God is love but this is not abstract. It is personal. He has set His heart upon you. His kingdom and power, His care for creation, his rule over the world, His intervention in the affairs of human history, His authority over evil and His conviction of our sin… is all an action of His love. You are the beloved. Let this penetrate your heart. It affects everything we do.
We come to the last instalment of our teaching on the book of Revelation. It concludes with a vision of perfect love and union with God with a whole bunch of people. Through symbolic pictures it seeks to capture the wonder for which all our hearts long. A life of people together, with no sorrow, no pain, no injustice, no evil, no darkness and the love and Glory of God at its centre. It is a new heaven and a new earth redeemed by the blood of Jesus where everyone is welcome. However, it is an invitation to be received. We may we refuse the invitation, but in doing so we reject love and life for eternity.
Revelation 20 is one of the hardest passages of the Bible to understand. But it also one of the most encouraging when understood correctly. It contains what is called the millennium, and also the final conflict, the lake of fire, and the last judgement. From the present reign of Christ to the time when God will be ‘all in all’ it is good for us to have a revelation of what’s what now, and what will be at the end.
Revelation 19 shows us two contrasting suppers. One is the marriage feast of Jesus and his followers at the end of time. Its an empowering vision and hope for us. It is a time promised to the world, when sin, grief and evil is finally ended and we are united face to face with God as his beloved bride. All our hopes for justice, peace and love come to realisation in this marvellous supper. But there is another supper in this chapter. A supper that symbolises the destruction of all who defy the kingly authority of Jesus, the Lamb of God.
We are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let make sure we’ve got our wedding clothes on.
Revelation is a book of hope. It’s a word from God to his church to remain faithful, seek wisdom and patiently endure the trials that Christians will face living in the world. The hope that we have is that Jesus has come to us, saved us, and He will secure us in the storms of life for God’s ultimate purpose. Some of these storms will come in the form of other people and worldly systems who do not know the love of God and God’s kingly authority in all things. They will seek to humiliate and marginalise people of faith but this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Neither should Jesus’ ultimate victory. God has a plan and he is at work in the world for good. So let our Hallelujahs resound. Jesus is Lord.
Have a listen to this great encouragement from our June CUSundayNight service from Mike Potter!
Jesus speaks tenderly and boldly to us. He loves us where we are and yet calls us out of ourselves in triumphant suffering love. In John’s Gospel Jesus said “In the world you will have trouble and suffering but take heart, I have overcome the world”. If Jesus has overcome then He calls his church to overcome the world through trust and obedience to him. It is important that our hearts are encouraged because Jesus also reveals the evil spiritual influences behind our trouble and suffering in the book of Revelation. Being forewarned is forearmed. Jesus is Lord, our protector and our commander in the battle of life.
Why do we celebrate Pentecost? Is it because it is ancient history, relating back to when the Jews left Egypt, or something that happened 2000 years ago?
Or are we celebrating the Holy Spirit bringing the amazing truth of God’s love and plan, the reality of the strange work of Jesus which has changed the human situation, which transformed you and me, and continually changes and empowers us today.
In “The Screwtape Letters” C.S.Lewis wrote “there are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them”. Being a Christian, knowing the love of God and living by the love and power of Jesus is an wonderful life, but not a life without opposition. Revelation unveils the battle for every Christian. Its a battle against Satan and the demonic forces of evil. Yes, we don’t often speak like that, but unless we name the reality we are deceived and unarmed. But in Christ we have the authority, the power and the joy to stand and we are not unaware of the devils scheme.