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Easter Sermon 2010 April 21, 2010

Posted by roberttalley in Easter, Religion, Resurrection, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Sermons, Seven Churches of Revelation.
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WHO WAS DEAD AND CAME TO LIFE
Revelation 2:8-11

Sometimes we know part of the story, but not all of it. FamilyLife magazine, February, 1995 tells “…the story of a grandfather who wanted to know how much his four-year-old granddaughter knew about the Easter story. When he saw little Julie playing in the backyard with her friends, he asked them, “Who knows why we celebrate Easter every year?” One of Julie’s friends chirped up first: “Oh, that’s when you go to the mall and sit on the big bunny rabbit’s lap and tell him what you want in your Easter basket.” Her second friend’s answer was no better: “No, no, no! It’s when you get a tree and hang eggs on it—and you wake up on Sunday and there are presents underneath it.”
At that point Grandpa interrupted and gently said, “That’s a good guess, but it’s not quite right. Julie, do you know why we celebrate Easter?” Julie nodded her head. “It’s when Jesus was crucified. He died, and His disciples put his body in the grave. They rolled a big stone in front of the opening. And the guards went to sleep. On the third day, there was a big earthquake and the stone rolled away.”
Hearing all that, Grandpa was really encouraged that Julie knew so much of the Easter story. Then she continued, “When the earthquake happened, the entire town came out by the grave. And if Jesus came out and saw his shadow, they knew there would be six more weeks of winter!”
Young Julie knew a lot about Easter but she had misunderstood a key element. Because she had misunderstood, Easter’s meaning was changed. I believe most of us understand the key element of Easter. He who was dead came to life. It is the message of the resurrected Christ. That message changed everything. When Christ rose from the dead, He changed our view of death, He changed our view of this life, and He changed our view of the life to come.

These changes, however, are not just changes of understanding but are practical changes that affect the way that live. Jesus to the church of Smyrna applies His resurrection to the lives of the believers there in this passage.
I. The resurrected Christ has changed our view of death (vs. 8). Now there were resurrections before in the Old Testament as well as during the life of Christ but the resurrection of Christ is different. He never died again. He lives today after two thousand years. Because of His resurrection, we view death differently.

a. We view death from the outside (vs. 8a). It is hard for us to comprehend death. Milton Mayer once wrote in an essay “On Death”, “Death is the one idea that has no history. We do not know what to say about death because we do not know what to think about it, and we do not know what to think about it because we do not know what it is.”

The very name Smyrna reminds us that we do not know how to deal with death. The city was named for a substance, myrrh, used as a perfume as well as for anointing a dead body before burial. Burial practices around the world reflect this difficulty of dealing with death. Boettner writes in his book, “Immortality”, that in Greenland a deceased child was provided at burial with a dog to act as its guide in the hereafter. Religion seeks a purpose in death. Some promise a rebirth, others a happy future. Modern man has given up and concluded that death is simply the end and has no purpose.

b. Jesus, however, reveals to us a view of death from eternity (vs. 8b). He is the First and the Last. This title comes from the book of Isaiah where Yahweh tells His people that He is God and there is no one like Him. Isaiah 44:6b-7 says,
“I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.
And who can proclaim as I do?
Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,
Since I appointed the ancient people.
And the things that are coming and shall come,
Let them show these to them.
Do not fear, nor be afraid;
Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?”
You see, He existed before death and will exist after death has ceased. He is the one who allows death to exist and He allows death to exist because it fits into His eternal purpose. To adapt a saying from St. Augustine, “God judges it better to bring life out of death than to suffer no death to exist.”

That does not mean that we always understand His purpose. That is the point Isaiah is making. No one, no god, devil, man, or angel can set in order for the First and the Last the events of time or eternity and we certainly cannot discover the purpose of death. That had to be revealed to us through Jesus Christ, the First and Last.

c. Jesus Christ, the First and Last, however, is not a puppeteer playing with us, pulling our strings, very much in control but outside the play. No, He views death from the inside (vs. 8c). All men, Christians included must stop at the gate of death and say, “I do not know…” We can define and describe love, hate, exhilaration, and despair but we do not know from personal experience what it means to die. Jesus Christ, however, knows what it means to die. He knows what it means to suffer our fate. He knows what it means because He experienced it. He plays by the rules that He set for us. He took the medicine that each of us is scheduled to take.

