Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Trumpets

The Trumpets That Announce Judgment
Revelation 8:1-9:21

The judgment of God exists to move people to repent.

Before God destroyed the city of Jericho He sent His army to surround the city and blow the trumpet. When the trumpet blast was heard God was letting the nation know that destruction was at hand. God saved Rahab and her family but everyone else was destroyed. Rahab and her family all understood that Yahweh was the One true God and she demonstrated her allegiance to God by risking her life and that of her family for the purpose of God. When she heard the trumpet blasts she knew a new kingdom was at the gate.
Throughout scripture we see where God has announced that on the Day of the Lord there will be a trumpet blast.
On that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those lost in the land of Assyria will come, as well as those dispersed in the land of Egypt; and they will worship the Lord at Jerusalem on the holy mountain. (Isaiah 27:13)
Blow the horn in Zion; sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the residents of the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming; in fact, it is near. (Joel 2:1)

He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matthew 24:31)
In a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:52)
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
The sound of that trumpet introduced the destruction of the old kingdom and announced the arrival of a new king. Chapters 8 and 9 give us an elongated view of the breaking of the seventh seal. Here we hear six trumpet blasts. The first four blasts introduce the destruction of the earth and the last two describe the terrible woes in store for those who are not sealed by the Holy Spirit.
Let me make mention here that “The Day of the Lord” is not just one day long. Rather it is an extended period of time. Scripture seems to indicate that between the 6th and 7th trumpets there will be a span of time and that span of time is referred to as “The Day of the Lord.” 
Perhaps it is best if you don’t think of the Day of the Lord as a 24 hour period of time. Rather think of it like this, God is God and He is not bound by time, if He wills, a day will last as long as He wants. The events contained in Chapter’s 8 and 9 will take as long as it takes.

Major on the Major
Let me say here that it is very important that we not major on the minors and that we not minor on the majors. Every detail in scripture is important but not all details are pertinent to the truth being conveyed by the Spirit. Details often give emphasis to the main point to help saints know the major purpose of the text. For example Chapter nine speaks of a 200 million soldier army. The point of the text is not there so that we can concentrate on from what nation the army comes or determine if  they are demonic forces? Rather it is to let us know the army is empowered by God and they will destroy those who do not repent.
The major theme for today’s text is: The judgment of God is coming and everyone who does not repent will be destroyed. Let’s see how the minors emphasize the majors.

The Calm Before the Storm
Take note of the power of silence. For the space of half an hour there is total and absolute silence in heaven. All of the angelic beings and all of the martyrs and every soul understands the significance of what is about to happen. Satan’s rule on earth is about to end and Jesus’ earthly rule is about to begin. This time is the awe inspired silence before the storm. It is much like the ominous feeling we have when we have prepared for the hurricane and it is quiet, the calm before the storm. The prayers of the saints have risen to heaven like smoke from an incense stick. God is now about to act.

Know that God hears your prayers and they do move Him to action. He may or may not grant your request. But know He hears and when the time is right He will do what is best.

The First Four Trumpets
A trumpet blows to announce that God’s agents are about to destroy 1/3 of the earth. 1/3 represents a partial destruction of the earth. The Day of the Lord is a period of time and each time God’s wrath is poured out it is terrible but each time it is magnified. It continues to intensify until the final victory where Jesus annihilates evil.
There is a curse upon the earth that has existed since the days of Adam and Eve. Paul said, “For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. (Romans 8:19-22) On the day sin entered the world the earth received a curse and on the day the trumpet sounds the earth will be purified. First trumpet, 1/3 of the earth is burned up, second trumpet, 1/3 of the sea is contaminated and at the third trumpet, 1/3 of the rivers and streams are contaminated and at the fourth trumpet, 1/3 of the sun, the moon, and the stars are removed. God’s judgment on the earth is carried out so that the curse put on it in the Garden can be removed. This judgment will intensify until the earth is totally destroyed and then recreated by God.

The Fifth and Sixth Trumpets
The fifth and sixth trumpets are aimed at the people on earth who have refused to repent. Smoke from the abyss is released by the angel empowered by God. The angel is instructed not to harm those who have been sealed but to destroy those who are not sealed. Something with a more painful sting than a scorpion will have power to inflict the unsaved with tremendous pain. Pain so severe they will want to die but cannot.
Then the sixth trumpet will blow and a force of power unheard of by any human army. 200 million soldiers strong go out to destroy 1/3 of the human race.
It is my understanding of Scripture that the 200 million soldiers are Satan’s demonic forces, super human beings more powerful than any man or human army, but powerless when in the presence of the Lamb of God. Later we will see where the Word of God defeats this mighty and powerful army. The very Word that spoke the world into creation will speak evil into the Lake of Fire.
The message of these six trumpets is here to encourage the saints of God because they are sealed and will never experience any of God’s wrath. But this message is also a warning to the unrepentant that the judgment of God is coming and when the trumpet is sounded it is too late to repent. To you I say don’t miss what John says in 9:20-21.

 The rest of the people, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands to stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which are not able to see, hear, or walk. And they did not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual immorality, or their thefts. (Revelation 9:20-21)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Study notes Revelation 6

Study notes 
For Revelation 6
Opening the Scroll
Revelation 6

TAG: History is progressing toward the Day of the Lord.
The scroll is the history of man, the future to John and history to God. We are somewhere between John’s day and the terrible dreadful Day of the Lord. This “Day of the Lord” is the day that God pours out His wrath on the wicked. Chapter 6 shows us what is happening all around us today. As each of the seals is broken another piece of history unfolds.
It is my understanding of scripture that five of the six seals mentioned here have already been broken and we are currently living out what they describe. The four horsemen of the apocalypse and the cry of the martyrs are now underway and the Day of the Lord could appear very soon. The Day of the Lord is imminent. Nothing and certainly no one, Satan included, can stop it.
The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
As you read Chapter 6 you ask yourself a few questions. Are these literal horses and horsemen? Who are the horsemen? or Who do they represent? and What are they doing?
Each of the first 4 seals is John’s description of what he has seen. As the Lamb opens the first seal John sees a vision of an absolute reality. This reality is that God is sending forth His gospel into the world as a conqueror.  The victor is wearing His crown and has His bow in His hand. The victor is not Jesus Himself. Jesus would never receive orders  from or be told what to do by one of the 4 living creatures. Rather this is the gospel itself. The crown portrays victory and the bow symbolizes power, ready for battle. Paul describes the gospel of Jesus Christ as powerful.
  •  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
The horse is white because white represents the righteousness of God. But know this, as the gospel goes forth there will be false religions propagated by Satan and anti-Christ’s and their goal is to pull people away from the One true gospel. Jesus said, “For many will come in My name saying, “I AM the Messiah, and they will deceive many.” Matthew 24:5. Do not be deceived. At present there is a battle taking place over the souls of men and women. But in the end the gospel will be preached to all the nations and truth will be made known to all people.
The second seal John describes is a red horse and John makes it clear that this horseman is coming to make war on the earth. “People will slaughter one another.” The red represents the blood of war. Jesus said, “You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6. It is important to take note that this horse and horseman have no power of their own like the first horseman. The red horse is given power to make war. God allows wars to arise. As a part of His creation people slaughter one another. Humanity apart from God and the Lamb is destined for self-annihilation. But God through the Lamb makes a way for some of humanity to be spared from the evils of the world. Those who are spared are the saints.  
The third seal is depicted as a black horse because of the dark days brought on by famines. Jesus said, “There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” Matthew 24:7. Throughout the whole of man we have seen famines. In the days of Joseph, in the Nation of Jerusalem after the time of Pentecost right up to today. This text seems to say the famines of our day will be severe enough to destroy wheat and barley but not severe enough to destroy olive trees and grape vines. Today’s famines are evidence of the breaking of the seal.
The fourth seal sends forth a pale horse that has been given authority by the Almighty to kill by famine, war, plague and beast. Through out history we have seen plagues like the Bubonic Plague, the AIDS epidemic and the influenza of years past. This horseman is called Death and Hades because he has been given power to take physical life away from the human beings. People die every day, some due to illness, some to war, some to gang violence, some by accidents. People are dying daily and it is only by God’s grace you are alive today.

The Cry of the Martyrs
With the fifth seal the scene changes from earth to the altar in heaven where those who have died for the faith are being kept until it is time for God’s vengeance. “Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay,“ says to Lord. Romans 12:19. God reminds the martyrs that He is the One who is to execute revenge. He gives each of the martyrs a white robe because they have been faithful. They die for two reasons: 1) The Word of God and 2) Their testimony. Following Jesus will cost you your life! For the martyrs, they died physically because they testified and remained true to the Word of God. All other saints are to die spiritually to self so that we can live for Christ.
  • Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)
Not every believer is called to be a martyr but every believer is called to live a martyr’s life.
 If you have been called to salvation by God though faith and have not yet been baptized and united with a local body of believers the Spirit of God is moving you toward a public profession of faith. This public profession is done through baptism. You proclaim that Jesus is Lord and then you symbolically die to self and are buried in the water and then raised to new life in Christ.  This baptism is not what saves you but it is a picture of what is truly going one in your heart. 

The Day of the Lord
The sixth seal is the unleashing of the Day of the Lord. It has not yet occurred. But it will and on that day it will be horrible.
  • Look, the day of the Lord is coming—cruel, with rage and burning anger—
    to make the earth a desolation and to destroy the sinners on it. (Isaiah 13:9)
  • The great Day of the Lord is near, near and rapidly approaching. Listen, the Day of the Lord—then the warrior’s cry is bitter. (Zephaniah 1:14)
  • The great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand? (Revelation 6:17)
  • But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. 2 Peter 3:10
The Day of the Lord will be cosmic in nature, earthquakes unmatched by human history. The sun will cease to shine and all of the stars will fall from the sky like figs falling in a wind storm. The moon will turn to blood and the sky will be peeled back like a scroll. It will be so terrible that everyone will run to hide from the Lord but they will be found.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve sinned and hid from God but God found them and removed them form the garden. On the Day of the Lord sinners will run and hide but God will find each and every one and there will be hell to pay! Kings and nobles, slaves and free men, rich and poor will try to run but no one will be able to hide.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who was slaughtered, but on that day the Lamb won’t be slaughtered, He will be the One pouring out His vengeance on all who have rejected His call to follow Him as Lord. The martyr's cry will be answered. Jesus is love but He is also the righteous judge. By His nature He loves but by His nature He will pour out His wrath on the unjust.
Chapter 6 ends with a question, “Who will be able to stand?” The answer to who will be able to stand is found in Chapter 7. Those who stand are those who have been sealed by the Spirit of God. The only people who are sealed are those who are dying daily to self and seeking to live by the Word of God as they give testimony of the Lamb. There was a day when Peter preached a sermon to the very Jews who crucified Jesus
and they were under deep convicted. They asked Peter "What must we do? And he
Repent, ..., and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
If you want to be one who is protected from the dreadful Day of The Lord surrender to

 Jesus today. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Revival @ Ridglea

Joyfully we are looking forward to Revival March 26 – 29. In order to have a fruitful time we will need to be like the man with the five tallents in Jesus’ Parable of the Tallents. He put his tallents to work and had much fruit to lay at the Master’s feet. He was truly a faithful servant who had done well. Let’s do the same with our Revival preparation. Here is how we can see much fruit.

1. Indentify, pray for and engage five unchurched or dechurced people.
2. Spend time in the prayer room praying for yourself and your Five. (Make sure you sign up for a time slot.)
3. Clear your schedule and commit to being at every service.
4. Ask God to reveal to you any sin in your life that is keeping you from reflecting His glory   
    and the church from being fruitful.
5. Pray for blinders to be removed from the eyes of the lost.
6. Pray for the Revival Team: Mitch Osborne, Bryan Cirlot and Jennifer Ruffin.

By being intentional in these things we will see a great harvesting of the fruit of God.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Vision for Ridglea

Sometime in March of 1997 I preached my first message at Ridglea. My dad had just passed away and God had made it clear to me that He was sending me to Ridglea Heights Baptist Church to be their Pastor. The church did not yet know this and it would be another six months before they would extend a call to me to come and pastor. In that time God had given me a vision of what He wanted. I even still have the card in my desk where I wrote this:

200 in Sunday School
2 Morning Worship Services 

100 in Discipleship
An educational building 

Outreach to the community 
Zero debt

We have crossed the 200 mark about twice in the past and now we are fast approaching it as the new weekly average. We have two morning services, some days full. Many weeks there are more than 100 in disciple making classes and we have a very beautiful and well-used multipurpose building. We did make it zero debt but soon thereafter built the new building. In numerous phases we have made new education spaces as well as increased parking by about 400%. But we are not through yet!

