Week 4: How Do I Live?

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Talking about the End Times and trying to figure out what times we are currently in can cause anxiety. Each generation has experienced events that make people think the end must be near. Some even give their life to Christ out of fear because of these events. But, this is the wrong prospective of Jesus and Christianity. Jesus isn’t just a fire, life and health insurance policy. If we are believers in Jesus Christ, we don’t have to live in fear. Rather, the end times can be a message of comfort, hope and purpose. Today we want to look at what this purpose is and how we can live for eternity.

“(The men of Issachar…) understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” 1 Chronicles 12:32


Understanding What God is Doing Now

1. God desires everyone to be saved

There is a verse you are probably familiar with. It seems as we become more familiar with a verse, we tend to just glance over it. Let’s break down this verse and really take a look at what it says.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Sonthat whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal lifeJohn 3:16  NIV 

Despite how ugly the world can look at times, especially now, God loves the world! He loves it so much he gave it a very precious gift – His son. He loves people that don’t agree with him. He also loves people that live differently than He wants them to live. There are some people in this world that have done some really awful things, but God still loves them. That is good news! God not only loves you He wants to save you, He doesn’t want us to perish.

2. God has a plan to reach the world

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have not heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who bring good news!’” Romans 10:14-15  NIV

God turns whoevers into somebodies

When “whoevers” believe they become a “someone”! God’s plan to reach the world is to use us. If you are a Christian, you are part of the plan.

“Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” Acts 1: 6-8 NIV

The disciples ask Jesus the question, when are you going to reign as King? This is the same question we are asking today, Lord when are you going to come back? But notice Jesus’ response – He doesn’t want us to get too wrapped up in His return and trying to figure out the end times. Instead, He wants us to focus on being a witness to what we have heard about Jesus and to testify what He has done in our lives and the lives of other believers.

That is what a witness does, they give a testimony – this is what I saw, heard and experienced. God does not ask you to save anyone. You can’t. We couldn’t even save ourselves, why would He then expect us to save others? This takes a lot of pressure off. God has already done the saving, our part is to be a witness. We get to tell unbelievers about the free gift of salvation and how to receive it.

The disciples got the privilege of kicking the plan off in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. We, the Church, get the honor of finishing the plan to reach the whole world!

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20

3. God is waiting until the completion of His plan to return

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

This is an incredible passage that actually has more to do with believers than it does unbelievers. God is waiting for us take the message to all nations. Then the end will come. When the verse refers to nations it is specifically talking about people groups. There are 195 countries in the world but there are over 16,000 people groups that make up these countries. There are multiple factors that determine people groups such as language, culture and geography.

Out of the 16,000 plus people groups it is estimated that 250 plus are an unengaged, unreached people group. This means they have no missionary, no bible and no church.  If we want Jesus to return then we have to take the Gospel to all people groups.


Living For Eternity

“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working on the construction site; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be working in the office; one will be taken, the other left. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Matthew 24:37-44 NLT

As believers we need to realize what is going on. We need to keep watch and be ready. But, what happens to a lot of us is we get complacent and distracted. We get our priorities out of whack. We start to focus on our wants and our own agenda. It is very easy to get to a place of thinking if this one thing would go away then I will do what God wants me to do. If this one thing would happen it would free me up and then I will do what God wants me to do.

But this life is not about us, it’s about Jesus. He wants everyone saved, He wants us to reach the world, and He is waiting on us, the Church, to complete the plan. The people in Noah’s time didn’t realize what was going to happen because they were caught up in their own lives.

What Should We Do Now?

Let’s take a look at some verses out of 1 Peter chapter four. The book of 1 Peter is a letter written to believers who are experiencing hardship. These believers thought they were living in the last days. They were experiencing extreme hardship and persecution. In fact, some of them were living in their last days because they were being executed for being Christians.

1. I should think clearly so I can pray

“The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” 1 Peter 4:7

Worship, God’s word and prayer are the things that realign our minds. The Bible says when we renew our minds then our actions will follow. Many of us don’t feel like God is present and don’t see answered prayer in our lives because we do not pray with a clear mind.

Many of us are living our lives with the mindset that my problem is big and my God is small. When we worship and we are in the Word we can pray from a different perspective.

My problem is small, and my God is big.

We need to be able to think clearly so our prayers align with God’s plan and purpose. For instance, do we pray that our kids’ ball team will win the game? What about the parents that are Christians on the other team? They are praying their kids’ team will win. If we are praying God’s agenda, we might pray something like this:

“God, win or lose may my family be a witness of Your love to the other parents, coaches and umpires at this ball game.”

“Win or lose open up an opportunity for me to share the Good News.”

2. I should focus on relationships

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”1 Peter 4:8-9

While these believers are facing extreme hardship, they are encouraged to love each other deeply. We need each other. We need people that can come alongside us with a clear mind and pray for us, correct us, and support us as we work on becoming the people God has called us to be.

The verse says love covers a multitude of sins. When we make mistakes we need to show loyalty to one another. We don’t air our sins and grievances for the whole world to see. The Bible says if you have something against a brother or sister leave your gift at the altar and go make amends. It also says we are not to take a brother or sister to court. We are not to be letting unbelievers settle our differences.

Should we sweep things under the rug like its no big deal? Absolutely not! God didn’t sweep our sins under the rug like they were no big deal. Jesus paid a high price for our sins. Grievances need to be taken care of with people who love you deeply and are a part of the problem and solution. That small group of people around you can help you get realigned with God’s plan and purpose for your life.

3. I should make a difference

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11

Serving is an act of worship. When we serve others, God gets the glory!

God is the gift giver. He not only gives you the gift of salvation, but when you become a believer, the Bible says He gives spiritual gifts. These spiritual gifts are to be used to fulfill His plan and purpose. We live for eternity by serving others with the gifts God has given us.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions on “Making Sense of Revelation”?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Spend some time in the word. If you have the time, consider reading the entire book of 1 Peter. It would take about 20 minutes. If you don’t have time for that in the group, read the verses below.

The book of 1 Peter is a letter to encourage Christians that are suffering and experiencing hard times. These Christians probably thought they were in the last days, in fact many were living their last days because of persecution.

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength Go d provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 4:7-11

Application

  1. Growing up, how did your family react to suffering, hard times and difficult seasons of life?
  2. How do you react when faced with a difficult situation, stress, hard times or suffering?
  3. What’s one idea from the message that really stood out to you?
  4. What new things did you learn about how you should live for eternity?
  5. How do you feel about what God is doing now and your role to fulfill his plan?
  6. Read Matthew 24:14. Share your thoughts.
  7. Worship, prayer and being in the word helps us to be clear minded so we can align our life to what God is doing. How are you doing in these essential habits? What can you do to improve?
  8. What are ways you can deepen your relationship with those in your small group? Have you ever thought about starting your own small group?
  9. How are you making a difference? Share what Dream Team you serve on. If you are not on a Dream Team share what is holding you back from serving?

Tell Someone Else

How can you share the life-giving message of Jesus Christ with others this week?

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Week 3: Making Sense of Revelation

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Today let’s take a look at a book of the Bible that is all about the end times, Revelation.

“The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”  Revelation 1:1-3 NIV

Once you know how to read this book, you can take it to heart and it will build your faith. What we learn from the very first statement is that this is all about Jesus Christ. It’s a revelation from Jesus Christ. It’s a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is how we know God and how we know God’s plan.

Jesus said that, if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the plan. If you find me you have found the way to life, the way to truth.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.”   Colossians 1:15-16 NLT


Revelation is written by John, who was the last living of the original Twelve Disciples of Jesus. After the resurrection of Jesus, Judas, who betrayed Jesus, took his own life. The other ten, besides John, died the death of martyrs. Ten of the original Twelve Disciples were willing to be tortured and killed for their faith because they were so sure of what they saw. They saw was a risen Jesus after he died on the cross.

About 62 years after the resurrection of Jesus, the year was about 95 A.D., John was living when an emperor said, “I want all of you to worship me as Lord and God.”

John had seen God, and knew this wasn’t him so he decided he was not going to worship this new emperor. He was then punished, exiled and made a prisoner on the Isle of Patmos, in the Mediterranean Sea.

We can break down the revelation he recieved into five sections. These five sections help us see Jesus. The full name of the book is The Revelation of Jesus Christ.


1. Jesus is the alpha and omega. (Revelation 1-3)

John had this vision and he starts talking about the return of Jesus Christ. Not the first return of Jesus, when He comes back to snatch away believers. He’s talking about what’s called the second coming of Jesus, the first time He comes for His church and this time He comes back with His church.

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'” Revelation 1:7-8 NIV

Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. In our language He would have said, “I am the A and the Z.

“His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars…”  Revelation 1:14-16 NIV

How did He hold seven stars in His hands? When you read through Revelation, you will find lots of symbolism for many different reasons. One reason is it was also a way to hide the truth from enemies. This apocalyptic literature was used so that those who were enemies wouldn’t destroy the book. Because if you don’t know the rest of the Bible, these things don’t make much sense.

Another reason symbolism and pictures are used is because it’s transferable. A beast is a beast to every generation. It has emotional power. Also, symbolism is valuable because John is seeing things in the future that he doesn’t completely understand.

If you want to study the book of Revelation, take a look at this resource by Tom Holladay. He will walk through the book of Revelation in his Drive Time Devotionals

“and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword…” Revelation 1:16 NIV

The double-edged sword is actually the Word of God according to Hebrews. Out of His mouth comes the Word of God, a theme we’ll see over and over again.

“His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” Revelation 1:16-17 NIV

Jesus had a special love for John. Yet when Jesus returns, John doesn’t see Jesus as a buddy. He sees Jesus as the alpha and omega. He falls on his face in worship as though dead.

“Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.'” Revelation 1:17-18 NIV

He took on death and the grave, went to hell and came out with the keys. The grave could not hold Him down. All kings have graves, but not the King of kings. Now, that King holds the key to life. It’s the gospel.

2. Jesus is the Lamb of God (Revelation 4-5)

Twenty eight times in Revelation Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God who is worthy to open the scroll. In chapters 4 and 5 we see that God is on the throne and in His hand He holds a giant scroll that is sealed with seven seals. It’s the final declaration of all that is to come and all that is to happen to all the people of the earth.

To look in that scroll, you have to break the seals and you have to have the authority to do so. You must be worthy to open the scroll. An angel asks, who is worthy to open this scroll? Everybody looks around Heaven and they can’t find anyone worthy.

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders… And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”  Revelation 5:6,9 NIV

This would have been incredibly powerful imagery for John’s readers because they would have remembered John the Baptist saying, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” They would have thought back in that culture to the temple system, how they had to bring a lamb to sacrifice to cover their sins. 

All the way back in the Old Testament we see a foreshadowing of the New Testament cross of Christ, the Lamb of God. So when John says, “I saw the Lamb of God who was worthy to open up the scrolls,” everyone there is filled with a sense of hope.

3. Jesus is the righteous judge. (Revelation 6-18)

In Revelation 11 it talks about how the The Temple in Israel will be rebuilt. Right now, in Jerusalem on the temple mount, there is a muslim mosque — the dome of the rock. It’s one of the most holy sites in all of Islam. God tells us that the Jewish temple will be rebuilt there.

In Revelation 13-16, this is where the Antichrist comes to power and institutes the mark of the beast. This is where you’re tracked and have to buy and sell through that mark. The word Antichrist is synonymous with the Beast. John uses the word Antichrist in his other writings. Here the Antichrist is killed and raised to life. He imitates the death and resurrection of Christ to get people to follow him.

Then in Revelation 16, the Beast, the Antichrist, mobilizes all the armies of the world to move against the nation of Israel. The Bible describes the massive armies moving in and it turns from a material war to a spiritual war. A war against God.

Jesus Christ returns with the host of heaven just in time to save the nation of Israel and defeat the Antichrist in the the Battle of Armageddon. As you read chapters 6 through 18, remember Jesus is The Righteous Judge and He issues three different judgments that are issued upon the earth:

  • The Seal Judgments (Rev 6, 8:1-2)

This is about the Four Riders of the Apocalypse. When the moon turns to blood red and lots of blood is shed from war and about a quarter of the world’s population will die from famine, plagues and wild beasts.

  • The Trumpet Judgments (Rev 8:2-9:21, 11:15-19)

During this judgment, you’ll see hail and fire mixed with blood fall from the sky and poisonous locusts. A third of the vegetation is destroyed, a third of the water contaminated, a third of the sea creatures die, a third of the light is lost and a third of the world dies; this is a bad time.

Now, all during this time, God still gives people the chance to repent of their sins. There is still grace even in the middle of these judgments.

  • The Bowl Judgments (Rev 16:1-21)

Here is when sores will appear on people with the Mark of the Beast, water turns blood and everything and it dies. The sun scorches people, devastating earthquakes hit and 100-pound hail falls from the sky.

And if you’re like a lot of people, you don’t like this part! If you’re thinking this isn’t fair… well, it is. This is justice. This is one of the reasons we turn to God. Is because he is just and we want to be spared. Judgment and anger are not the opposite of love, hate is the opposite of love. The final form of hate is indifference. Jesus is not indifferent, that’s why he went to the cross to justly pay for those who would believe and be forgiven.

And this is the time in history where God says, I am now through Jesus judging the world for its sinfulness, and an angel affirms it for John.

“Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged…” Revelation 16:5 NIV

4. Jesus is the King of kings (Revelation 19-20)

He’s the King of kings and Lord of lords. He’s the President of presidents and the Prime Minister of prime ministers.

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of GodThe armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Revelation 19:11-16 NIV

5. Jesus is the bridegroom (Revelation 21-22)

Which means we are the Bride. In the last two chapters of the Book, we see Jesus is the Bridegroom and we are the Bride. The Bible teaches us this principle that Jesus takes us, the Church, His Bride, to the Heavenly City. 

“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…” Revelation 21:9-10 NIV

Jesus the Bridegroom comes back for us the Bride, and takes us to the New Heaven and the New Earth where there is no crying and no mourning and no pain. In fact, this New Heaven and New Earth doesn’t even need a sun or a moon because in verse 23 it says:

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” Revelation 21:23 NIV

Yes, you get to belong to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. What is this King saying today? What is He saying at the end of the Book of Revelation? The same thing He said from Genesis through Revelation.

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17 NIV

Jesus said, “I am the Living Water, if you taste of me you will never thirst again!” You may be so spiritually parched, you’re thirsty, you’re searching for something and you know it! You’ve spent your lifetime searching, there’s got to be something, somebody, somewhere, something that fills this emptiness inside.

The Spirit says, “Come, whoever you are, wherever you are, taste of the Living Water and you will never thirst again!” Some of you may think you are not good enough. But God tells you to come as you are.

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’” Revelation 22:20 NIV

What do we say in response?

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” Revelation 22:21 NIV

You see, this book ends with grace and unmerited favor. That’s why when you read the Book of Revelation in light of who Jesus is, if you’re a Christian, you don’t need to be afraid because He’s coming soon and He is good; the Alpha and the Omega, the Lamb of God, the Righteous Judge, the King of Kings, the Lord of the Lords, and the Bridegroom to take us His Church to be with Him forever.

