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Vision of the Son of Man - 6

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
March 28, 2021 7:00 pm

Vision of the Son of Man - 6

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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March 28, 2021 7:00 pm

Pastor Mike Karns continues his teaching in Revelation, describing the Son of Man as King, Prophet, and Priest.

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When you're preaching in a book, preaching expositionally through a book, you're doing that also with the mind of the calendar, an eye to the calendar, and wondering if you will come to a place in your preaching that will correspond with the particular highlighted event that the calendar is drawing attention to. This is Palm Sunday. And as I prayed about what to preach today, and have been preaching here in the book of Revelation, I thought, what an appropriate passage to come to on Palm Sunday.

And you all know I'm not smart enough to have arranged that, right? That's God's doing. So here we are in Revelation chapter 1 verses 9 through 20. And if my math is correct, this is the sixth message in this, boy, I'm not sure I want to say series. Because I'm not sure yet that I've committed myself to move through the book of the Revelation because, well, just because of who I am and because I say this with, take it for what it's worth, all right? I have an undergraduate degree in Bible study, I have a Master of Divinity degree that I earned in three years of seminary, but at times I feel like I'm in over my head.

Don't think ill of me about that, I'm just being frank and honest with you. When I read of men, great men, smarter than me, been preaching, studying the Bible longer than me, written commentaries in books, and one man says this and another man says this, and you know the conclusion you draw? They both can't be right.

Somebody's not correct here. In fact, both could be wrong. Okay, so there's a lot here and I've got a lot of encouragement from a good number of people by phone call and email and just interaction encouraging me to move forward in the study of the book of the Revelation. My fear is that some of that is driven by, he's going to get to the good stuff. He's going to come down on my side of the issue. He's going to reconfirm my belief in doctrine, and I may, I don't know, but if I do it, I'm going to come down on the feet of somebody else and go, now just a minute. And here's the issue, whether it's eschatology or what it is, we must endeavor to know the word of God as God has given us light and understanding. But in the area of eschatology, we cannot make it a test of fellowship, okay?

We can't say, if you don't believe what I believe about the end times, I'll have nothing to do with you. That is out of bounds. That is out of order, all right? We can agree to disagree agreeably.

Not disagreeably, but agreeably. Now, I'm not putting Kindle around a fire that I'm going to light a match to and create controversy. That's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying, if you've done any study in eschatology, you know what I'm talking about. There's a lot of, I've got a book that I just picked up, I picked it up a number of years ago, read it quickly, got it off the shelf again this week, and you'll laugh at the title of the book. You ready for it? End Times Made Simple. Now, I admire the man who wrote the book, and I find a lot of agreement in what he's saying. And I don't know if he chose that title with tongue in cheek or not, because what I've discovered is, studying the end times is not simple.

It's challenging, and it's difficult. So here we are. Think about the fickleness of those who lined the streets of Jerusalem to offer praise and worship to the Lord Jesus Christ as he entered into Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday. How quickly did all the praise and worship and adulation turn to crucify him, crucify him?

Now, there's numbers of explanations for that. There were people who were stirred up and paid off to be a part of that uprising. And yet there were people whose hopes were dashed because Jesus did not deliver what they had expected him to deliver. Their worship was to a God of their own making.

They had invented, the Messiah will do this. And because Jesus didn't do what they wanted him to do when he did it, they turned on him. And it causes me to wonder how many people are in churches today that are worshiping a God that they've invented in their own mind. The Jesus I worship does this, he does this, he does that, he does the other thing. Well, what happens if the Jesus you're worshiping is not the Jesus of the Bible? That's why we need to be careful students of the Word of God so that we understand God as he's revealed himself in Scripture. Well, this morning, I want to ask you this question as we begin. You say you already began. Well, yes, but... If someone were to ask you for the meaning of the book of the Revelation, where would you go?

What would you say? And I hope you would direct them to the Scripture somewhere. What is the book of the Revelation about? You couldn't go to a better place than the first chapter of the book itself. The Apostle John has been exiled on this small, remote island.

Well, I don't know how remote it is. I don't know how many other people lived there, but it's a small island. He was exiled there. And why was he there? He's an aged man. His colleagues, his fellow apostles have died to martyrs' death.

And here he's been sent to be silenced so they'll have no influence. And he's there for two reasons. He says he was there for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. And I've said in previous messages, the day is coming, folks, that there will be a line drawn in the sand, and we will have to declare ourself whether we will be willing to accept opposition and affliction and perhaps persecution for no other reason than those two things.

