Today we celebrate communion, which is the highlight of our month. We have also been studying Revelation. It is amazing that Revelation and the Celebration of Communion have a very big connection. What is also amazing is that the very same big connection can also be found in the Lord’s Prayer. Today may be one of the most amazing connections of the Bible to our every day life.
The Big Connection of The Lord’s Supper & God’s Kingdom
First, please open in your Bibles to Matthew 26:26 where we see Jesus initiating communion as an ongoing reminder of:
Christ’s Death on the Cross for us
Christ’s Burial that forever removed our sins from God’s wrath upon us
Christ’s Resurrection that declares the triumph of God’s plan, God’s Kingdom and of us His children
The Book of the Revelation has always been regarded, by all who have taught it, as unlike any other of the books in the Bible.
As we open to Daniel 7, we continue to listen to God describe the worst human who will ever live.
We first met him as the Beast and the false peacemaking Rider on the White Horse in Revelation 6& 13.
Then we saw him as the One Standing in the Holy Place that Jesus says in Matthew 24 will bring the abomination that causes desolation.
Then we saw Paul’s long description of him as the Man of Sin and the Lawless One in 2 Thessalonians 2.
We went on to 1 John’s description of him as the Antichrist.
One of God’s attributes is His wrath. Last time we saw His future, ultimate, smoldering wrath as He returns to judge the world. That is His cataclysmic wrath as He pours out His fiery indignation. There is another element of God’s wrath and that is what operates all the time. It is called His consequential wrath. Cataclysmic & Consequential, both are forms of God’s wrath against sin and sinners who do not repent.
God’s consequential wrath was built into His creation of the universe. Please turn to Hebrews 11. Our Creator-God who is the All Mighty Maker of the Heavens & the Earth, spoke so much into existence at Creation that scientists have never stopped discovering, for thousands of years, more and more of what He did. Underlying all the vast parts of the Universe are laws that seem to govern everything.
This morning we are examining the Biblical Doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ. This Doctrine is taught in God’s Word across over 1,800 verses, with over 300 of those verses in the New Testament.
The Doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ
God’s Word is immensely prophetic.
When the Bible was written it was made up of approximately 27% prophetic material. Over the thirty-five hundred years since the Bible first began to be written down, many of the prophecies have already come true. But many prophecies are still slumbering, not yet awakened and launched into history by the Hand of God Himself. God watches over His Word to perform everything He has written (Jeremiah 1:12).
We have come this morning to the next doctrine in Revelation 6. We have come to the Day of the Lord & Christ’s Centrality to Everything.
All of human history, all of God’s Word the Bible, and the entire universe in which we live centers upon Jesus Christ, God the Son.
Paul overflowed in wonder at Christ’s glory in Romans 11:36 (NKJV) when he said:
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
This morning we enter a new chapter of the Book of Revelation. As you open with me to Revelation 7, let me explain what lies before us.
If we were doing a one-phrase-summary of each chapter of the Bible, we could summarize the main idea of Revelation 6 as: The Intense Wrath of God Against Sin.
If we did the same for Revelation 7 it would be: The Immense Love of God Towards Sinners. Back to back those seem to be polar opposites. What is amazing is that God designed this incredible contrast.
As we open to Revelation 8 today, we are going to find again that in each chapter there are incredible insights into our Great God. Each of this book’s 404 verses are like tiny windows into understanding a bit more of our All Powerful and Almighty God.
Almost every one of the seven teaching truths or “doctrines” that are presented in this chapter are tied to the same doctrines in the other books of the Bible that God has already taught us. Here is what we see taught in Reveltion 8:
This morning we arrive at the eighth chapter of Revelation. This chapter may hold one of the most impacting truths we have studied so far in this final book of God’s Word. This chapter before us contains the twin truths that explain what has happened to the prayers of every believer and saint of every age of human history. The twins truths are that God illustrates for us:
The Destination & Application of Our Prayers
Each time we pray in Christ’s Name that prayer rises before the Face of God our Father.
In Genesis 6-8, God sent the first ecological disaster of human history in the catastrophic Global Flood of Noah. It was less than 5,000 years ago, when God completely devastated the surface of the entire planet. Through 40 days of rain, plus most likely the fountains of the deep (volcanic eruptions), God drowned or buried every land animal, and every human except the eight in the Ark. That was:
The First Catastrophic Ecological Event
Before we return to Revelation 9, which would be opening to one of the darkest chapters of the Bible, we should ask ourselves why would we even want to study through this chapter? Why do we need to study what God says about Satan, demons, and the bottomless pit? Is that something that believers in the 21st century really need to know?
The answer to all those questions is the same. A resounding YES. The truth is that God has warned us about our Adversary Satan (that by the way is the meaning of the name Satan, “adversary”), and commanded us to on guard against him.
