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Breaking Barriers Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church Logo

The Millennium - Revelation 20:1-6 - In The End

Breaking Barriers / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2024 8:00 am

The Millennium - Revelation 20:1-6 - In The End

Breaking Barriers / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church

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May 4, 2024 8:00 am

While Satan brought deception, Jesus brought truth and life.

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All right, church, it's a joy to worship with you guys this weekend. We're going to be in Revelation, chapter 20, as we continue our series in the end. As you're turning there in your Bible, and the words will be on the screen if you don't have a copy of Scripture with you, but as you're turning there, I have a question for you. Have you ever made a bad deal? A lot of laughter going around.

I didn't ask anybody to raise their hands, okay? So, you know, there's no casting of judgment here. I think we've all made bad deals in our lives. We've all been deceived at some point, too, and misled into a bad deal that we made.

I think about this even with, like, marketing around just different things in our culture. You see this on ads all the time. You see, hey, I can buy a car at $0 down, as if you never have to pay that money. Like, it's just $0 down.

I saw this recently in North Carolina. They've approved sports betting, and so I don't know if you guys have seen the ads for all of these different sports betting sites. Hey, if you bet $5, we'll give you $200. We'll give you $200. I'm like, you guys are so generous.

You're so generous to do that. Why would they do that? Because they think if they can get you to begin spending on this, then you'll be hooked, right?

You'll be in. They're trying to deceive you to take a step in thinking that they can get you. They're just not giving $200 away. That's not a great business model, right? I think the stakes of the deal actually matter.

The stakes of the deal matter. You get misled into buying a phone that you can't afford. I'm not going to ask for a raise of hands again, but buying a phone.

I see some people looking at each other in here, right? Buying a phone you can't afford, okay? At worst, you're probably out a couple hundred dollars over a couple years, okay? You think about this with a car. Somebody that you get these car sales. They lead you into this deal. Find a good car salesman, right?

An honest one, right? Because they'll lead you into this deal where you buy a car that was a lot more expensive than what you could afford. The stakes get a little higher then. $600, $800, maybe more for maybe five or six years that you're on the hook for. You think about getting misled into buying a house.

You think about $1,500 to $2,500 a month for 30 years, you know? It's like you're buying a coffin to live in at that point, right? The stakes matter. The stakes matter. Think about spiritual things.

Think about eternity. The stakes matter. The stakes matter. You see, the truth is and what we're going to be talking about today is that we've been deceived into making a bad deal.

Into making a bad deal. But Jesus' authority over deception and ultimately death, it actually frees us from the payment that we owe and it gives us more hope for the future than we could ever think possible. Our big idea for today, Jesus has authority over the deceiver and over death.

He has authority over the deceiver and over death. So listen, if you're new to the faith, you're checking things out, man, we're so glad that you're here checking it out with us. This is a tougher text to understand today, but we're going to pull out some simple truths that we can all apply to our lives. If you've been around church a long time, maybe you're here and you're like, man, I've been through all the Bible studies.

Congratulations, you made it. But I think this would be helpful for our understanding, but hopefully even more so for our growth in following Jesus with great joy and great excitement for where we're headed. So I'm going to talk about just briefly where we've been in the book of Revelation really quick.

We're going to jump into the text. We've been going through the book of Revelation, talking about the kingdom of Babylon, which is representative of the world and rebellion against God. And they've been pitted against the kingdom of God. And then we're going to go back and check out in Babylon against Babylon. And you see Christ pictured as this rider on the white horse winning this war.

If you miss those weeks, I encourage you to go back and check out those messages because I'm not going to go through all of that this weekend. But let's jump into chapter 20 verses one through six, chapter 20 verse one through six. It says, then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he sees the dragon, that ancient serpent who was the devil and Satan and bound him for a thousand years and threw him into a pit and shut it and sealed it over him so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were ended.

After that, he must be released for a little while. All right, now we're seeing something else here. Then I saw thrones seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also, I saw the souls of those who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus for the word of God and those who had not worshiped the beast.

or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads with their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection.

