Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God Makes Himself Known

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Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to know, “What’s the source of your authority, the one thing you find trustworthy?”

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Is it cultural standards and mores? Is it pop culture? Is it opinion polls? Is your authority perhaps yourself?

The wonderful thing is that God has not left us to figure out life for ourselves. Thank God He has made Himself and His ways known to us. And how has He done that? Through His Word.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for Monday, April 9, 2018.

A few weeks ago on Revive Our Hearts Nancy addressed the differences between men and women. On our listener blog that day, a woman wrote,

I just want to say thank you. With teary eyes I just want to thank you for this message. There is so much confusion these days about this subject. Thank you for giving me hope knowing that God created us different.

That program was part of a series explaining the True Woman Manifesto. We took a break from the Manifesto for a couple weeks, but today we’ll pick it back with a series called "The True Woman Manifesto—Affirmations, Part 1." The Manifesto was first released at True Woman '08, the first national conference Revive Our Hearts hosted for women. Now we’re getting ready for the eighth True Woman conference this September!

Nancy: It’s so exciting to see the thousands of women that are expecting to be a part of these conferences and mostly to know that these conferences are not just events, but that they are spawning a movement of God speaking to and capturing the hearts of women all across this country who want to be a part of what He is doing in rescuing and restoring and redeeming this culture and making all things new by the power of the gospel.

There are women who want to be true women of God who are willing to swim upstream, to go against the culture, and to say, “Yes Lord, we embrace Your Word and Your ways. We embrace You as our sovereign Lord.” Now that’s not always easy, but it’s always good. I’m so thrilled to see the women who are responding and how they’re responding, and how they’re going back and multiplying this message in so many different ways as they’ve been hearing it on Revive Our Hearts.

And one big centerpiece of this True Woman Movement is what we’ve called the True Woman Manifesto. So in the last part of this series we covered foundational belief statements that are important if we’re going to understand how to live as true women or men of God for that matter. So we started with God. That’s the starting place. What we believe about God determines what we believe about everything else and how we live our lives.

We saw that He is the sovereign Lord and the Creator of life. That means He’s the boss. He determines what’s right, what’s wrong, how we’re designed, how we should function. He makes the decisions, and His ways are right. We looked at Him as a sovereign Lord and Creator.

And then we saw that we were created to be His subjects and to be ones who bring Him pleasure. We exist for His glory. That’s our reason for being. And you know what? You get that straight, and:

  • You can do away with whining.
  • You can do away with complaining.
  • You can do away with fear.
  • You can do away with anger.
  • You can do away with anxiety.
  • All those things we could get rid of if we really, really believed that we exist for the glory of God and whatever comes into our lives if it can bring God glory, then we can accept it.

For some of you living in a marriage to a non-believing mate, having a prodigal child, I’m not saying these are good things. But I’m saying God can be glorified through you living out the gospel in the midst of whatever circumstance and situation God has placed you—health issues, financial issues, family issues, workplace issues, church issues. If you just realize, you settle the matter, “I live for the glory of God,” then everything else in your life will take on proper perspective and proportion.

We saw that God created humanity and divided them into male and female. And you say, “Well, that seems very obvious.” It’s not so obvious to some people today. We saw that, but we saw that God’s plan was good and that male and female together are to glorify Him.

Then we looked at the entrance of sin into the world and how it botched the whole picture and keeps us from being able to reflect the image of God in a way that He deserves and how God in His awesome mercy and grace reached down from heaven to save sinners who had rebelled against Him.

The whole thing of true womanhood, biblical womanhood has got to be grounded and centered in the gospel. This is not a matter of us reforming and being better women. It’s not a matter of us finding some key to life and being happier women. It’s not a matter of getting some formula that we adopt for our lives and we get our lives all under control and manageable. This is a matter of being helpless, hopeless sinners desperately in need of the gospel and grace of Christ which alone can save us and can make us the women God wants us to be.

So salvation is so crucial at the foundation. You can’t be a true woman of God if you’re not saved, if you don’t have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Then we looked at our society’s rejection of Scripture as its authority and the consequences of that in our culture. Then we saw that God is writing this grand redemptive story that is not just endless, meaningless cycles in this world but it’s headed somewhere.

