REVELATION 1 GOD WANTS TO ASSURE HIS SERVANTS HE IS WITH US ALWAYS - Discover the Book Ministries

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REVELATION 1 GOD WANTS TO ASSURE HIS SERVANTS HE IS WITH US ALWAYS

HIAE-05
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We’re on part five of eight. Can you believe it? We’re way past halfway. We’re looking at how it all ends. Which is basically what God concluded His revelation of Himself to the world through His word with this amazing book of Revelation. What we’re going to look at specifically is chapter 1, the revelation of Jesus Christ, this morning. As we look at that, what I’ve written down is, there is only one picture of Jesus in the Bible.

I already shared with you the three parts of both the Bible, and interestingly enough, Paul’s Gospel presentation in Acts 17 when he stood at Mars Hill and shared the Gospel. He went through the Creator, Redeemer, Judge. That was his three-part message. It’s also the outline of the book of Revelation. Jesus is introduced in chapter 1 how He is right now as the awesome, all powerful, Creator of the universe. Then, we look at the implications in chapter 2 and 3 of Him being our Redeemer. Remember that verse, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” That’s all chapter 2 and 3 is about. Jesus said, I’m so committed to you, I’m going to spend all of My time until the tribulation launches, all My time’s going to be focused on making every one of you in My Church fruitful, doing what I designed you to do because I’m the Redeemer of your life. That’s why you’re here. Then finally, the book of Revelation, the part everybody thinks about the apocalyptic ending, in the apocalyptic use of the word of being like disastrous unfolding judgment. That’s chapter 6 onward.

Revelation 1. God wants us to see Jesus clearly each day as our creator. I was sharing, I just want to show you Isaiah 46 for a second, because when I met with the staff it was Isaiah 46 verses 3 and 4 that I read. “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, who have been carried from the womb.” I’m not sure my mother ever told me the name of the attending physician when I was born at Edward W. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan, way back in 1956. I’m sure he was a well-paid obstetrician, and did his job, and came and went, like I’ve seen them do for all the births of our babies, but I’ve never seen him again. Never. No tie with him at all. Look what this says here, I’ve held you from your birth. It’s actually not the obstetrician or the OB GYN, it’s God who catches us when we come into this world with all the vicissitudes and dangers of birth. We’re so close to death at our birth because anything could go wrong.

I’ve carried you from the womb. Remember He said to Jeremiah, I’ve known you since you’re your instant of conception. What’s so interesting is our Creator, He’s not just distantly off somewhere when he flung all this into existence. He said, I’m quite a lot closer than that. I actually, verse 3, I have been keeping you going from your birth. I’ve been actually carrying you from the womb. Most people don’t feel very carried. They feel like, we have been pulling ourselves up by our straps, I’m the one that gets up every day and works, and I’ve tried really hard. We think of things so much from our perspective rather than God, who wants us to see Jesus clearly in His role. He is the only one that’s been with us the whole time.

I got the privilege of marrying Bonny way back in 1983, because she was the one person in the whole world I would rather spend all of my time with. If you want to know where everybody stacks up, I would rather spend all my time with her. Anything with anybody else is a sacrifice. That’s wonderful, and that’s love and marriage, and everything. God wants us to see Jesus is more interested in us than I am in Bonnie. I would say I’m more interested in Bonnie than many of you probably are in people in your life, but God is most interested for us to know Jesus is the only one who’s right there catching us, keeping us going, holding us. Look what it says in verse 4, “Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Little repetitious if you asked me, He could have just said I’m there. What He’s saying is, I want you to know, and using the Hebraic way of emphasis by repetition and parallelism He’s saying, I am the one, I am your creator, I’m the one that designed you, especially the unchangeable features of your life. That’s what chapter 1 all about.

What we’re going to do is tomorrow, Lord willing, we’ll jump into the implications of Jesus committed to make us useful. Revelation 2 contains the most sober passage about Jesus Christ operating in the Church. He says there are some people in some churches that I weaken their bodies, I take away their health, I make them sick, and I even kill them because they won’t be useful to me. That’s called chastisement. Hebrews 12, calls it chastening and scourging. I think many Christians think that they’re struggling through life because they didn’t get enough education, or they didn’t pick a good job, or because their parents didn’t help them, or they didn’t marry, or their company is downsizing. Actually, they’re struggling through life because they’re doing everything except being useful to God. Jesus said, I will resist your life to the point of death if you don’t let Me fulfill My role as Redeemer, that’s tomorrow.

Chapter 4 on is, God wants us to seek first His kingdom. He says, I’m going to show you what it means to seek My kingdom. Chapter 4 on, the throne, as we talked about a couple of days ago, is central. It just towers over chapter 4 on. Everything unfolds from the tranquility of the throne of God. All the sparkling lights, and all of the flashing lightening, and peals of thunder, and the flaming seven archangels that always face God. Everything. The cherubim doing a theocentric orbit around that throne. All that stuff is to say, God’s in charge. It’s totally tranquil, peaceful, calm, and everything’s under control as the world disintegrates. That’s going to be exciting when we get to that.

Remember, the first canon of textual interpretation is always to remember what did this book of Revelation mean to the churches at the epicenter of the Empire? Remember, there are more Roman buildings in Turkey than there are in Rome. We always think that the center of the Roman Empire is Italy and the city of Rome. No, no, no, no. It was the center of the treasury, the Curia, the legal system, everything else. The real world was right there. This is Roman Province of Asia. This is modern day Turkey. That edge that’s facing the Aegean Sea in Greece was the epicenter of Roman culture, Roman power, Roman buildings. The most magnificent buildings are there, that Rome constructed. Unbelievable construction. Those churches, what did this letter mean to them?

That’s basically the Devotional Method. That’s what I teach all the students. 2,000 of them so far, over the last five years. Our first term on the road. I say to them, 60% of your grade will be you demonstrating that you can do what Word of Life, or whatever ministry I’m serving in, tells you… to title every chapter. I say, your lifelong goal should be to have personally gone through all 1,189 chapters of the Bible and you have summarized what that chapter’s about in a sentence. Did you know if you do that long enough, that you can find just about anything you have ever found in the Bible? You have given each chapter this little tag, and your mind goes back to it. You have that supernatural gift that God offers of the spontaneous remembering of a previously learned scripture.

Number two, you find the lessons. You note the lessons, the trues, the doctrines in your journal. You find them, you write them down in your own words and you invest some time using resources to get more of the history, to get more of the languages, to get more of the theological grid. Look at this, you look in the mirror and you check out whether or not you are conforming more and more to what that book says, what Jesus Christ wants us to look like. That’s all of our goals every day. I’m going to do that with you, so I’ve typed it up.

This is my journal. I’m not showing you my handwriting because I have curious handwriting. I write all in capital letters and I print. It’s very interesting. When I do cursive, it looks like Syriac or ancient literature. Here’s Revelation 1. That’s what we’re doing today. My title, the moment I type this one was: Jesus today. Then, the next time I thought about it, it was: The Risen Christ, Today and Forever. Then, I got the one I showed you already: That I’m supposed to be seeing my Creator clearly every time I study a chapter. It just seems a little bit wonderful and different. My summary is: the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ sits at the end of the Bible for many reasons. It’s unique. It’s the only book of the Bible that God gave to Jesus to give to us. There’s another book like that. Did God give Galatians to Jesus to give to us? No. God gave the message of Galatians to the Apostle Paul, because he was targeting an area just to the right of Roman Asia, the center part, Galatia. It was targeting all the legalism and going back to Judaism, you already know that about that. This is the only book of the Bible, the other 65 are not like this one, it’s the only one that God the Father said, I want everyone in Your Church Lord Jesus, My Son, I want all of them to see You as You really are and to know Your plan and to live like they believe it. Think of that, you have a book that God gave you via His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. That should make us pause and think about, why does God the Father set this book apart from all the other books? Maybe that’s why Satan has gone into overdrive to use the book of Revelation to be confusing and divisive among churches. Half of Christendom plus thinks you should stay away.

Did Martin Luther do a commentary on Revelation? Did Calvin do a commentary on Revelation? They stood at arm’s length, the Reformers, they couldn’t figure out. They taught on it here and there, but they were mystified by the book. Yet, do you know from history what we find? If you take the extant, the still find-able sermons from the first three centuries, from 100 AD, the birth of the Church from the apostles on, from 100 AD to 200 AD, from 200 AD to 300 AD, and 300 AD to 400 AD. The first three centuries of the Church after the last apostle, it’s called in Church History, the Post Apostolic Fathers. When you look at their sermons, and take the manuscripts, and cut out their scripture quotations, like you noticed even this morning. I’ve quoted verses, as I’m talking, I’ve mentioned verses through every sermon. I’m saying this, I’m saying that, I’m quoting verses. If you do that from the extant sermons of the Post Apostolic Fathers, do you know there’s only one book of the Bible they quote every word of in their service? It’s not Romans. It’s not the Gospel by John, my favorite. It’s not Genesis. It’s not any Old Testament book. It’s not the Psalms. What book is it? The book of Revelation. Every single verse of Revelation is quoted in the first three centuries of the post apostolic captured sermons of pastors. Why? Because they preached on it all the time. They got it.

This book is different. All 66 books were inspired. They’re all God breathed. They’re all flawless. They’re all inerrant. The word of God. Revelation is all that plus something. There’s something that God wanted to communicate and wants us to get. God the Father wants Christ’s Church to understand His plans. He wants us to live with a guidebook. He wants us to enter the last days, by the way when are the last days? It seems like everything’s the last days. Ah, you’re getting it. You know what the book of Hebrews says? “God, who had sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us.” When are the last days? The last days started when Jesus Christ was here on Earth and launched His Church. Don’t let people mock you and say, oh, you say everything is the last days. You go, you’re listening! They are because I didn’t say that, Jesus did.

I never forget when I was interviewed, I was at the church where Don Locke Sr was my right-hand man. Actually, I feel I was his assistant because he trained me in how to be a pastor. We were in Tulsa. I came from New England, went to Tulsa, and the local radio station had a habit of interviewing all the new pastors in Tulsa. Tulsa is a city of about a million people. They had this guy, John Erling was the king of radio, like a Larry King, like Drudge used to be on the radio. Erling was Tulsa’s voice. I didn’t know that, I just moved from New England. I was unpacking my brown paper cartons of books. I was trying to get them all in the shelf and it was just a jumble. This new secretary I didn’t even know knocks on my office door. I said, yes? She said, there’s a phone call for you. She says, before you take it, I should warn you. She said, you’re going to be live on radio, it’s lunchtime, and almost everybody in Tulsa listens. I said what is it? She said, it’s John Erling. I said, I don’t know who John Erling is. She said, he calls every pastor on their first day and asks them questions. I said, that’s great!

I looked around and brushed aside the papers and grabbed the tool I needed (my bible) and I got the phone. I said, yeah, John Barnett here. He says, this is John Erling. He says, you have 60 seconds before the break. I have four other pastors on the line and Tulsa’s listening. We have been talking before you got on about the fact that nothing in the Bible is verifiable. In fact, we’re not even sure any of those people around before David, in fact we’re not even sure David was real historically. He says, you have 45 seconds, could you tell me… there’s people that ask questions and they never paused to let you answer anything, they just keep going. He says, could you tell us before the break why you believe the Bible is true. I said, hey, I’d love to. I said, there’s really only one reason why I believe the Bible is true, because Jesus believed it was. That took 12 seconds. There was this long pause. He said, we will certainly be back to this new pastor after the break.

He said, we’ve never had anybody answer like that. For the next hour we talked. Every one of the other pastors got off the phone because they were all the pastors of the United whatever church that doesn’t believe the Bible anyway, they didn’t like this, and they didn’t want to be on the same call with someone that actually believed the Bible is true. This radio host came back and he said, Jesus believes the Bible is true? I said yeah. He said, what else did Jesus believe? We spent an hour talking about the fact that God the Father wants Christ’s Church to understand God has given us a guidebook to enter the last days. We’re in a cosmic battle. It has raced across the universe since before the garden. Remember the serpent came and interrupted things there.

We could summarize Revelation as God’s map for the future, to guide us, how to make wise and proper eternal investments with our lives, our time, our treasures, all the days we have on Earth. How do we do that? Number one, and we’re going to just walk through Revelation. By the way, this is what I do constantly. This is how I study the Bible. This is how I teach the Bible. I have such a pile of journals. I do a little every day. I just opened, just like I did this morning, it was 5:30 am and I’m sitting out there in that beautiful newly remodeled room they let us stay in. I read verse 1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants – things which must shortly take place.”

If you read the Bible, like you read anything else in life, you don’t instantly think that what you’re reading means something other than what it says. Most of life you read the menu and it says pancakes, whole wheat flour. Do you go… pan cakes, what could that mean? Pans flying around and cakes? No, it’s pancakes. We know what those are, and whole wheat flour, buckwheat, or whatever. The red part is my lesson, observation, principle, whatever. I find one for every little portion of scripture, depending on how my noodle want to go. One for a whole chapter, one for one verse, one for a phrase. For the first part of verse 1 where it says, “to show His servants – things which must shortly take place,” I wrote God, actually I wrote me cause I write this to myself. I said, God gave me a map of the future. Because you’re here, I changed it to you. God gave you a map of the future. Revelation is God giving to Jesus the map of the future, for Jesus to share with His servants, so we will always know and operate in life, understanding how we fit with God’s plan for the future.

That’s really all we need to study about Revelation because that’s what it’s all about. Every part of it. Every chapter. Every verse. There are 404 verses, 800 plus allusions to other scriptures. All of it is to give us a map of the future because that’s what God said.

