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Revelation Sermon

Ephesians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro

ILL: Revelations in life— working on the car and you cant figure something out
Sometimes there are things God reveals to us through the natural world.
Some things are so cloaked in mystery that God has to teach us directly; we need special treatment.

Body

Ephesians 1:9–10 CSB
He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.

How does revelation occur?

[FIRST] Natural Revelation — the Revelation of God in the creation
Romans 1:19-20
…what can be known about God is evident … because God has shown it … For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made.
1) There is a limited revelation of God
• God has shown the limited revelation to humankind through the creation itself
2) God has shown the limited revelation to humankind through the creation itself
• The creation testifies to God’s
3) The creation testifies about God’s:
eternal power — that God’s power transcends every aspect of the creation, even time
• eternal power — that God’s power transcends every aspect of the creation, even time
and divine nature — God’s nature is divine not human (Note: there are other divine beings that God created, but they do not have eternal power—cf.: ‘you are gods’ are created beings and not eternal in the sense that God is eternal).
• and divine nature — God’s nature is divine not human (Note: there are other divine beings that God created, but they do not have eternal power—cf.: ‘you are gods’ are created beings and not eternal in the sense that God is eternal).
God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth
• The method of understanding God through the creation is scientific discovery, ‘through what he has made.’
4) The method of understanding God through the creation is scientific discovery, ‘through what he has made.’
(backing up)
Because people understand God’s divine nature and eternal power, they also understand their own godlessness and unrighteousness, thereby this combined revelation of God’s nature paired with the understanding of our nature means that we are aware of God’s wrath. This is the first method of revelation—the precursor to the Gospel—the natural understanding that people are sinners before a holy, sovereign, and all-powerful God. When we refer to reason as a source of knowledge distinct from revelation, we mean the information attained, by the use of this faculty, in connection only with the natural, as distinguished from the supernatural. (James Petigru Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 47.)
God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth
When you understand how big God is and how small humans are, you begin to understand our inherent relationship with God.
God’s eternal power shows us our finitude—our limited power—as humans.
God’s divine nature emphasizes our sinful human nature as humans.
This is the first method of revelation—the precursor to the Gospel—the natural understanding that people are sinners before a holy, sovereign, and all-powerful God.
So, the more we understand who God is, and the more we’re honest about who we are, the better we see the gap between us and God and the better we understand the wrath of God.
This is the first method of revelation—the precursor to the Gospel—the natural understanding that people are sinners before a holy, sovereign, and all-powerful God.
The entire purpose of natural revelation is to show us our sinfulness.
[SECOND] Special Revelation (takes a couple forms)
Special Revelation
Scriptures
2 Peter 1:19–21 CSB
We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Peter is referring to the 1st coming of Christ as the confirmation of the prophesies of the Old Testament—the entire OT, not particular books.
C.f.
Ephesians 1:9–10 CSB
He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.
In Christ, the mystery of God was made known; it was revealed.
Notice Peter says, ‘Prophesy of scripture’
All scripture is prophesy—DEFINITION: the declaration of God’s word through His prophets.
Some prophets speak
Some write
Some speak and someone writes it down
The scriptures came about because prophets spoke or wrote
What makes it prophesy (for Peter) is that they were carried along by the Holy Spirit
IOW, the prophet feels as though He is writing or sharing what is in His mind; but the Spirit of God is carrying them forward.
Not puppetry—otherwise Peter could not claim human authorship in any way.
The prophets felt like they were speaking and writing. — recalling facts and using their own creative faculties in communication, etc.
But God was underlying everything they did.
In this way, the scriptures are fully the message of the human author, but also fully the message of God.
Declaration Gifts (forms of special revelation)
Declaration Giftings
Teaching—The explanation of (a) the truths of the scriptures and (b) the general advising, according to the wisdom of God, discerned by both natural and special revelation.
i.e. the teaching of wisdom requires an understanding of God’s working in the natural world as much as it does the understanding of the scriptures.
Teaching is special revelation because it’s the Spirit’s gifting on a person to understand and regurgitate the scriptures in a way that is effective, clear, and culturally relevant.
Evangelism—A particular gifting in the declaration of the message of the Gospel.
Everyone is called to evangelism; some have particular gifting.
Again, the Gospel is in the scripture, so evangelism doesn’t take a new form, but a creative, Spirit-led presentation of what God already said.
Prophesy—The call of God to proclaim a message of truth already discerned.
Not a declaration of a truth that had not yet been known (i.e. puppetry) “I have filled your mouth with my words” (Jer 1.9).
ILL:
God filled Jeremiah with His word when He called him as a prophet.
Then, at the beginning of every one of Jeremiah’s sermons in the book, it says, “The word of the Lord came to me...”
Prophesy today:
Jeremiah needed a particular filling of God’s Word because the mystery had not yet been revealed.
But, prophets today just need to know the Bible and the Spirit will prompt the one with prophetic gifting to speak the revealed truths of the scriptures (cf. , utterance of knowledge).
I do believe prophesy continues, but I do not believe there is any more revelation of mystery—Paul referred to the revelation as past tense.
Tongues
I do, however, believe God may call a person to speak, but that speech will be understood in the mind of the speak and will be a reflection of the already revealed truth in the scriptures.
Another word about prophesy:
— prophesy is for strengthening, encouraging, and consoling the saints.
1 Corinthians 14:3 CSB
On the other hand, the person who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation.
— prophesy is for strengthening, encouraging, and consoling the saints.
Broaden prophesy to all revelation:
strengthening
encouragement
consolation

