July 5, 2015
Message, Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor
The title of the message today is Eternal Supremacy. Eternal Supremacy.
Now up to this point, we have been looking in our current series, The Seven Witnesses of Jesus, at people who witnessed the resurrected Christ. People who witnessed the earthly Christ or Christ in His earthly form when He came as a man. And they testified as to who Jesus was and what Jesus came to do.
John, the Gospel writer, has been interviewing, if you will, or reciting what other people have said about Jesus. And today, what we are about to do, is hear what John himself has to say about Jesus.
Now in order to do this, we have to go out of John’s gospel to the book of Revelation and we are going to study Revelation Chapter 1 Verses 4-8. So as you are turning there, I want you to think about the book of Revelation. It is not Revelations as some people have said. It is like my Grandmother years ago, she used to say, we are going to Kmarts or Walmarts, if you have ever heard somebody say that. It is not Revelations, it is Revelation because it is a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Now I could literally read the whole book as an eyewitness account of who Jesus is, but I want to focus on just the first few verses here for you. The neat thing about the book of Revelation is it is an action thriller with all the elements of excitement and adventure and thrill seeking that anybody would ever want in a Hollywood movie. The only difference is that Revelation will come true. Everything written in this book will come to pass one day and that is why we need to be ready for Christ’s return.
Now what is interesting about the book of Revelation is that there is something interesting about who John writes to. John writes his book to seven different churches, right? That is who he writes to.
Now you have to ask yourself the question, why seven? Why not six churches? Why not eight churches? Numbers in the Bible mean something, right? They are significant.
For example, the number one is the number that means unity. The number three is significant. Think about it. In the Old Testament, there were three Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the New Testament, we see that Jesus is both…there are three persons of the Trinity: God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Spirit. We have ten commandments. We have six days of the week and God rested on seven, so seven is an important number.
We also have the number twelve which is important for the Jews. There are twelve tribes of Israel and would you believe, in the New Testament, Jesus chose twelve disciples for Himself.
The number forty is important. The Jews, when they hear forty, it means something. God rained on the earth with water 40 days and 40 nights. It is not accident there. When God decides to take His people on a short-term six-month trip from Egypt to the Promised Land, it turns out to be a 40 year excursion. No accident there. When Elijah, when Moses, when Jesus go up and fast, would you believe, they go up for 40 days and how many night? 40 nights. They means something. Numbers are important.
The number seven is central to the Jewish belief system. Seven is the number of completion. It is the number of wholeness. It is the number of perfection, which is why we have seven days of the week.
In Joseph’s day, God gave a dream that Joseph interpreted and he says to Pharaoh, there are going to be seven years of abundance…watch this…and seven years of famine. When God tells Joshua in Jericho, I want you to march around the city walls, not six times, not eight times…seven times and the walls will fall down. He tells Naaman, I want you to go get healed. Now go into the River Jordan and I want you to dip yourself seven times. The numbers mean something.
Jesus Christ, when He gave the Lord’s Prayer, would you believe He had seven petitions in the prayer. When Jesus is hanging on the cross, He says seven statements from the cross. When John records the sayings of Jesus in the gospel of John, would you believe, there are seven sayings in the gospel of John.
And in Revelation, the number seven is important. There are seven bowls. There are seven seals. There are seven lamp stands. There are seven angels. And there are seven churches. It means something.
Look at who John is writing to, the seven churches. Look at Verse 4 if you are at Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 4, say “word.” Say it like you mean it. It just lets me know if you guys in the back are awake. Now we do get excited about studying the Word today at Brainerd Baptist. Amen? Because we believe the Word is what changes our life. And in order to know more about God, we know more about Him through His Word. And we count it a privilege to study His Word. The Word of the Lord.
“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,” I know that is going to surprise you, but “seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wait on account of Him. Even so. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
What I want you to see in our time together today is that Jesus Christ has supremacy over all things, in heaven, on earth and under the earth, so that we would never be discouraged regardless of what happens in this world. Regardless of what happens in this world, we know that there is One Commander-in-Chief, there is One King of Kings and there is One ruler over all rulers and His name is Jesus Christ. Do you believe that? And that is what John says.
He shows us that in three distinctive manners. The first one is this. Write it down. He shows us Jesus’ majesty is transcendent. Jesus’ majesty is transcendent. Look at it in Verse 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.”
