The King Tolerates His Rival

Selected highlights from this sermon.

The world is ready for the Antichrist. There is such a lack of spiritual discernment, even among Christians, that anyone who can mimic the signs and wonders of Jesus will be accepted as the Messiah.

The book of Revelation teaches, that every thing that Jesus had done while He walked on Earth, the Antichrist will attempt to do – and will deceive the world.
•    Claim to be God
•    Make a covenant with Israel
•    Appear in a temple
•    Crowned and worshiped
•    Perform signs and wonders
•    Be put to death
•    Be resurrected

But one does it by trickery and one is the true Messiah. For those whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life, have no fear—the true King is coming.

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In the Hofburg Library in Vienna there is a spear believed by many to be the one that was used by the Roman soldier who pierced Christ’s side. When Hitler was in Vienna before he became famous, he spent a great deal of time in the Hofburg, and it is said that as he looked at that spear, and he believed that it was authentic even though there were 45 other spears that claim the same honor (or dishonor we should say), he stared it and invited its spirit to possess him. And one observer said that Hitler was engulfed with ectoplasmic light when he did that. Later on, when Hitler went to Munich, as all of us know, he was taken into the deepest levels of occult transformation. Dietrich Eckhart, who was Hitler’s mentor, said, “Hitler is the one who has be anointed as Messiah. He shall dance, but I have written the tune, and because I have introduced him to the powers, I shall have had more impact on Germany than any other German.” One of the observers said that Hitler’s body was but the shell for the spirit that inhabited him.

Why is it that when we speak about antichrist we always think of Hitler? We don’t think of Stalin, or we don’t think of Mao Tse-Tung, all of whom also killed multiplied millions of people. We think of Hitler as kind of a prototype of the antichrist for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s because he arose in Germany democratically. Well, not exactly, because he didn’t have a majority in the Reichstag, but he was able to eliminate all of his rivals and end up as de Fuhrer, which is the German word for leader.

There’s another reason, and that is that the Germans adored him. I have spoken to Germans who lived during that period of time, and they said that Americans would never understand the impact that Hitler had on them, the sense of euphoria. Skeptics would go to Nuremburg at those great rallies and they would come back saying, “Our father, Adolph, who art in Nuremburg, the Third Reich, come.” What a dictator he was.

There’s another reason why I like to think of him as a prototype of the antichrist, and that is because of his hatred for the Jews-because the Bible teaches that another man, even more evil than Hitler, is going to come, as we’re going to see in a moment, and he also is going to try to exterminate the Jewish race, and do evils that Hitler could only think about, evils that modern technology have now allowed us to commit.

What I’d like to do is to ask you to take your Bibles in just a moment and turn to Revelation 13, and we are going to stay there. I am going to be reading some other verses, but Revelation 13 is the passage where I want you to stay because we’re going to be looking at specific verses about the coming world ruler when Jesus chooses to tolerate a very evil rival. When we think of antichrist, remember that the prefix anti means against. Everything that Jesus does, Satan is going to want to do, and to some extent he will do it. Somebody found a list of 20 similarities between Jesus and antichrist. I’m going to give you only five or six or seven.

Some of the similarities are this. Both of them will claim to be God. Jesus claimed to be God and antichrist will claim to be God. Both of them make a covenant with Israel. Both of them appear in a temple. Both of them are crowned and are worshipped. Both of them perform signs and wonders. Both of them have armies, and both of them are put to death and rise from the dead. Antichrist!

I’m going to begin in Revelation 13 and explain the first few verses and then what we’re going to do is we’re going to take a tour through the life of antichrist, and we’re going to survey his career. You’ll notice it says, “And I saw a beast.” John sees this beast, by the way, and I want to warn you it is a gruesome beast. This is not a domesticated animal. This is a ferocious beast. It is hideous and indeed grotesque. “I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.” Let’s stop there for only a moment because we must hurry on.

