Monday, October 25, 2021

Fight The Fear #3 Called To Faithfulness 2 Timothy 2:1-13

 Fight The Fear #3 Called To Faithfulness 2 Timothy 2:1-13


MS Document

Introduction: Consider this…

If you can start the day without caffeine, If you can get going without pep pills, If you can Always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, If you can resist complaining and boring People with your troubles, If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it, If You can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time, If you can Overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, though no fault of yours, Something goes wrong, If you can take criticism and blame without resentment, If you can Ignore a friends limited education and never correct him/her, If you can resist treating a Rich friend better than a poor friend, If you can face the world without lies and deceit, If You can conquer tension without medical help, If you can relax without liquor, If you can Sleep without the aid of drugs, If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no Prejudice against creed, color, religion, or politics, Then, my friend, You are may be ALMOST as good as your dog.

This is our third message in the series “Fight The Fear!” To be honest about it I really felt like I needed to gain some perspective, some Biblical perspective, some heavenly perspective in dealing with the fear that we’ve all been facing over the past couple of years. My mind went to a verse of scripture that I often used to turn to as a young boy and much more so as a young preacher, whenever I was caught up in fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. That verse gave us our theme for the series and the theme for the book of 2 Timothy.
Originally, I intended to do a series of character studies of men and women from the pages of God’s word that stood in the face of fear and fought for the Lord, but the more I read 2 Timothy, the more I heard how to face fear and the more I saw heaven’s perspective on the battles of earth and the reward of heaven so we have made camp here for awhile and it is a good a pleasant place, so here we stay for awhile.

The reason 2 Timothy is such an appropriate book to read, study and meditate on when dealing with fear is because of its context and background. We often talk about context when preaching and studying but in 2 Timothy context means everything to getting the most out of the book, and being able to fully apply it to the times we live in. The context of any book begins even before you read the first verse. Context is the who, what, where and why of the writing of the book. The last epistle of Paul deals with fear because Paul is writing from a prison under a death sentence from Nero. It deals with fear because Timothy needs to be encouraged and the church, he is pastoring needs a strong pastor and a message for the times of persecution in which they now are struggling. When we know that background, that setting, then the perspective we can gain to deal with lockdowns, pandemics, vaccine mandates, Christian hatred and all the catastrophes, pains and sufferings I’m going through personally. If I’m standing on death’s door, I want to remember “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.”

So we began our journey into Paul’s last epistle. Our first stop was No Fear, Know Power from verses 1-8 of chapter 1. Last week we spent time and listened as Paul gave a Challenge to Stand, to his son in the faith. 2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

You could place most of Chapter 1 under the heading of fearlessness and you would have a pretty good summary of Paul’s opening thoughts to Timothy.

Now this week we will listen as Paul brings up his second subject and it is the counterbalance to fearlessness. In chapter 2 Paul Calls Timothy to Faithfulness.

Many times, in the Christian life its not about daring but about devotion. Its not about courage, it’s about constancy. It’s not only about being fearless but also about being faithful.  

2 Timothy 2:1 Bridge from Chapter 1

1Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. This is our bridge from chapter 1, it is connected back to 1v13. Where Paul tells Timothy to “Hold Fast” and it gets us back to the main purpose of the book which is Fighting the Fear.  

We have a lot of ground to cover in this chapter so I just want you to notice here that it is grace that will give Timothy the strength he needs to be fearless and faithful It is not in himself but in the gift of God. If there is a lesson in perspective that we can all learn quickly it is contained in this one opening statement. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

It was not our strength, it will never be our strength, it must always be the strength that flows as a gift, a grace from our Lord Jesus Christ. What did the hymn author write in “Rock of Ages”

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;

After Paul crosses this bridge of grace with Timothy, he then begins his second subject which is faithfulness. First, he calls for Faithfulness in the Work

Faithful In The Work – 2 Timothy 2:2-7

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

Vs 2 Faithful Like A Steward

Paul throughout this chapter is going to use several metaphors, illustrations or simply examples of faithful people. Most of these vocations or callings he has used many times before. He has a great admiration for people who do their job well, who are faithful in their calling. He will talk about stewards, soldiers, athletes, farmers and craftsmen. He is going to remind Timothy and us that Christian faithfulness consists of the best values of each of these vocations, it should incorporate the best of all of them and then it must supersede all of them. For the greatest example of faithfulness in all the world must be a child of God.

He begins in verse 2 by telling Timothy to be faithful as steward, one who has been entrusted by the master with a task. That task is to pass on the truth he has learned from Paul to others faithful men, committing it to them with this command, “pass this truth on to others.”
Faithfulness here is accomplished by learning the truth, teaching that truth, committing that truth to others and giving to them the commitment of completing the cycle in others. To put it simply a steward of the Lord must, Learn the truth, teach the truth, commit the truth. 

This is not just truth in general, but it is the truth that God had given to Paul, that he might give it to Timothy and that Timothy would then pass on to other faithful one in God’s calling. This is the truth of the Gospel that Paul will soon come back to and it is the commission of Matthew 28:18-20 Go, ye therefore. Here is the gospel and the truth that must go with it, learn it, teach it, and then tell others to continue to be faithful in replicating the pattern.

1 Corinthians 4:2 - Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. The faithful stewardship of a pastor and of all God’s children and church is to replicate God’s saving, sanctifying truth in others. Be a faithful steward.

Next Paul gives one of his favorite examples of faithfulness. Ironically, he may have been looking out a cell door at a soldier guarding him until his execution, yet he write to Timothy. Be faithful like a soldier.

Vs 3-4 Faithful Like A Soldier

Paul distill the quality in a soldier that he wants Timothy to see as faithfulness. This element, Timothy is what will make you a faithful fighter against fear.

2 Timothy 2:3-4 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

First, endurance in the face of hardship is being faithful. Faithfulness is most readily seen in the face of hardship. In God’s grace we as God’s people, must endure.

Secondly, Paul adds, faithfulness as a soldier mean being unentangled with the things of this life in order to please Jesus who has chosen us to be His soldiers of His truth.

It goes without saying that faithfulness require endurance and it requires dedication. You can’t be faithful if you quit, and you can’t be faithful if you don’t focus on your Captain, Jesus Christ, instead of getting caught up in the world.

Paul’s next example of faithfulness is also one of his favorites. He says Timothy be faithful in the things of God in the same way and athlete is faithful in competing for a victory crown.

Vs. 5 Faithful Like An Athlete

Paul tells Timothy he must see himself as an athlete, competing for the race of a lifetime, competing for the race whose finish line is eternity. 2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

The word strive is the Greek word ἀθλέω athleō, where we get our word athlete. The word means to contend in competitive games as an athlete.

He says that faithfulness in an athlete is qualified by striving or competing “lawfully”  There is no crown, no reward for those who strive unlawfully.

I hesitate to jump forward in the same book, but I can’t help but think that Paul is not only encouraging Timothy, but he is also encouraging himself in the Lord. Paul for all the world knew, had lost. The great cause that he had sacrificed everything for was being ground into the dust of the arenas, torn to pieces by wild beasts or nailed to crosses and being set on fire to light the path of pagans. That is what Nero saw, that is what the Roman world saw, but what Paul wanted Timothy to see was something greater, something higher, something beyond that world of fear and suffering.