Yesterday, I showed you this, I’ll go through it really quick. Revelation is one of the few books in the Bible that’s so simple, it’s chronological, it just flows. Every event just follows right through in a pattern that God gave. It starts with us, the Church on Earth. We’re taken out of the Earth, and we appear before the Bema seat of Christ. We’re in Heaven and we’re worshiping while the judge of all drops the hammer of His wrath upon the Earth. He culminates all that with His Second Coming, we all know that. That’s why I use the white arrow, He comes on a white horse and on the side is written, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You can fit in about 1/4th of all the Old Testament into that little section between chapter 6 and chapter 19 verse 20. Those are all the prophecies and predictions about what Jesus would do.

You know what Zechariah says when He returns on that white horse with all the armies? In fact, Matthew says, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him,” it’s the only time Heaven gets emptied. At the Second Coming all the angels come. Plus, we come. In fact, the earliest prophecy was by Enoch. Enoch who lived back in Genesis 5 tells us in the book of Jude, Jude tells us that Enoch said, “Behold, the Lord comes with [myriads of myriads] of His saints.” Actually, most Bibles will say 10,000 x 10,000 because they couldn’t imagine a number higher than a hundred million. What it is saying is a countless number of His saints, all the saints.

When I take people to Megiddo, Armageddon, the hill of Megiddo, we always go out to that edge that’s over the Israeli Air Force space. They have this massive Air Force base. It’s just a great prop for teaching. This is really an Air Force base because they’re usually doing touch and goes with their F-15’s and F-16’s and F-35’s. They’ll come and go., it just gets all the Holy Land pilgrims excited. They think Armageddon is sooner and sooner. When I stand there on the edge. I say, you know what? Look toward the north. I said, the armies of the Earth are going to be gathered here. One of the scouts is going to say, what is that dot? There’s going to be this dot and then the dot is going to start fanning out and it’s going to widen and widen the closer it gets until it’s just wider than you can comprehend. We know that there are hundreds of millions of angels, minimum. Minimum. Because Daniel tells us that thousands of thousands. It’s millions that are standing. 10,000 x 10,000 are in the periphery, in the background. That’s not counting all the saints, however many saints there have been since the garden of Eden.

We’re talking about all the angels are in that column coming with Jesus being the very center on that white horse. He’s coming. When He comes, Zechariah says that the eyes and tongues of all the armies at Armageddon, melt. Did you know that’s the description of what a neutron bomb does? A neutron bomb breaks down organic life, melts it. It doesn’t hurt the buildings. It just destroys the organic life, the water-based life. Jesus neutron bombs everybody at the Second Coming.

Then what He does is, He sets up His thousand year rule. Hugely it’s described in the Old Testament. Then, He lets out the Devil after He confines him for a thousand years. The Devil causes a rebellion, and we go to the great white throne. Then it ends, that we’re dwelling in the house of the Lord forever. That’s why I love John 14. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many,” not Dolly Parton mansion’s, that’s an unfortunate old English translation. “In my house are many,” nests. It’s the same word that’s used in Genesis 6-8 describing all the little cubicles in the Ark. In the Ark there were many cubicles for Noah to put all those animals in. In Heaven are many cubicles for all of us, to live in the same house with the Lord. We’re all going to have our cubicle, our little space however big a space we need. The Lord says, don’t let your heart be troubled, in my Father’s house are all those little spaces for you. I’m going to prepare a place for you. When your cubicle is ready, I’m going to come find you. That’s why I love it.

There is the Rapture, the group one. Then, there’s the personal one. Did you know that Jesus comes to get each one of us, one at a time, and takes us to our cubicle? That very first line there, the green one on the left is to get the group at the Rapture. There are two forms of rapture. Both of them have the same effect. Either were taken to our room with just Jesus coming or with the whole group.

That’s why as a pastor, I love doing funerals. I’d say I know exactly where Jesus Christ was last night at 9:30 pm. Everyone’s saying oh yeah, Bill died at 9:30 pm at Ohio General. You go, that’s one way you could put it. I put it this way. Jesus showed up at bed 703, that’s room number 703, in that private occupancy room. He stood by the bed and Bill heard a voice that he immediately recognized and opened his eyes. For the first time saw the face of Jesus and He said, your room’s ready. The cruise is about to start, are you ready to go? That’s what all of us are going to experience and find that’s what Revelation ends with. We dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Let’s keep going or we’ll never get through Revelation, we’re only on a verse 1. Here’s B. I kept reading. Let’s get to Revelation 1 and look at what I found. What does it say in Revelation 1, the second part of verse 1? “Which God gave Him to show His,” what does it say? Show who? Say it out loud. Servants. “To show His servants.” You know what we’re supposed to be? God’s servants. Remember there’s hardly anything revealed in Revelation that’s new original, rather it’s a systematic repetition. Revelation is the most unoriginal book in the Bible. It’s almost a total rehash of everything else. It just puts it together and illustrates it like a picture book. It’s a systematic repetition of everything God the Father says we need to know to choose to live the rest of our lives as His servants.

What was the plan Jesus had for His life? Turn back with me to Matthew 20. We ought to have Bible drills, right? Do you remember Bible drills, before we had electronic Bibles and people were poking them, they had to actually know the order of the books of the Bible? Chapter 20 of Matthew, verse 28. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” What was the plan Jesus had for His life? He said, I didn’t come to be served, I came to serve others. I don’t want to be served; I want to serve.

That was also the operating system that Christ’s greatest follower named the Apostle Paul followed. I think almost everybody agrees that Paul accomplished more than anybody else has ever accomplished, that we know of, in the Bible for the Lord. He wrote half the New Testament. He is our spiritual great, great granddaddy for most of us because he was the apostle to us. Except for the few Jewish believers we might have sprinkled in the majority of us are downline from Paul. He in the New Testament had an operating system. Do you know what it is? Look at 1 Corinthians 4, verse 1. It’s his testimony. 1 Corinthians 4 verse 1. “Let a man so consider us, as…” what’s your Bible say? “Servants of Christ.” Here you’ve got one of the exciting things of scriptural interpretation. In English what’s the word? Servants. In Greek there are eight different Greek words for servants, and they’re all translated with one English word, servant. There are eight different kinds of New Testament servants. This one that’s in 1 Corinthians 4:1 is what we would call the lowest of the eight kinds of servants.

Let me just tell you some of them. One of them was called a therapōn. That’s it? That’s the Greek word for servant or slave, therapōn. That’s come right into English. What does it sound like? Therapist, right? Do you ever go to your therapist in the world of the Bible? A therapōn, a therapist was a slave, but they were really special slaves. The emperor had therapōns that stood next to him, that listened to what everybody said. When they left, he says, could you put that in my journal? I wasn’t even listening, but whatever. They were the advisors. They were therapōns. They were advisors and everybody had therapōns. They advised them where to go, to eat, and they made the arrangements. We would call them almost a personal secretary. Therapōn.

Here’s another one, there were leitourgos you know what those are? That’s in Romans 12:1-2, where it says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living,” what? That’s leitourgos. They were a slave that offered sacrifices for you. You would go to the temple and you’d bring whatever, I’m talking about pagans, you bring whatever you’re offering to whatever pagan deity, and you handed it to the leitourgos, a slave. All the slave did was take your offering and do whatever they did with it.

You all know more of them. There’s diakonos, that’s a third type of slave. We have those in almost every church and especially Baptist churches, they have lots of diakonos’. I love being a pastor. They’d all come, introduce themselves and they say, I’m a deacon. I said, ah, you’re one of the ministering slaves here. I’m looking forward to working with you. They ask, was that supposed to be an insult? Or is that a compliment? I said, no, that’s what the Bible calls you. A deacon is a waiter, a ministering servant. That’s what a diakonos was in the New Testament world.

I could go through all these, but do you know what this one is? This is the last one. In the Roman world they had people that were like batteries that you have in a device. It’s like your smoke alarm, it starts chirping at you and you don’t like it so you unscrew it and you open the back. What do you do with those batteries that are making it chirp that had run out of juice? You collect them and put them on your shelf and you put a frame around them? No, you throw them in the trash. You shouldn’t, you should put them in a recycle place because they’re so poisonous and everything, but we throw them away and we put new ones in. That’s what this word is. It’s the word huperetes. Hupe is the Greek preposition beneath, below, or under. Retes is the verb for rowing a boat.

Let me show it to you. I have a picture. Did you ever watch Ben Hur and Charlton Heston and the galley slaves? Remember all that? Those men, you can see their knees. Some of them are holding telephone pole length pieces of wood that are out the side of what would be called a galley ship, or the Romans called them triremes. If you notice, there are three levels of seats. They had three levels of paddles, tri. Three stories of paddlers. Basically, Paul’s testimony is 1 Corinthians 4:1. He said, “Let a man so consider us.” If you want to add up my life, if you want to figure out my life, I am a servant. I am a huperetes of Jesus Christ. He uses another word, another kind of minister, a steward, an oiketēs. I don’t remember the ending of that Greek word. It was someone that worked around the house, bought everything, and put it on the shelves. They didn’t serve, they just bought and put on the shelves. He said I’m the steward, but more than that, primarily I am this. This word huperetes of Christ. By the way, it’s used to the other greatest servant in the Bible too. Who’s called the man after God’s own heart? Who did Jesus tell us that God wrote their tombstone and said, this man fulfilled My purpose in his life? His name is David. Paul and David are the only two people in the whole Bible that are called by this word, huperetes. The Lord says, if you want to know the greatest Old Testament servant, the man that was after My own heart, that I named My Son the son of David, the man that broke all 10 commandments, David. He murdered, and committed adultery, and lied, and broke the Sabbath day, and defamed the name of the Lord, and coveted Bathsheba, he broke all 10 commandments. Both Paul and David, God’s two greatest servants, are described by God because the words of the New Testament were chosen by the Holy Spirit. That’s what God breathed means. Yeah, God used the 40 humans, but He breathed through them the words, they are the very pure words of God as Proverbs says.

What was a under rower? Simple observations. Bonnie and I, last October, we’re standing on the actual pathway that they just excavated between the Aegean Sea and the Corinthian Gulf, that was called the Diolkos. It’s where these guys dragged the boats when they were coming, you could go across the isthmus of Corinth. It just took a few hours to drag a boat about a mile or two and you would save days of sailing. This word was really well known to the Corinthians because they saw these people dragging their boats.

These people the huperetes rowed to the Captain’s beat. See all those paddles? How would you know when to do your paddling? It is like a lot of churches, everybody’s paddling on their own. That’s why the boat is going around, and around, and around. Most people don’t like to be told what to do. Paul said, I love to be told what to do. I am submissive. I row to the Captain’s beat. Basically, the Captain stood up at the front and he had this big mallet. He went boom, boom. Watch Ben Hur, you’ll see it, okay? Boom, boom, and they pulled. Those paddles were so big you couldn’t pull alone. You had to pull together. You had to say, okay guys, we’re all chained here and everything, we got to do this. You ready? Boom. Paul said, I have a submissive life. I’m rowing to the Captain’s beat. I have a sensitive life, I realized that I can’t do this alone. I have to do it in conjunction with all the other members of the body of Christ. We are builded together into this spiritual body, so I’m going to be sensitive to those around me. I’m not going to be the lone ranger. I’m going to be a huperetes. I’m going to do what my captain tells me to do. I submit my life. I’m so human, I have to resubmit it every day. I’m going to be sensitive to those around me.

By the way, if you were down there and you were all closed in, you had to trust the Captain. You didn’t know why he was boom, boom, boom. It could be if he was going, boom, boom, boom, boom quickly, he was water skiing or you’re about to be rammed by an enemy and killed. You just were in the dark about where your life was going, and you trusted the Captain. Doesn’t that describe how Paul made it through all those prisons and everything else that Paul went through. He said, hey, I’m submissive to the Captain. He’s the one that I’m seeking first His rule in my life. I am sensitive. That’s where all those love one another, and submit to one another, and pray for all the one another’s that we always have messages about, it’s being sensitive to one another. I’m trusting the Captain knows where we are. He knows where we’re going. He knows when we’re going to get there. Do you remember ever having your kids in the car? As soon as you turn the car on, where are we going? As soon as you put it in gear, when are we going to get there? I would hear it from the car seats all over the car. They just that’s how humans are. We want to know everything. You know what Paul says? I don’t know exactly where I am, I just know I’m on this course and I’m going to finish it. When I finish it the righteous Judge on that day will give me this crown, and not to me only but to everybody else who is submissive, and sensitive, and trusting.

By the way, those guys were all chained to the boat. They were like batteries, double A’s. When you wouldn’t pull your oar, they just undid the chains and threw you overboard, shark food. They were disposable slaves. That’s why they’re the lowest. There were eight kinds of slaves, these guys were the lowest of the slaves. Paul says, I’m dedicated for life.

Number five, if a huperetes was doing what he was supposed to do, rowing, no one ever saw him. If a huperetes was insight he wasn’t doing his job. Did you know that would solve so much of what goes on in Christendom? Everybody wants to be on the deck. Everybody wants to be pounding the drum for when everyone’s supposed to row. What was that song? “Too many chiefs and not enough Indians around this house.” That is no longer a proper song, but it captures the problem of Christendom. We are supposed to be like the greatest servants we’re supposed to say, my life is about rowing to the Captain’s beat. I’m on a road together with all the other believers. I’m going to trust the Captain about why we’re going where we’re going, when we’re going to get there, when I’m going to get fed, when I’m going to get my water, that’s what the huperetes worried about. I’m in it for life. It’s not like I can’t wait to get that shackle off me. If I’ve read the end, we’re still His bond servants in Heaven. This isn’t something like, we got to get through it and learn this submission. It’s who we are in Christ. When we’re working, we’re never seen, which is humility. The question is, how do I please the Lord? By making the daily choice, to serve God that way. Submissively. Sensitively. Trustingly. In a dedicated manner. Humbly before our God.

Let’s see if we can get out of verse 1. Oh, I found another observation in verse 3. I’m sitting there and I’m reading verse 3. Look back at Revelation chapter 1 verse 3. Do you see why Revelation takes 20 hours in the Bible Institute to go through? “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” What’s the very first word of verse 3? What is it? Blessed, how to live the best life possible. God wants each of us to know that His pathway for us is simply this, read, hear what I’m saying, and keep it.

Three things. Reads means, direct exposure to God’s message so we can know what God has revealed for us. That means getting our own copy of the word of God before us and personally studying it. Nothing should be secondhand. They didn’t even take what Paul said in Berea right off the cuff. They said, wait a minute. Great message, Paul. We’re going to go check the scriptures. The Bereans, remember in Acts 17:11, they went home and took their own copy and made sure that what he said squared with God’s word.

Hears, remember it says those who read, those who hear, and those who keep are blessed. Hears means, the goal was to block out any other voice or activity or event and tune into listening to God’s message. Just like putting on your headphones. You ever meet someone like that? They smile at you. They’re at the coffee shop you’re trying to talk to them, or they’re on the airplane, or the bus, or wherever you are and then they put headphones on. I love those giant one’s people put on. What are they doing? They’re tuning out everything, but one sound at a time for their brains to process. The key is to focus on God’s message every day until you get it.

I’ve already talked to you about one of my heroes, George Müller of Bristol. I talked to you about, C.T. Studd. Hudson Taylor is another one of my heroes. In fact, I named one of our kids after him. Bonnie and I, we prayed about it. One of our children we named him, Joseph David Hudson Taylor Barnett. How do you like that monogram? J. D. H. T. B. It sounds like a corporation. It was to remember that man, Hudson Taylor. Do you know how he established the largest mission, to the largest people group on Earth? He got missionaries 1,200 of them, 100 in every one of the 12 provinces of China. He did it through the Boxer Rebellion, and through all the things that went on, and all the horrors, the opium trade, and all the demonism and everything else, and the dangers. How did he do that? He got up every morning. His journal says, that he clicked the flint, made the spark, lit a little bit of starter, blew it until he could get a flame. He lit his candle and he opened up his Greek New Testament and his Hebrew Old Testament. With a paper in between and his quill, he studied the Greek and the Hebrew. He wrote out his day’s messages. In most of those caravanserais that he stayed in China, with all the bedbugs and everything else, if you ever read about it. He would start that at 4:00 AM. He would have enough studied to preach all day long. I like better just saying, pop in the earbuds. I don’t know about all that other stuff; it was too hard. We need to focus on God’s message until we get one. Not just read it really quick and get it over with, check it off, I did it, keep going till you hear from God.

It doesn’t stop there. The best life possible has a final component. We come to the word keep. That’s when we go from merely being a hearer but a doer. That word means to guard like a treasure, some part of what we found. We’ve got to keep it. That word keep is the same word that’s used for when they put the apostles in jail in Acts chapter 12. It’s the same word that’s used in Matthew 28, when the guards were keeping watch of Christ’s tomb in the garden. It’s guarding it, not letting anything happen to it. Do you get something out of God’s word, and you are bound and determined that you’re going to hold on to that all day long, keep prayerfully yielding and saying God, that’s what I want you to do in my life. That’s the best life possible. That’s the life that God blesses. When we realize God’s word is different than anything else, it’s not common, it’s not regular, it’s not temporary, it’s a treasure that we’re going to hold on and stick to it.

Let me just show you the rest of them. Here’s my fourth one. It was to all believers then and now. That’s why it’s plural. Verse 5 says, we’re loved, loosed, and washed. I was going to talk to you about variants because that’s a very beautiful variant in the Greek manuscript. Verse 5, there is a Sigma, which is an S. It’s like a little circle with a bump on the right-hand side of it. That’s the only difference between the NIV, the NAS, the ESV, the King James, and the New King James, the two manuscript families. It’s just little S’s in there. When you don’t have the S it means, that He loved us and loosed us from our sin. If you have the S in there, louō, means loved us and washed us from our sin. You know what? Both are true. That’s an interesting variant. Then the next one, forever we offer worship. It says in verse 6, that we’re a kingdom of priests.

