Posted by Peter Thompson

Revelation 1:9-20

Jesus in the Midst of the Churches

INTRODUCTION: We find out in vs. 4, 11 that John is writing this book to the seven churches which were in Asia.  We are going to find out a lot more about those churches as we move forward here. But what you need to understand is that everything in this book was something that God wanted the churches to know.  The audience here is local churches that are working for God on earth.  Jesus wants His churches to act in a certain way and that is the message He is delivering to them through John in this section.  We find out who we should be and what we should be doing as churches of Jesus here.  Churches are made up of individual people.  If your church is going to be this way, you have to be this way.

  2. John first recognizes that the churches that he was writing to were his brethren
  3. In other words they were like family
  4. He loved them, they loved him
  5. He wanted them to hear what Jesus wanted from them
  6. Then right off the bat here he calls himself their companion in tribulation
  7. The word tribulation has the idea of intense suffering
  8. It literally means putting intense pressure on something

Illustration:  When I think about pressure, I think about the bottom of the ocean.  Divers talk about pressure and repressurizing when they come up out of the water.  I read this week that at the deepest part of the ocean the pressure is 8 tons per square inch.  Now listen to this, the equivalent of that is 1 man trying to hold up 50 jumbo jets against the force of gravity.

  1. That is what the word tribulation means, intense pressure that it is impossible to stand up against
  2. And in fact the troubles and struggles that these Christians in Johns day had to bear up under were impossible, without the help of God
  3. They were constantly hunted , thrown in prison, exiled, even killed because they believed in Jesus and because they were sharing Jesus with the world
  4. Immense pressure they were under constantly
  5. In fact John goes on to talk about some of his trials
  6. He tells them that he is writing from the isle of Patmos
  7. This was an island that the Romans used to keep prisoners
  8. Some say that they forced prisoners to work in the mines there
  9. And that it was a rocky island with little vegetation
  10. John points out that he was sent there for the word of God
  11. And for the testimony of Jesus Christ
  12. You see, John had been preaching about Jesus Christ from the Old Testament scriptures
  13. And he was banished to a labor camp on the isle of Patmos for doing it
  14. Today in America, Christianity has become comfortable
  15. We worship in air conditioned buildings with padded pews
  16. During the week, we live mostly like the rest of the  world
  17. We try to make ourselves as comfortable as possible in life
  18. God has richly blessed us and you know what it has made most of us lazy in the work of God
  19. Christianity was never meant by Jesus to be comfortable
  20. Look what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
  21. Jesus said, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves
  22. As God’s people we should be ready to suffer for doing the work of God
  23. We should do all that he asks us to do
  24. We should share the message of Jesus Christ with anybody who will listen
  25. Will it make us uncomfortable?
  26. Might we have to suffer some ridicule?
  27. Later as things grow closer to the return of Christ, might it cost us our lives?
  28. The answer to all of those questions is yes, and you should be ready to do it for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
  30. Look at what else John writes to these churches in Asia
  31. He says that he is their companion in the kingdom of Jesus Christ
  32. A kingdom is a place where a king reigns
  33. You cannot have a kingdom without a king
  34. There were more kingdoms in John’s time than there are now
  35. This is where one man makes all the rules and all the decisions about the country
  36. We call it a monarchy-that means one man rules
  37. John refers to the kingdom of Jesus Christ
  38. The place where Jesus is the boss, no one questions him, and everyone obeys him
  39. Jesus being God, that kingdom should be everywhere
  40. And in fact it will be everywhere in the future, when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord
  41. That is what John is talking about when He says he is their companion in the patience of Jesus Christ
  42. You see, John and Christians like him were waiting patiently for that day when Jesus would come back to rule
  43. They were enduring all of those hardships we talked about earlier looking to the day when Jesus would be the boss
  44. Consequently, they lived their lives as if Jesus was already the king
  45. That day has not come yet when Jesus will rule on the earth
  46. But he should rule in your heart
  47. He should be the monarch of your life
  48. He should be the one that makes the rules
  49. He should be the one that you obey with everything that you have
  50. Yes, the day of Jesus physical kingdom is coming and we look forward to it, because that will be a great day for His followers
  51. But what are you doing for the kingdom now?
  52. Is Jesus really the Lord of your life, or do you just say so?
  53. Are you really bowing down to your king in your every day actions
  54. Recognize Jesus as your King and serve Him with every minute of your life.
  1. John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day
  2. John was probably praying and worshiping and God showed Him this vision
  3. He heard a voice like a trumpet (loud and full)behind him that turns out to be Jesus
  4. The voice says, I am the Alpha and the Omega the first and the last-the idea is the beginning and ending of all things
  5. He tells John to write down everything that he saw and send it to seven churches that He names here
  6. Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
  7. He turns and sees somebody that looks like the Son of Man
  8. John would know, he spent three years learning from Jesus and saw Him after His resurrection
  9. Now I want you to see this, Jesus was standing in the middle of seven golden candlesticks
