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Jul 7 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Revelation 22:6-21 – 07/07/2024



Welcome and Prayer: Nancy Lopez

Good morning, RefleXion Community! Grace and Peace to you!

One of my very favorite worship songs is called “Is He Worthy.” It was
written by Andrew Peterson and recorded by several people, but Andrew’s
version is my favorite. He wrote it after reading Revelation and was
captivated by the scene in Chapter 5 where the Lamb is praised. The lyrics
remind us of the praise-worthiness of Jesus Christ. If you don’t already
have “Is He Worthy” on your playlist, I’m commending it to you. We’re not
able to play it here, but I printed out the lyrics, and I thought we could read
it as a Litany this morning. It is written in a Call and a Response form. I will
read the questions part, the Call, and you all get the most important part,
the Response (in Bold). Sound good?
Now remember, none of you have mics, so Facebook won’t hear you unless
you proclaim your response!

Is He Worthy?

Do you feel the world is broken?   We do
Do you feel the shadows deepen?                                                    We do
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through?                     We do
Do you wish that you could see it all made new?                                                                   We do
Is all creation groaning?                                                                                                          It is
Is a new creation coming?                                                                                                       It is
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst?                                                       It is
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this?                                                                           It is

Is anyone worthy?  Is anyone whole?  Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?  The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave–He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave.  Is He worthy? Is He worthy?  Of all blessing and honor and glory, is He worthy of this?           He is   

Does the Father truly love us?                                                                                 He does
Does the Spirit move among us?                                                                                            He does
And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves?                                                   He does
Does our God intend to dwell again with us?                                                                         He does
Is anyone worthy?  Is anyone whole?  Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?  The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave–He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave.  Is He worthy? Is He worthy?  Of all blessing and honor and glory, Is He worthy of this?           He is

From every people and tribe.  Every nation and tongue.  He has made us a kingdom and priests to God to reign with the Son.  Is He worthy?  Is He worthy?  Of all blessing and honor and glory.  Is He worthy?  Is He worthy?  Is He worthy of this?                                                                                          He is!
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?                                                                                                   He is!  He is!

Come Lord Jesus, Come Quickly!

Lyrics written by: Andrew Peterson, Ben Shive
Album: Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1
Released: 2018
Lyrics provided by Musixmatch

Morning Talk: chuck smith, jr.

Intro: In this final chapter we come to the end of the vision

To me, it feels like waking up from a dream
– just before I woke up yesterday morning, I was enjoying a pleasant dream
• I heard someone call me, and I was immediately awake
◦ the house was completely silent
◦ I then realized it was my dad’s voice in the dream that called my name
• for me, this chapter unfolds in the same sort of fuzzy way
– four times, the voice of Jesus breaks into the flow of the chapter
• however, it does not feel like an interruption
• perhaps we could imagine the chapter flows like a documentary
◦ John is narrating, then the camera shifts and Jesus delivers a live quote

I’m going to stay for a moment with the analogy of waking up
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place Revelation 22:6

Waking up, we return to the real world of our everyday experience
– sometimes we bring something from the dream with us
These words are trustworthy and true
• “You’re awake now, and you have new insights and information”
• this is the central message of this last piece of the Revelation
v. 6, these words . . . v.7, the words of the prophecy of this book . . . v. 9, keep the words of this book . . . v. 10, the words of the prophecy of this book . . . and again in vv. 18 and 19
– here is the difference between dreams and visions
• dreams come from the weird stuff floating around in our brains, both conscious and unconscious
• visions communicate a message from God

The message of Revelation is true and trustworthy, because it is from the Lord
– in this context, the Lord who speaks is the God of the spirits of the prophets
A. T. Robertson, “Probably the prophets’ own spirits enlightened by the Holy Spirit.”
• this where the book of Revelation begins
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John (Rev. 1:1)
• Jesus breaks in here to add his blessing–“And”
And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book Revelation 22:7
◦ this also returns us to where the vision began; that is, the first benediction in Revelation
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near (Rev. 1:3)

John’s voice is the next one we hear–and his confession is surprising
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” Revelation 22:8-9

John already made this blunder in the previous chapter
– if I put myself in his place, I could imagine doing the same thing
• after all, I’m standing next to an angel!
◦ I’m hearing Jesus’ voice, and he pronounces a new beatitude
◦ I am so overwhelmed and thrilled, I react impulsively,
• and then the angel is telling me, “Stop doing that!”
– John’s vision takes him to heaven, but he’s not heavenly, yet
• perhaps that’s why he makes this confession to us
◦ wonderful things lie ahead, but for now, we’re not out of danger
• this desperate note is threaded through remainder of passage ( vv. 11, 15, and vv. 18-19)
◦ at present, there is still right and wrong, and it makes a difference whether we choose one or other

