Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Satan's Strategy, God's Solution

15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign."
Revelation 11:15-17

This week in Revelation we saw the effects of a sinful world left on its own, allowed to reap the consequences of sin. A third of of the earth burned, trees burned, grass burned (Rev. 8:7). A third of the sea ruined (Rev. 8:8). A third of the fresh water ruined (Rev. 8:11). A third of the sun, moon and stars darkened (Rev 8:12). People suffering in agony as a result of internal poisons (Rev. 9:5). Finally, a third of mankind is lost (Rev 9:18). All of these plagues in the spiritual realm are seen as six trumpets blown by six separate angels. The final angel blows its trumpet and "the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord".

It's a dramatic series of events, but how can we look at it practically for today?
We can understand these disasters, these trumpets, as the result of allowing ourselves and our world to fall prey to Satan's strategy, which is, namely:
  • To lure people away from fellowship with God into fellowship with themselves. 
  • To bring people into such a state of self-indulgence, self-analysis, self-satisfaction, and selfishness that they don't see the earth they came to steward burning around them. 
  • To busy people so much with self-reflection, self-improvement, self-actualization, and self-aggrandizement that they start to begin to see their personal success as the world getting better! 
Even we as Christians can focus so much on ourselves and our self-sacrifice and selfless actions that we don't realize we're falling under the same deception, that it's all about us. But, the truth is...

It's not about us!

God makes this abundantly clear by ending it all! Nothing humanity can muster stops the destruction and judgment. We rage and rant but the earth still burns, the sun still blackens and the stars still fall. We are powerless before a mighty and powerful God who has "begun to reign"!

We try to make a world for ourselves by doing our own thing and pursuing our own goals, but, because of our sin, that's doomed to fail, and only destruction results. And so, God finally steps in to clear away the mess of a world we've made, and bring a new creation.

This story and this revelation is the story of God and His plan. He started it with the creation of everything. It is only appropriate that he would end it, on His own terms. 

Satan hates this fact and makes sure to blind humanity to the truth with a bombardment of self-focused messages. God's solution was to send a man, Jesus, who was immune to this strategy and is able to break humanity out of its inward spiral. Jesus' example reveals an antidote that is powerful and yet subtle. He lived a life in obedience to God's Spirit and taught twelve disciples to do the same. He then allowed his life to be taken in a completely selfless act.

To live like Jesus is to die to self. This is the only cure, the only inoculation to the messages streaming into our heads daily. You are not the focus of history. You are not the reason the world exists. You are not the purpose. God is. 

His love for us is why He made us. His love for us is why He brings healing and redemption to a broken, self-destructive humanity. And He will bring His kingdom down and take up His rightful reign to restore this world.
  1. What are some ways you can get your focus off yourself and onto Jesus?
  2. Are there any specific people that focusing on yourself has distracted you from? What's a small step you can take to shift that focus?
  3. What do you think about the kingdom coming down to earth?

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