PYP – Play Your Part

Sermon

I got the opportunity to preach Sunday, March 14th at http://www.StMatthewsBaptist.org

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Kjv

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. NRSV  – 1 Peter 4:10

 

God doesn’t make mistakes or waste things.  Everything has a purpose including you and I.

You have a gift, you have a reason to be here, you have a purpose.

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. NRSV  – 1 Peter 4:10

If I can help somebody, as I travel along
If I can help somebody, with a word or song
If I can help somebody, from doing wrong
Then my living shall not be in vain

 

Playing your part.

Sometimes it changes, sometimes you don’t know that what you have is needed.  You won’t know unless you try to help, get involved, see what is lacking…

Left alone, in quarantine, on lockdown, isolated… in a rut, is bad because you are not acting with others that you can help, that is our purpose

To do what one should and is expected to do within a group in order to achieve a particular result; to perform one’s role.

Some gifts are easy to see…
My daughter can cook
The pastor can cook
I’m really good with animals and used to be a pretty good marksman

Homes have parts we play too. And we can mess that up too

Failing to play your part hurts the team.

Have you been or are you a good steward of the gift that God gave you?

In church, it can hurt worship

Do you want to be the one responsible that kept someone from getting to God?

Playing Your Part

The inner essence of worship is to know God truly and then respond from the heart to that knowledge by valuing God, treasuring God,

prizing God, enjoying God, being satisfied with God above all earthly things. And then that deep, restful, joyful satisfaction in God overflows in demonstrable acts of praise from the lips and demonstrable acts of love in serving others for the sake of Christ.

The choir has parts – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass

In sports they say – play your position.

A team has members, football team receivers, tackles, kickers, guards, and quarterbacks- looking for the person with their hands up

God is looking for those with their hands up – in worship, to bless, to RECEIVE

God owns this team. The Pastor is the quarterback, the ball is snapped, he is looking to bless someone one, if he wins the whole team wins…. Whos got their hands up (worship hands)

Put ’em up
Put ’em up
Put ’em up, put ’em up, put ’em up
Put ’em up
Put ’em up, put ’em up, put ’em up

Conclusion

It’s important to play your part. Everyone is important. But you can hinder or help

You can curse or bless

Encouraging words can go a long way.

Once you know who you are and from whom you come and then to where you are sent, then your value cannot be undermined or redefined.

Seek God who made the determination of knowing your value. Your life is not an accident nor are the thoughts that take you from day today.

There is substance and purpose in all you have experienced. Take courage in knowing that you don’t have to compete with anyone for what life has promised you.

Play your position, the quarterback is looking for uplifted hands and a consistent heart that is reliable when needed

Stewards of the gift of Grace.  Serving one another with whatever gift you have received

What happened to the person who didn’t use the talent that they were given?

We Must Put Our Talents into Action

We Will Be Granted Exactly What We Need to Fulfill God’s Bidding

We Will Eventually Be Held Accountable

The Power of Your Testimony

At the time of this recording, it’s the last Sunday of 2020. You’ve survived 2020, so, make some noise, somebody! Having a hard time? I’m going to try to help you do that today, and for the rest of this week. Amen? How, pray tell, are you going to do that, Reverend Kenn? We’re going to be talking about testimony today, the power of testimony. A testimony of the Gospel is one pf the most valued possessions that you can have in as church. The strength and the unity of the church depends on each member so living that they give to know themselves that the Gospel is true. There is power in your testimony; testimonies that give God glory.

Hey! This is Reverend Kenn Blanchard, and you’re listening to Speak Life Church Podcast. We are part of Speak Life Church, Inc. Our mission is to restore and strengthen, to provide hope for those in need, to offer a nontraditional place of worship using tech to be everywhere. All are welcome, including those souls still searching for what they believe in. Speak Life Church is striving to be continuation of the ministry of the apostle Paul using technology. You know, church and fellowship is not about the building that you’re in. It’s about learning and growing closer to Jesus. It is about building friendships and a community, and through the website, through this Podcast, through video, through live-streaming, through social media, people can be reached to do what they’ve been called to do, and they can be reached — even those who don’t feel at home in the traditional church. However, Speak Life is not all about technology; phone calls, personal visits, and meet-ups are also a huge part of this fellowship, and even a larger part of the church. The show notes, when they are available, can be found at speaklifechurch.net. You know, although Speak Life Church is a virtual church — a church without walls — it’s been operating for almost twenty years now under a different name. We’ve helped prevent five suicides. We’ve saved several marriages. We’ve organized charitable fundraisers for good causes. We’ve saved a home of a terminally ill veteran. We’ve provided fishing trips and ministry to senior citizens. We’ve officiated at seventeen weddings, and a few funerals as well. If you’ve never heard of me before, if you’ve never heard of this church, then you know something that a whole bunch of other people still don’t know. We are trying, and we are working the best we can with what we can.

This week, as I look back, I thank God for Christmas, and thank God for His Son, Jesus Christ. I thank God for you, those who are listening. For those who sent me cards, I thank you. I thank you for the well wishes on social media and email, and on Facebook. I”m thankful for health right now. 2020 has been challenging for not only me, but you too. I thank God for healing. I thank Him for your friendship. I thank Him for longevity, for the learning I’ve done, for the wisdom I’ve gained, and for just surviving. Sometimes you don’t know what you were saved from. God does, though, and every once in awhile, in your quiet time, you might think of somethings and go, “Wow. If it weren’t for the Grace of God, where would I be?” Last week, I had a nice, long message that came from Dr. David Jeremiah, some readings and some Scripture, and some lessons that he had put together about Christmas. There’s some stuff that we just kind of forget about the holidays. We didn’t transcribe it because it’s from somebody else and I didn’t want to get in trouble, but I want thank Sarah for all her efforts in making sure that the notes are there and that I’m okay. I also forgot to pray, publicly, even though I prayed prior to even starting it — and that’s probably why I forgot, because I did it, just not on the microphone. But, as Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Eternal God, our Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Son, Jesus. We thank You for His Birth, His Life, His Ministry, His Sacrifice, His Resurrection, and everything that He does now in the Holy Spirit. Father, we ask for Your Forgiveness for everything we’ve done openly and in secret. We ask, Lord God, that You would forgive us, and allow us to get closer to Your Throne. Allow us to hear Your Voice today. Allow us to hear about where You want us to go. The message today, make it clear. Make it new. Make it fresh. Touch those, oh, Lord God, who need to be held. Hold those, Lord God, those who need to be held. Somebody right now is crying, oh, Lord. They just lost somebody in their life real dear. Somebody else, Lord God, is celebrating life. You are the God of all. The sun shines on the good and the bad. We thank You, Lord God, for allowing us sunshine. Right now, it’s cold in some places. It’s chilly and downright miserable in others, but, Lord God, You are still here. Somebody is lonely. Somebody is going through a hard time, financially. Somebody, right now, is confused and angry and mad and frustrated. Father, we seek Your Peace, the Peace that surpasses all understanding. We thank You for Your Love. We thank You for Your Understanding. We thank You even though we don’t understand what to say sometimes. We don’t pray the right words. We don’t say the right things. We don’t think the right thoughts, but You still love us. Father, thank You for Christmas. And now, Lord God, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable, these Your people, in the Name of Your Son, Jesus, I ask this. Amen.

This Christmas season was a little different for me: I’ve never been this old before! I’ve never had adult kids. Everybody’s gone. There were no children in my life, for the most part, just adults. There were little kids at my sister’s place. I mean, I’m an uncle, and I got cousins who are young, but the kid thing was gone, and the Covid thing was happening, and I was missing my Dad. I was missing older guys, older than me, who gave me things, gave me wisdom, gave me their experiences. I miss that. It’s different when you’re at the end of that rope, looking backwards to give and to pull up other people, but it’s been a really good month of December. I got recognized by several organizations this year, and it all happened this month. There are a couple of businesses that decided to give me products to try to sell for them. Even a few lost relatives that I didn’t even know had my number called me. So, it’s been a time of connection and sadness. I lost a friend on Christmas Day. There’s been that. There have been the positives though of trying to get my musical thing back together. I’ve been practicing, trying to, everyday, with my guitar. I’ve been working on different ideas to go into the future. What am I going to do with my life, at this stage in my life? Anybody else like that? Yeah. See, we’re all in the same place. Some of us listening are wondering how we’ve made it this far! We didn’t wear helmets when we rode our bicycles. We didn’t have safe baby cribs. There was no childproofed medicine cabinets and bottles. We drank soda straight and sugar and ate candy. That time when we could leave from home and stay gone all day, play all day and nobody saw you again until the streetlights came on. Nobody was able to reach you back then. You didn’t have a cellphone. There was no PS2, PS3, PS4, definitely no PS5. There were no laptops, no tablets, no cable TV, no TV that stayed on twenty-four hours a day. There were times we played dodge ball and baseball and basketball with strange kids, and sometimes we got hurt. We fell out of tree. We got cut. We got sprains. There were no lawsuits from accidents we were in. We were in fights, got black and blue from them sometimes, but we played with kids, and we made up games. We tried out for teams, and sometimes we didn’t make it. We got picked last. Remember those days? We had to overcome it. We had to learn to do better. Sometimes we just outright failed. We weren’t as good as the others. We had disappointments. There were tests in school that weren’t adjusted for any reason. There were consequences to what we did. There was freedom and failure and success and responsibility. There was a whole bunch of stuff on the playground that probably couldn’t taken you out, but we’re still here. If you’ll stop for just a second and think about all of the things you’ve gone through, the traumatic, the horrible things you’ve gone through, and that you’re going through, but you’re still here, you might want to stop and thank God. You see, even though it’s horrible and terrible, you’re still here, and it’s up to you now to go forward, to make it a better day. It’s up to you to shine. It’s up to you to enjoy the life that you have despite, in spite of, what’s going down. Sometimes we look to too many people to help us with our own attitudes.

Today I want to talk about testimony. We’re going to get back to what I said a minute ago about “what is testimony?” and what it’s not. A testimony can usher in the Holy Spirit. You know, some people love music, but if the choir is bad they don’t like church. But, I don’t like church when the Holy Spirit ain’t there. I said there was power in your testimony in the opening. You know, you can use your testimony as a weapon against your own issues. Everybody has a testimony, and sharing your testimony releases hope. A testimony is basically a story which defines, shapes, moves, or propels. From the spiritual perspective, we’re talking about how our stories center on our salvation, on our healing, our emotional breakthroughs, or our encounters with the Power of God. Here’s what a testimony is not: I’m not talking about the testimonies of those church people who like to get up and tell a story about themselves, the guys who just like to talk, the ones who have told the same story over and over again, the one who likes to basically brag. I’m talking about a story that edifies and gives glory to God. A testimony is sharing about your relationship with God. It’s an explanation of how God has worked in your life. It’s an account of a specific saving action of the Lord in your life. The purpose is to open listeners to God, and to lead them to draw closer to Him. The Bible tells us that we should share our testimony. In Acts 1:8 it says, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses, not only in Jerusalem, but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.” You should be ready to share how Christ became the center of your life and your source of hope. Now, I know, you’re saying right now — not all of you, but some of you are not having a lot of hope right now, but I hope to change that, too. 1 Peter 3:15-16 says, “Should anyone ask you for the reason for this hope of yours, be ever ready to reply, but speak gently and respectfully.” So, how do we do that? How do we speak respectfully and gently? You know, you want to be nonthreatening when you speak of the goodness of God. The folks who don’t called themselves “churched” are more open to listen to your story than a teaching. You want to make it personal, evidence that God is real and active in your life. People will be able to relate to some aspect of your situation and your life experience. It’s concrete and it’s real. Your testimony should arouse interest. It should stir up questions and increase a desire for God within the listener. That’s important. If what you’re saying doesn’t make the others want to know about the same God that you have, then you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do. Your testimony should speak for itself. People can argue about a teaching, but it’s hard to argue about one experience. Your testimony should be powerful — maybe not to you, but to those who hear it. Hmmm, think about it for a minute. God works through a testimony, and offers graces of conversion for those who hear. Revelation 12:10-11 says, “Then I heard a loud voice in Heaven say, ‘now have salvation and power come. The reign of our God and the authority of His Anointed One, for the accusers of our brothers is cast out, who night and day accused them before our God. They defeated him by the Blood of The Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” Share when someone would benefit from your story. You may be just planting a seed for a later conversion. God will give growth to that seed and bless you for the work that you have done. And they overcame him by The Blood of The Lamb and the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11 KJV). The word of God is powerful. It’s even more powerful when it’s lived out through the life of one of us. When somebody can see the Bible, they don’t have to read it. People like to beat you over the head with Scripture, but if you live like you know God, if you live what you speak, if you walk your testimony, it won’t be hard to give it. You know, one thing that’s missing a lot is transparency within the church. The more we talk about the mistakes we’ve made, the more other people can relate to you. There’s a natural tendency to want to look as perfect as possible on the outside, so we hold our past mistakes deep. Hiding things is a lie that keeps people at arm’s length. Sharing brings them closer into an intimate and real conversation. But, I know it’s a double standard, too, because folks also judge. I remember once I opened up a testimony service before we started every church service, and it changed the dynamic in our worship because the real people were shocked that the folks that they though were all perfect and clean and had everything together started off when the same problems as them. Maybe they didn’t have exactly the same issue, but we all fell. We all have stuff. We all have our own things that keep us down. There’s a wide disparity between how we judge others and how we judge ourselves. Think about it for a minute. We tend to have harsh value judgments when it comes to judging someone else’s bad behavior, and then with others, we quickly attribute enduring personality or character traits as the main reason for another’s bad behavior yet, with our own lapses, we are clearly more lenient. We might feel awful about what we dod, but we’re more likely to explain it away by citing situational or temporary factors like a lapse in judgment, peer pressure, mood, substance abuse. In essence, we let ourselves off the hook, but unfairly crucify other people. Think about that for a minute. If we were to be more transparent and not judge, we’d make a difference. So, we’re talking about testimony. We’re talking about giving God glory. Was there a specula time on your life when you realize you needed Him? Then when you heard that there was one, you rejoiced, you repented of your wrongdoings, and you believed? Is there a memorable day or simply a certain time in your life — think back. When was it for you? Were you addicted to something and then you found God, and He helped you break free? Were you severely depressed, and you found God, and He gave you hope to continue onward? Did you get in trouble with something, and you realized just how much you had messed up in your own life? Did you miss out on something — something wonderful, and then realized that things would work out okay anyway because there was a God who loved you? At some point, you realized that life wasn’t working out so well when you were running it on your own and needed help. That is testimony. It’s what we need to hear. Those are the things we have, the local, normal, regular, old, tried and true human condition. See, your stuff is no different than my stuff. Your testimony might be extreme. It could even be radical, or it might be a calm profession of a true belief. Both testimonies will show God’s Love and Mercy because everybody, the loud and the quiet, have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. I was on social media and I was sending out a picture of an elf, and the elf had a stripper — it was like a Barbie doll or something, and I thought that thing was hilarious because the guy that I got it from, that’s the kind of stuff we would do in the Marine Corp. But, I forgot that as a pastor, as a guy that everybody thinks is holy, that I don’t make mistakes, that I haven’t come from anywhere, that it was wrong. It was sexual. It was disparaging. So, I took it down. I took it off, but it reminded me of where I was, where I have been, and how quickly I can go back. You know, I thought about that double standard of judging, and I thought, you know, sometimes I want to keep the warts on my picture. There are sometimes I want to show my fat side. There are sometimes when I want you to know that I am not all that and a bowl of grits. And, when is that? Whenever I stand before you and represent the Most High God. I was doing a Bible study a few weeks ago for a local church, and I told the audience that I don’t preach as well as their pastor, and I mean that. I said it as humbly as I knew how, and people were like, “Why is he doggin’ himself? Why is he putting himself down?” Well, see, you don’t understand that the God that I serve prefers you to be humble, and that if you would abase yourself, He will lift you up in due time. The God that I serve doesn’t like a proud and haughty person, and I know it’s really easy, once you get the platform, to show only the best sides, only the good parts because you can edit out the flubs. But, I don’t want you to be fooled. I am just a man, a servant of God, like you. I do have a calling on my life. I have heard the Voice of God. I have seen His Miracles. He has saved me from so many things, and continues to do so even by my own hand. There is power in testimony. One of the things that it gives the most of is hope. You see, if I can be missed by lightning twice, if I could be saved by dolphins, if I can be rescued from myself on so many occasions of doing stupid things, if God can make the things happen for me, then whatever happens tomorrow, all I have to remember is that God is with me. Emmanuel: “God with us.” If I have survived bankruptcy and divorce and sicknesses of my children and near-dear experiences time and time again, then 2021 doesn’t look so bad because as long as I walk with the Lord and He is before me, then what should I be afraid of? If I’ve done every dumb thing I can do as a grownup, and still stand before you, to call myself a child of the Most High, I’m in good company. If I can grow up poor, off I can get through physical abuse, if I can get through everything that this world can throw at me, and I’m still standing, I got nothing to do but give God glory for it. Give Him praise. Even though I am not that, because of Him, I am. And, you too can share in this testimony, that no matter what you’re going through right now, with the Power of God, change can happen, and has happened, and if you would hold on a little bit longer, you will see more change coming. If you would give testimony, not for what you don’t have, but for what you do, if you were to fill up a paper right now, writing all of the things down that God has blessed you with, it would fill up several sheets, and if you couldn’t fill it up, it’s only because you’ve forgotten, or you don’t think that it was His Hand in it. That would be a mistake. Some people take for granted that they are allowed to breathe this morning. Some people take it for granted that they didn’t get hit by a stroke last night, or just a few moments ago, that their blood pressure didn’t rise, that a blood vessel didn’t bust in their heads, that they can still use one side of their body. They take it for granted that the cancer cells that passed through their bloodstream left and didn’t metastasize. You take it for granted that the evil somebody did to you did not lead to death, that would end your life and not give you the chance to do better tomorrow, that everything that you don’t have may have been — and probably is — God holding back what would hurt you or change you or alter your life, or that you were not ready for at present. But, if you would give Him Glory for it, thank God for the large and the small, that would be a blessing. That would be smart. Solomon reminds us that “He has made everything beautiful in His Time. Also, He has set the world in their heart so that no man can find out the work that God taketh from the beginning to the end. I know that there is no good in them, but for man to rejoice and do good in his life. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under Heaven — a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which was planted, a time to kill, a time to heal, a time to break down, a time to build up, a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance, a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from that embracing. There’s a time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away, a time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silent, and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time of war, a time of peace.” And God sets that tone and that time.

