Hope in the Blood of the Lamb
You moved to Indiana?
Moved to Indiana and got a job sweeping floors and getting yelled at by a hippie. :) (Laughter) I could’ve gone and gotten a job on the level that I had before. But there were two problems. One, I’d burned all my resumes in the barbeque grill. :) Well, I can make new resumes, of course.
The real thing was, I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t get caught up in that fifty hour work-week thing again. Something in my heart said, “I just can’t…” I was dirt poor as a result, and to this day I don’t have a penny in the savings account. I don’t have any money, but God takes care of the birds and the lilies.
And in all this, your wife obviously she went with you too? And she’s part of the church? She went with you doing this?
Yeah, she did and meanwhile I’m having babies and stuff like that too :)
So yeah, it was hard. One story that has riveted itself in my mind happened not long after we had moved to Indianapolis. I went to the grocery store (to the market) to buy food and I got a gallon of milk. I was just getting ready to go to the cashier in the checkout line. There was a box of chocolate donuts—my favorite stuff in the world right there :) I grabbed the box of chocolate donuts, and I realized I didn’t have enough money in the whole world. I’ve got two babies at home and I don’t have enough money in the whole world to buy that box of chocolate donuts. So I put them back and came home with the milk.
And it was like time stopped. It was like I just explored this whole universe in about a flash of a second. You know how a person’s life flashes before their eyes before they die? You know that story—I’m falling off a cliff and my whole life flashes before me? Well, that’s what happened to me with a gallon of milk and a box of chocolate donuts in my hand. My whole life flashed before me like, What is going on? What have I done? What is happening to me?
I had to resolve in that second that there wasn’t anything spiritual about being poor…and I don’t really even recommend it. :) (Laughter)
But if you’re poor because you’re doing the right things, that’s got to be okay. Whether you’re in prison, or whether your children are taken from you by the government, or whether you see your wife have her head cut off right before your eyes. That’s what it says in Hebrews 11, right? They subdued nations. Well, sure they did, but they also were sawed in half. They had their children confiscated and had to live in sheepskins and goatskins and in holes in the ground because they knew there was a better life. There was a heavenly Jerusalem. There was a Kingdom descending. There was something that surpassed anything of this present age.
They refused to go back it says, because they wanted a City whose Builder and Maker was God. They would not go back to the patterns of the world and the kingdom of men. No matter what anybody said to them or what anybody did to them they couldn’t go back. And it wasn’t because they were so brave, but because they were so spoiled with eating manna instead of physical bread and experiencing riches that are in heaven instead of riches from the earth. And they had no taste anymore for the things of the world.
That resolved some things for me at that moment even though it was frightening. And if I think about it long enough I’ll probably cry just sitting here thinking about what that moment was like. And I don’t ever want to forget. I want to remember that I’m resolving everything before God no matter what it costs me and I’m not going to compromise to please men or to save my own flesh.
Who are these people here? Well, they’re here by the Blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony. Everybody’s together on at least one of those two. They are here by the Blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony and they love not their lives even to the point of death (Rev. 12:11). Most people want to say, “Well, I’m here by the Blood of the Lamb and I don’t have to even think about anything else.”
But that’s not what the angel said in Revelation. He said if you’re really here by the Blood of the Lamb then the proof of that is that the Spirit of God lives inside of you. It’s not that you’re macho and strong and brave and courageous, and know your Bible and you’re committed. But it’s because the Spirit of God lives in you and because your whole hope is in the Blood of the Lamb. Then you won’t be able to hold back from the word of the testimony, right? You can’t help but speak of the things you’ve seen and heard—if you’ve ever seen or heard anything that is.
If you’ve never seen or heard anything then you’ve got nothing to say. It’s all just religion. “Let’s go door knocking. Let’s go street preaching.” And then we go back and live in the world and don’t even think about it. Well, that’s just religion. That’s just a program depending on how hyped up your religious organization is. You might do things like that—some do, some don’t. It doesn’t matter really. Because you go over land and sea to make a single convert, but if the real thing isn’t happening inside of you, you make them twice whatever you are, right?
But if you’re really totally in love with Jesus and totally dependent upon the Blood of the Lamb as your only hope of anything, then the Spirit of God lives in you. And if He lives in you, then you can’t help but speak of what you’ve seen and heard. So you’re here by the Blood of the Lamb, by the word of your testimony, and you love not your life to the point of death because your treasure is somewhere else. You’re not afraid. There’s no more fear of death is what the Scriptures say, when you’ve seen Him and known Him. Death, where is your victory? Ha! Where’s your hold? I don’t care about that!
So the second two are the fruit of the first being Real. It’s not like you need three commitment areas in order to be saved. “They’re here by the Blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their life to the point of death. If you do those three things you can be saved and go to heaven, because the angel said that’s what people are like who are in heaven.”
No. It’s not those three things to be saved. It’s the proof of the first and the second two are for free. You can’t help it. Your treasure is somewhere else and it just comes naturally because Jesus lives inside and that’s how He thinks and how He feels. You don’t have to fight it. You just have to release it because it’s already there, if you’re really truly saved by the Blood of the Lamb.
So all of that happened to me in one of those moments with the chocolate donuts in my hand :) All of that stuff just became so clear to me.