Sermon Transcript: Faithful to the End 5/23/2021 Jeff Schwarzentraub 47 min read - January 13th of 1969 was Super Bowl III between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets. The Baltimore Colts were quarterback by a guy named Johnny Unitas, they were favored by 18 points and yet what may be most memorable about Super Bowl number three is the New York Jets had a quarterback named Joe Namath. And Joe Namath went to the media and what he said to them was this, "I have news for you, we will win the game, I guarantee it." And the New York Jets went on to win 16 to seven. Now, since that time, it seems like in every major sporting event, football, basketball, baseball, whatever it is, somebody makes the claim, "We're gonna win, I guarantee it." And every time they're either right or wrong, but I wanna let you know something from the Word of God for you that are Christians and believers here today. I've got news for you, we will win the game. - [Congregation] Amen. - I guarantee it. As we've been going through the Book of Revelation and we see the first 11 chapters spell out chronologically and then we got into chapter 12, 13 and today in chapter 14, those three paranthetically chapters that are about the final three and a half years and we've taken a look at the antichrist and Satan and the false prophet, it's easy to walk out of here and think, "What in the world is going on, like this is really difficult stuff." But God is such a good and loving God, He wants us to know what's coming before we would ever see it so that we would be ready to respond to it, but you need to know this, even though God is going to give the devil a little time to have his way, we will win in the end, it is an absolute guarantee and I wanted to tell you that because you never need to leave church and start fearing Satan. The Bible says, "Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world." We need to be aware of Him, we need to be aware of what He could do, but we don't need to fear Him. It reminds me of a story, a friend of mine that pastors a church and one day Satan and actually appeared physically in their church and as he was walking through the door, people were jumping over pews, leaving, scared to death, running for the exit, except for one man that was sitting right over here and so the devil walked up to him, he's like, "Do you know who I am?" He's like, "Yeah, I know who you are." He goes, "Aren't you scared of me?" He said, "Nope, not the least bit." He said, "Well, don't, you know what I can do?" He's like, "Yeah, I know what you can do." He goes, "Have you ever read testimony of what I've done to the saints throughout all the generations?" He's like, "Yeah, I'm pretty aware of that." He goes, "Then why aren't you scared of me?" And he said, "Well, because I've been married to your sister for the last 47 years." Hey, listen, let it sink in, let it sink in. We need to have some levity because here in church sometimes when we're talking about tough topics, we get all nervous and wound up, listen, it has nothing to do with, it has everything to do with, if you have Christ on the inside, you need not fear, you need fear, we will win. And so, as we've been going through the Book of Revelation, I invite you today to turn to Revelation 14, because God's gonna specifically give us four promises that we can bank on that we can know for sure are going to take place, which should give us great confidence in how we move forward with the Lord. I'd like to read those passages to you and then we will unpack them together, Revelation 14, you can read along with me as I read it aloud, it says, "Then I looked and behold the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion and with Him 144,000 having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps and they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders and no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been purchased from the earth. These are the ones who have not been defiled with women for they have kept themselves chase, they are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes, these have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth, they are blameless. And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people. And he said with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give Him glory because the hour of His judgment has come, worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and the springs of waters.' And another angel, a second one following saying, 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.' Then another angel, a third one followed them saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and the presence of the Lamb and the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night and those who worship the beast and his image and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the perseverance of the saints, who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.' And I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Write, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on,' yes, says the spirit, 'So that they may rest from their labors for their deeds follow with them.' Then I looked and behold, a white cloud and sitting on the cloud was one like a Son of man having a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in His hand and another angel came out of the temple crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, 'Put your sickle in and reap for the hour to reap has come because the harvest of the earth is ripe.' Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven and he also had a sharp sickle. Then another angel, the one who has power over fire came out from the altar and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle saying, 'Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth because her grapes are ripe.' So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God and the wine press was trodden outside the city and the blood came out from the wine press up to the horse's bridles for a distance of 200 miles." And in this section of scripture, what we're gonna see are promises that God is making to His children so that we can have a great confidence. Now, as we've been talking about this book, Revelation 1-11 is all chronological, 12, 13 and 14 are parenthetically, they're talking about the last three and a half years in greater detail so we get to really see what's taking place during that time. This may be called like a prolapses or a vision of the future as if it's already happened, so when you read different commentators, some will tell you all these things happen right at the end of the seven years, some will say this starts at the mid-point and goes through. I think both can be equally true, what we're seeing here are the things that are gonna take place before they happen. For those of us who live in Colorado, we know what this is like, if you ever go hike a mountain or you're ever on top of one and it looks like one's really close, if you were to hike out to it, you would realize when you get to it, hey, it's a little further than you thought and the one beyond it that looked like it was right next door is a little further as well. This is what we have in Revelation 12, 13 and 14, we're seeing three and a half years through one lens just giving us depictions as to what's going to happen as we see the promises of God. And the first promise of God is this, all the way to the end, God promises protection of those that He seals, God promises protection of those that He seals. Notice what he says, "Then I looked and behold