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Our Responsibility in Light of Revelation

Rev. 22:6-21

 

Knowing these things we have studied now…how shall we live?  What should we be motivated to do now?

 

It’s been an exciting study, over 60 sermons, and many other churches are now doing it using our same materials…exciting, yes, but this book’s purpose is not to excite the curious, but to encourage the consecrated.

 

We’ve seen Christ in all of His glory in ch. 1, the 7 periods of church history, and we live in the final one, we’ve heard the trumpet blast in 4:1, and the church is taken away, and then we’ve studied the tribulation and the horrors of the end times for those left behind, and what to expect the millennium to be like, as well as heaven, hell, and the eternal state…so, what now?  What do we do until that trumpet blasts?

 

Ch. 22 gives us 4 responsibilities:

1.     We need to Keep God’s Word.

v. 6-9       [v. 9—John was warned not to do this before!] 

The angel said to “keep” this book.

v. 18-19   same concept.

 

“Keep” means to watch over or preserve.  It’s a dangerous thing to tamper with or alter the Word of God.  Some modern translations play fast and loose w/ the scriptures…watering it down to the point that it loses its potency and power, and true meaning.  Some twist it to make it say what they want it to say.

 

God said what He meant, He meant what He said, and we have no right and no authority to tamper with it.

 

“The Jesus Seminar” every year votes on what passages of scripture to keep.  The SBC is divided between the Bible believers and the critics who don’t believe it’s all inspired.  May I say that we are not to judge the Word of God, rather, the Word is to judge us!

 

Cults get their start when they change what is the Word.  They distort the Word of God, which frustrates the grace of God, which ridicules the Spirit of God, which thwarts the teachings of God, which minimizes the salvation of God.

        The JW’s deny the trinity, deny Jesus Christ, the resurrection, the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace as a gift [they say it’s a reward], deny the torment of hell.  How can they get this far off base?  Another book!

        The Mormons teach the universe is inhabited by many gods, and good Mormons become gods it the next life, that Christ was created, not eternal, a polygamist, and salvation is by good works inc. baptism.  And they regularly are baptized for the dead.  They teach 3 levels to heaven, etc.  How can they get this far off base?  Other books!

        Roman Catholicism teach sinlessness of Mary from her own conception, and her inability to sin if she wanted to.  They teach the Pope is infallible when speaking from the chapel [ex-cathedra], they teach Purgatory even for Christians, minimizing Christ’s payment for sins on the cross.  They baptize babies to erase the stain of original sin, confess to human priests, call them father, and believe in transubstantiation.

        How can they get so far from the truth?  Another book they follow!  They may call it the Bible, but look carefully, it’s not!

        Muslims believe that since Abraham of the Bible is their father, they are the rightful heirs to the mid-east.  They believe that if they are good Muslims they are to kill all who don't believe the way they do.  And about the 'peaceful' Muslims in America:  They are lucky they live here, because those who try to proclaim that Islam is a religion of peace over in that region...are constantly being killed by the 'good' ones who obey what their book [Quran] tells them to do.

God help these churches and others like them in light of vv. 18-19!

 

We are to keep God’s Word.  Who is “we”?

  • The Pastor—pray for me that I will always preach it w/out compromise.
  • The Staff—our Pastors, teachers, deacons, leaders, are on the team, working in tandem with the Pastor, striving to help the “team” to keep the Word…again, The Main Thing is Keeping The Main Thing!  Pray for our leaders as we all strive to stay on subject and never let any little foxes spoil the vines.
  • The People—it’s all about the home…we need parents who keep the Word and teach the family to keep the Word.  And we all need to work at consciously protecting the Word of God, when you hear something off base or questionable, to defend the Word and let me know about it.  When you hear anything that could hurt us as a church and get us off the main thing, redirect those to the source, the authority that can do something about it! 

May we never become a hodgepodge of doctrinal beliefs like so many churches are willing to be these days.  And may our Bible studies never degrade to the point where we’re going around the room finding out how people “feel” about this verse…it doesn’t matter how we feel about it, what matters is what did God say!

May we keep God’s Word!  In light of Revelation…

 

2.         We need to Keep serving the Lord.

The real test is not how high we jump when we hear it, but how straight we walk when our feet hit the floor.  It's not just the head we want to affect, but the heart and the hand!

v. 12-14       “according as his work shall be” “blessed are they that DO”

   

3.         We need to Keep our lives clean.

v. 15    “dogs” is same as “abominable” in 21:8.  How will we be found?  The crown of righteousness is given to those who live in light of Jesus’ soon return. [v. 12 “my reward is with me.]  We are to be watching, and working.  And I believe that crown will be given to those that live in such a way that they would want to be “found” at His return. 

    Challenges in scripture to do right are usually connected w/ the Lord’s return…did you know that?

 

The command to observe the Lord’s Supper is given in light of the second coming.    Give generously/live a holy life/comforting the hurting/preaching the Word and not just tickling ears/businesses treat employees fairly/command to be patient, etc.

 

2 Tim. 4:8

    Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

 

Ill.--When I was a child, my mother would run errands and leave me at home.  I remember on one specific occasion my mom came to me and said, “I’m going to go to the grocery store. I’ll be gone for about one hour. When I get back I want your room to be clean.”

    My strategy went something like this: “I’m going to play for fifty-five minutes and then clean for five minutes.” That’s a pretty good strategy! Why take the whole hour to clean? I could play and then clean at the last minute. Somehow I lost track of time though, and much to my surprise, I turned around and there was my mother looking across that terrible messy, filthy, pigpen of a room. Now don’t get me wrong—I love my mother. I just did not love her appearing at that moment.

   

Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of Christians are today. We love God. We’ve got a fish bumper sticker that’s swallowing up Darwin. We listen to Christian radio. We go to church. We don't drink, smoke, chew, or kiss the girls that do!  We love God, but we often don’t live our lives in such a way that says, “I’m really anticipating His appearing. If He comes right now I’m ready. I’m looking forward to His coming. There is nothing between my family and me/church family and me. There is no harboring of ill feelings. There is nothing at home hidden away of which I would be ashamed. I’m ready for Christ to come right now. I love the thought of His appearing. It’s a welcome thought to my heart.”

 

The crown of righteousness is a reward that will be given to all who look forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s all about not being ashamed at His coming!  How will we be found?  What will we be doing in that moment?  I saw a sign inside a church that said, “don’t say anything you wouldn’t want to be caught saying if Christ came back”…truth is, He knows it even if He’s not returning then! 

 

Sad it is, that Jesus will soon return and find some men looking at porn/on a Sunday, and they’re not in church/during a domestic dispute w/ spouse/cheating on spouse/putting things inside their body, God's temple, that they shouldn't/telling dirty joke/complaining or gossiping, etc.

And so…

4.         We need to Keep expecting Christ’s return.

v. 17            The message of Revelation is that Jesus is coming…are you watching?  I didn’t say waiting…but watching!

Ill.—picture the airport.  A plane is landing sometime today, and several men on the tarmac will help unload the luggage.  In the meanwhile they stand around waiting for the plane.  They know it will eventually come, but not sure when.  It doesn’t matter to them when it will arrive…the later the better!  But then there’s a young mom w/ 2 kids and a newborn inside the gate, and she keeps looking out that window, and tapping her foot…she can’t wait, because her husband is on that plane, returning from Afghanistan.  She paces and she stares at the clock, and out the window again and again.

    She’s not waiting for the plane, she’s watching!

 

Let’s keep expecting His return, keep watching.  Let’s keep our lives clean.  Let’s keep serving God.  Let’s keep God’s Word.

 

Ill.—a ship had been away for months, but now it was returning…the captain looked thru binoculars and told his crew, your wives are standing on the pier, waiting for you.  They docked, and disembarked…and 1 man’s wife was missing.  The others razzed him a bit, and one teased him that she’s w/ someone else.

    He sped home, threw open the door, and there she was, very happy, dressed up, w/ dinner on the table.  She said, "Hi honey, I’ve been waiting for you!”  He said, “Yeah, you’ve been waiting for me, but the other guys wives were watching for them!”

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