"Our Final Journey"
10 - FOUR FUTURE HIGHLIGHTS
RODGERS BAPTIST CHURCH
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
Introduction: In a lifetime, we make many journeys. There's the journey through childhood, the journey through adolescence, the journey through grade school, middle school, high school, college, the journey through adulthood. Life itself is a journey beginning with birth, and ending in death.
One thing is sure, everyone's journey is unique and different. So much of our lives is out of our control and ordained of God. In Job 23:10 we read, "But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Psalm 37:23-24 says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and He delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with His hand." The greatest challenge of life is not what comes our way, but how we respond to what comes our way.
This series is about the journey just ahead of each of us. Truly it is our greatest journey, our FINAL JOURNEY, the journey into eternity. Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
As we reflect upon our own particular journey through this life, we could each identify moments or events that are what we could call HIGHLIGHTS of our life to this point in time.
What if I challenged you to choose four of those moments or events from your life? What would they be? For the child of God, our salvation experience is certainly one of those four. Those who are married might include their wedding day, the birth of their children. God's call into a ministry would be a highlight.
Did you know that OUR FINAL JOURNEY will include some wonderful moments? Here are FOUR FUTURE HIGHLIGHTS we can anticipate as the Redeemed, on OUR FINAL JOURNEY.
1 "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
2 For true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand.
3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.
6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
What is the occasion? Why all the shouting? The saints are shouting because a great victory has been won! What victory? It is the victory over what is called, Babylon. What is this Babylon?
In the Word of God, Babylon is presented first as a historical city, and later as a kingdom. The people of the city warranted the judgement and intervention of God because of their great tower called the "tower of Babel." The tower represented their humanistic goal to ascend to the Heavens to the exclusion of God.
The kingdom of Babylon was a pagan kingdom used by God to bring judgement upon His people, the nation Israel. In the book of Revelation, Babylon is a prophetic symbol used to describe the embodiment of all the evil and rebellion of men throughout history. Certainly Babylon is the city, the kingdom, the symbol of Satan himself.
In Revelation 17, we witness the ruin of Ecclesiastical Babylon. This corrupt religious system is pictured as scarlet woman riding a beast. She is called the "great whore" who has caused the Kings of the earth to be drunk with the wine of her fornication. Verse 5 speaks her name. "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." She is dressed in luxury and wealth and has made herself drunk with the blood of the saints of God. Many identify this woman as the Roman church which has adopted every idol and false deity under the sun, and has persecuted the people of God throughout history. Many believe it will be the Roman church headed by the pope, that will be used by the anti-christ in his rise to power, as he builds his commercial and political Babylon, only to cast her aside when he is through with her.
In Revelation 18, we witness the ruin of Commercial Babylon. Satan the "god of this world," will use his man, the anti- christ, to dominate the world during the tribulation period. There will be a one world religion, one world government, one world economy, and one world ruler. Commercial Babylon will capture the hearts, minds, and lives of the world. Verse 3 says, "For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."
Christians will be persecuted and killed if they do not identify with his system of commerce by bearing his mark on their foreheads and or hands. In II Corinthians 4:4 the apostle Paul tells us of Satan's plan and present occupation. "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Satan's plan is to be worshiped as God. In II Thessalonians 2:1-4 he tells us, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Presently the "god of this world" is moving toward that goal and is blinding the minds and hearts of men through false religion, humanism, paganism, materialism, hedonism, anything that will turn them away from considering the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In our lifetime we have witnessed the fall of Communism in the eastern block countries of Europe, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Berlin Wall. The news brought shouts of joy throughout the world! Listen, the time will come when we shall witness the fall of Babylon! A voice shall cry throughout Heaven, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."
The house of false religion built by Satan, pointing men to their own works and good deeds, to idols, icons, and doctrines of men, will crash and burn! The house of humanism that stands as an edifice to man, a house filled with a spirit of pride, self will, and self sufficiency, will crash and burn! The house of materialism filled with the spirit of covetousness, the lusting for gold, silver, and things of this world will crash and burn. Satan's one world faith, one world economy, one world government will one day fall in ruins around him and we will shout Hallelujah to the Lamb!!!
Revelation 19:7-10. "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Do you like weddings? For sure, that question brings a mixed reaction that divides along lines of gender. It is good to attend a wedding from time to time. Why? There are several reasons.
First, it puts a little romance back in our lives. Sometimes in the world of babies, bad breath, bills, and burdens, married couples can lose that "lovin' " feeling.
Second, the finger food at the reception sometimes is pretty good! No, seriously, it is good for us to share in the lives and joys of others. Paul tells us to "rejoice with those who rejoice!" Every time I attend a wedding I rejoice that it isn't my daughter that is getting married. I have both lived and watched "Father if the bride."
Third, every marriage ceremony reminds us of the importance of the institution to our world and society. We are realizing in America that when marriages, homes, and families break up, so does our society. A marriage involves a covenant, not a contract.
