September 25, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 20:11-15

Have you ever been disciplined by a loving parent? I grew up in a home that firmly believed in disciplining kids who misbehaved. This could come in a multitude of ways: timeouts, taking away TV privileges, not allowing friends to come over, and sometimes spanking. Why did my parents go as far as spanking us when we misbehaved? The reason is quite simple, really. They simply wanted to teach us that our actions have consequences, and they still do.

God is similar in that regard. All throughout the Bible, we can see God taking His favor away from people and nations because they did not obey. And they were judged according to their deeds. I’m reminded of King Saul in 1 Samuel when he was explicitly instructed by God to destroy absolutely everything in Amalek, but instead Saul took the livestock from the city and made an offering with it to God. While it seemed like Saul was trying to do a good thing, he simply disobeyed God, and the consequence was the loss of His favor and leading.

There are consequences for the things we do, both physical and spiritual. Our sin separates us from a perfect, flawless God—eternally. But God made a way for us when there should have been no way. God sent His son Jesus to Earth as a man, where he lived a perfect, sinless life, then died the death we deserve on a cross. But not only did Jesus die in our place, he rose from the dead three days later, proving that he was who he said he was! God made a way for us to live eternally with Him, free of sin, shame, pain, and suffering. He simply asks that we believe in Jesus and receive him as Lord and Savior. To have your name “written in the book of life,” you must have a personal relationship with Jesus.

By: Tyler Monroe — Worship Ministries Intern

September 24, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 20:7-10

Today we read one of the most encouraging passages of Scripture in all of the Bible, where we see that Satan is finally defeated once and for all. The great deceiver can deceive no more because like God always promised, he will be cast into hell, which God created for him, to suffer and be tormented in forever. Throughout Revelation, we’ve discussed different views and interpretations for one of the toughest and most confusing books of the Bible, but there’s no debate in this passage. Any orthodox Christian knows and believes that this is true and where we find our hope.
There will be a day with no more sin, shame or suffering because the one who initiated the fall of sin will suffer it’s final consequence and will be locked up in Hell forever. Thank you Jesus! The only thing we should find disheartening about this passage is knowing that this is the same outcome for all who have been deceived by Satan and have never received Christ as their savior.

Who can you pray for that does not know Christ as their Lord and Savior and what can you do to share the Gospel with them?

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

September 22, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 20:1-6

Hardly any other passage has had more ink shed than our passage for today. This passage is the primary text for end-times theology. Spread throughout our study of Revelation, you’ve encountered some of the theological terms associated with the time-frame encountered in our text. Unfortunately for some, we have to hit those terms head on.

This passage deals with the millennial reign of Christ. Thus, eschatological (end-times) terminology—pre-millennialism, post-millennialism, amillennialism—use this event as the primary differentiator for their viewpoints.

A millennium simply means 1,000 years. When we refer to the millennium in eschatological terms, what we’re talking about is the 1,000-year reign of Christ stated clearly in verse 4. The prefixes “pre-,” “post-,” and “a-,” refer to where the millennium fits regarding the other eschatological events (i.e. the rapture, return of Christ, etc). Although these views can be nuanced ad-nauseum, each view falls into one of four major categories. For a good discussion of the categories, I want to point you to the article Todd referenced earlier in Revelation.

It’s important to understand that even though disagreement exists, there are points of agreement that we share with those believers who have different eschatological views. “1. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and He rules or will rule over a glorious Kingdom. 2. Jesus Christ will one day return to this world literally, physically, visibly, and gloriously as the Judge of all the earth.” (Hitchcock, The End, 401)

In terms of disagreement, you may be interested to know that the CPC staff holds to a variety of views held in the article cited earlier. If you can’t tell from my earlier Jumpstarts, I find the “Dispensational Premillennialism” viewpoint most compelling. Although I would not consider my favored interpretive method as “strict literal,” but rather “grammatic-historical” (per the article), I do believe that there is no reason to view the 1,000 years mentioned 5 times in our passage as anything less than a literal 1,000 years.

Basically, in this view, I believe the next great event in God’s plan will be the rapture of all those who have trusted Christ as their Savior. Following that is 7 years of Tribulation. In the Tribulation period the Church is gone, the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence is removed, and God’s wrath unfolds as we have read through Revelation. It is, however, during this time that God sets in motion His plans to restore Israel as His covenant people. Thus, those Jewish people who had not received Christ, and as such, were not raptured, endure the Tribulation, through which, they repent and through Christ, return into a relationship with the Lord. Then, after the Tribulation, is the battle of Armageddon, and the defeat of the Anti-Christ when Jesus returns to Earth as we read about yesterday. Finally, Satan is bound and Christ reigns for a literal 1,000 years until Satan is loosed and ultimately defeated.

Charles Ryrie describes the millennium this way, “The millennium is the period of a thousand years of the visible, earthly reign of the Lord Jesus Christ who, after His return from heaven, will fulfill during that period the promises contained in the Abrahamic, Davidic, and new covenants to Israel, will bring the whole world to a knowledge of God, and will lift the curse from the whole creation.” That is a great description of the dispensational premillennial view. Israel and the Church does not have “two individual redemptive plans” as stated in the article. Instead it is one redemptive plan, through Christ, in which God fulfills every promise and all of human history peaks at the point where every person who ever lived bows before Christ our King.

For reflection:
There are several Old Testament passages that describe Christ’s 1,000 year reign— Isaiah 2:1-5, 11:1-16, 32:1-20, 35:1-10, 60:1-22; Jeremiah 31:1-40, 33:1-26; Ezekiel 37: 14-28; Amos 9:11-15; Zechariah 14:6-21. Take a few moments throughout your day and read the passages, reflecting on the fact that God is faithful.

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

September 21, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 19:11-21

There are a few things I would like us to observe from our passage today:

  • The Power and Authority of Jesus — The picture of Jesus this passage paints in verses 11-16 are not the depictions of Jesus seen in children’s wings at churches. These word-pictures of Jesus show his power, especially when put in the context of verses 17-21, where the pictures of the Great War being waged, with Satan and his crew being thrown into the fiery lake. This should remind us that we must not try to have Jesus fit in the box that we create for Him, but rather allow our expectations for who Jesus is to be defined by what the Bible teaches about Him.
  • The Ultimate End of Sin and Satan — We live in a world where we are in between the first and second comings of Christ. As some have said: we exist in the “already, but not yet” kingdom of God.  For us, the Gospel brings freedom and transformation, but this freedom and transformation will not have its full effect until we are fully with Jesus. It’s easy for us to remember that our sins have been forgiven and we’ve been given new life in Christ, but this passage is helpful to remind us that sin and Satan will one day be no more, because Jesus Christ will be shown victorious.
  • We Must Focus on Eternity — Admittedly, this is challenging. We know nothing but our temporal world. As a child, my head couldn’t stop spinning when I first began pondering the fact that God has existed from all eternity, and my head hasn’t slowed down much even after years of seminary classes and reading my Bible—eternity is hard to fathom! But thinking of the eternity we will spend with God because of Jesus helps us make a little more sense of the world we live in now. If nothing else, may we spend our day longing for heaven, longing to be with Jesus, and longing to see sin and its effects no longer exist!

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice