Can You Please Give Me a Wake-Up Call?

What Are The Consequences Of Turning Away From God?

Matt Stokes
Dec 20, 2020    42m
Have you ever found yourself turning away from God? By examining verses from Revelation chapter 3, we learn the consequences of turning away from God; and we are also receiving valuable instructions on what will happen when we repent and turn back to Him. Video recorded at Ocean City, New Jersey.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Matt Stokes: 00:00 Good morning, everyone. Just as we begin today, singing about praising, there's a lot of praise in that song. And every morning that we meet on Mondays for staff, we always talk about the victories that we have together as a staff and as a church. And there's so much to celebrate this week, as far as the fellowship we had last night was wonderful, if you were a part of that, getting ready for the Christmas season.

Matt Stokes: 00:39 And getting ready for the Christmas season on Thursday night, we had a wonderful fellowship here, it was so wonderful that it just felt like it was Christmas Eve. I mean, I hope Christmas Eve is going to be great, but last Thursday was just wonderful. And after Chris Einwechter gave a really powerful exercitation in prayer, and then Matthew gave a really deep devotion, right on the spot, it was just pressed into my heart to just ask if anyone would want to surrender their lives to Christ. And we opened up that moment, and on occasion it does happen where no one stands. And someone wrote me an email this week, and in the email it said, I saw that no one stood on Thursday night. And I don't want you to be discouraged because sometimes there's people out there that want to stand, and they just can't stand, they just don't have the strength to stand. I was one of them, and he went on to tell me his story, and now he's involved in ministry here at Coastal, which is just pretty cool.

Matt Stokes: 01:49 But there's something just as cool as that, which is at the end of the service, as I was standing right here, a man came up and said, I want it to stand. I so wanted to stand, but I just couldn't stand. And you could just see his eyes were just welling up as he was talking about waiting for someone else to stand, but no one else stood, but he wanted to make that decision. And I said, well, we can make that decision right now, and you can surrender your life to Christ. And he said, yeah, I know, I know, but I just, I feel like there's probably, I mean, there has to be there got to be something else I have to do. That's how I feel. I'm like, I know, that's how we all feel, that's how we all feel because it's so hard to believe the simplicity of the gospel, that it's really just putting your faith and just surrendering yourself into the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. And I said to this, man, is there anything that would be hindering you from giving your life to Christ right now? And he said, absolutely not. So we came and we locked arms together, and we prayed for forgiveness, for surrender to Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins, for the acknowledgement of the death and resurrection of Christ. And after we were finished, we had a moment where we just were thankful for what God did, and we talked about transformation, we talked about Jesus taking the journey with you.

Matt Stokes: 03:15 And as he was ready to leave, I said, hey, would you mind if I shared your story with the fellowship? And, you know, you'll remain anonymous. He said, oh no, no, I don't need to remain anonymous. You can share my name, you can share my story, you can tell everybody. And, so he's right here today, and his name is Michael Cardon, I kind of want you guys to celebrate him with me right now. Thank you, Michael. I wanted to give him that opportunity just to be able to stand and be acknowledged and celebrated by all of us about what Jesus Christ is doing in our midst, in ways that we don't even know. So, just sitting with him during worship right now, just hearing him talk about how he really can sense that transformation began to happen in his life. And if you're watching online today, or if you're here in these gatherings this morning, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. And he's looking to do that work that he does, where he brings forgiveness, promises you that home in heaven, and strengthens you for the journey that lies ahead.

Matt Stokes: 04:26 So I encourage you right now, if you'd open your Bibles with me to the Book of Revelation chapter 3. Revelation chapter 3 is where we're going to be. And as you turn there, let me just give you some opening thoughts. There's an expression that we use in American English, it's a blessing, and you've probably heard this blessing before. I've heard it many times as couples are toasted at their wedding, someone will lift a glass and they'll say, may the rest of your days be the best of your days, right? And everyone says here, here, and everyone toast to the couple. Well, that is definitely not the case with this church that we're looking at today called Sardis. This church was on the decline, and they were heading down, their best days were behind them.

