Summer Break is here and we are in the middle of our church’s VBS week. It is an awesome time and so much joy and fun for so many reasons.
My sons are growing up, and it is all so new to me. I really cannot believe where God has brought me in life. Here are two recent pictures of each of the boys. JJ is 3 and a half. Eli recently turned two. And Noah is 8 months.
As I have been studying Revelation a lot lately, I am loving God and His word more and more. This week I will be teaching through chapter 16 in our Men’s & Women’s Bible Studies. Chapter 16 contains the 7 Bowls of the wrath of God. One of the books I have been studying is Michael Wilcock’s book The Message of Revelation in the John Stott Series.
Here is an excerpt from Michael Wilcock’s book:
“The angels’ Bowls, moreover, are filled with the wrath of the God who lives for ever and ever, and ‘it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ (Heb. 10:31). It means that though our life may end with its bang or its whimper, his life continues unaffected. The bomb goes up, the smoke clears, the dust dies down– he is still there. Or alternatively, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done, and we look forward to peace at the last– but he is still there to be reckoned with. ‘Do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell'(Luke 12:4, 5). It is the classic horror story situation, where you flee from the thing you fear, take refuge behind your barricades, and find you have locked it inside with you. It is the Hound of Heaven, only a hound of judgment, not of mercy. ‘Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?’ (Isaiah 33:14).”
Lately we have been having some good discussions about the meaning and use of the well-known phrase “once saved, always saved”.
If you are a baptist or have been around church-life much, chances are that you have heard this phrase discussed. Many people prefer the phrase “eternal security” instead of “once saved always saved”. And other people prefer to use perseverance!
I wanted to simply share with you some crucial passages from the Bible that need to be considered in this discussion. It is so healthy for Believers (who are filled with the Spirit) to read God’s Word and then spend time thinking through it. The whole Bible is involved in teaching us how to understand the great work of God saving sinners. But these few passages here are helpful to understanding this discussion.
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
1 John 2:19
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
“and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”
“even the demons believe– and shudder.”
“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance…”
While digging and studying through Revelation I have come across lots of little mighty truths. I am really enjoying it. Let me share this one with you that we dug out this morning.
“It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.”
Who are ‘these’?
Well, they are the 144,000 (14:1). They are the ones standing beside the Lamb on Mt. Zion (14:1). They are the ones sealed with the Lamb’s name and the Lamb’s Father’s name on their foreheads (14:1). They are the ones who worship with a new song (14:3). They are the ones who have been redeemed out of the earth (14:3).
In other words, they are the church (all of chapter 7)!
Now notice how they are described in verse 4… “It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.”
What a description for the church! I want that to be said about me. Whatever and wherever Jesus says to do or go, I will go! Awesome! Glorious! Faithfulness! Discipleship! Mission field, Adopting a Child, job change, intentional friendships, serving somewhere, giving money, time, energy! Whatever it may be! Whatever Jesus asks! Wherever He goes… they follow Him! Wow!