Revelation 17 - Babylonian Atomsphere

Revelation 17 - Babylonian Atmosphere

Several ZGC folks have fled the 'Jing' to escape our bad air. Sometimes, I am jealous! But there is nowhere we can go to fully exhale Babylon's air. "Babylon" in Scripture is a place and a symbol - once a mighty Empire that opposed the people of God - forever a sign that in our hearts all people oppose God. You and I have Babylonian Birth Certificates. Kings lust after her and merchants adore her. We all consumer her ideas: "look out for Number 1" - "it's all about YOU!" - "have it YOUR way." Like the air we breathe, we take in Babylon effortlessly. We  slide right into its patterns and passions. Daring to stand against its enormous popularity is dangerous. Alleging that she might be wrong is considered blasphemous. Busting out of Babylon is humanly impossible. We don't even want to! We must be born all over again.

Revelation 19.1,3,4,6 - "Hallelujah"

Revelation 19.1,3,4,6 - "Hallelujah"

The story is almost over, victory is certain, and God's people are now and forever secure in Him. No wonder they shout Hallelujah! Our text contains the only New Testament use of this word; it occurs four times here. It is a composite of two Hebrew words: (hAlal and Jah) meaning "Praise Yahweh." (The Greek equivalent is 'Alleluia.') The word occurs 24 times in Psalms. So our God of Old and New Covenant, is worshipped by His grateful redeemed people. In just 24 days of 1741 George Frideric Handel wrote his Gospel-magnifying oratorio "The Messiah." He closed with the heart stirring "Hallelujah Chorus" - still sung round the world in praise to God. And as the first chords are played, people rightly stand -  awed by the glorious reality of His truth - "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory!"

Revelation 20.11-15 - Ultimately Unmasked

Revelation 20.11-15 - Ultimately Unmasked

“We...have a hopeful attitude toward even the most terrible sinner. We pray and hope for repentance...love our enemies. This is appropriate during this age, but it does not fit the arena of the Second Coming...during the present age we love and admire many things about pagans because, even in their rebellion, they display many admirable reflections of God's goodness...but that will change when we see undiluted wickedness in all its ugliness and hideousness. The Second Coming brings a separation between good and evil...Goodness will remain only with God and those who enjoy his blessing... We must let God be God. He knows what he is doing when he displays mercy and when he displays justice. We must therefore take the teaching in Revelation seriously... Only by repenting and turning to Christ can one escape from hell."

Vern S. Poythress, "The Returning King"

(This excellent simple commentary on Revelation is available free of charge at: http://www.frame-poythress.org/ebooks/the-returning-king/)

 

Revelation 21.5 - A New that Really Is!

Revelation 21.5 - A New that Really Is!

New year, new phone, new boyfriend, new job...now things are really going to change! Surely, new will be better. But, before long "new" no longer is. That phone gets cracked, those shoes scuffed, and the boyfriend is a chump. So, we use the word "new" with lurking doubts. Real new will only come when all things are made wholly new. Our world, us, everyone we know - forever new!? That is what God will do - and what He has already begun doing. In rare wondrous moments we're hit by a blast of this coming new. God pops in and confirms that new is on the horizon. He promised, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5.17). And He'll keep His promise, "Behold, I am making all things new" (Revelation 21.5).

Revelation 21.5 - Bucket List

Revelation 21.5 - Bucket List

"If only we had more time and money we could see a lot more of this world!" Most of us in International churches feel this way. Having stepped beyond the safety of our homelands to far-away destinations, we've got the 'travel bug' to see more! The Bible closes with God Himself saying, "I am making everything new!" (Revelation 21.5). This means the new earth will have mountain trails with no cigarette butts, seashores with no plastic bottles, and skylines with no toxic particles - and we'll be new from head to toe! No, this is no excuse to trash 'this' earth here and now! Nor am I against enjoying the world we now live in! But as another year rolls around and you dream about all the places you could go, but probably won't, take heart! Serving Jesus has eternal rewards - even travel benefits - and they are out of this world...and beyond!

Revelation 22.20 - Come, Lord Jesus!

Revelation 22.20 - Come, Lord Jesus!

The people of God want Him near. As we feel overwhelmed by the challenges of life, we yearn for His wisdom and strength. As we feel the weight of guilt and shame, we claim His mercy and grace. As we feel oppressed and abused, we cry for His justice and righteousness. Those who do not know God want Him as far away from them as possible - they crave darkness! But the faithful eagerly anticipate His advent. ('Advent' is Latin for 'come.') So we enter the season of Advent once again - looking back with gratitude that God in Chris has come, rejoicing with confidence that He is with us now, and trusting with certain hope that He will come again. God has come, God is here and God will come again! "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22.20).

A Book with a Big Answer

This morning we’ll hear a message from an ancient story. Job was a contemporary of Abraham, perhaps even older! Our eternal God inspired a timeless message in this poetic masterpiece. Read it again this week. Job, a man of faith and favor, is slammed by horrible disasters. His “friends” ponder which of his flaws provoked his calamity. Job pleads innocence. All of them are then silenced by God’s interrogation. “Where were you chumps?!...You guys with the answers, I have a few questions for you.” It’s a pop-quiz on Biology from the Creator of the Universe! In one sense, God’s unanswerable questions do not answer Job’s questions. But they declare He IS the answer. Today as then, if your problems are big, your God is small. But knowing a big God can make problems – even big ones! – sink insignificantly in the sea of His glory.