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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Prophecies of Hope

John Bradshaw - Prophecies of Hope

John Bradshaw - Prophecies of Hope
John Bradshaw - Prophecies of Hope
TOPICS: Answers in Prophecy, Bible Prophecy, End times, Hope

We are so excited that you have joined us. I am your host, Joseph Ikner, and I welcome you to Answers in Prophecy, brought to us by It Is Written. Today we're gonna be talking about the "Prophecies of Hope". We're gonna be focused on the Old Testament. Now, now, some say that the Old Testament is irrelevant, that "I am a New Testament Christian," but today John is going to unfold for us some exciting prophecies of the Old Testament that point us to Jesus in the New. You have joined us on the right day for this great presentation, entitled "Prophecies of Hope". Welcome to Answers in Prophecy.

We wanna welcome you back to Answers in Prophecy, brought to us by It Is Written. I am your host, Joseph Ikner, and I'm so glad to have with us our speaker and presenter for the day, John Bradshaw. John, how are you?

Doing great. Thank you very much for being here, for the warm introduction, and for setting us up for what we're about to dive into.

I am excited. Now, you're gonna be talking to us about prophecies of hope.

Oh yeah.

Prophecy brings hope?

Oh, sure. You know, if there's one thing people need in this world... we've talked about it's hope. Hope will take you far. If you don't have hope... and when you get into the Bible, into the Word of God, you find that this is a book that just oozes hope. There is hope everywhere all through its pages.

Mm. So we're gonna be focusing on these prophecies, and you're gonna be coming from the Old Testament.

Yeah, not just the Old Testament, but I think largely that's... I shouldn't say I think... I know, and you know, that's where we're gonna spend a lot of time. And going into some prophecies in the Old Testament, which, when we understand them, you know, the light will come on. We'll know, there's a verse in the Old that says God's Word "is a lamp to our feet"...


"...a light to our path". We're really gonna see that this time.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, so there's so many prophecies in the Old Testament. I don't know if we have a number for them, but I know that there are a whole lot.

There's a lot; that's the number: lot.

A lot, right?

Yeah, yeah.

What are the possibility that all of these prophecies could end up being fulfilled?

This is what I find so interesting about the Bible and about people who rejected the Bible or discount it. I don't mean to be critical or offensive; I don't mean that. What do you do when you're confronted by so much evidence? How do you dismiss that? How do you reject that? And then, when you see something being fulfilled, for example, the probability of, oh, I don't know, being struck by lightning... it's, thank God, it's really very small... winning the lottery, you know, very, very few people do that. The chances of, you know, one person winning the lottery, surviving a plane crash, being struck by lightning, no, you're talking about one in a zillion.


You cluster together a number of prophecies in the Old Testament and find that they all fulfill in one person? No, the probability of that is just... you can't really even calculate how small that probability is. So when it happens, you've gotta sit up and take notice and say, "Maybe there's something about this Book". And it's gonna teach us some things, and I think open some things up to us.

I look forward to hearing what you're gonna talk about today in this prophecy about hope. Hey, what's your favorite prophecy in the Old Testament?

Ooh! The favorite...ooh, uh... you know that you put me on the spot, but I'm going to say, I don't know if it's my favorite, but what I love are the prophecies about Jesus in the book of Isaiah. Early in Isaiah, in Isaiah chapter 7, that talks about Jesus coming to the earth as a man. And then Isaiah 53: "He was despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: ...we hid, as it were, our faces from Him". Powerful passage that speaks about Jesus coming as the Savior of the world. Man, I love it. What about you?

Ah, you know what, I'm going to say Micah 5:2, when Jesus is prophesied to be born in Bethlehem, and then when we look at Matthew, we see that He was there.


Jesus being born in a stable, what a wonderful prophecy. Jesus our Savior being born into the world, it's awesome, awesome. Well, I look forward to it tonight, John, and I hope that you're looking forward to it today as well. John is going to be talking to us about prophecies of hope, showing how the Old Testament and the New Testament connects together. So grab your family and your friends and join us for this wonderful presentation. John?

