Summary: John gives us a picture of how we are to respond to the "Glorified Christ." John ’vision’ of the glorified Christ is stunning and revealing.
Responding To the Sovereign Christ
At the end of every service, we have (what we term) the invitation, the altar call, or even the time of decision. This morning I submit that every time you hear a word from HIS word, you make a decision. Believing that God speaks continuously, I know He speaks through His word calling people to Himself. John was on Patmos for the gospel and was found in God’s presence. What did He do? How did he respond? What should I do? (TEXT)
When I sense God speaking, what is my response to Him? Look at John.
1. I turned (vs. 12) – John heard a loud voice, like a trumpet so he turned toward the voice. For salvation & followship, nothing is more required than a turn toward HIM. Do you remember what your parents expected when they spoke to you? Mine expected me to turn toward them, looking at them, and giving them my undivided attention. To them, it wasn’t enough to say I was listening; I had to turn toward them. I submit that, in the message of our Lord and the New Testament, the evidence clearly points to us turning toward our Lord when He speaks. John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and Paul, all preached messages of repentance. Repentance by definition is turning around. It literally means an “about face.” It means turning from and turning to. Some of us do not want to turn from what we are doing and turn to Christ because we don’t see anything wrong with where we are facing now. This was on the “Lord’s Day” and John was “In the Spirit.” Could there be a better place & time to be than in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day? Yet, John had to ‘turn’ and so do we. We turn to HIM.
* Sadly from time to time, our human nature kicks in and we don’t respond like we should. In fact, we ‘turn’ but we turn wrong. Years ago, it was suggested to us that our daughter had a disorder called, “Oppositional Defiant disorder.” (I thought all teenagers had this) While her problem turned out to be different, we came to understand that this condition manifested itself in rebelling against any authority figure. This means when someone in authority says ‘go left’ the individual turns ‘right’. Can you see the implications of a person have a “Spiritual Oppositional defiant disorder?” Actually, it would not be a ‘disorder’ for the unsaved. The unsaved person automatically rebels against any kind of spiritual authority & certainly Christ is such an authority.
* To respond to Christ is to turn TO Him FROM whatever else has our attending. This happens at salvation, it happens in our sanctification, and ultimately in our translation to heaven.
* Interestingly, he didn’t turn to hear the voice, but to SEE the voice.
2. I saw – John turned to respond to the voice that called to Him. From the sound (and being in the spirit), He knew that this was a voice from the Lord Himself. I honestly don’t think He was prepared for all He saw.
* The first thing he mentions is the Seven Golden Lampstands – We do not have to ‘guess’ about the symbolism of the ‘Lampstands’ because in verse 20 the Lord tells us that they are the churches. The number seven would have us conclude that He sees all the churches of all mankind for all of time. The reason our Lord pictures the church as “Lampstands” is because the church is to light this dark world. We are to be fueled by the ‘oil’ of the Holy Spirit of God fulfilling ONE purpose in this world, shining His light in the dark places. He walks among His churches, reveals Himself through His church, & judges the Laodiceans wherever He finds them. His words to the church? “Call to me, & I will answer.”
* One Like the SON OF MAN - He sees a picture of the Sovereign, Glorified Christ. Remember John is the one who sat closest to Jesus in the upper room, he referred to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus love,” and arguably he spent more time with Jesus (on earth) than did anyone else. Yet now, he turns to see this one who was “like” the Son of Man. It would seem that John was speechless as he witnessed, once again, God in human form. What follows is a description of what Jesus looked “LIKE.” John was so taken with what he saw, that he grabbed for words – and those words seem to fall short. It kind of reminds us of Isaiah. Although Isaiah didn’t seem to search for words, he was obviously awed by what he saw. (Read Verses 12-16 emphasizing ‘like’). To see God is to discover that all the vocabulary, intellect, & ability you have is impotent against the One who is Omnipotent. Eye has not seen nor can the human mind conceive God. Let’s take a look at what John could tell us. His description tells us something of the Glorified Lord.