In Revelation 5, this Worthy One comes forward to take a scroll from the hand of God. This scroll is the book of God’s eternal decrees – the unfolding of redemptive history. As Jesus opens the sealed book in Revelation 6, a series of visions remind us that any apparent delays in God’s fulfillment of His redemptive plan for this world are just that – appearances. God is at work. Everything is unfolding just as He intended. The unjust are getting justice. The people of God have not been forsaken. And God is winding down the old heavens and earth to make way for the new. God sees. He cares. He acts. And this is comfort when everything we see seems to say otherwise.
Join us this week as we examine Revelation 6 and find comfort in the reminder that, “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
In Revelation, Jesus had hard words for his beloved bride, the church. Her love for him is costly. And growing even more costly. She must face external threat and internal turmoil. She is tempted to love herself more than Him. Or to love Him less than herself. She struggles with purity and commitment and the purity of her commitment. She is often complacent, apathetic, and neglectful. She questions whether, ‘to love Him at a cost, is a bargain.’ ‘It is worth it? Is He Worthy?’
We ask the same thing. Not out loud of course. But in the quiet hours and in Valleys of Shadow. Following Christ is costly. ‘Is He worth it? Is He Worthy?’ God is kind and gentle with his children. He knows our anxious thoughts. The Revelation paints a dramatic picture of sacrifice and final victory. But the climax of this picture is not in its last brush-stroke, but in its first. In Revelation 5, the real question is posed – the question that answers all others. “Is He Worthy?” And the answer? “He is!”
The message to the Church in Laodicea in Revelation 3 is familiar. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
They were lukewarm, going through the motions, not getting too excited about Jesus, God, or the Bible. No fanatics here. No controversies either. Nothing but moderation. And their lukewarmness made Jesus sick to his stomach. Sickened by their contentment with a “form of godliness” but with no pursuit of its power.
Are you content with your relationship to Christ? Is just enough, good enough for you? Are you hot? Or cold? Or lukewarm? The Lord speaks a hard word. He is “The Amen.” He is the faithful and genuine witness. He has a hard but faithful word for a soft and unfaithful church. Will we hear it? Or will we bow up or turn a deaf ear? Join us this week as we consider Revelation 3:14-21 and consider the diagnosis and the remedy for lukewarm Christianity.
The message to the Church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3 is remarkable. Christ has no word of condemnation, only commendation for this church. His message to them is filled with the imagery of the open door. He is the Lord who holds the keys. He is the one who opens doors which no one can close and closes those which no man can open. Philadelphia was founded as a gateway city — not to defend the Greek cities to the west, but to evangelize peoples of the east with Greek life and culture. And now the Lord has a more important gospel for the Philadelphian Christians to carry.
Doors in the Bible often represent new opportunities for ministry, but they also represent the path from life to death and from loneliness into community. All these things are part of Christ’s call come to and through the door he has opened. Join us this week as we examine the message to the Church in Philadelphia from Revelation 3:7-12 and consider the call to follow Christ through the open door.
How careful are we to be on guard in our spiritual life? In Gethsemane, Jesus’ disciples could not stay awake. How crushing it must have been to hear Jesus’ lament. ‘And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”’
What about you? Are you spiritually asleep? Has the relative safety and comfort of being a Christian in our culture caused you to leave your life unguarded? How easily does the enemy of your soul exploit the unguarded areas of your thoughts, your words, your actions, your loves, and your ambitions? Jesus commanded to the Church is Sardis is to “stay awake,” remain watchful. Are you struggling to stay awake in your spiritual life? Join us this week as we examine Revelation 3:1-6 and consider the call to “wake up.”