Summary: Christ's power, victory, the Lion of Judah
ENCOUNTER CHRIST POWERFULLY
Rev. 1 (p 861) June 16, 2013
If Jesus delays His return for His Bride the North American Christian Convention will meet here in Louisville, KY, July 9th-July 12th…It’s Theme: Victorious:”When life seems hopeless…read the end of the Story.” The message of Revelation! I’ve had the privilege to be the co-chair for the local arrangements…and because of that I was honored to spend some time with Matt Proctor, this year’s President…Matt and his wife Katie have 6 kids, Matt’s the president of Ozark Community College and in the midst of his preparation for the N.A.C.C. his wife was diagnosed with cancer, a rare cancer that had to be treated with surgery and not chemo…when he shared this at Fern Creek for one of our meetings it was right before his wife’s surgery…and with great emotion he said, “I hope to share with you great news at this year’s convention about Katie, however God works it out.”
Clearly he was in pain because of what his wife and mother of their 6 children was going through and what she would go through, but he was also clearly announcing God’s victory in life and death…His Hope…My Hope….clearly, cancer, surgeries, struggle in His life are not victors for those of us who hope in Christ for all eternity….(At this writing, the surgery was completely successful for Katie Proctor, last week they could find no traces of cancer in her margins)….
Matt will not be the same man who opens this year’s convention with the message…Encountering Christ Powerfully, as he was 2 years ago when they elected him to be president of the N.A.C.C. in 2013…little did he know the struggles, the pain…the faith testing he would go through in preparation to speak about Victory…
The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John the Apostle has a similar story.
Rev 1:1-3 (p861)
It’s not the Apostle John’s revelation…It’s the revelation from Jesus Christ, given to Him by God, it’s given to reveal what must soon take place and …Jesus has sent an angel to John, who has been exiled on an Island called Patmos. Revelation in Greek is “Apocalypse” literally “unveiling”…Jesus unveils…reveals to John who testifies to everything he sees.
The Book of Revelation places a blessing on the person who reads it, v3, but even more than that it puts a blessing on the person who keeps it (takes it to heart)…because the time is near.
So why are we (me) others, so afraid to be “blessed” by Jesus’ Revelation…but… Apparently I’m not the only one who has avoided Revelation. Fred Craddock says that reading through the New Testament is like walking down the street. The Gospels are first, and they are warm, inviting, well-lit homes-a familiar neighborhood. Next come Paul’s letters, still friendly territory. But as you move down the street through the Epistles, the shadows grow deeper-2 Peter, 1 John. The houses are small and neglected-2 John, 3 John, Jude. Then suddenly at the end of the street, shrouded in darkness, stands the frightening, haunted house of Revelation.1
Most of the time we just figure it’s smart to stay away from the haunted house! The reasons: it’s hard to understand…the church father Jerome said, “Revelation has as many mysteries as it does words.” Martin Luther said, “Revelation ought to be kicked out of the Bible because it doesn’t reveal anything!”
Let’s face it…weird images of strange creatures, a beast with 10 horns and claws of bronze, stars falling from heaven, a great red dragon with 7 heads, 666, blood, bowls of sulfur, people cutting scrolls, bottomless pits, the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, war, pestilence, jasmine and death…Man, that’s strange stuff…hard to understand….2) And the book of Revelation has been terribly abused…strange teachings, obsession, wild speculations…revelation seems to attack wild eyed speculators like WACO’S David Koresh, G K Chesterton remarked, “Though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators.”
So many of us have avoided it…like one Christian woman who said, “I don’t need to read Revelation…it doesn’t make any sense and the rest of the bible already tells me what I need to know.”
But Jesus Revelation is part of “all Scripture” it is “God breathed,” It is “useful for teaching” and is part of the whole counsel of God. It’s an amazing culmination of old and New Testaments, and it answers the essential human question…of “What is this world coming to.”
Revelation tells how the story of God’s people ends, and only when we know the end of the story can we make sense of the story’s middle where we live right now. If a rut is a grave with both ends pinched out then Revelation rips the bandage off the routine and ordinary…It reveals the terrors of Hell and the glory of Heaven…