Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Episode Resources

Learn more about the Adorned Small Group Kit.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Hi, this is Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. If you’ve been listening to Revive Our Hearts this year, you know how important I believe it is for women to invest in the lives of other women, transferring God’s Word life to life. And you also probably know I wrote a book about this subject. It's called Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.

I’m excited because now we have a new tool to help you make these kinds of connections with other women and study God’s Word together. It’s the Adorned Small Group Kit.

It comes with a copy of the Adorned book along with a study guide with group discussion questions and follow up questions for members of your group. This kit also includes fourteen messages on DVD that complement the fourteen chapters of the Adorned book. So you can watch the twenty-minute teaching segments from me and friends of mine like: Mary Kassian, Susan Hunt, Dámaris Carbaugh, and others. Then use the discussion questions to sharpen each other's thinking. Here’s Mary Kassian with some thoughts on why you should go through this Adorned curriculum with a group.

Mary Kassian: I hope this video curriculum goes out to hundreds upon thousands and dare I even say millions of homes, millions of churches that are throughout North America, Central America, Canada . . . and used throughout the world, really. I'd love to see them translated and subtitled to impact the kingdom because . . . what would happen if the women of our day truly embraced Titus 2 and became women who adorned the beauty of the gospel.

Nancy: I hope you’ll get more information on the Adorned Small Group Kit by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, for Monday, November 13, 2017.

People will fill your ears with empty promises, but God has the power to carry out everything that He says He will do. Understanding God’s promises will affect every area of your life. Nancy’s going to describe them, continuing to study the words of Jesus in the last book of the Bible. This series is called "Letters to the Churches in Revelation, Part 8: The Cure for a Lukewarm Faith."

Nancy: To overcome, to be an overcomer, implies that there is a struggle, there’s a battle, there are hard times. It occurs to me that in the hard times, often what keeps us going, what provides motivation and encourages us to take the next step is a promise, something to look forward to.

In the long winters we endure up here in Michigan, it’s the promise of spring—the promise that it won’t be winter forever. I know it seems like it, but it won’t be.

Perhaps you’re enduring long days in a job that you don’t love. What keeps you going to work in the morning? It’s the promise of a paycheck.

Maybe it’s a long engagement. What keeps that girl going? It’s the promise of a wedding ring.

How about enduring a diet or an exercise program? What keeps you going? It’s a promise of losing weight, of being fit and healthy. It's a promise that keeps you going in the hard times.

Some of you are investing years in parenting, and you are not yet seeing fruit from all your labor because you are in the midst of it right now. It's hard. It takes pressing on. What keeps you going on? It's the promise that by God's grace one day your children will grow up. They will become responsible adults.

Some of you have been through a long labor to give birth to a baby. I have a friend whose daughter just went through three days of labor after her water broke! Incredible. Long. Hard. What kept Amy going through that long, hard labor? It's the promise of holding that new baby in your arms, giving life.

Some of you are in school. What will take you through four long years of college education, going to class, taking exams, writing papers? It’s a promise of walking across the platform and being handed a degree.

Promises provide motivation and fuel hope to keep us going.

The seven churches that we’ve looked at over these last months in the book of Revelation were all facing difficult and challenging circumstances. We’ve talked about what some of those circumstances were. The church in our day is facing increasing difficulty and challenges. We cannot expect the world to be a friend of grace. The world will oppose Christ. It did when He was here on earth, and it does today.

But these believers in these churches in Revelation were exhorted to be faithful in spite of being in the midst of these challenging circumstances. Each of these seven letters ends with one or more promises to those who are faithful, to those who overcome. Remember, we said all believers, all true believers, ultimately overcome.

I’ve been thinking about these promised rewards. When you bunch them all together, it’s quite a collection. I want us to take time today to just walk through Revelation 2 and 3 and review the promises and see what they say to us.

These promised rewards, we’ll see, span the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan and story from its first chapter on earth to its consummation in heaven. That’s one thing you’re going to see as we look at all of these promises together. We’ve looked at all of them already, but we looked at them separated from each other, in each of their individual letters. Now I want to put them all together, and you’re going to see the redemptive story here.

