John's visions are about getting the Church lined up to God and His Way and precepts, and our knowing and being prepared by faith, spiritual maturity, character, and Fruit to develop our faith so we are ready for His return.
The purpose and intent of this Book of Revelation is to excite us about the promises of our Lord Christ and challenge us to get ready by our perseverance of faith in Him. We are to long for Him, but not just that; we are to know Him and seek Him so we will grow in Him with prayer, study, and fellowship. If not, we may be the ones on the outside of His love and care-both now and for eternity.
Jesus invites us to Him, to partake of His incredible wonders now and forever more! He wants us to be focused on Him and not to stray. If we do stray, His arms are open for our prodigal wanderings-arms which we do not deserve, yet they are there, nonetheless. He calls us to repent and proclaim Him. He contentedly and continually extorts us to righteousness, and in the general context of this Book, to lead and manage His Church in His Way and means. We do this by first managing our own spiritual formation before we lead others with their spirituality in Christ. A leader can't lead where he or she has not been, just as a church can't grow when its leaders are not growing. Here is Christ-beckoning, warning, and even pleading for us to get it right and then do it right-our lives and His Church in Him.
The call is to know and be prepared by faith, to grow in our spiritual maturity, to develop godly character, and to be infused by the Spirit and His resulting Fruit. Simply put, it is for the reason that Christ is coming; and, in the meantime, we partake in the building of His Kingdom with the bricks of our faith, each one interlocking with another. How are your bricks being formed and baked?
Vs. 22:21, Contexts: In the epilog, Revelation's purpose is to inform us that faith and our loyalty to Christ matter. We have a hope and we can be assured He has a plan and will love and care for us into and throughout eternity. It is all about loving God, longing for Him even in times of waiting and confusion, in times of stress, and in times of joy. We must place Christ first and foremost in all things personally and then collectively as a body of believers. Revelation is not about doom and gloom, or a great "end times" scenario on how and when it will happen. There is nothing about a great seven year tribulation or even a rapture; there is no antichrist or any of the things so many people like to write and preach about. Not that these things will not happen, but the specifics are not mentioned because they are not important. All we need to know is what Christ told us in Matthew 24. When we get caught up with the sensations of speculation, we miss the grand point of it all and become the fool of Proverbs' fame! It is as if we were at a football game arguing over whether we should have hamburgers or hotdogs and never realizing that there is a game going on. God has a plan; He will carry it out. He does not need us to do it, but he desires us to be in play in the game, of Christ, life, and church, to love Him and inform others of His love, and be faithful through thick and thin!
This is about the presence, glory, and holiness of God that wipe away the presence of sin, assuring us that we can and will overcome. In Him, we are overcomers! At the same time, God is communicating His purpose for us. From the beginning of creation until He comes back, God has sought loyalty and Fruit and the resulting growth of our faith, character, and maturity.
Word and Phrase Meanings:
The grace of the Lord… Jesus. A greeting, blessing, and benediction, seen in many of Paul's letters. It is a reminder that we are holy in Christ; He sets us apart for a reason and a purpose. Our life has meaning and value and Jesus wants that meaning for our lives not to be meaningless, but to be infused by Him so our meaning in life is to glorify Him, enjoy grace and fellowship in Him, and share it with others. This is also what the Westminster Catechism states, "What is the chief purpose of man? Man's (all of humanity who proclaims Christ as Lord) chief end (objective) is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever (Psalm 73:24-28; John 17:21-23; Rom. 1:6-7; 11:36; 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Thess. 3:11)."
…be with God's people. This was also an early church greeting as with "peace be with you." It was also a prayer for its people to be well, productive, and useful in Christ (James 1:1).
Said, "Amen." Nothing can thwart God's will and purpose. Satan thinks he can, and our pride makes us think we can, but God is totally sovereign. Our control is merely an illusion and a delusion to ourselves and others that He puts up with so we can eventually learn to surrender to Him and be trusting and obedient to Him (Gen. 18:18; 22:18; Isa. 60:1-5; Rev. 5:14; 7:9-17; 10:11; 12:5; 13:7; 14:6-8; 15:4; 17:15; 18:3; 19:15; 20:3; 21:24-27).
Amen. This refers to a title for Christ as "the God of Truth." When we say "amen," it means "so be it," and "most assuredly." We proclaim the affirmation of His Truth and ways. Christ is the promise arrived as Isaiah prophesied that a remnant from among the nations would return to God (Isa. 42:6; 49:6; 52:15). This now brings to a completion not just the book of Revelation, but the entire Bible! However, this does not close the Book. The call is to keep it open, studied, taught, and applied as in the fruit of righteousness that is expected of all Christians (Isa. 65:16; Amos 6:12; Matt. 5:20-48; John 15:5; 21: 24; Rom. 1:7; 15:8; 2 Cor. 1:20; 5:10; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 1:6, 12, 14; 2:10; Phil. 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 3:12; 4:10; 2 Thess. 1:3; Heb 12:11; James 1:22-25; 3:18; Rev. 3:14)!
