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Back To The Future – Sermon #36

 

Revelation 14:12-13

WHEN THE END COMES – PART 2

WHAT THE END HOLDS FOR THE SAINT

Intro: As we studied verses 6-11, we listened as angels announced the fact that God had pronounced a sentence of damnation on this world system and all those who refuse to believe the Gospel message. Those verses tell us about a horrible place called Hell where the lost will suffer in the flames of God’s wrath for all eternity. That is a sad, horrible picture of the future that awaits every person who lives and dies outside of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are not saved today, I challenge you to examine your life and where you are headed. Do you really want to go to Hell? Do you really want to spend eternity separated from God and from everything of beauty, purity and spirituality? You do not have to go to Hell! You can be saved if you will come to Jesus and call on Him by faith, Rom. 10:9, Acts 16:31.

 What a contrast there is when we comes to verse 12! We leave the wrath and judgment of verses 6-11 and we are exposed to the sweet fragrance of God’s grace. Having declared His judgment against the wicked, God now demonstrates His grace toward the righteous. Having shown us the wicked, God now casts the spotlight on His faithful remnant. He says, “You have seen the wicked ones, now take a look at my children!”

These verses show us what will happen to the saints of God when they leave this world. We have seen the hellish side of death; now let’s examine the heavenly side of death. What waits on the sinner is ghoulish; what waits on the saint is glorious. Let’s look at the truths in these two verses as we consider the thought What The End Holds For The Saint.

 

  I.  v.12a THE PROCLAMATION OF THEIR FAITHFULNESS

A. The word “patience” literally means “steadfast endurance”. It is the picture of a person who cannot be swayed from his simple faith in and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

B.  In spite of the horrors of the Tribulations Period and the threats of the Antichrist, these believers have remained faithful to their Lord. They refused to bow to this world. They refused to give their worship to the Devil. They have endured every attack and every affliction with the confident knowledge that their God was executing an eternal plan. They were faithful even unto the death, knowing that, in the end, their faith would be vindicated and Satan and his kingdom would be judged.

C.  These people knew that they were part of the victorious people God, even while they suffered! That is a lesson that we would do well to learn in our day. This world and the devil are always trying to get us to compromise. There is a constant barrage designed to cause us to abandon God and the way of righteousness. The devil would love nothing better than for us to get our eyes off Jesus and His will for our lives and our church. He would love for us to lower our standards, relax our hold on our convictions and abandon the way of righteousness in these days.

After all, it would be easier! It would cause the church to be more accepted in the community. It would take some of the pressure off. The only problem is that it would offend God! It would cause Him to remove His power from our midst. It would cause Him to write “Ichabod” above our door, like He has in countless other churches.

D.  The best course of action in this day is the same course of action chosen by the saints in these verses. It is the course of action articulated by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” We are to stay the course for the glory of God!

E.  The world might not appreciate your efforts for the Lord; but God does! He sees every sacrifice for His name and He will reward His people in due time, Matt. 10:41-42; 1 Cor. 3:10-15. Ill. The principles to be gleaned from the Judgment of the Nations – Matt. 25:34-40.

 

  I.  The Proclamation Of Their Faithfulness

 

 II.  v. 12b     THE PROOF OF THEIR FAITHFULNESS

A.  These people demonstrated their faithfulness to the Lord in two ways. They kept His commandments and they kept the faith. When we do as He tells us in His Word, we prove that we love Him, John 14:15. Our obedience to the Lord is irrefutable evidence that we have experienced the new birth, 1 John 2:3-5.

B.  By keeping the faith, these people had refused to deny Jesus. They had maintained their faith in Him even when doing so was costly. Many in the Tribulation will go to their deaths rather than deny the Lord Jesus. How much easier would it be for them to deny Him with their lips, even as they embrace Him in their hearts? But, they are not hypocrites! They will not deny Him even though it will cost them everything. By refusing to worship Antichrist, they will suffer greatly. They will not be able to buy or sell. They will be hunted and hounded and executed for their allegiance to Jesus. Still, they will remain faithful!

C.  These suffering saints set a sterling example for those of us living in these days! As we know, the trend in churches and among church people in our day is to become more like the world. That is the easy path to follow. It gains you favor with the world and it helps you grow in numbers.

However, when you compromise the Word of God and water down the Gospel message, you forfeit the presence and power of God. You might have a full house, huge crowds and mountains of cash, but if there is no power and touch of God, those things amount to less than nothing! (Ill. “I’d Rather Have Jesus!”)

 

  I.  The Proclamation Of Their Faithfulness

 II.  The Proof Of Their Faithfulness

 

III.  v. 13       THE PROFIT OF THEIR FAITHFULNESS

A.  From a worldly point of view these people gave up a lot for their faith in Jesus Christ. They suffered, they starved, and they endured hardships that we cannot even begin to imagine. Men watched their wives and children starve to death. Mothers watched their children suffer. What did it profit them? What payoff was there in such suffering and pain? This verse tells us about their future. If you are saved it tells about your too!

