Revelation 1:4-11

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Sermon Transcript:

Good Morning everybody.  While I’m fiddling, how about you all direct your attention, opening your Bibles to Revelation one, so you don’t see me up here. Revelation chapter one. We’re gonna looking at verses four through 11, beginning a new series this morning.

This is a series for the, uh, Christmas holidays. Uh, it is a series called The Glory of Christ. Wait a Minute, looking titles of Christ from the Book of Revelation and very excited about this series to the worship team. Just thanks for an incredible time of, of worship this morning. I’m gonna read Revelation chapter one, verses four through 11, verses four through eight.

Actually, John, to the seven churches that are in Asia, grace to you in peace from him, who is and who was, and who is to come. And from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first born of the dead. And the ruler of Kings on Earth to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom of priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.

Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds in every eye will see him. Even those who pierced him in all tribes of the earth will well on account of him even so. Amen. I am the alpha and the Omega says the Lord God, who is and who was, and who is to come. The Almighty

Lord. We bring all the things that we have sung to you this morning and affirm our desire that they would be to your priest. Lord, you are the one who was. And who is and who is to come. You’re the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. The first and the last. Lord, it is to you. We draw our thoughts this morning, Lord, teach us of all the other things that we could learn and reflect on what we need to learn most is about you.

So show us yourself, Christ. May you be exalted in our own lives and minds and hearts as we reflect on you this morning, . Um, and in your name I pray, amen. The emperor donation has taken over the seat in. He’s been in that position from 81 ad he will pass from that position in 96 AD 16 years, he will serve as the Emperor of Rome.

During that time, he will reinitiate a persecution that Nero had done in the early sixties, that deranged Emperor of Rome, who was responsible for the martyrdom of the apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul. And now 30 years later at the end of the mission’s RO rule, it has been reinitiated only this time.

On a broader sense, Nero pretty much localized it around Rome itself. Now it has spread to the outlying areas. Areas like modern Turkey, areas where the seven churches, which are addressed in the book of Revelation, it has spread. . It is a season of adversity for the church. It is a season of suffering and hardship.

It is why in verse nine, John says it this way. I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation, and in verse 11, I write that what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, and to Thyra, and to Cyrus, and to sars, and to Philadelphia and to Leo de. These churches need a word of encouragement.

These churches at the same time will flourish and grow The church in this season of donation actually will grow. The world, will look at the Christians and they will be astonished at their steadfast. Strength in standing in the midst of persecution, the fortitude and joy that they will show, even as some of them will find that the Christians have now become again, lion Father in the coliseum During these years, Terelli in a second century church, father said the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

It is their willingness to die for Christ. It is a willingness to expend everything out of willing joy and faithfulness that caused a watching world to say there has to be something real here, that these people would make this kind of stand for their religious faith. John gave them something that enabled them to face this season.

It is this book, the Book of Revelation. And whatever it was in this book that enabled them to withstand what they faced certainly is stuff that can speak to our lesser struggles today. So what is it that God had John show the people of God a view of the exalted and cosmic Jesus. We’ll be looking at some of the titles that are highlighted in this book regarding Christ.

We’ll see titles like today, the Alpha and the Omega, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God, the Root of David, faithful Witness will look at these as we go through this series, and there are many others there we won’t get to. Alpha and Omega is a name that is given both to God, the Father, and specifically to Jesus Christ in this book.

The term alpha and omega is taken from the first letter and the last letter of the Greek alphabet alpha was the first. Omega was the last. He is the first and the last. It certainly refers to his internality. He never began, he never will end before all things, and at the end of all things. But there is more to it than that, and that’s what I’d like to talk about this morning.

First of all, Jesus is alpha, the beginning, the start. He is the originator of all things. It is a comprehensive concept of God that is presented here. He’s saying, I am uncreate. Nothing precedes me. Now, this was a big issue in the early church where they were trying to figure out the origin of Jesus.

There were councils that were hel were held on this subject. Is Jesus derived from God? Is Jesus a, a lesser God? Is Jesus created by God? But Jesus did not declare, I am beta an Omega. Beta would be the second letter. He didn’t say, yeah, after God, there’s, there’s me. No, he says, I am alpha. I’m there at the beginning.

