Revelation 1v20 - 2v3

SERMON TOPIC: Revelation 1v20 - 2v3

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 6 August 2023

Topic Groups: EPHESUS, PROPHECY, REVELATION

Sermon synopsis: The letters to the 7 churches have a similar structure.
- An address to a particular church.
- An introduction of Jesus.
- A statement regarding the condition of the church.
- A verdict from Jesus regarding the church.
- A command from Jesus to the church.
- A general exhortation to all Christians with a promise of reward.

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REVELATION – chapter 1 (continued)

A MYSTERY REVEALED

v20a The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this:

Paul says a mystery is something not yet known (Eph 3:1-6) and revelation is the opposite of mystery (Rom 16:25-26).

This is an apocalypse – a revelation, and Jesus now proceeds to reveal the mystery of the symbols John is seeing.

The 7 stars

v20b The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches …

Angel: literally “messenger”, not necessarily a heavenly messenger. In English we borrowed the Greek word “ang'-el-os”) and transliterated it as “angel”. *

* Strongs: ang'-el-os used 176 times in the NT (usually of heavenly angels), but only the context determines whether a human or celestial messenger is intended. In Rev1:20 ággelos can refer to heavenly angels or key leaders (perhaps a pastor) of the 7 churches.

The 7 LAMPSTANDS

v20c … and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

A lampstand holds a light source.

What is the light of the world?

Jesus is the light of the world

John 8:12 … Jesus … said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 12:46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

John 1:9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

This applied when Jesus walked this earth.

John 9:5 “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Now that Jesus is gone from the earth physically, we are the light of the world (Matt 5:14).

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

Jesus called us “sons of light” (John 12:36), “the people of the light” (Luke 16:8) and “children of light” (Eph 5:8).

1 Thess 5:5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

SONS OF LIGHT

AMBASSADORS

With Jesus no longer present physically we are his ambassadors and representatives on earth.

2 Cor 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (cf. Eph 6:19-20)

An ambassador doesn’t represent their own interests but that of their country. They have to speak and act carefully as representatives of another nation while residing in a foreign country.

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

Matt 5:14-15 (NIV) “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Jesus has given us both a great compliment and a great responsibility because we need to be the light for an otherwise dark world.

Phil 2:14-15 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe...

A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY

Light overcomes darkness

John 1:4 World English Bible - The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn't overcome it.

Weymouth New Testament - The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.

International Standard Version - And the light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.

LIGHT EXPOSES EVIL

Light exposes things that are otherwise unseen in the dark e.g. lift a rock and watch the spiders and bugs scatter when they see the light.

Eph 5:13-14 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.

Crime is reduced in well-lit neighbourhoods. As the light of the world, we should be exposing darkness and the evil in the world.

Eph 5:11-12 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret

We need to be the “whistle-blowers” for the evil in the world.

Isa 1:17 Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Being the light of the world and exposing what is hidden in the darkness will not make you popular - because the world loves darkness.

John 3:19-20 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

UNPOPULAR

A SENSE OF DIRECTION

Light gives people a sense of direction

John 12:35 ... “The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.”

We should be giving guidance and direction to the lost.

WHO GETS THE GLORY?

The reason we let our light shine by doing good works is to bring glory to God, not ourselves.

Matt 5:16 “… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

1 Pet 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

How do children of the light live?

Eph 5:8-10, 15-20 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord... Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 13:12-14 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

How do children of the light live?

REVELATION – chapter 2

CHURCH AGE (TIME OF THE GENTILES)

7 YEAR TRIBULATION

Birth Pangs (Matt 24)

7 CHURCH AGES

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

EPHESUS

SMYRNA

PERGAMUM

THYATIRA

SARDIS

PHILADELPHIA

LAODICEA

7 SEALS

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

FALSE CHRISTS

WARS

FAMINE

PLAGUE

PERSECUTION

RAPTURE

7 TRUMPETS

7 TRUMPETS

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

3RD OF EARTH

3RD OF SEA

3RD OF RIVERS

3RD OF HEAVENS

LOCUSTS

3RD OF MANKIND

7 BOWLS

7 BOWLS

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

SORES

SEA BLOOD

RIVERS BLOOD

SUN SCORCHING

DARKNESS

ARMAGEDDON

EARTHQUAKE

CHRONOLOGY OF REVELATION

Chapters 2 to 3 contain the 7 letters from Christ to the churches in Asia.

The 7 churches were in the Roman province of Asia (western part of modern-day Turkey).

Ephesus was a major city in Asia (modern Turkey) on the former estuary of the River Kaystros. It was a major seaport on the Aegean Sea, having a population of around 250,000 people in Paul’s time. According to Strabo, it was second in importance and size only to Rome.

A 3D reconstruction of Ephesus in Paul’s time.

When Augustus became emperor in 27 BC, he made Ephesus the capital of western Asia Minor.

The city then entered an era of prosperity, becoming a major centre of travel and commerce.

A 3D reconstruction of the Agora, or market place, in Ephesus

It was a city where economic life was driven by flourishing religious tourism and banking industries, both associated with the temple of Artemis (Diana) which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Many came to the temple and many local merchants made their living from making idols and shrines related to the worship of this goddess of fertility.

HOW THE CHURCH WAS PLANTED

The church was planted by Paul and his co-workers Priscilla and Aquila, when Paul left them there after a brief visit at the end of his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 18).

They also were taught by the eloquent preacher Apollos, a native of Alexandria – who was instructed by Priscilla and Aquila.

On his 3rd missionary journey, Paul subsequently returned to Ephesus for an extended (3-year) period of ministry (AD 52–54).

He encountered disciples who only knew John’s baptism and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit.

