Another Sign in Heaven

Revelation 15

The last of the signs in heaven are seven angels with seven plagues that will bring to completion God’s wrath. The righteous will be vindicated…the wicked punished. It’s not too late to escape God’s wrath. But time is running out.

It reminds me of the parable of the bigger barn builder from Luke 12.16-21. Jesus tells a story to illustrate…a rich man has a successful year. In our story he’s a farmer. By all accounts, God has blessed him…provided the right amount of rainfall and sunshine, the right temperature and nutrients for the soil, things which the farmer has little if any control over. It’s his best year ever…doesn’t have enough barn capacity to store it all. Presents a problem that most of us think we would like to have…he has too much. What to do with an unexpected abundance of crops? So he gives it some thought and the internal dialogue starts…time to tear down the old barns and build bigger ones. Up to this point, the farmer appears to act prudently. Proverbs talks a lot about saving and investing.

But then the internal dialogue continues…“Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” So what’s wrong with that? Sounds like the perfect retirement plan, right? Don’t we work hard now so we can relax and enjoy life later? 

Then God steps in and says, “You fool!” Sad irony…the man thought he had many years to enjoy his stuff, but God requires his soul “this night”. The futility of the man’s efforts become clear. Like the Preacher from Ecclesiastes, “vanity of vanities…”

We too can be fooled into thinking that we have time. Time to do all the things. And get around to Jesus later. But so did this guy. And time ran out. Don’t let that be you. Make today the day.

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.

pro rege

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 Harvest

Revelation 14.14-20

Harvest aka judgment is coming. When the earth is ripe and when the grapes are ripe, the sickle will be put in and judgment will come. Every day we get one step closer. Every day the earth/grape vine is a little riper.

The good news is…if you’ve trusted in Jesus then the kingdom awaits. Jesus Himself will welcome us in with the “well done good and faithful slave”.

The bad new is…if you haven’t trusted in Jesus then God’s wrath awaits. But there is still time. You can escape it. All can be saved. You can be saved.

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…entrusted with our own mina to invest in the lives of others…and that you might reign with Him forever.

pro rege

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 Lamb, 144,000 and Three Angels

Revelation 14.1-13

Flash forward to the end of the tribulation…the Lamb and the 144,000 celebrating on Mount Zion. The dragon and the two beasts may appear to be winning, but their fate is already sealed. Jesus wins. And all who follow Him win too.

The angels remind us once again that there are only two sides to this conflict. You either fear God or you worship the beast. You can’t have it both ways. Jesus is either your King, or He will be your Judge.

For those who have trusted in Him, who have responded to the eternal gospel…they will rest from their labors and hear the “well done good and faithful slave” of a gracious and magnanimous Master. The kingdom awaits.

For those who have rejected Him…those who have instead chosen the side of the beast…there will be no rest, but fire and brimstone and eternal torment.

That’s why sharing our story is so important. All can be saved. So if you have not yet trusted in Jesus, that all includes you. 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.

pro rege

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 Beast from the Earth

Revelation 13.11-18

Another beast shows up on the scene with one job…by performing great signs he is to deceive the world into worshiping the first beast and its image. And all the earth-dwellers…all those who have not trusted in Jesus…will do just that. They will show their allegiance to the beast by receiving his mark.

It’s easy to get taken in when we only look at the appearance of things without understanding their substance. When we see things from an earthly perspective instead of a heavenly one. Our problems/sufferings are one thing…we often lose sight of what God is doing in the midst of those things. But what about when things seem to be going really well? Bigger paycheck. Greater influence. More followers. That’s probably the more insidious danger…because compromise is a real possibility. Especially if we want to keep those things.

But we are to set our eyes on the things above. We are to look at our circumstances…both good and bad…through the lens of the Word…evaluating based not on our perception of right and wrong, but on what God says is right and wrong. That’s the insight/wisdom and understanding piece. That keeps us from falling prey to the deception of the enemy.

I’ve said it before, but here we are again. There are only two sides in this campaign…you are going to have to be “all in” on one of those sides. Either the side of the King or the side of the pretender, the side of the Lamb or the side of the dragon. And only one side will win…in fact has already won, and that’s Jesus’ side. So if you have not trusted in Him yet, make today the day.

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.

pro rege

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 Beast from the Sea

Revelation 13.1-10

A terrifying beast with all the power, dominion and authority of the dragon behind him wages war with the saints and overcomes them. And he causes all the earth-dwellers, all those who have not trusted in Jesus, to worship him. Who is like the beast and who can make war with him? The King of kings and Lord of lords aka a Guy named Jesus. That’s who.

As we are going through Revelation, there are two different lenses through which we see the world: one earthly and one heavenly. On earth…seemingly total chaos with the enemy apparently winning. Waging war and overcoming. And if you are a Jesus-follower…not looking too good for you. Sure looks like you picked the wrong side.

In heaven…God is in complete control. His sovereignty is unquestioned. The enemy and his minions may roam the earth, but they are subject to God. And there’s coming a time when heaven and earth will once again be reunited…the kingdom will come and God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Then all the kingdoms of this world will be judged… In the end, the saints’ victory will be manifest. Good triumphs over evil. Jesus wins.

With that in mind, what are we to do? Simple. We are to live our lives as a citizens of the eternal kingdom right now, today. To influence others by our uncompromising faith. And come what may…to faithfully persevere. Remember that suffering comes before glory. So don’t give up. Don’t give in. Jesus wins.

pro rege

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.