the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion," that's Jerusalem, "With Him 144,000 having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads." Remember back in Revelation 8 before the rapture of the saints, God seals 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from every single tribe, these are the 144,000 standing with Jesus and we're gonna realize that they go wherever He goes. In other words, these 144,000, wherever Jesus says, "This is where I'm going, this is what I want you to do." They're gonna be obedient to Him. These 144,000 have been marked by God or sealed with God on their foreheads, the name of Jesus and the name of the Father so that no one can touch them, they are there throughout the rest of that seven years testifying to the Lord Jesus Christ, much of their testifying is through how they're living and through whom they're serving, they are a witness to the Lord in all that they do. Notice verse two He says, "And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps." I mean, can you get the picture? I mean, we've seen the thunder and the waters before. I've been to Niagara Falls once in my life and I've been on the Canadian side and if you're there and you're close to the falls and you're talking to somebody else, you have to speak loudly because when water is coming crashing down at that rate, it makes a very loud sound, thunder you're very familiar with and when there's thunder right above you, you know how loud it is. Want you to see this in the text today, everything in heaven's loud, if you don't like it loud, you'll get used to it, 'cause everything in heaven seems to be really loud, but this is not only loud, but it had the sound like a harp as well, so there's a melody to it and we don't know who the voice is coming from, it's coming out of heaven while they're on the earth with Jesus. Now, when are they on the earth with Jesus? Are they on the earth with Jesus right at the beginning of that three and a half year point, through the rest of the time after the rapture where Jesus comes down and meets with them, or is this right at the end of time, I think both are equally true. I think they're gonna follow Jesus wherever He goes and ask and do whatever He asked them to do. And notice what they did, it says, "And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders and no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been purchased from the earth." So they're singing a new song, nobody knows this song and the only people that can learn the song are those 144,000 Jews, nobody else can learn it. You ever been a church and they try to teach a new song, like, "I don't get that one, I don't feel the tune, I don't understand the word, it's not going for me." Only the 144,000 are gonna be able to sing this new song, this testimony to Jesus and who He is. And notice who these 144,000 are, these are the ones who have not been defiled with women for they have kept themselves chase, they're the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes, these have been purchased from among men as the first fruits to God and to the Lamb and no lie was found in there mouth, they're blameless. What do we know about these men? Well, they're morally pure, they're sexually pure, they're obedient to everything that God's asking them to do, they're blameless before the Lord, it doesn't mean that they're sinless, it means that when they sin, they've been repenting, it means that they're following after Jesus in every single way. Now this word chase can mean virgin, so many people will say these 144,000 are single men, it could also be in marriage, the marriage bed is chase, so some of these men could be married depending upon who you talk to. I don't know, but what we do know is that these 144,000 are serving the Lord and because of God's protection over them, they are going to be redeemed and they're gonna serve Him all the way through that last three and a half years. Now, here's what you may be saying, "Okay, so what, how does that apply to me?" Here's how it applies to you, God protects every single person that He seals and every single person who has repented of their faith and trusted in Christ, has been marked or sealed with the Holy Spirit, which means this, God's protecting you too, God's walking with you too. If you turn your Bibles to Ephesians 1, I quote this verse a lot, but I want you to see it with your own two eyes, Ephesians 1:13-14, talks about what happens at the moment of your conversion. It says this, "In him, you also after listening to the message of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise." Sealing is a mark, you've been marked by the Holy Spirit when you trust Christ and what does that do? "Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory." What does that mean? That means you've been marked with Him and the Holy Spirit is a down payment guaranteeing your inheritance. Every single person who has repented and trusted in Jesus, it's God who has purchased you, you belong to Him, the Holy Spirit of promise is in your life, it's the down payment guaranteeing that you will be in the presence of Jesus someday, that's good news, who God seals, God protects, that's what God does. Now, you may say, "Wait, wait, wait, some people that have been marked with the Holy Spirit, some Christians I know have died." Guess what? To be apart from the body is to do what? Be in the presence of Christ and if the goal of our faith is really to be in the presence of Jesus, then that's not really a bad thing either. God always protects those who are His and God is gonna protect these 144,000 Jews who will be saved at the end during this time, God promises all the way at the end that He protects those that He seals. It means God is walking with you, it means His goodness and mercy are chasing you down every single day, it means He goes before you, it means He's behind you, it means he's with you, it means wherever you go, there God is if you're a follower of Jesus Christ and that's great news this morning, amen. - [Congregation] Amen. - God is not only faithful all the way to the end by protecting those He seals, but notice this, all the way to the end God promises the proclamation of the gospel, He promises the proclamation of the gospel. Now how He's gonna deliver the gospel, in this season is gonna be through three different angels. God has called men throughout generations of the church to preach the Word, part of preaching the Word and preaching the whole counsel of God is to preach the gospel. Well, what's the gospel? The gospel is the good news that God the Father sent His Son to be the savior of the world. That God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him would not perish, but would have eternal life. It means this, you are dead in trespasses and sins, you're dead because you're a sinner, but God wanted to make you alive and the only way He could make you alive was to make you alive Himself. So He came, took on flesh, lived the perfect life and died on the cross, in your place for all your sins. Then He rose from the dead to validate that He indeed is the Son of God who could offer life. That's good news, it's the best news on the planet, there's no better news that you'll ever get, there's no book coming out in the bookstore, no motivational speaker that you're ever gonna see that's gonna have a better offer than that, that you are dead and yet God, in His grace and His mercy, through nothing that you do, will make you alive and that you can have relationship with God. And that's what we proclaim, we proclaim it here every single Sunday, because the gospel is