B.  First, we are told that these people who will die in and for Jesus are “blessed”. This word has the idea of being “happy.” It means to be “supremely blessed; fortunate; well off”. The idea here is that those who die in the Lord leave a harsh, unfriendly world for a better place.

C.  We have often heard it said, when a believer dies, “Well, they are better off.” It is so true! Paul knew this truth, Phil. 1:23; 2 Tim. 4:6. Death, for the child of God is not the horrible monster we have made it out to be! It is nothing more than a doorway that allows us to step out of time and into eternity! It is a portal that allows us to leave this land of death and step into that land of life. Death, for the child of God, is not a grinning devil; it is a smiling friend that comes to usher us home into the waiting arms of our Savior!

 

(Ill. Henry Van Dyke wrote a special poem that reveals death for what it is for the child of God. It is called “Gone From My Sight”.

 

            I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

 

            Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”

            “Gone where?”

            Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

            Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices are ready to take up the glad shout: “Here she comes!”

            And that is dying.)

 

D.  There is no comparison between what we have in this world and what will be ours when we get home to glory! This verse touches on two of the blessings that will hold special importance for those saints living through the horrors of the Tribulation.)

1.  They Will Rest From Their Labors – These people have labored for Jesus in a difficult day, now they are going home to rest. The word “labour” does not refer to the act of working, but to the weariness that comes from working. The word literally means “a beating; grief; sorrow; trouble”. It can be used to speak of “beating the breast out of sorrow”. The idea here is of the soldier who has fought in the campaigns and battles and has grown weary. He needs some R&R. It pictures the sailor who has helped guide the ship through many terrible storms. He needs to have a shore leave.

These saints gave their all for Jesus here on the earth and all they got in return was weariness of the flesh, grief and sorrow. Now, they can go into the presence of the Lord to rest. (Ill. Heaven – Rev. 21:1-6; 21:10-22:5.)

The word “rest” means “to cease from labor to in order to recover and collect strength”. It speaks of being in a state of “refreshment”. There is weariness in the work of God! God’s faithful servants get tired, but there is coming a day of rest and refreshment!

 

(Note: It is easy to get weary in the service of the Lord! Take preaching for instance. Someone has determined that one hour of preaching is equal in stress and physical demand to working at hard manual labor for half a day and it is equal to a full day of office work. Preaching tires me out! There are Sundays when I go home thoroughly exhausted from preaching. Add to that sermon preparation, visitation and other necessary duties and you are talking about a recipe for weariness.

      Many of you are weary in the battle today. It gets hard to live for Jesus in a world that does not care about Him! It is hard to be holy in a godless world. It makes you weary. Let me encourage you, precious saint of God, there is coming a day of rest! One day, we will step out of this world and we will enter His presence. When we arrive there, we will have laid aside the burdens, cares and labor of this life. We will be able to find refreshment in His presence.

By the way, He knows how to refresh us here too! He can give you strength sufficient for your days, Deut. 33:25. Therefore, let us carry on in spite of the weariness we feel from time to time. Let us not come to that place where we throw up our hands and say, “What’s the use?” God help us to look beyond this hard hour and see a day when we will stand complete in His presence!

2.  They Will Be Rewarded For Their Labors – We are told that “their works do follow them.” In other words, their labor for the Lord in that dark day was not in vain! God saw everything they did for His glory and He rewards them for it all. That is how it will be for the children of God one day! We will stand in His presence and He will reward us for the things He allowed us to do for His glory, 1 Cor. 3:10-15. He saved us by His grace. He gave us His Spirit. Anything we have ever done for Him has been because He enabled us to do it. Yet, He is going to reward us! Isn’t that amazing! But, I know what we will do with those rewards. We will cast them at His feet and we will praise Him for His grace in salvation and in service, Rev. 4:9-11. We sing “What A Day That Will Be”, and it will be a glorious day when we leave this world to go to our reward!

 

Conc: The contrast in the destinations of the lost and the saved could not be more different! Those who reject Jesus Christ will spend eternity apart from His presence in Hell. Those who receive Him will enjoy an eternity spent in His presence in Heaven.

Five seconds after you die you will already be where you are going to spend eternity. Look at your heart right now. Where would you go if you died within the hour? Would you go to Heaven? Would you go to Hell? Are you content with the place you are headed right now?

Would you like to be saved? You can be if you will come to Jesus. Here is His promise to you – John 6:47. If you will come to Him, He will amaze you at what He will do in you and for you both here, 1 Cor. 2:9, and there, Jer. 33:3.

Are you saved? If so, you should praise Him for what you have here and for what you will enjoy there.

Are you faithfully serving Jesus today? Or, have you allowed coldness and compromise to enter your heart?

Has He spoken to you through this message? If so, you come as He calls.

 

 

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