Archive for December, 2017

The Second Death (Revelation 20)

December 27, 2017

14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  Revelation 20:14

Each year I have the honor of coming down to end of a Bible Reading plan with great joy in knowing that God has allowed me and many others to experience a year filled with God’s voice speaking to us in and through His Word.

In two days we will come to the end of our reading plan for 2017.  You can download our 2018 reading plan at our website: jacksonfbc.com 

For me it has been an amazing year with completing almost 8 years in blogging.  The journey has been amazing.  I want to thank each of you for walking the journey with me.

As I read Revelation 20, I could not get beyond one particular truth in the chapter.  Yes, Jesus is coming to do the following in this chapter:

  • Bind Satan and establish a 1,000 reign on the earth.
  • Yes, the dead in Christ will arise at the beginning of this time
  • Yes. Satan will be released for a short time as he raises one last army for one last useless fight (The Battle of Gog and Magog).
  • Satan is defeated and cast in the lake of fire.
  • The entire world now comes to the Great White Throne judgment for their eternal sentencing.

Twice in the chapter there is a mention of the following: “The Second death.”

This seems strange to us.  Each of us are aware that some day we are going to die.  According to Scripture this is the first death.  The Bible teaches us that all people will be resurrected from this death.  The Christ-follower will be resurrected to live forever with Jesus, I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

But what about the Christ-rejector?  According to Scripture, he or she will be resurrected to face sentencing, Revelation 20:11-14 for the life of a rebel.  He or she will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity, “this is the Second Death.”

I am so thankful that I am only going to die once.  I am so thankful that I am going to live forever with Jesus in heaven.  But I cannot get away from the fact that much of the world will experience the Second Death.

So, at the end of this year I ask you to consider these questions:

  • Are you ready to die?
  • Are those around you, that you love, ready to die?
  • Do you want anyone to experience the Second Death?

Your answers to these questions will help you and I as we consider what is important in 2018.

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Whose riding the horse? (Revelation 19)

December 26, 2017

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.  Revelation 19:11

It’s the day after Christmas, what possible be better than Christmas?  The answer is before us in Revelation 19.

John has seen the kingdoms of this world severed from the evil world system called Babylon.  John hears the rejoicing in the Throne Room of God (19:1-5) and He watches as all of God’s people gather for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (19:6-10).

What a great day this is!  The people of God make up the heavenly choir.  The people of God experience the fulfillment of Jesus promise in Matthew 26:29 “I will eat the Lord’s Supper with you in heaven.”

But wait, there is more.  We see the armies of God returning to the earth following one who is riding a white horse. Who is the one on the horse?

Brothers and sisters, John gives us 9 statements about the one on the white horse:

  • He is faithful and true-every promise that He has ever made is now fulfilled.  Every word from His mouth is true.
  • He is the righteous judge who makes a just war.
  • His eyes are a flame of fire that sees the truth of all things.
  • He is crowned with royalty. His worth is beyond measure.
  • His robe has the stains of battle from all the battles He has fought on behalf of His people.
  • He is the Word of God.
  • He either speaks life or death to all men.
  • He executes the wrath of God.
  • He is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

Notice who is behind the one on the white horse.  It is the armies of heaven.  Suddenly we see the final battle of this world.  The nations of this world are slaughtered by the very Words of God.  The birds gather to gorge themselves on the flesh of men.

All of this could have been adverted if men would simply follow the one on the white horse.

This very day, I believe we are nearing the day when Jesus will return.  I am looking forward to meeting Jesus.  But I am also living in the fast land of ministry knowing that God is saying, “Behold I am coming quickly, go and reach as many people as possible.”

Merry Christmas (Luke 2)

December 25, 2017

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7

Hopefully and prayerfully you are preparing to meet with others today to celebrate the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As I sit before my computer I realize that much of the world is living in circumstances where the words “Merry Christmas” mean very little.

In North Korea people are living under the foreign occupation of a leader that keeps them from hearing the blessed story of the gospel.