“Worship God” – that is what heaven is
– a total giving of our entire self to our Creator
• a full immersion in infinite love
• receiving the love we’ve always craved and needed
◦ and returning that love in a complete devotion
– a worship leader once told me he found the lyrics for his songs in Hallmark greeting cards
• someone referred to worship choruses like this as “Jesus is my girlfriend” songs
• but the reverse is no improvement
◦ when secular love songs express a level of devotion that only God deserves
“You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration,
You’re all I got to get me by.
You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration,
Without your love what good am I?”

John is given specific instruction regarding his manuscript
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” Revelation 22:10

This is significant because the instruction is opposite of those given to Daniel
But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end (Dan. 12:4)
– the explanation to Daniel was, what he wrote was for the time of the end
• and the explanation to John for keeping the scroll open is, for the time is near
• the difference between the two periods of time changes the rules
– another change, there’s no longer an invitation to repent
Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy Revelation 22:11
• it sounds like the angel is saying,
“You’ve already made your commitments, and formed your habits, now own them and face the consequences”
◦ this is a little spooky for our immediate moment in history
◦ there are many people who claim to be Christians but are absolutely “filthy” in political statements they make in social media
• like other warnings in Revelation,
◦ I believe this is intended to bring us to our senses
◦ it has us asking ourselves, “In the end, what is my current lifestyle going to cost me?”

What we experience moving toward the end is a bifurcation

The river of humankind is divided into two branches
– so when Jesus speaks again, he says when he comes he will make a distinction
Behold, I am comin soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done Revelation 22:12
• this is reminiscent of Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25 regarding him separating the sheep and the goats
• it’s crucial that we constantly remind ourselves of the criteria for his judgment!
I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothes me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me (Mt. 25:35-36)

This week I had jury duty in the Orange County Courthouse. Monday morning I stopped while waiting for a long signal to change at the intersection of the off-ramp and Fourth Street. I noticed some items strewn in the bushes next to the side of the road. I tried to look through the brush, , wondering who lived there. The next morning, arriving again at that same intersection, I saw a small frail woman, holding cardboard sign. I didn’t bother to read it, because I already knew what I was going to do. Behind her was a taller, but equally scrawny man, both of them wearing big toothless smiles. I handed the woman some money and they responded with lots of “Thank you” and “God bless you.” The man added, enthusiastically, “If you need any work I would be happy to help you!”

– I’m not saying I’m an example, because I am not
• I’m only saying it was just that easy to do something
• maybe I helped them survive one more day, and that was all

Again we get another view of the divide that runs through humankind
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood
Revelation 22:14-15

I feel that an urgency running through this whole passage
– it is as if someone is shouting, “Hurry and board the train or you’ll be left on the platform!”
– there are two options and two choices

Jesus’s voice is heard again
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” Revelation 22:16

The entire vision is Jesus’ message to his churches
– as root and descendant of David, he is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy
– as bright morning star, he is the signal of hope and the star we follow

The great invitation
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price”
Revelation 22:17

Jacques Ellul’s remarks on this voice are more poetry than commentary: “The last word is that of appeal and encounter: ‘Come.’ . . . The gate of heaven is open. Now the return of Adam is possible. The cherubim no longer guard the gate. . . . the witness opens wide the ways of coming, of the return; it is enough to be thirsty. . . . It is enough, but necessary.” [Emphasis added]

The last warning has to do with the vision itself
 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book Revelation 22:18-19

And then the last words from Jesus, his church, and John
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen
Revelation 22:20-21

First, we are invited to come to Jesus
– then Jesus announces that he is coming to us
– and we respond, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
Then, at the end, grace – because that is what makes all things possible

Conclusion: Three times that Jesus speaks, he says, I am coming soon

That was 2,000 gears ago – can we rethink this promise?

When President Ronald Reagan left the White House, he and Nancy Reagan settled in their ranch in Santa Barbara. One day he was entertaining a guest, but every once in a while Reagan would get up and go look out a window to the driveway in front of their home. He explained to the guest, “Billy Graham is coming to visit me today.” His guest would nod and say, “That’s nice.” Reagan did not realize that the guest in his room was Billy Graham.

Jesus tells us that he is coming soon, and we’re looking out the window for his arrival
But “soon” is literal, because the Lord is always arriving
Every day he tells us, “I will be there soon”
and if we’re awake and have come to our senses,
every day we respond, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
And for that entire day, he is with us

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