Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
1 November 2020
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
Hi, my name is Katherine Peters and I am very excited to have joined Bethel Church as your Children and Families’ Worker. I grew up in a Christian home and gave my life to the Lord after a Billy Graham Mission England Conference. From that point on I knew that I wanted to follow God throughout my life. In 2016 I wanted to help more children find out more about Jesus and I became a Children and Families’ Worker at Wick Hampton Baptist Church. I love using active and creative methods to help children find out more about God. I am really interested in hearing your ideas about how we can make Church really amazing for the children in Macclesfield.
“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead”Rev. 1:17
Like Isaiah and Ezekiel John begins with “a great vision of the glory of God” (Mounce). John had been told to write down the vision “to write what he sees”
“the word [‘sees’] suggests spiritual perception, as in a vision, rather than physical sight by itself”
This is consistent with Jesus teaching elsewhere regarding those, for example, who although they saw, with their physical eyes, e.g. the miracles that Jesus did, they did not “see” with their ‘spiritual eyes’:
Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in Him. This was to fulfil the word of Isaiah the prophet: ‘Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn – and I would heal them.’ Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.John 12:37-41
Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’.John 20:29
John is here emphasising that when the opportunity comes to believe (what greater opportunity than to have the Son of God, the Messiah, in one’s midst performing signs and wonders and teaching the good news of the kingdom) we must take hold of it with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength:
“When revelation comes we must believe. But if we refuse to believe, the light disappears (John 12:35-36: “Then Jesus told them, ‘You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.’ When He had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid Himself from them.”); and when God’s light departs from the world, the darkness (which is the default state of the world) closes over unbelieving hearts.”
When we were studying John’s Gospel we made much of the fact that John was the disciple whom Jesus loved (cf. John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). Jesus loved all the disciples and so loves the world, that He laid down His life to save a lost world (John 3:16; 15:13). John however, responded to that love, and drew near to Jesus. He in effect drew near to God and God drew near to him (cf. James 4:8(a)). So, for example,
There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.John 13:23 NASB
This relationship is a mirror of Jesus’ relationship with His Father in heaven for we are told here:
No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.John 1:18 NKJV
Such speaks of intimacy, closeness, a nearness to God that until we were saved we wouldn’t have imagined possible. The apostle John enjoyed this close relationship with Jesus because he put himself in the place to be close – He drew near to Jesus. Whereas others are more distant, even Peter has to motion to John for him to ask Jesus who was it who would betray Him (John 13:21-25).
There was a distance between Peter and Jesus but not between John and Jesus and John was able to find out the answer. Why is it then, that John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, the one who leaned on Jesus’ bosom, who drew close to Him, has now fallen prostrate at Jesus’ feet, as like a dead man? John hasn’t changed but Jesus has given a further revelation of His identity and it is quite awesome.
Let’s look at the description of Jesus as given by John in this passage in Revelation:
“I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash round His chest. The hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and coming out of His mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”Revelation 1:12-16
We have here a vision of the exalted Son of God, so let’s have a few moments of silence and meditate on the Person who has just been described!
We are told that:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.Hebrews 13:8
and this is absolutely true, He is, He was, and always will be, the eternal Son of God and during His ministry here on earth His disciples caught a glimpse of His heavenly glory:
For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eye-witnesses of His majesty. He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with Him on the sacred mountain.2 Peter 1:16-18
Peter, is here referring to the time, on what is referred to as the Mount of Transfiguration, when Jesus was visibly altered before them and His disciples witnessed a vision of Him in His heavenly glory:
In the experience of the disciples, heaven has invaded earth and the superhuman glory of the Messiah has been revealed … The visual “transformation” is not so much a physical alteration as an added dimension of glory; it is the same Jesus, but now with an awesome brightness “like the sun” and “like light.” Or, one might better say, with the dullness of earthly conditions temporarily stripped away, so that the true nature of God’s “beloved Son” (Matt. 17:5) can for once be seen.
R. T. France
They witnessed Jesus’ changed appearance, (‘metamorphoew’), and had a foretaste of how they will one day see Him. Such was different to the glory seen on the face of Moses as he came down from Mount Sinai which was a reflection of the divine glory whereas Jesus shone with His own heavenly glory. The circular journey of the eternal Son of God – seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high . Left His home in glory , born of a virgin, provided purification for sins, sat down at the right hand of His Father in heaven:
Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:5-11
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So He became as much superior to the angels as the name He has inherited is superior to theirs.Heb. 1:1-4
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all humankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it …John 1:1-5, 14, 18
14 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.
We sing each year at Christmas those immortal words:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the Incarnate Deity;
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel …
Mild He lays His glory by …
‘Hark the herald angles sing’ – Charles Wesley
The disciples react in the same way as John on Patmos:
When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified.Matt. 17:6
Jesus also reacts in the same way as He did with John:
But Jesus came and touched them. ‘Get up,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid’.Matt. 17:7
“The hand which sustains the world and the churches also gives life to individual believers”
But He also goes on to say to John on Patmos:
‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last …Rev. 1:17-18
18 I am the Living One; … I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! … And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
“He speaks of His pre-existence and sovereign exaltation”
“… we are left in no doubt that He is the risen and glorified Lord Christ, the eschatological judge (Rev 1:16, 18) who also possesses the glory of heaven and shares the likeness of God Himself.”
This same Jesus who mildly lays His glory by, who meekly goes to the cross, is the same one who will one day judge the world. We see hints of this when He would turn the tables on those who were judging Him:
Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ ‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’Matt. 26:62-64
And what about this for a turn around? Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, who can withstand it?’
Is this the One we worship in all His splendour and glory as well as the One who was slain for the sins of the world? Secondly, each of the attributes and traits of Christ comes out later in the messages to the 7 churches e.g. “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword” (cf. Rev 1:16) indicating Christ is all we and anyone needs. This can be seen in the verse of the week when Christ appears as a lamb slain and therefore, the only One who can open the scroll. He is the One whom this world needs!
Quote of the Week
“I never pray more than 15 minutes, but I never go more than fifteen minutes without praying.”
Verse of the Week
I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne.Revelation 5:4-6
“Lord we worship you as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world and as the glorious One revealed in Revelation ….”
Spend a few moments worshipping Him in your hearts, Amen!