Thank you, appreciate that very much. I appreciate you being here. Let's pray together as we begin Answers in Prophecy. Let's pray:

Our Father in heaven, thank You for Your presence with us. Guide us by Your Spirit that we might dig deep into Your Word, meet You, see You, know You better than we've ever known You before, and be certain in our place in Your heart and Your place in our lives. Direct us, please, we ask You. We ask for Your blessing, in Jesus' name, amen.

In 1914, the British explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of about 25 sailed for Antarctica at the bottom of the earth. Shackleton's intention was to become the first man to ever walk across Antarctica. And keep in mind, more than 100 years ago, they weren't there with gear they bought from REI. There were no Kathmandu jackets or any of the lightweight gear that you use today. Today, you're going to use something with fine wool, like merino wool, and then you'd layer with layers of light synthetic materials. Shackleton's team layered, but they layered with Burberry jackets and woolen sweaters. They wore mittens made of reindeer fur. They wore canvas trousers. They wore boots made out of reindeer skin. And there were no cell phones, no satellite phones, meaning no regular weather updates, no helicopters swooping in when things got tough. They were going to the bottom of the planet where they would be cold, alone, and at the mercy of the elements.

Not long after they got close to their destination, their ship, the Endurance, a three-mast ship, 144 feet long, got stuck in pack ice in the Weddell Sea. They were stuck for six months, stuck, drifting, if the ice took them this way or that way. And then, the ice crushed the ship. The men all escaped with their lives, got into lifeboats, and sailed for an inhospitable place called Elephant Island. Got its name because it was thought to look something like the head of an elephant and because elephant seals had been spotted there 100 years before. After seven days of bailing water out of those lifeboats, they arrived at their destination, but realized they couldn't stay there indefinitely. No one would ever rescue them. So after some time, Shackleton and five volunteers sailed in one of those lifeboats 800 miles to South Georgia island. The little craft was 22 feet long. They sailed it across what's most likely the most treacherous ocean on the planet. A biographer described the boat as being like "an insect swimming in a tidal wave".

Somehow they managed to make it to South Georgia island. Then they had to trek from one end of the island to the other to get help. And then, of course, they had to make it back again and bring help to the 22 waiting men. Three times attempts were made to reach the men. Three times there was failure, but on the fourth attempt, Shackleton succeeded in reaching Elephant Island. It's said that the men were scratching limpets off rocks to eat, because even the penguins that they had been eating had abandoned Elephant Island. They were near to starvation, but they were alive, and they were ready to meet Shackleton when he arrived because they expected him to return. To a man, they believed Shackleton would come back and rescue them, and their faith in Shackleton was well-placed. Against the odds, against any reasonable expectation, Shackleton had come back. All of the men were rescued; not one of the men were lost. There are times when your hopes are pinned on something, or at times, on someone.

The Shackleton rescue story is one of the most incredible rescue missions in all of history. And as we begin Answers in Prophecy, let's look at the first prophecy in the entire Bible. It's right back in the beginning in Genesis and chapter 3. It's hard to turn there because it's so close to the front of the Bible. Genesis chapter 3 is where we're going to begin. Adam and Eve had sinned. "And the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'" And then God said to the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel". That is what has been called the first gospel promise in the Bible. Think about what had happened. Adam and Eve had been put into a beautiful garden. Things were pretty straightforward. "Do whatever you want," God told them. They naturally wanted to do right, so God could trust them. There was no sin. The only thing was God said to them, "Eat anything you want. Just don't eat the fruit that grows on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil".

Yet they did. They distrusted God, showed a calamitous lack of faith, and plunged into sin. It was immediately apparent: They were no longer clothed. They became fearful, running away from God. They began to blame each other. Adam said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate". Eve said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate". Now leaves started to die. Animals lost their lives in order to provide Adam and Eve with clothing that had beeen made out of the animals' skins. Everything was different. It wouldn't be long and one of their sons would kill his brother. But God made them an incredible promise when He said to the serpent, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your [descendants] and her [descendants]"... or really her descendant... because Someone's going to come and rescue you; a Deliverer will come. There's hope for you because a Deliverer will come.

