Religion On Trial (Romans 3:1-20)

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Religion On Trial (Romans 3:1-20)

Back in the mid 90s I was completely obsessed with watching the OJ trials. I had never really seen the inner workings of a courtroom, apart from what one sees on TV shows like Perry Mason, where somebody finally cracks and gives a confession at the end of the episode. In the world of ancient Rome, civil trials were major source of entertainment. Most people in Rome would have been very familiar with trials argued by two skilled orators, also known as lawyers, that would play out before crowds cheering people. That’s very much like what Paul is setting up in the section that will be reading this Sunday in the book of Romans, as we read chapter 3 verses 1-20. In this scenario, Paul is putting religion on trial. The entire section goes down like a courtroom proceeding in ancient Rome. Paul will play the role of prosecutor, defense and judge as he provides his point, counterpoint and verdict.

In verses 1-8, Paul talks about the advantage that the Jewish people enjoyed as stewards of the revelation of God. What does that mean to you? When you think about trust funds in our modern world – who is the money in the trust for?  What would you think of someone who mishandled that trust? In what ways would that have related to Israel in the time that Jesus had arrived?

Verses 9-18 provides Paul’s conclusion to his story of the broken world, told in two parts. His conclusion is that no one has escaped the brokenness and bondage to sin and death. Why would he be driving that point home so emphatically?

In conclusion to the section that began in chapter 1, v19-20 announces the verdict. Paul reveals the actual nature of the law. What does Paul say the only function of the law or external religious codes is? If you sneak a peek ahead to the next several verses, what is the only means Paul sees leading to real heart transformation and righteousness?

Hope you enjoy this study!

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Perils of the Poser (Romans 2:17-29)

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Perils of the Poser (Romans 2:17-29)

Probably the most common complaint leveled at the church is that of hypocrisy. While that has always been the case, it nevertheless is something the Bible takes very seriously. Jesus reserved his harshest remarks for those who misrepresented God through religious hypocrisy. The word that is used in the Greek for hypocrisy means “play-acting”. Like an actor on a stage, a poser, playing a role of religious piety instead of allowing God to do the difficult and painful work of reshaping the inner-person.

That’s going to be the topic Paul deals with as we continue our study in the book of Romans. We’ll be reading chapter 2:17-29.

In V17-23 Paul describes how the mission and purpose of the people of Israel was described in various places in the Old Testament. This is who they saw themselves to be. Still, Paul levels some serious questions at them. He makes the statement in v23 “You’re so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.” The difference is vital. Have you ever seen food that looked really good on the outside, only to find it’s just a plastic display? Why is hypocrisy so serious that the warning is repeated so often in the Bible about it?

V24 drives home the imperative of this warning. How might people outside our faith blaspheme God because of hypocrisy?

In V29 Paul plainly declares that outward conformity to a code of conduct means nothing to God. What, instead, is God’s intent with our lives? How can we take steps to keep our focus on the only source of real change?

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Broken Religion (Romans 2:1-16)

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Broken Religion (Romans 2:1-16)

Newsweek Magazine . 14 August 2006. Excerpt from interview with Billy Graham ~ A unifying theme of Graham’s new thinking now is humility. He is sure and certain of his faith in Jesus as the way to salvation, but when asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people, Graham says: “Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won’t … I don’t want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have.”

You would think, when a man of Graham’s pedigree made a statement like that, people would lean forward and listen more closely. “This is something to think about…a perspective to contemplate and pray about.” That was, however, not the response.

If you were in the church at that time, you heard the howls of the defenders of the faith. He was labeled a heretic, a universalist and a false teacher. That response prompted my cartoon, posted above. We have curiously morphed from being people of the Good News to doctrinal police and moralists who think they impress God by what they condemn. I suppose the church has done this a lot throughout our long history. It’s something Paul addresses all the way back at the beginning of the church.

In this teaching, we’ll be reading Romans 2:1-16 as we continue our study in that book.

When you read Paul’s warnings, what overall theme emerges to you? Do you think Paul is trying to say there is no right or wrong? What would you consider the best defense against adopting a moralist approach to our Christian faith?

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The Broken World (Romans 1:18-32)

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The Broken World (Romans 1:18-32)

In this study we’ll be continuing in our study of the book of Romans – a Story to Live From. We’ll be reading v18-32 of the first chapter.

