Friday, November 28, 2008
John 4 Getting People To Heaven
Kelly Moore flight attendant for Air Florida. On January 13 1982 crashed into a Bridge spanning the Potomac River. One of the survivors clinging to that raft helped Kelly and the other four into the rescue harness of a hovering helicopter one by one before succumbing to hypothermia and slipping beneath the surface. And so that was how she was rescued the first time, by a stranger she had never met, who was later identified as Arland Williams. Two days later Kelly was rescued again, listen to her words. A couple of days later, when I was moved from intensive care to a regular room, I woke to see a nurse standing over me. She smiled, covering my fingers with her warm, gentle hand, and said, “Little girl, I could get in big trouble for telling you this, but God loves you and he saved you from that plane crash for a reason.” In response to my eager interest, my nurse risked her job to tell me of Jesus’ love for me. As she spoke of how he died for me, I responded by turning my life over to him. For the first time I felt real peace. When I prayed to accept Christ, I asked God to show me how I could know more about him. I knew he would answer me. I don’t know why God saved me from the Potomac that day when others died, or why he answered my desperate prayers for contact with him. But I do know God used compassionate, ordinary people to bring his love to me when I desperately needed it. In his infinite mercy, he rescued me not once, but twice.
We need to realise that there is a literal life and death battle being waged all around us, everyday.
He had to go through Samaria, that is the shortest route from Judea to Samaria”. True enough, but believe it or not that isn’t the route that most Jews took from Judea to Galilee. Why? Because Samaritans inhabited Samaria and because of the cultural, ethnic, religious and political animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans they stayed well and truly out of each other’s ways, even if it meant circling all the way around Samaria via the Jordan River. Even today people avoid going that way between Galilee and Jerusalem. Jesus “had” to take that route.
To Rescue Someone Spiritually We Will Need to Go Where They Are.
During the civil war and the union troops were taking a hiding from the confederates and the retreat had just sounded when this young private jumped up out of the trench ran across no man’s land over the ridge into the rebels trench. He belted a rebel with the butt of his rifle threw him over his shoulder and hightailed it back to his own trench where he dropped the unconscious solider at his commanders feet. “Where did you get him” asked his captain, “Yonder over the ridge” came the reply “and there’s enough of them over there for everyone”.
Jesus hung around with unreligious people enough that he was called a friend of sinners. He wasn’t looking for scalps for self aggrandizement and pride, He genuinely loved people.
2) To Rescue Someone Spiritually We Need To Build a Bridge
He opened a relational door by communicating to her that she mattered to him as a person. And it worked. You can tell that she was shocked that Jesus would even bother asking her for a drink.
There are a lot of these evangelistic turning points in our lives, and we make the decision about whether or not we will walk through the open door or simply continue on the path of our lives. While we are taking a walk around the block we can stop to meet the new neighbour who is washing his car, or we can keep right on walking. We can choose to take a few minutes and get to know the clerk at the dry cleaners, or we can dash home. We can invite a co-worker to lunch or we can eat our meals with Christians.
How many times do we rush past the opportunities to make relational inroads with unbelievers?
Building those relational bridges isn’t very difficult, especially when you know the key: listening to the other person. It’s taking a genuine interest in them and asking them questions, and finding out about their world. It’s expressing authentic curiosity about their situation in life.
When you do that you are bound to find some common interests that you can use to deepen your relationship, and at the same time you are doing what Jesus did that day at the well, you’ll be affirming somebody’s value and dignity just by taking the time to sincerely relate to them.
3) To Rescue Someone Spiritually We Need to Be Able to Lead them to Safety
It is imperative that if we are building a relationship to lead someone to the Lord that we will eventually have to talk about spiritual things. Jesus made a conscious choice to steer the conversation into spiritual waters.
4) To Rescue Someone Spiritually They Will Need to Have Confidence in their Rescuer.
Bottom line people don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fire, if they are going to be rescued they want to make sure that what they are being rescued to is a better option then what they are being rescued from. They want to be sure the cure isn’t worse than the disease.
People will want to see what being rescued looks like and they will need to see that in your life. If what you do and how you live is no different than the rest of the world then what does it matter.
5) Those who have been rescued need to understand the urgency in reaching others.
The Samaritan woman makes her decision so quickly that she leaves behind the precious water jug that she has carried all the way from town, and rushes into town to invite people to come and hear Jesus themselves.
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Luke 11:1 He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”
5 He also said to them: “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ 7 Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Luke 18 He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged: 2 “There was a judge in one town who didn’t fear God or respect man. 3 And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.’ ” 6 Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [to help]them? 8 I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”
In both parables, Jesus is careful to vindicate the character of God and to reveal His true nature and attitude. “If you then, being evil, know how to give gifts to your children, how much more shall your F. who is in heaven give what is good to those who Him!” (Matt 7:11, italics added). God is neither a self. neighbour nor a crooked judge dispensing reluctant justice to a wronged widow simply because his comfort was being disturbed by her persistence.
The lesson is that lukewarmness in prayer, as in everything else, is nauseating to God, and comes a’ empty-handed.
1. You Must Have a Compelling Desire
"The proper way for man to pray," said Deacon Lemuel Keyes;
"The only proper attitude is down upon his knees."
"Nay, I should say the way to pray," said Reverend Doctor Wise,
"Is standing straight with outstretched arms with rapt and upturned eyes."
"Oh, no, no, no," said Elder Snow, "such posture is too proud."
A man should pray with eyes fast-closed and head contritely bowed."
"It seems to me his hands should be austerely clasped in front.
With both thumbs pointing to the ground," said Reverend Doctor Blunt.
"Last year I fell in Hodgkin's well headfirst," said Cyril Brown.
"With both my heels a-stickin' up, my head a-pointing' down;
And I done prayed right then and there; best prayer I ever said,
The prayin'est prayer I ever prayed, a-standin' on my head."
The Lord Jesus had a compelling desire to pray.
He prayed in solitude. If “prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, the Christian’s native air,” it was no less so to his Lord, It was the natural atmosphere of His life. Whenever possible, He sought solitude so that He could commune with His Father, It has been remarked that there are three kinds of solitude—the solitude of time, the solitude of place, and the solitude of spirit. Jesus experienced all of these.
Robert E. Speer notes that one of His two prayers of deepest power was offered before midnight at the Temple gates (John 17), the other just after midnight in Gethsemane (Matt 26:36). He used to spend whole nights in prayer (Luke 6:12), and would rise to pray long before sunrise (Mark 1:35). He also chose secluded places so that He, sometimes with His disciples, could pray undisturbed. The mountains, the desert, a garden were His favourite haunts (Matt 14:13, 23; Mark 6:46; Luke 5:16; 6:12; John 18:2). Even in the midst of crowds He experienced a solitude of spirit. Consider the paradoxical statement of Luke 9:18: “And it came about that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him.” He apparently possessed such powers of concentration and abstraction that He did not allow even the presence of His friends to disturb the solitude of His spirit.
Why need He pray who held by filial right, O’er all the world alike of thought and sense,
The fulness of his Sire’s omnipotence? Why crave in prayer what was his own by might?
Vain is the question,—Christ was man in need, And being man his duty was to pray.
The son of God confess’d the human need, And doubtless ask’d a blessing every day.
Nor ceases yet for sinful man to plead, Nor will, till heaven and earth shall pass away.
How Did The Lord Jesus Pray?
His Father’s glory was His consuming passion. He summarized His life’s work in seven words: “I have glorified thee on the earth” (John 17:4, KJVJ, This was the focus of His prayer life. He secured God’s glory by completing the task entrusted to Him.
Thanksgiving was intermingled with worship and petition. Adoring thankfulness constantly welled up in His heart. Whether He was walking in bright sunlight or in dark shadow, He did not forget thanksgiving.
Confession of sin found no place in His devotional life, as it must in ours. This was because there was never any consciousness of defilement or sense of distance from His Father. On the contrary, He asserted, “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29). No occasion for confession evex arose.
Communion with His Father bulked large in His prayers, whereas petition for personal needs occupied only a minor place. Amid earth’s pollution, Fle pined for the celestial air. His high-priestly prayer recorded in John 17 is an example of communion with God at its highest.
Intercession also held an important place, and included the interests and spiritual advancement of His disciples. His prayer for Peter opens a wonderful line of truth: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you [plural, ‘you all’] like wheat; but I have prayed for you [singular]” (Luke 22:31-32). He prayed for His enemies, even for those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34).
His prayers were invariably answered. “I knew that Thou hearest Me always,” was His testimony (John 11:42). This assurance rested on the fact that He knew
He always prayed in line with the will of God.
From the gospel records it seems clear that of all His excellences of character, it was His prayerfulness that most impressed His apostles.
You Have A Compelling Desire To Pray
2. You Must Have A Continuing Determination
The clear teaching of these two parables is that the Lord delights to answer persevering prayer. But why does God want us to persevere in prayer? What is His purpose?
Dr. W. E. Biederwoif makes the interesting suggestion that importunity is one of the instructors in God’s training school for Christian culture. God does not always grant the answer to prayer at once because the petitioner is not yet in a fit state to receive what he asks. There is something God desires to do in him before He answers the prayer.
There may be some lack of yieldedness, or some failure to master some previous spiritual lesson. So He does not deny the request, He withholds the answer until, through persevering prayer, the end He has view is achieved.
May this not be in part the explanation of some God’s seeming delays? His delays are always delays of love, not of caprice. “Men would pluck their mercies green; God would have them ripe.”
Canon W. Hay Aitken refers to prayer as “an athletic of the soul” that is designed to render our desires more intense by giving them adequate expression, to exercise the will in its highest functions, and to bring us into closer touch with God. It will also test the reality and sincerity of our faith, and save it from being superficial. Importunity rouses the slumbering capacities of the soul and prepares the way for faith.
There may be other reasons why the divine response tarries and importunity is needed. Here are some suggestions.
1. We may be asking without greatly caring about the issue. If we are not in earnest, why should God bestir Himself? We shall find Him when we seek with all our hearts.
