SBTS chapel live blog: Convocation, Aug. 25

Communications Staff — August 25, 2009

Speaker: R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Title/text: The Time is Near – The Emphatically Eschatological Essence of the Christian Ministry; Rev. 1:1-20


The backdrop and background of ministry is its end. The foreground is a time of tremendous conflict and controversy. A time of change.

We are here because all around us a world is in confusion and turmoil. The ministry is a place where the gospel intersects with the strangeness of this world. We come to seek to the mind of Christ. We look around and observe poverty and war and confusion: what are we to think?

Revelation 1:1-20

As John speaks, he speaks of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Sovereignty of Christ over time

This theme is repeated. We hear of things that must soon take place. We see in this chapter that the time is near. But let’s be honest: it doesn’t feel near. The time is near: these things must soon take place. It was near when Jesus spoke these words.

In Rev. 6:10, there is a marker of God’s people wondering how long the wait will be. In Luke 18:8, we read that God will vindicate His own without delay. In Romans 16, we see that God will soon crush people underneath His feet. Soon, not in chronological fulfillment, but in light of the collapsing of time in eternal and eschatological reality.

Eternity is always placed as the context of ministry.

The Christian ministry requires an eschatological timeline. There is a yearning that ought to be implanted in our hearts when we think about time collapsing into eternity.

The time is soon. These things will soon take place. Jesus Christ is sovereign over time and that is the only assurance you have that your life and ministry has purpose.

Sovereignty of Christ over kings

Jesus Christ is described as the Ruler over the kings of the earth. Just as the world does not reflect that the end is near, so does much of the world not live as if Jesus is the King of the earth. The message of John in Revelation is the reletivization of all the powers of the earth. The powers that be, whether it be military, or cultural or political, are all reletivized by the Ruler of the kings of the earth. But one day it will be apparent that Jesus Christ was and is the Ruler of the kings of earth.

And this King has established a kingdom. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a kingdom of priests. This is a kingdom that has been bought by His blood. We are made to be a kingdom by Christ’s sovereign act. We are His citizens, we are priests. Thus, to Christ be the glory forever and ever.

The kingdoms of this world think themselves to powerful. They can intimidate. They can imprison. But the Ruler of the kings of the earth is the Alpha and the Omega. It is He who is and who was and is to be. It is He will judge. It is made clear that in His appearing all will know that He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

This King is coming in vindication and in judgment. He is coming in a visible context: every eye will see Him. He will be recognized by all, even those who pierced Him. There is glory and power in this. He is no longer riding into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, nor resting in a manger in Bethlehem.

If you think that your ministry has to be accomplished in your lifetime, then you will die unfulfilled. If you do not live in light of the lordship of Christ you will be intimidated by those around you who think themselves powerful. We will either cower in fear or try to make a deal with the regime.

Sovereignty of Christ over His church

In each of the seven letters to the churches in Revelation, it is made clear the letters are to made known to every church of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the ages until He comes.

Christ tells His church to not be afraid, for He is the one who has the keys to death and to Hades.

John’s vision in the book of Revelation is of the One who is Lord over all: He is sovereign over time, over the rulers of the earth and over His church. Jesus gives to John this vision and through this vision He will instruct and edify His churches. Jesus alone has the right and authority to say what He will say to the seven churches in Revelation and to say what He will say to His church.

Each local church belongs to Christ. It is He who is sovereign over His church.

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