“…we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”
Strong consolation paints the picture of someone coming alongside you to comfort you by forcibly, powerfully, and valiantly giving you truth.
Have you ever had someone do that for you (especially in the midst of a difficult time in your life)? Maybe you’re starting to lose it, starting to relax your grip on God’s word—and a friend comes to you and starts shouting truth in your life. You receive their strong comfort and come to your senses. You renew your grip and continue to hold fast to God’s Word.
Believers in Jesus hold fast. We hold fast to hope. We hold fast to God’s Word. We hold fast to God.
Why? Because it is impossible for God to lie. He has given up thousands upon thousands of great and precious promises to hold fast to. These promises shout truth into our lives and give us strong consolation. Immoveable, unchanging, and immutable promises of God which gives us a sure and steadfast, immutable, immovable, and unchangeable hope in Jesus.
And so we, who have fled for refuge, lay hold of the hope that is set before us and hold fast to hope.
How? We cling to God and we cling to God’s Word. Every chance you get, let the Holy Spirit through the Word of God shout truth forcibly, powerfully, and valiantly into your heart and soul.
Blessed hope that keeps the soul
Safe from harm tho’ billows roll!
‘Tis fastened firm within the vail,
No storms against it can prevail,
Blessed hope that keeps the soul.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul…” (Hebrews 6:19)
In the open sea, an anchor is essential for stability and security. Without it, the ship is adrift—rocking to and fro, moved by the whim of the wind and waves. It’s the same in life. When we find ourselves in the storms of life, it is vital to stay grounded, stable, and immovable.
In Hebrews 6, we’re told we have such an anchor—an anchor for our soul. We have a source of stability that will keep us unmoved by the wind and the waves. And yet, this passage tells us that we have far more than that! This chapter is full of incredible encouragement, timeless truths, and strong words—words like immutable, strong consolation, steadfast, refuge, and hope. Hope that we hold on to as we wait out the storm. Hope that is only found in God—in His word, His promises, and His testimony.
Watch the replay of our live stream from Sunday or listen to our study of Hebrews 6:13-20 as we were encouraged by the hope that is found in God.
There is no neutral in your walk with the Lord. If you are not fighting to move forward by faith, you are sliding backwards. If you are not maturing, you are regressing. The length of time that you have known the Lord is not a guarantee of spiritual maturity. This is what the writer of Hebrews communicates when he writes:
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe” (Hebrews 5:12-13).
Even more intriguing and convicting is that Scripture seems to say that you can grow—and then regress in your spiritual maturity in Christ. These verses seem to say that some believers mature in Christ and then for a variety of reasons not only slow down, but slide back in their spiritual maturity.
That is why we need to fight to move forward in our faith. We need to fight to add to our faith “virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (2 Peter 1:5-7). The elementary principles outlined in Hebrews 6:1-2 isn’t an exhaustive checklist for the Christian—it is a foundation on which to build and grow.
So how do we fight to move forward? Practice—a lot of practice. There is grave danger in merely listening to the Word and not doing what it says to do. When we do what God tells us to do and obey with a willing heart full of faith, we grow and mature and move forward.
Help me, my Lord, to grow more like Thee,
Thy wondrous love to know, Thy face to see.
Lord, fill my soul with light, dispel the gloom of night,
And make me through Thy might more like Thee.
In our study last week, we saw a particular component of the Old and New Covenants compared and contrasted—the ministry of the High Priest. In our study this past Sunday, the writer of Hebrews wanted to carry that comparison further, but he didn’t. He wrote that it was difficult to explain—not because of the subject matter, but because the original readers had become “dull of hearing.” Even though they had found life and salvation in Jesus—they had grown and matured in the Lord—now, for various reasons, they had stopped advancing, stopped growing, and stopped maturing. They started to slide back.
While the letter of Hebrews was originally written to Hebrew believers, we know that the Word of God is living and active. So when we come to a portion like this, we pause and ask ourselves, “Is it I?—Am I moving forward in my faith, or am I sliding back? Are there things God wants to share with me but can’t because I’m dull of hearing?”
These are sobering questions we asked of ourselves this past Sunday. Watch a replay of our live stream or listen to the recording of the study as we worked our way through an initially challenging and eventually encouraging portion in Hebrews.
Jesus is our High Priest. Did you know that? If you are a follower of Jesus, you have a High Priest—an eternal and heavenly High Priest.
That’s a bold and true claim to make. To a Hebrew, that claim would need to be backed up with specific proofs and critical identifying characteristics. And so, beginning in chapter 5, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews does just that—he breaks down and offers proofs for Jesus being not just a high priest—but THE High Priest.
In order to be a high priest, Jesus needs to be fully man—and He is (see Philippians 2:6-11). In being both God and man, Jesus is able to mediate between God and mankind (see 1 Timothy 2:5).
In order to be a high priest, Jesus needs to be called and appointed by God—and He was (see Hebrews 5:5-6). God the Father called and appointed His only begotten Son as a priest forever.
In order to be a high priest, Jesus needs to have compassion on those He ministered to—and He does (see Hebrews 4:15). Jesus was tempted the way we were are tempted and suffered the way we suffer…and yet He was untainted by sin. He is able to sympathize with our weakness and have compassion on us.
In order to be a high priest, Jesus needed to offer a sacrifice to God on our behalf—and He did (see Hebrews 5:9). But unlike the priests who came before Him, His sacrifice was sufficient—once and for all time (see Hebrews 9:12).
Yes, Jesus is the eternal heavenly High Priest.
But is He your High Priest? Or are you attempting to gain God’s favor on your own? The truth is you need a High Priest—we all do. You can ask Jesus to be your High Priest today—simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. The Bible says that if you do this, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). 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 the Lord of your life.
“Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest, whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me”
As Christians, we know Jesus was appointed by God to be the mediator between God and man. We know of His compassionate ministry. And we know that He offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins.
But what we might not appreciate is the fact that these are the aspects of the ministry of a high priest. To a Hebrew, certain questions would come up with claims of a new high priest. Questions like:
When was he appointed by God? How can he have compassion on those to who he ministers? What sacrifice does he offer to God on your behalf?
In the letter of Hebrews to the Hebrews, the writer understood these questions and how Jesus uniquely fulfilled the qualifications of the High Priest. So beginning in chapter 5, we see proof from the Scriptures that Jesus is not only a high priest, but the Great High Priest with a ministry superior and preferable to the ministry of the high priest under the Old Covenant.
Watch the replay of our live stream or listen to our study as we took a deeper look at Jesus – Great High Priest.
As the leader of the New Covenant, Jesus not only brings us to the rest promised in the covenant—He Himself is the promised rest. He is the promised place where we cease from striving and where we find rest for our souls.
Jesus spoke of this rest—the rest only He can give. In Matthew 11:28-29, He made an invitation to be received, a command to be obeyed, and a promise to be believed:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus can lead you all the way in to God’s promised rest. It’s closer than you think—this promised land, the promised rest, the place where we cease from striving is not Heaven. It is a place and a Person to be enjoyed now. It is only found in Jesus.
Where are you today? Are you still in Egypt—captive to sin? Is your soul still striving to earn God’s favor? Jesus can set you free—ask Him today! Or are you in the wilderness—liberated from sin, but wandering around, looking for the promise land in your own strength? Is your heart unsettled with anxiety, discouraged and defeated, painfully aware of just how far you need to go as you wander? Jesus can lead you—ask Him today!
“Will you come, will you come, with your poor broken heart,
Burdened and sin oppressed?
Lay it down at the feet of your Savior and Lord,
Jesus will give you rest.”
As we work though the book of Hebrews, the writer continues to contrast the Old and New Covenants for us. In chapters 3 and 4, he specifically looks at the leaders that God chose to lead His people to rest. Moses in the Old Covenant and Jesus in the New Covenant.
In our comparison of these two leaders, we see quite a few differences:
Moses was a servant in God’s house. Jesus is a Son over God’s house. Moses was a butler in God’s house. Jesus is the Builder of God’s house. Moses was unable to enter God’s rest because of disbelief and disobedience. But Jesus extends an invitation to those in the New Covenant to come to Him, to learn of Him, and to find rest for their souls.