“Joseph Damien was a missionary in the nineteenth century who ministered to people with leprosy on the island of Molokai, Hawaii…One morning before he was to lead them in their daily worship, he was pouring some hot water into a cup when the water swirled out and fell onto his bare foot. It took him a moment to realize that he had not felt any sensation. Gripped by the sudden fear of what this could mean, he poured more boiling water on the same spot. No feeling whatsoever. Damien immediately knew what had happened. As he walked tearfully to deliver his sermon, no one at first noticed the difference in his opening line. He normally began every sermon with, ‘My fellow believers,’ But this morning he began with, ‘My fellow lepers.’”

Without the death of Christ, I could not know the love of God for me. So now I have a different view of death. I still do not know it by experience but I understand now its purpose in revealing God’s love to me.

II. The resurrected Christ has changed our view of life on earth (vs. 9-10).

a. For us life is about this world (vs. 9). It does not matter whether you are wealthy or poor, healthy or sick, selfish or giving, surrounded by friends or isolated in loneliness, our life is about this world. These people were no different. Jesus said, I know your works, I know how you go about your daily life, I know your tribulations, I know the things that you are facing in the world, I know your poverty, how that you have lost jobs and family because of your faith in me, I know your present circumstances. I know about your enemies, people who claim to believe in me but are children of the devil. I know what they have planned for you, I know how long your trials are going to last, I know your future. But do not fear. Jesus addressed their present circumstances and their future danger. He did not call them to put on heavenly sunglasses and forget about the glare of this world.

b. What He did do is put this life in perspective for them. This life is about winning eternal life through lasting faith in Christ (vs. 10). That is why He was able to say, “Do not fear!” Jesus did not say, “I am going to deliver you out of your trouble.” Sometimes he does deliver us but often He does not because life is not about living without troubles and trials, without sorrow and pain. Life for the believer is about a constant faith, an enduring faith in Christ. That is why the Bible warns against a faith that does not last. The faith that does not last is not a real faith and will result in destruction. So my life is not about church or family or country or career or hobbies or friends or health or about myself. My life is to be about a constant display of my faith in Christ. Because He lives, I can live with a purpose, I can live the life of faith in Him, confident that when I die, I will receive the victor’s crown of eternal life.

III. That is what I mean when I say that the resurrected Christ has changed our view of life after death (vs. 10-11). In Christ, I have a new life, a resurrected life.

a. The resurrected life is victorious (vs. 10). One of the characters in Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” Mr. Valiant-for-Truth was summoned home to the Celestial City. “He called his friends and told them of it. Then, said he, ‘I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am…My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me, that I have fought His battles who now will be my rewarder.’…many accompanied him to the river side into which as he went he said, ‘Death, where is thy sting?’ And as he went down deeper, he said, ‘Grave, where is thy victory?’ So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.”

“…thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

b. Resurrected life is protected from the second death (vs. 11). Our text says, shall not be hurt. This word is found in the New Testament, primarily in the book of Revelation. The second death is described for us in Revelation 20. It is the lake of fire, the place of damnation. But the believer in Christ is protected. Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

I may die physically but the resurrected Christ, the one who was dead and came to life promises to protect me from the second death. I may suffer now in some way or another but my hope for the future is the healing leaves of the tree of life, not the eternal hurt inflicted by the second death.
What is your view of death? Do you see in it God’s love for you in that He died for you?
What is your view of life? Do you see in it the opportunity to exercise constant faith in Christ?
What is your view of the life to come? Do you see victory and rest from your labors here?
If not, you can. You can begin today your walk of faith in Christ. You can begin today to experience God’s love. You can begin today to live for eternity. The resurrected Christ has made this possible. Trust Him today!

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The Son of Man March 21, 2010

Posted by roberttalley in Crucifixion, Daniel, Day of the Lord, Death of Christ, Eschatology, John's Gospel, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Sermons, Son of Man.
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THE SON OF MAN
Revelation 1:9-20

This past week we heard of the passing of Peter Graves of “Mission Impossible” fame. What I did not know was that his real name was Peter Aurness. He was the younger brother of James Arness who was famous as Matt Dillon of the TV series, “Gunsmoke.” Mr. Graves, however, took a professional name. Through his career, he infused that name with his own persona and acting career so that now, whenever that name is mentioned, people think only of Peter Graves and rarely connect him with James Arness.

It might surprise you to find out that Jesus did something similar. Early in His ministry He began to identify Himself as the Son of Man. Earlier that term had been primarily used by God in addressing Ezekiel but it was used once in Daniel 7 as a term for the Messiah. When Jesus began His ministry, there were many other names for the Messiah that were in common use at the time: the Christ, the Son of God, the King of Israel, the King of the Jews, the Son of David. Jesus did not normally refer to Himself by any of these titles but rather used the term found in Daniel 7 and infused that term with meaning. In fact, we find here in Revelation 1, the culmination of the meaning of the title, “Son of Man,” meaning which Jesus Himself gave the term helping us to understand better who Jesus is.

