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The Oneness of the Church – Part 3 (Mike Vestal)

 

not enough for lunch think about this and I want you to say it with me in just a moment the more of heaven we cherish the less of Earth will covet now think about that the more of heaven we cherish the less of Earth will covet the Bible says set your affections on things are above where Christ is Colossians 3 verses 1 and 2 the Word of God encourages us to seek treasure in heaven Matthew 6 verses 19 through 21 as the people of God the church we are headed home to heaven our citizenship is in heaven Philippians 3 verse 20 now think about it meditate upon it when we cherish heaven we won’t covered earth and when we covered earth we won’t cherish heaven the more of heaven we cherish the less of earth will covet now let’s say it together the more of heaven we cherish the less of earth will covet one more time the more of heaven we cherish the less of earth will covet I think that’s what the songwriter brother Tillet as Ted Lee had to have in mind when he penned earth holds no treasures but perish with using however precious they be but there’s a country to which I am going heaven holds all to me a man well into his 90s was known as a gray brother in the faith wise loving trustworthy dependable faithful and it was well known by those who had been around him through the years that this man had gone through an awful lot in his life he knew the meaning of trial and tribulation he had an understanding of acts 14:22 with but much tribulation we shall enter the kingdom of God he was asked on one occasion by a number of people that knew him well how he was able to maintain such a positive outlook such a great attitude such a wonderful spirit through the years how have you been able to do it when you’ve dealt with loss and trial and tragedy and heartache how have you been able to do it for these 90 some odd years and he said there are three truths I always keep in mind Who I am I am a Christian I belong to Jesus and I want to be more and more like him my real home is heaven and then third he says I can hardly wait for who and for what await me when I get there to whom we belong what awaits and who and what will await us there the more of heaven we cherished the less of Earth will covet if you have your Bible please turn to the book of Revelation because this afternoon’s study comes from this great book many people are afraid to study the book of Revelation are thoroughly confused but in two words here’s the message Christians win we are more than conquerors through him that loved us romans 8 37 through 39 I like to study the book of Revelation and I want to share with you some basic truths and then we’re going to look at some specific passages that will serve as great reminders for us to cherish heaven so that we don’t covet earth the more of heaven we cherish the less of earth will covet Revelation is the most sensory book in the New Testament you know the senses like seeing and hearing and tasting and smelling and touching revelation is the most sensory book of the New Testament it is a book for our praise and glory to God it’s written in a tithe of language that many people are unfamiliar with technically called apocalyptic but what really it involves is this good and evil are embodied and good is victorious and this is all spoken of in figurative symbolic type of terminology now that’s one of the reason why many of us as members of the Churches of Christ have all kinds of problems in Revelation anyway we have had engrained in our heads and understandably so to interpret the Bible literally unless the context forbids yeah all you ever heard anything along those lines interpret literally unless the context forbids it means what it says in other words you get to the Book of Revelation you interpret figuratively unless the context demands otherwise that’s fascinating it’s different and the book is a book that inspires and appeals to one’s imagination because of its sensory nature and again think about this the prayers of the saints are like incense romans revelation 8 verses 3 through 5 rather there is a seven sealed book that’s to be opened touched revelation 5 1 through 14 you keep thinking about the book of Revelation John takes a book and he eats it and it is sweet to his taste but bitter to his valley Revelation chapter 10 verses 9 and 10 man the senses are everywhere this is a really a real sensory experience to try to take in revelation 40 times 40 times in this book John says and I saw that’s a lot isn’t it a vision that he is seeing a victory victory in Jesus 30 to 35 times it says and I heard 30 to 35 times and then there is an expression that I want us to focus on in our study this afternoon it is the most common command in the book of Revelation it occurs 20 to 25 times and the command is behold behold look you know you look at the rest of the New Testament and it’s it’s messages really trust and obey you get to the book of Revelation it is stop look and listen God is still the king his people are headed home to God be the glory so the most common command found 20 to 25 times in Revelation is behold look see we use something like that today we’re trying to arrest grab somebody’s attention that’s what is occurring in the book of Revelation now here’s the second most common command fear not fear not and this is absolutely amazing because Paul Stewart I’ll tell you what brother only by looking to him look see listen can I find the strength to fear not so what I want to do is focus on some of these behold or look passages open