Summary: A look at the letters from Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation.
REVELATION 2012: #2 – JESUS AND THE CHURCH
• 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
• Smyrna was 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."