Thursday, September 24, 2009

The First Angel's Message

(Revelation 14:6-7)
Introduction: The book of Revelation is generally considered to be a book of "last day" events. Among those events is a message from God brought by three angels. This week, we turn our attention to the important message of the first angel. Let's jump in!

  1. The Messenger


    1. Read Revelation 14:6. Let's look at this first angel for a moment. The text says "I saw another angel." What do you think it means by "another" angel? Isn't this angel the first of three? How can it be "another?" (If you review the book of Revelation, you will see there are many angels who either give or receive heavenly messages.)


      1. This angel flies in "midair." What is the significance of flying in midair? Is this angel is a prudent flier who is unlikely to crash anytime soon? (If you wanted to be seen and heard you would get up where everyone could see you. The significance is that this angel has a message that it wants us to hear.)


      2. What is the message of this angel? (The "eternal gospel.")


        1. To whom is this gospel to be given? (To everyone of every language.)


        2. It seems so hard to be able to give the gospel to everyone. Think of all of the people who live from the edge of Eastern Europe to the Eastern boarder of China. This is a vast area in which the gospel has not thoroughly penetrated. Will God finally send an angel because we have not presented the gospel to everyone?


        3. The gospel is described as the "eternal" gospel. What does that mean to you? (The gospel does not change.)


        4. Our lessons this quarter are about "the pillars" of faith. Why do you think that the first angel's message is the eternal gospel? (First and foremost is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some might argue this is the only pillar of our faith.)


  2. The Preparation


    1. Imagine that you want a raise or want to change your work hours, would you just walk into your boss's office without thinking about how you will approach the issue?


      1. Do you remember when you were dating? Did you ask for your initial date with a girl without planning what you were going to say first?

      1. If you were a girl who wanted to date a specific guy, did you plan how you could meet him and what you would say to show that you were interested in him?


      2. We've got an angel with a message to the world about the gospel. Do you think the angel's words were carefully planned? Or did God just say to an angel, "Say a few words about my coming to the world" and the angel ad-libbed a few lines? (This idea sounds impossible, doesn't it? If you were sent by God, went "midair" to be sure everyone could hear, and then proclaimed what was supposed to be the "eternal gospel" I would think your words would be very carefully chosen.)


  1. The Message


    1. Read Revelation 14:7. What part of the angel's message really grabs your attention? (The angel ties it to the judgment. He tells us that the gospel is relevant now, because the time of judgment is now.)


      1. We were talking about planning important discussions. If God especially planned to start out with a declaration about the judgement, why do you think He started that way? (This message is to make us think seriously about our relationship with God.)


      2. We concluded earlier that the gospel of Jesus Christ was the first part of the message because of its extreme importance. However, we did not discuss what the "everlasting gospel" meant. What does Revelation 14:7 suggest is the eternal gospel? What are the elements of the message? (List them.)


        1. Fear (respect) God


        2. Glorify God


        3. Hour of judgment has come


        4. Worship the Creator.


      3. Does this seem to be the gospel that you know about? (It does not seem, at first glance, to be the message of the cross. So, let's look deeper.)


      4. What does it mean to fear God? (Fear in Greek is "phobeo" which means to be in awe of God.)


      5. What does v. 7 suggest is the reason for us to fear God? (Judgment time has arrived.)


        1. We are also told to give God glory because His judgment is at hand. Why would you glorify God because He is judging? Is that a "glorious" event?


          1. Do you like people judging you?


          2. Would you like someone judging you who could kill you?


        2. Perhaps it will be clearer by putting these two ideas together. The first angel says to be in awe and give glory to our God because of His judgment. Under what circumstances can you imagine you would both be in awe and give glory to someone who judged you? (When you successfully passed the judgment! The gospel is not some little story about a teacher, who we decided to follow, who it turns out died like a criminal and we are ashamed about it. This is the watershed event in the history of the world. And our God prevailed! If we decide to follow Him, we too will prevail in the judgment. So fear God. Be in awe of Him and what He did for us!)


      6. What do you think it means to "give God glory?" (The Greek word is "doxa." Vines says this word means "good opinion, praise, honor, glory, an appearance commanding respect, magnificence, excellence, manifestation of glory.")


      7. Let's get practical: How can we give God glory? (List)


    2. Revelation 14:7 also tells us to worship God. When we read that we should worship God, what comes to mind? That is, what does it mean to worship? (List)


      1. Consider that the Greek word for worship is "Proskeneo" which literally means to "pros" "towards" and "kuneo" "to kiss." Kisses to God! Friend, do you give "kisses to God?"

    1. The angel links fearing God to the judgment. To what does the angel link worshiping God in Revelation 14:7? (His Creation.)


      1. Is believing in the Creation a key element to true worship of God?

    1. If you do not believe in the Creation, are you able to worship God?


    2. If you did not believe in the Creation, on what basis would you be worshiping God? (A literal Creation is one of the most controverted aspects of the Bible. A lot of people believe in God, "believe" in the Bible, yet do not believe in a literal Creation.)


      1. Is a literal Creation a fundamental truth? Or is this just one of those debated and debatable things that has little, if anything to do with your salvation? (I believe it is fundamental. This first angel links our worship of God to the Creation. If you do not believe that God made us, then it is more difficult to believe that He "recreated us" when He arose from the grave. If you don't believe either of those (creation or recreation), it is hard to understand the basis for your worship.)


  1. Practical Application


    1. We have discovered that the first angel has this judgment-time gospel message that our Creator God has given His people victory in the judgment. That is good news! Should we just be sitting back waiting for this angel to share this news with the world? (The word translated "angel" means "messenger." If you look at the first chapters of Revelation you see messages "to the angel of the church" and then it mentions a specific church. Since these messages are to the people of these churches, it seems that "angel" is being used in a much broader sense than just a heavenly angel. The NIV Study Bible has a note on Revelation 1:20 which says that "angels" may be either "heavenly messengers" or "earthly messengers/ministers.")


    2. Friend, do you think that God has given part of the responsibility of this "first angel" to spread the "everlasting gospel" about that the time of judgment is at hand? (In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus tells us that we are to be His messengers to share the gospel. So we have the opportunity and responsibility to share the first angel's message.)


      1. Will you decide, this week, to help share this important end-time message?

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