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March 15, 2021 2:00 am
We are studying in the book of Revelation and unanticipated from last Sunday nights message.
A good number of responses to the message and I was correct about that had half a dozen or so emails and the five phone calls and it's all good it's all good. Good in this report. Respect what I desire what all the pastors desire is that we would grow in such a way that we mirror the meridians that are spoken of in ask chapter 17. In verse 11. Paul says this about them. These, that is, the Parisians were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica in that received word with all readiness and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so that's what we want we want to come to a settled conviction about doctrine about theology that's rooted and grounded in a study of Scripture, remember, it's 26, 27 years ago setting in the home of a couple in her they were middle-aged time who had been in a dead church for 2025 years and had come to understand the doctrines of grace and it was as if they had been reborn and they had been influenced by Dr. Richard but Belcher and they wanted to start a church and Dr. Belcher was nothing my last year seminary. He asked me if I would come alongside him and help him start this church so is a great opportunity for me, give me opportunity to preach quite frequently I remember being in this couple's house on Wednesday night and this woman had been recently converted through the influence of some of these other people and I recall her saying I went to work and I told so-and-so what you said about this that or the other in Dr. Belcher listen very carefully and respond very kindly to her and he said will great, I'm happy about your excitement about what you're learning. He said let me cost me about some he said I want you to believe what you believe, not because I said I want you to believe it because you have discovered it for yourself in the word of God and that is stuck with me for a long time and that's what I want for all of us.
Sometimes we believe what we believe because we've read and we've heard different one say different things and we perhaps not studied as thoroughly as we ought to, and our convictions are not as grounded in the word of God as they ought to be and my background I went to a school that was pluralistic, that is, there were men on the faculty that represented various views on theology and doctrine was a manner taught church history who was an Arminian across the hall was I due Hodges was an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Heath.systematic theology. They were friends. They were colleagues, but they do not see so teleology in the same way and eschatology.
I heard the premillennial view. I heard the post-millennial view I heard the all millennial view talk and it was good for me. Not that I I wasn't, what shall I say I was spared the trouble of inventing a straw man and knocking it down so I don't believe it because they believe this that and the other know I was taught this is what all millennial position is and was forced to think it through and weigh that position in light of Scripture and same with the premillennial view in a post-millennial view and it was difficult because the syllabuses and the timeframe did not allow sufficient time to say okay I heard this.
I've heard this. I've heard this and I've heard that. Now what position do I come to based on my study and what I've heard and had to do a good bit of that on my own after seminary, but I'm not thankful for the school I went to because of the plurality that existed there. I'm a Baptist, not a Presbyterian, i.e. do not subscribe to pay to baptism. I cannot in good conscious conscience commit to it. Believe it, but while I was there in school during one of the schedule lunches they were having the senior pastor of the Presbyterian Church come and give a presentation on pay to baptism so I range my lunch to be there. I wanted to hear a position articulated from a man who represents that position in that church. So I said listen and it was good for me. I think okay this is the best presentation.
This is from the senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church. I was unconvinced, but I was glad I did that. So what I'm saying is an without exception, those of you responded to me where you were encouraging you were affirming you asking good questions you had good spirit.
Good attitude and that's wonderful. No, no heat, no all riled up none of that. So that's that's great.
Just continue to study and track with me as we pursue this. All that to say that's not where I'm going tonight were going to continue in the book of Revelation, but subject tonight is not eschatology, and in times we happened deal with that last Sunday night because it had to be addressed. It was right there in the first few verses of Revelation couldn't ignore it, couldn't skip it. So were moving on, but will deal with that pick this up at another time so that all is a response to last Sunday night so let me pray as I do, let me remind you of a couple of prayer requests doings doing Craig's father is is in the ER and we need to pray for his needs. Larry Cardwell's sister has passed away, and there is a moral service schedule for her on Saturday in Virginia to pray for the family of Nancy Moore, Andrew Guthrie as she continues her battle with cancer and no doubt many other needs in our church. Let's look to the Lord. Right now in prayer father how thankful we are tonight that there is a mercy seat that we were invited to that preparation is been made for us to be able to be there to recite receive grace and mercy to help in time of need. How we thank you that the person and work of Jesus Christ has transformed that throne from the throne of judgment to a throne of grace for the children of God, to those who have received the forgiveness of sins and imputed righteousness that comes through Christ, Lord, we acknowledge our dependence upon you tonight and are need of you. The thank you that we can call upon you.
You are the omnipotent and omniscient God of the universe and we are thankful that we don't have to inform you of anything or thankful that were praying to a God whose arm is not short that he cannot save your able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think. And you know things that we do not know when you're able to speak in the lives of people than to provoke and to bring about change and lasting change. Real change, not just physical improvement but spiritual development spiritual life where there is death. So Lord, we call upon you tonight to work in us both to will and to do according to your good pleasure that you would strengthen us, Lord, in the inner man where it really matters, and that you would continue to be kind and gracious and merciful to us.
As you have shown yourself to be. We pray that you draw near to doing Craig's family, particularly the needs of his father and minister, Lord, to the needs that you know there and for the family of Nancy Moore and Larry Cardwell's sister's family and Larry's family. We ask you to enable them to trust you and to glorify you through her passing. We thank you for drawing near and helping Bob Caldwell this weekend for the improvement with Art and Angela Copeland.
Lord we ask you to help Andrew Guthrie to trust you or we think of Carolyn Mary Shaw tonight and we thank you for these dear ladies and their love for you and their testimony of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and their testimony of persevering faith in the midst of challenging circumstances, strengthen them both and help Mary as she continues to rehab her shoulder. Lord, please intervene and bring a resolution to the problems that she's having with her van. Now, Lord, we look to you for help as we seek to understand your word and profit from it tonight.
Bless me as I preach. Bless all who are listening this evening to have hearts to receive and may we receive the word of God with faith believing that it might profit us much we pray in Jesus name, amen me turn your attention. As I said to Revelation chapter 1 picked up at verse nine and I want to read through verse 20, Revelation 1 verse nine through verse 20 hi John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and the and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos, the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, and what you see right in the book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum's to thyroid Tyra to Sardis, to Philadelphia and to Laodicea. Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow in his eyes like a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace in his voice as the sound of many waters he had in his right hand seven stars, out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying to me. Do not be afraid.
I am the first and the last I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more. Amen.
And I have the keys of Hades and of death. Write the things which you have seen in the things which are in the things which will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches in the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. May God bless the reading of this portion of his word and as we proceed.
Tonight we will not exhaust our study of these verses, but will begin to look at them under these headings.
I've got seven things that I want to speak to want to see number one what John says that I want you to see notice with me where he was and then why he was where he was and then instructions about what he was to do then will look at what he heard them will consider what he saw and then lastly number seven will look at what he did in response to what he heard and saw. So that's were going tonight.
Under those seven headings. I want you to notice with me what he says in verse nine he says I John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, I John, your brother and companion. It's interesting that he makes no reference to his apostleship.
This is John the apostle. This is the blood of the beloved John who wrote the gospel of John and the three put epistles of first and second and third John. He does not call himself an apostle, he calls himself brother and companion and I think there's some help force here in that as we seek to establish our identity in the world. If we are Christians we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, there is a hierarchy in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has officers that he has gifted in the do not dismiss that but even as an elder. I'm still a brother in Christ to Rob McDormand who sits back there. We don't ever want to dismiss that or ignore that John is saying to these cities writing to these calls himself there brother and companion notice.
Further, I John, by the way, I have not found anybody who disputes the authorship of John here to the book of the Revelation.
Four times in the book he calls himself John. I John and John the apostle so there's no dispute over that.
I John, both your brother and companion and then this triad in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, all three of these things are of Jesus Christ tribulation and kingdom and patience. This threefold identification is tied to John's shared union with those he's writing to, and Jesus Christ the church is presented here to be an tribulation. That's what's going on is John is writing this, the church is being persecuted. Tribulation is come upon the church. That is what is happening to the church and in the churches and I want to remind you that a good part of the church of Jesus Christ is in the same place suffering persecution in tribulation, just because the heat hasn't been turned up here doesn't mean that that's the way it is across the world. We do not want to forget about the persecuted church there being persecuted for their stand for Jesus Christ. People are losing their lives for their testimony of faith in Jesus Christ. Tribulation is, upon the church reminds me of acts chapter 14 verse 22 that says this we must we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God. We must tribulation persecution even in our day and our circumstances. There is a growing hostility toward those of us who call ourselves Christians. There is less and less tolerance for us.
I do not think the day is too far into the future where it will be a hate crime to stand in this pulpit and costs. What the Bible calls sin.
Sin in our day. In fact, there are places that people have gone to jail for calling sin sin and taking a stand for righteousness and I think we are going to see an increase of that notice again what he says this is his threefold identification with these he's writing to.
He calls them. He says I John, both your brother and companion. This is a shared thing in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.
Patience of Jesus Christ, I think what he's saying there as we tie these thoughts together that it's necessary that we be partakers of the patient's of Jesus Christ. Why Ford is only in the power of that patience that we can bear the tribulation and the persecution that is upon us and is going to come upon us and do that unto the end, that's what John says in these opening remarks in verse nine.
Consider with me where he was. Where was John. He says I John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos. There John was on the island that is called Patmos. This is an island small, very small island in the adjacent a GMC I'm told that it was 6 miles long and 1 mile wide is not a very big island and it was not far from the coast of Asia minor. That's where John was, as he received this revelation and was writing what he saw and heard.
Why was he there is the next question why was John on the island called Patmos, and are three possibilities. Let me speak to you about them possibility number one that he was there on the island of Patmos because he was sent there to preach the word of God, and bear a witness or a testimony for Jesus Christ. He says I was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. So one plausible answer to the question is, what of why he was there is. He was there in obedience to preach the word of God and the bear witness and bear testimony for Jesus Christ second possibility he could be saying that he was there for the very purpose of receiving the word of God is contained here in the book of the Revelation or number three. He was on the island of Patmos because he was exiled. There for the sake of the word of God which he had preached and for the testimony of Jesus Christ, which he bore, and the vast majority of commentators believe that that is the reason he was on the island of Pat he was exiled. There he was sent there to be silenced.
He was sent there to minimize his influence.
John wasn't aged man at this time in his life and the enemies of Christ in the enemies of the church.
They had a purpose. What was that purpose to forever silenced this man.
Let's exiled him to the island of Patmos, but we learn something here about God's sovereign purposes don't way because the enemies of Christ and the church. Despite their purpose, their purpose was over written by God's purpose. God had a purpose in him being on the island of Patmos. See the powers of government had John the apostle, there to forever silenced him with the Lord used that remote place to communicate a vision the John that would be forever preserved for us here we are tonight considering the Revelation that God gave to John there on the island of Patmos. So when we see forces of darkness succeeding Lord appeared to be succeeding. Let's not lose side there's a God who is ordering all things after the counsel of his own will. God is accomplishing things that we may not see four zone eternal honor and glory and purpose, and we see that here is very encouraging so quickly. We've seen what John says we seen where he was with considered the reasons why he was where he was. Let's think now about what he was to do areas on the island of Patmos and what purpose does God have for him there. Notice verse four. There is John identifying himself again. John to the seven churches which are in Asia, so John is God's mouthpiece to communicate to churches seven churches, in particular, which are in Asia. Notice verse 11 verse 10 John says I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying I am the Alpha and the Omega of the first and the last, and here's what he's to do what you see writing a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia and the seven churches that are listed. That's what he's to do and then that commission is reiterated again in verse 19 right, the things which you have seen and the things which are in the things which will take place after this. I was John's assignment. That's why he was on the island of Patmos.
That's what God wanted him to do and John was obedient to God's command upon his life. That's what he was to do and we have no reason to think that he did not do what God required of him to do now, let's think about what he heard what he heard. He says I was in the spirit on the Lord's day is interesting.
John was doing what he customarily did on the Lord's day, despite the fact that he was exiled on the island of Pat he was the Lord's day he was in the spirit. He was in fellowship with God.
He had prepared his heart he was worshiping God as God would require of him to do and what God would require of us to do. Sounds to me like there's some effort that must be undertaken on the part of the worshiper to prepare himself for the Lord's day I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day.