May the grace of God be with God’s people forever and ever. Amen.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions on “God’s Vision For Your Future?”

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Spend some time in the word. If you have the time, consider reading the entire book of Revelation. It would take about 45 minutes. If you don’t have time for that in the group, read the verses on the outline.

The book of Revelation gives us five attributes of Jesus: He is the alpha and omega, He is the Lamb of God, He is the righteous Judge, He is the King of kings and He is the bridegroom.

“He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”  Revelation 22:20-21

Application

  1. Growing up, what was your family’s view of the end times?
  2. Before reading or hearing about the book of Revelation, what were some of the themes or things you were already aware of?
  3. What’s one idea from the message that really stood out to you?
  4. What new things did you learn about Jesus?
  5. How do you feel when you read about God’s wrath and judgment in Revelation?
  6. How can the second coming of Christ be a source of hope for you instead of a source of fear?
  7. Who is Jesus to you?

Tell Someone Else

How can you share the life-giving message of Jesus Christ with others this week?

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Week 2: God’s Vision for Your Future

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What Time Is It? 

It’s a question many people are asking as we look at world events of natural disasters and terror. Technology is advancing quickly and powerfully, nations of influence are turning away from the truth and Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled.

So people are asking, “What time is it? Are we nearing the end?”

Last week’s post was about the simple truth that Jesus is returning. He’s coming back for His people. We are not forgotten or forsaken. We are on the winning side and being faithful to God in the midst of our doubts, trials and troubles, matters.

After Jesus returns, God tells us that certain things will happen. We will face judgment and spend our eternity in one of two places.

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”  Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV

So in your future, you have an appointment with death and an appointment with judgment. If you are a believer in Jesus, you have a reward in Heaven. If you are not a believer in Jesus, you face suffering in Hell.

Let’s start in the last chapter of the last book in the Bible, Revelation 22.

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”  Revelation 22:12-13 NIV

There is a judgment, a reckoning coming for each one of us. If you are new to Christianity, don’t miss this, we do not get into Heaven by doing good things. The only way we enter Heaven is through our faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t get into heaven because of what we do for Christ. We get into heaven because of what Christ did for us.

As a Christian, it’s important to know that your good works do not qualify you for Heaven. It’s also important to know that your good works determine the rewards you receive in Heaven.

The Judgment Seat of Christ.

This judgment happens right after the return of Christ for the Church. At Christ’s return the dead in Christ will rise from the grave and the believers who are alive at that time will be raptured.

Dead believers bodies will be resurrected into new, glorified bodies. While living believers bodies will be changed into new, glorified bodies.

Not all of us will die, but all of us will be changed — in a moment, faster than an eye can blink, at the sound of the last trumpet. Indeed, that trumpet will sound, and then the dead will be raised never to decay, and we will be changed.”  1 Corinthians 15:51 ISV

At Christ’s return, we call that the Rapture, the dead in Christ are raised and the living are transformed. Then, those believers will be judged at The Judgment Seat of Christ. If you have trusted in Christ as your Savior, that’s you.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV

The Judgment Seat of Christ is a judgment for Christians only. At this judgment you’re not judged for salvation or damnation. You’re salvation has already been determined by your faith in Jesus Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ is a judgment for rewarding you for the good works you have done on earth.

The Greek word translated as “judgment seat” is the word “bema”. The Bema Seat is not the seat where the judge sits to issue a verdict of guilty or innocent. The Bema Seat was where the judge would sit to issue awards after the Greek athletic games. The Bema Seat held the judge who rewarded people for how they ran the race.

Imagine Jesus Christ rewarding you for your faithfulness on earth. This judgment is actually a very joyous occasion for believers. This is where Jesus Christ will, hopefully, say to you, “Well, done! Good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

At the Bema Seat, runners were rewarded with crowns of olive leaves. The judge would place crowns of olive leaves on their heads. 


Incorruptible Crown: Run a Faithful Race

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”  1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV

Runners in the Greek games would do their best trying to win. They go through extensive training, discipline their bodies and practice self-control. They do all of this so that they can win a wreath of olive leaves, a crown that is going to wilt and whither and dry up.

The crown we receive in heaven is imperishable. It is not subject to decay. It’s enduring and indestructible.

“Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 NIV

Paul doesn’t run without aim. Who’s in control of you? Are you in control of your body or is your body in control of you? Paul says I discipline my body and make it my slave, so I won’t be disqualified. Disqualified doesn’t mean you don’t get into heaven. It means you don’t win this crown.


Crown of Righteousness: Love His Returning

This is the crown for those who long for Christ’s return.

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:8 NIV


Crown of Life: Those Who Suffer 

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12 NIV

Those who are martyred or killed for Christ or endure great hardships for Christ receive this crown. There are other crowns, other rewards identified in Scripture. For Christians, how you live on earth determines how you’ll be rewarded in Heaven.


In the future, there are two judgments and two resurrections. The first is the resurrection of those who are in Christ. They are judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. If you’ve trusted in Christ, you’re in that group.

The second resurrection, the second judgment is for non-Christians. If you haven’t trusted in Christ, you’re in this group. That’s known as the resurrection of the dead and the judgment is the Great White Throne Judgment

This judgment takes place before God establishes the New Heaven and the New Earth. It doesn’t determine your rewards in Heaven, it determines your level of punishment in Hell. If you trust in Jesus Christ, you don’t have to go there.


What Will Heaven Be Like?

John had a vision of heaven in Revelation 21 that gives three specific descriptions of what Heaven will be like.

“I saw a new Heaven and a New Earth, for the first Heaven and the first earth had passed away.”  Revelation 21:1 NIV

1. God will establish a New Heaven and a New Earth.

Notice that our final destination is not just Heaven, but a New Earth. That’s why whatever you enjoy on earth, you’ll enjoy on the New Earth and the New Heaven. The only difference is there won’t be any sin.

The New Earth will be just like the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Even walked in the cool of the day with the Lord and experienced uninterrupted fellowship with God in paradise, before we ruined it by falling for the Devil’s temptation.

Whatever you love about earth, Heaven will be similar but indescribably better. Think about your favorite place, your favorite moment. Take your best moment on earth and realize that Scripture says:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard what our God has prepared for those who love Him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

2. You will never suffer again.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'”  Revelation 21:4-5 NIV

For those of you who hurt right now, in the New Heaven and in the New Earth, there will be no more pain, no more suffering. You will never, ever suffer again! 

3. You will live with God forever

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.'”  Revelation 21:3 NIV

It’s as if God is saying, “Finally it’s done, it’s restored. It’s back to the way I created it, to the way I wanted it to be.”

Our finite minds cannot comprehend the glory of that promise. We can’t even handle God in His purest form. But on that day when we’re raised to new life, when we’re in our immortal bodies clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we can walk in fellowship with God just like in the Garden of Eden before the fall and the way God intended it to be.

This all starts with you standing before Christ at the Bema Seat. You stand before the One who was crowned with thorns and He welcomes you with a Crown of Righteousness into the Heaven that He’s prepared for you.

Here’s the problem, most people today believe that Heaven is the default destination. Most people today believe that when people die they go to heaven unless they have done something really, really bad. The Bible clearly tells us that heaven is not the default destination. Hell is the default destination.

We’re not all headed to heaven, we are all headed to hell when we die unless Christ intervenes on our behalf.

Jesus said something very sobering to all of us in Matthew 7.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

There are a lot of people traveling on the broad path that leads to the true default destination, Hell.

The Final Judgement: The Great White Throne

Christians will not be judged here. This is a judgment for non-Christians, for non-believers. How you live as a believer matters and how you live as an unbeliever matters as well. This is how John describes the Great White Throne Judgment.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  Revelation 20:11-12, 15 NIV

If anyone’s sins are not covered by Christ, if they have not responded to the grace of God and are judged by their works alone, their name is not written in the Book of Life and they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. That is the default destination.

Now, you may be thinking this is not fair of God to send people to Hell. Let’s talk about what’s really not fair. Have you ever known someone who hurt someone else severely and they were not held accountable for their actions? What happens when you see that take place? When someone does some horrible injustice to someone else and there are no consequences, we think someone should have to pay for that.

That’s exactly what happens at the Great White Throne Judgment. God takes all of the sin from all of history and says, “There will be payment for the sins that were not covered by the blood of Christ.” Not only is that fair, that’s what we call justice!

What’s not fair is when those of us who are Christians, stand before the One who was crowned with thorns and He gives you a crown and lets you into heaven. Because really we all deserve the Lake of Fire. The only reason we don’t wind up in the Lake of Fire is because Jesus took the punishment for our sins upon Himself.

He was innocent, we are guilty, yet He paid for our sins on the cross. It’s not fair that many of us are rewarded and get to go to heaven. It’s not fair that that His blood covers our sins and that He suffered on our behalf.

The Gospel means good news. So when Jesus puts a crown on your head, thank God that He’s not fair. That’s why we should want to live a life worthy of His rewards.

It’s not that you’re trying to gain access to heaven, you’re already accepted because of your faith in Jesus. But out of a response to everything that Jesus did, you want to live a life not for our own pleasure, but for His eternal glory.

Those of you who are Christians, would you say, “Yes, I want to give in His name, I want to serve, witness and make a difference in His name. I want my life on earth to bring glory to Him in eternity. I want my life here to be worthy of the rewards in Heaven.”

It’s time to make a decision to pursue those rewards.


Check Back

Check Back on your discussion from last week.  How has the promise of Christ’s return affected how you lived this past week?  Did you find any comfort, make any preparation, or change your focus in light of this truth?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: Revelation 21:1-5, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, Revelation 20:11-15 and Matthew 7:13-14

Application

1. What is one idea from the message that really stood out to you? Why did this idea grab your attention?

2. Knowing that one day you will be judged and rewarded, what changes might you need to make in your life today?

3. Is there any pain in your life that you’re ready for God to bring to an end?  What is it?

4. How does it make you feel knowing that God wants to live with you forever?

5. Why do you think so many people choose to take the broad road that leads to destruction?

6. What one thing you will do this week as a result of something you learned from this message?

Tell Someone Else

Who is someone that you would like to encourage regarding the hope of a reward for the good works that they have been doing?  Maybe you could write them a note of encouragement this week!