This year has been a monster for so many of us, but it’s also evidence that God is with you. Testify about it. Tell somebody about the goodness of God in your life. Yeah, I know, you lost that job that you just got, but you don’t know what God kept you from. Yes, you know that there are financial issues, that you need more money! You need more of this. You need more of that. Talk to God about it. What has happened to you has given you an opportunity to talk to Him. There are blessings in talking to God. And sometimes in testifying, you also learn about someone else’s trouble, someone else’s issues, someone else’s life. You find out that you’re not all that and a bag of grits either, and that you shouldn’t be feeling sorry for yourself. You know, comparison is the thief of joy. We do that so often. “I should be further along in my life.” Says who? “I should be here instead of there. I should have X amount of dollars in the bank.” Says who? “I should be ____ by now.” Says who? Says the Enemy, the adversaries of God, said that little imp that influences the other person who says cross and mean things to you. Often they are family members, the person who is putting you down when they could lift you up with the power of their testimony. That’s one way you can defeat the Enemy, too. When he reminds you of how small you are, about how you lack things, and you don’t have this and you don’t have that, it gives you an opportunity because he is waiting for you to go, “boooohooooo.” Instead, tell him how great your God is. Tell him about how big He is. And watch the light shine in a dark place. There’s an old gospel song that says, “Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your blessings. See what God has done. Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your many blessings, and see what God has done.” It’s a little corny to me sometimes, depending on how it’s sung. I was at a church with like, a whole bunch of elders, and they sang it the old school way, and it didn’t sound too hot. I’m sure there are some choirs that can crank that thing out and tune it up just a tad, but the words are real. The lyrics are truthful: Count your many blessings. And, give a testimony. Amen? Amen, somebody!

This year I watched a whole bunch of different versions of A Christmas Carol by Dickens, and the one theme that’s common in that story no matter how it’s done is that you can change. As we change the calendar from 2020 to 2021, think about how you can change, for the better, for the good, and “good” is how it fits God’s Eyes, not the world. Thank you so much for that! Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for The Word. We ask, Lord God, that You would allow us to give a testimony. Help us, Lord God, to say the right things to give You glory. Help us to consider the blessed state that we are in, no matter whether we’re free or incarcerated. As long as we have breath, we have the opportunity and the ability to give You praise.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

And how about in Mandarin?

我們在天上的父,
願人都尊祢的名為聖,
願祢的國降臨,
願祢的旨意行在地上,
如同行在天上。
我們日用的飲食,
今日賜給我們,
免我們的債,
如同我們免了人的債,
不叫我們遇見試探,
救我們脫離兇惡,
因為國度、權柄、榮耀,全是祢的,
直到永遠。阿們!
Amen.

And for my Korean folks:

하늘에 계신 우리 아버지,
아버지의 이름이 거룩히 빛나시며
아버지의 나라가 오시며
아버지의 뜻이 하늘에서와 같이
땅에서도 이루어지소서!
오늘 저희에게 일용할 양식을 주시고
저희에게 잘못한 이를 저희가 용서하오니
저희 죄를 용서하시고
저희를 유혹에 빠지지 않게 하시고
악에서 구하소서.
아멘
Amen.

You know, sometimes you forget that God is for everybody. When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory. Thanks again for listening, downloading, and sharing this episode. Telling somebody else about your testimony is important.

May the Lord bless thee and keep thee. May the Lord make His Face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. May the Lord lift up His Countenance upon thee and give thee peace. Now, to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the Presence of His Glory with exceeding joy, to the only Wise God, our Savior, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power, both now and forever. Let the church say, “Amen.”

Podcasting For Christ

Every baptized Christian is called to evangelize. We must all profess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Contrary to lazy beliefs, it is not the pastors job. We must tell those around us, especially our friends and family. We are all tasked with professing Christ, giving witness with our lives and our words. This is not an option. If we don’t profess Christ in front of men, Christ won’t profess us in front of His Father. That’s in the Word.

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. — Luke 9:26

God the Holy Spirit manifests the gifts to the Church in whatever way He pleases. The Spirit’s gifts reflect the diversity of imitating Christ in the Christian life. Not everyone is called to be apostles, prophets, teachers, healers, administrators, or interpreters of languages.

Matthew 9:37 says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

Don’t live with the lie that you are not needed to share the gospel, because there are many that still need to hear the truth of Jesus, and you might be their only chance to hear the gospel. Ephesians 4 raises a challenge for pastors: Are we training our people to do evangelism? Are we setting an example for them in our own personal evangelism? Some people run from the idea of evangelism because they assume it means they must be obnoxious and pushy. There are many approaches to sharing the gospel. The only fixed method is the message: telling others about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you are reading this and considering learning about Podcasting for Christ, it is most likely the urging of the Holy Spirit. I am planning a private course based on my knowledge of podcasting, presentation, preaching, and using technology to evangelize. I’ve been doing the unorthodox, “out of the box” type of ministry since I began in 2001. When the world shut down in 2020, the ministry I worked in grew. God set it all up to win.

When podcasting started in 2004-2005 it was only for geeks and the tech savvy. In 2020, kids are choosing to start social media businesses instead of traditional work it is so popular. With your podcast you could reach a global audience. You could win souls for Christ, save lives, raise awareness, money and help people outside your area. You could pre-record your shows and have them available regularly for your audience. You can focus the Message to a particular audience that doesn’t contradict or interfere with the ministry of your local church. You could actually help your branch of Zion through outreach. You can create a show at your convenience. You could reach a broader audience than your church does.

It is in the how that separates the successful and those that quit. You must know your ‘Why.” You must know best practices. Podcasting can be learned from watching old Youtube videos and from listening to current podcasters but Podcasting for Christ should be a purposed act on your part. It should be a Calling. There are a few good things that will come from that if you do. The best is that it is on Him not you. All you have to do is remain faithful to the end.

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48). We have been given no greater gift than the gospel, and we have no greater stewardship than to share that message of good news with others. Paul expresses it well in 2 Corinthians 5:14: “for the love of Christ controls us.”

Podcasting the best you can means with a reasonable investment of equipment. Knowledge of platforms your audiences are on, understanding the legal restrictions, being able to edit your audio, understanding microphone technique and what makes people like or not like a presentation. You should know yourself, your audience, and when its time to change, or quit the way you are doing something.

An expensive microphone and a computer doesn’t guarantee success, nor does trying to do everything on the cheap. You must be consistent, persistent, timely, respectful and have integrity. This isn’t for likes, fame or fortune, it is for the Kingdom of God.

Podcasting for Christ, is an online class I am considering putting together for a small number of students to share my experiences and successes with the Speak Life Church podcast and others I have done since 2007.

I gave a presentation to seven pastors in January of this year about what they could do with podcasting and using online resources to preach and grow their churches but none paid any attention to me. Then COVID happened in March and everyone had to do it in some way or another. I know how Noah felt for a minute. If you are interested, contact me here.

https://forms.gle/ZRE4CgjXJjWprgvUA

Throne of God

Bless the Lord, oh, my Soul. Bless His Holy Name, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. This week we’re doing a deep dive of chapter four and five of the Book of Revelation: The Throne of God. Hi, I’m Reverend Kenn Blanchard. Thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing to the Speak Life Church Podcast. This show is dedicated to you in hopes of encouraging your spirit, feeding your faith, and blessing your life. [Intro music plays]

Hey, did anybody gain weight, or am I the only one that ate a little bit more than they should have? Now, at the time of this recording, I’m heading toward Hatteras, North Carolina to fish for tuna out in the ocean. So, hopefully, prayerfully, you’ll hear from me again this week, or you’ll see me on social media. So, check on our Speak Life Church Facebook page to make sure I came back from the ocean. If not, send help! But I have faith that everything’s going to be okay. You know, just this week, I realized that I’ve been pretty vocal about some things, and I may have pissed a few people off. I gotta watch that. I’m becoming that uncle. Yeah, that old guy that just has no filter. I mean well, but man! — It’s not coming out that way, so please pray for me.

1After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. — Revelation 4:1-2

Eternal God, our Father, it is in the Name of Your Son, Jesus that I bow before you now, that I ask that You forgive me of everything that I have done, everything that I’ve said, everything that I have failed to do. Help me, Lord God, to do what You called me to do. I ask a blessing for the hearers, the doers, and the person right now listening to this podcast. We are separated by time and space and distance, but through You, we are together. I thank You, Lord God, for all that my ears have heard, and my eyes have seen. Allow it to be used for the glory of Your Kingdom. Forgive us, Father God, for everything we’ve done contrary to what You would have us to be and to do. Help us to be better servants, children, ambassadors for You. Thank you, Lord God, for this day. Thank You for all the blessings in which You have given us. As we enter into this season of thanksgiving and gratitude and love, help us to remember the good things because we are bombarded daily by the negatives. Help us to focus on You, on The Throne of God. This is my prayer, and in the Name of Your Son, I ask. Amen.

Somewhere high in the heavens, out in the universe, a throne is set, which is The Throne of God. Remember I said that The Bible teaches us that there are three heavens — the first, the atmospheric heaven where the Prince of the Power of the Air holds forth but will one day be destroyed. The second heaven is the stellar heaven known to us as the universe. The third heaven, into which John was caught up in Revelation 4:1, is the Heaven of God. This could be the empty space referred to by Job in 26:7. Now although the heavens are filled with stars, wherever the telescope can reach, it seems that behind the North Star there is an empty space. For that reason, it has been suggested that this could be the third heaven. We know nothing, actually. We are just guessing, but if it was, it would be the Heaven of God where His Throne is. The central object of Heaven is the Throne of God, referred to eight times in Revelation 4:1-6 and eighteen times altogether in chapters four through five. It seems to be a fixed point with everything else in Heaven being located in relationship to it. We find such expressions as “about the Throne,” “out of the Throne,” “before the Throne,” and ‘in the midst of the Throne.” The Throne of God has been considered the fixed center of the universe, the immovable point of reference, just as the North Star had been the ancient navigators’ positional guide because of its fixed position among the stars. So, the Throne of God is the place of authority, and the center of God’s Rulership and for the activities of Heaven. This Throne before which everyone in Heaven worships may well be the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all Christians will one day stand. That’s in Romans 14:2, and 2 Corinthians 5 and 10. Now, immediately after the Rapture, to receive their rewards, is when this is going to happen (and that’s coming out of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15), or to have them burned up, and that’s depending on how faithfully we have served our Lord.

