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Back To The Future

Sermon #4

 

Revelation 1:12-18, 20

THE LORD OF GLORY

Intro: The last time we saw our friend John, he was “in the Spirit, on the Lord’s Day, v. 10. As he worships, John hears a voice behind him that sounds like a great trumpet. This voice arrests his attention and he turns to see the source of this sound.

When John turns around, he sees two things. First, he sees seven golden lamp stands, v. 12. Then, he sees an individual he describes as looking like “the Son of Man, v. 13. This phrase appears in the Old Testament, and in Dan. 7:13-14 it is used to speak of the coming Messiah. This title was also the favorite title of the Lord Jesus when He spoke of Himself in the New Testament. Jesus used this phrase 81 times in the Gospels. When Stephen was being stoned, he looked into the heavens and he saw Jesus, Whom he referred to as “the Son of man, Acts 7:56.

So, when John turns, he sees Jesus Christ. Now, this is the first time John has seen the Lord in over 60 years. And, He sure doesn’t look anything like He used to! John knew Jesus very well. The Bible seems to indicate in Mark 15:40-41 and John 19:25 that the mother of John and the mother of Jesus were sisters. If that is true, then they were cousins. Therefore, John probably knew Jesus as a boy. He knew Jesus as a teacher, a miracle worker, a servant, and a soul winner. He watched as Jesus ministered and he watched as Jesus died on the cross. John saw the empty tomb and he saw the risen Christ. John was there when Jesus ascended back in to Heaven. And, John even laid his head on the breast of the Lord at the last supper. John knew Jesus very well. His own testimony can be found in 1 John 1:1.

In this passage, John sees Jesus as he had never seen him before. In these verses John sees the Lord of Glory. He sees the glorified Christ, and John attempts to do the impossible; he attempts to describe the Lord of Glory to us. I want to join John as he gazes in wonder at The Lord of Glory. I would like for us to read about the One we will see for ourselves at the end of the road of life. Let’s notice the ways John describes The Lord of Glory for us today.

 

I. v. 12-16 THE LORD OF GLORY IN HIS MAJESTY

A. v. 12-13a He Is Majestic In His Activity When John turns, he sees seven golden candlesticks. These candlesticks, or lampstands, were where portable oil lamps were placed to light rooms. The Jews call them “menorah. The menorah has seven branches and was used in the Tabernacle, Ex. 25:31. The lampstands were made of gold, the most precious of metals, and were filled with oil in which was placed a wick that was lit to produce the light. The lampstand represented the Holy Spirit and His ability to bring light into the world. The lampstand was a type of Christ. Jesus came into this world as a man, but a man Who was filled with the Spirit of God, and Who served as the Light of the world, John 8:12.

Here, we see Jesus in the “midst of the seven candlesticks. The lampstands in this passage are identified for us in verse 20. We are told that they represent the seven churches mentioned in Rev. 1:11.

The lampstands are gold, representing the precious nature of the church. There is no institution on the earth as precious and as beautiful as the church! The church is so precious to God that Jesus was willing to purchase it with His Own blood!

There are seven of the lampstands. Again, seven is the number of completeness or perfection. These lampstands stand for real churches, but they also represent all local churches down through the ages.

The real message of the lampstands, however, is in their purpose. The lampstands picture the church as the “light of the world, Phil. 2:15; Eph. 5:8; Matt. 5:16.

So, that brings me to what I wanted to say about this verse. Jesus is in pictured as being in the midst of His churches. When we gather, He is always here with us, Matt. 18:20. He is here helping us; speaking to us; protecting us; directing us; blessing us; encouraging us and challenging us. He is in the midst of His people as we live, worship and move toward glory. There are times when we can recognize His presence and there are times when we forget that He is here. Still, He is with us all the same. If we could ever forget about our agenda; our order of serve; our concerns; and recognize the presence of the Lord in His church it would transform our worship services.

Thank God He loves us and desires to meet with us! You and I may not show up at the place of worship, but Jesus never misses a service!

B. v. 13b-16 He Is Majestic In His Appearance Here is where John begins to attempt the impossible. He is going endeavor to describe The Lord Of Glory in terms that we can understand.

1. v. 13b His Garments Jesus appears clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. This is the attire of both a King and a Priest. As a King, Jesus is the Sovereign Lord. He is in absolute control and He rules today, even though the world does not recognize Him, Rev. 17:14. Jesus is sovereign over His churches and over His world.

As a Priest, Jesus is our “man on the inside. He is our Intercessor; the One Who prays for us in Heaven day by day, Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1. When we see Him, we will see our High Priest and our King.

2. v. 14a His Head and His Hair This speaks of His purity and of His antiquity. We are reminded that He is sinless, Heb. 7:26; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22. We are also reminded that He is ageless! This vision of Jesus identifies Him with “The Ancient of Days in Dan. 7:9. He is the One Who has always existed! The baby Jesus Who was place in that manger in Bethlehem is the same One Who stood on nothing and created everything in the beginning! He is timeless and eternal!

John talks about his head. That head was laid on Mary’s breast for comfort as a child. That head had no place to rest itself as an adult. That head was crowned with thorns and His Own blood mixed with the spittle of His enemies. That head was laid in a cold, dark tomb and covered with a napkin. One day, one glorious day, that head will be adorned with many crowns!

3. v. 14b His Eyes - They speak of His omniscience; intelligence and perception, Heb. 4:13; Pro. 15:3. Nothing is hidden from His gaze! Not a Zaccheaus in a tree, not a Peter by a fire, not the heart of a critical Pharisees! No, He sees every motive, sin and secret in our hearts and in our lives. Those eyes were damp with tears for Lazarus, for Jerusalem and for us. Those eyes still see everything in our lives today!

4. v. 15a His Feet Brass, or bronze, in the Bible speaks of judgment. The “brazen serpent, Num. 21, was a symbol of the sin of the people being judged by the chastisement of God. Jesus appears here in the midst of His churches as One having the authority to judge. He sees all and when He sees that which displeases Him, He exercise His authority as King and Lord and He moves in judgment to set things right.

Those precious feet of the Lord Jesus touched this earth for the first time when He was but a baby. They carried Him along the dusty pathways of Israel as He ministered and preached to the people. They carried Him to the top of Calvary where those feet felt the searing pain of the nails driven through them. Those feet were last seen as He ascended back to His father’s throne. For the last two thousand years those feet have felt nothing but the golden streets of that city. Soon, those feet will ride the clouds back to this world when Jesus calls His bride to Himself. Than, one day, those feet will again touch this world. He will come in power to judge sin, Satan and sinful man as He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. He comes as a Judge!

5. v. 15b His Voice – When John first hears the Lord, His voice is described as sounding like a trumpet, v. 10. His voice came demanding John’s attention. Now, John describes the voice of the Lord as “the sound of many waters. I have never been to Niagara Falls, but those who have tell me the sound of those waters drowns out all other noise. 12 million cubic feet of water per minute flows over that cataract and as that water crashes onto the rocks below it becomes the only sound that is heard, and the only sound that matters.

Thus it is with the voice of Jesus. Today, men turn a deaf ear to His voice; but there is coming a day when He will speak and His voice will be one that will and cannot be ignored. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him as Lord at the sound of that voice. This is the same voice that spoke this world into existence. This is the same voice that declared redemption’s work complete, John 19:30. This is the same voice that will call the Bride up to glory, 1 Thes. 4:16-17. This voice will be most cruel to ever fall upon the ears of a lost man, Matt. 7:23. But, it will be the most precious ever heard by those who have been saved by grace, Matt. 25:23.

I am glad that I heard that voice call me to come to Him one day. I am glad that I hear that voice day by day as I travel toward glory. I am grateful that I will hear that voice at the end of the way as He says, “Welcome home!”

6. v. 16a His Hand In His right hand, the hand that speaks of power, Jesus holds the seven stars. These stars are identified in verse 20. They are the “angels of the seven churches. Some people believe these stars refer to a guardian angel that is given charge over each church. Others feel that the stars refer to the pastors of these churches. I personally lean toward the latter interpretation.

Jesus is pictured as holding His servants in His hand, protecting them by His power. The people John was writing to were undergoing severe persecution. They needed this reassurance as they struggled. But, so do you and I! It comforts my heart to know that I am safe in His hand, John 10:28-29! Those hands that formed man from the dust of the earth; touched the lepers; opened the blinded eyes; fed the multitudes and were eventually nailed to the cross are the same hands that hold you and me today! When you are in His hand, you are in a place of absolute safety and protection!

7. v. 16b His Mouth We are told that a sharp two-edged sword comes from the mouth of the glorified Christ. This reminds us that He is coming not with words of peace and blessing; but with words of righteousness and judgment. When Jesus came the first time, He came with a message of peace and salvation. The next time He comes, He will judge the world with a word from His mouth. Like the thrust of a sharp sword that can slice to the bone and bring instant death; one day Jesus will speak and His enemies will be utterly destroyed, Rev. 19:15. Just as He said, “Let there be light and light appeared; He will speak and it will be done!

The Word of God, reviled by the atheist, the agnostic, the infidel, and the liberal will one day be the standard by which all men are judged! The Word of God will judge man some day, Rev. 20:12; John 12:48.

8. v. 16c His Face John says that the face of The Lord of Glory was like looking into the full force of the sun. John had seen this face before. When Jesus was transfigured in Matt. 17, John was there. When Jesus came to this earth and was been in Bethlehem, He concealed His glory beneath a robe of human flesh. When He came the first time, He was approachable. Anyone who wished could enter His presence then, and many did. Little children, rich ruler, religious leaders, poor people, sick people, even social outcasts like lepers, could approach Jesus whenever they desired. But, when He comes again, sinful men will not even be able to look upon Him, much less approach Him.

When Jesus came the first time, His face was that of a common man, Isa. 53:2. His enemies plucked the bread from His face and they spit upon that face, Isa. 50:6. His face was beaten and streaked with His Own blood. But, it was that face that caused Isaiah to cry out and say, “Woe is me!, Isa. 6:5. It was that face that caused Job to say, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes, Job 42:5-6. One day wicked men will cry for the mountains to fall on them and hide them from His face, Rev. 6:16.

One day we will see that face! When we do, there will be no bruises, no spittle, and no blood. When we see that face, we will see Him in His glory and we will be able to behold His glory, because we will be like Him in that day, 1 John 3:2.

 

I. The Lord Of Glory In His Majesty

 

II. v. 17a THE LORD OF GLORY IN HIS MERCY

A. John’s Reaction John does what any sinner would do in the presence of the Lord: he faints dead away! Lost men make their boasts and shake their puny fists in the face of God; but the day is coming when every God-hater and Christ-rejecter will bend his or her knee in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. John simply demonstrates for us what all sinners will do one day. You may not understand this now, but there is coming a day when Hell will be a welcome relief for lost sinners who have to stand before Jesus in judgment some day, Ill. Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 20:11-15.

By the way, I am glad that I have already bowed the knee to Him and acknowledged Him to be Lord, God and King! I am grateful that everyday I, without hesitation, bow my knees to Him and confess His as my Lord. What about you?

B. Christ’s Reassurance When John faints dead away, Jesus does what He always does: He speaks peace to His child! Think about this! Jesus takes His right hand, the hand in which He protects His servants. He takes that hand and He tenderly touches John. Then He speaks to John. That same voice that thunders with power and authority; that same voice that will one day judge the nations; that same voice ministers peace to the heart of John! This was not the first time John has heard Him say “Peace!” John had heard Him say “Peace be still, Mark 4:39, and a raging sea lay at His feet like a puppy. That peace dispelled the fear the disciples felt that night. He heard His say, “Peace be unto you, John 20:19, on the day He rose from the dead. That peace drove away all the doubts and fears His disciples had after His death. Now, John hears Him speak “peace once again. This time the word peace lets John know that He has nothing to fear from Jesus. Jesus has not come as Judge to John; but as his Redeemer and as his Friend! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Jesus may be the King of Kings; but He is our Friend! He may be the Sovereign Lord of the universe; but he is our elder Brother! He may be the God Who moves in power and glory, accomplishing things our minds cannot even comprehend; but He still has time to be touched by our needs, Heb. 4:15, and He still had time to extend His hand into our lives to encourage us and to speak peace to our hearts.

 

I. The Lord Of Glory In His Majesty

II. The Lord Of Glory In His Mercy

 

III. v. 17b-18 THE LORD OF GLORY IN HIS MINISTRY

(Ill. This last section pictures Jesus in His work. These verses tell us Who He is and What He does.)

A. He Is The Reigning One I am the first and the last John is reminded that Jesus is the author and Finisher of all things. He is the One Who has always been and the One Who will always be. Jesus stands as the great Bookend on either end of history. Kings may come and kings may go, but Jesus has, is and will reign forever. He is timeless and He is eternal!

B. He Is The Resurrected One I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; - Jesus did something no one else has ever done: He entered death in His Own time and in His Own way and He walked out of Death again when He was ready. He died on the cross and then He rose again from the dead, Matt. 28:1-6. Thank God, “He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He live! He lives! Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!

C. He Is The Redeeming One I am He that liveth, and was dead Jesus died, but His death was like no other death in the history of the world. He died, not for Himself, but He died for others. He went to that cross to pay a price He did not owe; for a people who owed a price they could not pay. He gave His all for those who had nothing to offer. He paid the whole price to redeem His people from their sins, Isa. 53:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 1:5. He accomplished through one offering what millions of gallons of animal blood had never been able, nor would ever be able, to do. He paid the full redemption price for all those who would call on Him by faith, Heb. 10:10-14; Heb. 9:12; 25-28.

D. He Is The Remaining One I am alive for evermore When every ruler and every subject has faded from the fabric of the ages; when every rich man and every poor man has been erased from the memory of time; when every kingdom and every deed has been forever diluted by the stream of history; Jesus Christ will still be Lord and He will still be God. He is the remaining One! Don’t worry about something happening to Him! When the dust of time has been swept into the dustbin of eternity, Jesus will still be the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! That ought to bring comfort to every child of God and strike terror into the heart of every demon and sinner.

E. He Is The Releasing One I…have the keys of hell and of death Keys speak of access and authority. I have keys right here. Because I possess them, I have access to those things. Because I have those keys, I can go places others are not allowed to go. The same is true with Jesus!

Jesus Christ decides all the issues of life and death. He determines who lives and who dies. Because Jesus entered death and conquered it, He possesses the keys of death. Because He entered the place where the dead reside and walked out again, He holds the keys of Hell. Jesus is the Key Man! He is a good Man to know! Because I know Him, I cannot go to Hell, He has locked the door! Because I know Him, I can go to Heaven; He has unlocked the gates of that city for His children.

Did you know that He holds the keys to every grave in the world? He is able to raise your loved ones from the dead, 1 Thes. 4:13-18. Did you know that He has unlocked the door between life and death all His people? When I reach the end of life, I will be able to step out of this earthly life into that heavenly life because He has already opened the door, 2 Cor .5:1-8.

 

Conc: A father was attempting to read his Sunday paper. His little girl, as small children do, was constantly interrupting him and asking him questions. Finally, not wishing to be disturbed by his little girl any longer, he cut up a map of the world, gave it to her, and told her to put it together. He thought this would keep her busy for some time. However, in just a few minutes she returned with the map and every piece was in the right place.

The father was very much surprised and said: “How in the world did you put this puzzle together so quickly? You don't know anything about geography. The little girl replied, “Well, daddy, there was a picture of Jesus on the other side, and I knew when I had Jesus in the right place, the whole world would be all right.

What a truth! That is what John is trying to do here at the very start of the book of Revelation. He is trying to get us to see Jesus as He really is! He is not the humble man of Galilee any longer. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lord and He deserves to be worshiped, served and glorified. When He is in the right place, the whole world will be all right. Until then, the world will be out of balance and will continue to wobble under the affects of sin and rebellion, until Jesus comes and sets it right.

Is there anything here for us? There’s this: Is Jesus in the right place in your heart and life? If He is, then that means you are saved and that you are humbly serving Him. If He isn’t, then it means that your life is out of balance and like a bad tire it wobbles out of control headed for destruction.

You and I have the opportunity to come before Him today to praise Him for Who He is. We have the opportunity to bow to Him; to thank Him and to honor Him. Today, we can do it voluntarily, then men will be compelled to bow.

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