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.
So lesson one today is:
Reads + Hears + Keeps = Blessed by God
Revelation is the key book to understand God, His Plan, and His Word. That is why this book seals up and completes the truth God has sent to us a His creations.
This morning, as we continue our journey through this deep and transformational book, let me again review where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going.
I received two emails while I was away last week, asking for a thumbnail of our journey in Revelation. When we started on Revelation over two years ago in 2011, we saw that this book was about:
Pleasing God as We Head To the End of Days
This final book of the Bible was sent to us by God the Father, through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ as the final explanation on how to please God, to our last days.
The flow of Revelation is simple to see if you note the introduction God gave. He said that this book was divided into three parts. The outline is given in Rev. 1:19.
First, God told John to send to us the: “things you have seen”.
That is the message of Chapter 1 where Jesus Christ is showing Himself in all His glory, as Almighty God the Son.
Jesus is right now on the ground, walking through life with us as His Church, seeking to see us accomplish His will and plan each day. He is watching our every move with His eyes that see everything. He never leaves our side, and is always available to each of us at any moment.
Lesson: The only hope of surviving the end of days is walking with Christ.
Second, God told John to send to us the: “things that are”.
That is the message of Chapters 2 and 3, which are Christ's personal letters to the churches that bear His Name.
As the Owner of the Church, Jesus warns us of the pitfalls, dangers, and difficulties we will face.
As our Coach He explains what makes some team members displeasing their Master, and He warns us what to do, how to avoid these traps that render team members useless to their Savior.
Lesson: We who are in Christ's church have a very specific purpose in life.
We have already journeyed through those first three chapters in our series called: Christ's Last Words to His Church.
Finally, God told John to send to us the: “things which shall be after those things”.
These are Chapters 4-22, which are the description of the End of Days as seen in both Heaven and on Earth.
First, we studied Revelation 4-5 and witnessed the events surrounding The Throne Room of the Universe. This series gave us the details of God explaining worship, redemption, and how things operate in Heaven.
Lesson: God wants our worship and seeks us to focus upon Him in a life of worship.
Now, we are in the midst of the longest portion of Revelation, chapters 6-22. These chapters richly detail the Return of the King. God explains to us how each event on Earth during the Tribulation is carefully orchestrated to return the Universe to its rightful ruler, the Creator & King of All.
Lesson: God has decided ahead of time each event that is to come, and has shown it to us His people.
Now, as we head back to Revelation 6:2 we are again studying the one theme that most rises from all the warnings God has left us about the last days is the word: Deception.
Beware of the Angel of Light, Satan
The Deceiver, the Liar, the One who cannot abide in the Truth is allowed to exert his full powers of deception. God is guarding and preserving all the truth-lovers, the rest of mankind goes with the Devil. That is a thumbnail of the End.
The First Seal is the Global spread of the Lie. Amazingly, this first seal, and its white horseman of deception is an event on God’s timetable, much described in the Scriptures. We ended last time in 2 Thessalonians.
Please turn back there with me and as you do, remember that these twin epistles to the church in the city of Thessalonica, were Paul’s first epistles. Paul taught them more about Christ's end time plans, than anyone except John in Revelation.
First, Truth Gets Abandoned: 2 Th. 2:3
Then, Almighty God Gets Pushed Aside: 2 Th. 2:4-8
Then, Satan Amazes the World: 2 Th. 2:9-10
So, God Sends Strong Delusion on Truth Neglectors: 2 Th. 2:11-12 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Our protection comes as we believe truth about God. Last time we looked at the century old set of doctrinal positions in a book called the Fundamentals, that defined orthodox doctrine for those God calls “lovers” of the truth.
This group of conservative, Bible believing and teaching pastors and professors sat down and declared what were the “foundational doctrines” of the faith. They published their confession in a set of books called the Fundamentals, which contain:
Seven Essential Doctrines
Here is the list of the seven essentials, that were written as a guide to warn us when truth is eroding in Christ's Church.
INSPIRATION: All we know and believe about God is based on His Word, so they affirmed the Inspiration and Reliable Historicity of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
DOCTRINE: God’s Word teaches clear doctrines about Jesus Christ and His Church, so they specifically named the cults who presented false gospels in their day such as the errors of the Jehovah Witnesses, Mormonism, Christian Science, Spiritism, and so on (Titus 1:9).
DEPRAVITY: God's Word declares the reality of sin, so they affirmed that man is not basically good, but born a sinner (Romans 5:12).
SUBSTITUTION: God's Word only presents Biblical salvation as received only by faith in the God-incarnate Christ Jesus who became sin for sinners to save them (2 Corinthians 5:21a).
