Summary: We are called to stand out in this broken world as we wait for Jesus to return
You can listen to this message in full here:-
I’m starting with a series of photos
That is me.
My parents were really great in that they collected all my school photos from pre all the way to grade 12. So I have this record of my school life and my class mates.
If you are wondering this is me …
Grade 2 at Maryong South Public School.
Then when I was 8 we moved to Darwin. If you don’t know Darwin is at the top of Australia. Just so you understand – there are many more Aboriginal people in the top of Australia than there are at the bottom of Australia.
In Grade 2 there were no Aboriginal people in my class.
When we were in Darwin, when I was in grade 5 my Dad asked me, “Do you have any aboriginal people in your class?”
I said to him, “I don’t think so”.
Now this is my Grade 5
That is me.
As you can see, nearly a ¼ of the class is Aboriginal.
What is amazing is this – Children do not see what Adults see. A child can be in a very diverse group of people and not even notice the differences. As far as I was concerned we were all the same.
We all looked the same.
We all acted the same.
We were one.
Sometimes it is good that we don’t see ourselves as different from others. It is good to focus on the unity. But sometimes it is not good.
I meet people in my life all the time. I’m a people person so I like catching up and getting to know people. So I meet these people and I know them for a while – maybe a 4 months, maybe 9 months. Then one day they want to tell me something.
It’s because I am a Pastor and Pastor get to hear stuff.
And they say – I’m a Christian.
Honestly there are days when I Iook at some of these people and I feel like holding their face and looking straight into their eyes and say, “Mate don’t tell anyone else!”
In my head I’m saying to myself “Are you kidding me, you don’t stand out at all as being a Christian”. And I know that is very judgemental on my part but I can’t help it. I look at these people and I just feel that they are not really helping the cause for Jesus. In fact they are more of a hindrance than anything else.
People sit there and they say, “Yea Allan you have to remember that passage, “Don’t judge or you to will be judged!”. It’s funny how we remember those sorts of passages … the ones that make it easier for us to be a slack Christian. But what we forget is there plenty of other passages which call us to stand out in this world.
That is what this passage in Revelation is all about.
“Be Holy In This Broken World”.
Now remember this is the last chapter of the last book of the Bible.
This chapter is the closest and newest Word of God to us.
That is the last chapter of the last book of the whole Bible. And no matter which way you look at it the message is the same.
You have to stand out.
Firstly you stand out by … Valuing the Word
Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Revelation 22:7, 18-19
How easy it is to play around with the Word of God. It is really easy to take out the things we don’t really like doing. We overlook the things that are a little inconvenient.
Cults do that. They have a specific understanding about the Scriptures.
Or they have a specific understanding about how the teaching should be. And to get to that teaching, sometimes they need to change God’s Word – or make the Word of God say what it was never intended to say.
They have to cut away the Scripture in order to make their point.
Yet how often do we do exactly the same. We live our lives as if some parts of the Scripture don’t really exist. How many times do we come across passages where we look at them and say in our hearts – I don’t really like that. So we might not take it out of the Scripture, but we just ignore it. In the end our Bible becomes really well worn in some areas, but in other areas it almost looks brand new. You don’t want God to speak to you. It is so easy to make excuses.