Summary: Paul said he could do all things through Christ who would strengthen him. Nothing is impossible if Jesus wills it. He wanted John to come up an see heaven, and in a split second John was in heaven.
God expects us to do the impossible. He expected Luther H. Bridgers to play the role of Job and
keep on singing. He was a young pastor who was away in another city for a series of meetings. The
phone rang late one night and a friend had to tell him of the tragic news. Fire had swept through his
home and his wife and 2 children perished in the flames. He dropped the receiver and ran out of the
hotel into the empty morning streets. He walked for a long time trying to get self-control. He came
to a river and felt a compulsion to end his life and be reunited with his family. Life seemed
impossible-absolutely impossible. He could not make it on his own.
It was a terrible struggle, but he knew it was God's will that he press on into that impossible
future. Years later he married again and raised a second family. He became best known for his
song that has been sung by millions. His song goes-
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest name I know,
Fills my ever longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.
Jesus kept him singing because he was able to look beyond the impossible circumstances and his
own weakness to the Lord on the throne, and to his ultimate promises. Paul was going through deep
waters and he writes in II Cor. 4:8-9, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair: Persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed."
What kept him pressing on being not weary in well doing, but serving and singing the praises of his
Lord? He tells us at the end of the chapter in verses 16-18, "Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our
light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So
we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what
is unseen is eternal."
What a paradox! The way Paul copes with the impossible is by doing the impossible. He
focuses his eyes on what cannot be seen. By seeing the unseen and eternal he is able to be victorious
in the visible world of suffering. This teaching runs all through the Bible. It is one of the primary
messages of the book of Revelation. The perspective from which you see life makes all the
difference in the world. We want to ride on John's coattails as he soars beyond space where no man
has gone before, except the Son of Man, and possibly Paul. Paul does not reveal his vision of
heaven, and so we do not know if he went to the very throne room of God like John did. First I want
to call your intention to 4:1 where we see-
I. THE IMPOSSIBLE COMMAND.
The trumpet like voice of the risen Christ shouted, "Come up here!" Jesus commands John to do
the impossible. Do you think John would be languishing on that island as a prisoner if he had the
ability to soar off into heaven? He could no more go through that open door to heaven than he
could walk on water back to the mainland and be free. Some things we call impossible are really
just very hard, but for John to somehow rise up off that island of Patmos and ascend into the realm
of heaven was an absolute impossibility from a human perspective. And yet John was soon in
heaven seeing the very throne of God just as he was commanded. Here we see the impossible made
instantly possible. This reveals just how relative the impossible really is. The fact is, it is almost
impossible to keep anything in the category of the impossible for very long.
It was impossible John to fly in an airplane or a space ship that could blast him beyond the
earth's atmosphere. These seemingly absolute impossibilities were really only relative
impossibilities, for man has now done what was impossible in the day of John. And so it was never
really impossible, but just not available. John could not fax his letters to the 7 churches of Asia
either, but not because it was impossible, but because it had not yet been invented. There are
literally hundreds of things that were impossible for John that are now possible for us. So the point
is, in the light of all the impossible things that are now possible it is nearly impossible to speculate as
to what is impossible, for anything we might say could become possible in a short time.
Now if this is true on the human and earthly level, how much more does the sphere of the