Pastor Notes — More on Revelation 14

Last Sunday in Revelation 14, we encountered again this idea of being sealed by God.   In the immediate context scripture is speaking of the 144,000 as being sealed during the tribulation.  But I don’t you to gloss over the significance of being sealed by the living God.  Bringing this idea of sealing into our own church context, we understand that as Christians, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit.  We read in Ephesians 1:13, , In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. [1]  Jen and I were recently blessed with a cruise, where we had the opportunity to witness some of our Creator’s underwater wonders while snorkeling.  Wanting to capture our experience, she bought new phone covers advertising the use of our cell phones underwater.  Taking my cell phone underwater?  Hmmm.  To me, our new covers didn’t look much more secure than a typical sandwich bag.  I was skeptical.  I feared that taking our expensive phones underwater in a glorified Ziploc would not end well, so I invited Jen to try it first!  She did and it worked just fine.  Our phones stayed completely protected throughout the entire experience. 

                What does it mean to be sealed by the Holy Spirit? Does God have us in proverbial sandwich bag protecting us from evil?  He does in a sense, but really it is so much more than just a protective covering. In the text quoted above we find this seal is also a mark of ownership, it’s how God identifies us.   Here’s the implication, we are sealed, because we are His.  He protects and preserves because we belong to Him as His children.  Our very identity is found completely in Him. 

                When you first trusted Jesus you became a new creation; the old has passed away, making way for a new identity.  This is what scripture means when we read the phrase, being ‘born again.’  We have been transformed!  You’ve heard it said that you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family.  Whether you love your Dad or not, biologically speaking, he will always be your Dad.  It’s in your DNA.  For Christians the Holy Spirit has made us new, our Spiritual DNA is inextricably linked to our heavenly Father.  It’s simply who we are and nothing can change that. 

                Perhaps you’ve been skeptical that God will be faithful in guiding you home.  If that’s you, remember that the God of the Universe, in the person of the Holy Spirit is faithful and just to complete the work he started in you!  Rejoice in the guarantee of our eternal future!  Rest assured as those sealed by God!

In Him Together, PC


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Eph 1:13–14.

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Notes from Pastor Chris– Sermon of August 18

 This week in Revelation 14 we saw a picture of three angels, whom during the Great Tribulation will be found spreading the eternal gospel to every nation and tribe and language and people.  The gospel is a simple message, yet it is contrary to many worldly views and ideas held by many today.  In addition to ideas about relative truth and reality of hell these angelic evangelists indirectly clarify a couple of other ideas.   We ran out of time Sunday morning, so as promised here were those other two points!

          The first one is recognizing God as the Creator.  The bottom line truth is this…we understand that an eternally existent, and uncreated God is the first cause.  The great miracle of Genesis isn’t biological diversity or complexity or even the mind boggling expanse of the universe.  It’s the fact that an eternal God created something from nothing.  The very fact that there are things at all is an astounding thought.  The God who is the creator and sustainer of the entire universe, is worthy to be worshiped.  And furthermore, you and I are created.  Created by a holy and heavenly Father. He knew us before time began, creating us to be in relationship with him, and sending his Son to die that our relationship with the creator can be restored.   Our Creator is worthy of worship.    

          The other myth we see busted here, is a logical fallacy sometimes referred to as the fallacy of the majority. Just because a majority of people hold to an idea as true does not necessarily mean that it is true.  In the end times, there will a majority on earth will buy into all manner of thinking contrary to the truth.  We read in 1 John 5:19, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one…”  We are under increasing pressure from the culture to change what we believe about scripture, but shifting cultural ethics don’t compromise the truth of scripture, no matter how vociferous the voices become. 

Back to Church Sunday– Sept 8

With school in progress and summer over, it’s time to get in the regular routine and back to church as well. Join us on the 8th.

The Children’s Sunday School will kick off a new ” VBS style” concept in a newly redecorated space at the usual 9 am time. We’re looking for all kids ages 3 – 12 in the community that do not currently have a church home. Plans are to begin a weekly, free bus service for Sunday School within Wellington, however parents must sign up at Sunday School on any Sunday to begin the service. Join us for the 10 am worship hour, followed by a “Community Picnic -on-the-Lawn at 11:30. Food, music, games and fellowship….. hope to see you soon!

Child of God vs. Employee

Notes from Pastor Chris

Are you a child of God or an employee?  Romans 8:14-16 says, “…those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”  These incredible verses reveal some staggering truths.  First, of all it reveals our identity as children of God.  So often in life we approach God more like an employee.  We recognize that we are valued, but we feel like there are expectations to fulfill in order to get our due.  To fail is to reap the consequences or even get fired.” 

I recently ran across a man who grew up in a Christian home.  He knew he was loved as his parents repeatedly told him so.  However, he often felt that performance was the primary factor in gaining affection from his parents.  He often heard, “We love you but….”.  What followed the ‘but’ was always performance oriented, “be more aggressive on the court, get better grades, etc.”  It was love plus some requirement.  Do you see your relationship with God this way?  As a Father yelling ‘encouragement’ from the sidelines?  The Holy Spirit is here to say to you today, “I love you, period.”  He loves us as we are, not for what we do.  We are loved unconditionally by the God that takes up permanent residence in our very hearts.

This love for us is deep and intimate.  As children of God we are able to experience the Father in ways never imagined in the centuries leading up to Jesus.  To call God ‘Abba’, is more like saying Papa or Daddy.  Picture a little girl on her father’s lap, crying out to her Daddy.  What an incredible love a father can show his precious little girl, and what boundless trust a little girl can have in her Daddy!   It is through the Holy Spirit that we may hear these words from the Father, “You are mine, and you will be by child forever!” 

Baptism

In Matthew 28.19, Jesus commanded the church to baptize people as an integral part of what we call the Great Commission. This month on Sunday the 23 rd , we will be having our baptism service.

This is perhaps one of the most profound things we get to witness. It is so exciting to see someone publicly confess their Lord and Savior in this act of early obedience. It is important to note that baptism is not necessary for salvation and that baptism doesn’t somehow impart special grace to recipients apart from faith. That being said, baptism can have a wonderful effect on the young believer.

It is no small thing to recognize what baptism represents in our life. First, baptism symbolizes our death to sin. To Sin, we are no longer slaves. Paul says in Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with (Jesus) through baptism into death…” Our immersion into water demonstrates the death of our old selves. Baptism also represents our new life. When we are raised from under the water, it symbolizes our re-birth. What an exhilarating thought!

Baptism encourages and strengthens our faith. It also encourages all those who are present. Scripture speaks of believers being baptized by one Spirit into one body. In other words, on June 23 rd , we will be baptizing people as a symbol of their commitment to the church. When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence, and he or she is born into God’s family. That’s why it is important that we as a church body come out to support those who are taking this important step in their faith. I promise you will be blessed as well!