Revealing Revelation

The Opening Verses Of Revelation Reveal The Love Of Christ For Us.

Matt Stokes
Nov 8, 2020    41m
In the opening message in the series on the Book of Revelation, we examine the opening verses, and we find out who Jesus truly is, and that love of Christ for us is truly eternal. This prophetic scripture reveals that we, as the people of God, are priests called to bring people to the salvation found in God. Video recorded at Ocean City, New Jersey.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Matt Stokes: 00:02 As the Book of Genesis begins with the origins of the world, Revelation is a Book of the consummation of the world, the divine program of redemption is brought to fruition, Christ is shown as victor before all creation. In the Greek text, the title of this book is Apocalipsis, where we get our word apocalypse, which at its essential meaning actually means the unveiling, the disclosure, or revelation. So the book is a revealing of that which could not be known. And this book is a Book of prophecy, not unlike Daniel or Ezekiel, it is filled with visions, symbols, and imagery that simply need to be understood and put in their proper context. Written by the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos, there is a unifying theme. That's why we need to be careful not to call it Revelations, there is a single, critical, central, unifying theme upon which this book centers, and that is the unveiling, revealing of the victory of Christ. These are not the revelations of John, this is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Matt Stokes: 01:16 Good morning, everyone. What a week? Right? So it's tough being in the book with everything that's been going on, and not being distracted with the election. But I just want to encourage you with all of the confusion, we know who's elected, right? Me, and you, and every one of us who claims Christ as savior, we are the elect. It doesn't matter what side of any platform someone may be on, at the end of the day, what matters is your election? It says, Peter, the Apostle Peter of Second Peter, he says, make your calling and election sure. If you haven't made your election sure, no other election matters. Because if you're left or right, or Republic or Democrat, you are lost without Jesus Christ, and you're on your way to hell without the blood of Christ covering you with his forgiveness. That is the most important piece of truth that I can give to you today. And as Matthew said, there is one judge that is Supreme, and he sits in the highest court, and his name is the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is coming again to judge. I want to be on that side, that's the side on which I will stand, and I stand today, and I hope and pray the same for all of you.

Matt Stokes: 02:56 With that being said, we're going to be in the Book of Revelation, which kind of exciting. So how many of you brought your Bible? Can you raise this up if you have it with you right now? Nice, keep bringing your Bible. The New Living Translation is where I'm going to be, Revelation chapter one. We want to continue to create a culture where we are a fellowship and a gathering that actually brings their Bible to church. Somebody actually texted me this week because I was mentioning this on a few other Sundays. They are like, are you saying that we're not really supposed to be using technology? I'm like, no, you use your technology, we spend a lot of money here on technology to reach around the world with the message of the gospel, so we're thankful for you watching online, open your apps, study questions, blah, blah, blah. Nothing substitutes for the book, have the book, write in it, take notes, keep it with you. People have given their lives, and died brutal deaths, so that you could have a copy of this in your hand and on your lap today. Number one best seller ever since the printing press was invented, bring your Bible.

Matt Stokes: 04:04 Revelation. So I went through Psalms for a few weeks, a couple of you, most of you know that, as I was studying Revelation, so I could prepare, read through the book. And as I read through the book more than once, I'm coming to today and I just realize, we're not ready, we're not ready for this book, we're not ready for Revelation. And I say that because as I'm reading through, I get to the third verse and I realized that we are going to get so blessed that I don't think you're ready for it. In fact, it says in verse 3, that I get blessed just for reading the book. There's a blessing for the one who just reads the book. So actually it says there's a blessing for the one who hears the book, so listen, if you decide to come and let me read and you hear, you're halfway there to the blessing. The only other part after that is after you hear, it says and those who obey. So I'm saying like, I don't know if you're ready to just, it's just that easy to get blessed. Goodbye. Are you ready? Say yes. Say I'm ready. Say I'm ready.

