JESUS ALWAYS WINS

THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (39)

THE BOOK OF REVELATION (1)

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Revelation Chapter 1. The Book of Revelation is the last Book of the Bible. It was written by the Apostle John about 95AD, during the reign of Caesar Domitian. Apostle John, an old man by now (he was in his 80s), was the bishop of the Church in Ephesus. Emperor Domitian arrested him and sent him to the Island of Patmos because of his preaching the Gospel saying that Caesar is not God, that Jesus is God! The Book of Revelation was given by God the Father, thru God the Son, by the Holy Spirit, who sent an Angel to John to tell him what to write. This Book is not the product of John’s imagination. It is a letter from God, to show the believers what will happen in the future and to encourage them during the present suffering and persecution. The main theme of the Book is to revel that Jesus Christ is Lord overall. He always wins and He can never lose. He is enough for all that concerns us! He alone is worthy to be worshipped! The Book of Revelation is not so much an evangelistic Book, written for the unbelievers to see how they will suffer if they do not repent. It is written primarily to the believers, to encourage them to stand firm and faithful to Jesus Christ their Lord, unto the end. Many Christians avoid the Book of Revelation because they do not understand the visions. Even if we do not understand everything, we should not avoid it. This is the only Book that has a blessing attached to it for reading it, believing it and obeying it.  Therefore, read it!    

INTRODUCTION

The word Revelation in Greek is ‘Apocalypse’. It means an unveiling of something that is hidden. The Gospel is a revelation. The wrath of God is a revelation. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal something that is hidden. We need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and ears to see and to hear what the Spirit says to the churches and to us individually. Revelation is a prophetic book. Prophecy is a word coming directly from God to His people. The Word requires that God’s people receive it with faith and that then, obey it! The Prophets speak to men about present and future things, telling them to repent of unbelief, of rebellion, and change their lifestyles. Generally, the prophetic revelation says that any day, God will suddenly burst among men and does what only Him can do. He will save and reward His people and punish the unbelievers. The Book of Revelation will increase our faith by knowing that God is with us right now, He knows about our trials, and any moment He will come and makes all things right. The Books of Daniel and Ezekiel are also prophetic revelations. Thru the Book of Revelation, we understand that the world is a difficult and dangerous place. We also understand that Jesus Christ is totally in charge of everything, and He is the Lord of the Church. He is actively interested in everything concerning the church. He purifies it with His Word and defends it against all enemies. Jesus always wins! The Book of Revelation is a Book of worship and victory! We have a glimpse of the powerful worship in heaven! We can learn from it! Jesus said that we should pray like this: “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:9, 10)

THE REVELATION OF THE GOSPEL

The Book of Revelation shows the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected in a new light. The Lamb upon the throne looks like He was slain but now He roars like a lion. Jesus Christ says about Himself: I am the First and the Last. “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Rev 1:18). This is the Gospel! When He was on earth, Jesus started His ministry by preaching His Gospel. “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk 1:14, 15). Our Lord preached His Gospel before He died and ascended. In the Book of Revelation, He preaches the same Gospel, but seen from the point of fulfilled prophesy and total victory. We need faith to believe in the Gospel. We need to repent of unbelief concerning the Gospel.

In this book John describes himself not as an apostle, but as ‘His servant John’ (Rev 1:1). He was an old man now. He was humble. He has served Jesus for more than sixty years. But here we see that he is still learning how to serve Jesus. The work to serve Jesus is not done on earth until our last breath. The angel dictated to him the seven letters to the seven churches. I am sure he was happy that his brethren in Ephesus will receive encouragement thru one of the letters. He was far from them, but he prayed for them. The rest of the book of Revelation is not a direct dictation from the angel. John used his words to describe the visions he had received. But let us not forget, Revelation is the Word of God. If the Bible ended with the book of Jude, it could have been incomplete. Revelation adds something more to us, the glory of the Church of Jesus Christ!  

Jesus is ‘the ruler over the kings of the earth’. The wicked Emperor Domitian was the king who sent John to prison on the Island of Patmos. But according to the Book of Revelation, Jesus is in charge of John, and not Domitian. This is a great encouragement to all believers who suffer in this world and are persecuted. I was told that for the Chinese brethren who suffer persecution from the Communist regime, their favorite Book in the Bible is Revelation. Halleluiah!  As for Domitian, he was a good king as a young man. But after he condemned John, he became a troubled ‘mad’ man. He was always anxious about his life. He killed anyone who he suspected of betrayal. At last, he was killed in a coup arranged by his friends and with the help of his wife. Domitian had everything he wanted on earth. But he wanted to be God. That was his downfall. What a sad story!   

The Lord Jesus Christ is described as “the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth” (Rev 1:5). Jesus is the faithful Witness. Whatever He says, it is the truth! The Gospel is the Truth! Jesus told His disciples while He was still on earth that He will be killed and on the third day, He will rise from the dead. It happened as He said it! Jesus is ‘the firstborn from the dead.’ He has foretold His death and resurrection. From heaven, by the same power of resurrection, He sends you the greetings of Grace and Peace! More Favor and more peace to you on earth! “Jesus who died, is now glorified, He is King of all kings!” Jesus is the Lord! Worship the Lord!   

OVERFLOW

I do not know the real name of this beautiful plant in our garden. But I call it ‘overflow’. It reminds me of the overflow of blessings spoken by Joseph’ father (Jacob) over him. He was rejected by his family and friends. But God used the pain to make him stronger, wiser and more fruitful. The enemy can attack but he cannot stop the blessings that God gives during the same attack. The enemy always ignores the power of resurrection. This ignorance is his downfall and disgrace. This is the Gospel of Christ Crucifed and Resurrected. If you believe, you shall see the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ! If you believe, the blessings spoken over Joseph shall be your portion. For the Word of God never changes!

“Joseph is a fruitful bough,A fruitful bough by a well;His branches run over the wall.The archers have bitterly grieved him,Shot at him and hated him.But his bow remained in strength,And the arms of his hands were made strongBy the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob” (Gen 49:22-24)

May God, your heavenly Father, bless you today!

OUR GARDEN

GOD’S GLORY REFLECTED IN OUR GARDEN

Please take a minute and admire God’s creation. May your eyes see good and not bad. We are told that God the Son is the designer of such floral mystery in our garden. See the colors, the stages of developments of plants, the design of the flowers, how gentle they are dancing in the breeze, how beautiful… There is no mistake. No plant is malnourished. No plant is lonely. They bloom and spread their fragrance freely to all. Only God can design and manufacture such beauty. For His pleasure alone. These flowers do not live long… but in their short life, they fulfill their destiny, to silently proclaim the greatness of their creator and to give Him praise!

“Everything was created by Jesus Christ, everything in heaven and on earth, everything seen and unseen, including all forces and powers, and all rulers and authorities. All things were created by God’s Son, and everything was made for Him” (Col 1:16)

SEE ME, SEE PEACE!

THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (38)

THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST AS OUR PROPITIATION

During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching from the Book of Romans. The title of her sermon was ‘The Doctrine of Christ as our Propitiation”. Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness …Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. e present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 1:16-18; 3:19-26)

Propitiation is the biblical doctrine embodying the concept that the death of Christ fully satisfied the demands of a righteous and holy God in respect to judgment upon the sinner. It means reconciliation between an offended God and sinful man, by the Blood of Christ! Propitiation is the act of gaining the favor, good will of or making things right with someone, especially after having done something wrong. It is changing enemies into friends. Close synonyms of propitiation are: peacemaking, satisfaction, reconciliation, apology, fulfilment, restitution, appeasement or contentment.

The word propitiation appears only three times in the New Testament (Rom 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). This doctrine relates to the doctrine of the wrath of God. Propitiation is a big Biblical word that generally means satisfaction. There are two persons: God and man. Man has offended God. Propitiation means that by a Blood sacrifice, the offence is taken away; God is pacified; the guilty man is not just forgiven but restored to fellowship with God. God’s wrath has been appeased and His honor vindicated. Because God is a holy God, His anger and justice burns against sin. He has sworn that sin will be punished with death. God said, “If I punish man for his sin, man will die and go to hell. On the other hand, if I don’t punish man for his sin, My justice will never be satisfied.” The solution? God said that He would become our Substitute. He would take the sin of mankind upon Himself in agony and blood—a righteous judgment and substitute for sin. His wrath burned out on the cross when His only Son died as man’s Propitiation for sin. This is love! This is Grace! The offended God sent His own Son to die so that there will be peace! The death of Christ served for the vindication of God’s justice and at the same time it is a way for man to escape from the punishment, guilt and consequences of sin. Based on Christ’ sacrifice, God now freely justifies the believer who accepts this reality by faith!

