Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The End of the Story

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss with something to keep in mind when you're praying for your needs.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Remember that the goal is not to see that husband get saved or that child come to repentance or that boss change so that your life can be easier, so you can be happier. That is not the goal, and if you live with that goal in mind, you will live perpetually frustrated and disappointed like most women live. The goal is that all worship Him.

Leslie: It's Friday, December 29th, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Over the last couple of days, Nancy's taken you to the book of Revelation to help you recognize the battle for worship that exists between God and Satan. You've seen how the stories in the Bible represent the attack and counter-attack in this great battle. Knowing how the battle ends will affect the way you make choices today. Let's join Nancy.

Nancy: Well, we come to the cross, and we know that Satan entered into Judas. Having failed to kill the Son of God as a child, having failed to corrupt Him and get Him to worship, Satan now pulls out what he thinks is his greatest weapon. At the cross, as the time leads up to the cross, Satan stirs up that angry multitude shouting, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

Who is behind the mob? It's Satan. It's Satan and his demons, trying to kill the seed of the woman. As Jesus is condemned to death and bears that cross toward the hill called Golgotha, don't you imagine Satan looking up into heaven and saying, "Check mate. I've got you now"?

But the battle wasn't over. The story wasn't over. For you see, God always has another move. What Satan thought was defeat for God was actually going to be God's means to greatest victory over Satan. For Jesus said, "No man takes my life from Me. I lay it down" (John 10:18, paraphrased).

I love that verse in the gospel of John. It's only in that record where as His last act of submission, John's record says Jesus bowed His head. Satan didn't take His life. Jesus gave His life. He laid it down. Jesus said in John 12, as He was facing the cross, "Now is the ruler of this world cast out" (verse 31).

Hebrews two tells us, "Through death He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and delivered them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (verses 14 – 15, KJV). You see, it was a plan written in eternity past that God would, through the cross of Christ, deliver those who all their lifetime had been in bondage to sin, to self, and to Satan.

Colossians two tells us, "Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (verse 15). At the cross, by the cross Satan was de-fanged. He was rendered powerless.

What seemed like a defeat for God was a stepping stone to victory. It was God's means of delivering a decisive, fatal blow to the enemy's head. It was God's means of delivering and rescuing condemned sinners from the clutches of Satan.

Peter, in his sermon at Pentecost in Acts chapter two says, "This man, Jesus, was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge”—so not an accident anymore than your suffering is an accident. “And you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (verse 23). Checkmate.

But three days later Peter says, “God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (verse 24). Let me say, if you're in Christ, it's impossible for death to keep its hold on you. Yes, death is an enemy, but it may be your ultimate weapon. It is God's ultimate weapon against Satan.

Now wouldn't you think at this point that Satan would concede defeat, that he would give up? He's been rendered a mortal wound. We come to the book of Acts and see in the early church how Satan was determined, having failed to kill the Messiah, having failed to kill the Son of God, and now with Jesus ascended to heaven and seated at the right hand of the throne of God Almighty, Satan determines, “Now I've got to get His followers. I'll destroy them.”

Don't you think that as Stephen, the first martyr of the early church, fell to the ground—the stones were cast upon his body—don't you think Satan said, “Checkmate, God. Okay, Jesus is in heaven now, but I'm going to kill His followers. I'll make them so afraid that they'll never have the courage to go out and take the Gospel to the next generation, and your plan will be thwarted”?

But God said, “The game's not over. The King still has one more move.” For you see, the blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church. As Stephen's blood and the blood of the other martyrs fell into the ground, there rose up a host after them of men of God, of courage and faith, and they left. They scattered from Jerusalem because of the persecution—into all the then-known world to preach the gospel of the resurrected Christ. Satan, you lose once again.

Today, that old serpent's still thrashing around. I think he has two basic strategies. One is, as he's always tried, to corrupt the royal seed. Could I say that in large measure, he has succeeded at this strategy? I'm not talking about the world out there. I'm talking about in here, in this room, in our homes, in our churches. How many of us have, not knowing that we were playing into Satan's hand, have decided to have it our way, run our own lives, not bowing the knee to God but bowing the knee to Satan?