Matt Stokes: 05:22 All right, here we go. Revelation. We're just going to hit it hard, right from the beginning. God bless the reading of your word. "This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place." This is a revelation, in the Greek is actually the word apocalipsis where we get the word apocalypse. Which is so fascinating, because when you think about the apocalypse, most people think of gloom and doom, and that's really not what this is about. This is about how much Jesus loves you, this book is about Jesus power, this book is about Jesus' wisdom and sovereignty throughout the ages, it's about his justice for those who follow the Lord, Jesus Christ, that is the apocalipsis . The word apocalipsis literally means the appearing, or the revealing, or the coming into light, the revealed, the manifestation, or as it says here, translated into English, the revelation, fascinating. This piece of literature that we're about to get into is what's called apocalyptic literature, which doesn't mean that it's gloom and doom. Let me explain apocalyptic literature is a type of literature that you only find once in the New Testament, and it's the Book of Revelation. You'll find it in the Old Testament in the Book of Daniel that Matthew's doing on Thursdays, Ezekiel, Amos, parts of Jeremiah, Zachariah, and Isaiah.

Matt Stokes: 07:04 Apocalyptic literature, lean into this with me just for a minute because it's going to really help us as we take this journey together, it uses visions and dreams, and they often can bind reality with metaphor. And then God places a Spirit upon a particular individual called a prophet, and that prophet then reveals these particular pieces. Why does God do that? It's a type of Hebraic writing, which wasn't uncommon to them. It might be mysterious to you, but that's what's really interesting is, is the Book of Revelation is not about cracking secret codes from Christ. The Book of Revelation is a revealing, it's an unveiling, of his love and wisdom and mercy and justice. But they use this very interesting type of language with symbolic imagery, particularly for intensity.

Matt Stokes: 07:58 I'll show you what I mean, if I told you that there's a woman in this Book of Revelation, and I told you that she's bad, she's bad. I could tell you that she's evil, and you would get what I mean by that, I could even say that she's wicked. But what if I told you that this woman that we're going to talk about later on the Book of Revelation, what if I told you that she was drunk? And I told you that she was actually drunk on the blood of the saints of Christ. Does that color it for you, like in a whole other way? Okay. Is that true? Yes. Is it a metaphor? Yes, but it's portraying such a vivid picture that when God wanted to give us this revelation, Christ then bestows this upon John, and he uses this symbolic imagery, this metaphor combined with truth, and that's what we have here. Knowing that going into this is going to help you understand the genre, is going to help you understand the book.

Matt Stokes: 09:06 "This is the revelation from Jesus Christ." And I just have to say this, like right there, I got into the book and like I was already done. Because I'm like, would to God that every person in the gatherings here today would get a revelation from Jesus Christ. If there's one thing you need today, it's not to shore up your political platform, or whatever it is that you might think is important to you in terms of your occupation, or whatever else you consider a priority, the most important aspect of your life is to continue to receive a revelation of Jesus Christ. That's the heart of the Father, is to reveal himself to you. And it says in the scriptures, Hebrews chapter 1 in particular, that he cared so much to reveal to you who he was, that he sent his son. He spoke through apostles and prophets, but in the last day he revealed himself through his son. The Book of Colossians says that he is the exact image, and expression, and likeness, of the Father. Phillip said, just show us the Father, and that'll be enough master. And Jesus said, Phillip, have you been with me so long, and you don't know me when you see me. The Father is apocalipsis he's revealed to you. Paul, when he writes to the church called Ephesus, he tells the Ephesians, I'm going to pray for you, and this is my prayer for you, I'm praying that God would have a Spirit come upon you. And the Spirit that I pray comes upon you is a Spirit of Sophia, wisdom, and apocalipsis, revelation, and epiginosko, profound knowledge, autos of him. A Spirit of wisdom, revelation, and the knowledge of him. Fascinating isn't it? Sophia apocalipsis epiginosko autos, that's his prayer for you.

Matt Stokes: 11:04 Because I don't know what you're going to get, but if you don't get a revelation of Jesus Christ, then where are we all really going? I want to surround myself with people that are hungering and thirsting for a fresh revelation of Jesus Christ. I hope you read Oswald Chambers, and I hope you read The Daily Bread, but the last thing I need are the echoes of another person's thoughts about God. I want a fresh revelation from God, I want a revelation of Jesus Christ, and I'm praying the same for you as we continue to take this journey into this book.

