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February 8, 2021 1:00 am
Ramona read from Revelation chapter 1 Revelation chapter 1 and read the first eight verses so I'll pause allow you time to find your place want to consider what John has to say to us in verse five about Christ, beginning to read in verse one the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants things which must shortly take place and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ to all things that he saw.
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it for the time is near John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and is made us kings and priests to his God and father to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming with clouds, and every eye will see him, even they who pierced him.
And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of him. Even so. Amen. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. The book of the Revelation can be a confusing book that can be a controversial book.
It can create conflict because of competing interpretations and it is often a book that is overlooked in set aside because of those reasons and perhaps others, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Yes, there are things in the book that seem mysterious and difficult for us to understand but there is one thing that is clear and should be missed by no one. And what is that this book is about the Revelation of Jesus Christ, you say need to tell us that yes I do need to tell you that because it's amazing how many people get lost in the weeds and in the details of the book of Revelation and completely miss the person of Jesus Christ that this book is about him and John wants us to be aware of that from the very beginning.
In fact, the book the revelation of Jesus Christ. So the book is given to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as the conquering King and who will ultimately defeat Satan and death and its forces. And we, his people will live and reign with the conquering King forever and ever. And even when the people of God and the purposes of God seem defeated. All is not lost because in the end Christ is victorious.
You can't miss. If you just concentrate on the first eight verses apart from the title of the book that this is about Jesus Christ. It begins in verse one the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave gave the John there is a blessing pronounced on those who read in here and do the content of this book in verse three. It's the first of seven beatitudes to be found in the book of the Revelation. The first, there is verse three Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it for the time is near.
And then John begins to address the seven churches which are in Asia.
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come in that is repeated several times in these first eight verses who is it that is both present as both past, present and future all at the same time.
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come in from the seven spirits who are before his throne, obviously talking about the Lord Jesus Christ who says himself there in verse eight.
These are the words of Christ. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty set before us with clarity in these first eight verses is the promise of his return. Notice from John's perspective. John says there verse one the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his show his servants things which must shortly take place shortly take place as what John said that's inspired Scripture and it reminds me of what Peter says the day day as to the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day but again the promise of his coming over and over again is mentioned tonight before we get into the text and really I'm just going to focus on what is said about Christ in verse five we see Christ is person and his work set before us, and I don't have time to deal with his work, simply were going to look at what is said to us about Christ, who is in her three things said about them there in verse five he is number one. The faithful witness is number two, the firstborn from the dead, and is number three. The ruler over the kings of the earth. Those three things, and as we look at those three things I'm going to give you implications of that Revelation 3 implications to the first two implications for the second and the third thing that is said about Christ. But before we get into that because this message is about Christ, who is I want to remind you with a couple of hymns that we sing about the centrality of Christ in the importance of our relationship to him. Listen to these three stanzas and then the refrain. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. When darkness fails, his lovely face. I rest on his unchanging grace in every high and stormy. Gail my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant is blood support me in the whelming flood went all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay in the refrain on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand Edward moat the hymn writer of the solid rock. Then just one stands of the song that we sing him to is the Christ.
Verse four. Here we have a firm foundation. Here, the refuge of the lost Christ's the rock of our salvation. He is the name of which we boast Lamb of God for sinners wounded sacrifice to cancel guilt. None shall ever be confounded, who on him their hope have built good reminders. We begin this evening and this we make our way into this sacred text this evening.
I want you to know that God intends for every believer. From John's time to the present to find comfort and encouragement for our earthly sojourn here in the book of the Revelation, and especially for those who are suffering and facing persecution by reminding us and them that things will not always be as they presently are.
Christ will have the victory. Christ will subdue all of his enemies. Sin and death and the devil himself will be finally and fully defeated.
That's the message here of the book of the Revelation.
Let me show you a relationship that I think is very very important. Too often there's a disconnect and if we miss this connection are hymnody and our worship will be offkilter. What I mean by that.
