Summary: This is the first sermon in a series of messages on the Book of Revelation
The Revealing Part 1
Today we begin a sermon series on the Book of Revelation.
We are concerned about what's happening in our country.
There seems to be a growing persecution of the Christian faith.
I believe it's going to get even worse.
I also believe it's a sign of the second coming of Jesus.
Therefore, it's important for Christians
to know what Revelation says.
Let's imagine what it might be like
if someday police came to your home and arrested you.
You are tried and convicted of being a Christian.
You are then taken to Alcatraz Prison
which has been reopened to house convicts
due to the overcrowding prison problem in our country.
Imagine the thoughts that would run through your mind
as you find yourself with murderers and thieves.
Will this rocky island off the coast of California
be the place where you die?
Why has God allowed this in your life?
In about 95A.D. that's what happened to the Apostle John.
Approximately 50 years after Jesus died on the cross,
Domitian was ruler over the Roman Empire.
He had declared himself a "god"
and demanded that all people worship him.
The followers of Jesus refused
even when threatened with execution.
So Domitian decided to make an example of John,
the well-respected disciple of Jesus.
John was brought before Domitian
and ordered to worship the emperor.
Domitian tried to boil John alive in oil,
but God protected His servant from the bubbling oil!
So Domitian exiled John to Patmos.
This rocky island prison reminds us of Alcatraz Prison.
John had already written 4 books of the Bible:
the Gospel of John and 1, 2, and 3 John.
Now God was preparing him to write the book of Revelation.
Revelation gives a message
about the war between God and Satan.
It tells how that struggle ends.
It is a message of hope and encouragement.
It also deals with the harsh realities
of persecution, death, and heartache.
The book tells us that Jesus won the victory over Satan
on the cross of Calvary.
Because of that triumph,
Jesus can offer peace, hope, and renewal to you and me.
Revelation tells us that, with Jesus, we are on the winning side.
As we face the heartaches and the challenges of this life,
God wants to make sure you understand He is in control.
So let's begin looking at Chapter 1.
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.
This book is identified as the "Revelation of Jesus Christ."
Even though John wrote the book,
he wrote down only what Jesus told him to write.
The word revelation comes from the Greek word apocalypses.
It means, "unveiling," "revealing," or "showing" something.
Today, people all over the world
are trying to make sense of terrible events--
earthquakes, wars, terrorist attacks.
They wonder if something terrible is about to take place.
During the Cold War there was a fear
that nuclear weapons would destroy the world.
Those who had read what Revelation says
knew that wasn't going to happen.
God has given us His answers to the big questions.
He has given them to us in the book of Revelation.
God the Father, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit, and angels--
all were involved in bringing this book to us!
John the apostle was the brother of James
and they were the sons of Zebedee.
They left their father and the family fishing business
to become full time followers of Jesus.
At the time, these brothers had problems with their tempers.
Jesus calls them the "sons of thunder".
However, John became known as
"The disciple whom Jesus loved."
Acts 12:1-2 tells us that John's brother James
was beheaded by Herod Agrippa I in 44 A.D.
John 19:25-27 tells us when Jesus was dying on the cross
He gave John the responsibility of caring for his mother, Mary.
John moved to Ephesus, taking Mary with him
and caring for her until her death.
By the time John wrote the book of Revelation,
he was the last survivor of the 12 apostles.
He had provided oversight to the churches of Asia Minor
for almost 30 years.
When John spoke, Christians listened to what he had to say.
He was highly respected.
Christians all over the Roman Empire
were suffering persecution
and facing great temptation in a pagan culture.
John's letter brought encouragement to the persecuted
and reprimand to those who were failing to live as they should .
Verse 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.