Black Friday is exciting because we believe we get a great deal on the special products we want. In reality, economics works in reverse. When we believe something will bring great value, we will pay full price, and a high price for it.
Revelation 14 opens with the Lamb and 144,000 who follow the Lamb around. These people are pure as virgins. They tell no lies. They are completely blameless. And they bear the mark of their Father and the name of the Lamb.
We come to find out that this group is God’s special purchase. God redeemed them. Meaning he paid their purchase price. And when he did this, he separated this group from the rest of the people on the earth. And God didn’t purchase them with gold or silver. He purchased them with the blood of the Lamb.
God didn’t have to purchase us. And yet he did. Why? Because we are his broken image. God purchased us because of a holy, perfect mixture of mercy, grace and his glory.
And this relates to enduring persecution with patience. For us, persecution isn’t a reality. So we deal more with enduring through difficulties. When we are purchased by God, we receive his mark, name and character (aka. we’re a chip off the old block). When we realize this reality, bring it on! There is nothing we can’t handle!
Dealing With Difficulties
Being a special purchase of God and dealing with difficulties are not exclusive. In the parenting mindset of our culture, if we love our kids, then we will not let them go through difficulty.
But God doesn’t have that perspective. Because he loves us, he lets us go through difficulty. Difficulty done right produces grit, determination, perseverance, endurance and faith.
Notice an interesting progression in the announcements of the angels. The first angel says to fear God and worship him because judgement is coming. The second angel announces the defeat of Babylon. And the third angel says anyone who worships the beast and takes his image is destined to the wrath of God. Then we see a call for believers to endure, keep the commands and maintain their faith in Jesus.
If Babylon falls, why do we need to be reminded to not worship the beast (the leader of Babylon)? It has fallen, so how can we worship it? Because Babylon will fall, but hasn’t fallen yet. And until it does fall, we will face difficulty. We must endure and maintain faith.
Knowing Babylon will fall helps us keep our eyes on the Kingdom of God. Knowing God has purchased us helps us know why to keep our eyes on the Kingdom. God is our Father. We are chips off his block. Keep moving through difficulties because he will mold us into the child he wants us to be.
Throughout this year (Aug. 2016-Aug. 2017), CrossPoint will be reading through the New Testament. We are doing this because we’re learning about the Church and the New Testament is the handbook for the church. Therefore, join us as we follow this reading plan. Today’s reading is from Revelation 14.