Revive Our Hearts Podcast

400 Years of Silence

Leslie Basham: God spoke to us through His Son. To understand how amazing this is, think about what preceded Jesus' birth. Here is Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: God says that if you break the covenant, if you won't repair the covenant, you will be under a curse. And that's where the Old Testament ends.

And then for 400 years, God doesn't say a word. But as you open to the first pages of the New Testament--Matthew, chapter 5--Jesus says, "Blessed."

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, December 18.

We've been in a series this week called "Jesus, Our Source of Blessing." We've seen the Christmas story in a fresh way by looking at the curse the world was under when Christ came. Today we'll get to the turning point in that story. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How many of you have read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis? Several hands there. You remember that, when the story opens, the land of Narnia has been placed under a spell by the white witch who calls herself the Queen of Narnia.

And all the inhabitants of Narnia are her slaves. The witch drives around in a sled and she looks around for anybody who seems to be having a good time or anybody who dares to cross her wishes.

And what does she do? She waves her wand and turns them into stone. And there's no joy allowed, no celebrating allowed. She's made a magic in the land of Narnia so that it's always winter but never Christmas.

And Narnia is a miserable place to live until Aslan comes. He's the lion whose power is greater than that of the white witch. And when he first comes to the land, and the rumors that Aslan has come, the first sign is that the ice begins to thaw. And then the little crocuses start to poke up underneath the land that's been covered in snow and ice for years and years.

As the plot unfolds, remember there comes this point where the witch is determined to kill Edmund because he has betrayed his brother and his sisters.

And Aslan tries to intercede on Edmund's behalf, Aslan, the lion, the Christ-figure in this allegory of redemption; and the witch says to Aslan, she reminds him of the magic that the emperor put into Narnia at the very beginning.

She says, "You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery, I have a right to kill. And so this human creature is mine. His blood is my property," she says. "Unless I have blood, as the law says, all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire and water."

And you remember that, in a very dramatic moment, Aslan negotiates with the witch and he agrees to take Edmund's place and to let the witch put him to death on the stone table. Now, he knows something that the witch doesn't know. And you find that when you come to the end of the story.

But you and I live in a world that is held in the clutches of a great evil one. His name is Satan. And, like the Queen of Narnia, he wants everyone to think that he's in charge.

He promises happiness, but he never fulfills on his promises. Instead, the people who live under his wand are slaves. There's no joy, and we live in a world where, really when you think about it, it is always winter and never Christmas in the hearts of most people.

You see, the Old Testament is a story of a world under a curse. In fact, the Old Testament ends with threats of a curse, the judgment of God.

Come to the last book of the Old Testament, the Book of Malachi, chapter 4, verse 4: "Remember the Law of my servant Moses, the decrees and the laws I gave him for all Israel.

"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of their children to their fathers."

What's He saying? "There will be a covenant re-established, but if not, I will come and strike the land with a curse." That's the last phrase of the whole Old Testament.

And then for 400 years, God doesn't say a word to people on planet Earth. He's just silent. And I think one of the reasons is that God knows that we have to sit under the weight of understanding, the heaviness of the curse, before the Gospel will ever be really Good News to us.

So He let them sit. See, we want to rescue people from conviction. We don't want them just to experience the weight of their sinfulness and the sense that they are treacherous against God, that they are spiritually adulterous.

We want to quick get them saved, quick get them into the family of God. And some of them have made a profession of faith; but they've never experienced new life in Christ because they never knew what it was to be under the conviction, the awful weight of what it is to live under that curse.

Well, 400 years later, a man comes on the scene. And as you open to the first pages of the New Testament which, you see, is the ice starting to thaw. His name is Jesus.

And what does He do? The first words as He opened His mouth, first recorded message, Matthew, chapter 5, He says, "Blessed. Four hundred years ago you heard a curse. Nothing is changed yet in you, but I came to bring you blessing."

You see Jesus in Mark, chapter 10, and children were brought to Him. And parents want Jesus to touch the children--and then the disciples are"¦, they don't have time for children.

