The When and the What of the Millennium

Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Revelation 20:1-3 | May 12 - Sunday Morning,

Sunday Morning,
May 12
The When and the What of the Millennium | Revelation 20:1-3
Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Our Father, as we have just sung, so we pray that it might be well with our soul, that when You, Lord Jesus, shall descend and the trump shall sound, that it might be well with our soul. Prepare us now on this day that we might be ready with hope and expectation for that day. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Our text this morning comes from the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible. Chapter 20. Revelation, chapter 20, just the first three verses.

We read Revelation 20, beginning at verse 1.

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.”

We come this morning to one of the most controversial, complicated sections in the whole book of Revelation. I know controversial and complicated could be a banner over almost every one of these sermons, but this one in particular, this week and next week with the millennium, has generated very different interpretations. Not just a little different here or there, but markedly different interpretations of what is happening in our world and what we should expect about the future and about the end of the age. These differences in interpreting this passage and the paragraph next week, do a lot to set in motion and establish some very different theological traditions.

Now this is not a systematic theology class, some of you sigh, some of you rejoice, but in broad strokes before we come to the text itself, in broad strokes there are four ways we can understand the millennium here is Revelation 20. If I had been further ahead in my sermon preparation, I would have put some nice notes and bullet points in the bulletin, but alas I was not, but there are some blank pages if you want to take notes.

Four ways we can understand the millennium. Four different schools of thought.

The first is called historic premillennialism. Yes, we’re having lots of multisyllabic words. What is premillennialism? Well, the millennium means a thousand years, this passage here, that Satan is bound for a thousand years, so the prefix “pre” refers to when Christ will return. So pre-millennialists believe that Christ will return pre, or before, the millennium. This is a historic position; it’s been around in the Church for a long time.

On this understanding, the millennium can be a literal thousand years, or some may understand it to just be a long period of time, but it is considered a time where Christ will physically, politically reign on the earth. Millennial views tend to see the world as getting progressively worse, not that there aren’t triumphs of the Gospel, but if you were just to expect what will happen, the world will get worse and worse up until the time of Christ’s return.

After this earthly reign of Christ for a thousand years, there will then be a final decisive battle on the earth and then the judgment. So that is historic premillennialism.

There is a variation on it, and here’s the second way, and you’ll learn more about this tonight. Dispensational premillennialism. Now premillennial, that Christ returns before an earthly reign that He establishes on the earth, that position has been around for a long time. But this is a newer twist on it, only about 200 years old. Christ in this view, yes, He returns pre, or before the millennium, but there is also a rapture, a rapture of the Church prior to the great tribulation. This is popularized in works like Late Great Planet Earth from the 1970s or the Left Behind series. So in a dispensational understanding, Christ will come once for His saints and then seven years later He will come with His saints. So there’s a “for His saints” He comes and the saints are raptured, and left behind are all of those who do not know Christ. And when He comes after the seven year period of tribulation back with His saints, He will establish a literal throne in Jerusalem, He will reign with the saints over a kind of earthly utopia for a thousand years and then after that thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth there will be a final battle of Armageddon, perhaps literally at some spot in the Middle East, where there will be a cataclysmic battle often understood as a physical battle, and then the judgment will come.

So premillennial, the historic version, and then a twist on it, dispensational pre-millennialism, and some of you would have grown up in that tradition and some of you have been nice enough to tell me after the sermons that you’re still in that tradition after the sermons, but I still have a few more messages to go.

A third view is called post-millennialism. You can tell by the prefix there “post,” this view understands that Christ will return post, or after, the millennium. In this view the Church age in which we live will blend into the millennium. Post-millennialists understand that to be a figurative thousand years, so again it doesn’t have to be literal, but a figurative time where the world is essentially Christianized. Not that every last person might be a born-again Christian, but in this millennial reign the nations of the world have become Christian nations and the world is essentially Christianized.

Post-millennialists understand that the growth will be uneven, so if you tell a post-millennialist, well, look at this bad thing happening, that doesn’t necessarily undermine their views. They say it may be slow but the overall trend line is increasing toward the good.

