Learning from Revelation
1:1-20 - This is ‘the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (1). It comes from Him and it speaks of Him. Christ ‘loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood’ (5). We rejoice in Him. Christ is ‘coming with the clouds’ (7). We must get ready for Him. ‘The revelation of Jesus Christ’ calls for our response. It is not ‘for information only’. We are to ‘pay attention to what is written in it’. We are to ‘take it to heart’. We are to ‘do what it says’ (3). Christ reveals Himself to us. Is it for our benefit only? Is it just to make us ‘feel good’? No! We are to share with others what the Lord is teaching us. Christ said to John, ‘Write what you see’ (19). Don’t keep it to yourself. Share Christ. Tell others about Him. Tell them what the Lord has done for you. Speak His words of love: ‘Come...and learn from Me’ (Matthew 11:28-30).
2:1-29 - Every church in every nation and every generation has so much to learn from ‘what the Spirit says to the churches’ (7,11,17,29). Christ is to be our ‘first love’. We are not to ‘abandon’ Him. We are to ‘keep right on to the end of the road’ - ‘faithful until death’ (4,10). We are to ‘remain true’ to Christ, pressing on with Him to a life of real spiritual growth (13,19). Living for Christ will not be easy. There are always those who make things difficult for God’s people (14-15,20). Let your commitment to Christ be very definite: ‘I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. The world behind me, the Cross before me. No turning back. Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow. No turning back’. ‘Will you decide now to follow Jesus?’: Say ‘Yes’ - and let there be ‘no turning back’ (Mission Praise, 272).
3:1-22 - There are some doors which the Lord must open - ‘I have placed before you an open door that no-one can shut’ (8). There is a door which we must open - ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door, I will come in...’ (20). Christ is waiting for you to open the door of your heart to Him. He waits with great patience. He keeps on knocking. He waits to hear your prayer: ‘Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay’. This must be your own prayer. No one else can pray this prayer for you. Open your heart to the Lord, and remember where your prayer really came from: ‘The Lord opened my heart...’ (Acts 16:14). Open your heart to the Lord. He will open new doors: ‘a great door for effective work has opened to me’ (1 Corinthians 16:19).
4:1-5:14 - ‘In heaven’, there’s ‘an open door’ (4:1). Who has opened heaven’s door for us? - Jesus Christ: ‘He only could unlock the gate of heaven, and let us in’, ‘Jesus loves me! He who died heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, let His little child come in’ (Church Hymnary, 241,418). From heaven’s open door, we hear the voice of love. Jesus calls us - ‘Come up here’ (4:2). What happens when we respond to Christ’s call? - ‘At once I was in the Spirit’: ‘God sends the Spirit into our hearts’ (4:2; Galatians 4:6). The Spirit fills our hearts with worship: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God...’. ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain...’ (4:11; 5:12). Jesus invites us to catch a glimpse of heaven, to catch the Spirit of worship, to be filled with the ‘glory’ of God (4:8,11; 5:12-13).
6:1-7:17 - Christ invites us to ‘come’ (6:1,3,5,7) - and look at things through His eyes. With Him, we look at earth. With Him, we look at heaven. Troubled world, tremendous worship - These are the things we see when we look through the eyes of our Lord jesus Christ. Our world is deeply troubled. Heaven’s worship is absolutely tremendous. Of all our many ‘troubles’, the greatest is this: We are sinners, and none of us ‘can stand’ before ‘the face of Him who sits on the throne’. Our earthly ‘troubles’ are nothing compared with this! There is hope. There is a way of ‘salvation’. We can be saved through ‘the blood of the Lamb’. If, however, we turn from Him - ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ - there will be no hope. We will face ‘the wrath of the Lamb’ (4:16-17; 5:10,14; John 1:29). Will you be saved - or lost?
8:1-9:21 - Real gold and fool’s gold - What a difference there is between the two! In 8:3, we read about real gold. In 9:7, we read about something which ‘looked like crowns of gold’. There is a difference between the real thing and the counterfeit. There is a challenge for us here - in connection with both salvation and service. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus warns us, ‘Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven’. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul invites us to think seriously about the ‘quality’ of the ‘work’ we’re doing for Christ. Is it work which will prove to be of real, lasting value? - ‘gold, silver, costly stones’. Is our work superficial? Does it lack any real depth? - ‘wood, hay, straw’? Build on Christ: ‘Be careful how you build on Him’.