Last week we finished up with Paul describing how God intends to make things right through Jesus Christ. The last half of the chapter is Paul backing up to explain how things have gone wrong. It’s a two part story, which will continue on through chapter 3 where the wonderful conclusion is described. But, before we get to the good ending, we have to navigate Paul’s description of this broken world

Let me warn you, this will not be the most comfortable section of Scripture to read. It’s going to require a lot of maturity on our parts, and a willingness to consider Paul’s words from several different angles. Join me in praying that God’s grace will guide us in exploring this passage – that we will find ways to be faithful to God’s word and be loving towards all people.

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Powerfully Good News (Romans 1:8-17)

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Powerfully Good News (Romans 1:8-17)

“I wish I’d never heard of Christianity” my 15 year old daughter said one day.

“What? Why?” came my shocked response.

“Because then I wouldn’t know that I was breaking all the rules.”

Her answer stunned me. I had been a pastor for only a few years, but I saw myself as the great champion of grace. I was the “grace guy”, I spent most of my teaching time talking about how God’s grace saves us through faith, apart from works. How had my daughter come to the conclusion that Christianity was about keeping the rules?

I’ve come to realize that there is a learning curve to this message. For my daughter, living under my roof and therefore required to function within the scope of myconvictions, her perception of Christianity was linked to my house rules. I did my best to explain the distinction, but it would be years before she caught my drift. That is the strange dichotomy that exists between salvation by grace through faith alone and the good works God created us for. The church has had an uneasy history of trying to manage that dance, often falling to one extreme or the other like a drunkard walking home.

For the Apostle Paul, it always came down to faith – but that faith was placed in something transformational.

We’re going to be reading Romans 1:8-17 as we continue our study in that book this Sunday.

The word “faith” is used several times in that section of Scripture. It’s important to understand the greater impact of that word. It is  pisitis in the Greek – and is translated a variety of ways. Trust, believe, faith, faithfulness. It is more than just an intellectual assent to a proposition, it means a truth embraced and then lived by.

That being the case, in v8, Paul says the Roman’s faith was talked about all over the world. What would have been on display that would cause people to notice their faith? How has your faith in Christ made a noticeable difference?

In V11, Paul wants to encourage their faith and have his own faith encouraged by them. What do you think that would look like? How can we apply that to our life in community with the church?

The most famous verses of this passage are v16-17, where Paul makes a grand statement concerning his boldness in representing the gospel. We’ll go into this in more depth on Sunday – but notice how Paul says that the Good News is the power of God for salvation. Not a message about that power. How do you understand his meaning? In what way can you imagine the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection being God’s present power? What does Paul say it takes to unleash that power in our lives?

This is a story to live from. It is God’s transformational power at work in this world. I get why Paul is so stoked about it!

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Introduction/The New Narrative (Romans 1:1-7)

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Introduction/The New Narrative (Romans 1:1-7)

This Sunday we’ll begin a new study in the book of Romans. I taught through this book 17 years ago, but I’m not sure I agree with that guy, so I’m re-imagining our approach to this magnum opus from Paul. The letter to the Roman church is considered one of the most important books of the New Testament. It certainly has the most robust and dense theological arguments of any of Paul’s writings.

It’s impossible to overstate the impact that this single letter has had on the history and ongoing formation of the Christian church. Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Barth and a host of other important thinkers of the Christian faith all point to this letter as having the greatest impact on their spiritual worldview. The writing of Romans is an amazing example of an intellectual mind from the ancient world.

There is little dispute that Apostle Paul was the author of the letter – written sometime between 55-57 AD. We’ll discuss the reasons he may have written this letter on Sunday, as well as looking at how the letter unfolds and the best way of approaching it for study. Traditionally, this book has been seen as a series of systematic theological arguments on a variety of subjects. I have been persuaded (HT: N.T. Wright, Katherine Grieb) that Romans has a narrative substructure which lays out the story of God’s righteousness, revealed for us in Jesus.

So…we’re going to be keeping story in view as we journey through this epic letter. The Story, that is.

We’ll be starting with an introduction, but then we’ll read Paul’s greeting: chapter 1:1-7. We’ll be using the NLT for presenting the text.

From what we understand, Paul hadn’t yet been to the church in Rome, so he is introducing himself. The letter begins like most ancient letters do – the author identifying himself and stating his position in life, then identifying his intended recipient. Paul elaborates on this formula quite a bit though. V2-6 expand the greeting into a summary of the gospel. Here’s what’s interesting: V2-6 are all modifiers of the original subject, Paul. Paul is still in the process of introducing and describing himself in V2-6.

What does that tell us about Paul and his connection to the gospel? On personal reflection, what stories do you feel have shaped your life so far? If you were to introduce yourself to people who didn’t know you, what stories would you tell that would best indicate who you are as a person?

Based on what Paul writes in his greeting, what sort of person do you understand him to be? As you consider what characterizes Paul, what aspects of him do you admire. What parts, if any, of his person put you off?

I cannot properly express how stoked I am to begin this study! What’s yer story, morning glory?

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Further Up and Further In (Rev 22) 2/25/18

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Further Up and Further In (Rev 22) 2/25/18

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!” 
― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

Well, we are coming to our final study in the book of Revelation. We’ll be reading Revelation 22.

To really get a grasp of and appreciate the imagery of v1-5, you have to be somewhat familiar with Ezekiel 47:1-12. To contextualize that for you, Ezekiel was a prophet of God during Israel’s exile in Babylon. Many of his prophecies were about Israel’s return and justice dealt out for her enemies. Near the end of the book, Ezekiel sees the temple rebuilt, and a river flowing from it which gets deeper and deeper and has the remarkable properties of turning the salt water of the sea into fresh water. It also has the tree and fruit imagery as well.  Ezekiel was seeing more than just Israel’s return from exile, he was seeing the whole world restored.  John’s vision takes from this picture and completes it for us.

There is also imagery from Genesis 1-3 sprinkled in. What do you think the point would be, to have these parallels with return from exile and original creation? What does the end state appear to be, as you read this?

V6-21 are comprised of the final messages and warnings and encouragements about the whole of the vision.

I find it really curious to the point of humorous that John repeats his folly from chapter 19 again in v8. The repeated warning given by the angel in v9 seems emphatic enough to get our attention. Why do you think this warning is repeated? Why do you think John makes this mistake twice? What does that tell us about human nature and what we need to be alert about in our mission here?

I love the final words of Revelation, which then become the final words of the whole bible.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people”.

It all resolves with grace.

Amen.

Here’s something: if you have any questions about this book, or want to discuss various interpretations or ideas about it, or if you need one of my points of view clarified, let’s use the comment section of this post to discuss it. There are no wrong questions, and I can’t promise anything resembling an intelligent response, but I’d be happy to talk about this more if anyone wants to. If not, it’s cool. I really enjoyed teaching through Revelation, even though the research and artwork fairly well swallowed up most of my days. Still, I have to say that I’ve gained a new appreciation for a mindset that eagerly awaits Christ’s return – even as we reflect that future good in our lives and actions today. I hope you were able to get something out of it too!

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Out With The Old, In With The New (Rev 21)

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Out With The Old, In With The New (Rev 21)

I can’t think of a more fitting time to look forward to a new day, one where all things are made right. Once again, our nation is rocked with the agony of senseless violence and more families have to cope with unthinkable loss. God help us.

It. Is. A. Broken. World.

We all grope around looking for answers – why did this happen, how can we prevent this, who is to blame? Maybe more strict gun control laws would help, but it seems like the genie is out of the bottle already. Perhaps we can get serious about addressing mental health issues, or maybe its a prescription drug problem, or possibly a breakdown in family training? I think, as a society, we should be exploring all of these possibilities and seeking to address them as best as we can. But the greater reality is: evil continues to ruin creation.

Evil expands and contracts and as hard as we try, humanity just can’t seem to get a handle on it.

That’s why God promises that a new world is coming. One that His power initiates. We’ll be looking at that new world in our study in Revelation this Sunday as we read chapter 21.

Once evil has been dealt with (ch 20), a new heavens and new earth emerge. Not that God is crumpling up the good that he created, but like one of those renovation shows, he expels all that is rotten and offensive, and rebuilds with good materials.

The vision John has is of the great restoration and redemption God has in mind. All the things that bring misery and heartache and pain are removed and we are provided with life from God’s own presence among us. It’s more than my mind can truly conjure.

Some stuff to take note of: underline all the places where John says “there is no more” and then all the places where he describes things as “new”. What is out and what is in? How does that help us understand our priorities as Christians in this world today?