Older post-millennialists can sometimes be indistinguishable from an optimistic amillennial view, so the older theologians, and these tend to be Reformed theologians, get claimed for both sides. But newer forms of post-millennialism are often aligned with today versions of Christian nationalism, or theonomy, and if you don’t know what all these terms mean, or they mean a lot of different things, don’t be concerned, they do. Or reconstruction or some kind of political program that insists that the nations, not just the people, not just the individuals and the churches, but the nations as nations must and will come under the lordship of Christ. So this newer form of post-millennialism often goes hand in hand with a particular political plan.

Now you can have those political leanings and not be post-millennialist, but often now they go together.

So premillennial, dispensational premillennial, post-millennial. And then a fourth view is called amillennialism. This name is the worst of the four names, though it’s what I’ll be arguing for, because that prefix “a,” the word a, is a letter of negation, like an atheist, doesn’t believe in God, amoral is someone who doesn’t have morality, an agnostic is someone who doesn’t know or is unsure of something. So the word amillennial suggests that this view believes there is no millennium. Well, it says right here there’s a thousand year reign of Christ. So more precisely the amillennial view holds that there is no earthly political millennium to be expected.

Sometimes this name is called “realized eschatology” or “realized millennium,” meaning that we are right now in the millennium, that the Church age is this millennial reign of Christ in which the nations have been deceived. So you might say not a literal millennium, and yet this position holds that there are literal, tangible effects in this millennial age. But no political geographic nationalized millennium.

The millennium instead refers to the Church age during which Satan is bound so that he can no longer deceive the nations, and in this view there is a contemporaneous development of good and evil in the world, so these are very broad strokes but premillennial tendency, what’s going to happen in human history, things are going to get worse. Post-millennial, what’s going to happen in human history, well, the overall trend line is things are going to get better. Amillennialism says, well, there’s going to be a lot of both. Contemporaneous growth of evil but also triumphs of the Gospel.

At the end of the Church age, there will be a final time of intensified evil, sometimes called a Great Tribulation, there will be opposition, maybe literal or spiritual, but Satan and the two beasts and the peoples of the earth will mount a final attack to be defeated by Christ and then judgment will come.

Those are the four views on the millennium.

Now you may be asking the question, “How important is all of this?”

On the one hand, it is not nearly as important as many other doctrines, the doctrine of the trinity, the person and work of Christ, justification by faith alone, the doctrines of grace, the sacraments. Two Christians can disagree on these millennial views and still agree on hundreds of other really, really important things that matter even more.

On the other hand, let’s not be too quick to label ourselves pan-millennialists. You may have heard that before. It means “I don’t know, but it’s all going to pan out in the end.”

Yes, there’s something that’s right about that impulse. I don’t want to have a bare-knuckled fight about these things. Jesus is going to come back and He’s going to win, so that’s right. But I do want you to see that the differences in these millennial views and in the interpretation of Revelation 20, do reflect some very crucial differences in how we interpret Scripture and more importantly they do shape our expectation of the future and they can even shape some of our approach to political philosophy. So all of that to say yes, there are many things more important but the exegesis of these verses, it does matter.

Now as I said, this is not a systematic theology lecture. You’re saying under your breath, “You could have fooled me,” but I’m not going to argue now for one of these positions over the other. I will tell you that I hold to the amillennial view and I think it’s safe to say that most teaching elders in the PCA do, though some would likely be post-millennial. So if you’ve had ears to hear, you may already recognize from this brief overview that the way in which I’ve been preaching through Revelation has an amillennial understanding, but hopefully it’s not just been giving you a particular tradition or interpretive grid, but the goal always is that it’s telling what Scripture actually says.

So that’s what we want to do with these three verses. I have two questions, two questions for these three verses.

Number one. When does the millennium occur?

And number two. What is meant by Satan being bound for a thousand years?

That is our outline, those two questions, and they will lead us into some concluding points of application.

So question number one. When does the millennium occur?

Now by this time if you’ve been here for the series of Revelation, you’ve heard so many times that Revelation works by these recurring cycles, what’s often called recapitulation, that we get one set of visions which takes us to the end and then you get another set of visions showing the same thing, a different painting, the same picture from a different angle. That’s what we have here.

