“I’ve got a river of life…”

“I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens prison doors. Sets the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!”

What is the river of life? Rev 22:1-2 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

– It is salvation in Christ!

Why is it flowing out of ME? Luke-Acts: the promise that Christ’s disciples will receive the power of the Holy Spirit, that God Himself will dwell in their hearts! Also, like 2 Corinthians 5 – we are the ambassadors of Christ as though Christ were offering the river of life to others through us!

God’s desire is that people from every nation, tribe, and language taste the river of life. God’s desire is for the nations to praise Him! And He accomplishes this through the passionate obedience of His people.

  1. 1. God’s desire is for the nations,
    1. from OT beginnings in command to Adam and Eve through until Revelation 22
      1. In scripture we see the river of the water of life going everywhere!
      2. Sprint through scripture
        1. Gen. 1:28 – Be fruitful! Fill the earth! Expand the garden.
        2. Gen.  3:1  – The fall.
        3. Gen. 12:1-3 – To Abraham “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
        4. Num. 14:21 – God says: “But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord”
        5. Psalm 47 – Princes of the nations gather as God’s people
        6. Psalm 105 – make known his deeds among the peoples
        7. Isa. 11:9 – Isa’s prophecy about Christ: “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
        8. Isa 12:4 – Make known his deed among the peoples
        9. Jer. 16:16-17 – Fishers and hunters to gather God’s people
        10. NT: purpose of Christ: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” Luke 19
        11. NT: Book of Acts = story of church spreading to ALL nations
        12. NT: Paul – all epistles are to world’s churches he planted
        13. Romans 9:17 – God to pharoah: “so my name proclaimed in ALL earth
        14. Matt. 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughoutthe whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
        15. Rev. 5:9-14 – The outcome = Glorious fellowship in praise of the Almighty King!

River illustration: It’s like a powerful river flowing in it’s banks out of the garden, through Abraham, over Mount Sinai as God gives His people the covenant, through the prophets of the Old Testament, until it swells like a flood with the coming of Christ, and then the river hits the cross and explodes into a million rivers flowing not just to the Jews but to every nation on Earth! And the river is still flowing, soaking into the nations, while Satan does EVERYthing he can to build dams and diversions to keep the water of life from reaching the people. But a child would be more likely to stop the tides of the ocean from coming in than before Satan could stop God’s plan to water the nations with the river of life.
1. Focus: Great commission: Matthew 28

  1. a command given with ALL authority
    1. Christ has triumphed over ALL other powers, and His ultimate purpose is “…to seek and to save what was lost…” so “…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
    2. Christ says, “There is no other plan that will succeed besides mine because I have ALL authority, therefore GO and do what I am doing!”
      1. Don’t swim against the stream!
  2. Not a new command: Psalm 96:3, 7, 10

2. and He accomplishes that through the obedient passion of His church

The biggest need: Passionate, desperate, God exalting PRAYER

  1. Revivals sent through prayer
    1. Acts 1 – Spirit comes and Jews from all the world hear the gospel
    2. Acts 13 – Paul and Timothy are sent out with prayer
    3. Haystack prayer meeting – start of modern missions movement. HUGE numbers came to believe in the large universities, and missionaries were sent for the first time.
    4. Christ: “therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:38

Acts 1 Given power through the Spirit for what end?

  1. The same as always: the nations
    1. First working of the Holy Spirit on God’s people = 3000 people are saved from all over the world
  2. The Spirit comes to conform us more and more into the image of God, and as we become more and more like Christ we desire what HE desires. And His desire is that the nations know Christ and glorify God.

See how this ties in to last 2 weeks?

  1. If you love God with everything you are and worship Him as the most glorious Father, you will desire that His fame be spread
  2. If you love others deeply and believe that either they will know Christ and be satisfied for eternity, or won’t know Christ and will be punished for eternity…then you will urgently, desperately desire to tell them about Christ!
  3. be passionately in love with God, with ALL of yourself (plans, goals, emotions, vision)
  4. LOVE others deeply – what greater love can you show that eternal love to let people grasp the promises of Christ? (Paul in Phil. weeping over the enemies of the cross of Christ)

How are we doing so far with His mission?

  • Facts:
    • 1845: International missions was the main reason the SBC was created. Convention was established for this one purpose: to send missionaries to the ends of the earth
      • % goes and stays
        • of what’s given, 65%+ stays in state
        • 30-35% out of state divided btwn sev. places
        • Only 2.5% of what’s given goes to the sending overseas through the IMB
        • 12 billion total given in the SBC, 300 million sent over
          • Sending much! But NOT IN PROPORTION TO OUR BLESSINGS
    • # Unreached nations
      • 16,352 people groups total
        • 6,650 have no access to Christianity
      • 6.7 billion people in the world
        • 2.75 billion no access – 41%
    • % of population outside US and % of $ sent out of US
      • 95% of world’s pop lives outside the USA
      • 97%+ of our money stays IN the USA
  • SO MUCH left to do!
  • Christ will not return until every nation and language and people group have heard the gospel. Matthew 24:14
  • There are 3 responses to the last command of Christ. 3 options if we are to do what God is doing. 3 possible paths for those of us who call ourselves his people: Go, send, or disobey.

·         How can we be obedient:

  • Pray:
    • that the Lord would send workers to the harvest – Luke 10:2
    • that God would bless this church with LOTS of money…so that we can GIVE LOTS of money
    • for missionaries
    • for wisdom and generosity
  • Give (send)
    • obediently
    • joyously
    • generously
  • Go!
    • Spurgeon: “We should not ask, ‘Can I prove I ought to go.’ but ‘Can I prove I ought NOT to go.’”
    • J. Campbell White: “Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within His followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world He came to redeem. Fame, pleasure, and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of His eternal plans.”
  • WHAT IF:
    • This body of believers prayed:
      • that God would send workers to the Harvest
      • about going yourselves (“whoever does not leave Father, mother, etc for me” – would you be willing to do so?)
  • Train, pray for, and support (in PRAYER and with money) whomever God calls from this body
    • Would be DIRECTLY involved in bringing about the Kingdom of God, in introducing people to the glorious promises we’ve talked about, in obeying the last words of Christ Himself

A vision:

–Passionate for GOD

–Passionate for the nations

God’s desire is for the nations, and if we fulfill the greatest commands we will also fulfill this one! Because we will be so deeply in love with God and so steadfastly committed to His glory that we would desire to see ALL people praise Him (this is the Spirit’s desire), and we will love other people so deeply that we would be grieved to the point of weeping (like Paul) over the lostness of the nations.

God’s desire is for the nations. We are His people, and if we are obedient our passions will match His passions!

  • Will you go?
  • Will you send? (privately, corporately)
  • Will you PRAY
  • Or will you disobey and swim upstream against the river of life?

The multitudes desperately need to experience the river of life. May it flow powerfully out of us!


One thought on ““I’ve got a river of life…”

  1. Very well written my friend! I don’t know that I’ve heard the staggering statistics of the SBC giving in missions between the US and nations outside of the US (at least not recently). It seems we have lost focus of the initial intent of the convention – the spreading of the message and love of God to the nations! May God use our generation to redirect the focus to the nations. I will go. I will send. I will pray. I will be obedient and go with the flow of the river.

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