Once again, John hears about a bride, but what he sees is a city. We’ll go into all the measurements and stuff on Sunday. Think about this: where does the city come from? We seem to have imagined the gospel to be about going up to heaven when we die…yet how does that seem to fit with what is described in Revelation 21?

The city of Babylon represented something besides a city a few chapters back. What do you suppose the New Jerusalem might be representing? As you consider some of the details of this city – no temple, constant light, no closed gates, all the nations included – what might those represent, and how might that influence how we understand our purpose and priorities as the church today?

I’m looking forward to this chapter – we’re finally done with monsters and flames. I think we could all use a bit of good news. 

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The Final Clash (Rev 19:11-21; 20)

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The Final Clash (Rev 19:11-21; 20)

Gandalf’s charge in the second of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is probably one of my favorite moments in all of those movies. Admittedly, those movies are suffering over time (nobody should be allowed to make movies that are that long) – but that moment always sticks out for me. It, of course, reminds me a lot of what we’ll be reading about this Sunday as we continue our study in the book of Revelation, reading chapters 19:11-20:15.

We will be reading about Jesus’ Parousia – Jesus’ second coming. Still – we’ll have a lot of dense imagery to get through, so be warned.

As you read the description of the One riding the white horse – who do you believe He is? Why do you believe his clothes are stained red with blood before any battle takes place.

When we read this opening account, we see two armies lined up for a classical battle scene – but by the time we get to v20, prisoners are rounded up and the vultures are already at work. Why do you think there is no battle described here? What do you think the symbolism of the sword from Jesus’ mouth taking down the armies of the earth may mean?

Chapter 20 is a doozy. It is here, within 6 verses that we have a great controversial subject which has divided the church for ages. The Millennial Kingdom – the 1,000 year reign of Christ. We will be discussing the various views about how this should be interpreted – and I’ll do my best to explain these ideas as simply as possible (we’ll try to avoid this).

No matter how one interprets the details of chapter 20, one thing comes across loudly and clearly. All of human and spiritual creation will be accountable to someone. Who is the Someone identified as? We are told (symbolically) in a courtroom scene that ledgers of deeds will be examined to determine a person’s fate. However, there is one book (singular) which seems to set deeds aside. What book is that? Read Revelation 13:8 – what does the name of that book imply about how we get our names in it?

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Bye Bye Babylon, Hello Hallelujahs!  (Rev 18-19:10)

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Bye Bye Babylon, Hello Hallelujahs! (Rev 18-19:10)

Are you familiar with the term “too big to fail”? It’s a phrase that emerged in the late 80’s to describe large corporations, specifically financial institutions which have become so large and globally interconnected that if they were to fail, it would have catastrophic effects on the whole economic system. They are too big to fail, therefore it is incumbent on the government to support and subsidize them should they actually face a potential failure.

We actually saw this concept play out in reality in 2009.

When we look at the world systems that are in place – systems we’ve known our whole lives, it would seem that those systems are too big to fail. Yet, as we’ll be reading about in our study this week, there is a point in time somewhere where God has drawn a line. The broken systems of this fallen world, as immutable as they seem to be, will fall and be swept away. This Sunday we’ll be reading Revelation 18 – 19:10.

Chapter 18 provides us with a more detailed account of Babylon’s demise. Babylon, as we presented last week, is a code word in the Bible to describe humanity’s efforts to create a society and ethos apart from God. Paradise without a Creator. Those systems are bound for failure, and invariably create more torment and pain than they ever resolve.

What details are brought out about Babylon in chapter 18? Who is lamenting over her? What do they cry about? What does that tell us about the symbolism of adultery and prostitution? It might help to contextualize this imagery if you read Jeremiah 51(especially v6-8 and v60-64).

When we get to chapter 19, we find a contrasting action to the lament and weeping of chapter 18. Four distinct HALLELUJAHS (Praise the Lord in the NLT) are sounded. What reasons are stated for praising God in those four sections? At one point we are told about the “wedding feast of the Lamb”. What does the imagery of a “bride” conjure up concerning our relationship to Christ as His people? What can we learn about being a follower of Jesus in 21st Century America from this section?

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By The Waters of Babylon (Rev 17)

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By The Waters of Babylon (Rev 17)

Most of us are familiar with the archetypal trope of the femme fatale. The term is French for fatal woman. She is usually presented as a temptress, driven, manipulative and shrewd. She is often very dangerous to the men she tangles with, usually being cast as a villain in the story. From the Bible to Arthurian tales, to Shakespeare, to modern film-noir we encounter this archetype. Certainly there are stories with men who fit the pattern as well; the homme fatale. A handsome, mysteriously seductive, yet dangerous man. I suppose the female version is more prominent because it overturns and threatens the formerly normalized power dynamics, making for a more intriguing story. That’s my theory anyway.

As we continue our study of Revelation we’ll be reading chapter 17 and we will encounter an archetypal femme fatale: the harlot described as Babylon. Revelation is all written in symbolic language, remember, so what is really being described has nothing to do with women or prostitution, but rather, fidelity to God.

The woman is described as sitting on the Beast we encountered earlier, in chapter 13. When you read over her description, what might the various details about the scarlet clothes, the jewelry and what it is that she is drunk on be symbolizing? If we remember the last time this sort of imagery was employed, in chapter 2, when the church in Thyatira was rebuked for committing adultery with Jezebel, it was most likely addressing a compromise of convictions in the church. What might this woman in chapter 17 be representing?

When the Beast is described, attention is paid to his heads and horns, with cryptic significance assigned to them. We’ll cover the various theories about what they might be representing on Sunday.

If this imagery is describing the systems of power and popular ethos in our world, what warning might we take away from it? What encouragement could it give?

The chapter is filled with vivid and disturbing images – hopefully we’ll be able to get a handle on the message it conveys. 

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Right Undoing Wrong (Rev 15-16)

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Right Undoing Wrong (Rev 15-16)

With this teaching we’re going to spend a significant amount of time talking about judgement and wrath, specifically, God’s judgement and wrath. We’ll be continuing our study in Revelation, covering chapters 15-16. It’s not very often that an entire message finds judgement as its focal point, but this is the nature of the two chapters we’ll be reading and we wouldn’t be treating the text honestly nor honorably if we were to skim past it. So buckle up because we’re going to look squarely at this subject…and believe it or not, I think it may prove to be encouraging.

God’s judgement is one of those unfortunate concepts that falls into two extremes in the history of church doctrine. Some elements of the church get so focused on judgement and wrath that a caricature is created of God, one that resembles pagan concepts more than biblical ones. On the other hand, some in the church are so concerned that talk of God judging might undermine the message of his grace that they also create a caricature of God; one of a doting old grandparent who just winks and smiles in the face of all that’s wrong.

But what are we to make of wrath and judgement ascribed to God, not only in the Old Testament, but also in the New, as in the chapters we’ll be reading this Sunday?

I believe without reservation that God is not mad at humanity. I believe the message of the Gospel, that God so LOVED the world he sent Jesus, his son, as an atoning sacrifice. I also believe what the bible says about God’s wrath. The main issue is the focus of that wrath. This is something we’ll talk about at length.

For now, just consider this: what comes to mind when you hear the word “wrath”? When you think of judgment, what do you envision? In what ways could God’s judgement be a positive thing that compels the nations to worship God, as is described in chapter 15:4?

Don’t get nervous – I think it’s important to talk about these ideas and do our best to grapple with them. If we observe this rightly, it’s very possible to come away from a teaching like this with a whole new sense of hope.

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Destinations In View (Rev 14)

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Destinations In View (Rev 14)

Do you remember being a child and watching scary movies? Sometimes, when the monster was about to attack or the action got really tense, it seemed prudent to hide under a blanket, or cover your eyes, or suddenly get interested in something else until the tension eased in the story. Who am I kidding…I’m still like that. However, as a young tyke, I can remember my mom noticing my worry and reminding me: “it’s just a movie, it’s not real”. If it were a movie she had already seen, she would sometimes let me know how it ended: “It’s okay, they’ll stop the monster, I’ve seen this”. I don’t think people cared about spoilers then as much as they do now.

Anyway, as we are returning to our study in Revelation, we’ll be reading chapter 14, where we’ll be getting some reassurance in the midst of some really tense images. The chapter intends to remind those who follow Jesus about their destination. (spoiler) There’s a good ending for those who believe.

In v 1-5 we are greeted with some familiar characters – the Lamb and the 144,000 followers of the Lamb. We first met these 144K back in chapter 7, and we concluded that they were most likely a symbolic representation of God’s redeemed people throughout time. They showed up as an interlude between the 6th and 7th seal…a quick look at God’s protection of his people, right before we saw the finale of history.

