By Rick Cowman
Many of us were passionately watching the Republican National Convention this past week, and this week many are listening to what the Democrats are saying at their convention. And this is important, because the upcoming election is an important event for our Nation. It will determine the course our country takes, and will effect the political and social freedoms we have as Americans.
However, as important as the liberties we have as Americans in this great country, we must be reminded of the liberty God has provided us in Jesus Christ! If we are going to enjoy the life and liberty in Christ God has provided us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, then we must be careful to learn from the examples we have in the Scriptures and from our own experiences of disobedience as a believer. Otherwise, we will come up short of God‘s best in our lives and fail to fulfill His purposes on earth until He comes again! In light of this, we are going to take the next many weeks and spend some time in the first three chapters of the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Here we find the final chapter, so to speak, of what God wants us to understand about His work in us and in this world.
The theme of this book is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”. This word, “revelation”, literally means to unveil or uncover something which has been hidden. And I believe as we spend some time here the Spirit of God will unveil a fresh vision of the glory of our Lord and Savior! It’s my prayer that we will all come away seeing Jesus as our hope for the future, but also our hope for the present! Take a few minutes and read these first three chapters.
In chapter one, our Lord Jesus revealed Himself to the apostle John. Perhaps no one knew Jesus more intimately that this apostle, but now he has been given a new revelation of Jesus in all His resurrected glory! Look at his reaction to what he saw (vs 17): “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man!” Sounds like all of us need a fresh glimpse of who He is!
Jesus had something to say to His church, and John was chosen to be His messenger. Verse 19 of this first chapter gives us an outline of the book of Revelation. Part 1, “things which you have seen;” Part 2, “things which are;” and Part 3, “things which are to come.” In chapters 2 and 3, we find letters Jesus dictated to seven different churches of that time period in Asia. Jesus selected these seven churches, I believe, because they depicted specific spiritual conditions which will be prevalent in His church when He returns for her. Do you know that Jesus has something to say to your church assembly, and to you personally? What do you think He would write to our churches if He sent us a letter? As we look at each of these seven churches, we’ll find out!
You will notice Jesus begins each of these letters to us with the statement, “I know (you)!” And we see that Jesus “walks among the churches” (2:1)! So, He knows what is going on in our assemblies and in our personal lives! Nothing escapes His notice! When we gather together as “the church”, we don’t have to ask Jesus to come and meet with us, because He’s already there walking among us! And if you’ve trusted Jesus Christ to be your life, you never have to pray, “Lord, be with me”, because He lives IN you!
Each of these letters also ends with the statement, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!” Jesus has something to say to us, and we must learn to meditate on His Word and be quiet enough to hear what He’s saying. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heeds the things that are written in it…(1:3)!” Are we reading God’s Word? And more importantly, are we hearing what He’s saying to us, and then obeying those words?
May we all be challenged to listen and obey God’s words to us, because God’s blessing on our lives depends on it! Let’s get on our listening ears and pay attention!