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John's Glorious View of Jesus (Pt 1)
Jul 15th, 2007
Exploring Revelation
Art Sadlier
Categories: Commentary;Inspirational;Book Study

We want to consider John's  Circumstances as he has this vision of Christ.

"I, John --- was in the Isle called Patmos," (notice the reason) "for the Word of God and for the Testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:9). John is saying, I am exiled on this Island because of what I believe and teach, and because I am faithful to Christ! We are living in a day when we will suffer if are faithful to the Word of God and to Christ.

Patmos is a barren, rocky place, it belongs to a group of about 50 Islands in the Aegean Sea. It is about 10 miles long and 5 miles wide and is 40 miles west of Ephesus.

Sir William Ramsey, the great Historian says, and I quote, "John's banishment would have been preceded by scourging, marked by perpetual chains, scanty clothing, insufficient sleep on bare ground or in a dark prison cave with the lash of a military overseer."

Understand, the cost of being a follower of Jesus Christ is a very high price to pay! Jesus said: "He that forsaketh not all that he hath cannot be my disciple." "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone, but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit." Today we see a lot of people claiming to be followers of Christ, but the marks of discipleship are not evident in their lives.

The Patmos of Persecuting-Rome was suddenly the door to the most glorious and most sublime communication man has ever had with Heaven. Doomed to exile on the Rock of Patmos, the apostle soared on the wings of prophetic revelation to the very throne room of Heaven.

In these terrible circumstances John was given the most extensive revelation of Heaven ever given. That is often God's way, we gain the deepest kowledge of God through the deepest suffering.

"And heard behind me a great voice, a of a trumpet." This is the voice of Jesus Christ, verse 18 confirms that!

In verse 11 we read, "What thou seest write in a book." Twelve times in the book, John is told to write something down, and send it unto the Seven Churches." That tells us to whom the Book of Revelation was written. It was sent to the representative churches of the whole Church Age - that makes it personal for you and I who are members of the church of Jesus Christ.

John Sees Christ

In verse 12, John says, "and I turned to see the voice that spake with me." John had his back to the voice, "I turned," and when he turned he saw the Glorified Lord Jesus Christ!

There are two revelations of the Glorified Christ in the book. In chapter 19:11-16 we see the Glorified Lord coming to the earth in power and glory to destroy His enemies. In chapter one we see Christ in His present ministry to the church, a ministry that was going on then, now, and until the church is raptured.

This view of Christ, will open our eyes to see our Lord as He is, "The Lord of the Church."

John saw something else. "I saw seven golden candlesticks." What are these candlesticks? We see here a principle of Biblical interpretation. Never arbitrarily assign a meaning to a symbol. Look at verse twenty - it tells us what the candlesticks represent: "the seven golden candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."

John is viewing the churches. The churches are seen as candlesticks from which the light of life shines in a dark world. Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world." Each church is a light in its own location.

Notice verse 20, "the seven golden candlesticks". Why are the churches represented as being golden? Because, gold was the most precious metal in John's day. The church of Christ is not only to be a light in a dark world, but it is most beautiful, most precious, most valuable to the heart of God. The church is so precious to God that He gave his Son, who shed His blood for the church. How encouraging to know that your church is so precious to the Lord.

"Seven Churches," Why Seven? Seven is the number of completeness, the Seven Churches represent the complete spectrum of the church, symbolic of the whole church.

"In the midst of the seven candlesticks" (vs.13). What does John see in the midst of the candlesticks (churches)? "One like unto the Son of Man", literally, one who is the Son of Man. That's the revelation of a great truth, the Lord of the church is in the midst of His church, and in the midst of each individual church.

Let's pause carefully here and consider this great truth! In Revelation 2:1 He is walking in the midst of the churches. Next Lord's Day, as you gather together with your local church, consider that Christ is present in your midst in a special way. Chapters two and three shed more light on what He will be doing in your midst next Sunday.

Next Sunday He will be evaluating your church. He will be observing and evaluating your worship. Is it sincere? Does it come from the heart? Is it contaminated by unconfessed sin? Is it according to knowledge, or is it just emotion based on ignorance of what true worship is?

Do worldly values enter in? Does worldly music with shallow lyrics destroy your worship? Is your giving an act of worship, or a duty performed? Does your worship bring joy to the great heart of God?

Understand, worship is an individual act, the churches worship is the sum of the worship of individuals. Christ will be going from seat to seat, and heart to heart, to evaluate the worship of your church.

Understand further, you cannot worship the Lord on Sunday unless you worship Him all week. Worship comes not only out of your heart, but out of your life. Forget about a Worship Team, nothing destroys worship as effectively as a Worship Team, and such a concept of worship, a concept that seeks to manipulate emotions and call it worship!

Jesus' Death
Jul 15th, 2007
Weekly Bible Study
Hugh Davidson
Categories: Commentary;Topical Study;Bible Salvation

One of the most striking things about the four accounts of Jesus’ death in the Gospels is the absence of sensationalism. In other word’s there were no death defying acts of heroism, there were no great speeches to challenge or teach us, there were no moderators that stand off to the side and describe in vivid detail every little thing that happened and there wasn’t even a demonstration from heaven that showed us the horror of God or even the anger of the angels. All that’s there is the simple story of three men being crucified and the one in the middle is the Son of God.