As we look at how these people are described in v 4-5, what significance do we assign to each of these symbolic characteristics?

Verses 6-12 has a vision of three angels, or messengers, each declaring invitations and warnings. The first angel has the invitation of the gospel. To whom is that gospel offered? What similarities do you see between those people and the people of chapter 13? What does this tell us about God’s heart?

This chapter is pretty loaded with disturbing pictures and forecasts – most of which we’ll try to unpack on this teaching. 

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Things Get Beastly (Rev 13)

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Things Get Beastly (Rev 13)

We’ll also be returning to our study of the book of Revelation! We’ll be reading chapter 13.

This is probably one of the most famous chapters of this whole book because it contains the infamous and mysterious sequence of numbers: 666.

In order to really get the full effect that John’s vision is seeking to evoke, it would serve you well to read Daniel 7, because it contains very similar imagery. Daniel’s dream of a series of beasts rising from the sea is usually, and certainly by John’s day, considered a forecast of the successive empires that ruled the ancient world. Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and finally Rome.

Given that idea – what do you suppose the beast from the sea in John’s vision might represent? What similarities are there between Daniel’s dream and John’s vision? Who is it that is said to give this beast his power and authority? What main characteristic of the sea-beast stands out to you?

John then sees a monster from the earth. He has horns like a lamb but the voice of the dragon (chapter 12). Who can you think of that is described as a “lamb” earlier in this book? What significance to you see in having the appearance of a “lamb” but the voice, or words of a “dragon”? What is the earth beast’s mission? Count how many times the word “worship” is repeated in this chapter. Do you find that significant? What is it that is withheld if a person does not worship the beast?

Politics, religion and money. It appears to be a toxic combination, doesn’t it? If you were to read this as an encouragement in following Jesus, what message would you take from it?

The number 666…..what does it mean? I’ll get into my thoughts on that during this teaching.

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A Birth And A Battle (Rev 12)

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A Birth And A Battle (Rev 12)

As we approach the celebration of Jesus’ entrance into our world this Christmas season, we’ll find interestingly, in our study through the book of Revelation this week, the birth of Christ from an apocalyptic perspective. Well be reading chapter 12:1-17.

Once again in our study we’ll see that things aren’t always as they appear. As the curtain is pulled back behind the serene scenes of a baby lying beneath the stars in a manger, we’ll find a sinister character lurking in the shadows. We’ll see the birth of Christ as the invasion it truly was into enemy occupied territory.

Is the red character described in vs 4 the one that comes to mind this time of year? When you think of Christmas do you see it as the turning point of an epic battle? Could recognizing our world as a war zone help bring any comfort as we walk through the trials and difficulties of this
life?

Verses 7-9 Clearly identify the dragon as Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. Who else might we wrongly or unwittingly mistake as our enemy? Have you ever found yourself in the midst of life’s difficulties wondering or feeling like God was against you? Our text gives us a glimpse of the battle that was going on behind the scenes of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. It says God’s angelic army lead by Michael, defeated Satan and his cohorts. Does that victory bring any comfort or clarity as to the source of our troubles? Remember in Matthew’s gospel (12:24-25) when the pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the devil? He said a kingdom divided against itself couldn’t stand. Could our God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, be the source of both good and evil?

In verses 10-12 we get some insight into our role in this epic battle. They expose Satan’s age old strategy of accusing and condemning God’s people who overcome it says by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony…We overcome in other words, by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and by how that effects our identity. When we invite Jesus’ to be Lord of our lives the word assures us we’re not the same old people we were before.(2 Corinthians 5:17) His influence in our lives radically changes everything!! How has embracing Christ changed your view of yourself? Who are you ,according to Him?

Finally we see a picture seemingly right out of Godzilla with the dragon stomping through the streets spewing water at the woman…clearly he is trying to drown her out once and for all… Who does vs 17 identify as those the dragon is making war with? Does knowing that you’re not alone as you undergo constant assault provide any sense of peace? The church has been under attack from the very beginning. What comfort have you found in our fellowship of believers. Have you ever considered those sitting in the rows beside you as allies in this spiritual battle? How could meeting together regularly with your own seal team (Navy) prove helpful as you walk out this good fight of faith?

It should be an interesting study!

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