Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: The book of Revelation tells us that Jesus invites us to sit with Him on His throne. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth points out how surprising this is.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: To exalt fallen sinners to a place where they can reign and rule with Him—well, that is amazing! Don’t you think? Amazing.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned, for Thursday, November 9, 2017.

The Bible tells believers they will reign with Christ. What exactly does that mean? Nancy will give you a clear picture of this amazing concept. Today’s teaching is part of a series called "The Cure for a Lukewarm Faith." It’s one of many series this year on the seven letters to churches in Revelation.

Before we start, let me remind you how you can engage in teaching like this with a small group. The brand new Adorned Small Group Kit is hot off the press. We took all fourteen messages on Titus 2 from Revive '17 and put them on a DVD for your group to watch each week. You’ll also get a study booklet with follow up questions and discussion questions. I hope you’ll get together a group of women and study Titus 2 together using this brand new curriculum. Get more info on the Adorned Small Group Study when you visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Okay, let’s get back to today’s teaching from Nancy.

Nancy: But let me take just a moment to recap what we’ve seen, where we’ve been. You remember, if you’ve been with us in this series, that the Laodicean church of all the seven churches was in the most deplorable, fallen condition. Jesus said, “You are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked" (3:17). Here’s a church that was self-deceived, proud, self-satisfied.

A woman said to me on one of the breaks. "It's so helpful to hear what you've said today. You've encouraged me not to give up hope for my church where there are some real issues. My temptation has been to run, to escape." There are situations and times where you need to get into a different church. But there are times you need to stay and ask the Lord to give you grace and wisdom to be a light and an influence—assuming there is a commitment to the basic authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ in that church. If you don't have that, you don't have a church.

But she said, "You've given me hope and encouragement." I hope that's been true of you as well.

But let’s go back and let me just read through what we’ve looked at thus far to bring us up to where we come today. Remember, the One who was speaking said, “I am the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works” (3:14–15). He knows. That’s the message that comes through all these letters. He knows. He knows. He knows. He knows the truth about us.

You are neither cold nor hot. Would that you would either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing (vv. 15–16).

That’s the mantra of the lukewarm person or the lukewarm church: “I need nothing. I’m okay the way that I am.”

And you don’t realize that you are literally the wretched one. You’re not a church without needs. You’re in a wretched condition. You are pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. So Jesus gives this indictment of this church.

One commentator said, "This church was a corpse in religion's cloak." I'm afraid that's what a lot of churches are today. I'm afraid that's what a lot of church members are today—a corpse. No life. No breath. In religion's cloak; dressed up to go to church.

Jesus said that there is nothing more offensive to Me. If you are not going to be for Me, then go all out against Me. But declare yourself. Step across the line—one side or the other.

Now, having heard that, as we have said, would have been understandable if Jesus had said, "I want nothing more to do with you." But no. He stays engaged. He's the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands. He holds the messangers, the angels of the churches in His right hand. He stays engaged. He extends grace.

Remember that we said that God's grace is His supernatural provision to meet our need—whatever that need is. So Jesus extends grace to this church that is nauseating to Him. But He doesn't escape; He doesn't run; He doesn't push them away. He says that there is still room; there is still time. There is room at the cross for you.

So he says, verse 18:

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

And having given them this prescription He now reminds them that all of this is an expression of His . . . what? His love.

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.

And then the exhortation, the “So what?” He loves us; He reproves us; He disciplines us. So what are we to do?

Therefore be zealous [get hot-hearted] and repent.

Turn from your lukewarmness. Lukewarmness is not an okay condition. It is a sin to be repented of. And then the invitation we looked at in the last session:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me (vv. 18–20).

And so here is this promise of restoration and fellowship with me as an individual believer or as a church. “I want to fellowship with you.”

Now if the passage ended there, that would be pretty wonderful. That’s a great promise, but there’s more. There’s more that He offers, and that’s what we want to look at today in verse 21.

I think this promise surpasses all the other promises that have been to all the churches thus far, I think, as I study this.