When it says that this beast had ten horns, those horns represent kings that are going to very gladly execute all the desires of antichrist. They will rule during this period of time but they are going to be submissive to him and they’ll carry out his demands. The seven heads refer to a succession of different kingdoms, and the animal that you see there–the leopard–represents Greece. The bear represents Medo-Persia, and then the lion is a reference to Babylon. Well you say, “How come you know all of that? Do you just make this stuff up?” Well, no, not really. If you were to look in the book of Daniel, you’d see many of the same animals. You’d see many of the same sequences, and by the way, this exact description about the Red Dragon occurs in chapter 12, the previous chapter here in the book of Revelation.

When you think of antichrist you have to think of a kingdom, and you also have to think of a person because his personage embodies this whole kingdom. This conglomeration, this group of revived states and powers most probably are going to come out of Europe (the revived Roman Empire of Europe).

Well, all of that is by way of introduction, and now we’d like to begin on the career of antichrist, but before we do you’re going to ask the question, “Where are we going to be when all of this is happening?” Well, if the scenario is correct that we should think of the return of Jesus in two stages and not just one, what this would mean is that the Church is raptured. We who believe in Jesus and trust Him are going to be in heaven, and then there’s going to be a period of time, perhaps years, when some of the various countries all get aligned for the end time, and it is then that antichrist is going to arise, and he is going to begin the seven-year period by making a covenant with Israel, and during this period of time, as we learned in previous messages, people are going to be saved. We’re going to find that there are saints here in the tribulation and they are going to interest us specifically, and all kinds of things are going to be going on.

Now if you don’t believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, then as you look at this, this will be an event that all of us, if we are alive at that time, will be participating in, and I think that as you think about it, and we go through the text, you are going to think that the pre-tribulational rapture is the correct view. I can guarantee that will be your preference, but we’re not basing it on preference. We have to look at the Bible and find out how these pieces fit together.

All right–the career of antichrist!

Number one, he will arise out of a revived Roman Empire. You know that if this were a classroom we’d go back to the book of Daniel and read all kinds of passages. Daniel made all these predictions and the book of Revelation is like a hand going into a glove. When you understand Daniel, you are really set up to understand the book of Revelation, but let me read to you first of all from Daniel 7 where it says that there was a little horn–a little ruler–and he subdued others, and then he became this mouth-speaking great blasphemies, etc. It’s a reference to antichrist. He’d going to begin small. Nobody is going to know who he is. He’s going to be quite unobtrusive, but then as he gains power, then you will see his true colors. But let me read what it says in Daniel 8: “And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressions have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles (he’s going to be very clever) shall arise. His power will be great but not by his own power. He shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and people who are the saints. By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper and shall destroy many.” And then he’s going to be broken by the Prince of Princes, namely Jesus, and that’s exactly what the book of Revelation teaches us, as we shall see in just a moment.

You know, there’s another passage in chapter 7 where it says regarding antichrist, “He shall throw truth to the ground and shall deceive many,” and he is going to deceive many and throw truth to the ground.

So, first of all, he comes out of a revived Roman Empire, as the book of Daniel would teach. Secondly, he makes a covenant with Israel, which he will break. This is Daniel 9. In Daniel 9 you have a reference to a prince who is going to come, who is going to make a covenant with Israel for one week, and actually when you look at the text you know that it’s one week of years, namely seven years. And antichrist is going to have so much power that when he makes this covenant with Israel the world will finally say that this Middle East (this cauldron that we read about all the time in the news) has finally settled down. Finally, there is some strength over there in Europe, and antichrist (of course he won’t be called that, but this ruler) has finally been able to satisfy Israel and put enough pressure on its neighbors to live in peace. So much peace that it may be during this period of time when there’s actually a temple built next to the Dome of the Rock because when 3-1/2 years have passed, this antichrist actually goes into that temple and declares himself to be God.

One other reference I want to read about that is in the second chapter of the book of 2 Thessalonians. It’s a passage you really have to read on your own later, but it says, “He who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God,” and then it indicates how he’s going to end, and I’m going to tell you that story so I won’t read the rest of the verses just now.

So, first of all, what he does is he will arise out of the revived Roman Empire. He makes a covenant with Israel. He breaks it in the middle of the tribulation period, goes to Jerusalem, goes into the temple and says, “Behold your god.” Third, he will have a miraculous recovery of a fatal wound.

All right! We’re in the text and we’re going to stay in the text of Revelation 13 for the rest of the message, so your Bibles are open. You need to see it in your own mind and heart. You’ll notice it says in verse 3: “One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound. But its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.” It is going to appear as if antichrist died.

Now you say, “Well, the text says it seemed as if he had a mortal wound. Do you think he actually died?” Well, there are those who believe that he will actually die, and they base that on the fact that in chapter 5, verse 6 of Revelation it uses the very same expression for Jesus. When John says, “I saw a lamb as if it had been slain,” that’s a reference to Christ, and we know that Jesus actually died. It’s the same expression so some people think that indeed antichrist died. Other people think that Satan cannot raise people from the dead unless there’s a very special dispensation given to him by God, so it appears as if he is dead and is made alive, and perhaps that is the right view. All that we know is that the people sure believe that he is dead, and the people sure believe that he rises from the dead. The whole earth follows the beast.

A preacher friend of mine says, “Just visualize this. This man is so powerful and somebody assassinates him. He’s there in a coffin in some great rotunda in the Middle East, and thousands of people are lining up, and all the television cameras are on him, and then suddenly he wiggles in the coffin, and crawls out and says, ‘I’m your Messiah.’” You can imagine that everybody is going to believe him. That’s why the text says, “Who is like this beast?”

We have to continue to go on, don’t we? “And they worshipped the dragon.” The dragon is Satan. In chapter 12 he’s called the Red Dragon because he is filled with the blood of the saints. “They worshipped the dragon for he had given his authority to the beast.” The beast represents here all the wishes of the devil. It’s time for me to put my Bible down and just think about this.

This has been Satan’s desire throughout the ages to duplicate everything that Jesus has ever done and to receive the worship of the world. That’s why he said to Jesus, “You know if you just bow down and worship me I’ll give you the kingdoms.” Satan longs to be worshipped, and now he has somebody in place that is being worshipped, and in the process of worshipping him they worship the devil, the great dragon. But I mean, if he looked as if he was dead, and rose again, what does it say there in the last part of verse 4? “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” How would you like to take on somebody who was dead and is now alive? I mean, how are you going to fight him? And people will be so eager to believe and our world of spirituality is preparing them for this. You know, the whole idea of “I’m into spirituality and not religion,” is really an occultist kind of religion. It’s a deceptive kind of religion, and people lacking discernment are going to simply say, “He’s our man.” Can’t you hear it already? They’ll say, “Well you know Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, but how many people saw Jesus?” The disciples, and then later on he appeared to several hundred people, we are told in the Bible, but it’s nothing like this. I mean, if this is on national television where everybody can see what’s happening, I mean, who is going to oppose him?” And you can see it already. People are going to do that.

Now, let’s hurry on. He’s going to use fear to rule the world. We are going to look at some of these verses and if you understand it, it should give you chills. I mean, this is unbelievable, but we believe it because it is in God’s Word, and we can actually see how it can happen. That’s the remarkable thing.

First of all, I want to point out all of the things that he was given, and then we’re going to talk about who gave it to him. Verse 5 says he was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and he was allowed to exercise authority for 42 months. Why 42 months? That’s 3-1/2 years. Do you get it? He declares himself to be God and 3-1/2 years pass before the seven years are up (before Jesus returns) so he’s given this authority for 42 months. “It (that is, the beast) opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.” Somebody has said he was given a mouth and so he was, and it was a very big mouth, and it was a very evil, blasphemous, foul mouth, and all that he does is blaspheme God. Satan finally gets it out of his system and he can do that.

Now verse 7 says, “Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.” This does not mean that he in any way made war against the saints spiritually and conquered them, but physically he put them to death, because as we’ll see later, if you don’t have his mark, you’re dead. Wow!

And this is certainly something that takes our breath away. You’ll notice that it says, “And authority was given to this beast over every tribe and people and language and nation,” and at last Satan rules the world. Everybody buys into him. He’s the way to go. “We have found our messiah. We have found the answer to the world’s complex problems and search for peace. Here he is,” and the world worships and the world believes.

