Revive Our Hearts Radio

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Leslie Basham: Is it effective to spend most of your energy complaining about the world? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Expect lost people to act like lost people. Expect sinners to sin. Don’t scream and rant and rave at sinners for being sinners. Sinners sin. Instead of just reacting to the culture, we’re supposed to impact it by our holy lives that reflect the beauty of Christ so that others are drawn to Him. We’re to love them as He has loved us, to point them to the cross where they can find life as we have found life.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Voices of the True Woman Movement, for March 20, 2018.

Nancy’s in the middle of a series called "The True Woman Manifesto—Foundations." To read the Manifesto for yourself, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Now let’s join Nancy. [Clearing her throat] I said, let’s join Nancy.

[Dead air]

Okay, I actually did that on purpose to remind you of something important. Revive Our Hearts is a listener-supported ministry. We’re able to come to you each day on this radio station and over the Internet thanks to listeners who support us financially. If no one donated, you’d turn on the radio expecting to hear Nancy, and she wouldn’t be there. Would you make sure that doesn’t happen? Donate at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Okay, let’s try again. Let’s join Nancy.

Nancy: Over the last several weeks I’ve been having some recurring and annoying major laptop problems. It turned out that some of the problems I was having were a sign that my hard drive was going out, which it did. In the process of my hard drive going out, our wonderful IT department was doing some troubleshooting for me. While they were, I saw a notice that popped up on the screen and it made me think about what I want to talk about in this session.

The notice said, “Welcome to Rescue & Recovery.” I’m thinking, that’s what I need about now with this laptop—rescue and recovery. Rescue & Recovery is a software program, and it said it “provides tools to help you recover from problems that prevent you from accessing the Windows environment.” That’s just computer speak for "your computer is going out and you’re hoping to rescue your data by means of this rescue and recovery system."

Then I saw this little note: “By using this software you are bound by the terms of the license agreement. Do you wish to continue?” So if you’re going to continue with Rescue & Recovery, you have got to submit yourself to the terms of a license agreement. You may not like the terms of the license agreement; you may not understand the terms of the license agreement; you may not think that the terms of the license agreement make sense or matter, but you're not going to continue with that Rescue & Recovery program if you are not willing to be bound—that's a strong word—by the terms of the license agreement.

Well, we pressed continue because we were desperate, and we were willing to be bound by the terms of that agreement—whatever they were.

I thought about that. It’s a silly illustration perhaps, but it kind of summarizes a bit of where we’ve come in the True Woman Manifesto. Let me just recap for us where we’ve been. We’ve been looking at these opening, foundational belief statements. We saw first we started with God because what we believe about God is the most important thing about us. We saw what about God? He is the sovereign Lord and the creator of life.

Then we saw God’s creation, that He is the creator and what He created was man and woman, created in His image. He created a world with design. He created people with design. That design of the Creator, I think, is illustrated by this concept of the license agreement. We are bound by the terms of the license agreement.

There are laws in this universe. There’s a law of gravity. You may say, "I don’t like the law of gravity. I don’t agree with the law of gravity. I don’t understand the law of gravity. I think I’ve got a better idea than the law of gravity." But you jump out of an eighteen-story window and you are going to be subject to the law of gravity. You’re going to be bound by the terms of the agreement whether you like it or not.

God is the creator. God is the designer. There’s a term of agreement. There’s a license agreement, the terms to which we are bound by.

Then we talked about the fall and sin. Man and woman are signing their declaration of independence saying we will have it our way instead of God’s way. We’ve talked long and hard about some of the consequences of the fall and sin, which really relates to my hard drive problems.

It’s just a reminder that we all have hard drive problems in the wiring of our souls. Our hard drives—they’re out, they’re messed up, they’re broken. We are wired as sinners and that has created all kinds of issues. I could not keep doing my work successfully until that hard drive issue was settled. In fact, what had to happen was they had to take the busted hard drive out—forgive me, IT people, I don’t know what all the language is on this stuff. Do you bust a hard drive? Well, I did. Then they had to put in a new hard drive.

We’re born with busted hard drives. We’re born as sinners, and we need a new hard drive put in. The hard drive of the Spirit of God. Thank God for the gospel. That’s what we’ve been talking about. Redemption is God’s rescue and recovery program. It’s God restoring us, helping us recover from problems that prevent us from accessing the Windows environment, was what the Rescue & Recovery software described itself as.

Don’t we need that? A program—God’s program—His Word, His gospel, the gospel of Christ that will help us recover by making us new people. So God is now about this great redemptive and restoration process.

As we come to the next tenet of the True Woman Manifesto, we see this thing of restoration being developed. We had God, creation, fall, salvation or redemption, and now we see God’s ultimate purposes being outworked for our salvation and that is this whole matter of restoring the fallen, busted creation. The broken hard drive. God is wanting to make a new person.

