Want Us To Know
Rev2022-01 – How It All Ends – What Does God Want Us To Know?
What does God want us to know? On the screen, these are the first words. I’m going to be tracking through the book of Revelation. I don’t know if you have a paper copy or if you’re using your Logos copy. It doesn’t really matter to me, but the first verse is the essence of the book, so it’s the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Apokalupsis means to see clearly. It’s the word for unveiling. When I was little, my father worked for General Motors for 46 years building cars. He made the bumpers, the design for them, and ground them out of metal. Once a year they’d have the Detroit Auto Show. They would cover up the newest models with tarps or sheets or something. On TV they would pull the sheet off and you’d see the newest version of whatever car you wanted to buy. Everyone was excited, and it would be on TV. That’s the word, apokalupsis. Something that’s covered up that you pull off the covering and it’s clearly seen for the first time.
God says I want to help you clearly see Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation says the book of Revelation is God sending this picture of Christ. It all of a sudden makes the whole book very unique. “To show his servants.” We’re getting into brand new territory. There’s no other book of the Bible that God sent to Jesus to give to us. It’s unique of all the books of the Bible, that is why it’s at the end. That’s why it’s a whole genre of literature. The reason for it is this.
You’ve already studied or are going to study the book of Hebrews. The opening verses of Hebrews are fantastic. Look at this. “God, who at various times and in various ways, spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last days…” The Bible defines when the last days are. They are the times when Christ came to Earth and onward. We’re in the last days if people mock you and say, you’re not in the last days! I get comments all the time online. We’re not in the last days. When Russia invaded Ukraine the most amazing event happened; everyone around the world got scared. It’s a global event. People are scared. They’re worried that Russia is going to do something. Maybe even send missiles toward Europe or us. People started watching prophetic videos, which I have a lot of online. They started commenting saying, we’re not in the last days. We are in the last days, according to God, not according to them because those people define life by themselves.
God says, “in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He,” that’s God the Father, “appointed heir of all things.” God the Father appointed Jesus to be heir of all things through whom He also made the world. God made the world through Christ. We know that. Paul said, “by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth.” Colossians 1:15-17. Jesus is the creator. Jesus is the heir of all things. Look at what else. He is the brightness of God’s glory. I love this, I made it in yellow, “the express image of His (God’s) person.”
A great Bible teacher of generations ago, his name was W.A. Criswell, the pastor of First Baptist Church. If you’ve ever heard of Billy Graham, he was a member of that church. It was this massive Dallas church. Criswell was the granddaddy of all the Bible expositors. He taught through the Bible one verse at a time and was very good at it. When he gets to this verse, he says, you know what? The only God you’ll ever see is Jesus Christ. When you get to Heaven, you’re not going to see three gods walking around up there. There is one God in three persons, but two of them are invisible. They’re spirits. One has been incarnated into visible flesh to be seen, that’s Jesus Christ. The way we understand the invisible God the Father, is to see the express image of His person, Jesus Christ.
“And upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” That’s God the Father. Then, look at what Jesus says in John 14:9. The disciples were struggling with all this too. They were saying, how do we know what God the Father looks like if He’s invisible? Jesus says, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?'” He said, if you see Me clearly, you’ll see God the Father clearly. That’s fascinating for this book we’re studying. Then it ends with the part everybody’s interested in. The first verse is why the book of Revelation is so contested. The things which must shortly take place. That’s the future. That’s the map of the future.
That’s the book of Revelation. If we were to distill it down into a little chart, you’ll see this in just about every class. This is one of the big elements that’ll be on your test. It’s the seven parts and where they break down and I’m going to be challenging you because it’s a great witnessing tool. If someone asks you a question about prophecy or the Bible or God, you should know right where to take them in the Bible. It’s just a great thing to know. The first section we’re on is Christ’s Church on Earth.
Most people like pictures better so let’s just show the whole book of Revelation as an animated chart. We are the Church on Earth. That’s the first three chapters. The next event is going to be what John 14 talks about, and Mark Strout was just talking about in 1 Thessalonians 4. He talked about 1 Corinthians 15. It’s also in Revelation 3, Luke 24, and Acts 1 and that’s the Rapture of the Church. What happens after that is we are going to stand one at a time before the raised judgment seat of Christ, the Bema as Paul used the word from his ministry at Corinth. Then, the Tribulation launches on Earth. It comes down and hammers the Earth. 58% of all humans living at the start of the Tribulation don’t survive past chapters 15 and 16, 58%? We’re watching Ukraine and the mass graves. They’re having trouble burying hundreds and thousands of people. The world is going to be working with hundreds of millions of people that will cumulatively total 58%, of which our current world population is about 4.8 billion people who will die. That’s why people don’t like Revelation. They say it’s gruesome. It is. Sin is horrible.
