23.5 Revelation – Sharing the Truth

Many job applicants think the interview starts when they enter the room with the interviewer.  For most jobs, the evaluation starts far earlier.  It starts with the resume and cover letter.  The professionalism in answering the phone when called for the interview counts.  The interaction with the receptionist counts.  Every interaction is being inspected and evaluated.

In the same way, our witness for the Lord does not start and stop when we get to say our practiced script about how we came to a personal relationship with Jesus.  Those around us are watching the way we live, how we speak, how we give, how we interact with others at home, at school at work and in the community.  They assess our demeanor.  They assess what seems to be most important to us.

On one hand, this is terrifying because it implies that we are always on duty.  On the other hand, we are only conduits for the work of the Holy Spirit.  This is not a sales job.  This is a job that revolves around one simple thing – the Truth.

But, as a sinful person, how do I provide a witness that serves God?  Prayer.  Plain and simple, it is through continuous prayer.  Ephesians 6, after discussing the full armor of God concludes with verse 18: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

My Answers:

11.
Destruction – to be thrown down as a millstone thrown into the sea

12.
a.
Because of the eternal communion with God, resurrection, just as Christ was resurrected from death, to be drawn to heaven and live forever in the kingdom of God

b.
The troubles around us, though severe and troubling, are temporary

13.
Teaching, leading through example, sharing my faith and what it means.  Being sure to use the name of the Lord – it is a phrase that is quickly being lost to the language in a positive sense as we become more babylonian

14.3 Revelation – Sin permeates creation

Sin permeates creation

We tend to have a major separation in our minds between animate and inanimate objects that may be overstated.

In Exodus 4, when Cain killed Abel, “The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.  Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.  When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.””

In Luke 19, as Jesus makes His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the pharisees ask him to rebuke the crowds, He says, “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

All of creation has a voice and our sin and the sin of our ancestors has permeated and distorted the resonance of that voice.  What once was a beautiful melody is now noise.

We think of sin as ephemeral, while we know it has long lasting repercussions.  We think of it as intangible at the same time we feel the weight and pain of it.

Sin has corrupted not only mankind, but all of God’s creation.  The sounding of the first four trumpets touch this corruption.  They yank it out and destroy it.

They also serve as a sign for God’s call to the assembly.  He does not need trumpet blasts, they are not for Jesus, they are for us as a sign and a calling to repent.  He does not need an eagle or vulture flying in the mid heavens calling out a warning of Woe, Woe, Woe, that is for us.  He did not need to start with the soil and water and plants, he could have started with the ones causing the corruption instead of the corrupted, but, again, these are signs to repent.

To repent is to turn away from all that we would like to be right, but isn’t, and turn only to the truth.  To acknowledge the truth is to acknowledge our sin, our weakness, our corruption.  It is easier to blame something or someone else.

How is God calling you to repent?  We all have sin and all need to repent.

 

My Answers:

6.
1st: came hail and fire mixed with blood hurled down on earth, 1/3 of earth, 1/3 trees, all grass burned up
2nd: like  mt, all ablaze, thrown into  sea, 1/3 of sea turned to blood, 1/3 living sea crtrs die 1/3 ships dstr
3rd: great star, blazing torch, fell on 1/3 of rivers/springs WORMWOOD 1/3 waters turned bitter, many die
4th: 1/3 sun, moon, stars turn dark.  1/3 of day without light  1/3 of the night

7.
To allow the people of earth to repent and turn back to God

8.
a.
Patient, Just, Righteous, Glorious, All-Powerful, Mighty, Creator, Willing to Forgive, Jealous

b.
An appreciation of God’s power and might and that He holds this back, although all we deserve is wrath.

03.2 Revelation – Blessed

Blessed

We sometimes get a bit too casual with blessings.  Bless you, bless you, oh, you sneezed, bless you, too.  But blessings from God are big deals.

I know there are more authoritative definitions, but I think of a blessing as receiving undue and unearned favor.  Blessings can be conditional, and have requirements or qualifications in place to receive them, but they are not wages or payment, they are a gift.  Blessings can be something that the receiver immediately sees as a positive, but not always.  Sometimes the biggest blessings in our lives can be hardships and challenges that helped us grow stronger, change path and walk closer to the Lord.

