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Revelation 22:6-21: Final Thoughts Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 July 2012

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How you handle the Word of God is absolutely critical for your health as a Christian.  If you ignore it, ignore reading it, hearing it, studying it, meditating on it, then that will stifle your growth and maturity as a believer.  We must never grow lax in our approach to the Word.  We must not do that as individuals or as a Body of believers.  Rather, we must value the Word through our personal disciplines as well as through our corporate ministries.  .

John commands us to value the words of his book.  At the beginning of the book he wrote: 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 (1:3).  In that verse we see a couple of the important themes in the entire book.  First, we see that the book is important.  We need to read it, hear it, and keep it.  Second, we need to do all of this because the time is near.  What ‘time’ is John talking about?  Well, from the rest of the book we know that he is talking about the return of Christ.  The reason why we should read and obey the words in this book is because Jesus is coming soon.  These two themes are the main emphasis in the final passage of Revelation.  John concludes the book by once again calling our attention to the importance of what God has revealed and the imminence of Christ’s return.  The passage is difficult to outline, but for our purposes this morning I want to break it up into three major headings: final thoughts on the words of the book, final thoughts from John, and final thoughts from Jesus.  Let’s consider these final thoughts together.

Final thoughts on the words of this book:

The angel begins by telling John that the words of the book are trustworthy and true.  Look at verse 6.  We can trust in these words.  Why?  Because God is the ultimate source for these words.  He sent the angel to talk with John.  He gave John the visions.  He inspired the book of Revelation.  Thus, we can trust it and believe in it and entrust ourselves to it.  Jesus affirms this statement in verse 16a.  Look at that with me.  Jesus has sent his angel to witness to these things.  These are not just the words of a man.  They are not just visions from some religious fanatic with too much time on his hands deserted on a lonely island.  No, these are the words of God.  They are trustworthy and they are true.  My beliefs about certain doctrines have changed in my life.  I have wrestled with passages and still struggle to understand the word at times.  But I believe with everything that I am that the Word of God is truly the Word of God.  I can encourage you with confidence to bank your life on it.  No time spent studying, memorizing, hearing, learning, this book will be wasted.  It is faithful and true.

John records again the promised blessing for those who read and obey the words of this book.  Look at verse 7b.  If you want to truly be blessed in this life and in the life to come, then obey this book.  We are all trying to find blessing in this life.  We all want to be blessed (and rightfully so).  Jesus tells us how we can be blessed: ‘keep these words.’ As we have seen, the blessing of this life may not be what we would expect (or even want at times), but the blessing in the life to come is far beyond what we could think or imagine.

The angel tells John not to seal these words up.  Look at verses 10-11.  Again, they should not be sealed up because the time is near.  The time is short.  Evildoers will do evil and the righteous will do right until the Lord returns.  We need this book to show us the difference.  We need this book to warn us and prepare us.  Even though it may be hard for us to understand at points, we do not need to seal it away or hide it from others.  It makes plain what is evil and what will happen to all of those who refuse to turn from their sins and follow Christ.  It also makes it clear what will happen to those who do persevere in following Him.  We need these truths.

We are also told to be careful and cautious with these words.  Look at verses 18-19.  We must not add to nor take away from the words of this book.  This means that we must not stray away from the teaching of this book.  We must not teach more and we must not teach less.  Again, the churches were struggling with false teachers: the Nicolaitans (2:6, 15), the teaching of Balaam (2:14), and the woman Jezebel (2:20ff).  To teach something as God’s Word that is not God’s Word is to add to the text.  To deny that something from the text is actually God’s word is to take away.  Both of these are terrible errors and will lead us away from saving faith in Christ.  We absolutely must be careful and cautious with God’s Word.  This does not mean that we need to be ‘heresy hunters’ (see the warning given to the Church in Ephesus in 2:1-7) but it does mean that we cannot play fast and loose with God’s Word.  We must be discerning.  We must study diligently.  We must be dependent upon the Spirit.  We must be faithful with these words.

Final thoughts from John:

Before we look at what I am calling the thoughts of John and the thoughts of Jesus, I need to note from the beginning that all of these words are from Jesus.  This is His testimony, His Word, inspired by His Spirit.  And to be honest, it is hard to identify the speaker at points in this passage.  It is not always clear if the angel or John or Jesus is speaking.  Thus, I want to be careful in dividing these up into the thoughts of John and Jesus, but for the sake of teaching the text, I thought these headings might be helpful to some degree.  Thus, let’s consider these ‘final thoughts of John.’

John records another situation of him trying to worship an angel in verses 8-9.  Look at those with me.  John is so amazed at the visions that he has seen that he falls down and to worship the angel.  He did the same thing in 19:10.  In both instances, the angel rebukes John and tells him that he is simply a fellow servant.  Yes, the visions were great and glorious, but the angel is just a servant like John.  The messenger is not to be worshipped.  Rather, only God, the true source of the visions, is to be worshipped.  He alone deserves our praise.  We might be overly critical of John at this point thinking: ‘How could he make the same mistake twice?’  Yet, are we not repeatedly tempted with worshipping the wrong thing?  We have a tendency to view popular preachers or beloved pastors as something more than they are, namely fellow servants.  We must not worship or exalt or give our allegiance to the messenger.  No, we must worship God alone.

John once again encourages us to believe and warns us against unbelief.  Look at verses 14-15.  If you have turned from your sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then John says that you are blessed!  If your robes have been washed in the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins at the cross, then you are blessed.  You will be allowed to eat of the tree of life and enter by the gate.  But if you have not turned from your sins, if you refuse to follow after Christ, or if your faith is not genuine, if you are trying to love God and the world at the same time, then you will not be allowed in the city of God’s presence.  As John has taught repeatedly, you will be cast into the lake of fire outside the New Jerusalem.  But John writes to encourage you to turn from your sins and trust in Christ.  Look at verse 17.  Have your sins left you dry and thirsty?  Then come to Christ.  Have you spent enough time playing Church and playing Christianity?  Then come to the Savior.  Do not delay.  Come to Christ today!

Final thoughts from Jesus:

Why should we not delay in coming to Christ?  Because He makes it plain that His return is near.  Look at verses 7a, 12, and 20a.  Christ is coming soon.  You may be thinking to yourself: ‘Well, apparently not since it has been over 2,000 years since John wrote this book.’  What Jesus is saying is that His return is imminent.  It could happen at any moment.  No other event in redemptive history remains.  Every day since the day John penned the Words of Christ could have been the Day.  And the same is true today.  Jesus could be here before you draw your next breath.  He is coming soon!

Who is coming?  Jesus tells us that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (v. 13).  The sovereign Lord of history is coming soon.  The One who was there in the beginning and will be there in the end is on His way.  He also tells us that He is the root and the descendent of David, the bright morning star (v. 16).  Jesus was David’s Lord.  David’s power and glory came from Him.  And Jesus was born in the line of David, just as the prophets foretold.  He is the Promised King.  All the Scriptures point to Him.  And just as they teach, He will come again to reign on His throne forever.  Jesus wants us to know that He is coming soon.

So then, what should we conclude from these final thoughts?  First, we must be faithful with these words.  Of course, this applies to all of God’s Word, but in particular, we should be faithful with the book of Revelation.  The words and visions that John has recorded for us should regularly be on our thoughts and minds.  We neglect them to our own peril.  We need to study them and know them and keep them.

Second, we must be ready for the return of Christ.  Notice how John responds to Jesus’ promise to come soon in verse 20: Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!  Can you say that with John today?  If you are hear and have never trusted in Jesus then I encourage you turn from your sins and believe in Him.  Why?  Because He is coming soon.  If you are hear and you are a follower of Christ then I encourage you to obey His commands and follow hard after Him.  Why?  Because He is coming soon.  If you are wondering to yourself: ‘Why should I study the Word and be faithful to this book?’  Because He is coming soon.  ‘Why should I go and speak the gospel to my friends and neighbors?  Why should I reach out to the lost this week?’  Because He is coming soon!  ‘Why should I not be consumed by the things of this world and spend my life for the glory of God?’  Because Christ is coming soon.  May these final thoughts, this promise of Christ’s imminent return, be ever in our minds spurring us on to love and good deeds.  Amen. 

~  William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Friday, 03 August 2012 )

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