 

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Week 1: Jesus is Coming Again

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Many people are asking if we are at the beginning of the last days or even at the end of the last days before Jesus returns. The Bible clearly states, in fact these are the words of Jesus himself, regarding the day that it ends…

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36 NIV

Anyone who has predicted it or is trying to sell you a book on it, they don’t know. Even Jesus says He does not know the time. Jesus is seated at the right hand of his Father with His white horse ready for His return, but he’s waiting on his Father to give Him the go ahead.

What do we do in the mean time? We have circumstances in our world today like earth quakes, nature and terror. This feels like it’s a unique generation. There is a verse in 1 Chronicles that gives a shout out to some people who can be a good example to us today.

“(The men of Issachar)… understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” 1 Chronicles 12:32 NIV

These men did two things: they understood and they knew what to do. We can look to scripture to help us understand the times in which we live, and help us know what to do right now. We don’t need to be scared, idle or confused. We need to understand the unique generation and know what to do.


Jesus Is Coming Back

One of the fundamental pillars of our faith is the doctrine of the second coming of Christ. Some generation is going to be the end times generation. Someone is going to be alive on the earth when Jesus returns. 

Acts chapter one shares some about Jesus’ life on Earth. It states He lived for 33 years, was crucified, buried, rose again, and spent 40 days appearing unexpectedly to people in His glorified body. Then, 40 days after the resurrection, He ascended into heaven.

“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'” Acts 1:9-11 NIV

This event happened at the top of the Mount of Olives. There’s a mountain and on the side of it is a garden of olive trees which is the location of the Garden of Gethsemane. Most of the pictures you’ve seen of Jerusalem are taken from the top of the Mount of Olives. That’s where Jesus ascended and where He will be returning. We may not know the day or hours, but we do know the season and the signs. 

“’There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’” Luke 21:25-28 NIV

This is exciting! This makes some people so nervous, scared or protective and some a little grumpy. But the Bible tells us to lift up our heads because it means our redemption is drawing near. We could be the generation that sees it.


Every generation has made a case they were the ones. It’s a healthy thought to have because even if it’s not the end time generation, it’s our end times. We don’t live forever. Any moment we could be standing before the Lord, either through death or rapture. We need to live like He’s coming back today.

There are some unique things happening that other generations didn’t have. It’s not just signs being fulfilled but all of them fulfilled at the same time. That’ll be the generation that sees the return of Christ. Here are three examples:

  • Worldwide satellite technology  (Revelation 11)

It’s important to the end time era because in the very end of the tribulation there will be two witnesses (most scholars believe these are Moses and Elijah) that are going to come back to preach then will be murdered by the antichrist and the beast. Their bodies will lay in the street for three and a half days and every nation will witness it at the same time. The whole world will witness it. That couldn’t happen without the technology for us to see something in live time that’s happening somewhere else in the world. 

  • Worldwide financial technology (Revelation 13)

There’s a part in the tribulation where the antichrist is going to get everyone to agree on a one world currency in a show to make people think he’s bringing the world together. The way you will buy and sell will require you to take the mark of the beast. With this mark either on your forehead or hand you’ll have the ability to buy and sell. We’re seeing more and more companies around the world put microchips in people’s hands. That’s on the brink of what this is talking about. 

  • Worldwide evangelism (Matthew 24:14)

Jesus’ states this gospel will be preached in all nations. That’s not the 193 geographic boundaries. It’s the word ethnos or people groups. There are 17,000 of those. A few thousand of those now are still unreached which means they don’t have a clear gospel witness, church, missionary, or Bible in their language. Experts who study this topic say that in 1970 there were 1.2 billion Christians. Now in 2019, there are 2.4 billion Christians. This means in the last 49 years the number of Christians in the world has doubled. More people have come to Christ in the last 50 years than the previous 1970. Out of 193 nations the Gospel is growing in all but 20 of them. The United States is one of the 20 where it is not growing. 


We ought to be excited by this news, not scared by it. Below we will see a passage of scripture in which Apostle Paul writes to a church explaining what will happen during the end times. 

“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4

“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6


What Jesus’ Return Means for Us

1. Jesus’ return comforts us.

Many of us would agree that at some point we will be let down by this life on Earth. But, it’s not all about the here and now.

“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 NIV

This tells us we shouldn’t use the end times to scare one another or criticize one another. Rather, we should use them to encourage one another. Sometimes when people think about this topic they get fearful, inward focused and grumpy about the condition of the world. Yes, these times should strike the fear of God into you. Fear of God is a good thing. But a healthy fear of God is going to result in wisdom and an outpouring of God’s Spirit, and God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear. He gives a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.  Let’s let this result in being more generous, to live life to the full and to leave a greater legacy. Look up. Be confident. Not that everything works out great here, but that we get heaven. Heaven is better! Be comforted. 

2. Jesus’ return prepares us.

God doesn’t want you to be in the dark about this. There are over 300 references in the New Testament about the return of Christ, 216 out of the 260 chapters in the New Testament and 23 of the 27 New Testament books mention it. God has a lot to say about it so we should be emboldened by it and be prepared for it.While there are many who will be shocked when all this happens and Christ returns, we won’t be shocked. 