War in Heaven, Persecution on Earth

Revelation 12.7-17

We said this last week, but in the cosmic conflict…the heavenly war that is raging…there are only two sides. You are either for the King or against Him. There is no middle ground. And there’s only One/one to whom you can fall on your knees. Either the true King or the pretender. The tricky thing is…the pretender is good at what he does. Pretending. He’s a deceiver, so often while it might look like he’s winning…our world in chaos…the truth is, he’s a defeated foe. He’s already lost.

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. We, as believers, overcome because Jesus overcame. He has already done the heavy lifting. He defeated Satan at the cross…the basis for accusation was taken away. And now our job is to share our story…the word of our testimony…about how Jesus rescued us and brought us from death to life.

The final piece of that overcoming is not loving our lives even when faced with death. Sounds a lot like Jesus’ words to His disciples in Matthew 16.24-26, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?” It means that we love God more. We love Him more than anyone or anything. He has our greatest devotion, and He is our highest good.

It means that we live a life worthy of the calling with which we have been called. That’s not always easy to do. And when we do, get ready…opposition won’t be far behind.

And when the world persecutes us, it sure doesn’t look or feel like we are on the winning side. The pressure to conform to this world is everywhere present, and the fear of persecution is real. But that’s when we have to remember that we are no more like Jesus than when we are being persecuted for His sake. That’s when we truly overcome.

So we don’t give up, and we don’t give in…why? Because we know that Jesus wins.

pro rege

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 Celestial Woman and the Great Red Dragon

Revelation 12.1-6

What does a celestial woman with child and a great red dragon have to do with the Story? Everything. While a pregnant mom giving birth to her Son surely reminds us of Christmas when Jesus came as a Baby to a young couple in Bethlehem, our hope as believers is that He will come again…this time as King. But His coming will not be without opposition. The enemy is not ready to give up that easily.

In the cosmic conflict…the heavenly war that is raging…there are only two sides. You are either for the King or against Him. There is no middle ground. And there’s only One/one to whom you can fall on your knees. Either the true King or the pretender. The tricky thing is…the pretender is good at what he does. Pretending. He’s a deceiver, so often while it might look like he’s winning…our world in chaos…he’s already lost.

As believers, it often feels like we are on the losing side. The pressure to conform to this world…already so pervasive in the church…is everywhere present. Hollywood. Social media. Politics. Materialism… The fear of persecution, whatever form that might take…being passed over for promotion or losing a job, ridiculed at school, belittled by your family or friends…is real. So what do we do? Don’t give up, don’t give in…don’t give up because of persecution, don’t give in to compromise…why? Because we know that Jesus wins!

pro rege

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, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

The Seventh Trumpet

Revelation 11.15-19

Jesus is coming back. And when He does, He will come back as King. And He will reign upon the earth. Every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. That’s 100%.

For those who have trusted in Him…His bondservants…there will be great reward. The “well done good and faithful slave” of a gracious and magnanimous Master. He will be their King, and they will reign with Him forever.

For those who have rejected Him…there will only be judgement and destruction. He will be their Judge, and they will spend an eternity apart from Him forever.

That’s why sharing our story is so important. All can be saved. There is only one way…Jesus…but everyone can enter through Him.

All can be saved. And if you have not yet trusted in Jesus, that all includes you. 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.

pro rege

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, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

The Two Witnesses

Revelation 11.1-14

The two witnesses prophesy in the streets of Jerusalem to the nation of Israel, calling them to repentance like the great prophets of old. When their testimony is complete, they are overcome and killed by the beast, and their dead bodies are left in the street for all to see. After three and a half days they are resurrected and called up to heaven. Afterwards, the city is rocked by a great earthquake, and Israel is saved.

God is faithful to His promises. He promised Abraham that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed. And while the people failed at every turn, still God was determined to save the people He had chosen and through them to bring salvation to all peoples.

When it comes to following Jesus, winning often looks like losing. It looks like suffering and persecution and giving up my good for the good of another, but suffering comes before glory. And though the world may see us losing, the joy, the peace and the hope that we have in the midst of it all leads to an abundance of life that the world will never know. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

pro rege

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, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

All In: Grow

Nehemiah 4

The work on the wall had been started, and like everything in life, the Israelites face challenges. Their enemies want them to fail, and the people themselves are overwhelmed by the size and scale of the project.

It’s not easy when the Lord stretches us, but He wants to use us to fulfill His purposes for His Glory. Many times we face opposition, resistance, or overwhelming circumstances, just like Nehemiah and the folks in Jerusalem. Had they continued to look at their surroundings instead of trusting in God, they would not have completed their task. Neither will we.

God is the same today, and He still wants to grow us. 

Sometimes the hardest thing is starting. So let me encourage you to resolve to do something that takes you one step closer to Jesus in 2022. Maybe that’s following our reading plan through the OT on the Central app. Maybe it’s joining a community group. Or serving. Or sharing your story with a friend or co-worker or classmate. Or committing to being more generous. 

Growth and change aren’t easy but if we keep our eyes on Jesus, He will lead us through.

May you have an ever deepening experience of contentment, joy and confidence in your everyday life with God as you spend time with Him this year.

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This post is based on a sermon from our January series: All In. 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, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.