When we sing to the Lord with willing and eager hearts, we accomplish so much—sometimes without even realizing it. But when we understand what is happening when we sing to Him, it is so wonderful!
The act of singing to God glorifies Him. That’s enough reason to sing! Think about that…we—flawed and broken, frail human beings—bring God glory.
Just consider what happens when we sing to the Lord:
We demonstrate obedience to God; we dig deep roots into the word of God; we build each other up in the Lord; we battle (knowing that the battle belongs to the Lord); we are spiritually strengthened for trials; and we follow a God-designed pathway for joy.
All of this glorifies our great God!
So the next time you shrink back from singing because you think that singing is just not your thing—think again! God wants to hear you. He wants to hear you singing His praises and worshipping Him—telling Him of the wonderful things He has done. Not because He is insecure, but because He loves you so much and wants you to know the great things He has done so that you can enjoy His fellowship forever!
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
– Colossians 3:16
“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.”
– Revelation 15:1
In the Scriptures, we often see an overview of an event followed by a supplemental account to fill in specific details. As we start in Revelation 15, we take a step back to better understand what was just written in Revelation 14—which ended with a high overview of the Battle of Armageddon.
So far in the book of Revelation, we’ve seen the destruction that will occur with the Trumpet Judgments. We’ve witnessed the devastation of the Seal Judgements. And now, we will preview the deadly Bowl Judgements—seven plagues poured out on the earth.
But before that…there’s singing? In Heaven? Yes! But why? Listen to our study of Revelation 15 to find out!
Revelation 14 moves us closer…closer to heaven…closer to earth…closer to the end. The clock is ticking. Time is running out.
The eternal destiny of billions will be determined as they make the most important choice: will they worship the world or the One who made the world? Will they worship creation or the Creator?
In an act of mercy, God sends three angels to plead with people in hopes that they will turn to Him.
The first proclaims the everlasting gospel to everyone on earth: “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (14:7).
The second warns about worshipping the world system: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (14:8)
The third adds even more incentive to worship God with a warning about the eternal consequences of receiving the mark of the beast: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” (14:10)
Wrath mixed with mercy. God doesn’t have to plead with hard-hearted people. But He does…again and again and again.
Ultimately, you must make a choice—who or what will you worship: creation or the Creator? The Lord will not delay His coming. There will be eternal consequences for rejecting Him. This world and all of the world’s systems that stand opposed to God will fall…but He will stand in the end.
“For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
The wrath of God has come up many times during our study of Revelation. Our study of chapter 14 was no exception. In it, we read of the promised judgement, the coming fire and brimstone, and by the end of the chapter, the harvest for the winepress of the wrath of God.
Yes, the wrath of God is real and serious. But so is His mercy. In this same chapter, we read of God mixing His wrath with mercy in one last effort to plead with mankind to turn away from their sin—one final chance to turn toward Him before imminent judgement.
Will mankind repent and relent from the pursuit of sin? More importantly—have you repented? Have you relented from your pursuit of sin? God is extending Him mercy to you right now! Do not wait until it is too late! Turn to Him now and enjoy the peace and security of His mercy.
Listen to our study of Revelation 14 and learn how you can receive the great mercy of our great God.
Then, read ahead in Revelation 15 and join us this Sunday at 10am in the Regency Ballroom as we continue our study in the book of Revelation.
We know that we do not live on bread alone, “but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We need God’s Word to give us spiritual nourishment so that we have the spiritual strength to discern lies from the truth. So that begs the question…do you have an appetite for God’s Word?
Think about a well-balanced and healthy meal. You know it is good for you—it will give you the strength to make it through the day. But how hungry would you be for healthy food if you had four candy bars right before sitting down to eat? Although good and healthy food is before you, you would have no desire for it.
Do you crave God’s Word like good and healthy food? If you don’t, could it be that you’re stuffed full with what the world is offering you, but isn’t good for you? When you become a believer, you are given a new nature. Your old nature and your new nature constantly war against each other. They fight like dogs all the time. The one that you feed will win. The one that you starve will lose.
Take a look at your life. Consider your decisions. Think about your spiritual diet. Ask yourself daily, “am I feeding the flesh? Is that why I have no appetite for God’s Word?” It’s time to refrain from the things that feed your flesh and commit to feeding upon God’s Word.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
In Revelation 13, we find prophecies concerning a coming one world ruler, one world government, one world religion, and one world currency. While these things are yet to come, they seem plausible right now. With each new world crisis, we’re moving toward these 4 realities as individual rights and liberties erode.
