- Audio. (Recording begins with discussion of “666” then gets into the sermon.)
- Growth Group Study Guide.
- Sermon Outline:
“Is Anything Better than Jesus?”
Chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation asks a simple question: “In the hardest moments of life, would you consider leaving Jesus for something you thought was better?”
A. War regarding influence.
Revelation 12:17-13:1, Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. 13:1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.
— Will we follow Jesus, or “the Beast”? At this point you’d obviously say “Jesus” of course … but let’s see what happens as Chapter 13 unfolds.
B. The Beast Will Be a Cheap Replica of Jesus.
Revelation 13:2-3, And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.
— Here is a mimic of the resurrection. “Mortal wound … healed!”
C. The Whole Earth will Worship the Dragon and Beast.
Revelation 13:4-6, And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” 5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
— Peer pressure to follow the Beast will be enormous.
D. The Saints will be Conquered by the Beast.
Revelation 12:7-9, Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
NOTE: This is one of the hard passages in the Book of Revelation. Winning will seem very far away for believers in such times.
Do you see the “book of life of the Lamb”? Unless your name is written in that book, because you’ve given your life in faith to Jesus, you will worship the beast.
JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL: Revelation 13:9-10, If anyone has an ear, let him hear: 10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
The MAIN POINT of the ENTIRE BOOK OF REVELATION is in verse 10, “… Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints..”
E. Satan will “double-down” on Deception.
Revelation 13:11-14, Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
— Here in another beast pretending to be the Lamb. Yet, it spoke like the Dragon.
— Just as God breathed life into a lifeless Adam, so this false-Lamb breathed into a lifeless statue that came to life.
— Here’s the truth from 1 John 5:12, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” BEWARE THE FALSE PROMISES OF LIFE THIS WORLD OFFERS!
F. People will be fooled into thinking the Beast gives life.
1. Through idolatry.
Revelation 13:15, And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.
2. Through commerce and trade.
Revelation 13:16-17, Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
3. Through unwise association.
Revelation 12:18, This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
The number 666 refers to a man, the anti-Christ, that awful Beast. 7 is the number of perfection … 6 is almost perfect … 666 would mean completely imperfect, evil, and opposed to God.
The number, and who it refers to will require wisdom from God when that time comes.
MAIN POINT: Following Jesus requires life-altering choices.
“In the hardest moments of life, would you consider leaving Jesus for something you thought was better?”
A closing prayer … “Dear God, every day we are faced with the headwinds of change and influence. We ask for Your wisdom and discernment regarding the choices we make. You are the authentic Life-giver. Help us not to be fooled by the cheap and clever alternatives that our culture peddles. We stubbornly refuse to waver in our commitment to You alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.”