieces of the vase had been swept neatly together and then there was a note from the two boys by the broken pieces, it said, Dear Daddy, We broke your favorite vase. We have sent our selves to bed with no supper. And I have a feeling that self- judgment was a lot better than their father's judgment would have been. That's what Jesus wants us to do. Jesus wants us to be constantly broken of spirit, constantly asking Him to forgive us of a cold heart. When I think about what Jesus has done for us, and how much Jesus loves us, and how He constantly blesses us, and how good Jesus is to us, it breaks my heart I get this cold and indifferent toward Him as I do.
The condition of the church, the cure for the church, number three, He speaks a word to the committed in the church. Now isn't this something? It's very similar to what we noticed before. Look at verse 4. Thou hast a few names, look at that, a few names. God's on-fire in the church are always in a minority. It is always the faithful few on fire. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis. Isn't that something? A dead church. I have found that to be true. You can go into a church that is so cold and so dead that you can ice skate down the aisles and yet you know what you'll do? You'll run into some people who love the Lord Jesus. Now I personally don't understand that. I wouldn't stay there. I mean I just wouldn't stay there. I don't have that kind of loyalty to a local church. Brother, you let a church die and get spiritually cold and I'm going to be looking for the fireplace somewhere. Amen? And amen. But you find it everywhere. I mean some of the sweetest saints you'll ever meet are in some of the deadest churches. I mean they are dead, dead, double dog dead, four o'clock dead. Yet they're there. And He says there are a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. That's the faithful few, they have not defiled their garments, they've kept themselves clean. Folks, it's important to keep yourself clean. It's important for you to keep yourself clean, keep your life clean for Jesus.
Here's a doctor; it's just about time for surgery; the nurses have all of the instruments prepared, the person is already on the operating room table. The doctor comes rushing in, he says, Well I'm sorry I'm a little bit late, I've been out fishing, digging for worms, and been fishing. And he just throws on his whatever they put on in the operating room, he goes running in there and they say, Oh but, doctor, aren't you going to scrub up? He said, No, ain't no need for me scrubbing up; man, I'm a doctor, don't you know that? Man, I've got a license to practice in this city, I've got a doctor's degree, I don't have to scrub up. Well I don't want a doctor operating on me who doesn't scrub up. I want him to be clean when he's operating on me. Well let me tell you something, God wants you to be clean if you're going to be trying to win people to the Lord, if you're going to try to serve the Lord Jesus. The Bible says keep your garments clean, don't have anything in your life that would hinder your testimony.
He said, They'll walk with me in white for they are worthy. Oh, that just kind of pitches over now from the faithful few, it pitches on over to the fabulous future. And He says about those who stay clean for Jesus and those who stay on fire for Jesus and serving Jesus, He said they'll walk with me in white. He's talking here about the final robing of the children of God. Look at verse 5: He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment. In other words they shall share that outward splendor with Jesus because of their inward loyalty to Him. Clothed in white raiment. And He says, I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. Now when you study the book of life right on through scripture it's a beautiful picture. You remember when Moses was praying? The children of Israel had disobeyed God and Moses was praying? And he said in Exodus 32:32, If thou wilt, forgive their sin, and then he said, If not, blot out my name I pray thee from the book which thou hast written, the book of life evidently. And what Moses was saying was, Lord, I'm willing for you to take my life that these people might be spared; blot my name out of the book of life. And then you move on through the scriptures and in the New Testament you read about believers in Philippi and the Lord says about them, Whose names are in the Lamb's book of life. And then you turn over to Revelation 21, just flip over there for just a moment. In Revelation chapter 21 you read in the 27th verse about the folks who're going to be in heaven and look at what it says in Revelation 21:27, it says, And there shall in no wise enter into it (talking about the new Jerusalem, heaven) any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but (here's who'll go into heaven) they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Now, folks, I want to tell you, that's the book you want to be sure you're in. See? Are you in the book tonight? Are you in the Lamb's book of life? You say, "Well, Preacher, I'm on the church book." Didn't ask you that. Are you in the book? You say, "Well, Preacher, I want you to know that I was elected to Who's Who in American Colleges." Well that's fine but the question tonight is not are you in Who's Who but are you in the book? Is your name up there in the book? Is it sealed by the blood of the Lamb? Are you in the book? You say, "Well, Preacher, I'm on the social register." Well that doesn't count. I'm talking about heaven, are you in the book? Listen, folks, whatever you do be sure that your name is written in the Lamb's book of life. You remember one time the disciples of the Lord went out there and they were just casting out devils right and left and they had spiritual power unbelievable and they came back, they said, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us. And Jesus said, Ah, don't you rejoice because the demons are subject unto you but, He said, rather because your names are written in heaven. You know why Jesus said that? There would come a time when maybe the demons would not respond to them, and that happened. You remember that? The Lord was up on the Mount of Transfiguration, came down to the red-faced disciples, a guy had come, brought his son who had demons, brought that boy to the Lord's disciples, and the disciples said, Aw, man, this is a snap. And one of the disciples said, I can handle this one. He went over to that demon and he said, Come out of him. Nothing happened. So one of the other disciples said, Man, you've blown it, move out of the way, let an expert handle this deal. He walks over to that little boy and he says, All right, demon, you come out of him. Nothing happened. And by the time the Lord came down the devil was just having a holiday with those disciples and they were all red-faced and they were all embarrassed because the demons were not subject to them, because they hadn't fasted and prayed, they were not spiritually in tune so that the demons would come out.
That's why Jesus said don't rejoice because you have spiritual power in this life, don't get the big head because of what you do down here. He said that may pass away, you may not always have that. But He said there's something you can always rejoice about, your name is written in the Lamb's book of life. Brother, you got your name up there tonight? I'll tell you, before we leave this service tonight I'm going to give you an opportunity, if you do not know Jesus, to come forward and receive Him as your personal Savior and when you do that name will be sealed in the Lamb's book of life. I mean, brother, you're one of them then, you're a citizen of heaven, you've got your name on the book, and it'll be up there forever and forever and ever.
Now look at what He says: but (in verse 5) I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels. Now the Lord Jesus places a premium upon public confession, Jesus said in Matthew 10:32, Whosoever therefore will confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father who is in heaven. Everyone Jesus ever called He called them publicly and I do not believe that a person can receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and then have no desire whatsoever to let somebody know about it. There's just something normal and natural about wanting others to know when Christ has come into your life. That's why some of you tonight ought to walk down this aisle. It's not going to saving you but it's a testimony that you have been saved. You ought to come down this aisle and make your public profession of faith. If I should ask you tonight if you're saved you'd say, Oh, yeah, I'm saved, Preacher; I was saved one year ago, two years ago, one month ago, three months ago. Yeah, Preacher, I know I'm saved, my name's written up there. Have you made it public? Have you made it public? Well Jesus says you ought to do it and He said, I'll confess you, you're name, before my Father and before His angels.
Now let me just show you what is going to happen, let me just show you what'll happen. You're in this service tonight and the Spirit of God convicts you of your need of a Savior; you open up your heart to the Lord Jesus; you repent of your sin, ask God to forgive you of your sin; by faith you invited Jesus to come into your heart and into your life. When the invitation hymn is given in just a moment you leave wherever you are, the balcony, downstairs, you walk down one of these aisles and you walk down, you take Dr. Lindsay by the hand, one of these deacons by the hand, and you say, I've been saved, I want to make my public confession of faith in the Lord. Now from tonight until the day you die, it may be 50 years, it may be 30 years, it may be 10 years, it may be 10 weeks, it may be 10 days, I don't know when it'll be, but one of these days, if you confess Him, one of these days, if you confess Him, the Lord Jesus says that when He gets you to heaven He's going to do something very wonderful. I mean, man, you die and you're going up there to heaven, and the Bible says, remember what the psalmist said, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, thou art with me. And the same Savior who opens up to you the gates of grace will also open up to you the gates of glory. So old Bill Smith we'll call you, old Bill Smith goes to the gates of glory and he knocks at the doors of the gates of glory and the Lord Jesus says, What's your name? And you say, My name is Bill Smith. Oh, yeah, Bill, yeah, I know you, I remember you; you confessed me down there didn't you? Yes, Lord, I really did. You were faithful to me down there weren't you? Yes, sir. You were true to me down there; you weren't ashamed of me down there were you? No, Lord, I really wasn't. And the Lord takes you, Bill, by the hand and He leads you down those streets of gold, and He carries you past rank after rank after rank of the holy angels of God, and He carries you up to the throne of God, and there He stands before the Father and He says, Father, this is Bill Smith, he's one of mine, I want to introduce him to you. Oh, I'll tell you something, folks, it'll be worth it then, won't it? It'll be worth it then to live for Jesus down here. Ten thousand years from now you'll be so glad you gave your life to Christ.
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