Everything comes with disclaimers. The fine print. The low-toned, rapid-fire voice at the end of the commercial that you somehow know is offering a hurried, but dire warning. Asterisks and double-daggers qualify every statement, so as to evade charges of false advertising. To disclaim is the opposite of claiming. The salesman claims, the legal department disclaims. Offers are made, then qualified, modified, mortified. The sales pitch promotes benefit without borders, then the disclaimer draws a very small map of possibilities.
Disclaimers makes us jaded toward every remarkable promise, suspicious of every offer. In Eden, Satan disclaimed God’s promises and man doubted. Ever since, man has doubted. God offers more than man can imagine. The offer requires only faith, yet man can only doubt. But God gives something else. He gives faith as a gift. God in his mercy, gives us the faith to trust that his offer comes without disclaimers. The great story of redemption draws to a close in Revelation 21 with a vision of all God’s promises kept. Nothing is withheld. There are no caveats, no conditions, no last-minute substitutions – no disclaimers. Join us as we consider Revelation 21:1-8 and consider the offer that seems too good to be true, but really is.
Rock and roll ballads rarely offer helpful counsel for life’s existential angst. But they do put their finger insightfully on the pulse of the angst itself. Creed’s, My Own Prison, is a poignant example. While its theology is askew, the songs’ message is clear. Without God’s grace, men are self-condemned in a prison of their own sinful making. The Bible is clear about our condition apart from God’s grace. Men try to ignore it, deceive themselves about it, and rail against it, but the they cannot escape their own prison.
Judgment is coming. God has not hidden this truth. Throughout the Scriptures the inevitability of God’s judgment is proclaimed with clarity and certainty. The final judgement is never expressed in conditional language. Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Revelation 20:11-15, commonly called the Great White Throne Judgement, and consider what will make the difference between eternal life and death at the final judgement.
Surely no one was surprised by Brexit? Like a young couple crafting a prenup in their first premarital counseling session, Brexit was an inevitable outcome. The tenuous EU marriage between Britain and the Continent could never last. Despite its pretense as a representative democracy, Britain is forever committed to its Crown. But, as Americans, we mistrust any idea of the monarchy. So, it is hard for us to fully appreciate the implications of Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Scripture passages that speak of The Kingdom and of Christ and the saints ruling and reigning resonate only lightly with us.
Yet, the comfort of Revelation 20 depends upon rightly understanding the reigning of the saints. To miss the meaning of this powerful image is to miss some of the richest gospel comfort offered in Scripture. Join us as we examine Revelation 20:4-10 and find simple, yet profound comfort from one of the Scripture’s most enigmatic passages. Listen to “Coronation Day” from Revelation 20:4-10.
Cracking Hitler’s Enigma machine seems child’s play compared to deciphering the symbolism of Revelation 20. The theologies growing out of the events described in Revelation 20 are the most divisive and enigmatic in Christian eschatology, or the study of ‘last things.’ And Christians often use another’s position on the Millennium as litmus tests for orthodoxy or heterodoxy. Though fashionable to ask, “pre-mil, a-mil, or post-mil?” Asking another Christian his position on the millennium is akin to asking how he voted in the last election.
But the enigmata of Revelation 20 is its ultimate irony. The Revelation is not given to obscure, but reveal. Not to distress, but comfort. Not to divide, but to unify. But accessing the comfort of Revelation 20 depends upon rightly understanding three simple, yet profound images: the binding of the devil, the reigning of the saints, and the two deaths and resurrections. Join us as we examine the enigmas in Revelation 20:1-10 and find simple, yet profound comfort.
“Shock and Awe, simply Shock and Awe!” For most, this phrase entered our vernacular from CNN Reporter, Peter Arnett, describing the stunning exhibition of US airpower from his hotel in Baghdad on March 21, 2003. The second Gulf War had begun. Operation Iraqi Freedom was underway. But the coalition bombardment was nothing compared to the ‘Shock and Awe’ described in Revelation 19 as the world’s final battle that pictures the return of Christ in judgement.
Kings and captains, mighty men, men both free and slave, small and great gather for battle. Summoned by the King of Rebels, the ancient Dragon and his Beast and False Prophet, they have come to resist the will of their rightful King, the Lord Jesus Christ. They trust in everything false and swear allegiance to the King of Lies and Murder. They think this will be their moment – and indeed it is. Just not the moment they expected. ‘Shock and awe’ is coming. Join us as we examine Revelation 19:11-21 and the great promise and the great warning of Christ’s return.