For the Word of God and for your testimony for Jesus Christ. That's why John was where he was. Now think about John.

Here he is. He's an aged man. We don't know how long he was on the island of Patmos, but he lived through two. His life covers two emperors.

Emperor Nero, Roman Emperor Nero, who was famous for the horrendous methods of torture and persecution that he brought upon the church, and Domitian, who reigned and terrorized the church. So here's John. And he's there because he's been afflicted.

He's being persecuted. What did John need? In his condition, what did John need? Well, I want to suggest to you that what John needed is exactly what he received. The vision that came to him of the glorified, risen Christ is what John needed. And folks, in our day of affliction and turmoil and confusion, what we need, what the church of the Lord Jesus Christ needs today more than ever is a fresh glimpse of the glorified Christ. Because the vision that John receives is of Christ in the midst of his church.

Notice what it says. I, John, verse 9, both your brother and companion in the tribulation, the tribulation, not the tribulation that some people's view of eschatology points to, but he was in the tribulation, and kingdom of patience of Jesus Christ was on the island that is called Patmos, for 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 a trumpet saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last.

And what you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia. And there the seven churches are listed. Verse 12, 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 his feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. I'm thankful for this little cheat sheet that is included in the sacred text, because if we didn't have verse nine, we'd be all kinds of speculation. What are the seven lampstands? What are the seven stars? What is that symbolizing?

What is that referring to? It would be a mystery to us. You'll have to bear with me.

I may have to tone down my passion or I may not survive 40 minutes here. We would be wondering. We would be, it's a mystery to us.

We wouldn't know. Notice what it says in verse 20. The mystery, get that word? 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 and the seven lampstands, which you saw are the seven churches.

Mystery resolved. We know what these are, what the seven lampstands are. What are the seven lampstands? He says right there, the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. Now, are these the only churches that were in Asia Minor or were there other churches? Well, yeah, there were other churches. There were lots of other churches. Think about the churches that aren't represented in that list. Thessalonica's not there. Corinth's not there. Rome's not there. There's all kinds of churches that aren't mentioned in that list of seven, but ten times from verse 9 to verse 20 you see the word seven.

It's there for a reason. Seven in the Bible symbolizes a lot of things, but I think in this context it speaks of completeness, that the seven lampstands, the seven churches are representative of the completeness of the churches. This represents the church and churches of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout all the ages.

That's what commentators believe, and that makes good sense to me. So Jesus comes in a vision to give John a message for the churches, and he's told twice. He's told in verse, I think it's verse 11.

He's told in verse 11 and he's told in verse 19, write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. And I've wondered about why did he need to be told twice this? This is such an unusual vision. Well, how many of you have, let's say, had an experience, and you even had your cell phone there, and after the effect that it had on you, you went, why didn't I take a picture of that?

Right? Well, think about what has happened to this man. Here he is on a deserted island, exiled there, aged, probably alone, probably wondering, is my life counter for anything? Am I, you know, and then here this vision comes to him. So he could have been so overwhelmed by what he was seeing that he would not have been inclined to write down what he saw, but he was told to write these things down and to send it to the seven churches. So this vision conveys an important message of the relationship of Christ to his church. John says Jesus was in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. He was in the midst of his church.

You say, well, yeah, in that vision he was. He's in his glorified state. That's the glorified church. Yeah, he's comfortable. He's in the midst of his church.

No, no, no, you're missing it. The Bible tells us that where two or three are gathered together in his name, where he is in the midst, in the midst of a less than perfect church, in the midst of divisions, in the midst of sin, in the midst of rebellion, in the midst of, he's in the midst, he's in our midst. That's good news, isn't it? And Christ is reigning in our midst. So my message this morning has got four headings to it, and we've covered the first one. And the first one is the heart or the core of the vision. And what is the heart and the core of the vision? The heart and the core of the vision is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ in his glorified state.

Jesus Christ in the midst of his churches. That's the heart and the core of the vision. Secondly, I want you to consider with me the significance of the vision.

The significance of the vision. So often, people come to the book of the Revelation with an eye toward eschatology, to study events. What does the Bible have to say about the second coming of Christ? And that is, if you're interested in that subject, there's not a better place in the Bible to go to than the book of the Revelation. Because there's a lot here that speaks about the second coming of Christ.

But, that's future. There are certain things that are hid from us. The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and our children. This vision in chapter 1 reminds us that Christ isn't just going to rule and reign in the future, that Christ is ruling and reigning right now. He is seated at the Father's right hand, at the place of power, omnipotence, authority. God has exalted him to the highest place and given him this seat. So, rather than being consumed with, I'm going to study the book of Revelation and see when Christ is coming and when he's going to rule and reign. He's ruling and reigning now. Now, not to the full extent that he will in that day when he comes, but when he comes, there will be the full consummation of his kingdom and his reign.

Yes. But let's not miss the fact that Christ is ruling his church right now. He holds his church in his right hand.

You see that? The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars. Christ is holding the angels and we'll get to that in a moment.

Who are those angels? He's holding his church and his church is shining as stars. It's held in the grip of the all-powerful Christ. He's Lord of his church. That's the significance of this vision and we need to be reminded of that. Another significance of this vision is that it shows us that at the center of everything that God is doing in the world, he's doing it through his church. Now, the world says, the church. The world gives little or no attention to the church.

They don't see what is going on in the world related in any way to the church. What's important in the world is what's going on in government and legislative bodies and the economy and the military and what's going on in Silicon Valley and the latest technology. That's what's important.

Decisions in Washington is what is important. The world is completely unconcerned about the church and its affairs because they view it as insignificant. But God is saying, as he looks at history, the most significant thing in all of world history is what God is doing in his church. That's what God wanted conveyed through John. That's what John needed, this vision of Christ.

That's what we need today as we hear this message. You see, it's Christ's present lordship that is being shown to John, that Christ is among us now. We serve a living, reigning Lord who's present wherever his people are gathered. Who was it that was riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed colt on Palm Sunday? It was Christ, and Christ had manifested himself in his kingly office, his priestly office, and his prophetic office.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King. They were acknowledging Jesus as King. Now, they had a different idea of what this King would do and what would happen, but Christ had established his authority as King. What about his priesthood, his priestly office? What was he riding into Jerusalem to do?

He wasn't going to be caught off guard. He knew what awaited him in Jerusalem. He was going to Jerusalem to do what? Make a sacrifice and offer himself as the sacrifice and as prophet.

What had been going on his three plus years on the earth? He'd been exercising his prophetic office. Thus saith the Lord with power and authority that astounded people. And that ministry would continue from the cross, because we have the seven utterings of Jesus from the cross.

So Jesus entered Jerusalem as prophet, priest, and King, and was rejected. And I want to suggest to you that the vision that John received is a vision of those same three offices. Christ is revealed to John for our benefit as prophet, priest, and King. So think with me about those three offices and how they are revealed here. And we'll look at the first in his priestly office, I mean his kingly office. Now, he doesn't appear to John as the suffering servant.

Notice what it says. John says, I saw in the midst of the seven lampstands, verse 13, one like the Son of Man, one like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to his feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. That reference is to Christ's priestly office, and we'll get to that in a moment. But I want to take them in the order that we usually think about them. Well, I'm sorry, not in the order in which we think about them. We usually think about them as prophet, priest, and king, and I want to think about it as king, priest, and prophet. That's the way I want to see it as we look at this text. And then what follows in verses 14 and 15 is what we refer to as anthropomorphic language.

What's that? Well, it's language that we use to describe God that is anthropomorphic. It speaks of God having hands and feet and eyes. God is a spirit. No one has seen God at any time. So does God have eyes? Does God have hands?

No. This is what is being used here by John. He's using anthropomorphic language. Verse 14, he says, 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. Verse 14, His head and hair were white like wool. God doesn't have hair.

He doesn't have a head. But it's described as snow. White as snow. His eyes like a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace.

His voice is the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand. Verse 16, Does God have a hand? Does God have hands?

No. This is kingly language. Fire, bronze, gold speaks of majesty. John sees Christ in His glorified kingship. His eyes like flames of fire express holiness and righteousness. His feet like brass, He will come to tread down the powers of darkness. His voice like thunder, the voice of the mighty King who comes to execute judgment in righteousness.

Later on, he says, Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. Well, God doesn't have a mouth, but what is that conveying? The sword in Scripture is symbolic of authority.

Power to judge. And it proceeds out of Christ's mouth. It's saying that Christ has power as King to rule and to judge.

