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Faithful and True - 63

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
February 12, 2024 1:00 am

Faithful and True - 63

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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February 12, 2024 1:00 am

Pastor Mike Karns continues his expositional series in Revelation.

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Beacon Baptist
Gregory N. Barkman

Good to see you tonight. We are continuing our study in the book of the Revelation. I foolishly thought that when we got to this point, the studying would get easier. And yet, I've been confronted by some rather challenging questions and I'd like to bring those questions before you tonight and try and answer those questions from the Word of God. So, I have four questions tonight. Let me set them before you and they grow out of verses six and seven. Let me read those two verses again. John says, Then he, that is the angel, said to me, These words are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show his servants the things which must shortly take place.

Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. Four questions to ponder. Question number one. What is meant by these words in verse six?

Then he said to me, These words are faithful and true. Question number one. Question number two. How is the reliability and the truthfulness of God's word set forth before us? How is truth authoritatively given to us?

Kind of the same idea, two different ways of asking the question. Question number three. How do we understand the references to time in these two verses? There's a reference to time in verse six, and then there's also a reference to time in verse seven. In verse six, these words are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show his servants the things which must shortly take place. That reference to time. And the second, behold, I am coming quickly. Words of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Behold, I am coming quickly. And then question number four. What is the relationship between the reliability and truthfulness of these words and our response to them? So four questions.

I hope that I can cover them sufficiently enough to help us this evening. Question number one. What is meant by these words in verse six? These words. Then he that is the angel said to John, these words are faithful and true. Does he mean the words of the immediate context, that which has been communicated in chapters 21 and 22? And there is a case to be made that that is indeed what is being referred to in these words. These words that we've just heard and just have considered in the last number of sermons. These words are faithful and true.

And why would God deem it necessary to add this commentary on what we have just heard, these words? Well, because they're so stupendous. They're so remarkable. They're so beyond our understanding. They're not the product of somebody's fancy. They're not a fairy tale.

They're not somebody's dream. This is exactly what is going to happen. This is exactly how it's going to be. And this is exactly what you and I are going to experience.

Don't doubt it. We have these words on the authority of God's word. His word is faithful and true. So, even though eyes haven't seen, ears haven't heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for us.

Here are descriptions of things that are beyond our wildest imagination. They are faithful and true. Is that what he's saying?

Perhaps. But, because what we find here in this verse is so very, very similar to what John said in the prologue way back in Revelation chapter 1, let's go back there and take a look at it. Revelation chapter 1.

Again, we're asking the question, what are these words that are faithful and true? Well, listen to what how John begins. In fact, what I want you to see is that John is coming to the conclusion of the writing of this letter and he is saying very similar words at the end that he said it to beginning. Revelation 1, 1. 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 of 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. I want you to see with me an authoritative chain of revelation that is seen here in the Book of the Revelation and also seen in other places of the scriptures. Keep my outline here before me so that I don't lose track of where I'm going, but I want you to see how John equates the words of the angels that have been communicated to him, how John says they are the very word of God. Notice with me again, 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 signify, 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. How did John understand the words of the angel, the visions that he received from the angel, the word of God? That's how John saw it.

Now, this may seem a bit tedious, but I think it's important. We're talking about what is the source of revelation. And when it says the revelation of Jesus Christ, is this the revelation about Jesus or is this the revelation from Jesus?

I know what you're thinking. Can it be both? And I think it can, but I think the grammar and the syntax leads us to believe that it's not the revelation first and foremost about Jesus, but it is the revelation from Jesus. I think that's where the weight is.

I think that's where things come down. What do we have here? We have, notice that the chain of authority whereby revelation is passed down to humans. The revelation of Jesus Christ, this is the revelation again, not, I don't think about Jesus, but from Jesus, which God the Father gave him to show his servants, notice plural, his servants, things which must surely take place. And he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant, John. So do you see this authoritative chain of revelation? God the Father gave revelation to God the Son. God the Son communicated that to an angel, who thereby faithfully communicated and revealed that same truth to John the Apostle.

