Summary: The second in a series of sermons on Revelation. This sermon gets to the central theme of the book.
How many of you watch the television show, “Lost?”
This is a strange show. I’ve gotten hooked on it this year. Even though I missed the first season or two, I was able to pick it up and get into the story line.
These people have crashed on an island and are waiting to be rescued. But strange things are happening. There is some sort of old bunker from the 1970s. There is a group of other people on the island, appropriately called, “the others.” Food mysteriously appears on the island. Something is going on. But NOBODY knows what’s going on. On the Internet there are all sorts of web pages dedicated to trying to figure out what is happening on this island. Are these people already dead? Are they in hell, or heaven? Are they all crazy? Is the whole story imagined by one crazy person? Is this some sort of experiment by the government?
You have to watch the show very carefully, because even something in the background becomes a clue. In fact, even the commercials might be fake commercials offering clues to how this show is going to end.
Nobody knows what is going on, or how it is going to end. And that is one of the attractions about it – trying to figure it all out.
In a sense, LOST is like LIFE. It is hard to figure out. What’s going on? Who is in charge of all this?
How many of you are familiar with the term “Spoiler Alert?”
I see that more and more in the newspapers and on the Internet. Anytime a writer is dealing with a movie or television series and is about to reveal the ending of the show, the writer will warn the reader that there is a “Spoiler Alert.”
In other words, if you don’t want to know the end of the movie until you see it, the phrase “spoiler alert” is a warning not to read any more of the article.
Today’s sermon is a spoiler alert.
I’m not going to tell you the end of the movie – I’m going to tell you about how reality turns out in the end. The end of history. The end of time as we know it.
In fact, this is what the Book of Revelation is all about.
Revelation is a confusing book. We get bogged down in all of the strange parts of it. We know there are important clues, but we don’t know how to interpret them. 666? What’s that about? All those earthquakes and fires and floods? Meteors falling to earth? How are we to understand all of that?
You can get bogged down in a lot of little issues in Revelation, but I’m going to give you the bottom line, big picture of how it all comes out in the end.
The answer to the most important question is not – what does 666 mean. The most important question is “who is in control here?”
The answer is -- God is in control.
That is what Revelation is all about.
When you were in school, you often had to pick out the thesis sentence of an article or a book. Or if you wrote a paper, you sometimes had to write and identify the thesis sentence, which was a sentence that identified the purpose of the paper or article.
The thesis sentence of Revelation is in our Scripture lesson for this morning. It is the spoiler alert that reveals what Revelation is all about. It is the answer to what life and history are all about.
Verse 6 of our reading lays it out very clearly.
“Our Lord God Almighty reigns.”
God is in control.
Today is our second in a series of sermons on Revelation and last week one of our members came up to me and said he knew exactly what Revelation is all about – as he put it, “God wins.”
I thought that was a great way to put it. God wins.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that this is not quite right. God wins? There is more to it than that.
God never stopped being in control. God was never threatened. God has always been on his throne.
What we see is a world in which there are countless pretenders to the throne and we get the impression that evil is in control and that God needs to win back this world. But no – God is always in control.
It is hard to see that, however, when you are in the middle of the story of life.
During the 1960s, there was a theological discussion about the “Death of God.” Theologians like Friedrich Nietzsche and others who used this term did not mean that God actually died, but that our awareness of God had died. For some theologians, the “God is Dead” movement meant that God was no longer directly involved in the universe. He created it, got it started, and was now moving into the background and letting the universe go on its own.