I would like us to consider the seven Churches and their message to the Church today as we find it written in the Book of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 for a while. Always remember that the backdrop to this Book of the Bible is that its message deals with the period from Jesus first coming to His second coming. That is, the message spans from His incarnation until His coming to judge followed by both the banishment of the rebels to eternal damnation and the escorting the saints to glory. The human author is the youngest apostle, John, the brother of James. In writing this message, the Holy Spirit’s intent is that it is for the seven Churches located in Asia Minor, today’s modern Turkey … yet the message is for all Churches throughout all history until the Lord returns. For a day or two I want to skim through chapter one to set the stage.
1) The apostle is on the Island of Patmos. Patmos is situated off the west coast of Turkey and the continent of Asia and although distant from other islands, she was part of a cluster of islands.
Rev 1:9… was on the island of Patmos.
2) The apostle is John, one of the 12 Jesus chose.
Rev 1:4 John. As mentioned he was the youngest apostle. This was the late First Century during the reign of Domitian. 9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.
3) The apostle has a vision.
Rev 1:10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit.
It was the Lord’s Day which was the First Day of the week in remembrance of Jesus’ Resurrection, the day of Christian Worship. The reference to him being “in the Spirit” means he had a vision. What is important to grasp is that this vision, like that of the Old Testament prophets, turned into Scripture. Today we don’t need visions because we have a complete Bible containing everything we need for salvation, holiness and life.
4) The apostle’s message is for the present and future.
Rev 1:4 To the seven churches in the province of Asia. Like all Scripture, God’s intent is for the whole Church throughout its life time until Jesus returns.
5) The apostle’s message is actually from the Lord Jesus Himself.
Rev 1:10 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.”
Times were turbulent in all of life during this period for the Church. Firstly the political environment was extremely dangerous for Christians. This is the supreme reason John is incarcerated on the island. Secondly there were many false teachers, preachers and so called prophets who infiltrated the Church. Their deceit caused much havoc. Economically the Church people were not well off. Yes there were a few wealthy believers but mostly believers had lost their source of income. Many lost their families.
6) Who is this LORD the apostles is speaking from?
(1) This is the Triune God. Many reject this, yet there are many references to God being One yet Triune.
Rev 1:4 Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Note here … God the Father … him who is, and who was, and who is to come … God the Holy Spirit … the seven spirits before his throne … and God the Son … from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. A right understanding of God is vital for a right relationship with God.
(2) God’s love and salvation has a purpose.
Rev 1:6 To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 7 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
His love leads to our salvation so that we may serve Him. This is sadly one of the most neglected and misunderstood aspects of Christianity. Far too often people think that being saved is personal and for personal enjoyment and heaven, only to forget or not having been taught that literally, we are saved to serve … here on earth and there in glory. Often reference is made to
Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
We love that fact that God came to save people from the “race” but we neglect to see that together we are a “kingdom” that needs to serve God! The service is explained by … “they will reign on the earth”. Reigning is doing God’s will here on earth through upholding His Word, living in holiness and serving all people … the Church through kindness and ministry and the world through the gospel … living it and preaching it.
(3) God’s promise will be accomplished. He promised to return and here He affirms He will
Rev 1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
Christianity holds on this promise … That Jesus (God) is coming again and will be seen by all. It will be a terrible day because of the two elements associated with His Second Coming. First will be the Dreadful Day of Judgment. Maybe this is the main reason people block their attention from knowing and believing in Jesus’ return. If ever there was a horrific period throughout all earth’s history, including the Universal Flood of Noah’s Day, The Assyrian and Babylonian Exiles, The Fall of Jerusalem, All the Word Wars put together and even the Fall of the Twin Towers and Covid-19 … the Judgment Day will be worse than all of them put together because heaven and hell are the rewards for mankind according to whether he or she believed in and followed the true God, from creation to the last person born or not. Remember the Old Testament looked forward to the coming Messiah in faith and from the New Testament onwards we look back in faith to Messiah who came.
Rev 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
He shall return and that Day will be terrible for the lost because they will be judged, found guilty and cast into eternal hell. For the saved it will be bliss as they are judged, found not guilty and ushered into eternal heaven. Are you certain were you will be?
O Father, Son and Spirit, help me to be ready for Your coming by faithful service. Amen.