************ Sermon on Revelation 22:6 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on April 25, 2010


Revelation 22:1-6
Revelation 22:6
"Trustworthy and True"

Introduction
Our text for this morning marks the end of John's visions. Do you remember when the visions began? On a Sunday. On Patmos.
(Rev 1:9-11) I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (10) On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, (11) which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches ..."
That was chapter 1. We are now on chapter 22 and it is still the same Sunday. John spent the entire day in a trance. The Spirit gave him vision after vision of "what must soon take place" (Rev 1:1). What a Sunday it must have been! But now that unforgettable Sunday has almost drawn to a close.

John has seen unusual things. Frightening things. Perplexing things. Strange things. Mysterious things. Majestic things. Remember what John all saw: dragons, beast, locusts, harlots, horses, armies, angels, trumpets, bowls, seals. Now that the visions have finally ended, what was John's reaction? Was he able to sleep that night? Did he toss and turn? Did he question what the Spirit showed him? Did he wonder if this really was God's message to the churches? Did he question if all this was perhaps an hallucination?

So, notice what happens. The same angel that gave John a vision of the new heaven and new earth has one last word for John:
(Rev 22:6) "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place."
Do you see what the angel is actually doing? The angel assures John that what he has seen is real, dependable, and true.

I Trustworthy and True
A The first thing the angel tells John is that "These words are trustworthy and true." What words? I thought John had visions, dreams?

When we looked at the opening verses of the Revelation, I told you about a holy transmission. Remember that?
(Rev 1:1) The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, (2) who testifies to everything he saw--that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The Revelation comes from God, to Jesus, to an angel, to John. It is a holy transmission. God is the One Who initiates the transmission. God is the One Who supervises the transmission. God is the One Who wants the transmission. Our text says the same thing, albeit more briefly, when it declares,
(Rev 22:6) "The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place."

What does John do with what has been transmitted to him? Remember what I already read?
(Rev 1:10-11) On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, (11) which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches ..."
Or, look at the end of Revelation 22:
(Rev 22:16) "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches."
So, the Revelation comes from God, to Jesus, to an angel, to John, and from John by letter to the churches of Asia Minor.

B From God, to Jesus, to an angel, to John, to the churches of Asia Minor. There sure are a lots of links in the transmission chain. How do we know the message has been faithfully transmitted?
This reminds me of the game "Telephone" played by our youth sometime. The first person whispers a sentence or phrase to the second person, who whispers it to the next, who whispers to the next until it goes all the way around the circle. Then you compare and find that what you start with is never what you end with. Sometimes the difference is quite hilarious.

How do we know the same thing has not happened with the Revelation? How do we know the angel did not add something or forget something? How do we know John did not mess up? After all, John is but a man, and when a human – any human – gets his sin-covered hands on a transmission from God, he is certain to change it in someway. So, how do we know the Revelation is trustworthy?

Let me ask another question: whose angel is part of the transmission chain? And, whose prophet is part of the transmission chain? God's angel. God's prophet. They are part of God's holy transmission: from God, to Jesus, to an angel, to John, to the churches.

Do you know what this holy transmission does to the words of the Revelation? The holy transmission ensures the words of the Revelation are "trustworthy and true." But, what else could these words be? After all, they come from God. God Who is truth. God Who is faithful.
(Rev 22:6) "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place."
"Great is Thy Faithfulness."

C "These words are trustworthy and true" (Rev 22:6). Or, as another translation puts it, "These words are faithful and true." What does this mean? That these words are reliable, dependable, and absolutely certain of fulfilment. That these words are not made up. That these words are not the product of an overactive imagination. That these words are not the result of hallucinations. That you can take these words to the bank. That they are iron-clad like a contract. That there is no need to doubt their truth or reliability.
A couple of months ago there was a climate conference in Denmark. In the months since the conference we have found out that evidence was made up, that other evidence has been destroyed, and that politics – not science – has been underlying some of what has been presented. Now, no one knows whom or what to believe when it comes to global warming.
The investment firm, Goldman Sachs, has been charged with "defrauding investors." They make the counter claim they are but victims. Again, no one really knows the truth.
In contrast to the claims and counterclaims of environmentalists or investment bankers, the words in front of us are "trustworthy and true," "faithful and true." There is no doubt about their reliability. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

D "These words are trustworthy and true" (Rev 22:6). This seems simple enough and straight-forward enough to understand. But there is more here than first meets the eye. "Trustworthy and true." Or, "faithful and true." Does this pairing of adjectives sound at all familiar? "Trustworthy and true." "Faithful and true." Earlier in the Revelation, these adjectives are used for Christ. In Revelation 3:14, Christ is "the faithful and true witness" – in other words, what He says is always faithful and true. In Revelation 19:11, Christ is the terrifying rider on the white horse Who comes at the end of the age to destroy all His enemies with the sword coming out of His mouth; He is called "Faithful and True" – in other words, He makes no mistake in His judgments.

