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Trusting Jesus No Matter What - The Alpha and The Omega, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
October 13, 2023 6:00 am

Trusting Jesus No Matter What - The Alpha and The Omega, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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October 13, 2023 6:00 am

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to meet Jesus face-to-face? In this program, Chip will give us a glimpse of what we can expect as he begins to wind down his series Trusting Jesus No Matter What. He’ll walk through the glorious picture of Christ described in Revelation chapter 1, and explain why this account matters to our faith now.

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet Jesus?

I mean face to face. What would He look like? What would He do? How would He impact you? If you wondered what it would be like to meet Him, I've got news.

You're going to learn that today. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. Thanks for joining us as we wind down our newest series, Trusting Jesus No Matter What. For these last two programs, Chip will be in the book of Revelation describing the glorious encounter the Apostle John had with the risen Jesus and why that experience matters to our faith now. Also be sure to keep Chip's message notes close by today. There'll be a helpful guide through this complex text.

Download them under the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org, app listeners tap fill in notes. Well if you're ready, here's Chip for his talk, The Alpha and the Omega. You know I didn't grow up as a Christian and I've never opened the Bible before and I remember the first time I read through the New Testament and I got to Revelation and I read that first chapter and it was like, oh my, this is just like weird.

So here's what I want to do. I want to give you the context of when it was written and sort of what's happening and then I want you to listen, yes for what it says, but I want you also to think about what are the parallels to today. Here's the historical context. It's about AD 95. So it's about 60 years after Jesus has died and rose from the dead.

John is on an island as a political prisoner. The greatest persecution in the history of the church. I mean it went from hundreds of thousands, there's millions of Christians in this first 60 years.

Literally the world has been turned upside down. They've had such an influence that the new Roman Empire, a guy named Domitian says, I'm going to eradicate it. You're a Christian, you die. Think I'm a Christian and ISIS comes through.

I mean it is a horrendous time. Add to this, every one of the apostles has been martyred. So the leaders are gone and the next generation has been raised up, but they didn't walk around with Jesus. Add to that isms and cults. You know there's some cults that are saying Jesus was never really God and other cults say Jesus was never really human. And you've got all this turmoil, all these issues and political upheaval and here these people are trying to walk with Jesus and be faithful to him.

And the problem is they're losing hope. I mean there's stuff happening in the church, there's bad stuff outside the church. You're going to die if you follow Jesus. And so John is alone and he's praying and he's saying, Lord I mean what's going on? And he gets a visit from Jesus in his resurrected body. So that's the context and that's Revelation chapter 1. But before we go on, here's what I want to do.

I want to walk through where we've been each of the snapshots. Because remember this, faith doesn't grow by trying hard or by your feelings. Faith grows when the object of your faith gets crystal clear.

When you see Jesus for who he really is, then you can trust him. So in Colossians chapter 1, the question was who is Jesus? The focus was on his majesty, his supremacy, creator, sustainer, his title, sovereign king of the universe. And his action, he reigns. Right now he reigns over everything. And one day all the evil will be put aside and he'll reign in a perfect heaven, a perfect new earth.

The invitation to us was when you're weary and tired and life's not working, come. And the result is he gives us peace. In Philippians chapter 2 verses 5 through 11, it answers the question, what did Jesus do?

And the focus is on his method. In other words, what did he do? He humbled himself, took on human flesh, and his title is high priest. He came and revealed the father and then he took our needs and he took him to the father. His action was redemption. He paid the price for our sin and then rose again. And then he says to us, here's the invitation, follow me, descend into greatness, consider others more important than yourself. And as you take up your cross daily and follow me, it's in giving away your life that you find it.

And the result is love. And then in Hebrews chapter 1, the first three verses, it really answers the question, how did he do it? And the focus here is on his message. It's the word of God. We learn he has the word of God. He speaks the word of God. He is the living word of God.

