We have invested the past year, looking at the only part of God’s Word dictated by Christ, for the express purpose of: being sent to His Church, being read by His Church, and being obeyed by His Church. There is no part of the Bible so clear, so personal, and so direct: as these three chapters. What exactly did we find in Revelation? We found that: Christ Actually Posted a Picture.
Jesus has posted a picture in the “ultimate FaceBook” of: His Word. His family and friends are all who claim to be believers in Him. The responses to His posting will determine who are “really” His Family (those who are related to Him by the new birth); and who are just “friends” (those who are not related by birth, but act like they are, and talk about Him). So this passage helps us differentiate between the two groups.
• Christ’s Genuine Family: those who personally and actually know Him, and are related to Him by the new birth. Jesus calls this group those who “do His will” (Mat. 7:24-25).
• Those who are just online “friends”: those who don’t personally know Him; but only know Him from pictures and second hand info from others who talk about Him. Jesus calls this group those who “call Him Lord, Lord, but won’t do His will” (Mat. 7:24-25).
Back to the picture. These three chapters are unlike any others. The posting Jesus made 2,000 years ago is a picture of Him, walking through His Church. It is a panoramic shot of all the ages of His Church:
• From Pentecost when the Church was born, through all the ages of trials, triumphs, and tribulations; and
• All the way up to the Rapture when He takes the Church out of the world so that He can resume His plan for His Chosen People of Promise, the Jews.
Revelation, doesn’t make sense unless you understand that the turning point in the Book is: the absence of the Church on Earth, from chapter 4 onward. That is why the Church is challenged to read these words, and promised a special blessing if they do so. The last book of the Bible makes all the other books fit. There are so many parts of the Old Testament that don’t seem to make sense. The Scriptures very plainly talk of a:
• Long lasting earthly kingdom;
• With Jesus ruling over a time of global peace;
• A time of universal prosperity on this place we call Earth;
• A time of world-wide admiration for the nation of Israel.
That seems like Jewish mythology, or a children’s fairy-tale, but not like anything possible. Because there are hundreds of verses across a dozen books of Scripture that say those strange things to our ears, it makes many conclude they can’t mean what they say.
The vast majority of Christ’s Church for centuries have concluded that much of what is written by the Old Testament prophets: is enigmatic, strange-sounding, and best left alone, or re-interpreted to mean something much different that what they said. But, the truth of Revelation 1-3 is that: Revelation is the Simplest Book
The Book of Revelation is one of the simplest books of the Bible to understand: if you believe what the rest of the Bible has already said. Revelation just shows God carrying out all the promises He has already made in the Old and New Testaments. A simple plan unfolds across the pages of this final inspired book of God’s Scriptures, His personal, written revelation to His people. Here is an outline you need to remember. This is what God sent as a gift to every member of Christ’s Church:
• Revelation 1-3 portrays Christ on Earth with His Church.
• Revelation 4-5 portrays Christ in Heaven with His Church.
• Revelation 6-19 portrays Christ working with Israel on Earth.
• Revelation 20 portrays Christ setting up the Kingdom He promised: to Abraham’s physical descendants, for the purpose of fulfilling all the vast number of promises God made in His Word, to Israel.
• Revelation 21-22 portrays Christ inviting all the redeemed, of all the ages, to join Him living the banquet of delight consistently promised from Genesis through Revelation, in a city called Heaven & New Jerusalem that merges the Old Testament and New Testament people of God into ONE family of God.
That is the plan God has, that He wrote about, and that He gave to us. That plan is simple and wonderful, and that plan is ours from God. In Revelation 1-3, Jesus sent us a message, He posted a picture of His church and tags those in the picture who please Him, and tags those who don’t. The key is the challenge: Who Can Hear His Voice.
Dr. John Barnett finishes his sermon series "Christ's Last Words to His Church" with 'Christ's Question to Us: Do You See Yourself in the Picture of the Seven Churches?'