All these promises point us toward intimacy and fellowship with Christ. They point us to Christ. Christ is the fulfillment of these promises, and most of these promises point toward blessings that are described in the last chapters of the book of Revelation, mostly Revelation 20, 21, and 22. These are promises that have some fulfillment now, but will have their far greater, ultimate fulfillment in God’s eternal kingdom.

I want you to get the big picture. That’s why we’re going to step back and look at these promises. I want you to see the whole scope and span of these great and precious promises that are given to us.

The first promise we find is given to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2, verse 7. I'm going to be throwing around a lot of Scripture here. If you can follow along in your Bible, do. But if not, we'll have the transcript on ReviveOurHearts.com. You can go there and then you can meditate on these verses. Someone told me today, "I love following your transcripts while I listen to the programs because if you go too fast, I can put you on pause and look at what you've said. You may want to listen to this program with the transcript in hand.

The first promise, Revelation 2:7: “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

Remember the first place we saw the tree of life in the Bible? It was in Genesis chapter 2, right? The tree of life, in the center of the garden. God said you can eat from every tree in the garden but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The man and the woman ate from the forbidden tree, and God banned them from the garden. Why? Genesis 3 tells us: “Lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever”—implied, in his fallen condition (v. 22).

The Scripture says: “[God] drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword . . . to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24).

By tasting of the forbidden tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they forfeited the right to eat of the tree of life. They were banned from eating of that tree, but Jesus now says to the church: “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life” (2:7). He restores the privilege of eating of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.

You see this promise being fulfilled in Revelation chapter 22, the first two verses. The angel shows John a river of "life bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city" (vv. 1–2). This is the new Jerusalem, the heavenly city. Also, on either side of the river—what was growing there? The "tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month" (v. 2). Ever green, ever fruitful—the tree of life.

So in Genesis, they had the chance. They forfeited it. They were banned from it. Now, because of Christ and what He has done for us on the cross, we are able once again to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, to partake of eternal life. And we see in the end of Revelation the fulfillment as we come into the heavenly city and there is that tree of life.

Now the second promise we see is in Revelation 2, verse 11: “The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” This is a promise to the faithful believers in the church at Smyrna.

In Genesis 3, going back to the beginning of the story, we learned that sin entered the world and what did sin bring with it? Death by sin. But now the Scripture promises the one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death. The second death is eternal spiritual death.

Revelation 20, go to the end of the story, and you read: “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power” (verse 6).

And in Revelation 21, you have this contrast between believers and those who are unbelieving: “The one who conquers will have this heritage"—that’s believers—"and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (vv. 7–8).

So the promise to those who overcome, the promise to true believers is they will not be hurt by the second death; they will not perish but have eternal life.

Now, if we all sinned, and sin brought death, how can we have this promise? It points to Christ who died our death for us in our place, died as the substitute, the one who satisfied the wrath of God. The Lamb of God sacrificed for the sin of the world so that over us death has no more power. Can I hear an “amen”? We will not have to experience the second death. That’s a great and precious promise.

There’s a third promise. I’m going to move quickly through these, because there are eleven of them in these two chapters. Look at Revelation 2, verse 17. To the church in Pergamum, Jesus says: “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna.”

Now, tracing the story through the redemptive story, what does manna make you think of? The church in the wilderness in the book of Exodus, how God provided manna from heaven. That was a picture, a type that was fulfilled in Christ, who said in John 6, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread [anyone partakes of Me], he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (v. 51).

This promises that we can feast on Christ and be sustained by Him forever. “I will give some of the hidden manna.”

There’s a fourth promise also given to the church in Pergamum. Revelation 2, verse 17: “And I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

We talked earlier about various interpretations and explanations about the white stone. I won’t go back to that, but what about this new name written on the stone?

Some say that is our name, that we are given a new name when we become new creatures in Christ. We are not who we were. We are now who He has made us by His grace. That’s the new name.

Others would say that the new name to be engraved is the name of Christ.

I think either or both could be true. Either one is a pretty great promise.

We go to the end of Revelation, and we see the fulfillment of this promise. Revelation 19: “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True . . . and he has a name written that no one knows but himself . . . the name by which He is called is the Word of God . . . On his robe and on his thigh He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (vv. 11–16).

I won’t go deeper into that whole passage, but you see the preciousness of the name of Christ, which will be inscribed on us who overcome.

You say, “How do you know that?”