Where it’s headed is toward reclamation, restoration, and we are part of that story. We have a redemptive, transforming call and mission in this world. You may not be the CEO of anything, but God has got you here on a mission not just to get saved yourself and delivered from sin and its consequences, but to be actively involved in His rescue and recovery program in this world.

Now we come in the True Woman Manifesto, and I hope you have a copy of the Manifesto there. I hope you’re carrying it around with you. It is not infallible. It’s not equal to in any sense your Bible. But I hope that it’s helping us understand some basic Bible themes. We come to a transition statement that says,

As Christian women we desire to honor God by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His gospel to our world.

So this speaks to our motive and our goal as we go about all this true woman stuff. Our goal is to honor God. To do so requires swimming upstream, going a different direction than the culture, not for the sake of being contrary but for the sake of Christ and His gospel.

And our greatest weapon in this counter-cultural revolution is not argumentation or debate. It’s not winning elections or getting laws passed. It’s not having a president who supports biblical values. The greatest weapon is our lives that reflect Christ to our world. You see, as true believers, true women of God, we’re a remnant, a small minority living as strangers and pilgrims in a dark, fallen, prodigal world that is headed the wrong direction.

We don’t honor God or draw others to Him by living lives that just reflect the world’s system. If we’re the same as the world with its rebellion and its broken covenants and its anger and its bitterness and its harshness, we’re not going to win or attract the world to the gospel of Christ. Nor will we attract the world by being self-righteous moralists devoid of the Spirit and life.

They don’t need to just see people who are "goody two-shoes." They need to see people who have been made righteous by the power of Jesus Christ and His indwelling Holy Spirit. They need to see vibrant, joyful, trusting, loving, giving, serving faithful women of God who live lives and have relationships that reflect the beauty of God and His ways. We’re called to live out the gospel, to make it believable and desirable to our world.

The key thing is not just what we believe or what we say we believe, but how our lives reflect what we believe. I think one of the reasons you’re listening to this program is because you desire to honor God in that way.

And so we just affirm, “Lord, we desire to honor You by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His gospel to our world.” If that’s true of you, would you just say, “Amen”?

Women: Amen.

Nancy: Yes, it is true. And so we move into this next section of the manifesto, a series of thirteen affirmations.

To that end so that we can honor God by living these counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His gospel to our world, to that end we affirm thirteen things. And we’re going to take a program or two on each of these thirteen starting with the first one today. Here’s the first affirmation.

We affirm that Scripture is God’s authoritative means of instructing us in His ways and it reveals His holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.

This is again a foundational premise. There are many complex issues facing us on every front today in relation to marriage, family and divorce, child bearing, child rearing, contraception, reproductive technologies, abortion, domestic violence, sexual issues, work issues, care for elderly parents, end-of-life issues, not to speak of the countless relational issues and challenges that people face and many of whom write to us about those issues here at Revive Our Hearts.

 The question is as you face these complex issues:

  • What determines your world view?
  • What determines your belief system?
  • To what or to whom do you look for answers to life’s questions and issues?
  • What’s your source of authority?

Is it cultural standards and mores? Is it pop culture? Is it opinion polls, professors, sociology, psychology, media, tradition, friends? Is your authority perhaps yourself?

The wonderful thing is that God has not left us to figure out life for ourselves. Thank God He has made Himself and His ways known to us. And how has He done that? Through His Word. We’ve seen earlier in this series that our world rejects the authority of God’s Word. And from the Garden of Eden to this day, God’s enemy, Satan, has challenged the reliability of God’s Word. That’s always been at the heart of his attacks against God and the way he tempts men and women. “Indeed, has God said . . .?” It’s an attack on the reliability of God’s Word.

But to those of us who know and who trust the God of the Word, we recognize that no matter what the world says about the Word of God, no matter how much it may try to repudiate it or dispute it or marginalize it, we know that God’s Word is a precious gift, and it’s an essential gift. It’s an instruction manual for life that comes straight from our Designer and Creator.

So I want us to look today at the authority of Scripture, the sufficiency of Scripture, and the beauty of Scripture, if I could just put it under three headings. First the authority of Scripture, 2 Peter 1: “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation” (v. 20). Isn't that what we have galore today? People’s own interpretation of right and wrong?

“For no prophecy,” that is no word in this book, “was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (v. 21).