Matt Stokes: 05:24 At one point, they were very famous and had a remarkable reputation. In fact, the church in Sardis were the first ones to mint coins, they were the first ones to make a gold and silver alloy where people actually, you know, used for money, they made money. You want to talking about making money, they literally made money. They were famous for their temples, they had huge temples of course to other false gods with columns 60 feet tall and over six feet, it was remarkable. What was most remarkable about Sardis was its location, it was a Citadel. And what that means is that it was a fortress, also called in middle ages, they called them a keep, or they called them a hold, because it was on top of a steep cliff. And then on top of that steep cliff, you actually had the high walls of the city itself, completely surrounded.

Matt Stokes: 06:21 And so if you read the book of Daniel, you're going to see a king named Cyrus of Persia, a very famous King. Matthew Maher will get into Cyrus, probably around Daniel 9, 10, 11, probably 20, 24, sometime around there, he'll get there. And when we do, you'll see this king Cyrus was a great king, and he tried to conquer this region. And when he saw the city of Sardis, he said that it was impenetrable. And he gave a promise to any one of his soldiers that were able to find a way into this fortress, that they would be rich and they would be rewarded. So actually the history recounts in more than one particular place, but then in Hebrews, I believe a man named [inaudible] was the writer, Josephus was another. That there was a soldier from the Persian army, assigned of course by Cyrus, and he continued to steadfastly watch this cliff and watch the Citadel. And he saw a soldier on the top of the wall, carelessly drop his helmet, and the helmet fell down the wall, and then it fell down into the cliff. And as the soldier watched on from a distance, he watched the way the man came down from the wall, and he watched the way the man moved through a passageway on the cliff to actually get the helmet. That night, he took a band of men with him, followed that very same path up the cliff, over the wall, and into the city. He opened the doors, and the great city of Sardis, the impenetrable city of Sardis, was defeated.

Matt Stokes: 07:59 Interestingly enough, it happens again with Antiochus Epiphanes, another great general. Who over time, listen, because here's the point, over time they became so comfortable with the great walls and the great cliffs of Sardis that they let themselves go lax, they got lazy. And I want to talk to you for a moment about spiritual softness, and a lack of discipline, and a lack of dedication, and what happens if we decide, like the people of Sardis, to not keep watch, to not stay on guard, to not stay awake, and to not strengthen the things that belong to us, and that had been given to us. Because that's exactly what happened to them in this particular city.

Matt Stokes: 08:43 So with that being said, we'll look at the Book of Revelation, and we'll begin in chapter three. And I want you to hold those thoughts in your heart, because that history of Sardis, really, in some ways, encapsulates the sad history of this city, and the sad history of this church.

Matt Stokes: 09:09 God bless the reading of your word. Revelation chapter 3 beginning in verse 1, says this, "Write this letter to the angels of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars." Now what's really interesting about this is, is that it's Christ of course is speaking, and he says, I want you to write this letter. And he says to John, and I want you to write this letter to the angel. It's really the messenger, it's really the pastor, the messenger, the pastor of Sardis, and tell him that this is being written by the one who holds the seven stars and has the sevenfold spirit. Okay, what does that mean? Literally, we know this, that the seven stars are the seven messengers, they're the seven pastors of the church. And of course, those pastors were given this message by the Apostle John, in order to then give that to the fellowships over which they were shepherding.

Matt Stokes: 10:18 And he's saying also there's a sevenfold spirit, and if you're familiar with the scriptures, watch carefully, the sevenfold spirit is the Holy Spirit. If you want to write it into your margin, right, Isaiah 11:2. It talks about the Holy Spirit, and it gives seven aspects, seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's going to come upon this one who is the Messiah, and when he comes upon him. He's going to one. Rest upon him, that's one. But also with wisdom, and understanding, and counsel, and might, and knowledge, and fear, and it comes to a number seven, because seven's were very important to John. You had this seven golden lampstands. You have the seven stars, which are the seven messengers. And then you have the sevenfold spirit, which is the Holy Spirit.