God has called us to make disciples who make disciples. As we do we are growing numerically and spiritually by leaps and bounds. In the early days I would sometimes say, “I want to be at a bigger church. I want Ridglea to be that bigger church.” Now it is! Please pray with me. We desperately need funds to finish the three classrooms currently under construction. Then we are going to need nearly a million dollars to build a new sanctuary in the very near future. God has a very big vision for His church at Ridglea. Let’s pray, make disciples and be missionaries. Know that God will build His church and the gates of Hell will not prevail. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Master

The Lord is my Master; His slave I am.
He carries me to places of rest and feeds my Soul.
I am calm and worry not.

My soul was broken but now it's healed.
I walk the way of His desire,
For His purpose my actions I keep aligned.

I don't fear death nor any day's plight,
He is forever with me; I know He is.
I am confident to know this, so peaceful I am. 

He blesses me with good and the world can see it's so.
I am seen as happy even my enemies know;
Yes it's so.

The Master extends grace and mercy to me;
I love Him respect Him and fear Him.
Gladly I yield to my Master. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Live by Faith

“For we walk by faith, not by sight, and we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:7-8

Oh how I wish everything was how it ought to be; but it isn’t. By God’s design it is this way. My body don’t work like it should, my mind don’t remember like it ought and my soul even seems to dose off from time to time while I go through the motions of life. But thanks be to God for His great mercy and wonderful grace.

Our bodies are temporary. We know they will wear out but because God placed the Holy Spirit in us we look forward to the day we put on a new Heavenly body designed to never wear out, a body free of disease, dismemberment and damage. By making our goal to be pleasing to the Lord and not to avoid death we live a perpetual state of hope and blessed God given joy. We know that one day we will stand in His presence at the Judgment Seat of Christ in confidence. We will be without fear even though we know our lives were full of sins of commission and omission (we should have but didn’t or we did but ought not have). On that day we will be confident in the work of Christ, not self! So, in the mean time we just live life for God’s glory striving daily to walk in a way that shows our love for Him and each other.

Jesus died for all people so that they could receive the Holy Spirit as a down payment of better things beyond the grave. Since we know and understand this we don’t seek to check off a to do list before we die. Rather we seek to please God from day to day living by faith and not by sight knowing that being connected to Christ is enough for now.

I challenge you to step away from your routine today and do something out of the ordinary and be reminded that this world is God’s gift to you even if it is flawed. Look at God from a new vantage point and you will see that He is an Awesome God.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

There is a big difference between faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and faith in faith. Faith in faith will always prove to be faulty when times of trial come. Faith in Jesus as Lord knows that at the center of the Gospel is the truth that every person’s flesh must be destroyed so that the Spirit of Jesus may thrive in the believer’s heart and soul.

Prayer is the weapon that a follower of Jesus clings to long before battles are fought. One great example is Peter. As a younger follower of Jesus he boasted in his faith. When Jesus told the disciples that He must die in Jerusalem Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked Him saying, “this will never happen” (Matthew 16:21-25). Then once Peter’s self-confident faith found him sinking quickly into the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:22-23). On another occasion Peter said, “I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!” (Luke 22:33) Just a few hours later Peter had denied Jesus three times.

Satan has a God given ability, power and permission to take down any disciple at any time. That is why Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The reason God allows this is so followers of Jesus will have no reason to have faith in their flesh. When Jesus took Peter, James and John on the Mount of Olives the night He would be arrested He told them to, “pray so that you won’t fall into temptation” (Luke 22:40). They did not pray; they fell into temptation.

Prayer is the key to walking through temptation and on into obedience. Faltering faith will follow prayerlessness. Daily pray that your walk will not lead you into temptation and ask to be delivered from evil. The result will be the yield of your flesh to the Spirit of Jesus. Faith in your faith will become a past learning experience and faith in Jesus will cause you to stand on the rock of Jesus Christ. When the storms of life come your house will not collapse.