This was a promise that there would be a Messiah, a Deliverer who had come into the world. Bible prophecy centers around this. The rise of a beast or an antichrist, horns and days and kings and kingdoms, it's all important, but only as it illuminates this great hope. We are people in need of hope, and God gave hope just as the world was plunging into an abyss. The last book of the Bible tells us this: "And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him".

What do we do now? The enemy has come into the world. What hope do we have? A mighty enemy. Adam and Eve fell in no time at all. "Then I heard a loud heaven [saying], 'Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.'" So there's hope today because there's a Deliverer; there's a Rescuer, a Messiah, a Savior.

Isaiah 7 and verse 14 says this: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel". Well, that's out of the ordinary. That had never been done before. But we read in the first chapter of the New Testament, "So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated 'God with us.'" Isaiah's prophecy might have perplexed anyone who read it, or perhaps they'd have thought this represented simply a young woman. But Matthew appeals to Isaiah as evidence that Jesus was the Messiah, miraculously born. Notice this: New Testament writers saw the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies about Jesus as evidence that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.

In the book of Micah, chapter 5 and verse 2, we read the following: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting". That's God predicting that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Did that happen? That's precisely what happened. In Matthew 2, wise men come from the East, and when they do, they ask where they could find the Messiah. King Herod put the question to the chief priests and the scribes. "So they said to him, 'In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: "But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah;for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd my people Israel."'"

God predicted it hundreds of years before, and it happened just as God said it would. I want to show you more of these. What we're looking at is evidence, irrefutable evidence, that when your hope is in Jesus, it's in the right place. These are prophecies of hope. Hosea 11, verse 1 said the Messiah would go into Egypt. You might remember that not long after He was born, Jesus' parents took Him into Egypt. It's recorded in Matthew chapter 2. The Bible predicted that Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. So look at this, Zechariah 11:12-13. "Then I said to them, 'If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.' So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter'... that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter". In Matthew 26:15, we read that Judas asked, "'What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?' And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver".

That was predicted more than 500 years before by the prophet Zechariah. What are we seeing here? We're seeing prophecies that point to Jesus as the hope of the world, as the Savior of our world. Now, I want you to think about this. Pause a moment; stop and mull this over. If these prophecies really do point to Jesus, and if they support the claims of the Bible that Jesus came to the earth as the divine Son of God, then this validates Christianity. It tells you that you can have confidence, confidence in the Bible. It tells you that the promises God makes to you are reliable and trustworthy. And of course, there's more. You'll recognize this verse: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me"? Where's that found? Well, you're thinking that's when Jesus was on the cross. Matthew chapter 27, Mark 15. He cried out to His Father, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me"? Well, that's true, except what I read to you comes from the Psalms. Psalm 22 deals with the Crucifixion in excruciating detail. It says, "But I'm a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see me ridicule me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 'He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!'"

That sounds familiar. That's because this is what was taken when Jesus was hanging on the cross. The Psalm goes on to say, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it has melted within me.... The congregation of the wicked has enclosed me. They pierced my hands and my feet.... They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots". This was the experience of Jesus. While David was a fugitive at one time, while David was opposed and had enemies, this was written to point people to the coming Messiah. And Jesus came into the world as the fulfillment of all these prophecies. I want to show you more. Isaiah chapter 53 is one of the most powerful chapters in the entire Bible. And it starts by saying, "Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed"?

Verse 3 is speaking of Jesus when it says, "He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement [of] our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray", this is verse 6, "we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth". This was written about 700 years before Jesus was born, and Isaiah perfectly predicted what Jesus' ministry and death were going to be like.