What John is saying here is this: Jesus Christ has eternally existed. He has eternally existed. Now John uses this phrase who is…he starts in the present…who was, in the past…and who will be in the future or who is to come. And he uses that phrase…watch this…in an inclusive manner to prove something or to provide emphasis. Watch this. He brackets this section with that phrase. Look at Verse 4. “Who is, who was, who is to come.”
Look at Verse 8. “I am the Alpha and the Omega says the Lord God, who (what?) who is, who was and who is to come.”
John, what are you saying? The first thing he is saying is this: Jesus Christ is the One who is. He is talking about His eternal presence. His eternal presence. Jesus Christ is as here today as He was 2000 years ago, right? Through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit which is why when Moses asked God, “Who should I say sent me?” Do you know what God says? “Tell them I AM Who I AM sent you,” right? Aren’t you glad He doesn’t say, tell them I WAS sent you. Or tell them, one day in the future, I WILL Be sent you. It is no accident that John chooses, as he highlights the ministry of Jesus, to record those seven instances when Jesus says, I AM. I AM the resurrection, I AM the door, I AM the Good Shepherd, I AM the way, the truth and the life. So Jesus is eternally present.
Secondly, He is the God who was. I talks about Jesus’ existence in eternity past. Think about this. God was before the world. God came before the creation of the demons and the angels and mankind and the heavens and the earth. I mean, wrap your mind around this. There has never been a time when God has not existed! Think about that. For Him to be God, He has to predate everything. That is what makes Him God. He is eternally in the past.
But finally, he said, He is the One who is to come. He is the coming One, talking about His authority in the future. Now this is the phrase that John used when he was questioning Jesus as to why He was dragging His feet in getting him out of prison. Remember, John sends his disciples. And the disciples asked Jesus while John is in prison, “Are you the One to come? Are You the Coming One? Or should we look for someone else.” And what John was asking is, Are you the Messiah? And if You are the Messiah, why am I still in prison?
And what John is saying is, You are the Redeemer. Are You the One who has authority. And we know He is and we know He has.
Another thing this section is talking about here…don’t miss this…is the infinity of eternity. You see, because God is the One who is and because God is the One who will come, that also means that we have no period on the end of our life as some have wrongly suggested. You see, there is a heretical belief out there called annihilationalism and it helps people feel good about the fact that when people die who don’t know Jesus, they cease to exist. Unfortunately, it is heretical. The Bible does not preach about that. The Bible speaks of a real place with fire and burning called hell which is a separation from God for eternity.
What we see here is this, when a person dies, they don’t cease to exist, they just change residences. And friends, don’t miss this, eternity is a long time. You see, after the Rapture and then the judgment and then the thousand year millennial reign and this other judgment for unbelievers, we will be no closer to the end of eternity than the day we began. It is infinitely long. In fact, I would submit to you, eternity…don’t miss this…is too long to be wrong for you. You need to make it right. If you are on the fence about whether Jesus Christ can save you from your sins, you need to reconcile that today by the grace of God.
Now, what he does is, he ends John by saying this: John says, the seven spirits and he is talking about here completeness. And I think it is a reference to the Holy Spirit. He is perfect. It is the fullness of God in the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
So in this text, we have the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit. So we see Jesus is eternally existent.
Secondly, He is also the faithful witness. He is the faithful witness. That word “witness” there is a key term. It is the word where we get in English “martyr.” A person who dies for their faith.
Now, John is not talking about Jesus’ Second Coming, although we will talk about that in a second, he is talking about His first coming, when Jesus came to the earth as a faithful witness. Do you know what he is saying? Not only is Jesus faithful, Jesus is factual. He tells the truth. We live in a world today where people don’t tell the truth. Listen to me. Jesus does not manipulate. Jesus has no deceit in Him. Jesus is not deceptive. Aren’t you glad? He tells the truth.
And not only does He tell the truth, He has told the truth about who He was and He has told the truth about what He will do. And He has made some promises that will hold true one day when He comes back. Aren’t you glad of that? We serve a God who is faithful.
