The Book of Revelation and Church Leadership, PIV

second comming b

Revelation 1: 5-8 

“Look, he is coming with the clouds…”

We are called a kingdom and priests! What does this mean? In the O.T. meant that all God’s people were holy, set part for purpose, loved and protected by Him.

John begins His Book by reminding his readers of whom and what Christ is, His supremacy, and His role of Redeemer and Judge. What we must be reminded of as we lead and mange His Church. He then gives us a glimpse of end-time events, what we can look forward to. What does this do for us at the board meetings and in the pulpits? We must never forget who we are in Christ. If we do, we will quickly fall into pride and apostasy, buying the lies and living in our depravity. Thus, mismanaging His Church.

Revelation gives us a pointer, shows us that God is beyond time and space, and beyond our comprehension other that what He has clearly revealed to us. He has a plan; let’s face Him, not our fears or our doubts or other’s misgivings. Let us swim in His living waters, and lead our churches as well (Jer. 2:13; 17:13; John 4:10-11; 7:38; Rev. 7:17).

Before Christ, under law, there were specific roles in the priesthood that people were called and ordained to fill. Priests were to be bridges from God to man. Now, through Christ, we have direct, intimate access to Him, and in the future, each of us will reign with Him. Each of us is a royal priest as a representative of Christ (doctrine of the priesthood of all believers) on earth, and as ministers, we model His character.  And the bigger point that is often missed, is our call here, to be Christ’s representative, not come up with spurious ideas on His Second Coming (Ex. 19:1-6; 20:6; Lev. 10:10-11; Isa. 66:20; Matt. 21:43; 28:19-20; Rom. 15:16; 2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 2:1-10; Heb. 7; 10:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:1-10; Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21; 5:9-10; 20:4-6).

Now, see what this does for church leadership, here is the Hope, “He is coming,” this is one of the main themes of this Epistle, the announcement that Christ is coming back. It is a pronouncement of not just hope, but a pointer to Who and What we are as a church to be about.

Get ready…. “the clouds,” which means a spectacular event, such as numbers of angels testifying to God’s glory. It could also mean an extraordinary storm of clouds. But what does this really mean? This means judgment for the wicked. Not so much with what the popular false teachers proclaim who miss the point (Ezek. 30:3; Dan. 7:13; Zech. 12:10; Matt. 16:28; 24:30, 34; 26:64). This is also comforting for the suffering Christians and chastisement for those who are evil and reject Him (Deut. 33:2; Isa. 19:1; Zech. 1:16; Mal. 3:1-2; Matt. 10:23; Rev. 2:5; 3:20).

Now comes The Voice, God’s Voice, “I am” refers to God the Father testifies that the Son, Christ, is God. This means Jesus loves us and has washed our sins away from God’s presence. Not just the Israelites, but also all people in Him are those elected ones and have courage, comfort, and faith in Christ. He rules over all (Prov. 21:1; Dan. 2:21; 4:17; Zech. 12:12; Matt. 3:17; Heb. 13:8).

What is going to happen? The realization will come that our will is not in control and our desires and sin have gotten us a raw deal. A reminder when we lead, instruct, even in the dreariest of meetings, we are in His Hands. What a great comfort to those in persecution at the hands of such people to know that they will get what is coming (Zech. 12:10)!

Who and What it is all about, our faith and our leadership all must be from and point to: “Alpha and the Omega!” This means God is eternal and rules over all places and time. He is omnipotent, all-powerful. Referring to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet meaning His Sovereignty, Christ is all in all; He is LORD of all that is past, present, and is to come. His will and purpose will come true, and ours will not; so, to grow, we must surrender to Him (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; Rom. 8:18-25; Gal. 2:20-21; Rev. 22:12-16).

Do not worry, Christ is coming and all will consummate His will and purpose. Justice and His Kingdom will be fulfilled, and every knee will bow. God may seem to be slow, taking His time, but He does this for good reason. Life is about learning and growing, about becoming faithful, infused with His Spirit, spiritually responsible and character-driven. It is not about how we feel or what we want (Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10; Rev. 21:1-22:5)!

The Book of Revelation and Church Leadership, PII

How would a glimpse of your future help you lead better? What if it is a hope to come into your life? How would that change your attitudes and plans? (Keep in mind that Christ is our hope!) 

Revelation reminds us of the privilege and necessity of reading and hearing His Word, to know and receive the authority, Christ Himself.

I bet the word, Revelation, may be scary to you and still not convinced it has to do with church leadership? Look at the Greek title word, “apokalypsis.” This means “disclosure of events,” as opposed to being something secret or hidden. Even though Revelation is symbolic in places, it is not hidden to us when we take an honest look and compare it to other Scriptures rather than trends or newspapers. Because it is uncovering, an unveiling or, as we have it in the English, a Revelation of God’s Word and call with hope and encouragement. So, “The Apocalypse,” is not about the end of the world; rather, a disclosure of God’s exhortations. Giving us hope in the midst of the reality of life and suffering for being and doing church. As, being in Christ is eternal security (Judges 6:11-23; Dan. 7:16; 10:5-21; Rev. 12:11).

Soon/swift/shortly means quickness and speed. The events that will happen suddenly and unexpectedly (Matt 24:32; 2 Pet. 3:8-18) refer to God’s divine providence and the final phase.

At this time the Church was undergoing the beginnings of more severe persecution than what they initially went through in James’ and Peter’s time when the Roman Emperor Nero was blaming the Christians for the burning of Rome (which he had caused), making them the scapegoat (54-68 AD). And/or (depending on date; see background article at http://www.churchleadership.org/pages.asp?pageid=67280) at this time, the Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) had stepped up the persecutions. They were harsh, perhaps the worst ever endured in church history (Rev. 1:9; 2:9-13; 13:7-10).

What is this about? It may be tough out there, but the time of waiting is over, for Christ is here. The time is near for God who lives outside of space and time, but not necessarily near for us in His coming back, but here in His call and empowerment. So, we can understand God’s perspective, not our desires. (2 Pet. 3:3).

The backdrop, then and in many places now, Christians who were being harassed, betrayed and prosecuted in courts by false witnesses and fake evidences, nothing is fake in Christ. He is our hope and light. We will have  spiritual warfare. our battle with Satan is real and will engage us in conflict and strife with one another until the end of the age (Isa. 43:8-12; 44:8-9; Acts 2:16-17; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 22:6-12, 20).

And what does this all mean for us in leadership? Jesus is the principle and prime Witness we look to so we can have the strength of faith and perseverance.   

The Church is and is to be Blessed. Those who are faithful in Christ will receive the good will of God as blessings from Christ; those who reject Him will be judged. Being blessed also refers to the emotional states of satisfaction, well-being, and contentment that results from being approved by God and by the fulfilling of our duty. It is enjoying God’s special favor and His Grace working in us. It is like being told by parents that they are proud of us (Matt. 5:1-12; Rev. 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7-14).

Again, the point is to strengthen our spiritual formation, not to seek melodramatic theories or sensationalistic ideas.

God ushers in the last days, the last period of redemptive history, and revealing to us His previously hidden agenda and plans. The concern is not just for future events, but also how we conduct ourselves in them in and with His Church. Whatever unfolds is irrelevant if we do not have the strength of faith to endure and learn from it (Heb. 1:1-2; Rev. 22:10).

 

The Book of Revelation and Church Leadership, PI

Did you know that the Book of Revelation has more to do with how we lead and manage our churches over what will happen in the End Times? Think not? Then, perhaps you should read it. 

Revelation has often been just recognized as the ominous apocalypse of chaos and catastrophe to come. Woe, doom and glood scary stuff. Then the prideful and false teachers will chime in with their musing theories. And you will not find that stuff in the Book. But, this is not necessarily the point. Look to the book, not what you think it says, read it, really read it and you will see a more wondrous tale. As Revelation opens with an elaborate greeting so we can more firmly connect our relationship with Christ and receive hope and encouragement. 

Let’s take a look and see why.  

Revelation 1: 1-8, starts out with Christ, testifying to John the Apostle what is going to happen to the Church. The Church, we the people of God formed in and from Him, to know Him and build His network Kingdom. The purpose was not just for information or encouragement; rather, it was to the entire Christian community, meant to remind people to be loyal to Christ, then and now. Its purpose is to bless and encourage us so we can stand firm and grow further in our faith.

What has been revealed will happen to us personally and in a future culmination. This book has meaning and application for church leadership to all who read it as well as a glimpse of a hope to come.

This was a letter targeted to seven actual churches in Asia Minor, now Turkey. About the Divine Authority, Sovereignty, and Lordship of Christ as well as the important relevance of Christ in us, so that we can have peace and anticipation in Him.

Thus to know and run a church under His care and purpose, we have to get this fact, what many today overlook, Christ is Lord. This is reality for us, now not just when He comes back. This is for us know and do now, even when all seems lost and hopeless, He is in command and His plan is in commission.

What are we called to do first and foremost in church leadership? We are exhorted to praise and worship Him Who is worthy of our praise because He has freed us from our sins and separation from God by the shedding of His own blood. He has made us a home, a kingdom, and a dwelling for eternity. So, let us manage it correctly for His glory!

Now, we are given a motivation to lead our churches so they point to Christ as Lord, not to the personalities of the leaders or to a trend or new wave of thinking; no, we are to be realigned to the Magnificent. The Incredable glory to come as we are given a glimpse of the coming of our Lord that all will see. It is not about waiting with theories of how and when; rather, the ultimate motivation for right leading by right doing, by right knowing His Word. It will be the ultimate in shock and awe. Christ is proclaimed as the “All in All” of all things, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty One! So, let us lead His Church in that way here and now, till that day comes!

What needs to take place to better connect your relationship with Christ more firmly, so you do leadership more fully for His glory? How would this help the people in your care to receive hope and encouragement?