I. The “Son of Man” reveals God to us (vs. 1-3, 11, 19). We saw last week from verses 1-3 that the purpose of the book of Revelation is not only to reveal to us truth about future events but also to reveal more clearly to us who Jesus is. Without the book of Revelation we would have an incomplete picture of Jesus. Verses 11 and 19 make it clear that Jesus, the Son of Man, wants us to have a clear picture of who He is. He, the Son of Man, is the Revealer of God to us.

a. He reveals God to us because He is the ladder to the Father (John 1:49-51). This passage in John’s Gospel is the first time recorded where Jesus Christ used the title “Son of Man.” He has just met Nathanael and miraculously revealed to Nathanael that He knew everything about Him. Nathanael’s response was to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel. Now both of those terms were common terms for the Messiah. Jesus, however, did not use either of those terms but rather referred to Himself as the Son of Man, who is the way to God.

We are all familiar with the famous words spoken by Jesus in John 14, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.” John 1:18 tells us, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” These are other ways of telling us that the Son of Man is the ladder to the Father. Jesus statement to Nathanael uses the Old Testament story of Jacob’s dream at Beth-el, where he sees angels going up and down a ladder leading into heaven (Genesis 28:12). Jesus clearly points out that if you are going to see God, you must see Him through the Son of Man.

The Son of Man is in this way like the Arab guide who was asked by a visitor in the desert, “Where is the path?” The Arab guide replied, “I am the path” (adapted from page 104 of Erwin Lutzer’s “Christ Among the Gods”).

b. How then does the Son of Man reveal God? He reveals God through His death (John 3:12-15). Again, Jesus uses an Old Testament story to explain how it is that men can come to the Father. The serpent of brass was lifted up so that the Israelites could look at it and be healed of their snake bites. Jesus was lifted up on the cross so that men and women could look to Him in faith and be given eternal life.

What does the cross of the Son of Man reveal about the Father? John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 make it clear that the Father’s love is revealed through the cross. The love of God is not revealed by nature. His power and justice can be known through nature but not His love. To reveal the Father’s love, the Son of Man had to die. Notice though that He did not merely reveal an example of loving sacrifice but rather the real thing. To hang on a cross hollering, “God loves you!” is an empty gesture unless that death has a positive result for the one loved. John 3:17-18 tells us that the positive result is freedom from eternal condemnation, from perishing eternally. Romans 5:9 says that we are justified by His blood. His death frees us from condemnation. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…”

c. The Son of Man effectively reveals the Father because He, Himself is God (Matthew 9:1-8). Again, early in the ministry of Christ He uses the title Son of Man, this time infusing that title with a meaning that had never occurred to anyone before. A paralyzed man lies before Him to be healed. He tells the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” This riles the religious leaders who rightly recognize that no one can forgive sins but God alone. Jesus tells them, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”-then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” The people did not understand, for verse 8 says, “…they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.” We understand though with hindsight that Jesus was not only admitting that the Son of Man is God but was proving that He, the Son of Man is God.

II. Our passage in Revelation 1 recognizes that Jesus reveals the Father to man and assumes all that we have spoken of but the primary emphasis of this passage and of the book of Revelation as a whole is slightly different than that of John and Matthew. The “Son of Man” in the book of Revelation is the one who judges the wicked at His coming (Cf. vs. 13-16 with 14:14-16). We have already seen that Jesus came the first time, not to condemn or to judge but to save men and women from condemnation and judgment. Between the time of John’s gospel and the future time discussed in Revelation, something has changed. We see the Son of Man at His second rather than at His first coming.

a. The seat of judgment is His rightful place because He is the Son of Man (Cf. John 5:22-27 with Daniel 7:13-14, 23-27). Notice that He has authority in John 5:22-25 as the Son of God to judge. He has this authority for two reasons: (1) He is the Son of Man spoken of in Daniel 7, who has been given the world of men as His kingdom and dominion and (2) His task as revealer of the Father results in condemnation of everyone who rejects that revelation (John 3:19).

Now this brings up an important question. How about those who have never heard of Jesus? Romans 1 teaches us that through nature they learn enough about God to be held accountable. It is not enough to be saved but it is enough to condemn one as lost. Erwin Lutzer in “Christ Among the Gods” illustrates it this way, “If you need $1,000 for college and I give you only $100, my gift is not enough to get you into college, but it is enough to judge your response. With this $100 I can tell whether you love me or spurn me. And how you respond may determine whether or not you ever receive the full amount” (page 189).

That is why it is so vitally important that we get the message of Christ to our family and friends and loved ones. Unless they hear the message of Christ and receive that message, they will be condemned by Christ when He comes into His kingdom. There is a reason this road is called Narrow and the road to destruction is called Broad.

b. The Son of Man is prepared for the judgment day (Cf. 1:13-16 with Daniel 10:5-6 and Rev.15:6-7). The description we have of the Son of Man emphasizes that He is coming again as judge. This description is pretty close to one we have in Daniel 10 of a man in linen. In Daniel 12 this man appears again in relation to the three and a half year period we know as the tribulation. In Revelation 15:6-7 we have seven angels with the last judgments of God dressed similarly in linen with a gold band across their chests. What we have here are indications that the Son of Man in Revelation 1 is prepared for the final judgment. My daughter asked me the other day as we were reading a Bible story book, if the picture accurately depicted how Jesus dressed while here on earth. My guess was no but I do know how Jesus will appear when He judges this earth. However, He will be prepared appropriately for the judgment that He metes out.

His white hair indicates the wisdom of age, His piercing eyes the omniscience of His knowledge of us. His feet like brass indicate the authority of His judgment, His loud voice the exercise of that authority. His two-edged sword out of His mouth illustrates the decisiveness of His Word of judgment and His glowing face, the glory of His place as the Son of Man (see Matthew 16:27-17:2). In other words, everything He needs to exercise proper judgment on this world, He already has. He is simply waiting for the right time.

III. The “Son of Man” has a message for those who claim to be His servants (Revelation 1:1, 12-13, 16, 20). That is why this passage concerns us. We at Grace Bible Church claim to be servants of God just as each of these seven churches, the seven lampstands claimed to be servants of God. Jesus had a particular message for each of them.

For some it was a message of hope. Seven times He says to the churches in chapters 2 and 3, “To him who overcomes…” For the true believer life on this evil earth has both dangers and temptations. Those who remain true to their faith in Christ “…shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels (Revelation 3:5). In Luke 12:8 Jesus reserves this responsibility for the Son of Man. What is your trial? By what are you tempted? Jesus Christ will stay true to you. He is your hope. Stay true to Him!

For others it was a message of judgment. To the church of Thyatira, the church that had most forsaken the truth, He describes Himself as “the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass” (3:18). If you, even though you may claim faith in Christ, if you turn from that faith or live in a way that contradicts that faith, “…all…shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts” (3:23). In other words, you will be judged.

For most all of them, it was a message of warning. These warnings were concerning true doctrine, the doctrine of Christ as well as concerning our attitudes toward Christ and toward ourselves. Do you take your faith seriously? Do you live according to your faith in Christ or do you live in love with this world? If you love this world then there is a warning for you in this book.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His glorious face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Paying Attention to Jesus the Revelator March 14, 2010

Posted by roberttalley in Blood of Christ, Christ, Day of the Lord, Eschatology, God the Father, Imminency, Jesus, Judgment, Messiah, Millenial Kingdom, Prophecy, Religion, Resurrection, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Sermons.
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WHY PAY ATTENTION TO JESUS?
Revelation 1:1-18

The word “keep” in verse 3 carries the connotation of “paying attention with the intention to obey.” It is God’s intention that we keep the word of this prophecy and to the one who gives this prophecy. Sometimes it does not matter who the messenger is. When we listen to the news, it really does not matter who is reading the news. We may like the one we are listening to and they may make us feel better about the news but for the most part it matters little except for entertainment purposes whether I get my news from Diane Sawyer or Katie Couric.

It is different though when what we receive is a prophecy, that is, a direct word from God. There are many today who claim to have received direct words from God. We see them on our TVs, hear them on our radios, and see their books in the CBD catalogue. Should we pay attention to them? I do not; for none of them to my knowledge claim perfect inspiration and many of them preach one form or another of false doctrine. We are commanded to try the spirits whether they be of God.

Next week we will specifically look at why we should pay attention to His revelation. This week I want us to understand what is in it for us. That may seem a little backwards but this is the way it is presented in the book and so that is the order that we will follow.

This book begins by stating that God gave Jesus this revelation for the profit of His servants. Now many of us here this morning claim to be the servants of God, that is, the children of God, so this book is intended for us. Why do we need this book and why should we pay attention to the one who gives it to us?

A. Because God gave Him what we need to know for the future (1:1, 3b). The future is very important. Many of you will go to work because of the future. You will do schoolwork because of the future. Wars are fought so that nations can determine the future. Investments are made in the future. Roads and bridges are built for future use. Even history is often studied so that we can better understand the future.

