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And The Winner Is

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Man's fight against evil and the way we should celebrate our victory

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New Revised Standard Version. (1989). ().

7 When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea. 9 They marched up over the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10 And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

New Revised Standard Version. ().

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Today I’m coming from the book of Revelation, this is the revelation of Jesus Christ which was given to the Apostle John. John was a part of Jesus’ inner circle along with James and Peter. He was one of the first ones Jesus called to follow him and was referred to as the Apostle whom Jesus loved, he was on the Mount of Transfiguration and saw Moses and Elijah, He was there in the court when Jesus was put on trial, he is the one Jesus told to take care of his mother and he is the only one of the 12 Apostles who did not die a violent death, he died peacefully exiled to the island of Patmos and what an existence he had while he was there.
John authored five books of the New Testament, the Gospel of John, 1, 2, and 3 John and Revelation. The book of Revelation is a book of prophecy as it reveals Gods plan. It is not often preached because it does not appear to be the touchy feely, good times kind of message. In fact, when someone preaches from Revelation, it is sometimes referred to as a fire and brimstone message. Well all I can say is, after all that is a part of the Book, right? And we want to know all we can. Right?
So this message will scare some, and it will encourage others. What it does for you depends on where you are in your spiritual journey. Have you started yet?
We often discuss in Bible study that the earth is Satan’s domain and that’s why we see so much evil here. All the crime and depravity, the sinfulness of man is in full effect and on display as we see in the news on a daily basis. We see all manner of evil and it’s continuous. I don’t have to name it because we all see and hear about it. Suffice to say the depravity of man seems to be escalating more and more or perhaps with the advent of cell phone cameras and everyone having the ability to film and report news even if it’s done through Facebook Live, a Tweet, Periscope, Facetime or by whatever the latest platform, we have a front row seat to man’s sinful nature and Satan’s quest to steal, kill and destroy. His fate is sealed and he wants to take as many as possible with him.
In this portion of the Scripture, the rapture has already occurred and as we get to the end of the nineteenth chapter we read that the beast and his army is defeated; at the beginning of chapter 20 an angel comes down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain, he seizes Satan, binds him, throws him into the pit, locks and seals it so he can’t deceive the nations for a thousand years.
So as we come to the 7th verse we learn that, when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea.
Satan gets released from his prison only to go right back to doing what he was doing before, deceiving the people and this time he raises up a mighty army which is as numerous as the sands of the sea. We see this analogy again, the first time we saw it, was in And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Satan wants to copy God, in fact, he wanted to be God, that’s what got him kicked out of heaven in the first place.
Not only is Satan the great deceiver, he is an imitator of God. He wants to set up his kingdom the same way God has His Kingdom and so he lies and cheats and steals to get people to follow him. He lets them do what their flesh wants to do.
He tells them it’s natural,
he tells them you were born that way,
he tells them God made a mistake,
he tells them you’re only human,
he tells them I’ll make you rich and famous,
he tells them people will adore you and
he tells them the biggest lie of all, that he loves them and God doesn’t
He’s the father of lies for a reason and he’s good at his job. We should be equally as good at ours of telling others about Jesus and what He did for us. I often say if criminals took the time they spend planning evil and planned good they could be rich in their own right instead of trying to take what belongs to others.
Satan gets one more shot to deceive the nations and turn them against the people of God. He wants to go to war with God’s people and he’s got big numbers. What this is telling us is not everyone is going to be saved, not everyone is going to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, some are going to choose the other side and we have to be ready for that reality. What you need to ensure is that you’re on the right side because the war is coming. Where do you stand, who’s on the Lord’s side?
In verse 9, They marched up over the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. Satan surrounded God’s people and he thought he was going to take them out, he had more people than the sands of the sea, he had surrounded the camp of the saints and he thought, oh I’ve got ‘em now, I will destroy those God followers right now. Look at my army, they don’t stand a chance… But God. In the b portion of verse 9 we see these words, And fire came down from heaven and consumed them.
Once again, Satan thought he had won, he thought he had the children of God the same way he thought he had Jesus when they crucified him and placed him in the tomb. But it was not so.
John was familiar with fire coming down from heaven. In one account Luke records, when a Samaritan village rejected Jesus, James and John asked if they should call down fire from heaven to destroy the place. That earned them the nickname "sons of thunder." They wanted to call down fire like Elijah did when he challenged the prophets of Baal.
But our God is a God of mercy and grace and we must learn to not just have, but we have to show compassion for all of God’s children and love them the way He does, unconditionally. He gave his only begotten Son for them too, just like he did for us. We weren’t always where we are now and we still have some stuff that God needs to work on in us too.
We can still have anger issues.
We can still have jealousy issues.
We can still be envious.
We can still be impatient.
We can still fail to show love.
We can still have malice
We can still have strife
We can still backbite
We can still lie
We can still curse
We can still be self-centered instead of God-centered
We can still be… you fill it in - you know what you’re dealing with
We all have some stuff we need to work on, we all have a ways to go to be like Jesus, to be holy as he is holy. But glory be to God, He loves us anyway. To be loved with all of your faults and short comings is such a wonderful thing. To be who you are and know that God loves you just like that and that He wants the best for you. When you can get that down in your spirit, saints it’s an awesome revelation. It should make you feel free to be who God created you to be. To know you don’t have to be like anyone else, that you’re unique, you are one-of-a-kind and you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of the Almighty God. Church, that is great news.
Not only did the fire consume Satan’s army, verse 10 says, And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. I’d say that is a very clear statement which needs no further explanation. In the end Satan gets thrown into the lake of fire and just in case you missed it, that is hell and it is real. It’s not good to mess with the children of God. Tormented day and night, forever and ever.
That’s what life without Christ is, torment day and night forever and ever. Now I know there are those out there saying, see I told God is mean and He sends people to hell. Well no, he doesn’t send them, they choose to go when they choose death instead of life, when they reject his Son who died for their sins, when they fail to accept the gift of salvation, they have chosen Satan, they have chosen to be a part of his army, therefore, they have also chosen his fate.
There is another group that says, a loving God would never send anyone to hell and it’s the same answer. He is a loving God and no He would never send anyone to hell, they choose to go. God gave us freewill, he gave us dominion and He lets us choose what we want to do with our lives. Just know there is a consequence for every choice you make, be it good or bad.
The war of good versus evil rages on, from the highest office in the land, to the homeless person on the street, the war rages. The fight continues for souls to be in that last battle, this will be the most important battle of your life and it starts on this side. It starts today, it starts while you still have time to decide, I beseech you, I urge you, I beg you to choose Jesus, choose life, choose love, choose forgiveness, choose truth, choose mercy, choose grace. Choose ye this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. The choices you make have consequences - good and bad.
But, when we make good choices, when we choose life, when we choose Jesus; we can get excited, we can rejoice, we can celebrate, we can look back at the Psalms and we can say like King David…
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Can you bless the Lord with everything in you? Is there anybody coming to God with an expectation? Is anyone expecting God to do something in your life? Have you been praying, asking God to do something, to make a change? Are you waiting for God to bless you? Now let me ask you something else, does your praise match your expectation? Can you praise God for the blessing, even before you see the manifestation of your prayer? Can you bless Him with all that is within you before he answers your prayer? Or are you one who has to see it to believe it, are you one who can’t or won’t say thank you before you get it.
Church, your praise needs to not just match, it needs to exceed your expectation. You know why. I’ll tell you why, because GOD IS GOOD AND HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER. And if that’s not enough for you David continues in this 103rd division of the Psalms and gives you some more reasons you need to bless the Lord, he says
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits— Benefits are what you get when you accept a position. When you accept a job, you want to know about the benefits that come with that job. Do you get medical and dental, do you get paid vacation, do you get sick time, do you get holidays off, if not, do you get double time for those holidays you have to work. When you choose God don’t forget about the benefits.
He goes on to lists the benefits in verses 3-5
who forgives all your iniquity - that’s sin. Who has sin in your life that needs to be forgiven? That’s everybody, all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but he forgives you.
who heals all your diseases - who’s dealing with diseases? Anybody dealing with high blood pressure, diabetes, or arthritis? How about mental diseases? You see our minds can get diseased just like the rest of our bodies and people can have mental health issues that can lead to depression and even to suicide. But God, he can heal your diseases
who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
who redeems your life from the Pit - you won’t suffer in that lake of fire with Satan forever and ever. God will redeem you from that fate. He’s a good God, He loves you and He redeemed you. We were all headed to that place of doom and destruction, but God. God loved us enough to send His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy - Everyone wants to be loved, God loves with a steadfast love, that’s a love that is unwavering, it’s solid, He won’t love you today and put you down for someone else tomorrow. And mercy, mercy doesn’t let us get what we deserve. Mercy stays justice. When justice demands satisfaction, when the accuser throws your transgressions and failures in God’s face and demands your soul, mercy says no. Mercy says, I already paid for that, mercy says he’s mine, she’s mine, I love her, I love him and I won’t let them go.
who satisfies you with good as long as you live - now that’s something to shout about.
God, your Creator,
the one who knows you better than you know yourself,
the one who was there when you were being formed in your mother’s womb,
the one who knit you together in darkness,
the one who knew you before the foundation of the earth,
the one who knew you’d be here today, that you’d be watching online
That’s the God who will satisfy you with good, not for a little while, not until he finds another boo thing, but as long as you live. Now what you have to see here, is as long as you live is not just about your life on this earth, there is a resurrection, there is everlasting life and so for this life and the next God will satisfy you with good. Come on somebody, tell me that’s not outstanding - you can’t do it.
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s - and he does it so your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Eagles are birds of prey, they are hunters, they are strong, oh you may not feel strong right now, you may be tired right now but God will renew your youth, he’ll regenerate, he’ll reinvigorate, he’ll revive your youth. Revive us again O God.
Before I said that man’s deeds were continually evil, well I say we can flip the script and change our home, our neighborhood, our city, our county, our state, our nation, and our world if we, the saints of God do one thing, men ought always pray, and not faint. We have got to pray, prayer changes things. The prayers of a righteous man and woman availeth much, and we are made righteous by the blood of Jesus. Are you covered by the blood?
We have got to be the ones standing in that holy city when the war is won and that starts today, that starts right now. The war is raging all around us and you have to choose a side, you have to take a stand.
AND THE WINNER IS - FIGHTING OUT OF THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS AND THE BELOVED CITY - BY WAY OF KNOCK OUT - THE SAINTS OF GOD!
Get on your feet and give God praise for the victory. We will have many battles to fight here on this earth and sometimes it seems like we’re fighting a losing battle, sometimes it seems like Satan is winning, but in the end, at the end of the book in the last chapter, spoiler alert, we win. We win the war. The battle between good and evil does have an end and there is a victor, and I’m here to tell you, the last ones standing are those who have made Jesus the Lord and Savior of their lives; the last ones standing are the saints of God.
Will you join us in the fight, will you get on the winning team? You’re never too young or too old to join the team, there’s nothing you’ve done that disqualifies you from joining the team and there are no tests you have to take and all are welcome on the team. The doors of the church are open.
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