What I mean by that is that doxology is informed by right theology too often doxology praise and worship of God is not connected to right theology. Notice how those two things are put together here again in verse five John is telling us about Jesus Christ, who he is what he is done and added after he does that. We have these words and I'll read verse five that gives the detail again of who Christ is and what he is done and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and is made us kings and priests to his God and father to him and here's a doxology to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen those two things must always be connected. If were going to have God honoring worship doxology must be grounded and rooted in informed by right theology and theology about the person and work of Jesus Christ because that is what we have the sing about. That's what the saints will be singing about throughout all eternity in glory worthy is the Lamb who was slain, so that's a part of what is set before us here sort text is very easy to follow, tells us three things about Jesus Christ, who he is and again.
I've said this already. Twice. Let me repeat it. Jesus Christ number one. The faithful witness, number two, the firstborn from the dead and number three, the ruler over the kings of the earth.
Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, what does it mean that Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, will the construction of the sentence here.
The phrase puts the emphasis on the adjective that is on faithful he is faithful as a witness. This is the theme in the book of Revelation have mentioned here in verse five of chapter 1 is mentioned again in chapter 3 in verse 14 where we have, to the church at Laodicea, verse 14 of chapter 3 into the angel of the church of the Laodicean of the Laodiceans write these things says the amen the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
Galatians 314 and then Revelation 1911. That same emphasis. John says now I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse and he who sat on him was called faithful and true, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. As we reflect in our day on the lack of integrity and faithfulness of those in leadership, whether that would be in corporate America.
Our in the sports world or in politics or even in the church.
This is a reference refreshing reminder how refreshing and reassuring it is to be reminded that the one who is the head of the church is faithful and true. That's OES, he is faithful and true, but further the question in what sense is Jesus Christ a witness. While our Lord throughout the gospel of John sheds light on this with many statements about himself and his work and I'll just draw your attention to two of them. John one verse 18 John one verse 18 says no one has seen God at any time, the only begotten who is in the bosom of the father. He has declared him. Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him who are you and he confessed, and did not deny but confessed, I am the Christ of John is talking about himself there but he speaks of Christ as the witness notice also in John chapter 18 in verse 37 before pilots court verse 35 pot pilot answered.
Am I a Jew your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me what have you done Jesus answered my kingdom is not of this world.
If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.
Pilate therefore said to him, are you a king then Jesus answered you say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born and for this cause I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice and this description of Christ, there is contained something related to his office as priest Jesus was with the father from all eternity and with the father. He enjoyed intimate, unbroken fellowship and communion.
Father. The father revealed all things to him showing that most intimate relationship that Jesus had with the father.
The question is, who better to come forth as a witness to the father into his will, then the sun. The Lord Jesus Christ who knows the father in such intimate ways. He is come from the father as a prophet and as a faithful witness to reveal the great purposes of God in the gospel.
Jesus Christ was faithful and true in the discharge of his responsibilities given to him by the father, especially that particular work to come as the word of God in his life and teachings in his death and in his resurrection, and even now and is continuing ministry at the right hand of the father on high speaking through his Spirit, and through his word.
Jesus Christ has revealed all that the father gave him to reveal and all that you and I need to know in order to have eternal life and the know-how to live our lives upon this earth is perfect life and the miracles that he performed all served to certify that everything he said and did were absolutely true and trustworthy Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the faithful witness. He was faithful to witness and reveal the father and his will and he continues to do that. He's faithful he's trustworthy he's true is reliable and dependable.
He sure consistent and unwavering as a faithful witness. What are the implications for us that Jesus Christ is faithful as a witness. Well, we can have this same kind of commitment to the cause of Christ.
What is that being faithful why because the cause.
The cause is based entirely upon the life and work of the faithful witness, Jesus Christ, and therefore we can place the entire weight of our never dying soul upon him who is the faithful witness, the message will never change. Why because he's faithful he'll never let us down. Why because he's faithful. The message will never disappoint.
Why because he is faithful.
Our eternity is secure because he is faithful.
All he said that he was going to do he will do the faithful witness says I will never leave you nor forsake you. When trials come in. We are tempted to draw back. He is a great source of strength and is the hymn writer has expressed it went all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. If you build your life on the faithful witness, the Lord Jesus Christ your life will be like a man who built his house on the solid rock. We can build our lives on him with great confidence and hope. What is the second implication that Christ is the faithful witness what he is the living word.
The word of God is trustworthy because it is been revealed by him who is the word in the faithful witness when you are tempted to turn to the world for answers when you are tempted to turn to academia.