Seven things are around this Throne of God. The remainder of chapter four conveys to us these distinct characteristics of what we’ll see, so we’re going to break them down individually:

1. The Triune God. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it (Revelation 4:1-2). It reveals all three members of the Triune God when John said, “At once I was in the Spirit” — with a capital S. He was referring to the Holy Spirit. John is a Christian who was always filled with the Holy Spirit, but as he indicated in chapter one, verse 10, he was “in” the Spirit, in a special revelatory sense his God was revealing to him in the same manner he had “moved” the prophets and apostles in times past to write the Holy Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21). Here, the Spirit was revealing to him “the things that shall come hereafter.” Verse two indicates someone sitting on the Throne. Greek does not denote singular or individual characteristics, instead it refers to a presence on the Throne, but it does not say how many. Consequently, we know that God the Father is there. However, if you look at verse three, it suggests that God the Son is likewise present as is taught in other passages of Scripture. He is seated at the Right Hand of God. Note that the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, a rainbow resembling an emerald encircling the Throne. This verse describes the Lord Jesus Christ for we know from several passages of Scripture that God the Father cannot be seen. That’s written in John 1:18, John 6:46, and 1 Timothy 6:16. So, the One John looked on was none other than the only member of the Trinity that can be seen — The Lord Jesus Christ, who is described in two ways: First, Christ is our High Priest. John’s description of the One he looked on as “appearance of jasper and carnelian,” is the most illuminating. Jasper of the Revelation is not only an opaque stone, but it’s also later described as a crystal in chapter 21. It is probably a diamond — the most brilliant of all precious jewels. The other stone is blood red which is probably a ruby. Thus, the two together give the idea of glory and sacrifice. Remember that the first people who read this thing were converted Jews, so we might ask, “What did these stones suggest to them?” Surely, every instructed Hebrew would instantly recall that they were the first and last stones in the breastplate of the High Priest (Exodus 28:17-20), and as these stones bore the names of the Tribes of Israel, arranged according to the births of the Twelve Patriarchs. One would suggest at once the name Reuben (behold the Son) and the other Benjamin (Son of My Right Hand). It is Christ in Throne, The Son about to reign in power who was before the seer’s vision. So, why is it the first thing we notice about Jesus here is that He’s presented in a priestly role? The answer to that is seen in the location of this description; it comes right after the Church Age, before the Tribulation. It represents the first time Christ has had His entire Priesthood together at one time. The Priesthood of Believers began at the Day of Pentecost. Every member of the Body of Christ is a member of this Priesthood of Believers, and we are called a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). The Church of Jesus Christ, made up of that Royal Priesthood, is not now in the presence of Christ, at least in its entirety. Only after the Rapture of the Church, when the dead in Christ are raised and we are changed, will the entire Priesthood of Christ be united at one time. Therefore, the sardius and the jasper stones are used to depict Christ as our High Priest. The second way Christ is described is as The Eternal One — as seen by John in that rainbow resembling an emerald encircling the Throne. Now, I said “circle” — not like a regular rainbow. This one’s a complete circular rainbow, and we only see half of a rainbow on Earth, but in Heaven, we’ll see that perfectly circular rainbow which, like a green emerald, represents the true nature of Christ, Truly, He is The Eternal One. Alright, look back at the Scripture (chapter four), and as you examine these two descriptions of Christ: the first, the Greek, the Christian after the Rapture, they remind us that we are in Heaven not because of anything we have done, but because Christ, our faithful High Priest, has given us a Royal Priesthood, freely, by His Grace. He has imparted of His Eternal Nature to us entitling us to share His Everlasting Life. When we take this into consideration, it should not be difficult for us to offer God continually a sacrifice of praise as it says in Hebrews 13:15. One of the most commonly neglected Bible subjects is the Priesthood of All Believers, that is, that we today are Priests of God, and as His Priests, we should be faithful in exercising our privileges and responsibilities. So! What are our responsibilities, you ask? Well, basically, they are twofold: Intercession and Sacrifice. That’s what priests do. Intercessory prayer should occupy much of the life of a believer, according to 1 Timothy 2:1. If we really understood that unbelievers cannot pray, and that Christians out of fellowship with God cannot pray, then we would be burdened to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for the unsaved. The course of history could well have been changed had we been more faithful in this regard. Other works of the priests in the Old Testament was to do the sacrifices. The New Testament tells us four sacrifices we should be making. The first is to our bodies (Romans 12:1-2), the sacrifice of praise or worship (Hebrews 13:15), the sacrifice of good works (Hebrews 13:16), and the sacrifice of giving (Hebrews 13:16). Now, when I say “works,” don’t go crazy on me, because I know that by works we are not saved, but it is a sacrificial work that God wants you to do as a priest.

2. The Twenty-Four Elders. Scripture says that surrounding The Throne were twenty-four other thrones and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

3. Twenty-Four other thrones with elders in white clothing with crowns on their heads sitting on the seats. One of the most controversial questions raised by this vision of The Throne of God is the identity of the twenty-four elders. The world “elder” means “leader.” Actually, it is a title of rank, and it has been pointed out that, militarily speaking, we have a similar expression in English. The Commanding Officer of any unit is often called “the old man.” This has nothing to do with the age or the size of the unit he or she heads, for he or she may be a commanding general of an entire army. On the other hand, he may be a twenty-four-year-old 1st lieutenant who is a company commander. Both are more or less affectionately referred to as “the old man.” Essentially, that is what the word “elder” means: the old man. This word is used of pastors and church leaders to indicate leadership. Obviously, good Bible scholars can be found on both sides of this issue when they’re talking about the heavenly elders, but further biblical study convinced me that these elders have been redeemed by the Blood of The Lamb, as it says in 5:9. Angels have not been redeemed, so it could not be angels. In the NIV translation, it identifies the twenty-four elders in 5:9 with “your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” So, nothing could be clearer. These are, indeed, redeemed men.

4. How about the Signs of Judgment? From the Throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Three things are mentioned here: lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder — all proceeding from The Throne of God. Lightning and thunder have long been associated with the concept of judgment. Thus, we conclude since they come from The Throne of God that they are a prelude of the judgment that is about to fall upon the earth. It should be remembered that the Tribulation judgments come from The Throne of God. They are not the result of the Evil One, a human being, or what we do to one another, but appears a direct judgment of God. How about the Seven Spirits of God? Before the Throne, Seven Lamps were blazing.

5. These are the Seven Spirits of God. The Seven Lamps that are fire burning from The Throne are defined as the Seven Spirits of God. We’ve already read this in the description in Revelation 1:4 where John was apparently referring to the sevenfold characteristics of the Holy Spirit. This was also revealed in Isaiah 11:2. The Seven Spirits: the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel, the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Knowledge, and the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord. The Seven Spirits do not mean seven different spirits, but the seven characteristics of one Holy Spirit. It should be born in mind, however, that these characteristics are not limited to His Role in Heaven, His Role during the Tribulation, or His Role during the Church Age, but are an eternal part of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, in addition to the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), we should expect to manifest these characteristics: wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and reverence for the Lord. When someone says, “Do you know God?” You know His characteristics. You know His traits. That’s how you can tell whether it’s from Him or not.

6. How about the Sea of Glass? Also, before The Throne, there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. Now, it’s impossible to me dogmatic as to the meaning of the sea of glass, though no one can conclude it meant to convey stability, for a glassy sea is a calm sea, untroubled by winds or storm. Two suggestions for the sea itself are: the church at rest or The Word of God. The latter, taken from the Sea of Glass in Solomon’s Temple, symbolized the Word of God for the means of sanctification. So, we are cleansed by the washing of water through The Word (Ephesians 5:26). A sea in Scripture usually refers to people, and this is in accord with what we find in Revelation 15 later, where the tribulation Saints who have been martyred by the Antichrist stand on the Sea of Glass. It would seem, then, that the Sea of Glass represents the Sure Foundation, the Word of God, our means of cleansing. The stability speaks of a completed sanctification and security of believers. One of the things that shakes our confidence or our feelings of security is sin. The strife that goes on in the lives of believers, between the old self and the new self, causes them to yearn for ultimate sanctification when they will no longer be tossed about by the winds of life. Here, we see the Tribulation Believers after the Rapture standing on a solid, untroubled foundation — the Sea of Glass.

7. Now, this next part really gets funky. The Four Living Creatures. Ooooooooh! In the center, around the Throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes in front and in back. It is most unfortunate for readers in the King James Version that they translators rendered this Greek word used here: “Zoa,” as in “beast.” This word, from which we get “zoology,” is better rendered “living creatures” or “animals.” As we look at the descriptions of these creatures, we find that they take on animal-like characteristics. These four living creatures are Seraphim, described by Isaiah in his vision of The Throne of God (Isaiah 6:1-2). They have six wings, and they cry, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty!” There are many orders of angels of which the Elders are leaders, but over the Elders are: Seraphim, which number only four. It seems that they are engaged in the worship of God constantly, but their forms suggest that they also have other duties, and because of their characteristics, it may be that they are leaders of a realm that they depict. For example, note the forms: a lion, a calf, a man, a flying eagle. A lion — leader of the kingdom of wild animals. That’s where we get that whole King of the Beasts thing. It comes out of The Bible, actually. A calf — leader of domesticated animals. Man — leader of the angelic hosts responsible for the human race. A flying eagle — leader of the kingdom of the fowls of the air. And, then we get to our last piece: The Heavenly Worship of Christ. The Living Creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on The Throne and who lives for ever and ever. This describes the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the object of worship in Heaven. He in The One who sits on The Throne, the Object of their affections. The cause for this worship may be well-linked to the fact that the Church will be raptured at this point and, for the first time, believers will be gathered together before The Throne in resurrected body. That’s kind of cool, right? You’ll be in your new body. That’s bringing to fulfillment the purpose of Christ Incarnation. Only the Lord Jesus Christ could have left the glories of Heaven to take on the form of a man, identify Himself with human beings, become their sin, and thus pay the penalty for their sin, as He did on Calvary’s Cross. Don’t forget that. As mighty as these celestial beings of the angelic order are, none of them could have qualified to redeem the human race from our sin. However, the Blood of God’s Own Son could and did. These angelic beings seem to be responsible to God for humanity and were, no doubt, frustrated because Satan had perverted himself and subverted God’s Plan by bringing sin into the world. They stood by helplessly while generation after generation of human beings fell into sin, and lost fellowship with God. This present act of worship seems to be their expression of devotion and adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ for redeeming them from the earth when they could not, themselves, redeem.

Revelation 4:11 says: “You are worth, oh Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your Will, they were created and have their being.”

The song these celestial beings sing is a song of glory and honor to God because He is the Creator of all things. This, of course, on the basis of John 1:3, is another evidence that the Lord Jesus Christ is The One being worshipped. One cannot help but be moved at the loving concern and the feeling of adoration and worship in the heart of celestial beings because the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed human beings from sin. How much more should our hearts rejoice as we worship Him, since we are the recipients of this redemption? Chapter five goes onto the Seven-Sealed Scroll. We’re going to save that for the next time. Amen?

You know, life is still good, no matter what’s going on. Every day you get up is another chance to do what’s right. I want to thank you for being a part of this podcast, part of this mission, part of this ministry. If you want to contact me, my email address is pastor@speaklifechurch.net. I’m going to give you one, two, three different ways you can support the ministry if you care to — no obligation whatsoever. Let your heart be so moved. I’ve got some plans to — I’ve still got a baptism I have to do in the Midwest. Haven’t done it yet. Also, a baptism up in New England I didn’t do this year as well. I know the Lord has some plans for us. If you want to help, there’s a PayPal account. There is a patreon.com for Speak Life Church Podcast, and there’s a Givelify also, and there’s even some really smart people who use Zelle, which I never would’ve figured out on my own. And, you can also support the ministry by check or money order, just by sending it to Speak Life Church at P.O. Box 2, Upper Marlboro, MD 20773.

This morning I woke up thinking about the Marine that we helped out a few years back around this time. We raised about $10,000 for him to help him. He was dying of cancer that he had gotten from being on Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. We raised the money a whole bunch of ways, and you guys came through on that. He wanted to help his widow out, and she wasn’t even his widow yet. We actually sat on the porch and talked and prayed and laughed about our old times together. Then, when he went on to Glory, his wife was set just as he had tried to do before he left. You were part of that. You helped. And there are so many other people who have asked me to pray for them, and God answered. It’s almost…it’s not almost, it’s humbling. It’s fearful that God listens to people like us. Sometimes you think you have to be real pious and have a big hat or something, some special thing. There should be a sign or…how you know some person’s real and some person’s fake…but I’m telling you, God answers prayers. I’m telling you that I’ve seen it through this ministry, people that I know on this site, on this podcast, on this thing! I don’t know about the rest of the world, but we are in the Apple of God’s Eye. We are being touched. [music plays] So, thank you for allowing me to be a part of that because I can see it. Sometimes folks don’t want anyone to know, can’t put their business out on the street, but God’s blessing. God is answering prayer. God is healing people. God is doing what God does. [Hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” plays here]

Now, to Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the Presence of His Glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Let the church say, “Amen.” [closing music]

 

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You can support the ministry by check or money order by sending it to Speak Life Church, PO BOX 2, upper Marlboro, MD 20772

The Latest Episode of the Podcast

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.

This week I want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Hi, I’m Reverend Kenn Blanchard. Thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing to the Speak Life Church Podcast. This show is dedicated to you in hopes of encouraging your spirit, feeding your faith, and blessing your life. [Intro music plays]

2 Corinthians 9:6-15
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
9 As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

You know, Thanksgiving is an annual tradition in the United States. It’s been that way since 1863 — celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, it’s the time of year when we get together with friends and eat a huge meal — eat more than we ever do any other time. It’s the weekend where everybody travels to be with people they care about. It’s when hotels are booked and flights are backed up, and folks are just trying to be in the right frame of mind.

It’s when they start thinking about Christmas and giving and being nice to each other. It’s the beginning of that season. Folks start taking four-day weekends, schools are off, colleges are out. There’s a Black Friday sale. That was a big thing back in the day before the age of corona and Covid-19, when you would go out after being stuffed all day, all night, and maybe even go out with the family to shop, and buy stuff to begin Christmas. People united and some people ate Chinese food. That might be because we traveled a long distance and they know the chefs were in the kitchen and nobody wanted to mess up their meals, so we ate pizza or Chinese food, or we ate something that was fast. Some people even fast it to put more room in their stomachs. It’s also the busiest night for bars and clubs because not everybody has somebody.

Thanksgiving.

And, on that note, it’s also a time for folks to start getting depressed, and get the blues, and get really, really down. It’s a time of increased suicides. It’s a time of increased drinking and melancholy, and it can be really a dark time for some people who are remembering folks who are gone. In the midst of your week your week, in the midst of your celebration, in the midst of your planning, please pause to remember to call, to lift up, to be nice because everybody doesn’t have it as good as you do. As I prepared for this week, as I prepared for today and prepared for this message, my head was pounding and I wasn’t feeling too great. I know some of it was the Enemy. And some of it is just getting old. Stuff happens to us all, but you know what? I thank God for this opportunity to talk to you, to be with you for these few minutes. You have made a difference in my life, allowing me to do what thus saith the Lord. You’ve allowed me to pray with you, to talk to you, to hear from you — sometimes in an email and sometimes in just a quick note somewhere — to let me know that you’re there. Right now, I’m sitting alone in my studio, but I’m not alone, am I? Our Heavenly Father is here, and you are here. So, let us pray to begin this episode of Thanksgiving.

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. [from Psalms 92 and 95]

Heavenly Father, I thank You. I thank You for this day. I thank You for this time. I thank You for this week. Father, I ask that You would lift up my weak voice, and make it strong for these, Your people. I pray, Lord God, for them. Sometimes we don’t know what to ask for. We don’t know what to say when we come into Your Presence, but You know what we need. I pray Your Will over our lives. I thank You for hearing our prayers over and over again. I thank You for being a God of graciousness, a God of love, a God of mercy. I thank You for the people You’ve put into our lives. I thank You for the time You’ve given to us in this time. I pray, Lord God, that You allow us to continue to learn and to grow, to appreciate You and all that You’ve given us. Help us to have a thankful heart. Help us, Lord God, to see You in everything that is happening — to have no fear because You are with us, to hear Your Voice in our dreams, to see Your Work in Your Handiwork everyday. Allow us to feel Your Presence and to share it with other people. Heavenly Father, Your daughter called me today and she asked me that despite what she’s done, do You still love her? Does God still allow me to pray? She was feeling alone. She was feeling no in the season that we’re going into. She was feeling outside. Father, I ask that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable. Allow me to remember the right things to say when somebody asks. You told us to let our conversation be without covetousness, and to be content with such things we have because You said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” You will never leave us, nor forsake us. Help us to remember that throughout this time. I truly thank You, Lord God, for the breath in my body, the blood running warm in my veins, for all that I have and all that I don’t have, all that I’m about to receive, for the beauty of the day, the quiet in the still of the night, the peace in the lonely times because it is and has to be. Thank You for all that my eyes can see, my ears can hear, my mouth can taste. Thank You for being truly my God, my life, and my strength, my soul and my shield. Thank You for allowing me to lie down and get back up. I thank You for the job. Thank You for the opportunity. Thank You for the connections. Thank You for the friends and the family. And if I fail to mention anything, please, forgive me because I am still very thankful for everything You’ve provided for me and my family. I ask a special blessing for all who are listening. Thank You, Lord God. I ask this all in the Name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen. [The Lord’s Prayer sung here]

You know, it’s easy to take things for granted. We live in a free country. Most of us have way too many pounds on us because we eat so well. We have shelter, and we have a little bit of money. We might not be as well off as some people, but compared to most of the world, we’re pretty rich. We’re not only blessed materially, but we have friends, family, and a future. In spite of all this, we are sometimes slow to acknowledge our blessings.

Because we have grown so accustomed to what we have, we take things for granted, and every once in awhile, we need to be reminded of just what we have been taking for granted and what we should be grateful for. I think 2020 has been the time that many of us have asked for, unfortunately. And now, in special times like this week, like Thanksgiving, we focus our attention on the things that really count. This is an American holiday, like I said before, a special time of the year. It’s the beginning of the holiday season for many. It’s a time when we look back on the blessings that God has given us, and a time when we look forward to blessings that will come in the eternity.

We can focus now, though, on the present, and celebrate the greatest gift of all — the Gift of God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, but before I get all theological and sound like I’m all pious and holy, I gotta tell you that I haven’t always been who I am now, and that I’ve struggled and messed up over and over again. In many times, like this, I thank God for not taking me out. I thank God for allowing me to still call Him my Father in Heaven. It’s times like this when I look at the evil I have done in this life, the things that I have done that I am not proud of, the things that have allowed the Enemy to use me to do, the things that the Enemy has taken from me, destroyed.

I give thanks to God for His Mercy. And, like Job said, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” And I tell often, that other voice in my head, that other me, “I am still standing. I am still here.” And I thank God for that. See, I don’t know what you. You might’ve had a super life and you never made any mistakes, you never had any regrets, but for somebody to be truly thankful, he or she must be grateful for something and to someone. I thank God for everything. You see, the Greatest Gift that was ever given by the Greatest Person was God’s Son, Jesus the Christ. He’s the real basis for all Thanksgiving. Our principle text in 2 Corinthians 9:15 says, “thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift” — the greatest gift that anyone has ever given to mankind is God’s Gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus because

He loved us, and so He could do the greatest work for us that anyone has ever done, and that work was dying on the Cross for our sins so that we could be set free, so that we could approach the Throne of Grace, so that we could cry out and be heard by our Holy God. Jesus paid the penalty for all of our sins. He died so that you would not have to, eternally. He suffered so that the bondage of sin could be broken. He took our place on the Cross. He died for you, and He did it because He loves you with a love that doesn’t even come close to what we can do here. God responded with the greatest sacrifice — His Death, so He could give us the Greatest Gift — eternal life. God gave Jesus. Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift.

Theologically, there are 550 references to this in The Bible. And, with a whole bunch of emphasis on Thanksgiving, there must be some great benefits as well, or it wouldn’t be in The Book. Consider the benefits of cultivating this attitude of gratitude. Perhaps the greatest is that Thanksgiving has a powerful effect on our lives. Thanksgiving makes us different. Look around you. Daily you will see people who are bitter. It’s been said that some people are bitter not because they do not have anything, but because they do not have everything. We live in a time when it’s good to be greedy and ungrateful. We are bombarded with commercials that remind us of what we don’t have.

Everything’s made to make us want more. Christmas has become a depressing time for many because they can’t get as much as they want — not how much they need but as much as they want. We’re led to believe that if we don’t have the things that we want then we will not experience happiness. We’ve been lied to, and it’s enforced, reinforced over and over again. Most unhappy people are unthankful people. Now, just look around. You may think them unthankful because they’re unhappy, but the opposite is true: They are unhappy because they are unthankful. The true spirit of Thanksgiving has the power to transform us into different people. We will not only be different from the people around us, but we will also be different from the way we used to be.

We will be what The Bible calls transformed. It’s a pretty good word actually because transformed changes our thinking and our temperament. As you seek to cultivate this attitude of gratitude, your thinking will be transformed. The way the world is concentrated on the negative, you want to flip it to where Christ emphasized the positive. Your mission if you choose to accept it is to look for the good in everything.

Philippians 4:8 tells us: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good rapport, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.”

As I wrap up this message today, I want you to remember that thanksgiving is something unique that we can give to God. When you think of it, all the material things we give to God were given to us by Him, but our thanksgiving is ours — a personal gift and an offering of praise to God. We should learn how to express our thanksgiving well, not only to God, but to one another. We’re sometimes too much like that little boy I hear about on his return from his birthday party. His mother asked,

“Little Bobby, did you thank the lady for the party?” And Bobby said, “Well, I was going to, but the little girl ahead of me in the line on our way out said, ‘ahhh, thank you so much!’ and the lady said, ‘aw, don’t mention it,’ so when it was my turn, I didn’t say anything! I wasn’t going to mention it either!”

But, think for a minute about the last time you gave a gift to somebody and they didn’t appreciate it. They didn’t say thank you. They didn’t light up when you gave it to them. You really didn’t want to give them anything else because they were kind of ungrateful. Think about your Heavenly Father who has given you so much. When was the last time your eyes lit up? When was the last time you were enthusiastic about saying thank you? It matters, friends, brothers and sisters. It matters. Be grateful. And like Paul said, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift.”
Amen. [church music plays]

Amen. And one of the things I want to say: I want to thank Sister Sarah for doing the transcriptions. If you go to speaklifechurch.net, you will see our website and all the last four or five messages have been transcribed by Sister Sarah. I try to make it look presentable on the Web in case you are hearing impaired or you want to see where my texts came from, or what I was talking about. We’ve been studying the Book of Revelation for the last few weeks, and you can see the notes there. She also surprised me the other day with a bumper sticker…two different types, one color like a tan and the other is blue. They say, “He who has an ear let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.” That comes right out of Revelation 2:7, and if anyone wants one of those, just shoot me a note with your address, and I will mail you one!

The Rapture

Something else that happened this week which was a surprise — I don’t know why it was — but somebody who had been following us on Facebook asked me a question: What is the Rapture? I realized that they probably hadn’t been listening to our series studying in the Book of Revelation which we shall continue next week, hopefully. I plan to go away the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I’ll let you know what I did while I was out, but since the beginning of Christianity, believers in Jesus have been waiting for His Return. Just in case you’re wondering and you haven’t been following, if this is your first time, the Rapture is an event that comes before the end of the world as we know it where, according to 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17, the dead in Christ will rise, along with those living who believe, into the air and we will just vanish. It won’t be like the movies, but it won’t make sense to anybody who’s left either. This absence of multitudes of people will, of course, be evident here on Earth. After that, there will be a period of seven years of tribulation on the earth. The real anti-Christ will pop up and folks will be required to worship him, and some more weird things will be happening which we’ll be learning about in the Book of Revelation. Christ will return to the earth with His Church — the saints who were raptured, and that’s all coming from Matthew 24:30, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, and 1 Peter 1:13, and Revelation 1:7. In the end, He will be victorious over His enemies, and will reign on the earth for a millennium with his saints and the church.

So, that’s what the Rapture is, just in case you’re joining us late or it’s your first time ever hearing about it. But, you’re not too late — no, no, not at all — to still be in that number. If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please call me, please contact me, please reach out to me, and let’s talk about it. Let’s get you where you need to be.

My number is (202)579-9435. Call me anytime, 24/7, leave a message and I’ll get back to you: (202)579-9435, or you can email me at pastor@speaklifechurch.net or kenn.blanchard@gmail.com, either way. I will get it and be glad to holler back at you and give you the deal. I’ll pray with you. We will talk about salvation.

We’ll talk about Jesus the Christ. We’ll talk about what He did for us to allow that to happen, and it won’t cost you anything but some time, and time is one thing we don’t control, but you can decide where you’re going to spend your eternity pretty quickly. I’m hoping that you don’t eat too much, but you get everything that you ask for.

Until next time, may the Lord continue to bless you and keep you. May Heaven’s Face continue to smile upon you and give you great peace. Until that great day when there is no dawning and there is no sunset, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus. Thank you for being a part of Speak Life Church online. If you’d like to contribute, there are links on the show notes. God bless you.

 

The Latest Episode of the Podcast

Transcript: Podcast Episode 156

Billy Graham's preaching bible

This week on the Speak Life Church Podcast, I’m going to start off with a long prayer for
you, me, and everybody.

Our biblical study continues with the Book of Revelation.
We’re going to talk about chapter four, the Throne of God, and get a little geeky with the
theology. Before we get to that, we’ll actually talk about what happened to Cain and his
wife, just for those who are skeptical — a little knowledge I want to pass on to you.

Can I tell you how much I love you? Yeah. For listening, for downloading, for subscribing, for
being a part of this ministry — and most of you have probably never even seen me
before! Thank you for being here. Thank you for supporting me.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18 and 21, that life and death are in the power of the tongue.
Here, we choose to speak life. We are a 100% online ministry created to restore and
strengthen the family, provide hope for those in need, and offer a nontraditional place of
worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, using technology to be anywhere. All are welcome,
including those souls still searching for what they believe in. My name is Kenn
Blanchard. Welcome.

There’s an old standard gospel song by Tommy Dorsey that says

“Take my hand,precious Lord. Lead me on. Let me stand. I am tired. I am weak. I am worn. Through the
storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me
home.”

Eternal God, our Father, it is in the Name of Your Son, Jesus that I bow before
You asking that You would forgive me of everything I’ve done contrary to Your Will for
me. Help me, Lord God, to hear Your Voice today. Help me, Lord God, to be still, and
feel Your presence in this place. We come together, Lord God, to wish each other good
will and happiness and thanksgiving, and we pray, Lord God, in the Name of Your Son,
Jesus, that everything we do and say be according to Your Will and Purpose for us, but
we fall short over and over again. We desire to serve You. We desire to do good. We
desire to be good children of Yours, Lord God, but we fall short so many times. Father,
please forgive us, and hear this pray. Father, I had the opportunity to hear from a sister
this week who is grieving, who is relieving, who is going through what only You know.
Father, she asked for some things, and You gave them to her. She might not have even
been sure what she asked for, but You answered her prayer.

I ask that You would help her in her situation, that You would help her in her state, that you would help her move
to the next level with the assurances that You have never left her, and You have not
forsaken her. Thank you, Lord God, for answering prayer. Thank You for being there.
Thank You for being so close to us that, even when we don’t know what to ask for, You
know what we need. Thank You for being a loving Father — an all-powerful, all-
knowing, all-seeing God. There is none like You. There is nothing that can take You
away from us but ourselves. You’ve opened Your Hand to us, Your Eyes to us, Your
Heart to us, and it is us who choose to walk astray, to walk away, to not hear, to not see
the blessings and the gifts that You’ve given us. For that, I also ask for Your
forgiveness, and I also want to just say thank you, Lord God. Thank you for the job that
you gave one, the opportunity that you gave another, the bringing to the light those who
have been in darkness, the answer to pray that they just realized they got. I ask You,
Lord God, for another opportunity to say thank You — for more opportunities to say
thank You. Sometimes, Lord God, we don’t appreciate what You’ve given us.

I appreciate the food, the water, the warmth, the rest, to be in my right mind right now, to
be able to move with all my limbs. I thank You for security and for safety. I thank You for
intimate relationships and for friends. I thank You for those who I might’ve forgotten, that
they actually care about me. Help me not to neglect the gifts and the people in my life.
Thank You for the feeling of accomplishment. Thank You for helping my self worth,
helping me psychologically to arise when everybody else is falling apart and sad. Thank
You for keeping my mind steadfast on You, for keeping my mind not crazy.
Thank You, Lord God, for helping me achieve my potential. Help me to still be creative — I am Your
child. I want to look more like Your Son, Jesus. Help me to remember the person who is
down who doesn’t have to stay there. Help me to continue to be a person who uplifts
and tries to make this world better. Help us, Lord God, to be more agents of You, more
hands and more feet. When we open The Bible, help us to understand the Words that
are written. Help us to understand Your intention for us. Feed us, Lord God. Even if
we’ve read the same thing before a thousand times, give us a newness, a new strength,
a new light.