Weddings should be joyful affairs. Celebrations of the first order. Whether lavish or simple, no expenditure of joy should be spared. It is a day to gather and celebrate what God said was “very good.” Jesus chose to begin his public ministry, celebrating a wedding at Cana. And at the end of all things, Jesus completes his redemptive work, celebrating the wedding supper of the Lamb.
Revelation 17-19 contrast the Harlot and the Bride. A contrast which emphasizes the distinction between the deadly deceptive charms of the world, pictured as a luxuriant but violent prostitute, and the enduring, life-giving beauty of Christ’s church, pictured as a radiant bride. In a world where Christ promises persecution while conformity to the world promises peace, it is easy to lose sight of this distinction between harlot and bride. But in Revelation 19 the Lord unveils for John, and for us, a picture of The Big Day – the promised wedding supper of the Lamb. Join us this week as we examine Revelation 19 and consider how we are to live expectantly, even in the midst of adversity.
Struggling to make a decision is not necessarily a lack of decisiveness, but more often a function of ‘decision fatigue.’ And for the Christian there is a decision fatigue much more persistent than our covid mitigation strategy. How are we to live in the world, but not be of the world? What is our relationship to culture?
Revelation is a book of unveilings. And in Revelation 18, the Lord unveils the destruction of Babylon, the Harlot, who pictures rebellious, worldly culture. The people of God are commanded to come out of her. And while her lovers mourn her downfall from a distance, those who belong to God give thanks for her destruction. At first glance this seems an ungracious, or even vindictive, portrait of the church. But a deeper examination reveals important insights into the responsibility and the relationship of the church to the world. This week we examine Revelation 18 and consider what this passage says about our calling to be ‘in the world,’ but not ‘of the world.’
The seductive appeal of worldliness to supply meaning, fulfillment and safety, is a deadly ruse. Revelation 17 begins a new division within John’s visions. A division which emphasizes the distinction between the deadly deceptive charms of the world, pictured as a luxuriant but violent prostitute, and the enduring, life-giving beauty of Christ’s church, pictured as a radiant bride.
In a world where Christ promises persecution while conformity to the world promises peace, it is easy to lose sight of this distinction between harlot and bride. But the Lord unveils for John, and for us, a clear revelation of the deadly beast that lies in wait beneath great worldly allure. Join us this week as we examine Revelation 17 and consider the seductive allure of seeking meaning, fulfillment, or safety from the things of this world.
Revelation 16 reminds men of the completeness, the inescapability, the eternality of God’s wrath against unatoned sin. Yet it reveals something even more dreadful. Those hardened against grace, are hardened even more in judgement. As bowls are emptied, men experiencing God’s righteous judgement express no sorrow, no remorse, no repentance. The penitent thief, standing under judgement declared, “do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation, and we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward for our deeds.” But men experiencing the bowls of God’s wrath “cursed the name of God, did not repent and give him glory.” They were hardened. Hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hardened because they saw only a God of wrath and fury, not the God of grace and mercy.
What about you? Has disappointment with life, or perhaps with God himself, hardened you? Can you feel yourself growing more and more this way? Is hardening in your mind, attitude, and relationships metastasizing into your spiritual life as well? Is God only a God of wrath and fury to you, or do you know him as a God of grace and mercy? Join us this week as we examine Revelation 16 and consider its warning against “spiritual cirrhosis.”
Sometimes it is better to miss something than make it. Robert Corrigan of Clam Point, Massachusetts discovered this when he overslept and missed his flight to LA. He arrived at the departure gate just as his plane was pushing back. An hour later, he was still at the airport, waiting for a standby flight, when he saw the news that his flight, United #175, had crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Missing that flight saved his life.
Revelation 15 unfolds the final chapter of the drama of redemption. The saved and sealed sing of the mercy and grace of God, even as a righteous and holy God sets the stage for His wrath to be poured out against a warned world. Scripture says that we are all, by nature, children of wrath. But only through faith in Christ, will we become children of the King and escape the wrath to come. What about you? Are you still a child of wrath? Are seven bowls in your future? Or will you miss out – miss out on unrepentance, on wrath, on judgement, and on eternal death. Some things are better to miss than to make. Join us as we examine Revelation 15:1-8 and consider the great joy of missing out on the righteous and holy judgement of God.