Not only a faithful witness, but He is a factual witness. The great Bourbon Street preacher who used to preach on the streets of New Orleans many years ago, Bobby…or his name was Bob Harrington, Bobby Harrington. He used to preach the Word of God. And Donohue…I know I am dating myself here and even dating some of you…but you know remember the show Donohue many years ago. Donohue had him on and he had a debate between Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the acclaimed atheist back then, and they were debating the resurrection. And O’Hare looked at him and said, “I don’t believe the resurrection. You are talking about this resurrected Christ who is still alive. Frankly, I don’t believe that to be true.”
Well, one of the audience members asked to ask her a question and so the person posed this question to her and said, “Miss O’Hare, what are you going to do when Jesus Christ comes back and you meet Him face to face?” And she said, “Well, I don’t have to worry about that. Why? Because I don’t believe that.” And then Harrington decided to speak up. And he said, “Miss O’Hare, there are 318 verses that speak to the resurrection, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. You just said you don’t believe that Jesus Christ has resurrected. On this side we have 318 verses from the Bible. On this side we have one verse from the book of O’Hare. I don’t know about you, but I would rather believe the Bible.”
Friends, you know, we live in a world today where people are trying to disrupt and distort and reinterpret and dilute what the Bible says, right? We live in a day and age where unbelievers, who have never read the Word of God want to get in theological debates with you about a book they have never read. Have you ever noticed that? I think that is why Jesus said, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine.” How am I going to review a book with you that you have never read? When somebody says, hey, I don’t believe that to be so. You say, where do you find that in the Bible? I don’t know.
Friends, the Bible is true. The Bible is accurate. The Bible is reliable. If you are a skeptic in here today and you are still wrestling with the claims of Christ, you have heard the record of the gospels, but you are on the fence. Don’t miss this. I want to give you a 30-day challenge. For the next 30 days…listen to me…I want you to read one of the gospels, particularly the Gospel of John, and I want you to come to the text in the Word of God with an open mind and a prayerful heart. And I want you to try to see who this Jesus is. And I believe after 30 days of reading through the Bible prayerfully, you will come to the same realization that I have that Jesus Christ is who He says He is and Jesus Christ is going to do what He said He was going to do. The problem is, many people don’t do that. We come to the Bible with all our presuppositions and preconceived notions as to what we think the Bible says. Why don’t you do that prayerfully?
Jesus is not only eternally existent, He is not only the faithful witness, Jesus is the firstborn of the dead. Look at what John says. “And from Jesus the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead.” Now that phrase “firstborn of the dead” is another way to say, the first begotten of the dead and it is the word we get in English, prototype. It is another way to say prototype. Jesus is the prototype for us.
Now I know what you are thinking. Well, Pastor Robby, Jesus wasn’t the firstborn of all creation because He wasn’t the first person born. And Jesus definitely wasn’t the first one raised from the dead because we know other people have been raised from the dead before Him. In fact, in the Old Testament, I Kings Chapter 17, we know of Elijah raising a widow’s son from the dead. So we know that is the first one we see. And then Jesus, in the New Testament, Luke Chapter 7, parallels that miracle by raising another widow’s son from the dead. And then what about John Chapter 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. So how is He the firstborn of the dead?
Friends, I want you to think about this. The word “firstborn” should not be looked at chronologically, I want you to look at the word based on supremacy. Okay? Let me say it another way. That word “firstborn” does not mean sequence, it means preeminence, meaning Jesus is the superior firstborn of the dead. Jesus is the priority of the firstborn of the dead. He is beyond anyone who has ever been born. Why? Because when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He stayed from the dead. He never went back to being dead. Every other person that I have mentioned had to. Jesus Christ left the grave and He left it for good. Aren’t you glad? He is the premier One from the dead. He is the superior One from the dead. He is the eternal existence. He is the faithful witness. He is the firstborn of the dead.
He is also the ruler of the earth. He is the ruler of kings of the earth. Now because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, He has earned the right to be sovereign over the affairs of the earth. Jesus Christ is in control of all things which is why He said in the Great Commission, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”
Let me just get on a soapbox just for a second. But one of the things we see about the Great Commission…it will only be a second….but one of the things we see about the Great Commission is that the only thing that Jesus Christ ever authorizes Christians to do is one thing - make disciples. Did you know that. He says, “All authority in heaven and on earth have been given to Me. Therefore, go make disciples.” But sadly, we live in a day and age when the very one thing we don’t do is make disciples. Okay. I am off the soapbox. Another sermon for another day.
Jesus says, “I have authority,” and not only do I have authority, but I am giving authority to you. In the book of Acts it says, Every name…there is no name under heaven by which men shall be saved but the name Jesus Christ.
Robby, what are you saying? If you have ever bought a car before, a new car or used car, you went to the dealership and you haggled the price, right? And when you found a suitable, agreeable price, you signed the document stating that you were going to make payments normally for the term of the loan and then at the end of that term, after making payments whether it is 60 months, 72 months, 10 years, 30 years, whatever. At the end of making those…hopefully you are not buying a car for 30 years…but anyway, a house, not a car…but at the end of that term, you paid all the payments in full and because of that, you receive something in the mail with your name on it. What do you receive in the mail? The title. And what the title says is, you have earned the right to receive this car. It is yours because you have paid in full.
Don’t miss this. When Jesus Christ went to the cross and offered His body as a sinless sacrifice for your sins and my sins, He earned the right to have authority over the world. In a sense, when Jesus died, do you know what God did? God gave Him the deed to the earth. He says, it is Your’s because You have earned it. Which is why I think in Revelation Chapter 5, Jesus is the only One who is worthy to open the scroll or the deed or the title.
Look at it. Look at Revelation Chapter 5 Verse 1, two pages to the right. John says, “Then I saw in the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ’Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, ’Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, (that is Jesus), the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seals.” Friends, listen to me, Jesus through His death was given the authority of the world.
Many years ago, John Piper was preaching a message…this is a little dated…but he was preaching a message on this text. And here is what he said. He said, “If George Bush says to Jesus, how can You be the ruler over me? I have my office by the election of the people of the United States of America, a sovereign nation. And by virtue of a Constitutional inauguration of my installation, Jesus would look to him and say, “I have my office as ruler over you because of God’s election. And by virtue of my resurrection from the dead, my indestructible life and my installation at God’s right hand.” Piper’s message is from 1989 when George Bush, Sr., the older was in office. But since that time we have had many different Presidents. We have had Bill Clinton. We have had George W. Bush. We have had Barack Obama. And I want you to understand, the truth that Piper said in the late 80’s is as appropriate today as it has ever been. It stood the test of time when George Washington was in office and even Bill Clinton. It was the same truth that applied to Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama and whoever else comes into office.
I know what you are thinking. But Robby, don’t you see the state of the country we live in? I hear people say all the time, this is the worst that the world has ever been. Can you believe that? And do you know what my response to them is? You haven’t read history very much have you. This is the worst it has ever been for Christians. In fact, it would do you good to go back and read a history book of the First Century during the time of the writing of the Bible, particularly the New Testament. Friends, the leader at that time was a man named Nero, this evil corrupt leader. Nero basically held the destiny of your future in his hands. And depending on what he ate that day, or depending on the mood of his mind, he determined if you would live or die based on a thumbs up or thumbs down. If he wanted you to live, thumbs up. If he felt like you should die, guess what? Thumbs down. And that was it. That was the law of the land. He was the one who burned Rome and blamed it on the Christians. He was the one who lined the city walls and the city gates as you entered with crosses of dead people, Christians, to make a stand to those visiting the city of what he believed about Christianity. He was the one who beheaded Paul. He was the one who crucified Peter upside down because he didn’t want to die the same way that Jesus had died.
What are you saying, Robby? Even Nero was controlled by one above him. Friends, many leaders have come and gone - Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Reagan, Putin, Kim, Netanyahu, Obama and anybody else who comes and the millions before them, but there is still one Commander-in-Chief, right? It doesn’t matter who is in office because God Himself is supreme authority. He is the King of Kings. He is the Lord of Lords. And He hasn’t relinquished His throne to anybody.
I love what Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is like a stream of water in the hand of our God who turns it wherever He wills.” Let me say that again. “The king’s heart is like a stream of water in the hand of our God who turns it where He wills.” Proverbs 21:1
John says, listen, Jesus’ majesty is transcendent. He is the God who always was. He is the God who always is. He is the God who always will be.