And his title, he's the greatest prophet. And his action, he reveals. He reveals who God is. He reveals what's true. He reveals our need and the solution. And the invitation is to abide. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, Jesus said, you'll bear much fruit.

And finally, the result is joy. He says, when we're connected, the joy that I have, I want to be in you and your joy will be made full. And now we're going to look at Revelation chapter 1. He's going to answer two questions.

Why did Jesus come? And we'll look at verses four through six. And then he's going to answer, how will he come again? Pick it up with me as I read. To the seven churches in the province of Asia, grace and peace to you, from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before the throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

So let me just pause, okay? Here's what I want you to get. He's getting revelation.

The word means to be unveiled. And he's giving this to the church. And he wants them to know these seven churches, it's actual churches, right?

This isn't like metaphor. There's seven churches on a very predictable trade route. And he's sending it to these seven churches.

And then it says, well, who's it from? It's from God. The one who is, the Father, who was, who is to come. And this little picture of the seven spirits before the throne, the word seven is a perfect number. It comes all the way through the Book of Revelation. It's the absolute, holy, perfect Holy Spirit. And then it says, and from Jesus Christ, so you have the Father, the Spirit, and the Son. And then it describes Jesus, who is what? The faithful witness, the truth, the firstborn from the dead, the way, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

He brings life. Life and death is in the power of the one and only creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. And then he goes on, to him Jesus, who loves us and who has freed us from our sin by his blood and made us to be a kingdom and priest to serve his God and Father. To him Jesus be glory, and some translations would be power.

The idea is dominion. He's in charge of everything forever and ever. Amen. And so the description of Jesus here, notice, in the present, John says he loves us. In the past, he has freed us from our sin.

He shed his blood. And then finally, future, he has made us to be a kingdom. We're a part of this kingdom movement and priests. And notice this, the son's relationship with the Father, a kingdom of priests that we would come to know Jesus, we would be transformed, and then we would serve Jesus' Father and our Father. I love J.I.

Packer. He has this great line in Knowing God. And as I read it, I never thought about it this way. He talks about Jesus as our elder brother.

Isn't that a great picture? An elder brother, that he wasn't ashamed to take on human flesh and that he's at the right hand of the Father, and we have an elder brother. Because when you meet Jesus, it's not like he's different. He, for all time and all eternity, took on human flesh and became one of us.

That's the depth of his love. And then it goes on to say, not only why did he come, he came to save us. He came to make us a kingdom and these priests to his God and Father, but then that we would be on mission with him. Look at verses seven and eight, where he begins to answer the question, will he come again or how? Behold, he, Jesus, is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. So it is to be.

Amen. And now listen where Jesus describes himself. I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come the Almighty. Now, for you and me, as we read this, part of this is like, okay, you know, I kind of get the idea that he's coming back, and this is what Jesus has done. This is a tremendous introduction of who he is and what he's accomplished, and now he's coming in the clouds. And that doesn't mean a lot to us.

You'll notice in your notes I put all those in bold. Because if you were a first century Christian, especially a Jewish Christian, but you've heard lots of messages about Jesus being the Messiah, and where they get this idea of the Son of Man, it was Jesus' favorite title for himself. So often he says, and the Son of Man, and the Son of Man, and the Son of Man. And for most of us Christians, when we hear and read the New Testament and where Jesus says, you know, the Son of God and the Son of Man, often you'll hear people say, when he says the Son of God, that's when, about deity, and Son of Man, well, that's when he's talking about his humanity.

Actually, the opposite is true. When you read the New Testament, actually, Abraham is called a Son of God. Isaac is called a Son of God. The genealogies are all about the Son of God. This phrase, the Son of Man, Jesus said that because what he wanted them to know is that I'm reaching back about 600 and plus or minus 30 to 50 years to someone called Daniel, who as a teenager is ripped out of Jerusalem into the Babylonian kingdom under King Nebuchadnezzar. And he walks faithfully with the Lord for about the next 70 years. And he had this prophecy about the end times. Let me read it to you, because the Son of Man is the most descriptive. He's deity, and he's coming back, and he's Messiah. Daniel chapter 7, verses 13 and 14. Daniel writes, In my vision at night, I looked, and there before me was one like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. And he approached the Ancient of Days, speaking of the Father, and he was led into his presence.