so important and there's no better message, there's no better message. Now listen to the messages that these three angels are gonna call out. The first angel is this in verse six, he says, "And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth and to every nation and tribe and tongue." Now this angel is flying in mid-heaven, what does that mean? It means above the whole earth so that everyone can see this angel. And the real reason that this is pretty special is we know from our study that about the mid-point of this tribulation period of seven years, what happens is, Satan gets the boot from heaven. Right now, Satan has access to the throne room in some way, he accuses us daily and nightly, he's the one that goes before the Lord and says, "He says he's a Christian, look always acting. She says she's a Christian, she's a total gossip." He accuses us day and night. At the mid point of the seven years, Satan gets the boot from heaven, so he's not in the heavenly places, he's on the earth and we read that when he is, he's gonna pursue Israel and the church 'cause he knows his time is short. So what's God gonna do? He's gonna put an angel in mid-heaven, He's gonna put an angel up in the sky so that the whole world can hear this angel and Satan will be able to do nothing about it. And what is this angel going to proclaim? Notice what this angel is gonna proclaim in verse seven, "And he said with a loud voice," see that word loud again, it's gotta be loud if you're gonna reach the whole world, it's gotta be pretty loud. And he said with a the loud voice, "Fear God and give Him glory because the hour of his judgment has come, worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and the springs of water." So there's angel is going to come and give an announcement to the world. Now we read this because for many of us our first language is English and we think, "Well, the angel is gonna be talking in English, therefore everybody in the world must speak English by this time." No, no, no, the beauty of this is when this angel talks, everybody's going to hear this angel in their own language, 'cause every nation, tribe, tongue and people group are gonna hear this message.And what's the message that they're gonna hear? They're gonna hear the gospel. What's what's the good news? Fear God and serve Him only, fear God and give Him glory, that's the gospel. The gospel is to take your allegiance off yourself and whatever idols you have in this world and place it on the Lord Jesus Christ, because He's the only one worthy of your praise and make Him central to all your worship, worship Him and worship Him only, that's the gospel. And why is that message so important? Because some people don't think that's the gospel, some people think the gospel is just simply knowing facts that God the Father sent His Son to be the savior of the world or the fact that Jesus died on the cross or the fact that He rose from the dead or the fact that He wants to offer life or that they've prayed some prayer, they walk some aisle, they felt something stirred in their heart, that's not salvation, salvation is when there's a change in your heart and you've turned your life from yourself and your sin and your own idols and the things that you worshiped over to the things of God, where you're fearing God. Proverbs 1:7, says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, what does it mean to fear the Lord? Fear Him, it's reverential all that this awesome, mighty, incredible God has a purpose and plan for me, fear Him and give Him glory, means worship Him and give Him glory. See here's the question that you got to ask when you're reading this, is Jesus central in your worship? Is Jesus central in your life? Is He the one that you wanna give glory to? Or is it about you? Is it about the things that you enjoy? Is it about your life and what you can have and all these different things? That's not the gospel, the gospel is not adding Jesus Christ to something that you have, the gospel is making Jesus Christ central to all that you are. Maybe you study through the Bible, you'll see the word Lord used over 6,700 times, you'll see the word Savior used about 39 times. Jesus wants to be Lord, what does He wanna be? Lord, Lord means master, ruler, the one in charge, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. Even if you read through the sermons of the apostles in the Book of Acts, you'll see that's what they were proclaiming. And Paul spells it out even in 2 Corinthians 4:5, right after he got done saying, "The unbeliever can't see because the God of this age has blinded their eyes, they can't see the light of the hope of the gospel." So what do you preach, Paul? 2 Corinthians 4:5 says, "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves as your bond servants for Jesus' sake." So what does Paul preach? We don't preach ourselves, Paul says, "I'm not here to talk about me," I can tell you as a preacher, I'm not here to talk about me. I'm not all that interesting, church is not geared to hear about the pastor or his stories, church is geared to be hear about what? That Jesus Christ is Lord, I mean, right here on our Inglewood campus, we've got four words, Jesus Christ is Lord, you get that right, you get everything right, you get that wrong, you miss it all. I mean, even when we redesigned this building and from pews to chairs and we put things on the wall, it said, "Jesus is Lord," 'cause Christ wasn't ready, so we told people, Christ is coming, He'll be here soon and sure enough, he showed up, but I'm telling you that because it's not complicated, it's clear. But for some of us, it's like, "Well, I want the Lord to be my Savior, I just am not ready to make Him Lord yet." Then that's what that means, He's not Lord, it's the Lord who saves. Do you fear God? Do you give Him glory? Do you desire to worship Him? See, what God wants to do, is speak to your heart and get you out of your religious ideas as to who you think you are or what religious behavior you've done, because I wanna tell you this, just because you come to BRAVE Church where the gospel is proclaimed and just because you're in a small group or just because you serve or just because you contribute money, that does not make you a Christian, a Christian is an individual response in your own heart where you say, "I fear the Lord and I wanna give him glory, He's the one that I worship. I used to be like this, but now I'm like this, doesn't mean I'm perfect, but my desire would be to put Jesus Christ on display." And that's where this angel proclaims from mid-heaven, he's presenting the one true God. Notice what he does next, verse eight, "Another angel, this is the second angel, a second one, following saying, 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality. Fallen is Babylon the great.'" Now who and what is Babylon the great? You'll see as we play it out, Babylon is representative of all the false world religions and political systems that don't put Jesus Christ first, that's ultimately what it is. You go all the way back to the Book of Genesis after the flood where God saved Noah, his wife, his three boys and their wives, eight people were saved in all and you would think after God destroyed the entire world in a flood that then the world would get right, then the world would say, "Man, it's the Lord that's the only one we're gonna serve." But it doesn't take us, but another chapter or two until we get to what? The tower of Babel and what do people decide to do at Babel or Babylon, what happens? They decide to say, "No, we're gonna build our own shrine to our own God and we're