September 9th 2018: Mike Viccary

Mike Viccary -9thSept18Revelation 1:1-8: Who is this Jesus?

What does the future hold? What will happen to the world in the next decade? What new technologies will change and challenge us? Such questions are being asked continually. What does the future hold?

The Lamb that was slain is on the throne. There’s an appeal to all of us to come to Christ. We need to know Him more today than yesterday. Revelation is also a book of warning to those who choose not to love Christ.

This is the revelation of Jesus Christ. It came from the Father, about the Son. This is different to the book of Genesis. Genesis is a book of history, Revelation is a book of prophecy. It bears a close relationship with the book of Daniel. John was brought into heaven and witnessed these things. This books is a blessing to all those who read it, to those who heed this prophecy.

After the general introduction in verses 1-3 we are then given John’s greeting in verse 4. The greeting is not just from John but comes from the Trinity. How wonderful! The Trinity say to you this morning, ‘Grace, Peace.’

In verses 5-6 we hear a doxology. Every time we read the Word of God we should praise His name. Then, in verse 7 we are given a declarative warning. We look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, but there’s a warning of judgement.

The opening is about the statement and revelation of God.

Christ Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. The Father is represented first. The seven spirits refers to perfection, completion, the action of the Spirit of God in all He does. The seven churches are representative of the churches in all the world. The order of the Trinity here is not the usual Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but Father, Holy Spirit and Son. The focus is on Jesus Christ.

In verse 5 we see three title given to Jesus Christ:
the faithful witness;
the firstborn of the dead;
the ruler over the kings of the earth.

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness. This is so comforting. We also read this in Revelation 3:14, 19:1, so it is not just a passing reference. He is the Amen. Why? He has given us this revelation. He is before all things. He alone has come from outside creation into creation and He spoke. He is the objective. He is also Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. He encompasses the entire span of history. He stood amongst the seven lampstands. He is here, at the lampstand of Penuel Baptist Chapel. He is walking amongst us. He knows our situation. He can see deep into the heart. He speaks truth. He instructed John to write down what he said so that we might benefit. When God speaks it is written down and preserved.

Christ is the only person to die voluntarily, to rise again and come back to new life in a new spiritual body. No-one has seen God at any time. When we see Jesus we see the Father – that’s how we see God. Only Jesus has seen God in all eternity.

Christ is the firstborn of the dead. He died in our place to pay for all our sins, to provide to us with the righteousness that comes by faith. He is the Lamb slain. He is the firstborn, the one who has the Father’s inheritance. He was prophesied in Psalm 89. In Colossians 1:15 we read He is the heir to all things. Will you share in His inheritance? The meek will (Matthew 19) inherit the earth, life forever (Matthew 25). We read of our inheritance in Ephesians 1:18. In 1 Peter 1:4 Peter writes we come ‘to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.’ Earthly inheritance doesn’t last but the inheritance we have will never be spoiled – and it’s eternal! We, as joint heirs, will inherit too.

He is from the dead, born into this world of dead (valley of dry bones – Ezekiel).Christ came into that and He lived amongst them. Nothing could harm Him. He had to submit to death but is risen (Revelation 1:18). He alone is the source of life, the author of creation and the new creation. Do we live to God or do we get caught up in the world?

He is the ruler over the kings of the earth. There are two kingdoms – the kingdom of this world (1 John 5:19) and then there are those of the kingdom of the ‘Son of His love.’ (Colossians 1:13) Nothing happens in this world unless God allows it. He always brings good out of things. For our comfort we need to remember He is the ruler of the kingdoms. The responsibility of believers is to demonstrate what it means to ‘Kiss the Son.’ Christ loved us, He actually washes us. As you read the Word of God, know His cleansing experience. He makes us kings and priests in the new kingdom.

In verse 8 we are given a self-revelation of Christ. There is a problem here if you are reading the NIV as there is an omission. The text is pointing us to Christ, Christ is the Alpha and Omega. Jesus is the beginning and end. Don’t worry! Before time began, after time has finished, Jesus is God. The Lord Christ is our faithful witness to salvation, to who God is, to who we are. He is the one who has told us how it is. Are we faithful? When we hear His word, do we say ‘yes?’

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September 2nd 2018: Ian Middlemist

Ian Middlesmist-Aug 18Hebrews 4:1-13

What are you seeking, dreaming of? Thomas Moore had the concept of Utopia, a desire to explore the idea of a perfect society. Today, the dream still pervades. This is probably different for each one of us. Perhaps it’s memories of better times, happier days?

What is your greater Sabbath?
We are a restless people. On the seventh day God rested from His creation. Sabbath is the seventh day. God rested from all His work. What does that mean? He put His feet up because He had worked really hard? He had a snooze? Our God could have created a billion universes in one moment if He wanted. We are His interest – men and women. The Lord’s rest was not inactivity. The universe is held by His power. He’s been active ever since. God is intimately involved in creation and our lives. It’s good to rest. Creating men in the image of God was not the end of His work – His purposes were not fully achieved, there was more to be unveiled. The purpose of rest is to point us to the eternal rest. The Saviour was a shadow of the things to come, the reality is found in Christ (Colossians 2).

The promise of rest requires a response (verse 1). The promise of rest for Israel was more than entering the Promised Land. It’s a promise that still stands. Disobedience, grumbling, complaining – refers  to the knowledge God has of our hearts. God knows our heart. He knows if we are believing or unbelieving. He knows some could attend church just to prove a point, He knows if we are not going to listen. He knows some will open the Scriptures but will not listen. In the end God will expose it all.

In verse 2 we are given the reason for the Israelites’ unbelief. Even though the gospel was proclaimed, it was met with unbelief. They perished. The gospel invitation goes out though churches and ministries all the time – to receive rest in Jesus Christ. It is a command of the sovereign Lord, come to Him. Great things have been done. Jesus Christ has come, become man. His miracles proved His deity. All has been done for you to believe. Turn to Him today. Rescue has been demonstrated. Jesus really died and really rose again. He lives! Look to Him. Believe in Him.

Will you believe? The promise is there, the invitation stands. Have you repented, confessed your sins? The time for that response is now – today.

The nature of rest (verse 8). Jesus is compared with Joshua leading the Israelites into rest in the Promised Land. However, this is far inferior to the work of the Jesus. Jesus provides us with eternal rest for our soul. Psalm 95 is quoted again. God’s promised Israelites would come to a land of milk and honey, a land where they were free to worship God. Yet the people go through a time of turmoil because they were not trusting in Jesus but doing what they wanted. David wrote a warning in Psalm 95 as well as a promise – it is possible not to enter God’s rest. The Canaan rest is just a shadow of the promise to come.

The nature of the rest involves ceasing from your own work, trusting in the work that has been done. It is a rest in the Lord, He has done it all. Trust in Him. Rest in His goodness, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11.28). Ultimately, the promise is of eternal rest.

We are again and again encouraged. He will give us strength ‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4:13). The life I live, I live by faith. Learn to function from a position of rest and truth, to avoid burnout. Utopian dreams will fail. Rather, listen to the word of God and obey. Be thankful for the Sabbath rest, remembering Jesus has done it all.