So last week we finished looking at the risen, ascended and glorified Christ, we looked at His appearance to John, and meaning of it.
It showed Jesus, God the Son, the Son of God,
The robe of kings, priests, prophets and the high priest, with the gold sash, the highest of all. And remember he is a high priest in the order of Melchizedek, the high priest forever, meeting the requirement of an indestructible life.
Absolute wisdom and knowledge, the knowledge of God, in total purity, his head and hair dazzling white,
The perfect and right and holy judge, eyes like a flame of fire,
Able to judge because of his own inherent righteousness, qualified to judge, and also qualified to pardon, to show mercy. Feet of extremely bright burnished bronze…
With absolute authority, His voice like sound of many waters, deafening, overwhelming, thundering, terrifying. Like a blaring trumpet. He will be heard, and his will, will be done.
The angels obey him, the church obeys Him, nature obeys him, the celestial bodies obey him, the earth and all within it obeys him. God the Father has granted him all authority.
So we see the risen, ascended, Christ, but in His current role in time. He is our great High Priest. He is our Lord and Savior. He is our brother. He’s one of us, but he is so much more than us.
John’s vision is not only of the appearance and attributes of Jesus now, but also is of a particular scene that Jesus is in.
Let’s look. Let’s break out the verses that set the scene that John witnessed…
Revelation 1:12, 13, 16
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like [j]a son of man
16 In His right hand He held seven stars,
And seeing the risen, ascended, great high priest, what happened?
17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.
Now Jesus had work for John to do, right?
But before he commissions John, he needs to address two things.
First reviving John.
And second explaining who he was to him so he not be afraid any longer.
Look what happens…
And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I [l]was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
There you go. In terms John would fully understand.
First I am God, your Lord. I am the first and the last…
Why was this so definitive about his deity?
Isa 41:4 – Who has performed this and carried it out, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD—the first and the last—I am He.” [“I AM” in LXX]
Isa 44:6 – Thus says the LORD, the King and Redeemer of Israel, the LORD of Hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God but Me.
Isa 48:12 – Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I have called: I am He; I am the first, and I am the last.
First it’s the statement “I am.” Yahweh. Then to seal it, he uses the language God used when affirming Himself and His nature to Israel through Isaiah.
Second I am the one you know lives. You saw me. And I still live. And I’m the one who died, you saw me die. And now, I am the one who is alive forever more.
I overcame death. I have the keys of death and Hades. I didn’t break out, I took the keys and took control. And I simply let myself out. And I determine who goes in.
You see, He didn’t just say, hey John, it’s me, Jesus. He proved He was Jesus in a way that John would fully understand having been taught my him for three years, and having witnessed him in his ministry, at his death, at his resurrection, and at His ascension.
He was no fake, pretending to be Jesus, This was Jesus Himself in His ascended state now at the right hand of God and having become our great High Priest.
John had no doubt after this. And, Jesus having shown himself, and explained Himself, leaving no doubt about his authority, commissions John.
Verse 19 – 19 Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.
And in so doing, he provides the divine outline for the book of Revelation.
The things you’ve already seen. Everything up and including now. Chapter 1
The things which are, my messages to the church. Chapters 2 and 3
The things which will take place after these things. Chapter 4 and on.
So he gives John his marching orders, write these things down.
Now, he has one more matter to clear up before He moves on to the things which are, and that is to clear up a couple aspects of the vision. There he was, standing in the center of the seven lampstands, holding the seven stars.
He obviously has some significant connection with both. He is the center of the lampstands, and he holds the seven stars in his right hand, the hand of power, the hand of authority, and holding them, the hand of control.
Verse 20 – 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
First, he refers to them as a mystery. That’s a relief, because we don’t have any other references to them in the scriptures to go to. The seven stars and seven lampstands are a mystery, and mysteries in the scriptures speak of things that have not been disclosed in that particular way before, it is something previously hidden, till now, and is revealed.
Sometimes for a particular purpose, like when Jesus began to speak in parables which was an aspect of the judgment on Israel. They rejected Jesus, the truth, which is to say they continued to reject Messiah and God’s word to them. And it has led to them being under judgement.
