The Rise of the False Teachers

2 Peter 2.1-3

Peter introduces the false teachers, who, like the false prophets of old, will arise in the church. Folks who are not believers, who sin with abandon, who are greedy, deceitful and exploiting, and who prey upon the spiritually weak. In other words, not the good guys.

And so believers have the option…listen to Peter or listen to the false teachers. To stay on Torah Road…the way of truth or be led away from it. A useful and fruitful life in which they never stumble leading to an abundant entrance into the kingdom, or a useless and unfruitful life, being blind or short sighted and forgetting their purification from their former sins. Option A or option B.

The choice seems obvious, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t we choose life…shouldn’t we choose the blessing? Shouldn’t we choose Option A? Don’t we all want to hear, “Well done…”? So why don’t we do it? What keeps us from choosing Option A? Simple…“me”. If I pursue Option A, I have to give up stuff. I have to say, “no” to things I really don’t want to say no to, even though they bring nothing but heartache. Because I like to call the shots. I like being the main character in my story.

But one day we will have to give an account. Everyone one of us. Every knee will bow…whether willingly or unwillingly. Jesus will either be your King or your Judge, your Lord or your Master. What you do today matters.

Do you want to experience more grace and peace in your life…a more abundant life? You’ve been given everything necessary to live the kind of life that God calls you to live…the Spirit and the Word. Being informed by the Word and empowered by the Spirit you can be transformed to live and love more and more like Jesus. But you have to be intentional. It won’t just happen. You have to choose.

So choose life today.

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our 2 Peter 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.

Making An Entrance

2 Peter 1.1-11

What kind of entrance do you want to make into the kingdom? How you live your life today matters. Through the Word and the Spirit we have everything we need to pursue the life God calls us to live.

Two options for entering the kingdom. One mentioned. One implied. One involves a celebration…a rich homecoming. The other…not so much. 

Both are true of believers. Both have trusted Jesus at some point in their life. Both will enter the Kingdom. But both do not enjoy the same caliber of life today, nor will they have the same kind of entrance into the Kingdom. What, or maybe better, why the difference? What you do today matters.

The difference is the philosophy or worldview that the believer lives by. Option A: biblical worldview informed by the Word and lived out in the power of the Spirit. Option B: worldview informed by our “it’s-all-about-me” culture that defines pleasure as the highest good. Living for today…all that matters is the here and now.

We all have the opportunity to live an option A kind of life. In fact that’s what God saved us for (Ephesians 2.10; Titus 2.11-15), and He is the One who empowers us to live such a life (Philippians 2.13; Colossians 1.29). But we have to be intentional. We have to make every effort to pursue that kind of life. It’s gonna cost you something.

What you do today matters. Every choice that you make has an impact in time and in eternity. Who are the voices speaking into your life today? Do reason up or reason down? Have you trained yourself to see the world through the lens of Scripture? Are you asking God for help to do so?

Having been equipped by God with the means necessary to be transformed to live and love like Jesus…namely, the Word and the Spirit, and having been given the road-map to get there from faith to love, and the present and future benefits thereof, it’s time…it’s time to make every effort…to press on toward the goal…to diligently pursue this thing called the Christian life.

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our 2 Peter 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.

A Final Word

Revelation 22.6-21

John finishes Revelation pulling together the two major themes of the book…1) Jesus is coming soon, so 2) be ready. Live your life in such a way that Jesus could return at any moment and find you faithfully and fearlessly investing the mina He’s entrusted to you.

If you have trusted in Jesus, live life on purpose…like what you do matters. Share your story. Invest in the lives of those around you. Use your gifts to serve and your resources to further the kingdom. Make a difference. You are saved by grace, but you will be judged by your works. So be ready.

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, come to the waters. Only those who have washed their robes may enter the eternal city, only those who have trusted in Jesus. God invites you to “come”. If you are thirsty, come. If you want to take of the water of life without cost, come. 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.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

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 Great White Throne

Revelation 20.7-15

At the end of the thousand years, Satan is released to once more deceive the nations and gather them for one last battle, which isn’t much of a battle. Fire comes down from heaven to consume the enemies who have surrounded the camp of the saints, and the devil is thrown into the lake of fire. The great white throne is set up, and the sheep are separated from the goats.

I seem to say this a lot with this book. There are only two sides to this conflict. You are either for Jesus or against Him. You are either a sheep or a goat. But know this…Jesus wins. And you will either kneel before Jesus as King or cower before Him as Judge. So you have a choice to make…life or death, blessing or curse. The choice is yours. So why not choose life?

As believers, I hope that this motivates you to share your story…to tell others about Jesus. As I’ve said before, most of the folks you come in contact with on a daily basis don’t know Jesus. If they were to stand before the throne today, they would stand condemned to the lake of fire. I pray that that breaks your heart and creates in you a sense of urgency and intentionality about the way you are pursuing your relationship with them.

Knowing that we too will be judged/evaluated based on our deeds, let us live a life worthy of the calling. Not out of fear, but out of love. Love for the One who has so loved us, so that we too may hear, “Well done good and faithful slave.”

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait. I don’t want you in the lake of fire. Jesus doesn’t want you in the lake of fire. He will bring judgment, but He would rather you choose mercy. I want you…He wants you…in the kingdom. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.