Certified Mail – Revelation 1:9-11

To whom was the letter written? What was the occasion?

In this part of the book of Revelation, we’re going to gain a bit of understanding as to what John was experiencing, what day it was, from where the letter originated, and finally who his target audience was. John does all this to ensure that this letter reaches who Christ has intended it to reach.

In my senior year, my mom used to work for UPS and I needed a job during the holidays.  Every year, you can imagine the amount of deliveries needing to be made during the holiday season.  I would run back and forth from the truck to the front door step, then drive to the next house and repeat the process.

The really long deliveries were the ones where someone had to sign for the package.  Now it’s winter, I’ve been running back and forth so I’ve managed to keep warm…but then I’ve also been sweating.  So you’d go to the front door, ring the doorbell, stand in the winter wind, and wait.

If it was an elderly person that the package was sent to (which happened quite a bit) you can imagine how cold you got from the time they heard the doorbell ring to the time that they had finally received the package and had signed for it.  But you couldn’t leave until you got that signature.

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The LORD of All Time – Revelation 1:4-8

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How can we know we can be confident in this “Jesus?”

The first thing I need to say about this passage is that it’s as if it’s a mosaic of independent pieces from each other that are combined together to make one large picture. Some of the most famous of these forms of art are easily recognized in many churches as “stained glass windows.”

As early back as 675, church buildings in Britain had stained glass in their window frames.  It’s remarkable what the artists of that day intended for the stained glass however in that they used these windows, not as decoration, but as a way to teach others the stories of the bible. Even the windows acted as a mosaic inside the church to teach the larger truths of the Bible.

This entire passage that we’re going to go through is almost as if it’s a resume or the truths of what Jesus’ qualifications are: that is what he’s done, what he’s doing currently, and what his plans are for the future. Wouldn’t these be important for us as believers to know especially if we’re entrusting ourselves and others that we care about to this man?  Fathers are more careful in who date their daughters than in who many “Christians” claim they have as their Messiah! Click to read the rest of this post >>

The Lord’s Table

lords-supper

Who should be permitted to take communion?  Why should we care?  What does communion mean?  These are all questions that I have asked myself repeatedly and it’s a question that many theologians, denominations, councils, and Christians down through the ages have asked themselves.  Is this bread and wine the actual body and blood of Christ?  Is it merely a symbol; a mere memorial of Christ’s death; or is there more to it than that? Click to read the rest of this post >>

Revealing Revelation – Revelation 1:1-3

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Why should we attempt to interpret Revelation?

Revelation in Greek is named, “ApokaluyiV Iwannou” or “Revelation of John.”  Apocalypse is derived from this word which simply means “to reveal” or “unveiling.”

I can remember when we were looking at renting a facility about a year or more ago and there was one building that we looked at that had a martial arts studio in it called “Apocalypse Martial Arts.”  I think that the person who named it that thought of the end of the world, just as many in our culture would.  But I couldn’t help thinking, knowing the proper understanding of this word, of how non-threatening or non-intimidating, “Unveiling Martial Arts” truly sounded.

When we look at the book of Revelation, we see in it the church of today many of the same issues that each generation faces with this book.  For example:

Every generation has forced its histories into the apocalyptic symbols in order to predict Christ’s coming; everyone has been wrong so far. Every generation has said “we’re in the last days” or “it’s a sign of the times” and the last day still hasn’t happened.

Whenever heavy persecution has happened to the church at a certain place or time, they interpret Revelation in such a way to say that the church will be present for the tribulation because it means that they are enduring because Christ is returning soon. (Other countries such as Iraq with the issues they’re facing from ISIS right now is probably thinking that Christ must certainly be coming soon).

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Why Sola Scriptura?

What does Sola Scriptura mean?

Sola Scriptura is Latin and it means “By Scripture alone.
Contrast with “Prima Scriptura”
Turn to 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Talk about “God breathed” vs. “Inspired”

What is classified as scripture?

Explain the word “canon
What about the Old Testament?
What about the New Testament?  Turn to 2 Peter 3:15-16

The gospels were never questioned as part of the Bible; the epistles of Paul were never questioned as part of the Bible; 1 and 2 Peter were never questioned as part of the Bible; 1 John was never questioned as part of Scripture

James was questioned because we weren’t sure which James wrote it; Hebrews was questioned because the author remained anonymous; Revelation was questioned because it could be twisted easily and was a frightening book!

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Virtue #7: Kindness – Eph. 4:30-32

Why must I be kind?

Aren’t there any times in your life when you desire not to be kind but rather to be cruel, envious, and even bitter?  Each one of us in this room faces the issue of, from time to time, being spiteful toward another.  It is this very reason why kindness must be both exercised and made present in our world.  Kindness is defined as, “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”

The opposite of kindness is envy which is defined as, “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.”  How is this connected to kindness, one might ask?

What was the second official sin recorded in Scripture?  Adam and Eve had two sons by the name of Cain and Abel.  One (Cain) was good at working the ground and attempted to offer God the fruit of the ground, while the other (Abel) was a good shepherd and who offered God his lambs.  God accepted Abel’s offer, but ignored Cain’s.  This led to Cain being envious: Show slide of Gen. 4:6-7 “The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?”  The second sin ever committed was murder which was propagated by envy. Click to read the rest of this post >>

Virtue #6: Patience – James 1:2-4

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What must I do to learn patience?

The first thing that I need to do is define what patience is.  Patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”  So being patient, by definition is being able to have bad things happen to you and being able to approach those things without responding, in kind, with negativity.  Many people will say that “patience is a virtue” and it is; but it is so much more than that.  A person with patience knows how to react even when there are poisonous people in the mix.

Sodium, if placed on human skin by itself can cause severe irritation or even burns.  Chlorine when inhaled causes difficulty breathing or wheezing; when it comes into contact with skin can also irritate or burn.  I’m going to eat both simultaneously (eat some table salt).  When Sodium is mixed with Chlorine, it becomes a compound known as Sodium-Chloride or table salt. People with patience can take the most volatile situations or elements and make them beneficial. 

The opposite of patience is wrath which is defined as, “strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation.”  Problems with wrath usually boil down to one major problem and that is a lack of patience. Click to read the rest of this post >>

Dustin Kensrue & Musical Theology

Dustin Kensrue via MarsHill.com

Most people I know, are aware that I have a general distaste for “Christian” music. The vast majority of it is unbiblical, lacking in creativity and generally embarrassing the Christian community when presented to the world; let alone the way it portrays Christ. One of the few examples of true and pure creativity and quality (even to worldly standards) of music is Thrice; or more specifically Dustin Kensrue. Dustin’s music is rich with biblical references and theology and is genuinely honest to our experience as believers.

To give an example I have presented the song below both in musical format and the written lyrics with the scriptural references following the corresponding lines. Click to read the rest of this post >>

Elder Ordination – Chris Hearn

Chris Hearn-Elder_Ordination-Q&A

Adam’s Blame

creation_of_adam-photo_by_miguel_angel

We’ve said it thousands of times, “God, this is all your fault!” or “God, how dare you do this to me!” or maybe “You could prevent this if you wanted to, God!” and finally, “Why me, God?” These all bear resemblance to the way that Adam reacted to God in the Garden of Eden after the fall. We see Adam clearly blaming the woman, known as Eve, for the sin that he himself has committed. Adam says to God, who has asked him if he committed sin, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12 ESV, emphasis mine).

Clearly, Adam is blaming his sin on two individuals: he blames the woman for tempting him and God for creating the source of his temptation. Isn’t this what we all do when confronted with our own depravity on some level? We look to blame others for our poor choices, we blame them for our bad circumstances, and ultimately, we fault our Creator for not taking a more active role to prevent the pain that has come into our lives. In short, we behave just as Adam did and attempt to project our guilt onto others…most importantly, we credit evil to God. Click to read the rest of this post >>