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The seven churches

The seven churches

We begin our study from the book of Revelation. We will go through this book for the next two weeks.

Revelation 1:Prologue

1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

Greeting to the Seven Churches

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood

6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Vision of the Son of Man

9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet

11 saying, "Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,

13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.

14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,

15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.

16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last,

18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.

20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Revelation 2:To the Church in Ephesus

1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: 'The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

2 "'I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary.

4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.'

To the Church in Smyrna

8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: 'The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

9 "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto 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. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.'

To the Church in Pergamum

12 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: 'The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 "'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.

15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war 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 the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.'

To the Church in Thyatira

18 "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: 'The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

19 "'I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.

20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.

22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,

23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.

25 Only hold fast what you have until I come.

26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,

27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority 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.'

Revelation 3: To the Church in Sardis

1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars."' I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. 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.'

To the Church in Philadelphia

7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: 'The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

8 "'I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie---behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.

10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'

To the Church in Laodicea

14 "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.

15 "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!

16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"

Things to think about…

1.Look at the promise in Rev1:3. We are called blessed as we read and hear the words of this prophesy. A wonderful promise is we begin our study of Revelation.

2.The angel told the disciples that Jesus would return exactly as He left. John affirms this in Rev1:7. Only this time the whole world will witness His return.

3.What is your present view of Christ? John has an accurate vision in Rev1:9-20. People mistakenly see Peter having the keys of heaven, but here Jesus says "and I have the keys of Death and Hades". Let's honour Jesus and have a right fear and understanding of our Lord.

4.The letters to the angels (or ministers/pastors) of the churches begin. Ephesus were faithful but left off their first love, Rev 2:1-7. What good is having right doctrine and keeping the law without love. You become a theologically sound, but cold and lifeless church. Love covers over a multitude of sins. Let's continue to keep a love for each other without sacrificing truth at CBC.

5.Smyrna is one of two churches of the seven that did not receive any rebuke (Philadelphia is the other). Unsurprisingly they were the persecuted/tribulation church, Rev 2:8-11. Persecution seems to sharpen Christians and puts things into perspective. Little else matters when your life is being threatened. We know that in a geographical region just south-east of where John is speaking about in his letter there was much suffering through the battles with ISIS. The region is still unstable today.

6.Pergamum in Rev 2:12-17 though having experienced persecution, (Antipas, vs 13 it is believed was burned alive in a brass bull) have also tolerated heretical teaching – that of Balaam – who taught immorality as outlined in the book of Numbers and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans who according to tradition followed the deacon Nicolas who, tradition says, allowed other men to marry his wife and/or be in support of polygamy. Both these heresies surrounded sexual sin which the church of Pergamum tolerated. Jesus says they need to repent, otherwise He Himself will come against them with 'the sword of His mouth', Rev 2:16.

7.Thyatira in Rev 2:18-29 had works, love, faith and endurance but they had one major problem, they tolerated Jezebel and her teaching (prophesying) and her rebellious immorality. This spirit of control and persuasion to seduce the members of Thyatira was not to be tolerated and yet the church did nothing to restrain the influence of a Jezebel spirit. A Jezebel spirit, which Jesus is quoting here is referred to as 'the deep things of Satan', Rev 2:24 and can take many forms in the modern church. Jezebel was immoral, very controlling and was ultimately thrown over the wall in history, 2Kings 9:30-33. Ultimately she needs to be thrown out of the church when her spirit is recognised. She should certainly not be tolerated within the church where she is allowed to wreak havoc.

8.Sardis Rev 3:1-6 – the 'works' church. We know all our works are like filthy rags. This church had a name for 'works' but didn't realise though they had works and a reputation of being alive, they were dead. Modern churches 'do' many things. The main work that the church must keep central is what Jesus said when asked what works needed to be done to please God "Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."", Jn 6:29. Believe in Christ – the only work that is needed to make us right with God. Hallelujah!

9.Philadelphia Rev 3:7-13 (the love (philia), of the brothers (delphia) church, this is the second church that is not given any rebuke, along with Smyrna. Smyrna would go through persecution for a season – 10days, but Philadelphia would be spared. Some churches are faithful and experience persecution, some are faithful and don't endure as much – God is praised either way. Note that both Philadelphia and Smyrna are those who are not 'of the synagogue of Satan', but are among the true Jews, Rev 3:9. Jesus says that He holds 'the keys of David'. What are these? These are the promises to the Jewish people that can only be fulfilled in Christ – the key holder to heaven. Not all Jews have this promise – many are of the synagogue of Satan, but those who accept Jesus Christ will receive all the promises given to David – these are true Jews – the elect of God.

10. Finally the church at Laodicea Rev 3:14-22. The Lukewarm church. This sadly is the description that can be laid over many western churches. They don't stand for anything and when they try to, they cave in. We have seen this in many areas that concern the person and work of Christ. One of the biggest issues of compromise and 'luke-warmness' in the modern church is the acceptance of gay marriage, transgenderism and extreme climate change ideology. When the church is like the world it is vomit to Christ, Rev 3:16. Note Jesus' version of love "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent", Rev 3:19. Let's never despise the Lord's discipline, He is showing His love to us when it happens.

Vision Point

CBC's Vision :- To be a growing biblical church community, significantly influencing our city and beyond, through intentional outreach, fulfilling our mission.

The reading was from Matt 7:15-23. The sermon was called "Am I really forgiven."

1.When you read these verses have you ever thought that they may refer to you? Discuss.

2.Discuss your understanding about works and grace in Christ.

3.What is the evidence of someone who is saved in Christ.


Prayer Points

1.Ministries as they begin term 4 – PlayPatch, Kids@Church, Recharge youth.

2.Pray for drought breaking rain.

3.Pastor Andrew Otte as he preaches this Sunday morning from Revelation 7.

4.More Sunday school teachers

5.Our outreach initiatives as well as the Axiom podcast.

6.Sunday's messages. "Teach us to number our days"– Psalm 90 - Axiom 6pm.

7.Finish "Bean Redeemed" coffee shop and podcast area.

8.Church finances to meet our expenses.

9.Our City and Country – Pray for revival over our city and the leadership of our country.

10.Ray of Hope Trivia night and Members meeting 3rd Nov.


Praise Points.

1.Quite a few new people on Sunday – Praise the Lord.

2.Those who serve on our worship teams and ministry teams.

3.Unity, peace and Christ's love over our church.

4.A number considering baptism.


Announcements

1.Hawkins group - Hosting morning tea on Sunday morning.

2.Playpatch – Returns this Friday morning.

3.Recharge – on break over school holidays.

4.Kids at Church – Primary school aged children – on break for holidays.

5.Andrew Otte preaching 13th Oct AM and 20th Oct PM.

6.Ray of Hope orphanage trivia night dinner to raise money for the orphanage Saturday 19th Oct 6pm.

7.Members Meeting 3rd November after morning service.


This month's catechism question...

Q. 5. How many petitions are there in The Lord's Prayer?
A. Six.


"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jer 33:3

Pastor Jay

The throne room of heaven
Your Word is a lamp to my feet