I am the origin. I am at the origins. As a matter of fact, I am the originator uncreate. But he tells us the significance of this idea of being first and last in an Old Testament passage. Isaiah 48 12 says, listen to me. Oh, Jacob and Israel, whom I called, I am He. I am the first and I am the last. My hand laid the foundation of the earth and my right hand spread out the heavens.

When I called to them, they. Sh they stand forth together. Now, when we say somebody’s an alpha, she’s an alpha, he’s an alpha. We talk, we’re talking about somebody that’s the most willful, the the hardest driver, the the leader. The alpha dog leads the pack. The alpha player leads the team, right? But this concept is more, it is not supremacy of will and influence.

It is supremacy of existence. That Jesus is the great God, the creator. He is the origin of all things

that then gets very personal because it means he is the starting point of our lives. Why does that matter? Well, it speaks directly to us because it argues that. When we evaluate ourselves, when we think of our lives, we must start with God. We tend to start with ourselves, but unless you start with something outside of yourself, you tend to never find you.

If I, if I had a, a, a piece of something red here this morning and you gave it to me, you handed it to me and I had my eyes closed and you said, here it is. Tell me what this is. And I’d look at this thing and there it is. You can’t even see me now. But there it is. And I’d say, well, it’s red, but I’m not sure what it is.

I don’t, I don’t know. Uh, I don’t know if it’s a red pillow. I don’t know if it’s a red vest. I don’t even know if it’s a red suitcase. I just see the, the material right in front of me. I can only see. It’s myopic. We need an outside, a bigger view. That’s true of ourselves. We need something bigger than us, something outside of us that is helping us be defined.

You must see from outside yourself. So the question is what’s your alpha? What is your beginning? Are you created by a God who purposely designed you, purposely placed you into this time of history, this cultural context? Or are you just some random amalgamation of atoms depending on what you believe will completely influence how you deal with your problems?

What’s the origin point for you? What’s your alpha Christian faith says, my alpha, my beginning, my first, the start of it all is a person. This Christ, the second member of the Godhead. So what is your alpha? Your alpha can be a person. Your alpha can be random chance, but your sense of origin, your starting point, the beginning of it all, has incredible impact on how you do life and how you live life.

For one, for instance, one thing, it gives clarity to our lives. Many years ago, uh, Ru Kipling was a writer for England. Uh, many famous writings, books, variety of things he did. And Ru Kipley made a statement. He said, it’s a famous statement. Now what do they know of England, who only England know what he was talking about was there.

In England, people, he was frustrated because everybody was so proud of the the British Empire. And all that they did. And, and it all started in that little aisle. As, as, as, as, uh, Winston Churchill love to talk about it. And he said, our view is we are the center of everything and, and center of everything good.

But his frustration was, we don’t realize that our empire is built on the backs of cools servants, slaves all over the world. And he says, people of England, if they don’t have a view outside of themselves, what do they really know of England? They don’t. They, they have to see broader. Well, this is the concept that I’m trying to present here.

If your alpha is outside of yourself, if the origin is bigger than you, if there’s a person that has designed you, that knows you, that sees you in ways you cannot see yourself, it brings clarity. To life. If you are just randomly here, just that amalgamation of, of atoms randomly by chance, develop together, you’ll make your own rules.

You’ll have your own view of yourself, you’ll have your own priorities. You’ll develop your own moral and social code. But if you’re here designed by someone else, you will have to discover your design. Discover why you’re here, discover what it is that is designed for your specific life. It gives meaning to your life.

Those rejecting Jesus as their alpha tend to not have a sense of meaning to their lives. , and many of them are very honest with that. I’ve quoted before Modern atheists. I’m just gonna throw up a few. They’re very clear of saying, you know, they don’t, I say, I don’t have an alpha. My alpha is just where Origin just happened, just came together.

And so here’s how they defined the purpose of their lives. Steve and j Gould, uh, one of the leading scientists behind the modern, um, atheistic movement says this, we are here because one, do we have that? We don’t have that. Well, here it is. We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar Finn Anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures.

We may yearn for a higher answer, but none exist. Why are here? Why are we here? No reason really at all. Just randomly, perhaps the most famous of the modern. Uh, called the Four Horsemen of the Modern Atheist. Richard Dawkins says it this way, in his book, river Out of Eden, human existence is neither good nor evil, neither kind nor cruel, but simply callous, indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

What is human existence? It lacks all purpose. We’re just, we don’t have an alpha beyond ourselves. Our alpha is random chance. It’s just happenstance. Walter Sta, the former professor of philosophy at Princeton, said it this way. The picture of a meaningless world and a meaningless human life is, I think the basic theme of much modern art and literature.

Certainly it is the basic theme of modern philosophy. The world is just what it is, and that is the end of all inquiry. There’s no reason for it being what it is. To ask any question about why things are thus or what purpose they’re being so serves is to ask a senseless question. Because they serve no purpose at all.

Now, for most of us, that way of looking at life is utterly unsatisfying. As Francis Schaeffer said, all people have a deep longing for significance, a longing for meaning. No one, regardless of his theoretical system, is content to look at himself as a finally meaningless machine, which can and will be discarded totally in forever.

I remember talking to a woman in her thirties, uh, who was a, a declared atheist, and we were talking together and she was going through some difficult things in her life, and she made an interesting statement to me. She said, I just wanna know that there’s a purpose behind all this. There’s no purpose. If there’s no designer, there’s no purpose.

If your alpha is meaningless, it, it is just random chance, then your life is just random chance. Ultimately, you can make decisions, but ultimately you can’t say, well, I’m looking for my design. I’m looking for my purpose. I’m, I’m looking for the intent of my life. That infer that your alpha is something someone outside of yourself.

Here’s the question. What’s your alpha? What’s your alpha? Is it the fact that you have a person that has designed you? If it is, then you have, you can say there’s purpose, there’s intent, and my goal in life is to discover from that alpha. What it is, is the purpose and intent to which I have been designed.

The second thing, he is the omega, the last, the goal. If he is your alpha, you recognize him as your creator and designer. Then you can also recognize him as the omega. Everything began with him. Everything aims towards him. It was all designed by him and for him. You can live your life with that design in mind.

Many years ago, I visited the house of a family, um, from South South Asia and they, uh, had bought here in the United States locally, and I went in the home and they were, they were very small of stature and their home was built for small of stature people. I’d never been in a home quite like it. The doors were low, the rooms were very small.

Um, every, the ceiling was lower than normal, and every part of the house just felt like it was not designed for a six foot tube. Me, I just felt like it wasn’t designed for me. I, I don’t fit in, in this universe. I, I feel aran out of place. The universe that you live in was designed for Jesus Christ by him and for him.

He is its goal. It is designed for his glory. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord. You are built to be part of that creation. , but it is not aimed at you. It is aimed at him. He’s the alpha, the originator, but he is also the omega. He is the goal. He is the target.

It is about him. These followers of Christ that John is writing to, were choosing to live their lives for Jesus. It was costing them. John writes to say, look, all of creation is designed to have it or its ultimate goal. Christ, all of history is rushing toward him. He’s the. He’s the goal. He’s the omega. You fit into this universe if your life is being lived for his glory, and what he’s basically saying to them is this, every need you have will one day be cared for by him.

Every loss you have experienced for his name will be remembered and honored. All eternity will be your reward for the temporary sufferings you have endured. All evil will be defeated by him. He’s the creator at the beginning. He’s the judge at the end. He is alpha, he is Omega ego. It’s why in the last chapter of the Bible, the very last chapter of the whole book, in Revelation, Jesus, it says this about Jesus.

He’s talking about himself. Verse 12 and 13. Behold, I’m coming soon, bringing my recompense with me to repay each one for what he’s done. I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. John is encouraging these believers and every born again Christian after them to stand fast, to embrace that your life is not your own.

Your glory is not your goal. He’s saying don’t waste your life. Live it joyfully, wholeheartedly, passionately. For your Lord Jesus must be your O Omega in your daily life. I read something Tim Keller said, and it has really stuck with me. It’s a phrase, I believe I have it here. Uh, it’s, there are two ways to approach God.

Wow. There are two ways to approach God. You either make him the means and something else is the goal, or you make him the goal and everything else is the means. I want, I wanna unpack that a little bit. He says, you either make your, you, you, and it’s, we all do it in our lives. We do it as a seeker towards Christ.

We do it as a young believer towards Christ. Many cases, we, we do it many years as our, our, our lifestyle to a believer. We look at Christ. He is the means to my goals. Yeah, I come to Jesus and, and because I’ve recognized that I needed forgiveness of sins, but I also love having Jesus in my life because he makes me happier.

I know he’ll give me relationships. I, I know that he’ll help me with, with some of the, the, the self, uh, destructive tendencies I have in my life. And he does all those things. But we tend to look that the goal is my happiness. It is my, my, my, my relationships, my moving forward with life. My, my conquering my struggles.

He’s the means, they’re the goals. But the longer you walk with Christ, you find out that’s not really the story. The story is this. He’s the goal. He’s the omega. He’s where my whole life trajectory is pointed and that he’s the goal. Everything else is the means. It causes you to look at things differently.

It causes you to look, to look at losses suffering. It causes you to say, these are things that cause me great sorrow. And I thought the Christian life was all about my, my great joy. But I begin to realize that I can endure my sorrow because it is, God uses it as a means to the goal of knowing and loving and enjoying Jesus Christ.

He becomes the Omega more and more in my life experience, that all of history and all of my history and all of my story with Jesus is directing me towards my Omega.

Last week I mentioned in the second, in the second, no, last week I mentioned in this service, both services asking you to pray. I’m speaking to Crew Ministries, um, ministry to the United Nations, and I’ve been asked to speak on December 8th. Uh, to all the ambassadors that want to come. Crew has gotten a large posh hotel in Manhattan.

They’re inviting ambassadors from the UN to come, and I have the chance to share at a big Christmas dinner the message of Christmas. It’s a wonderful privilege. And I was asking for prayer. I’m still asking for prayer, and I mentioned in my, in my spiel on it, I’ve spoken a couple of other times with crew in their ministry of the United Nations, and I’m always terrified and I’m in over my head.

And I expressed that fairly eloquently I guess because after the service, people came up and were talking to me and one particular woman came up and, um, I don’t know her, but I, I love, I love her and what she said, but she came up and I didn’t know her name, and she just said, I just feel the Lord has told me to say something to you.

And here’s what she said. Get over yourself.

Oh, I’m Mark. You’re . Okay. It was a great statement. Yes. I am nervous about going up there. Yes. I feel, uh, and I’m trying to communicate. I’m in over my head. I need the, but I also, she, she said, get over yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus. She’s right. And I may go up there, and it may be the worst talk that those ambassadors have ever heard from a clergymen in their whole life.

That may be the way, way that Jesus Christ is going to glorify himself. Somehow I need to say, God, bring it on that Lord, everything is directing towards one goal. He’s the omega, he’s the target. Everything else is the means. I look around this room this morning, and I know a lot of you, and I know some of your stories.

I know some of the things that have been the means, the cost, the pain, but I also know enough of your stories you’d say, I could not have imagined how this thing could be a means toward me. Experiencing the ultimate goal of knowing and enjoying and loving and glorifying Jesus Christ, but he does . Or maybe you’re here and you’re inwardly shaking your fist at God today and say, I’ve tried to do the right things, but I’m going nowhere.

I made the right choices. And God didn’t give me a spouse. He didn’t give me children. He didn’t give me children turning out as I had hoped. I tell the truth and then I lose the sail. I take my stands with Jesus and I’ve taken one punch in the stomach after another. But your life is not aimed at your goals.

It is not aimed at your dreams and expectations. Even as a Christian, it is aimed at Christ and those very disappointments and losses and sorrows are the means of leading you to him. He is the omega. He is the one your life is pointing towards as all of history is surging towards him and his exalt. It’s why the West Minister Confession of Faith Shorter Catechism says it this way.

What’s the chief end or aim or purpose of man to glorify God and enjoy him forever?