It culminates. The second coming of Christ ends. The Tribulation. It launches Christ’s thousand year rule, that’s Revelation 20, the first six verses. That reveals something; that a perfect Earth does not make perfect people. God makes a nearly perfect Earth. The ecology is perfect. The atmosphere’s perfect. There are no carnivorous beasts and no poisonous animals or spiders or anything and yet everybody rebels against Him. As soon as Satan gets out, boom there’s a rebellion. The Lord steps in, ends the rebellion, and we go to the ending of Revelation, the Great White Throne.
Let’s talk about just one little passage in Revelation. Notice what it says in Revelation 11. It says the whole world is going to be watching. In chapter 11 it’s the two witnesses, those two that come preaching repentance and trying to bring the Jews back to the Lord. They’re in the court of Jerusalem if you’ve seen any Left Behind movies, all that kind of stuff. Do you know what the Bible says? The whole world is watching.
For me as an old timer, we’ve watched things grow in global awareness, it got to be that the Superbowl was pretty well known. The Olympics became a globally watched thing. The tsunami in 2004, they say, was one of the first total world watching events. The world was glued to the TV set as they watched 200,000 people die in that tsunami, but we’re really into global stuff. COVID is the first long term global event. How many times have you seen the chart of all the infections and how many people are dying? It’s on the news constantly. COVID was a long global event and kept the attention for a long time.
Ukraine isn’t just a global event keeping everyone’s attention, it’s causing something. It’s causing, well, look at this, look what Russia threatened. That is the Sarmat missile. I’m dyslexic. What that means is that when I was little I read backward, I wrote backward. It means today if I’m not careful I get lost. Bonnie was sleeping once in the car as I was driving and when she woke up, she says, where are we? I said, honey, I’m not sure. I said, we went by all these Israeli soldiers wearing bulletproof army vests and helmets. They were carrying not just machine guns, but the bigger ones that shoot grenades. I said I went through this little opening and they stepped out of the way. Now we’re inside one of the enclaves that are totally surrounded by the Israeli army. Because I was an American in a nice car, I don’t know why they just let me keep driving. I was following Google maps looking for Harrods aqueduct. Bonnie said we have got to get out of here. I said, honey, I’m dyslexic. I get lost. Just two turns and I’m not sure where I am. I get off on rabbit trails because of that.
If you look at an ancient map of the Roman empire, do you know what Ukraine is called in the ancient Roman empire? It’s called Sarmatia. Do you know what the name of the worst of all the Russian arsenal is? It’s called the Sarmat. It’s the Ukraine missile. One of its independently navigable warheads can knock out 20 million to a hundred million people. It can do 240,000 square miles of death and devastation. That’s the size of the country of France that one of those missiles can fan out and completely obliterate. Do you see why everyone’s afraid? That thing is hypersonic like they’ve already proved they have. That thing can evade even America’s missile shield. We’re at a time where there’s global awareness of an event, the Ukraine invasion, and growing global fear of what lies ahead.
That’s a great thing to live through because guess what? Bonnie and I just pulled in. We travel between places like this. We do about a fourth of our time at Word of Life Bible Institutes and 3/4ths of our time at others in different places around the world. Before COVID we usually would fly 10 or 11,000 miles a month. 125,000 miles the last couple of years we’ve run between these Bible institutes. It’s wonderful. It’s exciting. As we travel one thing I’ve found, now I don’t have very much of it, but I have to get a haircut. The last haircut I had was in Rome when I was teaching there. We were going to Central America, and I looked really shaggy, so Bonnie said, honey, you need a haircut. I said, oh honey, we’re in a strange place. She said I already made an appointment for you. It was by the Tampa airport. I was coming in and going through there to Central America. I drove in the car to where my appointment was and went in. I didn’t even know boys/ men could get appointments to have their hair cut. I thought that was a lady thing. I went in and they had a little chair. The lady put the thing around my neck and started working. She said, what do you do? You know how they try and talk while they’re cutting away. I said wait a minute. I said, I would like just off my ears and squared off in the back, a tapered block. She says, got it. I said I teach the Bible. She went, hmm, and then she said, what do you think of the war in Ukraine? I said I think it’s amazing. I said it reminds me of how fragile our lives are. She stopped right then and she said to me, you teach the Bible? I said I teach the Bible. She said, you know God? I said, I know God. That’s a great question.
