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May 23, 2004 PM

REV 1:7-11

INTRO: I have always been in awe of the grand book of Revelation. For so many years I, like so many, would read ... and become a bit discouraged in doing so. What could it all mean? I knew the futurists could not be right about the book, but I also knew the book could not remain a mystery to me ... that I had to decide on a commitment to study, to learn, to understand. I do not presume to claim total understanding. But my awe of this book is now that of absolute wonder at both the message and the means in which that message is presented. How, though, do I present a single lesson on the book of Revelation and do justice to it? What I decided is this. We will look at the expression Alpha and Omega and the various contexts of it for our thoughts.

1. Rev 1:8 - The name of the Lord

a. alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet

b. Jesus is the beginning and the ending - He is the whole story!

c. note Eph 3:11 - ...which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord

d. without Jesus there is no other story of redemption

e. Jno 14:6 - he is the only way to the Father

f. he was, is and is to come - He is truly the past, present and future tense!

g. notice, too, the Almighty - the universal Sovereign

2. Rev 1:10,11 - The seven letters to seven churches

a. once again, Lord is identified as the whole of the subject

b. now, however, this prefaces specific information - seven letters

c. John, however, turns toward the voice to see who as spoken

d. and he sees Jesus as he had never seen Him before!

e. at v. 17c,18 - the risen Christ with power over hades and death

f. 1 Cor 15:55-57 - victory will be very much the theme of this book

g. the Alpha and Omega has the authority to demand attention of the seven churches ... in Whose hand they are held and exist

3. Rev 21:6 - The water of life

a. Alpha and Omega are used almost as I am the Lord in Lev 19

b. I am Alpha and Omega, so.....

c. and the Lord makes the offer of the water of life

d. this takes me back to Jno 4:10,13,14 - water is associated with life - integral to life - cities were built on rivers, etc.

e. the living water of which Jesus spoke would certainly involve the gift of God (v. 10) and everlasting life (v. 14)

f. Jesus proposes, then, to give eternal life to those who seek it - thirsting

g. I would remind of Jno 4:41,42 with Jno 6:68 - the promise of the water of life necessitates the words of life!

4. Rev 22:13,14 - Doing his commandments

a. here is another critical message from the Alpha and Omega

b. eternal life is plainly contingent upon obeying Gods commandments!

c. the tree of life takes us back to the Garden of Eden

d. the symbolism of the tree of life is fitting as a symbol for eternal life

e. and having the right to access to that tree (eternal life) depends on ones obedience to the commandments of God

f. Mt 7:24,25 - this is the conduct of the wise man

g. obedience to the explicit commandments of God is not meriting - it is the fitting and proper response of love - Jno 14:15

CLOSE: The book of Revelation shows us Jesus as a sacrificial lamb, as a conqueror, as Deity worthy of our worship. Yes, this grand book may contain other themes ... and does. But it profoundly shows us Jesus ... the whole story of redemption! the Alpha and Omega.

Cecil A. Hutson

23 May 2003

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)