10:1-11:19 - ‘Take the little scroll and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey’ (10:9). We are to feed on God’s Word - the difficult parts as well as those passages which make us feel good. God’s Word speaks about judgment as well as salvation. Before we can rejoice in ‘the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ’, we must hear about His ‘wrath’: ‘The time has come for judging the dead’ (15,18). ‘Sweet and sour’: We need both for a balanced diet of God’s Word. We need the ‘sour’ - ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ - as well as the ‘sweet’ - ‘God so loved the world...’ (Hebrews 10:31; John 3:16). The ‘sour’ - ‘Flee from the wrath to come’ - creates a hunger for the ‘sweet’ - ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (Matthew 3:7; John 1:29).
12:1-13:18 - In Genesis 3:1, we read of ‘the serpent’. Here he is again - ‘that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan’. He is a powerful enemy. He ‘leads the whole world astray’. He is a determined enemy. ‘Day and night’, he is busy, accusing God’s children. He is a defeated enemy. ‘They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb...’. This is not only Christ’s victory over Satan. This is our victory in Christ, the victory Christ has won for us. Why is Satan so busy? It’s because ‘he knows his time is short’ (12:9-12). How are we to take our stand against Satan? We must listen to the Word of God: ‘He who has an ear, let him hear’. We must obey the Word of God: ‘This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness...’ (13:9). Christ has won the victory for us. Let us claim His victory by faith.
14:1-15:8 - With ‘patient endurance’, we are to ‘obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus’ (12), This will not be easy. Satan will do all that he can to defeat us. How can we be ‘victorious’ over him? We must rejoice in all that God has done for His people, Israel. He delivered them from their bondage in Egypt. We sing ‘the song of Moses’. Beyond the great event of the Exodus, there is something even more wonderful. We rejoice in what God has done for us - ‘In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself’. We sing ‘the song of the Lamb’ (15:2-3; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; 2 Corinthians 5:19). we hear God’s call - ‘Fear God and give Him glory’. We consider His ‘great and marvellous deeds’. In our hearts, we say, ‘Who will not fear You, O Lord, and bring glory to Your Name’ (14:7; 15:3-4).
16:1-17:8 - We live in an unbelieving and rebellious world - ‘they refused to repent and glorify Him’. In an increasingly hostile environment, we must seek to maintain our faithful’testimony’. There are many who take delight in sin. They rebel against God. They take pleasure in persecuting the people of God: ‘They will make war against the Lamb’. What are we to do when we face such determined opposition? - We must remind our enemies that they will be defeated by Christ: ‘the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings’. We must remind them that Christ has given us the victory: ‘with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers’. ‘We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Nothing will be able to separate us from’ His love (16:9,11; 17:5-6,14; Romans 8:37-39).
18:1-19:10 - We read of the fall of Babylon (18:2,10,16-17,19,21). We live in a time of sinful rebellion against God. This will be followed by the time of God’s holy judgment. What is God saying to His own people at this time? - ‘Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues’ (18:4). God is calling us to be ‘holy’, ‘a people belonging to Him’. Why does He call us to be holy? Does He want us to go around, feeling ‘superior’ - better than the rest? No! - He wants us to ‘declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light’ (1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:9-10). We look away from ourselves. We look to the Lord, and we say, ‘Hallelujah!’ (19:1,3,4,6). ‘Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory’ (19:7).
19:11-21:8 - Our Saviour is ‘Faithful and True’. He is ‘the Word of God’. He is our ‘Lord’ and ‘King’ (19:11,13,16). We are invited to ‘come’ to Him. The invitation - ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God’ - is a call to come to Christ (19:17). We come to Christ so that we might ‘reign with Him’ (20:6). Coming to Christ is only the beginning. God is preparing us for something even better - reigning with Him. This is a great future - ‘no more death or mourning or crying or pain’ (21:4). There is, however, a Word of warning for those who refuse to come to Christ for salvation - ‘If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire’; ‘Their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur’ (20:15; 21:8). ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31).
21:9-22:21 - God has given us a glimpse of a future which is heavenly, eternal and glorious: ‘the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God - It shone with the glory of God’. Is this ‘eternal life’ for everyone? Will all people ‘dwell in the House of the Lord for ever’? Will everyone be saved. Is this what the Word of God teaches? ‘God wants everyone to be saved’. He wants everyone to ‘come to the knowledge of the truth’, to ‘come to repentance’. Sadly, there are many who ‘refuse to love the truth and so be saved’ (21:10-11; John 3:16; Psalm 23:6; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:10). Who will be saved? - ‘only those, whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life’. ‘Come’ to Christ - ‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they...may go through the gates into the city’ (27; 22:17,14).