Paul like a dedicated athlete running the race of his life, hadn’t lost. He had endured, he had been faithful, he had striven lawfully and now he wasn’t losing anything, he was winning that crown at the end of faithfully run race. At the end of this letter, almost the very end he writes. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 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.”

Timothy, Paul is saying, “Timothy, you can’t lose this race if you just keep running. You can’t lose this fight against fear, if you just keep fighting.”

It doesn’t matter how many cross the finish line in front of us, million if not billion already have run all the way home. It doesn’t matter how many times we get knocked down or even knocked out. If we will just get back up and get back in the race, we will receive that crown!

Paul has one more example for Timothy. He tells him to be faithful like a farmer. You just have to love the way Paul loved workers. I imagine he and Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs would have had a lot to talk about.

Vs 6-7 Faithful like A Farmer

The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. 7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

He tells Timothy that like a farmer, a husbandman, faithfulness mean you first taste the fruit from the seed you have planted. It could be that Paul is reminding Timothy to make sure the church he pastors is taking care of him. Like Paul’s admonish for Timothy to take a little wine for his frequent illnesses. This may have been well meaning fault of Timothy. Not wanting to take anything from the church and labor without having his portion from the work that he was doing. Well meaning but mistaken. I’m only guessing, but this principle of partaking of the labor,  was something that Paul wanted to make sure Timothy understood about faithfulness in the work of the Lord’s vineyards. Just like an athlete must strive lawfully, a farmer must partake of his own fruit and a pastor or any child of God must understand that the seeds they plant will be the harvest they reap and then eat.

Transition: Paul gives his own transition verse here at vs. 7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. I think he is talking about all that he has said in this portion of his letter. Be as faithful as a steward, a soldier, an athlete, or a farmer. Be as faithful as they in their calling, but supersede them all in your calling because your calling does supersede all other callings.

Faithful In The Gospel - 2 Timothy 2:8-13

Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Foundation of Faithfulness

Now Paul moves from the examples of faithfulness to the reason for faithfulness. It is important that we see the examples, but it is vital we understand the purpose. He comes right to the heart of why and he tells Timothy, “Remember” If you remember this then you will be faithful.

Here is what Timothy must remember and in this foundation of faith, he will find the faithfulness he will need to keep fighting, keep striving, and keep sowing.  Paul says, Remember this, “Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel”
This is the reason for it all. It is the reason Paul is suffering, it is the reason he is bound, but oh what a turn of a phrase and what a change of perspective, “but the word of God is not bound!” )You just have to supply an exclamation point right there even if it is in the KJV.) Paul turns it all around and says, you can’t bind the word of God, you can’t imprison the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lock up all the Christians, sacrifice them to the beasts of the arena, burn their bodies as lampposts in Nero’s garden, but you can’t stop the eternal word of the almighty God! Exclamation Point again

Therefore, Paul says. Because of the gospel, I endure all things for the elects sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The glory of the Gospel gave Paul the power to be faithful and through that faithfulness, that endurance, that suffering He was able to bring others to eternal glory through that Gospel power.

The Faithful saying of Paul

Then Paul comes to the summit of this first half of chapter 2. We won’t reach the peak until chapter 4 but we can see that peak, from here in chapter 2. And Paul wants us to be aware of how important what he is going to say next is, He tells Timothy and us who are hearing this today, “It is a faithful saying.”  Pay close attention Paul grabs our ears and mind and tells us, “listen carefully to what I’m about to tell you. You can put your faith and your life on what comes next.”

Faithful sayings of Paul,  

In his last writings Paul uses this phrase several times and it is always a prequel to the same powerful truth.
In 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

In 1 Timothy 4:8-9 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

Titus 3:5-8 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

And now the last time he uses that phrase in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

What is the faithful saying that Paul comes back to time and time again? It is eternal life, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “If we be dead with him, we shall also live with Him.”

These verses are written in the form of a  poem or a song.

If we died with him, we shall also live with him;
If we endure, we shall also reign with him;
If we deny him, he denies us;
But even if we are faithless, he abides faithful,
For he cannot deny himself.

To summarize this, Paul is saying, be faithful because the Lord is faithful, be faithful because the Lord’s promises are faithful, be faithful because if we don’t trust him but instead deny him, then His power will not be there when we so desperately need it, And yet, (isn’t this last phrase incredible?) And yet If we believe not, yet he abides faithful. He cannot deny himself. Even if we fail and don’t believe that Jesus will deliver us, even if we deny His name, even if we give into the fear in this particular battle, Yet still He remains ever faithful and will not let us fall from His grasp because He is Jesus, our savior, our God and He cannot deny himself.

Psalms 37:23-24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LO o RD upholdeth him with his hand.

John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Just as Timothy was to be strong in the grace of Jesus Christ, we are to be assured in this faithful saying, “2 Timothy 2:11 ..if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him. He cannot deny himself.”

It’s all about the Gospel, its all about Jesus and I can and I will be faithful to my calling because of Him.

Conclusion: Ignatius at his death in Rome

Ignatius who was a disciple of John was arrested and taken to Rome to be killed during the time of the Emperor Domitian’s rule. As he was being led out into the arena, he kept repeating one name, Jesus. With each step he took, he would call out that name. He was asked why do you keep repeating His name? He replied, ‘My dear Jesus, my Saviour, Is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece.” - Ignatius awaiting death in the amphitheater by wild beasts, when asked why he kept repeating the name Jesus.

Paul was faithful by the grace of the Gospel of Jesus, Timothy’s faithfulness rested on that same foundation. “If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him.” Ignatius and millions of others for over 200 years, were faithful because of that same gracious Gospel.

Today we stand facing fear in a different arena, under a different power but our call to faithfulness and the foundation upon which we stand is still the same. “Be strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ. If we be dead with him, they we shall also live with him.”

Friday, October 22, 2021

Misinterpreted, Misunderstood and Misapplied #5 More Misses

 Misinterpreted, Misunderstood and Misapplied #5

 More Misses

Power Point

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John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Miss – Baptism is required in order to be saved.

Context - John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Correct Interpretation – In the context Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about two births, one physical and one spiritual, one natural, from the earth, one supernatural, from above. Nicodemus confusedly asks how can he go back into the womb? Jesus explains that a person must be born of water (the womb, physical, earthly) and of the spirit (born again, second birth, born from above)
John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” 

Miss-  Jesus promises to give us everything we ask Him for. Better than a genie in a lamp, because you don’t even need a lamp to rub. 

Context: John 14:8-14 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it

Interpretation - The setting for this passage is the Last Supper that take place the night before Jesus will be arrested, tried and then crucified. John 14-16 is called the Upper Room Discourse and it is the last great instruction that Jesus will give His apostles. These verses 13-14 are in response to the request made by Phillip. 

Jesus wants the apostles to fully comprehend that He and the Father are one, not just in purpose but also in deity as God. He then tells them because He will be going to the Father, they will be able to do even greater works than He has done. This is possible because the believers will have the power of prayer and be able to do not just works that flow from Christ in one place at one time on the earth, but works that accompany all believers in all place at all times. The “all things” that believers would ask are the things that the Father and Jesus would do. Not selfish, materialistic requests but praying for those things that would bring glory to God and further the work of Christ. 

Praying in Jesus name means praying in the same way that Jesus would pray.
One commentator put it this way, “We are invited to do the work of Jesus and pray, making known all requests, in His name. Through the mutuality of Jesus and the Father, we are assured each petition will be answered according to God’s will and glory.”

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good …

Miss – Everything is going to be wonderful and will work out in a good way. 

Context - Romans 8:28-30 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Interpretation - The proper understanding is in qualifier “called according to His purpose.”  It is a statement of the sovereignty and providence of God. It is the good of His purpose as we are called to it.
2 Peter 3:8 One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Miss- Evolution is possible because the six days of creation aren’t 24 hours days but could be 1000-year days or any undetermined length of time. 

Context - 2 Peter 3:8-9 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 

Proper Word Usage - The Hebrew word used for day in the Genesis 1 is yom and it means 24 hours, also in the context of Genesis each day of creation closes with Genesis 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day. Which defines the time period as a normal day. 

Interpretation: Peter was not writing about creation but about the long suffering or patience of God before judgment come. Peter is simply saying that God is not on our timetable but His own.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Misinterpreted. Jesus’ faith saves me or give me new life. 

Interpretation: The phrase by the faith of the Son of God, is in the objective case, meaning the object of my faith is the Son of God. Jesus does not need faith, He knows all things. Nor can anyone be saved by the faith of another, our faith in Jesus Christ is what brings salvation. Though the KJV does justice to the Greek case here, it makes the verse tricky to understand. We would read it as “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” More accurately, but awkwardly it would be, “the life I now live in the flesh I live because the Son of God is the object of my faith” 

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 

Miss – In God’s power I can do anything!

Context – Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. -- I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Interpretation - Paul, under house arrest and awaiting trial, tells the church at Philippi, thanks for the gift they have sent him in prison. He then tells them, that though he is appreciative, he was not worried or suffering need, because he is content though Christ, who gives him the strength to be content in all situations. It is not about being a super Christian by Christ, it is about know super contentment in Christ.

KJV Caveats (Archaic Words)

Ague    Fever    Leviticus 26:16
Amerce    To impose a fine as punishment    Deuteronomy 22:19
Besom    Broom    Isaiah 14:23
Bewray    Reveal; give away a secret    Isaiah 16:3
Blains    Blisters, sores, or boils    Exodus 9:9
Bolled    Producing or bearing small, round seed pods    Exodus 9:31
Botch    Bulge, boil, tumor, swollen area    Deuteronomy 28:27
Bruit     Report; rumor; sound; noise    Nahum 3:19
Choler    Intense anger; Fury; Wrath    Daniel 11:11
Churl    One who is harsh, uncaring, and of vile character    Isaiah 32:5
Clouts    Scrap cloth used to repair holes in tents or garments; Patch cloth    Jeremiah 38:11
Collop    A fold or roll of flesh or fat    Job 15:27
Confectionaries    Those who make perfumes and fragrant oils    1 Samuel 8:13
Descry    To see; To look at carefully; to perceive; To examine; To map out    Judges 1:23
Draught house    A public toilet; A latrine; and an outhouse    2 Kings 10:27
Emerods    Tumors or growths on the flesh related to illness    1 Samuel 5:6
Felloe    The circular rim of the wheel to which the spokes connect    1 Kings 7:33
Flay    To strip off or remove the skin from the body, whether of an animal or a person; To skin a body    Leviticus 1:6
Forswear    to swear falsely; to commit perjury; to deny the truth under oath    Matthew 5:33
Fray    to frighten or scare    Jeremiah 7:33
Holpen    The past participle of help, helped    Isaiah 31:3
Implead    Sue; Prosecute; Take to court    Acts 19:38
Inditing    Dictating something to be written down    Psalm 45:1
Meteyard    A rod to measure the length    Leviticus 19:35
Neesings    Sneezing or snorting    Job 41:18
Ouches    Setting for a precious stone    Exodus 28:13
Pilled    Peeled, stripped, made smooth or bald    Genesis 30:37
Polled    Cutting hair from the head    2 Samuel 14:26
Quaternion    A group of four people or things    Acts 12:4
Ravin    Plunder or prey obtained by violence     Nahum 2:12
Redound    Produce a result    2 Corinthians 4:15
Shambles    A butcher’s shop, slaughterhouse, or place for buying meat.    1 Corinthians 10:25
Sith    Since, because    Ezekiel 35:6
Trow    To believe; To suppose; To think; To trust    Luke 17:9
Wen    A growth, cyst, or tumor on the skin    Leviticus 22:22
Wimples    An outer garment, covering, or veil wrapped about the head or body    Isaiah 3:22
Wist    The past participle of “wit,” an archaic verb for “to know”    Exodus 34:29
Withs    Twigs or fibers twisted or braided together to make a rope or cord    Judges 16:7
Wont    Accustomed; In the pattern of; Used to    1 Samuel 30:31


Properly understanding God’s word is the duty of all of God’s children. It is not just for the preacher, commentator or professor. We should make use of all the tools, knowledge and rules that God has provided in order to hear God’s voice to us as clearly and distinctly as possible.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Fight The Fear #2: Challenged To Stand – 1 Timothy 1:8-18

Fight The Fear #2: Challenged To Stand – 1 Timothy 1:8-18

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The story goes that a man died and went to heaven. It just so happened that when he arrived it was get to know each other night. The man asked how that worked and an angel who was showing him around the city of gold said, “Well we all get together, fellowship a bit and then we all take turns and tell something that happened in our lives.” The man said, “Well, I led a pretty boring life. I wouldn’t have anything to tell.” The angel encouraged him to think back to the events of his life and the man said, “I did survive a hurricane called Katrina.” There you go that would be great.”

So that evening after a heavenly potluck the man who was last in to heaven was the first to speak. He introduced himself and then with a bit of bravado he told the story of spending 3 whole days on his roof top until the Coast Guard rescued him from the flood waters of Katrina. The people in heaven applauded and he set down feeling pretty good about making an impressive entrance into heaven’s society.

As he set down he saw another man getting ready to speak and there was quite a stir among the gathering. The new man turned to his guide and asked, “Who is that getting ready to speak?” The angel looked and then said, “Oh that's Noah, it’s his turn next.”

Perspective can really change the way we feel and think about things, especially our experiences as children of God. Right now we are going through our second year of a Covid pandemic. And we are dealing with a lot of fear, we are also dealing with a lot of anti-Christian hostility some of it due to our unwillingness to shut up our churches or give up our freedom. And these are real concerns, real issues for our time, but it helps if we keep the things we are dealing with in the perspective or God’s word, history and even eternity. Our view of life and its events is much further because God has given us eyes that can glimpse eternity.

Review and Background

We are presently in the book of 2 Timothy and it is a book that can deepen our vision and broader our perspective when it comes to overcoming the fear that is the first battle we all must fight and win if we are go overcome all the other obstacles this world will thrown at us.