Let me show you something. Many years ago, a Christian writer named Peter Stoner, an academic, wrote this. He wrote that the chances of just eight messianic prophecies being fulfilled in one person, the odds of that: 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That's a "1" with 17 zeros after it. That's the odds of eight of these prophecies being fulfilled in one person. It's the same as if you covered the state of Texas with silver dollars, two feet deep, and asked a blindfolded person to find the one coin you marked, on the very first try. Stand that person on the border of Texas, have him marching. "Go find the one I marked". That's what the chances are like. Or if you're in Canada, it's like covering the province of Ontario 1 1/2 feet deep in silver dollars and having someone find the one marked coin on their very first try. The odds are infinitesimally small, and yet Jesus fulfilled not just eight, but multiple prophecies, many more than eight... 10, 20, 30, 40. This isn't chance or happenstance. The Bible reveals it really was Jesus who came as the Savior of the world.

And what did He come into the world to do? What was Jesus' purpose in coming to this earth? In Matthew chapter 1, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said to him, "And she," speaking of Mary, "will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins". - Matthew 1:21. The prophet Isaiah wrote that sin separates a person from God. So Jesus removed the separation by taking the consequences of sin upon Himself. If you ask many people what the big problem facing us in this world is, you'd find a lot of people would say that our big challenge is sin. And that is certainly fair. No question. But in a certain sense, sin isn't our problem. Here's what I mean by that. It says in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 3, that "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures".

Notice, it was predicted that He would do that. Jesus died fulfilling the prophecies of hope about the Savior. So if Jesus died for our sins, you could say the problem isn't sin. Now, follow me here. Sin has been defeated by Jesus. In the same chapter where Jesus said, "Peace I" and "let not your heart be troubled," He said, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me". John 14, verse 30. Paul wrote, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him". 2 Corinthians 5:21. This means that our sin was reckoned to be His. Jesus took your sin, but at the same time, His righteousness is reckoned to be ours. God sees Jesus' own righteousness when He looks at you, when you have accepted Jesus into your life by faith. Remarkable!

So let's consider the hope that these prophecies of hope bring to us. One, Jesus came to offer us forgiveness for our sins. Something that always interests me, I hear people saying, "I'm just having trouble forgiving myself". I think I know what they mean, but there is not a single verse between the covers of the Holy Bible that says anything about forgiving yourself. Now, imagine. David, King David, has a loyal soldier killed because David has taken the man's wife. He tries to deceive the poor fellow again and again. It's a disaster.

When you read Psalm 51, David's psalm of repentance, you don't get the idea that David was trying to forgive himself for what he had done: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin". He goes on: "For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.... Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.... Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me".

David is appealing to God for forgiveness. Did he feel terrible about what he had done? Yes, he did. Too late, but yes, he did. And David never said, "I need to forgive myself". He needed forgiveness from God, from Bathsheba. He needed forgiveness from Joab for bringing Joab into his schemes. He had to live his life knowing that Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, could never forgive him because he was dead because of what David did. But forgive himself? Just how do you do that anyway? Now, I know what people are saying when they say that. They're saying, "I just feel so terrible about what I have done. And I'm trying to get peace and live with myself after all these terrible things".

You don't get there on time to be with a dying parent, and you can't forgive yourself. You did something you shouldn't have done, and it put your marriage under stress, and you can't forgive yourself. Oh, I get it. You feel bad. In some cases, you probably should feel bad. Let that feeling bad act as a barrier against future mistakes, but you don't need to forgive yourself. Forgiveness is what God does. Go to God and tell God you're sorry, and then move on, knowing God forgives you, and remind yourself that that's enough. Every time you feel terrible, say, "God has forgiven me". Every time your misdeeds are condemning you, you tell yourself, "God forgives me," and you will find that you'll experience peace in your heart. Find your peace in Jesus, the Prince of Peace. It is God's work to forgive you.

Forgiving yourself? What's that? Telling yourself that really it was okay that you backed out of your driveway and ran over your elderly neighbor's Pomeranian? Of course, you're going to feel bad, but we don't burden ourselves trying to forgive ourselves. Instead, when you've done something truly wrong in the sight of God, you go to God and you confess your sins, and this is what happens. 1 John 1, verse 9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Did you see that? We confess, and God forgives. I'll tell you this. The longer I'm involved in ministry, sharing the promises of the Bible with people, the more I see that the issues that really trouble people today are what you'd call the simple things: "Can God forgive me for what I've done"? "Will God accept me after the way I have failed"? "Can I go back to God after doing what I've done"?

