Video montages are my weakness. I can have no emotional connection to a team or a story, but if I watch a video montage I can quickly start crying. I once had the desire to plant a church in Detroit Michigan because of a car commercial set cool music with the tag line, “Bold moves happen every day.” After the commercial ended, I asked my wife if she every considered planting a church in Detroit, she smiled and asked, “It was because of that commercial wasn’t it?” I have other weaknesses that easily stir my emotions. Dads and their children. The Military. Imagine my fragile emotional state with a video montage…of military dads returning home …to see their children. I am a glass case of emotions. Every time I see one of those videos, I cannot look away. I am pulled in and the tears start flowing. It is a weakness.
I love seeing children living their normal lives immediately change when they see their father. They stop everything and run to their father and throw their arms around him. After months and months of waiting, they are surprised at his coming and extreme joy follows. I have yet to see the video of a father coming home after a long deployment where when his children see him they run in the opposite direction because his children long for his return. There are usually other people in the video, but they do not run to the father. They merely watch because they do not belong to the father. They do not have longing or emotional connection at his return. The key to their joy is their belonging to each other. The children belong to the father. And since they belong to one another, it is right and good for them to belong together. Fathers should be with their children.
One of the reasons I love fathers returning home to their children is because it gives me a picture of the joy of the return of Christ. Jesus has gone and prepared a place for his people. Jesus belongs to his people and his people belong to him. It is right and good for God to be with his people. Revelation ends with a promise of his return. Jesus is coming soon. And when he comes, what will your reaction be? Will you be like a child running to his father after a long deployment or will you be like a child running from his father after breaking a window? Running to or running from? We know what will happen then when we look how we are living now. Are we running to the Lord every day or are we running from him? Until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray we all have the heart of the Apostle John and say, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” And when we say Amen, Come Lord Jesus, we are acknowledging the truth that comes with God’s Revelation. First, we acknowledge that Jesus is coming back.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus in Promise
Have you ever waited for someone at a restaurant who was late? After five minutes you are still confident that they will be there, but after 10 minutes you are doubting if they will ever make it. And by the time you hit 20 minutes, you are either leaving the restaurant or ordering your food without them. Likewise, many believers were very confident that Christ would return very shortly after he left. One year passed and they were still confident, but as one year turned into 30 which has turned into over 2,000 years, people start to doubt his coming. Now we know, Peter says that the Lord is not slow in keeping his promises for one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. God is patient, but God makes it very clear in Revelation that Jesus is coming back and very soon. Revelation 22:6-9,
6 And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
There is a declaration of the truthfulness and the trustworthiness of this prophecy. Let no one be mistaken. Jesus Christ is coming soon.
Revelation 22:7 helps to provide a reminder of the opening charge of this letter. Revelation 22:7, “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” These of two of the seven beatitudes in this book. The seven blessings that John gives in Revelation is like the seven “I am” statements he provides in his gospel. The goal is not only to be amazed at the power and glory of Revelation, but to obey God in light of his coming. Our obedience is how we worship God.
Christians worship God through obeying him in every area of our lives. Worship is not merely singing during our gatherings, but every part of our lives. Romans 12:1, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We worship by giving our resources (time and money) to the Lord. We worship by testifying to the Lord by not compromising in the workplace. We worship by not filling out minds with worthless things. We worship in how we eat and what we drink. We worship God in everything. Beloved, Jesus is coming soon. Are you living in worship of God?
The promise of Jesus coming should encourage us to keep going. We can easily get discouraged with the lack of fruit we see in our lives and ministry but press on and do not give up in well doing for you will reap a harvest in the proper time. All your efforts for the Lord Jesus will be rewarded. Beloved, he is coming soon. Continue to pray for your wayward children. Continue to teach your bible studies. Continue to witness to your co-workers. Continue to grow in the knowledge of God. Press on for Jesus is coming soon.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus in Judgment
And the coming of the Lord Jesus should not only encourage us to continue worshiping God but should also encourage us to repent. Revelation 22:10-13,
10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Salvation always comes through judgment. As Christians say, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus,” we are not merely saving come and save us, but also come and judge the world. Jesus is coming soon bringing his recompense with him. Recompense is a word not often used today but merely means to repay or compensate or make amends. God will repay each one for what he has done.
