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When the dragon attacks

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I never liked reading much growing up. There were a couple books from my childhood that do stand out as enjoyable.
Granted as I wrote this sermon I admittedly couldn’t tell you the whole plot line of some of them.
For example I remember liking the Fudge books. You may remember them, a collection written by Judy Bloom title

Fudge-a-mania

Double Fudge

Super Fudge.

Like I said in all fairness I couldn’t retell these stories today, I just remember enjoying them.
Then there were timless classics that I will never forget, like....

Charlie and the Chocolate factory

or

The Lord of the flies

These stories I could talk to you about in great detail, but as I got older my preferences changed a bit. There were a class of adventure stories that always seem to spark my interest.
Granted I struggled to read them, and unless forced by a teacher, I probably would have never read them to completion, because they tended to be longer, slower reads. The stories that were told, however, can only be described as

Epic

Epic poems and stories always fascinated me like the story of

Beowulf and the sleighing of Grendel

I love the imagery in this story of mighty warriors, brave and strong yet only one willing to lead the fight against the great mythical beast Grendel.
But as far as Epic stories go, there is none quite as iconic as the literary collection by J.R.R. Tolkien known best today as

The Lord of The Rings

Who here today has read at least one of these stories?
Who has watched the movies?
Ok well I will try not to give away any spoilers. These stories are set in the a Realm called Middle Earth. It is a fictional place filled with wonderful creatures.
Without going into a long breakdown of the different people and what each of their groups represented it is a fun and fanciful world filled with adventure and danger.
From Hobbits to dwarves to trolls, Elves and Men to walking/taking trees the depth of this world is the epitome of an epic tale.
Oh course in Grade five we were forced to read the prequel to this epic tale called...

The Hobbit

The hobbit is a story of one Bilbo Baggins an unlikely adventurer who finds himself on an epic journey with a bunch of dwarves and a wizard in pursuit of a treasure protected by a great dragon named Smog.
Although in grade five I thought it was pronounced Smog. I guess I figured the dragon represented pollution of something.
Anyway in the pursuit of this treasure Bilbo stumbles across something of much greater value.
Anyhow I don’t want to get into much detail of the story except to say if you haven’t read these stories you are missing out.
No this sermon in not sponsored, nor is this a throwback to my childhood show reading rainbow, I just think you would enjoy them. The imagery in these stories is amazing and the detail of the dragon and the confrontations.
But as amazing as these stories are, did you know that there is a book that tells of an epic battle between good and evil, Angles and Demons and dragons that makes The LOTR pale in comparison.
If you were not to read any other book I would encourage you to read this one. The symbolism alone is mind bending and the story it tells is based off a true story. Which I think is what makes it so remarkable.
How many of you think you know which book I am talking about?
Good job, I am talking about the bible, and spoiler alert Jesus wins.
Throughout the scriptures we are given amazing imagery and symbolism to help us to better understand what is going on in the Spiritual world that we can not see with our physical eye.
From Danial, Isaiah, Jeremiah and of course the book of the bible that seems to be shrouded in so much symbolism and mystery that many struggle to understand what is being communicated the wonderful book of Revelation.
Sometimes I think we steer clear of these stories in the bible because unless you understand the symbolism the imagery of the great dragon with seven heads and ten horns with seven crowns can confuse us and we end up getting lost in the description, and we loss sight of the story that God is telling.
The book of revelation was written most likely by the apostle John while exiled on the Island of Patmos. While there, God gave John a series of visions, which he in turn wrote down in great detail. It is this great detail we often get lost in but what is described gives us such insight into the spiritual war that has been going on since before the beginning and which is rapidly coming to its final conclusion.
And one thing that is made very clear is this war has a great impact on all people on earth, but especially those who are God’s people.
In the passage today I want to read today I want you to know that Satan is depicted as a seven headed, red dragon with ten horns and seven crowns.
What you should know about this dragon is based on all the various descriptions of it it is most likely a sea monster or sea serpent taking us back to the early imagery of the Garden of Eden.
Through other texts the nation of Egypt was often referred to as a dragon especially how it attacked Israel. But the passage here is very clear this dragon represents Satan himself but the crowns most likely represent earthly kings through whom Satan inflicts much pain on God’s people.
This passage also speaks of a women. This women is Israel through whom Jesus the saviour would come, then the women has other children, i.e. followers of Jesus.
This passage has a retelling of the exodus from Egypt but from the Spiritual warfare side as well as a retelling of when Satan and his angles were cast out of Heaven. It tells of his failed attempt to kill Jesus and that Jesus was taken away to be with the Father and how now the Dragon lashes out on the women, that is God’s people including us, because he knows his time is limited.
I give you all this detail before I read so that you might have a better understanding of the story being told. There is so much more I could give you but this will give you a good start.
But the reason I want to read this passage today is because I want to answer the question,