“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ These are the unbelievers. I don’t have to worry about that. Things are fine. No worries. destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escapeBut you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. ” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4

3. Jesus’ return focuses us.

“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6

Those two words. Awake and sober. Let’s be awake. Too many are sleep walking their way through life. Paul says, come on wake up. Don’t fall into the traps, let’s have a wake up call. Let’s be sober. Sober doesn’t mean grumpy. If the idea of Christ’s return makes you meaner, you don’t get it. Sober means clear headed. A sound mind and sound judgement. Let’s be focused. Are we living in the last days? Well, yeah. You’re living in yours. Everyone else is living in theirs. It should change the way we live. 

There are four things we can do to help focus our attention:

  • Live for Heaven
  • Stand for Truth
  • Preach the Gospel
  • Prepare to meet Jesus 

Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. What do you think you’ll remember most from the series “Helping Friends Through Tough Times” and the messages on helping friends through discouragement, death, divorce and parenting?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Spend some time in the word. Read 1 Thessalonians chapters four and five.

Will Jesus return soon? He is coming back. It’s not by accident or oversight that the Bible does not define the “time” of the end. What it does describe in great detail is what our lives should look like as we live out our days on this earth. Perhaps we should take a lesson from God’s Word and focus on what He focuses on!

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:9-11

Application

  1. Jesus’ return comforts us. How does it comfort you knowing that one day Jesus will return and ultimately make all things new and right?
  2. Jesus’ return prepares us. How might you live differently really believing that Jesus return is imminent? Are you living your life to the fullest with Heaven in mind?
  3. Jesus return focuses us. How can being consumed with predicting the time of Jesus return distract us from God’s plan for us? What does it mean to be eternally focused?
  4. Is there a verse from the outline your group or family would like to internalize and memorize this week?

Tell Someone Else

A person is the only thing we come in contact with that is eternal. Be intentional about developing relationships that will help you stay focused on what really matters.

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Week 4: How Does the World End?

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On Easter weekend, we did a survey and compiled your most asked questions. Those questions are the roadmap for this series called You Asked For It.

This weekend, we took a look at what the Bible had to say about How the World Will End.


It’s a great question. How DOES the world end? It’s one of the questions that the disciples asked Jesus.

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'”  Matthew 24:3 (NIV)

The disciples wanted to know “when” it will happen and the warning signs. For 51 verses in Matthew 24, Jesus lays out what is going to happen. He gives us the “what” and the warning signs, but He doesn’t give us the “when”.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father.”  Matthew 24:36 (NIV)

One of the most crucial signs that the end is near is found in a statement that Jesus makes:

“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and THEN the end will come.”  Matthew 24:14 (NIV)

The Greek word for nations is the word ethnos which doesn’t mean a geographic boundary of a nation, but ethnicity or people group. There are more people groups than there are countries. The UN lists around 190 countries on the planet. But there are lots of ethnicities, distinct people groups all over the world.

We are the first generation in history that is about to take the gospel to every people group. We are on the verge of completing the Great Commission.

There are still a lot of small people groups in remote places that have not heard the Gospel. There are people groups that do not have a single believer, a Bible in their language or a church in their culture.

In the year 2000, there were 3,000 unengaged people groups. This year, there are 1,061 unengaged people groups. We are closing in on fulfilling the Great Commission.

“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:3-7 (NIV)

Verses 5-7 are referring to the creation account in Genesis where God picked a day and said, “Let there be…” and the heavens and the earth were created by God. It’s also referring to Noah, the ark and the flood. God picked another day and said, “I’ve had enough of these evil people.” And He destroyed the world and everyone and everything on it, except for Noah’s family and the animals they had in the Ark. By the same word, God is going to pick a day, that only He knows, and destroy the earth by fire.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

Jewish scholars believe this verse is referring to what they call a Seven Day Earth. If a day equals a thousand years, and there were 7 days in creation, then the earth is going to last 7,000 years. There were 4,000 years from Adam to Christ, 2,000 years from Christ to the present, that would mean you’ve got another 1,000 years left.

So many things leave us feeling uncertain, but here is one thing we can be sure of,

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

Picture it like this: God is sitting on His throne with Jesus at His right hand in heaven. God looks down at the earth and sees all the wicked things going on and He turns to Jesus and says, “Go get the church out of there.” Jesus jumps up because He is ready. The church is His bride this is His wedding day. Jesus gets on His white horse to come get us, the Church, and then God says, “Wait! Wait a minute. I see some more people we can reach, so let’s just wait.”

God is not in a hurry to judge people. He is patiently waiting for people to come to Him. 

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”  2 Peter 3:10 (NIV)


What Will Lead Up to the World’s Destruction?

  • People will be distracted with life.

We all need to ask ourselves, “How much of this world am I focused on? How much of heaven am I focused on?” Don’t get distracted with the things of this world to the point that you aren’t ready for the end of your life.

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.”  Matthew 24:37-39 (NIV)

People in Noah’s day were distracted with life. They weren’t paying attention to what was happening around them. 