But secondly he says, Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient. Look at Verse 5. “To Him who loves us.” Now John is going to…I am just going to warn you now. John is about to do what the old preacher said, I am preaching myself happy here. He is going to preach himself into worship, okay? I am just going to warn you. So he says, “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
John preaches himself into worship. And he starts by saying Jesus is the One who freed us from our sin. How did He do that? He freed us with His blood. Write it down. He freed us with His blood.
How does that happen? Well, John tells us. Jesus’ unceasing, unfailing, unconditional love was the motivating factor for Him to go to the cross to obey the Father, to provide the freedom for anyone who would believe in Him.
That key word there is the word “released” or “freed” us. It is another word that means to loose. It is another word that means to untie. So how do we become unshackled from our sin? Well, he tells us, through the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ blood, because of the death on the cross, provides freedom for us. The writer of Hebrews says it this way. Chapter 9 Verse 22, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, or forgiveness of sin.”
Now Robby, that sounds kind of odd. Why all the blood? Now you would agree with me, we don’t hear a lot of sermons on the blood anymore, right? When was the last time you heard a sermon, and I am throwing myself under the bus, don’t answer that. But anyway, we don’t hear a lot of sermons on the blood. But I want to spend a little time talking about the blood because if you understand the blood, you will understand the magnitude of the sacrifice of Christ. Blood was the system by which God allows sinful man to have a relationship with a Holy, perfect God.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden…follow me…He said, you can eat of any tree in the garden but that one. And when they were disobedient, which was sin to God, God had to step in and reconcile them to Himself. How did He do that? He took an innocent animal that did nothing and killed one, possibly two animals, to provide covering for their naked bodies which was a picture of their sinfulness.
So the first bloodshed that happened was in the Garden. Both of the animals, possibly two animals died innocently because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Then God says on the Passover, if you want your firstborn child to live, your son to live, you are going to have to slay an animal, a lamb, take the blood, put it on the doorpost of your house and the angel of death, when he comes and slays the firstborn, will pass over your house because of the blood covering your sin, in a sense.
When they dedicated the Tabernacle, it was blood that was spewed all over the inside of the altar. And when they dedicated the Temple and the Holy of Holies, they took blood and splattered it all over the altar.
Now why did they do this? Well, I John tells us, Chapter 1 Verse 7. Here is what it says, “And the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, covers us or cleanses us from all of our sin.” Now follow me here. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all of our sin. I don’t know about you, but that is odd. How can blood cleanse us? Because I don’t know about you, but blood normally stains when it touches fabric, right? Guys, have you ever cut yourself, ladies, have you ever cut yourself shaving and then the blood actually trickles on your shirt or your pants. What does it do? It doesn’t cleanse. What does it do? It stains. So how in the world can blood cleanse us? Here is why. God viewed blood as the life-force of a person, okay? So the life was in the blood. That is how a person lived, that is how an animal lived.
Look at Genesis Chapter 9 Verse 4. Look at the screen. “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its (what?) its blood.” You see, when God instructed the Israelites at Passover, you go out and take an innocent animal, bring that animal into the house and slay it in front of the kids. This was graphic, folks. They didn’t send the ten year olds or twelve year olds out back, hey, we are going the slice the neck of this lamb. You all go away and then come back. The whole family saw this. It was a horrific act. Why? Because some of these lambs were like family members. The kids had named these. They were part of the family. And now this innocent lamb that did nothing wrong, was going to protect us for the firstborn son to live. They couldn’t fathom that in their mind. And if you think this is horrific, it shows us how much God hates sin, right?
I know what you are thinking. Why in the world would this animal have to die so that this person could live? God says, because of sin, there has to be a substitution of life-force so that life can live. One must die in order for one to live. Robby, that doesn’t make any sense. Why would an innocent animal that did nothing wrong have to die? Come in real close. Two thousand years ago, on the cross of Calvary, an innocent man went to the cross for a crime that He didn’t commit.
Do you want to know how much God hates sin? He sent His Son, His only Son, to absorb the wrath that was meant for me. He absorbed the wrath that was meant for you.
You see, the reason you and I will one day live is because Jesus Christ, through His sin sacrifice, died. In essence, the transaction that set us free from sin was paid in full through the currency of Jesus’ blood. Aren’t you glad of that? Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to. Amazing love, how can it be, that You, my God, would die for me! You see, that is what makes it so amazing.