your Bibles to Revelation 4 verse 1 it’s found 20 or 25 times I’d have a world of fun preaching but I’m not gonna focus on all of them revelation 4 verses 1 and 2 notice this behold look the open door of heaven behold the open door of heaven thinking of the context the Roman Empire when this book was originally written they were persecuting Christians they were imprisoning them putting numbers to death because Caesar wanted to be bowed down to as God and Christians you can see they were between the proverbial rock and a hard place they would not bow down to Caesar as Lord and yet if they refused Caesar would make it impossible for them to exist they couldn’t hold down a job they couldn’t provide for their families now think about it Don being able to unable to provide for your family because you refused about down the Caesar is Lord how that beyond Vicki your kids your grandkids and you may even have gotten the message that they’re probably coming to get some of them and take them and throw them into jail imagine the dilemma Rome was doing so much to shut doors for Christians and then they got to revelation 4 and the door is open behold the open door of heaven and the message of Revelation is God cares when his people hurts and when the people of God stand up for what is right and are persecuted or they suffer for that God knows he cares he sees and one is not alone earlier in 1st Corinthians chapter 16 Paul had used the same type of expression he said the Lord has provided from me an open door great and effectual but there are many adversaries you come to Revelation you look at chapter 3 and verse 8 God opens a door Revelation 3:8 and no man can shut it well the door of heavens open and Caesar himself would not be able to shut it what a message to remember as we head home to heaven we will encounter antagonism and opposition but the door of heaven remains open and think of revelation 3:20 and 21 as the chapter closes prior to this Jesus stands at the door and he knocks the door has to be opened from the inside doesn’t it the church at Laodicea was a church that needed to let the Lord in that’s something to think about Church it’s impossible it’s possible to have a church and to leave the Lord on the outside wanting to get in they needed to open the door and let him in but you get to Revelation 4 and the door of heaven is open look at the next verse revelation 4 verse 2 that brings us to a second behold behold the glorious throne of heaven whenever we start to covet earth think about the door of heaven being open and I want that to be open not shut think about the glorious throne of heaven revelation 4 verse 2 behold look a glorious throne 12 to 14 times in this one chapter Sam the word throne is found truly it is the throne chapter not just of the book of Revelation but the entire New Testament and the emphasis is on who’s on the throne what’s going on around the throne and worship worship is given to the one on the throne the father here in chapter 4 if you will and the worship that is given to the father in Revelation 4 is given to the son Jesus in Revelation 5 worthy you ever stop and think about what we do when we when we when we worship we go before God’s throne to give him his due Psalm 29 to worship the Lord the beauty of holiness give him the glory due his name and as some degree here on earth we will never be able to give him all that he richly deserves but he wants our hearts and our love and our sincerity in Accords in accordance with his truth worship is a declaration of God’s greatness notice what is said in revelation 4:8 holy holy holy Lord God Almighty who was and who is and who is to come God is holy God is king and God is eternal they needed to remember that in the first century and people need to remember it who love God in the 21st worship is a declaration of his greatness sometimes people get so confused in this book they either want to relate it to some futuristic type of events that many of you have heard and a twisting of the text if ever there was one think about this here are first century Christians that are being persecuted for their faith and the writer essentially is saying to them you guys have got it bad but you just wait until about 2100 or 2200 ad things will really be bad then you think you’ve got it bad sorry buster but tough luck it’s nothing compared to what these people are going to be going through the message of Revelation was written to comfort to encourage and to keep people heading in the straight and narrow to head in the way to heaven but it’s a book of principles that relates to every age God’s people will prevail there is a door that is open there is one that remains on a glorious throne far greater than Caesar worships a declaration of his greatness a celebration of his goodness honor glory and thanks when you worship God see revelation 4 there those are the terms glory and honor and thanks should be given him worship is a submission before his sovereignty you know what think about this now it is as it were one brother said Mike you standing down there like this you’re kind of short and a squatty body I couldn’t see from where you were setting I said set up closer to the front it’s not imperative that you see me it’s not imperative that you see Jesus or Russell I mean Sam or a Russell it’s imperative that you see Jesus anyway but what’s going to be the first thing that happens in heavenly worship a lot of times I’m asked to a question like that what will happen in heavenly worship I’m convinced that initially most of us are going to be speechless and the next thing we’re going to do is be on her knees because he’s so great and awesome because he is so good and we submit he’s the king he’s the king and the people in the book of Revelation needed to be reminded about that and so do you and me so do you and I keep looking at the text worship is a an adoration of his person notice what they do they fall down and worship Him and the word worship means to fall down and to kiss the hand toward I believe y’all that Dan Winkler here recent times for a gospel meeting or build something to that effect right similar something like this he likes to speak of worship and he says it literally means to kiss the hand toward and it’s like a grandchild that’ll do that to grandma or grandpa as they’re leaving I love you blow a kiss wouldn’t it be marvelous that if every time we worshiped here on earth it was as it were God’s children saying I love you God till next time we all come together til next time we can be here around your throne to blow him a kiss to worship is to exalt his name look at revelation 4 8 through 11 worthy you are you created us and for your sake we were created behold the open door of heaven behold the glorious throne of heaven now look at revelation 5 verse 5 and Revelation 14 verse 1 behold look the lion lamb of heaven it’s a lion out of the tribe of Judah revelation 5 and verse 5 behold the lamb look the lamb revelation 14:1 they sing the song of Moses in the lamb here is an important bit of information for you the most common definition the most common designation rather of Jesus in the whole book of Revelation by far is lamb it’s not Jesus it’s not Christ it’s not God it’s not Lord it’s the lamb now he is all those things but revelation 28 times speaks of Jesus as the Lamb and the picture is that of the lamb slain whose blood redeems but if you keep thinking of Jesus it is the Lamb who Shepherds his people Revelation chapter 7 and verse 17 these are the Lamb there are many pictures of Jesus given with some thoroughness throughout Revelation beginning in Chapter 1 and verses 9 through 20 where is Jesus when his people herds where is Jesus when his people are persecuted and suffering when they go through trial and difficulty where is Jesus and in Revelation 1 he’s in the midst of his churches get it now he is in the midst of his churches our God is amazing he’s not an absentee landlord behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world John 1:29 you were redeemed not with corruptible things like silver and gold but with incorruptible the precious blood of the Lamb first Peter 1:18 and 19 now stop for a second go back with me and think for a moment this book was written by John he gets to see a vision of Jesus and he not seen Jesus for 60 years approximately now John is an old man exiled on an island he’s on the Isle of Patmos Rome has put him there and Caesar is thinking let’s not make a martyr out of this old guy let’s tick him off somewhere where he can’t bother anybody and eventually he’ll rot and die that’s the thinking and imagine imagine what it must have been like for John to see Jesus and John is thinking there’s not any room for me anymore I am here on this island no ministry nobody to talk to nobody to preach to and the lion lamb says John you’re gonna write a book that will encourage and comfort people for hundreds of years and will keep them focused on heaven I’ve saved the best for last for you don’t tell me that you’re too old for God to utilize don’t tell me that you’re cut off it may be that the Lord has something great in mind for you behold the lion lamb Jesus now look if you will in Revelation chapter 19 because in Revelation there’s another one of these pictures actually there’s about six or seven great pictures of Jesus but I’ll focus on this one momentarily just so we can see something of the greatness and the awesomeness in Revelation 19 verse 11 and following Jesus is the faithful and truth on his head are many diadem’s the crown he has a name nobody knows but himself well what in the world does that mean you know I’ve seen commentators spin page after page trying to identify what is the name that no one knows but Jesus himself I’m sorry but it says nobody knows it but Jesus himself I’ll tell you what I believe it means we will never be able to exhaust all that is involved in the infinite God to fully understand God we’d have to be God wouldn’t we but there will always be joyful surprises and so much to learn about our God his robe is dipped in blood he’s called the word divine communication he’s the word the king of kings and the Lord of lords behold look I believe in 2014 what the church needs as much as anything is to focus on Jesus Christ get the picture and one may have their head crowned with all kinds of knowledge about God but when you really see him it’s about a relationship and intimacy in pleasing him behold the lion lamb of heaven the lion and the lamb of heaven number four behold the innumerable hosts of heaven look at revelation 7 and revelation 7 verses 9 and following you read the context there it’ll be behold look the innumerable hosts of heaven I know that many talk about few there be that find heaven Matthew 7:13 and 14 indicates that but when you think about all of the ages think of the innumerable hosts of heaven who will be there think about children that died before reaching the age of accountability think about the faithful of the Old Testament think about the people throughout the centuries that were Christians only the innumerable hosts of heaven I was talking with one of your deacons Danny last night and he was just so excited about