Friend, if you are not a believer, what does that mean to you? What does it mean that God will repay you for what you have done? Many who hear that question only thing that God will reward you for the good you have done in this world. And you have probably done many good things in this world since every human being is made in the image of God and being imagers will reflect God’s goodness in same way. But it also means that God will repay you for what you have done wrong. The Bible calls the things we do wrong sin. Sin is an afront to God’s goodness and character. All sin, even if it is directed against a fellow person, is ultimately against God. Friend, have you considered what this means for you? God will repay you for your sin against him?
One of the things my college football coach would always say, “The tape doesn’t lie.” Regardless of how I thought I played, the game film always showed the truth. Friend, one day the game film of your life will be played before a holy God and it will not lie. Everything will be exposed. Are you ready for that film session?
Amen. Come Lord Jesus in Blessing
The only hope for any of us on the return of Jesus is if we belong to him. We all have sinned against a holy God. We all deserve eternal death. The sin of Adm, which we all have partaken in has banned us from the tree of life (Genesis 3). And even though we all deserve death, God has made a way to get back to him and the tree of life. Without Jesus Christ, everyone is outside the heavenly city gates, but with him God has given us access Revelation 22:14-15, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” The last beatitude of Revelation, “Blessed are those who wash their robes.” We wash our robes in the blood of the lamb. We can’t fix our sin. We can’t cover it up. Jesus had to pay for our sin on the cross. He died in our place. Jesus is the lamb who was slain who has made peace through the blood of his cross. If anyone turns from there sin and calls on the name of the Lord Jesus, they will be saved. The are blessed because they have been given white robes, wedding garments for the great marriage supper of the Lamb. We can take of the tree of life and enter the gates when we come to Jesus Christ. When we worship God through his Son we are cleansed of our sin and forgiven. We have been wrapped in the righteous robes of Christ.
There is only way into the heavenly city. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father through me.” Most people today hear those words as exclusive and harsh. “How dare Christians say that Jesus is the only way to God?” Those folks are missing the point. God has made a way for sinners. No one deserves it. Everyone deserves to stay outside the city because everyone is filthy and has worshipped false gods. God has made a way for sinners to come Him. Do not miss this. God has made a way for sinners to come to his presence. Through repentance and faith, we belong to God through Jesus Christ. We can look forward to Christ return because we belong to God. We do not have to fear any longer because we have been washed. Blessed are those who wash their robes. Friend, have you been washed?
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11,
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
It sounds like those who are outside the city gates. Praise be to God it does not end there. He continues,
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Have you been washed? Blessed are those who been washed in blood of the Lamb
Amen. Come Lord Jesus in Name
This past week, I was in line at Subway with my wife and a lady overheard our conversation and started to talk to us about religion. She was catholic and asked if I was Baptist. After proudly acknowledge my Baptist convictions, she said, “Some Baptist don’t like us, but I believe it’s the same Jesus.” There was a part of me that wanted to affirm what she said, but another part of me that couldn’t. There is only one Jesus, but only the Jesus that is revealed in the Bible. Jesus identifies himself very clearly at end of his letter. We have already seen him identify himself as the Alpha and the Omega. The first and the last. The beginning and the end. Jesus is eternal.
Now he identifies himself as the fulfillment of prophecy. Revelation 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and descendant of David, the bright morning star.” Jesus is the promised Messiah from Isaiah 11:1,10, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit…. In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.” And Numbers 24:17, “a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Both these titles show that Jesus will be the Savior of his people and it also shows in light of the Old Testament context that Jesus will have power over the wicked on the earth.
There is only one Jesus, but only the Jesus as revealed in the Bible. The twelve-step program says that we pray and seek “a god as we understand him,” or “a god of our own understanding.” There is no god of our own understanding, but only the one true God as revealed in the pages of the Bible. We trust the name and character of God because we trust the truthfulness and the clarity of the Word of God. Jesus reveals his identity throughout this book. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is the Lamb of God. The Root of David. The Bright Morning State. The King of kings. The Lord of lords. The Amen and the Faithful and True Witness. The Son of Man. The Son of God.
Revelation teaches us about the character of God through the name of God. When we say Amen. Come Lord Jesus, we are saying Come in every way that represents his Name for there is no other name under heaven which man can be saved. It is the name above every name. At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus in Word
The Word of God is living and active sharper than any two-edged sword. The Word of God is sufficient and without error. The Word of God should be shared with all who have ears to hear. Revelation 22:17-20,
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
We should desire the coming of Jesus. The church who belongs to Christ should say come. The Spirit who lives in us should say come. And we should invite others to come.
There are many dangers in this life. One of the greatest dangers is straying from the Word of God. It is adding to the Word of God or taking away things from the Word of God. And there are many who add things to the Bible to twist its message (Catholics, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses). They say some of what the Bible says, but either add to it or take some away and thus twisting the entire message.
I was thinking about my wedding this past week and all my friends who came down for ceremony. I remembered giving directions to a friend to get to the rehearsal dinner but forgot to tell him one turn. Suffice it to say, he did not make it on time. If you add or subtract anything from the Word of God, you may not make it to your desired destination. God wants you to come to him by his whole Word.
I think the greater danger for American Christians is not to add things to the word of God but to leave things out. At the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Bishop Michael Curry delivered one of the most viewed sermons of all time. He highlighted the love of God and stirred hearts to hope and to something almost wonderful. As my friend and pastor, Garrett Kell says it this way,
I say almost wonderful not because I could find any flaw in his presentation, but because there was an essential truth absent from his message—why Jesus really died. At the pinnacle of his sermon the Bishop said of Jesus, “He didn’t sacrifice his life for himself, or anything he could get out of it, He did it for others, for the other, for the good and well-being of others. That’s love.” Jesus would say that the Bishop told the truth, but not the whole truth. And the part he left out is essential to understand what love really is… If we’re going to talk about love, we must talk about true love—that the sinless Son of God died a gruesome death to take the judgment sinners like you, me, Bishop Curry, the Prince and Princess, and everyone else watching deserved. Jesus did not die to warm our hearts or inspire us to feel love toward others. Jesus died because we did not love God and are destined to an eternity apart from Him in judgment.”
The wedding sermon is a perfect example of how the church squandered the opportunity to invite the thirsty to come to Jesus. I heard one of the commentators say about the message, “That Bishop Curry brought us to church several times in his message.” He may have brought some to church but not the church of the New Testament. One of the most viewed sermons of all time left out the best part. He did not preach Christ crucified. Kell continues,
Jesus would say the bishop left out the best part. Jesus’ love is seen at the cross where He died for people who do not deserve it. He then rose from the dead and calls former rebels to become His bride who know His love and show His love to all people. And the news gets better! There is a fast-approaching Day when Jesus will return to take His beloved bride to Himself and celebrate a great wedding feast in heaven with her. Today He has given good news that if you will turn from the sin He died for, you will be invited to that Royal Wedding in glory—not as a guest, but as the bride. Now that’s true love.
Beloved, do not add or take away from the gospel of Christ. Share the truth but share the whole truth. The world desperately needs to hear it.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus in Grace
Revelation is not primarily a book to ensure you understand all the inner workings of the prophecy. The book of Revelation as the whole word of God is about grace. The Bible ends with its main message, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” We are sinners deserving of eternal judgment and God has given grace in his Son. The grace of the Lord Jesus is the only way we can persevere during our trial. The grace of the Lord Jesus is the only way we can fight against sin. And the grace of the Lord Jesus is the only way we can get to be in God’s presence in heaven. Salvation is all about grace. We cannot earn it. We cannot buy it. We cannot work hard enough to get it. We must receive it. Salvation is all about grace. Salvation is all about a gracious God who gives grace to those who don’t deserve it for the glory of his name.
I pray that we will always be a people of grace, but that grace will never stop with us. I pray that we will be a people who desire the grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Let grace be extended to the pharisees and fornicators, cowards and kings, to the filthy and the faithless. Let grace say Come to the weak and wounded, the tempted and the tempter, to the hurting and the hungry. Let the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all and for all and let all say, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus.”