Now God knows the future. Some of the future we need to know. We do not need to know details for the most part. In fact, God rarely gives us much detail. We do not know who the Antichrist is, we do not know the date of the Lord’s coming, we do not know if the multiple earthquakes that have recently occurred are signs of His immediate coming, and we do not know exactly how the world will look when Christ comes. Any details we have are either sketchy or incomplete. But there are some things we need to know about the future.

1. The coming of the Lord is imminent (verses 1 and 3b). He could come at any time. Two thousand years ago, the Lord could have come at anytime. That is still true today.

Now there are several attitudes that we can take about this.

a. We can be fatalistic about his coming. “If He comes He comes…” Now I do not think that very many people are truly fatalistic. Either they believe He is coming or they do not but this is a possible attitude one could take.

b. Most do not believe He is coming. They may not openly doubt it but they obviously do not believe otherwise they would be ready. Revelation 3:1-3 describes a church that did not believe He was coming. Jesus said that he would surprise them like a thief. Jesus taught quite often about this when He was on the earth. One of the last sermons He preached had as His main point that those who are not ready will be destroyed (Matthew 24:36-13). One of the illustrations He used was of a servant who was made ruler over his master’s house. He said to himself, “The master is delaying his coming.” He begins then to beat his fellow servants and to lead a life of partying. When the master suddenly returns the man will be cut in two.

c. There is though a third attitude. Being ready! How do you know you are ready? Romans 13:8,11-14 tells us how, “Owe no one anything except to love one another… and do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep…Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness…Let us walk properly…not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

Luke also tells us in chapter 12 of his gospel how that those who live for the things of this world will not be ready. In other words, only the disciple who is willing to live for heaven and not for this world will be ready when Jesus comes.

2. We not only need to know that the Lord could come at any moment but we need to understand that He is coming as the Almighty (verses 7-8). When He comes every eye will see Him and recognize who He is. Those who crucified Him as prophesied in Zechariah 12 will see Him. Now you might think that those who crucified Jesus are already dead. Zechariah 12:10 makes it clear that John is talking about the Jew here in this passage. They will not be the only ones to see Him. All the tribes of the earth will see Him and mourn. Why? Because the Almighty has come to judge His enemies. It is possible to mourn in repentance (which is the caase in Zechariah) but the context of Revelation indicates that the peoples of the earth will mourn when they realize that the Lord is coming to judge them (Revelation 6:12-17). On that day, every news station will show the Almighty. Facebook and Twitter updates will mourn the coming of the Almighty. The nations will rise against Him but will not be able to stand because He is the Almighty.

Now why do we need to know that He is coming as the Almighty? Because right now it looks like Christ is losing. The world is becoming more anti-Christ every day. He seems to be losing ground but when He comes we will be able to give thanks (Revelation 11:15-18) because He has returned and restored His rule over this earth. That is the day that we long for according to Romans 8. This world of sin and sinners is oppressive to the believer in Christ but when Christ returns, the sinner will be destroyed and sin will be put in check. Only the Almighty God can accomplish such a feat.

B. The reason we need to know about the future is that there is blessing in paying attention to Jesus and His revelation about the future (1:3). This blessing is not in stock tips or oil futures. This blessing is a spiritual blessing.

1. To be blessed means to be saved (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). Seven times in the book of Revelation, a blessing is pronounced on those who are believers in Christ. The word we read in our Bibles as “saved” Martin Luther often translated as “blessed” because He understood that to be truly blessed of God meant much more than houses and lands and nice families. God blesses the unsaved also with such things. To be blessed of God, however, means to be saved, to be redeemed by the Lamb. Sometimes this word is translated “happy.” That is not a bad translation, for one who lives eternally in the presence of God will be happy and the one in hell will not. To be blessed though is more than an emotional reality, it is a spiritual reality. Look at Revelation 20:4-6. What a contrast? Those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus are blessed because they are free from the second death. It is certainly not a happy occasion to be beheaded. Those who might sympathetically be looking on might say, “What a waste!” But they are blessed. They are saved from the second death, from the wrath to come.

2. To keep the word means to have an active faith (1:3; 22:14; compare with 1 John 3:23). You see, to keep a prophecy means that there is something that should be done in response to that prophecy. Revelation 22:14 makes it clear that those who do His commandments will have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city. Now does this mean that we can work our way into heaven? Absolutely not. James put it this way, “Faith without works is dead.” In other words, true faith will live a certain way. First John 3:23 tells us exactly what the commandments of Christ are, “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” So this blessing means more than to believe that Jesus is God. It demands becoming a disciple of Christ, an active faith that determines not only to trust Christ but to obey Him.