God's Word conveys His will, it is His authority, and it is sacred Scripture. Therefore, it is not to be altered or manipulated by our will! God's Word contains His instruction and His covenant to us; it is most sacred and binding. When one seeks to manipulate or distort it, it is more than a slap in the face of God, it is a heinous evil. False teachers and those who use God's Word for their own personal gain insult Christ and deceive others, and they will be heavily judged (Deut. 29:20-27; Prov. 30:5-6)!
Thoughts and Applications:
How do we respond when life gets hard? Turn our backs on God, or stick closer to Him? Disconnect from others who can help? Become prideful? Or, be open to learn and grow?
How do we respond to thought, science and philosophy and then to God's Word, and then to life? Know this; science is both facts when it is rooted in reality and truth and it is also ideas that are told as fact. Science is not always fact, which is why theories are always evolving and changing. As science is man's quest and then rationalization to either seek truth and knowledge or to seek ones founder of ideas and impose them as truth. And when it comes to Scripture, many people do the same to God's Word; they seek to impose their truth as His Truth. When you come to a passage, always seek Him. Good theology is making sure our ideas are not imposed on God's works, rather surrendered to His Word. As, Revelation seeks to impart on us, is to be loyal to Christ, because the trueness and veracity of God's Word calls us to look deeper and to Christ. This is why theology is important; both of our understanding of life, nature and of His Truth all need to be at His feet. As theology is man's quest to know God, so make sure your logic and good reason of God's Word becomes your truth and life, for He is Truth and our life.
Remember this point: (it has upset a lot of people because many just do not get it.) Revelation is not just about eschatology; it is about doing life right, being loyal to Christ, and growing in faith. It is a manifesto on encouragement and a challenge to live a life of "true spirituality" so we will know what to do in all times and in all situations.
The bottom line is this: God is in control. His hand is intervening in us, in time, and in the situation-in His timing. We will have the bad; but most of all, we have the ultimate Good-we have Christ when we are in Christ! The application for us is what He seeks in us, the distinction of real, effectual faith that makes us able to teach (if one is a Bible teacher.) For a leader, it is discernment between good and false teaching, and/or good versus bad love, Fruit, and character, and/or a good versus a failing church.
Also, we are warned again and again so we can have no excuse. Rather, we have examples, percepts, and hope so we can prosper in our faith, making Christ real and impacting in us so He can be seen through us. One day, it will be too late. In the meantime, we are to do all we can to pursue Christ and apply His work and holiness into our lives, being examples by our life and our words. Outside of His grace and Kingdom are evil, sadness, strife, lies, and deceit that He never wants in our lives or our churches.
God does not give us an eschatology that is nice and neat, all wrapped up in a stage-by-stage, play-by-play plan. Revelation gives us a carrot on a stick, as God tells us everything is going to be OK, and here is My plan. Do not worry or fret over the details, just rely and trust on Me, I will be there!
Do not be caught up with the hype of speculations; rather, be caught up with Christ. Do not ignore the veracity of Revelation. His Word is explicit; He tells us what we need to know and that is that. It is a tragedy to chase what is fleeting and miss His wonders and Truth! We have noting to add to His Word and nothing to improve about it; rather, it is us that need to be approved.
Are you a committed Christian or a surrendered Christian?
Revelation takes us beyond mere commitment. Commitment is very good; it shows us our direction so to hold onto Christ, seek Him first, know His will, and then do his will. But, commitment has a negative aspect to it we rarely notice or preach about. We are still in control, whereas, surrender means God is in control, so we are not only willing to know God's will, we seek to do God's will. This is the essence of maturity, allowing God to be in control and making a commitment to surrender so He is in charge… Come to Him!
As this passage and the Bible ends with this phrase, so also I say to you: may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you forever more!
Christ wants us to love Him, not what is wicked and that will only destroy us!
Amen, come Lord Jesus come!
1. What is a favorite greeting or benediction you like to say?2. What do you think about all the books and speculations on end times? What do you think a sensationalistic author would think of this Bible Study series?3. How have you been impacted from this study? What did you learn?
4. How do you feel, knowing that Jesus invites you to Him to partake of His incredible wonders now and forever more? So, how can you be better focused on Him and not stray?
5. When you read the Bible, are you aware of its context and how its logic flows (That is, seeing only one or the main points of logic that can be assayed for a view or drawn from a single passage in its context and meaning)?
6. How do you treasure God's Word? What about His precepts? What gets in your way of appreciating or obeying God's Truths?
7. What can you do to put into practice some of the main precepts from Revelation?
8. How does Revelation help us to respond when life gets hard? How can you get excited about the promises of our Lord Christ? How have you been excited about them?
9. How does your life have meaning and value through Jesus? What can you do to be better at allowing your meaning in Christ be more infused by Him?
10. What does it mean to you that your life is to glorify Him, to enjoy grace and fellowship in Him, and to share it with others? What have you done with this? What should you do?
11. Why do you suppose (if you do) that a leader can't lead where he or she has not been, or a church cannot grow when its leaders are not growing?
12. What does it take to challenge your church to get ready by perseverance of faith in Christ? How can you get your Church better lined up to God and His Way and precepts and to know and be prepared by faith? How can you help increase yours and your people's spiritual maturity, character, and Fruit so you/they can develop your/their faith and be ready for His return?