IMPUTATION: God's Word teaches that salvation can not be earned at any level, and is dispensed by God not by any church and cleric, thus they clearing exposed the errors of Roman Catholicism, and every other religion of human achievement and works righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21b).
CHRISTOLOGY: All doctrinal error starts in some way with an incorrect view of Christ, so they strongly affirmed the Deity, the work, and the personal visible Return of Christ (2 John 1:9-11). Last time we ended here. Note the final essential is:
CREATION: God is revealed from cover-to-cover in His Word as the Creator of the Universe just as described in the Bible, so they exposed the grave errors of Evolutionism and Darwinism.
Colossians 1:15-17(NKJV) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
For just a moment think about the whole Doctrine of Creation and how that impacts the end of days. In other words:
Why Does Biblical Creation Matter?
There is one unifying theme of secularists: our universe is evolutionary, and with enough time, we may be able to achieve limitless levels of scientific advancement.
That means to the evolutionist there is no Creator, so there is no Judge, so there is no need for a Redeemer.
So that is why the Doctrine of Creation (or believing God’s account of Creation written down for us in God's Word instead of mankind’s theories) is so important.
Would it surprise you to know that most evolutionary-steeped Americans are actually open to the discovery of an ET (extra-terrestrial being) type of visitor, advanced far beyond Earth’s technology? According to pollsters, 72 percent of Americans believe that there is life beyond the earth. Think what that really means in light of God's Word.
UFOs would support naturalistic evolution
If there really is something else out there that is powerful and intelligent, humans would be encouraged to believe that this advanced technology could be able to overcome our bondage to death, disease, and so forth.
When people believe in extra-terrestrial intelligence, that would mean that evolution has gone on with other intelligent life forms for many billion years; and somewhere out there, life has ascended higher than here on earth.
Extra Terrestrials would lessen the Incarnation of Jesus
If there really are many all-powerful aliens out there, what does that imply? It means that Jesus is possibly only one of many advanced higher forms of intelligent beings out there somewhere in the Universe. Satan’s lie is slowly shaping these types of reasonings:
What if Jesus did come? What difference does that really make? After all, it may be possible to overcome death and disease because all these beings that can fly around are superior to us, so they have obviously found the answer!
That erroneous thinking would lead to some false, deceptive, Satanic lies such as these conclusions:
• The earth is just an insignificant dot in the universe.
• Man is not the crown of God’s creation.
• We are not in God’s image.
• Christ’s death was a local rather than a cosmic event.
• Sin is just our problem, or not even a problem at all.
• Hope lies in contact with some of these “higher” life forms.
• The Word of God is anachronistic, local, and out of touch with the big picture of the cosmos.
Beware of the Lies of the Deceiver
That is what evolution, science fiction, and UFO-ology teaches! And those lies of Satan are deceiving mankind and thus determining their eternal destiny—separated forever from God in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels.
We need to spread the Truth to the perishing every chance we get!
Hold the truth no matter what is coming down, or going up in your life today: God is in control, trust Him is what God's Word is communicating to us.
The Only Protection from Satan is God’s Signature
When you call upon Christ in repentant faith, God saves you.
Salvation is the greatest work of God in the universe. Some years ago a man in prison studied a Moody correspondence course. He found Christ.
In answer to one of the questions, which gave him an opportunity to express where he stood in relation to his newfound faith, he wrote down: “I am a new man in an old body.” It was a most perceptive remark. For that is what salvation is.
But salvation will go even further than that prisoner realized. One day he will be a new man in a new body. That can be seen as:
The Signature of God in Salvation
I like to call the work of salvation the signature of God—when God writes Himself across our lives. Listen to this summary of what happens to each of us who come by faith to God through Christ:
Regeneration—when God changes my heart: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; … and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26–27).
Conversion—when God changes my life: “… Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Repentance—when God changes my mind: “… Bear fruits worthy of repentance …” (Matthew 3:8). When God transforms our minds we change. When we believe right, we begin to behave correctly.
Adoption—when God changes my family: … You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God … (Romans 8:15–16).
Sanctification—when God changes my behavior: For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us …: “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them …” (Hebrews 10:14–16).
Justification—when God changes my state: … Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). What does it mean to be “justified”? In popular, everyday language, the word can be paraphrased: “just as if I’d never sinned.” It means that God has no record of anything ever having gone wrong in our lives.
Glorification—when God changes my place: “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
Satan’s lies are flooding the world.
Religious deception is fast rising like a flood across our world.
Love the Truth.
I encourage you to write these in your Bible, then believe them, live them, and share them as you act on the reality of God’s signature across your life!