Matt Stokes: 11:36 "This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place." Now, as soon as you read that, you might say soon, well, if it says soon, then why didn't it happen? That's a good question. What's interesting is, is if you have another translation, again I'm using The New Living Translation, yours might say suddenly, or quickly take place. The word in the Greek is the word tachéos, it's where we get the word tachometer from. Do you know what a tachometer is? So in your car, do you ever notice you've got two dials, you've got a speedometer shows you how many miles an hour going, but that other dial the one that you might wonder what that's all about. The one that just goes 1 through 8, and you notice it when you're shifting gears, that's tachometer, it actually measures the speed of a revolution, RPMs. In other words, it's saying when it happens, it's going to happen quickly. When it happens, it's going to take place suddenly. Varoom, like the RPMs when you shift into gear. Or I think about like the Roadrunner, like getting away from Wile E Coyote and somehow like they're running, and they're on this mountain. And the next thing, you know, like the coyote trips in the snow. And then he turns into a snowball and then he goes down the mountain, like, and he goes, varoom. Like by the time it gets to the bottom of the mountain, he's like a snow boulder. Right? And then boom, he hits the mountain and the Tweedy bird fly over his head. But the point is that that's the idea, when it happens woosh, it's going to happen. And when it happens, it's going to happen really fast.

Matt Stokes: 13:13 "He sent an angel to present this apocalipsis his servant John, who faithfully reported everything he saw." Watch this, "This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.". He faithfully reported everything he saw, this is the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. So like as I'm reading that, I just have to pause for a moment and say, like as I'm looking at this, this is my report of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Hey, what is my report, what is your report, of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ? I don't want a day of my life to go by where I am not in the Word of God, and then breaking forth out of this book, and giving the testimony of Jesus Christ. And I'll say it again, would to God that every person in this gathering and coming through here today would do the same, and everyone else who names the name of Christ would be in the Word of God, and then break forth with the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Matt Stokes: 14:30 So I washed my cars this weekend at the [inaudible] carwash, right, and I washed my wife's car and I washed my car. It's just, it was a sunny day yesterday, right, so like I just was in the mood. So I went through the, and I was doing the tire shine. I do my own tire shining, okay, I'm weird about that. Because if you don't, they goop it up too much, and it just flies all over my car. So anyway, I'm wiping it down, and I said to the guy that was working with the towel, I said, Hey, what a beautiful day today, right? He's like, yeah, it's a beautiful day, tomorrow too, but you know, the weather's going to get really bad in the next couple of days after this. I'm like, yeah, I saw the forecast. He's like, but who knows, you know, the way the universe is, that I might, you know, I might have off. So I'm coming back with the second car now, I'm like, I can't let that go by. Like, you know, like I'm showing up with the word here, right. And now I'm tire shining, hey buddy. I'm like, get ready, you might have off next week? I might. I'm like, would you ever think of coming to Coastal, you know, the church in Ocean City? He's like, yeah, sure. I'd come. I'm like, because you know, I heard what you said about the universe, and it's really not about the universe, it's about Jesus Christ and he loves you. And I just want you to know how much he loves you. He's like, yeah, Jesus is cool. And like, then he moved to the next car. So like, I don't know if we're going to see him, or if he's watching online, or he's coming to the third gathering. But I'm just like, I'm saying, I just don't want an opportunity to go by where I'm not sharing Jesus Christ, and those days do go by. I don't want them to go by, time is short, life is short, there's one thing that matters, and that's being in this word and then coming forth with the testimony of Jesus Christ. That's the heart of John as he begins this journey, and I hope it's the heart of every one of us.

Matt Stokes: 16:31 "He faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." Here it is, "God blesses the one who reads it (right on) the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says." Now he says here, those who read the words of this prophecy. Do you understand what prophecy is, again, prophesy [foreign language, prophet, prophesy? The idea is, and Matthew said this on Thursday night, and if you're missing Thursday nights, you're missing it. Because it is rich, he began Daniel chapter one, and I encourage everybody to listen to it. Especially around the one hour mark, when you're moving through, that eight minutes right there, I mean, like I went to school to hear Matthew talking about [inaudible], and 586 BC, and the Babylonian captivity. I'm like, man, he really does his homework, and studies hard to really bring you a great message on a Thursday night. And I'm saying, please don't miss it. If you're not here, and you're watching online, I watch online, I hope my family does too. Don't miss what's happening, because there's a really powerful word going forth on Thursday nights, and I would love every one of you to see it. Because if I spent as much time as I could saying, like Matt said, like Matt said, you guys would be like, alright already. Like, there's so much of what he's saying in Daniel, that's going to be connecting with Revelation, and Revelation connecting with Daniel, I just can't stop and say it every time. But you will be blessed if you decide to engage both books, Daniel and Revelation. What is prophecy? Prophecy again, it's to speak forth, it's to foretell. So prophet is pro, meaning in front of, and fiteía, is to go in front and say it. Or to forthtell, or to foretell, that's what prophecy is. And he uses that word prophecy here, because what he's trying to say is, look, there's prophecy in the Old Testament, and I'm trying to tell you that I have a revelation, and I am aligning myself with the Old Testament prophets. I'm stepping into that office in order to declare something to you, and to reveal something to you, to show it forth, before it actually happens.