Remember that the word of God is reliable and trustworthy because its author. The one who has revealed the word to us is himself the faithful witness warehouse where else are you going to go to find faithful advice and counsel and guidance that is better than what you can find in the Bible where else will you receive counsel that is motivated by love and not tainted at all with self interest.
In one third app implication that Christ is a faithful witness is that the gospel is trustworthy because it is revealed to us by this faithful witness, Jesus did not come to be served but he came to serve became to accomplish the salvation of sinners. The message of salvation that he preached and accomplished is completely reliable and trustworthy. You can trust and rest.
The entire weight of your eternal soul on the witness of Jesus Christ because when he says if you believe in me you will live. You will have eternal life. You can trust that you can believe that he lived and he died and he rose again to verify and to certify that he is the faithful witness in every blood bought child of God can say with Paul with utmost confidence. I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed on the hymn against that day, Jesus Christ, the faithful witness.
Secondly, the text tells us that Jesus Christ is the firstborn from the dead, the firstborn from the dead.
Again were going to answer the question, what does that mean and then what are the implications's for our lives. Colossians chapter 1 in verse 18 says he is the head of the body, the church, it was the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he may have the preeminence. Paul in first Corinthians 15 verse 20 tells us that now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
So when the Bible speaks of Christ being the firstborn from the dead.
It does not mean first literally to have risen from the dead, for we have the record of others who were raised from the dead before him. Lazarus in John chapter 11 is one example, the widow of his Arafat son in first Kings is another of this concept of firstborn or firstfruits from the dead refers to the fact that Jesus Christ is the first part or the principal part or as Paul says there in Colossians 118, the preeminent part of the whole. That is to follow Jesus himself said, I am the resurrection. Not only that I am myself the resurrection I have raised myself from the dead. I will raise my people.
I am the resurrection and what I think we are to learn from this is when we think about the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are to think that he is to have the preeminence. He is to have first place in our thinking about the resurrection. That is, it's all because of him. It's all by him.
It's all through him, and it's all for him. Anyone who will ever be raised from the dead will be raised through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.
He is the firstborn or the firstfruits because he was the first to be raised to immortality. Unlike others who preceded him in time, who were raised only to die again.
Jesus Christ was raised to immortality never to die again so he is the firstborn from the dead, and by rising to immortality and thus conquering death and in canceling the sin of death that was against us is guaranteed that one day all who have placed faith in him will also be raised to eternal life.
So what are the implications of this truth for our lives. What gives us great comfort that we can serve him without fear, even to the point of death, knowing that our resurrection is as sure as his because it's sourced in him promised by him death is lost its sting.
The fear of death should no longer grip. The people of God. This frees us to greater usefulness in service to him. Listen to what Paul says in first Corinthians 15 oh death where is your sting O Hades, where is your victory.
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, and the implication therefore is verse 58 therefore, based on this. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfastly immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
It really can be our perspective as we live our lives to live is Christ and to die is gain. It really is gain to die. I wonder how much we believe that how strongly believe that or has this world and all its stuff become too precious to us of challenges to live for him with purpose and determination because the fear of death is been taken away. What awaits us is heaven with Christ in all its glory, and to say that that is gain seems to be such an understatement. The second implication to the fact that he is the firstborn from the dead is the surety the reliability of the gospel. If Jesus Christ was a false witness.
If Jesus Christ was just a man and not God incarnate, he would not have been able to raise himself from the dead. The father would not have have given him the stamp of approval by raising him from the dead.
Romans 14 says this Jesus Christ was declared to be the son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. Therefore, the message declared in his person and work is a message worthy to be believed, and by all who hear it. Jesus Christ, the faithful witness in the firstborn from the dead is also, according to John 15. The revelation 15. He is the ruler over the kings of the earth. The ruler over the kings of the earth, and that is expressed very well in Daniel chapter 4, Daniel four. Listen to verse 34 and 35. This is from the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar and at the end of the time I Nebuchadnezzar lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me and I blessed the most high and praised and honored him who lives forever for his dominion is an everlasting dominion in his kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing he does.
According to his will in the Army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain his hand or say to him what have you done so says God through Nebuchadnezzar.
According to Daniel 434 35 he's the sovereign ruler of all the earth is the sovereign ruler of all rulers of all the kings of all presidents and senators and congressmen and all glory and places of authority and those who are in a place authority only have authority because it has been given to them by him, he puts down who he wills.
