10/17/2021 | “Disclaimers” | Revelation 21:1-8

10/17/2021 | “Disclaimers” | Revelation 21:1-8

Everything comes with disclaimers.   The fine print.  The low-toned, rapid-fire voice at the end of the commercial that you somehow know is offering a hurried, but dire warning.  Asterisks and double-daggers qualify every statement, so as to evade charges of false advertising.   To disclaim is the opposite of claiming.   The salesman claims, the legal department disclaims.   Offers are made, then qualified, modified, mortified.   The sales pitch promotes benefit without borders, then the disclaimer draws a very small map of possibilities.

Disclaimers makes us jaded toward every remarkable promise, suspicious of every offer.  In Eden, Satan disclaimed God’s promises and man doubted.   Ever since, man has doubted.   God offers more than man can imagine.  The offer requires only faith, yet man can only doubt.  But God gives something else.  He gives faith as a gift.   God in his mercy, gives us the faith to trust that his offer comes without disclaimers.   The great story of redemption draws to a close in Revelation 21 with a vision of all God’s promises kept.   Nothing is withheld.   There are no caveats, no conditions, no last-minute substitutions – no disclaimers. Join us as we consider Revelation 21:1-8 and consider the offer that seems too good to be true, but really is.

10/10/2021 | “Final Judgement” | Revelation 20:11-15

10/10/2021 | “Final Judgement” | Revelation 20:11-15

Rock and roll ballads rarely offer helpful counsel for life’s existential angst.  But they do put their finger insightfully on the pulse of the angst itself.   Creed’s, My Own Prison, is a poignant example.  While its theology is askew, the songs’ message is clear.   Without God’s grace, men are self-condemned in a prison of their own sinful making.  The Bible is clear about our condition apart from God’s grace.  Men try to ignore it, deceive themselves about it, and rail against it, but the they cannot escape their own prison.   Judgment is coming.   God has not hidden this truth.   Throughout the Scriptures the inevitability of God’s judgment is proclaimed with clarity and certainty.   The final judgement is never expressed in conditional language.   Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Revelation 20:11-15, commonly called the Great White Throne Judgement, and consider what will make the difference between eternal life and death at the final judgement.

10/03/2021 | “Coronation Day” | Revelation 20:4-10

10/03/2021 | “Coronation Day” | Revelation 20:4-10

Surely no one was surprised by Brexit?   Like a young couple crafting a prenup in their first premarital counseling session, Brexit was an inevitable outcome.   The tenuous EU marriage between Britain and the Continent could never last.   Despite its pretense as a representative democracy, Britain is forever committed to its Crown.  But, as Americans, we mistrust any idea of the monarchy.   So, it is hard for us to fully appreciate the implications of Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   Scripture passages that speak of The Kingdom and of Christ and the saints ruling and reigning resonate only lightly with us.  

Yet, the comfort of Revelation 20 depends upon rightly understanding the reigning of the saints.   To miss the meaning of this powerful image is to miss some of the richest gospel comfort offered in Scripture.  Join us as we examine Revelation 20:4-10 and find simple, yet profound comfort from one of the Scripture’s most enigmatic passages. Listen to “Coronation Day” from Revelation 20:4-10.

Disclaimers

Disclaimers

What’s the catch? Our mothers always warned us, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” The cunning of the salesman is to promote the benefits and overcome the objections. Unfortunately, ‘the catch’ often gets lost in a sea of euphemism. And so, to bridge the gap between the sunshine of the salesman and the rainy day of reality, we have disclaimers.

Everything comes with disclaimers. The fine print. The low-toned, rapid-fire voice at the end of the commercial offering a hurried, but dire warning. Asterisks and double-daggers qualify every statement, so as to evade charges of false advertising. The dictionary defines a disclaimer as, “a statement, document, or assertion that disclaims responsibility, affiliation, etc.; disavowal; denial.” To disclaim is the opposite of claiming. The salesman claims, the legal department disclaims. Offers are made, then qualified, modified, mortified. The sales pitch promotes benefit without borders, then the disclaimer draws a very small map of possibilities.