Imagine if He couldn't, David would have been a lost man after his spectacular sins. Solomon would have been a lost man. Moses, a murderer, lost man. Peter denied Jesus, lost. He wouldn't have written two books of the Bible; he'd have been lost. Who else? King Manasseh. Ooof! What a wicked man! Died saved, however, and not lost. You confess; God forgives. I have sat on death row with men as they wept rivers of tears telling me how sorry they were for their crimes. Not hiding anything, like David, admitting their guilt. I've had them say how grateful they are that God forgives them. One of those men told me, and I quote, how sorry he is... here's the quote... "for my crimes which I have committed".

That's what he said to me face to face. He knows that, even though he cannot undo what he did, God is willing to forgive him, has forgiven him. This is why Jesus said...and by the way, I don't say that to minimize the terrible things the gentleman on death row has done...far from it. This is why Jesus said, "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men". Matthew 12. Yes, God can forgive you. Doesn't mean that what you did was right. You might have to meet with consequences for what you did, but God is willing to forgive. Psalm 86, verse 5 says, "For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You". David wrote that, and he knew something about being forgiven and how powerful it is. Ready to forgive, that's God.

In Psalm 136, there are 26 verses, and every single one of them contains the phrase "for His mercy endures forever," speaking about God. You think God is trying to convince us of something? Oh yes, He is. He's trying to convince us that He's a forgiving God. Go to God for forgiveness, and you'll find grace, and you will be forgiven. These are the bedrock issues that we need to be certain of in our experience. God is a forgiving God. God will forgive you. Jesus died so you can be forgiven of your sins. He took them. He was made "to be sin for us". So you don't need to take your sins back and doubt that God is actually going to keep His promise. He will. But notice this, that verse we saw before: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness".

Notice, God cleanses you. Now, why would God do such a thing? Not just so you can keep on going back to wallow in the mud of sin. God will cleanse you and strengthen you and grow you so that sin doesn't have to govern your life. This thing, "The devil made me do it," oh, that's another lie. The devil didn't make you do anything. What did the Messiah come into the world to do? What do the prophecies of hope tell us? That Jesus came into the world to save us from our sins. So what does that mean? Let me show you. Paul wrote to a group of Christians in the city of Corinth in Greece. And he said, he said something phenomenal. Corinth was a busy seaport, with all the sin and temptation you would expect in great abundance.

So the believers in Corinth, these new Christians, had a colorful past, and this is what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 6. He wrote, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God"? He said, "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God". And now notice what he says: "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God". Did you see that? Paul says, "You used to be like that, but you've been changed". This is where the Bible offers us such hope. You were one way, Jesus entered your life, and now your life trends in another direction altogether.

Here's Paul putting it another way, writing to the Ephesians: "If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus, that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness". Writing to the Romans, the same man said, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind".

Now, you could look at this and you could say, "But I could never do that. I'm stuck. I'm a hopeless case". And you'd be right. We're all hopeless cases, except that Jesus is our hope. He offers us hope. God can do in your life what you cannot do in your own. You might have some decisions to make. Some of them might cut close to you, but I'll tell you what those decisions are. In fact, no matter the temptation, no matter the sin, no matter the circumstance, no matter the situation, there's always one decision to be made. It's the same every time. Every time, the decision is, will I surrender to Jesus right now? That's the decision. And then when you do, you're giving God permission to do in your life what you can't do yourself. This is what a lot of people don't understand. They think Christians are supposed to be good. "So I'm going to be good". And then they're amazed to discover that being good isn't as simple as it sounds.

In fact, they discover that being good is for human beings an impossibility. And they wonder, "What do I do now"? Paul said this to the members of the church in Rome. This is Romans chapter 6: "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for [you] are not under the law, but under grace". And then, in case people will think, "Well, that means it's okay to carry on sinning," Paul says, "What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid". And then he writes, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness"? He's calling us to yield, to surrender to God. And this is the decision that so many people don't make, because they don't know they're supposed to make it.