his work as a deacon but getting to go visit some of the older people the shut-ins and taking in the Lord’s Supper on Sunday afternoon especially and I couldn’t help but smile because he was so excited about his work I remember going to the nursing home myself every week and there was a sweet sister in Christ there in the nursing home well into her 80s at that time she was and I talked about will we know each other in heaven of one day as a devotional talk and she just smiled from ear to ear I’ll never forget it because she was missing several teeth when she smiled but it’s so sweet and she said to me after it was all over brother Mac you have a sweet older ladies might sometimes talk country ladies she said I want you to know I am so glad we’ll know each other in heaven from the life of me I can’t remember people here on earth heaven will contain an innumerable host and no introduction will be required because we are family Matthew 8 11 and 12 they will sit down with Abraham Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom no introduction required lastly behold the beautiful dwelling place called heaven go to Revelation 21 the Hall the beautiful dwelling place called heaven so many materialized heaven but the more of heaven we cherish the less of earth will covet to become materialistic in heaven is not what God has in mind for us all right when I was younger sometimes I spend time thinking about the street of gold and the pearly gates heaven will be a place of incomparable beauty but look at revelation 21 and when you look at verses 1 through 5 you will see God will be there if nothing else were said about heaven that would be sufficient he will be there people will be there people people that we have loved people that we have cared about that we have known through the years Sam said something like you’ve done 18 funerals in 14 months is that right I have no doubt that there’s going to be some reunions in heaven people will be there therefore we do not sorrow as those who have no hope 1st Thessalonians 4 13 through 18 glory will be there revelation 21 verses 11 through 13 glory will be there nothing unclean revelation 21 and verse 27 Beauty will be there revelation 21 16 and following something of the beauty and dimensions of heaven are given let’s not literal eyes it let’s just get the big idea the big idea is that heaven is the incredibly big place that is undescribable even with inspired terminology you keep looking at Revelation chapter 22 the old look life is there the water of life and the river of life revelation 22 rain is there revelation 22 verses 4 and 5 I’m glad rain is in heaven rei GN because rai n is not in Midland Texas rain is in heaven notice lastly verse four four and five the face the face the face of Jesus is in heaven many years ago a friend of mine by the name of Al was diagnosed with the terminal disease and his wife Fay within the span of just a few short days was also diagnosed with the terminal disease they were wonderful faithful Christian people had been for years he’d been a high school principal and the older in the congregation where I preached a song leader she’d been a church secretary she had been a Bible class teacher they had just opened their homes and been so gracious to so many people through the years and I wouldn’t buy both through their home to see them their home their to see them together and I knocked on the door and I was kind of thinking what am I gonna say I know I’m gonna pray with them and I’m gonna try to encourage them he came to the door and he let me in he said Mike were really glad that you came come on in and have a seat and it was a short time but it seemed a whole lot longer to me I didn’t exactly know where to go with the conversation I cared about these two people and both of them had just been told by their doctor that their time here on earth was short what would I say and I guess knowing my loss they’re sensing it I’ll smiled again and he said Mike we’re so glad that you came that you came and we know why you came thank you but there’s something we want you to know this is the moment we’ve been waiting for all of our lives the more of heaven we cherish the less of earth will covet isn’t at the moment we’ve been waiting for all of our lives it’s something I’ve been talking about and preaching about for years try to instill in our family and amount my grandkids and churches everywhere the more of heaven we cherish the less of earth we’ll cover indeed it is the moment that we’ve been waiting for all of our lives amen we’re about to sing our song of encouragement Oh friend behold look get the picture I’m gonna tell you straight up no-holds-barred far too many people here in this world and far too many people in the church they cherish and covet the earthly and they do not share us they heavenly enough the more of heaven we cherish the less of earth will covet it may be that you and your broken heart need to come to God right now in confession and repentance and expressing the desire to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins look that is your way of escape that’s your way of heading home and it may be that there’s some of us who are Christians that have allowed ourselves to get so wrapped up in the world that we’ve forgotten how important it is to cherish what lasts our sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters our spouses our parents need to see what’s really important in us they need to see what really matters if we can help you to that in once your comments we stand insane

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