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May 14, 2021 12:01 am
The Apostle John knew Jesus intimately during Christ's earthly ministry. But when he was granted a vision of the Lord in His exalted glory, John fell on his face in reverence and awe. Today, R.C. Sproul draws several lessons from John's response.
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This is we well host of Renewing Your Mind with RC Sproul. You long before I came to work your religion or ministries. I was a legionary student accessing its many valuable resource.
In fact I go back to the cassette in VHS days I began subscribing to table talk magazine in 1990 and have been reading it ever since.
As a husband and father. I use that is the foundation of our family devotions my children gain a deeper understanding of God's word as we read the articles and daily studies.
One Christmas I decided to round up the gifts we gave our now grown children with gift subscriptions the table talk.
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It's one of the most cherished gifts they receive each year.
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Just go to Renewing Your Mind.org/table talk and one of my colleagues will be glad to send it your way. John had no idea when she uses rose from this planet and the heaven that at some time in the years to come.
Jesus would come back for a private visit and reveal himself.
A fresh to his beloved disciple, John. It'd been decades since John had last seen Jesus.
He was now an old man banished to a remote island but as he was about to discover the Lord wasn't done within yet welcome to Renewing Your Mind mildly well with joy. Dr. RC Sproul. Now, as he tells us what happened when this beloved apostle had one last face-to-face encounter with Jesus.
One of the earliest traditions of church history is the tradition that survives to this day teaches that 11 out of the 12 disciples that were called of Christ depart from Judah, support that 11 of the 12 suffered the death of a martyr. James was the first to experience martyrdom and we don't have the details of the deaths of all the rest of the disciples, though much of the tradition is recorded in the famous volume Fox's book of martyrs. We know that in the year 64 A.D. both Peter and Paul were executed under the reign of the Emperor Nero during the neurotic persecutions.
Peter, of course, was crucified but he was crucified upside down because he refused to die in the same manner of his Lord. He felt unworthy were Paul was beheaded by the executioners sword and the tradition is that only one of the disciples died of natural causes and live to the fullness of age. The tradition also indicates that this disciple was the youngest of the group of 12 and he is given the description in the New Testament as being the disciple whom Jesus loved, referring of course to the beloved disciple, John John, who was one of the inner circle that inner three of Peter, James and John who went with Jesus to so many special events in places such as the Transfiguration.
But even though John escaped the death of the martyr. He did not escape persecution, and late in his life, he was banished from his homeland. He was sent into exile in a remote place called the island of Patmos.
And it was while he was in neck so that the patent office that the heavens were opened before his eyes and he was given a unique Revelation and Tiffany that came from Christ himself was then written down and recorded for the benefit of the church and we call the book that is a result of that experience in the book of the Revelation or the apocalypse. The last book of the New Testament Canon Mountain John as we said was intimately acquainted with the earthly Jesus. It was presumably John, who laid his head upon the shoulder of Christ in the upper room.
It was John who went with Jesus everywhere that Jesus went during his earthly ministry and I have to ask the question and speculate what was John thinking when he stood on the Mount of Ascension and watched Christ ascended into heaven knowing or at least believing that this would be the last time in his life that he would lay eyes upon Jesus, thinking that he would never see him again until they saw each other once more in heaven.
While John had no idea at that point when she uses rose from this planet into heaven that at some time in the years to come.
Jesus would come back for a private visit and reveal himself. A fresh to his beloved disciple, John, but that's the record.
According to the apocalypse. According to John's own testimony that we read in the book of Revelation. Let's turn now to the first chapter of the book of Revelation beginning at verse nine we read these words from his pen hi 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.
Here John writes to fellow Christians, and though he is by now, the patriarch of the church. He identifies his readers as his companions companions not only in faith comrades not only in patients comrades, not only in their love for Christ, but they are companions in the tribulation is obviously referring to the intensity of persecution that the church is at that very moment experiencing visit here I was isolated, alone in exile on the island of Patmos for the sake of the testimony of Christ and for the word of God and he said he was in the spirit on the Lord's day. This refers to some kind of deep spiritual experience that he was having during the worship of the Sabbath day, which at that time. Now was the Lord's day Sunday and John tells this story said I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of the trumpet.