For what purpose? Gave him to show his servants things which must surely take place. So the revelation is designed to show servants, I think believers of all the ages, of all the churches, things that, things that must surely take place. So there is an authoritative chain here going on. Again, we have the Father giving this revelation to Jesus to show his servants things which must surely take place.

And he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant, John. Now, is there any weaknesses in any of those links? There's four links there. There's God the Father, there's God the Son, there's the angel, and then there's the prophet John. That revelation has to come through all four of those chains before it's dispensed to his servants, to men and women, believers, you and I, the churches. Any weaknesses there?

Any weak links there? Well, we're told holy men of God spake as they were what? Moved along by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God superintended this process of transmitting revelation. God superintended it so that what we have, we can have confidence that it is what?

It is trustworthy and true. What about the angel? Well, John refers to the angel back there in Revelation chapter 22.

Notice what he said? Then he said to me, these words are faithful and true, and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show his servants the things which must surely take place. I don't think there's any weakness in that link with the angels. They dutifully do God's bidding faithfully without error. To the degree that what the angel revealed to John in vision with what he heard and what he saw, John says, that's the word of God.

It's not from an angel. That's the word of God, he says in Revelation 1.1. Now, this authoritative chain of revelation is not unique to the book that we're studying. You see that in the book, some of the books of the Old Testament. We're not going to go there.

We don't have the time to go there tonight. But again, the father gives to his son, who in turn gives to an angel, and the angel then gives it to a human messenger. Daniel chapter 8 verses 16 through 19. Daniel chapter 9 verse 21 through 23. The angel, Gabriel, assists Daniel in interpreting and understanding the vision that he is given. Same authoritative chain of revelation.

Here in our study, John is speaking of a vision that is given to him by an angel who helps him with interpretation and with communication. Let's turn left. And when you're in the book of the Revelation, there's only one way to turn.

Let's turn left. Go to Hebrews with me. Quickly to Hebrews chapter 2, and we see again this authoritative chain of revelation. It's the same picture of God revealing himself. We see the Lord. We see the angels. We see the prophets. All spoke in this authoritative chain of revelation. Hebrews chapter 2. Therefore, he says, verse 1 of chapter 2, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him, who are those who heard him, the prophets, the apostles, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will. So again, this authoritative chain of revelation is not unique to John's writing here in Revelation. We see it there in Daniel.

We see it here in Hebrews. One commentator that I've benefited from, Alan Johnson, he writes this, quote, by sending his angel to his servant John, we're reminded of the significance of angels in the worship of God, in the revelation of God's word, and in the execution of his judgments in the earth. I've not drawn your attention to this point I'm getting ready to make to you, but it needs to be made and we need to ponder the place the angels serve John and serve the church and serve you and I in what we have here in the book of Revelation. Sixty-seven times in the book of the Revelation we have angels being referred to, angels helping John, revealing vision to John by hearing, by seeing. That's significant, I believe.

So the angels or the angel is testifying to the reliability and the veracity of the word of God. That's the first question. Question number two.

Well, I'm sorry. We've kind of answered question one and two. What is meant by these words? Is it referring to just Revelation 21, 22, the new earth, the curse being removed, paradise restored, as wonderful as that is, as it's just that, or is it all that we have here in the book of Revelation? I think for me, if I have to make a choice between one or the other, and I don't think we have to, but I think the weight is on the totality of the entire book.

Let me help you. I hear people say, I love the study of the book of the Revelations. It's not revelations. It's revelation. Try and not add an S to it because it is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

He is the central focus of the book. And it's easy to say revelations because John is receiving revelations. But when we say revelations, we're using that as a synonym for the visions that he receives. But no, it is the revelation of Jesus Christ. And I think you'll be helped if you train yourself to add the word the to the front of Revelation. It's hard to add that S when you're saying the revelation of Jesus Christ. If you're just saying revelation, it's easy to add that S, but it is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

All right. Question number three. How do we understand the reference to time? Again, back to Revelation 22.