And I think the physical suffering of Jesus was the worse kind of torture that any man has ever devised as a means of execution and I don’t want to minimize His agony any more than I want to amplify what the writers are silent about, but at the same time, the four gospel accounts make me wonder, why there isn’t more emphasis on the physical torture and the horrendous abuse that Jesus suffered?

And, we can assume that the physical torture that He went through was extreme because before He was taken to the place of crucifixion Jesus was beaten and tortured by the soldiers and we assume that He collapsed on the way to Calvary because a man named Simon of Cyrene was drafted into carrying His cross. So, the first question that comes to my mind is, why didn’t any of the gospel writers tell us the specifics of what happened while Jesus was on the cross?

And I would suggest several reasons and the first is, the physical suffering of Jesus was a very small part of what He endured. After all, His physical pain was what men were able to impose on Him but I think the greatest suffering He had to go through was the spiritual agony He endured when He who knew no sin became sin for us. I mean, He took on Himself sin and we have to consider that He was pure and sinless and the experience of His taking on sin must have been the most repulsive thing He ever could have ever experienced.

And yet, the scripture tells us that Jesus took our place in order to save us from everything we’ve ever consciously or unconsciously done to offend God and when He suffered and died He experienced the punishment we deserved. And compared to this kind of suffering, His physical suffering would have been miniscule in comparison. There are many who assume the three hours of darkness that covered the world during the crucifixion was God’s way of turning out the lights so we wouldn’t see what Jesus was going through. And I think all this is part of the goodness of God to keep us from knowing any more than He wanted us to know.

The second reason they didn’t tell us more is because there’s really no way that you or I could possibly comprehend even a little of God’s wrath. Many of us have tried to imagine what heaven will be like and yet, no matter how hard we try or how far we let our imaginations run wild, our minds always fall far short of even coming close because as 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Listen, the verse says, you’ve never seen anything like you’re going to see in heaven, you’re going to hear things you’ve never heard on earth and you’re mind can’t even get around the wonderful things God has in store for you. I like how one theologian said, “I can’t describe all the furniture of heaven anymore than I can tell you the temperature of hell but I’m not going to let what I don’t understand affect my choice.”

You can always tell when you’re talking to a member of one of the false cults by what they have to say about hell because they’re always trying to eradicate the idea altogether. One of Satan's favorite lies is to try to convince people that the suffering of hell is something they experience while they’re alive in this world and that God somehow owes them something for all the negative things they’ve had to go through in this life. And then he also tries to get them to believe the lie that death is only a state of sleep or rest. I had a friend explain his idea of the afterlife by saying, “Death is like lying in beautiful fields of flowers with classical music playing in the background.” And when I tried to explain that he wouldn’t be able to see the flowers with all the smoke or hear the music with all the screaming going on he didn’t want to hear any more. (You know how it is, you try to be sensitive but some people just don’t appreciate your efforts)

The cults also teach that hell is a place where souls are simply annihilated and cease to exist while others teach reincarnation and that means that everyone will have another chance to be born and live their lives for as many times as it takes to become purified, and then they’ll progress to a higher form until they finally reach heaven. I actually had one guy explain to me that all this was taught in the Bible and when I asked him where, he said, “In John 3 it says, “You must be born again.” And his idea was that you were born again and again and that was the process. And then there are others who say that hell is only a place away from God, but it’s not a place of torture. And all of these are lies of Satan to cause people to minimize the reality of hell.

Epicurus, the great Greek philosopher, said that he could die happy if he was absolutely sure that death was the end. Well, I think the whole human race could die happy if they were sure that death was just peaceful oblivion but since no one can see what lies behind the curtain of life it’s wise to make sure where you’re going before you actually have to go.

The Bible says a lot about hell and Jesus described it as a place as such a place of horror that it would be better to cut off one of your limbs than to end up in that awful place.

Hell is a real place according to God's word and anyone who says it isn’t, is promoting false doctrine. And the only way to escape hell is by becoming a child of God so you can go to heaven. And do you know what the strange thing is? There are only two choices. When I was a kid and I didn’t like what we were having for supper, my mother would say, “There are only two choices, you can take it or you can leave it.” And here God says, “You can have the most wonderful experience for all of eternity that’s simply beyond description or you can have the worst torture imaginable. God says, here they are, and now you have to make your choice. So, which do you want?

And then the third reason we don’t know how much Jesus suffered is that it would cause us needless suffering. I’m a husband and a father and I can say that I don’t like to suffer but it’s even more painful for me to watch either my wife or one of my children going through something rather than going through it myself.

And if the purpose of Jesus’ suffering was to suffer in our place, then why would He allow us to understand the depths of what He suffered knowing it would just cause us to live with such a sense of shame for what we caused Him go through? What I am trying to say here is that Jesus was gracious in not telling us any more than He had to, because He didn’t want us to suffer for the sins for which He already suffered and died.

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