The Book of Revelation is not a revelation of doom and gloom. It is not a revelation of the tribulation. It is not a revelation of the antichrist. It is a revelation of a Person (Rev. 1:1).
It is a Revelation of JESUS!
John was instructed to: "Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this."
This verse divides the book of Revelation into three major parts:
- That which you have seen. (Rev. 1)
- That which ARE. (Rev. 2-3)
- That which will be hereafter. (Rev. 4-22)
Therefore, in our fourth session of studying the Book of Revelation we will begin teaching the things which ARE. In other words, we will begin studying the second section of this book: in how Jesus reveals Himself to the 7 churches that are in Asia.
Jesus reveals Himself to each church in a different way. Jesus is the answer to whatever we need, in whatever condition we may find ourselves in.
Jesus is the Lord of His Church.
Jesus gives a promise to every church. Jesus offers grace to every church. Even the church in its worse condition, the church of Laodicea. Jesus is the Grace of God. Therefore,
Grace is Jesus' Message to every church.
Therefore, we have to put the right lens on when we read this book, and reveal Jesus and His Message to the 7 churches in Asia. Jesus' Message is not a message of doom and gloom. His Message is a Message of grace and peace (Rev. 1:4).
We have been so conditioned to see what is wrong instead of seeing what is right.
Therefore, I encourage you to change your focus and see what is right, instead of seeing what is wrong. We have been so conditioned to seeing performance instead of seeing His amazing grace.
Jesus walks in the midst of the churches (Rev. 1:12-13, 20; 2:1). Jesus is Lord of His Church.
Jesus reveals Himself to His Church. Jesus has a Message for His Church.
To each church Jesus will share some things that they have right as well as some challenges they have. Five of the churches, Jesus chastens. He encourages them to go in the right direction. When Jesus chastens His Church it is not an act of anger. No, it is an act of His endless love and mercy.
If you understand Jesus and His mercy, He will change how you respond when He corrects and chastens you.
"Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God an man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes..." (Prov. 3:3-7)
The writer of Hebrews quotes from this same context in Proverbs 3 when he writes:
"For whom, the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." (Heb. 12:6; Prob. 3:12)
"Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law." (Ps. 94:12)
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Our Lord and Savior chastens His Church, because He loves us not because He is angry with us. Because Jesus loves us , He cares to tell us the Truth.
As we have already studied, in chapter one, Jesus is the Grace of God, the Savior of the world, the Eternal God and our Resurrected King of Eternity. However, Jesus is also the Living Word and all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness so we can be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Embrace His grace. Embrace Jesus, the Living Word. And embrace His chastening. Don't view His chastening as wrath, embrace His chastening as His unending love and mercy that triumphs over judgment. See His chastening as His faithful mercy that is new every morning.
To the church in Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7)
Jesus reveals that He is still there, even though they left (not Him) their first love. Jesus is there walking in the midst of His Church. He commends the pastor for hating the work of the Nicolaitians and those who do evil.
Now the Nicolaitians was a sect of believers who had taken the principle of grace to the extreme. They allowed all types of immorality as Christian liberty. "Whatever will be, will be, it's not a problem. It dosen't matter what you do, you are under grace." In a similar manner there is a lot of that philosophy going around the Church today.
Yes, if you are living from the Spirit you can do what you want to do. Because if you walk after the Spirit you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). But if you are living from the flesh you cannot do what you want to do. Your flesh will lead you in the wrong direction.
Many churches and Christians today would think this pastor was not compassionate enough. In our politically correct world, it is not acceptable to be against anything. But that is not God's standard. We are to hate evil (Prov. 8:13). We love the sinner but we hate the sin. Jesus told this pastor that it was a good thing that he tried those who claimed to be apostles and had found them to be false.
Through our relationship with Jesus we will learn some things are wrong and some things are right. Jesus is the Living Word to Guide us. And in every church, even the churches that He chastens and corrects, Jesus will always give a promise.
"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. 2:7)
This is redemption full circle: The Bible began in Paradise at the Tree of Life and the River of God (Gen. 2:8-16) and the Bible ends in Paradise at the Tree of Life and the River of God (Rev. 22:1-3). Paradise, eternal life is found in knowing Jesus (Jn. 17:3). Because of the Blood of Jesus, through our relationship with Him we are going back to the Throne of God, the River of God and the Tree of Life.
"And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him." (Rev. 22:3)
Jesus came to deliver us and restore everything Adam lost. Jesus came to redeem us from everything Adam lost because of the curse of sin, which Christ became for us (2 Core. 5:21). It is a marvelous thing!
