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Rev. Brian Bill
When the word got out this week that I was only going to preach for ten minutes several people made fun of me. One dear woman said, ďHe canít preach less than 45 minutes!Ē Iíve heard that others wanted to make bets on whether I can really do it. I can take it but thatís nothing like how I felt a week ago when I sent my sermon to our Office Manager for printing. When I went in to check on how she was doing, I found the sermon in the trash can. I guess for her ten minutes is even too long.
Since most of you wonít believe that I can do this, Iím going to change my name for this sermon. My name is John and I was a close companion of Jesus. I had the privilege of writing one of the gospels and three short letters. Later on, when I was exiled to an isolated island called Patmos because of my belief in Jesus, I had an experience that totally changed my lifeÖand may change yours as well. Iím but the instrument that God used to give you the Book of Revelation.
I want to remind you that thereís a blessing upon those who read, hear, and take to heart whatís in this book (see 1:3). I want to share an eyewitness experience with you from Revelation 4-5. Actually, it wasnít really an experience; it was an encounter. Incidentally, keep that focus in your own hearts when you come on Sundays. If you seek an experience, youíll almost always be disappointed. If you seek to encounter the Almighty, you will never be disappointed. That wonít be easy to do in your entertainment and experience-driven culture.
After coming face-to-face with Christ in chapter one, I took some dictation from Christ and wrote letters to seven different churches in chapters 2-3 (I wonder what kind of letter Jesus would send to PBC?). When I felt like I couldnít handle any more holy encounters I looked up and saw an open door heading into heaven. The same voice I had heard before, the one that sounded like a loud trumpet shouted, ďCome up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.Ē
I donít even remember going through the door but all of a sudden I was ushered into Godís throne room. I could tell God was on the throne but I couldnít begin to describe Him to you because Heís utterly indescribable and incomprehensible. Godís greatness always exceeds our grasp. As I searched for the right words I thought of brightly colored jewels and precious stones. I was terrified but also greatly relieved when I saw a green rainbow encircling the throne because it brought me back to Godís covenant promise given to Noah. Whenever I see a rainbow it makes me think of Godís smile.
There were flashes of lightning coming from the throne and booming sounds of thunder. It reminded me of Exodus 20 when God shook the entire mountain after giving the 10 Commandments. I saw seven lamps blazing and what looked like a sea of glass before the throne. Then I saw 24 other thrones, with 24 elders seated on them and then strange-looking six-winged creatures with a bunch of eyes appeared. Day and night they never stop saying: ďHoly, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.Ē Did you know that the first and last songs of the Bible exalt Godís holiness? (See Exodus 15:11 and Revelation 15:4). Every time they would repeat this phrase the 24 elders
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