People should be asking you; do you know God? She had just come here from South America, and she got a job cutting hair because you don’t need to know much English to cut hair. All of a sudden, I heard the firing up of the clippers and she just started talking to me. I thought, are we tapering? She’s not even near my ears. I could feel it running up the back of my head and basically, I lost the little hair coverage I had because for 30 minutes she just kept asking me questions. This is what she told me. Here’s the one minute version. She said I’m from Peru. I am far from God. I come to America. I come to America and say, God. She said, I raised my hand and said, God. She stopped buzzing me for just a minute so we had a brief respite from the haircut. She said, God, I want to know You. Send someone to help me know You. She looked at me and she said you’re in my chair. Do you know what? God puts before us open doors. These are great times to evangelize, and we should be taking all the opportunities that He puts before us.
By the way, this is my wonderful wife you saw in the back and that’s me without my glasses. This is where we are when we’re home. Usually, a month and a half a year in Colorado and it’s snowing. I was saved at age six and called into ministry at age nine. I was taught that you had to read the Bible through at least once for every year you were old so that you would be able to teach it. That’s what they used to say in Bible schools and so I started reading the Bible all the way through and surpassed my age. That means I hope to live to be a hundred because I’ve read it a hundred times. As you already heard I went to Michigan State, Bob Jones, and Masters in Dallas. Bonnie and I pastored local churches for four decades. We’ve been married 38 years. I started without her and was very lonely. We raised our eight children and have ministered in 70 countries. There’s my email address if there’s something that I say too fast, and you want to ask me a question.
My personal devotional Bible study method is what I’m using for this. I’m so thankful that part of it is what you have to do at Word of Life and that is the titling of every chapter. Do you still do that? I love that. That’s what I do. I title every chapter and then I do two other things. I write down lessons, observations, truths, principles, everything I can find. You know what I’ve found after being a pastor all these years? Most people in most churches I served studied the Bible and were always looking for verses to share with their children or to share with their husbands or to share with their wives or to share with their friends. What happens is the Bible is supposed to be a mirror through which we look at ourselves and see how far short of God’s expectations of us we’ve become, and we ask Him to change us. That’s the purpose of the Bible. It’s not to find a good verse for my roommate because they’re obnoxious and they need that one or they’re selfish or they hog something. No, it’s for me to be sanctified.
That last part is what I’m going to ask you to do. You’ve got 1/3rd of your whole final project for this class that’s half your grade done. That’s the title of every chapter. After you do the titles, you pick, I think the study guide says 10, you pick your 10 favorite chapters and you look for the lessons, truths, and doctrines that you can find and put them in your own words. By the way, I don’t mind if you sit around and do this together, because it’s transformational. What I’ve found is no two people quite see the same lessons and truths in any portion of scripture that God has placed there. There’s just so much, but here’s the hard part. You write a prayer in which you ask the Lord to unleash at least one of those truths or lessons you found into your own life.
I started this out doing it with a group of men. When I was pastoring the last church that we served, that we were sent out from as missionaries, was in Michigan, it was in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I started 10 small groups of men and they were all affinity groups. They were all friends in different areas. One was a group of retired policemen, boy, that was interesting. One was active duty policemen, which was more interesting. I couldn’t believe state troopers and KPD people. One was successful businessmen. I don’t think anybody in that study group made less than $300,000 or $400,000 a year. They were very successful, and they were all the same age, and they all were amazing guys. Another one was coaches and athletic people at Western Michigan.
I had all these different Bible study groups and I said if you want to come to this Bible study, it has to be a whole year. You have to follow this plan and you have to write out your prayer and read it out loud to the group once a week. They didn’t like that. Men don’t like to admit weakness in public. It’s not macho or something. I don’t know. It was the hardest thing and I remember in each group the Lord would prompt one of their hearts. I would do mine and they expected me to do it because I was leading. Then usually one person in each of the groups would be thinking like they were getting ready for pole vaulting or something, where you’ve got to concentrate before you start running. Then they’d go, okay, I’ll do my prayer and we’d all bow our heads and they’d read it. It was the most transformational thing because you saw the New Testament Church in action where it says we’re supposed to exhort and encourage one another as fellow strugglers. Paul used the word sunagonizomai, fellow strugglers and they started realizing that we all struggle, and it was amazing. That’s going to be your study. You can read the details in your guide.
The book of Revelation is a guide on how to live for God in an ever darkening world and our world is getting darker and darker. Just for you to see, Jesus was crucified, He stayed around 40 days, and went to Heaven. The first generation Church is launched at Pentecost and the decades start going by. As the decades are going by, the Gospels are being written, the epistles are written, and finally, most of the New Testament is finished and spread widely by the 60s and 70s. Then, we’re starting to lose apostles and Paul and Peter are martyred and we launch into the second generation Church. That means the ones that are led to Christ and the children from the first generation Church. For those churches, 60 plus years after the Ascension of Christ, Jesus comes back down in Revelation and visits. What He does is He says you have the Gospels, you have the epistles, you have the Old Testament, you have the apostles and all these great pastors that have taught you. I’m going to walk around the Church and see how you’re doing at what I left you in the word of God to do. That’s Revelation 1, 2, and 3. To think Jesus, unseen, walked around each of the local churches. That’s amazing, but to think He’s still doing that is enough to radically change our life. Jesus is walking around, watching us to see if we’re living for Him in our ever darkening world.
The context of their world. This is the Roman empire. This is a national geographic map of the Roman empire. The brown part is the Roman empire. You can see Sarmatia. It’s up, that little plaster thing and to the left of it, right there is Sarmatia, that’s right where Ukraine is. It says Ukraine right next to it, to the northwest of the Black Sea. That’s the Roman Empire. That’s the context of the book of Revelation, but the real context is the churches that were the epicenter of the Roman Empire. Modern day Turkey has more Greek temples than are in Greece. Modern day Turkey has more Roman ruins than are in Rome or all of Italy and modern day Turkey has more biblical sites than they have in the Holy Land. Why? Because it was the epicenter of the world of the Bible. It was the most Roman, the most powerfully civilized area of the Roman empire and it’s where those seven churches are. It was a great test case for the Gospel of Christ.
Let me show you how to do this. This is my journal. I have a little journal, at the board meetings at Word of Life they hand out these little bible sized journals. They’re about the size of my Bible, it fits right on top of it. Every year at the board meeting I get a new one and I just fill it up and usually have to get another one. I typed it out because you can’t read my writing, and here is my title. Every time I study, I always get a new title or make it a little bit different. My title for all Revelation 1 was Jesus, our risen Christ today and forever. Then I summarize. Those of you that are going to be teaching the Bible, some of you are going to be missionaries, some of you are going to be pastors, some of you are going to be youth workers, are at the beginning of a lifelong habit. I add a summary because once I study something, I distill down everything I found. After all, I never quite think those thoughts again and I move on to somewhere else.
I wrote that the book of Revelation is unique. It’s the only book of the Bible that God gave to Jesus, to give to us. Think of that. You have a book that God gave you via His Son. All 66 are inspired. They’re all God-breathed. They’re all flawless. They’re all inerrant, but Revelation has all that plus something. God the Father wants us to understand His plans and to live with a guidebook, so we never are unclear about what His plans are for our life. That means we are bold. We’re confident. We know Him and we’re entering the last days of the cosmic battle that’s been raging since the garden of Eden and we’ll see that in this book.
Here’s my first lesson. God sent us everything He wants us to see in Christ. God sent a picture and Jesus said if you’ve seen the picture of Me, you’ve seen the Father. Jesus is the exact image of the Father. Revelation is everything that God wants us to know about Jesus. This is my first lesson. See number one in my little journal. For you, whatever chapter you pick, if you pick chapter 1, you just keep reading that. As soon as you get to a lesson in chapter 1, write it down in your own words. Here are my own words. God sent us everything He wants us to see in Christ.
Here’s my second one. God gave us the only map of the future. Look what it says in the middle of verse 1. “The things which must shortly take place.” These are events. God, who’s the only one that can see the end from the beginning, sees it all. He sent us a man, not everything, but what we need to know. We know what He’s doing. We always know how to operate in life, and how we fit into His plan for the future.
Look at the end of verse 1, it says, “He sent and signified it by His angel.” Then the ending, “to His servant John.” When the Bible ends in chapter 22 of Revelation, there are only two things left in the universe. God and His servants. That’s all. Everything else He’s uncreated and recreated. He makes new Heavens and new Earth. It’s all new. All the rebels are forever suffering the vengeance of His wrath against the sin that they wanted to pay for, so they do forever out of His presence. Then we’re there, His servants. Look at what I wrote. Revelation is a systematic repetition of everything God says we need to know to live as His servants. Why do I say that? The book of Revelation has 404 verses, but it quotes the rest of the Bible 800 times. The book of Revelation is like a switchboard where all the lines are coming from the other 65 books, and they’re connected into one place. God doesn’t introduce anything new in Revelation. He just repeats old stuff and kind of puts it in this vivid explanation of how it fits.
Servanthood was the plan Jesus had for His life. Do you remember Matthew 20:28? “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” and what? “Give His life” what? “A ransom for many.” That’s one of those famous verses we memorize and learn. It was the operating system of Christ’s greatest servant and follower named the Apostle Paul. What does he call himself? Paul? How does he open most of his epistles? Paul, what? A bondservant of Jesus Christ. He calls himself; he introduces himself as a servant.
What is servanthood by the way? Have you ever seen Ben Hur or any of those movies about galley slaves? The Roman world, the Greek language, describes the Roman world with eight types of slaves. There were millions of slaves in the Roman world. Eight specific types of slaves operated in the Roman empire. There were the very famous slaves. They were called therapon, T H E R A P O N. We have that word in English called therapists. A therapist, you go to your therapist. All wealthy Romans had their therapons and you wouldn’t have known they were slaves. They followed you around the store and they would hold your purchases and they’d say, oh, that color looks pretty good on you. They would follow you in your business and write stuff down and say, yep, yeah, we’re doing great with the crops. We need more avocado planting next year. They were a slave, but they were a therapon. They discuss things with the master. That was a top rank slave.
There were others. You’ve probably heard of a diakónous, we call them deacons. They were like waiters. They brought stuff to you. They were ministering servants. At the meals they were busy, and they were pouring the wine and everything. Diakónous. The church has those deacons and deaconesses.
There were leitourgeo slaves. Those were the temple slaves. They were like priests. You’d go to a Roman gods worship, and you’d hand your offering and they’d take it and they’d do whatever needed to be done with it. They were a slave. The very bottom slave were these galley slaves. You can see the paddles go to, it’s a little blurry, but they’re men on three levels that are paddling. Those men were chained. Their arms and legs were chained, and they were connected to the boat. They were lifelong paddlers. As soon as they were too old and sick to paddle, they just unhook the chains and throw them overboard. They were like disposable AA batteries. That’s what they were. That’s what a slave was. The word for that is huper, which is a Greek word for under, retes, which is the word for rowing. They were called huperetes.
Paul’s testimony, and you can read it in 1 Corinthians 4:1, he said consider me a servant, and there is that word huperetes, of Christ. It’s the same word that God uses to describe David in Acts 13:36. Isn’t that interesting? The most written about person in the whole Bible is David, there are 141 chapters about his life. The most successful person in the New Testament that does more recording than anybody else is Paul. Both of them called themselves, and God labels them as servants just like John. God’s two greatest servants use the same word.
What did an under rower do? They rowed to the captain’s beat. They rowed together. They trusted the captain because he knew when they were going to get fed and he knew when they were going to get there. They just had to trust him. They were chained for life. They didn’t have any flexibility. They were doing what he said. By the way, when an under rower did what he was doing, no one saw him. None of the under rowers are walking around with the little Roman insignia on their head. They were doing their job.
You say, what’s this history lesson? Why did God call David and why did Paul call himself this kind of servant? Because Paul said, the way I serve God is I’m submissive. Do you know what that means? A servant doesn’t mind being told what to do. Do you know what the greatest thing you can be in life? A servant. Be willing for God to tell you what to do and if you serve in the church for others to tell you what to do. Jesus said I didn’t come to be served. I didn’t come to make you all do what I want you to do. I came to serve you and to give to you. That’s the greatest life, a sensitive, trusting, dedicated, humble life. How do I please the Lord? By making a daily choice like John, Paul, and David.
The fourth thing I learned is to show us God’s plan. God wants us to know His plan. I wrote down that God wants me to know His plan. God wants me to be confident. God wants me to know I’m doing exactly what He called and designed me to do. Do you know what God called and designed you to do? Then boldly and confidently and humbly and submissively do it and go through life and let others see that you’re following Christ.
