How can Christians stand for truth in a hostile anti-God culture? Find out with guests Tommy Nelson and Erwin Lutzer along with hosts Tim Moore and Nathan Jones on the television program, Christ in Prophecy!
Air Date: September 2, 2023
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Tim Moore: Hello! I’m Tim Moore, the Senior Evangelist at Lamb & Lion Ministries and your host on Christ in Prophecy, along with Nathan Jones, the Internet Evangelist at Lamb & Lion.
Today we’re continuing our series of programs featuring excerpts from our 2023 Annual Bible Conference. We’ve already brought you episodes featuring Pastor Robert Jeffress, David Barton, and David Reagan. We have a double feature in store for you today that will bless your socks off!
Nathan Jones: Our Conference theme this year was Let Not Your Heart be Troubled.” Each speaker addressed our current cultural moment from the perspective of Scripture and Bible prophecy. Together, hopefully they offered great encouragement to those who attended in person and watched the livestream.
You can watch each of these presentations in their entirety on our Christ in Prophecy YouTube Channel, along with two different question and answer sessions. At the end of this program, we’ll provide details on how you can also order a complete DVD album of the entire Conference.
Tim Moore: Along with Robert Jeffress, we invited two other beloved pastors to share insights with our audience. Tommy Nelson is the senior pastor of Denton Bible Church. And Erwin Lutzer is the Pastor Emeritus of The Moody Church in Chicago. Both are renowned speakers and authors.
As with all our speakers, we wish we could air their entire presentations. But our 30-minute program makes that impossible. Instead, we intend to whet your appetite for the full-course spiritual meal Tommy and Erwin presented—in hopes that you will determine to watch their messages in full. With that in mind, here now is Tommy Nelson.
Part 1: Presentation by Tommy Nelson
Tommy Nelson: Let me just say that I went to school at Dallas Theological Seminary. And Robert Jeffers went to Dallas Theological Seminary. And Erwin Lutzer went to Dallas Theological Seminary. Now, we didn’t invent Pre-millennialism, but we kind of brought it out of the closet in the early 1900s, about the literal Second Coming of Christ. And so Dallas seminarians do a lot of prophecy conferences. I know that I have. And I tell you what I’ve learned about Prophecy Conferences is that they can get real dark. The assumption of a literal return of Jesus Christ is the assumption that this world is not going to fix this world. And that it’s going to get dark. And the apostasy will come first before the man of lawlessness is revealed. And so teaching about the Second Coming, you preface it about the darkness that is coming around our culture and always will.
And then, of course, you talk about the brightness of the hope of the appearing of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Hope in the appearing. And so prophecy conferences get very dark and they get very bright. But prophecy, one thing I discovered when I attended Dallas Seminary that so many of the Charles Ryrie, and the John Walvoord, and the Howard Hendrick is all of these Lewis Johnsons, they always let it known to us that the Bible was about 40% prophecy when it was written, or the different books were written. And they said, “Remember prophecy is never given as something to merely be interesting about the future, that prophecy is always given for a moral reason that it changes your today, it changes how you live. That’s the purpose of prophecy.”
And so I want to take a text with you in Revelation chapter 22. If you’ve got your Bible, which I hope you do, take your Bible and open it to the very last page of your Bible, that is Revelation chapter 22. And in verse five, I want you to notice what the last chronological words are in the Book of Revelation. It says at the end of verse five, “the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign,” what does your Bible have as the last three words? “Forever and ever.” Now, your Bible began in Genesis chapter one, in the beginning. Your Bible ends in Revelation 22 in verse five, forever. In the beginning. Forever. Or in other words, you complete this, from the Alpha to the Omega. And so from the beginning and the end, He is our God now and forever. And so the Bible ends in forever.
Now, if it had been me, I would have closed the Bible right here, and it would have been a nice, neat package on history, in the beginning, reign Forever. Christ in the middle. The Old Testament: anticipation of Christ. The Gospels: the manifestation of Christ. The Book of Acts: the Proclamation of Christ. The Epistles: the explanation of Christ. The Book of Revelation: the consummation and return of Christ. It’s a nice, easy book about the glory of God as seen in Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world. Amen.
But I would have ended the book at forever. But the Bible doesn’t. In verse seven, and following it has what is called revelation P.S, postscript, and it speaks to the reader. Because by the time you get to Revelation 6 and following you see this world is going to end up in a breakdown. It’s going to end up in fire. All things are reserved for fire and kept for the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly men. It ends in fire. And so the Bible now speaks to the individual that knows he is living on the Titanic. He knows it’s going down.