It is clear that Jesus can demand an active faith from me and I need to hear His word with active faith. The blessing of God is promised to me if I keep His word, if I have an active faith. An active faith will be ready for His coming. That is the point of the last phrase in verse 3. He is coming. Are you ready?

“A lady, who heard Whitefield, in Scotland, preach upon the words, “And the door was shut,” being placed near two dashing young men, but at a considerable distance from the pulpit, witnessed their mirth; and overheard one say, in a low tone, to the other, “Well, what if the door be shut? Another will open.” Thus they turned off the solemnity of the text. ‘Mr. Whitefield had not proceeded far when he said, “It is possible there may be some careless, trifling person here today, who may ward off the force of this impressive subject by lightly thinking, ‘What matter if the door be shut? Another will open.’” The two young men were paralyzed, and looked at each other. Mr. Whitefield proceeded: “Yes; another will open. And I will tell you what door it will be: it will be the door of the bottomless pit!-the door of hell!-the door which conceals from the eyes of angels the horrors of damnation!”

Jesus could come today. Are you ready? Is your faith active? Do you have faith in Christ at all? Trust Him today and live for Him, forsaking this world and all others for the one who loves you and died to wash you from your sin.

Next Week: The Son of Man

If I could only preach one sermon… (from 2 Peter 1:12-19) August 2, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Jesus, Rapture, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Second Peter, Sermons.
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If I Could Only Preach One Sermon…
2 Peter 1:12-19

George Whitefield preached over 18,000 sermons during his life. While traveling through Exeter, New Hampshire on September 29, 1770 he was asked to preach on the village green. After praying for strength to preach one more sermon, he managed to preach for two hours on “Faith and Works.” After supper as a guest, Whitefield preached one more sermon to a group gathered at that home. At 2 a.m. he awoke, talking about his desire for strength to preach again the next day. Four or five hours later, he died in his sickbed.

Whitefield did not waste his last time preaching current events or moral improvement but rather dealt with a subject with eternal ramifications. We find much the same situation here with Peter. He knows that the time of his departure from this earth was at hand (verses 14-15). Today, we will see what subject Peter felt was so important that he devoted to it his last “sermon” (if you will allow me to use that term).

A. Peter wanted to “preach a sermon” that makes a life-changing difference (verses 12-15). He did not want to “preach a sermon” to be remembered by but rather a subject that would change those who remembered it.

1. The subject of this “sermon” will change the way you live your life (verse 12a). Peter has told them that if they live life in a certain way it would make them spiritually fruitful and would prove the reality of their faith and would be worthy of entrance into heaven. In verse 4 he has already made it clear that a change has to take place for this to happen. Everything must change. The heart, the lifestyle, the destiny of a person all can be changed by the subject that Peter will soon announce.

2. The subject of this “sermon” is already known to you but he wants to remind you of life-changing, eternal truth (verses 12b-15).

He calls it a present truth. This is not something new-fangled. It has been known for many years now. His listeners are not new to this truth but he dared not neglect reminding them of it. This truth is vital for the believer. It must be remembered and when remembered it will stir up, that is, wake up the believer to live the lifestyle that is worthy of entrance into heaven (see also 2 Peter 3:1).

Also these believers are established in this truth. They were not wobbly. Now this may seem strange to preach to strong Christians that they need to live in such a way as to prove their faith but it reveals to us something of the danger of assuming that someone is steadfast in the faith. Not just new believers, not just young believers, not just struggling believers but all believers need this truth so that they will remain set and fixed in the faith and in the lifestyle of our faith.

B. Peter wanted to “preach a sermon” that confirms Jesus as the Son of God (verses 16-18).

1. This is what Peter had preached before (verse 16).

He had proclaimed the power of Christ. Verse 3 tells us specifically what Peter means by the power of Christ. It is divine power, power from God, in fact, it is the power of God. A power that gives to men and women all that they need to walk the lifestyle that Peter describes as characteristic of the called ones of God. It is Jesus that enables us to live worthy of entrance into heaven and it is the importance of His power that is the theme of Peter’s last sermon.

He had proclaimed also the coming of Christ. Now this could be talking about the first coming of Christ but it is more likely referring to the second coming of Christ. Second Peter 3:3-14 indicates that some who had heard the truth and perhaps had even professed the truth of Christ’s coming were rejecting it. Thirty-five years ago (more or less) Jesus ascended to heaven, promising to return. Where is He now? He’s not coming back. Like the children of Israel, who within forty days began to doubt that Moses would return, these scoffers have no patience with God or His ways. Why? According to verse 3b, they walk according to their own lusts.