If we hold fast to the confidence of our confession and come boldly to the throne of grace, we will find that rest and we will obtain mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.
Watch a reply of our live stream or listen to our study from this past Sunday as we considered the leaders of the Covenants and which one leads us to find rest for our souls.
In light of all we have learned about Jesus in the first two chapters of Hebrews, the writer encourages us to consider Jesus. Observe Him. Understand Him. The original word used in this verse means to consider attentively, or to fix one's eyes or mind upon.
Just consider what Jesus did and who Jesus is. He lived a full life on earth—successfully AND sinlessly. Even after diving into death itself, He made it through alive!
But he wasn’t unaffected by the human experience—He was tempted in every way that we are today. He was familiar with suffering and sorrow. He knows what it’s like to be born to broke teenage parents in the midst of controversy. He knows what it’s like to grow up in a neighborhood of which people would say, ”Nothing good can come from there.”
He knows what it’s like to be singled out, misunderstood, and falsely accused. He knows what it’s like to be broke, hungry, and homeless. He knows what it’s like to be betrayed and deserted—to have all of His friends turn their backs on Him in His greatest time of need.
Consider Jesus—who sympathizes with your weaknesses so He can say to you, ”I am familiar with what you are going though.”
“Consider Him,” and as you run the race,
Keep ever upward looking in His face;
And thus transformed, illumined thou shalt be,
And Christ’s own image shall be seen in thee.”
That’s how chapter 3 of the book of Hebrews begins. And if you’ve been studying the Bible with us, you know that when we come to a “therefore” in our study, it is important to find out wherefore the ”therefore” is there for!
Which is something we could do a lot of in the book of Hebrews, given that there are 28 ”therefore’s” in this book. That’s significant, since the Bible often builds upon what was previously written. In order to understand a particular idea, we can simply read what was written before.
That’s exactly what we did this past Sunday as we began our study of Hebrews 3…and only studied the first verse—but what a verse it is! Watch the replay of our live stream or listen to the audio of our study as we discover wherefore the ”therefore” is there for!
In the second chapter of the book of Hebrews, the writer compares and contrasts the Old and New Covenants—the ministry of angels and the ministry of Jesus. As awesome as the Old Covenant was, the writer of Hebrews asks, “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…”—how will we escape sin and death if we disregard the New Covenant?
The Old Covenant (which came by angels) could only cover sin with an endless stream of sacrifices. The New Covenant (which came by Jesus) completely cleanses sin with one sacrifice.
This salvation and this Savior give us reason to wonder with hope. Hope that Jesus not only rescues us and redeems us from sin and the destructive effects of sin, but also that He is going to restore us for what we were made for.
Only Jesus can do this because only He has done what no angel could. He alone is our worthy substitute. He is the Author of salvation. He is the One who sanctifies us. He is the Conqueror of Satan. And He is the One who sympathizes with our weakness.
Do you have this hope? Are you filled with wonder as you look to Jesus? Is He the captain of your salvation? The Bible states that today is the day of salvation—right now! You can have this hope, now and for all eternity. Simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. The Bible says that if you do this, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). 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 the Lord of your life.
The book of Hebrews is filled with warnings and with wonder. Warnings against neglecting so great a salvation. And wonder that encourages us to consider how great our Savior is.
Warning and wonder are coupled together throughout this book. And that’s not by accident. We need to heed these warnings as we continue to look at Jesus with wonder so that we don’t fall or fail on the battlefield of faith. The more careful attention we give to our salvation and our Savior, the more confident we will be in knowing that the battle belongs to the Lord.
Heeding the warning and enjoying the wonder, we continued our study in the book of Hebrews this past Sunday. Watch a replay of our live stream or listen to the audio of our study of Hebrews 2.
In English, this word means “of a more excellent or effective quality; preferable; superior.” In Hebrew, better means “more useful, more advantageous, more excellent.”
Better is a word we’ll encounter regularly in our study of Hebrews. And that’s exactly how Jesus is described when compared to…well, everything else! He is preferable. He is superior. He is more excellent.