We know what that that looks like we've come to the Lord's day and not been not prepared our hearts for the Lord's day was going to bed late Saturday night with things going to reminded not conducive to worship on the Lord's day, no, we we need to discipline our life and be intentional about preparing our hearts for the Lord's day to be in the Spirit on the Lord's day because were coming to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, the John says I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and then he says, and I heard considering what he heard. I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying let's interesting. A loud voice, as of a trumpet. We don't often associate no I don't associate the sound of a trumpet with the voice that's what John says I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet. Now I what I associate with the trumpet is his loudness.
Maybe that's what he means that aspect of a trumpet we have orchestra here and there's a trumpet player here, you hear that trumpet player you hear that trumpet sound it's got some volume to it and perhaps that's what he is referring to. I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying I am the Alpha and the Omega, that is, I am the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and what you see right in the book and send it to the seven churches. That's what he heard there in verse 10. Then in verse 15 in the midst of what he saw. He heard something else says he's describing this vision of the glorified Christ, his feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters is voice as the sound of many waters, and as I thought about that phrase.
The sound of many waters. I suppose a number of you listening to me tonight have been to Niagara Falls. There's a place where you can go and visit the falls, there is a railing it's not very long, maybe not any longer than this podium. This pulpit and you can stand there and the waters coming over the falls and your is close to the falls. The water coming over the falls is that first few and there is the loudness of water going over the falls when he says a voice as the sound of many waters that communicates to me what I in my minds eye when I go back and I'm standing there Niagara Falls and that water going over there. I am struck with all of power. That's what he heard, what did he see see what he what he heard was meant to arrest his attention because it says there I was in the spirit of the Lord's day and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying they heard this voice behind him and if you hear a loud voice behind you. What you do when you turn and face the voice, so I got his attention.
And as he turned in the direction of the voice he saw and what did he see is what he saw. He was to write in a book.
Verse 12 says. Then I turned I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
His head and hair were white like wool was white as snow in his eyes like a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace in his voice as the sound of many waters he had in his right hand seven stars, out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword in his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. Let's consider what he saw and what I'd like to do is we do that is consider an Old Testament passage because of the stark similarity between what we find in Daniel chapter 7 and what we find here in Revelation chapter 1, so turn with me to Daniel chapter 7 Daniel chapter 7 and in my Bible ahead of verse nine.
Is this heading vision of the ancient of days, I watched till thrones were put in place and the ancient of days was seated his garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head was like pure. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him. A thousand thousands ministered to him 10,000×10,000 stood before him. The court was seated in the books were opened. I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking. I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.
As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for season and a time I was watching in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man, coming with clouds of heaven he came to the ancient of days and they brought him near before him. Then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away in his kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed now. The there is a lot there and I've only turned here to make a couple of points back to Revelation chapter 1. This is John. In this description that he is given in this vision of the glorified Christ. He says in the midst of the seven lampstands, and let me speak to you about that. So were not wondering what what are the seven lampstands we have the explanation of that in verse 20 the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands.
Here's the code here's the explanation. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches in the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. So the seven lampstands are the seven churches now. He says it in the midst of the seven lampstands. Here is one like the Son of Man see that in verse 13, one like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow. There the whiteness of the hair refers to the age of the ancient of days, that's what we saw in Daniel chapter 9. Remember I watched till thrones were put in place in the ancient of days was seated his garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head was like pure wool. I it's a symbol of deity in our Revelation passage. The whiteness of the hair pictures the glorified Savior in his divine nature as very God. I saw John says there in Revelation 1. I saw one like the Son of Man, that's a title that Jesus spoke when he was on the earth concerning himself. He was the Son of Man. It's too picture his humanity, but what John sees.
Here is not just the humanity of Christ. He sees the glorified humanity of Christ. You see in Daniel it's the hair of the ancient of days, not of the one like under the Son of Man, which John is picturing your Revelation chapter 1 verse 13 in Daniel, the ancient of days and the sun. The one the one like the son are two distinct persons. Let me show that to you again. Daniel nine Daniel seven verse nine. I watched till thrones were put in place and the ancient of days was seated.
Who is the ancient of days and Daniel chapter 7. It is God himself down to verse 13, I was watching in the night vision, and behold, one like the Son of Man, coming with clouds of heaven.
He came to the ancient of days, two distinct persons in Daniels prophecy here.