He is not the means to the goal. He’s the goal. Everything else is the means.

Elizabeth Elliot only wrote one novel in her career. She wrote many other books, but one fiction book, the book is entitled No Grave and Image. I read it many years ago and the Lord brought it back to mind for this message. In the book, no Grave and Image, there is the um, story of a young missionary, a woman.

Who is struggling with a lack of fruit. She’s, she hates writing per letter cuz she has nothing to write. It’s embarrassing. She’s given up her her career to come be a missionary on the field and she’s not seeing people respond to the gospel. She doesn’t feel like she’s making any difference. She wants something to validate her as we all understand.

And then she has this guy that she leads to Christ, Pedro. And Pedro just is so hot for Christ. He has great ability to speak, he has a great heart for the Lord, and it’s just beautiful. And she’s just pouring her life into Pedro and his wife and, and seeing him grow and all and all of a sudden, shockingly unexpectedly, Pedro in the weirdest possible way dies.

And it’s pretty much the end of the book. And. People that read the book and Elizabeth Elliot tells this in talking about a lot of people didn’t lie, a lot of Christians didn’t like it. They said, can’t you end it positively miss such a defeats? It’s such an, but here is what the young missionary woman learned as she realized her dreams were not fulfilled as she expected, and she thought, this is a, but God had something else going on.

Here is the statement that she made. If God were my accomplice, he failed me. But if God was God, he had freed me. If God is your goal, you have learned to say God is using all things to free me to live for his, for the ultimate price. That my end game becomes his game end game. That in life or death in success or failure in rejection or praise, Jesus will be glorified in me.

He’s not my accomplice to satisfy my goals and desires. Ultimately, he is my goal and my desire. He’s the alpha, he’s the omega. He’s eternal, but it’s more than that. That’s here. He’s saying he’s the designer, he’s the originator, but he’s also the target. Our lives have been shaped and molded and at with the goal that we would more and more live out a life that is to the glory of Jesus.

He’s the goal. He’s not the means to our goals. All those other things that he allows and purpose. Some very encouraging, some lovely, some we just easily embrace with gratitude and praise. But also the other stuff he says, I’m the goal. Those things also are part of the means. I’m not just Mark. I’m not just your accomplice, I’m your God.

I’m your Omega, I’m your Ralph. And he says to people that had suffered deeply, he says, people, you’re right on track. Yeah, this is hard. I hope the persecution relents. I’m sorry for you. However, see that what God is purposing in your life are the means towards the ultimate goal. With this I’ll close. It’s a few phrases from a poem that CT stud, a great missionary statesman wrote.

Many of you have heard it. It’s called Only one life Till Soon Be Passed. Two little lines I heard one day Traveling along life’s busy way, bringing conviction to my heart and from my mind would not depart. Only one life will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last only one life. A few brief years each with its burdens, hopes and fears each with its calls I must fulfill living for self or in his will.

Only one life till soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last. When this bright world would tempt me soar, when Satan would a victory score, when self would seek to have its way, then help me Lord, with joy to say, only one life will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last. Now let me say that I will be done and when it lasts, I’ll hear the call.

I’ll know, I’ll say to us, worth it all. Only one life till soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I’m dying, how happy I’ll be if the lamp of my life has been burned out for the only one life till soon be passed, Lord,

there’s stuff going on in this room in people’s lives and people that are watching online.

And it’s confusing and it’s heavy. Lord, may they receive from this simple message the hope that I think those believers in the first century were designed to receive, and that those things are the means to the ultimate goal. Lord Jesus, I worship you this morning as our alpha. We’re not here randomly.

We’re here by design. You designed us, you ordained us, you created us, but ultimately, you’re at the other end as well. You designed us to have the engine of our lives run.

With the petrol being desire to bring glory to Christ, you are the omega. Lord Jesus, I love you for this truth. There are means that you’ve chosen in many of our lives we didn’t get at the time that’s going on right now for people in this room. Lord, give the hope. You’re the O Omega. You’re the end.

You’re the goal of the story. Let us embrace that today. Let us not require you to be our accomplice. Let us delight to have you as our God in Jesus’ name. Amen.