To the church of Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11),
To the persecuted church, Jesus reveals Himself as the First and Last, Who was raised from the dead (Rev. 2:8). Jesus revealed Himself as the Resurrected King of Eternity.
To the persecuted church Jesus gives a promise: No one can ever take away your relationship with God. Therefore, no one can take away your eternal life and salvation that is found in Jesus Alone. The worse they can do is kill you ushering you into spending eternity with Jesus.
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." (Jn. 3:6)
Therefore, those who are born twice will only die once but those who are only born once will die twice. The Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) is not for believers. born-again of the Spirit, it is for those who have rejected Christ their Savior. Everyone there will be judged for their works apart from Jesus, they rejected, and cast into the Lake of Fire known as the second death. If you are in Christ, no one can send you to the second death.
To the church in Pergamos (Rev. 2:12-17)
Jesus reveals Himself as the Living Word of God (Rev. 2:12, 16). Jesus Who is the Truth, sanctifies us by His Word (Jn. 17:17). Our relationship with the Word separates us from the rest of the world.
Jesus chastens this worldly and compromising church in Pergamos for following after the doctrines of Balaam (Num. 25:1-13) and Nicolaitians. Balaam could not curse what God had blessed (Num. 23:20).
Likewise today, in Jesus, we are blessed and we cannot be cursed. It is a marvelous thing!
However, Balaam counseled Balak to cast a stumbling block before Israel so that they would commit fornication (Num. 31:16). His counsel was to cause them to stumble and curse themselves.
There are some things that we do not want to participate in and get involved in. Our relationship with Jesus, the Living Word will help us discern what is right and wrong, so that we stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:11). His grace will always teach us to deny ungodliness (Titus 2:12).
Therefore, no matter what situation you are in there is a promise of grace for you. Jesus offers His Grace to every church. Jesus offers His Church a relationship with Himself that surpasses anything the world has to offer.
To the church of Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29)
To the religious church, Jesus reveals Himself as the Son of God (Rev. 2:18) and the Morning Star (Rev. 2:28).
When you put your faith in the Son of God it brings you into a relationship with God. "Whoever confesses Jesus as the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." (1 Jn. 4:15)
The church in Thyatira had some sin issues. But we do not overcome by our performance. Otherwise we want to perform more. You can never perform well enough. You cannot overcome by your works. You overcome by your faith in Jesus!
We can choose to focus on what is wrong with any church, any home or any person. There are times where those things need to be addressed and dealt with because we has parents, parents and the Christians love them enough to tell them the true and reproof them in love.
However, by God's grace I am not looking for what is wrong in every church, home or life. By His grace I choose to look for what is right because of Jesus. If you look for what is right in any church, home or life you will find it. Likewise, if you look for what is wrong you will find it.
Why will you find something wrong in every church? You have people there. A church without problems is a church without people. Where you have sheep you will have manure. However, any good farmer will clean out his stalls so the manure does not rot out the barn. You clean manure by throwing out the manure not the sheep.
"I will give him the Morning Star." (Rev. 2:28)
"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." (Rev. 22:16)
Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star. He will give Himself to them who have given themselves to Him. Jesus is our Promise and the answer for the world. Give me Jesus!
"And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—" (Rev. 2:26)
Jesus does not want to walk upright and holy in order to impress Him and others with our holiness. God wants us to walk in holiness so that we can be effective in reaching the nations and none of our words fall to the ground (1 Sam. 3:19).
To the church of Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6)
Jesus reveals Himself as the 7 Spirits of God (Is. 11:2), the Anointed One.
This pastor’s reputation was greater than his true character. Reputation is our value in the market. Character is our value in the sight of God. Jesus gave this pastor a stinging rebuke (Rev. 3:1), and yet encouraged him to strengthen that which he still has (Rev. 3:2). The Lord rebukes are never self-serving. He corrects us for our benefit
Unless we are led by Spirit of God in our lives and in our churches we will go in the wrong direction. I have witnessed how churches who are not led by a spirit-filled pastor (Acts 6:3) become dead and ineffective. But a church led by a spirit-filled pastor will continue to grow and be effective no matter what kind of opposition they endure.
The Lord prophesied that in these last days, "...I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh..." (Joel 2:28) Jesus said that those Who believe on Him as the Scripture have said, out of His heart will flow rivers of Living Water (Jn. 7:38).
When Jesus bean His ministry in the power of the Spirit (Lk. 4:14) Jesus affirmed: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." (Lk. 4:18-19) Amen.
Beloved Church of Christ, that is the life and destiny of a vibrant church.
Jesus promises: "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments., and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." (Rev. 3:5).