But we aren’t looking for these signs or waiting for the beast (the antichrist). We are looking and waiting for Jesus Christ! He is on the throne and nothing can thwart His plan or His return. While we look up and wait for His glorious appearing, we need to look around and invite others into the same spiritual security we enjoy through a living relationship with Jesus Christ.
Listen to our study of Revelation 13 as we unpack these 4 prophecies and provide the answer to the question, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” (Revelation 13:4).
Revelation 12 begins with a great sign in heaven, involving a woman, a dragon, and a child. It might seem like a science-fiction story—but it is not fantasy! This is a true account of thousands of years of Biblical history.
So what on earth (or in heaven) is going on?
The Old Testament helps us understand what we read in Revelation 12. The woman is Israel (see Genesis 37:1-11), and the dragon is Satan (see Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28). From these Old Testament passages, we see that Satan’s fate is sealed. He is a defeated foe…but he is also a deceived foe. He first deceived himself into thinking that he could thwart the plan of God. Since then, he seeks to deceive and devour as many as possible.
He tried to devour the child born to the woman (Jesus), but failed. So, Satan tried to devour the children of Israel to stop the first coming of Jesus—but he still failed! Though the devil is still deceived (and will fail again), he is still trying to devour the children of Israel to stop Jesus’ second coming. Why? Because the collective repentance of the nation of Israel will trigger the second coming of Jesus!
But God has a way of protecting His people and preserving a remnant for His purposes. Don’t wait until times of tribulation to call out to Him—TODAY is the day of salvation! God’s word is clear—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!
It’s been said that the story of the Bible can be summarize in 6 words: Kill the dragon. Get the girl.
But who kills the dragon? Who saves the girl? And who is the hero of this true story?
As we peer ahead into the future as described in Revelation, we also look back to fully appreciate what is being written about. Even though Revelation is the last book of the New Testament, it is a very Old Testament book in the imagery described and references made.
This past Sunday, we flipped through many pages of our Bibles in our study of Revelation 12 to understand this description of a dragon and a woman…and what it means for us today.
Listen to our study of Revelation 12 and hear the echoes of God’s powerful promise and witness His inevitable victory from creation through ancient prophecies and to the end of this age.
The Word of God is not just a little book. As we’ve learned throughout our studies, it’s a collection 66 books. 1,189 chapters. 31,102 verses. And it’s all for you! All for us! All interwoven in an undeniable way to paint a vivid portrait of the central figure of all time—Jesus Christ.
But the Bible is also full of bitter-sweet timeless truths and promises.
It’s sweet when we put God’s word in our mouths by speaking it & proclaiming it out loud. The Gospel is pleasantly good as we take it into our hearts. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God’s plan to redeem the lost so that we can be with Him forever is the sweetest!
However, there’s a bitter truth that settles in our gut shortly after we enjoy that sweetness. With the good news, there is also bad news. There’s a bitter truth for those who reject Jesus Christ. They will spend eternity apart from Him in never-ending torment.
Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good? Enjoy the sweetness—then allow the bitterness that those who have yet to hear the Gospel and yield to God motivate you to action.
Do you have family, friends, neighbors, coworkers who don’t know the Lord? Does the bitterness of them being separated from God in eternal torment make you sick to your stomach? Like John, that bitterness comes with a command—“You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” (Revelation 10:11)
The Great Commission wasn’t just given to a small enthusiastic group—but to all who believe. So tell everyone about the Good News of Jesus Christ so that others might enjoy the sweetness He freely gives!
The book of Revelation is truly unique. It’s the only book in the New Testament that focuses primarily on prophetic events–things yet to come to pass. We are able to read it because the Apostle John was faithful to the Lord’s command: “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” (Revelation 1:19)
And so, John recorded what he saw so we can see it too (at least, in our mind’s eye). We see the events which will take place as they transpire…on earth and in heaven—and sometimes the lines between these places blur. Like in Revelation 10, as an angel stands on earth. And in chapter 11, we begin with an introduction to two faithful witnesses who will stand for the Lord in Jerusalem, and we end with the seventh trumpet sounding from heaven. Through it all, we see how God has been, is, and will be supreme over all of creation.
Listen to our study of Revelation 10 & 11 and marvel at God’s marvelous and mysterious plan for the end of this age.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
As we continue our study through Revelation and learn about the future time of transition and tribulation, we get a glimpse of just how terrible that time will be. The trumpet judgements in Revelation 8 and 9 are truly terrifying, yet the outpouring of God’s wrath is not complete.
