There are things in our lives that just happen, and then there are acts of God. Those are the things that confront us with the deep existential questions and keep us up at night. Does God exist? What kind of God is he? What does he demand or expect of me? Is he pleased or displeased with me? Can I know the answers to any of these questions? If so, how?
In Revelation 8, Jesus opens the final seal and reveals the contents of the scroll. The judgements found there move from common experiences of men to remarkable acts of God. They provoke deeper questions than, “how do I survive.” Yet even in the dramatic judgements of Revelation 8, we see the grace of God shining through the terror of the first four trumpets. Join us this week as we examine Revelation 8 and consider God’s gracious warning to us through his undeniable acts of judgement.
Revelation 6 is a disquieting read. The world and everything in it is coming apart at the seams. Conquest, wanton bloodshed, famine and social injustice, death, intolerance and persecution, and cosmic disintegration are all on the docket. The worlds groans under the weight of the Fall. In a dramatic scene, men flee from the wrath of the Lamb. They would rather be crushed in caves than face God’s justice. In hopelessness they cry out, “who can stand?”
Though uttered in despair, this question is not without an answer. The narrative of God’s unfolding judgement is paused by a remarkable picture of God’s grace. Revelation 7 offers an interlude in the unfolding apocalypse. And gives us a complementary vision of grace. In wrath the Lord remembers mercy. Those who have the seal of the Living God, they will stand. Join us as we examine Revelation 7 and see how Jesus transforms the broken into the unbreakable.
In Revelation 5, this Worthy One comes forward to take a scroll from the hand of God. This scroll is the book of God’s eternal decrees – the unfolding of redemptive history. As Jesus opens the sealed book in Revelation 6, a series of visions remind us that any apparent delays in God’s fulfillment of His redemptive plan for this world are just that – appearances. God is at work. Everything is unfolding just as He intended. The unjust are getting justice. The people of God have not been forsaken. And God is winding down the old heavens and earth to make way for the new. God sees. He cares. He acts. And this is comfort when everything we see seems to say otherwise.
Join us this week as we examine Revelation 6 and find comfort in the reminder that, “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
In Revelation, Jesus had hard words for his beloved bride, the church. Her love for him is costly. And growing even more costly. She must face external threat and internal turmoil. She is tempted to love herself more than Him. Or to love Him less than herself. She struggles with purity and commitment and the purity of her commitment. She is often complacent, apathetic, and neglectful. She questions whether, ‘to love Him at a cost, is a bargain.’ ‘It is worth it? Is He Worthy?’
We ask the same thing. Not out loud of course. But in the quiet hours and in Valleys of Shadow. Following Christ is costly. ‘Is He worth it? Is He Worthy?’ God is kind and gentle with his children. He knows our anxious thoughts. The Revelation paints a dramatic picture of sacrifice and final victory. But the climax of this picture is not in its last brush-stroke, but in its first. In Revelation 5, the real question is posed – the question that answers all others. “Is He Worthy?” And the answer? “He is!”
The message to the Church in Laodicea in Revelation 3 is familiar. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
They were lukewarm, going through the motions, not getting too excited about Jesus, God, or the Bible. No fanatics here. No controversies either. Nothing but moderation. And their lukewarmness made Jesus sick to his stomach. Sickened by their contentment with a “form of godliness” but with no pursuit of its power.
Are you content with your relationship to Christ? Is just enough, good enough for you? Are you hot? Or cold? Or lukewarm? The Lord speaks a hard word. He is “The Amen.” He is the faithful and genuine witness. He has a hard but faithful word for a soft and unfaithful church. Will we hear it? Or will we bow up or turn a deaf ear? Join us this week as we consider Revelation 3:14-21 and consider the diagnosis and the remedy for lukewarm Christianity.