Grace Baptist Church
12-9-2018 Main Service
  • What Child Is This
  • Fairest Lord Jesus
  • Psalms For Bells
  • One Small Child
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
      • Psalms 23.1-4LEB

      • Psalms 23.5-6LEB

  • Silent Night! Holy Night!
  • Away in a Manger
  • Introduction:
    Dr. Park Tucker, former chaplain of the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, told his story of walking down the street in a certain city, feeling low and depressed and worried about life in general. As he walked along, he lifted his eyes for a moment to the window of a funeral home across the street. He blinked his eyes a couple of times, wondering whether his eyes were deceiving him.
    But sure enough, he saw in the window of that funeral home was this sign, in large, bold words: “Why walk around half-dead? We can bury you for $389.50. P.S. We also give green stamps.” Dr. Tucker said the humor of it was good medicine for his soul. Many people are walking around half-dead because worry has built a mountain of problems over which there is no path, and they have surrendered to fate forgetting what it means to live.
    Transition:
    In a vision John saw Christ, the resurrected, glorified, eternal King. In symbols John told what kind of king he is, one totally different from any Caesar and how he, John, fell dead to the “Living One” who died so that John might live.
    Scripture Reading:
    Revelation 1:17–20 ESV
    17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
    These are very reassuring words spoken to John by Jesus for us! We saw in the previous verses the description of what John was seeing—This was indeed the Messiah, the One that John grew very close to, yet this was the Christ in a Glory that John had never seen before.
    These are very reassuring words spoken to John by Jesus for us!
    Transition:
    This interaction that follows now between John and Jesus gives us at least three solid responses to seeing the living Messiah!

    I. Worship Properly (v.17-18)

    As we saw at the conclusion of the sermon a couple weeks ago: John has a proper response to seeing Jesus in all His Glory:
    Revelation 1:17 ESV
    17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,
    rev
    As you might recall, what happens here follows a similar pattern to that found in and 10: heavenly vision, falling down in fear, strengthening by a heavenly being, additional instruction. It’s not surprising that John responds similarly to many prophets before him who had received a glorious vision (e.g., ; ; ; ). John’s response to the awesome sight of the glorious Son of Man was to fall at his feet as though dead. It’s not his own sin that puts John on his face before Jesus; it’s the glory of the risen Christ. This was not a trance or some involuntary medical condition; rather, it was a reaction in response to having seen a spectacular vision.
    What happens here follows a similar pattern to that found in and 10: heavenly vision, falling down in fear, strengthening by a heavenly being, additional instruction. It’s not surprising that John responds similarly to many prophets before him who had received a glorious vision (e.g., ; ; ; ). John’s response to the awesome sight of the glorious Son of Man was to fall at his feet as though dead. It’s not his own sin that puts John on his face before Jesus; it’s the glory of the risen Christ. his was not a trance; rather, it was in response to having seen a spectacular vision.
    This is pure reverence! proper worship! falling to Jesus’ feet as though dead!
    Illustration:
    When Queen Victoria had just ascended her throne she went, as is the custom of Royalty, to hear “The Messiah” rendered. She had been instructed as to her conduct by those who knew, and was told that she must not rise when the others stood at the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus. When that magnificent chorus was being sung and the singers were shouting “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth,” she sat with great difficulty.
    It seemed as if she would rise in spite of the custom of kings and queens, but finally when they came to that part of the chorus where with a shout they proclaim Him King of Kings suddenly the young queen rose and stood with bowed head, as if she would take her own crown from off her head and cast it at His feet.
    An Epigram On Worship:
    Before the worship service, if one needs to be talking, talk with the Lord!
    Now why is John specific enough to note the “Right” hand— the Dextera Domini in Latin "right hand of the Lord" ?
    Why is John specific enough to note the “Right” hand?
    In the Bible, to be at the right side "is to be identified as being in the special place of honor" The right hand is a symbol of His hand of power and protection on John, the same hand that holds the seven stars (vv. 16, 20).
    Jesus then places his hand of power and protection on John, the same hand that holds the seven stars (vv. 16, 20).
    The message given by this glorious figure—Christ—is the same one that had been given to the women at the tomb ():
    Matthew 28:5 ESV
    But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
    Do not be afraid” or in our passage: “Fear not!” For those who believe, there is no need to fear.
    Why?
    This Person is the First and the Last—essentially the same as the Alpha and the Omega (see also ).
    Revelation 1:17 ESV
    17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,
    This Person is the First and the Last! Fear can melt away because of who Jesus is and what he has done.
    Fear can melt away because of who Jesus is and what he has done.
    Fear can melt away because of who Jesus is and what he has done.
    The specific wording “the First and the Last!”—essentially is the same as the Alpha and the Omega.
    Isaiah 44:6 LEB
    Thus says Yahweh, the king of Israel, and its redeemer, Yahweh of hosts: “I am the first, and I am the last, and there is no god besides me.
    What does this mean?
    The title used of God as Creator in Isaiah is now connected to Jesus-- Jesus and the Father are the same nature. Different Persons, same nature: God.
    The terms “first” (prōtos) and “last” (eschatos) emphasize that Jesus always has been and always will be Lord of all.
    Then Jesus points out a foundational truth:
    Revelation 1:18 ESV
    18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
    Here in the Greek, vv. 17 to the end of 18 are just one continuous run on sentence, and we might do well to see the close connections and contrasts.
    Christ is the living one—not a dead idol as is Buddha, or Confucius, or Muhammad but alive and always with his people, every moment, in control of all things. He is the same one who was resurrected.
    He died; that is, he experienced physical death on the cross. But now he is alive forever and ever. Because Jesus rose from the dead, he can promise the same for his people. God became man that the Living One might become the dead.
    Not only that, but now Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades, which give him complete control over that domain. Christ alone has absolute authority over people’s lives and deaths. He alone can free people from the ultimate enemy, spiritual death. Believers need not fear death because Christ holds the keys. The catch is “are you a true believer?” Do you trust completely in Christ’s work to free you from hell?
    The term “Hades” can refer just to the realm of the dead (6:8; 20:13, 14), not necessarily to the place of final punishment or “hell.” But in context, hell seems to fit just as in where the same term is used:
    Luke 16:23 ESV
    and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
    Jesus then has the keys to hell. Don’t be part of the crowd that Jesus will lock up for eternity!
    Revelation 1:18 ESV
    and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
    Jesus made a way for you to receive forgiveness and live abundantly for eternity. Trust in Him rather than your good works. The one who sustains the churches is himself the Life Giver.
    The one who sustains the churches is himself the Life Giver.
    The one who sustains the churches is himself the Life Giver (note the threefold repetition of “dead/death”). The term “Hades” refers to the realm of the dead (1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14), not to the place of final punishment or “hell.” Jesus then speaks words of encouragement to John and his readers
    Illustration:
    Transition:
    What is the next thing to do after worshipping properly?

    II. Share Proficiently (v.19)

    Jesus tells John to share this experience:
    Rev
    Revelation 1:19 ESV
    Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
    And this is not the first time we hear Jesus command John to share this! The command to write down what John had seen a repeat of verse 11 to stress the importance of what He is about to say. The wording serves as an expansion of the command in verse 11 to encompass this whole book.
    Revelation 1:11 ESV
    saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
    “the things that you have seen, those that are, and those that are to take place
    (yet another use of threes in this section—in fact, the sixth time in this first chapter)
    The command to write down what John had seen is repeated (see also 1:11). The phrase what you have seen is a general statement referring to both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen later. The vision that will unfold in the following chapters will include present and future events intertwined—events that both are and will be. Every future revelation has relevance for the present—the churches to whom this letter was written. The revelation also applies to churches and believers even today, two thousand years later.
    ), “what is now” = the church age (), and “what will take place later” = the future tribulation period (). But this seems doubtful simply because we find future references in and past, present, and future aspects throughout . On the whole, it seems best to see the three time periods (yet another use of threes in this section) as emphasizing how past, present, and future intermingle throughout the entire book to make its message relevant for all ages (e.g., see ).5
    Some commentators view verse 19 as a chronological outline of the entire book: “the things that you have seen” = John’s vision of Jesus (Chapter 1 verses 12–18), “ those that are what is now” = the church age (), and “what will take place later” = the future tribulation period (). But this seems not very likely simply because the phrase “the things that you have seen” is a general statement referring to both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen later. Also, we find future references in and past, present, and future aspects throughout . So, considering the whole, it seems best to see these three time periods as emphasizing how past, present, and future intermingle throughout the entire book to make its message relevant for all ages. Every future revelation has relevance for the present—the churches to whom this letter was written. The revelation also applies to churches and believers even today, two thousand years later.
    SO Jesus commands John to share this and we should too!
    The Christian’s responsibility is not to win but to witness—to record and share our experience with Christ!
    In witnessing, the words “I know” is better than “I think.” We should boast of our confidence in our Savior and what He has saved us from.
    If you disagree, if only you could spend just five minutes in hell, you would see the torture and come forth as a flaming evangelist seeking the lost with earnest passion and desire.
    C.T. Studd once wrote a short rhyme:
    Illustration:
    Some want to live within the sound
    Of Church or Chapel bell;
    I want to run a rescue shop
    Within a yard of hell.
    —C.T. Studd
    Too often we gossip the bad things and ignore the good things. Christians need to gossip the gospel.
    We, as believers, have the only remedy for the world’s ills. What a shame that we share it in dribbles when we should do so in a flood.
    Transition:
    So we are to share, but not just share, we follow up and

    III. Explain Properly (v.20)

    Christ explains that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches to John.
    Revelation 1:20 ESV
    As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
    John is learning and being discipled from the Christ, Himself!
    Jesus now provides insight into the “mystery” (mustērion), or deeper meaning, of two key symbols in the book: the seven stars and seven lampstands. Jesus revealing the mystery here is prophetic fulfillment. The use of “mystery” in is in an eschatological context.
    Daniel 2:28–30 ESV
    but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.
    So it is God who reveals mysteries and Jesus is now fulfilling this to John and to the seven stars or “angels” of the churches
    Revelation 1:20 ESV
    As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
    But just who are the “angels of the seven churches”?
    The meaning of “angels” in this context is debated. It is possible that the “angels” of the churches were human messengers, since the Greek aggeloi was occasionally used that way. For Example:
    James 2:25 ESV
    And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
    those messengers are angeloi - same word as “angels”
    Revelation 1:20 ESV
    As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
    Because the Greek word angeloi can mean angels or messengers, some believe that they are angels designated to guard the churches; others believe that they are elders or the pastors of the churches. The case for angels as the correct interpretation comes from the fact that every other use of “ angeloi or angels” in Revelation refers to heavenly beings.
    Because the Greek word angeloi can mean angels or messengers, some believe that they are angels designated to guard the churches; others believe that they are elders or pastors of the churches. The case for angels as the correct interpretation comes from the fact that every other use of “angels” in Revelation refers to heavenly beings. However, because the seven letters in contain reprimands against the messengers, and angels are not ever considered to be heads of churches, it is doubtful that these angels are heavenly messengers. If these are earthly leaders or messengers, they are accountable to God for the churches they represent.
    Since the term “angel” is used throughout Revelation to refer to heavenly beings rather than human beings (whether messengers or leaders), the same could and should hold true here also. However, because the seven letters in contain reprimands against the messengers, and angels are not ever considered elsewhere in scripture to be heads of churches or sinners, it is doubtful that these angels here are heavenly messengers. If these are earthly leaders or messengers, they are completely responsible and accountable to God for the churches they represent.
    However, the overwhelming usage of angeloi in the book of Rv is in reference to spirit beings (e.g., 1:1; 5:2). Perhaps these angels functioned like could serve as guardian angels (; ; ) or as personifications of the prevailing spirit or character of each church (i.e., heavenly counterparts).6 Consequently, the angels identify with the churches, serve them, and represent them before God (cf. ; ; ). The seven lampstands are the seven churches of Asia Minor and the intended recipients of the transforming vision that is the book of Revelation. Both the stars and the lampstands are under the sovereign protection of the Lord (, ).
    Hebrews 1:14 ESV
    Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
    Daniel 10:13–21 ESV
    The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.” When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute. And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.” Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.
    Matthew 18:10 ESV
    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
    Acts 12:15 ESV
    They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!”
    They could serve as guardian angels (; ; ) or as personifications of the prevailing spirit or character of each church (i.e., heavenly counterparts).6 Consequently, the angels identify with the churches, serve them, and represent them before God (cf. ; ; ). The seven lampstands are the seven churches of Asia Minor and the intended recipients of the transforming vision that is the book of Revelation. Both the stars and the lampstands are under the sovereign protection of the Lord (, ).
    Revelation 1:20 ESV
    As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
    Why choose a lampstand as the symbol of the churches?
    he first time we see the word lampstand in the Bible is in , as God gives detailed instructions about the golden lampstand to be placed in the tabernacle the Israelites were building.
    Exodus 25:31 ESV
    “You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand shall be made of hammered work: its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it.
    Notice that we see gold in use here as well.
    Gold was the most valuable of all metals. Gold is often spoken of in terms of being “tested by fire”; and the Bible compares the testing of gold with the testing of the church in
    In the tabernacle, the lampstand was to be placed in the first section, called the Holy Place (). The lamp was to be serviced by Aaron and his sons so that its light never went out. The lampstand was to give forth light day and night ().
    In the N.T., Jesus calls His church the “light of the world” in tbhe Beatitudes (), not of their own doing but because Christ is abiding in the church (). The churches of Christ are to walk in the light of God () and spread the light of the gospel so that all people will glorify God ().
    The seven gold lampstands among which Christ had been standing (1:13) represent the seven churches to whom this letter would be circulated (1:11).
    Illustration:
    There is other symbolism in the lampstand: it was made of one piece, as Christ is one with His church (); the six branches (6 being the number of man) plus the main shaft equals seven lights (7 being the number of completion)—man is only complete in Christ ().
    In 1:12 John sees seven golden lampstands. Images of lampstands or menorahs were a common decorative feature in Jewish synagogue architecture. [[PICTURE]]This fifth- to seventh-century AD mosaic from Beth Shean depicts lampstands on either side of the ark, the niche that housed the Torah scrolls.
    The most important thing to note about the lampstand is that it points to Christ, as do all the elements of the tabernacle.
    Transition:

    So What?

    The Bible is from beginning to end a testimony about Christ and God’s merciful plan of redemption.
    The Lord Jesus Christ graciously laid his hand on John and spoke words of comfort and assurance. Jesus identified himself as the One who ‘lives, … was dead, and … [is] alive forevermore’. He, the One who lives with underived life, life that is not sustained by anyone or anything, died. How could the Living One die? Only by taking that which is capable of dying—humanity! Having taken our humanity and having died in it, the Lord Jesus is alive for evermore, never to die again. What marvels we have here! The Living One dies, and the dead one lives!
    In light of these things, it should be obvious to us that Jesus has authority over Hades, the realm of departed spirits, and Death, governing both how his people die and when they die (v. 18).
    Having heard these words, John must have felt the comfort of the Lord flowing over him. Perhaps he exclaimed, ‘What a day! What an interruption! What a Christ!’
    The two primary emphases in this passage are :
    There are two primary theological emphases in this passage: who Jesus is and who we are as his people. On the first theme, see below under “Teaching the Text.” The second theme appears in John’s reference to other believers (1:9), the mention of the seven churches of Asia Minor (1:11–12, 20), and perhaps most powerfully through the image of the lampstands (1:12–13, 20). The lampstand or menorah symbolized Israel in the ancient Mediterranean world. The use of this particular symbol for believers in Asia Minor reminds us that the church stands in continuity with ancient Israel as the true fulfillment of Judaism (cf. ; ).7
    who Jesus is and
    who we are as His people.
    The second theme appears in John’s reference to other believers (1:9), the mention of the seven churches of Asia Minor (1:11–12, 20), and perhaps most powerfully through the image of the lampstands (1:12–13, 20). The lampstand or menorah symbolized Israel in the ancient Mediterranean world. The use of this particular symbol for believers in Asia Minor reminds us that the church stands in continuity with ancient Israel as the true fulfillment of Judaism (cf. ; ).
    Conclusion:
    The Lord Jesus Christ graciously laid his hand on John and spoke words of comfort and assurance. Jesus identified himself as the One who ‘lives, … was dead, and … [is] alive forevermore’. He, the One who lives with eternal life, life that is not sustained by anyone or anything, died. How could the Living One die? Only by taking that which is capable of dying—humanity! Having taken our humanity and having died in it, the Lord Jesus is alive for evermore, never to die again so that we might be with Him too for evermore. What marvels we have here! The Living One dies, and the dead one lives!
    In light of these things, it should be obvious to us that we are to respond by reverent worship. Can we really call it worship if it is not followed by “service”? It is near a mockery to praise the Lord inside these church walls unless we tell others about Him outside of these walls! We follow our worship with sharing about it with others, and then discipleship. This is a church worship “service” we are to serve our Master!
    1 Herschel H. Hobbs, My Favorite Illustrations (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1990), 272.
    Satan was standing outside a church building one Sunday morning. Inside, the people were singing, praying, and listening to preaching. A passerby asked Satan if that did not bother him. With a demonic, sneering laugh he replied negatively. Then he added, “They get that way on Sunday, but they will be all right on Monday. It’s just a little habit they’ve acquired.”
    Don’t let this be you. YHWH saves us from such a habit. Our worship is to make a difference in who we are and what we do, so let’s get busy!
    1 Herschel H. Hobbs, My Favorite Illustrations (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1990), 272.
    1 Herschel H. Hobbs, My Favorite Illustrations (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1990), 272.
      • Revelation 1:17–20ESV

      • Revelation 1:17–20ESV

      • Revelation 1:17ESV

      • Revelation 1:17ESV

      • Matthew 28:5ESV

      • Revelation 1:17ESV

      • Isaiah 44:6ESV

      • Revelation 1:18ESV

      • Revelation 1:18ESV

      • Revelation 1:18ESV

      • Luke 16:23ESV

      • Revelation 1:18ESV

      • Revelation 1:19ESV

      • Revelation 1:19ESV

      • Revelation 1:20ESV

      • Daniel 2:28–30ESV

      • Revelation 1:20ESV

      • James 2:25ESV

      • Revelation 1:20ESV

      • Revelation 1:20ESV

      • Exodus 25:31ESV

      • Revelation 1:20ESV

  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Let us get to know you!

Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
Age:
How did you hear about us?