Matt Stokes: 11:04 And Jesus says, in my hands, I hold the seven spirits. I hold the fullness of the Holy Spirit, I hold the authority of the Holy Spirit, and I hold the messengers of the churches. This is a very powerful thing to say, because Jesus is establishing his authority over these churches, that the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God is with him in complete authority, as he writes these things. And also these pastors that think that they have the authority, he has authority over them. Have you ever met pastors, or shepherds, or messengers, that maybe enjoy their authority just a little bit too much? Could that possibly have been the case in Sardis?

Matt Stokes: 11:51 And we have to be reminded, and every shepherd needs to know, that they are under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the King of Kings, he is the Lord of Lords, and he is also the Shepherd of Shepherds. and he wants them to know that he has this authority as he writes this letter to them with so much compassion, but also severity. And watch what he says, "I know all the things that you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead." Now notice this, and if you have a pen, I'm so thankful that you're all bringing your Bibles with you today. And you can circle these words, circle that word reputation, because I'd love for you to write this down in your margin, because this is so important. And one of the most paramount things that I want to be able to communicate today, and that's this, a famous reputation is no guarantee for spiritual character. A famous reputation is no guarantee for spiritual character.

Matt Stokes: 13:03 They had a reputation, in other words, listen, if you're watching online, or you're part of the Coastal Community here, you can have a great reputation. In other words, he says, but you're dead. If you went to this church, they would not look like a dead church. They'd be doing thing, they had a reputation, they were out feeding the homeless, they were out in the community, they were doing good things, they were having car washes and bake sales, they were supporting missionaries, they may have had great worship, they may have had great celebrities and famous sports stars that came to their church. They had a great reputation, and yet Jesus writes to them with a broken heart and says, you have a great reputation, but you're dead. You have a reputation for being alive, but you're dead.

Matt Stokes: 14:01 And what I'm saying is this, and this, please, this is also worth writing down. Reputation can be gained by what others think of you, but character is who God knows you are. So there's a huge difference, and I've mentioned it before, between reputation and character. Reputation is what others think of you, but character is who God knows you are. I said this before, there was an old preacher, when he said this, I'll never forget it. He said, inside every one of us, there's three people, there's the person you think you are, there's the person others think you are, and there's the person God knows you are.

Matt Stokes: 14:42 And they had this reputation and thought that things were great because of the things they were doing. And Jesus' heart is breaking because he's saying, actually what you think is alive, is actually dead. And then, so in light of that, in laying this out for them, he then gives them this command. He says, "Wake up!" Wake up. And by the way, this word wake up is a really interesting word, it's a compound word in the Greek, [foreign language] If I had time, I'd try to explain, it's a present imperative. In other words, it means to generate aggressive focus. Isn't that interesting, like generate, create, an aggressive focus within yourselves church, Sardis, you think you have a great reputation, but the truth is is you think you're alive, but the truth is you're dead. So my challenge to you that I speak with a passionate heart is wake up, generate an aggressive focus. In other words, he's not saying wake up the way that a mother would say to her sweet little child lying in the crib. I want you to get a better picture of a general poking, with a staff, one of his soldiers saying, wake up, wake up.

Matt Stokes: 16:06 Throughout the scriptures, there's several calls to wake up. "Wake up, you that sleepest, arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light. It says in Ephesians. Wake up for now, your salvation is nearer than it ever was before Jesus had to tell the disciples, when they fall fell asleep in the garden, right? He had to wake them up and say, be sober, be vigilant, could you not wait with me? Could you not watch with me for one hour? Another passage in the epistle says, "Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary, Satan, prowls about like a roaring lion waiting for whom he may devour." There's the call for the Christian, a Clarion crystal clear call right now, to wake up. What does that look like for you today to become awake? Where in your life might you need to be awake? To the way that you might be neglecting your wife or your children? To the way that you might be destroying yourself through bondage to addiction? To the way that you might be contending with others because of political friction? Where in your life might you need to wake up today and become spiritually sensitive, as Jesus is saying, and generate an aggressive focus?

