Written in Heaven
Posted on 08/31/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
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Rick Liveoak: Hi Folks, I would appreciate your prayers for myself, my family and all those who are evacuating or will be affected by Hurricane Gustov. The storm is presently forcast to come ashore about 20 miles from my house.
Thank you so much!
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A REASON TO REJOICE
I have a reason to rejoice
I have a reason to clap my hands
I have a reason to lift my voice
and sing praises to the great I Am
I have a reason to move my feet
and take the Gospel into the street
I have a reason to lose my will
and let Jesus take full control
For you have set me feet to dancin'
You have filled my heart with joy
You have freed me from my passions
and filled me with the Holy Ghost
You have set my heart on fire
Fill my soul with your desire and
Melt me Lord 'til only you remain!
SING A NEW SONG
Sing unto the Lord a new song
Sing unto the Lord all the earth
Sing unto the Lord a new song
Sing unto the Lord all the earth
For God is great
and greatly to be praised
God is great
and greatly to be praised
I EXALT THEE
For thou O Lord art high
above all the earth
Thou are exalted
far above all gods
And I exalt thee
I exalt thee
I exalt thee O Lord
"Written in Heaven"
17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."
18 And Jesus said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."
So the disciples are totally pumped. Jesus had sent them out two by two into every city where he was about to go. And he told them to heal the sick while they were there.
So out they went, preparing the way for the Lord, healing the sick and casting out demons. When they came back, they were ecstatic, "Lord! Even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And Jesus replied by saying that he had witnessed first hand satan falling from heaven, and that he gives them power to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.
Now I could be wrong, but I suspect Jesus wasn't suggesting they go find snake pits and scorpion nests to dance around on. I think we could read this, "Behold, I give you power not only over serpents and scorpions, but over ALL the power of the enemy." After all, they not only cast out demons, they also healed the sick. And while many of those sicknesses would have been of physical causes, all sickness and disease is a result of the work of the enemy in the garden at the beginning of time.
But whatever the case, Jesus basically said, "Look, I've hooked you up with incredible power which you probably have not even dreamed of having."
We get all excited about a new car, or a new pair of shoes, or a job promotion, or some other thing. Just imagine how excited you would be if you went out on a local mission trip, and you started healing sick people and casting out demons. And I believe God is preparing us, building character, humility, and strength, bringing us to the place where he can move through us in ways like this without it destroying us. But just imagine how exciting it would be.
Wouldn't you tell everyone about what God was doing through you? You KNOW you wouldn't be able to keep it a secret. And this is exactly what the disciples were experiencing.
And yet Jesus said that, even though it is truly exciting and wonderful, and that he had given them power over ALL, not just SOME, but ALL the power of the enemy, he said that this was not even the thing which should bring them the greatest joy.
In verse 20 Jesus says, "Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather... rejoice because..." because what? "because your names are written in heaven."
Is your name written in heaven today?
Let's take a closer look at the Book of Life, the Lamb's Book of Life, the book in which your name must be written at the time of judgment if you are to share in the joy Jesus is talking about here.
In Revelation chapter thirteen, we read about the rise of the beast, and in Revelation 13 verse 8 we read,
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
So what does this mean? The Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? Are the names written in the book before the foundation of the world? Or was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? This is important, so let's take a closer look.
Let's read about this a little later in the book of Revelation, in Revelation chapter 17 and verse 8:
8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
So this says it a bit more plainly. The names of those who will not worship the beast and who will spend eternity with Jesus are written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world.
Is this predestination? Is it really not God's will that none should perish but that all should be saved?
There are too many verses to quote if we stayed here all week night and day which make it clear that we are all given a choice and must pay the eternal consequences of that choice, those choices. We do most certainly have a choice to make. We have free wills. God did not tell Adam to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and then will him to disobey.
So since it is evident throughout all of Scripture that God does give us choices, and many which by themselves and out of the whole of Scripture would suggest otherwise, let's take a look at another passage of Scripture which reconciles predestination with free will, and will shed some light on what it means to have your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life from the foundation of the world.
Psalm 139:16 says,
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
How could all the days of your life be written in God's book before you had lived a single day? Does this mean you don't have a choice? If taken out of the rest of the Bible, along with passages about the Potter and the Clay and the Lamb's Book of Life, we would have to conclude that everything we do is already decided for us and we have no say in the matter.
But no verse of Scripture was intended to be removed from the rest, so we have to look at these in the light of free will. The very nature of the age-old saga of God's pursuit after mankind is that God desires a close walk with us. That is his will. And since it is his will, if he had predestined everything we would do, we would all walk blamelessly before God and have ongoing, unbroken fellowship with him.
And yet this isn't what happens. As the Scripture says, "There are none who are righteous, no, not one." We all have gone astray, each one of us to his or her own way. That's not God's will. Rather, that is OUR will.
So why are some names written in the Lamb's Book of Life from the foundation of the world, and others are not? Can it be answered by the other riddle, that every day of our lives is written in God's book before we live even one of them?
Indeed, I believe it can. Through the prophets, God has told us what would happen, from things that would come to pass in the prophets' lifetimes to things that have not yet come to pass.
From the foundation of the world, God knew everything you would do, every choice you would make, every time you would fail, every thought you would think, and they were written in his book.
Isn't that amazing? Every day of your life is already written in God's book! He does not only see every particle of dust in the entire universe all at the same time, he also sees every moment of time from beginning to end. It's almost as though he is a time traveler who has gone into the future and seen what will happen. His knowledge of those events does not cause them to happen. He does not know they will happen because he has chosen to make it so; rather, he knows they will happen simply because they will. He's been there. His vision is not limited by time. God sees it all.
So your yesterdays are written in God's Book. Your time here right now is written in God's Book. What you will do after you leave here today is written in God's Book. Your years to come are written in God's Book. And the condition of your soul at the moment you take your last breath is written in God's Book.
So it makes perfect sense that your name either is or is not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, the book which will be used to determine whether you spend eternity in heaven or in hell.
Is your name written in heaven?
If only we could open those books and see what is to come. Why doesn't God tell us everything that is going to happen? You see, unlike the well-meaning and fictitious time traveler who messes up the future by revealing it to those in the past, God is perfect in wisdom and understanding. He won't destroy us with knowledge. He will tell us what is good for us, not that which will result in evil.
So every day of your life is written in God's book, and your name either is or is not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, from the foundation of the world. And instead of worrying about whether you're in there, just make sure you use your power of choice to choose to accept God's free gift of Salvation, and then to continue walking in it. And if you do, and you take your last breath in that condition, then I can tell you right now, your name most certainly IS written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and has been from the foundation of the world.
So we rejoice in the fact that Jesus has paid for our sins, and that we have accepted that free gift and walk in his righteousness. And we rejoice in the fact that we have made up our minds that no matter what may come, we will continue seeking after God and growing in our relationship with him, drawing closer and closer to God so that he will draw closer and closer to us. And you can know that you know that if you took your last breath before this day is over, you would spend eternity with Jesus, an heir of his Salvation, and a partaker of his everlasting life.
So, what is heaven like? What can we expect for eternity? What could be so incredible that it eclipses our power over all the power of the enemy, including sickness, disease, and demons?
Let's take a small glimpse in Revelation chapter 21, verses 1 through 5...
1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."
Glory be to God! He makes all things new! I don't know about you, but I wouldn't miss that for the world, or for any riches or pleasures in this world.
Let's continue reading, starting with verse nine...
9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.
16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.
24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.
25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).
26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.
27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Is YOUR name written in heaven?
Let's all stand to our feet, and I'd like for the ministry team to come to the front.
If you know you're right with God today, then you have a reason to rejoice! And even if you've strayed away and have not been really walking with the Lord, if you make the decision right now to come back to the Lord, then you have a reason to rejoice as well, for as soon as you act upon that decision, God will meet with you, and he who sits upon the throne and makes all things new, will make all things new inside of YOU!
And if you know or aren't sure that if you died right this moment that your name would NOT be found in the Lamb's Book of Life, you have NOT accepted God's free gift of Salvation and have NOT turned from your sins to follow the True and Living God, then I beg of you to not even consider leaving here today or even letting another moment pass by without using your free will to choose this day who you will serve. May you make the decision today, and say, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"
So whether you are not where you should be with God, or you have not yet given your life to Jesus, or even if you are walking with God but just want to get closer, then get out of your seat and come up to the front right now, and let's seek the Lord while he may be found.
Lord, we choose you right now! We know that you have given each and every one of us the choice to follow after you or to go our own way. And we choose life and not death. We choose the cross of Christ. We choose to lay down our lives so that we can find true life. We choose a relationship with you, instead of a life of compromise with the world.
And right now we choose you together, Lord. We say, with everything that is within us: I accept you, Jesus, as my Savior, and my Lord. Come into my heart Lord Jesus. Forgive me for my sins, and wash them all away. I want to walk with you, and fellowship with you. I want to be made right with God. I want to know that my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. I surrender to you. And I surrender my future to you, all the days of my life. May the remaining days of my life written in your book be days of seeking after you, denying my flesh and walking in your Spirit, of getting back up in your strength any time I fall, of being transformed by your Spirit from glory to glory into the image of Jesus, and of staying faithful and true to you unto the very end.
If you just prayed that with me and meant it, then rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! For your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life! Your name is written in heaven!
*** thanking Jesus for loving us, writing our names... etc ***
If you need to go, you're free to do so, but if you can stay and pray with us, let's all gather at the front and have a time of seeking after the Lord.
In a few minutes we'll meet together in the room to your left for a time of fellowship, and you're all invited to come.
If you need prayer or ministry, or want to give your life to Jesus, instant message someone on the ministry team.