Sermon Summary (6/16/19) “The Last Battle” (Rev 19-22)
We’re wrapping up our series on belief and hope. Not only belief in God, but belief in a God who loves us and wants a relationship with us. Hope, that in the midst of evil and a broken world that we have a future in the arms of God. That’s why we are finishing this series in the book of Revelation. It is the ultimate book of hope.
Admittedly, it is a strange book with beasts and symbols, the Dragon, Satan, the Beast, the Roman Empire; with numbers like 666 and 7 and 12 and 144,000 that we’ve heard whether we go to church or not; code like Babylon means Rome and “Ancient of Days” from the Old Testament; and end times, “A new heaven and a new earth.”
Most of all, it is all about hope: “Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more. For the first things have passed away.”
We too often miss hope because we make the interpretation of Revelation far too complicated. For example, the theology behind Tim Lehay’s “Left Behind” Series makes great story, yet it only came into being in 1830. For 18 centuries, the church did not consider it. The word “rapture” does not exist in Revelation or anywhere in the Bible. While we are debating tribulation, we miss hope.
What we find is that in chapter 18 Babylon (Rome) falls (you may also note that Revelation is not in chronological order which also confuses the theology from time to time), then in Chapter 19 we return to rejoicing in heaven; and then the rider on the white horse (Christ) appears to vanquish his enemies. He appears in a robe dipped in blood. Unlike other conquerors, the blood is not of his enemies, but of his own. He has won the battle with his own sacrifice. And he destroys his enemies not with the edge of his sword, but with the two edged sword from his mouth, the Word of God! (The think it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “We destroy our enemies by making them our friends.”) Jesus has won the battle with his sacrifice and destroyed his enemies with the Word of God. Jesus wins with love!
In a recent sermon, I heard the preacher say that Christianity offers two things that no of the religion does: “Salvation by grace through faith”; and “a personal relationship with God.” Jesus has won the battle for us, and Revelation tells us that “The home of God will be among mortals, he will dwell with us, we will be his people and he will be our God.” Hope: As CS Lewis has told us, we have only lived the title and the chapter page. The when we die we will begin chapter one of the Great Story which no one has ever read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before. Hope! Amen..