Matt Stokes: 17:32 "Wake up, he says, and strengthen what little remains, for what is left is almost dead." Wake up and strengthen what still remains in you. There's good news right here, this sounds very strong, it sounds aggressive. And it is, but you've got to understand this, this church, this church was bad, but they were not hopeless. Well, how do you know that? Because 2000 years later, I'm standing here telling you what Jesus had to say to them. Why? Because he still cared for them. It was late, but it wasn't too late. And someone here may need to hear this right now, that Jesus has not given up on you. Why are we given the seven churches in the Revelation? Why are we given the church in Sardis, of all the churches, to whom he could have written? He gives us the church of Sardis because he's trying to communicate something to all of our hearts, and that's this, write it down, please, put it in your margin. Write it somewhere, so you can never forget it, Jesus has not given up on you.

Matt Stokes: 18:50 That being said, he also says this, "I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God." Okay, that's pretty heavy. Your actions do not meet the requirements of my God, now in my Bible, I circled the word actions. And I'll tell you why, because this church was active, like they were doing things. But if you have the King James, it says that they didn't meet the perfection of my God. The word actually in the Greek, perfection, is very similar to the concept of wholeness or fullness. In the translation I'm using, The New Living, he's saying the requirements, all that God required. So even though, now understand this and try to make the application to your life, because even though he's writing to the pastor, the pastor was supposed to, his responsibility was to take this message as the messenger and share it with the entire church. It wasn't just for him, his responsibility was to share this with the church. And he's saying, look, there's action, but the actions in which you're engaging, they're actually not the requirements of what the Almighty God is asking for.

Matt Stokes: 20:03 So like, here's another really important point that I just hope that you would write this down. Working for God doesn't equal being pleasing to God. Working for God does not equal being pleasing to God. Working for God does not equal meeting the requirements of God. Really? Yeah. And I think we talked about this in some sense, when we were going over some of the other churches. Can I talk to you just for a moment about intellectualism and the social gospel? Watch this, over here you may have these people, and are scholars, and students of the word, and they study, and some of them have the level of professorship that they have so much intellect. But they're not doing anything for God, they're just growing in their knowledge, but they're not really growing in their implementation of what it is that they've learned. And so what happens is that they become lazy, intellectual, Christians, as they smoke their pipes with the patches on the backs of their elbows of their jackets, and they say, yes, sanctify the redemption of my confirmation to award my sanctification, blousy blousy, right, and they're not helping anybody. On the other side, you have something called the social gospel, which is on the other side of intellectualism. These people, all they want to do, is do. And again, they're feeding the hungry, they're starting clothes closets, they're collecting money, they're doing can drives. And they've got huge store houses, so that people can come in and get food, and they're not sharing the gospel at all. I know them, I'm not making this stuff up. And if you would see the people come in line and stand for the food and the coats, and receive all that, you would be like that church has a great reputation. Yeah, but they're not sharing the gospel. And Jesus is saying all the work you're doing is not actually fulfilling the requirements of my God, which is to share the truth of Jesus Christ, his shed blood on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, the hope of heaven that comes with his forever forgiveness, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the hope for every believer who's suffering, or has a terminal illness, or sees on the horizon that someday the reality is death for every one of us.

Matt Stokes: 22:40 On that day, there's no can of food that's going to save your life, the warmest coat in the world is not going to keep you from dying. But Jesus said, I'm the resurrection and the life, and the one that believes in me, even though he dies, yet, shall he live. This is the gospel, these are the pieces of truth that we cannot neglect. And that's what Jesus is saying right here. And so you can have a church that's doing all kinds of things. First Corinthians chapter 3, it talks about your ministry. First Corinthians chapter 3, let's say, 12, 13, 14, 15, it talks about building. Building for God, like creating a building and ministry for God. It says, "Some people will build with gold and silver and precious stones, and other people will build with wood, hay, and stubble." And of course, there's a metaphor going on here, and he says, "On the day of judgment, when we stand before Christ, everything is going to go into the fire. Everything you did, the gospel, the can drives, the food and clothes, you loving the unlovable, you touching untouchable in Jesus' name. And some things are going to come out, like we talked about a few weeks ago, remember gold in the smelter, the hotter it is, the purer, it becomes. Some things are going to come out more precious than you ever imagined, you didn't even know how precious they were before God. Remember the parable where they come to Jesus, and they say, Jesus, when did we help you? When do we do that? And he's like, as much as you did it unto the least of them, you did unto me. Like they didn't even know how great it was that they were doing because their hearts were so right. Other people, their works are going to go in, and every can drive they did, and every food drive they did, and every daily bread package they handed out, it's going to come out as ashes and a wasted life. Because it was all about social goodness, and the gospel and the forgiveness of sins and saving souls from hell, was never preached.

