THE BOOK OF REVELATION
( Life Changing Decisions - July 12, 2020)
Series Big Idea: "God has revealed His plans for the consummation of human history"
Sermon Big Idea: "The prophetic vision of Revelation centers on God's Word and the testimony of Christ"
Key Scripture (Revelation 1:1-3)
I am starting a sermon series today about a subject that is possibly on everybody's mind at this moment; the end of the world. It seems that everywhere you look and everything you hear these days is centered on end times. But as my father Dr. Larry Beaver preached several weeks ago, we must be listening to the right voices if we are going to know the truth about who God is and how to live faithfully for Him. The same goes for the times we are living in right now. But can we really know the future? More importantly, does the Bible say anything about our future as humans? Interestingly enough, yes.
This is why I believe right now is the perfect time to preach a series of sermons on the Book of Revelation. Revelation coupled with the OT books of Daniel and Zachariah give us a glimpse into our future here on earth, in heaven, and in eternity. While I am not a world renowned theologian, I do have a grasp of and have formed my own convictions about the Book of Revelation. I consider it to be one of my favorite books of the Bible.
On Sunday mornings for the next little while, we will do a 30.000 feet flyover of the book. This means that if you want a more extensive and in-depth look at Revelation you will need to be with us on Wednesday nights here at the church. There, we will get a grasp on important words, symbols, and timelines. But either way you will surely be blessed by reading and studying the book. So, lets dive right in by reading the first three verses of Revelation.
(Revelation 1:1-3 HCSB)
The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His slaves what must quickly take place. He sent it and signified it through His angel to His slave John, who testified to God’s word and to the testimony about Jesus Christ, in all he saw. The one who reads this is blessed, and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it are blessed, because the time is near!
So you can see by reading these initial verses that this book is a vision Jesus gave to the Apostle John about Himself and the things that are to take place in the future. But he mentions something that should be encouraging and exciting to every person, especially Christians. He says that whoever reads these words in public and the people who hear them will be blessed. Wow! How awesome is that! If that is true, why have so many people been so afraid of reading Revelation?
In these verses I believe we can sense there are three life-changing decisions we need to make for us to be blessed. To make these more applicable, I want to give these to you in the form of questions. So what are these three decisions?
Are you choosing to believe that Jesus lies at the center of God's plan for humanity?
I want you to think of any movie or book that you have ever seen or read. Obviously there is always different characters in these stories but there is one main character. This person usually gets all the lines and all attention is focused on that person. What if I chose to believe that the main character of the show Andy Griffith was the old mountain man Earnest T Bass? The show would not make sense would it? This character was not seen in but five episodes. If we don’t recognize the main character, the story will not makes sense. If we don’t recognize that Jesus is the center of God's plan for humanity, we will never understand what He is doing.
We have here in Revelation the written testimony of the Apostle John. Through John, Jesus is giving us hope in this book. Hope because God has spoken and continues to speak about His plans for human history and they all center on Jesus Christ. It is important that we connect what we are reading here with what we will read in Chapters 2 and 3 which is his message to the 7 churches of Asia Minor. These churches experienced the same thing we experience now; the seduction of an evil culture.
The foundation of our hope is built upon the faithfulness of God to speak in His Son Christ Jesus. Through it all, He reminds us that one day He will make everything brand new. My friends, God is not silent as some may think, He cares about what is happening to His people and He is doing something about it. Jesus is the center of it all.
Are you choosing to live every day as if it were your last?
How many of you remember the video game Tetris? The goal of the game was to line up the blocks that were falling from the top of the screen like a puzzle and therefore clearing the screen of the blocks. It didn’t matter how great of a player you were there was always that certain time in the game when the blocks started coming faster and faster and your reflexes began to break down.
The whole message of the Book of Revelation is that we all are living in a game-changing moment in history. Every single day is significant and is taking us closer and closer to the end. My friends, we have little time and very few opportunities to live a life of faithfulness to the Lord. But my friends I want to caution you here. Even though it is true God's plan is coming to an end, we don’t have permission to be consumed with and set dates of the events of these plans. In Acts 1:7 Jesus said it is not for us to know the times and dates set by the Father but to do what we are told to do in the Scriptures.
Are you choosing to remain faithful to Christ and His message?
When I was a kid the only distraction we had in the car was changing the radio station in which we didn’t have very many back then. But today we have these things called smart phones. With them we can text, get social media updates, thousands of songs at our fingertips, and oh yeah, telephone calls.
Has this ever happened to you? You are driving along and you hear your phone. Of course against your better judgement, you take your eyes off the road for a moment. Maybe when we looked up we realized we had crossed over into another lane or went through a red light. And then we realize, I'm not home on the couch, I am driving a car, my focus was completely misplaced.
When we loose focus on the central message of the Bible which is to endure in faithfulness in Christ Jesus until the end of time, we will begin to drift off course. Things that really have no significance begin to dominate our field of vision. Maybe even the truth that should be bringing us hope and comfort becomes blurred or even lost. Instead of resting in the truth of God's Word we drift off into speculation and we take our eyes off our true mission.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Pastor Beaver's thoughts and ideals for this message, are inspired by:
Holman Christian Standard Bible
English Standard Version Bible
King James Version Bible
Christian Standard Bible
The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John F. Walvoord/Roy B. Zuck
The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge by Jerome H. Smith
Water, Mark, ed. Encyclopedia of Bible Facts. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Barry, John D. et al. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016. Print.
NIV, Archaeological Study Bible, eBook: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture
Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Duane Garrett, and Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
NIV, First-Century Study Bible, eBook: Explore Scripture in Its Jewish and Early Christian Context
Zondervan, Kent Dobson, and Ed Dobson
Hughes, Robert B. and J. Carl Laney. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1990. WORDsearch CROSS e-book. Revised edition of New Bible Companion.
Akin, Daniel L. Exalting Jesus in Revelation. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2016. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Easley, Kendell. Revelation. Edited by Max Anders. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1998. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Keener, Craig. Revelation: From biblical text...to contemporary life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Patterson, Paige. Volume 39: Revelation. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2012. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Duvall, J. Scott. Revelation. Ed. Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014. Print. Teach the Text Commentary Series.
Morris, Leon. Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 20. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987. Print. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries.
AFTER THE MESSAGE
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