Luke 11: 9 “So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
2. We may be asking for selfish reasons, and the discipline of delay is necessary to purge us of this. Selfish motivation is self-defeating in prayer.
Luke 11:11 What father among you, if his sonasks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
He moves to the greatest and most important blessings.
This is what the early church needed to learn to pray about:
Here them in the fires of persecution praying:
The Early Church had a Continuing Determination to pray.
Acts 4:29 says, "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word" (emphasis mine). The word "servants" comes from the Greek word doulos that literally means bondslave. I believe that the reason many of our prayers are not answered is that we have not made that level of commitment to the Lord.
The early church was committed to express His Word (see Acts 4:29 again). Do you live and breathe to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and to obey the Great Commission?
The disciples also prayed to extend His hand (see Acts 4:30). Are you praying, "Lord, these hands are Your hands. All You have to do is say the word and my hands will do whatever You want to do today."
The disciples were committed to exalt His name. Acts 4:30 says, "By stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus" (emphasis mine). When you say, "In Jesus' name. Amen" at the end of your prayer, it is not just a closing phrase. What you are really saying is, "I ask these things in Your authority and for Your glory."
3. We may unconsciously be unwilling to pay the price involved in the answering of our prayers, and our Father desires us to face up to this fact.
4. We may be misinterpreting what God is doing in our lives in answer to our prayers. This was the case with John Newton, the converted slave-trader.
He gives his testimony in verse:
I asked the Lord, that I may grow In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of his salvation know, And seek more earnestly his face.
I hoped that in some favoured hour, At once he’d answer my request;
And by his love’s constraining power, Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, he made me feel The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with his own hand he seemed Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed, Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried, Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
‘Tis in this way,” the Lord replied, “I answer prayer for grace and faith.
“These inward trials I employ, From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy, That thou mayst seek thy all in me.”
God’s dual method with His servant was to reveal to him the inherent evil of his heart so that he would be motivated to claim importunately from God the blessing he was then fitted to receive.
"If to-day he deigns to bless us With a sense of pardon'd sin,
He to-morrow may distress us, Make us feel the plague within,
All to make us Sick of self, and fond of him."
Another possible reason for God’s apparent delays or denial of an answer is it secures our humble dependence on God. If He bestowed our desires as gifts of nature and did not want our solicitations, we would tend to become independent of Him. “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth,” was God’s warning to His people. “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth” (Deut 8:17-18).
Unanswered yet? Nay, do not say unanswered, Perhaps your part is not yet wholly done,
the work began when first your prayer was uttered, And God will finish what He has begun.
Keep incense burning at the shrine of prayer, And glory shall descend sometime, somewhere.
Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered; Her feet are firmly planted on the Rock;
Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted, Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer, And cries, “It shall be done sometime, somewhere.”
3. You May Have A Complete Deliverance
The very point of the parable is that the Lord is not like an unrighteous Judge. He is like a gracious Father.
Luke 18: 6 Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [to help]them? 8 I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice.
Luke 11: 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish?
12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
God says, “Call to me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, NKJV). He is a prayer-hearing God (Psalm 65:2).
When asked the secret of his spiritual power, Charles Spurgeon said: "Knee work! Knee work!"
George Whitefield, who retired punctually at 10 p.m. every night, rose equally promptly at four a.m. in order to pray.
John Wesley spent two hours daily in prayer, and commonly said that "God does nothing but in answer to prayer."
Martin Luther said, "I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer."
William Temple replied to his critics who regarded answered prayer as no more than coincidences, "When I pray, coincidences happen; when I don't, they don't."
Our Lord's disciples' request is probably our most needed prayer: "Lord, teach us to pray.
With thanks to J Oswald Sanders and Adrian Rogers
Saturday, November 22, 2008
What To Do When You Are Afraid
Habakkuk 3: 16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. 17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments
The book of Habakkuk is about God dealing with questions in Habakkuk’s mind. There is the problem of evil in so many of its forms. There is the problem that confronted Habakkuk of the wickedness of Jerusalem.. why would You, God, leave the people of Judah unpunished when their lifestyles are so wicked? And God speaks up.. The Lord is going to bring in the Chaldeans to punish Judah.
God says He will punish Judah for their wickedness and God will punish the Chaldeans too.
Have you ever been there? You cannot understand the way God understands it.
You’ve come to the end of your reasoning and have had to put your trust in a God who is over you.
He had to let God be God. When you have slips of doubt or horrible circumstances and you want to know why? Ask God. As we wait for God to answer us we need to set ourselves for Him to answer us. We need to del with our hearts and our pride. We need to wait upon the Lord.
When God answers we have to adjust to what God says to us.
Chapter 3 is a song.
What is the most difficult experience you have had to weather in your life? What event most wrenched you emotionally?
For some that might be: · the death of a spouse, or of a child, or of a parent;
· for others it might be an act of violence committed against you;
· for others, being ignored, rejected, or put down by someone you love;
· for others, the consequences of a sin you yourself committed.
Think back, now: What were your thoughts toward God at that difficult time in your life? Did you pray? If so, how? With tears? With anger? With a broken and contrite heart?
Today's text - Habakkuk 3:17-19 - contains words of great hope. But we won't understand those verses unless we see the depth of despair that faced the prophet writing them.
Habakkuk 3:16: I heard and my inward parts trembled, At the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, And in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, For the people to arise who will invade us.
One of the things that accompanied the entrance of sin into our world was fear. Having partook of the forbidden fruit, Genesis 3:8 records that Adam and Eve "heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." Up until this time, the voice of God had been a cause of joy and delight, but sin had altered that. The verse continues, "and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God."
When God arrived at His usual meeting place, Adam and Eve were conspicuously absent. Can you picture Adam crouched down behind some bush, his hands clammy, his heart pounding in his chest like a kettle drum, hardly daring to breathe. Then God's voice broke the silence. To Adam it must have sounded like thunder, "Adam, where are you?"
In a halting, quivering voice Adam answers, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid." Sin brought many companions into the world, and one of them was fear: panic, dread, anxiety, each a manifestation of fear.
A young woman was waiting for a bus in a crime-ridden area when a young policeman approached her and asked, "Want me to wait with you?" "That's not necessary," she replied. "I'm not afraid." "Well, I am," he grinned. "Would you mind waiting with me?"
Some very ordinary circumstances in life are frightening.
Getting married. "Am I ready? Am I sure this is the right one? The right time?"
Becoming a parent. "Will I do things right? What will happen if I make a mistake?"
Raising teenagers. "Will they make the right choices? Will my example prove more powerful than the tug of the world? Am I giving them enough freedom? or too much?"
Growing old. "How will I care for myself? "Will I become a burden for others?"
Change. A new job; relocating to a new area.
Other situations are threatening by nature: Disease, Divorce, Disaster, and Death.
Throw into the mix the spiritual dimension (knowing the will of God, facing temptation, being opposed by the devil) and we realize that life can be a succession of experiences which cause our hearts to feel the chilling touch of fear. It's not a sin to be afraid, but it does matter what we do with our fears.
During the Gulf War the Pentagon --- the headquarters for the United States Military establishment --- even stopped pizza deliveries. This was due to their concern over some sort of terrorist attack via a Dominoes delivery man.
Billy Graham once observed, "Man is the only creature on earth whose existence is passed in a state of dread, who is prey to constant fear of one sort or another.
One of the biblical signs of the end-time is: "Men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world." The word "fainting" as used here actually means to "breathe out life, to expire, to faint or swoon away." What a graphic picture of a heart attack!
Proverbs 12:25 (The Amplified Bible) adds, "anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down." That is so graphic! If you're struggling under a load of fear, you actually feel like there is a heavy weight on your body, weak-kneed, "rubber legs." You, thus, cannot function normally.
2 Timothy 1:7 (The Amplified Bible) "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity -- or of cowardice, of craven and clinging fear -- but he has given us a spirit of power and of love and of a calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control."
Central Tanzania, Africa. August 5, 1995
Lined up on their knees were three Southern Baptist missionaries and two of their children.
"Are we going to shoot them all together or one at a time?" the kidnapper asked his two helpers.
He pointed an AK-47 assault rifle at them. The gunman grabbed missionary Sandy Harrington from the line and forced her to kneel five feet away.
She was absolutely terrified, and her fear had been escalating throughout the whole ordeal.
But even then, there was a calmness in the midst of her terror -- a sense of heaven-wardness.
"If they killed me, I'll be with God,' she thought to myself.n But she said to the gunman, "Please don't shoot me."
They all grabbed one another's hands and tensed up, expecting the bullets to hit.
One of them prayed, "Lord, put your angels around us, but if it's time for us to go, then it's time. Do your will." He felt that everything was surrendered to God.
Sandy Harrington felt a similar peace. She remembered the Bible verse in the book of Romans saying nothing could separate them from the love of Christ --not even death."
Her 10-year-old daughter said, "When I saw the gun, I felt scared at first.
But I knew I would go to heaven if I was killed, and that was better than being alive ... so, I didn't care."
Lined up, kneeling, their backs to the gunman, holding hands and praying aloud, the five expected to die.
Then one of the abductors leaned down and asked one of the men a question.
"Are you a pastor?" "Yes, I'm a pastor, a Baptist missionary."
The kidnapper forced them all to take a drugged liquid. When they woke up, their car was gone but they were alive. After the ordeal was over, one of the missionaries said,
"We crossed a line, the five of us, that most people don't cross. I had peace because I knew Jesus Christ and knew that he was my Lord and Savior. I've been someplace in my life that most haven't been, and I'm going to tell them about it. Then I'm going to ask them if they can say the same thing about Jesus that I can say".
THE WORLD PRODUCES FEAR--with its crime, war, Y2K, and hate.
THE FLESH PRODUCES FEAR--with its diseases, sicknesses and bad choices.
THE DEVIL PRODUCES FEAR--with his fiery darts, his demons, and evil suggestions.
But in response to those fear producing agents, the Lord likewise give three things:
THE LORD GIVES POWER! THE LORD GIVES LOVE! THE LORD GIVES SELF-CONTROL!
How can you conquer fear the way Habakkuk conquered it?
You need to Rejoice In God
1. Rejoice In God’s Judgements.
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
No figs.. good I don’t like figs anyway… bit not a whole lot was growing around Jerusalem. They had olives.. they had figs.. and that was about it.
They had some “fields” pretty barren with goats and sheep picking at the occasional blade of grass that they might find. Not a whole lot of anything growing around Jerusalem.
Now.. we are talking about famine! Real famine! A famine that was going to take the lvies of the largest part of the population of Jerusalem.
We are talking about a real problem. We are not just talking economic downturn here. We are talking about starvation. The flocks be cut off from the fold… even the sheep are going to die of starvation. No herds in the stalls. The people are going to have eaten every cow and every calf that was in their stall. There wasn’t going to be any cows left to eat. Not one! This was the vision that Habakkuk saw. Jeremiah saw it too. Nothing! What if I were to tell you that 9/10’s of Newcastle was going to starve to death in a year’s time… Well, we wouldn’t believe it would we?
We live in such a fertile area. There is grass growing every place. The concept of all the cows suddenly gone and real starvation doesn’t seem such a threat to us.
Habakkuk is saying that it was not just a threat, but a reality.
If everything as taken from you, and even life itself, what would you have left? What would you have that would really matter? Habakkuk is saying he’d have the Lord. It didn’t matter what he had left, or what he had lost, the only thing that mattered was that he had the Lord!
2. Rejoice In God’s Wisdom
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
3. Rejoice In God’s Might.
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
Hab 3:5 Before him went pestilence, and plague followed at his heels. 6 He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways.
4. Rejoice in God’s Wrath
Hab 3:8 Was your wrath against the rivers, O LORD? Was your anger against the rivers, or your indignation against the sea, when you rode on your horses, on your chariot of salvation? 9 You stripped the sheath from your bow, calling for many arrows. Selah. You split the earth with rivers. 10 The mountains saw you and writhed; the raging waters swept on; the deep gave forth its voice; it lifted its hands on high. 11 The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear. 12 You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger.
I guess all of this would make us reverence and fear the Lord.
I guess this is a starting point for knowing God.
Psalm 111: 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;all who follow His instructions have good insight. His praise endures forever.
5. Rejoice In God’s Mercy.
18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Hab 3:13 You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah. 14 You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors, who came like a whirlwind to scatter me, rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret. 15 You trampled the sea with your horses, the surging of mighty waters.
1 John 4:8 declares that "Perfect love cast out fear." The Amplified Bible puts this, "There is no fear in love. Dread does not exist; but full-grown, complete-perfect love turns fear our of doors and expels every trace of terror."
Psalms 56:3-4 adds: "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"
Psalm 34:4, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."
While here, let's look at the familiar Romans 8:35-39: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
6. Rejoice In God’s nearness
18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments
Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." 10. "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."
7. Rejoice In God’s Care
19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments
2 Kings 6:14-17, "Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."
But that might be fine while we are winning, but what about when we are losing?
He still promises that we win. Not here, but hereafter!
Fear has been described as: False, Evidence, Appearing, Real.
We need to see that the Lord is real, and eternity is real, and His plans are real.. and everything else isn’t so real. As the Psalmist wrote, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." Psalm 56:3
I asked God to take away my pride, and God said no. He said it was not for Him to take away but for me to give up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole, and God said,
"No, her spirit is already whole. Her body is only temporary."
I asked God to grant me patience, and God said no.
He said that patience is the by-product of tribulation. It isn't granted; it's earned.
I asked God to give me happiness; God said no. He said He gives blessing; happiness is up to me.
I asked God to spare me pain, and God said no.
He said I must grow on my own, but he will prune me in order to make me fruitful.
I asked God if he loved me, and God said yes.
He gave me his only Son who died for me, and I will be inheaven someday because I believe.
I asked God to help me love others as much as he loves me,and God said,
"Ahhhh, finally! Now you have the idea."
Proverbs 3:24-26 adds: ". when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared."
Psa 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
Psa 112:1 Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!
Psalm 112:6-8 cries: "Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes."
Godliness in a man or woman consists of three things:
1. He fears God. Most Christians know that when the Bible tells us to fear God it is not telling us to shake in terror before him. The fear the Bible is talking about is best described as a profound reverence; that is, we are to revere God, or stand in awe of him. On the other hand, we should not dismiss the idea of fear too easily, for in many respects God is truly terrifying. God is holy, majestic, forceful, and frighteningly opposed to everything that is unholy or would seek to diminish his glory. We cannot take God lightly. God cannot be inconsequential to us or weightless in our thinking or acting.
The person who is blessed according to this psalm is, first of all, the person who takes God seriously. Indeed, he or she takes him with full seriousness—as lie starting point of everything, the critical factor in every calculation, and lie end to which everything is moving and to whom we are all accountable.
2. He obeys God. If the great, majestic God of the Bible really is the most important thing to the godly person in every situation, he or she will obey God in every situation. In this text it is not God himself the godly person delights in, though that delight also is important. Minneapolis pastor and writer John Piper has written several books about the godly person’s delight in God. Here the emphasis is on conforming to God’s “commands,” that lie godly woman or man is obedient.
3. He delights in God’s commands. The godly person does not merely do what God says, though obedience is necessary; but he or she also delights in God’s commands and obviously also in obeying them. There is a deliberate ‘ilin of the previous psalm here. Psalm 111:2 spoke of delight in God’s works. In Psalm 112:1 we are told that God’s people also delight in God’s words (commands). Derek Kidner says rightly that “to this man God’s word i’ as fascinating as are his works to the naturalist.”4
We need to examine ourselves by this probing definition of the godly person. We all want and should want to be blessed by God, desiring to be in His good graces and be prospered by him. God wants to bless us too. He enjoys blessing his people, but there are conditions to blessing: We must fear or reverence him, obey him, and delight in his commandments. I’m Linking these thoughts together with the earlier psalm, we understand that we will do these things if we truly and deeply appreciate the greatness of God in his works and to us personally. James Montgomery Boice
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Revelation Bible Studies Revelation 18 The Coming Economic Collapse
“There is coming an economic calamity that will make the great depression of 1929 seem like child’s play.” Adrian Rogers 1995
1. Is Babylon the actual city in Iraq, or symbolic?
All the nations of the world commit adultery with Babylon because she brings them great riches. They become intoxicated with her belief system of global economics.
2. What is the link between dug use, mysticism and demon possession?
3. What does God call His people to do?
4. Why? There are two reasons.
"Come out" is an urgent imperative. "Come out now. Do not delay." When it comes to dealing with a system like this, decisiveness is crucial.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you.18 I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.[
5. This world system is going to get more corrupt until the coming of our Lord. What indicates this?
6. Monarchs, merchants and mariners are watching what occurs. How are they affected?
7. Why are the people crying? What does this say about what they value?
8. Who brings about this economic crash?
To the degree that Babylonian globalism wallows in wealth as a central and value, to that degree will be her torment and sorrow.
9. What reveals the values of our lives?
10. Mark 8:34 Summoning the crowd along with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. 36 For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? 37 What can a man give in exchange for his life?
Monday, November 17, 2008
Got any Praying people here?
Habakkuk 2:20 But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
Habakkuk 3:1A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.
2 O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. 3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 4 And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.
Psalm 63 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
FRANCIS ASBURY: The sun was lowering and the air was like an oven when the stranger rode into town. With every step his horse kicked up little puffs of dust from the dry, powdery street. No one had seen the likes of him before. He was a stranger to these parts. no one knew for sure what to make of him. Leather creaked as he slid out of the saddle. The ground shook as the big man’s boots hit the street. He hitched his horse to the rail, looked around, stepped up on the wooden sidewalk and headed toward the saloon. When his lengthening shadow spilled through the swinging doors a hush fell over the crowd. The bartender stopped pouring. The dealer stopped shuffling. The bargirls stopped shmooching their marks. Even the piano fell silent. Chairs creaked, and necks craned as every eye tried to catch a glimpse of the stranger. "Got any praying people around here?"
Those were the first words that Francis Asbury (an itenerant Methodist preacher) asked when he rode into a new town. "Got any praying people around here?" That’s how the Methodists became the largest and most influential Christian denomination of the 19th and early 20th century. They knew that God’s work prospered when Christians prayed. "...GOT ANY PRAYING PEOPLE AROUND HERE?" Where are the praying people in this place?"
THE LAYMAN'S PRAYER REVIVAL OF THE 1880'S
Throughout American history there have been six major eras of widespread revival. Of these the Layman’s Prayer Revival is the most unique. It began prior to the Civil War, but continued unabated through the war and to the turn of the century. Estimates of conversions are listed between three hundred thousand and one million. Over one hundred thousand alone in the Confederate Army. That, however, is not the most unique feature of this revival.
The first startling feature was the dominance of lay leadership and the absence of the famous itinerant evangelists of previous eras. The second startling feature was that it began with prayer meetings rather than preaching services.
Distress over religious decline led to a stirring among religious leaders in the summer and autumn of 1857. Spontaneously, all over America, noon prayer meetings for businessmen, huge prayer gatherings of clergy, and extensive house-to-house visitation by lay people lead to a nationwide revival that some historians believe preserved us through the Civil War.
Interestingly, across the Atlantic ocean the very same thing ws happening in Northern Ireland. Some young men got together to pray at an old school house.
"This winter of 1857–58 will be remembered as the time when a great revival prevailed. It swept across the land with such power that at the time it was estimated that not less than 50,000 conversions occurred weekly."
Coincidentally, the very month that Jeremiah Lanphier began his prayer meeting in New York, four young Irishmen began a weekly prayer meeting in the village of Connor near Ballymena. This meeting is generally regarded as the origin of the 1859 revival that swept through most of the towns and villages in the north of Ireland and in due course brought 100,000 converts into the churches.
