Christ Covenant Church
Jon Marq Toombs
Text: Revelation 1:4-7
16 April 2017
Easter Day

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OT Scripture Reading – Psalm 16

Our sermon text for today is Revelation 1:4-7. If you are willing and able, please stand for the reading of God’s Holy Word. The word of God reads:

The word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God!)

[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, [5] 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 [6] and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. [7] 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.

May God add his blessings to the reading, the hearing, and the preaching of his word. All the church says: Amen!

Sermon Notes – Jesus the Living One – Revelation 1:4-7

Intro – “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” — Timothy Keller, The Reason for God

Seven Churches = total, “one holy catholic church”
Seven Spirits = perfect Spirit of God (Zech. 4:2-9) / Spirit empowers us to become the temple in which God dwells.

Contra Greco-Roman Culture – Zeus “who was and is and will be” – John insists that these traits belong to the triune God alone. (Koester)

Yahweh = Exo. 3:14; Isa. 43:10

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people ofIsrael: r‘I AM has sent me to you.’”  Exodus 3:14

“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” Isaiah 43:10

The expression is used to inspire confidence in God’s sovereignty over all time, life, and history — no matter what comes to pass.

I.   Who is Jesus? Vss 4-5

These titles refer to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ: Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension. (Koester)

Note the echoes of Psalm 89:27, 37

And I will make him the firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.

Like the moon it shall be established forever,
faithful witness in the skies.

Faithful Witness / Martyr = Crucifixion – he was faithful unto death; he laid down his life for his people; his blood was shed for the sins of the world.

Firstborn from the dead = Resurrection / not the first ever to rise from the dead, but the first of many who will rise from the dead and follow the lamb into the new creation. Jesus inaugurated new creation by means of his resurrection. the future broke into the present.

Herman Bavinck Scripture…teaches that both heaven and earth, spirit and matter, have been created by God; that the body belongs to the essential being of humans and in its way exhibits the image of God; that death is a consequence of and punishment for sin. For Scripture, then, everything depends on the physical resurrection of Christ. The that is integral to the how: if Christ did not arise physically, then death, then sin, then he who had the power of death has not been defeated. In that case, actually, not Christ but Satan came out the victor. According to Scripture, therefore, the significance of the physical resurrection of Christ is inexhaustibly rich. – Reformed Dogmatics

Ruler = Ascension / See Psalm 2

II.  What does Jesus do? Vss 5-6

He loves us. Not in word only, but in action and truth – in his death, burial, life.

He freed us from our sins by his blood (the cross)

He made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father – echoes of Exodus 19:6

We’re on a mission from God to bring people from every tribe, language, nation, and people into the new creation with Christ. (Isa 43:10)

The point is this: The love of Christ transforms our life, purpose, and mission.

III. Where is Jesus? Vss 4, 7

In heaven, before the throne of God, at the center of ultimate reality.

“Come with the clouds” echoes Daniel 7:13 (son of man)

“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him. Daniel 7:13

All of this assumes that Jesus is the Living One, that he was dead, but now is he alive forever and ever.

Dead men don’t rule over kings, love their people, or come on the clouds.

Jesus is the Living One – and just as he appeared to many after his resurrection and before his ascension, so he will appear to all people after his resurrection when he comes again. It is the promise of the second advent of Jesus Christ that fills us with hope.

Eugene Peterson – In the Revelation of Jesus Christ we are immersed in eschatology: an awareness that the future is breaking in upon us. It involves the belief that the resurrection appearances of Christ are not complete. This belief makes life good, for when we are expecting a resurrection appearance we can accept our whole present and find joy not only in its joys but also in its sorrows, happiness not only in its happiness but also in its pain. We travel on through either happiness or pain because in the promises of God we see possibilities for the transient, the dying, and the dead. (Reversed Thunder, p 21)

IV. Why it Matters?

Worship – vs 6 “to him be glory forever”

Wail – vs 7 = lit “to chop” (beat the breast in grief)

worldly sorrow ends in death / godly sorrow leads to repentance which leads to life /

echoes Zech 12:10 – applies to Jews and Gentiles.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. Zechariah 12:10

For example – a Roman soldier who pierced Jesus at the cross repented and confessed “Truly he was the son of God” John 19:37 cp Matthew 27

But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” John 19:34-37

N.T. Wright – “Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment. But new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present world … That, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, which he has thrown open before us.” ―  Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

Pastoral Prayer:

Adorable Redeemer, 
You who was lifted up on a cross
are ascended to highest heaven.
You, who as Man of sorrows was crowned with thorns,
are now as Lord of life wreathed with glory.
 Once, no shame more deep than yours,
 no agony more bitter,
 no death more cruel.
Now, no exaltation more high, 
no life more glorious, 
no advocate more effective.
 What more could be done than you have done?!
 Your death is our life,
 Your resurrection our peace, 
Your ascension our hope,
 Your prayers our comfort.
 For your glory, and by your grace,
 (Valley of Vision / Puritan Prayers)