gonna worship whoever we want, however we want, whenever we want and you can't tell us what to do." And God in His mercy instead of killing them, what does He do? He disperses them, that's why you have all the different languages, He puts them across all the planet of the earth and that's why we have all the different languages and all the different nations of people which we studied in the Book of Genesis. What's going on here? What's this angel proclaiming? This angel is proclaiming that every false religion, every false geopolitical system that's ever existed, is done, Jesus Christ is coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He will be worshiped, He will rule the planet, end of story. Now, what does that mean? It means this, it doesn't matter who's in office or what country you're from, Jesus Christ will be Lord over all of that. What else does it mean? That the only way to God is through the person of Jesus Christ, these are Jesus' words not mine, here's what Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." That's what Jesus said, it means every other made up cultish, religion, self-help thing, it doesn't work and one day it will be seen for the mess that it is. I mean, even we think about the 144,000 Jews, I mean, Jehovah Witnesses for a time said, "The 144,000 where the Jehovah Witnesses, they were the special people God chose," and now they have more than 144,000 followers, they've had to change their theology on that a little bit, 'cause it's a cultish religion, it has nothing to do with Jesus, it's made up. It means this and most people wouldn't say this from a pulpit, but I'm not afraid to tell you this, it means that Jesus Christ is the only way, I mean Islam will be seen as false, Hinduism will be seen as false, following Confucius will be seen as false, self-help, self-made spiritual religion will be seen as false, amen. Mormonism, Jehovah Witness, all the like, all these wonderful, spiritual, philanthropic people who have not bound the need of the Lord Jesus Christ will be seen as false. Babylon is fallen, there is coming a day where everyone will know that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. - [Congregation] Amen. - That's what we preach, that's what the angel saying, like all your false made systems, all your false made political promises, all those things that don't center on the person, Jesus, those are done, 'cause when Jesus Christ comes back, He's gonna rule the world politically, He's gonna rule the world economically, He's gonna rule the world spiritually and He and He alone are in charge and there's not room for anybody else. It's a total monarchy and those of us who are waiting for Him, can't wait for that day, amen. - [Congregation] Amen. So the first angel come and says, "Get right, fear God and give Him glory, worship His name and His name only." The second one comes and says, "Babylon the great has fallen, with all her immorality, all of her greed, all of her wickedness, that day is coming to a close." And then you see this third angel, notice verse nine, "Then another angel, a third one followed them saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast in his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.'" So it's this third angel promising, he's promising punishment to everyone who rejects Christ. See the reality is that God would desire that all people would come to a knowledge of Him, the desire is that God has gone to great lengths to send His own Son into the world and the Bible makes crystal clear that anyone who would come to Christ, he'll never turn away, anyone that would say, "I'm dead, I know I'm dead, I repent, I want faith in you." Jesus would welcome anybody, no matter how severe your sin is, no matter how far you've been, that's God's desire, but there's still a group of people and there are a group of people like this every day that still reject either passively or aggressively or indifferently the gospel of Jesus Christ that He's the only way and when you reject that, you can be assured that there's a real place of torment and punishment. Now you may come to BRAVE Church today and said, "Man, this is gonna be one of those fire and brimstone sermons." And I would say, "The only reason it is, is because it says in the text, 'He will be tormented with fire and brimstone.'" I'm just trying to tell you what God's trying to tell you, I'm not trying to get all fired up about it. And notice what happens, why are they there? Because He's given a warning, we talked about this last week, He calls for wisdom and He calls for the perseverance of the saints. There will be a time geopolitically when the antichrist will rise in power, given authority by Satan himself, where he will force everyone in the world to take a mark on the back of their right hand or on their forehead, so that the devil, counterfeit that he is, has a false seal so that people are worshiping him. In order to take the mark, you will have to give allegiance to the antichrist, it's not accidentally gonna arrive on your hand, you're not gonna wake up with a brand or a tattoo and be like, "I shouldn't have done that. I mean, big party night last night, I don't know what I was thinking." I mean, that's not gonna happen. In order to take the mark, you will have to give allegiance to the antichrist, which is the world system. So Christians beware, like if we're that last generation is going through, don't take the mark. Well, why not? 'Cause if you take the mark, you're going to hell forever. If you take the mark, you will demonstrate that you're not truly a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, don't take the mark. Well, why would God tell us that? 'Cause he doesn't want you to take the mark, like don't do it, because when people do it, it's not like you can try it out for a couple months and say, "Hey, I'm just gonna check this out, maybe it works, maybe, oh, I shouldn't have done that." No, you take it and you've sealed your fate for all eternity. So this angel is proclaiming, this third one, a promise of future judgment and he says all these things will be at full strength. Now why for the Christian to be not have to worry? Let me tell you why, this is the best news I can tell you all day, because God the Father poured out all of His wrath on His Son for those of us who believe. - [Congregation] Amen. - Now, think about this for just a second. We celebrate usually around Christmas time the fact that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and why is that such a big deal? Because we know what heredity of sin happens, 'cause you get Adam and Eve and they sin and then they start producing offspring and you get sinlings and they just produce and produce and produce and that's why all of us have caught the sin virus, until Jesus, because Jesus was not born of Joseph and Mary, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb, so what does Jesus not have that every other being ever born has? A sin nature, that's why from the time He was conceived until He died, He's both fully God and fully man. But think about this, if sin is what kills us and Jesus didn't have any sin, then how did He die? Most of us think, "Well, the last night of His life, He was punched in the face, He was smacked, He had a crown of thorns on His head, He was bleeding, they whipped Him so hard He couldn't even stand, He couldn't carry His cross and then when He got to the point of complete physical exhaustion, they drove nails into His hands and into His feet, they let Him hang for six hours until He has fixated Himself and that's why he died, a physical punishment." Friends, that's