Remember that Paul is writing this last epistle from prison to Timothy, his son in the faith. Timothy and the other believers at risk from the Roman Emperor Nero, who had imprisoned Paul and hundreds of other Christians. Timothy and the others had good reason to be afraid. The threat of capital punishment under Roman law, had always been there, for the crime of introducing new gods and for refusing to worship the old gods, especially the emperor himself. But this was the first empire wide hunt for the people of the way, the followers of Christus, the Christians, sometimes called the Galileans by the Romans.

Some Background on the First wave of Roman persecution from ISBE –

After the burning of Rome in 64 AD, Nero made the Christians scapegoats to deflect the blame that was being directed toward him. From that point on for over 200 years the Christians of the Roman Empire faced severe persecution. We read references to this first persecution throughout the new Testament epistles.

1 Peter 4:12-16 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Peter’s description of the persecution as “fiery” may have been literal as much as it was metaphorical. The Roman historian, Tacitus, wrote, “And in their deaths they were made the subject of sport, for they were covered with the skins of wild beasts and were worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when day declined were burned to serve for nocturnal lights. Nero offered his own gardens for that spectacle, and exhibited circus games, indiscriminately mingling with the common people dressed as a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot.”

In Revelation, the last apostle, John has been banished to the isle of “Patmos, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 1:9). This wave of persecution under the authority of the emperor Domitian, who ruled from 81 – 96 AD.

Jesus told the church at Smyrna, Revelation 2:10, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
In Pergamum, Jesus remembers his faithful martyr, the first time that word is used in the Bible, Antipas. Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr (my faithful witness), who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

At Philadelphia Jesus reward the church with an “open door” because they had not denied his name. Revelation 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Denying Jesus’ name was all that was required to not suffer death.  

Tertullian who lived and died during this 200 year reign of terror upon Christians recorded, “Public hatred asks but one thing, and that not investigation into the crimes charged, but simply the confession of the Christian name.”

At the very beginning of this 200 year persecution, Paul writes Timothy and tells him, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.” Then in verse 8 of 2 Timothy 1, Paul goes further and he challenges Timothy to stand strong and have courage as a child of the faith.

Call To Courage – 2 Timothy 1:8-12

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Unashamed Suffering

Paul writes to Timothy and tells him don’t be ashamed of these two things, the testimony of the Lord nor of Paul being held as a prisoner for that very testimony.

Three Reasons Timothy can stand and not be ashamed. Paul tells Timothy to partake, to share in the afflictions of the Gospel. This is what the Lord told the apostle that night in the upper room, “in this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.” And here Paul is detailing the ways in which Timothy can stand unashamed.

Unashamed because God gives power v. 8 “be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power (dunamis, dynamite) of God;”

Unashamed because God gives purpose and grace v. 9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” Paul tells Timothy that our purpose and grace was given not recently, it is not something that hasn’t stood the test of time, even the test of eternity, but that purpose and love was given before the world began in Christ Jesus. Time and circumstance can’t change this because it was established in Christ Jesus before time even began.

Unashamed because Christ has defeated death vs 10. “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” Though it was in eternity past, that our purpose and grace was established in Jesus Christ, it is no longer obscured but has been made manifest, revealed by the appearing of Jesus and confirmed by His abolishing death through the resurrection and revealing to us life and immortality through the Gospel.

Timothy you can stand against the fear because God has given you power, grace and purpose that predate time how can they not be sure and steadfast? Timothy you can stand and endure persecution because Jesus has come, defeated death and shown us the light of life and immortality through the Gospel. No fear can obscure that light.

Next Paul give Timothy an example of how he has stood even while awaiting death in a prison cell.
Paul’s Example Unashamed because he Knows Christ Vss 11-12

Paul says, this gospel that has given us the light has been my calling as a preacher, an apostle and as a teacher. For this Gospel and for the calling that came with it, Paul says “For this cause I suffer these things but I am not ashamed. Timothy I am encourage you to stand, now let me share why I have been able to stand. Then he makes this powerful declaration of faith, “I know whom I have believed.” Isn’t that a simple but surpassing phrase. “I know the one I put my faith in for salvation, for forgiveness, for eternity.”

I know, the word used here is εἴδω eidō; it is used almost 700 times in the New Testament. It means to see, to know, to be aware, to behold, to be sure, to understand, to perceive with the eyes, to perceive by the senses, to inspect, examine, to look at, to get knowledge of.
From the knowledge of the Old Testament through the darkened eyes of a Pharisee to the opened eyes of an apostle blinded by the light of Jesus on the Damascus Road. Paul has known the One he believed.
He has known him through the travels, through the trials, through the suffering, stonings, and shipwreck. He has known Him through prisons,  poverty and power. He has known Him in salvation, suffering, and sanctification. He has known Jesus and in that knowledge He is utterly convinced, persuaded beyond a single doubt that Jesus will keep all that Paul has committed into His care and keeping until the day Paul finally sees with his eyes, the One he has know with his heart, soul and life.

Unashamed and Unafraid

What Paul is writing to Timothy, by the supernatural power of God’s Holy Spirit, he is also writing to us. No matter what the circumstance, no matter what the trail, no matter what fear we face, we can stand unashamed in the same power, grace, light and knowledge that made Paul a hero of the faith and gave Timothy the courage to continue in Paul’s example.

In one of the first epistles Paul wrote, long before this wave of persecuation form the Romans began, he told the Christians scattered throughout Galatia, Galatians 6:7-10 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
What we sow, we reap. If we so in fear then we will reap the corruption that comes from fear. But if we sow in faith, if we plant our seed of faith in the power of the Holy Spirit then we will reap life, life everlasting. A harvest of faith that will be fully revealed when we reach glory. Therefore we must now faint, we must now give up, we must not fear, because we will reap in due season. We can’t let fear, stop us from getting out into the field and planting the gospel. We can’t let fear stop us from gathering in God’s house. We can’t let fear control our thoughts and direct our steps. Instead we must do what God’s word says and “as we have opportunity let us do good!” Let us do good.

Transition:Paul has told Timothy and us, because of Gods, power, because of God’s purpose and grace, because of Christ’s resurrection, because we know Christ, then we will not be ashamed we will not fear. Like Timothy, we will answer the call to courage and he will also answer the call to hold fast.

Call To Hold Fast – 1 Timothy 1:13-14

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

Unashamed of the Truth

Paul tells Timothy to fight the fear but he also tells him to fight the right battle. Hold fast the form of sound words.

That is an interesting phrase. Form means outline, or pattern or standard. Timothy is to stand and fight but he must hold fast to those things which are the truths for which he is fighting. The battle must be fought but it must be fought in the right way. That right way to fight against the fear is with the words, the truth that Timothy has heard from Paul in the faith and love of Jesus Christ.

Fight for What Is Right

Years ago I remember seeing a saying that was quoted two ways and the way you turned it gave it completely different meanings.

The saying was this “Right make might” or if you turned it the saying was “Might makes Right.” To a Christian only the first way is correct because the truth is where we must begin and end and the truth makes us powerful.
The second to me says, “If I am strong enough, I will force what is right.” One is about the power of truth the other is about the power of man.

Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” For the child of God every battle is for the cause of truth, for the cause of those sound words that have been passed down to us through the word of God. 

One of the Baptist distinctives that sets up apart from most of the worlds religions is this. “The Bible is our only rule of faith and practice.” If its not taught here, if we can’t find it in these sound words then it has no place in our life. And if it is in here then we will fight in order to do what God tells us to do as His church and His people.

Transition: There is one more thing that Paul calls Timothy’s attention to and it is in this chapter because it is an example of fighting the fear or surrendering to the fear. The examples are of three different men in the last three verses 15-18. Here we hear Paul give a …

Call To Loyalty 1 Timothy 1:15-18

This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

Ashamed or Unashamed

Paul encourages Timothy by reminding him of those who have been faithful and those who have been fearful.  He tells him about Phygellus and Hermogenes, these two men that he names as examples of fear, desertion and failure. They and many others “turned away” from Paul.

But there was one who did not. This was Onesiphorus, his name means “bringing profit.” He stood faithful and was not afraid. He scoured the largest city of the Empire, millions of people to find one isolated prisoner named Paul. Timothy knew who he was, perhaps a member of the church at Ephesus, perhaps a member of the church Timothy was now pastoring. In addition he may have given his life is serving the Lord or lost his life before Paul wrote this letter for Paul asks that the Lord give mercy to his house, his family. And that the Lord grant mercy in that day, for he ministered to me in Rome and Ephesus.

What label will we carry into eternity?

Ashamed or Unashamed. Fighting or surrendering? Standing or retreating? Will we be those who encouraged, those who prayed, those who showed our love to our family and our church? Will we be faithful? Overcoming fear by standing on the firm foundation of faith in God our father, Jesus our Savior and the Word of God?

In this day and time, in our own troubles and trials, we must fight the fear, we are God’s people and we are equipped by God, through Jesus Christ to be courageous no matter what circumstances this world puts us in. We are called to be unashamed. We are commanded to “hold fast.” We are challenged to be faithful examples to those who will remember us after we are gone.

Conclusion: Christianus Sum

We began he sermon with a glimpse into the persecution that begin in 64 AD and continued for 2 centuries under Roman law.

For over 200 years anyone that would follow Christ would have to fully count the cost. A cost that could be their freedom, their jobs or their very life. For 200 years just the  profession of being a belier in Jesus was a crime worthy of capital punishment. At the height of one terrible wave of persecution during this time 20,000 Christians were slaughtered by the Roman government in one region. Each person captured was required to identify themselves and then given a chance to recant their faith in only one God and Jesus Christ their only savior. The story is told of one old deacon who was brought before the tribunal and when asked his name he replied “Christianus sum” Latin for “I am a Christian”. This was who he was, this was his identity and there was no reason to ask him anything else. He was a Christian and nothing else in all the world mattered. That phrase, “Christianus sum” became the cry of the Lord’s own during this terrible time. Whoever said it was not allowed to present a defense or to call in an advocate. It was their identity and it was their judgment and it was their death sentence. “Christianus sum” the men would say and “Christiana sum” the women would reply as they stood before their executioners.

You don’t have to speak Latin, but I believe what those early persecuted Christians said should be our response as well. When people ask us who we are. When they ask us why we do what we do. When they ask us what makes us stand in the face of fear and fight may our answer always be “Christianus sum, I am a Christian!”

And may that always be our answer.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Fight The Fear #1: No Fear, Know Faith - 2 Timothy 1:1-8

 Fight The Fear #1: No Fear, Know Faith -2 Timothy 1

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Introduction:Tommy, Jesus and the Mop

5-year-old Tommy had just ran through the house hit the kitchen table, knocked over a glass of water and it spilled on the floor. His mother reminded him he shouldn’t be running tin the house and then told him to get the mop off the back porch and clean up the mess he just made. Isn’t that what all mothers would do? Make sure they clean up their own mess or they won’t stop making them. Anyway, that is just an aside and has nothing to do with this message. But still parents, make them clean up their own messes. Good lesson. Now back to the story.

Now little Tommy knew that the light on the back porch had burned out because he remembered that his mom kept telling his dad, that he needed to get out there and change that bulb. It wasn’t going to change itself. Now, whereas, the mother was right when she told Tommy to clean up his mess. Now, she is completely out of bounds. Remember ladies, when a man says he’ll fix something, he will and there is no need remind him every six months.

Now back to the story, Tommy was afraid of the dark, his mother knew this but understood he needed to deal with that and the spill on the floor. She’s a good mother, except for that change the bulb thing, but no one is perfect. So Tommy’s mother said, “Remember, Tommy. Jesus is everywhere. We don’t need to be afraid. Jesus will help us.”

Tommy smiled, walked confidently to the back door. Cracked it open just a little bit, stuck his mouth to the crack and called out, “Jesus! Jesus, if you’re out there could you please hand me the mop?”

Timothy, Paul and Fear

The Epistle of 2 Timothy was written by the apostle Paul around 67 AD. It is as far as we know the last letter Paul wrote. It was written in a very bad time for Christians in general and an even worse time for Paul in particular.

In 64 AD there was a terrible fire in Rome that destroyed almost half the city. Many died, there was mass homelessness and food shortages. Blame for the fire fell on the Emperor Nero, who was an elitist and many believed wanted to burn the city in order to build a new palace. Though Nero probably did not set the fire that burned the capital, when blame fell on him, he fanned another fire and began to burn Christians. Who were viewed with great suspicion throughout the Roman world.

The Roman historian Tacitus recorded this. “Wherefore in order to allay the rumor, he put forward as guilty [subdidit reos], and afflicted with the most exquisite punishments those who were hated for their abominations [flagitia] and called ‘Christians’ by the populace. Christus, from whom the name was derived, was punished by the procurator Pontius Pilatus in the reign of Tiberius. This noxious form of religion [exitiabilis superstitio], checked for a time, broke out again not only in Judaea its original home, but also throughout the city [Rome] where all abominations meet and find devotees. Therefore first of all those who confessed [i.e. to being Christians] were arrested, and then as a result of their information a large number [multitudo ingens] were implicated [reading coniuncti, not convicti], not so much on the charge of incendiarism as for hatred of the human race. They died by methods of mockery; some were covered with the skins of wild beasts and then torn by dogs, some were crucified, some were burned as torches to give light at night” (Tac. Ann. xv. 44).

Written from Prison . It was during this time that Paul was arrested and put in prison. We have no record in the Bible but tradition tells us that he was taken from prison shortly after writing this second epistle to Timothy and then beheaded for his faith in Jesus Christ. In this truly dangerous time, it is easy to see Paul’s purpose in writing to Timothy, and the reason for Timothy’s fear. Timothy is Paul’s son in the faith and Paul writes a very personal letter of assurance, encouragement and keeping perspective during a time of fear. It is why I have chosen this book to start our next series “Fight The Fear” because Paul’s letter doesn’t just speak to Timothy 2000 years ago, it speaks to us today and it will still speak to those who come after us.

Paul begins he letter with the Salutation: 2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul goes on to then remind Timothy of three things that will help him to fight the fear when there was something very real to be frightened of. And whether its Christian persecution, or Covid 19 or the hatred of our community the same truths, the same remembrances are powerful antidotes to the fear that can and will stop us from serving Jesus Christ. Who stopped at nothing in his love for us.

