"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." ~ Romans 1:16

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Final Message pt. 1

Today I am working on the final sermon in the Connect Church series on the book of Revelation.  I am a bit sad, which I find kind of odd since I was very hesitant to start this series in the first place. Revelation is the one book most church goers want to hear preached because they don't understand it and it is the one book most preachers don't want to preach because they don't understand it either.  But I was pleasantly surprised as I began to study and learn the message of Revelation and it very quickly became my favorite book series I have ever preached.  And now I find myself not wanting it to end.

The final verses in Revelation 22 beginning with verse 6 summarize the major themes and the major truths of Revelation in a very direct way.  So this week, here in my blog and then on Sunday morning I will recap these major themes and truths that we have seen in this book.

The first theme and one that I have made a point to mention almost weekly is that the book of Revelation is not intended to promote hopeless speculation about the future.  This is where I was a year ago.  This is what kept me from wanting to preach through this book.  I had no desire to bring out charts and maps and newspaper clippings to try to figure out the who, what and when of the end of the world.  When Revelation was first read by first century Christians they were not trying to figure out the who, what and when's.  They knew they were in the midst of tribulation, they knew they were hated, they new that the end for them was soon.  These first century Christians were people who were struggling in their faith, they were facing temptation to desert, temptations to consider the things of the world as primary, they were facing persecution from the government, friends, family and coworkers.  They were being hit from every direction from the fiery arrows of the enemy.

So, the book of Revelation was never meant to promote hopeless speculation about the future but rather it was written to fuel hopeful obedience in the present.  As you read through chapters 2 and 3, the letters to the seven churches, Jesus is encouraging them to overcome, to conquer the world through the testimony of the Word of God.  You hear Jesus loud and clear spurring them on to be obedient and not to worry about the future, because he had that under control.  When the Bible talks about the future or the end of the world, the purpose is to encourage obedience.  So, let's not worry about the who, what and when's because when they occur the people who are being obedient to God's Word will know what is happening.

Rev 22:6  And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."

Rev 1:3  Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. 

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