Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

Our Compassionate Close by Savior

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Our Compassionate Close by Savior

 

Scripture reading: Revelation 2:2.3 – “These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lamp-stands: I know your works, your labor, your patience and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.”

 

This is Jesus speaking to the church members and its leadership in Ephesus.

 

Would you like Jesus to say so many good things about you?

 

If Jesus would give me such evaluation I would be on a cloud nine. Wouldn’t you?

 

Jesus was always close to His people, especially when they feel discouraged, lonely, going through tough times, when depressed, when persecuted or suffering.

 

The youngest apostle – John was exiled to a lonely rocky island of Patmos

 

Revelation 1:9: “I, John both your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

 

Now John is old, separated from friends and fellow believers, seemingly abandoned and forgotten.

 

Do you feel like that sometimes, that no one cares or understands?

 

Or do you feel – where is God? Where is this Jesus I believe in?

 

But wait, John is in for a surprise, for the greatest experience of his life!

 

Just like a solitary Daniel in Babylonian captivity 600 years ago, He is going to receive two greatest blessings:

 

1)      Personal assurance and re-assurance of God’s love and care

 

2)      A revelation of God’s care for the church he loves and is concerned about for his day and till the end of time. He is to pass on to God’s people what will be their encouragement and stay through difficult times.

 

Revelation 1:10: “I (John) was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day and I heard behind me a loud voice as of a trumpet.”

 

Wow! This would get anyone’s attention!

Revelation 1:11–20Read

 

Comment and explain:

 

This is what John only hearsRevelation 1:11

 

Now John turns and this is what and Who he seesRevelation 1:12–16 Read

 

This is how the revelation of Jesus affects himverse 17: “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.”

 

This is how Jesus respondsverse 17b.18: “But He (Jesus) laid His right hand on me saying to me: ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives and was dead and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

 

Do not be afraid of Me John! I haven’t changed from the days we walked together the dusty roads of Palestine, ate together, fellowshipped together.

 

This touch of Christ’s hand must have evoked some precious memories

 

Sweet memories of being close to Jesus who came into his life; that same Jesus who bit by bit changed him from “the son of thunder” to the “beloved” disciple.

 

John was the one “whom Jesus (especially) loved”; John always sought His closeness, listening to Him and learning from His every word.

 

I think of that event in the upper room the night before Jesus’ crucifixion:

 

-         they were fighting each to be number 1. And Jesus washed their dirty calloused feet, thus melting away their sin of pride and selfishness,

-         then celebrating the Passover and now eating the bread of communion with them,

-         the night of betrayal by a false disciple Judas

-         John leaning on Jesus’ breast

-         if John could only relive those days and be that close to Jesus again

-         how patient was Jesus with his temper, how kind, gentle and tactful with his misguided zeal and his fighting, easily offended spirit!

 

But wait a minute it is the same Jesus, now glorified and He is touching him, saying “fear not!”; He is talking to him, this is for real!

 

And Jesus is giving John a mission. His usefulness is not over, he is not laid aside. John receives a commission to write and then send it to the struggling churches:

 

Revelation 1:11: “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia…”

Verse 19: “Write the things which you have seen and the things which are and the things which will take place after this.”

 

Then Jesus clarifies the symbols shown in this vision – verse 20:

 

“The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand and the seven golden lamp-stands: The seven stars are the angels (messengers) of the seven churches, and the seven lamp-stands which you saw are the seven churches.”

 

Yes, Jesus is with His people, touching their (and today our) lives, helping us to deal with our issues and problems.

 

At the beginning we read the commendation Jesus gave to the Ephesus church in Revelation 2:2.3 – “These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lamp-stands: I know your works, your labor, your patience and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.”

 

However He had something else to tell them in verse 4: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

 

Today we are celebrating a communion service and Jesus is here with us for He loves us and cares for us and He knows each of us through and through.

 

I believe that would He be with us in person there would be words of commendation to each one of us. Jesus would touch each of us with assurance and love.

 

However in our tense, challenging and busy lives where so many issues press and demand our time and attention, could it be that to Jesus would have something else to say?

 

“You have lost your first love?”

 

My dear friends Jesus can only be our Savior and Friend when He is the Alpha and Omega of our lives. He longs to be the First and the Last in all we are and do.

 

Are you realizing that lately this may not have been your experience?

 

If this fits your present situation, is it your desire to have this changed?

 

The communion service is the best time to take an inventory of our lives and give to Jesus the 1st place He deserves and longs for.

 

As we are going to our communion preparatory symbolic foot-washing ordinance of humility, let’s talk with the Lord to make sure that again, now and every next day He is our First and Last in everything.