So we see in the True Woman Manifesto, let me read this tenet:

We believe that Christ is redeeming the sinful world and making all things new.

That’s not the whole statement, but I’d just like to stop there and say, hallelujah! Thank You, Lord, that seeing us as we are fallen sinners that You are redeeming this sinful world and making all things new. That is great news! Here’s the second part of this statement.

His followers are called to share in His redemptive purposes as they seek, by God’s empowerment, to transform every aspect of human life that has been marred and ruined by sin.

Two parts to that statement. First that God is redeeming and making all things new. That gives hope. It’s a reminder that the way things are is not the way things will always be.

I’m thinking of a conversation I had last year with a man in his forties who was dying of cancer, now with the Lord. As I interviewed that man in the last months of his life and heard him express, knowing that he was dying, the hope that God is making all things new and that cancer is not the end of his story. Death is just a doorway, an entrance into eternal life. Restoration, renewal. God is making all things new.

Then, not only is God making all things new, but we are called to share in His redemptive purposes. That gives us a sense of mission and purpose about being here on this earth. We’re not just here to wile away our lives. We’re called to invest our lives, to actively participate in what God is doing in this world.

God has set into motion a plan to redeem this fallen world, a plan He devised in eternity past. It involves rescuing fallen sinners and then sending them out into the world to be ambassadors for His Kingship, appealing to other fallen sinners to be reconciled to God.

This new life God has given us, this redemptive life we have in Christ, our salvation—it’s not for our selfish enjoyment and pleasure. It’s not just so we can have happier lives than the rest of the world. We have a mission. We have a mandate. We have a commission: to further His kingdom and His reign and His rule in the world. We’ve been blessed to be a blessing to the world.

So as we live in this world, we’re not just supposed to hunker down and say, “Oh, it’s so terrible. I guess that’s just the way it is.” We’re supposed to be God’s vice-regents here on this earth representing His interests and actively engaged with Him on a mission.

Now, that raises some tensions that we have to deal with. On the one hand, we’re not to become assimilated into this world and its values and practices, but neither are we to retreat from the world, hostile as it may be to our faith. We’re to be different and separated, but we’re not to be isolated. Rather, we’re to influence the culture around us. We’re not just to be reacting to the culture—and sometimes that’s what we Christians do.

Expect lost people to act like lost people. Expect sinners to sin. Don’t scream and rant and rave at sinners for being sinners. Sinners sin. Instead of just reacting to the culture, we’re supposed to impact it by our holy lives that reflect the beauty of Christ so that others are drawn to Him.

We’re to love them as He has loved us, to point them to the cross where they can find life as we have found life.

Some people today place so much emphasis on being relevant that they’ve abandoned the heart of the gospel. They won’t talk about sin. They won’t talk about the cross. They won’t talk about the blood. But there are others of us that have placed so much emphasis on our personal piety and purity and our doctrinal orthodoxy that we have abandoned the culture. Your neighborhood, your workplace, your town ought to be a different place because you are there and He is living in you and working through you.

I think of my friend Jeanne who’s here today. She’s a nurse, and she works in an environment with a lot of lost people. Here she is out there giving these women who are struggling in their marriages and their relationships with men, she’s giving them the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge in her workplace. She is lighting up the dark place where she works by being a transformer as God has transformed her life.

The goal of our living in this world is not just survival. It’s not just that you co-exist peacefully with the lost world. The goal is the transformation of the culture with the gospel. This is my Father’s world. He is the creator, the rightful Lord, and we are to claim this world for Him to come under His lordship. To take the gospel and live out the kingdom, the reign and the rule of God in every sphere and field in this world.

In the environment, marriage and family life, justice issues, political arena, morals, education, relationships, medicine, technology, art, entertainment, media, business, economics, how we manage our finances. In every area we are to take the gospel and show people how it works and what it looks like to live under the kingdom and the righteous, holy reign and rule of Christ.

Abraham Kuyper was the prime minister of the Netherlands in the early 1900s. He said, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!’” It’s His! Every square inch of it. And one day He will claim it all. So we are to be His vice-regents here on earth living out what it looks like to be under His reign and rule.

Now we can’t transform others, and we can’t transform our world until we have been transformed by the gospel. But if we’re in Christ, we have been transformed by the gospel. "If anyone is in Christ," 2 Corinthians 5 tells us, "he is a new creature." There’s restoration. "The old is passed away; behold, the new has come" (v. 17).

Colossians 3:9–10 tells us,

You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

The image of God being restored in His redeemed creation. That’s us living in this world! And now those who have been redeemed become instruments of His redeeming power and grace.

I thought about this whole concept a lot as I’ve been reading recently through the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah you see, especially in the last half of the book, this huge emphasis on God’s redeeming restoration plan, His rescue and recovery plan, and how He is going to take the wilderness and the desert and make it into a fruitful garden. He is making all things new.