Over such, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. How about those six verses, y'all? That's a lot to take in, isn't it? A lot to take in the six verses. In fact, as I was preparing for this sermon reading through commentaries, I came across this is one of the first lines I read.

This is easily the best known portion of the book of Revelation as well as one of the most divisive passages in the Bible. Congratulations, y'all made it. We made it to this week. Here we are. We'll talk about how do we preach? How do we talk about one of the most divisive passages in the Bible? Maybe you're here again and you're like, man, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Maybe you're here and you're like, man, I know exactly what you're talking about. Either way, we're going to walk through this together. As we think about this, I think Pastor Andrew has actually done a great job of talking with us about climbing the ladder. What he means by that is, hey, we want to find these areas that are actually in the text that we can actually agree on as we think about this in the house of faith. It's great for us to search the scriptures. It's great to grow in our understanding in so much as it grows us in our love for God and for those around us.

One thing we've said through the series is it's more about shaping our character than satisfying our curiosity. Thinking about going through passages like this, it grows us in being gracious towards one another when there are disagreements over issues that aren't fully clear in scripture. Augustine, he was one of the church fathers, he wrote this.

I want to encourage y'all to write it down. It says, in essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity. Can we be this type of people as a church? Where there's essentials, as we think about the gospel, as we think about the inspiration of scripture, man and woman being made in the image of God, unity matters.

It matters. But in non-essentials, as we think about things like the interpretation of end times events, we can be gracious towards one another as we hold our view of this, but other faithful believers may hold a different view. Non-essentials, liberty.

Liberty. But in all things, charity. Are we more concerned with winning an argument or loving a person? What's the thing that we're after? If we get it right but we miss loving those around us, we just missed it. One view takes this as a literal order of events.

Okay? A literal order of events. Where, after the events of Revelation 19, you go to Revelation 20, kind of the natural reading of it, the literal reading of it, and you see in chapter 20 that Jesus establishes, in this view, a literal 1,000 year reign on earth before the final victory over Satan and a future eternity, which come in the text after this text. That's a literal interpretation of this passage. Other views, though, they interpret this as symbolic language. Symbolic language. You see symbolic language throughout a lot of the book of Revelation, that this millennium or 1,000 years is a symbolic time period. It's a long time period. And some people actually interpret it to be that this represents the church age, where Jesus reigns spiritually but not physically on earth. Okay? So there's a couple of different views that people take on this, and that's okay. They're within the house of faith.

What changes, based on the interpretation of this, is the timing of the events in this passage, and ultimately, is there a literal 1,000 year period here on earth before the final eternal reign of Christ? One way to kind of think about it, and this is an imperfect example because most examples are imperfect. One way to maybe think about it is I don't know if any of y'all have Apple Maps. I have Apple Maps because I have an Apple iPhone because I don't use Android because I just don't.

And so for those of you that are Android users, I apologize. But Apple Maps, you put a location in, a destination in, and what does it typically show up? It typically shows up a few different routes, right? And it'll tell you, hey, this one's, you know, however many minutes. This one's a little bit longer, but this one's actually further. I used to track my routes based on what was the fastest way to get there.

I now have about 230,000 miles on my truck. So it's whatever is the shortest distance is actually where I'm going at this point, right? So as you think about that, though, the point is, is there's different routes that people could use and think about and how they get there, but they get to the same destination. As we think about this, and as we interpret these scriptures and people interpret them in different ways, the destination that we get to is the same. Jesus wins. Jesus wins. Now, how he gets there, is it this symbolic, hey, church age going on now, spiritually ruling?

Is it this literal, hey, there's a literal thousand-year period that's sometime in the future that we should be expecting of? Man, we can debate that. Jesus wins.

Jesus wins. And as we think about these, I encourage you to study these topics out. There's actually a blog post that's been going out with this series.

I encourage you to check that out. But there's things that we can pull from this passage that I think no matter your interpretation, the interpretations of various theologians, we would agree on these things that we can pull out of this passage to apply to our lives today. So hey, if you've been checked out for a couple minutes, you've been talking about interpretation, all this stuff, you're like, hey, I don't know, you lost me. Let's jump back in, okay?

Jump back in with me right here. The first idea I want us to understand this weekend, Jesus has authority over the deceiver. Jesus has authority over the deceiver.

It's a big deal. I'm going to start going through this passage. Feel free to keep writing that, and y'all can catch up along with me here. Verse 1 of chapter 20, we're going to walk through.

I'm going to make a couple notes as we're going through it, and we'll make a couple applications around it. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven. That angel is this representative of Christ. He has the keys, okay? So he has the keys to the bottomless pit. It's this authority. Angels are, they're representatives of Christ. They're messengers of Christ. They work under his authority.

So he has this authority given by Christ, given by Christ to him. And then you see as we go into verse 2, this dragon, the ancient serpent, Satan, thrown into a pit. Now why is he thrown into the pit?

The next words right there. So that he might not deceive the nations any longer. The great deceiver. The great deceiver.

He's working to get us to believe his lies. This text describes him as the dragon, as that ancient serpent. Where have we heard that language before? That ancient serpent. Genesis. Genesis. You go back to Genesis chapter 1 in the beginning, and God created the heavens and the earth. He looks at it. He creates man and woman.

He says it is good. And then about a chapter later, Genesis 3 shows up. And you see the deceiver. It says in verse 1 of chapter 3 in Genesis, the serpent was more crafty than any other beast in the field. The Lord God had made. He said to the woman, did God actually say, you shall not eat of any tree in the garden? And here we have the first deception.

And ever since then, the deceiver has been asking us the same question. Did God really say? Did he really say? Did he really say that I can't have sex before marriage? Did he really say that I should be generous with my wealth? Did he really say that I can't tell that small lie at work? Did he really say not to gossip about that person that really bothers me? Students, did God really say that you should give him your future?

That is his. Parents, did God really say that he loves your kids more than you do? Just like Adam and Eve, we bite on the deal that the deceiver hands us. We begin to question that God is trustworthy, that he is good, and then we go our own way, just like in the beginning.

The results are catastrophic. Through Adam, sin entered the world, and the effects of sin affects every area of our lives. It's the everyday, this deception that we live in, and death is the deserved state of all of us, because we chose our own way.

We made a bad deal. In Revelation 20, though, we see the angel with keys, this authority over Satan. We can look all the way back to Genesis 3 and see that where there was a fall, there was also a promise. Where there was a fall of man, there was also a promise. Where we chose the lie, God made a promise, the first prophecy in all the Bible. In Genesis chapter 3, after Adam and Eve sinned, the entrance of death into the world, God speaks to the serpent, that ancient serpent.

And what does he say? He says, I'll put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. So the prophecy is that the ancient serpent would wound the offspring of man, Jesus.

The offspring of man would bruise his heel. We see this in his crucifixion. But that the offspring of man, Jesus, would crush the head of the serpent. Now we land in Revelation with the deceiver, the ancient serpent, having to submit to the authority of Christ. While Satan brought deception, Jesus brought truth and life. He brought truth and life. You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 14, 6, it says that Jesus said that I am the way, the truth, and the life.

We find life in him, in the truth. That's how we reject the deception of the world by clinging to the truth of who Jesus is. In fact, in Matthew 28, Jesus after his resurrection, he says that all authority is given to me in heaven and on earth. He says he's got authority over the deceiver, authority over all things, actually. So the question is, where are we being deceived into thinking that he doesn't have authority over that? What area of your life are you holding back from him, not trusting him with? We're being deceived. Think that we can do it in our own way, to not trust the one who made us, the one who resurrected, proving that we can have life in him.

What area are you holding back from him and not trusting him with? I think about this. Years ago, I shared this years ago here at the church, too. My daughter, we were teaching her to swim.

