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Revealing The Good News - Amongst All The Bad!

The Storm Warning along with the promise of calm.

With so much chaos all around us, there is need for hope in our world.  Wherever I look, I see strife and conflict not only on the battlefields of the world but in our neighborhoods and in our homes.  The crisis continues to accelerate with each passing day, the demands and the stress of daily living has grown much larger than most of us are able to manage. But there is GOOD NEWS! amongst the bad.

Dr. John F. Walvoord, who has written many books on prophecy, believes that the world has entered a time of dramatic and ominous change.  He says, "The present world crisis is not a result of any one factor, but a concurrence of causes and effects which combine to set the world stage for a conflict which may quickly bring an end to hundreds of years of progress in Western civilization.  Whatever the future holds, it will be dramatically different than the past.  In this dark picture only the Scriptures chart a sure course and give us an intelligent explanation of world-wide confusion as it exists today."

Most of the time we are perplexed by the confusion, chaos and ignorance that we see in the world around us.  But according to Dr. Walvoord, conflict and confusion are evidence of the sin and error of the "Last Days".  In the light of Scripture even the most disturbing and mindless acts can be understood.

The lonely exile on Patmos was writing for just such a time as this.  The Apostle John's visions [In The Apocalypse, the book of The Revelation] ring with hope. though his letter was addressed to the seven churches in the Roman province of Asia, his letter is written to us as well.

Though His news to them and to us was hope; The Good News, his vision for the immediate future was not, He wrote honestly to his Christian friends about the disasters ahead and told them how they were to face it.  We need to take his words to heart.


I have spent my lifetime proclaiming one central truth: there is Good News for the people of world.  At the heart of that Good News is Jesus Christ.  He is God in human flesh, and the story his life, death and resurrection is the only Good News there is to proclaim these days. I have spent many years telling people the Good News that they can be forgiven.

You too can be at one with your Creator again.  Regardless of your past, you can be guaranteed a future through a true and genuine faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour of your life.

I like announcing that Good News, but if I am to take John's revelations  seriously, I cannot speak only of the Good News; there is Bad News as well.

John's Involuntary Vocation

John was many things, but he was also an evangelist.  I am sure that he would have been content to finish out his days writing about the past.  Imagine the untold stories of Jesus that he might have shared with the people of his day and ours.  John could have added to the books that he had already written.  He might have filled his parchment with memories of those wonderful days with the Master beside the Sea of Galilee and in the hills of Judea.

John was an eyewitness when God walked upon the earth in human flesh, healing the sick, casting out evil spirits and raising the dead.  What a wonderful, hope filled book he could have written.  But it was not to be.  As John, on the isle of Patmos, wondered and struggled under the weight of his human flesh, Jesus Christ came to him through the Spirit of God to share the Bad News along with the Good News, The Storm Warning along with the promise of calm.

To understand the visions of John, to get hold of the Good News and the Bad News, to understand the warning, the hope and the direction in those visions, we need to return to Patmos on a personal pilgrimage.  We need to walk the beaches with John and see his visions.  We need to ask what they meant to John and to that handful of True and Faithful Christian believers scattered across the empire.  Then we need to ask what John's visions mean to us.

Imagine it: "On the Lord's Day,"  he wrote to that handful of believers, "I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet. " From the text we learn that this revelation by Jesus to John began "On the Lord's Day." (Rev. 1:10)

I can imagine him praying the ancient prayers, singing the ancient psalms, quoting from memory great portions of the ancient words of wisdom and remembering the new life and meaning Jesus had given these ancient practices.

A Pastor's Heart

Suddenly John stands and walks nervously down the beach.  He is worried about the Christians on the mainland only miles away.  How he longs for this separation from them to end.  After all, he had the heart of a pastor.  How many men and women, boys and girls, sitting in those seven places of worship had been led to faith in Christ through John's own preaching?  He felt responsible for them and for their spiritual growth.

Others, directly and indirectly, had helped to raise up those churches, but others (according to early tradition) were dead: Paul, beheaded with a Roman sword; Peter, crucified upside down on a rough wooden cross; John's own brother, James, beheaded by Herod Agrippa; and young Mark, dragged through the streets of Alexandria, his body bruised and bleeding, and then burned.  Unconfirmed news of the deaths or disappearances of John's close friends and co-workers must have left him lonely and even more fearful for the future of the churches that they had planted.

It was not easy to be a True Christian then.  It is not easy now.  Late in the first century, during the time of John's exile, the persecution of the True Christian Church by the Roman Empire had begun in earnest. It was difficult to keep the faith then.  It is difficult now.

A Daily Decision

Every True and Faithful Bible Believing Christian in every nation decides daily to be loyal to Christ and the Spiritual Kingdom that he is building or to give in to this age and its materialistic, humanistic values.  In North America we can see clear evidence of a growing intolerance towards The True and Faithful Bible Believing Christians and True Christian values.  It is no longer so easy to profess the True Christ as it once was in this nation.  We must each daily take up our cross (Matt. 16-24.) or, in fear, compromise to the world's standard.

No wonder John was anxious.  The believers then had, and now have, a constant and confounding choice.  Those Christians in the churches of Asia lived in a world (not unlike our own) where their belief in Christ often left them at odds with the political powers, the economic realities, and the social norms.  The day-by-day choices were difficult and demanding.  Great suffering lay ahead.  Would they keep the True faith?  Would they stand firm, or would they give up following Jesus?

Today-as then True Christians face many decisions.  Will they give in to humanism, the materialism, the selfish pleasures, the dishonest practices of this present age? Would they give in to the deceptions of false religion and instead receive the teachings and the doctrines of Devils and Demons? Christ and His apostles often spoke of false churches,  false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, false brethren and false gospels.

What do you do when you face these decisions?  Is your steadfast desire to do God's will, or do you give in to pressures of those around you?

The Bible says, "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves toward the goal of true maturity. "(Rom 12:2)

Suddenly John heard the voice "like a trumpet," speaking to him. (Rev. 1:10)

The biblical account ignores the first words of the  speaker.  Perhaps it was a simple greeting, not unlike the angel greeting Mary before giving her the Good News of Jesus' upcoming birth.  Perhaps it  was the glory of the Lord shining round about or a host of angels from heaven, not unlike those who caused the shepherds to shake with fear before hearing their Good News.  We don't know what the  figure said, but we do know the first response of John to his "Good News." He was terrified.

As he whirled to "see the voice,"  his eyes were  blinded by the light from seven great lamps.  Standing in the light was a man, his eyes blazing, his head and hair "white like wool."  The figure's feet were "like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters."  The figure held seven stars in his right hand.  Out of his mouth came a "sharp double-edged sword," and his face was "like the sun shining in all its brilliance." (Rev. 1:12-16)

John fell before the figure "as though dead," stunned and awed by what he saw.  That man was Jesus.  Yet John did not recognize his Master, the very same Jesus who had first appeared to John by the Sea of Galilee.  Three years they had been together; still John did not recognize the Saviour. (Rev. 1:17)

This was the very same Jesus who had appeared to John and to the others in a locked room, his resurrected body changed yet still bearing open wounds on hands, feet and side from the nails of the cross and a cruelly thrust Roman spear.  This was the very same Jesus who had taken on the powerlessness of a human being to share humanity's suffering, to feel humanity's weaknesses and temptation, and to deliver mankind from evil. Yet John, long-time disciple, close personal friend and associate, had no idea that this glowing figure was his risen Lord.

Then, gently, as a mother wakens a child from night terrors, the figure leaned over panic-stricken John, touched his shoulder and said, "Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever And I hold the keys of death and Hades." ( Rev. 1:17-18)

Spectral Imagery

Imagine what was going on in John's mind.  Had he, only moments before this mysterious encounter, been fearing for the future of the True Church?  Then suddenly the risen Christ himself appears to deliver the word that is needed as desperately now as it was almost 20 centuries past. Had the seer been wondering if, in fact, there was sufficient power available to Him, and to His flock to withstand the dangers of that evil day, when suddenly the Creator and Sustainer of the universe reveals Himself as the One who holds the key, the One who holds power over the worst fears that plaque human-kind - death and eternal lostness?

" Write, John!"  commanded the Lord of power. Then he clearly specified to whom the letter should be sent: to the leaders of the churches and to the members of the churches from which this light should shine to brighten the entire world. (Rev. 1:19)

" Write what you have seen,"  commanded the figure bright as the sun. " Write ... what is now and what will take place later. " (Rev. 1:19)

This is the Good News.  One moment John was worrying about his True and Faithful Christian friends struggling to survive in those awful times of hard choices and bloody persecutions.  The next moment he was standing before the Lord of history who assured him by his very presence that he was in control of the world. And he still has plans  for His people.

Perhaps right now you are facing some particular problem, and you are even at the point of despair.  But Christ comes to you and says, "I am Lord! There is no circumstance beyond My power, and you can trust Me."

The Good News is that God has a plan for His people, and He gladly shares it with all who will truly believe and truly obey. Through John's visions on the island of Patmos we are given clear signposts that will lead us all along the way.

But more important we have hope for the future. The Bible teaches that a glorious new, Holy Social Order is coming, but it will be brought by Jesus Christ himself when he returns. God will soon return to build His physical Kingdom here on Earth. In the mean time we must be busy being about God's Business, building and promoting His Spiritual Kingdom, through the infilling of the True Holy Spirit and taking His message of Jesus's soon return to all the world, until He returns. I believe that the time is short; we need to tell the Good News however we can.  Listen for the voice of Jesus above the Raging Storm, saying, "You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matt. 24:44)

Are you ready?

Let Us Pray Together--

PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN! 

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