This past weekend I taught on the final verses of Revelation twenty-two. In all, it took me eleven months (41 messages) to go through this killer book. Back when I was teaching in California I taught survey-style through the Old Testament prophets, one a week, and it lasted a little over four months. At Worlds End is, by far, the longest end-times series I have ever done.
Honestly, I am a little bit bummed to have finished. I have never been more challenged or rewarded by any messages as I have been in this study. It makes sense though, Revelation is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing for those who will read, hear and keep the things that are in it. (Revelation 1:3) I have definitely found that promise to be true–to the max.
Here are a few of the ways I have been blessed this past year:
1. Jesus has become bigger to me
The image of the glorified Christ has been burned into my soul and when I think of Jesus, I don’t just think of the humble incarnate Christ who came but the punk-rock version who is coming.
2. My desire to reach the lost has burned hotter
The idea for skull church which has been floating around in the “some day” category for years, became reality and going through Revelation lit the fuse–there was no reason to wait–He is coming quickly!
3. Heaven has gotten much cooler
The reality of what life will be like on the New Earth in the New Jerusalem is so vastly different from the version of heaven that Satan pushes on us. I have been invigorated by the wonders of growing in my understanding of Heaven will be like.
4. My longing for personal holiness has intensified
I DO NOT WANT TO BE ASHAMED WHEN HE COMES!!! I want to be a pure bride, as Leeland sings.
5. Every cell in my body and every inch of my soul reverberates with the word, MARANTHA!
Even so, Come Lord Jesus!
This weekend I will be closing the series out with one final message where I will attempt to recap the entire book in 50 minutes, Rocketing through Revelation. This will be helpful because it can be easy to lose the forest for the trees. Plus, hundreds of people have joined the church in the past year and so, for those who weren’t there for it all, this will be a good way to get the big picture of the book in one condensed mega-vitamin of prophecy.
If you are a pastor and have never taught through the book, I highly encourage you to. When I first announced the series, over a year ago, I had one pastor tell me they had never thought of doing it on Sunday morning. He said it seemed like more of a “midweek book.” What does that even mean? Nowhere in Revelation is there a disclaimer that the book is only to be studied on Wednesday nights. And what about the other 2/3 of the church that doesn’t make it out to midweeks? Wouldn’t they be interested in how the world will end and what they should do about it? I wasn’t aware that some books of the Bible weren’t meant for prime time. (extra sarcasm inserted here)
It’s ironic, Revelation specifically ends with a warning for the church not to keep it’s contents a secret but that’s exactly what is so often done. Whatever day of the week you land on, I know you and your church will be impacted if you rock it.
Here are some of the resources that I found to be extremely helpful as I went through the book.
Revelation: The Macarthur New Testament Commentary by John Macarthur (2 volumes)
The Revelation of Jesus Christ by John F. Walvoord
The Revelation of John by William Barclay (2 volumes)
Escape the Coming Night by Dr. David Jeremiah
Exploring Revelation by John Phillips
Revelation An Expository Commentary by Donald Grey Barnhouse
Be Victorious by Warren Wiersbe
Heaven by Randy Alcorn (Specifically for chapters 21 and 22:1-5, it’s the best book on the topic I have ever read.)
I also really dug listening to John Macarthur, Chuck Swindoll and Skip Heitzig’s sermons on Revelation that you can listen to for free online.