People are seriously confused… about lot of things, spiritual things in particular. If you ask friends who profess Christianity to tell what Gospel is, what would they say? How many different answers? How about, what is goal of evangelism? The purpose of missions? or, what is hell like? May have in mind your response, how would friends respond? Now factor in majority of people do not take God seriously. Consequently do not take his Word seriously. Nor do they take idea of eternal torment in literal hell seriously. And is minority of churches where all God’s truth is proclaimed faithfully and unashamedly. Is it any wonder so many struggle to know and communicate the truth?
Problem not with God’s word the Bible. God says what he means, means what he says, has declared truth plainly… far more than we can ever master. Too many don’t read it, don’t know it, don’t buy it. Sadly true of far too many Christians. Apostle John given front row seat to see, then communicate God’s truth relating to now and future – to inform and equip his people.
John sees three angels, each with their own specific message from God. Then hears voice from heaven with fourth message. Messages people in every time and place from 1st century until Second Coming need to hear and can profit by hearing. Communicates to us a message of: missions, justice, warning, blessing
A. message of missions v.6-7
what is work of missions? missio – sent out with authority to do work; hence, Christian missions… sent out to spread Gospel, usually cross-culturally and far away
You are asked to summarize the Gospel on Twitter, i.e. in 140 characters or less.
God is holy. We’re not. God loves us anyway and sacrificed his Son to make us holy and restore our relationship — forever to be with him!
The Gospel is good news – I am loved, saved and can live forever in perfect happiness with God, if I live according to His Will.
He came. He taught. He died. He rose from the dead. We’re all forgiven and invited to the party. What are you waiting for?
Jesus fully paid the debt owed to God for our moral crimes against him, so we can have a relationship with God. How do you respond to Jesus?
Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.
obviously doesn’t end there, Jesus went on to say was a second command relating to daily life – love your neighbor
message is imperative, not interrogative… declarative, not suggestive – at issue is not political correctness, preserving traditions, contextualizing
is series of commands from Creator to be proclaimed to all his creation – proclaimers’ responsibility to say it right and well, hearers’ responsibility to respond appropriately
we think of nations as 196 places on world map with line drawn around and city designated as seat of government – Bible’s idea is different, relating to people more than geography
πᾶν ἔθνος – pan ethnos, emphasis on people… ethnic groups or people groups – those who have enough in common that are few if any barriers to association
φυλην – phulen, those who have a common recognized ancestor, significant shared heritage, lots to talk about at family reunions
γλωσσαν – glossan, people with common language; from John’s day God had in mind that his truth would be communicated in languages other than Hebrew and Greek
λαον – laon, people or iow the human race; God made one race, people, divided by sin and language, but none left out of Gospel
at its most basic, elemental level eternal Gospel is (1) fear God, (2) give glory to God, (3) worship your Creator, because judgment is certain
here is goal of evangelism, purpose of missions – proclaim the Gospel so people would worship God their Creator
to stop at making converts is short of God’s goal; to be satisfied with more people in pews is short of God’s goal – God not satisfied with anything less than true worshipers… from every walk of life, every part of the world
requires those who faithfully fearlessly proclaim everlasting Gospel in every part of world, starting in own Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, beyond
start here in Gorham, then Greater Portland, Cumberland County, ends of the earth, beyond Maine, as God providentially supplies opportunity
we do that through personal effort, sending proclaimers of Gospel, supporting those who serve elsewhere, radio ministry
B. message of justice… in time v.8
who: world systems
quoted from Isa. 21:9And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!” Then he answered and said, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods He has broken to the ground.”
Babylon the kingdom that carried Israel off into captivity, top world power at that point of history – representing essence of world power: political, economic, military, religious
name later used for Rome, system of government equally corrupt, determined to persecute / eliminate followers of true God
why: worship “not God”
see Jer. 50:2 ‘Babylon is taken, Bel is shamed. Merodach is broken in pieces; Her idols are humiliated, Her images are broken in pieces.’
encourage trust in human wisdom, military strength, government economic provision and protection – iow, place ultimate trust, i.e. worship, in something / someone not God
use authority granted by God intended to encourage righteousness, discourage/punish wickedness to do exactly opposite
see all real injustice in world much result of rampant sinfulness among leaders… fear not: God will bring about real and final justice even for those who seem invincible
C. message of warning… for eternity v.9-11
hell is real
Jesus: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28)
Sermon on the Mount: “danger of hell fire” Matt. 5:22; “whole body to be cast into hell” – Matt. 5:29, 30
hell is not separation from God
“drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation” – experiencing just wrath of God against sin
“tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” – God is omnipresent… including in hell – does not punish sinners by proxy or remote control
hell is forever
not limited duration, until have paid for sins committed on earth and then oblivion – is real conscious torment that never ends
not fair? yes, it is, because every last one in hell, absent restraint of Holy Spirit, continues to sin against God, does so forever – only desire to get even with God, not get right with God
hell is for God’s enemies
those who have lived committed to the beast, opposed to God, and die the same way… in their sins and hopelessly lost
just, pure, righteous, holy God if he is to vindicate (justify) the righteous must punish wicked for wickedness against him, his people
D. message of blessing v.12-13
faithful obedience rewarded
requires steadfast endurance – Christian life not for wimps or sissies
daily faithful obedience to God’s commands, trusting in Jesus only possible as we depend on God and he supplies
will be blessed – never have opportunity to ask God “why did I bother?”
Rom. 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
blessings begin in this life… in very small measure, will continue for all eternity in measure beyond our ability to imagine
rest from labor – Matt. 11:28
“The journey is long, the time but short. And to this end we look not at what we have done, and how far we have gone, but look what remains to be done, and know we have done nothing till we have done all. …But men may say, What, is there no pause ? is there no Sabbath ? I answer, Yes, when we are dead. “Blessed are the dead in the Lord,” Rev. 14:13. It is they that rest from their labors. Heaven is a sufficient reward for all the pains we can any way take here. Besides, the comforts that we have here are many, which none knows but them that enjoy them. And God has promised the continual assistance of his blessed Spirit, that shall encourage us and lead us into all truth.” Richard Sibbes on Phil. 3:14
How is it with you? Will it be said of you that you “died in the Lord” or that you “died in your sins”? And how about loved ones, friends, neighbors, co-workers? Have they heard the Gospel: “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” And have they been warned about the wrath to come? Let us courageously do our part to share the Gospel, warn of dangers of hell, live in steadfast endurance depending on Jesus.