 Call to Remembrance – 1 Timothy 1:3-7

I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Remember These

Remember the Power of Prayer vs. 3-4

Paul tells his son in the faith, “I am praying for you.” Now he doesn’t just say, “I’m praying” instead he says “without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers, night and day.” Then he goes on and tells Timothy that those prayers are really an action of his love for Timothy.

“Greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears.” Very probably those tears were for Paul, Timothy’s mentor, his pastor, his leader, his friend and his father in the faith. Timothy’s heart was broken because he had seen other Christians tortured, mocked, crucified, coated with tar and burned like torches. Timothy knew what awaited Paul. And not just Paul but any who believed. Timothy was a pastor a missionary and he had brothers and sisters throughout the Roman empire and they were all in danger of terrible death. No wonder Paul could easily remember Timothy’s tears.

When Paul told Timothy these things, what he was also plainly saying without stating it was, “Timothy, my son remember I love you.”

Paul goes on and next tells Timothy,

Remember The Foundation of Faith vs. 5

2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Paul reminds Timothy of what his life was built upon, an unfeigned, real, true faith. A faith that came from the deep roots of his family and heritage. And Paul tells Timothy, I am fully convinced, it is in you also.

Timothy, remember the foundation of faith you stand upon. Paul goes on and says its not just the past that gives you the courage you need, it is also what God has given you right now in the present. He tells Timothy…

Remember The Gifts of God vss. 6-7

2 Timothy 1:6-7 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

This gift was given by the laying on of Paul’s hands when Timothy was ordained. It may have been a sign gift because those were still in operation during Paul’s early ministry, it may have been the gift of authority, the gift of leadership conferred from Paul to Timothy. Not a gift of apostolic succession for the Bible teaches no such thing. If it did it would certainly teach it here as Paul was awaiting execution. Not the laying on of hands in the Old Testament, the New Testament and even today is a public show of God’s authority for leadership passed from one generation of God’s leaders to the next generation. Timothy had been given that gift and it was important he remembered.

Paul says this gift that needed to be stirred up. The word means that the embers needed to be fanned back into a burning flame. The gift was still there but it was not working the way it should be in Timothy’s life.

And it needed to be working for Paul reminds Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear. The word here is δειλία (deilia). It is only used once in the Bible and it means fear, timidity, fearfulness, even cowardice.

It could be that Timothy had a personal characteristic of fear. Growing up in a Roman / Greek world with Greek father and a Jewish mother would very likely make him the object of bullying and being an outcast. Easy to be fearful when you’re all alone. It could also be that Timothy was afraid not so much for himself but for Paul and for so many other brother and sisters in Christ, that were under threat, arrest or like Paul awaiting death. Wherever it come from that spirit, that emotion, that curse of fear was not from God.

Now Paul gives Timothy a Trinity of Triumph for Fighting Fear. Power, Love and a Sound Mind.

Paul says, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, the Greek word is dunamis, we get our English words, dynamic, and dynamite from this word. It means an active empowering force. It is what drives us onward as Christians.

The next part of the trinity of triumph. Timothy, God does not give a spirit of timidity, but of love. This is the word agape, which is self-giving, self-sacrificing love. The love the took Jesus to the cross to die for us and put Paul in a prison to die for Jesus is the awaiting death, is the same love you need to remember to overcome fearfulness. Remember it, depend on it because nothing can intimidate this gift of love.

Finally, Timothy, God has not given us a spirit of cowardice but the spirit of a sound mind, a mind that is disciplined not diverted, self-controlled not fear controlled because our mind, our self, has been placed under Holy Spirit’s control.

What Paul reminded Timothy of from a prison cell, I am reminding you of from a pulpit. It is not nearly as dark for us as it was for them, but fear can still bind us and put us in our own prison of timidity, cowardice and stagnation instead of serving God. So remember these things…

Fight The Fear By Remembering

Remember You Are Loved

Loved by God who gave His Son. Loved by Jesus who gave his life. Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

You are loved by the family of God, brothers and sisters in Christ, your church family.

Praying Is Loving - And they show their love by caring and praying for you. When we hear someone from the family God say, “I’m praying for you.” What we should also hear is, “I love you my friend, my brother, my sister in the Lord. I love you.” Remember and you won’t be as afraid.

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

1 Thessalonians 3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

Also Remember, What You Believe and Who You Are

There is a great assurance, a great foundation of courage that comes from knowing the true faith and standing on its unshakeable foundation. Don’t play at Christianity, this is not a sideline, not a game. If you are saved then this is who you are a child of God, a servant of Christ, a member of the Body of Christ. You need to know what that means to you and what it meant to all those who have gone before you.

C. S. Lewis once said, “We must not fall below the standard our fathers set for us, and because we are their sons there is good hope we shall not.” 

There is confidence and courage and a duty that overcomes fear if we remember our heritage. We are who we are because of those who has have gone on before us. Faithful men and women who walked the same path we are now on and we owe them and those who will walk this path after us. We have a rich, deep and glorious heritage of family, church and truth. I will not shrink from those things. I am not ashamed of being a committed Child of God, having a rich Christian heritage or being a member of a Bible believing Baptist church. To be ashamed of those things is to be lose the very things we need to remember, in order to fight against the fear.

If you remember, then you will overcome, time and time again, and it will be true for you as Paul said in Ephesians 6, “Having done all to stand.”

Finally, Remember the Gifts of God.

God has given us gifts as His children, powerful, supernatural, fear-defeating gifts. We have the dynamite of God’s word; We have the desire of God’s love and we have the determination of the Holy Spirit’s control. We are equipped, so never regard the fear, never retreat and never refuse to enter the battle.

Quotes: From those who Fought The Fear

I am in earnest, I will not retreat a single step and I will be heard. – William Lloyd Garrison’s epitaph.

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I should do and with the help of God, I will do. – Everett Hale

I charge you, my people fix your feet on the solid rock, your hearts on Calvary and your eyes on the throne of the Lamb – John Jasper , 1812-1901

Conclusion: I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed

During a time of persecution and martyrdom in Africa many years ago, Christians, their families and especially their pastors were arrested, tortured and then killed. Just as Jesus told us, “they will hate you for they have hated me.” Christians are and have always been the most persecuted people on earth. That will not change, it is and will grow worse. At such a bad time in Africa after several pastors were led out to a stadium and publically executed, this writing was found nailed to the wall of one of the cells where they had been held the night before. It has no author that I know of and so it speaks as though in the voice of every child of God who choose to Fight the Fear.

"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His. I won't look back, letup, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I'm finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me - my banner will be clear(ly seen)!" - by an Anonymous African Pastor- nailed to his wall after his execution.


Monday, October 4, 2021

Epistle of Jesus #17: All Things New - Revelation 20-21

Epistle of Jesus #17: All Things New - Revelation 20-21

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An old country preacher was wound up one Sunday while preaching about heaven in a small country church out in East Texas. He had extolled heaven’s beauty. He had waxed eloquent on heaven’s joy, and he had lifted his congregation to the heights as he described the throne room of heaven and the choirs that would be singing God’s praise there.