There are two references there. Then he said to me, these words are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show his servants the things which must shortly take place.

The things which must shortly take place. And again, the same language is in Revelation one at the beginning of this entire study. The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants things which must shortly take place.

How do we understand that? Well, before you draw a hard and fast conclusion in your mind what it means, let me show you some verses that will cause you to maybe rethink things a bit. In the red letter part of the book where Jesus is addressing the churches, listen to what he said to the church at Pergamos. Verse 14, but I have a few things against you because you have there those who hold to the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality.

Thus, you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolations, which thing I hate. Now notice verse 16. Repent or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. I will come quickly.

For what purpose? To fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Also in chapter 3, the church of Philadelphia, he says in verse 10, because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth. Verse 11, behold, I am coming quickly.

Hold fast what you have that no one may take your crown. And the thought is here, the question that comes to mind in verse 10 and 11 is, is he talking about two different things? Is he talking about his second advent, the second coming, the blessed hope in verse 11? Behold, I am coming quickly.

Hold fast what you have. Or is he talking about coming in judgment, coming to test, coming to purge? Again, verse 10, because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth. So again, the question back to verse 6, the end of verse 6, the things which must shortly take place. Because, again, this is me trying to interpret accurately how to understand this, because John is saying that very thing at the very beginning of the book, chapter 1, verse 1, verse 3, that it is something that is for the servants, it's for the churches, that he's talking about the persecution that John knew that John was suffering on the island of Patmos. John wrote this at the latter half of the first century. It's believed that he's the last remaining apostle.

He has been exiled to the island of Patmos, and he says there in the very first chapter, 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 for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. The things that must surely take place, I think, for me, I'm satisfied that he is making, that that is a reference to the persecution that the church has known from its outset, from the very beginning, John identified himself with it, that this book is a book of spiritual warfare, how to endure, how to stand against persecution against enemies of the church. That's what I think he's talking about, the things that must shortly take place. It's a reference to time.

It seems to fit the context here. The Roman emperor had brought persecution upon the church in the very first century, and the church has known persecution in its entire existence right up until this present time. There are Christians losing their life in Northern Africa as we speak. It's hard for us to get our mind around persecution because we're so removed from it in the sense of physical persecution. There's aspects of persecution surely in our culture, but you know what I'm making reference to. Again, how do we understand this reference to time? I think this first reference is in reference to persecution that has come upon the church in John's day and is going to persist.

We're not to be surprised by it. Jesus made promises to the church. He says in verse 7 of chapter 2, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Overcome what? Overcome the pressures, the persecutions that come.

Again, chapter 17, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna to eat, and I will give him a white stone, and on that stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. Promise given to those who overcome, and we have to ask the question overcome what?

Overcome opposition, overcome persecution. That is what must shortly take place. It's not something that the authoritative word of God says it must take place.

Not that it might, not that it's entirely future, but it must shortly take place. And indeed it did. John's a living testimony of it. And we could go to the other letters to the churches, but for our purposes tonight, let's move on. There's another reference to time back in Revelation 22. Behold, I am coming quickly. Behold, I am coming quickly. We're going to look at the rest of the chapter of chapter 22 as the Lord gives us time here to finish the book. But we see those exact words where Jesus says, I am coming quickly. We see it in verse 7, our text that we're looking at tonight. Verse 12, notice with me again, red letter. And behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me to give to everyone according to his work. And then again in verse 20, he who testifies to these things says, surely I am coming quickly.

So three times those exact words are found in the last chapter of this book. Verse 7, Jesus says, behold, I am coming quickly. The announcement I am coming quickly is prefaced with the word behold. Pay attention. Don't miss this. Catch this.

All right. Same idea in verse 12. And behold, I am coming quickly. Verse 20, not the word behold, but the word surely. Again, to draw attention to what is being said, a promise of our Lord. Surely I am coming quickly. Now, how do we understand this?

