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Jesus Christ in Revelation1

October 20th, 2018
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Read Revelation 1

1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw – that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
4 John,
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
7 ‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’[b]
    and ‘every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him’;
    and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’[c]
So shall it be! Amen.
8 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’

9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.’
12 I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 ‘Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: the seven stars are the angels[e] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

What is the glory of God?

His holiness is what he is as God that nobody else is. It is his quality of perfection that can’t be improved upon, that can’t be imitated, that is incomparable, that determines all that he is and is determined by nothing from outside him. It signifies his infinite worth, his intrinsic, infinite worth, his intrinsic, infinite value.

Isaiah 6:3 says that angels are crying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty” — the next thing they say is this — “The whole earth is full of his” — and you might have expected him to say holiness. And he doesn’t say holiness. He says glory.

The glory of God is the revealed beauty of his holiness. It is the way he puts his holiness on display for people to know.

The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s perfections. The infinite beauty—and of his character and his worth and his attributes — all of his perfections and greatness are beautiful as they are seen, and there are many of them.

The Son is described in Hebrews 1: 3(a)

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Remember Revelation1:17 (a)

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.

That is what we would expect of the divine Son of God. That other dimension of existence has that affect throughout the Bible.

But in Revelation I we are seeing Christ’s resurrected beauty as the Son of Man – the firstborn from the dead. The first to escape the grave forever. He defeats or conquers death for us. Our pioneer of slavation
There is a glory we see here in Jesus -the man. This is a glory we ar invited to share with him as God’s children.

In this message I want to look at two aspects of what it means for us to be in Christ.

When we look at Jesus’ glory revealed in Revelation 1, we are anticipating our own glorified humanity we will share with him.

Revelation1:5(a),6

and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

We will sit with him teaching and governing this world to come.

But there is another glory we will also look at first which prevents desiring this from being a self -exaltation where we want power and recognition to be self serving and all about us. This can degenerate into a spiritual competition about positions in God’s kingdom.

This other glory is actually introduced in Revelation1 as well. In fact in the beginning of the chapter.

Rev elation 1:5(b)

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,

Because he was pierced.

In John Jesus said in John 13:31-32

31 When he (Judas)was gone, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

This is straight after the footwashing and in the light of his coming crucifixion.

This another type of glory alien to our human ideas. But it reveals the deep perfection in God’s character.

Throughout Jesus ministry he gave paradoxes such as:

The first shall be last and the last shall be first

So whoever wants to save his own life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will save it.

Good Samaritan: Those that appear to be upright can be really degenerate, while that which appears to be degenerate can be really upright.

Prodigal Son: Those that appear to be insiders can become outsiders, while those that seem to be outsiders can become insiders or The insiders can find themselves out, as the outsiders can find themselves in.

All turn up side down how we humans think about how God sees things.

The one I want to focus on is: Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

This order is important for this sermon.

Everything about Jesus is contrary to our human nature and human expectations about how God saves this world.

Before we can even aspire to what we saw in Revelation 1, we must first understand the glory Jesus spoke of on the cross.

We must learn the humility of God as the beginning point. This is seen visibly in Jesus Christ.

And remember this is what the Father is like and this is the same working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. To walk in the Spirit requires being in harmony with this quality of God.

Lets start with the birth of Jesus when the Word became flesh and tabernacled with us.

The Gospels obviously tell the life story of a human being. Jesus was born like us. He lived in subjection to his parents, grew up, learned a trade, made friends and enemies, walked the dusty roads of Judea, climbed mountains, and sailed the Sea of Galilee. He wept at the grave of Lazarus, passionately rebuked Pharisees, and lamented over Jerusalem. When Jesus got hungry, he ate; thirsty, he drank; tired, he slept; cut, he bled; crucified, he died.
God was conceived and born of Mary and become as human as you or me. The Gospel reveals the God who appears amongst us as an outsider and dishonoured -  especially at the centre of the Jewish religion, the Temple.

If that requires revising all we think we knew about God, the gospel are saying so be it.

We need to let the Gospels re-teach us about God, the God who was “made like his brethren in all things” (Heb. 2:17). He lived an ordinary human life for 30 years with no record of doing signs and miracles. God came near, entered into our weakness and misery, so that he could know and redeem human life from the inside. That is the good news of God, because it proclaims the God of the good news.

Unless we become little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, Jesus said.  The Word becoming flesh is behind that command: We are not to become like the God who is King in his kingdom until we reflect the God who humbled himself. And we don’t know the God until we know the God who became a baby and entered fully the human situation.

