For a Thousand Years…

Revelation 20.1-6

Following the return of the King and the defeat of His enemies in battle, namely the beast and the false prophet and their armies, an angel with a great chain binds the dragon, throws him into the abyss and then shuts and locks it over him, so that he will not deceive the nations any longer for a thousand years. Meanwhile, the overcomers are resurrected and serve as priests of God and of Christ, reigning with Him for a thousand years.

While the details of how all of that works out are sometimes hotly debated, the end result is still the same. Jesus wins. And you will either kneel before Jesus as King or cower before Him as Judge. You are either for Him or against Him…life or death, blessing or curse. The choice is yours. So why not choose life?

It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, so that you might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life and might reign with Him forever.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

The Return of the King aka the Ballad of the White Horse Rider

Revelation 19.11-21

The King returns, and none of those who are His enemies will be able to stand before Him. His fury will be terrifying and His vengeance on His adversaries complete.

Jesus is coming…He is coming in judgment, He is coming in vengeance, He is coming as Sovereign over all, and you want to be with Him and not against Him.

In Luke 19, Jesus tells the parable of the nobleman who goes off to receive a kingdom. Before the nobleman leaves, he calls together his slaves and gives each one a mina to invest until his return. And generally the focus is on the slaves investing the nobleman’s mina. But there is a third group in that parable…those who didn’t want the nobleman to rule over them. In Luke it for sure represents the religious leaders who rejected Jesus. In Revelation, it represents the folks aligned with the beast. Seed of the serpent types.

There are only two sides in this conflict…only two. You are either on the side of the White Horse Rider, or you are aligned against Him. There is no middle ground. No Switzerland here.

As believers, this is our blessed hope…the return of the King in all His terrible glory executing judgment and vengeance for every wrong done on earth. Ever since Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and plunged humankind, and all of creation, into a world of sin, death and corruption, we’ve been waiting for the Seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent, the One God promised would set everything right. So for us, the White Horse Rider is our Fearless Commander, our Conquering Warrior-King riding into battle against an already vanquished foe. His appearance is salvation and the realization of our greatest hopes. Jesus wins. And because of our faith in Him, we also win.

For those who are facing the White Horse Rider, there is great dread and fear as they see a Fierce, Ruthless, Unrelenting and Vengeful Warrior-King bent on destroying them. None will escape. All will face His wrath.

So where are you? Are you with Him or against Him?

If you have trusted in Jesus, give thanks! Jesus wins. The realization that He is coming back in all His awesome glory is good news indeed, for He will right the wrongs that have been done. But knowing that He is coming back with such terrifying vengeance, there should be a sense of urgency in sharing our story with those around us who don’t know about Him.

If you find yourself today in the position of an enemy of Jesus, be afraid! Jesus wins. The realization that He is coming back in all His awesome glory is sobering news indeed, for He will right the wrongs that have been done. Knowing that He is coming back with such terrifying vengeance, now is the time to repent…to trust in Him, for now is the time of God’s favor. We are in a holding pattern awaiting His return. Part of the reason for the delay is so that folks will come to trust Him and join His side. It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, so that you might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life, that you too may look forward to the return of your King.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

The Great Hallelujahs

Revelation 19.1-10

The fourfold hallelujahs are ringing out in anticipation of the coming of the King. The long wait is nearly over. The time is near.

The return of the King is good news for His servants, for those who have entered into covenant relationship with Him. For them He has come with His reward. For them there is the “well done good and faithful slave” of a benevolent and magnanimous Master. For them their righteous deeds are the linen garments they will wear as they enter the kingdom to feast at the wedding supper of the Lamb.

But His return will not be good news for His enemies. For them He has come to judge them for their wicked deeds and avenge the wrong done to His people. For them it will be a dark day, a terrible day. For the King will be their Judge…their uncompromising and just Judge.

Life and death are set before you, the blessing and the curse. So choose life.

It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, so that you might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life…a covenant relationship with Him, feasting together with Him at the wedding supper of the Lamb and reigning with Him forever.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

Lament for Babylon

Revelation 18.9-24

Babylon has fallen, and the kings of the earth, the merchants and the seafaring peoples will all mourn over her…not for what it means for her, but for what it means for them. And while those who participate in her wickedness mourn, the righteous will rejoice.

One day every wrong will be righted. Truth will prevail. Good will crush evil. Sin will be atoned for. But until that day we live in a time of waiting. Patient endurance. We don’t like it. And like the martyrs under the altar, we too cry out, “How long?” But God’s patience is mercy. It allows time for repentance. For those far from Him to come to Him…through Jesus. And during this time of waiting, He calls us to be investing…investing our mina. Sharing our story. The hope that we have found in Jesus. Telling them about Him. That’s why we’re still here…waiting. Longing for Him to come back. So don’t give up. And don’t give in. He’ll be here soon enough. 

If you are one of those who have not yet trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait. The world as we know it is quickly coming to an end. Soon all the vain things that you have been pursuing will be no more. But the things that remain…the eternal things, the unshakable things…they can be yours. It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, so that you might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life and that you might reign with Him forever.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

Babylon is Fallen

Revelation 18.1-8

The unthinkable has happened…Babylon is fallen. Though her kingdom seemed to be impregnable and her self-proclaimed reign absolute, her judgment is swift and her doom sure. So come out of her lest you share in her downfall.

It’s disturbing to think that believers would have to be warned to flee Babylon…a city described as the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth”, and yet it’s not altogether surprising. Let’s be honest with ourselves…too many of us compromise far too often in far too many areas of our lives. And while we’re being honest…some of those who are the closest to us might be the most surprised to find out that we are Christians based on the way we conduct ourselves at work or school or in social settings, etc.

But it shouldn’t be that way…and it doesn’t have to be. We can’t save ourselves, and we can’t change ourselves…only the Spirit can do that. But He will only do that as we allow Him to. There is a divine partnership involved. We talked about it when we were going through Romans. Saying “yes” to Jesus, and “no” to all the other junk. That looks like…time in God’s Word everyday, praying throughout the day, spending time with other believers as often as possible, sharing my story with those who haven’t yet trusted in Jesus and living a generous life. Beginning to live my life in light of the truth that I am no longer who I used to be. I really have passed from death to life. And now I have the opportunity to live like it. Motivated, not by fear of stepping out of line, but out of love for the One who first loved me.

So don’t give up. Don’t give in. Jesus wins…and that means that you do to.

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait. You too need to get out of Babylon before it’s too late. It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, so that you might have forgiveness of sins, eternal life and a place in His kingdom.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

The Doom of Babylon

Revelation 17.7-18

The time is short. The end is coming quickly. The fall of Babylon is on the horizon, as well as the destruction of the beast. Though it may seem like the bad guys are always winning, the truth will soon be apparent…their demise is sure.

It’s not a time for us to be fearful…it’s a time for us to be faithful. We have been chosen and called. Our names are written in the book…if we have trusted in Jesus. But that’s not true for a majority of folks you see every day. Most have no clue that the end is near…that there is anything more to this life than what’s right in front of them. And then it’s over. They are without hope and destined for hell. But you have the words of eternal life. You can tell them about Jesus. God can use you to change their trajectory, to rewrite their destiny. But it means you can’t give up or give in. And you’ve got to be willing to share your story with them.

If you are one of those who have not yet trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait. Your name too could be written in the book of life. It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, conquering both sin and death…so that you might not only have forgiveness of sins, but that you too might conquer death and have eternal life. That you could be one of the called and chosen and faithful whose name is written in the book of life.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

Babylon the Great

Revelation 17.1-6

Babylon is being remembered before God. Soon she will drink from the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. And all those aligned with her will share her same fate.

The Bible is one Story. And in these closing chapters of Revelation, we see that though much has happened, much remains the same. The seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent and the enmity between the two…the persecution of God’s people by those who reject Him…is still being played out in these last few scenes.

This description of Babylon is more like our world everyday. That shouldn’t surprise us. But it also shouldn’t scare or worry us. Our job doesn’t change no matter how much the world shakes around us. We are still to live lives worthy of the calling. Lives that point others to Jesus. And to share our story…to tell them about Him and the difference He’s made in our lives.

And though it looks like the bad guys are winning, appearances can be, and often are, deceiving. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Jesus wins.

If you haven’t trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait…time is running out. It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, showing that He not only satisfied God’s wrath, but that He also conquered both sin and death. We don’t have to fear what’s to come, but we can face it with courage and anticipation looking for our King to return.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

Armageddon

Revelation 16.12-21

The last two bowls are poured out and with them, wrath/judgment is done. But not before the great battle and the catastrophic shaking of both heaven and earth. And yet men will still refuse to repent.

But that’s not true for everyone. Remember the great multitude that we talked about in Revelation 7 and the angel with the eternal gospel in Revelation 14. Even during this time of judgment, a great multitude which no one can count from all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues will come to faith, worshiping Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb. Even in the midst of the pouring out of His wrath, we see God’s mercy.

And so we have a job to do. First, don’t give up or give in. We’ve talked about that before. Jesus’ warning to believers is sobering…don’t be caught sleeping. Don’t live as if He’s not coming back. Live as if He’s coming back today. John’s already talked about the two different harvests…how we live our lives matters. We will one day be evaluated. Better to be the slave who gained the five or ten minas than the one who hid theirs.

Second, share your story. Tell someone about Jesus. Tell them about the difference He’s made in your life. Impact list…friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, teammates, gym buddies, etc.

Finally, if you haven’t trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait. The folks under judgment here have chosen to reject God, but still blame Him for the consequences of their decision. Don’t do that. Please don’t do that. You don’t have to face His wrath…you can instead experience His mercy. By trusting in Jesus who satisfied God’s wrath on the cross.

It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, showing that He not only satisfied God’s wrath, but that He also conquered both sin and death. We don’t have to fear what’s to come, but we can face it with courage and anticipation looking for our King to return. 

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This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

Some Mother’s Day Wisdom

James 3.13-18

Much of what James says here about the wisdom from above echoes what Jesus said in the beatitudes, which in turn comes straight out of the OT. Shouldn’t surprise us…because it’s the wisdom that comes from God. From His Word.

So moms, if you want to be wise, spend time in God’s Word. Make it a daily habit. Ask God to use it to change you…to change the way you think, to change the way you see the world around you, to change your attitude and your responses to those around you, to transform you to live and love like Jesus.

That’s not just good for moms. It’s good for all of us.

Moms…you have the incredible responsibility of caring for your kids, and one of the most significant of  your responsibilities when it comes to raising them is not only the time you spend in God’s Word, but also passing it on to your kids by training them up in the fear and admonition of the LORD…teaching them by your words and example to follow God and love Him with their whole heart. That’s where prayer and Bible stories and taking them to church and a lived-out faith come into play.

The world is interested in performance, appearance and influence, and we as parents can fall into that same trap…putting too much pressure on our kids to be the best student or athlete or most popular kid on campus. Making them earn our favor. Moms…pray for God’s help in placing value on the things that God does. Show your kids that their value comes from pleasing God, not from their achievements. 

Moms…as much as you want to, you cannot protect your kids from everything forever. So, take advantage of every one of those teachable moments. Teach your kids to be in the world, but not of the world. You won’t always do it perfectly, and your kids won’t always respond the way that you would have hoped, but moms, when you have done all that you know to do, continue to pray for your kids and be in the Word. You won’t always see the fruit of your labor…it may not seem like it’s “taking”, but remember…when they are in distress, when they are alone, when their worlds are crumbling they will remember what their momma taught them. So take courage.

Finally, Moms…know that your church family wants to support you as you raise your kids. We want them to see this place as their second home. We want them to have lots of examples of folks who are following Jesus as best as they can. If you are a single mom, we want to give them godly men to look to as an example. We want to pray alongside you for their spiritual, emotional and physical protection. We know how difficult it is to navigate this crazy world as a mom and we want to be here for you as a sounding board and prayer warriors.

If you can, thank your mom today for all she has done…give her a hug, send her a text, make a phone call… and let her know how much you love her and that you appreciate all that she has done for you.

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This post is based on our Mother’s Day sermon. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

The Resurrection

Luke 24.1-12

The women have a front row seat to the miraculous events of that first Easter morning. Though all hope seemed to be lost…the Hero was dead…God is not finished yet. God’s the Author of this Story, and when God tells the Story, there’s always hope. An astounding twist to the plot…the Hero is alive. Death is conquered. Sin is atoned for. The way is made available for us to return back to God. Death is swallowed up in life, despair in hope, mourning in astounding joy. Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!

The resurrection proves that Jesus is the Hero He claimed to be and that everything He said is true…His death satisfied God’s wrath on sin, and His resurrection means that He is able to also raise us up and give us new life…eternal life. And as He promised, Jesus will be with us always, even unto the end of the age. So no matter how much the world may shake around us…whether it’s natural disasters or the wickedness of men…God is able to bring life out of death, hope out of despair, victory out of sure defeat.

Sometimes we lose sight of that, even as believers. Maybe that’s you today. Maybe you are like the women or the disciples, and the circumstances of life have caused you to lose hope. You’re living as if Jesus is still in the tomb. Maybe you need to be reminded today that Jesus is alive, and He wants you to experience resurrection life…the abundant life that He saved you for. Now’s a good time to rededicate your life to following Him.

But maybe you haven’t yet trusted in Jesus. If not, today can be the day of salvation for you. He has already done all the heavy lifting. You simply have to recognize your need to be rescued…that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. And believe that Jesus came to do just that…He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death in your place and was raised the third day, conquering both sin and death. When you do that, the Bible says that your sins are forgiven, that you have eternal life, and that you are now a part of God’s family…a son or daughter of the King.

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This post is based on our Palm Sunday sermon. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.