My seventh observation I made is in verse 8. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the Almighty. It’s the beginning of what I told you, that all these attributes start showing up in the book of Revelation. All 25 divine attributes are attributed to Christ. It’s an amazing book. He’s all powerful. He’s all knowing. He’s all present. He’s all loving. If we’d have had time I would have said, how do you apply this? I would say that nothing gets to us that God didn’t know about in advance. Everybody thinks they are the exception; that in my life, when I got pancreatic cancer, the Lord was not watching… it just slipped. Instead of saying, nothing gets to us that God didn’t know about in advance as being best for us. That’s what omniscient means. Nothing gets to us that God didn’t allow as being best for us because He’s all powerful and He would have blocked it. If you think on Star Wars the force field can keep out attacks, can you imagine what God can really do? Nothing gets to us God didn’t plan as being best because He’s all loving, faithful, and gracious.

Nothing gets to us that God didn’t stay right there with us during its arrival and impact. That’s what His omnipresence is. He doesn’t say, hey, I hope you make it through it. He says, hey, I’m with you. Remember how we started in Isaiah 46? Yea, I have held you from birth. I’ve upheld thee. I am holding you to your gray hair. I’m still holding you and I will uphold you. He just keeps saying that.

If we had enough time, I would remind you of what the 25 attributes are, that you’ve already seen. I’d remind you that these four prime ones, everyone knows, Omnipresence, Omniscience, Love, and omnipotence. Then I would say that the goal of Revelation chapter 1 is learning to apply the attributes of God, to my fears, to my troubles, to my struggles and start seeing everything that happens in life from His perspective.

I would have closed with this. We’re supposed to trust God with our lives, fears, and struggles. Like financial hits. Oh, if I’d only known I would have sold my, General Electric or IBM stock before it tanked. I would have bought that dumb Google and Apple stuff, or Amazon. If I’d only known. I took a financial hit and my whole retirement pension was in General Electric. I could have had the house behind the walls instead of the double wide, if I would have just known. Hey, God actually is a better investment advisor. Wealth, God says, is dangerous because you don’t need Me as much, the more you have. Or that accident. I should have never taken that road. I should’ve never driven, whatever. Wait a minute, are there really accidents with an omniscient, omnipresent God, who’s all powerful? Or the unexpected loss of whatever job or security. Talk about this one, where was God!

This is basically what he says, we’re supposed to be trusting Him. He’s good. That means He always loves. He’s omniscient. He always knows everything before it happens. He’s always present with us in the box. He’s so powerful, nothing could get in the box. This is what we need to learn. Our responses to our problems, and fears, and struggles is a declaration to the world. Do you remember when David sinned with Bathsheba? What did Nathan point at him and say? You have caused the enemies of the Lord, your response to your struggle with your desires was a declaration to the watching world. Look at this, either God is good or He’s bad. David, either God is good, He gave you everything and would have given you more, or you don’t think God knows what He’s doing, so God’s bad and you’re going to go get what you want. All sin comes down to a lack of faith in the character of God. God is either wise or He’s dumb. He’s either all powerful or He’s weak. He’s either everywhere present or He’s absent. Every one of our responses are a declaration of that.

Trusting God means nothing accidentally happens to us, because He’s good and always loves, He’s omniscient and always knows, He’s omnipotent and He’s always powerful, and He’s always with us. I could keep going, but I only can presume on your patience so long. This is what I’d say to you. The book of Revelation is the last book, because God wanted to summarize the entire Bible and put it into a form that even people living on the run, being hunted, being mauled and eaten by wild beast, being burned alive, and everything else, that they could capture a message. They didn’t have to have five Greek concordances and Hebrew whatever’s, they could trust God who is putting them going through life in this vehicle where it’s impervious. Nothing can get into that vehicle, except what God knows is best, what God plans as best, what God and His omnipotence allows to come in. God says I’m riding through life in that vehicle with you. That’s why the early Church loved this book.

By the way, in the first chapter I found 36 of these lessons. What one am I on? My next one is 11a, there’s 25 more of them, that’s in the first chapter. I encourage you, it’s my favorite and it can be the most life transforming book you’ve ever read if you read it slowly, finding those lessons and then prayerfully apply them.

This was my prayer and I’ll pray it with you this morning. Lord, I want to know and follow Your plan. Help me to read, and hear what You’re saying, and keep what You want me to keep. You loved, and loosed, and wash me. You’re the almighty. If we’d have gotten to the next verse… Sunday is Your day. John was in the Spirit on Sunday. As you walk around Your Church, like we see You in chapter 2 and 3, may You find me healthy. Use Your sword in my life to keep me useful and pure. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

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