My middle child, her name is Lila Kate. We were teaching her to swim. And just like all parents, you do the thing where they stand on the side of the pool. You're in the pool, and what do they do?

They jump in. You're standing there. Hey, I'll catch you. I'm going to catch you. So she's standing there, and I'm like, hey, I'm going to catch you.

Let's jump in. I'm going to catch you. And she's just like frozen. I'm like, hey, I'm going to catch you. She's frozen. And I look at her, and I said, Lila, do you trust me?

And she looks at me as seriously as she could, and she said, no. And I was like, well, all right. Well, you know, that's it then. OK, well, you know, we've kind of defined the relationship at this point, OK? As we think about that, though, when you jump into the pool, you've got to jump all in. You've got to jump all in, holding nothing back, like it's all His.

Don't be deceived into thinking I can hold these parts back of my life and think that there will be flourishing in my life. It's all His. So I want to encourage you that Jesus is trustworthy, not only because He has authority over the deceiver, but because He has authority to offer us eternal life. He has authority not only over the deceiver, but authority to offer us eternal life. Jesus sees that we chose the worst deal we could have ever chosen. And through His resurrection, He invites us to reign with Him.

Think about that. We made the worst deal ever, and He invites us into life with Him, into reigning with Him. Check out verses 4 through 6. Then I saw the thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. This could be three groups of people, three different groups of people, and some people have interpreted this that that is one group of people with different segments of that group. But you see here those ruling, you see the martyrs, you see those who didn't give in to deception.

Okay, these three groups of people. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Came to life, it's one of the most debated terms in this passage. It could be this literal raising from the dead in the future. It could be symbolic new life in Christ. See in verse 5, the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection. Listen to this right here.

This is where we're going to key in. Over such, the second death has no power. But they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with Him for a thousand years. Okay, so this first resurrection, it could be either spiritual or physical depending on how you interpret it. But either way, the second death, which is eternity apart from God, it has no power over them. For all who have trusted in Christ, eternal separation from God, eternal death, it has no power. Jesus removes the power of eternal death for all who place faith in Him.

He removes it. See, this is why Paul, he writes of our future resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. What does he say? He says, death is swallowed up in victory. He says, O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting? It's gone because we have new life. We have life in Christ, life eternal. In Romans 8, what does he say? He says, nothing can separate us. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. He removed the power of eternal death.

He removed the eternal separation that we deserve because of the deal that we made. And He removes it from us and invites us into eternal life with Him. We're going somewhere, y'all. We're going somewhere. This life is not just like, hey, 30, 60, 80 years, and then you're dust.

That's not how it works. There's an eternity ahead. You know, when we think about this, we're talking about in the end, we're talking about eternity. We're talking about where we're going.

It's in our future. We know this as a culture. In fact, it's actually the extreme minority of persons across all of history that would actually say there is no eternity. The cultures of the world, they live as if there is eternity. There's so many examples of this across the world.

I think about just, you know, very, very small, silly example. But I think about this with, you know, getting, I was on an airplane last week. And I was flying back from Charlotte to Greensboro, which is like the biggest waste of time because it takes just as long to drive as it does to fly. But I was flying back. This lady sitting beside me, she is like gripping these armrests as if she is driving the plane.

Like she's flying it herself. She's gripping these armrests. And I'm like sitting here, I'm like, ma'am, like if this thing goes down, like these armrests are not going to save you.

But, you know, you do what you need to do, right? But I think about that with like you see like a plane crash, you see a shipwreck, what do they say? They don't say people lost. How many souls lost? They say souls lost.

Why? Because in our hearts there is this idea of eternity that we are more than just dust. That we are more than just animals. That we were made for something more.

That we're going somewhere. But honestly, like our culture also doesn't like to talk about eternity. You see things, phrases like YOLO, you only live once.

Which our student pastor has told me is not actually cool to say anymore. So I've learned something, right? You see these things that they push us to live for the present. And honestly, we don't like to think about eternity a lot. I, a few years ago, had to buy, I finally broke down and bought life insurance. And it was a hard thing for me to buy life insurance. Not because life insurance is extremely expensive. But, you know, you start thinking about life insurance.

And with a policy, you don't want to get a policy that's too high. Because you don't want to be worth more dead than alive, right? So you've got to think about that. But seriously, I really did have this moment where I'm having to engage like death. I'm having to engage, I'm buying a life insurance policy.

I'm buying something that activates when I die. And it was actually kind of a hard process for me to be able to say, okay, like, I need this, my family needs this, but it's actually me embracing that life is limited here on earth, right? We don't like to think about it, but here's the deal. We all have to deal with it at some point.

Eternity isn't optional. We're all trusting in something or someone for it. So what are the things that we put trust in? When it comes to eternity, I think there's three buckets that we kind of put our trust into, okay? There's three buckets of people, three buckets that people in our culture, they put their trust in. I think oftentimes people put their trust in professors or philosophers.

You know the problem with professors and philosophers? They have no experience with things after death. Zero.

Zero. Like they talk in a way that try to convince you that there is no eternity, but they have no experience with it. I think we also turn to religion, various religions that teach a similar thing. That teach, hey, if I work hard enough, if I do enough good things, maybe, just maybe, I'll appease God or the gods, and maybe, just maybe, when I die, I'll get to a good eternity. But I can't really know until I get there, and I just got to hope that maybe I did enough. What a horrible way to live.

Always working, always trying to do more, and never knowing if it was enough. Always living in uncertainty. Hey, there's a third way.

How about this? We can trust the one who actually died and came back to life. It seems the most reasonable.

It just seems the most reasonable to me. If Jesus died, came back to life, was seen by many witnesses, and he said, hey, there's eternity. This is what it's like. I've gone to prepare a place for you. I would suggest that he's probably the best person for us to listen to as it relates to things of eternity. And Jesus loves us and has invited us in. That's the thing. We made the bad deal, and in his great love for us, he died, he resurrected, and he said, hey, you can join me in this.

You can join me in this. And that's the gospel. That's the gospel, that we made this bad deal.

We were deceived. We chose our own way. We thought we could be God better than he could. And sin entered the world, and it's affected all of us. All of us are separated from God, deservedly so, because we made the bad deal, and the stakes were high. But Jesus, in his great love for us, he paid the payment. He paid the payment. By coming to earth, dying on the cross, living this perfect life that you couldn't live, that I couldn't live, dying on the cross to pay for our sins, to bring us back into relationship with God, and then rising from the grave, proving, proving that the check cleared.

Leads us to our application today. Reject deception and live in light of the resurrection. Reject deception and live in light of the resurrection. There's a book, a leadership book that's very popular called Four Disciplines of Execution. And one of the disciplines of it, maybe you've read it, is to begin with the end in mind. Begin with the end in mind. So if you're starting a project, think about where that project should be at the end. If you're thinking about your life, thinking about where your life wants to be in the end, and beginning with the end in mind.

Jesus used a parable that was very similar to this, about somebody building a foundation and counting, right? Counting the cost, thinking about the end at the beginning. Well, I want to encourage you that wherever you are, today is a new beginning. So begin with the end in mind. Don't let the deception of the deceiver keep you from the truth of the grace found in the gospel.

And living our lives in light of that. Hey, if you're here and you haven't placed faith in Jesus, maybe you've been checking things out. Okay, maybe you've been here just kind of around wanting to hear the gospel, maybe interested in spiritual things. But you're like, man, I've never surrendered. And I'm not really sure about this eternity thing.

I don't really know where I'm going. What more proof could you need of love and hope for eternity than one who resurrected and invited you into a relationship with him? One who defeated death.

Death wears your sting, has no power. What he calls you to do is to trust him. To trust him, to give your life over to him. He made the payment for us.

He calls us in a relationship with him now and forever. To believe that we are a sinner, to know that we made the bad deal. This is what it looks like to place faith in Christ. To know that you made the bad deal, that you're guilty. To know and believe that Jesus paid for it, that you never could.