Matt Stokes: 24:42 So what does he say to do? Not only wake up, but then second, look what he says in the next verse. He says, "Go back, go back to what you had heard and believed at first, and hold to it firm." Strengthen the things that remain, go back to what you first heard and hold to it firm. Go back to the essence, go back to the essentials of what you always knew. I'm going to say it again, because this is church, and I can't say it enough. Go back to Christ being sinless, and him being the sacrifice, him being the sinless sacrifice, for the forgiveness of sins. So that one day he could die on that cross, and he could make an exchange with us, his sinless life for our sinful life. Because he purchased something with his blood on the cross that we could never purchase for ourselves in our own sinfulness, and that is forgiveness from his Father. And now through just simple faith, simple trust in the sacrifice he provided, we can be forgiven, set free, and have a home in heaven when we repent and turn back to him. And he's saying, I want you to come back, go back and remember what you believed in, hold firm to it.

Matt Stokes: 25:54 First Thessalonians chapter 2, if you want to write it down. First Thessalonians chapter 2:13, it says, "For this reason, when I think about you, I rejoice, and I can't stop ceasing when I think about you." Because here's why, when you receive the word of God, when you heard it from us, you didn't just hear it from us and welcome it like you were hearing words that came from mere men, but you heard it as the truth that was coming from God. And then he says, which effectively works in you who believe. Okay, wow! So when you hear Matthew Maher, Chris Einwechter, Matthew Glancy, myself, Pastor Gene, others who stand on this platform. When you hear it, do you hear the words of mere men? Or do you receive it as if you're really hearing the Word of God and you're allowing it, remember the aggressive focus, you're allowing it to really take root in your soul. As he says here, "You received it as the Word of God, as it effectively worked in you." How many years did you ever go to church and hear the word of God, but it just wasn't effectively working in you. Like that is the sad story of my testimony for many, many years of my life. And I've said this before, and I'll say it again, if you sense any amount of passion or aggression in my language when I share with you, it's not because I'm angry with you. It's just that I've lost time, I've wasted time, I squandered a very precious gift that was given to me, it was called my youth. God gave me a gift called youth, and I wasted it on myself. And the only way that I feel that I could win that back is by winning it in you, challenging you, charging you, encouraging you, comforting you, to live a life that's worthy of the calling to which you've received. To stand for Christ, to walk with Christ, to love through Christ, to go all the way with Christ, to say, I've decided to follow Jesus and there is no turning back. You received the word of God, not like it came from men, but you receive it like it came from God and it effectually works in you.

Matt Stokes: 28:14 He tells them, this is what I need you to do. First, I need you to wake up. Then in the beginning of the next verse, verse 3, he says, "Go back to what you heard and believed at first and hold firm to it." And now look what he says, the third thing is, "Repent and turn to me again." As a pastor, I need to repent every day. There is, yes, there is that moment like there was in Michael's life, just on Thursday. And in my life there is that day, you come to Christ, you repent, you turn from your sin, and you turn to God and that's wonderful. But a repentance is not one and done, the scriptures call us to live a life of daily repentance, where we're constantly turning back to him, constantly turning to him, constantly turning away from the ways of the world, the way that my own flesh speaks to me, the way the darkness pulls me like a black hole, and aggressively turn and focus on my Savior and listen for his still small voice, and listen for his Holy Spirit, and listen for his word to speak to my very soul. I need to repent every day.