 Finally, as he reached the climax of his emotional message, he called out in challenge to his little flock, “Now who wants to go to heaven?” Every hand in the church shot up and waved and the open rafters of that wooden building rang with shouts of Amen! Glory and Hallelujah! All except one man who almost always slept through the sermons. But the preacher wasn’t giving up until every hand in the place was raised. So, he called out again, “Tell me, now. Tell me the truth are ready? Are you ready to step into glory?” Again, every hand was raised, some of them had handkerchiefs and bandanas in them and were waving their answer back to heaven. “We’re ready!” But not that one man. He sat there looking around and seemed to be confused.

 The preacher thought he better make sure this brother was heaven bound and so he asked him directly, “Bro. Jethro. Don’t you want to go to heaven one day after you die?”  The man’s face took on a look of relief and he said, “Sure I do, preacher. But I thought you was tryin’ to get a group up to go right this here minute.”

Going Home - It’s easy to get excited and moved by the subject of heaven. Don’t we just love to sing of Heaven? I can say without a doubt that our favorite hymnal, the one they we choose whenever we get to ask for our favorite songs, is the Heavenly Highway Hymnal. We love to sing Just Over In the Gloryland, This World Is Not My Home, or I’ll Fly Away. It brings peace to our trouble hearts to sing Never Grow Old, We’ll Understand It Better By and By, No Tears In Heaven and Peace In The Valley. And doesn’t it touch your heart to sing of the reunions we’ll have in songs like I Will Meet You There, or I’ll Meet You In The Morning or If We Never Meet Again This Side of Heaven. I will meet you on that beautiful shore.

We love to sing of heaven because heaven is everything that this earth can never be. Heaven is eternal, while this world and everything in it grows older with each passing moment. Heaven is filled with joy, this world is overwhelmed in sorrow. Heaven is a place of soul lifting praise, while this earth is to often a place of heart-breaking lamentations.

 C. S. Lewis once wrote to encourage a friend who was thought to be dying and afraid. He wrote, “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

 But most of all we love to think of heaven, sing of heaven and long for heaven because heaven is where we will dwell with God. All the wonder, hope, joy and beauty of heaven is because God has made it so and because God has placed that longing, that wonder, that hope in us as His children.

Can I give you another Lewis quote even though it was in a book that wasn’t about Christianity,  I think it mirrors the feelings of his heart toward heaven? It certainly mirrors mine.

“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back. All my life The God of the Mountain has been wooing me. Oh, look up once at least before the end and wish me joy. I am going to my lover. Do you not see now?”  ― C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

 Asaph, who wrote the most Psalms next to David wrote this in Psalms 73:23-26. Trying to understand the wickedness of this world and then coming to realize the answer was in looking to God.

 … I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel,and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth:but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

That was written thousands of years before the scripture we are going to read today. Imagine if Asaph could have had the insight that we have been given. If he longed to be in glory with God before the Messiah, before the Gospels, before the Revelation of Jesus,  how much greater should our desire be? Turn with me to Revelation 21, where Jesus’ letter from the future tells us of eternity and the new heaven and new earth we will dwell in with Him.

 New Heaven, New Earth, New City - Revelation 21:1-4

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The New Universe

There are three phrases used in chapter 21 that we have found throughout the Book of Revelation. They are used at those times that point to the landmarks, the great events of the chronology of the book. Whenever we see John write, “And I saw”, “And I heard a great voice” or “He that sat upon the throne said” then we know something momentous is about to take place. Now we those phrases again here the end of Jesus’ epistle and the pattern holds, for what we see and hear through John is the wrap-up of the letter, after the dramatic climax of Jesus riding that heavenly white horse, accompanied by all the heavenly armies, coming to the rescue of Jerusalem and the last surviving believers on the earth, especially those of the nation of Israel.

New Creation - “I saw”, John says, a new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem. “I heard the voice from heaven” say, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men.” So, these things are all new astoundingly, amazingly new and we along with John are called to take notice of them.

First The Old Destroyed - Before we consider the new, perhaps we should ask, what happened to the old heaven and earth, the old universe?

How - Peter in 2 Peter 3:10-13, tells us they are gone and he tells us how it is destroyed, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

When - Revelation 20:11, may tell us exactly when it was destroyed. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” It could be that at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, even the old creation, polluted and corrupted by man’s sin and Satan’s rebellion, is judged and destroyed by fire.

The New Heaven and Earth - And after the old is destroyed, Revelation 21 and 22 give us details of what the “new” will be like.

First, John sees the new heavens, new earth, and new Jerusalem. Revelation 21:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth

The word for new, used here is καινός (kainos). In the AV, 44x it is translated new, but it is not the word neos, which means new as compared to something old, something that is younger, or fresher. No, this word, kainos, means new as in a new substance. It is of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, unique, never before seen or heard of.  

The New Relationship

Now once again, John hears “a great voice out of heaven.” This how the John’s vision began way back in Revelation 1:10  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.

Each time a great voice is heard, it calls our attention to a wonderous event. Here it heralds the new reality of our new relationship with God.

The Great Desire- This new relationship will fulfill the great desire of His people of those who love Him. To all of God’s people, both Old Testament and New Testament our great desire is to see and be with God.

Moses expressed this desire to see his God and God said, Exodus 33:18  And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

The Psalmist express the same desire in Psalms 42:1-2 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

And in Psalms 63:1-3, David wrote, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

In the New Testament the promise is closer and is better understood by those who walked and talked with Jesus, the Son of God, 1 John 3:2 ​ Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Now in Revelation 20, John hears the great voice call out, “Revelation 21:3 Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God

This long promised, long hoped for day will finally be the reality of our relationship with God. We will experience His presence as we never have before, every moment of eternity. The word for tabernacle here is used in the same way as it was used the book of Exodus where God was instructing the Hebrews to build Him a tent, a tabernacle to dwell in with His people.

The same word as a verb is the word John used when he wrote, in the Gospel of John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Now John hears the great voice announce that God will not dwell in a temporary tent in the wilderness. Nor will He only dwell in a temporary human tabernacle of flesh upon the earth for just 3 years, but the time has come for God to dwell eternally with His people.

No longer will there be a separation of a veil, or of time or space. All these were part of the old but now just like the old heavens and earth they are done away, and a new relationship takes its place. This time God’s tabernacle abides forever with us. There will never again be any separation between God and his people.

And the result of this new relationship is seen in one of the most beautiful and tender verses in all the Bible. vs. 4

New Experience

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Do you hear these simple, tender words of promise? This is language that the persecuted, the martyred, the suffering, the hurting people of God will fully understand. It is the final reward for all they have endured.

There will be no more tears. No tears of sorrow, no tears of loss, no tears of loneliness, no tears of emptiness.

There will be no death, Paul’s words to the Corinthians has come true. 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

There will be no mourning and no crying. Joy, happiness, praise and rapture will have replaced them and removed them from our memory. The hope of Psalms 30:4-6 is now fulfilled Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life:
weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
What John is seeing is that eternal morning of joy.

Finally, the great voice says, there will be no more pain. The sin and corruption that brought sickness, old age, genetic defects, crippled bodies, weak hearts,  epidemics and pandemics is gone and with sin gone, the physical, spiritual or emotional pain that it brought can no longer exist in the presence and power, of the fulfilled promise of God with us.