Now listen to this. And he was given authority, glory and sovereign power and all dominion, everlasting dominion that will not pass away. And his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. It is the clearest, most graphic passage about the Messiah. And now we're hearing, this is who Jesus is, and so he's letting those people who have very little hope, humanly speaking, and who are really struggling, and have lost their leaders, and asking, am I willing to die for this Jesus? He's saying, this is the Jesus who is the Messiah.

You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. We'll return you to Chip's message in just a minute. But let me quickly share with you, God has called us to do incredible ministry work all around the world. And when you regularly give to Living on the Edge, you're part of what we do. So consider becoming a monthly partner today when you visit livingonthedge.org. We appreciate your generous support.

Well, with that, here's Chip. And then we get, I'm just going to warn you, some of the most unusual passages that you're ever going to find in all the New Testament. And you need to understand a little bit of Jewish background in order for them to make sense. And just a quick aside, you know, often you'll have people say, you know, where does it really say Jesus is God? And, you know, there's three or four very clear passages.

But one particular cult does not believe that Jesus is God. And as I've met them, I've talked with them a lot and they're young guys that go on these two year missions. And I just have met so many of them and I like them. And I remember, you know, a couple of guys came and they like to play basketball.

So we play basketball together. And I said, do you want to open the scriptures together? And they said, well, sure. And, you know, I knew sort of the Mormon doctrine and they told me the things that they were taught. And I said, you know, the scriptures clearly teach that Jesus is God. And they said, no, no, you know, that can't be true.

And, you know, they sort of had answers for the sort of the typical text. And I said, have you read Revelation? He said, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And I said, you know, at the beginning, it's God the Father. And what do you say, the one who is, who was and is to come on the Alpha and the Omega?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I said, well, go down and read at the bottom. It's clearly Jesus speaking.

Who is he? He's the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and is and is to come. And so I just want you to understand that sometimes we kind of want to have a little devotional and read the Bible a little bit. But we need to handle accurately the Word of God. And for some of us, rather than when someone knocks at the door or someone disagrees with this, rather than just going back to our little huddle, maybe we need to dig in a little bit and say, you know what, I need to understand this.

I need to be able to explain to someone that I would care about what I realized is I so like those guys. And I'll never forget, you know, we played a lot of basketball and got in the Bible a lot together. And, you know, the one guy came to me said, you know, we're not supposed to really hang out and talk to people like you. I said, well, that's OK, and we're not allowed to read anything other than, you know, the Bible, but Mormon literature that describes what the Bible actually says. And he said, but, you know, when I read that, that really makes sense to me. And he started on a journey of completely rethinking his future, his life and his eternity, recognizing that there's lots of other books.

Every group has their books, but God's word is the authority. And so I just want to encourage you with that little aside. And with that, then let me continue with John's experience. We're in verse nine. John, your brother and companion in the suffering, right, the persecution in the kingdom and patient endurance that are ours and Jesus was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's day, I was in the spirit and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said, write on a scroll that what you see and send it to the seven churches. And then he gives the churches Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamma, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. And then verse 12 says, I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me, and when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands.

And among the lampstands was one, are you ready for this? Like the son of man dressed in a robe, reaching down to his feet with a golden sash across his chest. His head and his hair were like white wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. And his feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand, he held seven stars and out of his mouth came a sharp double edged sword.

His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. Now, I don't know about you. First and foremost, you would be terrified and I would be terrified. And we're going to find that John is terrified. He's coming to let John and these people in a world that's completely messed up.

I want you to know I'm absolutely in control. And there is a game plan that's coming and all these pictures that John is experiencing. Literally, I'm going to go through each one quickly. But when it says the fire, literally it's the fire is coming out of his eyes. I mean, this imagery is like, whoa, what does it mean?

