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.

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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 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.

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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 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.

The Angel and the Little Scroll

Revelation 10.1-11

And so we run into another pause in the action while a big angel gives John a little scroll, and he is instructed to prophesy again the unfolding events of the tribulation.

The Bible is one Story. From Genesis to Revelation. The Story of God’s plan to save a people, and through that people to provide a way of salvation for all peoples. If you have trusted in Jesus, you are a part of that Story. You have been saved, reconciled, adopted, gifted and empowered to live a life worthy of your calling. To share your story with others. To point them to Jesus so that they too might be saved. To inherit a kingdom.

If you have not trusted in Jesus, you too are a part of the Story. But your future is not so bright. It’s the bitterness that John felt in his stomach. The judgment that awaits. I don’t want that for you. God doesn’t want that for you. That’s why He’s provided a way that you might saved through His Son, Jesus. 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 with Him.

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 Sixth Trumpet – The Army from the East

Revelation 9.13-21

The sixth angel sounds his trumpet and the four angels bound at the Euphrates River will lead forth another demon army 200 million strong to kill a third of mankind. Those who remain, instead of repenting, will harden their hearts.

God is gracious and compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting of evil. He is mighty to save, and He’s provided a way to be saved through His Son Jesus. The Lamb who was slain so that He might purchase with His blood, folks from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, to make us a kingdom and priests to God and to reign with Him forever and ever. No one has to face these terrible judgments. All can be saved.

But not all will be. Even in the face of the fierceness of God’s wrath, still some will refuse to repent of their idolatry and the worship of demons. They will love their destructive lifestyle more than even the chance at life itself. And yet they will still shake their fists at the sky and claim it’s God’s fault. Like Pharaoh, God’s mercy only serves to harden their hearts.

I don’t want that to be you. 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 we might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him.

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 Four Horsemen

Revelation 6.1-8

The Lamb breaks the first four seals of the great scroll, unleashing the four horsemen of the apocalypse. A terrifying reminder that God takes sin seriously. The final reconciliation between heaven and earth has begun.

For those who belong to the Lamb, there’s nothing to fear. Their hope is being realized. Their King is coming. And He will set all things right.

For those who are enemies of the Lamb, there’s every reason to fear. Their is no hope. Their Judge is coming. And He will set all things right. But…there’s still time repent. There’s still time to switch sides. But 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

Message to the Churches: Philadelphia

Revelation 3.7-13

The church in Philadelphia doesn’t receive a rebuke from Jesus. Though they were small in the world’s eyes, they had a big faith. They didn’t give up in the midst of persecution. They held on to Jesus’ word and didn’t deny the faith.

And you know, that’s the best thing that can be said about a church. Bigger is not always better. But being faithful is. Persevering in the midst of persecution and tribulation is. Living out God’s Word…being a doer and not a hearer only. Doing what’s right because it’s right, and not just because it’s easy or what everyone else is doing.

It’s been a long sixteen months, but you guys have remained faithful. You didn’t give up, even when things were hard. You just kept persevering. Well done.

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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

Message to the Churches: Sardis

Revelation 3.1-6

The church in Sardis is in trouble. Barely holding on to life. Spiritual lethargy has set in. If something doesn’t change soon, the church will die. But there is a faithful remnant within the church…a believing remnant, so not all hope is lost. The church still has a chance, but it must repent.

There’s no hint of persecution at the church in Sardis. There doesn’t seem to be the same pressure to conform that we’ve seen at some of the other churches. It sounds strange to say…a lack of persecution, a lack of suffering for their faith, a lack of tribulation may be their biggest problem. It’s resistance that builds strength. Without opposition we can become weak…flabby. That (meaning spiritual lethargy) and compromise are the two things plaguing the American church most.

The solution? Wake up! Before it’s too late. Before our lamp goes out. We need to strengthen what remains. Remember what we have received and heard, keep it and repent. We need to become effectual doers of the Word and not just forgetful hearers. We need to confess Jesus before a world so desperately in need of Him. And we need not to give in…because Jesus wins.

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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

Message to the Churches: Smyrna

Revelation 2.8-11

The church in Smyrna is one of the two churches that don’t receive a rebuke from Jesus. My guess is that it has to do with their suffering. You see, the church in Smyrna is under fire. Persecution is both a present and a near term reality for them. So perseverance is crucial. They can’t give up in the midst of suffering. Key to persevering is hope…it’s remembering that Jesus wins. And because Jesus wins, so do we.

Suffering for our faith is never easy. It definitely doesn’t feel like winning. It feels like losing, big time. And yet we are never more like Jesus than when we suffer for our faith. Peter says this, “…to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Peter 4.13-14).

We all want God to save us from suffering…but what if He wants to save us through suffering. Reminds me of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. God didn’t save them from the fiery furnace. He walked with them in it. And He still walks with His children through the fire.

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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

The Hope of Glory

Romans 5.1-11

By believing in Jesus, we are justified…declared righteous…before God. Our debt has been paid in full. God’s wrath completely satisfied, so that we now have peace with God having been reconciled to Him. Our hope is secure. Our boasting then, is not in ourselves, but in God. We even boast in the things that bring us closer to Him like our tribulations.

Peter says this in 1 Peter 4, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Peter 4.12-13).

Suffering for the faith, part of the category Paul calls tribulations, is a predictable outcome when you choose to follow Jesus. I love that Peter says, “Don’t be surprised.” Why might he say that? Because I think that often we are surprised when tribulation comes. That somehow it catches us off guard. We forget that we are swimming against the current…living in hostile territory…behind enemy lines. That this world is not our home. And we find ourselves reacting…and often negatively…to our circumstances. Instead of seeing tribulation as a tool that God is using to strengthen and purify my faith…to make me more like Jesus and bring me closer to Him, I mostly see it, at best, as an annoyance and, at worst, some kind of proof that God is against me.

But what if we looked at our tribulations as reasons for exulting…for boasting? What if we saw them as opportunities to grow closer to God? To learn perseverance and deepen our character? What if we saw this time of quarantine as a reason to rejoice? What if we began to look at what God is doing in the midst of it? How He’s purifying and strengthening our faith? How He’s deepening our character? How He’s making us more like Jesus?

Tribulations can fortify the hope that we have if we will let them. If in the midst of them we run to God instead of away from Him. It’s then that we experience more and more His love overflowing in our hearts. If we will run to Him. If we will trust that He desires our good. Look at all He did to be reconciled to us when we were His enemies. How much more will He do now that we are His heirs…His sons and daughters?

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This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster