Thursday, July 18, 2013

P2 Christ's Battleship - Revelation 2:1-3:22

Revelation 2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this".

In yesterday's post we considered Christ's battleship - the church, in Revelation 2-3.  Christ had John write a series of direct messages from him to seven churches located in Asia Minor or what would be today the country of Turkey.  These seven churches were literal and representative of every church of every age and portray churches and even Christians we may see side by side in our day.  Why did Jesus address Revelation to these seven churches? He warned five of them, commended two of them and addressed all of them to express what He wanted in His battleship the church.

1. Ephesus - Christ wants a loving church
2. Smyrna - Christ wants a courageous church
3. Pergmamum - Christ wants a vigilant church
4. Thyatira - Christ wants a church of conviction
5. Sardis- Christ wants a revived church
6. Philadelphia - Christ wants a faithful church
7. Laodicea - Christ wants a committed church

Have seen the Battleship - the church militant, floating on God's sea of time until Christ's return, we want to consider today the Captain of the battleship - the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Captain of Christ's Battleship, the church, is Jesus Christ
The number "7" occurs over fifty times in the Book of Revelation.  Whenever you see that number, assume it to be God's fingerprint, since it is really God's number, representative of completion, Divine purpose and perfection.  Jesus Christ's fingerprints as the Divine God/man is all over His church.  He is the captain of the mighty battleship - the church militant.  By His Holy Spirit His presence and power is exercised.  The Bible is His wheel and we His people are his crew.  Sinners who are drowning in the sea of humanity and who by His grace call out to Him are plucked up by His Spirit to bring them on the deck of His safety.  Amazingly in each of these seven letters to the seven churches, we see seven descriptions of our Captain - Jesus Christ.  All of these descriptions can be found in Revelation 1, which of course is the first vision of Jesus Christ revealed to John.

1. The Loving Lord Jesus Christ.  
Revelation 2:1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this".  As we see in Revelation 1:20, Jesus Christ is Lord, Owner and Holder of His church.  He loves His church, otherwise He would not mention the fact that Ephesus has lost its passion for her "first love". Hence Jesus Christ is the church's loving Lord. 

2. The Living Christ.
Revelation 2:8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this." In Revelation 1:17 Jesus Christ reminded John that He conquered death, hell and the grave. He is the Living Christ.

3. The Word-centered Christ
Revelation 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this." In Revelation 1:16 we see Christ ever associated with the scriptures, which are His sharp, two edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12) In fact Christ himself is called "The Word" in John 1:1 due to the fact He has the same living qualities as the Bible has in its written qualities.  To sever the church from the scriptures is to sever her from Christ and His voice. 

4. The Judging Christ
Revelation 2:18  “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this."  Revelation 1:15 uses the imagery of burnished bronze to describe Christ as the righteous Judge over His church, and the coming One Who will judge this world.  

5. The All-knowing Christ
Revelation 3:1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead." In Revelation 1:16 we see Jesus Christ in close proximity to the "seven spirits" which is a seven-fold description of the Holy Spirit. (compare Isaiah 11:2) Jesus promised His Holy Spirit to His church to be her comforter and counselor, both as a corporate body and individual believers throughout the ages. (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:8-11; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13)  The stars are the pastors or messengers or "angels" of the seven churches (Revelation 1:20).  Thus if the church is to revive and continue on, she needs Christ, the source of life.  He alone knows her deeds and knows what the outcome of her journey will be, for He holds all that in His hands. 

6. The Holy Christ
Revelation 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this."  Revelation 1:18 describes Christ as holding keys.  He is the Holy Christ who aims to have a holy church presented unto Him as a spotless bride. (Ephesians 5:27)

7. The Creator Christ
Revelation 3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this." The word translated "Beginning" could be better rendered "The Beginner, the Originator, the Majestic Ruler". In other words, Christ is the Ruler and Creator of His church and really all of creation. (John 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16-17).  Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus Christ as the "author and finisher" of our faith.  

Therefore the captain of Christ's battleship, the church, is Jesus Christ Himself.  He is described in Revelation 2-3 as the Loving Lord, Living, Word-centered, Judging, All-knowing, Holy and Creator Christ.  Why does this matter? Because only He can ensure by His Word that the Christian life and the church to which we are called to be will achieve His calling and purpose.  I close this blog with these words from 1 Corinthians 15:58 - "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."