ASPIRATION IN PRAYER
Hab 2:1 will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
Faith vs Pride
Pride and the Pleasure mania
Pride and materialism Pride and false securities,
Pride and self assurance. Pride and self satisfaction.
Saviour Exaltation Psalm 69:3-5
ADORATION IN PRAYER
F. W. Faber caught the sense of the word in these lines:
How wonderful, how beautiful, the sight of Thee must be,
Thine endless wisdom, boundless power, and awful purity.
O how I fear Thee, living God, with deepest, tenderest fears,
And worship Thee with trembling hope, and penitential tears.
“I have known men,” said Thomas Goodwin, “who came to God for nothing else but just to come to Him, they so loved Him. They scorned to soil Him and themselves with any other errand than just purely to be alone with Him in His presence.”2
Worthy of praise from every mouth, of confession from every tongue,
of worship from every creature
Is Thy glorious Name, 0 Father, Son and Holy Ghost;
Who didst create the world in Thy grace and by Thy compassion didst save the world.
To Thy majesty, 0 God, ten thousand times ten thousand
bow down and adore,
Singing and praising without ceasing, and saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of Thy praises; Hosanna in the highest.
INTERCESSION IN PRAYER
From J Oswald Sander s Prayer Power Unlimited
"A young married woman [Mary Binnie, who in her later years was known to the author and whose granddaughter became his wife]. . had been converted in the Great Revival of 1859. [She] was a member of Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh. Although this church had a noble history, it had fallen on evil days. Her heart was deeply burdened at the spiritual state of the church, and as she prayed, she received the clear conviction, from the Spirit of God she believed, that it was His purpose to send revival to the moribund Charlotte Chapel. She gave herself to prayer, and expectantly awaited the answer, little dreaming how many years would elapse before the promised revival came, or what was to be her part in it.
Then tragedy struck. Her husband was suddenly taken from her side, leaving her with three small children, and twins which were born shortly after his death. As she had few financial resources, her mother who lived in Kelso urged her to live with her. This she was loath to do as she felt she must be there when the revival came to the Chapel. At last circumstances compelled her to accept her mother’s invitation, and she took her little family to Kelso, but her intercessions for the revival were as urgent as ever.
At that time Kelso could boast no Baptist Chapel, so she set herself to pray that someone would be moved to build one. One day while walking down the main street of the town she was accosted by a wealthy lady who, in the course of conversation told her that God had laid it on her heart to build a Baptist Chapel in Kelso! The startling announcement did not at all surprise this woman of faith who had implicit confidence in the power of God to answer prayer.3
When the chapel was built, they called a young man recently graduated from the Glasgow Bible Institute, Joseph W. Kemp, Under his vigorous ministry the church prospered, and in due course he married one of the twin daughters of the godly widow.
But what of the promised revival at Charlotte Chapel? Through the intervening years “the importunate widow” had “not staggered at the promise of God through unbelief,” but had persistently pressed her suit at the throne of grace. It takes little imagination to picture her awe when an invitation came to her loved son- in-law to occupy the vacant pulpit of Charlotte Chapel. Was God at last going to answer the prayers of many years? Was He going to send revival, using as His instruments her own daughter and her husband? Then the long test of faith had been abundantly worth-while.
From the moment of the advent of the energetic young pastor, the tide in the affairs of the church turned decisively. The congregation of thirty-five at the welcome meeting quickly began to increase under the persuasiveness of his passionate preaching.
His life-long tendency to overwork began to affect Mr. Kemp’s health and his officers suggested a holiday, but he spent it visiting the Welsh Revival which was then at its height. There he saw scenes enacted before his eyes that filled him with a longing to see a similar movement of the Spirit in his own church.
On returning to Edinburgh, he shared his burden with some members of his church who were gathered in prayer. From that moment the flood-gates of blessing were opened wide. Night after night, week after week the meetings increased in numbers and intensity.4
One who was reporting on the movement wrote:
It is impossible to convey any adequate idea of the prayer passion that characterised those meetings. There was little or no preaching, it being no uncommon experience for the pastor to go to the pulpit on the Lord’s Day and find the congregation so caught in the spirit of prayer as to render preaching out of the question. For a whole year the church prayed on night by night without a single break.
The people poured out their hearts in importunate prayer. I have yet to witness a movement that has produced more permanent results in the lives of men women and children. There were irregularities, no doubt; some commotion, yes. There was that which shot itself through all prescribed forms and shattered all conventionality. But such a movement with all its irregularities is to be preferred far above the dull, dreary, monotonous decorum of many churches. Under these influences, crowds thronged the chapel which, only three years before, maintained a sombre vacuum.5
Writing of the movement, the pastor said that during the first year he had personally dealt with no fewer than one thousand souls who had been brought to God during the prayer meetings. Conversions took place at every meeting.
“At the end of the first year of this sovereign visitation,.. . it seemed as though the tide of spiritual fervour was on the ebb. The pastor made preparation for a course of teaching with a view to consolidating and conserving the wonderful work of the past year. But once again the Spirit of God intervened.”6
At a late prayer meeting, the fire of God fell. There was nothing, humanly speaking, to account for what happened. Quite suddenly upon one and another came an overwhelming sense of the reality and awfulness of His presence and of eternal things. Life, death and eternity seemed suddenly laid bare. Prayer and weeping began, and gained in intensity every moment. One was overwhelmed before the sudden bursting of the bounds. Could it be real? The midnight hour was reached. The hours had passed like minutes.7
The revival fires blazed for a second whole year, during which eight hundred more sought and found the Lord in the chapel. One elder wrote of the prayer meetings,
It has been my privilege to be at some of the wonderful early and late prayer meetings which have
marked feature of the revival. He has attended half nights of prayer and whole nights of prayer some of which will never be forgotten; but in no case has he ever seen anything like what has taken place in the past few weeks.
Here were men and women on their knees, many filled with an intense passionate longing, with strong crying to God; others in bondage yet longing to be free; some melted by love divine, whose eyes with tears o’erflowed. At times the spirit of prayer so increased that it seemed as if all were praying. At another time the soul gave vent in song as it overflowed in joy. The sense of God’s nearness and presence was at times overwhelming."
Chuck Swindoll, in his book Strengthening Your Grip, shares a conversation he had with General Duke about the Apollo 16 mission to the moon. Pastor Chuck asked, “Once you were there [on the moon], weren’t you free to make your own decisions and carry out some of your own experiments . . . you know, sort of do as you pleased—maybe stay a little longer if you liked?” He smiled back, “Sure, Chuck, if we didn’t want to return to earth!”
He then described the intricate plan, the exact and precise instructions, the essential discipline, the instant obedience that was needed right down to the split second. By the way, he said they had landed somewhat “heavy” when they touched down on the moon. He was referring to their fuel supply. They had plenty left. Guess how much. One minute. They landed with sixty seconds of fuel remaining. Talk about being exact!5
During this mission, these astronauts obviously had to abandon their own wishes, knowing that their lives depended on it. It was definitely in their own best interests to obey. They went out on this incredible mission knowing that everything had been planned out to such precise calculations that if there were any error, it could mean their deaths.
Now consider this: We don’t place our lives in the hands of human calculations, but every decision, even from our delegated authorities, is calculated and allowed by our Almighty and infallible God.
The Agony of Prayer
Romans 15:30 Now I implore you, brothers, through the Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to agonize together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf: 31 that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 and that, by God’s will, I may come to you with joy and be refreshed together with you. 33 The God of peace be with all of you. Amen. KJV
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. Col 4:13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you ESV
(CEV) I have seen how much trouble he has gone through for you
Col 4:12 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
RICHARD SIBBES Prayer is a kind of wrestling and contending with God, a striving with him. True prayer is a struggle with God, in which one triumphs through the triumph of God.
PSALM 62:8 Trust in him at all times, 0 people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
LAMENTATIONS 2:19 Arise, cy out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the LORD.
HEBREWS 5:7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
MARTIN LUTHER To pray aright is right earnest work.
JACOB BOEHME For a hundred men who are not afraid of the exertion of labor, there are only a few who take upon themselves the strain of prayer.
EMIL BRUNNER Prayer is the easiest and the hardest of all things; the simplest and the sublimest; the weakest and the most powerful; its results lie outside the range of human possibilities—they are limited only by the omnipotence of God. Few Christians have anything but a vague idea of the power of prayer; fewer still have any experience of that power.
E.M. BOUNDS But this struggle should not be seen as daunting or discouraging. The struggle we experience in prayer is a good thing, for God meets with us in the struggle of prayer.
PSALM 6:6-9 I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, ally ou who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.
P.T. FORSYTH To feed the soul we must toil at prayer. . . . It is the assimilation of a for God’s moral strength.
MARTIN LUTHER Nor is prayer ever heard more abundant/y than in such agony and groanings of a struggling faith.
AUGUSTINE Usually prayer is a question of groaning rather than speaking, tears rather than words. For He sets our tears in His sight, and our groaning is not hidden from Him who made all things by His word and does not ask for words of man.
The Agony of Prayer For Rescue
31 that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea,
JOHN BUNYAN The best prayers have often more groans than words.
CHARLES SPURGEON A groan cometh not from the lips, but from the heart. A groan then is a part of prayer which we owe to the Holy Ghost, and the same is true of all the prayer which wells up from the deep fountains of our inner life. The prophet cried, “. . . I am pained at my vey heart: my heart maketh a noise in me.” This deep groundswell of desire, this tidal motion of the life- floods is caused by the Holy Spirit. His work is never superficial but always deep and inward.
Acts 12: Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. 5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
How many have experienced a miraculous rescue from danger that was life threatening?
70% of the congregation at the Tabernacle put their hands up.
And it was nothing short of miraculous!
The Agony of Prayer For Results
Pleasing the Saints that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
Fullness Of Blessing 32 and that, by God’s will, I may come to you with joy and be refreshed together with you
Moody in the UK.. First preaching assignment.. no fruit. in the evening, much fruit.. the difference : one praying woman.
My home church.. a prayer meeting that saw 80 young people come to know the Lord in 8 weeks.