We are not meant to read from chapter 19 into chapter 20 as a strict chronological sequence. If we did read it as a chronological sequence, then yes, we would be saying that the millennium is certainly something into the future.

But we are not meant to read 19 to 20 in a chronological sequence. You say, well, how can you know that? Well, there is an immediate problem if we do that. We have already had in chapter 19 much rejoicing over Christ’s final victory. We looked in the first 10 verses, four times you have the word “Hallelujah, praise to the Lord,” so we’ve had great rejoicing. The bride and the groom have come together. The wedding supper of the Lamb, this is a great triumph, hallelujah, Christ wins.

Then last week we saw all the bad guys on the earth have been wiped out. Look at chapter 19 verse 18 – “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

And the chapter ended with this gruesome picture in verse 21, the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of Him who was sitting on the horse and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

This defeat of the peoples of the earth, the kings small and great, slave and free, all gathered tighter amassed against God’s people, at the end of chapter 19 this is total, complete destruction of the forces of evil.

So it leads to the question, what would be the nature of binding Satan for a thousand years so that he might not deceive the nations if these nations have already been wiped out? What’s the point? What are we doing here to put Satan in prison for a thousand years so he doesn’t bind the nations when all of the bad guys have already been slaughtered in battle? So we’re not meant to go from chapter 19 and then chronologically to chapter 20.

Rather, what we have here is another example of this cyclical recapitulation. We have in chapter 20 a repeat of the final battle imagery we have seen several times already. So just flip back in your Bibles to Revelation chapter 16. Look at verses 12 through 16. So this is the sixth angel pouring out his bowl on the great river Euphrates. Verse 13 – I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and the beast and the false prophet, these unclean spirits. Verse 14 – they go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle. Now note that word “for battle,” I’m going to come back to that. On the great day of God the Almighty and they assemble, verse 16, at a place called Armageddon.

So there is chapter 16 we’ve had this occasion already. All the kings, the peoples are coming out for one great decisive battle.

Now look at chapter 19. We saw the same thing last week. Chapter 19, verse 17 – “I saw an angel standing in the sun, calling with a loud voice, “Come, gather for the great supper of the Lamb.” I just read those verses. All the captains and the mighty men, and their riders, free and slave, small and great, they gather together and they are captured for this one final cataclysmic defeat of the forces of evil.

So that’s the second time we’ve had this scene described.

Then look here in chapter 20, ahead at verse 7: “When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth” and they come again for one final decisive battle.

So three times in these chapters, 16, 19, and 20. We have some of the same, at times identical language. In Revelation 16 the enemies are the kings of the whole world. Then in chapter 19 we have kings and captains and mighty men. Then in chapter 20 it’s described as the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog.

Three times in these passages, chapter 16, 19, and 20, we have this phrase in Greek, ton polemon. If you hear somebody say “polemics,” they mean arguing with somebody, that word “polemon” is the word for battle or for war. Three times in these passages we have ton polemon. You could translate it literally “the war” with the definite article “the.” It’s there in chapter 16 verse 14, translated as battle, the battle. In 19:19 it’s translated as “make war.” And in chapter 20, verse 8, it’s translated as battle. But all three of those, it’s the same Greek, ton polemon.

Chapter 16, chapter 19, chapter 20, are all giving a picture of the same thing. This final battle. In fact, in 16:14 and 20 verse 8, we have the same extended phrase: “To gather them unto the war.”

All of that is to say what we see here in chapter 20 is the same thing that we’ve seen already.

Now there’s another view of this drama which we’ve seen one other time in Revelation. So one more passage to look at. Turn back to Revelation chapter 12. You see there the heading above verse 7, “Satan Thrown Down to Earth.” So we’ve been introduced in chapter 12 to the woman and the child, so that’s Christ and the Church. There’s a war, so it’s giving the heavenly picture of this earthly conflict. Michael and his angels fight against the dragon and they fight back and in verse 9, “and the great dragon was thrown down,” he was thrown down, “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan.” Notice this language – “the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him and I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night.”

When I explained chapter 12, I explained that this defeat of the dragon in verses 8 and 9 is due to the victory of Jesus Christ in verse 10. So when it says that the devil and his angels were hurled down, this casting down refers to the defeat of Satan at the beginning of re-creation. When is the beginning of re-creation? Well, it’s right there in Christ’s work of His incarnation, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His exaltation. In other words, the ministry of Jesus Christ. That’s when Satan was decisively cast down.

So Revelation 12 is giving us this same picture with slightly different metaphors, angels fighting in heaven, but at the work of Jesus Christ, Satan is cast down.

What we see then is that the kingdom of this world, though it’s not yet fully become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, yes, the devil’s at work in the world, but we saw in chapter 12 the devil has been judged. He’s been cast down. He’s been in a very real way defeated. The Son of the woman has crushed the head of the serpent. Which is why back there in verse 12 of chapter 12 the heaven dwellers rejoice and the earth dwellers are cursed. The devil is full of wrath because he knows his time is short, we read in chapter 12. He knows that something decisively has happened so that his defeat is certain.

Chapter 12 is showing us the same thing that now we’re seeing this morning in chapter 20. The casting down of Satan in chapter 12 is the same thing as the binding of Satan for a thousand years in chapter 20.

So when does the millennium take place? The surprising answer to some of you, but I hope it makes sense, is that we are now in the millennium. We are in that period of Satan’s defeat, not yet his final defeat where he will be thrown into the lake of fire along with the beast and the false prophet, but decisively at the cross the work of the devil was thrown down.

So this Church age is the millennial reign of Christ by His death, resurrection, and ascension, stretching from the first advent of Christ to the second advent of Christ, this time during which Satan is bound.

Now you still have in your mind, I kinda see it, but okay, we’ll get to the second question in just a moment. Now you say a thousand years. By this point, we should not expect these numbers to be literal numbers. The 144,000 was not a literal number, the 1260 days, the 200 million mounted troops. Think of all the sevens and the twelves and the fours. Then think about the imagery. You say, well, we ought to read the Bible literally. Well, we ought to read the Bible in its own terms, and when you have apocalyptic literature like this, it works by these verbal pictures.

What do we have? Instinctively, we realize that we are not dealing with literal dragons, literal prostitutes and beasts, pregnant woman, bride, groom, eating a scroll, seven heads, ten horns, fire coming out of the mouth of two witnesses, Christ killing people with the sword, blood as high as a horse’s bridle for 200 miles. John saw these things but these things were to speak of other spiritual realities and so the thousand years is not to be taken literally. You say, well, I want to take the Bible absolutely literally. Okay, well, we have a dragon in an abyss, so it’s going to be hard to take chapter 20 literally. What we ought to take it is truly and according to its natural meaning given the type of work we are reading.

So the millennial reign of Christ was inaugurated upon the work of Christ on the cross and stretches until the end when Satan will be allowed to exercise newfound power on the earth for a short time before his final end comes.

Okay. You say I’m partially convinced but you better give some good explanations for this second question.

What is meant by Satan being bound for a thousand years?

The biding of Satan, as I’ve been arguing, occurred in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let me give you several other Scripture passages that teach the same thing and maybe you haven’t made these connections before. You’ll just have time to maybe write them down, we don’t have time to go and read all of them.

Mark chapter 3, verses 23 through 27. This is where Jesus talks about a house divided against itself and He says you bind the strong man to plunder his house. The word deo in the Greek, the word to bind Satan in Revelation, is the same word used there in Mark to tie up or to bind the strong man. So you bind the strong man highlighting Jesus’ sovereignty over demonic forces. Jesus says what’s happening as He begins His earthly ministry. Why do you suddenly see this acceleration of demonic activity, this acceleration of exorcism? Because it’s all pointing to there is a new sheriff in town and Jesus Christ can bind the strong man and plunder his house. Now will be a time where he is bound up and Christ is able to save those who had been enslaved.

Luke 10:17-18 is another passage. This is where Jesus sends out the 70, or the 72, disciples on their short-term mission trip and they come back and they say this was amazing, we were preaching, we were casting out demons, and remember Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning.” It’s one of the reasons for interpreting Revelation 12 as not being something in the distant future but something that happened definitively at the work of Christ, because Jesus says, “You know what? When you preach the Gospel, when you cast out demons, when you heal the sick, that was the inauguration of the reign of Christ and I saw Satan fall like lightning. He fell when you did those things in My name.”