“Oh,” you say, “I'm not a Satan worshiper.” If you're not bowing the knee to God in obedience, then you are bowing the knee to Satan and being his instrument in this world. That's why I pray and long for God to send revival to His church.

Satan has another strategy, not only to corrupt the holy seed, those who are the next generation of believers, but to destroy it. You know as well as I do that the persecution of the church in the world today has never been more intense—thousands and thousands and thousands of pastors and Christian leaders and men and women and children laying down their lives for the sake of the gospel.

Don't you think Satan thinks that maybe he's got a chance to checkmate the King? The King always has a final move.

Well, we come to the last book of the Bible, and we read something about the final chapter, the final scenes in this drama. Actually, one of those scenes is told in the Old Testament book of Psalms. I want to quote from Psalm chapter two and then read to you the story because I can't say it any better than what it's told in the book of Revelation.

First, looking forward to that day, the psalmist says,

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers gather together, against the Lord and against His Anointed One, saying, "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters."

But the One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, "I have installed my King [King Jesus], on Zion, my holy hill." I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me [King Jesus], and I will give you the ends of the earth as your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery"'

Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. But blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2).

Then here's how that final conflict reads. “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war against the Lamb” (Rev. 17:12-14).

Now get the picture here. We have the dragon and two beasts actually—the beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth, and we have all of their armies and ten kings and all of their armies coming together to wage war against a lamb.

What chance does a lamb have of surviving, much less winning a war against those armies? None, unless the lamb's name is Jesus. “They will make war against the Lamb, but [and I love this phrase], the Lamb will overcome them.” The Lamb will overcome them “because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers” (Rev. 17:14).

Just a reminder that the Lamb overcomes because the Lamb is willing to die. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 12:11, KJV) Then we read in chapter 19 of the book of Revelation, “I saw heaven standing open.” I'm in verse 11.

And there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.

He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.

He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written King of kings and Lord of lords (verses 11-16).

Then down to verse 19,

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse his army, but the beast was captured and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf.

With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh (verses 19-21).

So we see that the King makes His final move. Satan is forever banished. I was reading those chapters this morning, about the new heavens, the new earth, the new Jerusalem—no more crying, no more pain, no more dying, no more sorrow, no more curse—only the Lamb of God and the One seated on the throne, and His servants will serve Him forever.

Now, could I just ask a question that I think is important for us to consider as we close? So what? So we know the story. We've seen how it started. We've seen a little bit of its unfolding. I didn't tell all the chapters—just picked out a few that are some of my favorites. We've seen how it ends. So what does this mean for me and for you today as we go back to whatever we face tonight, tomorrow, next week, next month?

I think it has some profound implications for how we leave this place. Number one, worship God. To worship God means to bow the knee. It means surrender, to bow to Him, to say, “Yes, Lord.”

Worship God. It's a battle for worship. It's a battle for submission. It's a battle for allegiance, and every one of us in this room and everyone on this planet is on one side or the other.

We are either a worshiper of God, or we are, in effect, a worshiper of Satan. We are either submitting to God and saying yes to Him, or we are saying yes to Satan. We're either declaring our allegiance to God, or we are declaring our allegiance to the serpent. There is no middle ground.

You say, “I'm a Christian; of course I'm a worshiper of God.” You can be a Christian and still give the enemy tons of ammunition. I'm talking about in the little details of life.

I'll just tell you—I'll be real honest here—one of the huge battlegrounds of my life is in the area of food—eating. I went back to my room last night at 11:30. I was not hungry. I did not need any food, but that basket, that bag, was in my room. I climbed into my bed, pulled out my Bible and my notes, began to review this message about war and worship, and in the midst of that, I got just overcome with this drive to eat.

I'm going to tell you what I did in that moment. I said no to God, and I said yes to the enemy. I got out of bed and got that bag, opened up something. But you know, God is so gracious, merciful, and He wouldn't let me go. He just kept helping me picture that this is a battle for worship and that I could not stand before you and say, “Bow the knee,” and not have my own knee bowed.

God gave grace in that moment to get back up, put the stuff away, and to say, “Lord, I worship You.” See, that's where the battle gets real practical—how you respond to your mate when he says things that hurt you, how you respond to that child who's asked you the 4,637th question for the day, and you're keeping track, and you're worn out. It's a battle for submission and surrender.

