Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Seven Churches Part 1 – Introduction

The Seven Churches
Part 1  – Introduction
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION



SCRIPTURE REFERENCE
Revelation 1:1-20
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
    and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
    and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said:“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

In today's scripture we will see;
1.      What the Revelation is
2.      What the theme is
3.      and the beginning of the visions


I.       WHAT IS REVELATION
a.      It is Christ's revelation to John, through an Angel and Visions in the Spirit


b.     The purpose is the bear RECORD of the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.    
i.       In other words, so WE would have Revelation included in the Word of God


c.      BLESSED is the reader & listener WHO KEEP those things written therein.
i.       Doers

For the time (END TIMES) is at hand (HERE).


II.   WHAT IS THE THEME
a.      Revelation is divided into 3 sections
i.       Verse 19 of Chapter 1 IS the KEY to understanding Revelation.

ii.    “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”
a.      “Write, therefore, what you have seen...” Jesus in the midst of the candlesticks. Chapter 1
b.     “...what is now...” The seven churches John was told to write letters to. Chapters 2-3.

c.      “...and what will take place later.” Concerns the events after the Rapture of the Church, includes the Great Tribulation and Eternity Ever-after, in chapters 4-22.


b.     What is now
i.       We are looking specifically at the seven churches.

ii.    We have finished Acts, and know how the Church began, how it was to function, and the struggles it endured. We “know” what we are supposed to BE, as a Church.

iii. Now we will look at what Jesus has to say about the Seven churches HE chose to represent ALL of the churches in the “End Times”, in which we now live.


c.      John opens with salutations.
i.       “4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
a.      Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

b.     To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”


d.     Verses 7 & 8 establish authority in this Revelation
i.       “7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
    and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
    and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”



III.   THE VISIONS BEGIN
a.      “9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches:...”


b.     Verses 11-18 describe Jesus
i.       The Son of Man standing in the midst of Seven Candlesticks.
a.      The candlesticks are the seven churches, and Jesus is the HEAD of the Church

ii.    Clothed in a garment down to his foot
a.      Indicates His position as a King-Priest

iii. With a girdle, or sash of gold
a.      Presents kingly apparel, Christ is the King-Priest

iv.   His hair and beard, white like wool, white as snow
a.      Represents His Majesty and authority

v.      His eyes were as a flame of fire
a.      A penetrating scrutiny and fierce judgment

vi.   His feet like fine brass
a.      Represents His humanity, although super-human

vii.     His voice, the sound of many waters
a.      When He spoke, at had the power and thunder of a waterfall

viii.  In His right hand, seven stars
a.      This represents the Pastors of the Seven churches

ix.   Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword
a.      This IS the Word of God

x.      His appearance was as the sun shines in His strength
a.       represents His Glory


c.      When I saw Him, I fell as if dead
i.       John thought he was going to die...


d.     Jesus then tells John “who” He is, and gives John his instructions
i.       “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive evermore, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and death (Jesus alone determines who dies, and who goes to hell.)

CONCLUSION

1.       This book is the revelation of Jesus Christ to John
2.       To make a record of the things John saw, the things that are, and the things to come.
3.       Jesus lays the foundation of who He is, His power, Authority and Majesty, as the one and only King-Priest, who holds the keys to death and hell, as well as being the Key to heaven.




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