Revelation 22, verse 4: “They will see his face, and His name will be on their foreheads.”

What a great promise that we will be forever identified as belonging to Christ. We will have imprinted on us when we see Him, the gaze will be so powerful. His light, His glory will be so great that His likeness will be forever imprinted on us.

Persevere in grappling with sin because one day His name will be written on your forehead and you will be like Him forever! So press in. Keep pressing in against sin and into holiness. It's worth it. One day we will get that new stone with a name written on it that no one knows, except the one who receives it.

A secret name. Maybe a sign of intimacy. Aspects of Christ that are disclosed individually to those who receive it. That intimate, self-revelation of Christ that is promised to believers. It's a promise that those who hold fast to Christ and the truth of His Word will come to know Him in an even more intimate and personal way than ever before.

Christ will make Himself known to us. He will completely satisfy our minds, our hearts, our souls with Himself. I think all of that is encompassed in Him giving us a new name that no one knows but him who receives it.

There’s a fifth promise, and you find it in Revelation 2, verse 26. It’s given to Thyatira, and it’s the promise of ruling with Christ over the nations. “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father” (vv. 26–27).

As I ponder how that might have some application in the whole redemptive story, I think back to the Old Testament to the era of the conquest and the era of David’s kingdom and throne being established, passed on to his son Solomon, and the whole Davidic line and reign that we see in the Old Testament. During the reign of David, we see this expanded kingdom, this expanded rule as David is given power over the nations.

I think that’s a picture of God’s ultimate kingdom and reign over the whole world. From sea to sea, He will reign and rule. When do we experience that in its fullness? Not today, but one day in Christ’s millennial kingdom.

You read about that in Revelation 20: “I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and for those who had not worshiped the beast or its image” (v. 4).

What did they do? They nikao—they overcame; they conquered; they prevailed; they refused to receive its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Ladies, you’ve got to keep reading the end of the story, because that’s what will keep you going in the intermediate chapters, which are full of hardship and tears and travail and labor and pain and suffering. Look to the end of the story, and let your heart be encouraged.

Promise number six: Chapter 2, verse 28, Jesus says to Thyatira: “I will give him the morning star.”

Jesus said in chapter 22, “I am the bright morning star.” Jesus is saying, “You will have Me. I will be the light and the lamp of the new Jerusalem and of your life.” In chapter 21 we read, “The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (v. 23).

We saw that the morning star is a metaphor for king, for rulership, that Venus, the morning star, is a symbol of sovereignty and victory in the Roman era, the picture of conquest and rule over the nations.

We’re reminded that Christ, the Morning Star, is the true world sovereign in contrast to the claim of evil world empires like Rome and like evil empires today that crush their people, that crush believers. Christ is the Morning Star, the reigning King and ruler and sovereign Lord over every king and every empire and everything that ever sets itself to oppose God.

So we’re promised Christ in all His fullness—the Morning Star, the supreme prize, reward, and goal of our faith.

The seventh promise: chapter 3, verse 5, was given to Sardis. “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments.”

We read in chapter 19 the fulfillment: “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (vv. 7–8).

These white garments are a picture of justification, the dazzlingly pure righteousness of Christ credited to our account—purity, faithfulness, refusal to compromise. Those white garments are associated with festivity and joy and gladness and triumph—all promises that lie before us.

Then another promise to the church in Sardis, again in chapter 3, verse 5: “I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”

A ninth promise given to the church in Philadelphia, chapter 3, verse 12: “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it.”

We spent some lengthy time looking at what this promise means, and just being reminded that faithful believers will be citizens of a new Jerusalem, fixed as immovable pillars in His eternal presence.

Then another promise to Philadelphia, again in verse 12 of chapter 3: “I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”

We talked about how we’re promised identification as belonging to God and citizenship in the new Jerusalem and intimacy with Christ. This is all bound up in these promises.

Then the promise we looked at most recently to the church in Laodicea, the church that was lukewarm, the church that was nauseating to Christ, but He stood at the door and He knocked. He gave counsel. He told them how they could have provision for their needs. He says to that church and to believers within: “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (3:21).

We’ve seen that that promise will be fulfilled ultimately in the millennial kingdom on earth, Revelation chapter 20, and in the eternal reign of the saints with Christ in the new creation that we read about in Revelation chapter 22.

So what does that mean for you and me? You say, “We’re not living in Revelation 20, 21, and 22. It all sounds pretty wonderful, but come back to reality, Nancy. Life is hard.”

When we leave these doors, I know that some of you are going back into pain and heartache and heartbreak. Some of it you know about; some of it you don’t know about, it’s just around the corner.

Some of you are dealing with prodigal children. You cry yourselves to sleep at night begging God to turn their hearts.

Some of you are living in a marriage that, if God doesn’t intervene, it’s not going to make it.

Some of you are dealing with physical issues, medical diagnoses, with physical pain. I think of my dear friend, Joni Eareckson Tada, who live with pain and chronic physical issues. I watch that woman be filled with Christ and filled with joy in the midst of the pain and suffering and the decades of physical confinement.

How does she do it? How can you do it? How can you be faithful? How can you overcome? How can you keep from throwing in the towel? How can you keep persevering? How can you keep pressing on? How can you keep dealing with that Achilles' heel, that besetting sin, that temptation that keeps nagging at you and nipping at your heels and keeps pulling you down? How can you get free from that? How can you overcome?

You look ahead. You look beyond the now. You lift your eyes up. You look to the promises being fulfilled. You keep your eyes on the finish line.

You get in the book of Revelation, and you read all the chapters of conflict and hell breaking loose, the beast overcoming the saints, and all the battle and ferociousness and the intensified judgments.

Then you get to chapter 19, and you see the Man on the white horse coming, and His name is "Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war" (v. 11). His name is the Word of God; His name is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (see vv. 13, 16).

Then you see eternity opened up. You see His reign here on this earth. You see the eternal kingdom of God, the bliss, the beauties, the glories of heaven, forever in the presence of Christ. all we get in those chapters is just a tiny sketch of something that’s magnificent, a painting we can only begin to imagine. You hang on to that; you hold on to it; and you know that He who promised is faithful.

He has never failed to keep one of His promises, and He will not fail now.

So you press on. You press on through the tears, and you press on through the weariness. Oh mom with three toddlers and you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in three years, you press on.

It’s His faithfulness. It’s not our faithfulness; it’s His. His promises are true. You cling to them. You hold to them. You look forward to them. You thank God by faith for them, for the day when prayer will be praise and faith will be sight, and there will be no more tears or sorrow or mourning or death or darkness or night or sin.

You bless the Lord now for what we have just a tiny taste of, and you rejoice in faith that all His promises are true, and Christ is the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness. What He has said is true. It will come to pass, so don’t lose heart. Cling to the promises of God and overcome now. Waiting ahead of us—not far from now—not long from now is the fulfillment of every one of those promises for all of eternity.

Is that worth waiting for? It is!

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been describing the many promises God has made to you.

I know listeners everywhere received hope for a variety of impossible situations. We hear from women facing all sorts of struggles, and Nancy is so grateful for the opportunity to talk with them. She’s here to explain further.

Nancy: It’s amazing to me how God precisely orchestrates moments when that day’s program speaks on a topic that our listeners need.

During our study on the letters to the churches in Revelation, one of our listeners wrote to share one of those moments with us. I don’t know the exact issue she was dealing with, but God used Revive Our Hearts to speak truth into that situation in her life. She wrote to us and said:

Thank you for this message. The timing is perfect for our family. Just this morning I was struggling to know what was right. All along I already knew what was right, but I wanted to allow a step of compromise. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you.

And I’d extend that thanks to listeners who support Revive Our Hearts financially. We wouldn’t be able to connect with women like this one and call them from compromise without that support. When you make a donation of any amount this week, we’d like you to stay connected to the ministry. So we’ll send you the 2018 Revive Our Hearts wall calendar. The theme this year is “The Truth That Sets Us Free.” So each month you’ll flip the page to a new month with a new reminder of the truth and your freedom in Christ.

This year's calendar has been designed by the daughter of one of our long-time staff members. To see a sample for yourself, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. That’s also where you can donate and get your copy of the calendar. Or ask for it when you call 1–800–569–5959 and give a gift of any size. 

Over the last couple of days we've been describing what it means to be an overcomer. Some women have been grappling with what that means day by day, and we’ll hear their insights. That’s tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you remember the promises Jesus made to you. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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