You’ve heard it said a number of times by a number of speakers that God did not send us to redeem the culture, otherwise, Paul and Christ would have failed miserably. He gave us to call out the elect from the culture. I believe in election; I attended Dallas Seminary and I paid good money to believe in election. And so that is why he has left us here is to call out the elect. God said to Paul, “Do not be afraid there in Corinth, I have many people in this city,” and that is your job is to make the shepherd’s voice.
And so in verse six and following, I just want to show you how you individually are to respond to prophecy. You don’t have to worry about changing your culture, changing the world, but you have to look at you. You can’t even ask about you and your mate. It’s you. This wide book on all of history ends with you. What you’re supposed to do.
I’m going to show you about 13 things. The first one you see there in verse six, “And he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true’; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.” The God of the Old Testament is the God of the Book of Revelation. These words are true. He equates them with the Old Testament text. As a matter of fact, he says they are faithful and true. Who is the fellow in the Bible whose name is faithful and true? Jesus. You ever sing that song? “My Redeemer is Faithful and True,” Psalm 19 about the Word of God is true. God is faithful to it. “And so all of these things that I’m telling you,” Jesus said, “if it were not so, I would have told you.”
We have, as a matter of fact, I think it was, let’s see Plato who said, “As you go through life, you must hold to the best opinions of men, unless you have a more certain word of God.” You and I, in this world gone mad, have an anchor of the soul, steadfast and sure. Amen. We’re okay. When someone comes to me and say, “Can I ask you a question, Pastor? Is what you think about transgender, homosexuality, about divorce, about this and this and this, about evolution?” And I say, “Okay, let me stop you right there. I am a Christian. I am of the Judeo-Christian idea. And therefore, I don’t believe that man in himself can find truth beyond his senses. He cannot find the truth behind material matter unless God speaks. God has to tell him. And so I have an infinite personal God who has spoken and I have a Bible, so I know what God says. So when you’re asking what I think, I’m not going to tell you what I think. I’m going to tell you what God thinks, and what God has said.”
And so we have an anchor of the soul. You might say that all Scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training, so the man of God may be adequate equip for every good work.” I can use you. And so know that you have the preciousness of your Bible. And so as this world goes crazy, I can say to my family, “Let’s join hands around the table and pray to the infinite personal God, the God who is there.” I can say to my church, “Let’s close and let’s pray to the God who is there.” Though craziness is going on outside.
See, that’s why they invented the synagogue, whenever Israel was sent into exile. They were in all of these different cultures, and countries, and they had to come together and all get on the same page that they had a Bible, and they had a God, and they had hope. And so these words are true. I’m not nervous about history. You know why? Because I read ahead, and we win.
Many of you in my church have heard me tell the story of the guy to weight room in the weightlifting place, and he said, “You’re a Christian, you know. Nice guys finish last.” And I said, “Yeah, the bad guys go to hell.”
Part 2: Transition
Tim Moore: Tommy went through the rest of Revelation 22—the last chapter of the Bible containing God’s marching orders and His final message of encouragement. You’ll want to hear the rest of his message!
We had originally planned to hold our Annual Conference at the Denton Bible Church where Tommy is the senior pastor. An anticipated sanctuary renovation forced us to relocate, but I am glad that Tommy and his wonderful congregation were still proactively involved in supporting our Conference. We really appreciate Denton Bible Church.
Nathan Jones: Our next speaker also led a large and vibrant congregation in Chicago, Illinois. Erwin Lutzer is a bold prophetic voice to America, and was spot on in calling us to stand firm as beacons of light in our darkening world.
Part 3: Presentation by Erwin Lutzer
Erwin Lutzer: I’m going to speak to you today on the topic of We Will Not Bow. We will not bow.
Solzhenitsyn in his book “The Gulag,” Solzhenitsyn talks about the fact that in 1937, a deputy gave a speech about Stalin and talked about how great a leader and wonderful man Stalin was. When the speech was over, everyone stood to their feet and clapped. They clapped for 5 minutes, 6 minutes, 7 minutes. He said some people in the back of the hall, they were able to clap less enthusiastically. And you know, with make believe enthusiasm on their faces, they kept clapping and clapping. And he actually says their goose was almost cooked. And then at 11 minutes, finally, the director of a paper factory sat down, and everybody was so relieved, and everybody sat down. That night, the director of the paper factory was arrested, given ten years in prison, and told during his interrogation, “Don’t ever be the first one to stop clapping.”