But he paid for it through his death and resurrection. And to confess him as the Lord of your life. To throw yourself on him.

Just like my daughter, throwing herself into the pool. To throw yourself on him for your salvation. And confess him as Lord of your life saying, hey Jesus, you got it all. You got it all, I'm yours. Why? Because you paid my debt.

I owe everything to you because you love me that much. If you're here today and you never place faith in Christ, let today be the day. The day of new beginning. Trust in Christ right now. If you're here and you've been a believer for a long time, maybe you're a brand new believer. Are you being deceived into living more for what's now than what's next? If we have our mind on eternity, it changes how we live today. See, the truth is that we've already won. There's nothing we need from this world for satisfaction.

Not one thing. We've won eternity with Christ forever. What does that mean for us? Well, it gives us confidence in difficult times. For the believer, this is the worst it gets. How about that confidence?

Isn't it true a hard time? Eternity's ahead. Eternity, reigning with Christ.

That's ahead. But it also shifts our priorities in this life. It shifts our priorities to begin living for something greater than just today.

I think about a Puritan. This is his quote. He said, resolved. He wrote some resolutions for his life. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can.

Is that what we're after? Are we living for now or are we living for next? I think we think about our priorities with that. Just some practical ways that I think it affects our lives.

As we think about our time, I think it affects where we spend our time and who we spend our time with. Maybe you've been around church for a while. Maybe you've been around Mercy Hill for a while, but you've never jumped into the family. Well, listen. This is a family that is going to be your family for all of eternity. So jump in and be part of the family. You think about living for the future and what God might have and living for eternity. Well, you were made for more.

Made for more than straight A's in soccer, right? Made for more than your 401k. So as you think about that, jump into the body.

We have a weekender coming up in a few weeks. If you haven't jumped in, don't be on the sidelines. Jump in.

Jump in. God wants to use you and grow you. And there is joy in being part of the local body and making an impact for his kingdom, for things that matter for all of eternity. Don't waste our life. It changes how we spend our time, whatever age group you're in. It changes how we spend our treasure, too. That's why we've been in this deeper discipleship initiative. It's about our hearts. Unlocking our hearts, Jesus has our deepest desire in opening our hands, saying, hey, instead of investing in my things, the things that I want to gain, I'm investing in his things.

Why? He paid a debt you could never pay, and he didn't just pay it for you. He paid it that all might come to repentance. So are we living with our time, our treasure? Are we living on mission in our neighborhoods that others may know him? I don't know what step God is calling you to take this weekend, but I just feel like if we're living in light of eternity, we all struggle with this in different ways.

We all have moments where we get deceived. In what ways do we need to give something to God this weekend? What's that thing you're like, man, I've been deceived into thinking I need control of this, but God really needs it because it's really his. I need to take a step. Maybe I need to come to the altar and pray, give that thing to the Lord. Maybe I need to take a step of involvement like the weekender or jumping into our deeper initiative. Maybe I need to go out and share the gospel because eternity doesn't just matter for me, but it matters for the people around me, too.

It matters all the way to the ends of the earth. Hey, let's live in light of eternity because Jesus has won over death right now and forever. Let's live in light of eternity.

Let's pray. Father, we love you. We love you because you first loved us, not because we had done anything good. God, we were running from you.

We were rebels. But God, we thank you that you would show us the truth in Christ Jesus. We thank you that you would have authority over the deceiver and Jesus that you would prove it through the resurrection. God, I pray for the people in this building, people across our campuses that have yet to trust in you. I pray that today would be the day of salvation. God, I pray for the body of believers here. I pray that we would let go of the deceptions in this world, that we would seek you as the truth, that we would turn our lives fully over to you, God. And God, I pray that people would take steps to jump in, to get involved, because eternity is ahead. God, we thank you. We thank you that we have a future and a hope, not because of us, but because of you. I pray it in Jesus' name.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-04 12:16:17 / 2024-05-04 12:29:58 / 14

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