  • People will forget God.

Today in China, over 35,000 people a day are coming to faith in Christ. The Gospel is surging in China.

The Gospel is surging in places where it has never been heard before. But in places that have had the Gospel for a long time, it’s declining.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”  Matthew 24:12 (NIV)

Because of this wickedness, you have to guard your heart, your marriage, your kids, your faith.

  • People will not be ready.

“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”  Matthew 24:40-42 (NIV)

“For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NIV)

The book of Revelation tells us what to look for in the end. People look at the book of Revelation and feel overwhelmed, but let’s break it down into 10 events.


Ten Events in the book of Revelation

1. The Church Age – Revelation 2-3

This age started with the birth of the Church in Acts chapter 2 and it continues into the end times.

2. The Rapture – Revelation 4:1

The Rapture is when God snatches all the Christians off of the earth.

3. The Rise of the Antichrist – Revelation 6

The Antichrist is the one who brokers a deal and signs a treaty with Israel to rebuild their temple. The Jews are ready to go. All they need is a signature on a treaty from the Antichrist.

4. The Tribulation – Revelation 6-19

Most of the book of Revelation is about the seven years of Tribulation. This is where the world falls apart with plagues, famines, wars and death. God will bring His judgement upon the earth. There will be people who believe in Jesus Christ during this time, but it’s going to be very hard for them.

5. The Second Coming of Christ – Revelation 19

Praise God! Jesus is going to come back and make everything right. He is going to defeat the enemies of God and win the victory!

6. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb – Revelation 19

At this point, Jesus is going to take Satan and the Antichrist and bury them in a bottomless grave. With them will go all addiction, depression, pornography, deceit, depression, confusion, anxiety, greed and destruction. Then Jesus is going to throw a party. 

7. The Millennium – Revelation 20:6

This will be a thousand year reign of Christ on the earth. We’ll get to see what it’s like to live on earth with Jesus as Lord of all!

8. The Last Rebellion – Revelation 20:7-10

God will let Satan out of the bottomless pit to one more time test the earth so that people born during the Millennium will have their chance to choose or reject Jesus.

9. The Great White Throne Judgement– Revelation 20:11-15

If you’re a Christian, you won’t be a part of this. Your judgment happens at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is where everyone living and dead who rejected Jesus will have their day in court.

10. New Heaven and New Earth – Revelation 21-22

The new heaven and new earth will be much like the garden of Eden. We will get to live there and work there and do incredible things.

The incredible things you will get to do in heaven, will depend on how you live your life on earth.

The real question when studying the end times is, “How does it change my life?” You can have the most accurate end times chart, but if it doesn’t affect your life, it’s worthless. Whenever the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus would quickly switch the conversation to evangelism. He wants His follower’s primary focus to be on their mission in the world.


So What Should We Do?

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First, we should think clearly in light of the end times.

“The end of all things is near therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”  1 Peter 4:7 (NIV)

Prayer is what helps you to stay clear minded. Prayer unleashes the fruit of the Spirit so you can be self-controlled. Why do I need to think clearly about my life?

“For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”  Philippians 3:18-21 (NLT)

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Next, we should focus on relationships.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:8-9 (NIV)

We focus on relationships because people are the only thing you’re going to take with you to heaven. People are the only thing that will last through out eternity. Everything else is going to burn up with a fervent heat.

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We should also focus on making a difference here on earth.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

You are gifted! When you became a believer, God gave you a spiritual gift that He wants you to use in the church and serve others. It’s not a self-serving gift, it’s a gift to serve others.

Your spiritual gift is the delivery system that God uses to get His grace to the world.

So God wants you to discover your spiritual gift. He wants you to develop and deploy your gift so that it benefits other people and builds up the church.

“If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

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Finally, we must receive God’s grace if we are to effectively make a difference with the days God has entrusted to us.

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.  Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”  2 Peter 3:11-18 NIV


Check Back

Review what you talked about last week on the topic of navigating seasons of life.

What priorities did you adjust for the season of life you are in? How were you able to help others this past week with the season they are navigating?

To hear the sermon online, go to rockbrook.org/sermons or listen to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play Music.

Application

Read 2 Peter 3:3-11

Living in the Last Days: With which of these dangers of the last days do you struggle?

1. People will be distracted with life.  Matthew 24:37-39

2. People will forget God. Matthew 24:12

3. People will not be ready. Matthew 24:40-42     1 Thessalonians 5:2     Matthew 25:1-13

It is not by accident or oversight that the Bible does not define the “time” of the end. What it does describe in great detail is what our lives should be like when we live out our last days on this earth.

So What Should I Do?

1. I should think clearly.  1 Peter 4:7  Philippians 3:18-21

2. I should focus on relationships.  1 Peter 4:8-9

3. I should make a difference.  1 Peter 4:10-11

4. I should receive God’s grace. 2 Peter 3:11  Isaiah 55:6-7

What does it mean to be “eternally focused”?

What changes can we make in our lives to assure that we are investing our lives, not just spending them?

Have you received God’s grace for your last days?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with this week?

How can you be an effective dispenser of God’s grace in your relationships this week? Who could you point to Christ?

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