Verse 21 we have what ends the letters to the seven churches. “To the one who conquers I will,” and then there’s a promise. To this church He says,

To 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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think verse 21 about the one who conquers is astonishing. Here is a church that He has just threatened to vomit out of His mouth. Pardon me for talking that way, but that’s the word that’s used. He has just threatened to spit them out of His mouth, and then He gives them an invitation to repent and to open the door to Him.

In verse 20 He offers to commune and fellowship and eat with us and us with Him. Now in verse 21 He offers these very people a seat with Him on His throne.

Is that amazing grace or what? From this deplorable condition to this astounding promise! He doesn’t just promise to admit them if they’ll open the door, to admit them as second class citizens. But He says, “I will elevate you to reign and rule and be seated with Me on my throne.”

“I will grant him to sit with me on my throne” (3:21).

Now I want to take off on a little bit of a bunny trail, something that was prompted as I was meditating on that phrase, “To sit with me.”

There is a concept through the New Testament that tells us that those who were in Christ—our lives, our fortunes, our well-being, they are inseparably linked to Christ. If we are in Christ we have privileges with Christ that you read throughout the Scripture.

Let me read several verses to you and listen to the different things that it says are true of us with Christ. If we are united with Christ, these are things that are true of us.

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. . . . Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him (Rom. 6:6–8).

Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses (Col. 2:12–13).

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Col. 3:3–4).

Even when we were dead in our trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:5–6). 

Are you catching the “with hims"? How many ways that we are united with Christ if we are in Him?

If we have died with him we will also live with him; if we endure . . . (2 Tim. 2:11–12).

What’s enduring? Hardship, suffering, persecution. “If we endure we will also reign with him” (v. 12).

We are heirs with God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him . . . (Rom. 8:17).

Oh, I don’t know if I want to be with Him that much. I want to reign with Him and live with Him, but suffer with Him? "Provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him" (Rom. 8:17).

You like that part? But if you want to be glorified with Him, what do you have to do first? Suffer with Him. We are united with Christ. It’s true in a past sense. It’s true in a present sense, and it’s true in a future sense.

What about the past? In the past we are united with Him in His death, crucified with Him. We died with Him. We are united with Him in His burial, buried with Him in baptism. We read that.

We have been united with Him in His resurrection, raised with Him, made alive together with Him. We have been united with Him in His ascension, seated with Him in the heavenlies. That’s past tense.

We’ve been united with Him in all those ways that have bearing in our lives today.

Now what about present tense? Well, the present tense I saw in those verses was we suffer with Him. That’s what we do now. We can do that because we’ve been united with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection. We’re seated with Him in the heavenly places so we can endure down here on earth whatever we must suffer with Him.

We’re invited as we’ve seen in Revelation 3 to fellowship with Him. In the midst of a fallen world, we can enjoy the fellowship and companionship of His presence.

But then there’s a future sense in which our union with Him will have implications. We will be glorified with Him. We will appear with Him in glory. We will sit with Him on His throne, and we will reign with Him forever and ever.

This is why it is so crucial. Your hope for life past, present, and future is to be united with Christ, to be in Christ—not to be separate from Christ. But your hope, your life, your fortune, your future, your joy, everything hinges on your being united with Christ.

If you are in Christ, you have a future home that nothing and no one can ever take away from you. Now come back to Revelation chapter 3. We could use a few “amens” in here.

Women: Amen.

Nancy: That gives me the grace to get up in the morning and keep plowing through hard, tough days knowing that my union with Christ has future fulfillment and implications that are yet to be seen. And one of those we see in Revelation 3:21.

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.

We’re going to see in the next session that this verse in the end of chapter 3 of Revelation is actually a link to chapters 4 and 5 where the Lamb is introduced. And where is He?

He is seated on His Father’s throne. We’re going to talk about how the Lamb has overcome and how we can overcome because we are in Christ.

But let me talk for just a few moments today about this matter of the throne, the throne that’s referenced here in Revelation 3. "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.”

There are sixty-one references to throne or thrones in the New Testament. I counted them yesterday. Of those sixty-one references in the New Testament forty-seven of those are in the book of Revelation. All but seven in Revelation relate to the throne of God or the throne of Christ, so forty of those references.