We open to what most Bible commentators over the centuries have called perhaps the most challenging chapter in the Bible, Revelation chapter 9. Before we dive in we need to step back and remember one of the most amazing features of this book: the role of the Gospel in relation to the horrors of the Tribulation.
An Invitation from God
The Bible closes with one of the greatest invitations of all, found in the final chapter, of the last book of the Bible. So, before the horrors of Rev. 9, listen to the offer of endless life from Jesus Christ to all who will listen:
Revelation 22:16-17 (NKJV) “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
One of the reasons God has left us as believers on earth is to resist the Devil and stand against Satan’s plans. God wants us aware that Satan is alive and well on planet Earth, We are to neither ignore nor fear Satan, we are to resist him. That is the truth that God wanted emphasized in the Church, and that is the theme of Revelation 9.
Satan is constantly prowling the world seeking to demote God, and derail God’s work from being accomplished on Earth among people, but we are called to resist and stand against him.
As we open to Revelation 9 this morning we come asking God to meet with us, and speak to us from His Word. That is what the Bible means when it is called the Word of God. So for each of us, for every day of our lives, we are to live not just by eating food, but by also listening from our hearts to these:
Words to Hear from Almighty God
The Bible is the Almighty God of the Universe Who desires to speak to us, and desires that we respond to Him. The Bible was sent to us by God; and God is the Subject of every part of this Book.
One of the more difficult and misunderstood topics of the Bible is the doctrine God’s Word teaches us about Hell. As we open to Matthew 25, consider the Biblical Doctrine of Hell.
There are many opinions, many disputes, and many misunderstandings. As with almost all disputes about the Bible, each can be answered by a look at the actual passages, and not merely by talking about them.
So this morning, we open to the greatest living authority on Hell, who spoke more about it than all the other writers of the Bible combined: His name is Jesus; and if you doubt that there will be an endless, conscious, horribly painful torment of un-forgiven sinners in a literal Hell, then understand that you’re protesting the clear, plain and simple teaching of Jesus Christ, and no one else.
As we open to Isaiah 14 this morning, we are viewing the spiritual realm beyond our physical world. Above all the vast reaches of the cosmos, above all the swirling galaxies, shining stars and circling planets God made some special creatures, fashioned for His own service—the angels.
And in this angelic host of the Almighty God in heaven, above the super-powerful archangels, above the fiery seraphim, and above the mighty cherubim, there was one angel that God chose to be the crown prince of them all.
As we open to Revelation 1:3 this morning, we enter the only book of the Bible that has attached to it a promised blessing from God, for any believer who reads and responds to these words from God.
God Wants to Bless each of His servants this morning
So just opening and following along today with an open and surrendered heart means we each get to experience today the blessings of God. Listen to His promise:
Rev. 1:3 (NKJV) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
As we continue through Revelation, we have come to one of the key doctrines of the Bible, the Doctrine of the wrath of God. The wrath of God is part of the absolute justice of God.
No sin can go unpunished with God’s absolute holiness and justice. So even though there may be little or no evident response from God for most of the sins being poured out by fallen and sinful humans, God’s justice has kept track of every sin ever sinned against the Infinite, All-Knowing God Almighty.
But a moment is coming when the river of humanity’s sins, piling up behind the dam of God’s patience will reach the limit, and the righteous, infinite, just wrath of Almighty God bursts forth.
The Bible is a consistent Book from a changeless God; and every part of God’s Word agrees with every other part.
Looking out at each of you who came to Calvary, eager to hear God’s Word and respond to Him and get blessed this morning, just thrills my heart. All week long I study the Word and minister the word to individuals, but this is the thrill of my week standing to share God’s Word with you, Christ’s body at Calvary.
All around us, the winds of apostasy are blowing stronger each day. As we open to Revelation 6, let me ask you: Are you anchored in the Doctrine of Christ? More and more individuals who claim to be born-again Christians and their churches and denominations are slowly caving in to growing public opinion and societal pressures.
Satan, the god of this world is more at work than ever before. He is older, smarter and has a vast communications system of world media consumption. Our world is slowly self-defining God and His laws instead of honoring His Word. That falling away is called apostasy in the Bible from the compound Greek words: apo (from) and histemi (standing): apostasy – literally, “a leaving, from a previous standing.”
Please open your personal copy of the written down words that came directly from the Throne Room of the Universe, from the Almighty God that inhabits eternity. Those words for us this morning start in Revelation 7:9.
At the end of days, Satan empowers one man to win the world. He offers to satisfy all of mankind’s desires for peace & safety. He becomes Satan’s substitute for Jesus Christ, in the person of the antichrist. Today we are looking at how God describes the launch of this event. But why are we doing so? Because:
Revelation Shows Us: God is in Charge
Today as we open to Matthew 21, we celebrate what is traditionally called Palm Sunday and marks the time when the Real King, Jesus the Christ, was rejected.
We commemorate the day when God sent Jesus into Jerusalem as the promised Messiah and Prince of Peace who would govern the world perfectly. But Jesus was ultimately rejected as King by the people. Jesus wouldn’t give them what they wanted, so they rejected Him. The summary of what happened the week of the Triumphal entry is:
The Rejection of the Real King
God’s Word places Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as central. Everything in the Old Testament points towards the Cross, everything in the New Testament points back to the Cross.
The Centrality of Christ’s Death, Burial & Resurrection
I would invite you to open to that central event of all time and of all that ever matters. That event is recorded in John 20. Open there to see our Creator, who is crucified for His own creature’s sin, and then rises from the dead.
As we open to Revelation 6 and begin to work our way verse-by-verse through this amazing portion of God’s Word, we all need to get our minds around the big picture of what we are doing. First, let me state the obvious but vital foundational truth:
God Wrote the Entire Bible
The Bible is a complete course of study in order to graduate with proficiency in knowing, serving and pleasing our Creator. God is the instructor, His textbook is the Bible, and the Degree we have enrolled in is “Knowing God.” There are 66 courses of study; one for each book of the Bible.
Jesus sat down and shared with us His disciples the facts of earthly life. That’s how I describe the Sermon on the Mount.
The Facts of Earthly Life
Those chapters contained Jesus explaining the basics about salvation, prayer, relational dynamics and earthly treasures. We’ve studied the prayer portion at length, as well as the salvation portion. But the treasure lesson is what we’ll see today. Look at Matthew 6:19-24.
As we open to 2 Peter 3:14-17, we are coming to Peter’s fourth element in how to build an uncluttered, focused life that survives the fires of Revelation 6-19’s Return of the King.
Peter most clearly explains the Day of the Lord’s Second Coming as King, and we need to frame our understanding of Revelation 6-19 through the other Scriptures God has already given to us.
Every day we each make a big choice. Each day we choose which master we will follow. This is not about what we say, because with our mouth most believers would readily say that Christ is our Master.
Each day we point to our Master by our choices, with our time investments and with our motivations that drive our handling of money. Those are the actions that speak louder than our words. Those are the choices that clearly frame who really is the master of our lives.
For the past six weeks we have looked at how Christ’s words about the dangers of living for the temporal treasures of materialism stayed with Peter to the end of his life, even to the point of his last chapter of life, 2 Peter 3. We saw these as:
Peter’s Lessons on: the End of the World, Materialism, Contentment & the Un-Cluttered Life
But, the lessons of Peter’s last chapter are dwarfed by the even more clear and direct words of Christ’s last letter.
We were saved to serve God but Satan wants to distract us from God using the world’s allurements. One of the greatest needs in life is contentment. Contentment comes only by the application of the doctrines of God to my life.
Any lack of contentment signals a deficiency in experiencing God’s truth in my life. Just as prayerfulness reflects how much we need God, so our:
Contentment Reflects How Well We Know God
Last week we began looking at the Return of the King. What a scene of devastation and horror awaits the lost who continued to refuse to repent. We did a Jet Tour through:
God’s Description of the End of Days
Then we ended at 2 Peter 3. On the way back to 2 Peter, stop and look with me at 1 Peter 1. To understand 2 Peter 3, we need some perspective.
Peter is in the midst of great persecution, writing to a group of local churches facing fiery trials. Peter the Apostle has reached the end of his public ministry and, as the most visible of Christ’s followers, is being hunted down by the Emperor Nero. Peter was a big target.
Today we open to the second half of the last chapter of 2 Peter.
Peter’s Last Days
Here Peter is at the end of the road. I can just see him now with his gnarled fisherman’s hands, and the skin of his face and arms still leathery from all his years on boats in the sun, those eyes still piercingly full of zeal.
Peter never lost the wonder of Jesus. He has lived everyday with purpose. Jesus had called out to him as a young businessman and said to “Follow Me,” and Peter had.
Almighty God who sees everything, knows everything, and is infinitely wise has a plan. That plan involves ending the sin, death, evil and rebellion in this world. That plan has been written down and is ours today.
As we start our study of this next section of Revelation, it reminds us that ONLY God knows the future. No person, demon, astrologer, prophet, writer, no one but God KNOWS the future. That is one of the most amazing facets of God’s character. He is never surprised. God always knows what WILL happen; and only He knows that. We need to listen to God.
As we open to Revelation 6:2, I wonder if most of us remember what directly precedes the launch of the Tribulation? The way that Jesus, Paul, John & Daniel all describe the start of the Tribulation is not with disasters, wars, famines, and pestilences. The Tribulation begins, according to the Bible, with global peace, safety, and prosperity.