How does freedom die? Well, Solzhenitsyn would say with thunderous applause. Everybody clap, please. I want to ask you a question today: Is America being sovietized? Victor David Hanson answers that question, he had a rather long article on it. And I think he gave nine or ten reasons, I’m only going to give you two.
The first one is this: that in the Soviet Union, advancement was not dependent upon ability or competition, advancement depended on your loud enthusiasm for the Communist agenda and the Communist ideology. That’s the way you got ahead. It was not ability. Today it used to be that if you were good at chemistry and you had a PhD in chemistry, you could apply for a job in one of our universities. And if you were a Christian, that wouldn’t matter. You could be accepted. But today the question will be asked: Are you comfortable with multiple pronouns? Are you in full agreement with the LGBTQ+ and the plus sign is very important, are you comfortable with that agenda? You’re asked these questions.
I’ve a dentist friend who was a dentist for many years and now he had to take a course in sensitivity training. And he was told that when it comes to the same sex marriage and the homosexual agenda, you must treat them differently. You must side with their agenda or else you will cause them harm. Now, when he was told he could ask a question, he’s the only one who asked a question. And the question that he asked is this. He says, “You know, I don’t expect my Muslim friends to affirm me because I believe in God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and not Islam. I don’t expect my Jewish friends to affirm me because I eat pork. I don’t necessarily expect anyone to affirm me.” And he said, “I don’t expect my atheist friends to think it’s a good thing I believe in God. Why do I have to give deference to the to the LGBTQ community?” And the answer that was typed back to him because this was online, which he sent to me was this, “Because if not, you are doing them harm and there could be legal implications.” In other words, you can’t treat everyone alike. There are those who need special deference.
I could give you one example after another of micro aggressions. And of course, the whole point is simply this: That if you are not aware of this, the question is can you even get a job? As I mentioned during the question and answer period, a man texted me and says, you know, I am a part of a business and now we’ve been asked to sign this, this, this, this, and now I have to sign whether or not I’m comfortable with multiple pronouns.
I might say in passing, and I discuss this in the book, “No Place to Hide,” that if somebody was born Bert and now wants to be called Betty, I think it’s okay if you call him Betty, after all, names aren’t gendered. But you can’t call Bert, she without lying, and your conscience will be violated. So you have to stand for truth wherever God has planted you.
Well, we must hurry on. There’s a second reason why America’s being sovietized, and that is that in the Soviet Union, the Press and the Soviet agenda were one and the same. And the Press basically was there, and it was called Pravda, which means truth. And truth was whatever the government said it was.
And so we live in a culture in which the Press, for the most part, there are exceptions, but for the most part becomes a part of the zeitgeist. That is to say, the spirit of the times and the ideology of the times.
Nathan Jones: Erwin also went on to describe the three convictions we must still hold today—and emphasized God’s guarantee of our eternal victory.
Erwin Lutzer: Now, what are those three convictions that they had that enabled them to withstand the culture? And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to apply it to America. That’s where we’re going.
Number one, they said “That we believe O King in the power of God, the power of God.” They said, “That we believe in the sovereignty of God. We believe O King that our God is able to deliver us.” That’s just basic theology. Everybody knows ultimately that God is in charge. God rules. Tommy made that very clear. And we’ve had other speakers making it very clear in this conference that God rules. Somebody today quoted Psalm 2 “Why did the nations rage and the people imagine vanity. He who sits in the heavens laughs. God holds them in derision.” God is in control. And in the midst of all of this, we always have to remember God is in control.
I’m writing a book entitled “The Eclipse of God: America’s Disastrous Search for a More Inclusive Deity,” and I point out how the moon of secularism is obscuring the light of God. But of course, as you know, an eclipse doesn’t in any way obscure the light of the sun, the sun shines just as brightly, and God is in control. To quote the words attributed to Martin Luther, “Even the devil is God’s devil.”
So the first thing they believed is they said, we believe in the power of God. But secondly, they said, and this becomes more difficult now, we believe in the providence of God. We believe O king, that our God is able to deliver us, but if He doesn’t, if not. If not. But if not, let it be known onto you O king, we will not bow before the image.
When the Allies were over in France, and the German armies were coming at Dunkirk, the commander of the Allied armies texted back to London three words, “But if not.” That’s all he had to do, because in those days London had a Christian consensus, and so people would have known he’s speaking to chapter 3 of Daniel, verse 18, and if they didn’t know, they could have asked. What he was saying is, even if the allies come, even if we are destroyed, just want you to know this, we will not surrender. But if not. The providence of God.
