He Is Coming

Revelation 1:4-7

Pastor asked the other day: “do you think the church is in decline?” Instead of answer, I have couple more questions first: what are you measuring, how are you measuring it? Mainline church / local church / true church? Attendance / contributions / programs (quantifiable by numbers)? Influence / impact on culture, level of respect shown by average American?

Perhaps interesting factoids, something more fundamentally important: are people of God steadily growing more like Lord Jesus? Advancing in ability to grasp spiritual truth and live it in everyday life? Are they better equipped today than year ago to follow Christ faithfully, share Gospel with others, encourage others to be more like Christ? Not that any have arrived, but should see progress over time in those areas.

If our goal, our destiny to be conformed to the image of Jesus, what better resource to use than “The Revelation of Jesus”?

“We have the commendation of this Book, to stir up folks to make use of it, because He knew many would scare at it, and be ready to let it lie beside them as useless and unprofitable: whereas all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable.” Durham

Rev. not only helps us recognize spiritual realities around us that have material / physical effects, reveals to us Lord Jesus… not as he was but as he is and as he will be. Was given for good of the church, now, to bless and build up and prepare for what lies ahead. When by God’s Spirit we understand fundamental truths contained, have fuller sight of Lord Jesus, must move forward confidently, following King of kings and Lord of lords. Our text begins with salutation and blessing, next follows doxology and praise, finally prophetic assurance.

A. salutation – blessing v.4-5a

sender – from John

known figure, minimal introduction – didn’t need to say which John; most likely the John of Gospel and epistle authorship

had sufficient standing / influence in Christian community to be made example of by Roman govt – exile to Patmos

unique writing… in literature, but not for this author: an “apocalyptic letter”

apocalyptic describes large part of content, means of delivery (visions)

at its heart: a pastoral letter, written with pastor’s heart to acquaintances dealing with “stuff” to prepare for more “stuff”

same author who penned “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin”, has same heart for his spiritual children and their welfare

receiver – to the seven churches

The apostle Paul had sent letters to seven churches—Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica—and now John sent one book to seven different churches. Wiersbe

Paul’s letters written to particular churches w/particular issues, yet have served entire church, same for John’s big letter

Ephesus also blessed with letter from Jesus through John, more on that next week – more significant: number seven

appears 52 times in Rev., more than any other number – understood by Jews from ancient times to mean fullness, completion… starting with creation week

salutation – with triune blessing

grace and peace

standard apostolic greeting on every epistle authored by Peter & Paul: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:7)

“grace and peace” inclusive terms – may everything good that God has for you be yours through Christ… in midst of tribulation

from the Father

him who is – Ex. 3:14“Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” – God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob who delivered from slavery, name so associated with God a devout Jew wouldn’t speak it

who was – eternal God, sovereign ruler of all without regard to space or time: God of creation, judgment (flood), redemption (Christ/Calvary)

who is coming – not “who will be“, instead “underlining the dynamic unfolding of God’s plan (Poythress) – we focus on God’s big deals on timeline… He still busy in between… like now!

also, the one coming is God – not baby in manger, rabbi on donkey… will be One whose “name is called the Word of God” followed by armies of heaven (Rev. 19:13-14)

the Spirit

seven Spirits – Spirit in fullness / completeness of ministry poured out on the church in full measure (for this age) beginning at Pentecost

is Holy Spirit who now equips for service, applies God’s good gifts to his people, gives assurance of Sonship

the Son – in his three-fold office

faithful witness – prophet – brought revelation from God like OT prophets; more important: actually revealed God to contemporaries… and us

firstborn from the dead – priest – following his act of sacrifice, resurrection and ascension, now by “his own blood he entered the Most Holy Place” as Mediator of New Covenant (Heb. 9:12,15)

ruler – king – raised from the dead, seated at right hand in heavenly places, all things put under his feet, given as head over all things: has all authority in heaven and earth, exercising it since ascension

should be clear: Triune God whom nothing can thwart is committed to blessing his people, supplying everything needful, and their response…

To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever!! which Him?? the One being revealed, Jesus Christ

B. doxology – praise v.5b-6

present and enduring love

not simply that Jesus loved us enough to die for us; he loves us with everlasting love (Jer. 31:3), so his work for us continues

he demonstrated his love in death, continues to demonstrate his love now – why he gave Rev., it reveals how he will love us throughout all our circumstances

is because Jesus loves us that he takes it personally when his people are persecuted – remember Saul of Tarsus… would be justified in asking same question today

completed atonement

has washed from sin, has fulfilled angelic declaration to Joseph: Matt. 1:21you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

has freed his people from dominion of sin, is freeing them from corrupting influence of sin, will finally free them from sin entirely

this is redemption both accomplished and applied: not simply made possible for any who might think its a good idea

those Jesus loves are same ones he died for and has cleansed and set free from their sin at cost of his own life

consecrated for service

formed into a kingdom of priests – not a new idea, promised to Moses on way to Canaan: Ex. 19:5-6Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

have a king, name is Jesus, he has a kingdom, self-denying cross-bearing Christ-followers with access to innermost sanctuary

don’t need to wait for some future day when Christ begins to exercise authority – began when he said “Go make disciples”

and… our service to God consists of service to one another (when did we see you hungry…) and Gospel work (E & D)

worthy of glory

Jesus doing all of this for our good, not for our glory – all he does for us is ultimately for his own glory, is essential so we can give him glory: apart from Him we can do nothing

our chief work – to give glory to God, to do what will bring glory to God, to encourage and enable others by power of Gospel to give glory to God

exercising power

doesn’t matter who might try to enslave God’s people… again, our King is king over all other powers, will rule until has subdued all enemies (1 Cor. 15:25-26) including death

since he is God-Man, his kingdom and dominion an everlasting one – already in place, not yet in its fullness and greatest glory

C. prophecy – assurance v.7

strongly reaffirmed – behold! – live as if you were to look up and see Jesus coming; one of these times he will be coming, you can count on it

he is coming (cf. Dan. 7:13; Mark 14:62)

not “He will come”, “He is coming” – expressing certainty, in process – sequence of events that must end at Second Coming already underway

Jesus’ statement that he was indeed the Messiah, and “you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” earned him charge of blasphemy at his trial

he will be seen (cf. Zech. 12:10)

if you’re one of His, don’t worry, you won’t miss it; everybody will know what’s up when He comes back – good for us, not so much for them; still cause for rejoicing… He’ll make it all right

if you’re one of them, be very afraid… won’t be good news; in fact, worse than worst nightmare… forever

don’t gloat, only God’s grace that makes the difference

it is certain… for certain

no doubt about it, God is carrying out his purpose, will bring all things to conclusion he has ordained – all we experience is not wasted, is part of his plan, under his watchful care

 

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