Are you a worshiper of the Lamb? By the way, if you're not a child of God, and you refuse to bow the knee, there will come a time when you have out-sinned God's grace, not because your sin was too great for God's grace to cover it, but because you wouldn't humble yourself and let God's grace cover it.

For you who have never bowed, the day will come when you will be under the wrath and the judgment and the terror of Almighty God. So this matter of worship is really important—this matter of bowing the knee and bending the will. Worship God.

Number two, remember the goal. Remember why we're here. Our goal is that His name would be hallowed here on this earth, reverenced—that people would reverence God, that His kingdom would come and His will would be done here on earth, as it is in heaven.

Our goal is to lead others by our example and by our words and by our appeal to lay down their arms, to stop resisting God, to bow the knee and worship Him, to swear allegiance to Christ. Our goal is that all might worship Him.

Ladies, remember that when you go back home to that husband who doesn't know Christ and who's making your life miserable. Remember that when you go back home and receive some more word of that son or daughter, grown and away from home, who's resisting God and down in the pit, and your heart is broken. Remember that when you go to work Monday morning and have to deal with that impossible-to-please employer.

Remember that the goal is not to see that husband get saved or that child come to repentance or that boss change so that your life can be easier, so you can be happier. That is not the goal, and if you live with that goal in mind, you will live perpetually frustrated and disappointed like most women live. The goal is that all worship Him.

As you pray for your mate, as you pray for your children, as you pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, pray for the glory of God and the kingdom of Christ, for He deserves to be worshiped. He deserves to have your mate, your child, that person bow the knee before Him. Pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done in that life. Pray that all might worship Him.

Number three, what do you do when the battle gets really tough? Well, don't lose perspective. Don't lose perspective, and if anything, I hope that you've been able to get, this morning, just a little bit more of a fresh, new perspective. Don't lose perspective about what's really going on.

Remember, it's not about us. We are bit players in this drama. The world does not revolve around us. We think it does. We act like it does, so don't lose perspective. Don't forget how little we are and how big He is. Don't lose perspective about the outcome.

That's why I love to read all the way through the Bible, because I see how it started. I see how it unfolds. I see the curse. I see the bondage. I see the cross, and then I see the final triumph of Christ, the Lamb.

Keep going to the end of the story. I love coming to those chapters at the end of Revelation, and my heart sings with those angels and those citizens of heaven, “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns” (19:6). “Worship and honor and glory and power and majesty belong to Him” (19:1, paraphrased). Keep your eyes on the end of the story. You say, “It's not very triumphant down here in my house.” Lift your eyes up.

Leslie: When you know how history itself will end, it will affect the way you make choices today. In just three days, Nancy Leigh DeMoss has given us an impressive look at the epic struggle between war and worship. This series is called, The King Still Has One More Move. If you missed any of it, I hope you'll get a copy on CD.

This series will help you see how the stories of the Bible connect to each other. It will also help you see how your choices and behavior connects with the purposes of God through history. It's a great series to pull out and listen to when you're being tempted or feel like giving up.

When you order The King Still Has One More Move, you'll be able to hear the entire, unedited message, the way Nancy originally delivered it. Order by calling 1-800-569-5959, or order online. The address is ReviveOurHearts.com.

These are exciting days for Revive Our Hearts. So many have been helping us meet or exceed our December matching challenge. Some friends of the ministry are matching every gift that comes in, up to $175,000, but time is running out on this challenge. To be a part of this challenge and help us enter 2007 with momentum, get your gift in before midnight of December 31st.

When you make a donation, we'll say thanks by sending you something you'll need in 2007. It's a calendar called A Heart at Rest. The nice thing about this unique calendar is that you'll be able to keep using it every year after that. You'll need it at the start of the new year, not just to keep track of the date, but because it will offer you daily encouragement from Nancy with quotes from her book and Scripture to give you perspective.

Ask for A Heart at Rest when you make a needed, yearend donation. Call 1-800-569-5959 or check the box to indicate you'd like this special calendar when you donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

On Monday we're going to start the new year by focusing on the Word of God. If you aren't happy with how much time you spent last year reading the Bible, 2007 could be different. Nancy will help. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

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

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