He raises up who he wills the sovereign reign of Christ. We need to see his purpose that drives and motivates all that he does and is doing in the affairs of men. All of history is an expression of the sovereign reign of Jesus Christ in redemptive history. In other words, all that Jesus Christ is doing in the world is the exercise of his sovereign reign in and for his church is in reference to his church, its expansion and its victory in its purification. Christ is ruling and reigning through his church. What are the implications that Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth. Well, there's two implications that I want to speak to number one. The implication for gospel labor and missions. What guarantees the success of the great commission. Matthew chapter 28 verse 18 Jesus at all authority has been given to me in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations teaching them and baptizing them in the name of the father and son, and Holy Ghost, and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I've commanded you. And low I be with you, even to the end of the age all authority has been given to Jesus. Therefore no government will ever frustrate the gospel purposes of our God. We heard this morning reference to the gospel in the explosion of the gospel in the country of China from 1,000,200 million. The government couldn't stamp that I couldn't frustrate the purposes of God, no government will ever frustrate the gospel purposes of our God, the ruler over the kings of the earth will be worshiped by people from every tribe, every tongue, and of every nation.
The second implication is that this truth brings great comfort and hope because whenever men rise up to oppose the church. The gospel and those who have given themselves to proclaim it. They are under the authority of Christ to is the conquering King. That's why John could say right on the heels of this, the ruler over the kings of the earth. To him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and is made us kings and priests to his God and father to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.
Amen. So was come to the end of this message tonight. Let me ask you which is dominating your life right now as we find ourselves on the first Sunday of February, 20, 21, was dominating your life as a covert is the economy is it the world of politics.
Is it your job, your family, whatever. It's easy to get caught up in the trials and troubles of this world, but our life needs to be rooted and grounded in our lives need to be given to the purposes a REIT that are revealed in the word of God centered in the person of Jesus Christ. He's worthy of our lives. He's worthy of our service. Where else can you give your life and have confidence that it will matter. It won't be a failure. It will contribute to the success that God has guaranteed in his word saw something this morning that was quite July say it was interesting to me. I thought of it as it is is a metaphor. I won't say who would just stop where I was sitting I noticed is the preaching was going on, I noticed a particular person getting really engaged in the preaching and about halfway to the preaching he had a long sleeve shirt on.
Unbutton his shirt rolled up his sleeves like okay where is getting serious. I'm engaged here and that's that's the way we need to be. We need to be fully engaged. We need to be ready to roll up our sleeves, put our shoulder to the plow with confidence in faith believing that our efforts are will not be in vain to be steadfast, unmovable bonding, the things the Lord for your labors are not in vain in the so Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and what according to John 15, the ruler over the kings of the earth the fees the ruler over the kings of the earth. He's ruler over your circle. He's ruler over whatever it is you're going to face this week. He's ruler whatever looms and threatens and brings fear and concern and worry in your life is ruling over that is good. Good purposes. In it you can trust him. You don't need to be a coward.
You don't need to be in fear.
You don't need to worry, you can embrace whatever it is with confidence and trust. Listen to this him that I think brings the message to a fine conclusion. Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart, thou has bid me gaze upon the and I beauty fills my soul. For by thy transforming power thou hast made me whole.
All how great thy loving kindness faster broader than the sea all how marvelous my goodness lavished all on me. Yes, I rest in the beloved know what wealth of grace is thine. No, thy certainty of promise and have made it mine simply trusting the Lord Jesus, I behold the as thou art, and thy love soap you're so changeless satisfies my heart satisfies its deepest longings meets supplies its every need compass me round with blessings.
Thine is love, indeed, ever lift thy face upon me as I work and wait for the resting Nephi smiled Lord Jesus Earth's dark shadows flee brightness of my father's glory sunshine of my father's face keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with thy grace, shall we pray father, thank you for the revelation of Jesus Christ. Thank you for giving him to this world. Thank you that he came in flesh and walked among us. Thank you that he lived a perfect life. Thank you that he gave his life vicariously on the cross for sinners, but I thank you for John the apostle, and for you giving him this revelation that has been preserved for us that we might be reminded of Jesus Christ of who he is that he is, as John has revealed them to us, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth, we say with John and with all the saints throughout the ages. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen