Unlocking Revelation (Week 5)

Unlocking Revelation (Week 5)

We have been learning about the intense environment the early Church existed in. Being a believer in the 1st century was not just challenging it was detrimental to you life in every way.

The cost to the decision of bowing your knee to Jesus as your Lord and saviour was going to change your life forever. It wasn’t a decision that you took lightly because the consequences was not all marshmallows and cream.

There was a chance that saying “Yes to Jesus as King,” would cause you to lose your family, your friends, your livelihood. It could also end your life.

Jesus speaks to John who is the Senior Leader of these 7 Churches:

They are relatively small communities of believers in their regions. Ephesus was the Mega-Church of the region, which had several hundred members. The rest scholars think were tiny, perhaps only several handfuls of of believers in some regions.

 

WHAT IS THE CHURCH IN REVELATION?

The Church was the people not a building

They met in homes because they were not state sanctioned. This meant that they had no operate without an official building. But Jesus calls them a “Church.”

You’ll never hear me call our Church building the Church. It is the Church’s building but it isn’t the Church. The people are the Church.

Why’s this important? Because how we refer to things affects how we perceive them. It took me some intentionality to make this shift but it was worth it because it changed how I viewed the people.

 

The Church was a movement not religion

The seven Churches of Revelation were missional in their outlook. They didn’t just quietly live a Christian life; They actively shared Jesus and sought to bring about His Kingdom in every sphere of society.

Also, their choice to follow Jesus would have caused them to stand out. When Emperor Domitian toured the cities he ruled over everyone in eye shot had to bow prostrate before Him in worship. To not do so would have resulted in immediate death. When everyone was laying face down before Caesar, it was the Christians who stood out. Because we are believers our lives should stick out from the culture we are in.

I remember once hearing the story of a little child who was trying to understand how Jesus could be a real person and yet be everywhere at the same time. “Doesn’t that make Jesus really big?” she asked her mother. The mother replied “Yes, kind of.” The child paused thinking for a moment and asked a further question, “… And you say that He also lives inside me?” The mother nodded, “Yes,” in agreement. The child quickly responded “Then won’t he stick out of me?” The mother laughed and said, “Yes, and that’s the point.”

Jesus is meant to stick out of us. That’s what He meant when He said we were to be salt and light.

The question is how much does Jesus stick out of me? Will He show up in our integrity, our choices with finances, our language, the fact that we don’t get drunk or take drugs, our purity, by what we choose to watch on TV, by how we spend our time?

And if He isn’t then you should be asking yourself some important questions.

It is the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ

The call on the individual churches to reveal and manifest something unique of Jesus through them to the world

Jesus is revealed in 23 different ways in chapter 1. Some of these characteristics of Jesus show up in each of the 7 Churches in Chapters 2 and 3:

Verse

Church

{he has] seven spirits before his throne (1:4)

Sardis (3:1)

[The] faithful witness (1:5)

Laodicea (3:14)

the ruler of the kings of the earth (1:5)

Laodicea (3:14)

and among the [7] lampstands was someone (1:13)

Ephesus (2:1)

like a son of man (1:13)

Philadelphia (3:7)

dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest (1:13)

Philadelphia (3:7)

his eyes were like blazing fire (1:14)

Thyatira (2:18)

His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace (1:15)

Thyatira (2:18)

In his right hand he held seven stars (1:16)

Ephesus (2:1)

coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. (1:16)

Pergamum (2:12)

I am the First and the Last. (1:17)

Smyrna (2:8)

I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! (1:18)

Smyrna (2:8)

  

No one Church has the complete revelation of Jesus. They each reveal parts of Jesus uniquely but not Him in His entirety. However, in symphony together the Church together reveals Jesus.

Each of the 7 Churches in Revelation carried of Jesus:

Church

Verse

The Revelation of Jesus in each Church

Ephesus

him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 

(2:1)

Jesus holds all authority over Heaven and Earth

Smyrna

him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
(2:8)

Jesus is the Lord of life and the victorious one

Pergamum

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.

(2:12)

Jesus is the rightful Judge over Heaven and Earth

Thyatira

[Him] whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 

(2:18)

Jesus is Holy

Sardis

Him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars

(3:1)

Jesus is the manifest presence of God

Philadelphia

him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David.
(3:7)

Jesus is the promised Messiah

Laodicea

the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation
(3:14)

Jesus is the New Covenant holder and King of kings

 

The Test

Each of the Churches are in a challenging setting and each of the churches are being tested in some way directly by Satan.

Church

Verse

Test

Ephesus

I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

You have forsaken the love you had at first.

(2:2-4)

Deception

Love for God and love for people had waxed cold

Smyrna

afflictions and your poverty… slander of those who say they are Jews and are not… I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death,

(2:9-10)

Extreme persecution

Martyrdom

Pergamum

I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. 

You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

2:12-15

Idolatry

Fear of martyrdom

Compromise

Thyatira

You tolerate that woman Jezebel… she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

(2:20-22)

Syncretism

Sexual immorality 

Sardis

you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.

(3:1-2)

Pride

Philadelphia

I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars… 10 … the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have

(3:9-11)

  • The opposition from the local Jews who are slandering them.
  • Intense opposition
  • Tempted to let go and give up

Laodicea

You are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

(3:18-20)

You have lost your impact

 

We live in a battle. There is battle in for our identities. If you are a Christian you cannot escape this battle.

When you crossed over from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of light when you said “Yes,” to Jesus you actually ended up in the army of God. Satan now fears you and wants to oppose you.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

Col 1:13

Specifically he is trying to rob your identity.

 

The Promise over each Church

Each Church needs to steward this revelation because the fulfilment of it carries with it a promise.

Church

The Promise

Meaning

Ephesus

I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

(2:7)

They have the Life of God which brings life and health

Smyrna

will not be hurt at all by the second death

(2:11)

They have no fear

Pergamum

I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. (2:17)

Will have the Prophetic voice of God in their midst, the intimacy of God and a Holy Character

Thyatira

 will give authority over the nations

(2:26)

Will bring Heavens influence into the nations

Sardis

will be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life

(3:5)

They will be priests to the nations, security

Philadelphia

 I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.

(3:12)

They will be carry shalom security.

Laodicea

I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

(3:21)

They will rule over life

 

The Purpose of Trials and Temptations

Simultaneously whilst Satan is trying to rob our identity from us, God is doing something in us.

Because of this, we need to learn to see trials and temptations in a different light. There is a gift for us in them.

There are five words in the New Testament that share the same Greek root word which are are commonly translated:

  • Prove
  • Examine
  • Test
  • Trial
  • Temptation

These words in the Greek come from the root word “Peirazo.”

The context also determines which translation best fits. For example,

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone

James 1:13

This tells us that God never tempt anyone to sin.

However, in the Lord’s Prayer it says that God would never lead us into temptation (Mat. 6:13)

And lead us not into temptation

It seems that the translation here doesn’t fit with what we learn in James. That’s because it doesn’t. Actually a better translation should be: “And lead us not into trial.” eg. In the wilderness Israel’s trial caused them to derail.

To pray “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” is really a prayer that we would remain in faith, and hope in the journey of seeing the Promised Land in our lives and in our midst.

 

Trials and Temptations

Trials are what we go through.

Temptations are occurrences and events.

When we face temptations there is always a back door for escape.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Cor. 10:13

In a trial there is not always a way out. Sometimes you have to go through a trial.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Luke 22:42

Why would God allow trials and temptations in our lives?

God created a world that was perfect. However, even before the Fall the world was not absent from trial and temptation. God hardwired it into its design. There were wild animals (Gen 2:20) around. There was a snake in the garden (Gen 3:1). There was a tree that God Himself had planted right in the midst of the Garden (Gen 3:3).

Harold Eberle says that the world was perfect in the sense that it was the right conditions for growing sons and daughters. The story of humanity is at its heart a love affair. God was looking for a Bride for His Son. God created a resistance training ground for us to grow us up into our identities as over-comers. The crown is given to those who overcome (Rev 3:21).

In fact temptations prove us. Immediately after Jesus was Baptized and empowered by Holy Spirit for His mission God drove Him into the wilderness.

12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Mark 1:12-13

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Mat 4:1-11

What was Jesus being tempted in here by Satan? His identity as the Son of God.

Mature Sons know who they are. They know how to manage responsibility. When temptations come your way God is allowing them because He wants to prove you.

When trials come along it is ok to ask God to remove them. Sometimes He doesn’t because it is just what you need.

The Churches in Revelation are successful in stewarding the revelation of Jesus they carry. We know this because the fulfilment of each of the Promises to these Churches shows up in the unveiling of the victorious bride in Revelation chapters 21 and 22.

Church

The Promise

Fulfilment

Ephesus

I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

(2:7)

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Rev 22:1-2

Smyrna

will not be hurt at all by the second death

(2:11)

There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away
Rev 21:8

Pergamum

I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. (2:17)

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Rev 22:4

Thyatira

 will give authority over the nations

(2:26)

they will reign for ever and ever.
Rev 22:5

Sardis

will be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life

(3:5)

They will be priests to the nations, security

Philadelphia

 I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.

(3:12)

On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations,and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Rev 21:12-14

Laodicea

I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

(3:21)

they will reign for ever and ever.
Rev 22:5

In fact the victory in each of the Churches creates breakthrough to all the Churches. The promised blessing to these Churches touches the whole Body of Christ. 

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Matti was born in the UK and lived there until 2001 when he moved with his New Zealand wife, Jodie, to her homeland. He worked in online travel marketing up until 2004, when he attended Bible College to train as a pastor. Following his training he led a Baptist Church in Auckland for a number of years before moving with his family to Redding, California where Matti and Jodie attended the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. They then returned for two years to London, UK where they led a pioneering ministry, ministering in Central London, training and equipping believers to see the Kingdom of God in and through their lives.Over this time they saw God move on the streets of London seeing signs, wonders and miracles and numbers of people saved. In August 2016 he accepted a call to lead New Life Church Kelowna. Matti and his wife Jodie have 3 children, Grace, Olivia and William. He loves the outdoors, socialising and having fun.

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