Now you may ask what difference does this doctrine make? Verses 11 and 14 make it pretty clear. Those who believe in the imminent return of Jesus Christ will live differently than those who do not. The scoffer walks according to his own lusts but the believer in the Lord’s coming has a holy, godly, peaceable, and blameless walk in this word. It is not only important that we have the power to walk worthy of Christ, it is also important that we be ready when Christ comes.

There is another reason why these two doctrines are important. They are the majesty of Christ. His power is the power of a divine king and when He returns, He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords.

2. With this majesty is how the Father identified Him (verse 17). Verses 17-18 speak of the Mount of Transfiguration experience that is recorded for us in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain and God showed Jesus Christ in glory and honor as the divine Son of God, the King of glory. Now there are other times when God identified Jesus as the Son of God. He did so at Jesus’ baptism. John 12:28-29 tells of another occasion where God glorified Jesus Christ. Only on this occasion though did the Father identify Jesus with the honor and glory with which He will appear when He comes to receive His own to Himself and to judge those who rebel against Him. This is likely why Peter chose this particular occasion. It made the exact point that Peter wanted these believers to grasp. He is powerful enough to help you to walk worthy of entrance into heaven and He is coming back, be ready!

3. This is confirmed by our eyewitness testimony (verse 18). Peter is not talking about something he heard. This not some legend or cunningly devised fable. He saw Jesus in His majesty with His own eyes. He walked up the mountain with Jesus, He climbed back down after the transfiguration was over. He had seen Jesus in His earthly body and had seen Him in His glorified body. He knew what He was talking about. The power of God to change my lifestyle and the promise of Christ to return are based on fact. I can pray with confidence for strength to live holy because His power to give that strength has already been demonstrated. I can look forward to His coming, not because of the signs of the times being all around me but simply because He promised to come in majesty and His coming majesty has already been revealed to mankind through eyewitness testimony. I find it interesting that the only sign of the last days that Peter even brings up is that of scoffers and false prophets and he brings them up not to indicate that Jesus will soon return but rather points out that we should not be surprised when scoffers and false prophets appear. After all, Jesus will return.

C. As perhaps you can now see, Peter‘s message was a prophetic message but it was not an impractical reading of tea leaves but rather a message that demands obedience (verses 19). Negatively, this word means beware. Positively it means to pay attention, listen. Hear my word and then act appropriately! Peter intends for them to obey verses 5-7 because of the eyewitness confirmation of the Father’s identification of Jesus as the Son of God. Hear the truth and obey it!

1. It demands obedience because it is true. Peter says that the prophetic word was confirmed, that is, by eyewitness testimony and the testimony of the Father. All of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah are true in Jesus Christ and we know this because of what God did to identify Jesus before men as the Son of God and because hundreds, if not thousands of eyewitnesses, both followers and enemies, attest to the truth of the facts as they happened. God said it through the prophets, confirmed it on this earth multiple times, and eyewitnesses confirmed both the testimony of the prophets and of the Father.

2. It demands obedience because it dispels spiritual darkness. Peter has already mentioned in verse 4 that men’s hearts are doomed. Here he points out that they are also dark. Faith in God’s truth dispels darkness like a morning star in the dawn. Men grope spiritually in darkness but the power and the coming of King Jesus brings light to those who believe and obey.

When I was a kid, we used to listen to a camp meeting preacher and revivalist by the name of Sammy Allen. Sammy Allen would get down from the platform and preach at the front of the aisle and he would look you dead in the eye and ask, “Are you listening? Are you listening?”

Are you listening this morning? I am not asking if you can hear me or if you understand me. Are you going to take heed to the Word of God and live according to the power of Christ, living ready and looking forward to His coming for you.

What you have been waiting for – the last two chapters of Revelation (21-22) November 2, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Eschatology, Heaven, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ.
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      Questions from Revelation 21 and 22

What is the prophetic significance of the new heaven and the new earth (compare 2:1-6 with Isaiah 65:17-19 and 2 Peter 3:13)?

What is the implication in verse 1 of “no more sea” (compare with Revelation 20:13)?

Why is the New Jerusalem described as “a bride adorned for her husband” and as “the tabernacle of God” (20:2-3; see also verses 9-11 and verses 18-21)? How does this help us to understand the later descriptions of the New Jerusalem? What is the emphasis of the description?

What do verses 7-8 tell us about believers and unbelievers (compare with verses 24-27)?