What I want to do is I want to go through quickly and go through what those are, tell you what they mean. And then we'll circle back around and talk about what's the implications for us in a world that's desperate for hope. And maybe some of us are desperate for hope as well. And so let me jump in. Here's a picture of the risen Christ. The general appearance is the Son of Man. And what's that mean? It means I am the Messiah, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the sovereign ruler of all people and nations.

Men of every language will worship me. And that's what he's saying when he comes one like the Son of Man, his power, his kingdom, his rule forever and ever. Second picture is his dress. He's robed with a golden sash. Basically, this is, I'm a greatly honored one who exercises all authority and judgment as a once and for all high priest, judge and king, prophet messenger of God. If you had a robe all the way down, it meant you were either a priest, a prince or a king.

And if you remember in the Old Testament who wore a sash, it was the high priest. And so this is a picture of one who has all authority, but one who's going to take the needs of man and bring them to God and take the power and the grace of God and bring it to man. Are you starting to see that for John, this is going to be hopeful. This is for the whole church. Life is crazy.

It's falling apart. This is Jesus in this unusual way of presenting himself that's going to give hope when you understand it. His head and hair, white as wool. The implication, I am the holy eternal one who is before all things, the all wise, all knowing God of time and eternity. This is that picture of him in Colossians chapter one.

The white and wool is a picture of holiness, of purity. He knows all things. He is all wise. He sees the end from the beginning.

You don't have to worry. I'm the one who's going to bring about the best possible ends in the best possible way for the most possible people for the longest possible time. You need to endure. Over and over and over in Revelation it will talk about patient endurance and overcoming. John actually describes himself as we are the saints who are suffering. One of the great lies that's going around the world.

And I mean this as kindly and gently as I can. The prosperity gospel is toxic. This idea that if you love Jesus you'll be healthy, you'll be wealthy, you won't have problems and all you need is enough faith. I'll never forget during the pandemic we began to minister to pastors, especially all around the world. And I was on a call with the leader of major denominations, the head of the evangelicals in India and from all these 300 different cities. And the leadership team got with me and he says, I know you're going to talk. Would you address something?

I said, well sure, but tell me what it is. He said people are disillusioned. Many of the prosperity teachers who claim that you would be healthy and wealthy, they're dying.

And now the people are disillusioned, the people they were looking up to, it's not playing out. Would you address that though God longs to bless and often when we're obedient he certainly blesses our finances and our health in different ways. But would you address that all those who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted? I mean that's 1 Timothy 3.12, that suffering and trouble according to Jesus is a reality in your life, but he's overcome the world. So it's trusting his word, trusting his spirit, trusting God's plan. And this is what John's doing.

Notice his eyes are a blazing fire. It's this I'm the righteous judge of all the earth whose judgment is just because I see all things as they are, not as they appear to be. You don't hear much about that anymore. But we really need to remember that we will give an account even as believers for our life, for our salvation? No. For reward?

Yes. And this judge also will be, you think of your friends and my friends and our neighbors and maybe co-workers that don't know the Lord. He is the judge of all the earth. And there will come a day when he will separate the goats and the sheep, those who trusted Christ and those who don't. Those who say thy will be done, Lord, and those who say my will be done. And in his grace and in his honoring of people's will, there will be people apart from Jesus forever and ever and ever. And part of what he's saying to John is it may be hard, but you need to understand I'm the righteous judge. It'll be fair because I see all things.

But it's a motivation for us to care and to share and to love and to reach out and not be intimidated by the world that we're living in. So how about you? Who do you know that needs to know the Jesus that we've just talked about? Who do you need to share with the gospel, the good news of forgiveness of sin?