The one coming with the clouds of heaven. The one like the Son of Man, he comes to the ancient of days in Revelation chapter 1 the ancient of days is the Lord Jesus Christ is one and the same person. The glorified Christ is set before us as what the mighty king and judge the ancient of days in Daniel 7E seated on a throne is garment was white as snow.
The hair of his head was like pure wool is strong, was a fiery flame that description is carried over to Revelation chapter 1, and it is applied to the Lord Jesus Christ. So here is clear evidence and scriptural argumentation that Jesus is God. It speaks of his deity. Wonderful to see that we sing from time to time.
This him by Walter Chalmers Smith immortal, invisible, God only wise in lightning assessable hid from our eyes, most blessed, most glorious, the ancient of days almighty, victorious, thy great name praise on resting on hasting and silent as light know one thing, nor wasting thou rulers in might thy justice like mountains high soaring above by clouds which are fountains of goodness and love. Great Father of glory, pure father of light.
Thine angels adore the all veiling their site. All praise we would render all help us to see to his only the splendor of light provided the in John's description here of the glorified Christ notice some of the language. His eyes are like flames of fire. He says verse 14 parties considered his head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow which was spoken of the ancient of days in Daniel seven. His eyes like a flame of fire what's being pictured there for us. While it's an expression of holiness and of righteous indignation to judge eyes like a flame of fire.
His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace. Another words he will tread down the powers of darkness, his voice like thunder. His voice as the sound of Manti waters in its speaking to us of the mighty king who is coming to execute judgment and righteousness. He says in verse 16 out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword now is that literal is at a literal sword.
This is a vision it's symbolic's the sword in Scripture is symbolic of authority of authority and power to judge and it precedes out of Christ mouth. It reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 24, right before he gives the great commission.
All authority has been given unto me on heaven and on earth. All authority in the glorified Savior here appears John is the great and mighty king was coming to judge his church and the world know there is an awful lot more to unpack here and I don't have the time to do that tonight and that is fine because Lord willing. Next Sunday evening.
We can return to this and it is a portion of Scripture that lends itself quite nicely for preparation for the Lord's table service. So again there's more here to unpack, but let us consider what John did in response to what he heard and what he saw. Notice verse 17 John says and when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.
Can you think of any other time in John's life where he had a similar experience what is John Senior Revelation 1. He is seen Christ and his glory your member the Mount of Transfiguration when he was there with Peter and James and what was their response when the curtain was just pulled back a little bit and they caught just a glimpse of the Shekinah glory of Christ. They did the same thing that John did hear, they fell to the ground as they were as if they were dead men and I think is a combination here of fear that comes over you while I say that will because of what Christ says the glorified Christ says to John and what he does to him as is when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.
But he laid his right hand on me, saying to me. Do not be afraid to not be afraid. So fear came over John, but I think also that's the posture of humility. That's the posture of worship that should be our posture that should be our response when we come into the presence of the majestic God, the God of the Bible is, he set before us and is exalted majesty, not flippancy, not casualness, but reverence and fear in worship we sing this him here at the church.
Lord we bow for your glory. That's what John does here in verse 17.
Lord we bow before your glory manifested in your son radiant with your perfect beauty. He is heavens beloved one saving grace has given us vision opened eyes that wants were blind. He on home we brought derision now delights our hearts and mind such as Savior, now exalted well deserves our heartfelt praise dying.
He has death defeated risen he reigns for endless days now in heaven interceding Jesus friend of sinners. Praise for the weakest daily pleading, all sufficient is his grace. Oh that we might know you better, Jesus Christ our living Lord let our love grow daily greater as we hear your holy there you have revealed your glory there.
We marvel at your grace, feed our souls and make us like you till we see you face-to-face. The wonderful prayer expressed in him may that be our hearts desire is our desire to know the God of the Bible as he has revealed himself, and I'm confident that as we do our response to him will be what we see of those who do encounter him in the Scriptures, as we see John a reference a fear worship and adoration. We sense our smallness in the presence of such majesty and splendor that is good for us. Let us pray. Father, we thank you tonight for the Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for him who lives, and was dead, and behold, he lives forever more. And he has the keys of Hades and of death. Help us to glorify you in our lives. In response to what we've heard tonight and in the way in which we live our lives this week we pray in Jesus name, amen