And then it says, “And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.” I’m not going to comment on that verse now but, of course, I will comment later because you can’t avoid a nugget like that in the midst of this distress, these saints and the implications for us.

So you’ll notice that he controls the world religiously. Everybody worships him. Satan now controls the world politically. Nobody is going to make war with the saints. He also controls the world economically. He’s going to use economics to do it, and that’s why economics is so important. It is always the economy. It is always, always the economy.

Now at this point I have to introduce you to another piece. It says in verse 11, “Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb,” and so forth. You can read this on your own, but this again makes us just absolutely gasp. We gasp at the audacity of Satan. Think of it this way. God is the Trinity, and now Satan has his trinity. Let’s clarify. Satan himself, the dragon, is the anti-God the father. The beast that we’ve been talking about in the opening of the chapter is the antichrist. This next beast corresponds to the Holy Spirit. He takes the work of what the Holy Spirit does and does the same thing for the beast. What does the Holy Spirit do? The Bible says that the Spirit is poured out. Why? He always glorifies Jesus. He causes people to look not at himself but he’s always directing us toward Jesus. That’s what the New Testament teaches, and that’s exactly what this beast does.

This second beast is totally committed. He’s not interested in his own fame necessarily as much as he is to cause others to worship the first beast. That’s what the text says. You’ll notice it says, “I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all of the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.” Again, John, who wrote this, has to throw that in because that’s critical. It’s these miracles that really caused these people to believe.

Did you know that in 2 Thessalonians where it’s speaking about antichrist it says that he does signs and wonders and miracles, and three words are described to do what he does, and those three words are also used of the signs and wonders and miracles of Jesus? I mean, think of what Satan can do.

And then we go down to verse 15. You’ll notice that an image is put up that even this beast might speak again. It’s probably not as if the beast can cause life, but maybe it is some trickery, and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. If you don’t worship him, you are dead. And it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead (The idea here is a stamp or an indentation in the skin–some kind of a tattoo), so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man and his number is 666.”

Now, it calls for wisdom for sure. Throughout history all kinds of explanations have been given for 666. People have toyed around with various names if you assign numbers to letters, and they make it come out to 666. I’m not going to speculate because if it calls for a real lot of wisdom at this point, my wisdom quotient is low, and so I will not try to figure out 666, except that it is the number of a man. We know that from Scripture.

Now here’s the point. A mark on the forehead or on the hand is very easy to understand today. Just think, for example, of computer chips, and think of how wonderful it would be to have a society without physical money, you see, because that’s how drug deals are carried out. People give one another money under the table. Money is given to various people. What if we had a world currency where everyone had a computer chip? If you worked somewhere your money was put into this computer bank and then it would be subtracted if you were at Jewel or Dominick’s or somewhere where you would buy or sell and all transactions, of course, would be known. They could just simply investigate what the computer says you bought or sold, and if you do not take this mark, you are defying the beast, and you are put to death. That’s what the text says. It says, “All who do not have the mark of the beast are slain.”

And so what you have here is a radical control. When we begin to think of what can be done today in terms of control, Hitler could have only dreamed about the kind of control he would have wanted to have. But of course technology has increased and you can understand how this is so much more understandable today than it might have been even 30 or 40 years ago.

Now we have to indicate how the beast ends before we wrap this up and talk about why our lives should be changed forever because we have been in this text. And that is how does his career end? I’ll tell you how it ends. Take your Bible now and I am asking you to turn to Revelation 19, which indicates the return of Jesus. It should come as no surprise to you that the next message in this series is going to be on the glorious return of Jesus. We talked about the rapture but now we are going to talk about Jesus Christ coming with his saints. We’re going to talk about what it means when the lightning comes from end of the heaven to the other, what it means when Jesus comes on this white horse.

But notice the way antichrist ends. I’m going to jump in to Revelation 19:19: “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.” I have to pause. When you get to the end of the tribulation period that’s really when the battle of Armageddon happens. We’re going to find out next time as part of the message that all of the forces of the world are gathered around Jerusalem and they are going to fight one another because opposition to antichrist is arising. And the whole issue of Jerusalem has to be settled, and what happens at that time is that Jesus appears on the Mount of Olives. That’s going to be one of our key passages next time. And suddenly they all say to themselves, “Look at him. We’ve been fighting one another but let’s stop fighting one another, and let’s take on Jesus.” So all the armies of the earth are going to say, “He’s the real rival.”

That’s what happens here. “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army (that’s Jesus we can tell from the context). And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in his presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting in the horse (I warn you now that it gets gory), and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” Wow!

Follow the beast and you end in hell–the lake that burns with sulphur. And by the way, as part of this series I am going to be speaking on the final judgment. It’s one of the last messages in the series.

And they actually beat Satan into the lake of fire because Satan in chapter 20 isn’t in the lake of fire yet. He is bound for a thousand years (and I’m also speaking on the millennial kingdom). During that period of time he is bound and he gets thrown into the lake of fire. You’ll notice in verse 10 the beasts and the prophet are actually in the lake of fire before their leader, but he’s headed there too, and even today he knows it. Satan knows where he is going. He can read the book of Revelation just as well as we can. That’s why it says in chapter 12 when he thrown out of heaven he is furious because his time is short. He knows he doesn’t have much time.

Are you still with me? Is everyone following here? Am I alone up here today or are you all here? (applause)

When I think of life-transforming lessons in this, many spring out to me from the text. I read something like this and I immediately see all kinds of things coming at me. Let me give you three.

Just a word in passing before we get to the last two, and that is the whole business of discernment, and the fact that the earth is going to be so ready to receive miracles that are false miracles. Today people see miracles and they have no idea how to identify a true miracle from a false one when they see it on television. And sometimes we don’t know. I confess that, but sometimes there are telltale signs, particularly regarding what the evangelist says and what he believes, but we are raising a generation of people who simply lack all spiritual discernment. They don’t know, for example, that if you go to a séance, if you consult a witch and talk to the dead, you’re not talking to the dead. You are actually talking to demonic spirits who knew the dead – familiar spirits. They don’t even know that. They just bungle along in life and say, “Oh, this sounds interesting. This sounds good.” So the world will be ready for a massive deception.

Two other things that I want you to take home. First of all, something about God’s sovereignty! You say, “Well, it looks like God kind of was on vacation when all this was happening.” Ah, God is not on vacation. He never is. Did you notice that it says that the beast was able to rule for 42 months? I mean, who determines that time? If God determines the length of the beast’s rule to be 42 months, all the forces of hell wrapped all together cannot make it 43 because God is God, and even the devil is God’s devil. I’m going to tell you. Do you know what it says in 2 Thessalonians 2? Read it on your own but just take my word for it for now and then read it on your own. It says that when antichrist goes into the temple when Jesus comes Jesus is going to slay him by the breath of his mouth. Jesus will just go “poof,” and it’s all over because Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, and God of all Gods. There’s no contest here.

By the way, did you know that hell is just? We’ll talk about that. To us it doesn’t seem that way but certainly for these hell is just, and that’s the vindication. Earlier in the book of Revelation there are saints that pray and say, “Lord, how long until you are going to vindicate us?” because they were massacred. They were killed, and God is going to say, “Just a little longer,” and hell is just.

The sovereignty of God–the breath of his mouth! There’s no contest here, but I need to comment on the glory of the saints, and for this we have to go back to Revelation 13:8: “And all who dwell upon the earth will worship it (that is, the beast), everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.”

Of course, you are asking all kinds of questions about this verse as well you might. First of all, I need to emphasize this. Do you think that if you lived during this period of time you would have the nerve to withstand the cultural and spiritual pressure to join antichrist and his forces? Another way in which we indicate God’s sovereignty is in verse 10: “If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.” Hitler said that if you go into a rally with 100,000 people all shouting the same slogans, and you don’t believe in the slogan, you will do one of two things. Either you will convert or at least you’ll keep your mouth shut because there will be a cultural stream that will be so powerful nobody will stand against it. And even the saved in this day wouldn’t stand against it unless God granted them the ability to stand against it.

But now for the verse! “Everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life.” You say, “Do you mean that there are some people born and already their name was written in the book of life?” That’s what the text is saying. People have wanted to say something else. There are translations that say, “the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.” That also shows us God’s sovereignty, but the best translation of the text is the one that I’ve just read. If you are a believer today, your name was in the book of life as long as God has existed. Any amen’s out there or am I all alone up here? (applause) God never learns anything. He never makes some decisions that he doesn’t know he’s going to change. Your name was known to God as long as God existed. In fact, Paul says that. He said, “The grace of God that was given to you from all eternity.”

You say, “Yeah, but!” I know what you’re thinking. I can see your minds working like the innards of a clock. You’re saying, “But how do you know that your name is in the book?” Isn’t that the question that you should be asking? How do you know that your name is in the book? And some of you who have never trusted Christ as savior, the question is, “How do I know whether or not my name is in the book?” Can’t you just hear it already? Somebody is saying that.

Here’s the good news. The good news is you can find out whether or not it’s in the book. Shouldn’t you be encouraged because of that? You may criticize God’s sovereignty and all, but my, if you can find out whether or not your name is in the book you should have no argument with God about this text. I don’t think you should.

Here’s the way you find out whether or not your name is in the book. What you do is you come to Jesus Christ in humility admitting your sinfulness and receive him as your savior and you believe on him, and when you do, that shows that your name is in the Lamb’s book of life from before the foundation of the world. That’s not bad is it? (applause)

I came to assurance of faith at the age of 14. Some of you perhaps have come to assurance of faith at different times, and some of you have no assurance of faith, and the reason that you have no assurance is because you are not saved, so you don’t know whether your name is in the book or not.

I have flown a bit on airplanes and sometimes I have flown standby. Have you ever had that experience? You are flying standby and you don’t know whether or not you are going to get on, and you are looking at that board, now that they have the waiting list, and you are number 4, and you see all these people going on the plane and you hope you are going to be on. You pray that you are going to be on but you don’t know whether or not your name is going to be called. And then at the end, they may say either yes or no, but you are not enjoying the time in the departure lounge. (laughter)

And then most of the time I fly with a ticket and I look on it and I say, “I’m in 10B. I know that there is a seat that is reserved for me. I have the ticket in my pocket. I can pull a book out of my briefcase and I can read it and I can be totally relaxed.”

Today I want you to know that you have a confirmed ticket with a seat number that is for you in glory. “(applause)
Don’t resist the Holy Spirit. If God has talked to you and you don’t know whether or not your name is in the book, find out. Come to Jesus. Admit your sinfulness. Admit your need and say, “Jesus, I am a sinner. You are a savior. I’m going to believe in this Jesus and not the false one that is going to come to pass, who is going to be destroyed by the breath of the mouth of the real Jesus. I don’t want to believe in him. I want to believe in a savior that actually saves.” And there’s only one like that out there and you know who he is, don’t you? That’s Jesus. (applause)

You may be in the balcony. You may be listening by way of radio or other forms. You may have joined us today on the Internet. Whatever means by which you are listening to this I appeal to your conscience, and I appeal to God’s grace. Come to Christ! Receive Him. Give up your stubbornness and when you do that He will receive you. That’s guaranteed. He’ll receive you and you’ll say, “You know, I have a confirmed ticket. I now know that my name has been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life.”

Is there any question that is as important as that one? I don’t think so. That’s pretty well it. It’s more important than all the other issues that we face. Eternity is long. Time is short.

Join me as we pray.

Father, save those who have to be saved. And if people are deceived about their salvation because they are good people, and they’ve been baptized or they’ve done things, we ask, oh Father, please show them that there is such a thing as saving faith, a faith that actually saves. Your Word says that we should check to see whether we are in the faith. Help all of us to do that right now. And those who sense the work of the Spirit in their lives, may they not turn a deaf ear to that voice. We plead with them. And for those of us who know Christ, help us to love Him and to trust Him.

And now as I conclude this prayer, if you’ve never received Him, you can even receive Him where you are seated or where you are listening to this. Take the time to say, “Jesus, today I trust You and believe You.”

We ask this in His blessed name, Amen.

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