not why He died, that's not why He died, He's God, He's not gonna die, so how did Jesus died? Here's how he died, because God the Father took all of your sin and all of my sin and place all of that on His Son and then punished Him to the full with all of His wrath accordingly. Jesus Christ drank the cup of God the Father's wrath so that for those of us who believe in Him, we'd never have to experience that. And when Jesus went to the grave and rose from the dead and we have repented and trusted in Him, it means the wrath of God will never touch us for we were not destined for wrath, but to obtain salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, is that good news or what? See being a Christian is not about being a good person, being a Christian is about somebody who realizes that they're not and has repented and trusted in Christ. So these three angels are gonna proclaim the message, it's interesting just for you to study on your own, if you go back to Matthew 24, which we talked about this, I love that this course and how it parallels Revelation 6 so identically, but in Matthew 24:14, it says, "The gospel of this kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations and then the end will come." God's gonna make sure that He continues to raise up men to preach the gospel and that the purpose of the church is to advance the kingdom in the world with the gospel, that's what God is doing. But even in the last days, when there are still people that haven't heard what's He gonna do, He's gonna dispatch three angels to make sure everybody gets it and then what's gonna happen? Then the end is gonna come. And Romans 1:20, says that all men will be without excuse, everybody's gonna know what they're doing and or why they're doing it and they're either gonna choose Christ or they're gonna choose the antichrist, it's not gonna be where you can hide in one of those two places. Now, why is this so important? Why is it so important? Because the gospel of Jesus Christ is so foundational, the gospel of Jesus Christ is so foundational to all that we do. I mean, the church doesn't exist for the church, the church exists to house the mission of God to advance the kingdom, the purpose of BRAVE Church is not to grow BRAVE Church, the purpose of BRAVE Church is to raise up more disciples to advance the kingdom, both in our city, nation and world, that's the purpose of the gospel, the gospel is to give up our lives so that other people can know who Christ is and there's a risk in doing that, but it's foundational to all that we are. CS Lewis once said, "Most people think that you're a body that has a soul when in reality, you're a soul that has a body." When we talk about the gospel, we're talking about saving souls, it's your soul, it's where you're gonna spend eternity, either with Christ or apart from Christ. And it's really interesting at the end of chapter or the end of verse 12 when they're being tormented with fire and brimstone, look who's looking on, in the presence of his holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. I thought if I went to hell, God wouldn't be there, no, God's presence will be there watching you, 'cause you rejected Him. He'll have a picture of seeing Jesus look over you saying, "I told you so, I came and I died for you and you rejected me and now you're getting exactly what you wanted," that's the picture. But we're called to mission and I just got to say this because in 2020, one of the things that hurt my heart the most in the world in which we live in is the fear that most Christians live with. The Bible says, "Do not fear." It's not like a suggestion, it's a command, it's all over the place and every story that you like in the Bible involves do not fear, I love that story about Daniel, he went in the lion's den 'cause he didn't fear, love that story about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, of course, 'cause they didn't fear. I love that story about Peter getting off the boat and walking up, why? 'Cause he did not fear and yet for all of us as Christians that know that, how many of us or people that we know that are genuine believers lived in fear and still are, like for some churches, they're like, "oh, it's too scary, we can't meet anymore, somebody might die, there's like a 1% chance we could die." No, there's not a 1% chance you could die, there's a 100% chance you're gonna die. What better place to die than in the presence of the Lord with all of his saints, amen. Now I agree with wisdom and I agree that there are those who have made wise decisions but not gathering and all those kinds of things, but we're not called to live in fear. I mean, if we're called to live in fear, then how can the church be on mission? How are we gonna get the gospel to Baghdad and Afghanistan and India, in the Sudan? Like who's going? Well, I don't know if I could go, 'cause I mean, I don't know if they have a meal on that flight. It's kind of scary. And I don't know if everybody's wearing masks and all this kind of stuff. We're called to go, why? Because we've already died and our lives are hidden now with Christ and God and one Christ who is our life appears, then we'll also appear with Him in glory. So let me step on some toes some more, you ready? 'Cause I hear this as a pastor all the time, "Pastor, we're moving to a red state, we're moving to a red state." By that what they're saying is, politically I'm more on the Republican side and it's better for my business and it's better for my family and it's better for me, we're getting out of town and I would say this, "God can call you to any number of places," but I wanna tell you this. God's not calling you to a place in the world based upon a color of politics, He's just not and if anything, when I read the Bible, God has never called us to a place of comfort. I mean, who was called to that? I mean, when Paul traveled around for the gospel, he didn't even check where the hotels were, he checked what the prison was like, 'cause he knew he was gonna spend more time there. I mean, where do we get this idea that comfort is the gospel, like, "I'll move to this place 'cause business is better, my family's better, we're more taken care of. And then if there's a church there that we like, then we'll join that church and help them out," that is not how God calls people. God normally calls you out of your comfort zone to a place that you wouldn't otherwise choose to go and do what God wants you to do when you have no idea how He's gonna work it out and in doing that, that's where God shows up. - [Congregation] Amen. - So all I'm telling you is this, God can call you to any number of places, it may be a red state, it may be a blue state, it may not be any state, it may be out of the states and that's okay, but He's not calling you to comfort, He's calling you to share the gospel and if you are being moved, your first question to God should be this, "God, I'm willing to go anywhere and do anything so long as I can serve you, so Lord only take me to a place where there's a life-giving church where we can advance our time, our energy and our money in it so we can better glorify your name." And if the Lord calls you there, then you know it's the Lord. - [Congregation] Amen. - I mean, I like to travel, my wife likes to travel, we were in Arizona a couple of weeks ago, we were in Florida the week after that. I mean, when I'm with my wife on the beach, I mean, she'll sometimes look at me and whisper me, she's like, "Now, explain to me again why we chose Denver." And I'm saying all this, 'cause you don't know my wife, sorry, my wife feels