Renew our spirit afresh. Create in us, Lord God, a clean heart so that we
can act better to our spouses, act better to our friends, act better to our enemies. Again,
Lord, Help us to be more like Your Son. Father, I’m praying for those who are actually
physically sick right now, for those who have coronavirus, for those who have the flu, for
those who have allergies, for those who are suffering in silence from mental anguish
and anxiety and fear and frustration. I pray, Lord, against the enemy who is still coming
to steal and destroy this Your people.
I pray, Lord God, for a steady healing of our nation that has been torn by politics, torn by media, torn by our own arrogance, and
finally, Lord, I pray for the person listening to me right now, who has found this podcast
and has shared it and meditated on it with me, and has studied with me, supported it. I
pray, Lord God, for this church family that I’ve never seen, this church family that You
have given me, this church family I hope to see at Your Feet someday.
This is my prayer. This is Your servant’s prayer, in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.

You know, as we go on through this year — and, we’re getting down to the end —
there’s been a lot of folks who are doubting things and worrying about things, and the
Covid didn’t help. I’m just here to tell you that God is still on the Throne. God is still large
and in charge. God is still God. The you look at The Bible — and we’re going back to
the Book of Revelation again. We’re continuing that thing because it’s huge! I’m hoping
that I’m doing justice to it for you. And, if not, please give me a call. Please email me.
Let me know if I’m screwing up because I’m trying to do right, you know? You know one
of the Bible pieces that pops up every once in awhile when somebody says, “Man! I
couldn’t get past Genesis!” I’m saying, “Why?” They say, “Because there’s this thing that
happened with Cain that I just don’t get.” Where did Cain get a wife? — it’s a question
that pops up sometimes, and this is probably one of the favorite questions from those
who are skeptics. Cain was a member of Adam’s family if you remember. He and his
brothers Abel and Seth were the first generations of children born on the earth. Now,
where am I getting this from? Genesis 4:1-2 and 25. After Cain killed his brother Abel —
ah, see? Now, you remember this story, right? — the Lord put a curse on him and drive
him from the land, and later, we read that he went to a place called Nod, east of Eden,
where he took a wife. Presuming that there are no other people on Earth at that time,
the question becomes how Cain was able to find someone there to marry. And, for all
our single people, they’re wondering how the heck Cain found a wife when they can’t
find a husband or wife. Well, that’s something different, right? Well, a few times when
this has come up, there is a logical answer to this. Genesis 4:17 says, “Cain made love
to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.” Notice that The Bible
doesn’t say that Cain found his wife in Nod. The Scripture just states that Cain had a
wife and that he had children. Neither Scripture nor history imply that there were other
races of people on Earth whom Cain somehow stumbled across and from among whom
he found a wife. It is important to note that in Genesis 5:4 it mentions that by the time he
was 800-years-old, Adam had had other sons and daughters. Adam lived a very long
time — 930 years total. And during this time were born other children besides Cain and
Abel. One of these siblings was the female Cain would ultimately marry. Yeah, Cain
married one of Adam’s daughters, making his wife one of his sisters. I know that’s kind
of weird, but in a similar sense, every child descended from Adam marries another child
descended from Adam, i.e. a relative. At this early juncture in history, such intermarrying
was a practical and logical necessity. Just sayin’. [rain forest sounds inserted here]
Ahhh! The birds! The birds! Stop the birds!
Last week in the Book of Revelation study, we were talking about the Rapture, and part
of the Rapture is the Second Coming that happens in two phases — the first is only for
the church that is all living and dead believers, and the second is what they called the
Glorious Appearing which will take place at the end of Tribulation. So, in saying that,
that Glorious Appearing cannot come today. Umm-Hmm. The Glorious Appearing of
Christ cannot come for at least seven years, yet, the early church for three hundred
lived almost every day in the light of His Return, which is why they were so successful in
reaching their world for Christ. When they thought God was coming back any minute,
they worked harder. Even now, millions of Christians expect Christ to return at any
moment as the many Rapture passages that we have been listening to teach. Well, He
won’t disappoint us. He will come, and His Coming could be at any moment, but that
Coming is for His Church only, which is made up of all true believers everywhere who
have received Him personally by faith. But, to expect His Return in power and majesty,
to take control of this earth and set up His Kingdom for at least seven years is to expect
the impossible. The different passages relating to Christ’s Coming are in harmony with
what we read throughout the New Testament. I am convinced that these two phases of
Christ’s Return are what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote the Titus, when he
said, “looking for that blessed hope and the Glorious Appearing.” The blessed hope is
the confident way we put our Christian deceased loved ones to rest in anticipation of
that day just before Tribulation when we will be gathered together with them to meet the
Lord in the clouds and then be taken to His Father’s House. The Glorious Appearing
obviously refers to His Coming to the earth in power and great glory. To those who take
The Bible literally, this interpretation passes the test of “making common sense” out of
the Scriptures.
Many of the texts that we talk about for the Rapture of the Church teach
an imminent coming of Christ. That just means He could come at any moment, right?
So, take, for example, one of the first teachings on the Rapture in First Thessalonians
1:9-10 when it says, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us.
They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait
for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from
the coming wrath.” The Christians in Thessalonica were not sitting around waiting for
the Rapture. They were serving the living and true God in an attitude of expectancy to
wait for His Son. That is as it should be for it could take place at any moment, or it could
be a generation or more away. Philippians 3:20 is another example of proper
understanding, and Second Thessalonians 2:1-8 is another, and there are others, but it
must be stressed again that the Rapture is scheduled prior to the Glorious Appearing.
Almost all of those who believe that Christ come back personally to set up his Kingdom,
called Premillenialists — that’s easy for you to say — agree that there is a Rapture
scheduled before the Glorious Appearing. This is where you get into all the theological
stuff. It depends on which doctrine you’re looking at, whether you’re Calvinist or
whatever, I mean, it’s like, if you go to Seminary or you go to a biblical school, you’ll
hear these guys argue all day. So, what should you take out of that? Well, see, some of
the million of post-tribulation believers are even now coming out with books instructing
Christians to prepare for life in the Tribulation, and I find that interesting in view of the
fact that not one verse can be found in the New Testament telling us how to live during
that seven-year period. Why? Because we won’t be here. Those tribulation saints, that
we will study about in future chapters of Revelation, are individuals who do not receive
Christ until after the church has been raptured. Now, it does seem strange that since so
much prophetic content by both the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament
apostles describes the seven-year tribulation more than any other prophetic subject
except the Second Coming itself — that, not even one verse can be found instructing
Christians on how to live during that period. This can only mean that the church will not
go through the Tribulation as pictured by John, a member of the Body of Christ, who
was taken up by a vision into Heaven before the vision of the events of the Tribulation
were revealed. For several years, a popular argument against the pre-tribulation theory
of the blessed hope phase of Christ’s Return is that it was invented by some dude
named John Darby in the last century, and was never seen or mentioned by the early
Christian fathers for almost nineteen centuries of church history. That argument is
simply not true. In fact, one post-tribulation writer advertised an offer of $500 to anyone
who could prove a pre-tribulation rapture was seen before John Darby began to
popularize it in Great Britain, the U.S., and Canada in the 1840’s. Subsequently, he had
to pay for that $500 challenge when somebody discovered that the Reverend Morgan
Edwards saw it back in 1742. Since then, that minister has admitted his error and
withdrawn his offer.
Basically, this whole-expecting-a-pre-tribulation-Rapture is not new,
and if I can just dig into some old history with you….this is going off-chart a little bit. This
is straight from school notes: Reverend Morgan Edwards was a Baptist pastor in
Philadelphia who included a discussion on the pre-tribulation Return of Christ for His
Church. In his book, Millennium: Last-Novelties was written in 1788. Although he saw
only a three and half year tribulation, he definitely taught that the Rapture occurred
before the Tribulation. What is even more interesting is that he claimed he had written
the same thing as early as 1742. He may have been influenced by John Gill before him,
or even others whose writings or teachings were available at that time but had not been
preserved. Historically, the Protestant Reformation resulted in a proliferation of Bibles
being translated, printed, and made available to the common people for the first time in
1,700 years. As they began reading it, they were impressed with the many prophetic
teachings it contained.

There was even a commentary by Sir Isaac Newton in the mid-17th century. He was an avid Bible scholar as well as a scientist, and he was obviously
influenced by other writers before him. By the 19th century, The Bible was being read by
millions in the English-speaking world for the first time. It’s said that prophesy was in the
air, particularly at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, which John Darby and other
prophesy scholars attended between 1800 and 1830. Doubtless, some of these Bible
teachers on the faculty had a strong influence on the thinking. Perhaps all of these old
cats were trying to find when it was going to happen, when the date was coming. They
were just as anxious as we are today, and no matter how scholarly you are or how
much you’re into the weeds of this thing, remember in Matthew 24:36 it says:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only,” in the New King James Version. Let’s continue, lest I hold you too long.

Revelation four through five talk about the Throne of God. Chapter four starts off with: “After these things I looked, and behold, a
door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet
speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take
place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and
One sat on the throne.” That’s Revelation 4:1-2. Somewhere, high in the heavens, out in
the universe, a throne is set which is The Throne of God. This Throne, described in the
passage before us, gives us a glimpse of the Heaven of God. The Bible teaches us that
there are three heavens. Did you know that?

The first, the atmospheric heaven where
the prince of the power of the air hold forth. He will one day be destroyed. The second
heaven is the stellar heaven known to us as the universe. The third heaven to which
John was caught up in (verse one) is the Heaven of God. This could be the “empty
space” referred to by Job in 26:7. Although the heavens are filled with stars, wherever
the telescope can reach, it seems that behind the North Star there is an empty space,
and for that reason, it has been suggested that this could be the third heaven, the
Heaven of God, where His Throne is. How cool is that? So, you gonna float up
somewhere, or you’re gonna rise up somewhere. You’re gonna teleport. You’re goin’ a
long way, Jack! You know the central object of Heaven, this Throne of God is referred to
eight times in Revelation 4:1-6, and eighteen times altogether in chapters four and five.
It seems to be a fixed point with everything else in Heaven located in relation to it. We
find such expressions such as “about the Throne,” “out of the Throne,” “before the
Throne,” and “in the midst of the Throne.” The Throne of God has been considered the
fixed center of the universe, the immovable point of reference, just like the North Star
has been the ancient navigators’ positional guide because of its fixed position among
the stars. So, the Throne of God is the place of authority and the center of God’s
Rulership for all of the activities of Heaven. This Throne before which everyone in
Heaven worships may well be the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all Christians
will stand, as you remember in the Book of Romans (14:2) and Second Corinthians
5:10. Immediately after the Rapture, they will all go there to receive their awards (1
Corinthians 3:10-15), or to have them burned up, depending on how you roll. I always
say, “Which side are you sitting on? Smoking or non-smoking section?” And, I think I’m
going to put a pin in it right there on my notes and stop, so that next week, we’ll talk
about the seven things around the Throne of God, and also the things that are
mentioned here in chapter four, like the Triune God, the 24 Elders, and —what else we
got in here? — the Signs of Judgment, the Seven Spirits of God, the Sea of Glass, the Four Living Creatures, the Heavenly Worship of Christ.

Yeah, It’s gonna get mystical
and special. I

t’s the Word of God. You with me? Thank you for listening.
[music playing] I got a really good email from Laura, and I want to mention something to
you that I probably failed to before. “My sister, Carolyn, is home and working and back
in her normal life after recovering from chemo and radiation for cancer. She is doing
well. God blessed her. God blessed me.” I don’t know what you’re going through this
week. I don’t know what’s happening in your life, but I’m here to tell you that God is still
in control. God is still awesome! God is. He just IS. Sometimes you can’t even say what
He is because the word we would use is too small. Make sure you honor that this week.
Make sure you thank God, personally, for where you are and where you are not. I don’t
care if you’re locked up in a prison, if you are in a hole, if you are down deep, buried in
something, and you can’t see the light of day, God is still able to reach you. God is still
able to lift your spirit up. God is still able to talk to you. God is still able to save you.
Don’t forget that. Don’t let the enemy of God, don’t let the world, don’t let anybody
walkin’ around here now convince you otherwise. You can make it. It ain’t too late for
you. That’s my new theme. It ain’t too late. I’m trying to make sure that I inspire people
to live their best life, and not be a cliche with that. I mean, truly, if you understand whose
you are and who you are, you can do a whole lot better. Amen? I, personally, am
working on being a better husband. I’m working on trying to learn the guitar to the point
where I can be a studio musician, where I can actually play in a band. My desire is to be
like a worship guitarist, to be really, really, really good, so I can take my show on the
road and go to senior homes and retirement places and play Christian music. We can
play jazz and blues, and cheer up people. I get joy from playing the guitar like nothing
else — so much so that I’m actually working on a little book that I’m trying to put into
words that make sense of what I’ve learned about that joy and that feeling. That’s just
somethin’ I’m doing on the side, but that’s not the only thing I’m doin’. I’m actually also
trying to become a professional voice actor. I figure Morgan Freeman and Keith David
and James Earl Jones can’t get all the work! SO, I’m spending my extra money trying to
learn the business. I’ve got coaching. I did my demo tape just last week, or, this week,
rather, in a real studio we paid for, and hopefully the engineers are all going to master
that thing down to a 30-second piece, and I can shop my stuff around. What will that do
for this church? Hmm. When I’m able to pay for everything and not ask for anything,
whoooooo! That’ll make me feel good. I know, for you, it’s biblical to give, to help a Body
of Christ, to help worship, to help the less fortunate, all that stuff is biblical. “Giving” is
written so many times in The Bible. I give of my service with this, but I also want to give
in a way, which will probably be when I’m traveling around and playing in retirement
homes, playing in assisted living, playing with this band that I can actually probably pay
them off of Speak Life Church because I just learned that a lot of people don’t like to
play for free. Where am I coming from with that? So, I’ll be paying them if nothing else,
but if your heart is right, God can do wonders for you. It’s gotten me through my whole
world. Get your heart right, so God can use you. It’s all we got until He calls us all home.
Amen?
Well, that’s it for this week.

May the Lord bless and keep you. May heaven’s face
continue to shine upon you and give you great peace. Until that great day — that we’re talking about right now! — when there is no dawn and there is no sunset, when He calls
us all and we meet in the air, both us and those who have gone before, my friends, my
brother, my sister, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus.

Tell somebody about the Speak Life Church.
Tell somebody about this podcast, and remember, it ain’t over yet.