In these first opening verses we hear and see as a kind of overview the the new creation of God, then in the next verses we and John are given an even more detailed picture of that day.

John now hears not just a great voice but THE great voice of the One seated upon the throne in vss. 5-8. Now God begins to give greater insight into what John has seen. Then later in vss 9-27 one of the seven bowl angels who has been giving John a tour of heaven and earth, no takes him on a tour of the New Jerusalem, the centerpiece for all of the new creation.

New Creation - Revelation 21:5-8

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

New People for the New Creation

 First God upon the throne speaks, “Behold, pay attention, take notice, don’t miss what I’m going to tell you. I make all things new.” And he adds this reassurance, Write: for these words are true and faithful. He is telling John, “Put it down with pen, ink and paper. Make it permanent because these words are true and worthy of faith.”

That phrase “true and faithful” is used 4 times in Jesus’ epistle, the first time when John’s heard the words from Jesus in Revelation 3:14  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; and then in that climatic scene from Revelation 19:11  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

It Is Done - Then the voice from the throne says, “It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” This title has been used up to this point by Jesus, but it belongs equally to all in the Godhead.

The phrase “It is done” is used twice in the book of Revelation. The first time at the end of all the plagues in 16:7 and now here at the end of all things. It is done. It has the same meaning, the same finality ad the words of Jesus upon the cross, It is finished.

With this statement of finality, God also sets the standard, the boundaries of the new Creation. This is also final and cannot be changed. We are told that, there are two characteristic of those who will be with God. They thirst and they have overcome. “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

They come athirst with a desire for God and He quenches their burning, parched hearts with the water of life.

This is what Jesus told to the woman of Sychar. John 4:14 …whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

At the feast of Tabernacles in John 7 he made the same invitation, John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Those who have come to God to quench their thirst will dwell with Him and those who have overcome will inherit all things and God shall be their God and they shall be his son.

This same John, the writer of the Gospel account and the book of Revelation told us what an overcome is in his epistle. 1 John 5:3-5 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Let me ask you. Do you want it all? Do you want a world without pain and sorrow? Do you want the joy and honor of being a child of God? Do you want to have all that the God of creation, the sustainer of the universe, the maker of the new universe will give you as one of His own? Then be an overcomer. Overcome fear, doubt and sin by putting your faith and trust in Jesus the Son of God.

Illustration. D. L. Moody

After the great Chicago fire of 1871, evangelist Dwight L. Moody went back to survey the ruins of his house. A friend came by and said to Moody, “I hear you lost everything.” “Well,” said Moody, “you understood wrong. I have a good deal more left than I lost.” “What do you mean?” the inquisitive friend asked. “I didn’t know you were that rich.” Moody then opened his Bible and read to him Revelation 21:7, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son”

Transition: Those who won’t experience the New Creation

The Lord also make it clear who won’t be a part of His new creation. Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

You could sum all these up with just one word, the unbelieving. Instead of new life in a new creation, they pass for all eternity into a second death. And here is God’s clear warning, all you must do is heed it.

The rest of this chapter is all about the next new thing and it is so important that it is described with more words than everything in the first 8 verses. This is New Jerusaelm and it is the focal point of all the New heavens and New earth. This is the capital of the New Creation.

New Jerusalem - Revelation 21:9-27

 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

City Of God Made New

There is much we can take much time on in the vision of New Jerusalem. We could break down the symbolism of the colors of the stones that make up its walls and foundations or the great single pearls that each make up one gate. We could get lost in its dimensions, 1500 miles wide, 1500 miles in length and 1500 miles high into the sky. An impossible city to build outside the power of God.

We could tell you that it comes down from heaven, perhaps because it has been waiting in heaven for this day. Perhaps it’s up there right now. We could spend time telling you why it is described as a bride, but now called the Lamb’s wife. We could study its 12 gates and cast our eyes over its 12 foundations of precious stones. We could try and describe transparent gold streets.

How could I add anything to the description of these marvels of the handiwork of God. Do I have better words than John? I am more inspired? No. I can’t really make it more amazing than John’s description of the river of water of life, clear as crystal that flows from the throne of God.

Can I make the tree of life that stands in the middle of this river, with branches that seem to reach from one bank to the other more vivid? Should I make up names from the 12 kinds of fruit or try to explain to you how the leaves bring healing to the nations?

I can only repeat that there will be no temple there, no night there and no need of a lamp or even the light of the sun. For the Lord God gives them all the light they will need for all eternity.

We could take another 2 or 3 hours and bury ourselves in the wonder that will be the new Jerusalem, but instead I just want to focus on the last phrase that follows all these descriptions. “Revelation 22:4-5 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads… and they shall reign for ever and ever.”

That what is really important. This we can fully grasp and understand. We shall see His face. We shall behold the face of God, We shall see the face of our Savior, Jesus Christ and we shall reign and live with God for ever and ever. And we will be seen as His for all eternity. That is better than the gold, better than the precious stones, even better than a city so big it will take a continent just to hold it. We will be with God the Father and God the Son who loved us, sacrificed for us and made us an eternal home with them.  

 Conclusion: Renewed Assurance and Invitation - Revelation 22:6–21

 Final Assurances in the Epilogue

The Epilogue of the Book of Revelation is chapter 22:6-20. In it we have the final assurance of the prophesies and promises given to John. Now Jesus once again speaks directly to John and to us, just as he did in the opening chapters. This is the last time we will hear him directly until He returns. Listen to what He says

Faithful and True.  Revelation 22:6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

This is the final time this phrase is used and it is here to undergird and bind up all that has gone before.

 There is no doubt, not even a shadow of a doubt about what John has recorded because the God of the prophets, the god of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, Joel and Zechariah, who wrote the OT prophecies has now sent his angel to shew it to John, the last apostle and the last prophet until the Tribulation.

Behold, I come quickly is the next phrase. Revelation 22:7 Behold, I come quickly

Three times in the epilogue Jesus assures us by saying, “I am coming quickly!” (vv. 7, 12, 20). “Quickly” here as the idea of swiftly. When the great events of the Tribulation begin, it will be only a very short 7 years until Jesus returns, I come quickly. Three times he says, “I come quickly.” Three times He is telling us, “Listen carefully, watch faithfully and be ready at all times.”

Blessed Is He. I also want you to notice the last assurance as the book closes. “blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Seven times in the book of Revelation we hear the words “Blessed is or Blessed are.” These are the beatitudes of the Epistle of Jesus, and they give us the assurance of God’s blessing if we read and if we believe.

The first beatitude was in Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

We read them again 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6 and then here in 22:7 and finally, Revelation 22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

The blessed are those who read the word of God, keep the word of God and those who obey the Word of God. There is no other more blessed life and that is God’s assurance.

Finally, there is this last firm assurance and then a tender invitation filled with the grace of God in Revelation 22:16-17 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The Lord, the Spirit and the Bride, say come. If you are hearing this, come. If you are thirsty for the true, the real, the lasting. If you are searching then come. And whoever you are, wherever you might be in your spiritual life, however lost you may be, Still you may come and take the water of life freely!

Is there any better way to end a 17 sermon series on Revelation than by hearing the invitation given by Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Church? I can only think of one and that is to respond to that invitation.