That’s a concept that comes back in the book of Revelation, but you see it in the book of Isaiah probably as much as any Old Testament book, and how God uses redeemed people as part of that process.

For example, in Isaiah 61 in the first four verses, let me just read excerpts here.

The LORD has anointed me [this is a prophecy about Messiah, Christ] to bring good news to the afflicted. [That’s the gospel to those who are fallen.] He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified” (vv. 1 & 3, NASB).

So here are people who were afflicted and brokenhearted and captives and prisoners, but God has redeemed them, not just so their lives can be better, but so they can be instruments of His redeeming plan in this world. And you see that in verse 4. I never put this together before until thinking about all this over the past days. These people who were afflicted and brokenhearted and captives and prisoners, they were messed up. But God applied to them His rescue and recovery program.

Then look what they’ll do in verse 4.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations (NASB). 

They will rebuild, they will raise up, they will repair. God’s rescue and recover program came to them, rescued them, raised them up, repaired them, and now they are to become rescuers, repairers, people who build up and raise up the former devastations.

What a picture of our current culture. Spiritual desolation. Ruined cities. And we, the children of God who’ve been redeemed are to rebuild, raise up and repair. To rebuild, raise up, and repair homes and hearts and lives and systems in this world and communities. This is my Father’s world. By taking the gospel into every aspect of society, we are raising the flag of Christ over every square foot of His planet.

Jesus said,

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:14–16).

Christ who’s the light of the world lives in us, and He wants to shine through us into this world. The church is a city set on a hill. It’s a lamp put on a stand and as people observe the transforming power of the gospel at work in our lives, it will bring glory to God. Men will be drawn to the light of the world. Christ, the One who can bring redemption and transformation to their lives.

  • Every time we say, “Yes, Lord,”
  • Every time we say "no" to the flesh and "no" to sin and "yes" to Christ,
  • Every time we take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ,
  • Every time we live out His commands and we’re obedient to His promptings,
  • Every time our lives in our homes and our churches are living out the mandates of the gospel, we become living, earthly expressions in this world of the eternal, heavenly kingdom of God.

That is supposed to create thirst and longing and conviction in the lives of those around us.

I have a condo in Little Rock that has a patio area. One of my dear friends, her ministry to me over the years has been to plant beautiful flowers in the patio whenever I'm in town for me to enjoy. I look through the window and see that from my study. It's been such a blessing.

Last year when I came back in town in the springtime, I'd been gone quite a while, and I looked out at that patio and there were just beautiful flowers. They were gorgeous. I'm just admiring it. I have another friend who was with me in the condo at that moment. My friend had been around a week earlier. She said, "You should have seen what this looked like before Mary Ann got a hold of it!" Jean started to describe what this patio had looked like a week earlier. She said, "It was a mess! It was disgusting. One day I left and it was this mess, and the next day I came back and Mary Ann had done her magic and that place was transformed. I went out there and looked and my reaction was, 'Oh! This is beautiful!'"

As I heard that little account, I thought, That's what our lives are supposed to do. They are supposed to create a sense of . . . ohhh! . . . in this world as people see the beauty and order and reclamation and restoration taking place as the gospel does its work in every part of our lives and our culture.

I came across a note in my reading of the ESV Bible that captures this thought. It says:

The purpose of the redemptive covenants is to restore fallen, damaged creatures, mankind, to the proper functioning of their humanity. Therefore, obedience to the Lord's commands is the right way to enjoy the world that God made, and it also displays to the rest of the world how refreshingly attractive it is to know the true God. The fall of mankind damaged every aspect of human lives, and God's work of redemption aims to restore every aspect to its proper functioning.

That's the story. We have been redeemed to be players in God's redemptive story. We are called to be transformers, agents of transformation and grace in our world, to help the world experience glimpses here and now of what a fully redeemed world will look like someday for those who repent and believe the gospel.

That's where 2 Peter 3 says, "According to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (v. 13).

A new heaven, new earth . . . we don't know if that is an entirely new earth in creation, or if it is the old earth that will be renewed and transformed into something else. But one thing we do know for sure, and that is that this earth and heaven as we know it today will be fundamentally changed, different, redeemed, restored.

You see, salvation is not just about God rescuing sinners from hell and taking us to heaven. It is that, but it is about God renewing and restoring things back to what He intended them to be before there was ever the Fall in the first place.

To put this in a biblical context, let me just give you a two-minute overview of the Bible. Here’s how we do it. There are bookends of the Bible. The first three chapters of Genesis and the last three chapters of the book of Revelation—the first three chapters of the Bible, the last three chapters of the Bible—form bookends for the whole Bible and for the whole story of history.

Look with me at those bookends. Genesis 1 and 2 tell the story of paradise, the story of creation. This world was created to be God’s dwelling place. In Genesis 1 and 2, we see God present with His people there in the garden. His people are glorifying Him, enjoying Him. The word in Genesis 1 and 2 that stands out is blessing. This is the place of blessing. The presence of God. It’s paradise as God intended it to be.

Then in the third chapter of the Bible, Genesis 3, we have what we could call paradise lost. That’s where we have the story of the Fall, the entrance of Satan, God’s mortal enemy—sin, death, and the curse all enter the story in Genesis, chapter 3. So the first two chapters of the Bible—paradise; third chapter—paradise lost. That’s the front bookend.

Now go to the last three chapters of the Bible—the last three chapters of Revelation—come to Revelation 20. This is the third to the last chapter of the Bible and this is where you see God’s enemies that entered the world in Genesis 3. In Revelation 20 you see God’s enemies banished. Satan and death and evil—great chapter.

You see the dragon, that great serpent, the devil, and Satan being bound and thrown into a bottomless pit, shut and sealed it over him so he can deceive the nations no longer. Then you see him after a thousand years coming out of that pit and being thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur to be tormented day and night forever and ever. It’s the banishment of God’s enemy that entered the scene in Genesis 3.

Then you go to the last two chapters of Revelation, 21 and 22, and you see paradise restored. And here we have a world that is oriented around the throne of God, a world that exists for His pleasure and His glory. A world of eternal blessing. We had blessing in Genesis 1 and 2. We have blessing restored in Revelation 21 and 22.

Let me read you just a brief portion of the end of that story. Revelation 21,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away . . . I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (vv. 1–4).

Remember in Genesis 3, the result of the fall was pain. Now there’s no more pain. Praise God! “The former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne [the sovereign ruler and lord of the universe] said, "Behold, I am making all things new” (v. 5).

You’ve got the bookends. And what is the fulcrum, the hinge, the pivot point of those bookends? It’s the cross. That’s the middle of the story. That’s the focal point, the crux of the story. The cross. And that is the message that we take to our world.

That’s what takes us from the devastation of Genesis, chapter 3, into that rescue and recovery program of God, that redemptive story, that story where He is renewing and making all things new. It’s the cross that makes all this possible.

  • That is the message we take to our world.
  • That’s the vision that electrifies and fills and impassions our hearts.
  • That’s the message for which we live, and if need be, for which we are willing to lay down our lives.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been providing us so much hope. The gospel doesn’t just give us hope for eternity, but it can transform your life and your world right now.

Nancy, I love the concept you shared a few minutes ago. You said that God is glorified as people see beauty and order and restoration as the gospel does its work in our lives and in our culture.

Nancy: I so want that in my life.

Leslie: Me, too.

Nancy: I hope you are catching the sense of the beauty of being a true woman as we are walking through this series, "The True Woman Manifesto—Foundations." I think that you'll agree that this is such a needed message in our day.

We have a lot of members who help making this ministry possible day after day. I want to mention one in particular today, and that's the Revive Our Hearts Monthly Partner Team. Monthly Partners pray regularly for the ministry, they let others know about it, and they support the ministry with a gift of at least $30 each month. Some can to $50 or $100 or $200 and some even more than that. Some may think, I can only do $30 each month. Does that really make a difference? I'll tell you, it really does make a difference. Part of that is not just the financial investment, but it is knowing that you are praying and that you are helping spread and share this message with others.

As I've been sharing over the past few weeks, we’re asking the Lord to call at least 400 new Monthly Partners to join our team by the end of April. I wonder if you might be part of the answer to that prayer?

You say, "I'm already supporting my local church." We don't want you to stop that. We want you to continue to do that and do that first. But perhaps the Lord has given you some resources over and above what you give to the church that you could share on a monthly basis with Revive Our Hearts. We need your support; we need your prayers. We want you to be a part of sharing this message with others.

This really is a partnership. When you become a Monthly Partner, we want to give back to you. We want to say "thank you" by sending you the new edition of my book Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. That's the newly revised, updated, expanded version of Lies Women Believe. You’ll also get a study guide to go with the book and a matching bookmark that I love just to have those key truths handy when I need them throughout the day. But you won’t just get that for yourself. We'll also give you a second set of the book, study guide, and bookmark to give to a friend. It’s a way you can share the message of Revive Our Hearts and invest in another woman.

As a partner you’ll also receive a devotional booklet each month. And you’ll get a free registration to a Revive Our Hearts conference each year. This year, that means you can attend True Woman '18 in September. Get all the details about our Monthly Partner Team, or you can sign up to join the team at ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1–800–569–5959.

Again, just a shout out to you if you are already a part of our Monthly Partner Team, thank you so much for your part in helping us call women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. We're so grateful for you!

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.

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