Sermon # 97
Title: The Benediction
Text: Revelation 22:21
Date: Sunday Evening - January 15, 1989
We have come now to The Benediction. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” This blessed Book is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The first verse of the first chapter sets forth the theme of the whole Book. It rings out the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the last verse of the last chapter repeats the heavenly sound. The Lord Jesus Christ is the sum, and substance, and glory of every vision seen by John on the island of Patmos. All that John saw and wrote in this Book by the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit was about the glorious Person and gracious work of our Lord Jesus Christ. And before he laid his pen aside to write no more, he penned his benediction in these words: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” This was John’s prayer for God’s elect.
Proposition: It is an invocation of blessing upon all the saints of God in every place.
How often we read and hear these words without thought or attention! Most commentators either ignore them entirely, or give them only passing attention. And seldom are they preached. Most people have never heard the words explained at all. And most who recite the words of our text use them only as pious sounding, sentimental phrases. What a pity! There is a message in these words. May God enable me to deliver it.
Read the text again, slowly, pausing between the words to meditate upon and enjoy this final word from God to man.
“The grace of our Lord” - The grace you need, the grace I need, the grace John here seeks for God’s people is the grace of our Lord and Master. Grace comes from his Majesty. It is the benefit of his sovereign pleasure. It is the gift of his will. It is the blessing of his throne. Grace belongs to God. And God has given it to Christ, whom he has made Lord over all flesh, to give to whomsoever he will. He has mercy on whom he will have mercy. He has compassion on whom he will have compassion. And he is gracious to whom he will be gracious.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus” - He is the Lord, therefore he has the right to be gracious. And he is Jesus, our Savior, therefore we know that he will be gracious. His grace is redeeming, saving, preserving, forgiving, justifying, sanctifying, glorifying grace. Do you see how the text enlarges as you read it?
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” - He is the “Anointed One.” As Aaron was anointed with holy oil, Christ our great High Priest is anointed with grace. As the oil ran down over Aaron’s beard and his robe, so the grace of God runs down from Christ our Head to all the members of his body, the church, giving us both the knowledge of and acceptance with God himself.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” - Did you catch that little word “our”? What a precious word! What a word of boldness, confidence, and faith! John calls the Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the universe, the Lord of glory, “our Lord Jesus Christ”! He is ours because he has made himself to be ours. He is ours by covenant agreement. And he is ours by faith. But he is ours! And if the Lord Jesus Christ is ours, then all the grace that he possesses is surely ours too.
Therefore John says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” This was John’s prayer and desire for all his brethren in his day, and for all who would read his Book in the days to come. And this is my prayer and desire for you.
Tonight, I want to show you three things about The Benediction which John gave at the end of his Book.
1. The blessing of it.
2. The position of it.
3. The certainty of it.
I. The first, most important thing, to note about the benediction is THE BLESSING OF IT.
The one things we need and must have is grace. And grace is the blessing upon which John focuses his own attention and ours. The word used here is “charis.” It is the word from which we get our English word, “charismatic.” It signifies love, kindness, and favor. The root of the word “charis” is joy. And wherever grace is known and experienced, joy is found. Oh, that you may have the grace, the love, kindness, and favor, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the joy it brings.
The grace mentioned in our text is Divine Grace. It is “the grace of our Lord.” The original source of grace is the everlasting love of God for his people. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit loved us before the world began. And because God loved us, he is gracious to us. It is written, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” All grace comes to us...
- From God the Father.
- Through God the Son.
- By God the Holy Spirit.
The grace spoken of is “the grace of our Lord.” It is divine grace. Yet, it is “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is to say, it is also the grace of a Man, the God-man, our Savior. This grace has the stamp of Deity upon it. But it also has the stamp of humanity upon it. It is the tender, compassionate, brotherly grace of our near Kinsman. As Ruth possessed all the love of Boaz, may you always possess all the love, grace, and mercy of your dear Kinsman’s heart. I am talking about the grace of that wondrous, mysterious, complex, delightful Person who is both God and Man, Immanuel, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me show you ten things about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A. It is sure, covenant grace (John 31:31-34; II Sam. 23:5).
B. It is eternal, electing grace (Eph. 1:3-6).
C. It is redeeming, justifying grace (Rom. 3:24-26).
D. It is effectual, saving grace (Eph. 2:8-9).
E. It is sovereign, distinguishing grace (Rom. 9:11-23).
F. It is infinite, rich grace (Eph. 3:8; Rom. 5:21) (See I Cor. :26-31).
G. It is immutable, preserving grace (Mal. 3:6; John 10:28-30).
H. It is daily, providential grace (Rom. 8:28).
I. It is unconditional, free grace (Rom. 9:16).
This is my heart’s prayer and desire for you, for everyone of you, “The grace (all the grace) of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,” young and old, rich and poor, strong and weak.
- May you trust the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- May you enjoy all the favors that flow to sinners in the boundless river of grace.
- May you know the sweet communion of grace.
- May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always and forever -
1. When you pray.
2. When you are tempted.
3. When you are discouraged.
4. When you are tired.
5. When you are weak.
6. When you are in danger.
7. When your heart and flesh fail you.
8. When you have fallen.
9. When you die.
10. When you stand before God.
The blessing of this benediction is grace, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
II. The second thing to be observed about the benediction is THE POSITION OF IT.
This benediction is at the end. It is the last word of the Book of the Revelation, the last word of the Bible, the last word from God to man. It is as though John were saying, as though God through John were saying, “Whatever else you may miss, be sure you do not miss this. You must have grace.”
- Preacher, while you preach grace, be sure you possess grace.
- Deacon, as you serve the church, be sure you are in the church.
- Teacher, as you teach your children about the Savior, be sure you know the Savior.
- You who eat the Lord’s Supper, be sure you have eaten his flesh and drunk his blood by faith.
- You who have been baptized in water, be sure you have been baptized into Jesus Christ.
You must have “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” or you will perish, no matter what else you have.
Children of God, you to whom Christ is revealed and by whom he is known, grace is the one thing we must have as long as we are in this world. Therefore John says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” You will need it to the end.
- To cleanse you.
- To teach you.
- To guide you.
- To protect you.
- To strengthen you.
- To restore you.
- To comfort you.
- To keep you.
If you have “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” you have all you need. He said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
The fact that this blessing has been placed at the end of the Book of God indicates to me that grace is the one and only thing we shall want when the end comes. I must die, I know. I do not concern myself with thoughts about when I will die, where I will die, or by what means I shall die. Those things really do not much matter. The only thing that really matters is how I die. This is my prayer, “Lord, let me die in grace.” I have no other concern. When my end comes, I want to be found in Christ. And this is my prayer for you. When the end comes, may “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”
Illustration: “There’s nothing to hold on to!”
Read the benediction one more time - “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” We have seen the blessing of it and the position of it.
III. Now, thirdly, I want you to see THE CERTAINTY OF IT.
There is one word in the text I have not mentioned yet. Do you see it? The word is “Amen.” That word, given by divine inspiration, means, “So shall it be!” And so it shall be! It is a matter of certainty! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be with the “you all” to whom this Book is addressed.
- The grace of Christ shall be with all the churches of Christ.
- The grace of Christ shall be with all God’s elect.
- The grace of Christ shall be with all who trust Christ.