He is not only the faithful witness. He is not only the one who has been eternally existent. He is not only the firstborn of the dead and the ruler. He is not only the one who set us free thorugh His blood. He called us into His kingdom.
Do you see what John is saying here? He called us as priests in the kingdom. What he is saying is, He doesn’t regard us as lowly servants, He has made us choice men and women in the kingdom. That word “kingdom” is plural or corporate and the word “priest” is singular or individual. So we are individual priests in this corporate kingdom of God. We are serving God as choice servants to Him.
Now after God describes these three accomplishments of Jesus, do you know what he does? He breaks out into worship. To Him be the glory, for dominion and honor forever and ever, amen. Do you know what John is doing here and it is a great point that I don’t want you to miss. John is showing us that the highest form of worship is rooted in a greater biblical understanding of God. Let me say that again. The more that God reveals Himself to you, the natural response is to respond in worship. Do you want to be more intimate with God? Do you want to worship God more deeply? Learn the Word of God.
When you get in the Word and your understanding of God is expanded, then your worship of God is enhanced greatly. So maybe the reason you are not worshiping God the way you should, and I am not talking about singing, although that is part of worship, I am talking about living a life of worship to God. Maybe the reason you are not worshiping God the way He intended is because you don’t really know Him! There are a lot of people who know about Jesus, but it is different than knowing Jesus, right? A lot of people know about Jesus, but not a lot of people know Jesus.
So let me ask you a few questions. As a kingdom citizen, are you living in the kingdom of God? Do people look at you and say, that Sister is part of another world here. That Brother is a citizen of another kingdom. Is Jesus Christ the Lord of your life? Because to be in a kingdom, there has to be a King and you are not the King. Just a news flash. I am not the King. There is a King. His name is Jesus.
Let me bring it close to home. Is He Lord over your finances? Is He Lord over your business? Is He Lord over what you look at on the internet? Is He Lord over your relationships? Are you putting God first? Is He Lord over your family? Is He Lord over your marriage? Lord, you are first, not us.
John says Jesus’ majesty is transcendent. Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient. Jesus’ return is imminent. His return is imminent. Do you know what he is saying here? Jesus Christ could come back now! Do you believe that? Behold, He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so, Amen. I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Despite what the naysayers say, Jesus Christ is coming back and you have to get this truth. It is fundamental to the Christian life.
As you take a cursory look at the Old Testament and New, you realize there are close to 500 verses that speak of Jesus’ Second Coming. In the New Testament alone, write this down, one in 25 verses speak of Jesus’ Second Coming. It is safe to say it is a significant doctrine in the Bible, right? Jesus is coming back one day at His Second Coming. How is He going to come? He is going to come with the clouds, John says.
Now why with the clouds? Because the clouds is a symbol of the manifest presence of God all through the Bible. Whenever you see clouds, it is a picture of the glory of God. When God took the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt and brought them through the wilderness, how did He lead them? Not everybody at once. How did He lead them? With a cloud of smoke, right? It was His presence, within them, by them. When they dedicated the Tabernacle in the Old Testament, a cloud of smoke enveloped the Tabernacle. When they dedicated the Temple in the Old Testament, a cloud of smoke enveloped the Temple. When Moses went up to Mt. Sinai to get the Commandments, a cloud of smoke enveloped the mountain. When Jesus in Acts Chapter 1 went to be with the Father at His ascension, the text says He went into the what? The clouds.
I Thessalonians Chapter 4 says when the rapture happens, guess where we as born again believers will go into? The clouds. And it says in Daniel Chapter 7 Verse 13 that when Jesus Christ comes back one day, guess what He is coming on? He is coming on the clouds.
Now how will we see this, because the text says that everyone, every eye will see simultaneously. We were in Greece a couple of years ago touring. A couple of you went. It was a great trip. And our tour guide was Costas, a man named Costas, who was a Greek man. He was a born again believer who was a Greek individual. And he said…I will never forget this. He said, “My grandfather, back in the ‘40s and ‘50s read that verse and said there is no way that can happen. How in the world will every eye see simultaneously in the world. It is not going to happen because when I look up in my sky, it is different than what you are looking up at in Africa or Australia. We are beyond those days, amen, because of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and thank God for Google. Do you know what Google is doing is, they are paving the way for the Messiah because they are trying to get internet in the hands of every person on the planet and little do they know, they are paving the way for Jesus to return. Come quickly, Lord, come! Thank you, Google, right?