Matt Stokes: 18:44 The Bible is the only book that contains remarkable prophecy, 26.8% of this book is prophecy. Thousands upon thousands of verses are dedicated to prophecy. Why? Because God wants to show you who he is, that he stands outside of time and eternity things seen and unseen. And the way that he does that is, is he tells you what's going to happen before it happens, you won't find that in any other Holy book. You can read the Baba Gita, you can read the Upanishads, you can read the writings of Confucius and Buddha, and nobody is prophetic. In fact, it actually says in Isaiah chapter 46, he says, I'm the Lord God, and I'm going to show you how I'm the Lord God, because I am going to, what does he say, he says, I'm actually going to call those things. He says, from ancient into the present, I'm the God who's going to show you that I know the end from the beginning. That's how you're going to know that I'm God, because I'm going to tell you things before they actually even happen. If I was able to do that, you would listen to me. Like you'd be like, oh, maybe I'll listen to me, but I won't. If I told you things before they happen, and they all happened, you'd listen to me, right?

Matt Stokes: 19:53 Romans chapter 4, he's talking about Abraham. And he's talking about giving a promise to Abraham, and Abraham had to wait 13 years for the fulfilling of that promise. But it says about God, he says, he's the God who all of those things that are not, as though they already were. Okay, that's just cool. And that's what the scriptures are doing, that's what Revelation is primarily about. It's a revelation, and then he says, blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, what
you're reading is a prophetic book, and bless the one who listens to the message and obeys what it says, for the time is near.

Matt Stokes: 20:26 And by the way, the time is near. It was near when John wrote it, and it's nearer now than it ever was before. In fact, if you read Romans chapter 13, it says, it's time to awake. It's high time for us to awake out of our sleep, cast off the works of darkness, and put on the light because our salvation is than when we believed. So I don't know when you believe, but your salvation is nearer right now than when you believed. You could have started believing yesterday, and your salvation is nearer right now. The time is nearer, every day the time is nearer. God has designed his word, and his world, in such a way that we're always experiencing the concept of his nearness. That it's eminent, that it could happen at any time. And there's a wisdom in that, right?

Matt Stokes: 21:15 Like my father was a fireman for 34 years, and I never really understood his schedule. He did like four on four off, and after a series of four on four off, then he actually had an extended time off. But then he had another job, he did, whether it was carpentry or painting, And so he did these other jobs, I never knew when my dad was coming home. And guess what? That was a really good thing, it was a really good thing. When I knew my dad wasn't coming home, that wasn't good for anybody. And if I was doing something that was out of line, and my mom would be like, your father's coming home, like all of a sudden that just changed everything, right? My whole posture and demeanor, like, can I help you vacuum something? Like, because why? If I know my father's coming, that changes the way that I'm living. And God has designed his word in such a way that, hey, he's coming, your Father's coming. The Prince of peace, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, he's coming, people get ready.

Matt Stokes: 22:16 This letter is from John to the seven churches in the Province of Asia. So again, when you're a teacher, it's very important to talk about who is your target audience, right? So just understand, John, as the writer, comes out right away in the opening verses and tells you who his target audience is. His target audience is seven churches, and these seven churches are in the Province of Asia. So we know where these churches are. So you have Italy, which is Europe, you know that Italy is shaped like a boot, right, then there's a sea on the backside of the heel of the boot. If you go to the other side of that sea, and you have Macedonia, Achaia, and you have Greece. And between Macedonia and Achaia, when you move over to the next piece of land, which used to be the Ottoman Empire and is now modern day Turkey, that's where you'll see these seven churches that are actually in close proximity.

