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179; 7 Churches; Jesus is King; Rev 1

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I’ve been waiting about four years to preach this series. I love the book of Revelation but we tend to stay away from it because people do some pretty crazy things with it.
Truthfully, we want to read it in ways it wasn’t designed to be read, so we end up with some pretty intense ideas. It’s not my place to judge those readings, I simply want us to work through these first chapters from the standpoint that I believe they were intended to be read from.
So…oddball questions
Let’s go ahead and boil the book of Revelation down to one word. Conflict
Conflict is when two competing kingdoms occupy the same space (Tracey and I wanting control over the remote).
It happens in our workplaces, our homes, our hearts, this church.
Revelation is written to encourage individual churches about how in live in an ungodly world. That message is just as relevant today as it was 1900 years ago.
We’re going to find that the Bible has a bunch to say on the subject.
Particularly in chapters 2 and 3, Jesus speak to 7 real churches.


I do apologize if you hear me tell the same Israel stories over and over. I imagine that might happen for a bit.
We drove around in this great big tour bus from sight to sight.
Abu Achmed took us from site to site and Dr. Ziese explained what happened at the place where we were—the good and the bad.
So over the next 7 weeks we’ll sort of “get on the bus” and visit these 7 churches. Honestly, in some ways it will be like looking in a mirror. Same Jesus.
Get on the Bus - need introductions
But before we get started there will be someone taking us from place to place and someone doing the commentating.
The apostle and brother of James
Son of a wealthy fisherman. He and his brother left everything to follow Jesus.
But that was a long time ago. James had been killed. As a matter of fact, John was the only Apostle that hadn’t been killed.
Because we wouldn’t stop preaching, he was in exile on a small Island called Patmos off the coast of Turkey.
Why wouldn’t they just let him die?
If there ever was a person who could look back and long for the old days, it was John!
What do you see when you envision Jesus?
Do you see the Christmas baby?
The teacher?
The bloody servant?
Rarely do I hear someone speak of the Jesus of Revelation who shows up to battle covered in blood!
With Jesus, what we are seeing is what it would look like if the curtain between heaven and earth were suddenly pulled up and there we saw the King in all his glory.
Illustrate with pre-funeral meeting
With Jesus, what we are seeing is what it would look like if the curtain between heaven and earth were suddenly pulled up and there we saw the King in all his glory.


John 1:9 CSB
9 The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
Revelation 1:9 NIV
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Revelation 1:9 CSB
9 I, John, your brother and partner in the affliction, kingdom, and endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
John the apostle
Brother and companion (fellowship)
partner in affliction?
When things get hard, we have a tendency to look to the past.
Other Apostles all dead. Jesus had ascended about 60 years earlier. Yet, he’s not whining or talking about his privilege. John doesn’t even call himself an Apostle, he’s a companion to other Christians.
Patient endurance - to stay under (active not passive)
In the original language, you pick up that; endurance, affliction, and the Kingdom are linked together.
We’re together in this. It’s a real conflict. Don’t let anyone fool you. That’s why I find the prosperity gospel to be so offensive.
We tend to think of guys like John or Paul or even contemporary…bigger target, more pain.
Revelation 1:10–11 NIV
10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
John is writing what he experienced. It was Sunday morning and suddenly he he a loud voice like a trumpet.
Trumpet blast is very significant. (; ; Thess 4:16).
Seven churches - mail route
Keep it up and cut it out
We’ll find as we go, that we have much to learn from them.
Then John turns
Revelation 1:12–16 NIV
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
Standing in the middle of seven golden lampstands (we’ll get to that in a bit) was standing someone like a son of man
All through the book of Mark, Jesus calls himself the Son of Man. John was there, he knows it.
But really, it goes all the way back to the book of Daniel (circa 585 BC) where this messianic deliverer who is given power and dominion. The closer you look at the Son of Man in Daniel and the closer you look at Jesus in Revelation, the more you realize that he and the Father are one.
Jesus is the one! Are you waiting for something to give your life to? He is the one. Are you hoping for someone who can make it all make sense? He is the one. Do you want security in lost and broken world. He is the one.
Eight images are drawn from the OT. While this is the only physical description of Jesus in Scripture, it is not to be taken literally. He is painting a picture.
He has a robe that goes down to his feet. He is royalty. He’s the King.
He has a golden sash around his chest. The High Priest wore a golden sash. In the OT, the priest tended to the lamps. There was never a king who was High Priest. Only Jesus is qualified.
His hair was white. In Daniel, the Father is the one with the white hair. Again, to see the Son is to see the Father. Remember John 14.
Blazing eyes - stare right through you. There is nothing he doesn’t see.
Bronze feet. Back in the day, bronze was a big deal. The point is this; he is absolutely sturdy and unable to be tarnished.
His voice is like rushing waters. Have you ever stood next to a waterfall?
Coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. It’s sharp and it cut both ways. You don’t want to get into a debate here, he’ll cut you to shreds.
Hi face was like the sun shining at full strength. You can’t even look at him.
What is the picture you have of Jesus? Whatever it is, this is behind the scenes. He’s always like this. Whatever your picture, this is who he is.
What would you do?
Revelation 1:17–20 NIV
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. 19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

2 Realities that change everything

1) There is no reason to fear when you belong to Jesus.

He is both transcendent and personal.
Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid.” Are you kidding me? I’d have been terrified!!!!
How many times had John heard him say that! Suddenly this Jesus is familiar.
He is both transcendent and personal.
Genesis 1&2
There is no need to ever be afraid when you belong to Christ.
He is both unapproachable and completely approachable.
He says, “I am the First and the Last.”
I love this because, in Jesus, we know we are aligned with the Eternal King. There will never be a regime change. He can’t be impeached. He’s not going to resign.
We live in a world that feeds on fear:
Is the stock market going to crash?
Are the Russians going to shoot the nukes?
Is this world just falling apart?
Drugs are everywhere!
I don’t see the next generation of the church stepping up.
Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid.”
Jesus says, “I hold the keys of death and Hades.
Keys mean power. Jake and truck.
Jesus has power over Death and Hades
Think about it, there is nothing scarier. Death and the powers of evil.
People ask me if I believe in the demonic, yes I do. I don’t understand it, but I believe it. I don’t have to fear it—Jesus has authority.
Death itself—I don’t have to worry about it—Jesus has the keys
I know that creates all sorts of difficult questions that we don’t have answers for but I do know this; I’d rather Jesus have the keys, than coincidence or anyone else.

2) Jesus Knows

Then he explains the angels and lampstands.
Numbers are intended to be felt.
Seven stars are seven angels
They are held in his hand
Seven lampstands are seven churches
In reality, all the churches of all time are represented here.
Jesus stands among the churches.
The point we’ll see over and over in the next weeks, Jesus knows.
There is two sides to this that need to be taken very seriously; a negative side and a positive side.
When the church gets off track and turns into a club for its own members, he knows.
When we forget our mission and simply do the things we want, he knows.
When we don’t love as we should, he knows.
When we make hard stands that aren’t popular but they are godly, he knows.
When folks serve and they never receive proper acknowledgement, he knows
When we act on faith, not simply hoping that things might just work out, but act in ways that demonstrate that we believe that our God is sovereign and good, he knows.
SC3, Jesus knows. Never fear. Next week we start visiting the churches.
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