It had the feel of New York and yet there was nothing new about Ephesus. The city was founded 1200 years before the birth of Jesus. By the time the Apostle Paul made his way to Ephesus on his missionary journey, Ephesus was the fourth largest city in the world with a population of 250,000 people.
Ephesus was known for its commerce which began each day as soon as the sun came up in the morning. There were people from all over the world arriving and setting sail all throughout the day as ships docked and set sail from Ephesus into the Aegean Sea. The city sat at the mouth of the mighty Cayster River which made Ephesus a major trade route in Asia Minor. Continue reading “God’s King Revelation 1:1-8”
Throughout history there have been times of incredible pressure placed upon the Church, God’s people. Persecution, pressure, and perilous times have been created by tyrants and enemies of God who sought to silence the work of God in the lives of His people. What do you do if you are living under the oppressive hand of Pharaoh in Egypt for four hundred years? If we are talking about four months of oppression then maybe you can tighten your grip and pray to wait out the storm. Four years? The opposition and persecution would surely take its toll upon the minds and spirits of God’s people, but if we are talking about four hundred years of slavery then you had better come up with a better plan.
There have been others besides Pharaoh who have sought to squeeze the life out of God’s people. If you will remember King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon applied pressure to young Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego for refusing to bow down to an idol made with human hands? The King told them that they could either bow down to his golden image or he would throw them into a blazing fire. The three Hebrews responded to King Nebuchadnezzar. Continue reading “The Voice, the Vision, and the Victory! Revelation 1:9-20”
The time has come! Let the unveiling begin! I wish it were that easy. I wish that we could open the book of Revelation this morning and over the next thirty minutes lay out, in a systematic fashion, all of the answers that prognosticators, end-times prophets, earnest seekers, and soothsayers have sought throughout the centuries. Answers to questions like, “Are we in the last days?” “Was the book of Revelation written to the seven churches named in chapters 2-3 or was the book written for those who would be alive when the last days arrived?” “Is the beast of Revelation 17 really the Roman Catholic Church as some believe?” “Will Christians have to go through the Tribulation or will we be raptured before that horrible time in history?” “Was John a pre-millennialist or post-millennialist?” “Who is the Anti-Christ and is he alive today?” I could go on and on with the endless list of questions that many have asked and sought answers for, but it is my prayer that you will join me during the next several months as we seek to gain insight into this powerful book that closes out God’s Word. I will promise you that if you will make a commitment to join me in this study you will be blessed. Revelation is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing for those who read the book, those who hear Revelations words and take them to heart. John writes, Continue reading “The Unveiling Introduction to the Revelation of Jesus Christ”
As many of you know, for the past two weeks my family has been trying to make sense of the untimely death of my cousin. It has been a difficult two weeks to say the least. My uncle, aunt, and their son have been thrown into deep sorrow and confusion as they’ve tried to make sense of it all. The problem is that no matter how much you try to make sense of the situation’it simply doesn’t make sense.
On Monday of this past week we all gathered for her funeral and I witnessed firsthand the devastation and agonizing grief that was present in the room and in the hearts of those who loved her so much. It was an ‘untimely’ death. An ‘untimely’ death catches us off guard, we can’t anticipate it, we aren’t prepared for it, and as a result we feel like we have been hit by a truck when they occur.’ The American Heritage Dictionary defines, ‘untimely,’ as 1. occurring or done at an inappropriate time; inopportune. 2. occurring too soon; premature:an untimely death. I have spoken at the funerals of hundreds of people over the course of the past 20 years. In a way, all of those families felt like the death of their loved one was ‘untimely.’ Anytime you love someone, and enjoy their company, you believe that their death occurred too soon, that it was premature. It doesn’t matter if they were 100 years old; you still would like to have more time with them.’ I don’t want to minimize the grief that any of us has experienced when we’ve lost a loved one, but I want to focus our study this morning on a particular kind of loss. Let me give you an example other than the example of my cousin.
Two weeks ago Sara was a promising Senior at Heritage Hall High School. She was brilliant, had a bright future, and could have done anything she set her mind to do in life. She went to bed on Sunday night so that she would be rested for school on Monday morning. Her mother woke her up on Monday morning, went to fix breakfast, and when Sara didn’t come to the breakfast table, her mother went to check on her. Sara was laying on the floor in her room. She had died. Just like that, in an instant, her life was over. Now her family is forced to deal with the sudden loss of their daughter. They were preparing for her graduation, they were looking forward to her going to college, getting married one day, and beginning a family. The furthest thing from their mind was planning her funeral. That is an untimely death. Continue reading “An Untimely Death Job 1”
We have come to the end of our study of the book of Revelation. We began this study back in September of 2005. It has been a long study, but I have to tell you that I have never been more encouraged or challenged in any study I have ever done. Let me explain to you what I mean. I have been so encouraged by the message I have studied each week because I have found in Revelation a message that I didn?t anticipate finding. I had never really studied Revelation before we began our study together. I had read Revelation, but to be honest I had ?heard? more about Revelation than I had read. What I had heard led me to believe that Revelation was solely concerned with ?end time? events. What I discovered as I studied Revelation was that it was much more than a message for those who would be living in the ?last days.? Revelation contains a message to the Church in every age. It is a ?right now? message to the struggling Church, and struggling Christians, as well as a message of encouragement for those who first received it and those who will receive it throughout history. I have been encouraged and I pray that you have been encouraged as well. Continue reading “Come Lord Jesus Come! Revelation 22:6-21”
What we are about to read you are not going to believe. What we are about to read is a description of the City of God, the glory of God, prepared for those who will spend eternity with the Father. I say, ?You won?t believe it,? but I?m not suggesting that you will deny the reality of the City of God. What I mean is that the description of the City of God, the New Jerusalem, is so far beyond our realm of understanding that we can?t even begin to get our mind around what this glorious city will be like. The city is so massive, so glorious, so unbelievable that S. Lewis Johnson says, ?Even a Texan can?t grasp it.? I want to prepare you for what we are about to read so that you can brace yourself, prepare yourself, for what is coming your way. I want to urge you to believe the unbelievable this morning. It really isn?t that difficult if you stop to think about it. We are told unbelievable truths all the time that we choose to believe. Let me illustrate what I am talking about this morning. Continue reading “The City of God Revelation 21:9-22:5”
We have come to the 21st chapter of the Apocalypse. I want to call this study, ?A Longing Fulfilled.? There is a longing in the human heart for something more, something better than what we are experiencing in this life. I see evidence of this everywhere I look today. We hear reports on the news about the number of folks who suffer from depression. I know that there are medical reasons why people suffer this horrible malady, but I will tell you that much of our depression and discouragement with life is because we know there has to be something more than what we are presently experiencing. I visit with people on a weekly basis that are in a crisis situation of some kind. They are not content in their quagmire because they feel in their heart that what they are experiencing is not the norm, there has to be something better out there somewhere. Each of us has friends who have gone through a divorce; some of us have experienced the nightmare of divorce ourselves? Why? Because what we experienced was not what we thought it would be. People get disappointed with their mate, their relationship, and they choose to end it. Continue reading “A Longing Fulfilled Revelation 21:1-8”
????????? How many of you have ever been in a courtroom and watched the proceedings of the court?? As the Judge enters the courtroom the called is raised, ?All rise.?? The docket is read; roll call takes place as those present acknowledge their presence. Then each person on the docket approaches the bench one-by-one to be read the charge against them. The defendant then has the opportunity to plead ?guilty? or ?innocent.?? The Judge hears the evidence and renders his or her decision based on the facts of the case. If the decision is that the defendant is guilty then the Judge must pick a punishment that fits the crime. Oftentimes the guilty party will appeal the case and try to get off.
????????? Continue reading “The Great White Throne Revelation 20:11-15”
We have been studying the book of Revelation for many, many weeks now. From the very beginning I have told you that there are different schools of thought as to how we should understand Revelation. That should not rattle any of us as long as we realize that this is apocalyptic material. The nature of apocalyptic literature is that it is full of symbols and signs. I remind us of this because at Revelation 20, the chapter we will study this week, we have come to the most difficult chapter in the Word of God. I have read and read this Scripture, related passages, and countless commentaries this past week. I?ve searched the Scriptures and examined all of the different viewpoints concerning the meaning of this chapter and I can tell you that each of the proponents of the major viewpoints make their case with Scripture. These are not wild-eyed David Koresh types or liberal Bible teachers who don?t really take the Bible seriously. The Bible commentators that I?ve studied this past week hold Scripture as the sole authority for us as followers of Jesus. Let me give you an example of the differences that we are dealing with in understanding this section of God?s Word. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, one of the greatest Bible teachers ever, once wrote, If I read the word aright, and it is honest to admit that there is much room for difference of opinion here, the day will come, when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, with the trump of the archangel and the voice of God. Some think that this descent of the Lord will be post-millennial ? that is, after the thousand years of his reign. I cannot think so. I conceive that the advent will be PRE-millennial ? that he will come first; and then will come the millennium as the result of his personal reign upon earth. But whether or no, this much is the fact, that Christ will suddenly come, come to reign, and come to judge the earth in righteousness. (C.H. Spurgeon, Justification & Glory MTP Vol 11, Year 1865, pg. 249, Romans 8:30) Continue reading “The Millennial Kingdom Revelation 20:1-10”
When Jesus comes?Heaven stands open.
When Jesus comes?He rides a white horse.
When Jesus comes?His name is called ?Faithful and True.?
When Jesus comes?He judges with justice.
When Jesus comes?He makes war against evil, against the Beast, the kings of the
earth, and the false prophet.
When Jesus comes?His eyes are like blazing fire.
When Jesus comes?He wears many crowns upon His head.
When Jesus comes?He possesses a name that is known to nobody but Himself.
When Jesus comes?He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood.
When Jesus comes?He is called ?the Word of God.?
When Jesus comes?He is followed by the armies of heaven dressed in fine linen,
clean and white.
When Jesus comes?A sharp sword proceeds from His mouth to strike down the
When Jesus comes?He rules the nations with an iron scepter.
When Jesus comes?He treads the winepress of Almighty God.
When Jesus comes?He has written on His robe, ?KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!?
????????? Continue reading “The Triumphal Procession Revelation 19:11-21”