That's what John saw. Second, as we're thinking about the meaning of the vision, verse 13, back to that robe. Christ appears clothed in a priestly garment, much like the high priest of Israel would wear. The Levitical priests would wear the garments. But listen to me, they would only wear the garments while engaged in the priestly duties of sacrifice and other duties.

But when they had finished their work, they would lay their garment aside. But what do we see here? We see Christ clothed with the garment.

You say, well, wait a minute. I thought his work was finished. I thought he offered once for all, for all time, himself as a suitable sacrifice. So why is he still wearing the priestly garment as if he's still carrying on priestly duties? Because he is, because he's still carrying on priestly duties. Now, his sacrifice is over. The sacrifice of Christ put an end to the entire Levitical order.

God was saying something very dramatic when the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom. No need for this anymore. No need for this anymore. The priest himself has come. He's offered himself all the sacrifices were pointing to him. And now that he's come, there's no more need for sacrifices.

No more need for a temple. Christ, our great high priest, has offered himself once for all, finishing that redemptive work forever. But here in John's vision of Christ, he's seen with the priestly garment, because he's engaged yet in his great high priest work. He sympathizes with us. He intercedes for us. He represents us before the Father.

He responds to the accusations of the adversary. What a beautiful portrait and picture of Christ. So Christ has revealed in this vision to John his king and his priest, but thirdly, his prophet, the two-edged sword that's proceeding from his mouth. Notice he says there in verse 16, 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 his strength. His prophetic office, the two-edged sword, speaks of the word. In Hebrews chapter 4, we have this reminder that the word is what?

Quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart. Christ reveals himself as prophet by the word which he speaks. You see, John was instructed to write what he saw and send it to the seven churches. That's again verse 11 and verse 19.

And in the chapters that follow in this book is the fruit of his obedience, where Christ is exercising his prophetic office in speaking words of what? Of instruction and of consolation and of encouragement and of exhortation and of rebuke. His church stands in need of those things. This church stands in need of those things. There are times we need encouragement, times we need consolation, times we need instruction, times we need exhortation, times we need rebuke. And we have the prophetic word to do that.

But fourth this morning, notice I said fourth and not last, but it is last. Something in your mind happens when you hear the preacher saying, you know what I'm saying? Your mind starts going last, he's almost done, what are we going to do?

No, we're not done. Fourth point in my message this morning, we've looked at the heart and core of the vision, the significance of the vision, the meaning of the vision, number four, the hope and comfort of the vision, the hope and comfort of the vision. Verse 16 says he had in his right hand seven stars. We're told the same thing over in verse 20. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand. The right hand of God, and if you want to do an exciting word study, just Google the right hand of God, see what comes up and read those verses about what it reveals about God. It's God's right hand, it's His power, it's His authority, it's His power to save.

I have eight or ten verses with me, but I don't have the time to read them to you, but I would just encourage you, you will be blessed, and that is a fruitful study to think about. Why is it that the Bible refers to the right hand of God? Here the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and they are in the right hand of God. Now here's the question, are these angels heavenly beings or are they human messengers? And you'll read good men who come down on both sides of that, and I've read the arguments and I've come to the conclusion that I feel comfortable with, that the angels refer to the messengers of the churches.

The Greek word angelos is literally in the Greek means a messenger or a servant, and here's why I've come down on that. John is to write this to the seven churches, and notice each one of the churches, we won't look at all of them because they all have the same beginning, chapter 2 verse 1, to the angel of the church of Ephesus write. You're thinking, well why would John be writing to an angel? Now if that angel is a human messenger and that human messenger is the overseer or the elder or the pastor of that church, then that makes sense, that makes sense.

So because the Greek word can mean messenger or servant, and because it makes sense to me that John is not writing to angels, he's writing to human messengers, I feel comfortable that that is a reference to, as I say, overseers, pastors, elders, any messenger or servant of God. Now think with me, we're talking about the hope and comfort of the vision. These stars are held in the powerful right hand of Almighty God. Stars have a light and a brightness about them, but what is it about that light? Is that light inherent in the stars?

No, they only reflect light. They stand it and they derive their light from Him who is light. So this is to the elders, the overseers, the messengers. And I cannot tell you how comforting it is to know that I as a messenger, as an elder, as a pastor, I am kept and I am held in Christ's right hand. It is the Lord's good pleasure to enlighten and instruct His church and His people through His messengers, through His pastors, through His elders, through His overseers.

