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The Life Cycle of a Dangerous Choice - Part 2

By: Arnie Cole & Michael Ross

Four Stages of Temptation

It was simply too much for John to bear. He feinted dead at Christ’s feet!

But then Jesus placed his right hand on the apostle and said: “Don’t fear: I am First, I am Last, I’m Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever. See these keys in my hand? They open and lock death’s doors, they open and lock Hell’s gates. Now write down everything you see: things that are, things about to be. …”[1]

Jesus opened John’s mind to the spiritual realm, giving him a personal tour of Heaven, and what had to happen before anyone can get there. Unimaginable visions began to flash before his eyes—scene after scene of doom and deliverance, terror and triumph … a rush of color and sound, image and energy. Each one shouted a single message: “Yes, I am still in control.”

John learned that things were not as they seem. Evil, though widespread, was not winning. Faithfulness, though costly, was not futile. Affliction, though continuing, would most definitely end. “The Lion’s roar will soon be heard. Until then, we must reign with the Lamb.”[2]

And seven times, Jesus revealed the secret to finding the path home, the “narrow way.” Jesus calls us to overcome!

Rev. 2:7—To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Rev. 2:11—He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Rev. 2:17—To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Rev. 2:26-28—To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star.

Rev. 3:5—He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

Rev. 3:12—Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

Rev. 3:21—To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Rev. 21:7—He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Fast-forward a couple thousand years into the future.

Jesus is still very much in control, but at times, it’s not hard to feel John’s frustration as he sat on a tiny island in the middle of the sea. At times we all feel isolated, stuck, powerless. People are still just as selfish and mixed up as they were in his day, and countless believers are still falling for a hodgepodge of spiritual teachings … with a little bit of Jesus thrown into the batch.

Yet Christ’s words are crystal clear: overcome.

This brings us to a sobering question …

[1] See Revelation 1:12-20.

[2] Crabb, 375.

From Tempted, Tested, True

© Back to the Bible.

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