The end is coming. Time will run out. Rivers will dry up. The sun will stop shining. It's science and faith. This life can’t be sustained as is. But before you run for the door fearing First Baptist has lost it’s marbles (or at least Pastor Barrett has), this new sermon series is not an apocalyptic nightmare with studies of numerology or anecdotal explanations of dreams or a forewarning of when the world comes to an end. But it is apocalyptic. The world is going to end, and the Bible has something to say about how. The Greek word often used in the New Testament for this ‘end’ is telos. I love this word because it means “end” but can also mean “goal.” God’s future is our end and our goal. I don’t know if we think about this concept enough, but time is literally propelling us forward towards both a goal and an end . . . and this is the telos. And what Revelation teaches us is that God has given us (albeit a few but still deeply) rich passages that help us imagine our ultimate end. Join us at First Baptist as we work through the Book of Revelation and think deeply about God’s future, our end, the telos.
April 28 | Revelation 1.4-8 | Our Future is God’s Past
Our future is God’s past. Wolfhart Pannenburg made this concept famous over the last 75 years, and it is one I can’t shake. God steps into God’s own past and paints for us a future. In other words, our future is God’s past. We’ll break this deeply confusing thought down together with the help of Revelation 1. Holding this thought helps us see the telos more clearly.
May 5 | Revelation. 4.1-11 | Our Future is Worship
If there were ever a painting contest for the most vivid set of scripture, Revelation 4 has to win. It is quite ornate and poignant. It, undoubtedly, paints the picture that whatever our future holds with God, worship will be an essential component if not the whole thing. This sermon gives weight to the powerful pronunciation of corporate worship.
May 12 | Grad Recognition | Revelation 7.9-17 | Our Future is Proleptic
If there were ever a ranking system dedicated to complex words, prolepsis would be in the top five. Prolepsis is the thought or image of something describing a situation that hasn’t happened yet. For instance, one proleptic statement is, “dead man walking.” The person walking isn’t actually dead but the sentence insinuates he’s headed somewhere and will be punished for some past act. He’s alive but proleptically dead. This sermon will break this concept down, for we need it to truly understand Revelation 7.
May 19 | Revelation 21.1-6 | Our Future is Made New
The pride of such an accomplishment as graduation is matched only by the mystery and majesty of what lies next. It couldn’t be more fitting that the lectionary text for this Sunday is Revelation 21 where the angel reminds John that God is in the business of making all things new. This might just be the most important nugget of advice for any adult-bound teenager to hear. God is in the business of making all our brokenness new.
May 26 | Revelation 22.1-5 | Our Future is at the River
Revelation 22 is one of Pastor Barrett’s favorite texts. It’s the last chapter of the Bible and the last image God gives us to think about our relationship with the Divine. It just so happens to be a scene at the river of the water of life with the tree of life growing. These five verses draw perhaps the most important image of what our future (the telos) entails. Hint: we reign with God forever and ever.