  10. We find out in v. 20 that those seven candlesticks represented those seven local churches to whom John is supposed to send the things he writes
  11. It is absolutely no coincidence that in this book of Revelation the churches are represented by candlesticks
  12. In Philippians Paul writes, That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world
  13. God’s plan is for his people to shine as lights in the world
  14. So that all people can see the way to God
  15. So that people can know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins
  16. So that people can know that they must believe in Him and make Him Lord of their lives to come to God
  17. Our church is supposed to be a light in a dark world, that shares the way of salvation with them
  18. And if our church is going to be that, then you as a member of our church have to be that
  19. Shine the light of Jesus, by the way you live, by sharing the message of Jesus
  20. Always seek to point others to God through Jesus Christ.
  22. As John sees Jesus, he describes what he saw
  23. Jesus was wearing a long garment down to his feet
  24. In other visions of the scripture we find this long garment to be white-representing his purity and holiness and righteousness
  25. He is wearing a golden belt across his chest, probably like a sash-gold also representing his purity and holiness-We are going to find angles that are coming to judge wearing this same attire later in Revelation
  26. The idea here is that this judge-has the right to judge-because he is holy, pure and righteous-his judgments will be right on and there is no hypocrisy in the judgments he makes-his judgment will be pure
  27. His hair is white to represent that same purity to judge
  28. His eyes are like a flame of fire-he can see everything and burns off whatever is fake and evil
  29. His feet are like fine brass burned in furnace-purity to go everywhere and judge
  30. We will talk about the seven stars in his right hand more in a minute
  31. But he had a two-edged sword coming out of his mouth to cut this way and that -he is pronouncing judgment and is able to carry out the penalty of his judgment
  32. And his voice was like many waters, there was no not hearing what this judge says, he is going to pronounce judgment and all will hear it
  33. And he was bright like the sun, penetrating that judgment light to every dark place where the wrong doers might be hiding
  34. And we might say, yes, Jesus is finally going to judge those sinners that have been rejecting Him all of these years-but wait!
  35. What is the context of this image
  36. Where is Jesus standing
  37. He is standing in the middle of the churches
  38. Jesus is about to pronounce judgment on us the churches
  39. As we move forward here in Revelation you will see that He does just that
  40. Jesus judges our church
  41. Jesus judges you
  42. He is righteous and pure to do it
  43. He sees everything and will burn through any fakeness and evil
  44. He has a sword to execute judgment and you will hear him when he judges
  45. He will penetrate every secret place to find out what you are doing wrong
  46. When you recognize Jesus as your judge
  47. It should inspire you to turn from any wicked
  48. It should inspire you to run His church the way that He wants it run
  49. John fell at his feet in terror
  50. It should terrify you if you are hiding anything or are not pleasing to Jesus in any way
  51. It should spur you on to live for Him or else he will punish-I promise you don’t want to feel that sword
  53. Right in the middle of all of that judgment language, John mentions the seven stars that are in the right hand of Jesus
  54. Jesus identifies these stars in v. 20
  55. They are the seven angels of the churches
  56. Now the word angels here comes from the Greek word angelos
  57. It literally means messengers
  58. It is possible and I think highly likely that Jesus is holding the seven messengers of the churches in Asia in his hand
  59. This would be the pastors that would read this message after John sends it to the churches
  60. They are going to deliver Jesus’ judgment to each church
  61. They are in His right hand, they have His power behind them, they have His authority to speak
  62. They speak for Jesus to the churches
  63. Now Jesus further identifies himself and tells John that he should not be afraid
  64. Because Jesus is the first and the last
  65. He has the keys of death and hell
  66. In other words Jesus is the one that decides who dies eternally
  67. Jesus is the one that decides who goes to hell
  68. He makes that decision based on who believed in Him and who has confessed Him as Lord
  69. John, and for that matter, the saved people in the churches that he is writing to do not have to worry about dying and going to hell
  70. But John is to write, so that the messengers can deliver the judgment of Jesus to the churches
  71. And so that the saved people in those churches can change their lives
  72. Anytime a messenger stands before you and delivers a message from the Word of God you need to understand that the messenger has the authority and power of God behind his words
  73. So when you hear something from those messengers, like you are this morning
  74. It is time for you to change
  75. Jesus is talking, you should listen and you should change your life where it comes short of Jesus’ expectations every time the messenger of Jesus to your church speaks from the word of God

CONCLUSION:  Is this church ready to suffer for Jesus? That depends if you are ready to suffer for Jesus.  Is this church determined to shine the gospel to the world even in suffering times? That depends if you are determined to shine. Does this church recognize Jesus as our King? That depends on if you recognize Jesus as your king.  Does this church recognize Jesus as our Judge? That depends on if you recognize Jesus as your judge. Does this church recognize the authority and power that is behind the messages that it hear from God’s word from its messenger.  That depends on how you view the message that comes from God’s messenger. Let’s be the church that Jesus wants us to be!  Let’s change our lives and our church to meet the expectations of Jesus.