Instead, they're fighting in their own strength, trying to figure out how to be good enough to go to heaven. He goes on and he says, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness". How about that? When you surrender your life to God, you become the servant of righteousness. And that's because Jesus is at work in your life. You've given Him permission to reign on the throne of your heart. And now, you are "confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ".

Philippians 1, verse 6. And you remember promises like these: "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy". That's from the little book of Jude. And there's this: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it". 1 Corinthians 10, verse 13. Jesus came into the world so that you don't have to be a slave to your old way of life; so you don't have to be bound by your old bad habits; so you don't have to live after you're saved the same as you did when you were still lost. Jesus can save a life. This is what people want. I meet people... "I'm ashamed of the way I'm living," they tell me. "I'm ashamed of my life. This isn't how I was raised. I want to be a new person".

Well, you can be. This is what Jesus does when He comes into a life. He makes you new. Paul wrote, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he [or she] is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new". Do you want that, to be made new? That's what God wants for you. Jesus came into this world so you could have hope, the hope of a new life, the hope of a new future, the hope of transformation. Jesus told Nicodemus that we may be born again, as though the old you has ceased to be and a new you lives in the place of the old you. Now, I know what happens. You say, "Oh, that sounds great. I believe that". You say, "I will try that". And then the next thing you know, you've lost your temper. You're yelling at someone. You're honking and shouting at a crazy driver on the road. You're lying about something: "No, no, I didn't say that. I have no idea what you're talking about". And then you say to yourself, "This is not working well. I thought I had been made new".

Okay, let's get the balance right here. A woman who gets married and takes her husband's last name has got to get used to signing a new name. If she was Mary Smith, she is now Mary Jones if she took his name. But you know what happens. She takes out the checkbook, and she writes, "Mary Eloise Smith". And she's about to hand over the check, and she realizes she has written the wrong name. Anyone ever had that happen? Is she a Smith now or a Jones? She is a Smith. She has married Rodney Jones. She knows that. The wedding day was only a week ago, but she wrote her maiden name, Smith, and not her married name, Jones. Why is that? For a simple reason: because it's new to her. She might even make the mistake again next week or maybe next month, Six months later, she'll just be on autopilot, and she'll write "Mary Smith" and not "Mary Jones". That's how it goes. It wasn't a denial of her marriage vows. She's not filing for divorce. Old habits simply die hard, that's all.

Every time a new year rolls around and you write the date, you find yourself mistakenly writing last year's date. Where I'm from, we write the date differently than where I live right now. If it was, let's say, July the 1st, where I'm from in New Zealand, we would write that 1/7, 1/7, for July the 1st. The first day, 1, of the seventh month. But someone on this side of the world would read 1/7, and they would take that to mean what? January the 1st, first month, seventh day. It took me, I don't know how long, to remember to write the date the new way, the right way for this part of the Northern Hemisphere. I caught on. I don't make the mistake. Now, when I go back to New Zealand, I'm writing it back to front for them.

So let's go back to that anger problem. Someone drives like a fool, and for years you've been honking and shouting and fist-shaking. You accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. A week later, you encounter a crazy driver. You may well notice that the impulse to shout and honk and say something inappropriate rises up, and now you have a choice: to act on that or to give in to that, to express that, or to surrender your mind to God. You ask Jesus to work in your life and give you His character in that moment. And when you do, He'll give you peace. He'll give you calm. He'll move your thoughts in another direction. And as you grow in the grace of God, acting appropriately will become the default course of action. You'll do the right thing because God has your life. You will learn to hate sin, and you will find yourself turning to God, just like a flower turns to face the sun. This summer we had sunflowers growing at the Bradshaw house. Not nearly enough of them, I might add, but enough to be able to admire their beauty. We love them.

