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Back To The Future
Revelation 1:9-11; 19
Intro: While the book of Revelation is a book of prophecy that extends all the way into eternity; it is also a highly personal book. John has already given us a brief glimpse of what we can expect as we move through this great book. Now, he begins to record the events and circumstances behind how he obtained the Revelation. In these verses, we are given some insight into the Apostle John and what he was going through when the Lord came to him with this vision.
As we look at these verses together today, I want you to keep this thought in mind: People matter to God. This book deals with complex prophecies, awesome judgments and profound truths; yet God still takes the time to give a glimpse of John. So, for just a few minutes, John takes the spotlight in the book of Revelation. Let’s examine these verses together for a few minutes today. I want to preach on the thought I, John. As I do, I want you to see some of the facets this passage reveals concerning John.
A. The Who Question If we want to know something about the man who wrote this book, this verse gives us some precious insight into who John was.)
1. He Is A Saint This John is none other
that the great Apostle himself. John had
left his father’s fishing business to follow Jesus when he was a mere teenager,
Matt. 4:21-22. John had followed
Jesus throughout the years of His earthly ministry. John was there on snow-capped
Now, for nearly 70 years John has been a faithful servant to Jesus. He has been a great Pastor to God’s people. He has been used by the Lord to pen the Gospel that bears his name and three epistles. John is a precious, special man of God. John is possibly the only living connection to the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 John 1:1. This is the man we are talking about today. This is the man God chose to be the conduit through which He would send His Revelation of the end times.
Yet, when the Word of God begins to come his way, John says “I, John!” It is as if he is amazed that God would speak to him; much less through him. Yes, John is a special man, but one of the things that made him special is that after all he has seen and experienced, he is still humble and amazed by the grace of God!
2. He Is A Son While John was the great Apostle and unquestionably the greatest Christian alive; he did not view himself in those terms. He addresses his readers as “John…your brother.” Isn’t that a blessing? After all he has seen and been a part of, he still sees himself as just another saint of God.
(Note: What a lesson for the saints of God! We have been saved by grace and allowed to experience some of the greatest blessings know to man. God has been good to us, and he has even used some in this room for His glory. When that happens, there is a human tendency to want to glory in who we are and what we have done. We need to remember that we were nothing when Jesus found us and saved us; and we will never be anything apart from Him. Paul said it well when he said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am,” 1 Cor. 15:10.
One of the reasons the Lord used John is such a great fashion was because John remained a humble servant. He will use us if we too can just remember where we came from and Who is the source of our power, James 4:6; 10; 1 Pet. 5:5-6.)
(Note: By the way, this verse reminds us that the preacher is not greater than the people! I believe the man of God ought to be respected for the sake of his call and for the Word he preaches; but he is not above the rest of the members of the church. Far too many congregations have degenerated into a cult of preacher worship. When that happens, and a man is given absolute power in a church, the result is carnality and sin. Someone said, “If power corrupts, then absolute power corrupts absolutely. I had just as soon the Lord be the Head of His church. How about you?)
3. He Is A Sufferer John also identifies himself as a companion in tribulation.” John is writing to saints who are suffering for the cause of Christ. They are smiting under the harsh lash of their Roman rulers. True believers in that day paid a terrible price for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It must have comforted their hearts to know that even the greatest among them was also bearing his cross for the glory of the Lord.
(Note: By the way, no one said serving Jesus would always be easy. In fact, Jesus said exactly the opposite. The average Christian life is described as a life of self-denial; self-death and cross bearing, Matt. 16:24. Believers of all ages are warned about the cost of serving Jesus, 2 Tim. 3:12.
we are living in a blessed time. We are
being persecuted for our faith yet.
However, if you will keep your eyes on the news it is becoming
increasingly clear that Christianity is under attack. Every year in our world hundreds of thousands
of Christians are still being martyred for their faith. That day could come
sooner than later here in
4. He Is A Servant When John uses the phrase companion … in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, he is using language that identifies him as one who is waiting and watching for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “kingdom refers to the work. The word “patience refers to the wait. John is faithfully working for Jesus and he is waiting for Him to return. Just because John is an elderly man does not mean that he has stopped serving. He is still working for the Lord. He is still looking for the Lord. He is still a witness for the Lord.
(Note: This is a description of how we should all live our lives. There is no place to stop; no place to quit; no place to sit down and do nothing. Until the Lord comes for us, we must determine to live every moment for His glory, in His service, looking for His appearance. After all, that is why He saved us, Eph. 2:10.)
B. The Where Question After
telling us who he is, John tells us where he is when this Revelation comes his
way. He is “in the isle that is called
That is where John is when he receives the Revelation. This serves to remind us that God can use even the most terrible of circumstances in our lived for His glory and our good, Rom. 8:28.
C. The Why Question The Bible
tells us that John was banished to
Why was this poor man, who is at least 90 years old, sent to that harsh island prison camp? Well, there are several reasons why believers in that day were hated and treated so viciously by the Romans. Allow me to give you a few of those reasons today.
· They were hated for Political reasons The Roman Emperors were worshiped as gods by their citizens. Romans were required to enter into a temple dedicated to the Caesars and they were required to take a pinch on incense, place it on an altar and say, “Caesar is Lord!” Christians refused to do this and they were persecuted as a result.
· They were hated for Religious reasons The Roman also worshiped a pantheon of gods, which were represented by idols. Christians refused to recognize the Roman gods. The superstitious Romans believed that Christian refusals were to blame for natural disasters, plagues, wars, famines, etc.
For the first few decades after the death of Jesus, Christians were seen as being just another branch of Judaism. But, when the Romans saw the hatred the Jews possessed for the Christians, the Romans saw Christianity as a distinct religion. Since it was against the law to form a new religion, Christianity was outlawed and Christians became outlaw and the targets of intense persecution.