Since creation, God has blessed His people.  He gave a special blessing to Abraham, which he passed to his son Isaac who then passed it to Jacob who became Israel.  We see in the story of Jacob and Esau that a blessing is something of great value worth desiring.  From Jacob/Israel we see it is even something worth fighting for as he wrestled with the angel of the Lord.

Jesus was serious about blessings.  His first recorded sermon is filled with blessings from Matthew 5:

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
    for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
    for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
    for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
    for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

So, when we read Revelation 1:3, we need to not take it lightly.  A blessing from God is something we should long for and desire with our whole heart.  This one is a conditional blessing offered freely when these conditions are met:

  1. Read aloud the words of the prophecy
  2. Hear it
  3. Take to heart what is written in it

By doing these things, we are offered a double blessing from the Lord.  And this particular blessing is an everlasting blessing, one that promises to the family of believers, everlasting life.  Not only is this something we should desire, but it is something that should cause a change in our lives.  It is impossible to “take it to heart” and not have a transformed heart in the process.

My Answers:

3.
a. Jesus Christ

b. God to Jesus to the angel to John.  Blessings

4. To receive undue favor.  An eternal blessing.  Increased faith leading to a better ability to witness

5. Not just knowledge but an emotional, physical and spiritual change. My love for God and others should change for the better.  My faith and the witnessing of that faith should become more bold.

02.2 Revelation – Remember, Redeemed, Removed, Renewed

Remember, Redeemed, Removed, Renewed
Revelation Themes

As the conclusion to the amazing story of the bible, the book of Revelation is filled with victory.  It is a victory that can be shared by anyone who chooses the gift of being on the team.

The fact that the book opens with letters of warning to the churches shows the mercy and grace of our God.  That even in this final book, where John outlines the end times of God’s wrath and judgment, God tells him to extend an invitation again to put on the jersey of Christ and be clothed in His sacrifice.  John, in particular, calls the church to remember.  If you have ears – then listen.  This is important.  This is important enough that believers for ages have been willing to be afflicted, persecuted and subjected to suffering for the honor of staying true to the team colors.  Remember and repent.  You want to be on the winning team.

A game-winning, grand-slam, home run happens at the moment that the ball connects with the bat.  Yes, it has to fly through the air out of the park.  Yes, the players have to run the bases and touch home plate.  But, from the very moment of impact, the work is done.  In the same way, Jesus’ work of paying the price for sin and defeating death is done.  When He resurrected from the dead, He connected with a strike ball that has been on a victory trajectory ever since. We are redeemed. It is done.  But Jesus is not done, yet.  One of the central themes of Revelation is this run of redemption.  The best is yet to come as He rounds the bases and returns back to home plate on Earth, gathering every one of His team to rejoice in victory.

When He returns, it will not be a partial victory, but a final one.  Satan and sin will not, as the saying goes, “live to fight another day.”  Christ’s return is a time when Satan and evil are just defeated, but completely removed.  Those who have made the choice of evil, who have rejected the gift of Jesus and rejected God, are judged and will be found to be incapable of paying the price of their own sins.  They and all enemies of God and good will be removed, forever.

And, finally, the book of Revelation closes with the most amazing gift of all.  God does not leave us to clean up the mess of this broken world.  We are not left in a war savaged place, with the need to tear out and rebuild on top of the weak foundations of the past.  But, instead, God takes us to a new place.  A place of beauty and peace of joy and happiness.  We have nothing to contribute to it, it is a wedding feast and the one true happily ever after ending.

My Answers:

3.
a.
1. greetings from him who is, who was and who is to come. Jesus the ruler of the kings of the earth.  Look his is coming with the clouds, every eye will see him – Look, I am coming soon, blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy
2. Be faithful, Jesus knows about affliction, persecution, suffering.  He will give you life as a victor’s crown. captivity and death will continue, but be patient, endure and faithful
12. Dragon removed from heaven, triumphed over by blood of the lamb.  The woman who gave birth to the child was protected, dragon went off to wage war with her offspring.  Beast was given… (note: it did not take, it was given – it is not in control)
19. For the wedding of the lamb has come – blessed are those who are invited – white horse, rider was faithful and true, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS
21. New heaven and new earth, God’s dwelling place is now among His people – new heaven forever, river of water of life, tree of life, see the face of God in the city.  no more night, reign for ever and ever

b. God dwelling with His people for ever and ever – the new Heaven