Summary: What does God have in store for the great mass of struggling sinful humanity who up till this point may never have even heard of Jesus Christ, or if they have, refused to engage with the gospel message of salvation?
IN GOD'S IMAGE 83 - REVELATION 20 - RESURRECTION TO JUDGMENT
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
Last time we finished with the resurrection of the saints, those who had died in the faith or were resurrected at Christ’s return.
• But what about the rest of humanity? The great mass of struggling sinful humanity who up till this point may never have even heard of Jesus Christ, or if they have, refused to engage with the gospel message of salvation? What does God have in store for them?
• This is where the second resurrection comes in.
• Revelation 20: 11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.
• This is judgment day when all have to give an account for their thoughts and actions.
But before we look at this section of scripture a little more closely, I made the non-traditional statement last time that Christ’s mission to the church of making disciples of all men does not cease at Christ’s return.
• A more traditional interpretation of this event is for the “good” to go up to heaven and the “evil” to go down to hell based on their deeds.
• However in this scenario I am proposing, this mission to make disciples comes to its ultimate exciting conclusion after Christ’s return.
• Christ has gathered together a special group of people who have been prepared to play an important role in the great white throne judgment when the billions who have ever lived are resurrected back to life.
• This special group is made up of the resurrected saints of the church age who join with the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament.
• Imagine this group for one moment. Here we have the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 11; Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the prostitute Rahab, David, Samuel and the prophets, together with Jesus’ disciples, Paul, the early church fathers, the reformers and saints from every age being brought together in preparation for this great day.
• Revelation 20:4-6 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
• All of these faithful servants would have arrived in heaven with their own personal worldview depending on the age in which they lived, with their own limited or distorted view of God’s purpose or doctrines, with the opportunity to meet with the risen Christ in preparation for this great event.
• And like the apostle Paul, who had a special encounter with the risen Christ and was the greatest proponent of the gospel message after meeting with Jesus, these saints have had the opportunity to be taught personally by Jesus Christ in preparation for this momentous day (1 Corinthians 15:3-7; Galatians 1:11).
• Notice they were given positions of leadership, (thrones), authority to judge so that when this great mass of humanity rise from their graves, there are saints there from their own era to relate to them and I would suggest, guide them into God’s gospel truth.