I believe that it's a reference to the second advent of Jesus Christ. He's coming quickly. You say, well, wait a minute. I'm coming quickly.

Quickly in reference to what? Now, there's an interesting connection here because you remember what Peter reminded us of over in 2 Peter chapter 3. Listen to what he says and think about it in the context of what John is saying to us. 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 4.

Well, let's see. Peter talks about scoffers in verse 3. Knowing this first, that scoffers will come in the last days walking according to their own lusts and saying, where is the promise of his coming?

For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. Scoffers. Scoffers who are challenging what? In relation to what John's bringing to our attention in our study in Revelation. These words are faithful and true. So the skeptic says, no, the Bible isn't faithful and true. Jesus himself said he was coming quickly. What does that mean? It's been 2000 years and he hasn't come yet.

It's not trustworthy. It's not a faithful word from God. So again, how do we answer that? Well, we're going to go back to 2 Peter, but let me say this first. He's coming quickly in reference to what? In reference to, I think, in reference to his first coming. From the promise of Genesis chapter 3 in verse 15 to Matthew chapter 1. How much time elapses? 4000 years. How far are we removed from his first coming to our present day? 2000 plus years. He's coming quickly in reference to his first coming. And I don't know and I'm not one to predict or say, but I will say this in light of what we're seeing here. Jesus is going to come before 4000 years go by.

All right. Because it's in reference to his first coming. Now, what does Peter say about those who scoff? The scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.

Well, listen to what Peter says. Verse 8, But, beloved, do not forget this one thing. Do not forget this one thing in the context of this question that's being raised. That with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. We're accustomed to thinking about the second coming from our vantage point. And I think we're being challenged to think about the second coming from God's vantage point rather than ours.

And from God's vantage point, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. And what does Peter add here in verse 9? The Lord is not slack concerning his promise.

Don't lose any sleep. Don't doubt the reliability and the truthfulness of God and his word. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness. But his long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. I don't know about you, but if the Lord had come 40 years ago, I'd have been outside the Ark of Safety. How many of us here, if the Lord had come 40 years earlier than this night, we'd been lost, confined to an eternity apart from Christ. So, I'm confident that this reference, Behold, I am coming quickly, is a reference to the second coming of Christ. Let's not... Again, we're talking about the second advent of Jesus Christ in reference to his first coming, viewing it from God's perspective as opposed to ours. But think about it in this way, and again, this is aside from the second coming. I don't want to take away from that. I want to be absolutely crystal clear about that. I believe what Jesus is saying is he's coming quickly.

But... I'll be 68 years old in May. The Lord is coming quickly for me. Now, I don't have terminal illness, but I'm talking about relative to time. Whether we live 60 years, 70 years, 80 years, 90 years, or one of those fortunate people that live 100 years, the Lord is coming for you and for me.

Right? So the question is, are we ready for his coming? Are we looking for his coming? Are we anticipating his coming? Or have we just pushed that to the back of our minds and it's just really not something that we're concerned about? Because the last question that I have before us tonight is this. What is the relationship between the reliability and truthfulness of these words and our response to them?

What should be our response? What we're being told here is indeed faithful and true. Never doubt it.

Never doubt it. Blessing is promised in Revelation chapter 1 to those who read the Word of God. Blessing is promised to those who read the book of the Revelation, who hear the book of the Revelation, and obey the book of the Revelation.

Now here, behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. What should be our response in the light of the reliability, the faithfulness, and the trueness of the Word of God? God, help me to be faithful.

God, help me to finish well. God, help me to keep my eye on the Lord Jesus Christ. Help me not to miss that this entire book, Your Word, is a revelation of Your Son to us. We're thankful for general revelation, but oh, folks, general revelation is wonderful as it is, how it does display the glory of God. It's only enough to condemn you. It's not enough to save you. It doesn't reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to you.