Matt Stokes: 29:38 Wake up, strengthen, and repent and turn back to me. Then he gives a very strong word after that, he says, "If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief." Now, when I read that, it draws my mind to one particular piece of the gospel. Where Jesus, by the way, this is Jesus speaking, in some of your Bibles, it's actually in red. Jesus is speaking, there's another place where Jesus speaks about an unexpected thief, and that's the rapture. That's the day where Jesus, in a mystery that I can't understand or explain, will actually come for his church, and he will remove them from the earth before the wrath of God has poured out on the world. And he says, "Beware, because you don't know what day or hour that might be." And he goes on to say that when he comes, he will come like a thief in the night. And in other words, what he's implying is two things. Either one he's coming to this church with judgment, and when he comes to this church with judgment, it's going to be swift.

Matt Stokes: 30:47 By the way, if I have your attention, please don't think that God isn't going to judge the church, because he is. He is? Well, I thought there was no condemnation for those who are in Christ. No, there's no judgment for sin, there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, right? There's no judgment for sin, but for our actions, for our lack of obedience, for our spiritual laxity, for our spiritual laziness, there is judgment. It says in the scriptures that there is judgment, and let judgment begin with the house of the Lord. Like, what do you do with that? There are consequences, and Jesus is saying, there is consequence. So either he's referring to a swift judgment that will come, or he's referring to the fact that there are false believers in Sardis. And if you don't wake up, and you don't strengthen, and you don't repent and turn back to me, then you're going to experience me coming like a thief in the night. I'm going to come swift, and I'm going to come unexpected, and you will be left behind. Whether you believe that it's the swift judgment, or whether you believe that it's the rapture, really doesn't matter which way you want to interpret that. Because the same point is true, and that's this, watch, be watching, be watching. Because the scriptures say in more than one occasion, that the son of man will come in an hour that you least expect.

Matt Stokes: 32:22 Wake up, be strong, and watch. Next, verse four, he says, "Yet there are some in the church of Sardis." I circled that word some, and you can too, and I'll tell you why. “Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil." So in other words, there's only a few faithful here. Now, when we look at the other churches, it looked like there was a lot of faithfulness and encouragement, but there were some people that were bad. There were good people, but there were some people that were bad, and they needed to be rebuked. Sardis is like the other way around, it's like they're mostly bad people, but there are some, there are some here that are good. It's an interesting parallel, or reverse parallel if you will.

Matt Stokes: 33:10 "There are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. All who are victorious will be clothed in white." Wow! So he's saying, look, now you have to understand, white was very symbolic in their days, and so were soiled garments. You couldn't come, even the pagans believed, the lost people who worshiped in false temples, they even believe that you could not come with soiled garments, you had to come with clean garments. And of course, if you think about the metaphor, white garments in ancient times, particularly to these churches that were in the Roman provinces, white garments were very important. White garments represent holiness, white garments represent purity, white garments also represent victory, right? So how many times have we ever seen like ancient depictions of the Olympics, and what did they do? They had these people that are clothed in white that stand in these great places of the champions, and they crown them with royal wreaths, or they give them a gold medal. Right? And what color are they wearing? They're wearing white garments. When you think about the Roman government, and the Roman senators, and the Roman councils, what are they wearing? They're wearing large white robes, beautiful white garments. So you have to understand that the Roman provinces, and the readers of this letter, particularly in Sardis, who had this great reputation for their decadence and for all of their wonderful things they did and their reputation.

Matt Stokes: 34:50 At this moment he's saying, there are some of you, that you haven't soiled your garments with all of these types of things. And you, who are faithful to me, you're obedient to me, he says, those of you who are, you will walk with me in white. "For they are worthy. All who are victorious will be clothed in white." Two things just really stand out to me right here, and I have to touch on them quickly. One is this, one is the white, which is just pretty cool. And the others, this, listen, you will walk with him. It be one thing if Jesus was like Stokes, small, medium, or large? Okay, here you go. No, it says that when I am clothed in white, I will walk with Jesus clothed in white. I mean, if you are a genuine believer in this room, you are an authentic, sincere believer, is there anything that's more passionate in your heart than the thought that someday you will walk with Christ?

Matt Stokes: 35:55 The Bible has very few expressions where it talks about those who walked with God, one is Adam. It says before Adam sinned, and before Adam fell, it says that Adam walked with God in the cool of the day. What must that have been like to walk with God and for God to say, Hey, Adam, put one of those grapes down, and the grapes back then were probably the size of softballs, right? Imagine trying to peel a grape like that. He's like sink your teeth into that, man, this thing's going to be delicious. Like he walked with God in the cool of the day. And then there's Enoch, and it says Enoch, in Genesis it says, Enoch walked with God. And in the King James, it says, Enoch walked with God, and he was not. In other words, the syntax seems to indicate that he had such an intimacy in his walk with God, physical walk with God, that one day he just was no longer on the earth. Right?

Matt Stokes: 36:46 So when I read this, and you imagine what this means, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Shepherd of Shepherds, someday I will walk with him, and I will walk with him in white. Now, is that going to change the way I drive? Is that going to change the way I treat my wife? Is that going to change the way that I over-drink? Is that going to change the way that I use my language in course or foul ways? If I really had a steady meditation and contemplation on the fact that someday I will walk in white with Jesus...

Matt Stokes: 37:21 But it doesn't stop there, look what he says next, "I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine." So it's more than just walking in white, there's this book, and I know it's mysterious, but it's mentioned about five times in the scriptures, it's called the Book of Life. And he's saying, your name will never be taken out of the Book of Life. The Book of Life, I'll give you a quick explanation. The Book of Life was like a city registry, that's what the Romans knew as the Book of Life. When you were born into a city and you became an official citizen, they took a parchment and a pen, and they would write down your name because you are now a citizen of the city of Philippi, or Thyatira, or Thessalonica, and they'd write your name down in the Book of Life. Now, if you were a criminal and they had to kill you, or you died and they were embarrassed, they were embarrassed that you were actually from their city, they would blot your name out of that book. Because they actually didn't want to say that you actually came from community because of the way that you lived.

Matt Stokes: 38:37 Jesus saying, if you wake up, and you repent, and you turn back, and you strengthen, your name will never be blotted out of the book of life, you will walk in white with me. And if I have your attention, let me just tell you the last one, and I'm going to stand before my father, and I am going to acknowledge you by name. And I'm going to say, Dave is mine, Taylor is mine, Michael is mine. What's it going to be like on the day that you walk in white with Jesus, and the Book of Life is opened, and in there is your name. And Jesus says your name, he acknowledges you to his Father, and he says out loud to everyone, Steve is mine. This is the encouragement to which he gives to this church called Sardis, that they might wake up and strengthen and turn back to him. "Anyone who has ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he's saying to the churches."

Matt Stokes: 40:05 So as we close right now together, and we wrap up our time, just remember these things once again. Remember that God is in complete authority, with the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within him, behind him, going before him, and he's also in authority over all the churches and over all the leaders of those churches. Remember to wake up and to strengthen what you do have and to turn to God. Remember it might be late, but it is not too late. Why? Because here it is written for you to know that Jesus has not given up on you, and the longing his heart is that you would walk...This blows me away, the longing in his heart is that you would walk with him in white, that you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your name is written in his book as a citizen of heaven. And to have you stand before him and before his father, and to have him say your name, and then have him say, you are mine. Amen.

Matt Stokes: 41:31 Let's pray together. Father, we just pray for the power of your Word, and the way that we believe that it brings lasting transformation to our lives. We pray, Lord, that we would remember that you're the one that is completely and utterly in control of all that is going on in our lives, no matter how chaotic or confusing it may seem. Teach us, Lord, to remember that there's something vastly more important than our reputation, and that is our spiritual character, and spiritual character comes from biblical values. And biblical values come from us going deep into saturation of your Word, and pulling out what you say is important, and making it more important in our lives than anything else in the world. And then when we live consistent with those values, we turn around one day and we realized that we are people of character. And that you will be able to say that your actions are reflective of the heart of my Father, therefore walk with me, walk with me in white, see your name written in my book, and hear your voice called out in all of heaven in the presence of my Father. Amen.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
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