Matt Stokes: 23:08 Seven, it's interesting, seven, John loves sevens. He uses sevens throughout the Book of Revelation, seven bulls, seven trumpets, seven seals, why does he do that? I'll explain why, there are seven churches. "Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come" Now I had that circled in my Bible, and I hope you do too. Circle one, and then circle is, and then is to come, right? Because it's really important to express the eternality of God. When you've got people that are going through trial, tribulation, chaos, catastrophe, you want to know that your God stands outside of eternity, right? And no matter what happens, he's still alive, and he's present in your life. And what's remarkable is as we go through the Book of Revelation, what you're going to see is the same thing that's accounted to God the Father Almighty, is accounted to Jesus Christ. In Hebrews we're told that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Later on in Revelation, even at the end of the sweep of the book, you'll hear Jesus say that he is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega, using the same language. Which would be so important for you to know that your Savior, I mean, have you ever had that talk with your kids when you're lying in bed at night and they try to ask you, how is it that God always was like, he never had a beginning? Like 10 minutes into it, you're brain just explodes. You're just like, you can explain the eternality of God, but it's important for us to accept it and understand that he always was, and is, and is to come.

Matt Stokes: 24:49 "Grace and peace to you from him, and from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne." So the Spirit is before the throne of the Almighty Father, and it calls him the sevenfold Spirit. What is the sevenfold Spirit? Here's the number seven again, you've got the seven churches of Asia, now you have the sevenfold Spirit. Why? Because seven, in the Hebraic mind, was the number of completeness, right? There's seven days in a week, the Lord rested on the seventh day, he completed his work and rested. Seven becomes the number of completeness. Remember when Peter said, "Master, how many times should I forgive someone who sins against me? Should I forgive him seven times?" Thinking like, that's the complete number? "And Jesus said, no, not seven times, but seventy times seven." How about take the seven, and then add in seven, and then 10 times it, that's how many times you should forgive, right? But there's something about that number seven, that's very unique to John, because that number will be synonymous, again, it's a metaphor in the apocalipsis for completeness. And what he's saying is, is that, hey, lean into this with me for a minute, that this Spirit that is before the throne of the almighty Father, he's complete. He's completely integrated, everything about him his whole, there's nothing lacking in the Spirit.

Matt Stokes: 26:10 In fact, if you read Isaiah chapter 11, as it opens up, it talks about what's called the righteous Branch, which is a metaphor for the Messiah, for the Savior that's to come, and it says that there's a Spirit that's going to rest upon him. Now, this is fascinating, you can look it up for yourself, just put it in your margin right now, just put like Isaiah 11:2. And when you do, you're going to see that this Spirit that comes upon him, it says how he's going to execute justice, and how he's going to lead, and what kind of position he's going to take. And it says that there's going to be a Spirit that comes upon him and it's going to be, listen. Number one, the Spirit is going to be of the Lord, and it's going to be wisdom, and understanding, and counsel, and five is might, and six is knowledge, and seven is fear, like awesome reverential wonder. So he gives seven unique distinctions to this Spirit that will come upon Christ. Why? Because when the Spirit came upon Christ for him to do his ministry on the earth, Christ was lacking nothing. Filled with the Spirit, he accomplished death, the sacrificial substitution for our sin, and resurrection, because the Spirit that is within him comes upon us is lacking no thing. So is it a uniqueness, is it a coincidence, that when Isaiah mentions the Spirit, that he has a seven fold concept to him? Why not two? Why not nine? You could have said anything, he gave seven, and he says that this sevenfold Spirit is before the throne. Fascinating.

Matt Stokes: 27:42 "And from Jesus Christ." So in my Bible, I've underlined the word one, and then the word Spirit, and Jesus, because you have the Trinity right here in one single verse. You don't see the word Trinity mentioned in the Bible, but you see the Trinity in several different places throughout the scripture, which is remarkable. And you see it right here with this one verse where it says, the one who was, who always is, and is to come, and the Spirit before the throne, and Jesus Christ.