In the first three verses of the first chapter of Hebrews, we read seven reasons why Jesus is more excellent. In the rest of the book of Hebrews, we’ll read of the many ways Jesus is better than the angels, the law, Moses, the Old Covenant, and anything or anyone else in all of creation.
Jesus is better. He was sent to save you. And He did this by laying down His life for yours—by paying the price for your sin…all of it! He did that so you could enjoy fellowship with Him and glorify Him forever, not as a servant, but as a son or a daughter. Oh, beloved of God—do not ignore or neglect so great a salvation!
This great salvation is available to you right now! Simply confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. The Bible says that if you do this, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). 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 the Lord of your life.
The book of Hebrews is a letter written to the Hebrew followers of Jesus—believers who were born and raised under the old covenant. They once related to God through rules, regulations, and rituals until the new covenant—the better covenant—was made when the Lamb of God came to take away the sin of the whole world.
These previously religious people experienced the joy, strength, and freedom that came with this new relationship with God through Jesus. Religion—with its rules, repetition, and ritual—might seem safe, but as we’ll see throughout the book of Hebrews—Jesus is better.
What makes Him better? And what is He better than? It’s something we considered as we continued our study in Hebrews this past Sunday. Watch a replay of our livestream or listen to the audio of our study of Hebrews 1:4-14.
Hebrews 4:11 gives an encouragement to believers everywhere and in all times: “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest…”
Times of rest and re-creation and refreshment seldom happen spontaneously. It takes some effort to plan them and schedule them and commit to them. Imagine what might happen if you schedule time to get away with Jesus. Imagine how life could be different if you would enter into the rest that He gave us. What a wonderful gift!
The more time you spend with Jesus and the more effort you put into scheduling time to “get away” with Him, the more you’ll want to do that more.
And yet…you might not fully know who you are giving time to. Jesus is so wonderfully described in the first three verses of Hebrews. He is:
1. The Heir of all things
2. The Creator of the worlds
3. The brightness of God’s glory
4. The express image of God Himself
5. Upholding all things by the word of His power
6. The One who purged our sins
7. Seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high
This is the Savior who wants to get away with you! He wants to spend time with you! So what do you think about grabbing your calendar and planning time to spend with Him? He promises that if you do that and come to Him, you will find rest—relief and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet—for your soul.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
In the past, God spoke through the prophets many times and in various ways. He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah using vocal preaching. He spoke through the prophet Ezekiel using visual preaching. He spoke through the prophet Jonah using a human experience. He spoke through the prophet Hosea using a human relationship.
But in these last days, God has spoken to us! Our God—the same God that spoke to the prophet Jeremiah, to Ezekiel, to Jonah, to Hosea, and to many more—has chosen to speak to us, not through just a prophet, but through His Son Jesus.
This same Jesus wants to speak to you. This same Jesus wants to be with you. He not only wants to give you rest, He wants you to enter into that rest—that deep and abiding rest that settles your very soul. This Jesus wants to go on holiday—a holy day—with you.
This past Sunday, we started with the first three verses of Hebrews and looked at the rest that Jesus gives freely in these last days. Watch the replay of our live stream or listen to the audio of our study and discover the rest that we are encouraged to make every effort to enter.
The book of Hebrews is a great reminder to all believers. This letter reminds us that God is near—right here with us to help us through His word and by His Spirit. He helps us to stand in faith, to run in faith, to serve in faith, to love in faith, and to fight in faith. This will happen when we spend time looking to Jesus rather than looking at our circumstances, our limitations, or our deficiencies.
Instead of the constant roundabout of our our feebleness and faithlessness, we need to spend more time in wonder and worship at the feet of Jesus. And as we consider Him and behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus, we are transformed by the Holy Spirit. The more we study Him, the more our faith increases, the quicker our strength recovers, and the faster our joy returns.
But the opposite is true as well. The more we study obstacles and opposition in our way (our personal Goliaths), the more our faith falters, the quicker our strength shrinks, and the faster our joy disperses. When our Goliaths captivates all of our attention, anxiety and anger are more likely to conquer our hearts.
The book of Hebrews will change the way we see Jesus. As it unveils the glorified Jesus and as we stand in awe in worship, we will find our feebleness and faithlessness fade away and we will find our rest in Him.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
David vs. Goliath. A fight for the ages. The heavy favorite: a blasphemous Philistine giant. The unlikely underdog: a faith-filled Israeli shepherd boy. But in this battle, weaponry had little to do with the outcome. There was something more behind the stone in the sling of that shepherd boy that day. “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…” (1 Samuel 17:45).
The secret to David’s victory is no secret. It wasn’t in the stones he picked or the sling he swung. David fought in faith. He faced Goliath in faith. He didn’t measure the giant by himself or his ability. David was able to stand strong and fight in faith because He measured Goliath by God.
This kind faith is far too underutilized. And so, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the author of Hebrews picked up his quill to encourage believers to stand, and to walk, and to fight in faith.
So many times, we fight in our own strength and measure our Goliaths against our ability. But faith looks at our Goliaths and measures them against God. It gives us the grit and determination to run forward to fight, knowing and proclaiming that the battle belongs to the Lord.
So how do you increase in faith so you can fight by faith? It’s what we considered this past Sunday as we began our study of the book of Hebrews. Watch the replay of our live stream or listen to the audio of our study as we learned to lift our eyes off of the obstacles before us and look to the Lord.
“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”
Acts 17:27 tells us that the Lord is near—He is not far from each one of us. Although He is near, He must be found.
Now at first read, that might sound like a contradiction. But there is a difference between knowing that someone is around and knowing where they are. Jesus isn’t hiding when times are difficult, but He is drawing us in to deeper fellowship with Him. We must seek Him so we can find Him.
But what does that look like? Where do you get to know Him? Prayer and Bible reading. It’s really that simple.
Talk to Jesus and read your Bible. Pour out your heart to Him—tell Him your hopes and fears and concerns and burdens and joys and sorrows. Ask Him to answer your questions…and then read His answers in Scripture—not just to obtain information or attain spiritual status, but so that you can know Him.
But maybe you’ve never met Jesus. Maybe this reality of Him being near is new to you. Maybe you don’t know where to begin. Friend, you can start your search for Him right now! Call out to the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. The Bible says that if you do this, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). 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.
In times of uncertainty, we can run to Jesus for safety and security. He is our refuge and strength. He is ready to help when we need Him.
But how? How do we find a strong and safe shelter in Jesus in the midst of the storms of life? How is Jesus our refuge and strength? How is He helpful in our times of trouble?
These are good questions for us to ask—and to keep asking until we find the answers. And so, we asked them of the Lord during our time of worship this past Sunday. And we found the answers in Psalm 46.
Watch a replay of our live stream or listen to the audio of our study as we considered the refuge we have in the Lord.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
We’ve had quite the journey through the book of Revelation. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John records “the things which [he has] seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this” (Revelation 1:19).
Because John was faithful to this task, we are blessed by reading and hearing and heeding this amazing book of prophecy (Revelation 1:3). We catch a glimpse of what John has seen—Christ, triumphant and glorified. The King of Kings, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last.
We read about the things which are—the letters to the churches at that time. Through them, we see the heart of our Good Shepherd and His longing for His sheep to know His voice and follow Him.
And then, we see the things which will take place. We read of beasts and Babylon and battles. We read of the future—a time unlike any other in human history as the Lord makes one final plea to humanity to turn away from sin and death.
“Even so…” our desire is the same as John’s—come, Lord Jesus! Until then, we wait—but we do more than that. We work, we worship, we make the most of every opportunity He gives us to broadly cast the message of hope and life that is in Christ Jesus. We are His ambassadors—official representatives of our Heavenly home country in this foreign land. Will you ask the Lord this week where He is calling you to take this message, friend?
As ambassadors for Christ, let us point others to Jesus “as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20). If you are not yet reconciled to God, you can be! Simply confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. The Bible says that if you do this, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). 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.
Last Sunday, we talked about the new heaven and the new earth. We imagined what our resurrected bodies would be like as we walked through gates made of single pearls and walked on streets made of pure gold.
As awesome as all of that will be, what will we be doing for all of eternity? This Sunday, we continued the description that the Bible provides of what our resurrected lives will look like.
Watch a replay of our live stream or listen to our final study in the book of Revelation as we imagine just a bit of what we’ll be doing forever, knowing that it will be so much more than anything we could ever imagine.
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
–2 Peter 3:10-13
At the resurrection, God will transform the lowly bodies of believers to be like Jesus’ glorious resurrected body. But before that, our earthly bodies will die and be sown in the ground like a seed. The Apostle Paul explains it this way:
Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.
–1 Corinthians 15:42-44 (NLT)
Our current bodies (of flesh and blood and bone) are just the seed for a body more amazing, more alive, and more real. The heavens and this earth will also pass away and God will transform them into a glorious new heavens and new earth. Just as our resurrection bodies are going to be physical (flesh and bone—just like Jesus’ resurrected body), so too will the resurrected heavens and resurrected earth be physical.
What you see here right now is just the sketch, the seed of something far more wonderful and beautiful. We will see things like we’ve never seen before. Hear sounds like we’ve never heard before. Sing like we’ve never sung before. And enjoy unhindered fellowship with the Lord forever in a land and universe untouched, unblemished, and untainted by sin and death.
Do you have that hope? Are you looking forward to that day? Eternal life can begin for you right now. The goal isn’t just to get to Heaven someday (although there is no greater benefit!). The point of your existence is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. That can begin right now! God’s word makes it 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.
Then continue the grand adventure of getting to know Jesus through His word, through loving Him, through serving Him, and through being His body on this Earth—for He is coming soon!
The One who sat upon the throne said, "I make all things new!
Write down the words that you have heard, for they are firm and true.
It is all done, and by my power is paradise restored.
I am the First, and I the Last, the one eternal Lord.”
There’s a lie that’s been circulating for quite some time. It’s a lie that hinders the gospel and makes God appear unjust. It’s a lie that seems innocent and many believe, but when held against the truth of God’s word, it quickly unravels.
This lie says that humankind is basically good.
But in His word, God makes it clear: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
We all like to think that if we were Adam or Eve, we would make the right decision. But we have enough proof in our past that we really wouldn’t. And so, something has to be done with our sin, for God is a righteous judge. One day we will all stand alone before Him and give an account for every sinful thought, word, and deed—without any excuses.
That is where we found ourselves in our study this past Sunday. Watch the replay of our live stream or listen to our study of the first part of Revelation 21 as we begin our time together in front of the great white throne.
The first portion of Revelation 20 reads like a three-act play. Satan is bound for 1,000 years. Jesus rules and reigns on earth for those 1,000 years. And then Satan will be released. But make no mistake, this is not theater—this will be reality! God emphatically promises (six times!) that there will be a specific 1,000 year rule and reign of Jesus, during which Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit.
Let your holy imagination entertain that for a moment. 1,000 years of Jesus on earth, ruling as King and reigning over creation. While simultaneously the devil is bound—unable to steal, kill, or destroy. Jesus will rule as King as His believers administrating His Kingdom without any influence or attack by the devil. Our imaginations just can’t grasp just how amazing that time will be!
But then…Satan will be unbound at the end of 1,000 years. But why? One reason is that God wants to make something very clear about humanity. Human beings like to blame others for their sin (remember the Garden of Eden?). If we can’t blame an individual, then we blame our environment. During this 1,000 year period, God will reverse the curse and remove any ability to blame others or our environment so that humanity will be without excuses. Even after this amazing time of peace, many will succumb to temptation and follow the devil.
But what about today? What about now? Do you lay excuses before the Lord in regard to your sin? Do you blame others or your environment to dodge responsibility? We’ll never exhaust excuses to use, but they will never be sufficient to explain our sin away.
Come to Jesus—today! Paul Tripp said, “Grace calls you away from excuses and blame-shifting and invites you to confess your sin with the assurance of forgiveness, not condemnation.”
God’s word makes it 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.
A thousand years shall roll around,
The church shall be complete,
Call'd by the glorious trumpet sound,
Their Savior Christ to meet,
They rise with joy, and mount on high,
They fly to Jesus' arms,
And gaze with wonder and delight,
On their beloved's charms.
–That glorious day is drawing nigh (John Leland)
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