“Come, Lord Jesus!”
Series: Understanding The Book Of Revelation
Rev. Todd A. Linn, PhD
First Baptist Church, Henderson KY
- Please open your Bibles to Revelation, chapter 22.
We are concluding our series of messages in the book of Revelation. And so today is the last message from the last book, the last chapter of the last book, where we read the last words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I was thinking about last words as I was studying the Bible this week. Last words are written and spoken to make a lasting impression upon us. Now most of you know I have a strange sense of humor that a bit off-center. And I was reading a collection of some “famous last words.” Have you ever used that phrase, “famous last words?” Someone says something like, “I’ve never been sick a day of my life” and you say—what? “Famous last words.” I came across a few of these fictional famous last words someone put together to make people like me laugh. Let me share a few with you. Are you ready? Now you have to think that these are words somebody speaks just before they die—famous last words. Here we go:
“This bear is probably just hibernating.” Famous last words.
“Bob, you have any grenades left? Throw me one.” Famous last words.
“Hey, if you look through the wrong end of the binoculars, those charging elephants look really far away!” Here’s another:
“Don’t be silly. If this were really the ship’s self-destruct button, do you think they’d leave it lying around where anyone could press it?” Famous last words.
“Excuse me, I’m a tourist and I’m lost.”
“Hey, give me a match. I can’t see, but I think my gas tank’s empty.” And finally:
“Well, since you asked dear, that dress does make you look fat.”
Famous last words! Well, in Revelation chapter 22 we’re not reading a fictional collection of last words, we’re reading the absolute truth, the very word of God, just as the text reminds us in the very first verse of our passage this morning.
- Please stand in honor of the reading of the Word of God.
6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Our passage this morning is like the grand finale of a fireworks show. We have been reading a chronological sequence of events that will take place in the future and it’s been like watching one awesome firework after another, after another and after another. And now that we’ve reached the end of the wonderful visions God has been showing John, we have a whole bunch of fireworks going off at once. That’s the sense as you read verses 6 and following. You have an angel speaking, and Jesus speaking, and the Spirit speaking, and the church speaking, and John speaking, and sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s doing the talking. I really think that’s intentional because we’re reading the grand finale of the Bible. And what’s important here at the end is not so much our identifying the messenger as it is in obeying the message. So with that in mind I want to share with you the final message and it’s application for our lives today as we look forward to the Lord Jesus’ second coming. Number one:
I. We Should Look for His Coming [6-11]
1) Stay focused on the Lord (6-9)
Again, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming! The angel speaking to John reminds him in verse 6 that the words of the book of Revelation “are faithful and true.” The events we’ve been reading about are things “which must shortly take place.” Then Jesus says in verse 7, “Behold, I am coming quickly!” He says this three times in our passage (vv. 7, 12, 20). That is, “Believe it! Bank on it!” Our Lord is returning and when He returns He will return in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye.
And then we have a reminder in verse 7 of the blessing that comes to the one who “keeps the words of the prophecy of the book” of Revelation. You may remember that the book of Revelation opened this way back in chapter 1, verse 3: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it.” The book of Revelation is a book that promises blessings to all who read, study, and follow the teachings of it. And many of you have shared with me over the weeks how you’re study of this book has blessed you. And I can assure you that I have been blessed, too! Look at verse 8.
8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
John does what he had done back in chapter 19, verse 10. He got so caught-up in everything he was seeing, all of these visions, this awesome display of colorful fireworks if you will, that he falls down at the feet of the angel. He’s being honest with us. He says, “When I heard and saw these things, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.” I’m inclined to think we may accidentally do the same thing in his position. But there’s a quick correction from the angel: Don’t focus on me! Focus on the Lord. Verse 9:
9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
The angel says, “I’m just a created being! I’m not worthy of worship. Don’t focus on me, stay focused on the Lord. Worship God.” All hail the power of Jesus’ name, let angels prostrate fall. Stay focused on the Lord. He alone is worthy of worship, worthy of praise, worthy of power and glory, because He is God. Worship God. Stay focused on the Lord.
One of the ironic dangers of studying prophecy is that we may lose our focus on the Lord. We may get so caught up in the splendor in the book that we miss the Savior in the book. Never forget that the Book of Revelation is a “Him Book.” It’s about Him. It’s about Jesus. Stay focused on the Lord. Look for His coming and stay focused on the Lord. Secondly:
2) Stay focused on the Lost (10-11)
10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
When the angel says, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book,” he’s saying, “Don’t shut this book up and fail to proclaim it. Let the whole world know what it teaches. Tell as many as you can because “the time is at hand.” Sometimes a prophecy in the Bible might be sealed until the time came to reveal the contents. That’s the case in Daniel 12:4, for example. But the angel says, “Don’t silence the word. Share its contents because the time is at hand.”
11 “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
Verse 11 seems to teach that when the Lord returns He will return so quickly that He will find men in whatever state they are. There is a sense that it will be too late for the “unjust” and the “filthy” to change.
So as Christians looking for the Lord’s second coming we must stay focused on the Lord and stay focused on the lost. We’re not to keep these words to ourselves, we’re to share these words with others. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Many people who will spend hours studying the Lord’s second coming won’t spend five minutes to tell their neighbor about His first coming.” I’m so glad FAITH is starting back up tomorrow night. I love it when our church is focused on the lost!
II. We Should Labor for His Coming [12-16]
1) Enjoy Eternal Rewards from Christ (12-13)
12 ” And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
The Bible teaches that every Christian will one day stand at the judgment seat of Christ to be judged for how he or she lived for the Lord. This is not a judgment about whether we’re going to heaven. Remember, only those whose names are written in the Book of Life are going to heaven. This judgment is a judgment that is largely one of reward. We are rewarded in keeping with whatever we have done for the Lord while living on this earth.
And Who is the giver of these rewards? The One Who watches us. The One Who sees everything. Verse 13:
13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
So the Christian labors for His coming. We Christians are to remember that we live this day, this very day and this very night, every hour of it, all for the glory of God. No earthly pleasure will stand in our way. No short-lived earthly delight will detain us from loving Him and serving Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Labor for His coming and one day enjoy eternal rewards from Christ. But not only do Christians enjoy eternal rewards from Christ:
2) Enjoy Eternal Relationship with Christ (14-16)
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
Some translations do not have, “Blessed are those who do His commandments,” but rather, “Blessed are those who wash their robes.” The words of the original Greek sound similar in both renderings and really either is appropriate because those who have washed their robes, that is, those who have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, are the ones who do His commandments. The stress is on the saved, the born again, the Christians, who will enjoy eternal relationship with Christ. Verse 14 says “they have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” This blessed promise to the believer is contrasted with the fate of the unbeliever:
15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
There will be no unbelievers in heaven. That they will be “outside” of the city is a symbolic reminder that unbelievers will neither enjoy the new heaven or the new earth. Recall Revelation 20:15: “Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Verse 16 is something of a transitional verse. Jesus says:
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
Jesus is “the Root and the Offspring of David.” That is, Jesus is both the source of David and a descendant of David. That He is the source of David emphasizes His deity. He is the One Who gives life to David. He is the Root of David. That He is a descendant of David emphasizes His humanity. Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% Man. Then, He refers to Himself as “the Bright and Morning Star.” The morning star was the brightest star in the sky that promised the coming of a new day. We may look at the bright morning star and long for a new day, a day better than the previous one. Well, Jesus’ return promises the coming of a new day. He is the “Bright and Morning Star” and so not only should we look for His coming and labor for His coming. Number three:
III. We Should Long for His Coming [17-21]
In verses 17-21 we read what Jesus offers us as we long for His coming. First:
1) He offers Living Water (17)
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
The Holy Spirit and the bride (the church) both long for Christ’s coming. They’ve just heard the words Jesus spoke in verse 16. They hear Jesus say, “I am the Bright and Morning Star.” They long for His coming and they say, “Come!” Then verse 17 says, “and let him who hears say, ‘Come!’” That’s you and I. We, too, should long for His coming. This is how John replies in the second to last verse of the chapter: “Even so, Come Lord Jesus!” We should long for His coming.
He is coming to us and then there is the offer of living water to all who come to Him. The Bible says, “Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” It doesn’t say, “Let him who is popular come…let him who is of mighty intellect come…let him who is wealthy come…let him who is powerful come.” What does it say? “Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” If you have never been forgiven of your sin and you desire forgiveness, you desire to love and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, you are thirsty, then come to Jesus! Come to Him! He offers living water, the living water of life. And it’s free. It doesn’t cost you anything. You may come to the everlasting well of Jesus Christ and drink-in abundant and eternal life. But you must thirst and you must come.
