It’s not getting any easier to be a believer in this fallen world. There’s a growing instability in almost every area where we’d normally find security. We have plenty of reasons for our hearts to be troubled.
And yet, Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled…” But how? Especially given our current circumstances? The answer is found in His faithfulness—the great and precious promises and prophecies He has given us. The more we look at God’s track record of faithfulness, the more reason we have to hope.
This hope sustains us and allows us to move forward knowing that God hold the future in His hand. We can face the future with confidence and boldness knowing that He is already there.
This past Sunday, we considered the prophecies and the promises God has given us so that our hearts won’t be troubled. Listen to our study from John 14:1-6 and remember His great and precious promises—fulfilled and yet to come to pass.
Brutality, war, destruction, poverty, immorality. The world before Jesus’ birth desperately needed a savior. Some expected a civil savior—a leader who would solve all of their outward issues.
Someone like…Caesar Augustus. Scaling the ladder of power through brutality and force, he exalted himself as the “sacred one” and became a man-made savior. He tried to solve man’s outward problems and bring outward peace. But as amazing as he was, Caesar Augustus was still just a man.
The savior the world needed had to be more than a man. The world needed a different kind of savior. The Messiah--God made man—who left His throne, gave up His power, and descended to be born a helpless baby in the most humble of circumstances.
Jesus did not come to be a civil savior. If our greatest need was administration, God would have sent an administrator. If our greatest need was money, God would have sent a business leader. If our greatest need was medicine, God would have sent a physician. But God knew our greatest need was salvation, forgiveness, and fellowship with Him. So He sent us a Savior, His One and Only Son, to purchase and provide what we needed most—permanent lasting inward peace with God. Because that is our greatest need.
With the angels let us sing
Alleluia to our King!
Christ the Savior is here,
Jesus the Savior is here!
On Christmas Eve, we looked at the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of John and asked some pretty big questions. Questions like…where did God come from? What is God's history? What would God's birth story be?
Listen to our study from John 1 as we carefully considered the genealogy and birth of Jesus.
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…”
This past Sunday, we continued our focus on the Christmas story with a closer look at Luke 2. This may be very familiar territory for most of us, but as we work and worship our way verse by verse through this word from God that never changes, we find that—by His Holy Spirit—we will change as we preserve, ponder, and proclaim the most amazing gift of God's grace—His Son. “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” His Son—born of a virgin. Born to live. Born to die. Born to give His life for us so that we could live.
Listen to our study from Luke 2 and discover this indescribable gift of God’s amazing grace!
In the eighth Psalm, David asks two questions of the Lord: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?”
God answers those two important questions in one person with two important names: Jesus and Immanuel.
You see, from before time began…before the foundations of the world were established…before God created the entire universe—He saw you! And His love for you is so immense that He began His grand plan to save you.
This plan put a seemingly impossible amount of intricacy in motion—all for you. It spanned thousands of years and involved dozens of generations. It endured from creation through the fall and the flood. It continued through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It included David and persisted through captivity until the plan was finally fulfilled…by a baby boy born in Bethlehem.
A baby named Jesus. A son called Immanuel. Jesus, which means, “God our salvation”. Immanuel, which means, “God with us.” In His infinite wisdom and out of His everlasting love, God responds to our greatest need with Himself.
Oh, come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Immanuel!
This past Sunday, we pushed pause on our Revelation study and Jesus' second coming to consider His first coming. The Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John have detailed accounts of how Jesus was born. On Sunday, we looked carefully at the account in Matthew and how both Jesus' humanity and deity were featured in the genealogy of Jesus. Next week, we'll consider Luke's account. And on Christmas Eve, we'll look at John's record of Jesus' arrival as Messiah.
Listen to our study of Matthew 1 and marvel at the God who chooses to be with us—and who also is our salvation!
We have a sin nature that craves sin. It makes us think we can enjoy the benefits of sinning without experiencing the consequences of sin. But make no mistake—sin always has consequences. Sure, it might feel like freedom at first…but the hangover from indulging in sin is fierce.
In His wrath, God sometimes releases a person over to unrestrained sin so that they would experience the full consequences of their sin in order to lead them to repentance. But His wrath can also include soul-crushing, life-ending judgment. We see examples of this throughout Scripture when God releases rebellious people over to their sin—and all of sin’s consequences (see Numbers 11).
Here’s the truth…though God’s wrath may seem extreme, it is ultimately what we all deserve. He has every right to pour out His wrath upon all mankind. And yet, in His great mercy, He has provided a way to escape the wrath to come. That’s the whole truth. This truth is about God’s Son, who came to save us by willingly becoming one of us to receive God’s FULL wrath for us—the full judgement that we deserve. As awful as it is going to be during the time of the tribulation, it pales in comparison to the horrors that Jesus endured in order to set us free from sin, death, and the judgement to come.
So if you haven’t already done so…receive Jesus today. Receive Him as Savior and the Lord of your life. God’s Word says if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. You can do that right now! Ask God for forgiveness. Believe that Jesus died for your sin and that God raised Him to life. Trust Him as your Savior and follow Him as Lord.
Guilty, vile, and helpless, we,
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full redemption—can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
What is wrath? What is the wrath of God? And what does it look like when God pours out His wrath? These were all questions we asked and sought to answer in our study of Revelation 6:1-8 this past Sunday.
Wrath—extreme anger—is something that God uses at times for the purpose of repentance. Sometimes, we can think that God is hindering us from enjoying sin because He is some kind of cosmic control freak. And so we try to shake off His “shackles” in order to enjoy sin unhindered, undiluted, and unrestrained. But sin always takes more than it gives—sin steals, kills, and destroys. In His wrath and in His wisdom, God sometimes simply lets stubborn unrepentant sinners experience sin without hindrance so that they might come to a realization that sin does indeed steal, kill, and destroy.
Contrary to today’s headlines and breaking news, we have never fully seen an unrestrained sin saturated society. But one day, mankind will—the Day of God’s Wrath (also called the Time of Tribulation). On that day, The Restrainer—who is currently holding sin back from fully saturating a society—will be removed and the world will plunge into a rotten awful darkness.
So who is this Restrainer? And what does His removal have to do with the first 4 seals on the scroll in Heaven we first saw last week? Listen to our study of Revelation 6:1-8 and learn about this Restrainer and the results of His removal.
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” For a moment, this question was left unanswered before the throne in Heaven. And in that moment, the lives of billions upon billions of all of the human who ever lived upon the earth were searched—and no one was found to be worthy.
Not even God the Father was worthy. The One seated on the throne with the scroll in His hand wasn’t worthy to open the scroll or to loose the seven seals or to look inside. Why? Because God gave authority over earth to Adam, who forfeited his authority over the earth. So the only one who could complete the redemption of creation was another human—a second Adam.
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”
JESUS! “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:4) Jesus is worthy! He ALONE is worthy because He bought us back with His own blood after we sold ourselves into slavery to sin. And yet Jesus is not only worthy of all of this—He is also worthy of our worship.
“Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:14)
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” This is the question that hangs in the air around the throne of Heaven as John continues to describe the scene around the throne in Heaven in Revelation 5.
Worthiness is something we considered last Sunday. At the end of chapter 4, the 24 elders fell down before the throne and said, “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.”
The subject of worthiness is still our focus in Revelation 5—but not in relation to the act of creation. We considered it in the form of the question asked above—a question concerning the redemption of creation. So what’s the answer? Listen to our study of Revelation 5 to find out!
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends