We learned much in the study of the first three verses of Revelation. Here is a summary:
- God the Father is the source of all truth, truth which he revealed to Jesus.
- Jesus in obedience showed revealed these end times truths to humanity in visions to John
- The revelations told of a hidden place, heaven, by one from that hidden place, Jesus.
- Appended to the lesson on revelation were some notions on blessings
- The blessing of faith, that is, belief before sight.
- The blessing of reading this book to understand, to comprehend the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
As you may know from reading here Curtis Baptist Church has a Life Group1 series entitled: Time Alone with God (TAWG). In this series the pastoral staff have been supplying a list of scriptures for the church members to read and study. On Sunday mornings us Life Group leaders would teach from those verses which the class members hopefully had been considering during the week.
A Truth Challenge
On Sunday afternoons I usually scan through the upcoming week’s lesson, but having lost my list I asked my wife if she had one. “I think it has expired,” she said, so I contacted one of the organizers at church and they confirmed what my wife had expected. So, I guess that was 2016’s plan.
In 2017 we had a new mission, a new plan to be spoken from the pulpit: The Truth Challenge: knowing, living, sharing. Its daily readings lead through the entire New Testament in 1 year. If the Life Groups wished they could teach alongside these passages. Generally, the scriptures teach that the pastor is to lead and the teachers follow. I like a more focused plan, though, and since the pastors were not pushing this plan I concluded that a divergence of our own class into a different path seemed legitimate.
What heading should I put the class on though? Well, I was led to take up the “Truth Challenge” of John, so to speak. What is his truth challenge? Those who read and comprehend the words of God and the Testimony of Jesus would be blessed. On that note I decided to keep our class on a slow, but more intensive course in the book of Revelation.
Ready, Set, Go!
Look at a letter from your credit card company or your retirement account or the pest control statement. What is at the very top? The name of the company is. That letterhead and company name alerts you to the source of the letter.
In Revelation 1 verse 4 the meat and potatoes of this book begins with a single word: the author’s name. John. John is starting his testimony. Jesus received from God the Father and obeyed in telling John. John as servant and brother in the Lord of Jesus received from Jesus and now obeyed in telling others as well. This is a the knowing, living, sharing model connecting the celestial level through to the earthly level.
Remember the beginning of the Lord’s prayer? One of the phrases says, “…thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” Well receiving from God and telling to others is how it was done in heaven and how it has been done on earth. We should aim for the same thing: learn from God share with others.
God is not containable
“John to the seven churches that are in Asia…” (Revelation 1:4a–ESV)
The last time that Jesus spoke to John so personally was at the ascension as recorded in Acts chapter 1. The Apostles were to carry the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection to Jerusalem, Judea and the ends of the earth.
The seven churches in Asia were in the “ends of the earth” side of the equation. Jesus had said that they Holy Spirit would come upon them and they would be Jesus’ witnesses. Well, they were. God’s servants had been faithful, God had been faithful and the gospel had spread.
Think back to Acts 1:8. It does not say, “pick yourself up by your own bootstraps and go.” It says that when the Holy Spirit comes upon them THEN they would be his witnesses.
Interestingly, the Roman’s had picked up John by his bootstraps and discarded him on that 13 mile island known as Patmos. Church history holds that John would not cook when the Romans put him in vat of hot oil so they exiled him. Note how the Roman’s could not contain the Holy Spirit. First, they could not kill him. Second, they could not silence him. In reality they could not silence the Holy Spirit.
Think about some of your co-workers. Have you ever known anyone who would never be happy no matter how many things you do to help them? When problem #1 is solved their dissatisfaction breaks out somewhere else. Or, think of a forest fire. It may seem out only to flare up somewhere else. Well, God’s Spirit is like this took. It won’t ever be contained try as people might to contain it.
The very fact that we possess the book of Revelation is a testimony to God’s power and God’s doing.
What about you?
Ask that God’s spirit will break out from your life so that you might be his witness. Where has the world tossed you? Out back in some seemingly God-forsaken place? Well, God easily comes to where you are. Look for it, be ready for it. Don’t be discouraged, but wait upon the Lord.