2) He offers a Loving Warning (18-19)
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life (the older manuscripts have “tree of life,” which is probably the correct translation), from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Here is loving warning that I believe comes from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We are not to tamper with the word of God. The immediate context, of course, is the book of Revelation. The speaker, either John or Jesus, warns that “if anyone adds to these things God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.” That is, “Don’t alter the text of the book of Revelation by adding to it or you will be in big-time trouble, trouble found in either a literal or worse sense, the plagues of the book being added to you.” But the warning is also directed to those who would subtract something from the book. He says, “If you take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away your part from the tree of life, the holy city, and so forth.” That is, you will have no eternal life. This is a warning to anyone who tampers with the Book of Revelation. And let me be quick to add that no true believer wants to tamper with God’s word.
But the warning of verses 18-19 rightly applies to the entire scope of God’s word, to the entire Bible. Deuteronomy 4:2 says, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it.” Proverbs 30:6 says, “Do not add to His words, lets He rebuke you.” Only God has the right to add to His word and so, with the giving of the New Testament, the books of Scripture are complete. As the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” There is no more revelation; no more Scripture. The Bible is complete. We must not add to it nor subtract from it. So we have a loving warning. Then Jesus offers to us:
3) He offers Lasting Words (20-21)
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
There again is the third occurrence in our text of Jesus’ lasting words, “I am coming quickly.” He says, “I am coming quickly” and John indicates that he longs for His coming by saying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” And verse 21 is a reminder that we long for His coming because of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ within us. We long for His coming. We say with John, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
We should long for His coming. I’m not so in love with this world that I would be disappointed if He came this afternoon. Would you? I mean, whatever you have planned for later this evening, do you long for His coming? As Paul teaches in Colossians 3:1-2, have you set your heart and mind on things above and not on the things of the earth? We should long for His coming.
I heard Adrian Rogers tell a story he had heard the former pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, R.G. Lee, tell from his childhood. R.G. Lee told about being raised on a farm and one day he and his mother were the only ones on the front porch. Everyone else had gone into town. R.G. Lee’s mother was sitting in the rocking chair and R.G. Lee was sitting on the floor of the porch, his head in his hands. He looked up to his mother and said, “Momma, tell me the happiest moment of your life.” He said he thought she might tell of that moment when his father expressed his love for her, but she didn’t tell him that, or the time when the moon spread over the farm and there by the fence gate where he asked her to be his bride, but she didn’t tell him that, either. He thought well maybe she’d tell about that time in the cabin where they’d expressed their vows to one another and kept those vows for over 50 years till his daddy went to heaven, but she didn’t tell him that, either.
She said, “Son, you’ve asked a hard question. In the War Between the States, those were hard times. All the men went off to war. We got our salt from the smokehouse floor. We got our tea from sassafras leaves. We made a substitute coffee from corn. It was hard. All the men had gone and the women did the work. Then we received word that my daddy, your grandfather Bennett, had been killed in the war. Dr. Lee’s mother said that her mother didn’t cry much out loud. But at nighttime she said, “I could hear my momma sobbing in her pillow. Those were hard times.”
And Dr. Lee’s mother said, “One day my mother was sitting on the porch, very much like this. And I was sitting at her feet very much like you’re sitting at my feet. And my mother had a bowl of beans in her lap and she was stringing those beans and snapping them. And a figure appeared over across the field. And she said to me, ‘Elizabeth, honey, I declare, that man walks like your daddy.’ And she kept on snapping those beans. And then she said, ‘Elizabeth, honey, that man looks like your daddy.’ And I said to momma, ‘Now momma, don’t get all excited. You know daddy’s dead.’ About that time that figure came and started across the cotton field, and my mother said, ‘Elizabeth, that is your daddy!’ She threw those beans in the air, gathered up her skirt and ran across that field. Elizabeth said, ‘My daddy lost an arm in the war, but he was alive. He had his sleeve pinned-up. My mother met him and he put that other arm around her. And they kissed and hugged and laughed.’ And she too had run to greet her father. She said, ‘I ran my finger up his sleeve and felt that nub of his arm’ and she said, ‘Son, I believe that was the happiest day of my life.’ And in telling the story from his childhood, Dr. Lee then said, “That day will pale into insignificance when Jesus comes.”
And when Jesus comes we will see Him coming and will go up to meet Him and return with Him to be with Him forever.
- Stand for prayer.
Will you be ready when He comes again? Turn to Christ this morning. He says, “Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”
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