7 Takeaways from Revelation
Over the course of the last year, I was given the privilege to preach through the entire book of Revelation. It took 10 months, and 30 sermons to work through the entire book, and as I look back, I share these 7 takeaways, with the hope of enticing you to go and read the book of Revelation for yourself.
1. The Reality Of Spiritual Warfare
The Christian life is far more spiritual and complex, than many christians understand. The church has a real enemy, Satan, and he uses many forces in his attempt to destroy the church. Satan weaponizes false teachers, as well as social, economic, and political powers to crush those who would be faithful to Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation helpfully shows us that we are living in a war, whether we like to admit it or not. Christians then must take up the seriousness of the life we live, and cannot go about life passively unaware of the spiritual forces at work.
Sadly, the book of Revelation is often taken out of context by those desiring to make quick conclusions about end times events. But the book is too important to let it be relegated to such a mistreatment. If we are to be encouraged in this war, we need the book of Revelation. Through its dramatic symbolism, it gives us a story to hold on to. A story our hearts can be captivated and inspired by. As one commentator put it “Revelation is a picture book, not a puzzle book. Don’t try to puzzle it out. Don’t become preoccupied by isolated details. Rather, become engrossed in the story. Praise the Lord. Cheer for the saints. Detest the Beast. Long for the final victory.”
2. We Should Expect Persecution
The book of Revelation shows us that for those who desire to remain faithful to King Jesus, persecution will inevitably come. Persecution exists on a spectrum, and can take the forms of social ostracism, loss of employment, loss of relationships, imprisonment, and even losing our lives. How we all experience persecution as Christians will vary, but we will all face persecution. We should live in such a way which expects this, and is not easily discouraged or overwhelmed when persecution comes our way. If we are not facing persecution currently, now is the time to prepare for when the day comes.
3. The Importance of Faithfulness
One of the clearest applications of Revelation is the call to faithfulness. Christians are called to be ready for the last day, and to find themselves numbered with those clothed in white, invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. We ought to recognize, Christians, that our greatest priority in life ought to be our own holiness. This may not get spoken of much in our current day, but we must see that our greatest problem is nothing in our circumstances, such as financial, social, political, or physical challenges. Our ultimate problem is that of sin, and anything which would draw us away from God. Revelation helps us feel our urgent need for holiness, and encourages us to prioritize it rightly.
4. God is Sovereign
One challenge that is felt throughout the book of Revelation, is that Satan seems to have so much success against the church faithful. As we have seen this play out over church history, there have been seasons of extreme persecution against the church, where ultimate defeat seemed inevitable. What is a constant however, in the book of Revelation, is the clear and total sovereignty of God. Christians face tough circumstances in this life, but their strength comes from the God who reigns over all, and never changes. His power is unmatched even by the sum total of all the forces of darkness. Our hope cannot come from what we see around us in our circumstances, it only can come from the fact that it is our God who reigns, and it is Jesus who wins.
5. Satan’s Days Are Numbered
Revelation gives many vivid, and symbolic pictures. One of the most tremendous pictures in the book is when Satan and those aligned with him are cast forever into the lake of fire. That day is scheduled. Only God knows when it will happen, but we all know that it is an assured reality. Satan himself knows his time is short, and thus, he rages while he still yet has time. Christians facing his fiery darts know how painful his attacks can be in this life, but even amidst his assault, we can find confidence knowing his time is short.
6. Jesus Is Coming Soon
The Christian life is challenging. At times, weary Christians can begin to wonder if they will really make it to the end. The book of Revelation ends with the glorious promise of Jesus- He is coming soon. In the midst of our difficult circumstances, “soon” can feel somewhat hollow, especially after 2000 years. We must remember to have the perspective of Christ and of eternity. The book of Revelation reminds us, that the end of this age is not far off. Compared to an eternity, this age is quite small. Our lives are as a vapor, that are here for a moment and gone the next. While it may feel long, in reality, it is quite short. Jesus is coming soon, and we should live in hopeful anticipation that we would see His return in our lifetime.
7. It Will All Be Worth It
The Apostle Paul said it best in his letter to the Romans “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”(Rom 8:18) The challenges we face in this life are real, and they are costly. If we are to follow Jesus, we must recognize that we will suffer. Yet, the glorious promise of the book of Revelation, is that all of our struggle will be worth it. When we behold the glory of the New Heaven and New Earth, and see Jesus face to face, having been given glorified bodies and an eternal peace, all of the pain, tears, and sorrow will have been worth it. As C.S. Lewis famously stated “Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even agony into a glory.”
Christian, this life is a battle. We will face incredible persecution as we seek to remain faithful to King Jesus. But God is the One who reigns, Christ will triumph over all of His foes, and His Spirit will keep you until the last day. That day is coming soon, and when it comes, it will all have been worth it. So read the book of Revelation, get captivated by the story, renewed in the fight, and long for the day when Jesus will return. Amen, come quickly Lord Jesus.
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