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.