No book I have ever written and no other book about the Bible no matter how good it may be, no other book on the planet carries the weight and the authority that this Book does, the holy Word of God.

God did not inspire the books that I wrote. Now to whatever extent they are based on the Scripture, you can trust them, but not because I’m trustworthy but because God’s Word is trustworthy. This Word came from God.

There’s an interesting passage in 2 Peter 3 that talks about this matter of the authority of Scripture and how we dispute it at our peril. Peter talks about, "our beloved brother Paul . . . wrote to you according to the wisdom given him" (v. 15). Now where did Paul get that wisdom to write the epistles that he wrote? He got it from God. He spoke from God as he was carried along by the Holy Spirit as Peter says in 2 Peter 1.

Now he’s talking about one of those authors, Paul, “who wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,” the wisdom that comes from God, “as he does in all his letters when he speaks of them in these matters” (v. 16). 

And then listen to this. “There are some things in them,” that is in the writings of Paul, the inspired writings of Paul that come from God, “that are hard to understand” (v. 16). Would you agree with that that there are some things in Paul’s letters and elsewhere in Scripture that are hard to understand?

But listen to the rest of this. “Which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction as they do the other Scriptures” (v. 16). People who twist the Scriptures, who say that they do not apply today, who claim for them anything less than absolute authority are ignorant and unstable because they’re tampering with the Word of God.

So don’t be impressed by how many degrees they have after their name or where they teach or how many books they sell. The Scripture says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Ps. 14:1 NKJV). And it’s only those who are ignorant and unstable who dispute the claims of the Word of God.

There are some six-year-olds who have more wisdom, lots of six-year-olds, who have more wisdom than some of the erudite learned people of our time who are impressing people with their arguments against the Scripture. The precepts and teaching of Scripture are not accepted by contemporary culture. They’re not politically correct. They’re ignored. They’re mocked. They’re scorned. But God’s Word is still true. It will endure forever, long after human belief systems have crumbled.

So the question is, “Where do you get your truth?” Tradition? Cultural influence? Who or what is your authority? What voice are you listening to? The voices of postmodern secular society are loud. They’re clamoring. They’re alluring at times. You hear them everywhere—in entertainment, the media, from respected leaders. They promise freedom and satisfaction.

Are you listening to the world’s voices and thinking, or are you saturating your mind and heart with the Word of God?

John Flavel was a seventeenth century British pastor. Listen to what he said about the authority of God's Word:

All your heart then, with the authority of God in the Scriptures, and when carnal reason says, "My enemy deserves to be hated," let conscience reply, "But does God deserve to be disobeyed?"

The authority of the Word of God.

Now, not only its authority but secondly, its sufficiency. It tells us what we need to know. The Word of God is His holy pattern for our lives. Some of you who perhaps are seamstresses, you know about a pattern. You take a pattern, you lay it out on the fabric, you cut it out of the fabric according to the pattern. The pattern gives you direction. God gave Moses a pattern for the tabernacle when he was up meeting with God. He said, “Make the tabernacle according to the pattern that I gave you on the mount.”

Scripture is God’s pattern for everything in our lives—not just the spiritual category of our lives, but everything. Who better knows how life should function than the Creator of life Himself? God’s Word provides true and wise instruction regarding how we are to think and live as women. It gives direction.

  • It’s sufficient to give direction for our manhood and our womanhood—what it looks like and what it means to be men and women of God, the ways that we are to complement each other.
  • It gives direction for our character, how to be conformed to the image of Christ and reflect His image.
  • It’s sufficient to give direction for our priorities that may vary from season to season in our lives. 
  • It gives direction for our roles and our responsibilities.

It’s from the Word of God that we learn that it’s the responsibility of men to love their wives, to provide for their families, to protect, and to lead. That’s why it’s wrong for men to abandon their wives and their children because God’s Word says so. Now God’s Word also gives direction to us as women for our roles and our responsibilities.

It’s the responsibility of women to respect and reverence their husbands, to be bearers and nurturers of life. That’s why it’s wrong for women to speak or act disrespectfully toward their husbands and to reject God’s plan for being bearers and nurturers of life—not because I said so, but because God’s Word is the authority and is sufficient to give us direction for our responsibilities.