Propitiating means covering what is offensive, so restore friendship. It is the idea of friendliness where antagonism would be natural. That is why it is the work of Grace! All provisions for this friendly relation as between God and offending man find their initiation and provision in God and are under His direction but involve the active response of man. God had all the while been merciful, friendly, “passing over” man’s sins with no apparently adequate, or just, ground for doing so. Now in the blood of Christ sin is condemned and expiated, and God is able to establish and maintain His character for righteousness, while He continues and extends His dealing in gracious love with sinners who exercise faith in Jesus. Propitiation originates with God, not to appease Himself, but to justify Himself in His uniform kindness to men deserving harshness. Forgiveness is not an easy thing for God! At the Cross, God was vindicated in His Holy Anger and Love for sinners! Christ is our Propitiation!!!

To apply the doctrine of propitiation is to become like Jesus, a Peacemaker! “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Mt 5:9). As you see, it is possible to be happy in this world of sin. If you seek happiness, you will never find it. But if you seek God, if you desire to become a peacemaker, you shall become extremely happy (blessed). This is one of the beatitudes, words spoken by our Lord. These words are impossible for the natural man to believe and obey. You need to be a child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit to be able to obey these words. To be ‘blessed’ it means to be happy, to be congratulated. The Jews thought that the Messiah will come as a warrior to free them from the bondage to the Romans. Jesus came as the Prince of Peace. They did not expect that. That is why they rejected Him. Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn 14:27).

Why are there wars in this world? Because of sin! The problem is always internal! Men are greedy and love pleasure. They do not love God. They fight with one another because they fight God. God is jealous and angry when His children love the world. Humble yourself! Repent! You shall receive grace to have peace with God and with one another. Become a peacemaker! The great need today is for peacemakers. If all of us are peacemakers, there shall be no more quarrels, no more wars! A peacemaker is actively involved in making peace and keeping it! No hot tempered, impatient, rebellious person can be a peacemaker! A peacemaker is not a passive person always avoiding troubles. He is not just quiet or peaceful! He loves the Prince of Peace so much that he is ready and prepared to take risks, to minister peace in the midst of troubles. In a way, he is attracted to troubles because these are the fertile soil to plant seeds of peace, for the glory of God! He desires first to make peace between men and God, thru Christ. Secondly, he makes peace between men. It is always in this order. Troubles are great opportunities for peacemaking and evangelism! To be a peacemaker involves sacrifices. It is hard work! It is also dangerous! Self must be denied and crucified. You must be completely neutral. You cannot think of your reputation, of what you gain or lose by settling two enemies. The peacemaker lives at the foot of the Cross. His primary reason for living and working is to bring glory to God thru his life or death. Practically, the peacemaker has learned to control his emotions and especially his tongue. He knows how to wisely use even silence for the glory of God.

One of the best examples of a peacemaker is Joseph. He was hated, betrayed and sold as a slave by his brothers. They did this because of his dreams. They were jealous. He suffered in Egypt as a slave and a prisoner. Many years passed. One day, he was called before Pharaoh, the greatest man at that time. He asked Joseph ‘Can you interpret my dreams?’  “Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” (Gen 41:16). Joseph gave all the glory to God! He had enough reasons to be a bitter, angry man. But thru his pains and sorrow, yielding to the Holy Spirit, he became spiritually wise and patient. He became a peacemaker. Thru this ministry and anointing of a peacemaker, Joseph became the prime minister to Egypt. Peacemaking was his promotion! During famine, his brothers came and bowed to him. The dream came to pass. Joseph wept, not of anger, not of regret. But because God’s dreams given to him as a young man, have finally come to pass. He was now a happy, blessed man! What a wonderful Gospel!

May God change you to become like Joseph, an ambassador of the Prince of Peace. In Nigeria, many people quote this (foolish) proverb: ‘See me, see trouble’. I cancel that! This is my confession: ‘See me, see Peace!’ in Jesus’ name! Worship the Lord!    

OUR GARDEN

GOD’S ENCOURAGEMENT FROM OUR GARDEN

I live in Warri/ Effurun, Nigeria. I took these pictures in our garden. Just look at these flowers. Are they not beautiful? Look at the rainbow colors… yellow, orange, pink, purple… green leaves…perfect bouquet. It is not me who arranged them like this. It is God!!! On the same plant the flowers are of so many colors… To me, this is a reminder that God loves unity in diversity. God hates discrimination (racial, tribal…). He created us all and together, in one accord, we must worship Him!