Then maybe most importantly is John chapter 12. We already read this as the New Testament reading. John 12:31 – Now is the judgment of this world, now will the ruler of the world be cast out.

You can see it there in the previous page in your bulletin, or mark it down to look up in your Bible. John chapter 12. Jesus says in His earthly ministry, “Now is the time when the ruler of the world will be cast out.”

The word cast out is ekballo in Greek. In Revelation 20 throughout, or cast down, is the word ballo. So same derivative root.

And importantly, do you notice the connection in John chapter 12? Verse 31, now is the judgment on the world, now is the time when Satan will be cast out, and then in verse 32, Jesus says, “So that I might be lifted high and I will draw all people unto Myself.” This is the same connection we’re going to see here in Revelation 20. The binding or the casting down of Satan is so that Jesus may draw all peoples of the earth unto Himself.

We find confirmation in Colossians 2:15, having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. On the cross, Jesus humiliated the devil. He embarrassed the devil. He shamed the devil. There was no fair fight between Christ and the devil. He disarmed the powers and authorities.

Now all of you because you’re good Bible people, are saying, well, I think I get it. Those passages make sense. But are you saying that Satan doesn’t do anything in the world?

No. There are lots of passages in the New Testament that talk about the activity of Satan. He’s called the god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4. He’s a lion who seeks to devour, 1 Peter 5:8. He can disguise himself as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:4. He shoots fiery darts at us, Ephesians 6:16.

So how does this square? How do we have all these passages, Satan is real, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, we have spiritually warfare, and yet Jesus says, and Revelation 20 says, well, he’s cast down. He’s bound.

Well, go back to our text this morning. We have to ask ourselves the question, “In what way is Satan bound?” Because when it says he’s bound, or he’s cast down, it doesn’t mean he can’t do anything or he’s to be trifled with. What specifically does it mean that he is cast down or he is bound?

Well, you see there in verse 3 – He threw him into the pit, shut it, and sealed it over him. Here’s the purpose clause, here’s the effect of his binding: So that (purpose) he might not deceive the nations any longer.

The binding of Satan during the Church age does not mean Satan cannot harm the Church, or that he is not active in the world. But he is bound in so far as he cannot deceive the nations any longer. This means two things in particular. One, Satan cannot deceive the nations and gather them together to wipe out the Church. This is what we saw in chapter 16, what we seen in chapter 19, this is what we’re coming to later in chapter 20. That’s why after the thousand years, verse 7, when he’s released, he deceives the nations. He gathers people from the four corners of the earth. This is what Satan wants to do.

But during this time of his binding, he is so frustrated that he cannot do it. He cannot do what we see in chapter 16, in chapter 19, and in chapter 20, namely that he amasses, whether it’s literal, spiritual, or some combination of both, the kings and the nations of the world and the forces to amass everyone together against the Church. He’s bound in the abyss so that he cannot do that until the very end. Which means we believe in the invincibility of the Church.

And even at the end as we’ve seen several times, it is the Lord luring the devil and his minions in a trap because he amasses them all together that they might be wiped out in one final battle. So they cannot deceive the nations, meaning first of all he cannot bring all the nations together to focus all of their power. Okay, he can’t do the death star thing and just death star operational and all of the ions come together for one giant blast and we’re Alderaan and he’s the death star. Can’t do it.

The second thing it means is that the nations will no longer be in times of ignorance but will be responsive to the Gospel. This is all over the New Testament, too, you may not have noticed it. Speaking in Lystra, Paul says in Acts 14, “in the past, God let all nations go their own way.” In Acts 17, in Athens, he said, “in the past, God overlooked such ignorance but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.”

Before King Agrippa, Paul bore witness that God has sent him “to open the eyes of the Gentiles, the nations, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.”

As Ephesians tells us, the nations are no longer strangers and aliens to God’s promise and to His covenants.

So for a time the promises of God were bound up almost exclusively, not entirely, but almost exclusively with one nationality on the earth, one people, with Israel, with the Jews, and He overlooked, He was patient. But now the times of ignorance are past and now that Satan has been cast down and has been bound in the abyss for a thousand years, Paul says now is the time where the nations can turn from darkness. Satan has been curtailed. His influence has been overturned. So Christ lifted up that all men might be drawn unto Him.

So here we come to concluding application.

What I want you to see in answering these two questions, when does the millennium occur? Now. It started at the first Advent, it goes to the second Advent, we are in it.

Second question. What is meant by the binding of Satan? It means that he no longer during this Church age can deceive the nations. He cannot deceive the nations to amass a final death blow against the Church and He cannot deceive the nations to keep all of them from coming to Christ.

So what I want you to see, and I hope you see already, is how this passage, which is so filled with controversy and confusion, should be a passage of great comfort.

Now I said at the outset I’m not a post-millennialist because I believe we will see much opposition to the Gospel and it will continue right to the very end and we can expect a final battle until Christ returns and there will be a tribulation. So I’m not a post-millennialist.

I am, however, hopeful. The Gospel will spread. In A.D. 100, less than 1% of the world’s population was Christian. Approximately 6% of the world’s population had been evangelized. By 500, 20% were Christian and 30% had been evangelized. Then Christendom is established and because of the growth of the Muslim empire, the Church is largely confined to Europe and the growth of the Church stagnates.

But then 200, 250 years ago, the modern missionary movement explodes so that by the year 1900 35% of the earth’s population were Christian, 46% had been evangelized. Today roughly the same percentage of the world is Christian. Now the North and the West have dropped and the South and the East, global South, global East, have risen, but it’s about the same percentage, but now amazingly about 70% have been evangelized. Over 10,000 ethno-linguistic people groups have been reached with the Gospel. Not that they all know Christ by any means, but they have a viable witness to Christ in their own ethno-linguistic context.

The whole Bible has been translated into 736 languages. The New Testament into 1658 languages. There are over 3500 languages with at least some scripture translated. And that amounts to 97% of the world’s population that has at least some of the Bible in a language they can understand.

So we have reason, brothers and sisters, to be hopeful that the power of the Gospel has not been neutered. It is the power of the devil that has been cut off and cast down. Do you believe that?

I may have told this story before, but in one of my first classes in seminary we had to go around, there was maybe 50 of us in the class, and we had to all introduce ourselves by saying “my name is and I became a Christian when” and we had to fill in the blanks. Yeah, it was slanted a little bit more out of a covenantal direction. Well, I’ve been a Christian my whole life, how dare you. But it was a fine question. I became a Christian when… Most of us said something like I became a Christian, I can’t quite remember, but I heard the Gospel at church and my parents and that… I remember some of the stories though. When man in particular said I became a Christian when someone I had never met shared the Gospel with me at 7/11 and I turned my life to Christ over right there.

Do you believe that can happen? That God still saves people? Praise God, He saves covenant children, that’s what we pray for, that’s normally how He builds up His Church, but He can save in any way He wants through the Scriptures, through the Word of God.

Do you believe that?

Maybe you’re here this morning and you’re not in the position of the Christian to go and share, but you’re in the position of the person who has been deceived, blinded, you don’t have to remain there. The devil doesn’t have to have that power over you. The addiction in your life doesn’t have to have that power over you. The bitterness that’s taking root or the anger doesn’t have to have that power over you. You don’t have to live the way the world tells you to live. The devil has been cast down. Do you believe that there’s freedom? God can open your eyes? You can move from darkness into light?

Christ will do that for you.

So I want each of us to have confidence. Of course there are scary things in the world. Of course there are many reasons to be discouraged about this country or about our culture, but listen, you and I are a part of the one single institution on earth that cannot fail. The Church. Evangelism still works. Churches are getting planted. Scriptures are being translated. Teams are being sent. People hear the good news and they respond.

This passage, if you take away nothing else, remember this – Jesus Christ is still mighty to save.

Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we pray that You would do a mighty work of salvation for any here, our children, our grandchildren, any who have been deceived, even perhaps church members under the sway of Satan, that You would set them free and use us to share our faith with family and friends and use us to send out and some of us to go, that we might see the nations come to Christ. We ask for this in hope and anticipation in Jesus’ name. Amen.