But we do know that at the end of the book of Revelation, Jesus says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” In response, John says, “Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Knowing what he knew—knowing what would have to happen in order for Jesus to come again—he still said, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”
And until He returns, until His kingdom comes—a kingdom that will not be shaken—let us have grace. Let us have grace so that we can turn away from sin and run towards a loving God who uses wrath for the purposes of repentance.
Let us have grace that motivates us to reach the lost and rescue them from the future tribulation.
And let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
An earthquake is a terrible event. When the first tremor strikes, there’s nothing you can do but drop, cover, and hold on until it’s over. And when the ground is finally done shaking, you quickly discover what structures still have integrity and which ones had a poor foundation.
In Revelation 8 and 9, we discover what material and philosophical foundations will remain as God shakes what can be shaken in the trumpet judgements. This shaking isn’t just limited to the earth. As we read in Hebrews 12, heaven will also be shook, giving mankind an even greater incentive to repent. Unfortunately, some will still refuse. But what remains after this shaking will be a kingdom which can never be shaken.
Listen to our study of Revelation 8 and 9 and wonder at God’s ability to shake what can be shaken.
This great multitude of people from every nation, tribe, people, and language will stand before the throne of God. Unfortunately, the only way they made it out of the tribulation was by being martyred—killed for their faith in Jesus.
There will be terrible temptations during the tribulation to turn away from God and give your allegiance to the Antichrist. That allegiance will be an irreversible, irrevocable, and eternal decision. Please do not think, “I’ll just wait until it’s obvious and this so-called ‘rapture’ takes place.” If you find it difficult to live for Jesus now, what makes you think that you’ll have to courage to die for Jesus then?
Make your decision today for Jesus and be sealed by Him for all of eternity (see 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 and Ephesians 1:13, 4:30). Because soon and very soon Jesus will return to pick up those He purchased with His blood—those who are sealed and genuinely His. He wants you to be His. He wants to be with you forever. He has gone to the most incredible lengths to save you so that He could be with you.
The way to be saved hasn’t changed since last week! God’s plan for salvation is the same. His Word is clear—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.
As we continue our study in Revelation, we’ve been considering the wrath of God—its power, purpose, and place in history and the future. The prophet Habakkuk asked God to remember mercy when He poured out wrath (Habakkuk 3:2). We see both the wrath of God and the mercy of God in the book of Revelation—sometimes in ways we wouldn’t have imagined. In His infinite wisdom, God administers His wrath with the included purpose of bringing people to eternal repentance.
Last week, we discussed the question asked in Revelation 6:17: who is able to stand on the great day of God’s wrath? This past Sunday, we were introduced to two groups who will be able to stand on that great day—a numbered multitude and an innumerable multitude.
Listen to Sunday’s study of Revelation 7 as we discovered the identities of these two groups and how they will be able to stand.
Make no mistake about it—the period known as the Tribulation will be the worst time in human history…in every category. When the Restrainer—the Holy Spirit—is removed, sin will flood in and saturate everything in society on a path of death and destruction.
Things will be so bad, so rotten, and so despondent, that the world leaders will cry out—but not to God. Hidden in their mountain bunkers, they will cry out to the rocks that surround them to fall on them to hide from the wrath of God—“For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
It’s a great question to ask—sooner rather than later. It’s the question we all need to answer—better to answer it now in advance of that great day. For there will be a day when God finally says, “Enough is enough!”
Will you be able to stand on that day?
God’s word says that there is a way to be delivered from God’s wrath. There is a way to be able to stand before God. Jesus—The Way, The Truth, The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.
If you haven’t already done so, receive Jesus today. 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.
On Sunday, we restarted our study in the book of Revelation. Picking up where we left off in chapter 6, we considered what will happen when the Holy Spirit is removed and sin is allowed to fully saturate society. We looked into the future with John as the next two seals were opened—and it isn’t pretty. As bad as things are today, it pales in comparison with a world saturated with sin. It will be the worst time in human history—even Jesus warned about how dark this time would be (see Matthew 24).
But take heart! There is a way to be delivered from God’s wrath. Listen to our study from Revelation 6:9-17 and learn how to be able to stand before God.
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!
In Revelation 4, John describes what he sees in the throne room of heaven. It’s an amazing scene full of unimaginable beauty, marvelous glory…and very interesting creatures. Creatures with multiple faces, six wings, and covered with eyes.
Remember that God is a God of order and intentionality. He deliberately reveals His glory and His love though His word for our benefit. No words in His Word are ever wasted. Everything written has a purpose.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (emphasis added)
You see, this scene with these creatures may seem odd until you realize that the same scene is repeated throughout the Bible. We see it described 6 times in the book of Revelation alone; it’s referenced through the symbolism of the 4 Gospels; described in detail in Ezekiel 1; and hinted at in the way God commanded the tribes of Israel to camp around the Tabernacle in the wilderness.
God isn’t giving us a fanciful tale to impress or confuse us. He is giving us a message—the message that the entire Bible is communicating. 66 books. 1,189 chapters. 31,102 verses. All for you! All for us! All interwoven in an undeniable way to paint a vivid portrait of the central figure of all time—Jesus Christ. Out of His great love for us, He goes to the greatest of lengths to not only deliver His message for mankind but also to authenticate His authorship.
It’s only because of Jesus that we’re able to come to His throne. And our only reasonable response to such glory, majesty, and grace is to worship Him.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
This past Sunday, we studied Revelation 4—the beginning of…well…the end (that is, the end of time as we know it on the earth as we know it). If you remember some of our first studies of Revelation, we looked at the outline God gave us for the whole book: “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” (Revelation 1:19)
The first section (things which you have seen) described what John had saw from his perspective—his vision and interaction with Jesus in all of His glory (Revelation 1). The second section (the things which are) were the seven letters Jesus wrote to the seven churches (Revelation 2 and 3). The third section (the things which will take place after this) are future events that have yet to occur and are described for us in the remainder of the book of Revelation (chapters 4-22).
Revelation 4 opens this exciting third section with a simple, yet significant saying: “After these things…” But what are these things? And why is this order important in light of eternity? Listen to our study of Revelation 4 to find out!
In this seventh letter, Jesus writes to the church of the Laodiceans. And it’s important to remember that He is the author of these letters. Jesus—“the Amen, the Faithful and True witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” (Revelation 3:14) He is the True Witness. He is the Real Deal.
But those gathered in Laodicea weren’t witnesses for Jesus. They weren’t real in their relationship with Him. In fact, you might say it was audacious for them to be called a church without any true loyalty to Jesus. Sadly, they had compromised their convictions. Even as they gathered in nice buildings and did nice things, the Lord of His church was left on the outside.
How did this happen? A clue might be found in the name of the city—“Lao,” is where we get our word “laity”; and “Dicea,” is where we get our word “decide”. You see, Jesus is displaced from His proper position in His church when the perceived wants of the people determine the direction of a church. What’s the result? A country club full of people who think they they are Christians…but Christ is absent from them.
And yet…in His mercy, Jesus comes to this church. He stands outside the door. He knocks with His nail pierced hands. He speaks to His beloved—the people He bought with His precious blood. And He invites them to dine with Him—to enjoy fellowship with Him, the very thing He saved them for.
Each of these letters has ended with the same phrase: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” As a body of believers, it our desire is for Christ to rule and reign in His church and in our hearts. Have you heard the Spirit speak? Have you heard Jesus knocking? Answer the door. Let Jesus in.
The church of Laodicea thought too highly of themselves. They thought they were rich, but they were really poor. They thought they were covered, but they were really exposed. They thought they could see, but they were really blind. They took pride in who they appeared to be from the outside, but had no presence of Christ within. In fact, Jesus is no where to be found in this church—He’s on the outside, knocking and hoping someone would open the door.
Where did things go wrong for this “church”? How did they end up with Jesus outside? And what can we learn from their example? Listen to our study of Revelation 3:14-22 as Jesus warns us about churches becoming Christian country clubs for nice people.
The church in Philadelphia didn’t hold an honest assessment of who they really were. As they compared themselves with other churches, their strength seemed small and their faith seemed weak. In their flawed self-assessment, they probably felt like failures. And yet, from Jesus’ letter to this church, we see that they did not realize just how successful they truly were—from God’s perspective.
Maybe you can relate to the church of Philadelphia. Maybe you feel too weak or too flawed as you compare yourself to others. But there is a danger in using worldly ways to determine success or failure in your own self-assessment. God’s word tells us that with a little strength, a little faithfulness, and an open door from the Lord, you can be unstoppable!
No matter how weak and silly and feeble you may feel, stay faithful to Jesus. As you walk though the open doors He places before you, trust that He equips those He calls. He is not looking for your ability, but your availability. Remember that He uses those who feel unqualified and overwhelmed…and won’t give up.
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