What can we do when the dragon attacks?

Revelation 12 NLT
Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth. Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days. Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time. Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. Then the dragon took his stand on the shore beside the sea.
Such great imagery. But the question since the dragon has declared war on us, “The women’s children” that is all who keep God’s command and maintain their testimony of for Jesus.

What can we do when the dragon attacks?

Stand firm as a witness for Jesus Christ

Me: I’ve never had to go to court as a defendant, nor as a victim or a witness for either. Simply put I’ve never been in a courtroom. My guess is though it is not as exciting as television makes it seem.
All I know about court is in order to take the stand as a witness for the persecution or the defence you are asked to tell the truth. In fact there is an oath involved.
That is what it is to be a witness. To tell the truth about what you have seen and heard and experienced.
We: So why is it so many of us struggle to understand what it means to be a witness for Jesus. Being a witness for Jesus is simply put telling the truth about Jesus based on what we have seen, heard and experienced. I say simply put but the reality is it is one of those things that is easier to say that do.
Standing as a witness for Jesus when the Dragon seems to be breathing fire down your neck because you are a child of The King can be a scary thing to do.
There are times when as Children of God we know the enemy is attacking us, sometimes through intangible ways we can not explain and other times he attacks through Kings of the Earth.
For example our brothers and sisters in China have to be very brave to stand as a witness, for Satan has corrupted the kings of men in that country to purposefully inflict damage and pain on anyone brave enough to stand and say I am a child of the King.
The dragon who knows he is running out of time is going to increase his persecution of the church. Our hope is that The blood of the Lamb did what God said it would do. So we stand and declare for all the world to hear...
Jesus is the way the truth and the life and no one gets to the Father except through Him.
God: That is the big message from this chapter in Revelation. It is a confirmation that the dragon is lashing out...

And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb

and by their testimony.

It tells us we can not be afraid to die

And they did not love their lives so much

that they were afraid to die.

because no matter what Satan does even if snuffing out our lives on earth, in the end Jesus Wins and he knows it.

But terror will come on the earth and the sea,

for the devil has come down to you in great anger,

knowing that he has little time.”

We also know that God’s protection for Israel, that’s the women in this passage is there for us as well, so even if the Dragon manages to kill 1/3 of the saints The message of Christ will continue.

4 His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth

You: So what does this mean for you? In this life you will face persecution if you are a Child of God. Satan has declared war on all of God’s people, but you do not need to be afraid of the great dragon because Jesus’ blood was shed for you and as long as you stand firm in your faith as a faithful witness for Jesus nothing the enemy can do to you will bring victory to Satan for Christ wins in the end. And just like Jesus was taken home so shall you be.
So when the Dragon stairs at you spitting fire, blaspheming God and continues to cause you great pain and anguish, because he will, do not loss hope.
Just stand covered by the blood of the lamb and testify that Jesus is the Son of God who died and rose again and you have accepted that gift of salvation and experienced the transforming work of the Spirit in your life, and let the enemy know you will not back down even if it means you loss your life because...
Philippians 1:21 NLT
For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
Philippians
We: If God is for us who can stand against us. Let us be good witnesses for Jesus. Let us speak the truth of life and death, of good and evil, of sin and righteousness, and of the free forgiveness, and transforming work offered to us through the Blood of the lamb.
Next Step:
Stand with me
I shall not be moved
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