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Living In the 1000 Years

End of Days  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus will free us from Satan or condemn us to eternity with Satan.

Revelation 20:1-15
This is the Word of the Lord, Thanks be to God.
Let’s just talk for a while, this morning, ok?
When I was in seminary, my New Testament survey professor said, “When you get to Revelation, what you need to do is get a milkshake and sit out under a tree on a sunny day and read it.”
His implication was that Revelation is a good, scary read and that’s about all it’s good for and you know what, if that’s how you are going to read it, that is about all it’s good for.
Most Read Thru the Bible programs - and there is nothing wrong with them, if you are doing one now, go forth and conquer - but most Read Thru the Bible programs are based on speed.
Read the Bible Thru in a year.
Several gentlemen and I are involved in a 260 day - that’s 5 days a week for 52 weeks - reading through the New Testament.
It’s great to read through the Bible, I’m not criticizing it.
What I am saying though, is sometimes our focus on speed causes us to miss things.
When you get to the Revelation, if you read it straight through in a single sitting, you’ll get the gist of the theme “God wins,” but that’s about it.
But there is so much more.
We’ve been in Revelation 34 weeks and we’ve got 3 weeks left.
We’ve studied deep and I’ve studied deeper - this study has changed me.
It’s changed a belief about the future that I’ve held all of my life and it changed how I view my life right now.
I have prayed that this study would, at the very least, challenge you to think about what you believe and how that affects your everyday life.
So how did it change me.
Remember us saying that Revelation can’t mean anything to us now that it didn’t mean to them then?
I grew up hearing sermons that preached that the church would be raptured - “…we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”
We were taught that there would be an Antichrist who could come and for 3 1/2 years he would be the greatest thing that ever happened to the earth.
Then he would turn on Christians and Jews and the Church would be raptured out so they wouldn’t have to experience the last 3 1/2 years of the Antichrist’s torments.
At the end of the 7 year reign of the Antichrist, we called it the Great Tribulation, Armageddon would occur, Satan would be defeated and bound and Jesus would reign on the earth for 1000 years - we called that the Millennium.
That 1000 year reign comes from Revelation 20.
But now here’s my question, if that is what all of this is about, what did it matter to folks 2,000 years ago who were losing their livelihoods because they wouldn’t worship their nation’s ruler?
What does this say to us today when our government and the governments of the world are threatening people with losing their livelihoods if they don’t bow down to the wishes of the government?
It has to say to us today what it said to them then.
To understand where I am coming from, we need to take a little side trip to Ephesians 2:1-7.
Ephesians 2:1-3
Ephesians 2:1–3 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
“And you were dead...”
Everything after that explains your deadness.
You were physically alive, walking, following the course of this world - doing what you were raised to do.
You were following Satan - some folks might bristle over that but the scripture is plain - if you aren’t following God, you are following Satan.
We were children of wrath - headed for the lake of fire, just like everyone else, right?
“And you were dead...”
I did a funeral once a long time ago of a man who was not a Christian and his family was not Christian.
They were friends of some of our church folks and they asked if I would do the funeral and I did.
They were grief stricken as they should have been.
At the graveside, the wife demanded the funeral home open the casket so she could get one more look at her husband before they buried him.
When they opened that casket, she let out a wail like I’ve not heard.
And then she started climbing into the casket.
It took several men from her family to pull her back and keep her away from the casket, she’s screaming no as they are closing the lid.
She had a good reason to be that upset - it was the last time she’d ever see him again.
But what did the dead guy do?
Nothing, right?
That’s a silly question - he’s dead - of course he could do nothing.
That’s Paul’s point right here, you and I, when we were dead in our trespasses and sins could do nothing to save ourselves.
Listen to me - I’ll be very clear - you could not trust Jesus as your savior - you could not invite him into your heart - you could not walk an aisle and you could not pray a prayer for Jesus to save you - you were dead.
That’s truth - scripture says so - “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked...”
Ephesians 2:4-5
Ephesians 2:4–5 ESV
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
God made us alive and saved us as an act of grace on his part.
We did nothing to deserve it - we were dead - dead people do what dead people do.
But God chose to make us alive.
Let me tell you another little story.
This day will forever be etched in my memory.
It was Vacation Bible School at Davis Chapel Baptist Church.
I’m not sure how old I was - I remember it as the 6th grade - but I wouldn’t testify to that in court.
My class was in the old building across from the main sanctuary complex and I loved that class room.
It had one of those slanted peg-board things where each week for a little while we got to make designs using colored pegs in the peg-board.
I was fascinated by those things.
On this day though, we were around a table studying out of VBS book and Beth Neal, my teacher, came by where I was sitting.
She was talking to each child about being saved and she mentioned it to me.
I told her I wasn’t baptized and Beth was genuinely surprised.
“I thought you were saved,” she said, and then she said something about how well I acted.
Here’s the point of the story.
When she said, “I thought you were saved,” a light went off in my soul that has never gone out.
I knew, in that instant, that I needed a Savior and His name was Jesus.
Now listen to me - I knew that before that moment.
I’d been in Sunday School since cradle roll almost.
I’d studied every Bible story every kid’s ever gone through.
I’d been in Christmas pageants - I was a shepherd and no telling what else.
I knew the story of Jesus and could recite it to anyone who asked.
But on that day, with Beth Neal saying, “I thought you were saved” “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved [me], …made [me] alive.
That day I became a child of God - saved from wrath and made whole.
It took me two years and the elbow of my little brother before I gathered the courage to walk the aisle to make it public and be baptized.
