Thursday, May 14, 2020

How Can We Trust What the Bible Says?

I don't think there isn't one Christian who would pass up a blessing if they knew the could get one simply by doing something. To know that simply reading the book of Revelation, God promises a blessing to those who read it and hear it, because after reading the book of Revelation, you can't deny what is going to happen in the world later, what is currently happening and how just by accepting the invitation to know Jesus Christ and to turn your life over to Him, to follow Him, you will be spared from the wrath of God to come upon the entire world. There will be no safe place to run when that time comes. So without further adeiu, let us jump right into our study into the Book of Revelation.

We know that chapter 1, into the Book of Revelation is all about the unveiling of Jesus Christ, thus the reason for the title, Revelation which simply means revealing, and in this case it is all about Jesus Christ. There are only two places where God promises blessings, the first in the book of Revelation for those who read and hear its words and for those followers of Jesus that give from the heart financially God promises to bless those funds and make them multiply. Let us not confuse that with every dollar you give to God, He's going to turn around and give you $10. That is not giving with the right motives in mind, that is giving with the expectation of getting monetary blessings in return. God has quite a few ways He can do that, one is blessing you with more money, but often times it is through other ways.

Today we will pick up our study back in Revelation 1:4-11 but will be focusing on primarily verses 5 and 6. But let us take the entire message into context first and it helps to refresh where we were at in our study.

Revelation 1:4-11~ " 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 before his throne, 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, 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.

Look,he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.  "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

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. On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 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." (NIV). 

The entire intent in this chapter is that through John's letter, the intent of God, the Father is revealing the deity, the reality and the ministry of His Son, Jesus Christ. Far too often we tend to view the Bible wrongly due to our Western influence. We perceive the Son, to be someone quite less than the Father, because that is our culture. It's our fault and unlike that in anywhere in the world. When you want to talk to someone, you want to speak with someone in charge, you want to talk to the Father. That is our culture, or society. But if you go to the Middle East or the Far East, and the son, has equal rights to that of his father. The father will often defer to the son, to help to raise him up in the eyes of those around him. But God doesn't need to do that because Jesus has all the authority of God the Father, He doesn't have less authority than God but equal. When you go to someone in the East and ask to speak to someone in authority, you are given the opportunity to speak to the father or son, because each has equal authority.

So when we see God, the Father, revealing His Son, Jesus Christ, He is revealing Jesus' grandeur, this is not the Jesus Christ, walking on the shores of Galilee, not now, this is the glorified Christ, the Christ, post crucifixion. Post resurrection. This is Jesus Christ, enthroned in Heaven. In fact, this is Jesus Christ, post accession. You will remember in the New Testament, when the disciples watched Jesus ascend into Heaven with all the glory surrounded Him, and the angels said the to disciples, this same Jesus you see ascend into Heaven, will be the same Jesus that will return in like manner. He ascended to the throne, in His own seat. When the disciples see Him, he hasn't ascended into the throne room like we see Him in Revelation, He appeared to them as looking similar in ways to the same Jesus they remembered, but this is not how Jesus appears now in the throne room when John sees Him in all His glory.

We see Him described later in the first chapter of Revelation 1, where His eyes blaze like fire and His face is brilliant white, like the sun in its full strength. His beard and hair are white like snow. Spectacular. This is Jesus Christ!!!

From God's view point we see a few things, when we look back at verse 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 before his throne,"

We see four things. (1) God's accounting. We see him using the number seven in regards to the seven churches in Asia which signify his totality of His churches. The number seven being the number of completion, in the Bible and we know there are more than seven churches, but the ones that collectively representing the churches of that day in proximity to the area of geography. We see how often the number 7 is used throughout the Bible but specifically in the book of Revelation. It is God's completeness. God is including all the churches even the ones today, but we will cover that one later in our study.

(2) God's Geography: We look at the references to the churches in Asia, not the Asia we know today, but Asia Minor, from history or modern day Turkey. We know that there were significantly more churches than the seven listed here in the chapter 1 including the major church in Rome that Paul wrote to in 90 A.D. There was the church at Colossee and Hyeropolis, very famous churches in that day. They are not referred to here because Jesus is referring to the churches collectively. He is specifically writing to the seven churches mentioned here which we will study in more detail later. We will see that those churches existed at that time, but also there is a bit of those churches existing in our hearts and we don't want to deal with those right now. We will see about churches alive today that have strayed, that our persecuted (we see this even today, in fact the greatest atrocity of the world is taking place in the Sudan, where if you are not a Muslim, you are dying at the tune to the last six years of 2 million people dying for not being a Muslim). If you are an athiest, you die. If you are a Christian, you die. If you are a Jew, you die. In Sudan. Killed at the hands of Muslim extremists in the area of the Sudan. 2 million people plus. Colin Powell said it is the greatest extermination of people in modern times, and it has fallen on deaf ears of the U.N. because they have their own agenda. You can read up on that one later in regards to how this is affecting the European Union and what is taking place in the Sudan. Jesus is going to talk about churches in Revelation who are carnal and have walked away from His witness.

(3) God's Nature: "from him who is, and who was, and who is to come." - Revelation 1:4
He is the one that extends to us His grace, His unmerited favor, that He would single YOU out and make YOU the object of His affection. Is that incredible? God says, "I LOVE YOU!"

(4) God's Position: The Bible says that there are seven spirits before His throne. We saw yesterday how those are seven specific angels designated to the work of God.

So today, we begin in verse 5 with our second point, from Jesus' point of view. "from Jesus Christ," Verse 4 is predominately from the Father's view point, and now in verse 5, from Jesus Christ. It gives us titles of who Jesus is. (1) He is the faithful witness, meaning this, that Jesus Christ is forever faithful. He will NEVER be unfaithful.  This is important to us because when Jesus says, I am the Resurrection and the Life, and no man comes to the Father, but through me, you want to be sure. When Jesus says that when a man dies, believing in Him, he shall live. You want to know that as a fact. What are you afraid of? Question Him? He's not afraid. Find out for yourself. We have the promises of the Bible in Him and that He is the faithful witness, which in the Greek, is "martus" which is where we get our word, martyr. He is the one, that is presenting a faithful witness even to death, which we all know that Jesus died for our sins, but what else? Jesus Christ, died on the cross for us, but also for the Father, as a witness, not that God needed Jesus to die. But the prophets foretold that Jesus would come. That Jesus Christ, would be offered up on the cross. So when Jesus Christ died for us, He died for our sins. When He died on the cross, He died for the Father's testimony, throughout history. God the Father, said His Son would come. What did Jesus do? He came! What else did He do? He died on the cross. The faithfulness of God.

Jesus Christ has come to set us free. When He says what He says, and when He does, what He does, it is to liberate us. When we look at Jesus, we learn about the faithfulness of the Father.

John 14: 8-9 ~"Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you for such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?' (NIV). 

What Jesus was saying is that this is the way the Father acts, this is what the Father says, this is how the Father is. When you hear me speak, I speak the things of the Father. When I turn and do, I do the things of the Father. So why is this important? Because Jesus Christ, without error, is 100% faithful to the will of the Father. If you want to know what God, the Father is like, if you want to know what the Holy Spirit is like, look to Jesus Christ, and you will see what they are like in their totality.

John 4:21-24, "Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet, a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth." (NIV). 

That was Jesus' witness. He talked to us about worship.

In John 10:9 ~ "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." (NIV). 

What does this mean? Jesus is saying, "I am the door! If you come on in, you will be saved. and you'll be able to go in and out and find comfort, or pasture." In the towns of Israel, Bethlehem or Jerusalem, there are these areas for shepherds that are holding pens with a gate just big enough for a man to lay down in the entrance. They are scattered throughout the pastures so that when the sheep are in for the night, the shepherd can lay down in the entrance way to guard and watch over the sheep. They are safe. He guards and protects his sheep. The only way they can get out is over him and with him laying down, they can't get out. That is the same picture Jesus is presenting here. Once you give your life to Him, He becomes your shepherd and watches over you day and night. No one can snatch you out of his hand without His knowledge and He isn't going to let that happen. Not on His watch which is eternal and 24/7. You can't question your salvation because Jesus is faithful. If He says YOU will be saved through Him, You can trust in that promise, no matter how you feel, because our feelings are not faithful.

You're either in the family of God or your not. You have either given your heart to Jesus or you haven't. Are you born again? Then you are in the sheep-fold. Maybe in life, no one has been faithful to you. Maybe He is trying to tell you that this morning. He's telling you, "I will be faithful to you." He is the only one.

Maybe you have been hurt by someone, perhaps even a pastor or friend, but the only person who is faithful and perfect is Jesus. Man or your friends will disappoint you and won't be faithful, because we are looking at the wrong things. We don't follow people, we follow Jesus. God never asked us to look at people but to Him. Perhaps the best advice for Christians, is to keep your eyes, 6 feet and above.

1 comment:

LV said...

I am enjoying your Bible study. Our world is in terrible condition in more ways than one.