What do verses 12-17 tell us is united in the New Jerusalem? Based on what we have read so far, it the New Jerusalem symbolic, literal, or possibly both?

What do we learn about the temple in the book of Revelation (compare verses 22-23 with 11:1-2, 19)? See also 22:1-5!

What are the final applications of 22:6-21?

(Update) This lesson covers the description of the Holy City. Here is a link to the Ideal City. Enjoy!

Armageddon and the Millenium October 22, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Antichrist, Day of the Lord, Eschatology, Judgment, Millenial Kingdom, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ.
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    Answers from Revelation 19:17-21 and 20

  • What is the end of the participants in the battle of Armageddon (19:17-21)?
  • Christ and His army is victorious. The Beast (Anti-Christ) and the False Prophet are thrown alive into the lake of fire. Their armies and allies’ armies are destroyed totally. None is left alive.

  • What in Revelation 20:1-3 indicates that the thousand year millenium is still in the future?
  •  There is no demonstrable time in history of any duration since the fall during which Satan has been bound.

  • What do we learn about those who are faithful to Christ at the end of the tribulation/beginning of the millenium (20:4-6)?
  • They will be resurrected and will reign with Christ throughout the millenium.

  • What is implied by verses 7-10 about the time after the millenium and Ezekiel 38-39?
  • The nations of the earth will come and Christ and His people but will utterly be destroyed.

  • What do verses 11-15 tell us about the final judgment?
  • The unsaved will be resurrected, judged according to their works, and thrown to suffer forever in the lake of fire.

    A Look at the Millenium and the Last Judgment (Revelation 20) October 18, 2007

    Posted by roberttalley in Antichrist, Day of the Lord, Eschatology, Judgment, Millenial Kingdom, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Throne of God.
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    1.  

        Questions from Revelation 19:17-21

    2. What is the end of the participants in the battle of Armageddon (19:17-21)?
    3. What in Revelation 20:1-3 indicates that the thousand year millenium is still in the future?
    4. What do we learn about those who are faithful to Christ at the end of the tribulation/beginning of the millenium (20:4-6)?
    5. What is implied by verses 7-10 about the millenium and Ezekiel 38-30?
    6. What do verses 11-15 tell us about the final judgment?

    If you’ve been following our Revelation study… October 17, 2007

    Posted by roberttalley in Day of the Lord, Eschatology, Maps, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ.
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    …then you probably will find this map interesting. I could have linked to Van Impe’s website but I think the comments form Strange Maps are also worth reading. I guess I would be included among the alarmists but that’s okay. That does not mean I am condoning the map in every detail.

    Just a couple of more weeks in Revelation October 16, 2007

    Posted by roberttalley in Antichrist, Babylon, Eschatology, Judgment, Materialism, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Seven Churches of Revelation.
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      Answers from Revelation 18 and part of 19

  • Who might be the messenger in 18:1?
  • Although it is not clearly said, some feel this could be Jesus Christ.

  • What is the message to the churches in verses 2-9? How does this message apply to us today? How will it apply during the end time events?
  • Do not take part in the sins of “Babylon”. The sins listed in this chapter are tied in to materialism which is probably, for Americans at least, the most dangerous sin that we face today. During the endtimes there will be the added danger of aligning one’s self with the Beast (Antichrist).

  • Why is Babylon beloved by the nations of the earth according to verses 10-19?
  • She brings prosperity to the world.

  • Why specifically is Babylon being judged (18:20-19:4)?
  • Her persecution of God’s people.

  • What is the next event after the destruction of Babylon (19:5-10)? Who is the central figure of the marriage supper (verses 9-10)?
  • The marriage supper of the Lamb (the coming of Christ for His people) is the next event after Armageddon. One could say it actually occurs in conjunction with Armageddon. Christ is the central figure of the marriage supper.

  • What is the significance of the white horses (verses 11, 14)?
  • White horses are a symbol of victory in war.

  • What do we learn about Jesus Christ in verses 11-16?
  • He is the judge of the earth. He is above all in holiness and authority.

    Jesus the Creator October 12, 2007

    Posted by roberttalley in Colossians, Creation, Hebrews, Jesus, John's Gospel, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ.
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    Although it is never directly stated in the Old Testament, the New makes it clear that Jesus was and is the creator. The verses below mention this. Naturally, one should look at the context to make sure that I am not just pulling proof texts out to prove my position but that this is actually what the text says.

    John 1:3, 10: All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made…He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

    Eph 3:9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;

    Col 1:16-17 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

    Heb 1:2-3 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

    Heb 1:10 And: “You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

    Heb 3:3-4 For this One [the context is speaking of Jesus] has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.

    Re 4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”