Jesus rebukes the disciples and He says, "Don't you understand, the kingdom of God belongs to the least and the smallest of them all." And Jesus takes those children on His lap. He lays His hands on them and He blesses them.

There's God, holding children and saying, "I bless you." The ice is thawing. Spring is coming. Winter is about to be over. But there's still a problem.

Satan has a claim on the human race because human beings have sided with him and have broken God's covenant. And in order for covenant breakers to be blessed, Jesus had to deal with the curse that we were under. So, how did He do it?

What we saw in the last session--Galatians, chapter 3, verse 13. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us."

As Aslan went to that stone table and laid down his life for the sake of Edmund the covenant breaker, the treacherous one, Jesus went to the cross. He became a curse for us. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."

In order to do that, Jesus had to take the place of the treacherous one. All my sin, all my curse, all your curse, He took it on Himself. Jesus came to deliver us from the curse of law, to break the power of the curse so that He could bless us.

I love that verse in Acts, chapter 3, verse 26, that says, "God sent Jesus to bless you." That's why God sent Him. How does He bless us? By turning each of us from our wicked ways, by turning us away from being covenant breakers and by giving us a new heart to obey God's covenant. Jesus reconciled us to God so that we could be blessed.

So we read in Jeremiah, chapter 17, verse 7, which is really the message of the New Covenant, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." The man who trusts in the Lord--the Lord who took his curse, the Lord who died in his place. "Blessed is the man," now that passage already just told us in Jeremiah 17, "cursed is the man who trusts in man." If you depend on yourself for your salvation, you'll always be under God's judgment. But "blessed." This is a foretelling of Jesus' coming. "Blessed is the man, who trusts in the Lord."

Who are you trusting for your eternal salvation? Are you under God's curse or are you under His blessing? If you're a lawbreaker and all of us are born as lawbreakers, covenant breakers, then you were born under the curse of God. We all were.

The question is, have you been delivered from the power of the curse by placing your trust in Christ Who took that curse for you?

You know, you may be listening to this whole series and as a good church member, active in church, doing religious things, always thinking perhaps that you were a Christian but maybe you've never actually placed your faith in Christ to deliver you from that curse.

And I want to invite you just in these moments as we bow our hearts together to say "Lord, (if this is true of you), I acknowledge that I am still under Your curse, under Your righteous judgment because I've broken Your law and I've never been redeemed from that curse.

"But now my eyes have been opened and I thank You for Jesus who came and became that curse for me. And right now, by faith, I place my trust in Him for my salvation. And I receive the blessing of eternal life, the blessing that You sent Jesus to give me. Amen."

Leslie Basham: If you just prayed with Nancy Leigh DeMoss putting your trust in Christ, we'd like to help you grow in your newfound faith. We'll send you a booklet called Right With God by John Blanchard if you give us a call at 1‑800‑569‑5959.

This booklet will help you understand what it means to become a Christian and to allow Christ to live through you. The number again is 1‑800‑569‑5959. We'd love to hear from you.

You can also e-mail by visiting our Web site and clicking on the section marked "Contact us." Or write and tell us your story.

Maybe you know of someone who needs to hear today's program. Maybe they're close to accepting the blessing of Christ's forgiveness and today's presentation would be helpful to them. Just ask for the series "Jesus, Our Source of Blessing" when you call us at 1‑800‑569‑5959.

Gift giving during the holidays is a great tradition. It reminds us that we've been given much and we need to give generously. We'll talk about that more tomorrow. Now, to wrap things up, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: At the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as you recall, Aslan comes back to life. And C. S. Lewis goes on to say, "Though the witch knew the deep magic, there is a magic deeper still, which she did not know.

"Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little farther back into the stillness and the darkness before time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation.

"She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the table would crack and death itself would start working backward."

And that's the Gospel. The spell is broken. The long winter is over. Flowers appear on the earth. People begin to celebrate in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The witch's fortress is ransacked; the stone statues are brought back to life; they're liberated from her clutches and ultimately the witch is killed by Aslan himself in a final battle.

And that is what you and I have to look forward to--because of Christ and His cross and His resurrection. Christmas has come. Winter is over.

Leslie Basham:

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministry.

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