called here, she loves it here, I love it here, I mean, it's awesome. But the reason I love it here is 'cause I've been called here and I have an open hand, if God calls me somewhere else, I'll go there, like this is not my calling, this is God's calling on my life. I didn't pick the city based upon what I thought the city would be like or what it could offer me, I really believe that God wanted me to be here, that's why we're here. So all I'm saying is, as church we got to stay on mission and why? Because the stakes are so high, when the curtain is unveiled someday and there are people that you'll see literally in heaven and hell, you'll know that what I'm talking about is real. It's important, I remember telling my wife 11 years ago, like, "If we don't move to Denver and do this church, we are totally being disobedient, we have to go," and all the logistical questions come, like how are we gonna get paid? And where are we gonna be? And who are the people? And I'm like, "Yeah, I don't know any of that stuff, I just know we got to go," and thankfully I have a wife that seeks the Lord and praise hard and here's His voice and knew that God was calling us here, I'm like, "I'm there, let's go." And we've had great highs and extreme lows and all sorts of stuff in between, but the one thing that keeps me here is I know this is where God wants me to be, for the purpose of one thing, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to our city because there's hundreds of thousands of people in our city that don't know Jesus and in our state and in our world and I believe God's gonna use us to reach as many we possibly can to the glory of God, amen. - [Congregation] Amen. - And that's why we're here, so thanks. I mean, I was reminded of a quote this week from a famous missionary named Charles Thomas Studd, C. T. Studd, and as I was reading the quote, I was thinking, "Why didn't God give me a cool name like that," I mean, C. T. Studd, I mean, what a cool name. And here's what he said, he said, "Some like to live within sound of church or chapel bell, but I would rather build a rescue shop within a yard of hell. Oh, let me not rust out, let me not glide through the world and slip quietly out without having blown my trumpet loud and long for my blessing Redeemer, at the very least may there be a thanksgiving service in hell when my enemy gets the news of my departure from the field of battle." Friends, that's the gospel, we've given up our rights to ourself for the sake of others and for the sake of Christ so that the gospel can expand. And when you open your hands and say, "God, I'm willing to go anywhere and do anything," sometimes the Lord is like, "Great, I love it right where you're at, you wanna go? I got you right here for a reason." And other times you're comfortable where you're at and God moves you, it doesn't matter what He does, it matters how obedient you are to what He shows you, amen. God promises to be with us all the way to the end, He promises the proclamation of the gospel and why is it so important? Turn your eyes to verse 11, we have to talk about this, I find that most pastors won't talk about this, but we got to talk about him. Verse 11, when it talks about their torment and the fire and brimstone, it says, "In the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image and whoever receives the mark of his name." Here's what he's saying, there's a real place called hell and it's as long of punishment as eternal life with Christ as eternal. We have a lot of people proclaiming the Word today that will not tell you, a lot of people that say, we'll tell you this, "Hey, everybody's going to heaven, so don't worry about it." No, they're not, some people tell you, "No, not everybody's going to heaven, but there is no real hell, there's no real torment, how could a loving God send people to hell?" Here's how, because He's perfectly holy and you've rebelled against Him and He would be a liar if He didn't, 'cause that's what He said He's gonna do. So I wanted to give you a few verses, I'm gonna put them up on the screen so that you can write them down, you can see them with your own two eyes so that when you hear a false teacher lie to you and tell you, "There's no such thing as a real place of eternal hell," you can say, "Well, the Bible says that," I'm just putting six verses up, this is not an exhaustive study of hell for any reason, but here's one, Daniel 12:2, "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace," and what? "Everlasting contempt," how long is it? It's everlasting, hell is as long as eternal life is. What about Matthew 3:12, "His winnowing fork is in His hand and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor, He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with," what? "Unquenchable fire." The fire never goes out, it's unquenchable and you could beg for mercy for eternity and you're never getting it there's no mercy in hell. How about 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, "When the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who don't know God and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of," what? "Eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." I mean, is the Bible mincing any words here? I mean, it's making it crystal clear.Or how about Matthew 18:18, "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you, for it's better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have two hands and two feet and be cast into the eternal fire." He says, "It's better for you to lose both limbs if it's causing you to sin, than it would be to keep them and live in your sin and disobedient to Christ and be thrown into hell." What about Matthew 25:41? "Then He will also say to those on His left," we'll talk about this judgment here in a couple of weeks, "Depart from Me a cursed ones into," what? The eternal fire," and who was it prepared for? It was prepared for the devil and his angels but don't miss this, God did not create you for hell, God did not create hell for you, God created hell for the devil and those of His fallen angels who are gonna serve the devil, that's who hell was created for, God had no intention of ever sending any human being to hell, but when human beings choose in their rebellion not to respond to the gospel, that's what they get, why? Because God the Father loved you so much, He sent His only begotten Son and poured His wrath out on Him for you, because of that, by your repentance and faith, He wouldn't touch you with anything, He desires all people to come to a knowledge of Him, He desires all people to be saved and in this dispensation, our Father is known as the God of all comfort, He's known as a God of mercy, He's willing to forgive any and every sin, He's not asking you to be religious or join a church or do anything or sign a paper, He's asking you to recognize that you're dead in your sin from the moment that you're born and you need to turn from your sin and turn to Him. - [Congregation] Amen. - But He didn't create hell for you, but He sends people to hell that don't trust him. Matthew 25:46, "These will go away into the eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." If you really believe in eternal life, you also believe in eternal punishment, why? 