Grace Baptist Church of Danville
March 29, 2009
“There’s been no bad news since I heard the good news.”
Pastor Scott Richardson
NURSERY DUTY THIS WEEK
Today: Regina Henson (AM) Debbie Bartley (PM) Tuesday: Laura Peterson
Rise, O Sun of Righteousness — Don Fortner
(Tune: Majestic Sweetness #52 CM)
1. When each new morning sun appears,
To chase the night away,
Its shining rays all nature cheers,
And gladdens all the day.
2. Thus rise, O Sun of Righteousness,
Arise upon my soul,
With healing in Your wings to bless
And make my spirit whole!
3. Chilled with the shades of gloomy night,
Darkened with doubts and fears,
Vile unbelief can see no light,
Till Christ my Sun appears!
4. Celestial Sun, Your light impart;
Bestow some quick’ning ray!
Revive and melt my frozen heart,
And turn my night to day!
5. Let Your bright beams my soul adorn,
Upon Your garden blow!
And, in the resurrection morn,
Eternal day bestow!
If I understand the word “revive” as it is used in Scripture in reference to spiritual things, revival has nothing to do with the state and condition of the world. It relates only to the people of God. Revival is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God. It cannot be stopped by man, any more than it can be started by man. It is the extraordinary movement and work of God, causing extraordinary results. The gospel is preached with clarity and in power. God is worshipped. Christ is exalted. Awakened souls are humbled with a sense of personal sin and inspired with renewed consecration to Christ by a sense of forgiveness. And revival is a time when Zion enlarges her tent, lengthens her cords, and strengthens her stakes, as her seed breaks forth on the right hand and on the left.
The Beast and the Two Witnesses
In Revelation 11:7-10 John continues to tell us about the vision the Lord gave him, assuring us of the security and sure triumph of Christ’s church. Yet, in these verses he tells us that when God’s two witnesses have finished their testimony, they will be slain by the influence of the beast (antichrist – free will, works religion), and that the world will rejoice when their voices are silenced.
The beast, the antichrist and his religion, the outer court religionists, will arise with hellish, worldwide power, and kill God’s two witnesses. That does not mean that all God’s saints and all true preachers will be killed, though many may be tortured and put to death by men who think they are doing God’s service (John 16:2). There will be true believers and true witnesses upon the earth when Christ comes again (Luke 18:8). The gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ’s church (Matthew 16:18).
It must be remembered that the picture before us is symbolical, not literal. John is simply telling us that there is a time coming when the true church of God and true gospel preachers will appear to be almost totally eradicated from the earth. Religion will thrive. But the church of God will appear to be a dead corpse in the earth, altogether without life and power (Amos 8:11-12).
That is precisely what the Holy Spirit here tells us must take place just before our Lord’s glorious second advent. The voice of God’s church will be smothered by the religion of antichrist. It will lie like a dead corpse on Main Street in the world. Sodom and Egypt, which crucified Christ, will again join forces to silence his church. For 3 1/2 days, a brief but definite period of time, the church in this world will appear to be dead. It will cease to have power and influence. The faithful will be so few that they cause no disturbance in the world.
Nothing is out of control. Though this will be a time of terrible trial and religious deception (Matthew 24:22-25; Revelation 20:7-9), this time of heresy and religious deception must come. God has ordained it (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Corinthians 11:19). And in this reprobate age God’s elect are safe and have great reason for thanksgiving and praise (2 Thessalonians 2:13-16). While the corpses of God’s two witnesses lie in the street, the world will throw a party (vv. 9-10). But their joy is premature. God is not finished yet. The end has not yet come. Christ has not yet turned the last page of the little book in his hand (Revelation 10:2). Something else must take place...
Just before the end, just before the Lord Jesus returns in his glory, he will revive his church. Revelation 11:11-14 portrays the revival and final triumph of Christ’s two witnesses. John saw a day coming when the church of God would be revived, when the servants of God would be heard, when the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ would again be declared with heavenly power.
The whore of Rome and the peddlers of freewill will not party forever! God will send the Spirit of life into his church again (v. 11). Just before Christ’s second coming, right in the midst of wholesale apostasy, God will raise up his witnesses again! The church of God will again be triumphant (vv. 11-12). When God’s church is revived again, as in the days of the Reformation and the Great Awakening, the religious world and the political world will be frozen with fear.
Could it be that we are living in such a time? None can say with certainty; but I like to think it is so. Maybe, just maybe, the end is at hand! This much I know, there has never before been a day when the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace has been preached more clearly or by so many as it is today; and there has never been a day in history when it has been preached to so many! — Yes, in wrath God has remembered mercy! In the very midst of worldwide apostasy he has made a way for the gospel to be preached in every nation, and is causing it to happen!
Then the end will come. A voice will be heard, as the voice of the archangel, saying, “Come up hither!” As the saints of God, both the living and the dead ascend in a cloud of glory to meet the Lord in the air, “their enemies behold them!” There is no secret, mysterious rapture here. This is talking about the glorious resurrection of the sons of God (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). In that same hour God’s judgment will begin to fall upon the earth (v. 13). It appears that immediately preceding Christ’s appearing in judgment, there will be a great earthquake, perhaps a great series of earthquakes. Multitudes will be slain. Those who remain will be terror struck. Though they will not repent, they will give “glory to the God of heaven.” Now the stage is set. This is the beginning of the end. — “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly” (v. 14). Are you ready?
“Day of judgment, day of wonders!
Hark! The trumpet’s awful sound,
Louder than a thousand thunders,
Shakes the vast creation round!
(Are you ready?) How the summons
Will the sinner’s heart confound!”
March 29, 2009
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road-Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Telephone (859) 236-8235 - E-Mail email@example.com
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor
Schedule of Regular Services
10:00 A.M. Bible Classes
10:30 A.M. Morning Worship Service
6:30 P.M. Evening Worship Service
7:30 P.M. Mid-Week Worship Service
Television Broadcasts in Danville
Channel 6 - Sunday Morning 8:00 A.M.
Channel 6 - Wednesday Evening 6:00 P.M.
Channel 6 - Friday Evening 7:00 P.M.
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com