Royal Mail in the Postman's Bag

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Text:  Revelation 1:1-8


            Have you ever received a letter from a close friend in which love was expressed, along with carefully worded criticism – a letter of commendation mixed with some painfully frank suggestions for improvement?  What was your response?  Those kinds of letters are worth their weight in gold even if it does prick the heart.

            Imagine getting that letter from the Bridegroom of the Church, Jesus Christ, the one who loves you the most.  Would you accept what He had to say about your relationship with Him?  Would you make the suggested changes? 

            You’ll get to answer these questions in our study of Christ’s letters to the seven churches.  For now, let’s study whom the letter comes from.  Read Text.

1.      The opening words of John contain a statement that this book is “the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  Where does revelation begin?  (With God.)     Can men create pure truth?  (No, he can only receive it from God.)

2.      What two things are necessary for man to receive God’s truth or revelation?  (He must earnestly seek it, and he must reverently wait for it.)

3.      Who did God give this revelation to?  (To Jesus first, to an angel, then to John.)     Why this progression?  (The most critical orders come from the top and they go through proper protocol when passed down.)     Why do you think Jesus chose John to give the revelation to?  (He must have been trustworthy, and he must have been a willing mouthpiece to speak God’s truth.)

4.      There are basically four ways to interpret the book of Revelation: Symbolic, Preterist (it happened in the days of the Apostles), Historical (it is happening all through history), and Futurist (to unfold in the last days).  John was totally unaware of these views when he wrote the book, but he definitely had a view of the book he was writing.  What was it, and what verse backs up your answer?  (John’s view it as a book that deals with current and future events.  1:1, 3b, 19)

5.      In verse 2, John gives his credentials for writing the book, what are they?

6.      In verse 3, John pronounces a blessing upon men.  What must man do to gain this blessing?  (Read, hear, and heed the things written in this book.)     Is there more than one way to hear a message?  Explain.  (Yes, you can hear and go right on in your old ways, or you can hear and the message changes your life.)

7.      Is this book simply a book of prophetic prediction?  (No.  If we are to “heed” the tings written in this book, it is to be considered as moral instruction and not mere prediction.)

8.      1:4  If this book were for the seven churches in Asia only, why is it included in our Bible for our instruction?  2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22     (It was intended for the moral & spiritual progress of all Christians for all time.)
Comment: To hear God’s Word is a privilege; to obey it is to profess your love to Him.  There is no real spiritual depth in the man who hears and forgets, or deliberately disregards, and obviously the love is not sincere.

9.      The first message John reveals from Jesus is “grace and peace be unto you.”  Define both of these terms.  (Grace is the divine favor shown to man; peace is the state of spiritual well being with follows as a result of the grace you have received.)     Do you think this book delivers what it promises regarding grace and peace?  Explain.  (Yes, for in the midst of persecution it reveals the Lamb’s outpoured blood in order to grant grace, and it gives us peace when we know Jesus wins in the end.)

10.  Notice John’s unique way of stating where this grace and peace comes from: “from Him who is and who was and who is to come.”  What does that say to you?  (My uncertain future is in control of Him who spans all history!)

11.  What do you think the “seven spirits” of God refers to?  (Seven is the perfect number that stands for completeness – 7 days of creation, 7 days in the week.  These spirits are sent for complete illumination, complete comfort, complete edification.  A sprit for each of the seven churches.)  Rev. 4:5; 5:6; Isa. 11:2

12.  John gives three titles to Jesus in verse 5.  Explain why each of these are fitting titles of Jesus.  (Jesus was the faithful witness of the truth of God.  He is indeed One who came back from the dead by virtue of His resurrection.  He is the ruler of the kings of the earth because no one has survived death like He has.)  Jn. 3:32; 18:37; Col. 1:18; Phil. 2:10-11

13.  Verse 5 states that Jesus loves us.  To what extent?  (To the extent of releasing us from our sins by His blood.  It’s a love that’s not just in the past (the cross), but it’s fresh every day in full force.)  Rev. 5:9; Rom. 8:37-39     The question then is, do you love Him?     What in you life gives expression to that love?
Insight: Love can only be paid by love.

14.  Verse 6 states that He has made us to be a kingdom of priests.  If that’s the case, what does that say about our standing before God?  (We are to serve Him as a priest, and we have immediate access before God.)     Do you exercise and enjoy the privileges that come with being a priest of God?

15.  How long is God to have the glory and dominion over the universe?  (Forever and ever = Greek – eon – a term for time; but it is here in the plural, and then multiplies it by it’s own plural! Compounded verb.)
Insight: It’s a glory that does not stop shining, cannot fade or be dulled.  Someone could attempt to fade His glory, but it would be futile.  Even your failure as His child cannot fade His glory!

16.  John states that when Jesus comes again, every eye will see Him.  How do you think this will be so?  (We don’t know, but nothing is impossible with God.)
Insight: He is going to gather all mankind that ever lived to stand before Him.  His appearing will either incite great fear or great joy, depending on your relationship with Him.  How is that relationship doing?

17.  Why do you think John adds the comment that when Jesus returns they will see Him whom they pierced?  (When He came the first time, they were carelessly indifferent towards Him, but when He comes the second time, every man will bow before Him.  Their act of piercing shows their indifference.)
Insight: This world wounded the Son of Glory.  If you have not reconciled with Him, the reminder that you were the one responsible for piercing Him will cause you to face Him with a sentence of “guilty!”  What next is written in John’s account is that a wail comes from across the earth because they recognize this!

18.  When Jesus says that He is the Alpha and the Omega, what does He mean by this?  (He is the beginning and the end of the Greek alphabet and language that was meant to be the expression of truth.  He is the beginning and the end, spanning all history.)

19.  This One who is, who was, and who is to come also has a name of “The Almighty.”  Is there any name higher?
Insight: This name declares complete subjection of all things to Jesus Christ.  It leaves nothing that is not put under Him.  The buck stops with Him…and He’s your Friend!

Conclusion:  With these awesome words, Jesus has underscored that He is the center of His Church.  It is His obligation to sustain the life of His Bride.  He wants to be at the center, not only of His Church, but of at the center of your life as well.  Does your life radiate the Life that Christ has given you?

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