The conversation is usually a short one and it goes something like this: “The answer is no.” “But, dad.” Or “I said not now.” “But, mom.” Kids today really should appreciate English grammar more than they do. They have no idea where they would be today without that handy little adversative conjunction “but.” How else could they disagree with what mom and dad say? But it isn’t just kids who benefit from this little adversative conjunction. All of us would be in a world of hurt without it, a world of pain and suffering and darkness and hopelessness. In the context of our homes it’s not a very pleasant word, but in the context of life it has saved our lives. We owe our lives to that word. I am well aware a sermon with a title like this is subject to lots of juvenile jokes and humor, but try to restrain. Life can be lived on the left side of this conjunction or on the right side of the conjunction and which side you are on makes all the difference.
Glory to God for the four Gospels and for the different stories the different writers included as directed by the Holy Spirit. Luke is the only one who recounts this incredible story from the cross. Who knows how many countless lost sinners have been saved after reading just this story? Matthew and Mark tell us both thieves mocked Jesus. But obviously in those many hours that they hung there, one of the thieves saw in Jesus something that convicted him of his own sin and need. His heart was moved by the Holy Spirit to change, his blind eyes were opened. We want to answer the question what happens when we die. Where do we go? And by we I mean believers Jesus Christ. In order to be a believer and have the hope of eternal life, we must do what the thief on the cross did. So let’s briefly consider his story and his example.
What is the main thing you will take away from our study of Revelation? What is the main truth, or encouragement or challenge or exhortation? What is different for you because of our study of this part of God’s Word? Let’s reflect on this journey through this more remarkable book, a journey that began September 2014. In that first sermon I said we would see and hear and feel things strange to our eyes and ears and senses. And indeed we have. We have seen the great throne room in the great celestial city of the New Jerusalem. We encountered an explosion of symbols and graphic imagery to dazzle the eyes, a virtual cornucopia of music, color, texture, along with tastes and smells enough to engage all our senses. We have heard angelic choruses and mighty trumpet blasts. We have trembled as we felt the violent clashes of great armies and giant beasts. The sizes and numbers of everything staggered our imaginations. How fitting that the final book of the Bible that tells of final things yet to be revealed should stir and capture our imaginations and carry us into another dimension, well beyond our secular time-space existence. This isn’t about the never-never land of Peter Pan and countless other fantasy stories, this is the ever-ever land of our majestic and sovereign God and His kingdom and realm, This is a picture of heavenly glory, of things yet to come. What words would you use to describe Revelation? Exciting, amazing, stunning, confusing, mystifying, dramatic, strange, unbelievable, inspiring, and at times just plain weird. We can hardly remember those early chapters that seem so normal after all we have seen since then. Remember the seven churches and their struggles and trials and persecutions. Their daily lives and ours seem pretty boring compared to what we have seen since then. But it is good for us to be lifted up out of our normal routine of life to be reminded that we live in a world created by a huge and holy God and that our world and our history are part of a cosmic battle filled with principalities and powers beyond our vision and imagination. There is a world beyond ours of white horses and great beasts and angelic creatures and thrones. It is good for us to reflect on real realities rather than our trivial realities, to move out of these shadowlands as C.S. Lewis call this earthly existence. It is good to move out of the shadows into John’s vision and heavenly perspective, into the bright splendor of heaven and the glory of God and presence of Him who’s eyes are like a flame of fire, who’s feet are like burnished bronze refined in a furnace and who’s voice is like the roar of many waters and who’s face is like the sun shining in full strength (Revelation 1:14-16).
Just to summarize that first point, I listed several things submission is not. Submission doesn’t mean wives are inferior to or less than husbands. We are equal bearers of the image of God. Submission doesn’t mean you agree with everything he says or does. Submission doesn’t mean that you leave your brain at the altar, and become a doormat or that you are less competent. In fact, the opposite is many times the case. Submission doesn’t mean you don’t try to change your husband. Submission doesn’t mean if your husband is unfaithful or physically abusive you can’t leave. Submission is not a sign of weakness or done out of fear. Rather, submission is a disposition of the heart of a wife to give deference to her husband to follow her husband’s leadership. It’s an expectation that he will lead and a willingness to follow and help and partner with him in that leadership. In this manner the home and family will flourish. Submission can happen in the absence of godly and Christ-like leadership, but to the extent he doesn’t do that, that family won’t flourish. For that God will hold him responsible. Why submission? Because of the mystery of marriage, which is that all human marriage is meant by God to be an image and reflection of the relationship that exists between Christ and His bride, the church. That is what marriage is supposed to be, so God wants our headship and submission to tell the truth about Jesus and the church.