Bible Topics
in the Christian Library


Weary Days and Dreary Nights

Revelation 1:1-18

John L. Kachelman, Jr.


I. Of all emotions which damage believers the greatest is despondency.

1. "Despondency" -- a combination of despair, and hopelessness.

2. The despondent person is controlled by the belief that all is useless; hope has been stripped away.

3. The despondent person simply gives up all resistance.

4. This danger is referred to in Scripture - Job 17:15; Psalm 77:7-9; Jonah 2:2-4; 1 Kings 19:4.

II. Try to imagine how despondent those who received the Revelation were.
1. The Apostle John

For 40 years he had followed Christ. He had been one of the Lord's closest disciples. It was he who is often referred to as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." But his labors seemed a failure right now -- we have no record of any conversions during his labors; he had lived in Ephesus but the believers there had failed (2:4); and now, he was isolated on a prison island! Imagine how he felt right now. Despondency must have been gnawing away at his confidence.

2. Those who were to receive Revelation.

They were being tortured, imprisoned, and deprived of basic needs. They had seen godly brethren mutilated and burned alive. No doubt they were in the deepest parts of despondency. Their faith was shaken. Can you blame them for looking toward heaven and saying they could not understand what was happening? Surely some asked, "If Christianity is SO GOOD, why are things going so bad?"

III. Our God looked into the hearts of these saints and His great love set in motion John's inspired pen. From this opening chapter to the conclusion we read one continuous message designed to rescue the despondent soul. Inspiration's pen offered comfort and consolation. Look at how this marvel- ous message begins.


I. The world was forcing believers to "look down," to focus on things of this world. John wrote telling them to "Look up!" What was the basis for John's optimistic message?

A. They needed to "look up" because of God!
1. His care and concern are evident in the wonderful gift of His Word to us (v. 1a).
a. God answered our brethren's cry for "Why?"

b. He "revealed" - literally APOKALUPSIS. A compound Greek word which referring to a radical uncovering or breakthrough of what was previously hidden. God was going to pull back the curtain and show His faithful followers what was really taking place.

c. God gave these distressed believers answers to their questions in this Book (1:19).

d. He desired to encourage His followers and He took the initiative. Such reveals His care and concern for us.

2. God has promised blessings to those who look up to Him and follow His will (v. 3).
a. If our brethren needed blessings they needed to look to God.

b. "Blessed" - "Happy, deeply delighted, satisfied." His revelation was not given to start or satisfy some prophetic curiosity but to change our lives and encourage faithfulness.

c. Only by looking to God could our first century brethren be truly blessed.

B. They needed to "look up" because of JESUS CHRIST.

Notice how this single chapter urged them to keep faith in Christ and never give up.

1. Christ is the only source of true comfort.
a. He is pictured as standing in the midst of the lampstands - a picture of how His presence comforts (v. 13).

b. He is pictured as offering comfort because He eliminates every fear (v. 17-18).

2. Christ is all-sufficient - He answers every needs (v. 5-6).
a. As the Faithful Witness He testifies that one can follow God, lose life yet be exalted!

b. As the First-born from the dead He holds the only answer to death.

c. As the Ruler of earthly kings He assures us that there is One who is in control.

d. As the Lover of mankind He extends love and acceptance to the unlovable and unacceptable.

e. As the Saviour He offers redemption and freedom from sin's tragedy.

f. As the Sovereign of God's Kingdom He is the Head of the Kingdom/ Church and has all power and authority.

g. As the Great High Priest He offered the perfect sacrifice, estab lished a priesthood for all believers, and opened access to God for all who desire to draw near to Him.

3. Christ is coming back! (v. 7). It was this pointwhich comforted the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 4:16-18).

4. Believers need to look up to Christ because He is unlike and unequal to anything or anyone else (v.8, 13-16). Knowing this should keep their sight focused on Him and heaven.

C. They needed to "look up" because of FELLOW SAINTS.
1. A strong fellowship would enable these persecuted believers to remain strong.
a. They would know they were not suffering alone (v. 9).

b. They would be realistic - faith would invite persecution! (v. 9; cf. John 17:14).

c. Their fellowship would comprise a family unit which would afford strength (v. 9) "brethren." 

d. Their association with Christ would identify them as "the kingdom of God" - they would know they belonged to a force greater than any the world could call together.

2. John told these brethren to "look up" because they shared a wonderful relationship with one another. This fellowship would enable them to focus on the blessings of the future.
II. From this wise counsel we discover some practical lessons.
A. We need to follow John's advice - when the world causes to look down, look up!
1. Trials and sufferings cause us to look at this world for answers and hope.

2. But we need to look up! (cf Colossians 3:2).

B. We can find great comfort only by trusting in spiritual things --

1. Trust in God for He cares and is concerned (1:1).

2. Look to Christ for He answers every need (1:8).

3. Lean upon fellow-saints for they will support and encourage (1:9).


I. The theme of chapter 1 is do not give up because you have so much going for you! This world often tempts us to look away from God; to search for answers elsewhere. But the believer knows that no matter how bad things get, the only answer and the only source of support is found in God, Christ, and fellow-saints.

II. Learn the simple lesson of chapter one - "When the days are weary, the long nights dreary," realize with confidence that our loving Saviour truly cares!

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