Matt Stokes: 28:06 Now he goes on to describe Jesus Christ, and look what he says of him, "He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world." So this is your Savior, and this is who he is, he's the faithful witness. In other words, everything that Christ ever said or showed about himself is true. He's faithful, he's true, everything that he's revealing, is revealing of the Father. He's not missing anything, he's a totally faithful witness. And also he's the first to rise from the dead, if you have another translation, it might say the firstborn from the dead. Which is just remarkable too, right? Because again, if he's writing to believers who are suffering, believers who were struggling, he wants them to know, yo, yo, I rose from the dead, and I was the first one to do it. Remember Jesus said, I have the power to lay my life down, and I have the power to take it up again. Jesus said in John 13, "As I live, so shall ye live. I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me though he were dead, yet shall he live. And the one who believes in me, if he lives, he will never die." John 11, powerful, important, essential, critical, vital for the believer, struggling to know this about Christ, that he actually gives us the gift of resurrection. And he proved it, not just by dying, but by rising again. And showing, I'm going to be the first one to rise, I'm going to show you that I can do this, and then I'm going to pass this by the power of my forgiveness, and my hope of heaven, and every other promise in my word, I'm passing it along to you, and you can know that it's true because I'm a faithful witness.

Matt Stokes: 29:47 And he's the ruler of all the kings of the world, he's the King of Kings, he's the Lord of Lords, that's who he is. He's the ruler of all things, all kings in the world. So in light of that, in light of the fact that he's a faithful witness, in light of the fact that he's the first to rise from the dead, and that he's the ruler of all the Kings in the world. Then, "All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us." Okay, so like again, we've got to pause here, and just got to wait, because we're seeing Christ. And we're seeing this very powerful Savior, who is the King of all Kings of the world. And guess what? He loves you, like, he really loves you. Like I can stand in awesome reverential wonder of this powerful being, but if what he didn't love me? I've said this before, I'd be terrified. But what's it like to believe that he is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, he's the King of all the world, and every King that's ever come or will come, and he loves you? I mean, if you can leave today with just a little deeper understanding of how Christ loves you, I feel like I will have done my job.

Matt Stokes: 31:08 Because I have people come, I've been in ministry for years, and I have people that unfold these sheets of paper, and they'll show me the Revelation timelines, and here's the bulls, and here's the seals, and here's when it gets [inaudible] like rapture probably happens here, second coming here, millennial [inaudible]. And I'm like, when was the last time someone just like unfolded the scriptures, were like look, I've just got to show you, like I'm blown away by how much Jesus loves me, I just can't get past this. Like instead of getting caught up in, again, cracking the secret codes of Revelation, get caught up in Christ, get caught up in His like awesome love for you, it's like forever. He really, really loves you. And some of you were like, yeah, I got that, that's why I'm here. And some of you, I hope maybe one of you, it's just hitting you like a brick in the head. Like what, he loves me? Yeah, he loves you. And here's something he can't ever do, he can never stop loving you. His character actually forbids him to stop loving you, because his love is unconditional, he will always love you. There is no one on the earth that can promise you that, and some of you know that all too well. No one's ever loved you like Christ loves you, no one ever will. It says in Ephesians that in the ages to come, we will continually be blown away by the riches of the kindness that we have in Christ. Jesus. He loves you, he loves you so much that what he did he do, he us from our sins, by the shedding of his blood. Like the talk is cheap, man, he showed you that he loved you by shedding his own blood, by saying I will be the sacrifice for your sins, although I'm sinless, so that I can exchange something with you and give you something that you could have never had, and that's my righteousness. I'm actually going to bestow that upon you, because I have it, and my sacrifice will earn it, and I can give it to you. He shed his blood, he didn't just say he loved you, he showed you he loved you. The scriptures tell us to do the same thing, let us love, not only in word, but also in deed, in action, and in truth.

Matt Stokes: 33:31 Oh, but there's more, look what it says next, "He also made us a kingdom of priests for God his Father." Like, I don't know, do you realize that you're a priest as you sit here right now? Do you know what a priest is? A priest, if you know your Old Testament history, a priest is a person who brought people to God. That was the responsibility of the priest, was to bring the people to God. What's a prophet? A prophet brings God to the people. A prophet goes to God, he hears the voice of God, and then he brings God to the people and says, thus says the Lord. What is a priest? A priest actually brings the people, and he brings them before God. And it says right here that what Christ did through his death and resurrection, is he made every one of you a priest in his Father's kingdom. What does that mean? It means that you have the awesome responsibility and privilege of bringing people to God, like that's our responsibility. It says it even in other place in scriptures. It says you are a chosen generation, Peter said, a Royal priesthood. A particular people that God has called out of darkness into his marvelous light, you are a Royal priesthood. Like he's made you kings, because you're royal. And he's made you priests, which is spiritual. I mean, imagine that, you are a priest. You know, I have been by the death bed of more than one person in my life and heard people cry out, somebody get me a priest. How sad is that? Not knowing that you are a priest. If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins in your place, and rose again and showed you that he's the faithful witness, you're a priest. Let that blow you away, because when you rise up from this place and you go out onto the street, you're one awesome responsibility as a priest is to bring people to God. And the way that we do that is by sharing a message called the gospel.

Matt Stokes: 35:37 Paul saw this as so sacred, he saw it as a sacred entrustment. That he saw the people that the children of Israel, and I can't get into the details on this, this is what happens when you have no notes. He saw the people of Israel and he said, my heart is for me to take the nation of Israel and hold them up before the Father as an offering, as a priest would hold up an offering before the Lord, I want to hold up the nation of Israel. Who is God, listen, who is God bringing to the surface of your conscience right now? Right here, right now, in the midst of this moment, that you know you need to bring them to God, someone you work with, your neighbor, the guy helping you wash your car? Like I'd be hard pressed to believe within three gatherings, and all the people coming through here, that there isn't a person in this room that God isn't bringing someone to your conscious, that you need to bring them to God. Maybe it's you, maybe I'm your priest today, maybe I'm bringing you to God. I love that, Lord, let it be so.

Matt Stokes: 36:45 "All glory and power to him forever and ever!" All glory and power to him for how long? Ever, and how about ever? Like, let me just be really clear, like he gets the glory forever. And again, this language is going to be used, not just of the Father, but it's going to be used of Jesus Christ, that both of them had this eternality, and you have to see that it's so important. You're going to hear this of the Father and the Son, Revelation chapter 5, and in other places, chapter 22, remarkable.

Matt Stokes: 37:17 We've got to close this up. Seven, look. Look, I'm just kidding, okay. "Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!" Now what he's done there in verse 7, is he's reached out and he's grabbed Daniel chapter 7, and then he pulled in from there Zechariah chapter 12. Because in Daniel chapter 7, there's a fascinating verse where Daniel has a vision. And in the vision, he says, "Behold, I saw in the clouds of heaven, there came one that was like unto the Son of man." And you will find in Daniel that, that expression, the Son of man, is a reference to the Messiah. You know, Jesus calls himself, in the gospels, the Son of man. The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many. And here he's saying, look, he comes in the clouds, he's pulling from Daniel 7. And then he says, "Every eye will see him, and even those who pierced him, and all the nations of the world will mourn for him." Pulling from Zechariah 12, where God says, thus says the Lord, I'm going to pour out my Spirit of grace. And he says, and they're going to look upon me, first person singular, they're going to look upon me whom they have pierced, and mourn for him as one mourns for an only son. Zechariah 12 was written hundreds and hundreds of years before the concept, again, of piercing by death, crucifixion, was ever even coming into the minds of sick Roman soldiers. And he said, that they would look upon me, whom they've pierced, and they'll mourn like one mourns for an only son. John chapter 19, as Christ as being crucified, they pierced his hands and feet. John chapter 19, John, this writer, he says, John says, and this happened as it was according to scripture, they will look upon him whom they have pierced. Prophecy, prophecy. I am the God who calls us things that are not, as though they already were. Fascinating. I am the God who calls the end from the beginning, I'm the one who calls from the ancient things not yet. That's God.

Matt Stokes: 39:37 And then we'll close, “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Again, Revelation 5, Revelation 22, you'll see this interchange of the eternality of both the Father and the Son, and the lamb sitting upon the throne. They both receive glory, and honor, and strength, and wisdom.

Matt Stokes: 40:10 So our time's up. As we finish and we just wrap it up, I'm just wondering, when you look at these opening verses, like what did God press into your heart this morning? Like, did you hear some of the nuances of the character of Christ? Like, okay, hey, like that he really loves you, like he didn't just say it, like he actually shed his blood. Is it the fact that today you're going to rise up with strength and authority, and you're going to know that you are a priest in the kingdom of his Father, and that you've got a sacred calling upon your life to let the light of Christ shine forth from your life, and the love of Christ to come out of your heart and bring people to the Father, bring them to salvation, bring them to grace, bring them to forgiveness. Are you looking at the blessings in verse 3? Are you ready, are you ready to get blessed as we take this journey together? He blesses the one who reads it, and blesses the one hears it, and obeys it. And with that, Amen.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
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