Summary: From the CONTEST in Eden to the CONQUEST of Armageddon God’s plan is missions -- reaching people with the Good News.
THE PASTOR’S POINTS
sermon ministry of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
December 7, 2003
All the history of man, including his future, can be summed up by the two ends of our texts. In the beginning there was a Contest in the Garden; in the end there will be a Conquest at Armageddon.
The Contest in the Garden
Come with me back to the dawn of time. The earth was pristine. God created, and it was all good. He placed man in the garden, and three paragraphs later sin entered the picture, and man’s rebellion began.
The contest wasn’t so much between Eve and Satan, or Adam and Satan; the contest was between God and Satan. The prize was the right to the souls of all men. Satan had already fallen and been ejected from heaven. He intended to destroy any and all of God’s creation he came across. Satan slithered into Eden and tricked Eve. The deception of Eve tempted Adam to willingly sin against God. And Adam fell!
For this, the Lord judged the serpent:
Genesis 3:15 (NIV) 15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
With the judgment began another contest, described as "enmity" or hostility between the devil and all mankind. Within the text of Genesis 3:15, there is a promise that a deliverer, a Savior - the offspring of woman, a virgin-born child - would come to crush the head of the serpent. This is the promise of Messiah. Until then, there would be war…a struggle for souls.
Now, the victory has already been assured (God judged sin on the cross), but the war is still raging; and each of us is a contestant in the war.
This contest, which started in the Garden of Eden, will end on the plains of Megiddo, at a time of God’s choosing.
It will begin with the largest gathering of the world’s forces ever seen. They will be inspired by Satan to fight against God; it will end with one word from the risen Christ…
The Conquest at Armageddon
Revelation 16:16 (NIV)
16Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon….
Revelation 19:11-21 (NIV)
11I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
17And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great."
19Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."