But God made me alive in Beth Neal’s VBS classroom so that I could see I needed to follow Jesus and I did.
What has this got to do with Revelation? Stay with me.
Ephesians 2:6-7
Ephesians 2:6–7 ESV
and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
If the scripture is true, and I hold that it is, on that day in Beth’s VBS classroom, I was not only saved, I was raised up with him.
I take Galatians 2:20 pretty literally.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I was crucified when Christ was crucified.
I was raised when Christ was raised.
And what does Paul say, I am “seated…with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus...”
To what end - why am I seated there?
“So that in the coming ages [God the Father] might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
So I’m in heaven, with Jesus on His throne, reigning over the earth.
When did that start?
When did Jesus’ reign begin?
Philippians 2 says that when Jesus died on the cross, the Father “highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus’ reign began when He was resurrected.
The 1000 years in Revelation 20 is not 1000 literal years.
It is 10 x 10 x 10 - 10 represents fullness - completion and it’s multiplied times itself three times - the number of the Trinity.
Jesus will reign in his present state until the Father decides that the fullness of time has taken place and it’s time to move on to the final recreation of the earth.
Remember we said a few weeks ago that there will come a day when the Father says, “That’s enough,” and when He does, it’s over.
And all of those people in verses 4-6 are accumulating even now.
Those who die in Christ.
Those who die for the faith.
Those who are murdered for the faith.
They are accumulating right now - gathering - in heavenly places.
We are living in the millenium reign of Christ right now.
So, if that’s true, what about Satan being bound? Isn’t he active right now.
He is very active right now - but he is only working within the limits that the Lord is allowing him to work.
Folks, don’t make a mistake, never equate God and Satan.
Satan is not the ying to God’s yang.
He’s not omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent.
He’s a created being and as rebellious as he is, he is still bounded by the limits God places upon him.
This is the weakness of the church - that we don’t understand this.
I repeated this before - and here we are again - Jesus told Peter that if the Church stormed the very gates of hell, the gates of hell would come crashing down before us.
The Church reacts to everything defensively.
The Lord tells us that we have the power to play offense - that our enemy does not control the field and the enemy has not stolen our playbook.
Very simply, we are afraid.
We’ve never tested this - we are always reactive.
But it doesn’t have to be this way - and that’s the message of the Revelation to them and to us.
The world around us can go as crazy as it wants - and it’s to no matter for us.
Yes, times are hard and they are very scary.
But Jesus made us alive and the Father seated us with him in heavenly places.
Our spiritual resurrection is complete.
We will never die - instead, we’ll be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
Until then, we should stand up tall and proud.
We ought to live with confidence and be bold.
Paul’s testimony can be our testimony.
Philippians 4:12-13
Philippians 4:12–13 ESV
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
I can do All things.
I CAN do all things.
No one can throw anything at us that we cannot handle.
We can do all things through him who strengthens me.
And when we do, the promise to the church at Ephesus is our promise to, “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
That is ours.
And then what?
When God declares everything has gone on long enough, He will take the boundaries off of Satan and there will be a persecution of the church like there never has been.
Satan will rally the whole world to crush the church and all Christ followers.
And he would except, well, Jesus comes.
We saw it last week.
Verses 7-10 are a retelling of the end of Revelation 19 with a nod to Daniel 7.
In Daniel 7, Daniel had a vision of God on His throne.
Listen to how he describes it, “[God’s] throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out before him;”
At the Word of Jesus, the very flames from the throne of God will consume the enemies of God.
That’s Armageddon retold.
Look at this - don’t miss this.
Revelation 20:10
Revelation 20:10 ESV
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.
With no effort, Satan will meet his fate - He will spend eternity in the lake of fire and sulfur and God won’t even break a sweat.
And what about everyone else?
The way Revelation reads, up until this point, the only souls alive are Christian souls.
Everyone who isn’t a Christ follower who has ever died are dead or they are in the place of the dead.
But that changes, Revelation 20:12-15
Revelation 20:12–15 ESV
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
John covered all of his bases here.
Everyone who was buried - but look a here, everyone whose body was lost “and the sea gave up the dead who were in it.”
No one escapes - every last soul who has ever lived is resurrected by the power of God.
And look at this too - everyone gets their chance to make their case.
Everyone that you’ve ever talked to that’s told you that they went to church all of their lives, that they were a good person, that they gave to charities, that they built houses for Habitat for Humanity, that they did all of these good things - they’ll get to make their case.
But while they stand there, God will look into the Lamb’s book of life as I’ve heard it called all of my life, and if their name isn’t there, they will be thrown into the lake of fire.
And if they never followed Jesus as their Savior, their name isn’t there and their fate is sealed regardless of what they have done.
The good news for us is we aren’t a part of this.
We don’t experience the second death - once was enough for us, thank you very much.
Death itself and Hades - the holding place of the dead - are tossed into the lake of fire too.
The history of sinful earth is over.
The curse that God placed on humanity and the earth at the fall is now removed.
Jesus’ work of redemption is done.
He has his people and they will live with him throughout eternity.
The message of Revelation to us is the same message for them then.
Jesus has freed his followers from the power of Satan.
But for those who refuse to follow Him, their destiny is eternity in torment with Satan and all of his angels.
Pray that Jesus will make those we love alive in Christ - tell them about Jesus - you give them Jesus.
You never know when that single sentence will be the one Jesus uses to make them alive.
We don’t want to lose them to the lake of fire.
Let us pray.
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