The fifth thing I found is the very last word of verse 1, John. Do you know what I thought? God picked the best guy to write Revelation because he was the one, you remember, John, he’s the one that Jesus loved. He’s the one that’s leaning on Christ whispering to Him during the last supper saying, who’s going to betray you. He’s the one that got to go on all those inner circle things, the transfiguration and inside when Jesus raises people from the dead. John got the best. He was very young and very close to Christ, but he ended up, and look what I wrote. He wrote the Gospel that presented Jesus as divine. Matthew presents Him as king. Mark presents Him as a servant. Luke presents Him as the perfect man. John presents Him in his Gospel by John as God, as divine.
In Revelation, it continues John’s list of sevens. Have you ever noticed all the things that are sevens in John? The seven titles of Christ in chapter 1, and the seven sign miracles, and the seven I Am’s and all those things that are seven, seven sevens. Well, John gets a lot of them in the book of Revelation and there’s more about the deity of Christ in Revelation than in any other book of the Bible. That’s amazing.
Number six, it’s a divine source of daily blessing. Look at verse 3. “Blessed.” It’s the only book of the Bible that says you get blessed for reading and hearing it, so you guys are in for a double blessing. God said as you read this book, and that’s your assignment, you read the whole book, that’s in the syllabus. You’re getting blessed doing that. As you hear the book of Revelation read, God says you’re blessed. This is a unique book.
Look at this, number seven. God’s pathway to the best life possible. God wants us to be blessed. How do we get blessed? By reading. That’s directly being exposed to God’s message. Personally, studying the Bible. When I was your age, remember I went to Bible school, and I was in Bible school at age 19. My first professor said you’ll never teach the Bible until you’ve read the Bible through at least once for every year you are old. I thought, oh no, I’m 19. I’ve only read the whole Bible once and I read it because someone paid me a hundred dollars. They said, if you read the whole Bible we’ll send you to camp, and it cost a hundred dollars. My parents were poor, I couldn’t afford a hundred dollars and I said, I’ll read it. I carried it every day to school and read it and got my hundred dollars and went to camp. Then I would just do roulette from that point on. I would just go like this, without looking open the Bible and read a little bit of the Bible every day because I was supposed to. I would read whatever came up.
I get to Bible school. I’m going to spend the rest of my life teaching the Bible and the professor who taught the Bible as I’d never seen, this guy was blind. The one that said this, was a blind Bible teacher. He was about 90 and he would quote the passage before he taught it. Then He would teach through the Bible one word or one phrase at a time. I went, how do you know the Bible? I went up afterward and I said, how do you know the Bible like that? He was blind, so he turned his ear toward the sound. I don’t know if he knew where I was, but he was looking in my direction. He said, son, he could tell I was a boy. Son, you’ll never teach the Bible till you’ve read it through at least once for every year you are old. How old are you? I said 19. He said, how many times have you read the Bible? I said, once because I had to for a hundred dollars. You know what? It changed my life.
I made a chart of the 168 hours a week. I found out that it only takes 72 hours to read the whole Bible out loud. How do I know that? Because I bought the Bible on cassettes, tapes back then, and then CDs. There are only 72 of them. 72 CDs is the whole Bible being read out loud. Not fast, just normal. A sixth grader can read the Bible out loud in 72 hours. That’s what the people that record the Bible have found because they have children’s editions and the kids read it.
I said, wow, I have 168 hours a week, and I want to read the Bible through and catch up with how old I am. I started crossing off everything I did that wasn’t going to last forever and I found that I had about three extra hours a day. Actually, I started reading and I had two and a half hours a day. I started reading the Bible two and a half hours a day when I was 19 years old. By the time I was 21 I was on my 21st time through the Bible and I was a completely different person. Did you know just reading it changes you? Every time I read it, I looked for something different. The first time I read the Bible I took a highlighter and I marked every name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit from cover to cover. The first thing that happened was I got to class after one month and people looked at my Bible. They said we’d never seen a person that their Bible is completely marked up. I said I just finished reading it this month. They said, this month? I said, yeah, I’m looking for every name of God. The second time I read, I looked for every prayer. Everyone that prayed, what they prayed for, how they prayed, where they were. All that took a whole month. It totally changed my understanding of prayer. Then I looked for all the prophecies in the Bible. I still do that. I look for something all the way through.
If you read it, directly expose yourself to God’s message He’ll bless you. If you hear it, that means the goal was to block all the other voices. Have you ever talked to someone and all of a sudden they go boop and put on their big beats things? Do you know what that means? Thanks for talking I’m going back to what I was doing, boop, or they put their earbuds in or the AirPods or whatever they have. That’s what this means, that you totally focus. You’re listening. My three heroes are right there, George Mueller, CT Studd, and Hudson Taylor. Through those servants, the Lord transformed their generation because they had the habit of putting on those earphones and blocking everything out until they heard from God.
How do we live the best life possible? Look at how verse 3 ends. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep.” Tēreō is the Greek word. Keep means we go from being merely a hearer to a doer. We treasure it. If you want to read 1 Timothy chapter 4 Paul talks about this in describing what the servant of the Lord looks like. I can’t go to 1 Timothy because I’ll never get done.
Then, it’s to the seven churches. Why seven? In the Bible seven is a complete set. Seven days in the week, seven colors in the spectrum, seven notes in the scale. We’ve picked up the idea of seven and there are sevens all the way through, a heptadic set is a complete set. It’s not perfect, it’s just all there. God says those seven represent all the churches. By the way, churches are plural, so it wasn’t just to the church at Ephesus. It says as we’ll see when we get there, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the,” and it’s plural, “churches.” I wrote that the message of following Jesus was to all believers then and now. Verse 5, and this is a great verse. “From Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler over the Kings of the earth.” I love it. “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins.” I wrote down that Jesus loved us, loosed us, and washed us from our sins and that’s the greatest possession we have.
Forever we’re going to offer worship. That’s what verse 6 is about. We’re a kingdom of priests. Then we start coming. Look at verse 7. “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him.” All of a sudden, John starts weaving together all the Old Testament quotations. Remember I told you there are 800 different quotations and allusions and pointers back to Old Testament passages. This is one of them from Zechariah chapter 12 and verse 10. I also remind you of Daniel 7.
When we get to verse 8 Jesus starts talking and look at what He says. “I am.” Remember, John has all those I Am’s from the Gospel by John. He’s got another one. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End… who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” How can you apply this fire hydrant of truth you’re going to encounter in the book of Revelation? Let me show you because I encountered that. I thought I’m only on verse 8 and I have 10 pages of stuff and I don’t want to merely be a hearer, but I want to be a doer. How are you a doer?
Look, God offers to us, in fact, I’ll illustrate this. He is omniscient, omnipotent, all loving and omnipresent. That’s a truth. How did I get to that? Jesus said I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty. He said, I am the embodiment of the attributes of God the Father, I’m the exact representation. Theologians have said He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and all those other things. Okay, now we’re going to systematic theology. In systematic theology, there are 25 attributes of God, communicable and incommunicable. You’ll cover all that or you already have, so I’m not going to talk about it, but here they are. Those are all the attributes of God. You know what? Every one of them is illustrated in the book of Revelation and every one of them is applied to Jesus Christ.
Let’s just pick four of them, the big ones. Omnipresence, omniscient, love, and omnipotence. How do I apply those to my life? God wants me to get my fears, my troubles, and my struggles into perspective and this is how we do it. I have to learn to trust God. How? Watch. When I get financial hits, car accidents, tragically lose someone I loved, people even get sick. What do we do? The Bible says we’re supposed to trust God, which means nothing accidentally happens in my life. What does that mean? I’m surrounded. God is good so the roof overhead means nothing’s getting into where I am without going through this good God. The walls are God knows what’s coming. It’s like He’s at the command center and because He’s omniscient nothing gets by Him, and He is so powerful. He’s better than the Iron Dome or any other protective shield. Plus, He’s right with me so I’m never alone. Do you know what that means? My response to struggles in life declares to everybody that watches me that either I believe God is good, or I think He might be bad. I think He’s wise or dumb. He’s either all powerful or He couldn’t stop that one, it was too much for Him. He’s either everywhere present or He’s absent.
That is just the first eight verses of 404. That is just a small example of what you can learn in this book. It’s what God wants us to know, not just more facts so I can be the walking trivia expert but so that I live in such a way that people look at me, and like that person cutting my hair ask, do you know God? I said I do know Him. She said, I asked Him to send someone. That lady listened and all the walls came down and she said, thank you. She didn’t commit to Christ in my presence, but I experienced a divine appointment. What does God want us to know? We’re living in tumultuous times. You’re living in the best time to ever serve the Lord and He wants you to know that He is good, all powerful, all knowing, and always with us.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
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