Revelation 1:4-6: The God of the suffering Church
One of the most important lessons from the Psalms is that one of our biggest needs when suffering is worship. When we are down and out, when we are depressed and surrounded we need a vision, a reminder, the conviction of who our God is and His goodness towards us. If you page through the Psalms even when the psalmist is going through great trials there is worship. A meditation upon God and His work. Psalm 33 is a wonderful example of this. We can see by the last verse in the psalm that the psalmist is writing in hope, and based on the various affirmations of God bringing the counsel of the nations to nothing v10 and being the judge of all men v13, and how kings do not succeed by the strength of arms v16, we can see that there is a problem with war or oppression or the threat of war. However the psalmist is full of praise and rehearses God’s nature and ways to buoy up his faith. Out of all the letters in the NT there is none that can compare with the opening of the book of Revelation when it comes to worship and a description of our God. And I believe that the letter deliberately outstrips all the others in this way because the Christians it is written to are going to go through harder trials than anything before experienced.
We are looking at 3 sets of 3. We will observe the three persons of the Godhead, the three descriptions of Christ’s work for the church and three blessings poured out upon the church as a result of His victory. The overwhelming feeling is consolation through saturation, being saturated with the person and work of God. If we are to stand up to the temptations of this world we need to know that God is more beautiful, more glorious and more satisfying. To face death with faithfulness we need to know that death is defeated and Christ has walked the road before us. To keep perspective when we are the underdogs and slandered and treated as scum we need to remember our identity and what Christ has made us to be. When facing the strongest powers in the world we need to know that they are nothing compared with the ruler of the universe. When we are imprisoned we need reminders of our freedom from satan, sin and death. When we are abandoned by man we need to know that God is for us. Verses 4-6 are a bombardment of various truths about God’s person and work of salvation. They hint at the coming themes of the book and provide a suffering church with what they need most in any trial-God! And He is ours in Christ!