And maybe you're one of those people that it's not someone you know, it's you. And as you heard me teach today, you realize that you need to trust Christ. The sovereign God of the universe decided on this day, at this time, you and I would meet, and he would say to you, put your faith in me. Today, I want you to pray, I want you to ask me to forgive you, and I will, and I will cleanse you, and I will forgive you, and I will come into your life. But you need to put your faith, you need to put your trust in what I did on the cross and that I rose from the dead, and then follow me. And so if you've never done that, can I encourage you right now, right with me, you can just say, Lord Jesus, I admit today that I'm not perfect, I've done things wrong, that you're a holy God, and you require absolute perfection.

And so I believe that Jesus, when you died upon the cross, you paid for all the things I've done wrong or ever will do wrong, and that by receiving you as my personal Savior, you have forgiven all my sin. And I invite you now to be my Lord, to be my Savior, to come into my life. You said to whoever would believe on you, you would give the right to become your child. So Lord, right now I'm crying out, save me, make me your son, make me your daughter, I want to be a part of your family.

I want to follow you the rest of my days. And if that's what you prayed, I want to welcome you to the family. And it's not saying words or having an experience, it's a transfer of trust. And so two or three things you need to do right away, text or call the greatest Christian that you know. Find a Bible teaching church this weekend, and then go to our website, livingontheedge.org, all one word, livingontheedge.org, and it has a little spot there for new believers. We have some information absolutely free to help you understand, okay, this is what's happened to me, and now this is how I can begin to grow in my faith. Lord, thanks so much for the many, many people who right at this moment have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light and are your beloved sons and daughters.

Amen. Well, if you prayed with Chip, we do have a free resource we'd like to put in your hands that was uniquely created for new believers. It's a tool that'll help you gain a clear biblical understanding of what it means to trust in Jesus. Request this free resource by calling us at 888-333-6003 or by visiting livingontheedge.org, then clicking the New Believers button.

That's livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003. Let us help you get started in your faith journey. Well, before we go, Chip's still with me in studio, and Chip, you know, I wanted to take a minute here to tell you something we've received from one of our listeners named Ted.

He writes, Dear Chip, two years ago I joined a global tech consulting company as an inclusion and diversity lead in operations. Upon realizing how much I need to deal with different communities, including the pride community in our company, I've been praying to God for wisdom that if he thinks I'm compromising my faith because of my role, that he takes me out of the role. Your message put in words what God has been putting into my heart, to use my role to connect with everyone, regardless of their preferences, to allow them to experience God's love for all of us. Your message about loving others and not judging others, especially outside the faith, is a reminder of how much God can use me in this role to spread his message of salvation and of unconditional love for everyone.

Wow, thanks for sharing that, Dave. You know, it's messages like that from Ted that deeply encourage me. He realized that quitting might mean losing an opportunity to share the gospel. And when God's word goes forth, and when you have people that are willing to take a stand and not compromise on the truth, but be out there in the public square the way Ted is, it never returns void. Our vision is to see a movement of Christians living like Christians for the glory of God and the good of all. And I want you to know that as you become a monthly donor, you can help us take that step to a whole new level. Your regular support helps us to continue to provide the kind of valuable resources that equip people like Ted, right where they are in the workplace, at school, family, and their communities. Will you help us build a strong foundation of disciple-makers by becoming a monthly partner? Thanks for praying about that and then acting on whatever God shows you to do.

Well, as you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry, let me remind you that every gift is significant. When you partner with Living on the Edge every month, you multiply our efforts and resources in God-sized ways. To set up a recurring donation, go to livingontheedge.org or visit the Chip Ingram app. That's livingontheedge.org or check out the Chip Ingram app. And speaking of our app, it's a great place to get even more plugged in with Living on the Edge and our resources. You can listen to our most recent series, sign up for daily discipleship, and more. We're going to help you grow in your walk with Jesus, and the Chip Ingram app is a great way to immerse yourself in Godly, enriching content. Well, join us next time as Chip wraps up this new series, Trusting Jesus No Matter What. Until then, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-20 22:05:54 / 2023-10-20 22:17:52 / 12

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