“After This – The Coming”
The greatest entrance of all time will take place soon, and we can read about it in Rev. 19:11-16 (let’s read it together - on the screen). There has never been, nor will there ever be, a more grand appearing, a more grand entrance what we read about here in Revelation 19. This is the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ, when He will come back to earth to finally be the King of kings and Lord of lords. Unlike His first coming, there will be no question of His power and dominion at the 2nd Coming. Listen to some of the contrasts between His first coming and second coming (read).
This description in Revelation 19 is exciting. He will come back to the earth as He deserves – in power and in glory. I am overwhelmed as I imagine what the scene will be like, and I am drawn to the titles that John gives to Jesus as He comes back. John is a man who loves titles. In each of his books – the gospel of John, 1-3 John, and Revelation - he gives Jesus wonderful titles. The titles John ascribes to Jesus at His coming are Faithful and True, the Word of God, King of kings and Lord of lords, even an unknown name – and each title reveals a quality or characteristic about Jesus Christ. So let’s focus on the titles of Jesus Christ here in Revelation 19 and examine their significance to us today.
Title – “Faithful and True” – Rev. 19:11
There are only two times we see this title in the Bible, and both are used in the book of Revelation – once at the beginning and once here in Revelation 19 at the end. Revelation 1 begins with John seeing God in all His glory, and God tells John in chapters 2-3 to write down everything He sees and send it to seven actual churches located in Asia Minor. Each of these seven churches is addressed by God Himself in chapters 2-3, as God inventories each one and reveals what He has found.
While we could spend hours on each church, I want to focus on the last church God addresses - the church of Laodicea. Let’s read Rev. 3:14 (on screen-read). Did you notice the titles given to Jesus? He is the “faithful and true witness.” This is the same title as in Revelation 19. What Jesus is about to say is why He is called “faithful and true.” Let’s keep reading – vs.15-22 (read – on screen).
The Faithful and True Witness exposes the church here in Rev. 3, and He is the same One who comes back in Rev. 19. Notice the scathing remarks Jesus Christ makes about this church:
• You are lukewarm – I’m going to spit you out.
• You say you are rich – but you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.
What He told the church then is what we need to hear now. Jesus Christ, the faithful and true Witness, sees the church for what it really is. This Laodicean church was so content and complacent and self-sufficient. But when the One who is Faithful and True looks in, He exposes the church – it was destitute and completely revolting to God.
The two major descriptions of this church:
Lukewarm - “This state refers to those who have manifested some interest in the things of God. They may be professing Christians who attend church but have fallen far short of a true testimony for Christ and whose attitude and actions raise questions concerning the reality of their spiritual life. They have been touched by the Gospel, but it is not clear whether they really belong to Christ.” (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, John Walvoord, p.92) Think of lukewarm coffee – if you have ever tasted (talk about coffee – hot, ice – no one wants tepid coffee). You spit it out. That’s what God thinks about tepid Christianity.
Wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked – This church and the people thought they had all they needed in Christ. They were content to be religious, but God saw right through them. They needed spiritual healing.
God still investigates and sees through us today. Verse 22 is so important because it makes these remarks applicable to us today - “ANYONE who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” What is written applies to us, and we should take whatever instruction/warning is given.
Imagine God taking an inventory of your life today. What would God say about you? Or what He would say about us as a church? God doesn’t play our games. God is not a politician that can be schmoozed. He desires truth – as He is the Faithful and True One. As a church, God is delighted when we are humble and submissive to Him, when we sincerely seek Him and allow Him to be in control. He is drawn to that.
Jim Cymbala, in his book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire writes on this very idea of our weakness when he writes about the humble beginnings of the Brooklyn Tabernacle church. He details about his own desperation in wanting something more from church, from God. “That evening, when I was at my lowest, confounded by obstacles, bewildered by the darkness that surrounded us, unable even to continue preaching, I discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him. Our weakness, in fact, makes room for His power.” (p.19)
God desires for us to recognize that in and of ourselves we are spiritually inept, and we need His power and presence in our lives. There is a danger looming here at our church – it’s the danger of self-sufficiency. We are growing, God is working – but don’t you think for one second that the growth we have seen, the lives that have been changed has been a result of anything more than as a result of our people praying – particularly on our Wednesday nights from the time my wife and I got here – all of you who have at one time or another and are now with us – this church has grown and gone forward because of our prayers. Many of you have grown and taken great steps of faith in God because of the prayers of those around you. Prayer is surrender. Prayer calls on God to help and do what we are incapable of.
But the Faithful and True One, as much as He is drawn to weakness, He hates hypocrisy. He despises when we are fake or petty or complacent. He hates the games we play. God is so concerned about our spiritual condition. He wants you and me to be on fire – hot - for Him – learning every day to trust Him more. He is the Faithful and True witness, who is worthy of our trust.
Because God is faithful and true, He sees right into our hearts. Jer. 17:9 (on screen-read) says, “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve. “
If I could get you to take an action step today, it would be this – Be honest with God and admit your need for Him more in your life. Take a step in the direction of trust today – move towards being a hot Christian, not a lukewarm one. The Faithful and True One speaks here from Revelation, giving the warning to the church before His coming – He desires that we get on fire for Him, so that when we see Him in the clouds of Glory, we will not be ashamed.
Title– “Unknown Name” – Rev. 19:12
This is a great title because it reveals to us that all there is to know about Jesus has not been revealed. The more we get to know Jesus, the more we realize there is more to get to know. This title reveals His lack of containment to our imagination and theology – He has a “wildness” about Him that we will never be able to know Him completely. It certainly doesn’t mean we cannot know Him at all. Along with Paul, I desire to know Christ more – Phil. 3:8-11 (on screen). We cannot know God in every way – Knowing God is an ongoing experience that will last through eternity.
There are some things that you can know just about everything about.
-TNT last weekend ran a Forrest Gump marathon – I sat on my couch sticking out my lip like Bubba Blue, Forrest’s “best good friend” in the movie. Bubba lists all the ways there are to prepare shrimp: "Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it.There’s, um, shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There’s pineapple shrimp and lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.... That’s, that’s about it."
We have some people who think they know everything there is to know about Jesus (imitate Bubba)– “I know everything there is to know about Jesus – and the quote the Apostles’ Creed – “He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, when He shall come to judge the living and the dead.” As much as I love the Apostles’ Creed, I does not begin to describe Jesus Christ.
Some people believe they know every way in which they can and will encounter God – but God is not tame. “Not a tame lion” – CS Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia
There is still more to know. The apostle Paul said as much in I Cor. 13:12 (on screen-read) – “Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.”
Read "The Jesus I Never Knew" Phillip Yancey – P. 23
Jesus is not a tame lion. Every time in the gospels when I read about Him, it is amazing how my perceptions change, and how much I finding myself studying further to get His emotions in certain situations. For instance, in Matthew 23 when He repeatedly condemns the Pharisees (Woe unto you! Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, vipers, full of dead men’s bones), I have imagined Him speaking harshly. Yet at other times as I read this, because the rejection of the religious leaders led to Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, at the end of Matthew 23 we see the Lord’s sorrow as He says, “O Jerusalem, how I would have longed to gather you together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”
This unknown name that Jesus has at His 2nd coming tells me that we have so much to learn, so much to find out about Jesus. Principle: Because I do not know all there is to know about Jesus Christ, I can read the Bible and gain fresh insight.
Action step: Re-read the Gospels as if reading for the first time. Get rid of your pre-conceived notions. Read it fresh.