Summary: When we see ourselves in the drama played out in Revelation, we can bet our lives on Jesus.
“The Great Unveiling: The Final Chapter”
We have watched this entire vision, this drama, with John. The drama is over; everything has been unveiled. The curtain has been drawn. And now the lead actor, Jesus Christ, comes out in front of the curtain and reiterates that everything we’ve just seen is trustworthy and true, and that He hopes we have been able to see ourselves in the drama - because if we have then WE CAN BET OUR LIVES ON JESUS. That, after all, is what John did when he boldly signed his name to what he wrote instead of using a surname.
Let’s look more closely at this final chapter. First of all there is a FINAL WARNING (vs. 7): “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.” John said that it is a privilege to hear these words – and certainly that’s true. If you’ve ever read Scripture and prayed at the bedside of one who is dying, or shared the Word with someone in need, then you know the comfort and joy and peace it can bring. But there is a warning: HEARING THAT SAME WORD CAN ALSO BE A CURSE. It all depends on what we do with it! If we accept it and live accordingly, it’s a blessing. But if we fail to accept or obey them, then it is not a blessing.
Listen again to verses 18-19: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” It’s a warning – a warning against tampering, interfering, disagreeing with the Word. IT’S WRONG TO IGNORE OR DISTORT THE WORD OR ITS TEACHINGS. What is contained in this Word is more than just the product of a great man’s mind, imagination, or genius; it’s God’s Word. We must therefore come to love it, know it, understand it, believe it, and obey it. We must not modify it, compromise it, or dilute it or ignore it in order to make our life more comfortable and acceptable. We must take it to heart! We must live it!
And if we choose not to, we are warned that GOD’S WRATH WILL BE POURED OUT UPON US! The entire book of Revelation stresses the theme that the punishment will fit the crime. If we add to the Word and try to make it say what it doesn’t say, the plagues, with all their gory details, will be added us. If we take away from the Word or ignore those words which are a problem for us, if we live in opposition to them, then God will take away our share of the blessed life with all its’ glory.
And all of this simply reminds us again that WE MUST BE OBEDIENT! Jesus said it clearly: “If you love me, you will obey what I command…Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me…If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching…if you obey my commands you will remain in my love…You are my friends if you do what I command.” (Jn. 14:15,21,23 & 15:9, 14)) A a hymn puts it, “What he says we will do, where he sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey.” There really is no other way! The way is fixed. It’s up to us to heed it! This morning we can reaffirm our choice to heed that warning – to commit ourselves to learn His Word and live by it.
The second message for our attention is a FINAL WELCOME, in verse 17. “The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” These words are addressed to two categories of people.
First THE CALLERS, the “SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE, are spoken to.” It means the Holy Spirit and the Church. The Church is us! The Holy Spirit has been sent to help us invite others to Christ. Jesus, the King of King and Lord of Lords, has chosen to work through His church – through us! OUR WORK IS TO SAY, “COME!” The end will come when all nations will have had the opportunity to hear the Gospel. That means that we have a direct relationship to the end of the age and the coming of Christ! There is no ideal time to get to work; this is the only time we have. This is the time to get the Word out! Our duty is not done when we’ve just heard the Word; it’s not done if we’ve only “lived right”; our duty is not complete if we have just been faithful. It’s only done when we have invited others to “Come!” The Holy Spirit is ready to help us say “Come!”