And I did legitimately thank you for your prayers that allow me to be here this morning, but as I read this and studied this week I found an incredible amount of comfort. I am in Christ's right hand. I am His messenger. I am to be light. I am to enlighten the minds of His people, His church, and Lord, surely on this Lord's day you want me to exercise that. So keep me by your power. Restore my health to me. Allow me to stand and be the very thing you've called me to be as a testimony of who you've declared yourself to be.

Hallelujah, here I am. You see, the stars are nothing in themselves. He holds them. He holds us. He holds His church in His strong, omnipotent right hand. And we are nothing unless Christ holds us and works through us. Unless He does, we have no function.

If we're disconnected from the source of light, we're nothing. And unfortunately, many churches are engaged in fruitless activity because they're disengaged from Him who is the light. The entire church is held and preserved by His power and His power alone. This is what John needed. John needed this for himself. He wasn't going to wither away on that island.

He wasn't going to give his life as a martyr for the cause of Christ in a meaningless way. He's being held by Christ, sustained by Christ. And here they've exiled him to an island to get rid of him. And how does God use him? God uses him on that island to give him the book that we're studying.

That's amazing, isn't it? Think about it. The enemies of Christ. What did they want more than anything to begin? It says from that point forward, they began to plot how they might kill Him.

Because in their mind, if we kill Him, that's the end of Him. No more influence. We stamp out this movement. We're done with it. We move on.

Life can be back to normal. Well, did they kill Him? Did they kill Him? Yes, they killed Him. Was that the end of Him?

No. And His death accomplished the greatest good that could ever be done. Because it was His death and His death only that sinful men and women are redeemed and reconciled to God. So unwittingly, they served God's gracious, kind purposes. No, they didn't do it with any... They didn't say, let's serve God's purposes.

No. They were serving their own purposes, their own evil intentions. But how good of God?

I've got a few minutes. Listen to these verses concerning the right hand of God. Exodus 15, 16. Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.

Isaiah 41, 10. Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be anxious. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Psalm 16, 11. You will make known to me the path of life.

In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand, there are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 48, 10. As is your name, O God, so is your praise to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is full of righteousness. Psalm 98, 1.

O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things. His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him. The right hand of God is a place of blessing.

It's a place of protection. This verse from the parable in Matthew chapter 25. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will put the sheep, where? On His right hand.

And the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, Come you who are blessed of my Father, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Yes, there's a reason why chapter 1 is so concentrated on the person of Jesus Christ. He wants us not to miss that this portion of His revelation is given to reveal Christ to us, to reveal Christ in His glory to us, for us to benefit from that. What does the writer of Hebrews tell us? He tells us, consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your hearts. If we don't consider Christ, what is the outcome of our earthly pilgrimage and existence down here? We will become weary and discouraged in our souls.

Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself. Verse 2 of Hebrews 12, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down, where? At the right hand of the throne of God. Church, that application about Christ holding the stars in His hand, I believe the immediate application is that Christ is holding those overseers, those pastors, those shepherds that He has gifted.

He's telling them, I've got you. Nobody can take you out of my hand. You stay in me. You abide in me.

I will use you. Well, am I the only messenger that God has? We've been committed, what? A message of reconciliation. We're ambassadors of Christ. We're all, in one sense, messengers of God.

And it's good to know that in a world that's growing more hostile toward us and the things of Christ, that we have one who rules and reigns and holds us in His right hand. You know, when you're a preacher, you've got to think, because I'm up here going, I'm holding up my right hand, but as you look at me, you're thinking, no, that's your left. We wrestle with that sometimes when we say, you know, the past. I don't know, is the past that way or is the past that way?

To me, it's one way, but I'm trying to communicate it to you. So we need what John received on this Palm Sunday. We need reminded of our risen, ruling, reigning Christ in His majesty, in His glory as King and as priest and as prophet.

Let's pray. Father, how thankful we are for the revelation of your word to us, how we thank you for Him who is the living Word, the One who became flesh and dwelt among us. Thank you that you have revealed Him to us. And thank you that you came to John in his aged state on that remote island and encouraged him with this vision and that he was obedient to record what he saw so that we would benefit from it. Oh Lord, please receive our praise and our worship today as we offer it to you through the merits of Him who loved us and gave Himself for us, even Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-10 06:05:14 / 2023-12-10 06:19:29 / 14

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