Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Seven Churches of Asia

Temple Baptist Church - 8-25-2019
Revelation 1:4


A.  The Commencement of the Church Age. 

1.  These 7 churches will be prophetic of the 2,000 years between the First and Second Advents. 

2.  In Verses 4, 11, 13, 20, we find  Seven Churches, Seven Candlesticks, and Seven Stars.  These three “Sevens” are important as we begin the Book of Revelation.  “Seven” is a number of perfection in the Bible and we will see it used frequently in the Revelation.

B.  The Seven Churches.  Verses 4, 11, 20.

1.  These were contemporary churches.  They existed at the same time.  The Book of Revelation was to be circulated to and read in all seven churches.  Each one was faced with the truth that any or all these problems could eventually touch their church.

Revelation 1:11  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

2.  These seven churches had the full Book of Revelation in their hands to know what was happening in their day and what was coming in our day.  This is important as to having the “grace” to endure and the “peace” to know that God had everything in His hand.

Revelation 22:16  I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

3.  I do not know if these were some that Paul mentioned in 1 Timothy, but the churches in the early days of the New Testament were “problematic” at best.  Satan attacked or infiltrated these churches. 

2 Timothy 1:15  This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

3.  Paul mentioned these churches in 1 Corinthians.  

1 Corinthians 16:19  The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

Acts 19:1, 10  And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples …  And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

4.  Though Paul planted these churches, it was not long until things began to worsen in Asia.  Paul later mentioned the fact that he was not received very well in the Book of 2 Corinthians. 

2 Corinthians 1:8-10  For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:  (9)  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:  (10)  Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

5.  In 1 Peter, we find a “scattering” of the people of God because of the apostasy from within and the persecution from without. 

1 Peter 1:1  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

6.  Hopefully, some of the churches in Asia had revived to some degree but, as we get into chapter 2-3, we find that all but one of the seven continued to have some degree of problem.

7.  Why problems in the church?  Because of infiltrator, satanic attack, and carnality among the members.

8.  These warnings were both practical to these existing churches as well as prophetical of the existing “Church Age” found (chapter 2-3) between the First and Second Advents.

9.  In verse 11, these Seven Churches are named.  I will only mention them at this point as we will spend more time with them individually when we get to chapters 2-3.

Revelation 1:11  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.  (In chapters 2-3, these churches are dealt with individually and in the same order as show here in verse 11.)

C.  The Seven Candlesticks.  Verses 13, 20.   

1.  The seven churches of Asia are referred to as “candlesticks” by our Lord Jesus.  The candlestick is important in both the Old and New Testaments as in the Old, it is a type of the local church in the New.

Revelation 1:12-13  And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;  (13)  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

2.  In the Old Testament, the candlestick was made for and remained in the Holy Place as the light of Testimony.

Exodus 25:31  And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.  (Gold is a type of Deity, a substance that is very precious and beautiful.)

Exodus 26:35  And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.

3.  The candlestick was to lit at all times.

Exodus 40:4  And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof.

4.  The candlestick was the ONLY light in the Holy Place.

Numbers 8:2  Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.  (Notice that all seven individual lamps of the candlestick were always to be lit and kept lit.  This is important in both type and truth in the New Testament.) 

5.  In the New Testament, the candlestick is the local church.

Revelation 1:20  The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

6.  In the New Testament, the believers are individual lights.

Matthew 5:14-16  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  (We are to be both shining and guiding lights to darkened souls in a dark world.)

7.  The believer is also to place his/her light “on a candlestick” as to give light unto ALL that are in the local church.

Matthew 5:15-16 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  (16)  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  (Every believer is to put their light on the candlestick, i.e., the church, to give light to all that are in the house.)

8.  In Revelation, chapter 1, the “Day” is approaching.

Hebrews 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  (Our individual lights are essential to give light to all that are in the house.  The world does not see into the church house, but our lights brighten other brothers and sisters.  Then we go out of the church and into the world as lights seen of all men.) 

d.  The Seven Stars.  Verses 16, 20.

1.  The Seven Stars are the pastors of the churches.

Jeremiah 3:15  And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Ephesians 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

1 Peter 5:2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

2.  The Seven Stars are in the hand of the Lord Jesus.

Hebrews 13:17  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

3.  The Seven Stars are God’s messengers to the church.

Hebrews 13:7  Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

No comments: