Summary: The focus of the book of Revelation is Jesus. This message gives us a powerful encounter with the One who makes everything right.
“Encounter Christ Powerfully”
As we get started this morning, turn in your Bibles to Revelation 1 and have that ready as we go through the message this morning. Last week, we began our study through the book of Revelation. This book of the Bible is either the most looked over book or the most obsessed over book in the Scriptures. We said that it can seem scary, that it can seem hard to understand, and that it has been extremely abused by some preachers and teachers.
Let me see by a show of hands how many people here this morning have a weird cousin or weird uncle in your family? We all have that one relative, don’t we? If you didn’t raise your hand, then you’re probably the weird uncle or cousin. There are those who treat the book of Revelation like it’s their weird relative – good to see at the family reunion but not somebody you spend a lot of time with at the reunion if you can help it.
In Umberto Eco’s novel, The Name of the Rose, two monks try to solve a series of crimes in their abbey. At one point in the story, one of the monks makes the comment that the key to solving these crimes lay in the book of Revelation. Another monk says, “I asked him why he thought the key to the sequence of crimes lay in the book of Revelation. He looked at me, amazed: “The Book of Revelation offers the key to everything.”
There are those people who treat this book the very same way. The problem, we said last week, is that they try to use it like a calendar and almanac. They’re looking for a time-line of events to come and a prediction of things to come. They become like an art critic who counts the brush strokes in a painting but misses the big picture.
I usually try to avoid big words in my messages. However this morning I need to introduce to you a word. It’s the word hermeneutics. Say that with me. Hermeneutics is the science of biblical interpretation. One of the first rules of interpretation is that if the Bible cannot speak to every generation in every time and place, it is irrelevant. If it is irrelevant, it cannot be God’s Word.
Our approach over the next several weeks is to look at the big picture. We’re focusing on the major themes of this book of the Bible. We need to understand it in its historical context of the 1st century and we also need to understand what it means to us in the 21st century. We begin today with Revelation 1 and our goal is to encounter Christ more powerfully.
Rev. 1:1-20 – The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
1 2 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.