The book of Revelation is a book of blessing - a book of Grace and Peace - and not confusion, perplexity and puzzlement.

Verse 3. There appears to be a special blessing for those who turn to this book. It is unique, so you take it to heart, and allow it to shape you and fashion your life and mould your thinking. Verse 4. This amazing book comes from John, and John is so positive. Even when in prison on the isle of Patmos, there is no bitterness - no rancour - in no way whatsoever is he negative - but he declares God's holy Word. It is a word to a cluster of churches which I hope we will be able to look at. These blessings of Grace and Peace come from God, from Jesus Christ, and from the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is so faithful and so reliable, and Jesus is a witness, who always tells the truth, and Jesus is risen from the dead, and Jesus reigns over all the kings of the earth. Remember that in these traumatic times! It is this mighty risen living Lord Jesus Christ who gives us grace and peace, and before whom we come in praise and worship and prayer. A Church facing uncertainty - ostracism - persecution - needs to remember these opening words. Verse 5. This same Jesus who is King over all the kings, loves us. Nobody who comes to worship in the Church of Jesus Christ need ever feel they are unloved. Jesus loves you. And - nobody who comes to worship, feeling bound and chained need ever leave feeling like that, because Jesus Christ sets us free and releases us and delivers us from bondages, and He can break all chains. And - nobody who comes to worship feeling sinful and dirty and guilty need ever leave feeling like that, because Jesus Christ washes us from all of these things, in and through the blood He shed for us on the Cross, but the blood has to be applied, just as soap has to be applied to dirty hands. John was called by Jesus - the beloved disciple - he was so full of the love of Jesus. John was in prison and yet he is able to say, "Jesus has loosed me and set me free and released me." And look at what he has made me, and look at what He wants to make us - a kingdom of priests, or kings and priests. After He has loosed us - after he has set us free - after He washes and cleanses us - He lifts us - He lifts us up - and we are humbly among the world's elite. He loves us - looses us - releases us - washes us - lifts us up - and makes us - so that we can serve. When you are in a position of absolutely security and when you know that Jesus has taken you and washed you and chosen you and lifted you and called you and anointed you, you are willing to serve eagerly and enthusiastically. If you are not willing, then there must be a question mark over whether or not you are His. The person who is uncertain is the one who will not serve. Loved - loosed - lifted. No wonder John breaks into that glorious doxology. He then adds, "To Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen".