Revelation's Prologue

Jesus is Victor  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:17
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Christ is sufficient for anything a believer may encounter.

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When have you most been motivated by another person? Was it a teacher before a concert, play or contest? Was it a coach from the dugout, edge of the mat, team tent, or locker room? Was it a consultant or life coach as your career took a new turn? Most likely it was not a speaker on a stage, but a person positioned close enough to touch you.
When have you been most optimistic about your future? Was it the college acceptance letter? When you received word of the scholarship? When the newborn was placed in your arms? When she said “I do”? When the oncologist said, “your treatments are finished, now we observe”?
These are different. The first is meant to empower your ability, the second (for most of us) involves somebody else acting on our behalf. The book of Revelation falls into the 2nd category.
Today’s sermon is unlikely to make you feel like you can conquer the world, BUT if I can communicate effectively what God has placed on my heart You will leave this building knowing that God is in control so everything is going to work out in the end.
This week has been a faith carnival ride for me. On Tuesday I received word about 2 of our church family. One seemed to be “give it more time” the others seemed to be “things are unknown, but we have a plan”. News and media on Wednesday left me downcast about the moral state of our country. Thursday I was comforted by family as all of my siblings gathered in person to pray with my parents before my mother’s surgery. Friday the procedure took 2x as long as we expected, but God was gracious to my mom and He was glorified by the conversations in the waiting room. Saturday one of my friends successfully delivered a 34-week baby whom the doctors had advised to abort. She did NOT have the genetic condition they had diagnosed.
Today as I stand before you, all 4 of those medical needs remains, BUT I am greatly encouraged that we have an Almighty God who is more than able to work each of these situations to His glory!
To be honest with you, I have always had and still have a hesitancy to preach this book! What convinced me to take a leap this time is that even though I don’t fully understand the situation that will unfold, I do trust the Savior who will minister to those who remain and emerge victor in the end.
That is the message of the book we will be studying this Summer. Do NOT allow circumstances to discourage you because we have a Savior who is at work both DURING the events and in the FINAL victory.
Transition: Today the delivery of the package arrives. We will open up the package and see what it contains, bur first the delivery driver and the recipient check the outside of the box and notice…

The Gift Tag (vv.1-3)

The One Revealed is Jesus (1a)

1. The biggest debate in this verse among commentators is the meaning of the word of. The word is not in the original text, it is supplied in English to help make sense and flow. But of is a way of smoothing 33 different meanings. 3 very common are source, object and possession.
a. Is this the Revelation from Jesus Christ?
b. Is this the Revelation about Jesus Christ?
c. Is this the Revelation belonging to Jesus Christ?
d. The commentators each pick their favorite. Someone has said that you can ask 3 professors for their opinion and receive 10 answers I think the answer is “yes” –each is true.
e. Paul put it this way in Rom 11:36
Romans 11:36 ESV:2016
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
2. The rest of v.1 speaks about the Revelation coming from or through Jesus.
3. V.5 will tell us what Jesus did and will do, so the context speaks to aboutand belonging to.
In Kid’s Club when questions are asked the most frequent answer is “God”, followed 2ndmost by “Jesus”. It is usually a safe bet when asked “What is a particular book of the Bible about?” to reply “Jesus”. This is especially true when the first words of the book are literally “Jesus Christ Revealed
4. Revelation is Jesus talking about Jesus

The One who Reads is blessed (3a)

1. We can never go wrong moving toward a better understanding of Jesus.
2. This understanding is not just cognitive, it is experiential.
3. By reading aloud these words both the reader and the listener are moved experientially toward a better understanding. That experiential understanding is a blessing!
4. This isn’t just information or education, it is formation!

The One who Responds is blessed (3b)

1. We are formed not just to know or be, but to do!
2. It starts with changing our identity, but our identity transforms our behaviors.
Yesterday men and women on horses rode past our building on 8th street. As they rode I noticed the horses, the hats and the boots, but I don’t KNOW if they were read rodeo heroes or cattlemen. I’ve heard that it is possible to be all hat and no cowboy or all horn and no bull.
3. Sitting in these seats doesn’t tell the world we are Christians. It is possible to be all dress and not doctrine, or all suit and no salvation.
4. John says that the person who hears and keeps is the one who experiences blessing.

The Reckoning is Coming! (3c)

To borrow an analogy from the Rodeo this weekend. The chute is about to open! When the chute opens the entire arena finds out if you are hat or cowboy, suit or saved, lips or lover, do you talk about Jesus or love like Jesus?
The time is near.
Transition: Now that we know who sent the parcel and why, let’s proceed by…

Opening the Gift (vv.4-8)

The Person writing is John (4a)

1. If we are going to learn something about Jesus, John is uniquely qualified to be out tutor.
a. He is closest to Jesus at the Last Supper
b. He is part of the inner circle: Peter, James & John
c. Jesus entrusted his mother to his care on the cross
d. Besides the women, he was first to the empty tomb
e. He refers to himself in the Gospel not by name, but by “the disciple Jesus loved”
2. There are some people you know better than others. There are some people who know you better than others. John is one who knows Jesus well enough to benefit our discipleship.

The Prayer is for Grace and Peace (4b)

Just as dear and sincerely appear in many of our letters, Grace & Peace appear in many of the Biblical letters.
1. Grace and Peace are not mere formalities. They are prayers to God on behalf of the recipients of a letter.
2. Grace is God’s perspective of us.
This one word is a prayer that whoever reads the letter would know the Grace of God and identify himself or herself as centered in that reality.
May you realize how much God’s view of you is based upon the Grace merited by Christ.
3. Peace is our perspective of life in the Spirit accomplished by Christ.
When we find our identity in Christ’s grace, then we experience Peace. Gone of the anxieties of “am I good enough” or “what if…happens?”
I’ll be vulnerable for a moment. There was a short time on Friday after my mom went on the heart/lung bypass machine, when I began to think, “What would dad’s life be like if she doesn’t make it off the table?”. Knowing that mom and dad are both in Christ and that God loves each of them even more than I do, a strange peace came over me as 2 Cor 12:9 literally came to my mind, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In that moment I experience the Peace of God spoken of in Philippians 4:7 that surpasses all understanding. I have heard some of you in hospital waiting rooms describe that very same peace that comes from knowing God’s grace.
4. Triune source of our peace
a. Father – the one who is, who was and who is to come.
b. Holy Spirit – the 7 Spirits who are before his throne
i. You may be thinking there is ONE Holy Spirit
ii. Since John is about to use symbolic language throughout the book, he starts here. Seven is a number of completion. After 7 days the week is complete and starts again.
iii. Isaiah 11 gives us an idea of how the (one) Spirit works in 7 (complete) ways.
Isaiah 11:2 ESV:2016
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
c. Son - And from Jesus Christ -

The Praise goes to Jesus (5-6)

Faithful witness – He does all He was sent to do (faithful) even to death (witness/μάρτυς/martyr)
Firstborn of the dead – those who accept His lordship
Ruler of kings – those who deny His lordship
Loves us – Present Participle “is loving”
Freed us from sin – Aorist Participle “has caused us to enter into a state of being”
Made us priests – given us dignity and purpose.
Because Jesus has done all this, John is prompted to offer a doxology - to him be glory and dominion forever and ever

The Prophecy is His Return (7)

Every eye will see Him!
Those who tried to end Him in the past
Those who long for the future He will bring.
Daniel 7:13 speaks of the clouds. John is connecting the future coming with the prophesied Old Testament Messiah.

The Presence that comforts is eternal (8)

I am – There is absolutely nothing about to happen that is apart from His presence.
Ex 3:14 (Moses) God identifies in Hebrew as אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה (hai yah). In John 9:9 there is discussion about who Jesus is and He replied in Greek as εἰμι (eh mee) which is the exact same meaning (in a different language) that God used with Moses. The same word translated in v. 8 as who is.
God’s presence in the eternal now always was and always will be.
Not only will he always be present, His presence has, is, and always will be Almighty.
Παντοκράτωρ (pantokrator) means “all power” but it sounds in John’s language like onomatopoeia (the sound of the word communicates the meaning of the word). It is as if everywhere He steps, He leaves a crater because of His might.

Conclusion:

As John introduces the book that could cause fear for those who hear its words, just remember “Jesus is the Pantokrator” who always has and always will act on your behalf! From Beginning to End He is the Almighty!
The point of this message and each message of this series is that Jesus is sufficient for whatever you may face!
I don’t fully understand the situation that will unfold, I do trust the Savior who will minister to those who remain and emerge victor in the end
Song of Response #405..... “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place”
Benediction: 2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV) — The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
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