Jesus is "trustworthy and true." Jesus is "faithful and true." This speaks of Jesus' eternal character and nature. This speaks of His integrity. This tells us He is absolutely trustworthy and dependable.

Now John uses the same language for the Revelation that He earlier used for Jesus – "trustworthy and true," "faithful and true." The words of the Revelation bear the same quality and possess the same character as Jesus. They bear a divine quality. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

II A Review of What is Trustworthy and True
I thought I would spend the rest of this sermon reviewing with you the Revelation from God, to Jesus, to an angel, to John, to the churches. Again and again, I want us to say with the prophet, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" (Lam 3:23).

TURN TO REVELATION 1. What is the first thing John is shown? This is what He sees:
(Rev 1:13-16) ... among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. (14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. (15) His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. (16) In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
This is Jesus, the glorified Lamb! Jesus Who died and arose and ascended into heaven is so awesome, so glorious, so great, beyond all words and thoughts and imaginings, so powerful and majestic and holy.

Now get this: this Jesus is in the midst of the church in her tribulation, kingdom, endurance – guarding, protecting, holding, loving, comforting.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 2 & 3. The seven letters to the seven churches. Remember what we discovered? That the church is under attack. That Jesus loves the church. That Jesus is concerned about the church. That Jesus hates her sin. That Jesus loves her righteousness. That Jesus hates her compromise with the world. That Jesus loves her faithfulness in endurance. That faithfulness is more important than prosperity. That faithfulness is more important than great numbers. That Jesus rewards faithfulness and punishes compromise.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 4. A picture of God on His throne. Remember this vision?
(Rev 4:2-6) At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. (3) And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. (4) Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. (5) From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. (6) Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.
God is awesome and majestic, says John. No wonder angels and men and living creatures – everything, in fact – falls before Him in worship and praise.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 5. John heard "the Lion of the tribe of Judah." When John turned, he saw "a Lamb, looking as it had been slain." This Lamb alone is worthy to open the seals on the scroll of God's judgment and to put that judgment into action.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 6 & 7. The seven seals are opened. Judgment falls on one fourth of the earth but the earth-dwellers do not repent. The souls of the Gospel martyrs are under heaven's altar and cry out for justice. In between, we are given two pictures of the church: she is the 144,000 sealed and guarded and protected from God's wrath by the blood of the Lamb; she is also a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people, and language.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 8, 9, 10, 11. The seven trumpets are blown. Judgment falls on one third of the earth. The Abyss is opened. The three woes fall on the earth. But the earth-dwellers still do not repent. In between, we are given another glimpse of the church. She is a witnessing church and is under attack during the whole time between Christ's first and second coming.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 12 & 13. It is revealed to us that Satan hates Christ. Throughout the ages he tried, without success, to stop the Messiah's coming. Now that Christ is in heaven, his only way of attacking Christ today is by attacking Christ's church. So, he forms a counterfeit trinity of devil, beast, and false prophet. We are told this counterfeit trinity is "666." The Devil is a 6, the beast is a 6, the false prophet is a 6. None of them reach the perfect 7 of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are told that the beast attacks the church through persecution. The prophet attacks the church through lies and falsehoods and heresy.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 14. Another peak at the 144,000. They are identified as overcomers. In contrast to the overcomers is "Babylon the Great." She represents all the cities and cultures of this world in their opposition to God and Christ and the Gospel. This Babylon is a prostitute who tries to allure and beckon and lead astray the people of God.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 15 & 16. The seven angels with the seven bowls of God's wrath. This judgment falls on all of the earth. But the earth-dwellers still do not repent.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 17, 18, 19, 20. Babylon, the harlot, is destroyed. So is the beast. So is the prophet. So is Satan in the non-battle of Armageddon. They are all destroyed by the Lamb Who has returned. All the dead are judged.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

REVELATION 21 & 22. A new heaven and new earth. The church is revealed as the New Jerusalem. God lives in the midst of the church for all eternity.

These words are faithful and true. "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

Conclusion
What a remarkable Sunday given to John. What a picture of what is going on right now in the time between Christ's two coming.

How do we know this is true? Don't forget our text for this morning:
(Rev 22:6) The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place."

Now, it is no accident that the words of our text are the opening words of the last section, after the last vision, of the last book of the Bible. What is "faithful and true" or "trustworthy and true"? God is. Jesus is. But so is their Word, the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation.

What is "trustworthy and true"? The Creation account, the Fall into sin, Babel, the flood, Abraham, the Exodus, Jericho, the Gospels, the letters, the Revelation and everything in-between. [HOLD UP BIBLE] You can stake your life on this, my brothers and sisters. For it, like God and Jesus, is "trustworthy and true." "Great is Thy Faithfulness."
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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