Revelation is a book of comfort, not discomfort, but “forewarned is forearmed.” Christ has broken the power of the Devil. Satan cannot triumph, but he is carrying out a war of terror. Revelation 12 paints this picture with vivid colors and bold brush strokes. Using a palate from Exodus, Daniel, and Zechariah, the Holy Spirit creates a stunning spiritual view of the persecuted church. Satan tries to destroy both Christ and His Church. But fails at every turn.
God’s word tells us that our journey is marked with “here be dragons!” But that is not the last word. The Bible tells us that, “the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) and that God “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in [Christ].” (Colossians 2:15) Join us this week as we examine Revelation 12:1-18 and consider a call to vigilant, yet victorious life in Christ.
In Revelation 11:15 the persistent prayer of the church is answered. “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
In this answered prayer we are reminded that God delights to answer our prayer. Even the most remarkable request. The vision of the Seventh Trumpet declares that we are not forgotten by our God. Our prayers are not in vain. Therefore, we ought to pray boldly, earnestly, and expectantly. Not vainly or carelessly. Listen to “Thy Kingdom Come” as we examine Revelation 11:15-19 and consider the prayer God delights to answer – that His kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
The gospel is sweet, but first it is sour. The truth sets men free. But first it makes them mad. It exposes their condition before applying the remedy. And to worldly men, this exposure is torment. They will hate the one who dares expose their condition. Sharing the gospel is a deadly dangerous business. But it is a deadly dangerous business that God calls us to take up. What PPE is there for us against the world’s hate for the truth of the gospel?
In Revelation 11, John sees a second vision. A vision of the two witnesses. Witnesses who symbolize boldness and power. Witnesses who faithfully finish their testimony. And witnesses who meet abuse and death for their message. But their suffering is short-lived. Death is not the last word. The God who protected them in life, gives them eternal life and calls them home. And a world so eager to be rid of them, realizes too late the terror of a world without the gospel. Join us this week as we examine Revelation 11:1-14 and consider God’s protection and care for faithful witnesses.
Many of the joys of life depend upon a mixture of extremes — pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, discomfort and comfort. We even see this in the Bible and the gospel. Before we can accept God’s mercy, we must accept that we deserve only His condemnation. The gospel does not make good men better, it saves the unsavable. It is sweet, but first it is sour. The truth sets men free, but first it makes them mad. It wounds, then heals. It tears, then binds up. It is sweet in the mouth and bitter in the stomach.
How willing are you to say hard things to soften hard hearts? God’s Word can be bitter, but it is also sweet. Jesus has the keys to Death and Hades and gives these gospel keys us. But will we use them? Listen as we examine Revelation 10 and consider our calling to share the gospel boldly.
It is easy to read Revelation with satisfaction as the enemies of Christ receive justice from God’s hand. But does the justice of God awaken our sorrow for the lost? All mankind deserves God’s justice and will, indeed, receive it unless they find grace in Christ. Does the horror of this thought ignite a sense of urgency? Those you love, those you serve, those who serve you, who are not sealed through faith in Christ, will fall under these horrific judgements. They will seek for death and not find it. And when it comes, it will not be relief or release, but intensification of pain. But the Lord Jesus has the keys to Death and Hades. And he gives these gospel keys to his church.
Do you have a sense of urgency regarding the lost? Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. As his people, is that not our purpose as well? God has given us this word for comfort, but also to make us uncomfortable with the condition of the lost. Join us this week as we examine Revelation 9 and reflect on our own sense of urgency.
There are things in our lives that just happen, and then there are acts of God. Those are the things that confront us with the deep existential questions and keep us up at night. Does God exist? What kind of God is he? What does he demand or expect of me? Is he pleased or displeased with me? Can I know the answers to any of these questions? If so, how?
In Revelation 8, Jesus opens the final seal and reveals the contents of the scroll. The judgements found there move from common experiences of men to remarkable acts of God. They provoke deeper questions than, “how do I survive.” Yet even in the dramatic judgements of Revelation 8, we see the grace of God shining through the terror of the first four trumpets. Join us this week as we examine Revelation 8 and consider God’s gracious warning to us through his undeniable acts of judgement.
Revelation 6 is a disquieting read. The world and everything in it is coming apart at the seams. Conquest, wanton bloodshed, famine and social injustice, death, intolerance and persecution, and cosmic disintegration are all on the docket. The worlds groans under the weight of the Fall. In a dramatic scene, men flee from the wrath of the Lamb. They would rather be crushed in caves than face God’s justice. In hopelessness they cry out, “who can stand?”
Though uttered in despair, this question is not without an answer. The narrative of God’s unfolding judgement is paused by a remarkable picture of God’s grace. Revelation 7 offers an interlude in the unfolding apocalypse. And gives us a complementary vision of grace. In wrath the Lord remembers mercy. Those who have the seal of the Living God, they will stand. Join us as we examine Revelation 7 and see how Jesus transforms the broken into the unbreakable. Listen to “Unbreakable,” from Revelation 7.
In Revelation 5, this Worthy One comes forward to take a scroll from the hand of God. This scroll is the book of God’s eternal decrees – the unfolding of redemptive history. As Jesus opens the sealed book in Revelation 6, a series of visions remind us that any apparent delays in God’s fulfillment of His redemptive plan for this world are just that – appearances. God is at work. Everything is unfolding just as He intended. The unjust are getting justice. The people of God have not been forsaken. And God is winding down the old heavens and earth to make way for the new. God sees. He cares. He acts. And this is comfort when everything we see seems to say otherwise.
Join us this week as we examine Revelation 6 and find comfort in the reminder that, “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
The message to the Church in Laodicea in Revelation 3 is familiar. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
They were lukewarm, going through the motions, not getting too excited about Jesus, God, or the Bible. No fanatics here. No controversies either. Nothing but moderation. And their lukewarmness made Jesus sick to his stomach. Sickened by their contentment with a “form of godliness” but with no pursuit of its power.
Are you content with your relationship to Christ? Is just enough, good enough for you? Are you hot? Or cold? Or lukewarm? The Lord speaks a hard word. He is “The Amen.” He is the faithful and genuine witness. He has a hard but faithful word for a soft and unfaithful church. Will we hear it? Or will we bow up or turn a deaf ear? Join us this week as we consider Revelation 3:14-21 and consider the diagnosis and the remedy for lukewarm Christianity.
The message to the Church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3 is remarkable. Christ has no word of condemnation, only commendation for this church. His message to them is filled with the imagery of the open door. He is the Lord who holds the keys. He is the one who opens doors which no one can close and closes those which no man can open. Philadelphia was founded as a gateway city — not to defend the Greek cities to the west, but to evangelize peoples of the east with Greek life and culture. And now the Lord has a more important gospel for the Philadelphian Christians to carry.
Doors in the Bible often represent new opportunities for ministry, but they also represent the path from life to death and from loneliness into community. All these things are part of Christ’s call come to and through the door he has opened. Join us this week as we examine the message to the Church in Philadelphia from Revelation 3:7-12 and consider the call to follow Christ through the open door.