Peter Barnes: Revelation 1:1-8
(5 November 2017)
SERMON NOTES: CHRIST TO THE CHURCHES (Revelation 1:1-8)
Luther: ‘everyone thinks of the book whatever his spirit imparts’. Calvin never preached on the Apocalypse. Spurgeon: ‘There is a whole Book of Revelation which I do not understand’ and ‘Only fools and madmen are positive in their interpretations of the Apocalypse.’
It is probably best seen as a symbolic series of pictures of God’s battle with Satan, and how the suffering Church is sustained.
It can be conveniently looked at under seven headings:
(a) Christ among the seven churches (1-3);
(b) the seven seals (4-7);
(c) the seven trumpets (8-11)
(d) spiritual warfare (12-14);
(e) the seven bowls (15-16);
(f) the fall of Babylon (17-19);
(g) the consummation in the new heaven and new earth (20-22).
- The authority of the book of Revelation
– 1:1-2; ‘apocalypse’ means ‘unveiling’. There is a five-stage relay – from the Father to Christ to an angel to John to his readers.
– 1:3; see also 22:7, 18-19; cf. Amos 3:7-8.
- The person of Christ
– 1:4-5; Exodus 3:14. The ‘seven spirits’ probably refers to the Spirit who manifests Himself in the seven churches of Asia. Christ is:
(a) the faithful witness.
(b) the firstborn from the dead. Death itself has died.
(c) the ruler of the kings of the earth. John 20:28; Rev.19:16).
(d) the eternal one. Both the Son and the Father speak the same language: Isa.41:4; 44:6; 48:10-12; Rev. 1:4, 8, 17; 21:6; 22:12-13.
- The work of Christ
(a) He loves us.
(b) He has freed us from our sins by His blood.
(c) He has made us to be with Him. Christians will be a kingdom and priests, like Ex.19:6.
(d) He will come in power and majesty. 1:7; Acts 1:9-11.