Twenty of those references in Revelation are found in chapters 4 and 5 alone. In fact, I’ve gone through in my Bible, and I’ve just drawn a little chair next to each reference to throne in the margin of my Bible in Revelation 4 and 5. It’s all over the place.

So one third of all the references to throne in the New Testament are found in two chapters—Revelation 4 and 5. And what we’re reading here in chapter 3, this promise to sit with Christ on His throne, is what links to what we’ll read in chapters 4 and 5 about His throne.

Now this passage in Revelation 3:21 raises a question which may or may not seem significant to you. But it was interesting to me, so I’m going to share with you a little bit about my findings.

Jesus said, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and I sat down with my Father on his throne.”

That raises the question, “Are there two different thrones?” I had never thought about this before until I started really digging into this passage: My throne, Jesus’ throne and My Father’s throne.

Here again, commentators are not really helpful because they split right down the middle as to how they answer this question and what they think about it. But those who say that there are two thrones, here’s how they would explain this. And I think this certainly is possible.

The Father has a throne. He talks about My Father’s throne. That throne, God’s throne, is in heaven. It’s a picture of God’s sovereign rule over the universe.

Christ came to this earth. He conquered death. He overcame Satan. He won the victory over sin. He died. He was raised. He ascended to heaven and He sat down at the right hand of God, with God, on His throne. Jesus has been sitting with God on that throne ever since.

What is He doing there? He’s interceding on our behalf. That throne in heaven, God’s throne, is reserved for the Godhead. We cannot sit there. This is how those who say there are two thrones would explain it, and I think it’s very possible that this is a good explanation.

But the day will come when Christ’s enemies are put under His feet and made His footstool. We read that in the Old and New Testaments. And the last enemy, death, will be destroyed.

At that point there will be no more need for Christ’s mediation because Satan and sin and evil and darkness and death will all be destroyed. There will be no more enemy against God.

And at that point, these commentators would say Christ’s own throne will be established over the whole earth, a throne that to this point Satan has been trying to usurp. He’s been claiming the right to rule. He said to Jesus, “I’ll give you all these kingdoms.”

Excuse me? Whose kingdoms are these? But Satan claims the right to sit on earth’s throne.

Remember, we’ve seen of Jesus in Revelation He is the ruler of kings on earth. He is the rightful ruler. But He will come to this earth, He will set up His throne. He will take the seat of that throne and reign and rule as the rightful Lord of this earth.

So Christ as the Son of God sits with God on His throne in heaven, a throne that we cannot share. But Christ as the Son of man who was once humbled when He came to this earth is now exalted and glorified.

And one day when He comes back to reign on this earth on His throne, He will exalt redeemed, victorious saints to share that throne with him.

What a hope! What an anticipation!

Now to some little, limited extent, we can already enjoy the beginning of this promise in this life because we are already participants in God’s kingdom. But there’s an ultimate fulfillment that we will not experience until Christ returns to this earth.

Remember in Luke 22 that Jesus promised the disciples that one day they would sit on twelve thrones to judge the tribes of Israel? I believe that's when Christ comes back to this earth. There will be disciples of Christ who will reign and rule with Him.

In 1 Corinthians 6 we read that the saints will judge the world. That's when we sit with Christ on His throne as He takes the seat on the throne of this world.

We read in Revelation 20 about the millennial kingdom of Christ on this earth. And if I haven’t confused you already on this, I probably could because I’ve been reading lots and lots about this and there are lots of different approaches to this.

And part of this is just mystery. We have to be content with realizing we don’t know most of what there is to know yet. But it’s fun to explore and to think about what this might be like.

There’s a millennial kingdom on earth where there are thrones established. Believers are seated on those thrones, and they reign with Christ for a thousand years.

Then we’re told in Revelation 22 about the eternal reign of saints with Christ in the new creation, after the millennial kingdom and night will be no more.

They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever (v. 5).

For Christ to share His throne with His redeemed saints. We were impoverished. We were dead in our sins. We were separated from Christ. And for Him to save us, to birth us to new life, to bring us to life with His resurrection, to cause us to be seated in the heavenlies with Him, and then to glorify us and allow us to reign and rule with Him on His throne, to delegate that authority to us, to share it with us, to exalt fallen sinners to a place where they can reign and rule with Him; well, that is amazing! Don’t you think? Amazing.

We see in Revelation chapters 4 and 5 the Lamb seated with the Father on His throne. Listen, Jesus deserves to be on that throne, but we do not deserve to sit with Christ on His throne. That’s the mercy and the grace of God.

To those who’ve been lukewarm, those who’ve been repulsive to Christ, those who’ve kept Him outside the door of the church knocking, that we should be invited to sit with Him on His throne.

Now, this concept to the first century believers who would have heard it, I think would have been amazing to them for another reason. Remember that those early Christians were a tiny repressed minority. If you had said “throne” what would have come to mind in that day was the throne in Rome where who sat? Caesar—the ultimate throne on earth at that time.

Fom that throne came edicts to persecute and destroy Christians, attempting to eradicate the Church. No Christian in that day, no matter how devoted to Christ, could possibly entertain the thought of ever sitting on that throne. All they could ever hope for in this life was to be crushed under the heel of the one who occupied that throne.

Jesus wanted these believers to know, and He wants us to know, because we live in a day where that kind of persecution is taking place in many parts of this earth. Likely the day will come when we experience that here in this country as well. He wanted those believers to know that Caesar’s throne was not the highest throne in the universe.

I was reminded of that thought last week in church as we sang that wonderful hymn by Keith and Kristyn Getty.

There is a higher throne
Than all this world has known,
Where faithful ones from ev'ry tongue
Will one day come.
Before the Son we’ll stand,
Made faultless through the Lamb;
Believing hearts find promised grace—
Salvation comes.

And there we’ll find our home,
Our life before the throne;
We’ll honor Him in perfect song
Where we belong.
[We belong there. That’s grace.]
He’ll wipe each tear-stained eye
As thirst and hunger die.
The Lamb becomes our Shepherd King;
We’ll reign with Him.

Hear heaven’s voices sing;
Their thund'rous anthem rings
Through em'rald courts and sapphire skies
Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom, pow'r,
Strength, thanks, and honor are
To God our King, who reigns on high
Forevermore.

So when you listen to the news and you hear about laws being passed and court decisions being handed down that exalt wickedness and oppose righteousness, remember this: There is a higher throne.

When you see injustice prevailing in the place where you work or where your mate works or where your kids go to school remember this: There is a higher throne.

When you face opposition from an unbelieving mate as we heard this week from a Revive Our Hearts listener who’s recently been saved and plans to be baptized this weekend but whose husband is earnestly opposing Christ, when you face that kind of opposition remember this: There is a higher throne.

 And one day if you’ve been faithful—and we can only be faithful because He’s faithful—you will sit on that throne with Christ and reign with Him forever.

Leslie: I can easily gloss over little phrases in the Bible like “reign with Christ.” Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been slowing us down helping us understand what it means to sit with Jesus on His throne. She’s been showing us how amazing mercy is.

The staff here experiences that sense of amazement when God uses Revive Our Hearts to bring women into the kingdom of God. Nancy’s here to tell you a story we loved watching unfold as a staff.

Nancy: A woman commented on our True Woman blog, which led to an online dialogue between her and someone on our team.

We discovered that this woman is the wife of a diplomat in a foreign country. And through the course of several exchanges, this woman came to faith in Christ. She has now led her children to Christ and is sharing her faith actively within the diplomatic community.

That story just reminds me again of the power of the gospel to transform people’s lives, the story that’s being repeated all around the world as women find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

Thank you God! Those kinds of connections are possible thanks to listeners who give and support Revive Our Hearts financially. When you make a much-needed gift, we’d like to share a gift with you. It’s the 2018 Revive Our Hearts wall calendar. Each month you’ll flip the page and see lovely illustrations and reflections on the theme, “The Truth That Sets Us Free.” To see an example of the calendar for yourself, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. You can donate there on the site and request your calendar, or call and ask for it. The number is 1–800–569–5959. 

Okay, what does Nike have to do with the book of Revelation? Find out tomorrow when Nancy continues to tell us about the church in Laodicea. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth loves sharing the truth that sets women free. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

 

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

Join the Discussion