They were hated for Social reasons Roman society was built on a very
rigid class system. The upper crust had
little to do with the lower classes.
Christians taught that all men were equal in the eyes of God. This threatened to undermine the social
· They were hated for Economic reasons Because the Christians did not worship idols and even preached against idols, their doctrine hurt the business of the priests, craftsmen and merchants who made their living from idol worship.
1. What John Preached John was singled
out for persecution by the Roman Emperor Domitian because of the word John
preached. Instead of preaching a message
that was pleasing to the Romans, John preached the truth. He condemned sin and he preached the Gospel. Both of these things brought the fury of
2. Who John Preached The real thorn in their flesh was Johns insistence that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He preached Jesus crucified and risen from the dead. John preached Jesus as the only way to salvation. He condemned the Roman gods, the Roman way of life, the Roman rulers and Roman society. He pointed men to Jesus and he was hated for it!
(Note: Today, we enjoy freedom to worship in this
nation. I can step into this pulpit and
preach anything I please from this Bible and I am protected under the laws of
our nation. But, there is a day coming
I. John The Witness
II. v. 10a JOHN THE WORSHIPER
A. Consider John’s Chronology He is 90 years old and he is still worshiping! A lesser man might have said, “I’ve paid my dues! Let somebody else carry the load for a while. I’m taking the day off! Friends, if you are a child of God you need to now that there is not going to come a day in your life when you can stop being a worshiper. God expects us to come into His presence to worship for as long as He gives us the ability to do so.
(Note: I praise the Lord for our precious older folks. You are an inspiration and a challenge to the rest of us. In spite of age, arthritis, and adversity, you are faithful to come to the house of God. I want you to know that I appreciate you! I thank God for you! I pray that when I am overtaken by my years, I can be just like you. Now, to the rest of us: Shame, shame, shame! We could learn a lot from these senior saints! When you make Jesus the first priority in your life, worship will come easy to you!)
B. Consider John’s Circumstances John is not at the Patmos Hilton when he humbles himself in worship. He is not in a heated, air-conditioned building, sitting on a padded pew. He is in prison! He is suffering. He is cold. He is hungry. But, in spite of all that he is facing, he is still worshiping! A lesser man might have said, “Serving the Lord just doesn’t pay off. I have been faithful to Him and look at where it got me. I am going to quit! There is no use!” But, not John, despite his condition, he goes before the Lord in worship.
(Note: Modern believers could use a dose of what John had! It doesn’t take a lot to keep the modern Christian out of church. A little pain, a little problem, a little hurt feelings, and they are gone! They can lay out and not think a thing about it!
I praise the Lord for those saints who know where their place is and are determined to be in that place at every opportunity. I appreciate those saints who are not looking for what they can “get at church; but who are interested in what they can give. Thank God for those who love to worship their Lord.)
C. Consider John’s Commitment Look at what this verse says, I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day. The phrase “the Lord’s day is taken by some to be a reference to the day of the Lord; to that time when Jesus will come to this earth in power and glory. They take it to mean that John was “transported into the future to the very day of the Lord. Jesus did say this to Peter, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” John 21:22. Some people think that this is a reference to that verse.
I think it refers to “the Lord’s day.” I think the Bible is telling that John found
him a place to worship out there on
Despite everything John faced on that
remote island, he rose above it all and found himself in the presence of the
Lord for worship. We are told that he was “in the spirit. John’s physical location was the
I. John The Witness
II. John The Worshiper
III. v. 10b-11, 19 JOHN THE WRITER
A. v. 10b-11a The Director Of His Writing As John worshiped, he was visited by the Lord Himself. When the Lord spoke, His voice sounded like a “trumpet. It was a sound that got John’s instant attention. As we move through the pages of Revelation, we are going to hear more trumpets sounding. Each one introduces some solemn event. This particular voice summons John to listen and to write down what he hears.
This heavenly Visitor, and the words He speaks, is a reminder to us that what we are reading and studying together is not a book written by a man. John was merely the penman; the author of this book, along with every other book in the Bible, is the Lord Himself, 2 Tim. 3:16.
B. v. 11b The Destination Of His Writing This Revelation is to be sent to the seven churches named in this verse. We will consider those churches individually in the coming weeks. For now, let me remind you that these churches are real, literal churches. John was to send his letter directly to them. These churches are also representative of the church as a whole. This Revelation is not just for those churches that existed in that age; they are also a message to us in our day as well.
God has something to say to every church that has ever existed in this letter. He also has something to say to every individual in those churches. He has something to say to you and to me.
C. v. 19 The Divisions Of His Writing This verse is the divinely inspired outline of the book of Revelation. This verse reveals to us how we are to divide and interpret this book. Just to refresh our memories, this verse breaks the book of Revelation down into three clearly defined divisions. They are:
· The things which thou hast seen The events of chapter 1
· The things which are The events of chapters 2-3
· The things which shall be hereafter The events of chapter 4-22.
someone may wonder where I get the idea that chapter 4 marks a major division of this book. The answer is found in the words “hereafter. This word translates two Greek words. They are “meta and tauta.
Conc: We have been given some great background on the Apostle John from this passage. We have also been allowed to catch a little glimpse of the work he is being called to do. Understanding who John was; why he did want he did; and the kind of heart he possessed for the Lord Jesus will help us as we move through the book of Revelation.
As I prepared this sermon, the Lord used it to speak to my heart about my own level of commitment to Him. I don’t know about you, but I want to be found faithful until He calls me home. I want to serve Him, love Him, and worship Him and, if necessary, I want to suffer for Him. Perhaps He has spoken to your heart about your own walk with Him. If He has touched on some level this evening, this altar is open. He will meet you here and He will help. Just mind Him!