Disclaimers makes us jaded to every remarkable promise, suspicious of every offer. Yet, I suppose this is nothing new in the history of the world. From the beginning, the Great Deceiver, deceived our forefather Adam to believe that it was God who was deceiving him. Satan added disclaimers and man doubted. Ever since, man has doubted. God offers man more than he can imagine. The offer requires only faith, yet man can only doubt. Satan suggests disclaimers. Surely God is up to no good. Surely it is a trap to defraud and destroy. And so, in our fallenness we trust the Deceiver, and view the Trustworthy One with suspicion.

But God gives something else. He gives faith as a gift. God in his mercy, gives us the faith to trust that his offer comes without disclaimers. Nothing in our doing or undoing undoes God’s offer of eternal life. And to remind us of this, He brings the great story of redemption to a close in Revelation 21 with a vision of all His promises kept. Everything He offered is given. Nothing is withheld. There are no caveats, no conditions, no last-minute substitutions – no disclaimers.

What was true regarding the people of Israel entering the promised land, is also true all who will experience the new heavens and the new earth.

Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Joshua 21:45

Have you trusted these promises? Have you accepted God’s offer? Have you believed that eternal life in Christ appears too good to be true, but really is? Or has the Deceiver kept you looking for a disclaimer, a loophole, a conviction that God’s promise comes with asterisks and double-daggers and will come to nothing? Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Revelation 21:1-8 and consider the offer that appears too good to be true, but really is.

We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship.  Get directions here or contact us for more info.  You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube

Final Judgement

Final Judgement

Rock and roll ballads rarely offer helpful counsel for life’s existential angst.  But they do put their finger insightfully on the pulse of the angst itself.   The bards of rock know well their condition and articulate it with great intensity.   Examples are copious, but some lyrics are more poignant than others. 

Creed’s title track, My Own Prison, has always grieved me.   It’s clarity regarding the ultimate existential crisis, but unwillingness to accept its acknowledged solution underscores the inability of man, unaided by the effectual calling of the Spirit, to find peace. 

Court is in session, a verdict is in
No appeal on the docket today just my own sin
The walls cold and pale, the cage made of steel
Screams fill the room, alone I drop and kneel

Silence now the sound, my breath the only motion around
Demons cluttering around, my face showing no emotion
Shackled by my sentence, expecting no return
Here there is no penance, my skin begins to burn

I hear a thunder in the distance, see a vision of a cross
I feel the pain that was given on that sad day of loss
A lion roars in the darkness, only he holds the key
A light to free me from my burden and grant me life eternally

I cry out to God, seeking only His decision
Gabriel stand and confirms, I’ve created my own prison.

While its theology is askew, the songs’ message is clear.   Without God’s grace, men are self-condemned in a prison of their own sinful making.  The Bible is clear about our condition apart from God’s grace.  Men try to ignore it, deceive themselves about it, and rail against it, but the they cannot escape their own prison.    Though many mock Christianity and scoff at the Bible, all men sense the truth of what Paul wrote in Acts 17:31 and dread it.

[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.

Judgment is coming.   God has not hidden this truth.   Throughout the Scriptures the inevitability of God’s judgment is proclaimed with clarity and certainty.   The final judgement is never expressed in conditional language.   As the author of Hebrews wrote.

It is appointed for man to die once and then comes the judgement.

HEBREWS 9:27

All men will face it.  Great and small, righteous and wicked, believers and unbelievers.  Yet not all men will be condemned.    In a moment of remarkable literal clarity, Revelation 20:11-15 speaks of the final judgment – of its certainty, scope, basis, and sentence.   But like every word of judgement in Scripture, this picture of the final judgement includes a word of grace.   

Among the books of men’s deeds is found another book, the Book of Life of the Lamb Who Was Slain.   This book does not contain men’s works, but their names – the names of those who have trusted Jesus’ works, not their own.   For these men and women, boys and girls, justice has been satisfied.    The one on the throne executing judgement has, himself, endured judgement in their place.  

What about you?  Which book determines your eternal destiny on the day of judgement?   Will you hear, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” or “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”  Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Revelation 20:11-15, commonly called the Great White Throne Judgement, and consider what makes the difference between eternal life and death at the final judgement.

We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship.  Get directions here or contact us for more info.  You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube