REVELATION 2012: #2 – JESUS AND THE CHURCH
(February 2012 –Beausejour Church– Pastor Chris Jordan)
- To listen to the audio message, click HERE.
- To download a printable version of the notes, click HERE.
- In chapter one, we looked at some of the keys to unlocking the mysteries of Revelation
- We also saw a glorious vision of Jesus
- In chapters 2-3, we are going to take a look at the church.
- In each letter, the churches are first given a portrait of Jesus, the most important thing
- Then they are given an encouragement, a rebuke, a command, and a promise.
The Church in Ephesus
“1 To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” (Rev. 2:1-7).
- Each church has an angel designated to it. Our church has angels, too!
- Jesus is the one in the midst of the golden lampstands (the church).
- Jesus is here in the church to meet with you, comfort and instruct you.
- We all have a personal relationship with Jesus, but also a corporate one
- Encouragement: Jesus knows the work we do for Him, and doesn’t want us to get weary.
- This was a Bible-believing and theologically orthodox church
- Rebuke: Their doctrine was in order, but they were jerks who forgot the love.
- Mark Driscoll says, “If you’re a jerk, you need to bake cookies, hug people and be nice.”
- Jesus’ challenge = repent! Do what you did before – pray, read your Bible, love people.
- Stir up your passion for Jesus anew and afresh!
- Jesus commended them for hating the nut-job Nicolaitans. You can hate groups if they preach wrong doctrine, drink Kool-Aid and wait for a comet.
- All churches need to hear what the Spirit is saying to us today.
- Promise: To the one who overcomes = to eat the fruit of the tree of life.
The Church in Smyrna
- Smyrnawas a good church – Jesus had nothing bad to say about them.
- There are good churches out there! Don’t be cynical because of past experiences.
“8 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” (Rev. 2:8-11).
- Jesus encourages this persecuted church – they killed Jesus, and He came back to life.
- Just because someone says they serve God doesn’t mean that they do!
- Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you won’t go through trials and tribulation.
- Promise: If you are born once, you die twice. If you are born twice, you die once.
TESTIMONY – THE MARTYRDOM OF POLYCARP:
(Polycarp was a leader in the church at Smyrna and was a disciple of John’s)
The proconsul asked him if he were Polycarp. When he assented, the former counselled him to deny Christ, saying, “Consider yourself, and have pity on your own great age;”
Polycarp answered, “Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King who has saved me?”
“I will tame thee with fire,” said the proconsul, “unless you repent.”
Then said Polycarp, “You threaten me with fire, which burns for an hour, and is soon extinguished; but the fire of the future judgment, and of eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly, you are ignorant of. But why do you delay? Do whatever you please.”
The proconsul sent the herald to proclaim thrice in the middle of the Stadium, “Polycarp hath professed himself a Christian.”
Upon which they bound him to be burned at the stake. So Polycarp said: “O Father, I bless you that you have counted me worthy to receive my portion among the martyrs.”
As soon as he had uttered the word “Amen,” the officers lit the fire.
The Church in Pergamos
“12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” (Rev. 2:12-17).
- Pergamos was a good and bad church. Jesus is revealed as the one speaking the Word.
- Heb. 4:12 – the Word is sharper than any two-edged sword. We are a Bible church!
- Some churches only read one Scripture at the beginning of the sermon and that’s it.
- Satan is a created, fallen being. He is not all-knowing, all-powerful or omnipresent.
- Jesus rebuked this church because they didn’t discern false teaching.
- People in our culture today say, “You’re so judgmental” like that’s a negative thing.
- God wants us to use discernment: “Theology leads to biography.” Belief leads to action.
- When we become a Christian, we get a new name and a new nature – new creations!
- Promise: When we overcome, we get hidden manna (Jesus Himself) and a white stone (literally a ticket to Heaven).
The Church in Thyatira
“18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. 24 Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations– 27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’– as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 2:18-28).
- This was a good and bad church. Encouragement: Jesus commends them for their growth.
- Rebuke: They tolerated Jezebel a false prophet. Self-nominated important person.
- Jesus gave her a chance to repent, but she wouldn’t change.
- Jesus reminds them that He is coming back again and says, “Be faithful ‘til I return!”
The Church in Sardis
“1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:1-6).
- This church stinks. Jesus does not have a nice thing to say about this church.
- There are terrible churches. We don’t need to defend churches. We defend Jesus.
- The church is filled with sinners who are works in progress, but Jesus is perfect and good.
- Some churches need to change or shut down because they’re doing more harm than good.
- This was a dead church that wasn’t doing anything – no lives being changed.
- God’s patience doesn’t last forever. He told them to wake up and repent.
- There were a few people there who still loved Jesus and were trying to change things.
The Church in Philadelphia
“7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie–indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:7-13).
- Philadelphia– the city of brotherly love, Rocky Balboa and a good sandwich.
- This was a good church. God gave them an open door in their city to influence/impact.
- You have a little strength – if you’ve been around BCC for a while, you may have gotten weary in serving. This is why we need everyone to do their part!
- Remember – the love of Jesus is an important theme in Revelation (like rest of Bible).
- A reminder of another theme in Revelation – the soon return of Jesus to the earth!
- Don’t give up until you get to Heaven. Persevere!
- What do you think Jesus wants to speak to you today?
- Where does He want to encourage you for the works you do for Him?
- Where does He want to challenge or maybe rebuke you in your life?
- What does He want you to do, and what does He want to do for you?
Pastor Chris Jordan