What is the mystery that is revealed?

Revelation of Mystery
All revelation is for…
strengthening the brotherhood, not dividing
God’s purposes in Christ
too many Christians divide over beliefs
usually that’s a failure on one or both parts to understand the scriptures
The message of salvation from sin
(often an outright refusal to submit—people treat the Bible as one voice in a conversation not the authoritative voice.)
encouraging the downhearted, not hammering people with your opinion, even when you’re right
encouraging the downhearted, not hammering people with your opinion, even when you’re right
The reality of the coming end
There’s a wrong way to say right things.

What does the revelation accomplish?

Often our knowledge of the scriptures needs to be tempered with wisdom from the scriptures and the ordering of the world around us.
Would you speak a word of encouragement from the scriptures to someone today, before you even leave this place? Who needs encouragement that you can speak into?
consoling (comforting) not distressing
consoling (comforting) not distressing (notice I’m not calling people out so much as warning against misuse)
God’s pleasure
God’s family
Most OT prophesies were fulfilled in Christ’s first coming.
Most NT prophesies were fulfilled at Pentecost and in the early church.
We await only the 2nd coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and the glorification of God’s people into His eternal Kingdom.
The point is to look back on the promises fulfilled so that when you are distressed in life, you can look forward to the promise of eternal Paradise which has not yet been fulfilled and have incredible comfort in knowing that God has a reputation of accomplishing everything that He has promised and He will do this too—He is coming back for His people.
We have this spiritual blessing of Revelation for the purpose that you would know the scriptures and then that all of you would then prophesy according to the will and purpose of God to:
Make the Gospel of Jesus Christ known to those around you.
Strengthen the faith of your brothers and sisters here in the church.
Provide encouragement to those who are discouraged and struggling in their faith.
Comfort or console those who are in distress by reminding them of the beautiful promises of God in Christ Jesus.
I hope you realize how precious this gift of the scriptures is.
It’s not just a how to book for life
It’s not basic instructions before leaving earth
It’s not just a story book full of fairy tails
It’s the story about how God has saved, rescued you from His wrath and redeemed you from slavery to sin. This revelation is precious to us, because this story is everything to us as Christians.
The Bible is your family story meant to strengthen, encourage, and comfort you. Do you know your own story?
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