I have been the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Freeport for close to a year and half now. After a short topical series on “biblical preaching” i decided to take my new congregation through the last book of the Bible. The most common response i get when sharing that bit of information with others is “Are you crazy, stupid, or a little bit of both son?” OK not really, but i can see what many Christians are thinking when i tell them what I just told you.
When Christians talk about Revelation they often think of two common things: a very obscure New Testament book and lots of prophecy charts. Yet the book of Revelation is one of the most Christ-centered books in all the Bible. Chapter 1 begins with a picture of Jesus Christ in all His post-resurrection glory! Chapters 2 & 3 are immensely practical instructions to the 7 churches (real churches that represent the type of churches/church goers that exist in every century of church history). Chapter 4 pictures Heaven’s worship of the Sovereign Creator. Chapter 5 highlights the great Hero of Heaven, Jesus Christ. Some of the most theologically rich details about the gospel are presented in this magnificent chapter. Chapters 6-18 describe the awful Tribulation period that is yet to come. Chapter 19 highlights the majestic return of Christ (as righteous Judge, Holy Warrior, and as KING of Kings and LORD of Lords). Chapter 20 describes the millennial Kingdom and the final judgment of all God’s enemies. Chapters 21-22 showcases the New Heavens and the New Earth.
Last Sunday I preached my 48th sermon from this lengthy letter (I’ve preached 8 sermons on chapter 1, 23 sermons on chapters 2 and 3, 11 sermons on chapters 4 & 5, 2 sermons on chapters 6-18, and 4 sermons on chapter 19). My last message covered the famous battle of Armageddon (Rev 19:17-21). Instead of getting lost in the mintua of this final battle i tried to emphasize what I believe is a major theme of this section; Judgment without mercy. Those who reject the mercies of God in Christ will one day experience God’s judgment without mercy. Talk about relevant sermons.
With that said, I have tried to walk a very thin line in preaching through this neglected Prophesy. I don’t want this series to be an information drop that simply tickles the fancy of those prophesy chart pundits (you know who you are). At the same time i don’t want to ignore the theology of the Apocalypse either. In other words, just because it is en vogue right now not to have strong convictions with regards to eschatology does not mean those major themes should/can be ignored when preaching through this inspired letter. For example, does Revelation 3:10 promising deliverance from the Tribulation? Does Revelation 6-18 describe a 7 year period of unparalleled evil (the Day of the Lord, the future Tribulation) or something else? Is the binding of Satan in Revelation 20 future or present? Is the First Resurrection physical or spiritual? Is the reign of Christ in Revelation 20 on earth or in heaven?
Bottom line: Pastors should consider preaching through the book of Revelation because of this book’s profound Christology. The more I talk with unbelievers and the more I minister to American believers the more I see a need to preach the REAL Jesus. After all He is the Lion of Judah and the Lamb that was slaughtered to purchase a covenant people. He is Prophet, Priest, and King. He is the righteous Judge, the Holy Conqueror, & the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.