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.

The Bowls

Revelation 16.1-11

The first five bowls have been poured out, and the worshipers of the beast and his kingdom are reeling because of it, yet they refuse to repent and turn to God. The end is fast approaching, and their fate is soon to be sealed.

Many these days go about their lives unaware or indifferent about the choices they are making that have eternal consequences. Like Pharaoh, many see God’s patience…His mercy…as an indication that if their actions have no immediate consequences, then they must not have any consequences. But they are wrong. Dead wrong. God will deal with sin. It may not be today. Or tomorrow. Or the next. But eventually the day will come. And in the day of God’s wrath, who is able to stand?

The answer is simple…those who follow the Lamb. Those of us who have trusted in Jesus. We need not fear the coming judgment for we are on the winning side. Jesus is our Resurrected King who has conquered death and satisfied God’s wrath on sin.

We live in uncertain times. The world is shaking all around us. These judgments have not yet come, and yet we see our world fractured and coming apart at the seams. Almost daily we are reminded of how fleeting life is. But the fact that you’re still here means that you still have work to do. If you’ve trusted in Jesus, your job is to keep sharing your story with those around you who don’t know Him. Your job is kingdom impact. It’s to point others to Jesus.

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, 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.

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.