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The Great Battle

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The Great Battle

Text:  Revelation 12

Big Idea:  We are in the middle of a battle.

Purpose:  To help people understand the impact of God’s battle on their lives today.

Introduction:

            “Look at her little, flat nose!”

            Those were the first words that Bob uttered when he held his baby cousin.

            Bob was 9 years old, and it was one of the first times he had ever seen a newborn baby.

            Bob’s aunt, who had just given birth walked over, took her newborn daughter from Bob, and said in a rather perturbed manner, “She does not have a flat nose.”

            Bob replied, “I’m sorry, I think she is very cute.”

            Bob had not meant the comment as an insult.  In fact, he thought his new cousin was a cute baby.  He was not accustomed to seeing his aunt so perturbed – she was usually very good natured – so he felt the need to apologize and explain himself.

            As Bob tried to explain himself and apologize for his offense, his aunt became visibly upset.  The more upset she became, the worse Bob felt.  Finally, with tears in her eyes, Bob’s aunt told him that he should probably leave.

            As Bob walked back home, he wondered, “What happened?  I must have really messed up.  I didn’t mean to insult my aunt and my new cousin.”

            His first reaction – was to try to make it better – only to make matters worse

            In the next couple of days, he repeated the events in his head

                        -came to the conclusion that he hadn’t said anything that was terrible

                        -and started to blame his aunt

                        -even thinking that she wasn’t as nice as he had always believed she was.

Bob was unable to grasp all that was happening in that visit with his aunt and cousin.

            -Being 9 years old, never heard of post-partum depression (baby blues)

If Bob had understood that there were factors that he did not recognize

            -he would have avoided the problems of blaming himself, and anger at aunt

            -Bob had to learn that he did not have all the information.

This morning, I want us to try to learn what Bob needed to learn

            -that there are factors that affect our lives

            -that we are not naturally aware of

            -these factors explain many of our sad circumstances, tragedies, and struggles

We will see those factors unveiled

            -as we take a glimpse of the story of Revelation 12.

Sermon Body:

Movement 1: *We have good reason the question the condition of our lives.

Purpose:  To demonstrate that life is filled with events that are difficult to understand

Why do bad things happen to good people - long asked question.

We sometimes struggle to understand the world around us.

Christians are not allowed to speak at graduations from public school.

While military passes out Koran to terrorist captives.

On a personal level

            -we face illnesses, loss of jobs, breakup of families

            -and we wonder, why is this happening?

Our first response might be to take the blame on ourselves

            -believing that if we were just a little more organized, better prepared, wiser

            -then life would be much easier

However, once we face a few struggles, we start to see things differently

            -our second response might be to simply blame or question God

            -wondering why He doesn’t make things better

            -we conclude this, because we miss the bigger picture – the picture of a battle

Even if you are not a Christian

            -you really wonder what is going on

            -the world believes in Karma - what goes around comes around

            -but Karma doesn't work in a battle zone.

            -Refer to Corrie TenBoom's book, Hiding Place

                        -father lost life, respect for protecting life

            -that kind of justice will have to wait

The people who first read the book of Revelation – knew about struggles

            -they lived under Roman authority

            -they often faced persecution for their faith

            -they were accused of cannibalism and orgies (because of the Lord’s Supper)

These people knew that Jesus was Lord

            -they eagerly waited for His return

            -but the longer they waited, and the more they were persecuted

            -the easier it was to wonder about God’s plan

The book of Revelation helps them see their struggle from God’s perspective.

Movement 2:  *Life makes more sense when we see it from God's perspective.

Purpose:  To force the hearer to see the fallacy of trying to determine their own life's course.

The Book of Revelation gives us a clearer picture of Jesus Christ

            -and in showing us Jesus, it shows us His perspective

As we have been studying this book together

            -there have been many hard to grasp symbols

            -angels that look like animals

            -sea that looks like glass

            -assortment of horse-riders

When we get to chapter 12 – we see in this Revelation of Jesus some familiar images

            -a woman about to give birth to a child who would rule the nations

            -this woman fleeing into the desert to be protected by God

            -that child being raptured (snatched) to God’s throne

                        -This is a reference to Christ’s birth, flight to Egypt, and ascension

            -and the people of Asia Minor who read this would begin to see that this vision of the end

                        -is a vision of things that are already in progress

            -as we read this passage, we begin to realize that our lives

                        -are another chapter in an ongoing battle.

If we believe that we can make our own way – (The Karma principle)

            -we are missing the cosmic battle that has been raging from the beginning of time. 

            Our well-being is not simply a function of acting better. 

                        -If so, Mother Theresa would have had a great life.

The mess of this world and our lives is not simply a function of

            -our sin and mistakes

            -it is in no way due to God’s guilt

            -there is a battle that rages

Movement 3:  *The dragon continues to wage his war.

Purpose:  To warn of the reality of the ongoing battle.

Describe the scene of the final verses of chapter 12

            -the dragon is frustrated, unable to stop the child

            -Satan was unable to stop Christ

                        -temptations, crucifixion

            -Christ exercised dominions of Satan

                        -cast out demons, tied up the strongman (refer to Matthew 12)

Once the dragon realizes his plight

            -he turns to persecute those who hold to the testimony of Jesus

Christians are persecuted - overseas

Christians are ignored, ostracized - here in our land

Christians are scrutinized

            -all battle plans - attacks of the enemy

You will not understand your life's struggles if you do not recognize that there is a battle, not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  (Eph 6:12)

This is a frightening thought – we are at war

External signs of war – the world around us, people hostile to God, sickness, illness

Internal signs of war – fear and doubts, discouragement,

            Cite CS Lewis book, Screwtape Letters – shows internal struggle of warfare

                        -Satan’s forces attempting to make you go astray

            -and the framework of battle helps us understand the struggles we endure

            -but the battle does not have to cause fear

 Movement 4:  *God keeps the dragon at bay

Purpose:  To encourage because of God's constant care.

Content:  Even thought we will suffer loss in this battle,

            The damage will not last.

The enemy is making a last ditch effort of desperation.

            -the dragon is flailing – knowing the defeat has arrived

            -and is still very dangerous, but will not succeed in stopping God’s Kingdom

We may still suffer loss – until His Kingdom Comes

            -the the enemy has been cast down

            -his flailing is in vain – Christ will be victorious

NOTE:  The dragon cannot hurt the child, the dragon has been hurled down, and the dragon is making his last-ditch effort to do some damage.

Conclusion:

What do you take away from this?  The dragon is on the loose

One day – you will ask the question, WHY?  -and it will be directed to God

                        -loss of job, interpersonal struggle, death, illness, depression, etc.

                        -I have two recommendations for you when that time comes:

1.      Recognize

–        that the devil is at war with us

–        that the battle causes the condition

One day, maybe next week, maybe 10 years from now

            -you will ask, in frustration, Why?

Could be struggle with own desires – trying to loosen yourself from pornography

Could be third bad test result – from the doctor

Maybe a young person is injured – and it doesn’t make sense

            -realize, we do not live in a Karma world – but a battle zone

2.      React

–        seek shelter

–        prepare for sacrifice

–        persevere with your Lord

            Because the battle will cause damage

                        But the enemy cannot rob you of Christ’s Kingdom

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