'Cause God has set eternity in our hearts, you are a soul that happens to have a body, at the time that you die, to be apart from the body for the Christian, is to be with Christ. You breathe your last breath here as a Christian, you're in the presence of God before you can even exhale. I mean, you're there that fast and if you're not a Christian, you breathe your last breath, you'll bust hell wide open and you'll be there forever and there's no mercy and you'll realize you made the worst mistake you could ever make and I'm telling you as your pastor, I'm only being sobering with you 'cause I love you so much, 'cause I think one of the most tragic things that could ever happen to an attender at BRAVE Church, where we preach the gospel on a weekly basis and tell you how much you are loved and how much God loves you and what He's done and the links He's gone through to draw to Himself, is for you to hear those words and never respond to them. Your mom and dad can't make you a Christian, I as your pastor can't tell you that you're a Christian, your spirit will bear witness with His spirit that you are a child of God. Please don't believe the lie that people say that there is no hell, hell is as real as heaven and there will be millions of people there today that if they could come back to earth, would testify, "Yeah, it's totally real 'cause that's what I'm living for all eternity." And we're gonna see this holding place hell, is gonna be turned into a lake of fire that God is going to create where the devil and the antichrist and the false prophet will be thrown and so will everyone who doesn't believe in His name, it's real. He say, "Why are you telling us?" 'Cause I love you, I want you to know, I want you to recognize that the gospel has eternal consequences for your soul. God promises to proclaim the gospel, what else has He promised? God promises, I love this, all the way to the end, He promises the perseverance of the saints, the perseverance of the saints, Notice this verse 12 and 13, "Here's the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." Who's gonna persevere to the end, those who keep the commands of God. You say, "Well, I'm a Christian and sometimes I don't." Yeah, me too, but I desire to and when I don't and I'm aware of it, I'm repenting 'cause I want to. True Christians want to honor God, those who are playing games, don't want to honor God. The perseverance of the saints is for those who keep the commandments and their faith in Jesus and believing in Jesus. I'm telling you friends, I'm not letting go of Jesus for anything, by God's grace, I'm not letting go of Him for anything, He's the only one I'm gonna hang on to in this life because He's the only one that's purchased my salvation. And here's what perseverance means, perseverance means endurance, it means steadfastness. You use the word perseverance when things get difficult, perseverance of the saints means this, listen, listen, listen, if you're a Christian, this life can be pretty hard at times. - [Woman] Amen. - Only one person said amen. There's other sister, there's others, I promise you. Let me say it again so other people can hear me, 'cause they didn't hear me, if you're a Christian in this world, you're gonna experience some trouble. - [Congregation] Amen. - Thank you. And that's what we needed to know, because sometimes we get the wrong impression that we're a Christian, then God protects me and he loves me, then how come my life's falling out of order? How come there's dismay? How come it's hard at work? 'Cause you're a Christian and anyone who desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, if you live for Christ in this age, there will be challenging things. And you want there to be challenging things, because that's what grows your faith and you want there to be challenging things because if there's not, you would be the only person in heaven that wouldn't have a story to tell, because everybody in heaven we'll tell you how they struggled to stay true to the call of God, of the disciples that knew the Lord Jesus Christ with the exception of Judas Iscariot, if those 11 stood here, 10 of the 11 would tell you, "Yeah, we died for our faith." And John would tell you, "I wrote the Book of Revelation for you, but I was banished on this island all by myself, doing work projects, I hated my life, I wish I would have been martyred." I mean, this is what we see, but notice what he says, "And I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Write, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on,' yes, says the spirit so that they may rest from their labors for their deeds follow with them." Even if you're a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and you die, you need to know how God views it. In Psalm 1:16-15, here's what the Lord says about His saints, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones." Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones. God loves His people, God loves you, God genuinely loves everybody, but for those who have truly trusted in Him, there's a special fatherly love for you that's unconditional unlike any others. And what we read in this passage is the perseverance of the saints, it means no matter how many times you get knocked down, God's gonna help you get back up, God's gonna help you get back up, persevere, endure, it means this, Christian look at me, don't quit, don't stop. I know it's hard, you love the Lord and some people treat you bad, you love the Lord and you wanna serve Him, but you're still struggling with the same sin, you struggled with five years ago and you can't seem to get over them, don't quit, stay with them. And more importantly, you need to know this, God's gonna stay with you. When we talk about the perseverance of the saints, what we're really talking about is eternal security, or some people will ask me some time, "Pastor, do you believe once saved, always saved." Of course I do, because salvation is a gift from God that's irrevocable. When God saves your life, it's as good as done. And if you belong to Him, nothing can ever change that.Let me give you some passages that would highlight that, Ephesians 2:8-9 say, "For it is by grace you've been saved through faith, it's not your own doing. it's a gift of God, so no one can boast." When God saved you, you didn't earn it, God gave it to you, it's a gift, you received it through repentance and faith. it's yours and nothing's gonna take that away. Or how about this, in John 10:27-29, "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give eternal life to them and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand, my Father who has given them to me is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." What's Jesus say, if you're saved, I've got you, my Father's got you, you're not going anywhere. He is gonna bring you home, you're gonna make it. If you truly repented and trusted Jesus, the perseverance that He's gonna bring you, as even when you stumble, He's gonna be the one that's picking you up and bringing you across the finish line.I mean, we love stories like this in athletics, don't we? I mean, I saw one recently of a marathon runner that had run not the 26.2 miles but close, he had made into the final track where they had to do a lap around the track and they were walking so crazy because all their electrolytes were down and all this, and they fell and somebody went to pick them up, you can't touch, don't, don't, and they're crawling elbow over elbow just to make it to the finish line. I'm watching that and I'm like, "It's awesome, I mean, it's great," I mean, that's what it's gonna be like for everybody that knows Jesus, we're gonna be surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses and it's gonna be Jesus, "I'm bringing them home, I'm bringing them home. They're mine, they belong to me, they're gonna be perfected in my sight." Notice what we read about in Jude 24 and 25, "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority before all time, now and forever more." I mean God's gonna do it, He's gonna bring you home with such exceptional joy and present you faultless before the Father if you're truly a Christian, no matter how difficult it is in this life, He's gonna get you there. Even in Romans 8 which you could do a whole study on this, I won't share all the verses, but some of them in there say, "If God is for you, who can be against you." But notice how Paul ends this chapter, he says, "But in all things we are overwhelmingly conquerors through Him who loved us." And here's what Paul's convinced of, "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth." It's like, "Man, it's everything." But what about me? Maybe I can screw it up and he says, "Nor any other created thing." Well, that's me, I can't even screw this up. "We'll be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord," you can't screw this up. If God gave you the gift of salvation, it's irrevocable, it's yours, bask in it, it's as good as done, you will stand before Him. So He gives us these scriptures in there to persevere so that we have wisdom and say, "If we really belong to the Lord, I wanna keep doing what God does and God will do his part and bring me all the way," that's what it's about. And we read about in Acts 14, I mean, we hate trials when we go through them, we like it when we make it through them, but we hate when we go through them. Acts 14:22, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God," if life has been hard or gets hard, it's all part of God's plan for your life to do incredible things, don't lose heart, you will persevere, that's God's promise to you. And then finally, God does this, all the way to the end, God promises perception of righteous judgment, He promises the perception of righteous judgment. How many people do you hear in the world today that will say stuff like this, "There's really no heaven, there's really no hell, I mean there's no," everybody will know it's true, everybody who's already left this life knows that it's true, everybody who live in this life will know that it's true and what does he say? He says, "Then I looked and behold, a white cloud and sitting on the cloud was one like a Son of man." That's Jesus. "Having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, 'Put your sickle in and reap for the hour to reap has come because the harvest on the earth is ripe.' Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth and the earth was reaped." Now this angel is not directing Jesus, "Hey, Jesus you better do what I want you to do." Here's what he's saying, "Lord you said when it's ripe, you're ready to judge. I'm telling you Lord it's ripe, people are ready to be judged, come judge." Make no mistake about it, God will judge both the living and the dead. There is a judgment coming for your life based upon what you did with Jesus or based upon your work, either way, that's what you get to look forward to. And people will stand before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords to give an account for His life, but make no mistake about it. Now, some people take verses 14 through 16 as a righteous harvest that God's bringing His saints home there and the next passage about the unrighteous, I don't know, both are gonna happen, both are gonna happen, 'cause see what happens down in verse 17, "Another angel came out of the temple, which is in heaven and he also had a sharp sickle, then another angel, the one who has power over fire came out from the altar and he called out with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle saying, 'Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth because her grapes are ripe.' So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city and the blood outside the wine press came up to the horses bridal for a distance of 200 miles." When I read this, I hear the song in the back of my head, my eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. I mean, this is where it comes from. When Jesus comes, make no mistake about it, as He meets out judgment through the day of the Lord's wrath and eventually comes, which we'll read about, Armageddon, in some of the future chapters that we're gonna look at, the very final battle of where this is all gonna take place. Think about this, I mean, it's gonna be a blood bath, that's what it's spelling out. I mean, you talk about 180 to 200 miles, that's like going Fort Collins to Pueblo with a river of blood as high as horse's bridles. I mean, there's many millions of people that are trying to stand against Jesus at the end thinking that they're gonna defeat Him and they're not gonna be successful. And the battle of Armageddon as you'll read about will be one of the fastest battles in the histories of battles in our world. As Jesus the King of Kings and the Lord of the Lord comes out of heaven with His bride the Church, those of us who have trusted Him. And what's he gonna have? He's gonna have a robe dipped in blood, but, why? Well, because He's been stomping on His enemies. If you read in Isaiah 63, people are asking Jesus, "Hey, tell us why is your robe red? Like why is there blood on you?" He said, "Well, because I've stomped all my enemies until the enemies of my blood sprinkled my white remnant. Make no mistake about it, the first time Jesus Christ came, He came as humble servant, He was humble and He was a servant all the way to His death. What happens next time Jesus comes? He's coming as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, conqueror of the world, are you ready for that? Because those of us who love Him are ready to meet Him face to face, amen. - [Congregation] Amen. - And I'm just telling you this as we end the service, I wanna make sure that you are too, I want you to know that you know that you know, not because your mom and dad brought you to church, not because your grandparents said it'd be a good idea, not because a friend said it'd be wise for you to visit but you know that you know that you know, that you were dead in your sin, but you know that Christ has made you alive and you belong to Him and you're gonna persevere all the way to the end, because what He's gonna do in your heart. And so, I'd like you to do this time is to just stand and I'd like to pray together, we used to pray a prayer when I was a kid around meals, come Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed. I didn't even know what that meant, we just said it. If Jesus would have actually come and sat at our table, I think He would have freaked us out, I don't think we were actually praying for Him to come, but as believers in Christ, we're praying for God to come, we're yearning for that day, are you yearning for that day? I'm just asking you this point, just don't leave yet, I mean, just every eye closed, every head bowed, you need to do business with the Lord. Lord Jesus we come before you right now and we'd ask you to do a work in our church, if you're here today and say, "I don't know that I'm a, I don't even know, maybe I am, maybe I'm not." Make this moment your moment and here's how you can pray, say, "Lord Jesus I know I'm dead in my sins, but I believe that you died on the cross for all my sins and rose from the dead, right now I repent of my sin and by faith confess you as my Lord and Savior, come into my life, be my God, let me serve you all my days. And Lord, for those of us who know you, Lord let us walk with you every single day, may you get all the glory, honor and praise, we give you all the glory, in Jesus name, amen and amen." Can we give God praise this morning .