Let me ask you a question: Are you comfortable with the providence of God, the unpredictability of God? God is very difficult to figure out. The older I get, I meditate a lot on God, but there is a tremendous amount of mystery. We believe O God that you’re able to deliver this young mother from cancer because her children need her. Her husband needs her. But if you don’t, we’re going to go on believing you no matter what. God’s ways are so frequently unpredictable.
The 12th chapter of the book of Acts, you discover that Herod brought out James and killed him with a sword, and Peter was to die the next day. That’s what it says. And what’s Peter doing knowing that he’s going to die the next day? That he’s going to get the sword? The Bible says he’s sleeping. Now, I don’t know about you, Tommy may have an answer to that, but the only thing I would think of is this that the reason that Peter was sleeping was he wanted to arrive in Heaven, rested. Would you be sleeping if you knew that you were to be hung the next day? Remember Samuel Johnson’s famous words? Namely that nothing focuses the mind, like the knowledge that one is to be hung. So all of us would be probably not sleeping, but Peter is sleeping. And then an angel comes and taps his side and the prison doors open and all. So here you have James, who’s put to death. And Peter lives. The unpredictability of God. The providence of God. And these men believed it. They said, we think God is going to deliver us, but if he doesn’t, just know this, we will not bow. We don’t have to be delivered in order to be faithful.
And then the third thing they believed in, the third conviction was, of course, the whole business of the providence, I said, the providence of God, the presence of God. And they knew that if they would be cast into the fiery furnace, that God would be with them. Now they did not know that the fourth man was going to walk among them. When they were thrown in, I’m sure that they expected to die. They didn’t know that for sure, but they knew that even if they were consumed by the flames, that God would be with them there in the flames. As it says in Isaiah, “When you walk through the flames, I will be with you.” And they were convinced of promises just like that.
And think of all that they would have missed if they had bowed. They would not have experienced the fourth man. They would not have become the asbestos kids, that no matter how hot the fire was, they would not burn. They would not have had that experience.
Now, here’s what I’d like to do. I’d like to apply this to our situation here in the United States and the culture that we’ve heard so much about.
We don’t have to win in this life in order to win in the life to come. As some of the speakers already emphasize that. We don’t have to take the culture back, though we do push against the culture, as Dr. Jeffress showed us yesterday. But that’s not really the issue. You could lose in this life. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they lost in this life, but they won in the life to come. We believe in eternity. We believe that eternity sets the value of time. And therefore be faithful wherever God has planted you.
Well, there’s another lesson, and that is this: The culture forces us to choose which God will we worship? Which God will we worship? Or to put it a little differently, we may not be able to control the culture, and certainly we can’t, none of us, though we can impact the culture, but we can’t do that. But we can continue to worship God and be faithful to Him wherever He has planted us. What we can do is to look at the long range point of view and believe that God is with His people no matter what.
Part 4: Closing
Tim Moore: I’m very grateful for the insights Tommy Nelson and Erwin Lutzer shared. The hardest part of producing a television program is selecting portions of two 50-minute presentations to share with you in a 30-minute episode.
Nathan Jones: That’s why we urge you to watch the full sermons—by all of our Conference speakers. And you can do so on our Christ in Prophecy YouTube Channel or by ordering our complete 3-DVD Conference album. It has all the presentations as well as two Question and Answer sessions—and can be yours for a gift of only $25, and that includes domestic shipping. Just visit our online store or call the number on the screen.
Tim Moore: We don’t have time today to include the wonderful answers to questions like: Is there hope for revival? How do I protect my family? How do I find a Bible-believing church? And how do I encourage those around me? You’ll just have to watch the entire conference. As we bid you farewell today, we want to give the final word to Tommy Nelson, who speaks to our counter-cultural role as followers of Jesus Christ.
Tommy Nelson: I would say to everybody they need to go read Daniel chapter 1 through about chapter 4, where Daniel set his heart that he would not defile himself with idolatry. He would take their name, alright, Belshazzar. He would take their job, he would take their language, he would do their education. But when it came down to the violation of God that he would not do. And he didn’t get nasty, he just said, Could you please just let me do it God’s way? And you watch me ten days and you see if I’m not the best man. And he became the best man, got three of his buddies in charge, then led Nebuchadnezzar to faith. And so I think that the Bible gives us some of the greatest heroes that are in the position that we’re in right now. The Church flourished under Roman persecution. Under Imperial Rome we didn’t do well because we were the guys who were in charge now.