It gives us direction for our relationships, for everything in life. That’s why we need to refer all our questions to God’s Word. Do I stay in this marriage? Do I have children? Do I take this job? Do I act this way toward this person? How do I deal with this prodigal child?

Now it won’t tell you how to apply all of that in every given situation. But God’s Spirit will give you wisdom as you channel your questions and your issues through the Word of God. Where do you get your counsel? What determines your view of roles in marriage? Decisions in relation to whether or when to have children and how many; how to deal with an unbelieving mate; how to raise your children; sexual behavior before and after marriage; the roles of husbands and wives, who shoulders what responsibilities in marriage; what about divorce, is that an option?; how to be morally pure—all these questions and whatever else you can ask. Go to the Word of God. It is sufficient to direct our lives.

There’s such a desperate need for us to be women of the Word, to know what we believe and why, and to be able to share our convictions with others based on the authority and the sufficiency of God’s Word. There is no other way to counteract the pervasive influence of our godless, secular culture than by the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

There’s such a desperate need for us to know what we believe and why.

Do you know God’s Word? How well do you know it? What kind of relationship do you have with it? Are you more eager to play computer games and watch movies and read magazines and novels and play at your games and recreation and eat your daily meals?

Are you more eager for all of that than you are for the Word of God—to digest it, to meditate on it, to internalize it, to study it, to grapple with it, to seek it out as hid treasure? What kind of relationship do you have with the Word of God?

So many of the people write to us with heartbreaking, gut-wrenching life issues that they’re dealing with. In many cases the reason why they don’t know what to do or why they may have even gotten into this situation in the first place, in some cases, is because they were not women of the Word. There’s no substitute for it. That leads me to the beauty of the Word—not just its authority and its sufficiency, but its beauty.

Ladies, our message is true, but it’s also good. It’s beautiful. It’s compelling. We need to give people a compelling vision that God gives us through His Word. As a result of the words, you will experience the beauty, the blessing, and the reward of a life that is centered in God’s Word. It will make you stable.

Psalm 1: "Like a tree planted by the rivers of water yields its fruit in its season. Its leaf never withers.” It will make you successful. “Then you will make your way prosperous when you meditate on God’s Word day and night and you will have good success” (see v. 3).

  • It will sanctify you from sin.
  • It will help you suffer well when that is your calling in life.
  • It will give you grace to live as a stranger and a pilgrim in a hostile land.
  • God’s Word will satisfy you.
  • It will bring you joy and peace and victory, the very things this world craves for but cannot have because it refuses to live by this Book.

David said, “Your law is my delight. . . . I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil” (Ps. 119:77, 162). 

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth will be right back to pray. She’s been inviting you to build your life on the solid foundation of God’s Word. That message is part of a series called "The True Woman Manifesto—Affirmations, Part 1."

When you visit ReviveOurHearts.com and read this the True Woman Manifesto, you’ll see that it begins with foundational principles. We covered those on Revive Our Hearts a few weeks ago. Then there are a series of affirmations. We’re studying this section of the Manifesto all this week and next.

Again to read the Manifesto for yourself visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Reading this document while Nancy teaches through the material will encourage you to become God’s true women in our day.

And then I hope you’ll come and grow as a true woman of God by joining us for the tenth anniversary True Woman Conference. Nancy will be speaking, along with Dr. Eric Mason, Dannah Gresh, Mary Kassian, Betsy Gómez, and Jackie Hill Perry. You’ll see drama from the group Acts of Renewal. That’s the same group that moved those who attended the Revive conference last year. And you’ll worship with Keith and Kristyn Getty.

True Woman '18 is coming to Indianapolis September 27–29. You can still get in on early pricing before May 1. So get your group together and make plans to join us. For all the details visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959.

Why do you obey God? Tomorrow Nancy will talk about the most important reason to obey. It’s not about avoiding punishment, and it’s not about getting what you want as a result. Nancy will discuss it next time. Now she’s back to pray.

Nancy: Oh Lord, as Christian women we do desire to honor You by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His gospel to our world. To that end we affirm that Scripture is Your holy, holy Word, and that it is Your authoritative means of instructing us in Your ways. It reveals Your holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.

And so Lord, may Your law truly be our delight, and may we rejoice at Your Word like one who finds great spoil. Satisfy us with Your Word. Sanctify us with Your Word. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you build your life on a solid foundation. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

 

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