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What the Book of Revelation is About
Message #9 of "NT70: 70 Days through the New Testament" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg -- Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash. -- www.oursaviorsbaptist.org - Sunday, September 4, 2011 (I pray these notes will be helpful for you.)
--- The Book of Revelation ---
There's a lot of people that think they've worked it out. Predictions about when, predictions about who the Antichrist is, etc. But that's not it. If that's your goal, you're missing the point.
Written in about AD95 by the disciple John who'd been exciled to the island of Patmos. Christians were dying for their faith, persecuted heavily by the Roman empire and local governments. This book was written to tell the people then to hang in there. It was written for us today to tell us to hang in there. It was for people yet to come telling them to hang in in there. It also is written to help us know what is coming in the future. But, it's also written to give us hope in a world terribly damaged by war, sin, problems, a real mess.
1. A message from JESUS to churches to STRAIGHTEN UP.
Ch. 1-3 - only part of the Bible written by Jesus - 7 letters to 7 churches in modern day Turkey. Those messages were written to real churches with real problems. Real churches with real problems still exist today. He loves us too much to leave us where we are.
4:1 - somehow John is able to see into heaven and write about it. John is amazed to see how amazed heaven is by Jesus
2. A glimpse of the WONDER HEAVEN HOLDS toward the Lamb, Jesus.
5:1-14 (parallels in 7, 9, 11) - Amazed that God would do that for us - should call us to do likewise.
Is it difficult for us to picture this? Or is it not surprising because of the state of animation, video games and movies today? Find a darkened room, with just enough light to read by and try reading this and taking time to contemplate.
And then plagues, disaster, war, disease. The kinds of things not even imagined by the events of today, whether real (Hurricane Irene) or imagined (TV).
3. A terrifying picture of the LENGTHS GOD MUST GO to grab PEOPLE'S ATTENTION .
16:8 - And yet many still curse God and continue to live lives apart from God.
Wouldn't God "attract more flies with honey"? He does that first. He blesses those who know him and those whom do not. But sadly, many claim the credit all for themselves. Which means God needs to use more drastic means to get people's attention.
4. A sobering call for Jesus' SAINTS TO OVERCOME through time of terrible tribulation.
We may not feel like saints, but that's how Jesus sees us. The prayers of God's saints (your prayers) are collected and used to shape planet earth.
Saints of heaven are aware of the struggles of the saints on earth and they too cry out for justice. God promises he will respond.
5:8-10 - God collects your very prayers that God uses as tool to change the world.
6:9 - great multitude beyond count - who are they? They know of the injustice of the world and are crying out against it. A picture- of no matter what you are going through now, you will be in heaven and be in triumph.
8:3-5 - Our prayers are manifested as earthquakes, thunder, changing countries and political systems. Believe that prayer is powerful, dangerous.
Stay focused on God and stay in prayer with him - because in the end, he does win.
5. A revelation of the incredible FUTURE believers have beyond THIS LIFE.
19 - the final act
20 - Jesus rules on earth (1,000 years is noted 6th times - so you can believe this isn't figurative), people who refuse to accept Christ are judged, Satan is banished forever
21 - new heaven and new earth begins.
--- To Take Away ---
Unchangeable sovereign Lord is in charge of the world today and forever. We have hope because we know we have an incredible life beyond this earth. For the past 2,000 years, Jesus has been preparing for us (and preparing us). Will we willingly let him take charge of our life?
Story of a police officer, a kindly, portly man who guided children across an intersection every day. Always had a kind word. Until one day a group of teenagers got out of hand, mocking the officer, roughhousing. One of them knocked over a little girl and said something insulting to the officer. Immediately he found himself on his back with the officer standing over him. Jesus came to this earth in gentleness, kindness and meekness to so that his love would shine forth first and foremost. But we shouldn't mistake that for the ineffectual - he's still God with the power to do anything. And when the time comes, he most certainly will. We will witness it. But from where?