The Agony of Prayer For Rest
The Peace of God Romans 15:33 The God of peace be with all of you.
Romans 16:19The report of your obedience has reached everyone. Therefore I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise about what is good, yet innocent about what is evil.20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
Phil 4:6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
9 Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Numbers 6:24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
The Perils Of Goats Acts 20:22 And now I am on my way to Jerusalem, bound in my spirit, not knowing what I will encounter there, 23 except that in town after town the Holy Spirit testifies to me that chains and afflictions are waiting for me.
28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has appointed you as • overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 And men from among yourselves will rise up with deviant doctrines to lure the disciples into following them.
Putting on God’s Armor
Prayer Principle: God-Centeredness
Spiritual attacks are realities in the life of a believer who is reaching people for Christ.
When you join God on \mission in a lost world, you are invading spiritual territory held by the devil. He will not be passive. He will fight back.
Victory does not come from fighting the devil as much as it comes from doing God’s will.
Jesus did not react to Satan’s presence but to God’s purposes.
When Jesus mentioned spiritual warfare, He taught us to appeal to the Father to “deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13, NIV), not to try to deliver ourselves.
The goal in prayer is to be preoccupied not with Satan but with our Father.
The Agony of Prayer For Right Direction
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always contending for you in his prayers, so that you can stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills. 13 For I testify about him that he works hard for you, for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis. HCSB
1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.
Luke 22:42 Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”
EPHESIANS 6:18 Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
I TIMOTHY 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.
DIETRICH BONHOEFFER intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and the fellowship must enter every day.
ANDREW MURRAY The thought of our fellowship in the intercession of Jesus reminds us of what He has taught us more than once before, how all these wonderful prayer-promises have as their aim and justification, the glory of God in the manifestation of His kingdom and the salvation of sinners. As long as we on/y or chiefly pray for ourselves, the promises of the last night must remain a sealed book to us. It is to the fruit-bearing branches of the Vine; it is to disciples sent into the world as the Father sent Him, to live for perishing men; it is to His faithful servants and intimate friends who take up the work He leaves behind, who have like their Lord become as the seed-corn, losing its life to multiply it manifold—it is to such that the promises are given. Let us each find out what the work is, and who the souls are entrusted to our special prayers; let us make our intercession for them our life of fellowship with God, and we shall not on!,y find the promises of power in prayer made true to us, but we shall then first begin to realize how our abiding in Christ and His abiding in us make us share in His own joy of blessing and saving men.
JOHN CALVIN Our prayer must not be self-centered. It must arise not only because we feel our own need as a burden which we must lay upon God, but also because we are bound up in love for our fellow men that we feel their need as acutely as our own. To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can
express our love for them.
J.C. RYLE We are all selfish by nature and our selfishness is vey apt to stick to us, even when we are converted. There is a tendency in us to think on!y of our own needs, our own spiritual conflicts, and our own progress in religion, and forget others.
ROBERT E. LEE Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and supreme call for Christians today, I pleading urge our people everywhere to pray. . . . Let there be prayer at sun-up, at noon day, at sundown, at midnight, all through the day. Let us all pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes. Let us pray for our churches. Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word “concern” out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have never known Jesus Christ and redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice.
• As we communicate with God, we recognize, become committed to, and are changed by His truth.
• As we listen to God, we learn to walk in righteousness.
• As we listen to God, we are prepared to go to lost persons with the gospel.
• The better we get to know Him, the more we learn to walk by faith.
• The conversation of prayer helps us understand, appreciate, and desire to share God’s salvation with others.
• The greatest listening tool the believer has is the sword, which is God’s Word.
Paul did not mention the back plate. If we turn our backs to God and run from Him, we have no protection. There is no protection in the kingdom for soldiers who are in retreat.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).
Centre your life on God and keep your focus on the work in front of you,
and He will protect your rear flank.
Focus on Your Relationship with God
Focus on Your Journey of FAITH
Focus on Your FAITH Team
Focus on Your Church
Focus on the Lost
Focus on Your Family
Focus on Your Heavenly Father
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Amillenial folk tend to view this passage as having already happened. They understand that Nero was the antichrist, and Domitian was him resurrected. They view the city of Rome as Babylon here sitting on 7 hills. One of the problems with this view is that the level of God’s wrath is clearly fierce and final against those that dwell on the earth. Such finality has not yet occurred.
There are several figures here that we need to interpret:
The harlot, The beast, The seven hills The ten kings
Clearly this passage describes religion during the last days.
Rev 13 tells us of the antichrist and his use of religion to gain power.
1. Why is false religion called the great harlot?
Babylon is used as a name, not to take us back to the Roman Catholic Church, but beyond that to Genesis 11.
But Rev 17: “Here is the mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. 10 They are also seven kings: five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes, he must remain for a little while. 11 The beast that was and is not, is himself the eighth, yet is of the seven and goes to destruction. 12 The 10 horns you saw are 10 kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.
The RC Knox translation says Jerusalem may be referred to, or Rome!
Seven hilled Rome (referring to Catholicism) appears to be mentioned as the central hub of the one world religion of the antichrist.
The ten horns are quite likely to be associated with the ten toes of Daniel 2:40-45
And Daniel 7:7,8
There are also 7 kings.. probably Julius Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero Titus? Domitian (alive when John wrote) and Antichrist (Rev 13:3 One of his heads appeared to be fatally wounded, but his fatal wound was healed. The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast.)
2. Who are the ten horns?
3. What do the ten horns and the beast do to the harlot?
4. Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only]the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
This passage tells us it is important to make sure we are truly in the Kingdom of God and not mixed up with the ecumenical church.
Daniel 2 tell us that the Lord Jesus Christ establishes His kingdom Suddenly, supernaturally, sovereignly and surely.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
John 14:6 The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Who, in your opinion, is the most outstanding personality of all time? *
Who has affected human life most significantly?
I have posed this question to people of many religions, even atheists and Communists around the world. The answer from all knowledgeable people is always the same: "Jesus of Nazareth."
Consider today's date on your calendar. It gives witness to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived on the earth. B.C. means "Before Christ," and A.D., anno Domini, is the Latin phrase translated "in the year of our Lord."
One writer described Christ's influence in this way: Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the center-piece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched and all the navies that ever were built, and all of the parliaments that ever have sat, and all the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life, Jesus of Nazareth.
During His Ministry, Jesus made many claims about Himself. He said, for example, that He was equal with God the Father, eternal, and the only way to heaven.
Almost everyone who knows anything about Jesus would admit that He had a profound influence on the world. But was He more than just a teacher and leader?
Perhaps you have wondered, Is Christianity really established upon historical facts?
Examining the Evidence
Many cynics and skeptics deny the claims of Christ. I have met people who are militantly antagonistic toward Him, though I must say that they are in the great minority. Some of them say that He is just a myth or that He is a great man and nothing more. They ridicule the Bible and make fun of those who worship Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
One of the best known skeptics of this century was C.S. Lewis, professor at Oxford University. For years, he was an agnostic who denied the deity of Christ. After a long process of searching for answers, he received Christ as his Savior and Lord. Later he wrote many outstanding books advocating belief in Christ as Savior.
In Mere Christianity, Lewis states: A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teaher. He would either be a lunatic on the level of a man who says he's a poached egg -- or else he would be the devil of hell; you must take your choice.
After examining the evidence for the resurrection given by the gospel writers, the late Simon Greenleaf, an authority in jurisprudence at Harvard Law School, concluded, "It was therefore impossible that they [the early Christians] could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact."
Dr. William Lyon Phelps wrote, "It may be said that the historical evidence for the resurrection is stronger than for any other miracle anywhere narrated."
John Singleton Copley, recognized as one of the greatest legal minds in Bristish history, comments, "I know pretty well what evidence is, and I tell you, such evidence as that for the resurrection has never broken down yet."
These evidences satisfied my questions on the validity of the resurrection, and as a result, I invited the living Christ to come into my life more than thirty years ago.
Some years after I made my commitment to Christ as Savior and Lord, just a month ago, I stood in an empty tomb in Jerusalem – the garden tomb in which many believe the body of Jesus of Nazareth was laid the day of His crucifixion. It has been empty for almost 2,000 years.
I had gone to this garden tomb with great excitement. Somehow I felt that there I would meet with my Lord in a unique and special way. I anticipated that He would manifest Himself to me as in no other place, at no other time. Silently, I waited alone. Nothing happened. Then I remembered the words of those angelic beings who spoke to the women on that first Easter morning, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen" (Luke 24:5,6 NASB).
Not only is Jesus the Son of God, He also can do things for us that no one else can do. I want to concentrate on four of these.
First, He is the only One who can pardon man from his sin. Second, He alone can give purpose for life.
Third, He alone can give peace to a troubled heart. Fourth, and finally, only Jesus can give us power to live an abundant life.
Jesus Uniquely Pardons Sin
The Bible tells us that God is holy and man is sinful. Sin creates a great gulf between the two, which man cannot bridge no matter how good he is. The Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23, NASB), and "the wages of sin is death [Eternal Separation from God]" (Romans 6:23, NASB).
But what do we mean by sin? It is not necessarily just a matter of lying, stealing or being immoral. Basically, sin is an attitude. It is going one's own independent way indifferent to God. It is a lack of relationship or fellowship with Him. The Bible clearly defines sin as falling short of God's standard, which is His own perfect righteousness. Sin often manifests itself as self-centeredness, an attitude of active rebellion, or passive indifference to God.
I like to picture your will as a throne in your life. Either you or God is on that throne. If you say, "I am the master of my life; I will do as I please," you qualify as a sinner. If Christ is on that throne, you have accepted Christ's payment for your sin, and He has brought you into a relationship with Him.
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is God's only provision for sin. In the Old Testament, the Israelites brought animals to the priest as sacrifices for their sins. These animals had to be perfect, without spot or blemish. The animal was slain and its blood was sprinkled on the altar by the priest as a temporary covering for the individual's sin.
This sacrifice pictured the coming of God's one special "Lamb," Jesus Christ, whose blood would not just cover man's sins temporarily, but would wash them away forever. God sent His only Son, who was without sin, without spot or blemish, to give His life, to shed His blood upon the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.