In Syria, Malawi, and other countries the people are living in frustration and chaos because of torture, corruption, and poverty.  Such people have not experienced the blessing of knowing the Christ who came to the earth on the first Christmas morning.

In places like the USA the people often miss the true meaning of Christmas because of the foreign occupation with self, sin, and Satan.  Such people awake this morning to enjoy all the fruits of this world while missing the joy of knowing the peace of God that changes lives.

But it does not have to be this way.  In all the above places there is hope for those who hear and receive the good news of the gospel.  Even though there was no room in any establishment for Jesus, all who open their lives to Jesus will experience new life in Him that gives hope, help, love and a home in heaven.

It is my families sincere wish that you experience the true meaning of Christmas this very day.  Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!!

Get out while you can (Revelation 18)

December 22, 2017

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,

“Come out of her, my people,
    lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
    and God has remembered her iniquities. Revelation 18:4-5

Yes, it is true.  This is the last Friday before Christmas 2017.  For those of you who will enter the world of shopping today I have a little word of advice, “Get out while you can.”  The day will be filled with chaos, panic, and down-right nastiness on some people’s parts as they try to get ready for Christmas.

When I read Revelation 18 I hear the Lord calling out to His church, “Get out while you can.”

Keep in mind John has prophetically scene the world system (Babylon) coming together as a one world system in the last days.  He has also been encouraged to know that the Lord is coming to take down the world system and establish His kingdom (Revelation 17).

In chapter 18 we see both the promise of the fall and the devastation of it.  Two things are on my radar after reading this chapter:

  • The mighty rock of God’s judgment crushing the world system.

When God judges the world system will lose everything they have treasured, Vs: 21-24.  The world will mourn its loss of industry, pleasure, light in the day, and joy of life.  This world’s system will be found out for its vicious way of abusing mankind.

  • The merciful announcement by our Lord.

The Lord cries out, “Come out of her.”  The people of the world (Psalm 14:2-3) who have no understanding of God will not heed this announcement.

The Lord cries out, “Cast off her sins.”  The people of God are to live holy lives not seeking the sins of this life.  Those who fail to heed the announcement will reap what they have sown (Galatians 6:7).

The Lord cries out, “Rejoice in the Lord.”  In Verse 20 we see our Lord prevailing over Satan, sin, and the world system.  God has called His people to rejoice in advance of this announcement.

Question:  “What will you do this day?”  Will you embrace the world system or are you going to embrace God’s system.  One brings death and the other brings life.

I am going to heed God’s call:

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?15 What accord has Christ with Belial?[a] Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body[b] and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.  II Corinthians 6:14-7:1

The most important point (Revelation 17)

December 21, 2017

 14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

In my life I have sometimes gotten into trouble with Sherry because I have failed to listen to every part of a conversation.  The trouble intensifies when I say, “What is the main point.”  In a relationship the journey of talking together is just as important as is the main point of the talk.

Sometimes we apply this to Scripture, which is sometimes ok depending on the type of text you are reading.  Here in Revelation 17 a person could get really confused if they got caught up in things we do not know.

This chapter speaks of nations that we can only speculate about.  The main point of the chapter is what is about to happen in our world.

The world leaders find their selfish desires being fulfilled in the coalition that will form.  The success of a one world government will last for a season, but then as all world leaders do, they will  turn on each other.  But the main point is simply this: “Jesus is coming again.”

  1. Jesus is coming as a warrior who is Lord of heaven and earth, Vs: 14.
  2. Jesus will conqueror all who are enemies of His Lordship, Vs: 15-17.

This is the most important point.

Yes there are different coalitions, different threats in the world, and depraved activity.  But you and I do not have to live in fear.  We need to be focused on Jesus coming.  We need to live in freedom away from the pull of the world.  We need to live every day in faith knowing our King is coming.

The words of Romans 8:31 are so amazing to me at this point. I hear them and I claim them as the main point in this mixed up world, “If God be for us who can be against us.”  

What can we do? (Revelation 16)

December 20, 2017

10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish 11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds. Revelation 16:10-11

As the seven angels take the seven bowls of God’s wrath in their hands, I cry out, “Lord what can we do before this day comes?”  You ask, “What is the urgency?”  Consider this fact:  Three times John comments about the hearts of the people in the Great Tribulation.  Here is what he writes, “They would not repent of their deeds.

Brothers and sisters the devastation in Revelation 16 almost seems unfair until you read the words, “It is what they deserve.”  

Our God has given the world so much to lead her to repent.  We have been given God’s Word and we have been given God’s Son on the cross to pay the price for our sins.  We have been given the church to direct us to repentance.  We have been given all of these years to repent, but still our world lives as if they are in total charge of their destiny.  No words make this any clearer than the words of the prophet Zephaniah in 2: 15

This is the exultant city
    that lived securely,
that said in her heart,
    “I am, and there is no one else.”
What a desolation she has become,
    a lair for wild beasts!
Everyone who passes by her
    hisses and shakes his fist.

Our world is headed to the Great Tribulation and eternal separation from God.  This is why there is an urgency for now.  The window of the age of grace is surely closing.  While there is time we must sow the gospel.  Here are some suggestions that will help you and I to be successful in this day of urgency:

  1. Prepare yourself to share by memorizing a gospel presentation.
  2. Pray every day for both souls and for opportunity to share with people.
  3. Practice sharing your faith each day (i.e. preach the gospel to yourself).
  4. Plan environments where your lost friends can ask questions and explore your faith.

 

The last one (Revelation 15)

December 19, 2017

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. Revelation 15:1

In life there is much joy in certain moments when someone announces, this is the last one.  For example, This is your last chemo treatment, you are cancer free.  This is your last exam, you will then graduate from college.  This is your last payment, the house is finally yours.

But there are moments when this announcement is not so good.  Such is the case in Revelation 15.  Keep in mind John has been describing for us the war between Satan and God in chapters 12-14.  But now he returns to the subject of the coming wrath of God.  Remember there are three cycles of judgment leading up to God’s Second-Coming.  There have been seven seal judgments and there have been seven trumpet judgments.  Now we see the last one.

For those who have in their minds, escaped the first and lived through the second judgment, this will be the last and they will not escape.  I want you to note how John prepares us to read about this last judgment:

  • John writes about the throne of judgment, Vs: 1-2

This is a glorious throne filled with beauty and power.  We see the victorious worshippers before the throne.

  • John praises the one who is judge, Vs: 3-4.

His deeds are beyond our description and filled with unstoppable power.  His ways are true and just.  He alone is worthy of worship and praise.  Every tribe and tongue will bow before this throne and know that He alone is God.

  • John informs us that the time of final judgment is here, Vs: 5-8.

Brothers and sisters, there will be no more delay.

As I read this chapter I find myself having joy in the announcement because I have surrendered my life to one who is on the throne.  This day I live in praise to the one who stood in my place taking God’s wrath for me, II Corinthians 5:21. I will not be judged as one the people who face this judgment.  I have been set free by Jesus and I stand forgiven because of the cross, Romans 8:1.

If you have surrendered your life to Jesus, you are ready for the last judgment.  You know your reward is coming!!!

If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, you are not ready for the last judgment.  I plead with you to come to Jesus today.  Romans 10:13, “whoever calls on the name of Jesus shall be saved.”

War and Worship (Revelation 14)

December 18, 2017

And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. Revelation 14:2-3

In this Christmas season it is an amazing thing to be able to attend one of the many Christmas productions that gives praise to the God who came to be one of us and to die in our place.  Yesterday our choir and praise team almost lifted the roof of in praise to our glorious God.  I left the service thinking, “We serve an awesome God we serve.”

But just outside the walls of worship awaited a world filled with war.  In particular there was the war that one of our friends from another church was facing.  The war of the day with cancer.  Question, “What wars are you facing on this Monday?”

Consider the wonderful news given to us in Revelation 14.  The Bible says, in verses 14-20 that the Lord is coming again.  When He returns it will be to a double harvest:

  • The harvest of Christ-followers.

The Lord will come to take His church home, I Thessalonians 4:13-17.  Those who know Christ will not endure the moment of His wrath on the earth.  This is a reason to worship the Lord.

  • The harvest of Satan’s followers.

The scene here is one of great tragedy.  I cannot even possibly understand the blood bath at the battle of Armageddon.  The souls of men will be spilled on the ground for 184 miles.  Men who fought against God will now fall before God.

Remember I asked you a question a few moments ago?  I asked this question: “What wars are you facing today?”  Maybe you want to add to the list, the souls of men.  While we have time on this earth we must awaken to the greatest need of our day.

We wage war by engaging in genuine worship of our Lord before men! So get your worship on this Monday!!!

Wisdom needed (Revelation 13)

December 15, 2017

18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. Revelation 13:18

There are moments it is obvious when a person would have been well served if they had received wisdom from others.  For example, the elderly gentlemen would have been wise to take the direction of his family in ceasing to drive.  But instead he took out an entire wall of someone’s house before he would listen.

Question:  “Are you in need of wisdom today?”

Revelation 13 comes on the heels of John’s warning to the world, “Satan is furious and he is making war on those who obey the commandments of God and love Jesus,” 12:17.

The depths of Satan’s fury is seen today in places like Syria where genocide is taking place against God’s people.  You and I need wisdom in this world.  In this chapter John gives us wisdom in informing us about two loyal subject of Satan in the Tribulation period:

  • The first beast is the Antichrist in Vs: 1-10

Notice his work:  He directs a coalition of 10 nations, He is fast, strong, and vicious in character.  He seems to have miracle power.   He directs the nations to worship Satan.  He stands openly against the one true God and for 3 1/2 years is given power to afflict humanity.  He murders many in the church and rules the world.  We are challenged to pay attention to the signs (Vs:10).

  • The second beast is the False Prophet in Vs: 11-18.

Notice His work:  He works fake miracles.  He directs the world to worship the Antichrist.  He directs the nations to make war and to give their lives over to the Antichrist.  We are again challenged to pay close attention to the signs.  Death will come to those who refuse to align with the Antichrist.

All of this calls for wisdom.  But, will we be like the elderly gentlemen and wait too late before we decide to heed the warning.  Many families allow their children to slip away from the family of God without realizing they are being pulled away by Satan.

Many Americans do not realize they are on the slippery slope headed to an eternal hell apart from God.

You and I are called to wisdom.  This wisdom leads us to embrace Jesus who is the only one who can defeat Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.

What is Satan trying to do? (Revelation 12)

December 14, 2017

12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:12

The Bible teaches us that Satan is a master deceiver (John 8:44).  The Bible teaches us that Satan’s desire is to destroy all men (John 10:10).  These two truths are so evident in Revelation 12.

The scene before us is a picture of Satan’s past work, his present work, and his future work.

In Satan’s past work.  He wanted to destroy Israel before the Baby (Jesus) could be born, Vs: 1-6.  Satan’s eyes were daily on Israel and he would have destroyed Jesus in the manger, but the Lord was with Jesus.  Today Jesus awaits His Second-coming.

In Satan’s past work, he was cast out of heaven as he attempted to assault the throne of God to take over the throne of God, Vs: 7-9.  He daily accused the brethren and presently is still at work doing this same thing.

But notice how the church overcomes Satan’s present work:

  • We are free from accusation because of the blood of the lamb, I John 1:7, 2:1-2.
  • We are focused on our witness for Christ, even willing to give our lives in the battle.

Satan’s present work is also filled with urgency knowing that his time is short.  This leads me to understand Satan’s future work which is to take as many people with him to hell as possible.  He is as I write, making war on the church, Vs: 13-17.  But praise be to God, Satan’s future is eternal hell.

These truths remind of me of Paul’s words in Romans 15:20 “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”

Today, you and I do not have to fear our enemy nor do we need to focus on our enemy.  Our goal is to discover what Jesus is doing and how we are to daily walk in faith knowing victory is ours in Jesus Christ!

So before you leave the house, continue your day, or end your day ask the Lord, “What do you want to do in my life today?”