General revelation doesn't. But we're thankful for special revelation, this book that reveals the Lord Jesus Christ who came from heaven's glory and took on flesh and dwelt among us and went to the cross of Calvary and bore our sins in His own body on the tree, lived on this earth a life of perfect obedience. For what purpose? To earn righteousness. You say, well, He didn't need to earn righteousness. He was righteous. He was the righteous one, exactly. To earn righteousness for those who will believe upon Him. He's earned righteousness, perfect righteousness for you and for me.

So what should be our response? Recommit ourselves to faithfulness and not just for a little while, to the end. Lord, help me to represent you well. Help me to be a faithful servant of Yours. Help me to love Your Son.

Help me to long for His appearing. And I want to conclude with what John says about the second advent of Jesus Christ, the second coming, the glorious appearing. He says in chapter 3, verse 1, Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God. Therefore, the world does not know us because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be.

But we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. How should that affect the way we live our lives? Should it affect the way we live our lives? Is there a connection?

Absolutely. Verse 3, And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure. We're pursuing holiness knowing that without holiness no one will see the Lord. That's the connection between the second coming and the way we live our lives on this earth. It's not a disconnection.

It's a strong connection. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure. I don't know if you've thought about the Lord's table as a means of grace, but I am confident that it is. The Word of God is a means of grace. Prayer is a means of grace. The gathering of the saints is a means of grace. The Lord's table is a means of grace. In this way, it is one of the ordinances that God has given to us to observe, to remind us of our Savior, His person and His work at Calvary, and what His life and what His death means to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, what it means to individual believers. So when we come to the Lord's table, it's to refresh us. It is to remind us.

It is to motivate us, to challenge us, to recommit ourselves, to be a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in those areas where we have stumbled, in those areas where we have failed, in those areas that we have remorse, it is a time to say, Lord, I recommit myself. I failed here. I failed there. I said this. I didn't say that.

I was silent when I shouldn't have been. And we acknowledge those things beforehand, but it is a means of grace to help us in this whole area of holiness, in this whole area of purifying ourselves. So see it that way. It's a time of rejoicing, that God has made us a part of His covenant community, through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. So as we gather around the Lord's table, think about our Savior.

Think about the privilege that is ours, that He has made us children of His at great cost. How desperate was our condition? How lost were we? How hopeless were we?

Listen to me. It cost God's blood in order to redeem us. It cost God's blood to rescue us and to make us His children. That's why this idea of pray a prayer and raise your hand is so dishonoring. It's not something that you can do.

It's not something that's surface. It's something God has to do. God has to reach in and regenerate lost men. God has to make a man who's dead in his trespasses and sins alive. God has to transfer the divine life to him. That's what it is to be a Christian. That's what it is to be a follower of Christ. And Paul makes the argument in Ephesians that it takes the same power, not a different power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to make you and I a Christian. Really?

That's what he argues. So it ought to astound us. It ought to amaze us. It ought to humble us. It ought to cause us to rejoice and be thankful that we have been an object of God's sovereign election, that God has been pleased to exchange the righteousness of Christ for our sinful rags and clothe us in a righteousness that gives us right standing before Him.

Let us pray. Father, we thank you for your word. We thank you for its richness. We thank you for the way it challenges us to think deeply, to wrestle with questions. Lord, it reminds us that our minds are so finite.

The harder we study, the deeper we go, the more there is to know, the more there is to learn. And yet we thank you for the Spirit of God who illuminates our minds that we might understand the Scriptures. Father, thank you again for the truthfulness, the faithfulness of your word to us, that we can stake our never-dying soul upon what you have said and the promises that you have made. Cause any who are wavering, any who are skeptical, any who are doubting the veracity of your word, the truthfulness of your word, may the Spirit of God come and settle those issues in hearts tonight and cause us again to rejoice afresh in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ and what He's done for His people. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-13 23:05:42 / 2024-02-13 23:19:09 / 13

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