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Revelation 1:4-8 presents the changes that comes about as we live in the presence of the resurrected and living Christ.
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne;
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood,
6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7 BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation1:4-8)
Let’s make some general observations on Revelation 1:4-8.
Change in our lives comes from meeting with God. The more clear the vision, the more powerful the change can be. Isaiah was confronted with a vision of God in Isaiah 6. He said, “Woe to me, I am a sinner. “He also said, “Here am I send me.”
An urgency about the message and the revelation accompanied this vision. We remember God told Daniel to conceal but here John is told to reveal. When God called me to ministry, I had to respond with urgency. I finished that year of college and transferred out. The Lord compelled me by two obvious facts, “The Lord is coming soon,” and “Why not go? I was able.” So I went.
No time to discuss the glory of the everlasting “I am”, the one who is, who was and is to come. How foolish when we think some one experience in a few seconds would be more fulfilling than meeting the eternal one! (1:4)
Jesus’ absence does not mean His lack of rulership. This is one of the biggest misconceptions in Christianity. Nobody would say it this way, perhaps, but they sure do live it. Most Christians, and therefore the churches, seem to live without Christ. They don’t seem to worry that Christ wouldn’t do it that way. The phrase “and many shall wax cold” came to my mind to describe this present generation.
Notice how awesome the Lord is. This same Lord has done something else for us. Many would be content to stop there but that is because they do not understand the Lord’s mission. God is completing some great and awesome plan through Jesus.
Most Christians think that because they believe in Jesus, then they will go to heaven. They think that is what the Gospel is. They are going to be in for a surprise. As a result, these sleepers just wait their turn to go to heaven. While waiting, they figure they may as well do something with their time. They turn to their music, then they watch some sports game. They get bored; they go out to some restaurant. Bored, go see some movie. Life goes around and around. The problem is that it is all social-driven.
On one of the cold evenings last week, I set a nice fire going in our wood stove for the evening. The fire was burning properly, and so I just added some more logs. Usually it burns nicely until the early morning. Sometimes, something happens, like that one night. The fire went out and the logs were not burned up.
On the one hand, it seemed good. I still had the three logs to burn. They weren’t burned up that night; I could use them another time. On the other hand, the house got cold. It is hard to start a fire when big dirty logs fill the wood stove. Since they are charred, it is no good to take them out. That would get everything super smoky and dirty. Usually as in this case, I lifted the big logs to the side as much as possible with some big tongs and then started a little fire going in that one empty spot. It is difficult. It was unfortunate.
Christians often act this way. They want to keep their logs from burning. They think that they have more to contribute by not being consumed by the fire. I can understand to a degree. Once consumed, then there is nothing left. But is that really true. We now know that the burnt wood has merely transformed itself into other forms of matter. While going through this process, energy is given off to make itself helpful to others. If we lose the greater picture of what is going on, then we will not be able to rightly be used of the Lord.
Instead the logs will boast how big he is, look at how long I am, or “I would make the biggest flame.” Who cares about the boasting? I just wanted my house heated. Christ wants His people to be logs that are consumed by the passion of love and service much like Christ. In this wood stove context, logs are no good if they are not burned up. Neither are Christians any value if they are not being and doing what God has for them.
We need to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the world, Christ and the church if we are going to live our lives rightly. The clearer this picture is, the easier it will be for us to find fulfillment in our lives.
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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988