Ephesus was a place of learning and, 60 years after Paul’s visit, the library of Celsus was built. It was the third-largest library in the Roman world behind Alexandria and Pergamum. It is thought to have held around 12,000 scrolls. *

* https:// freebibleimages.org/ contributors/ sweet

Acts 19:8-10 (NIV) Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months…

But some of them … refused to believe … So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

Acts 19:11-12 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Seven sons of Sceva unsuccessfully tried to exorcise a demon-possessed man invoking “the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches”.

Acts 19:15-16 (NIV) One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

After the incident with the sons of Sceva:

Acts 19:17-20 (NIV) When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honour. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly … In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

Paul’s ministry was so effective that it caused a down-turn in the sale of silver shrines of Artemis, prompting a silversmith named Demetrius to incite a riot against Paul.

A mob gathered at the city theatre, * but the city clerk was eventually able to restore order. Paul subsequently left the city.

* At an estimated 25,000 seating capacity, the theatre is believed to be the largest in the ancient world. ~ https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Ephesus

At the end of his 3rd missionary journey, enroute to Jerusalem, Paul landed at Miletus and summoned the elders of the church from Ephesus, delivering a farewell message.

The Temple of the Sebastoi in Ephesus, formerly called the Temple of Domitian, is a Roman temple dedicated to the Imperial cult of the Flavian dynasty. It was dedicated in AD 89/90 in Domitian’s reign.

The building shown is typical of a temple dedicated to the cult of Emperor worship.

Subsequent to his exile on Patmos, the apostle John would spend his last years in Asia Minor – in particular, Ephesus. Irenaeus writes:

… the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles. (Against Heresies 3:3:4)

THE LETTERS to the 7 CHURCHES

The letters to the 7 churches have a similar structure.

An address to a particular church.

An introduction of Jesus.

A statement regarding the condition of the church.

A verdict from Jesus regarding the church.

A command from Jesus to the church.

A general exhortation to all Christians with a promise of reward.

Revelation 2:1-3 (NIV)

1“To the angel [or ‘messenger’] of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.

2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. 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.

3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

a) An address to a particular church.

v1a “To the angel [or ‘messenger’] of the church in Ephesus write…

Angel: literally “messenger”, not necessarily a heavenly messenger. In English we borrowed the Greek word “ang'-el-os”) and transliterated it as “angel”. According to Strongs: “ággelos can refer to a heavenly angel or a key leader (perhaps a pastor) of the church”.

b) An introduction of Jesus.

v1b … These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.

These are the words of Jesus – simply recorded by John.

The imagery is taken from Revelation 1 and highlights:

the presence of Christ in the Church (he walks among the seven golden lampstands)

the authority of Jesus in the Church (He holds the seven stars in his right hand).

The churches belong to him, not to the church leaders of the churches or to the congregation. Jesus says, “on this rock I will build MY church” (Matt 16:18).

Col 1:18 (NLT) Christ is also the head of the church … [cf. Eph 1:21-23; 5:23]

Jesus takes note when the church works hard for God, puts in a lot of effort, and has godly endurance.

I know your works: Jesus looked at His church, and He knew its condition. It was no mystery to Him. There may be sin or corruption hidden in a congregation, but it isn’t hidden to Jesus. He would say the same thing to us today, both as individuals and as a congregation: I know your works. *

* https:// enduringword.com/ bible-commentary/ revelation-2

c) A statement regarding the condition of the church.

v2a I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.

As for spiritual pedigree, Ephesus was a church of great privilege, with a rich heritage in teaching.

Paul ministered there for 3 years and wrote them an epistle.

Priscilla and Aquila served there (Acts 18:24-28)

So did Apollos (Acts 18:24-28).

Paul’s close companion and spiritual son Timothy ministered there (1 Tim 1:3) and at Paul’s instruction had appointed the first leaders.

Subsequent to these events the apostle John would spend the last years of his life ministering there.

This, in terms of doctrine, they were well grounded.

Years earlier Paul had cautioned the Ephesian elders: “Be shepherds of the church of God... I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!” (Acts 20:28-31, NIV)

From this commendation of Jesus, we know that the Ephesians had taken Paul’s warning seriously.

v2b I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people…

THINGS THAT MARK AN APOSTLE

v2c …that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.

Today we also have those “who claim to be apostles but are not”. The doctrinally sound Ephesians tested them and “found them false”. Like the Ephesian church then, we still must test those who claim to be messengers from God – especially those who claim to be prophets and apostles, because deceivers always speak well of themselves.

What is the criteria to test an apostle?

Signs, wonders and miracles

2 Cor 12:12 (NIV) The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance.

APOSTLE = MISSIONARY

Church-planting: Modern missionaries still fulfil an apostolic role in that they are church planters and that they are “messengers” proclaiming the gospel in foreign lands and areas where the gospel is unknown. [cf. Acts 14:21-23]

The word “missionary” as derived from Latin, is the equivalent of “apostle” derived from Greek.

Persecution

2 Tim 1:11-12 (NIV) And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am.

WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION

A physical eyewitness of the resurrected Christ

Acts 1:22 (NIV) “For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

1 Cor 9:1 (NIV) Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? …

Defending his apostleship, Paul mentioned that he was a witness (albeit late) to the resurrected Christ.

1 Cor 15:4–8 (NIV) … that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures… Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

But no one today could be an eyewitness to the resurrection.

v3b and have endured hardships for my name:

Like true disciples of Christ, they had endured hardship for the name of Jesus.

v3c and have not grown weary:

They had done this without becoming tired. We should imitate their “steadfast endurance.”

v3a You have persevered:

The Greek word translated “persevered” is hupomone, which means “steadfast endurance.”




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