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.

The Triumphal Entry

Luke 19.28-44

Jesus enters Jerusalem, and His final week of ministry is underway. Some gladly accept Him as their King while others complain and reject Him as an imposter. The fig tree is about to be cut down.

None of the events of this final week will catch Jesus by surprise. Not one. He is in control of His destiny. He will lay down His life as a willing sacrifice. He’s not a victim. He’s not a bystander. He’s not “along for the ride.” He is the King. And He is in control. That hasn’t changed. Doesn’t matter how the world shakes or what storm is brewing in your life…Jesus is still King, and He’s still in control.

I love the OT story of Joseph. Though things start out well for him…his dad loves him and gives him a great coat…they take a turn when his brothers turn on him and sell him into slavery. It seems that every time he gets ahead, he gets knocked back down again until of course he is promoted to the second position in the kingdom. Joseph has an opportunity to confront his brothers who are the catalyst for the grief in his life…how does he respond to them? “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” Who says that? Somehow Joseph recognized God’s fingerprints all over his story, even though he didn’t know the why at the time. He trusted God all along the way to guide his steps.

Reminds me of Proverbs 3.5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” God cares about every detail in our life…yours and mine. No detail is too small and no problem is too big for Him. If your child came to you crying because their favorite toy was broken or they dropped their ice cream or they’re just mad because their brother or sister won’t play with them, would you ignore them and tell them their problems are too small for you to deal with? The best of dads wouldn’t. The best of dads wouldn’t ignore their child because they’re too busy…the best of dads stop what they’re doing. The best of dads enter into their child’s world. The best of dads…and our heavenly Father is the very best of the best of dads. And you can trust Him. And if you look carefully, I bet you can see His fingerprints in your life as well.

Jesus is coming back. That’s one expectation that will not be disappointed. And when He does, you will either worship Him as King or tremble before Him as Judge. The choice is yours. If you want Him to be your King, then 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 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.

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.

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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 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.

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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 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.”

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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, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

Jesus, the Light of the World

John 1.1-18

In these opening verses, John presents Jesus as more than a Man…He was with God and He was God. But not only does John present Jesus as more than a Man…He is also a Man. The Word became flesh. He didn’t give up His God-ness to become a Man, but somehow clothed His divinity in humanity.

John wants us to know Jesus…fully God because only God can forgive sins. Fully Man because only a Man could die for sin. The perfect Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…if you have not yet trusted in Jesus, today would be a great time to do that.

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 with Him.

Merry Christmas!

This post is based on a sermon from our Advent series: Christmas at Central. 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.

Joy in God’s Proclamations

1 Peter 1.6-9

We can experience inexpressible joy even in the midst of trials when we see our lives from a kingdom perspective…because we have a living hope and an imperishable inheritance that is protected by God.

Everyone who walks this planet will suffer…guaranteed. It’s part of living in a fallen world. Death. Loss. Broken relationships. Pandemic. Disappointment. You name it. Some of that suffering is due to our own bad choices. Some of it’s due to the bad choices of others. Some of it’s a result of the fall. But everybody will suffer in some way at some time. But not all will suffer for their faith.

The picture that Jesus frequently uses for discipleship…for following Him…is taking up our cross. It’s a clear picture of suffering. Now why does suffering have to be a part of the deal? I mean if we’ve chosen to follow God, if we’ve been adopted into His family, if we’re kingdom citizens, then why doesn’t He keep us from suffering? If we are on the winning side, then why does it feel like we’re losing? It goes back to the fall…

When we rebelled against our Creator, it had a devastating effect not only on us but also on the good world that God had made. The benevolent rule that man was supposed to exercise over creation was forfeited to the enemy (Luke 4.6), who subsequently became “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4.4) , “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2.2). Before we trusted in Jesus, we were “sons (and daughters) of disobedience” (Ephesians 2.2) and were citizens of this world and thoroughly committed to life in the kingdom of darkness.

When we trusted in Jesus another rebellion occurred, but this one was really a return. And while it is true that we are citizens of a new kingdom and children of God, we are still living in enemy territory. Because our allegiance has changed, we are at odds with the world around us and traitors to its malevolent king. The more we look like Jesus…the more we live as citizens of His kingdom…the more at odds with this world we will be. The more at odds, the more suffering. The more suffering, the more rejoicing. Why can we rejoice? Because our faith has been purified and strengthened. Because we know that our salvation is sure. Because we’ve chosen to respond to our circumstances with joy, knowing that God will use these experiences to accomplish His work in and through us. Because we are becoming more like Jesus.

The counterfeit joy that this world offers is based on avoiding unpleasantness of any kind…forget about suffering. It’s a joy that is hollow, self-seeking and fleeting. It disappears when the storms of life come. Unfortunately that’s the only joy that many of us pursue. But true joy…inexpressible joy…comes only from following Jesus, taking up our cross and being willing to suffer with Him. Seems like an odd way to find joy…especially an inexpressible joy…but there it is. That kind of joy is independent of circumstance…good or bad, suffering or rejoicing…it remains unshaken.

So what difficulty are you facing right now? What trial are you going through? How might God be using it to purify and strengthen your faith in Him? What, if anything, is preventing you from choosing joy despite your circumstance?

May you experience Joy in God’s Proclamations this Christmas season.

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This post is based on a sermon from our Advent series: Christmas at Central. 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 144,000

Revelation 7.1-8

The 144,000 are sealed for the coming days of judgment. It’s not clear as of yet what God has in store for them, but we will find out in the coming weeks.

God is in control, and He has a plan. His ways are not our ways, and while we won’t understand everything, we can trust in a God who does. He has a plan for Israel, He has a plan for the 144,000, and He has a plan for you and me.

If you have trusted in Jesus, you too have been sealed. Sealed with the Holy Spirit that Paul says is a downpayment on our future inheritance. So we need not be afraid. We belong to God. We are His, and no one can snatch us out of His hand.

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait. No one can stand on their own in the day of God’s wrath. I know that’s not easy to hear. I know it’s not popular to talk about. God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. But He is also just. And there will come a day when it’s too late. So don’t wait.

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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 app store or google play.

Worship of the Lamb

Revelation 5.1-14

All of creation will one day worship God. Some will do it willingly, some will do it unwillingly. But all will do it. The Lamb is worthy…He has the right to rule and to execute judgment and to establish His kingdom. He purchased that right with His own blood.

Jesus came first as a Lamb…a Lamb who would sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world. He will return as a Lion to execute judgment and reign over the earth. The irony is…it’s the Lamb who has overcome. By His weakness He defeated the might of the enemy. The cross was the serpent’s undoing. He sealed his own fate when he thought he was sealing Jesus’.

Jesus is coming back. And He’s coming as a Lion. As the Lion, He will either be King or Judge. For those who have trusted in Him, He comes as King to welcome us into His kingdom. For those who have not trusted in Him, He comes as Judge. And you don’t want Him as Judge. You see, heaven and hell are real, and our decisions now have eternal consequences for our future. So don’t wait. If you have not trusted in Jesus, make today the day.

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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