It is only our faith in what Jesus did that makes any of us worthy (Eph. 2:8; Tit. 3:5). These white garments are the righteousness of the saints (Rev. 19:8). This righteousness comes as a gift (Rom. 5:17). We do not make these robes; they are given to us. But we can defile them.
This righteousness is in our born-again spirits (2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 4:24). Our spirits cannot be defiled, because they are sealed (Eph. 1:13; 1 Jn. 3:9), but our souls and bodies can be defiled, giving the devil an inroad into our lives (Rom. 6:16). When that happens, we need to turn from what we have done and confess or agree with the Lord. Then the righteousness that is in our perfect spirits (Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:23) comes out into our flesh and purges it from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9).
To the faithful church of Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13)
Jesus reveal Himself as the Door. This church is known as the missionary church of brotherly love. Likewise, our greatest missionary witness to the world is our brotherly love towards one another (Jn. 13:35).
Jesus prayed: "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be One just as We are One: I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." (Jn. 17:22-23)
Jesus taught in John 10:9: "I am the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." We come into the fold through Jesus. We come into fellowship with Him and His Church through Jesus. In Jesus we find pasture and provision (Ps. 23:1-6).
We find rest, strength and life in Jesus!
To the church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-21)
To the church in its worse condition, Jesus reveals Himself as our Creator (Rev. 3:14) Who loves them.
Yes, Jesus rebukes and chastises them. But His rebuke is not out of anger and absent of grace. He rebukes them because He loves them and longs to show them mercy! He encourages them to go in the right direction.
To the church in its worse condition, Jesus stands and knocks! Is this not grace? The Creator expresses His intimate desire to come and fellowship and sup with them. By His grace and endless mercy Jesus pursues a relationship with His Church, even in its worse condition. What a marvelous promise!
What is more, Jesus invites the church in its worse condition to sit together with Him on His throne. What a marvelous promise! What a marvelous grace! What marvelous mercy!
Jesus is the Grace of God! Our Resurrected King, reigns from a Throne of Grace! God said we can come boldly to His Throne of Grace, that we might obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:16). Don't run from Him. That is what Adam did.
Run to Jesus!
Don't think: "I need nothing!" That is what the world thinks. No! Jesus, the Grace of God is standing at the door and knocking, seeking a relationship with you, even in your worse condition! "Open the door! And I will come in and fellowship with you and we can sup together. Open the door and let us have a relationship. Sit with Me on My throne and I will let you reign with Me."
Beloved Church of Jesus! The Blood of Jesus speaks of better things than that of Abel (Heb. 12:24). His chastening is not judgment. No! His chastening is His mercy (Heb. 12:5-11; Prov.3:3-12) that reigns over judgment! (James 2:13) He chastens us with His mercy in order to strengthen our hands that hang down and our feeble needs, making straight paths for our feet, so we may be healed. (Heb. 12:12-13). Jesus our Mercy Seat is the Author and Finisher of our faith. His mercy enables us to pursue peace and holiness by faith in His grace (Heb. 12:14; James 3:17-18). This is the fruit of righteousness, the tree of life (James 3:18; Heb. 12:11; Prov. 11:30). What a marvelous salvation!
The Blood of Jesus Alone has redeemed us and made us to be kings and priests to reign in the earth. (Rev. 1:5-6; 5:9-10). Jesus is the Door to live our destiny. Even in our worse condition. Jesus, our Resurrected King of Eternity offers us a relationship with Him, which is the essence of Eternal Life. What a marvelous promise!
To every church, Jesus has a Message of grace! To every church Jesus reveals Himself differently, according to their need. Therefore, no matter what you are going through. Even in your worse condition. Jesus is the answer. No matter what you need. Jesus is the answer. No matter what your challenge is. Jesus is the answer. No matter what your problem is. Jesus is the answer. No matter what your failures are. Jesus is the answer.
No matter what you are facing, have done or have not done; even in your worse condition Jesus offers you grace. Jesus offers you mercy. Jesus offers you a relationship with Him. Jesus offers you salvation and help. Jesus offers you strength. Jesus is the answer both now and in the ages to come (Rev. 4:1). Jesus will completely change your life.
This book is not a revelation of gloom and doom. It is not a revelation of destruction. It is not a revelation of all the woes. It is not a revelation of God's wrath and anger. It is not a revelation of the antichrist. It is not a revelation of the tribulation. It is not a book of hidden meanings.
It is the revelation of Jesus!
"He who has an ear, let Him hear what the Spirit says to the churches..." (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; Mt.13:9; 11:15)