Other mysteries in the bible, like this one, speak of things not revealed until now, it just hasn’t happened until now. now is the time to understand it. So he explains it.
What you’ve seen…besides me, includes a mystery.
20 As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands:
Jesus is right in the midst of them explaining what they are. Imagine, john is looking at jesus, listening to him, and Jesus is explaining His surroundings to him.
the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches,
and we looked at that extensively last week, and determined these would have to be those responsible for proclaiming God’s word, so Pastor-teachers, elders, evangelists.
Some say only the pastor-teachers, that’s possible, but I think use of the number seven speaks beyond that, it means all of the messengers. So we saw that, and why, last week.
and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
The lampstands are the seven churches.
One for each one.
Westview Bible Church has a lampstand.
Every true church starts out with a lampstand.
And Jesus is there, right in the midst, the center of the churches, walking among them, it is a picture of Him leading, directing, judging, in every way ministering to them all. They all revolce around him, so to speak. All of the, including us. And Jesus has this certain, this special, this particular relationship with the church.
Well, of course as Lord and Savior, but specifically now, as it’s great high priest.
8 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a minister [a]in the sanctuary and [b]in the true [c]tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. 4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; 5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses [d]was warned by God when he was about to erect the [e]tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
What is this relationship between Jesus and His church? Consider these scriptural truths about it. These things fall into 3 categories, things he has already done, things he is doing now, and things he will do in the future.
Let’s look. Don’t try to keep up with the references. I’ve posted this sermon on the website. You can find them all there. And while you’re looking, take a look at each of the chapters they’re found in. Rich rich chapters full of the truth about Jesus and His church. Jesus and His people. Jesus and you, if you believe in Him.
What he has already done.
Jesus made peace between the church and the Father. Romans 5:1
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Jesus reconciled the church to God Romans 5:11
And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Jesus gave eternal life to the church Romans 5 and 6, look at these key verses….
Romans 5:15 – But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Romans 5:17 – For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:21 – so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus gives us eternal life Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These things are done. Complete. Jesus has already accomplished it.
Jesus Designed and built the church. (Matthew 16:18). Jesus said, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”
The Roman Catholic Church believes Jesus declared Peter the rock upon whom he would build his church. however in this passage Jesus declares Simon, peter, petros, meaning a stone or small rock, however he declares that on this rock, petra, meaing a mountainous, or bed rock type of very large rock or rock bed, he will build his church. note, Jesus says, I will build my church, not you will build my church. and remember what caused Jesus to declare that he was Petros, it was his understanding that “thou art the Christ, the Son of God” and jesus says he is blessed because flesh and blood had not revealed that to him, but it was revealed to him by God the Father. Blessed are thou. You are Peter, the stone, the small rock. And on this rock, meaning himself, his word, I will build my church. we know this because Jesus is prophesied to be the rock of stumbling, petra, the rock of offence, petra, the rock that became the cornerstone, petra, the spiritual rock that followed Israel in their wanderings, the rock that gave them water, petra, and the rock was Christ, petra.
Every time that petra is used in the scriptures to speak of a person, it speaks of Jesus, every time petros is used, it speaks of Peter.
Now Peter, and the other apostles, along with the prophets, did help found the church. and I think there is the link, you are peter, you received truth from above, and you believed it, and you represent the apostles. So there is a connection between petro and petra, but Jesus did not build his church on Peter, and this is affirmed in the teachings of Jesus himself, and the apostles, including Peter.
In the book of Acts, this was fulfilled in the first century (Acts 8:1,3).
8 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.
And on that day a great persecution [a]began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.
So, the church is established, it is brought into existence.
What else has he already done in relation the church, His body, Christians.
Jesus bought the church. (1 Corinthians 3:11). “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
Jesus became the Foundation of the church It is written, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”
Jesus demonstrated his love the church. (Ephesians 5:25). “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” sacrificed himself for us….