The Scriptures say, "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22, NASB).
"God so greatly loved and dearly prized the whole world that He even gave up His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life"--John 3:16, Amplified
God bridges the gulf to man through His Son. He has promised that we can know Him and have fellowship with Him now and for all eternity, through the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the most precious truth in the Word of God.
One of the things that is most offensive about Christianity is found in this text today. John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Everyone wants to say that all religions lead to God, but the truth is, no religion in the world provides for the forgiveness of sin. Apart from the cross of Jesus Christ, all men would be forever engulfed in sin and separated from God. What most religions teach is that if a person's good works outweigh his bad works, he will go to heaven or the equivalent. But if his bad works outweigh his good works, he will go to hell or the equivalent, according to his particular religion. Of course, he does not know until this life is over to which place he will go. What a tragedy! How inadequate is such a religion or philosophy.
Take Buddha out of Buddhism, Mohammed out of Islam, and in like manner, the founders of various other religions out of their religions, and little would be changed. But take Christ out of Christianity and there would be nothing left, for Christianity is not a philosophy or ethic, it is a personal relationship with a living Savior who came to earth to pardon us from sin and give us the assurance of eternal life with God in heaven. He is the way to get you to heaven. No one comes to the Father but by Him!
Jesus Uniquely Gives Purpose to Life
Not only is Jesus of Nazareth the only One who can pardon our sins, but He is the only One who can give purpose to life.
Popular movie star Brad Pitt, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, expressed well the disillusionment that many face today. Pitt was discussing a character (Tyler) who he played in the movie Fight Club:
Pitt: The point is, the question has to be asked: “What track are we on?” Tyler starts out in the movie saying, “Man, I know all these things are supposed to seem important to us – the car, the condo, our versions of success – but if that’s the case, why is the general feeling out there reflecting more impotence and isolation and desperation and loneliness?” If you ask me, I say, “Toss all this, we gotta find something else.” Because all I know is that at this point in time, we are heading for a dead end, a numbing of the soul, a complete atrophy of the spiritual being. And I don’t want that.”
RS: So if we’re heading toward this kind of existential dead end in society, what do you think should happen?
Pitt: Hey, man, I don’t have those answers yet. The emphasis now is on success and personal gain. [Smiles] I’m sitting in it, and I’m telling you, that’s not it.
RS: But, and I’m glad you said it first, people will read your saying that and think…
Pitt: I’m the guy who’s got everything. I know. But I’m telling you, once you get everything, then you’re just left with yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It doesn’t help you sleep any better, and you don’t wake up any better because of it. Now, no one’s going to want to hear that. I understand it. I’m sorry I’m the guy who’s got to say it. But I’m telling you.1
Of course postmodernism did not invent disillusionment; it is the ultimate trademark of any philosophical or religious system that denies the reality of the biblical understanding of the reality of life. In T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men” we find the same struggle,
This is the way the way the world ends
This is the way the way the world ends
This is the way the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
There is something within the nature of man that rejects this type of existence and end. There has to be more to our life than what many experience.
H.G. Wells, famous historian and philosopher, said, at the age of 61, "I have no peace. All life is at the end of the tether."
Pascal, the French physicist and philosopher, wrote:
There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.
Perhaps, in the quiet of your own heart you are saying, "Yes, there is a vacuum; I am not satisfied with my life."
There are great benefits to be derived from being where God wants you to be and doing what He wants you to do.
The Bible says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord"(Psalm 37:23, NKJ). And "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose"(Romans 8:28). None of us will be truly fulfilled until we invite Christ to show us the very purpose for which He created us. No one else who ever lived can do this - no man, no religion, no philosophy - only Jesus of Nazareth who is God in the flesh.
He is the Truth. The truth about life’s purpose, life’s principles and life’s power.
Jesus Uniquely Gives Peace
Jesus of Nazareth, the Prince of Peace, is the only One who can give us unshakable peace in a world of turmoil. As someone said, "There will never be peace in the individual heart or at the peace tables of the world until the Prince of Peace reigns supreme in the hearts of men." Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid"(John 14:27). He also said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"(Matthew 11:28).
Everyone experiences difficulties. The Christian is not exempt. Becoming a Christian does not mean that we will suddenly be ushered into a utopian situation, but rather that we have One with us who said, "Lo, I am with you all the days - perpetually, uniformly and on every occasion - to the (very) close and consummation of the age. I will never leave you, nor forsake you. My peace I give you"(Matthew 28:20, Amplified).
What kind of peace does He give those who trust in Him? It is a quiet confidence that, since our sovereign, loving, all-powerful God is in control, we have nothing to fear. Jesus gives us peace with God through the forgiveness of sin. He provides peace of mind through an unhindered relationship with Him. He shows us how to have peace with man by teaching us how to love others. When He is in control, no situation, heartache or sorrow can ever disturb that peace.
Jesus Uniquely Gives Power for Living
Pardon, purpose, and peace are not all that He can give. Jesus of Nazareth is the only one who can give you power to live a new life. He is the Life.
Frequently men and women say, "I would like to become a Christian, but if I do, I am sure that I will never be able to live the life. You don't know the mistakes that I have made, the resentments that I have, my tendencies to sin, my immorality, heavy drinking, drug addiciton, cruel tongue and many, many other problems. I do not believe that I could live the Christian life."
But, as they have received Christ into their lives, these same people have discovered that the Christian life is a supernatural one and that Jesus literally changes them -- their attitudes, their actions, and their desires. When we trust in Him, Jesus Christ literally comes to live within us and lives His life in and through us. Therefore, it is no longer what we do through our own self-effort, but what He does supernaturally, because He is the one who provides the power, and we are merely the instruments through which He releases that power.
The Secret is Surrender
Perhaps you are saying, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died for my sins. Am I not a Christian?" Not if you have refused to yield your will to Him. Or you may say, "I heard a wonderful sermon, my emotions were stirred and I had a great emotional experience. I even responded to the invitation to go forward for counsel. Am I not a Christian?" Not if you have never relinquished the throne of your life, your will, to Christ. The surrender of the will is the key to becoming a Christian and the secret of living a victorious Christian life.
If you have not already received Christ as your Savior and Lord, will you, in the quiet of this moment, surrender you will to Him - invite Him to come into your life to live His life in you? Your life upon this earth and for all eternity is affected by your decision. Be assured that if you do receive Christ as your Savior and Lord, He will pardon your sin, give purpose to your life, and give you His peace and power. Your life will be forever changed. If you desire to receive Christ, bow your head and pray this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God and that You died on the cross for my sin. I surrender my will, the throne of my life, to You. Show me Your purpose for my life, and I will follow You. Give me Your peace and power that I may please and honor You, Lord Jesus. Amen!
* With thanks and grateful acknowledgement to Bill Bright
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Bible Studies From the Book Of Revelation
The material for this Bible study series was drawn from nay resources such as Adrian Roger's "Revelation",
Strauss "Revelation", Weirsbe's "Be Victorious" and many other resources.
There is an old story about a New England church that was suffering though time of dissension and backbiting. The people were constantly involved in petty feuds. One day, the people came together and consulted a former pastor as to how they could resolve their differences. The pastor agreed to think on the matter and send them a letter soon detailing his judgment.
A few days later, the pastor sat down and wrote his letter to the people, full of advice on how to make peace in their church. At the same time he wrote a letter to a farmer friend of his with advice about farming and especially about the trouble he was having with one of his bulls. Then the pastor called up two messengers, gave them the two letters, and sent them on their way.
You can guess what happened. The pastor accidentally mixed up the letters. The message for the church got sent to the farmer friend. The message for the farmer friend got sent to the feuding church.
An elder stood and read this letter to the congregation: "You had better see that your fences are put up well in the first place. Plow your ground deep; and sort your seed; be careful not to sow foul seed; and take care of that great, ugly bull. I think you had better poke him. The rest I will tell you when I come."
The church folks sat in silence for a long time, contemplating the pastor's strange message. Finally, one man stood and attempted to interpret it. The putting up of fences must refer to the rules of discipline in the church. The people had neglected these rules of discipline for too long. And plowing up the ground must be another way of saying the people need to open their hearts, to allow the good seed of brotherly love to be sown. The warning against foul seed was obvious: the members had an obligation to sort the truth from the untruth, and not believe every morsel of gossip they heard. And the great, ugly bull could only symbolize the devil, who had come into their midst and stirred up so much strife among them. The people realized this was the most wonderful letter they had ever heard.
The people were so moved by the pastor's advice that they began confessing their sins and offering forgiveness to one another. They opened up their hearts to one another and prayed for each other. And peace reigned in the once-feuding church. The story doesn't relate what the farmer thought when he got his letter.
The situation was something like that when the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to Corinth. In the letter of 1 Corinthians, we find Paul writing a letter to a divided church. When we read the rest of this letter, we discover that this was a church with problems with a capital P.
It really does remind me of that wonderful song from The Music Man where Harold Hills says:
"Ya got trouble, Right here in River city! With a capital 'T'
And that rhymes with 'P' And that stands for Pool.
We've surely got trouble! Right here in River City!"
It was something like that when Paul wrote to the Corinthians because they had a member living in incest, they had people speaking in tongues, they had people getting drunk at the Lord's Supper, they had people who did not believe in the resurrection, they had terrible divisions in the church, they had people who were proud of their spirituality and thought their gift was better than anybody else's. This was a church with trouble with a capital T and problems with a capital P.
(1) Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Jesus Christ... (2)to the church of God. . . to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… (9) God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord… (26) Consider your own call, brothers and sisters…
“THE BLESSING BOOK” “Revelation – The Edge Of Eternity” – Pt. 1 Rev. 1:1-3 & Selected
What is the Goal of Studying Revelation? 1. To fall more deeply in love with Jesus. 2. To gain a biblical perspective of what is to come. 3. To receive a divine blessing from God!
“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Vs. 3
I. The Central Character of the Book
“The revelation of Jesus Christ….” Vs. 1a “Revelation” = apacalupso = the uncovering or unveiling of something previously hidden.
II. The Clear Purpose of the Book
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place.” Vs. 1b Sureness of the Prophecy Nearness of the Prophecy
How God reveals the Prophecy to His servant John
III. The Comforting Promise of the Book
“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Vs. 3
7 Equally Wonderful Promises of Blessing in Revelation:
1. Blessed is the one who reads Revelation. (Vs. 3a)
2. Blessed is the one who hears Revelation. (Vs. 3b)
3. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord amid tribulation.
“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” Rev. 14:13
4. Blessed is the one who is awake and prepared.
“Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Rev. 16:15
5. Blessed are those who have dinner reservations.
“Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” Rev. 19:9a
6. Blessed and holy are first resurrection participants.
“Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand
years.” Rev. 20:6
7. Blessed are the spotless!
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” Rev. 22:14
The Revelation of Jesus Christ Revelation 1:1-20
A. According to Revelation 1:1,9 what is this book about and who is its human author?
(II Peter 3:8).
B. How shall we study this book or what outline does God give us for studying the book in Revelation 1:19?
C. Why should we study this book and what promise does God make to those who study it in Revelation 1:3?
I The Work of Jesus – Revelation1: 4-8
A. Who is Jesus according to Revelation 1:4, 8?
B. What did Jesus do and what spiritual work did He accomplish according to Revelation 1:5?
C. What has Christ done for every believer according to Revelation 1:6?. As we seek to fulfill God’s will on the earth, who can be against us if God is for us (Romans 8:31).
II The Churches of Jesus – Revelation 1:9-12,20
A. To whom is God sending this book that John is writing according to Revelation 1:11?
B. What did John see in Revelation 1:12 and what was the purpose of the items that John saw?
C. What mystery does John reveal about these seven candlesticks and seven stars in Revelation 1:20?
III The Person of Jesus – Revelation 1:13-16
A. Who stood in the midst of these seven churches according to Revelation 1:13?
B. How does John describe Jesus in Revelation 1:13-16, also compare Daniel’s description in Daniel 7:13-14?
C. What was John’s response to this revelation of Jesus according to Revelation 1:17-19?
In what area of your life is God trying to work and change to improve your testimony?
Letters From God Revelation 2-3
These seven churches can represent seven church ages.
1. Ephesus - The Apostolic Church 30-100 AD
2. Smyrna - The Persecuted Church 100-313 AD
3. Pergamos – The State Church 313-590 AD
4. Thyatira – The Papal Church 590-1517 AD
5. Sardis – The Reformed Church 1517-1730
6. Philadelphia – The Missions Church 1730 - ?
7. Laodicea – The Apostate Church - ?
In Revelation 2:5 God gives us a pattern for our response to His letters; what do we learn from the letter to the church at Ephesus on how to respond to God?
I The Letter to Ephesus – Restore Our Love – Revelation 2:1
A. What did God find wrong with this church from Revelation 2:4?
B. From comparing Psalm 86:9, Philippians 4:8 and I John 3:16 how can we restore our first love?
II The Letter to Smyrna – Remain Faithful – Revelation 2:8
A. What challenge and encouragement did Jesus give to these people in Revelation 2:10?
B. What similar promise does God give to believers today in James 1:12?
III The Letter to Pergamos – Reject Error – Revelation 2:12
A. What aspect of Christ is pictured in this letter according to Revelation 2:12,16? (Hebrews 4:12).
B. What was the problem in this church according to Revelation 2:14-15?
the doctrine of Balaam
The doctrine of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:15) dealt with an unscriptural separation between the clergy and the laity. nicolaitan to conquer the people
IV The Letter to Thyatira – Remove the False Church – Revelation 2: 18
A. Comparing Revelation 2:20-22 with I Timothy 4:1 and I Timothy 3:5 why was God upset with this church?
B. What advice and encouragement does God give to believers in Revelation 2:24-28?
V The Letter to Sardis – Return to Life – Revelation 3:1
A. What challenge does God give to this church in Revelation 3:1-5?
B. From II Chronicles 7:14 and John 6:63 what is necessary for revival?
VI The Letter to Philadelphia – Ready for His Coming – Revelation 3:7
A. What challenge does God give to this church in Revelation 3:8?
" the door of opportunity swings on the hinges of opposition."
B. What promise does God make to this church in Revelation 3:10-11?
VII The Letter to Laodicea – Repent of Lukewarmness – Revelation 3:14
A. What is God’s problem with this church according to Revelation 3:15-17?
B. What rebuke and admonition does God give to this church in Revelation 3:18?
THE THRONE Revelation 4
1 After this I looked, and there in heaven was an open door. The first voice that I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit, and there in heaven a throne was set. One was seated on the throne,
3 and the One seated looked like jasper and carnelian stone. A rainbow that looked like an emerald surrounded the throne.
4 Around that throne were 24 thrones, and on the thrones sat 24 elders dressed in white clothes, with gold crowns on their heads.
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and thunder. Burning before the throne were seven fiery torches, which are the seven spirits of God.
6 Also before the throne was something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal. In the middle and around the throne were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back.
7 The first living creature was like a lion; the second living creature was like a calf; the third living creature had a face like a man; and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.
8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming.
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the One seated on the throne, the One who lives forever and ever,
10 the 24 elders fall down before the One seated on the throne, worship the One who lives forever and ever, cast their crowns before the throne, and say:
11 Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.
1. Why would the vision of the Throne be important to the churches?
2. Who is on the Throne?
3. Who surrounds the throne? 1 Chronicles 24
4. What does the sound issuing from the throne represent? (Revelation 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).
5. Of what are the things before the throne representative? Isaiah 11:1-3.
How is this comforting?
6. What helps are there here for our Worship of God?
Revelation 5 Worthy Is The Lamb
5:1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” 6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. NKJV
A scroll is presented. This scroll has writing on it and is sealed with seven seals. It is probably representing the title deeds of the world (Jeremiah 32). With each section of writing, a seal is placed, and the whole is unwound as each seal is broken and each new section is read.
The scene in heaven speaks to us of
The Tragic Weakness of Civilisation,
The Triumphant Worthiness of Christ
(His Power, Position And Prerogatives),
what does this mean?
The Tremendous Worship of Creation.
How does this affect us?
Revelation 6 The Opening Of The Seven Seals.
The seals are in the title deed of the earth (Rev 5). The time is when the Great day of Wrath is revealed (17, Dan 12:1). The opening of the seals precedes the 7 trumpet judgements (Rev 8) and the 7 bowel judgements (Rev 16).
Chronologically, the trumpets do not follow the seals and the bowls do not follow the trumpets. The first six seals are "a summary of the judgments distributed over the whole book; a brief summary of what will occur in 'the day of the Lord,' up the time of His actual Apocalypse or Unveiling in chapter 19." (Bullinger)
That span begins with the revelation of the Antichrist (the first seal) and it concludes with the revealing of the face of Him who sits on the throne (the seventh seal). "The wars and famines predicted in the second and third seals are not unfamiliar events in the history of the world, but never before since the time of Noah has a judgment so devastating been consummated as to destroy one-fourth of the earth's population at one stroke." (Walvoord) They will be an intense amplification of normality as God gives men over to their sins.
Seal 1. The antichrist revealed. Dominion
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (2Thess 2:6-7)
Significantly, the first seal opened brings this dictator to prominence. We understand that the seventieth week of Daniel 9 begins when this dictator will confirm a covenant with [the] many, referring to the Jewish people.
Seal 2. (3-4) The red horse brings war and conflict. Division
Seal 3. (5-6) The black horse brings scarcity and inequity. Deprivation
Seal 4. (7-8) The pale horse brings death. Death
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Mat 24:21)
Seal 5. (9-11) The fifth seal brings forth the cry of the martyrs. Determination
Seal 6 (12-17) The opening of the sixth seal brings cosmic Disruption.
The great day of the Lord is near; it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers. (Zep 1:14-16) Joel 2:10-11: The sun and moon grow dark, and stars diminish their brightness . . . for the day of the Lord is great and terrible; who can endure it?
"What sinners dread most is not death, but the revealed presence of God." (Swete) The sixth seal concludes with a valid question: Who is able to stand? Only the believer can stand before this great judgment, the one who is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Seal 7. Revelation 8:1-6. Seal 7 ushers in the commencement of the 7 trumpet judgements.
Revelation 7 The Saved During The Tribulation
There is a parenthesis between 6th and 7th Seal, the 6th and 7 trumpet and the 6th and 7th vial.
1. Who is sealed and why? Ephesians 1:13, 14 4:30, 2 Cor 1:21,22.
2. Why does it make sense to see these 144,000 as believing Jews?
3. What is the significance of these 144,000? Romans 11:25-29.
4. Who is this large group pictured standing around the Throne of God?
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 indicates who they will not be.
5. Matthew 25:32-46 speaks of some who may be saved during the Tribulation. Matthew 24:14.
6. Rev 6:9 says And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
How does this tie in with 7:14 And he said to me, These are they which came Out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
7. What Privileges are accorded these people?
8. What Provision is made for these people? John 6:35, 4:14.
9. How might this passage affect our understanding of worship?
Revelation 8 The Seven Trumpets of Judgement
When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them.
3 Another angel, with a gold incense burner, came and stood at the altar. He was given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the gold altar in front of the throne.
4 The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel’s hand.
5 The angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; there were thunders, rumblings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
6 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.
7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire, mixed with blood, were hurled to the earth. So a third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain ablaze with fire was hurled into the sea. So a third of the sea became blood,
9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from heaven. It fell on a third of the rivers and springs of water.
11 The name of the star is Wormwood, and a third of the waters became wormwood. So, many of the people died from the waters, because they had been made bitter.
12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day was without light, and the night as well.
13 I looked, and I heard an eagle, flying in mid-heaven, saying in a loud voice, “Woe! Woe! Woe to those who live on the earth, because of the remaining trumpet blasts that the three angels are about to sound!”
The last seal is opened (Rev 6 has the other 6 seals.. Rev 5 describes them on the scroll, the land title to the earth). The seal contains the seven trumpet Judgements.
1. Why is heaven silent?
2. What is the significance of the altar fire thrown to the earth?
3. What does this tell us about prayer?
4. God Judges the Physical world in Rev 8 and in Rev 9 He judges Man.
Revelation 9 A WORLD GONE WILD
According to the Bible, a "demon" is a created spirit being, a kind of angel. These beings sinned with Satan in heaven, and so are commonly called "fallen angels" or "unclean spirits." Satan is now their ruler (Matthew 12:24), and he has organized them into his army of evil (Ephesians 6:11-12). God created hell for them, where they will be with Satan forever: "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).
demons are real. Mark 1:34 says that Jesus "drove out many demons." They were real to the early Christians. Acts 5:16 records this scene from their ministry: "Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed."
demons are evil and unclean
demons are stronger than we are Mark 5
demons always seek to destroy. We read of the demoniac in Mark 5, "Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones" (v. 5)
Revelation 9:1 The devil is the bright and morning star that falls to the earth and unleashes demons onto the earth.
These demons are
From the altar there is issued a decree and four powerful demons are unleashed. Daniel 10;12, 13, 20,21)
What is the significance of these demons?
What is the significance of the Euphrates?
What is the significance of the specific period of the release? (15)
Compare this army to the one in Revelation 16:12.
Why won’t people repent?
Revelation 10 SOMETHING EXTRA FOR THE EXTRA STUBBORN
Rev. 9: 20 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
There are those in life that are stubborn, and then there are those like these in Revelation 9 that are extra stubborn.
An Extra Picture In Revelation 10:1-4, God gives an extra picture for the extra stubborn.
1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”
Though the spiritually stubborn would love for God to change His ways to fit their ways, though they would love for God to reverse the hinges on His door to swing any way they want, in verses 1-4 God is making a strong statement with this picture. He’s saying, “I’ve never changed and I’m not about to change now.”
An Extra Promise
Revelation 10:5-7. Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
Deuteronomy 32:40-42 and Daniel 12:5-7 when hands are raised to heaven and vows are made as though God is endorsing what’s being said. Then what is the promise that has God’s support?
They had asked God in Revelation 6:10, “How long…until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” In Revelation 8:3-5, they have been praying for this day to come and now God says there will be no more delay.
Conservatively there are 125 Old Testament prophesies that were fulfilled in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Regarding the second coming of Jesus, it’s conservative to say that God has made 329 promises.
An Extra Effort
Revelation 10:8-11. 8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
Rule #1: DON’T GIVE UP ON THEM UNTIL GOD SAYS SO! Matthew 10:11-16
Rule #2: DON’T FOCUS ON THEM ALONE WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY MORE TO BE SAVED!
Rev 11 The Measuring Of The Temple Of God.
1. Which temple?
2. Why measure it?
When Habakkuk prophesies, He stood and measured the earth (Hab 3:6), the idea is that the Lord owns the earth and can do with it as He pleases. When this temple is measured, it shows that God knows its every dimension, and He is in charge.
i. God is in charge. This is one of the glorious, mighty themes of the Book of Revelation. Rev 11:17 again uses the title Almighty for God.
It is likely that this is the temple that must be on the earth for the fulfillment of what Daniel, Jesus, and Paul said about the abomination of desolation.
i. The prophet Daniel told us the Antichrist will break his covenant with the Jews and bring sacrifice and offerings to an end; the Antichrist will defile the temple by setting something abominable there (Dan 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11).
ii. Jesus said to look for an abomination standing in the holy place, which would be the pivotal sign that the season of God's wrath was upon the earth (Mat 24:15-16 and 24:21).
iii. Paul told us that the Antichrist would sit in the temple as God (2Th 2:3-4).
3. Who are the two witnesses? Who they are must not be terribly important, or we would have been told exactly who they are! Elijah, Moses, or Enoch? (Mal 4:5-6) (Mat 17:1-6) Jude 9,14
They prophecy In Jerusalem.
If, during the first three and one-half years, Jerusalem's leadership is in league with the Antichrist, it is easy to see how these titles apply. Any city in love with the Antichrist, or entering into a covenant with him, could be called Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon.
"The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
Psalm 2 will be fulfilled.
Presently the present kingdoms of this world are in Satan’s control. (John 12:21,14:30, 16:11, Matt 12:26) Then The Lord Jesus shall reign.
4. Why is mankind angry at the Revelation of the Lord Jesus’ rule? (18)
5. What is the implication of (18) for our rewards? (1 Cor 3:5-8)
6. Verse 19 introduces us to God’s plan for Israel spoken of in Rev. 12
Revelation 13 1-18 The Unholy Trinity
1. What is the Advent of the Beast like? Vs 1.
2. The Ancestry of the Beast. Vs 2
What is his family likeness? Note Rev.12:3.
Who is his father?
What is his family lineage? Note the lion the bear and the leopard images from Daniel 7.
What is his family legacy? Vs 2.. compare 2 Thessalonians 2:9
3. The Appeal Of the Beast vs 3 What makes him appealing?
4. The Ambition of the Beast: What is his ambition?
To Deify himself vs 4 How will he do this?
To Defy God vss 5, 6 Why will he do this?
To Destroy the saints vs 7 To Whom will he do this?
To Dominate the world, vs 7, 8. How?
5. The Agent of the Beast vs 11 The False Prophet What is his task?
How will he fulfil it?
The Master of Miracles vs 12-14
What mechanisms are in place for this today?
The Worker of Worship
Note 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
The Controller of Commerce
How will the Beast control the world?
What mechanisms are in place for this today?
Rev. 14:1-20 “tribulation saints”
How does Revelation 14 parallel Revelation 13? God’s people also contrast Babylon (Rev 17:3-6) What is the church like Eph 5:22-33?
Seven Characteristics of the 144,000:
I. Describe the sealing of the 144,000
“Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God. Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.” Rev. 7:3-4
II. The 144,000 Are Singing See Vs. 2-3 What songs thrill your heart? What do you think will be the theme of their song?
III. The 144,000 Are Separate and Pure Vs 4. What does this purity symbolise? 2 Corinthians 11:1-3.
IV. The 144,000 Are A Surrendered People Vs. 4 “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him he will bear much fruit. Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Jn. 15:5
What is meant in Scripture when it says they follow the lamb?
“Go sell all you have and give it to the poor and come follow me.” Mt. 19:21
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Jn. 10:27
What does it mean to you to surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ?
V. The 144,000 Are Singular in Purpose,
What does the idea of firstfruits mean? “ vs 4 See Deut. 26:1-11
VI. The 144,000 Speak with Precision Vs. 5a
“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.” Psa. 34:13
How important is this?
VII. The 144,000 Are Spotless and Perfect “They are blameless.” Vs. 5
What does the idea of blameless mean for you today?
VIII. The three last angelic declarations
The Final Gospel Presented – Gospel Angel
Describe the Good news this angel proclaims.
The Final Victory Proclaimed – Judgment Angel
God will be victorious over what? Vs. 8
The Final Judgment Declared – Damnation Angel
Describe the message of this angel.
What will hell be like?
Does a Christian fear hell?
14 Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and One like the Son of Man was seated on the cloud, with a gold crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.
15 Another angel came out of the sanctuary, crying out in a loud voice to the One who was seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the time to reap has come, since the harvest of the earth is ripe.”
16 So the One seated on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
17 Then another angel who also had a sharp sickle came out of the sanctuary in heaven.
18 Yet another angel, who had authority over fire, came from the altar, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from earth’s vineyard, because its grapes have ripened.”
19 So the angel swung his sickle toward earth and gathered the grapes from earth’s vineyard, and he threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.
20 Then the press was trampled outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press up to the horses’ bridles for about 180 miles.
1. Why does John use the symbolism of the harvest to describe the end of the world?
2. There are two harvests here.. what do you think they represent and why?
3. The sharpness and the swiftness of the Divine wrath are emphasised in this passage. How is God’s wrath swift and sharp?
4. Do we see God’s wrath displayed today?
5. How is a sense of finality displayed here in this passage?
6. Sometimes we Christians do not display the finality of God’s judgement very well.
How can we convey that finality to those who are lost?
7. What is conveyed in the symbolism of the great wine press?
Rev 15 The Song At The End Of The World
Chapter 11 of the Revelation brought us to the end of the world. Chapter 14 of the Revelation brought us again to the end of the world. The 15th and 16th chapter go together. They are part of the same vision and culminate in the seven last plagues, the last woe and the 7th trumpet.
1. What does the temple of God opened in heaven signify?
2. What does this passage teach us about the sanctity of the Worship of God?
3. What does the Song of Moses and the Lamb Signify?
Read Exodus 15:1-21 and notice the comparisons.
4. Why is singing so important to God’s people?
1Ch 16:9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Psa 21:13 Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: [so] will we sing and praise thy power.
Psa 30:4 Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Psa 59:16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.
Psa 66:2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
Psa 89:1 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
Psa 101:1 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
5. The temple in heaven is opened. What does this signify?
Revelation 16 Seven Bowls of Wrath .
Contagious Sores Contaminated Seas Corrupted Streams
Consuming Sun Confounded Sinners Controlling Spirits
“seas to blood”
“rivers and springs to blood”
“intense heat from the sun”
“Euphrates River dries up”
“earthquake & hail”
1. What does Satan want to do in this world?
How does he go about his work?
2. Why do you suppose people will continue to reject God,
even in the face of disaster?
3. Have you ever known anyone who, when faced with disaster,
turned away from God in anger?
4. Have you ever known anyone who, upon experiencing disaster, moved considerably closer to the Lord?
What was the result in their life?
What was different about those two people?
5. When do you find it difficult to trust God?
What can you do to build up your faith?
6. Is there any encouragement you can take from Revelation 16?
7. What message does the Lord give us in verse 15?
8. What does Jesus mean when he says “It is done” in verse 17?
9. Does all this wrath mean God is cruel or unjust?