Today’s message summary of September 27, 2015 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:
The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His slaves what must quickly take place. He sent it and signified it through His angel to His slave John, who testified to God’s word and to the testimony about Jesus Christ, in all he saw. The one who reads this is blessed, and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it are blessed, because the time is near! John: To the seven churches in Asia. Grace and peace to you from the One who is, who was, and who is coming; from the seven spirits before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father–the glory and dominion are His forever and ever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, including those who pierced Him, And all the families of the earth will mourn over Him. This is certain. Amen.
When it comes to greetings, such as those cards you purchase at the store, you will have funny greetings or serious ones. Greetings have a particular way of communicating one’s emotion.
Here is my greeting to you–it’s a happy Sunday morning greeting, which is the Lord’s greeting:
Within the text here, John is giving a greeting to the seven churches. This type of greeting to them was a means of comfort to the churches as they were facing a great deal of persecution. Of this group, Jewish Christians were not provided any protection under religious liberty.
I know your affliction and poverty, yet you are rich. I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Christians were being slaughtered at that time like animals. Under the Roman Empire, it is estimated that about 500,000 people were killed for their faith.
The persecution that those churches faces was wearisome, frightful and filled with despair. They needed to hear a message, through John’s greeting, from God Himself.
The persecution is being dictated by Satan himself as he is the ruler of this world. He is attacking today’s church in the same way that the attacks persisted on the seven churches.
As time progresses, Christians will see more persecution, and attacks will continue against the church. It will be a part of our culture today as “life in America,” as it was during the Roman Empire. Satan will continue to attack to cause a church to fall away and sin against God.
John’s greeting was a means of encouragement of God’s grace and peace. It is what sustains us as a church and as a means of overcoming persecution. He is writing the greeting to let them know that the sovereign God is working and that He will be glorified through the church. It was a way to counter the thought that God is nowhere to be found. John greets them with the message of grace, peace and comfort.
Look at the language that John uses in verse 4: John says, “from Him who is, who was, and who is coming…” He uses this language to remind us that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is working throughout the church. He is trying to comfort the church, who is always present and will remain present. God is sovereign, and by His providence He is working out all of the things we experience for our good and for His glory.
We can endure the difficult times when we face them because we trust in God’s grace and peace.
Find comfort knowing that God is sovereign in his control over all things.
Notice how he uses the number “7” in the text. Seven is the symbolic number for “completion.” In Revelation, the many uses of seven represent completion of something. The seven spirits who are before God’s throne represent God, the Holy Spirit.
You also possess endurance and have tolerated many things because of My name and have not grown weary.
Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.
Jesus said “let them hear” seven times. This means that what He states is assured and definitive.
Notice in verse 5 how Jesus is identified with three titles:
- The faithful witness
- Firstborn from the dead
- Ruler of the kings of the earth
The faithful witness reference is for those who were martyred for Jesus Christ.
In Revelation 11, the two witnesses before God were killed for their faith in Him.
Jesus is the faithful witness that did so during His life. He did so during His own life in which He stirred people up to the point that they wanted to seize Him, throw Him over a cliff, and He eventually died on the cross. He was a faithful witness in order that all would see and understand God the Father.
Jesus was the firstborn from the dead, and He was raised as the firstborn from the dead. He promises that those who believe in Him will overcome death.
2 Timothy 2:10
This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Jesus Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth.
John declared to the churches that there is Someone over the Emperor, who made the declaration to have all Christians eliminated.
Any illustration in history of dictatorships or any rulers still does not represent them being over and above the rule of Jesus Christ. It is important to remember that Christ is the One that allows any ruler to come to power. John is telling the churches here to look at the King of Kings and reminds them that Jesus is still on the throne.
Jesus’ atoning love is the anchor of the church (v. 6).
The church is to endure because of the presence of God’s love for the church and its people. We are to endure because He loves His church. Christ has made us His kingdom. We, today, as members of the body of Christ, are part of His kingdom.
John tells the churches that He is returning with the clouds (v. 7).
The clouds are a representation of God’s glory for everyone to see. When God comes back, the people of Babylon will cry out to the mountains to fall on them because they will see His glory at His return.
The Lord is coming. When He returns, He will pay every good or bad deed with its reward.
Judgment does not come from Satan–it comes from the Lord. Since it comes from the Lord, all non-believers in Him will face judgment and torment. If you don’t obey the gospel and believe in the Son, you will go to hell.
What is being said you may deem irrelevant and that it does not apply to you, and that you don’t care about those who are being persecuted. It doesn’t matter. Everyone is still called to stand on the grace and peace of God.