He became Our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption – 1 cor 1:26
26 For [r]consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to [s]the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no [t]man may boast before God. 30 But [u]by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, [v]and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Jesus cleansed the church 1 Corinthians 6:11 – Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Jesus gave all for the church 2 Corinthians 8:9 – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
Jesus liberated the church, Romans 8:2 – For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
Jesus made us sons of God Galatians 3:26 – For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Jesus united the church and made us one 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Jesus gives every spiritual blessing to the church Ephesians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Jesus demonstrated humility for the church Philippians 2:5 – Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Jesus loved us, gave us eternal comfort and good hope 2 Thessalonians 2:15 – 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.
Jesus lowered himself for the church Hebrews 2:9 – But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
Jesus guarantees our covenant with God Hebrews 7:22 – so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Jesus mediates our new covenant Hebrews 12:24 – and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
Jesus suffered outside the gate for us Hebrews 13:12 – Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
Jesus gave us understanding, knowledge of Himself, and became our abode 1 John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
What about now… ?
What he is doing now
Jesus is the Head of the church. “(Colossians 1:18). – And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence”
Jesus is the Savior of the church (Ephesians 5:23) – “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body”.
Jesus sanctifies the church 1 Corinthians 1:2 – To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
Jesus nourishes the church Ephesians 5:29 – for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
Jesus redeems and justifies the church Romans 3:24 – being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
Jesus justifies the church – Romans 3:26 – for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Jesus keeps loving the church Romans 8:37-39 – 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus is the power of the church 1 Corinthians 5:4 – In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
Jesus is the sustains the very existence of the church 1 Corinthians 8:6 – yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
Jesus gives victory to the church 1 Corinthians 15:57 – but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus directs our ways 1 Thessalonians 3:11 – Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you;
Jesus is the hope of the church 1 Timothy 1:1 – Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,
Jesus strengthens his church 1 Timothy 1:12 – I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,
Jesus mediates between God and the church 1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Jesus gives grace to his church 2 Timothy 2:1 – You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Jesus is the apostle and high priest of the Church Hebrews 3:1 – Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
Jesus intercedes for the church Romans 8:34 – who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Jesus mediates our new covenant Hebrews 12:24 – and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
Jesus makes us into holy priests 1 Peter 2:5 – you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Jesus opens the door of fellowship with Himself and the Father 1 John 1:3 – what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus cleanses our sins 1 John 1:7 – but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Jesus is our advocate 1 John 2:1 – My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
Jesus is our abode 1 John 4:15 – Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
Jesus released us from our sins Revelation 1:5 – and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood-
Jesus helps the church persevere Revelation 14:12 – Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
Jesus pardons the church Romans 8:1 – Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses – is approachable, and gives mercy and grace when we need and seek it. Hebrews 4:14-16, – 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
And what about the future…
What he will do
Jesus will purify the church Ephesians 5:27 – that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Jesus will perfect the church Philippians 3:12 – Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Jesus will rescue the church from the wrath to come 1 Thessalonians 1:10 – and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
Jesus will give the church mercy to eternal life Jude 1:21 – keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
Jesus will reward the church Revelation 20:4 – Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Jesus will come back for the church Revelation 22:20 – He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Folks, this isn’t even everything. This was just a quick look.
Understand the meaning of Jesus standing in the midst, in the center of the seven lampstands, holding the seven stars. Begin to grasp the depth of it.
Jesus has absolute control of His church. he holds his messengers, Jesus is the only head of His church. Jesus is the great High Priest of His church. and he is ever and always working on our behalf. Providing whatever we need so we can live or lives to his glory, so we can accomplish our commission here, he’s keeping His church pure. He knows the real church from the false church.
Look at what he’s already done. Look at what he is constantly doing! Look at what he going to do!
Every Church! including westview. Every believer, you, if you do believe! Look how he has provided every single thing for you. He’s done it all. He’s doing it all. He will do it all!
We are His people. We are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
He tells John. Don’t be afraid. He’s telling us, don’t be afraid. Know who I am and trust me. Know what I’ve done and believe in me. Know what I’m doing and serve me. Know what I’m going to do, and wait patiently and rejoice. Amen?