Fourth, all of this reminds us of the covenant we have with our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 5:25-32 the apostle Paul says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Jesus has made an eternal covenant with us based upon His own blood shed on the cross. He loves us with an eternal, unconditional, selfless, sacrificial love!
Weddings are a thing of beauty. The focal point is the bride in all her glory. There are flowers, candles, lovely decorations of all sorts, beautiful music, and of course cake, coffee, punch, and finger food! Some people spend money they don't have on a ceremony to make the occasion memorable and spectacular.
It is one thing to have a heavenly wedding, but can you imagine a wedding in Heaven? We who are redeemed, raptured, or resurrected at the coming of Jesus in the clouds, will witness the greatest, most spectacular wedding ever held. One highlight on OUR FINAL JOURNEY, will be to witness the marriage of the Lamb to His wife in Heaven.
The groom will be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Paul writes to the church at Corinth in II Corinthians 11:2, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." In weddings today, the focus is the bride in all her glory. This marriage in Heaven will be different. It will be the groom, the Lord Jesus Christ who will take center stage!
The bride is none other than His church, the redeemed of the New Testament age who were obedient to the commandment of baptism administered by His body, His bride, the church. "Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." There will be besides this, invited guest in attendance to witness this grand and glorious occasion.
Jewish marriage customs in Bible times involved three major steps. First, there was the betrothal, the establishment of the marriage covenant that bound the man and woman together as husband and wife. At this time a dowry is paid and the couple are legally married. Second, the groom then took the bride from her house to his father's house. This usually took place at night approximately one year after the betrothal and involved the consummation of the marriage through physical union of the bride and groom. Third, there was a marriage supper or feast to which guest had already been invited, called, and assembled. This marriage supper lasted one week.
Jesus Christ came to this earth and purchased His church with His own blood. The New Testament church is a blood bought body! He made a marriage covenant, paid the dowry by the sacrifice of Himself on the cross, and left promising to come again and receive us to Himself that where He is, there we shall be also. One day, Jesus will come in the clouds to receive us and take us to His Father's house in Heaven where the marriage will be consummated. Then after the wedding, there will be a great marriage supper, the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb!" What a wonderful time we will have in Heaven with our Savior Jesus Christ. Can you imagine the finger food?
I personally believe the church then will be what it is now, a local visible assembly of scripturally baptized believers, the only difference is that the assembly will then be in Heaven. Yes, I am also a Baptist! The redeemed of all ages however will be in attendance, making this a perfect moment for everyone! She will be a beautiful bride having passed through the Judgement Seat of Christ. Jesus will present to Himself "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
The focus however, will not be the bride, but the groom! This is the marriage ceremony and supper of the Lamb! Our eyes and hearts will be focused upon Him, the One who purchased us with His own blood. Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!!!!!
Revelation 19:11-16. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself.13 And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
There are numerous movies that attempt to create what it would be like to be visited or invaded by another world, with aliens and space ships. These movies with all the special affects available, can capture our imaginations. Usually these creatures of the third kind are made to make us feel so backward and insignificant with all their vast knowledge and technology. Listen, give Spielberg an unlimited budget, and he cannot begin to create the scene described in our text.
At a moment when the Kings of the earth with their great armies are gathered at Jerusalem to do battle with the anti-christ who rules the world, setting himself up as God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the KING Of KINGS and LORD of LORDS, will invade the earth from outer space, to destroy these Kings with their armies, grab the anti-christ by the throat along with the Devil, and cast them into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years! The exciting part for us is to realize that we will be with Jesus as He returns! What a moment it will be to ride through the heavens and participate in this invasion of the wicked by the righteous kind! Victory in Jesus!
Revelation 20:1-4. "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
So many people are speaking of binding Satan these days. They bind Satan in the name of Jeeeeezzzzus! If this is happening, then why am I seeing him everywhere? He must be getting out! Listen, at the return of Jesus Christ to the earth, there will come a time when Satan will be bound, cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years. During that time, the curse of sin will be lifted from this earth, Christ will rule and reign upon the throne of David from Jerusalem, and we will rule and reign with Him! We shall be in our immortal, glorified bodies as we walk and talk among the mortals living upon the earth who came out of the tribulation and were saved.
What a wonderful time we shall have as we experience and help administrate the righteous reign of Christ. We shall enjoy each other as well as the bounty and beauty of the earth. In our glorified bodies, we shall not be limited to this earth. We shall explore and enjoy all of God's limitless creation as He intended.
Jesus shall rule not only in righteousness, but with a rod of iron. There will be those who are born of the mortals who will obey the King only because they are out numbered. You see, the tables will be turned in that day. Love and light will dominate the world. The knowledge of God will fill the earth! We can hardly imagine such a thing!
Child of God, is your head down? Are you weary in well doing? Be encouraged! The best is yet to come! Our hope lies beyond this world. "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!"