Faithlife Sermons

God's Final Invitation

The Book of Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 3 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Revelation 22:13–21 AV
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Introduction:
Well it was on a warm day in June of 1992 that I entered the Pulpit for the first time at Emmanuel Baptist Church, not really knowing what the Lord had planned for me.
I came with an intense desire to preach the Word of God seriously, yet joyfully.
And although I have grown in my intense desire for that and in my understanding of the Scripture; there is one thing that I always believed.
There was one great foundational principle that I believed, I believed it then and I believe it now, that when I held a Bible in my hand, I actually held THE Word of the Living God.
I have always believed that.
But I do not need to tell you that this is the living Word of God, you know it is.
There is no other explanation, it is so obviously divine.
My task is to tell you what the Bible means.
Before I can do that, I have to have the Bible.
And before I can say this is the Word of God, and you can see that it is the Word of God, it has to be the Word of God.
What you hold in your hand, right now, I can tell you is an accurate, English translation of the original manuscripts written by the authors of the Bible.
You have an accurate English translation of texts that originated thousands of years ago.
That is one of the most important things that you learn in Seminary.
Because if you have any wavering in your confidence about the integrity of the Bible, it will stuck the conviction right out of your heart.
Because if the Bible can be shown to be inaccurate then you have no assurance of anything.
So the basic question that anyone who gives their life to study of the Bible is, is it accurate.
Now, I will confess to you that I am not limited to the English.
I went to college and minored in Greek so that I could be familiar with the language in which the Bible was written.
And I can tell you this, that I started out believing the Bible was the Word of God and I ended believing the Bible was the Word of God even more strongly.
Not because I have studied the science of the manuscripts throughout the years, but because I have studied the Bible and it is it’s own best defense.
You hold in your hand the Bible and you don’t even think about the fact that there is along history behind it of careful preservation of the original text, so that thousands of years later when you read the Bible, you can know that it is accurate.
All translations of the Bible, all of them, are based on ancient sources.
John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

They have been compared by the most fastidious, dutiful, thoughtful, careful scholars through the centuries so that I can say to you, unequivocally, the Bible you hold in your hand, if you have formal equivalency, an actual translation, I can assure you, you have an accurate … an accurate Bible

John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

The printing press didn’t show up till around 1500. Everything up to that time was copied by hand. Scribes understood the seriousness of what they did. There are some amazing stories about scribes, listen to this, copying down the Hebrew Old Testament who wrote one letter, left, and took a bath. Came back, wrote another letter, left, and took a bath, and did that until they had written the whole Old Testament.

We have, and let’s just take the NT because that is where we have been working, 25,000 manuscripts ancient manuscripts of the NT that are extant, that now exist.
That is an abundance of manuscripts by which we can compare them all and to an understanding of what we need.
Nothing in ancient literature even comes close to the mass of documentation that we have for the NT.
There are, as I said over 25,000 ancient manuscripts and there are over 5700 Greek manuscripts and they go way back.
We have manuscripts from the second century and the third century; our Lord lived in the first century.
There is a manuscript call p-52, and they are numbered by the order in which they are found, and it is the Gospel of John and it dates from 100 to 150, and John lived in the 90’s.
Somebody copied an original, most like, or a copy of an original, very near the original.
John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

There is another papyrus, they were writing on papyrus so they’re called papyri, there’s another one called the Bodmer Papyri in which we find John and Luke and it dates from 175 to 225. And then there’s the very famous papyrus called the Chester Beatty papyrus that has all four gospels and the book of Acts and it dates around 200. They go way back.

John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

Here’s the amazing part. There probably shouldn’t be a lot of manuscripts from those early years. Why? Because second century in particular and the third century, for sure, was a time of immense Christian persecution, and an effort to stamp out Christianity by the destruction of Christians and Christian scriptures. But the Lord preserved these ancient texts, copies of those very close to the original.

John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

Once you get into the fourth century, around 325, or so, you get Constantine making Christianity legal. The persecution ends and now manuscripts proliferate. They’re everywhere. And so by the time you pass say 325, the Council of Nicea, we begin to see manuscripts in abundance.

John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

The two most important ones, one is called, it’s a Codex, this is called a Codex because it is a bound volume, rather than a scroll. The first one that is very important is called Sinaiticus and it’s about 350 and it’s the whole New Testament. The second important one is called Vaticanus, 325 and it’s the whole Bible.

You have 8,000 ancient manuscripts of the NT in Latin, called Vulgate.
And the Vulgate dates from 382 to 405.
We also have 350-plus copies of the Bible in Syriac that goes back to the 200’s.
We have all these ancient manuscripts that when compare, say the same thing.
If you take the quotes of the early Church Fathers, before 325, there are among those fathers 32,000 quotes from the NT.
We could construct the entire NT by just the quotes by the Church Fathers.
Now, let me give you something to compare that.
The Second most common ancient document in the manuscript world is Homers Iliad.
John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

Next to the New Testament there are more copies of Homer’s Iliad than any other ancient piece of literature. Oh, by the way, there are 643 of them … 643, small change compared to twenty-five thousand. And, oh by the way, the oldest one is from the thirteenth century A.D. and Homer wrote in the eighth century B.C. We don’t have anything even close to when Homer wrote. Who knows whether Homer ever said any of that?

John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

Another familiar piece of literature to a student of history is the Golic Wars, Caesar fought Golic Wars. He wrote the Golic Wars, the history of the Golic Wars in the first century B.C. There are ten existing manuscripts of that, the oldest one is a thousand years after Caesar wrote.

John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

Some of you may have heard of Herodotus, the Greek historian. He wrote history. In fact, Herodotus could be the father of historians, he was the son of the first historian. He wrote in the fifth century before Christ. We have eight manuscripts of Herodotus’ history and the earliest is 1300 years after he wrote.

John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

One of the scholars that I’ve studied in years past, is a man named A.T. Robertson. You’ll see his name connected to matters regarding biblical scholarship. A.T. Robertson says, “The vast array of manuscripts has enabled textual scholars to accurately reconstruct the original text with … listen to this … more than 99.9 percent accuracy.” That’s pretty good. More than 99.9 percent accuracy.

John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel

Now you say, “You mean, in all of that there are no errors?” Oh, I didn’t say that. They made errors. They put in a wrong word, put in a wrong spelling, left something out, occasionally they even tried to clarify something, some of these scribes. But guess what, we have so many manuscripts, we know when they’re doing that. We know when we’re doing that. Plus, if something shows up in a later manuscript, and it’s not in any of the earlier ones, we know it was added later. It isn’t brain surgery.

You say, “Well, why in the world are you telling us this?”
Because there is a place in verse 14, where that could be questioned by those who do not love God’s Word as we do.
And as we approach the last verses of the Book of Revelation, God makes his final invitation and four reasons that should cause them to respond to it.
I. The Invitation (vs. 17)
Revelation 22:17 AV
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
There are two very distinct addresses that are going on this is verse.
The first address is a prayer to Christ to come.
And the second is an address to the sinner.
In this verse the Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, responds to the imminent return to of Christ by saying “come”.
The next does not specifically say why the Spirit desires the return of Jesus Christ, but I believe that there is a positive and a negative reason why.
Negatively, throughout the history of humanity men and women have constantly denied and rejected the work and the power of Jesus Christ.
They have assaulted the work of the Holy Spirit, as is seen in the discourse that Jesus had with the Pharisees in , and the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to point people to Jesus Christ.
John 15:26 ESV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
Speaking about the wicked world prior to the flood God said:
Genesis 6:3 ESV
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
The stiff-necked, rebellious Israel constantly provoked the Spirit during their forty year wondering in the wilderness.
Hebrews 3:7–8 ESV
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,
Something that they would continue to do throughout their history.
Nehemiah 9:30 ESV
Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.

The sinful world’s blasphemous rejection of Jesus Christ will reach its apex during the Tribulation. That seven-year period will see Satan promote to power the two most vile and evil blasphemers who will ever live: the beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet. To those two wretched, demon-possessed sinners will go the dubious honor of being the first people cast into the final hell, the lake of fire (19:20).

Throughout the long, dark history of the man kinds rebellion, the Spirit has constantly worked to bring about conviction and repentance.
So when Jesus Christ says that He is coming, the long-suffering, grieved Spirit echoes, “Come”.

He pleads with Christ to return, subdue His enemies, judge sinners, and end the Spirit’s long battle to produce conviction in stubborn, hard-hearted sinners.

But on the positive side, it is the desire of the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ.
John 16:14 ESV
He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

But the last view the world had of Jesus was of Him on a cross between two criminals, rejected, despised, and mocked. The Spirit longs to see His fellow Member of the Trinity exalted in beauty, splendor, power, and majesty. That will happen when Christ returns in triumph at His second coming.

Now, the use of the come “come” in this verse is a change of perspective.
It is an invitation; not for the return of Jesus Christ, but an invitation to the sinner to come.
The phrase, “Let the one who hears say, come” invites those who hears the Spirit and the Church to join them in calling for the return of Jesus Christ.
Obviously, they will not do that until they have to come to faith in Christ, because only a child of God would truly long for the coming of Jesus Christ.

Those who hear and obey the gospel will join with the Spirit and the bride in calling for the return of Jesus Christ, because they desire His glory—and their own deliverance from sin’s presence—in the realm of perfect holiness.

The one who hears is further defined as the “one who is thirsty”.
Thirst is a strong spiritual metaphor for picturing ones need that is a prerequisite for salvation.
Isaiah 55:1 ESV
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Matthew 5:6 ESV
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
John 7:37 ESV
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
John 4:14 ESV
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 6:35 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Revelation 21:6 ESV
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
Another dimension of this water is that whosoever will can come and take of the water freely without cost.
“Without Cost” is the Greek “δωρεάν” and it literally means, “as a gift”.
The invitation of the Spirit is to any sinner that wants to take of the water of life, they may do so and it does not cost anything.
II. The Incentive (vs. 13-16, 18-21)
Surrounding the invitation for the sinner to come are four incentives for the sinner to accept it.
A. Because of Christs’ Person (vs. 13, 16)
Revelation 22:13 AV
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Revelation 22:16 AV
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

The first reason for sinners to accept God’s final invitation is because it comes personally from the exalted, majestic, glorious Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord’s threefold identification of Himself repeats the same truth for emphasis. Since the original readers of Revelation spoke Greek, Jesus identifies Himself first as the Alpha and the Omega (cf. 1:8; 21:6). Alpha and Omega are, respectively, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Together with the parallel phrases the first and the last (cf. 1:17) and the beginning (the source of all things) and the end (the goal of all things), it expresses Christ’s infinity, eternity, and boundless life transcending all limitations. This threefold description describes the completeness, timelessness, and sovereign authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ further identifies Himself in His own words in verse 16. But before doing so He tells John, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you.” Though angels communicated the Apocalypse to John (v. 6; 1:1; 17:1, 7; 21:9), its source was Jesus. The expression “I, Jesus” appears only here in the Bible. It establishes that this final invitation in Scripture is not a human invitation, but a divine call issued personally to sinners by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apocalypse is addressed to the churches (1:11), but though it is written to believers (1:1), they are to proclaim it to the entire world (cf. 22:10).

Then, in an astounding, seemingly paradoxical statement, Jesus declares Himself to be both the root (ancestor) and the descendant of David. That phrase sums up the biblical teaching on Christ’s two natures; only the God-man can be both David’s ancestor and his descendant. In His deity, Christ is David’s root (cf. Mark 12:35–37); in His humanity, He is David’s descendant (2 Sam. 7:12–16; Ps. 132:11–12; Matt. 1:1; Rom. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:8).

Finally, Jesus describes Himself as “the bright morning star.” To call someone a star was in biblical times (as it is today) to exalt him (cf. Dan. 12:3). In extrabiblical Jewish writings, the coming Messiah was called a star (Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977], 395). Though Balaam was a greedy prophet for hire, God nevertheless used him to make an accurate prediction of the coming Messiah:

Numbers 24:17 ESV
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.
2 Peter 1:19 ESV
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,
B. Because of the Exclusivity of Heaven (vs. 14-15)
Revelation 22:14–15 AV
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
This verse is one of the reasons that I went over all the things during the introduction that I did, because there is a significant textual variant that appears in verse 14.
And I want to explain this to you because it is something that I think needs to be addressed.
Remember that I spoke to you in the introduction about the TR (Textus Receptus) the Greek text that underlies some English translations; the KJV being one of them.
Now, understand that I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the KJV and you are wrong if you use it; all I am saying is that I believe that this verse could/should be translated better then it appears in the KJV.
And I want you to understand that because I am going to teach the verse the way that it reads in the older and best manuscripts.
The reading that appears in the oldest manuscripts is:

πλύνοντες τὰς στολὰς αὐτῶν

The reading that appears in the TR is:

ποιουντες τας εντολας αυτου

Not a big difference in reading or spelling.
But what you need to understand is that the Greek text that underlies some English translation (KJV, NKJV) were from the text of Erasmus, and the first addition of his Greek manuscript was published in 1516 and of the five to seven manuscripts that he had, the oldest one was from the 12th century.
And so it is very likely, and understandable, that a 12th century scribe who is hand copying (because the printing press was not invented until the 15th century) a Greek manuscript (and depending on how old it is) could have easily seen:
ποιουντες τας εντολας

ποιουντες τας εντολας

Instead of:

πλύνοντες τὰς στολὰς

So being that this reading is from a 4th and 5th century and the former reading (the TR reading) whose earliest attestation is the 11th century, I hope you see why I believe the test should be rightly translated as “washed their robes” instead of “doing His commandment”.
We not only have textual evidence for this reading, but was also have cross reference evidence for this reading.
Revelation 7:14 ESV
I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Those who have experienced the washing from sin that marks salvation will forever have the right to the tree of life. As noted in the discussion of 22:2 in chapter 19 of this volume, the tree of life is located in the capital city of heaven, the New Jerusalem. This will be the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise, “To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God” (2:7). Those granted access to the tree of life, will be allowed to enter by the gates into the city (cf. the discussion of 21:9 in chap. 19 of this volume).

Revelation 22:15 AV
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
I will admit, on first reading this seems to be an odd, out of place reading, but let me explain.

Heaven is exclusively for those who have been cleansed from their sins by faith in the blood of Christ and whose names have been “written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain” (13:8). In contrast, everyone else will remain forever outside the New Jerusalem in the lake of fire (20:15; 21:8), because “nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (21:27). As in 21:8, a representative (though not exhaustive) list of the type of sins that exclude people from heaven is given to John.

The inclusion of dogs on the list seems puzzling at first glance. But in ancient times dogs were not the domesticated household pets they are today. They were despised scavengers that milled about cities’ garbage dumps (cf. Ex. 22:31; 1 Kings 14:11; 16:4; 21:19, 23–24; 22:38). Thus, to call a person a dog was to describe that person as someone of low character (cf. 1 Sam. 17:43; 24:14; 2 Sam. 3:8; 9:8; 16:9; 2 Kings 8:13; Phil. 3:2); in fact, the first time blatantly impure sinners are called dogs is in Deuteronomy 23:18, where male homosexual prostitutes are in view. Sorcerers (from pharmakos, the root of the English word “pharmacy”) refers to those engaged in occult practices and the drug abuse that often accompanies those practices (cf. 9:21; 21:8; Gal. 5:20). Immoral persons (from pornos, the root of the English word “pornography”) are those who engage in illicit sexual activities. Murderers are also excluded from heaven in the list given in 21:8 (cf. 9:21; Rom. 1:29). Idolaters are those who worship false gods, or who worship the true God in an unacceptable manner (cf. 21:8). The final group excluded from heaven also includes everyone who loves and practices lying. It is not all who have ever committed any of these sins who are excluded from heaven (cf. 1 Cor. 6:11). Rather, it is those who love and habitually practice any such sin, stubbornly cling to it, and refuse Christ’s invitation to salvation who will be cast into the lake of fire.

C. Because of the Truthfulness of Scripture (vs. 18-19)
Revelation 22:18–19 AV
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
It is very fitting that the book of Revelation ends with an exclamation about its truthfulness.
The proper interpretation need no in-depth exposition; it simply means that anyone who tampers with God’s word (starting with Revelation, but certainly includes all of Scriptures), they will receive the judgment of God.
Either the inclusion of the plagues of the book or the exclusion of their names out of the book of Life.
This would, of course, include any person that attempted to add to the canon of Scripture that closed the end of the first century with the completion of Revelation.
This would include the authors of the Gnostic Gospel (The Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, etc.)
This would also include Jospeh Smith and the Book of Mormon.
Charles Taze Russell and the New World Translation of the Jehovahs Witnesses.
Mary Baker Eddy Fry, from Christian Science.
Because God’s people do not tamper with God’s word.
Oh, we may be limited in our understanding of it, but God’s people do not purposefully add to or take away from the written revelation of God.
True believers exclaim with the Psalmist:
Psalm 119:97 ESV
Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119:13 ESV
With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
Psalm 119:113 ESV
I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.
Psalm 119:163 ESV
I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.
Psalm 119:167 ESV
My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.
D. Because of the certainty of Christ’s Return (vs. 20-21)
Revelation 22:20–21 AV
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Revelation 12–22: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Because of the Certainty of Christ’s Return

The book of Revelation and the Bible close with one final reminder and a benediction. In His last recorded words in Scripture the Lord Jesus Christ, He who testifies to these things, affirms “Yes, I am coming quickly.” His coming is imminent, just as Revelation (and the rest of the New Testament) teaches. John speaks for all true believers when he responds, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, since Christians are those “who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Scoffers may mockingly ask, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:4). But things will not continue forever as they are. Jesus will return, just as Revelation predicts. If the certainty of Christ’s return to judge sinners does not motivate people to repent, then nothing will.

Revelation 12–22: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Because of the Certainty of Christ’s Return

For the glorious, comforting truth is that those who humble themselves and accept God’s offer of salvation will find Him gracious. Fittingly, the last words of the Bible, the grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen, are an expression of God’s grace toward fallen humanity. The Lord of glory, as He promised in Scripture, offers heaven exclusively to those who, in light of His certain return, accept His gracious invitation and return to Him.

AMEN!!!!!
Related Media
Related Sermons