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Protection for God's Children

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Protection for God's Children

Text:  Revelation 7

Big Idea:  God will protect His children from His wrath.

Purpose:  To comfort Christians who fear what will happen in the end times, and to motivate all to follow Christ for protection.

Introduction:

It is an exciting time of year for many people

            -we are in the middle of the preseason for the NFL

            -the devoted fans are filled with hope – for their favorite teams season

            -Even Lion’s fans aren’t too disappointed yet at this time of year

On sports programs – you see the training camp practices

            One thing that always gets my attention – is the red jerseys

            While the teams practice – get in shape

            They usually have two jerseys

                        -offense wears light jerseys

                        -defense wears dark jerseys

Certain players

            -usually the quarterbacks

            -wear red jerseys

            -The Significance

                        -these jerseys mean, “Keep you hands off!”

            Coaches don’t want to see a key player injured

                        -by his own teammate

                        -and possible risk a season – for the purpose of practice

            These players warrant protection

                        -even though they endure the preseason

                        -go through training camp and conditioning

                        -they get the assurance of safety

                                    -because their teammates must keep their hands off

                                    -no rough tackling, injuries, blocks, etc.

Wouldn’t you like to be marked for special treatment?

            -front of the line at the gas station

            -IRS no longer wants to collect your taxes

            -police officers know speed limit doesn’t apply to you

            -boss knows you get Fridays and Mondays off all summer long

While you probably can’t reasonably expect this kind of treatments

            -the mark would be nice

            -it would indicate a special status

This morning

            -we hear the good news, that even though we may not feel marked in our world

            -God has marked us for protection from the tribulation and wrath

                        -that will come with the final battle in Revelation

Sermon Body:

Movement 1:  *People are filled with fear and eagerness at the coming of Christ.

Purpose:  To describe the mixed emotions that people will have as they consider Christ's return.

Content:

            *There are many things we do not know about Christ’s return.

            This may cause a little apprehension

                        -even if we are excited, and trust it will be good

                        -there is a question mark

            Like the first day of your dream job, beginning college

                        -it is a radically new phase

                        -and we wonder what we will recognize, and what will be difficult to know

            Even though scripture tells us some things about the final judgment

                        -there is a lot we don’t know

                        -Furthermore, there is reason to be afraid

                                    -because of some of the warnings of scripture

                        -Tina – Christian woman – feared during pregnancy

                                    -that Christ would return – didn’t want to face devastation while pregnant

                        - Some of us here

                                    -may want to be with Jesus

                                    -but we know we must either die – or endure end times prophecies

                                    -in order to experience that fullness

                                                -and we are hesitant to pray, “Come quickly”

            We have reasons to be concerned –

                        Final judgment will be difficult

                        -even though we might have reason to be optimistic

Movement 2:  *Christ's judgment will bring devastation for those who do not know Him.

Purpose:  To strike fear into the hearts of those who refuse Christ.

Content:

            Some people have good reason to be more

                        -than merely apprehensive about Christ’s return

            -It will not be a glorious entry

                        -but devastating judgment

                        -Christ comes with violence

                        -to avenge His children, and reclaim His Creation

            In our text today – four angels standing at the four corners of the earth

                        -poised for the battle to begin

                        -having the earth surrounded – a great military position

                                    -that almost guarantees victory

            In fact – victory will not be a problem

                        -God’s judgment will be fast and thorough

            In this text, God is not worried about victory

                        -but rather, about keeping His children safe

                        -those children living in a war zone

            Revelation shows – this will not be an easy time

                        -even for God’s children

Movement 3:  *Christ is holding back destruction to mark His children.

Purpose:  To comfort those who know Christ

Content:

            Just as God’s devastation is about to take place

                        -the waiting for the seventh seal

                        -Christ stops the battle

            This shows His affection for His children

                        -His love for you and me

            This book – is a revelation of Jesus

                        Look at the fullness of His complexities

                        -He is creator – all powerful

                        -the rightful holder of all creation

                        -and the judge who is about to demand justice

                                    -in an almost frightening way

                        Just as He is about to strike His blow

                                    -He pauses – showing not His wrath

                                    -but His love and concern

                        -How many people can do that?

                                    -so angry – about to unleash wrath

                                    -yet so controlled – pauses to protect

            *There is a similarity between this passage and the Passover story.

                        -Exodus

                        -when Israel is getting ready to leave

                        -the households of Israel – are marked with blood

                                    -so that God’s destructive forces pass by and do not harm

            He marks 144,000  - a number of fullness

                        -12 x12x1000=fullness

            Some – literally (Jehovah’s Witnesses)

                        -but not a number – the protection and concern is the key

Movement 4:  *Those who suffer for Christ will be brought safely through His judgment and glorified in God's presence.

Purpose:  Encouragement

Content:

            We don’t end this chapter with a picture of protection

                        -but a picture of glory

                        -not only will we be kept safe

                        -we will ascend to be with God 

            The battle may be trying

            But Christ’s children will triumph.

Conclusion:

Brief reflection on Isaiah 43

            You will pass through waters

            You will pass through fire

            Christ is with you the entire journey

                        -burned, but not consumed

            And you will be brought to the other side.

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