But anyway, so Jesus…and listen, He is coming on the clouds and we all know everything is on the cloud today…anyway, that is another sermon for another day. But when He comes…right, thank you Microsoft. But anyway, He is coming on The cloud, not a cloud. But Jesus Christ is going to come back and every eye simultaneously will see this.
Okay, Robby, so when is He coming? Well, you are not supposed to worry about that. You see, Jesus’ closest confidante asked Him before He left, “Jesus, are You returning soon to set up the kingdom?” Acts Chapter 1 And Jesus says, “You should know or worry about the times or seasons when I am going to return, you should be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. What He is saying is this: You need to be worrying about making disciples. And do you know what Jesus says that for? To show us that we need to be ready.
You see, Christians should live with a readiness and an awareness that Christ could literally come back today. Do you realize tonight could be the eve of your last day on earth. And the reason we are mindful of that as Christians is because we want to live in such a way where if Jesus Christ came back, we are not going to be embarrassed by what we are doing. Friends, you don’t want Jesus to come back and catch you doing something that is not God honoring to Him. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that, right? We want to be about the business of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because we don’t know when He is going to come back.
You know, so often people use the Second Coming to judge other people and say, listen, Jesus is coming back and if you are not right, you are going to hell. I think the Second Coming, the doctrine was given by God as a mirror for us to examine our own shortcomings to determine where we are with the Lord, right? Don’t worry about the log in a brother’s eye, I mean a speck in a brother’s eye, you have a log in your own eye and we need to be ready for the Lord’s return. Amen? And so we should extend grace and mercy to tell as many as fast as we can, as often as we can about the saving grace of Jesus Christ for anybody who would repent and believe in Him.
C. S. Lewis wrote an essay. You may have never heard of it, but it is called The World’s Last Night. And Lewis said this, he said, “The doctrine of the Second Coming teaches us that we do not and cannot know when the world drama will end. The curtain may be rung down at any moment. Therefore, precisely, because we cannot predict the moment, we must be ready at all moments. Women, sometimes have the problem of trying to judge by the electric lights inside of a store window how a dress or how makeup will look by the real daylight. That is the problem all of us have. We need to dress our souls, not for the dim electric lights of the present world, but for the broad daylight of the next one. The good dress is the one that will face that irresistible light, that light which is so different from the light of this world and yet even now, we know just enough of it to take it into account.”
Do you know what he is saying? We need to be ready. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He said it was going to happen and it did. Watch this. Jesus Christ, before He left, said He was coming back. And friends, don’t miss this, it will happen!
A missionary was trying to explain to some locals who were believing in false gods which we believe a no gods at all. It was in this difficult context and he said, I want you to imagine that I come into your town and as I am walking into this uncharted territory, I come to a fork in the road. And luckily for me, at the fork in the road, and I don’t know which direction to take, there are two potential guides that I could choose to lead me. One is a living guide and the other is a dead guide. Which guide should I choose?
Well, the people caught on right away and they said, a living guide, naturally. You would choose the living guide. And he responded and said, Well, why are you following a dead god when you can follow the risen Jesus Christ?
Friends, listen to me, we have One who has gone through death and conquered death and now lives. Why are we not following Him? And listen to me, when you have assurance to know that you are saved and you put your faith in a risen Savior, you have nothing to fear in this world.
It is like the little girl who was wandering through the grave yard one night. She was walking through a cemetery by herself. It was dark. It was scary. There weren’t a lot of lights out there. And a couple was at the cemetery of family members, paying homage and they saw this little girl walking. And they stopped her and said, hey, excuse me. You are by yourself. Are you scared? And the little girl looked up with wide eyes and she said, oh, no, I am not scared. She said my home is just beyond.
Friends, even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, our home is just beyond. We have no fear of death because we believe in a resurrected Savior.
I love what the anonymous poet said, Christ is the Life. The empty tomb proclaiming His strong arm and those who put their faith in Him, no death nor hell can harm. Do you believe that? We have a lot to be thankful for today