Biblical Messages

A vision of judgment

In this worship gathering, we hear a message about judgment – not a comfortable subject for anyone. But it will come, according to the Bible, and we need to be prepared for it. How can we be ready? Watch and find out. You can watch the message, based on Revelation 14.6-13, below, or the whole worship gathering below that.

Encouragement From The Word

Your First Love

It’s amazing what the human memory can retain and what it can’t.  

Some days, I can barely remember why I got up to go to the kitchen.  But I can remember the strangest minutiae that don’t matter in the least.

I remember when I was in kindergarten – kindergarten, almost 50 years ago! – I decided there was a girl in my class that I liked…a lot.

At our school, the kindergarteners had their own designated, smaller yard set aside for recess.  And at recess one day, I decided I would express to my classmate how I felt about her.  So I started chasing her around the yard, with the express intent of kissing her.

It seems she wanted no part in this, and it also seems she could run faster than I could, because I don’t recall that my lips ever reached her cheek (which was all I would have aimed for at such an age)!

I guess you could say that was my first love, requited though it was.

In Revelation 2.4, John records the ascended Lord Jesus’ words to the Ephesian church when he accuses them:  “You have forsaken the love you had at first” (NIV).

Jesus wasn’t talking about a love like my kindergarten attempt at romance.  He was talking about love for him, as well as love for their brothers and sisters in the faith.

In our culture, which applauds busyness, we can get so tied up in an activity for which we have passion that we forget the whole reason we do it in the first place.

We get so busy studying doctrine or defending our faith that we fail to love others well.

We get so busy advocating for some issue – poverty, climate change, social justice – that we fail to spend time with the Lord who gave us that passion in the first place.

We forsake our first love.

Let’s remember, whether we are studying God’s Word or supporting a cause, to love the Lord and his people first and foremost.

‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22.37-40, NLT).

Biblical Messages

A letter to seven churches

In this worship gathering, we hear a message introducing the Book of Revelation as our new series. What is the real message of the book? Is it all about predicting the end of the world, or is there more substance than that? Based on Revelation 1.1-20, you can watch the message alone below, or the entire worship gathering below that. The introductory video is available as a stand-alone video here.

Encouragement From The Word

Who was, and is, and is to come

These are crazy days, aren’t they?  There are statements made and retracted by provincial and federal governments, vaccine taxes being assessed in Quebec, numbers being reported in limited ways, and just a whole lot of confusion around the pandemic.

In one sense, it’s understandable, since none of us has ever gone through anything like this before.  (Remember “Two weeks to flatten the curve”?  That’s ancient history now!)  We are all tired and frustrated, and we want life to go back to normal – or at least to proceed toward the new normal, post-pandemic.  And we just wish that we’d get some definitive answers.  But in such an unpredictable season, those answers are not forthcoming.

Amid all the uncertainty, there are some things we can know for certain.  One of them is the sovereignty of God: the belief that God is in charge.

It might seem like a goofy concept, thinking that God is in charge with the mayhem swirling around us.  But it’s true.

We don’t know why a sovereign God sees this going on and seemingly stands there.  (I would argue that if God were just ‘standing there’, matters would be a great deal worse!)  Our role is not to know why; it is to trust in the One who does know why.

As John the apostle begins the recording of his vision from the Lord in Revelation, he offers this greeting to the seven churches to which the book was originally written:  “Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come” (Revelation 1.4b, NLT).

The Lord is, he was, and he is still to come.  God has seen all of history.  He sees the future.  And he sees what we’re dealing with today.  And he remains Lord of all, even though, at times, it might not seem that way.

On those days when you feel especially frustrated, at your wits’ end, or hanging on to the end of your rope, just remember that verse and proclaim – even if just to yourself – that no matter what, you trust the One who is, who always was, and who is still to come.

We will get through this.  God has promised that he will preserve his church, despite all odds.  It might not look like it always has, but it will still be the gathered faithful, praising the Eternal Father of the universe, rejoicing in the saving grace of the Lord Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

By the way, this Sunday at St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton, we are beginning a new series on the book of Revelation!  If you’d like to learn a bit of background about the book, you can watch this introductory video here.  And you are welcome to attend in person or tune in online to any of our services.

Grace and peace!

Encouragement From The Word

Watch for him!

In every generation, there have been self-proclaimed prophets of the end times.  In the time of Jesus and even before, people have thought they had the end of the world figured out.

So far, it seems, they didn’t.  We’re all still here.  Jesus has not returned.

Some people have dismissed the notion that Jesus will one day come back, that the world will be consummated.  But other still look for clues.

Most who look for clues comb through the pages of the final book of the Bible:  the Revelation.  They think they can find answers there.  And often, they create their own formulas to force upon the text.

In the end, though, they are frustrated.

Revelation is a hard book to understand, in no small part because of its genre.  Apocalyptic literature is hard to understand for those who are not living in the time in which it was written.  Revelation, having been written near the end of the first century, when Christians were experiencing severe persecution from the Romans, would have made perfect sense to its first hearers and readers.  

It makes less sense to us.

But that hasn’t stopped people from trying to figure it out, or even imposing their own approaches to make it say what they want it to say.

When we think about the end times, the one thing we can know for certain is that we don’t know much about it.  There are not fewer than five ways of interpreting the book of Revelation held by sincere, Bible-believing followers of Jesus today.  (I talked briefly about these last Sunday.)

Commonly, in any given generation, one view will gain the upper hand among believers.  (This is less true with scholars.)  The predominant view in popular Christian culture today, despite its popularity, is somewhat confusing and is based on a very small portion of Scripture.  

When will Jesus come back?  We can’t know for sure.  

In what order will the events of the end times take place?  Some think they know for certain, others are unsure.

But this much we can know:  if you have confessed Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and sought to live for him, and are ready for his return, nothing in the book of the Revelation should scare you.

Take comfort in that, if you’re a follower of Christ.

This Sunday, I will be tackling the question of what will happen at the end of time as we know it.  I’ll look at some of the alternatives, and why I think the predominant view among many followers of Jesus is definitely not the only one, and might not even be the right one, from a biblical perspective.

Feel free to join us at St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton, at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning if you don’t have another church to go to in person, and we’ll learn together.  (If you are too far away to come, join us live online at 10, or watch the whole gathering or just the message, which will be posted to our YouTube channel later that afternoon.)

We know the end will come.  We know Jesus will return.  We know followers of Jesus will be safe for eternity.  Beyond that?  Let’s explore some options together.

I say to you what I say to everyone:  Watch for him!” (Mark 13.37, NLT).