 

God
bless you.
pastor@speaklifechurch.net

Giving Links

https://giv.li/p2nj61
https://paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/3587637
https://www.patreon.com/speaklifechurchpodcast
You can support the ministry by check or money order by sending it to Speak Life Church, PO BOX 2, upper Marlboro, MD 20772

The Rapture: Part 1

This week our Bible Study talks about the the Book of Revelation and specifically, the beginning of the Rapture. You know, in 1987, there was a group called R.E.M. that had a song that was pretty strange. It was called “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” It’s got some crazy lyrics. I’m going to add it into the show notes so you can check it out if you’re not familiar with it. But, it’s just interesting on different takes of the apocalypse.

How are you doin’? I’m glad that you’re here. The Bible says in Proverbs 18 and 21, that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Here, we choose to speak life. We are a 100% online ministry created to restore and strengthen the family, provide hope for those in need, and offer a nontraditional place of worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, using technology to be anywhere. All are welcome, including those souls still searching for what they believe in. My name is Kenn Blanchard. Welcome.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof — the world and they that dwell therein. Lift up your head, oh ye gates, even lift Him up, everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts. He is the King of Glory.

Thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing to the Speak Life Church Podcast. Let us pray.

Eternal and most heavenly God, it’s in the Name of your Son, Jesus that we bow before You right now. We pause, no matter where we are in time and space, to first admit that we are not You, that You are our God, that You are our Master, that You are The Lord of the universe. We ask you, Lord God, now to hear our feeble cries, to hear our mumbles, to hear our words, to hear our prayer. Father, we know that You are the Master of the Universe, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all in between. You alone can save us. Father, please forgive us of everything we’ve done against You. Forgive us for things we’ve done openly and in secret. Forgive us for not doing what You’ve called us to do. Forgive us for not trusting You. Forgive us for not talking to You until we’re in desperate need. Bless us, Lord God, if it be Your Will. We humble beseech You right now. We ask, Lord God, that You would give us another chance. We plead the Blood of Your Son, Jesus over our lives, over our minds, over our bodies. We ask that that blood heal us of all inequities, all infirmities, all things that would prevent us from being heard and from being in Your Presence. We thank You, Lord God, for Your Darling Son, Jesus Christ, who did die for our sins. We thank You, Lord God, for His Sacrifice. We thank You for His Holy Spirit which now rests, rules, and abides with us, even now. Father, we ask for Your Peace that surpasses all understanding. We ask, Lord God, that You would come into our homes right now. Come into our minds. Settle our hearts. Allow us to focus on You today, right now. Allow the message which is coming forward about the Rapture of the Church, study of Your Word, and any understanding and knowledge that would come from You be understood. Father, bless the person listening and praying with me right now. And, Lord, if it be according to Your Will, please hear the prayer of Your people, of Your sheep of Your Pasture. Thank You for this ministry. Now, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy Sight. In the Name of Your Son, Jesus, I ask these things. Amen.

Good people! Good people, hey, the question this week I’m going to ask: There are so many churches, how can I know which one to attend? Have you ever asked anybody that question? How do you know what church is good? Well, I’ll give you a short answer: The right church is the one that teaches the Truth of God’s Word, and that God created the universe, that man fell into sin and needed redemption, that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh come to pay the price of that sin, and that He freely offers that salvation to anyone who will accept it by faith. Most of the rest is extra. Extra! Yeah, I’m talking about the music, the setting, the dress code, the pastor, preachers, all that stuff is extra. We kind of go to church sometimes because it’s what makes us comfortable, or what we’d like to see or do. Is it important to God? No. Not necessarily. So, be careful about what keeps you going to a church, or keeps you from church when the most important thing is Jesus. Just in case you want to shout me out or holler at me or scream at me or say “thank you” or “how dare you?” — I’ll take it all — pastor@speaklifechurch.net is my email address. You can find out more contact information at speaklifechurch.net. Actually, I don’t even know you, but I want to hug you just for listening. Thank you for being here.

Alright, this week on our study of the Book of Revelation, we are still in chapter three, but we’re going to hit on chapter four, but I want to round this puppy out. Christ’s challenge to the Church of Laodicea, like His other six challenges, was to overcome or become born-again believers. The challenge is simply a promise to share His Throne as He shares His Father’s Throne. This is a promise that we will rule and reign with Christ in His coming Kingdom — the ultimate victory of the Christian, not seen in this life now, but in life to come. I like when it says, “he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” That would be a bumper sticker for me. Have you heard what our Lord has said to the churches? The message of Christ to Laodicea indicates that this Age draws to a close. The apostasy, the deadness, the indifference will increase. It is no wonder our Lord asks of this Age: However, when the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)” We shouldn’t expect to see revival as in the days of those old evangelists like Moody and Finney and Spurgeon, but apostasy on the part of the Laodicean Church, the church age right now. But, you and me, we are a part of this church, and part of our job is to help to convict millions of people of their sins and offer them forgiveness in Jesus’s Name just prior to the Rapture of the universal church, which will be the end of the Church Age. That’s why I like to be ready at all times, for those individuals who may be ready to receive the Savior before He returns for His church. You know, it’s not the pastor’s job, it’s not the deacons’ jobs, it’s not the trustees’ jobs, it’s not the choir members’ jobs. It’s everybody’s job who calls themselves Christians. We’ve all been called to lead others to Christ. We’ve all been called to be witnesses, all been called to help others not perish.

Look at the Book of Revelation (4:1-2). It says:

4 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

It was no coincidence that the first thing that happen after John described the Seven Churches is its being taken up into Heaven. In so much as John was the last remaining apostle and a member of the Universal Church, its elevation into Heaven is a picture of the Rapture of the Church just before the Tribulation begins. It’s also noteworthy that the invitation comes from Jesus Himself who is the One Who first spoke to John “like a trumpet (1:10).” Note how similar to this event is the promise of Our Lord to His Disciples near the end of His Life about taking them to His Father’s House (John 14: 2-3):

2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Everybody knows God is in Heaven, and Jesus ascended to Heaven where He sits today at the Right Hand of God. Paul tells us that when he himself dies, his spirit and soul would depart and be with Christ (Philippians 1:23). He also said, “for though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit (Colossians 2:5).” Obviously, when a Christian dies, their soul and spirit goes to be with Christ in the Father’s House, that is, in Heaven. His or her body, of course, remains in the grave until the Resurrection, which, for the Christian, is at the end of the Church Age just before the Tribulation. That’s why we locate the Rapture at this spot in the flow of events in the Book of Revelation. There are at least four reasons for locating it here:

1. The location of this event is right before the Rapture. Chapters four and five present a vision of “in Heaven,” and chapter six introduces the Tribulation Period. John, one of the first true members of the Church of Jesus Christ, is a fitting symbol of the church being taken out of the world just before the Tribulation begins. As our Lord promised, “since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth (Revelation 3:10).”
2. The absence of any mention of the Church in the rest of Revelation indicates it’s not on the earth during Tribulation. There are sixteen references to the Church in Revelation 1-3, whereas in 6-18 — which cover the Tribulation — do not mention the Church once. The natural conclusion drawn from this is that the Church that was so prominent during it’s 2,000-year history is not mentioned in chapters 4-18 because those chapters describe the Tribulation which the Church does not endure.
3. The extensive use of Old Testament language and symbols in chapters 4-18 is an indication of Israel, not the Church. This is understandable since the Church Age is the time of the Gentiles — Us! — whereas, the Tribulation is the time of Jacob’s trouble, or the 70th Week of Daniel, that God determined for His dealings with Israel. Some of these Old Testament symbols are: the tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the altar, the elders, the censors, the cherubim, seals, the trumpets, and the plagues.
4. There is much similarity between the events of Revelation 4:1-2, and the Scriptural readings on the Rapture that we’ll find also in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

None of the four reasons is sufficient in itself to insist that Revelation 4:1-2 refers to the Rapture of the Church, but when you put them all together, we are inclined to believe that this inference can rightly be made. Now, the Rapture of the Church is not explicitly taught in Revelations 4, but definitely appears here chronologically at the end of the Church Age, before the Tribulation.

As we look at other passages of Scripture that deal with the Rapture, you can clearly be informed of what The Bible teaches on the subject. The first thing to occur in this vision of the future — well, after Jesus’s own Revelation of the Church Age described in chapters two and three — is the calling of John up to the Father’s House in heaven. So, this can be instructive. John obviously represents the church, and because the door opening in heaven is a personal invitation of Christ Himself to “come up here,” it certainly parallels other prophetic passages (1 Thessalonians 4). These all detail the Rapture of the Church. Rapture! What does it mean? Well, if you study the Second Coming of Christ and future events as they reveal to us in the prophetic books of The Bible, it’s a perfectly legitimate subject, not only because His Coming is mentioned 318 times, but because it also occupies so much of the apostle Paul’s teaching. The first book written in the New Testament was 1 Thessalonians, addressed to a small Greek church in the city of Thessalonica. Paul was there only three weeks before he was driven out of the town by irate Jews. While he was with them, he had taught that Christ would come and rapture Christians out of this world to go with Him to His Father’s House. After he left, however, some of their members had died. Consequently, these young Christians were perplexed about the status of they dead Christian members. So, they wrote him letters requesting an explanation, and 1 Thessalonians is Paul’s answer. In it, he gives the most detailed description of the Rapture of the Church found in all of Scripture. Note 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 very carefully:

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

To appreciate the contrast between this event and the Lord’s Appearing at the end of the Tribulation, we should read our Lord’s own description of that event in Matthew 24:27-31:

27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[a]
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[b] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[c] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Don’t be surprised if you cannot correlate these two installments of our Lord’s Second Coming. They are totally different, and when we include additional Rapture events like those described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 and add Glorious Appearing descriptions like the one we will study in Revelation 19:11-16, we can only conclude that they are not describing the same event. In fact, I have discovered the fifteen differences between the Rapture before the Tribulation and the Glorious Appearing after it. So, don’t feel bad. Many important observations could be made about the fifteen contrasting events that describe the two phases of our Lord’s Coming. One, is that it is impossible for them to be described in the same event. Only when you place these Biblical descriptions beside each other is it possible to see that. This is the one reason why many have never seen the distinction and think that the Second Coming is a single event rather than a Coming of Christ in the air to take His Church to His Father’s House as He promised, and seven years later, His Coming in Power and Great Glory to the earth as He had promised. Whoa! This is deep, right? See, there is only one Second Coming, but it occurs in two phases. The first phase is only for His Church — that is, all living and dead believers since the church was founded in 33A.D. after Christ died. The second phase is for all of those living on earth at the end of the Tribulation. That the Glorious Appearing will take place at the end of the Tribulation just before the Millennium cannot be questioned, for Jesus predicted that His Glorious Appearing would come immediately after the distress of those days (Matthew 24:19). Meaning, the Glorious Appearing cannot come today. So, what I’m saying is, there are two big events. There is The Rapture of the Church, the Tribulation, and then the Glorious Appearing after that. Alright, that’s actually three. {laughs} Okay? So, right now, millions of Christians all over the world are expecting Christ to return at any moment as the many passages listed above reach and teach. He won’t disappoint us. He will come, and His Coming will be at any moment, but that Coming is for His Church only which is made up of all the true believers everywhere who have received Him personally by faith. But to expect His Return in power and majesty to take control of the whole earth and set up His Kingdom for at least seven years, is to expect the impossible. The different passages relating to Christ’s Coming are harmonized when we see that there are some exclusiveness for His Church and others that include the entire world. I am convinced that these two phases of Christ’s Return are what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote in Titus looking for that blessed hope and the Glorious Appearing. The blessed hope is the confident way we put our deceased Christian loved ones to rest in anticipation of that day, just before the Tribulation, when we will be gathered together with them to meet the Lord in the clouds, and then be taken to His Father’s House. The Glorious Appearing obviously refers to His Coming to the earth in power and great glory. But, what could happen, is that the Rapture could happen at any moment, and all of the sudden I feel like I just swallowed mouthful of sand, so I’m going to stop for now, and we’re going to continue on with the Rapture — if it doesn’t come between now and next week — next week.

Quick shout out and a word of thanks for all of those who have been supporting the podcast. We are real close to being able to pay off this doggone computer. And, I thank you so much for your attendance, for sharing, for your prayers, for just being a part of the ministry. There is so much stuff yet to do, and I can only do it with your help. And, my voice is shot! You can check out the show notes at speaklifechurch.net thanks to Sarah, whom I’m happy to share had a praise report this week! God is still in the blessing business. Don’t think that He doesn’t know what’s going on with you and your life. As always, He’s asking that you would trust Him and have faith in Him, and He will make a way that nobody else can believe.

I know sometimes I put the pressure on you to join our Patreon, or Givelify, or something, but do you know the biggest thing you can do for me personally, is to pray for me? Even to send a note of encouragement to my email address, or to share something that was said that you think will bless somebody else — it’s all about the work here, actually.

“He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Well, that’s it, my friend. Until next time, may the Lord continue to bless you and keep you. May heaven’s face continue to smile upon you and give you great peace. Until that great day when there is no dawning and there is no sunset, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus. Thank you for being a part of Speak Life Church online. If you’d like to contribute, there are links on the show notes. God bless you.

Spirituality and Continuation of the Church of Laodicea

Transcript of the podcast.

Welcome to the Speak Life Church Podcast. Yesterday, I was talking to an entrepreneur/business guy, successful dude, and he was talking about in his guitar business that he’s getting a lot of older people who are buying guitars and delivering their dreams. It reminded me of something: It’s never too late to get started on that new path of success. You can shape your life the way you want to by putting in that work on a daily basis. Even if it feels like nothing makes sense, just remember that you can make a change so that you can also save lives in the future — your life. You can make  change. If you get nothing else out of today’s message, I wanted to start with that. The Old Testament book of Lamentations (3:21-23) says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” This week, I want to remind you that it’s not too late to change. It’s not too late to improve. It’s not too late to make a new way for yourself. You can still make it. I don’t care if you are nine or ninety-nine.

1  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst [1] of the sea; 3  Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4  There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

6  The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 8  Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9  He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

 

I read for you Psalm 46 in its entirety. How are you doing this week? What you got goin’ on? There are some praise reports in the house! Yes, there are. My friend, Tat sent one, and Sarah sent one, and I think you’ve got something to tell me, too. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Send me an email: pastor@speaklifechurch.net I want to hear the good news! Come on and share it. Next I want to talk real quick about the title of spirituality and what that means. And then, we’re going to do our study on the Book of Revelation, alright?

 

Heavenly Father, may the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be acceptable in Thy Sight, oh, my Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer. Amen.

 

Somebody made a comment and I wanted to just respond to it. They said that they were a “spiritual person” already, and they’re comfortable with what they doubt. Why do I insist that people see God from my perspective? I thought, Wow, ok! Uh, let’s start off right about here: You know, a lot of people would agree with that. They’d say that rather than speak about God in specific terms, how about we just handle the ultimate questions of this life and the next, in terms of vague generalities. You ever heard of a guy by the name of C.S. Lewis? He wrote a really cool book called The Screwtape Letters, and in it, the apprentice demon in this story was encouraged to deceive people by keeping their minds off the plain antitheses between true and false. In other words, a potent way to keep people from the truth of the Gospel is to lull them into assuming there is no actual truth to embrace, nor error to avoid. There are only feelings and opinions — mine, yours, and everybody’s, with none being more or less correct than any other. Now, see, that sounds really cool. C.S. Lewis asserted that such “spirituality” is the oldest heresy in Christian history because it denies devils and denies sin. He says, ‘when talking with somebody who is skeptical that there is an objective truth beyond our own subjective opinions, I found it helpful to ask questions like I genuinely want to understand what that person truly believes. Also, is it likely that most people who embrace an unobstructed, undefined spirituality haven’t really evaluated their position in any depth. If you ask good questions, it kind of forces them to do this.’ For instance, is there a difference between spirituality and religion? Discuss people who are known to have been “spiritual” — Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa, Adolf Hitler, David Koresh, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jim Morrison, Abraham Lincoln — it’s a big list.

Everybody I named pointed to God, or some transcendent higher power, as the base of their beliefs or behaviors, yet their values and teachings are all very different if not completely incompatible.

 

 Is there a right or wrong way to be spiritual?

Why? Why not? What is our authority on basis for deciding this? You know, the world is full of things that have been described as spiritual: crystal rocks, witches, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, stuff at the art museums, the birth of a baby, youtube concert, yeah, for real. People have said that. So, how are you spiritual, and how is that better than these? Those are the kinds of questions you can ask. How are religion and spirituality different? Do you think objective truth is a religious or a spiritual principle? Why? Or, how about: Do you believe Jesus was spiritual? Why? Jesus made many absolute statements concerning salvation from sin and deliverance from Evil, and He gave warnings about demons and Hell. Was Jesus correct in the things He taught?

What things can hinder a person’s spirituality?

That’s another good question. Sometimes it’s convenient to say, “I’m not into that stuff. I’m just spiritual.” But, see, some religious cults are spiritual, and they are evil. Can you define spiritual goodness without a specific reference point? If there were a specific reference point that determines goodness, wouldn’t that be something above and beyond our individual spirituality? In other words, wouldn’t there be an ultimate standard of the good, i.e. righteousness? The point is that while it may feel good to think of ourselves as spiritual, this means little without specific definitions based on object reality. The cold truth is that many who call themselves spiritual aren’t able to explain what that means — how they became spiritual, how it’s necessary to grow spiritually, or how to meaningfully share this with others. More and more younger Americans say that religious beliefs have no influence on their lives. So, in this context, Christianity offers objective, testable truth claims, corroborated by evidence that may be investigated. So, don’t say you’re spiritual. Alright.

 

Bible Study

Our Bible study this week returns us to the Book of Revelation (3:14-22). We’re talking about Laodicea, that wealthy city forty miles from Ephesus. If we continue like we were doing before, we have the commendation, the condemnation, the counsel, and the challenge of each of these churches. The commendation of Laodicea is that they have the distinction of being the only one whose conduct was so reprehensible that even the Christ of Glory who knew all about her could not find one thing on which to commend her. This was a tragic indictment, indeed, on so-called Christianity in the 20th and approaching 21st century. The condemnation of Laodicea — He said they were lukewarm. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other.” God makes it clear that He is fully aware of our neutral position and condition of the church in these last days. It’s not hot — meaning zealous or good works — nor is it cold — meaning lifeless. Instead, it is lukewarm or indifferent. That’s the description of the modern day church. All kinds of organization, programs, committees: activities, but no power.

The Holy Spirit warned through Paul (in 2 Timothy 3:5). It says that in the last days many will be characterized as having a form of godliness, but denying its power having nothing to do with Him. The lukewarm church that he is talking about claims to represent Jesus Christ, but never sees the transformation of a soul from darkness to life, but instead deceives many because they do not have the power of the Gospel of Christ. These churches are usually more interested in social action than gospel action, more interested in reformation than transformation, more interested in planning than praying, and as a consequence, they are sickening to the Lord. He says, “so, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of My Mouth.” The Lord Jesus Christ does not claim this church for Himself even though its members make broad their claim of Him. They are deceived about themselves. They say, “I am rich. I have acquired wealth. I don’t need a thing,” but they don’t realize they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. All deception is evil, but the most devastating deception is self-deception. The Laodicean Church and this age that she represents are about deceiving themselves. This fact can easily be seen by the comparison of Laodicea’s description of herself and the Lord’s description of her. They are two different things. Here’s what Laodicea describes themselves as: “I am rich. I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” Material abundance is not conducive to spiritual vitality. The Laodicean church of today is rich. Her churches are the finest. She has fabulous architecture, million-dollar buildings, fundraising organizations, and a large — though unconsecrated — church membership. In saying, “I have acquired wealth and don’t need a thing,” she does not realize her poverty-stricken spiritual nature. We’re talking about the mega-church here. Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” We, humans, can organize. We can build. We can promote. We can preach. We can teach, but only the Spirit of God can convict human souls. And God will use anybody or anything for that purpose. The person who’s standing behind the pulpit can be a babbling idiot, but if God has called him there and the Word is from Him, it can change souls. It can heal. It can do everything Jesus said it can do. Only the Spirit of God can transform the lives of people. Only the Spirit of God can glorify Jesus Christ who said, of the Holy Spirit, “He will bring glory to Me.” (John 16:14) This is a good test of any work claiming to be performed in the Name of Christ. If it glorifies humanity, it is not the work of The Spirit. The unique test of the Spirit is: Does it glorify Jesus Christ? This church age does not, for instead of preaching the Gospel in Jesus’s Name to reach a maximum number of souls in these days, folks spend their time in doctrinal denial of the faith that was once for all and entrusted to the saints. As one mainline church pastor once said, “I don’t want to condemn anyone by telling them Christ is the only way of salvation. That would condemn their belief as wrong.” Instead of grappling with and teaching the truth about The Bible, this guy spent his time on social causes. His sermons were titled in a catchy way so that it looked like they were up-to-date. He was part of the “growing movement.” The Laodicean church of today would be at the forefront of rights and movements and be the leaders of ordinations of people you know shouldn’t be. The plight of the Laodicean church, which, when she stands before Jesus Christ in judgment, will be the same as that of the group of religious folks described by our Lord Himself in Matthew 7:22-23: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then, I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers.” The true state of the Laodicean Church can be seen by noting in detail what Christ saw in this church. To Him, she was wretched, pitiful, poor, and blind, even though she gave herself lessons on positive thinking and read books on how to have peace. In reality, her people were an unhappy, wretched lot, for riches never satisfy the hungry human heart. Even though rich in material things, the Laodicean church members were poor because they did not know Christ, and this is in accord with Our Lord’s Statement in Mark 8:36 where He said, “For what good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?” And although the Laodicean church members thought  they knew and understood through their sophisticated education and appropriation of “wisdom,” they did not understand the ways of God. Human nature must be changed internally, and only God can do that. The more people try to solve the problems, socially, without Christ, the more confused the problem will become. He also said they were naked. This 20th-century Ladicean Church is clothed with religion. She wraps her religious robes about her, burns her candles, waves her symbols, offers her chants, and reads her creeds, but Jesus Christ sees her as “naked,” for she is not clothed by faith with the garments of righteousness. I feel like I’m mumbling, but do you understand what I’m saying today? God does give us some counsel. He gives us some recommendations. He counsels the Church of Laodicea to do four things, all of which are part of the salvation experience, indicating that this church is not a born-again church. First, He says, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so you can become rich.” Eternal riches are not appropriated by material possessions. Instad, they have been appropriated by Christ and are available by faith. 1 Peter 1:7 indicates that “these have come so that your faith may be more precious than gold.” It is interesting to note that the Laodicean Church labeled “poor” is asked to buy something. How’s this to be understood? You know, in the Book of Isaiah the prophet (55:1), we can read about God’s invitation to human beings to come and buy what they need without money and without cost. Salvation is not purchased through our efforts. It has been purchased for us by the death of Christ on Calvary’s Cross. Therefore, the poorest of the poor can pay the price, which is to: humble oneself, call on the Name of the Lord, and believe in Him.

 

Secondly, He says, “I counsel you to buy from Me white clothes to wear.” This denotes the righteousness required to come into God’s Presence (Revelation 3:5). He knew their nakedness and their need for the “white clothes” to represent righteousness. Back to the prophet Isaiah (61:10); we read of God’s Provision of garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness, as a bride or a groom might wear. Righteousness is imputed to human beings when they call on the Name of the Lord and are saved.

 

Thirdly, “I counsel you to buy from me salve to put on your eyes so you can see.” What this is talking about is an indication of our need of spiritual illumination. No matter how brilliant people are here, unless they are indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, they will never understand the Ways of God. Only the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said would be our teacher, can cause human beings to understand the Ways of God. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).

 

And, finally, the fourth thing is to be earnest and repent. This lukewarm, indifferent, materialistic church is challenged by God on the basis of His Love for them even in that lost state, to repent of their sins and return to Him. You know, no matter how far you go off-track, it only takes one step to turn around. Remember that. What is Christ telling us in this couple to the Laodicean Church? Although the church has excluded Him, those who are willing to receive Jesus are given a special invitation that is also applicable to individuals of all church ages. He says, “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” This verse of Scripture has been beautifully described by one saint of God as the simplest explanation of the plan of salvation encompassed in a brief statement within the lids of God’s Word. The door, referred to here as the door to one’s heart, is the center of one’s being. The Bible says: Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). Consequently, we find Christ knocking at the door of this emotional center called the heart asking entrance. He doesn’t force His way. He patiently knocks. If anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, I will come in. For almost 2,000 years, our Lord has faithfully, patiently, and wonderfully knocked on the doors of our hearts. How does He knock? In many ways.

Four of which I’d like to share with you now.

 

  1. Through His Word. The Lord Jesus said, “I tell you the truth. Whoever hears my Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24) We must hear our blessed Lord’s Word to be saved. Many have felt the gentle knock of The Savior at the door of their hearts as they read some portion of the Word of God or maybe even as you are listening to the words that are coming out of my mouth. Sometimes His knocking is evidenced itself by a violent reaction or rejection, but it does not minimize the fact that Christ has knocked. How else does God knock?
  2. Through His people. Sometimes we look at folks and go, “What was I supposed to talk about with that person? I’m not quite sure.” But, the Scripture says, “and how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10:14)” We usually think of the great preachers of the church, the Billy Grahams, the Charles Stanleys….but if the truth were known — and it will be when we stand before The Judgement Seat of Christ — Jesus knocks through the ordinary, everyday, often obscure people, like you and me. How does God knock?
  3. Through His Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus made it clear in John 14:8 that He sent the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of humankind of sin and righteousness and judgment. Many who thought they had escaped the preacher and the Word of God have been awakened in the middle of the night to toss restlessly in bed at the conviction of God’s Spirit, which is the gentle knocking of Jesus at the door of one’s heart.
  4. Through Providence. Yeah, Providence is kind of a funky word. It’s often misused as a rather impersonal reference to God, but I want to use it in the sense to mean God’s gentle alignment on the affairs of a person’s life that continually point him or her to the need of inviting Jesus into their life. Many who have felt the hot breath of death recognize they were saved by the Providence of God. They may not recognize that this was the gentle knock of Jesus at their door, but it was just the same. How it happens sometimes throws us off, but sometimes the reason why we’re still here is because God is still knocking. The reason He hasn’t called us all home is because He’s still trying to reach the one. Perhaps you’ve heard that knock at your heart in some of these ways — through His Word, through His people, through His Holy Spirit, maybe even through Providence. The key question is: Have you opened the door and accepted His Promise? He says, “If anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” This indicates fellowship with Jesus. You are incomplete until you have fellowship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Word tells us that in 1 John 1:3 that is only possible by inviting Him into your heart.

 

I’m going to stop right there, and next week, we’ll carry on with the challenge of the Church of Laodicea. I’m hoping that you’re thinking about that question I just asked you. You’ve listened. You’ve been at church. You’ve read some words in The Bible, but you don’t have a personal relationship with God. He is trying to get you to tune in to His Station. He’s been knocking on your heart for, maybe, years. When you open The Book, and you read The Word through even this podcast, or other people, through the Holy Spirit, through divine intervention, there’s been something that has happened that has pointed Him to you, and you still haven’t moved. I’m asking you to consider it right now, not to waste another day. Okay?

 

{Hymn Have Thine Own Way, Lord sung here}

 

Eternal God, our Father, we come before You to say thank You for today. Thank you for The Word. Thank You for this message. Thank You for touching our hearts. Thank you for being a part of our lives. Father, we don’t always know what to pray for. We are quite dumb sometimes. We miss the mark so many times, but thank You for allowing us to come back again to Your Throne. We ask that You forgive us of everything we’ve done contrary to Your Will. Help us to be more like Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us, Lord God, to understand when You’re there in our presence. Help us to realize the love that You’ve given us, that You’ve sacrificed for us. Help us to be a better light to other people, better ambassadors. Help us, Lord God, to do what You’ve called each one of us to do. Show us the way. Open our eyes and our hearts so we may receive You. Forgive us, Lord God, for that thing, whatever that thing is. We stand before You naked and unashamed. We are Your children. We ask, Lord God, that You would bless our families, that You would keep us safe, that You would watch over us and put that hedge of protection around us anew and afresh. Heal those who are sick right now. Heal those who are brokenhearted. Heal those who are mourning. Somebody is grieving. Somebody is sad. Lift up our eyes, oh, Lord God. Even in the darkest night, You are there. Help us to remember Your Peace that surpasses all understanding. We ask for that Peace right now. We thank you, Lord God, for this time together. It’s in the Name of Your Son Jesus that we praise You and thank You. Amen.

 

Well, that’s it for this week. You’ve made it to the month of November 2020. We’re headed towards Thanksgiving already! I want to thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing, again, to Speak Life Church Podcast. I’m Reverend Kenn Blanchard, and I’m hoping that the Word convicts you and the Word teaches, that the Word does something that the Lord intended it to do. If you want to reach out to me, I can be found at pastor@speaklifechurch.net Yes, I can. You can call me at (202)579-9435. I’m all over Facebook. Look for Kenn with two “N’s,” and you’ll find Kenn Blanchard. I’m there! Let me know what’s on your mind, alright?

 

May the Lord bless and keep you. May heaven’s face continue to shine upon you and give you great peace. Until that great day when there is no dawn, and there is no sunset, my family, my friends, my brother, my sister, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus. Until then — or next week! — God bless.

 

Preaching to an Empty Building

The word of the Lord that came to me, from the prophet Micah in the days of Trump, 2020 A.D.. It was a time of uncertainty.  There was a global pandemic of a Coronavirus.  People were dying.  People were getting sick.  People lost their jobs. Some showed their faith through their actions.  The “ISMs” that separate people returned (racism, cronyism, nepotism, nationalism, separatism, paganism) The way of life for many had changed.  The nation was divided.  Foreign powers had succeeded in fueling mistrust and anarchy through the use of arrogance, ignorance and social engineering.

During this time, I got the opportunity to be the worship leader and preacher of the Gospel at St. Matthews Baptist Church, in District Heights, Maryland.  The new church was empty. Except for security, the trustees, the audio-visual engineer and those that rendered the music.  The choir and the musicians struggled to deliver what sounded beautiful in the sanctuary to the limitations of the internet.  Technical problems abounded.

 

The Pastor, a brilliant and humble servant of God, was invited to share at a neighboring church which gave me my first chance to stand in.  Since his installation, he has worked tirelessly to grow and prepare the church for the way things are becoming.  It has not gone without challenge.

 

The threat of COVID -19 shut down traditional church services, celebrations, annual events and things people took for granted in the old Baptist church traditions.  In an instant, leaders had to become televangelist, using the internet instead of the TV.  The need for tech, monitors, WIFI and new procedures had to come fast.  Social distancing, and medical precautious had to be combined to limit exposures and sickness.  Not everyone is onboard.

 

So this pastor of an internet based churched called Speak Life Church, Incorporated that has been prepared for this online situation since 2007, got the opportunity to preach in an empty building, with an outstanding choir, expert musicians that didn’t sound as heavenly as it did it person online.

 

To God be the Glory…

 

You can watch the YouTube video below.

“What Does God Want From Me.”

 

 

God bless you.

 

Rev. Kenn Blanchard

Revelation and the Church of Laodicea

The Church of Laodicea

This week we’re going to start with a little introspective thinking. I want the Lord to walk with you and walk with me. We’re going to conclude the Church of Philadelphia in the Book of Revelation and start on the Church of Laodicea. All that and more, coming up next.

This week we’ll be finishing up with the Church of Philadelphia, Christ’s counsel and His commendation to that church. And also, I just want to break from the norm, and just tell you a couple of things.

First, I’m really, really happy that you’re here. I mean, there are a lot of podcasts out there. There are a lot of people who are preaching the Gospel, and that’s a good thing, but I’m glad that you’re here with me. You make a difference. You.

Yeah. I don’t even know your name sometimes. There’s maybe ten people who I have correspondence with, on occasion. There’s a few that have emailed me, that have called me. There are three I have actually seen on our live chat we had that one time, but the power of the Spirit is everything.

As I start this week, I want to start it in a spirit of thanksgiving. I got a chance to see somebody, personally I know who is Covid positive, got sick from the coronavirus. It was my son, and I watched the power of God heal him. Two weeks in quarantine, our family, he was in isolation, and he’s okay now. Only God can do that.

When I look back at my life, which has been pretty…..pretty eclectic, pretty active, pretty busy. I’ve done a lot of stuff, not all good, but God has saved me from myself, allowed me to come back from it all.

Twenty-nine years of marriage, not twenty-nine all solid, good years, either. There were some hard-earned dog years in there where I gave me wife Hell. I learned from her. Her faith, strong. Her conviction, strong. She taught me. I’m still the same guy I was twenty-nine years ago, but wiser, smarter, trying to be more like Jesus. That means a lot.

That means I’m trying to walk humbly, show mercy, show justice, live this faith thing. I don’t think myself higher than I am. I make sure that I season all of my words so that it uplifts and helps somebody else. It’s made me a quieter person because I want to make sure that I listen and don’t miss what God is talking about today, what God has for me. If I can help somebody along this journey, then my living will not be in vain.

Sometimes the Lord allows you to be in situations that you’d rather not be in, but while you’re there, you get the chance to minister to somebody. You get the chance to encourage to somebody, and it always backfires and encourages and motivates you right back.

The gift of giving is as cool as I don’t know what. There are a lot of people trying to get somewhere. Where I want to get is with God. I am thankful for my daughter who lives with me. She is an excellent chef, so even though in this quarantine, I’ve been eating like a king. My wife makes sure that we walk and exercise and do physical stuff so that the weight is not there. She makes sure that I am not looking like my Dad used to look, like he was about ten-months pregnant.

I miss my Dad, and I’m quite sure there’s somebody in your life that has transitioned on and no longer here that you miss. But, while we’re down here, how about we live? How about we do the best that we can do? How about we do better, physically? How about we do better, mentally? Look in the mirror. Take a checkup from the neckup. How is your attitude? How are you taking every day? Is it doom and gloom? Are you subscribing to the same misery as the rest of social media? Or are you doing better for yourself, improving your mind, improving your spirit, improving your body? Have you got a couple of Covid pounds? A whole bunch of stuff starting to look like a triangle? That’s on you. How about if you tried to lose a few pounds for your health? How about physically, have you had some checkups from physical, medical stuff?

Sometimes marriages wane because we are no longer physically appealing to one another. That’s normal, but you’ve got to admit it and work through it. I’m not saying go on a crash diet because your husband or wife doesn’t like the way you look. I’m saying, how about ya’ll actively work together, or admit that there are some issues? Talk that thing out. Talk it through. Don’t let it be festering in your head. The worst thing you can do is let stuff fester, let it grow. How about you just say, “Hey, I’m husky. I’m fat.” You might find out that your spouse doesn’t really care about your butt being big or whatever, your stomach, your gut, but they do have a thing with your arms, or they do have a thing with your endurance. It’s usually something else that’s not physical, not visible, but if you don’t talk it out, you can work out the wrong thing. You can go on a diet and be skinny lookin’ like a bone, and nobody really cares about that, but you have to talk it out with the other person. Once it’s out, it on them. And, the same thing goes for finances, past issues that we try to cover up by either drinking, smoking, druggin’, somethin’.

We all try to hide stuff — our own pains. How about talking that thing out while we’ve got time. We’re still on lockdown. We still can’t do stuff. You might have lost your position. You might have lost your job. Something has changed. 2020 has changed awhile lot of things, but there is always opportunity in change. There’s opportunity to talk, opportunity to get closer, opportunity to love, opportunity to grow, to try new things. There’s opportunity to look a different way at the same problem.

Time is equal to everybody. How are you using yours? Since you don’t have much to do, you could be planning for 2021, ’23, ’24, ’25. This could be the season of planning. You could be writing down some stuff, some goal setting. This is a good time to get out of your funk. Let this be your launchpad year. You don’t have anything holding you back. There’s nothing keeping you down except for you. What’s in your head? The Lord shines on the just and the unjust equally.

If you were to open your Bible up to the third Book of John, chapter two, you’d find something that says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospers.” What does that mean to you? Dear friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and are in good health, just as your whole life is going well. That’s what I’m saying. And, if not, what are you keeping yourself from it? Think on that today. Make a move. Make a change. Get out of your own way.

Let us pray.

Eternal God, our Father, it is the Name of Your Son, Jesus that I ask that You would forgive me of everything I’ve done contrary to Your Will. I ask, Lord, that You would hear my prayer. Somebody right now is contemplating horrible things. Somebody is thinking the worst they can think. I’m asking, Lord God, that You will refresh their minds, that You will clear their spirit. Allow them rest when they sleep. Allow them, Lord God, to have a moment of peace so that they can get some clarity. The enemy is trying to kill, steal, and destroy. The enemy is trying so much to keep them frustrated, to keep them down, to keep them behind the bunker so that they can’t see the Light. Father, I ask just for a little bit of peace for them so they can rise above, so they can see the Glory of the Lord, so they can see the blue sky, so they can enjoy the darkness that the night has. Even in the darkest night is when you can see the stars. I’m praying for peace, for a mindset of peace in the midst of a storm. Father, I thank you for blessing me. I thank You for keeping me. I thank You, Lord God, for rescuing me. Thank You for all that You have allowed me to do. Thank you for those who are here. You know what they are standing in need of. If it be in Your Will, please, grant it. This is Your servant’s prayer, in Jesus’s Name. Amen.


Alright, we are in the Book of Revelation, chapter three, and we were talking about the commendation, the condemnation, the counsel, and the challenge of the church that Christ loved: The Church of Philadelphia. Today, we’re going to start at Christ’s counsel for this church and the church age. He said, “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown.” Our Lord’s counsel to the Church of Philadelphia is based on the promise of His Coming. It is interesting to note that the challenge is made on the basis that the Church of Philadelphia will be in existence at His Coming. It is clear from history, that this church age — now, almost 300-years-old — is one of the shorter periods of church history. Christ’s counsel to them is to hold fast to what they’ve already been doing, and to continue faithfully until the end. The Church of Philadelphia is characterized by a spirit of revival that promotes evangelism and a missionary-minded church. You know, there are three basic essentials for building a spiritual church: evangelism, missions, and good, Bible teaching. Did you get that? If you want to build a strong, spiritual church, it has to be strong in evangelism, mission work, and Bible teaching. Churches that follow this formula are growing, even in Covid-times. Now, this is in sharp contrast to Sardis and Laodicean churches, which are having a hard time maintaining the status quo, and many are losing more members than they are taking in. Their problem is that they have not “kept His Word” and they “have denied His Name.” The emptiness of our civilization these days is because of its atheistic, humanistic philosophy. Mmm-hmm. That has given the Philadelphia churches the greatest opportunity in their almost 300-year history to harvest. For the first time in centuries, the human races is not only philosophically empty, but also aware of that emptiness. Faithful churches with a Bible-teaching, evangelistic, missionary-minded ministry are leading the way. Christ’s challenge to this church, those who are born again, is three-fold. First, He said, “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the Temple of My God. Never again will He leave it.” A pillar speaks to stability. Christians have stability in this life only in Christ. They are often buffeted and rejected for their faith, but, in life to come, we will not be outsiders, but we will be in with the relation to Christ. Number two, “I will write on him the Name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which is coming down out of Heaven from My God.” This writing of the Name of God is indicative of the fact that true believers are identified with Christ by a seal of the Name of God, which entitles them to have entrance into the City of God. Christ promises to prepare a New Jerusalem that will come down to the New Earth, and you’ll see that more when we read Revelation 21:9 and 22:6. And three, “I will also write on him my New Name.” Believers of the Church of Philadelphia may not only have the Name of God, which entitles them to entrance into the City of God, but also the Name of Christ which, according to Revelation 22:3-4, entitles them to be “His servants.” They will see His Face. One of the blessed promises in the Word of God to us is that one day we will see the One who is the object of our affection, the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom we have worshipped in Spirit and in Truth through this Word of God. So, we will see Him face-to-face. This is the exclusive experience for all those who are overcomes. Those who are just hearers of the Word of God are not justified before God, but those who have received the Lord Jesus and are prepared to meet Him at His Coming, are justified before God. You got that?

Revelation 3:14-22 talk about the Church of Laodicea.

The last of the seven churches is the most disappointing. In fact, it is disgusting. Our Lord compares it to the nauseating experience of drinking anything lukewarm. In this sense, it is a graphic prophesy of the modern day apostate church. Laodicea was a wealthy, inland city, about forty miles from Ephesus. It was big in Greek culture and learning. It was a thriving center of commerce and industry, and the local church must’ve been wealthy as evidenced by the fact that among present day ruins are three churches dating back to early days of Christianity. But, in spite of her wealth, nothing is known of the ministry of this church in preaching the Gospel.

{weird mechanical sound heard} I can’t believe that sound just popped up. In preparation for this message, I got hit with all kinds of interruptions, but I digress. Please continue to pray for our church, this one! Please pray for this Pastor, that I not fall, that I not fail, that I not forget, that I do not forsake, that I keep on going if it be His Will. Amen?

The apostate church or the people’s church, in this church age which is from 1900’s to the tribulation age itself, for the commendation, the condemnation, the counsel, and the challenge, there was nothing that Christ commended this church for. Not one word. It was condemned: “So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot, nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich. I have acquired wealth. I do not need a thing,’ but you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” That’s pretty harsh, right? He counsels them. He says, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the Fire so that you can become rich and white clothes to wear so you can cover your shameful nakedness and salve to put on your eyes so you can see.” There’s some preachin’ stuff right in there.

The challenge, though: To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My Throne. The Laodicean Church Age is now, actually, when there are a lot of churches that are apostate. It should be kept in mind that the first three church ages differ from the last four in that each of the former stopped at the beginning of the next church. Ephesus was replaced by Smyrna, Smyrna by Pergamum, and Pergamum by Thyatira. A look at how this thing works will show that we have Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia with us at the present time, and Laodicea adds to this church age by arises from the three that preceded it.

The Laodicean Church Age began around 1900, I said, and it’s increasing in intensity at a breakneck pace. The characteristics of a Laodicean Church Age can best be seen by a detailed examination of what Christ condemned her for. What was that? Do you remember? Being lukewarm. Aren’t there a lot of lukewarm churches right now? And, I’m going to stop right there. Why?

Because the Spirit told me to. Let’s pray again.

Heavenly Father, I’m asking, Lord God, that You allow the person listening to me right now to feel Your Presence. Help us, Lord God, to be in one accord. Forgive us of all our sins. Bring us closer to You. You know what we need. We are asking for that. You know what we want. If it be according to your Will, please grant that, too.Father, help us in our unbelief. Help us to be stronger. Help us to be more forgiving — of both to ourselves, and to what others have done. Give us a brighter outlook on tomorrow. Help us to be as You called us to be. We thank You, Lord God, for answering prayer, for saving us from ourselves, for giving us another chance to get it right. We bless Your Name. We thank You, Lord. We thank You for Your Son, Jesus The Christ. Amen.

Well, that’s it, my friend. Until next time, may the Lord continue to bless you and keep you. May heaven’s face continue to smile upon you and give you great peace. Until that great day when there is no dawning and there is no sunset, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus. Thank you for being a part of Speak Life Church online. If you’d like to contribute, there are links on the show notes. God bless you.