We see this humility in submitting to baptism under John. One who himself said I am not worthy to unlatch his sandles. Baptism was only done by Gentiles or those who were seen as sinners and outside the family of Israel. He represented us in his baptism.

And when we look at his life he summarized it with the lowest task of all – washing the poo laden, stinky feet of the disciples. And on the cross he utters the almost unimaginable words:

Luke23:34

34 Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The Christian life has a new way of responding to others; something new in human experience.

I Peter 2:23

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

This bullying world demands retaliation. Have you ever watched a movie in which you really want the hero to avenge those who have been bullied by punching the lights out of the bully. There is a deep satisfaction when it happens.

We instinctively want vengeance, to get even, put people in their place.

But that is not the path Jesus trod. He rebuked his disciples who wanted to bring fire down from heaven after being rejected by the Samaritans.

And throughout Jesus’ ministry we are challenged by one who is so unexpected.

Matthew 11:25-30

25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
27 ‘All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’

All those who are abused, hurt, suffering injustice come to me. Basically you won’t get this treatment in the organized temple religious system. Take hold of him.

Would this describe the way we are to those who are more vulnerable or work for us or even our children. This is the true God. This is the glory of God shining in our darkness.

Paul had to deal with a lot of worldly ambition and self importance in the Corinthian church. They argued and divided over personalities, socioeconomic status, doctrine.

Paul wanted them to see something really beautiful and focus on that.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6

4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Look to him. Hold onto him. He is the great treasure of the gospel.

We cannot be glorified with him, unless with suffer with him

Romans 8:17

 Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

But don’t underestimate him and don’t underestimate the glory that shall be revealed in us if we first humble ourselves to be like him. Then we can exercise the glory, honour and immortality in the truth of God’s humility and non-self seeking.

Now we are ready to see in Jesus that glory that shall be revealed in us.

Revelation 1:12 -16

 I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,

Jesus is always present in his church symbolized by the 7 candlesticks – no matter what they face. We are meant to be children of light in a darkened world. His humanity means he shares with them their suffering. There is faithfulness, compassion and a real brotherly sense of not being ashamed of us.

As we will see he know everything about us but is not embarrassed by us in our weaknesses and frailties.

Why?

dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest.

He is dressed as a high priest. The priestly garb was woven with gold and the fact it reaches the chest signify its high office.

What an honour to us to be made priests with Christ.

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Message for the Day

The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining

April 22nd, 2014
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1 John 1 :1-5

 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

 5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

 God actually became flesh and blood so that we through his wounds and shed blood on a cross we are able to be purified of our sins.

 1 John1: 6 -10

 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him

 We are included together in the fellowship between the Father and Son. That in itself is an overwhelming privilege. But this has responsibilities.

and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,

 It is a contradiction to live a sinful life and claim to be included in God’ fellowship. We also cannot have true fellowship with one another unless we walk in the light where Jesus is.

 This admits that true light is from above, not from us.

 It is not trying to find who we are within us. Out true self comes from above.

 Our Christian life will be an -ongoing learning about God, revealed in Jesus Christ.

 and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin..

 The Lord’s Supper witnesses to this amazing gift of God.

 You will notice that there is no way we can be careless about sin. We really are without excuse because the blood of Jesus is continually effective. We cannot say we are trapped by our past or present. The future is always open to us in Christ.

 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

 It is one of the great truths of the good news: we are cleansed from our guilty conscience because God receives us as if we have never sinned. And this confidence is centred on God being faithful and just. There is no changeability in him –he is who he is – a complete and perfect character that we can trust.

 Therefore we can be completely honest about who we really are. To admit that we sin does not condone sin, or turn a blind eye to sin. It means we feel secure in the God’s love for us. It is a confession about our own inability by ourselves to solve our sin problem. If we could, the whole purpose of the Bible would be unnecessary and thus a lie.

 We are looking to God to make us righteous which means standing in a right relationship with him. It is a very humbling teaching: it strips us of the lie that we can build the right character by will power and not sin. We are not into will worship or personal moral rearmament. Righteousness comes from our union with Jesus Christ.

 John continues this theme in the 2nd chapter.

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Message for the Day

5 Ds of Hebrews Departing (31)

December 30th, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 13:8, 20-21

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (NIV)

All of what we have spoken about is summed up in this great statement A fact he has proved and pledged by his resurrection. Everything we are today is in him and everything we will be in the future is in him.

There is nothing in all creation that can alter that.

20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Message for the Day