Protection for God's Children
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.
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
-usually the quarterbacks
-wear red jerseys
-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
-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
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.
*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.
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
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.
-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
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.
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.
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.