I think it's interesting.
I think this is a kind of things. It's about a million pages of Scripture.
What I'm reading the Scripture that John notes that minor detail that what he hears this voice hears it behind this is face to back encounter. This is not face-to-face and and you realize how startled a person can be when they expect to hear something or don't expect to hear anything. But when they hear it they hear from behind them. I have to tell you story quickly the first time my wife and I went turkey hunting in fact was the only time my wife and I went turkey hunting. We were complete amateurs and novices not drag her out of bed in the middle of night because she can who would like a now that I needed somebody to find the turkey since they were still roosting in their trees and so we went with our camouflage and with our decoy and we went deep into the forest and it was pitch darkness like 430 investors stopping every 15 yards will cease voting then pretty soon the turkeys started to answer my wife. This is an experience he said for a long long time since he has for .Mac for attracting turkeys this is a will bear witness and so that who we are and we get down and we build a blind and I start with the diaphragm call I start the call in the Tom turkey and I give my very first call on the diaphragm. The mating call you a note is depicted in whatever live and enter my absolute astonishment. No sooner did I get the mating call out my mouth through this diaphragm than we hear in the distance.
This Tom turkey gobbling for all it's worth in my heart just left in my breath and we sat hunkered down real quiet and has to be careful we had. We can't be impatient. We want to make the rookie mistakes get to watch Morgan wait 10 minutes before I give another call and saw that was the worst experience of patients to have to wait 10 minutes to assure that the turkeys going to lose interest and go away, but those turkeys are sharp and you can't rush them so I waited. I timed it 10 minutes later I gave that he checked on that thing and again will very calm since closer I can't see them but I know is coming and we were so excited we were beside ourselves. We know the turkey can spot movement from hundred yards in the woods blinking when I try to stay absolutely still.
We were sitting in front of this huge big oak tree. I waited another 10 minutes at the end of that 10 minutes thinking that turkey has to be coming in here class and I gave the call again.
He took and to my apt silicone punishment will hear boisterously loud behind this, and with that I broke every rule of target. I jumped up provided free to look at that turkey was gone before I get David toward the gun at it but to be hearing a voice from behind you can terrify you is vested and I will both testify to it wasn't the voice of Christů Discipline. The gobble of a target but the John tells us that little detail that while he is in the spirit almost a mystical trance. If you suddenly he is startled and frightened, hearing a voice calling to him from behind him. Listen to what the voice sets the loud voice that sounds like a trumpet says I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last what you see right in the book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to program office Arterra to Sardis, to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.
When John understood instantly. Whose voice it was because the voice identified himself as being Alpha and Omega, the first and the last alpha of course being the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega being the concluding letter of the alphabet.
If Jesus said, John, I'm here I am the a to the Z. I am the beginning and the end. I am the creator. I am the Redeemer. I am the author. I am the finisher of faith and the command is given to John and his terror.
Write it down. I have a message for my church's send this message to the seven churches that I direct and then the record continues. John writes this 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, closed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes like a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters on an earlier occasion in our studies we had an examination of the titles for Christ that are found in the New Testament, and on that occasion I made mention that the title that is the third most frequently used title for Jesus in the New Testament is the title Son of Man, and though it ranks only number three in frequency behind the title Messiah and the title Lord in his way behind those two. It's the number one title in terms of frequency of those titles that Jesus is used for himself in the New Testament it was Jesus. Favorite self designation, calling himself the Son of Man and rather than saying that is a title of humility. Jesus is clearly identifying himself with something that is revealed in the Old Testament when another man has a visitation from on high. When Daniel also gets to see behind the veil and the internal court of heaven is opened to the gaze of Daniel, and he sees the ancient of days, seated upon the throne and then he sees the approach of one like the Son of Man into the inner sanctuary of heaven itself, and if you recall when we looked at that text in Daniel. I spent time reading the imagery and the graphic description that Daniel gives the appearance of the ancient of days, who sits upon the throne and it's almost an exact replica of what John describes here in his vision, not of the ancient of days past the Son of Man. Do you see in this face-to-face encounter. This vision, the apostle John is saying into the inner chambers of heaven itself, and he is gazing now upon the exalted glory and majesty of the ascended Christ, who now does not appear as a humble peasant walking the roads in the streets of Jerusalem of Galilee.
But the one who is now enthroned at the right hand of God who is the king of the kings and the Lord of the Lord. He is appearing in this manner, he said. I saw one like the Son of Man, in the midst of the seven lampstands in the midst of the heavenly temple I saw one closed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and his hair were white as wool. I think it's an incredible thing that in the art of Christian history. It seems that every time a painter picks up a brush to give us his rendition or his depiction of what Jesus must've looked like he had all these different portraits painted like Solomon's head of Christ and others. They always have Jesus depicted as a strong virile young man, muscular, and the rest, he almost never back I can't remember ever seeing a painting of Christ with Greg or with white hair. That's what John saw. He saw Christ, who has been here, from everlasting to everlasting. He saw Christ garbed in the garments of God in this vision.
His hair was white as snow and is rule and his eyes like a flame of fire while it's been said of the human eyes that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Sometimes when were speaking with people we we step back quickly because we notice a certain look in their eyes the way they glance at the express so much about what's inside. And we know what is like to see someone whose eyes seemed to be burning that seems to indicate an expression of great fury.
We do amazing things with her eyes. If we want to look silly would cross our my wife likes to do that. She kept pushing disagrees with me but doesn't want to let anybody know she just crosses her eyes in front of me like say that's a silly thing to say. But these eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters on what it is about that phrase, but that really gets me to hear the voice of Christ was to like to hear the sound of many waters. I love the sound of I love to hear the surf crashing on the seashore.
I love to hear the water in the fountain spilling over into a pool. I like the sound of water, but I can remember going to Niagara Falls as a boy, and standing at the railing and watching that magnificent cascade take place right in front of me and hear the roaring of the water as the falls came down into their basin and immune. It was a deafening roar. I think that's what John is saying here when he said, his voice was like the sound of many waters. It was the sound of powerful waterfall, again indicating power he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
All of these images again.
Point us back towards the images reserved for God the father in the Old Testament, and when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. If you've been following this series of people who came face-to-face with Jesus you notice that referring how repetitive it is. How many times we read in Scripture.
When somebody comes face-to-face with Jesus. They fall on their face when this face sees that face this face goes next to the ground. That's the standard appropriate response of any human being to the presence of Christ to put our face on the ground but as John is groveling here in the dust. As Isaiah did in the temple centuries before Jesus comes over and touches and tells him to get up helps a map.
He put his right hand on him, saying, do not be afraid. I am the first and the last I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore.
Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of death. Write the things which you have seen the things which are, and the things that will take place after this.
John, I have the keys. I have the keys of death. I have the keys of hell. I have the case of heaven.
Don't be afraid.
Let me help you out face to face with the risen Christ. I am the one says Jesus was alive. I am the one who was dead on the bed anymore try I am alive forevermore. What an encouragement. One amazing privilege. This was for John in his old age to be reminded that one day Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. This is what Jesus revealed to John in their face-to-face encounter, and it's our great hope to your listening to Renewing Your Mind and the message we just heard is from Dr. RC Sproul series face-to-face with Jesus. RC describes in great detail. These up close and personal meetings and what they teach us about Christ's holiness is justice and his compassion. We like to send you this video series for your donation of any about Ted that this is the final they were making this offer so as for face-to-face with Jesus.
When you go to Renewing Your Mind.org or call us with your gifted 800-435-4343 and if you're looking for other opportunities to dive deeper into God's word and learn more about your faith that you can do that when you check out Lincoln interconnect.
It's a virtual online classroom where you can learn from Dr. scroll along with other respected pastors and teachers there more than 100 courses on theology books of the Bible Christian living at apologetics. You can take classes with family members or friends in a group study or you can go at your own pace so we invite you to check it email@example.com Jesus used several metaphors to describe himself. He said he was the light of the world the true vine, and the bread of life. I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they are dead.
That is the man in the wilderness sustain them. They today from the week but eventually they do this bread is different. I am living Dr. scroll boxes through the I am sayings of Jesus beginning Monday here on Renewing Your Mind