And you know, sunflowers, they've got something going on called heliotropism, which means, "to turn to the sun". In the morning, they're turning facing the sunrise. In the daytime, they track the sun across the sky. In the evening, they're looking towards the sunset. At night, they turn back to the beginning and start the process all over again. Comes naturally to them. The more you connect with God, the more time you spend with Him, the more time you pray, you read your Bible, it comes naturally to you to turn and face Jesus, and that's going to be seen in your life. That's what Jesus came to do for us, to change us, remake us, so that you can have confidence for an eternal future. He'll forgive you; of course He will. You can face each day as a child of God, knowing that you're not damned to repeat the mistakes of your old life. And that if you do, you can go back to God and ask Him to forgive you, knowing that He will.

This isn't to make you slack or lackadaisical. It's to assure you that God loves you. It's the truth. You can face the future, knowing that you have a future. So many people, they feel like they've got nothing to look forward to. Challenges at home, marriage issues, health problems, financial worries. Right now the future is not looking certain for a lot of people. But your future is always certain when you have the God of heaven guiding your life...always. In the book of Revelation, we see three angels bringing serious messages of warning to the world, but those warning messages are also messages of hope. The first angel says, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come". By the way, we're going to look at that next time. This question of judgment, when it is, how it works, we'll look at that next time we're together. You'll get some real enlightenment and assurance. But that's the message of the first angel, who goes on to say, "Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the seas and the fountains of waters".

A call to worship the Creator down here in the end of time. Second angel says, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city". We've seen that Babylon isn't a literal city. It's a corrupt system, very powerful, and one day God will say, "No more". God, through the first angel, is calling us to true worship. The second angel warns us against false worship. Third angel sorta does the same, warning us against receiving the mark of the beast, telling us that anyone who receives it cannot be saved and must be lost. But then, look at what God says, Revelation 14, verse 12: "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus". So here's what we see. In the end of time, there's a group of people who successfully come through the tests and trials that come their way. They hang on to God, and they don't let go. They rely on Jesus, and they've claimed His righteousness. God refers to them as "saints," the saved ones. You see that? There's a group of people ready to meet Jesus when He returns. I'll take this further.

In Revelation 18, we see another angel: "After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great or authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory". Sent from heaven with a message from God, this angel lights up the world with what many people believe to be the glory of God. If an angel in the book of Revelation is a messenger... follow me now... what we know is that the message of God in the last days of earth's history is going to be shared by people. What we're seeing in Revelation 18 is a picture of God's people in the latter days of earth's history, giving the world a manifestation of the glory of God, of the character of God.

In Revelation 18, God's people are revealing to the world the character of God, to the extent that the Bible says the earth is illuminated with God's glory. That's what God sees for you. That's in your future. You can live with hope today. The Old Testament told us a Savior would come to the world. Shepherds heard the angels sing. Wise men traveled from the East following a star in the sky. They followed it all the way to Bethlehem, where they worshiped before the King of the Jews. When He was 12 years old, Jesus met in the temple with the teachers and the scholars, who were amazed at His wisdom. Then Jesus turned water into wine. He turned five loaves and two fish into a feast for thousands. He caused the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk. He cast out demons, stilled a stormy sea, caused fishermen who'd been working all night, without catching anything, to catch so many fish their boat began to sink.

He revealed the secrets of a heart to the woman at the well and told another woman who was caught in sin that He didn't condemn her and that her sins were forgiven. Everything the prophecies of hope said would happen happened. That first promise again: "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel". Right back when sin entered the world, God offered hope. We fell. Like a loving Father, He said, "I'll take care of that". There are so many inspiring stories about Harriet Tubman, the woman they called "Moses," one of the most famous figures associated with the Underground Railway.

Now, I want to share this story with you. You know, the Underground Railway or Underground Railroad, that was the name given to the network of escape routes and safe houses used by enslaved African-Americans to get out of the South and into free states or Canada. Just a few miles from the capital of New York State, Albany, is the city of Troy... Troy, New York. And on April the 27th, 1860, Harriet Tubman helped rescue a man named Charles Nalle. He was a fugitive, a runaway slave. He got out of Virginia, was hoping to get to Canada, but he was hoping to meet up with his wife and their children, so he stopped in Albany and then Troy. Mr. Nalle was somehow betrayed, ended up in custody.

Harriet Tubman happened to be visiting Troy that very day, and when she heard about what was going on, she went to where Mr. Nalle was being held. The man was on an upper floor of a certain building. So Harriet Tubman disguised herself as an old woman, somehow managed to get to the man, and told him to climb out through the window. A large crowd gathered, and in the confusion, they got the man across the Hudson River, but he was arrested again. So the crowd crossed the river and stormed the building where he was being held. Even though shots were fired, they got the man out of there. In the end, they paid $650 to free him. That's $20,000 in today's money.

Was a man really worth all that money? Of course he was. When Jesus died for you, He gave everything He had. Were you really worth that great expense? Of course you were. You are, always will be. The entire Bible points to the sacrifice that Jesus would make for you. It now says He's coming back again to gather you and the redeemed and take you home. He'll forgive you. He'll change you. He'll keep you, and He'll get you out of here and on to the promised land.

The question is, are you ready to go? If you think you might not be, the question becomes, are you willing to go? What does God do for a rebel race? When Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible tells us that they heard God walking "in the cool of the day," and they fled, they hid from God, but God came after them. Not with an angry dog, not with handcuffs, not with a whip. He came after them with a heart of compassion, and He called out and He said, "Adam, where are you"? You think God lost Adam? God who calls out the stars by number couldn't find Adam? "Oh, Adam, I can't find you. Where are you, man? Help me out". God knew where Adam was. Seems to me God probably walked up to the tree Adam was hiding behind and said, "Adam, where are you"? He wasn't saying, "Where are you physically"? He was saying, "Where are you spiritually"? "Adam, where are you"? God is asking you tonight, "Where are you? Where are you, spiritually"?

God pursues you, to bring you to a place of safety for forever. Let me ask you to do something. I wonder if you'd send me a text message. We've done it before. I want you to text me at this number: 423-264-2575. That's the number I want you to text me on. And when you got that number in your phone, text me the word "love". Send me that as a text message. That's a nice text message, isn't it? Text me the word "love". You know what to do. Take your phone and send me a text. The number you're texting me on is 423-264-2575, and the message you're sending me is just one word: "love". And when I receive your text, I will send you a message right back. You'll get from me a link. Click on that link. And when you do, you're going to see a form in front of you, and you'll see the first line says this: "I believe that Jesus is the only one who can provide real hope in a chaotic world".

If you believe that, I want you to mark right there at number 1. Number 2: "I believe that Jesus is the Messiah and the Savior of the world". Mark there right there number 2. Number 3: "I want to accept Jesus as my Lord and personal Savior". If you've done that before, mark it anyway. Say, "Yeah, I believe that. I want Jesus to be my Lord". If you never have, I really want to appeal to you to mark that card, mark that form, and say, "I want to accept Jesus as my Lord and personal Savior". If you'd like me to pray for you, if you'd like my team to pray for you, fill out that form and let me know. There's a place right there where you can let me know how you'd like to be prayed for, and fill out that form so we can pray for you and get in touch with you if we need to. You have an opportunity right now to make a decision for Jesus.

Will you make that decision? You just grab your phone. "Oh, what was it I needed to do"? Send me a text; here is the number: 423-264-2575. Area code 423-264-2575. You send me the word "love". As soon as I get it, it'll happen like this: I'll send you a message back. There'll be a link. Click the link; it's a safe link. You click on that link and fill out that form and let me know if you want me to pray for you. In fact, I'm going to pray for you right now. We've got to make a decision for Jesus.

Our Father in heaven, we thank You today for Jesus, who is Savior and Lord. We thank You, Lord, for Your goodness and for Your grace, for sending Jesus as our Savior, and then for keeping us by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Lead us in Your way. Give us grace to continue to grow. We accept Jesus tonight, and we thank You for prophecies of hope. In Jesus' name, amen.

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