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Jesus is Victor  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:31
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Joh (in a vision from Jesus) expects a mindset worthy of the Master, rooted in his own obedience and suffering.E

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Recently I rewatched (as is my Memorial Day custom) the movie Saving Private Ryan. I realize that dramatic license was taken in the production of this story rooted in a true story. The Movie begins and ends in the American Cemetery in Normandy, France as one Veteran reflects upon the events that put his Lieutenant in that place.
The majority of the movie is a flashback leading up to the moment when the Lieutenant whispers in the young private’s ear two words: “Earn This!”
Last week we began reading through Book of Revelation and our take-away was “no matter what your situation, you have a Savior who is Victor”. There is NO WAY possible for us to earn what Jesus did to Save us out of our situation. But there is a response that is assumed in the verses we read today.
While most pastors would divide today’s text into at least 8 separate Sermons, I believe that by viewing these chapters as a unit we can identify the response that John assumes.
John (in a vision from Jesus) expects a mindset worthy of the Master, rooted in his own obedience and suffering.
If last week we admired the Savior in our situation, this week I want us to cultivate a mindset worthy of the Master.
This mindset from John is also challenged by Paul.
Ephesians 4:1 (ESV) — I…urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling
Philippians 1:27 (ESV) —…let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ
Colossians 1:10 (ESV) —…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him
Transition: Since this expectation was expressed both by the Apostle converted after Christ ascended, and the one who was closest to Jesus during his earthly ministry, it is reasonable to believe this expectation is relevant to us today.

The Setting of the Vision (Revelation 1:9-11)

Not all trips to an island are for leisure or vacation!

John is NOT on an Island Vacation (v.9)

On account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Just as Alcatraz is not a desired residency for those in San Francisco, Patmos was not a dream for those in Ephesus.
Some Commentators on Bible Backgrounds claim that John was likely in forced labor in the mines of the Island.

In the Spirit (v.10a)

This does not imply that he had a charismatic experience on a Sunday.
While we refer to the Lord’s day as our day of rest and worship, This was not a common way to refer to the first day of the week in the early church.
The Day of the Lord was a forward-looking time from the Old Testament meaning the time when the Messiah would establish ultimate righteousness.
We can look forward to v.19 to find a divine outline of the book. Chapter 1 reviews what happened up until the time of John’s writing (things you have seen), Chapters 2-3 describe the [things] that are, and v.10 means that John was immaterially (not physically) taken into the future time that is about to be described in chapters 4-22 (those that are to take place after this).

Loud voice like a trumpet (v.10b)

John hears before he sees (which would be expected by a Jewish audience). After all the Great Shema begins with “hear O Israel”, it isn’t until after the Resurrection that Jesus tells the disciples to “behold and touch”.
Trumpets were associated with official or forward-looking public proclamations.
John is not about to have a personal spiritual experience. This is verified when he is told to…

Write…in a book (v.11)

Book was not originally a codex, it was a scroll, compared to a clay tablet.
A biblion could be brief (but official) document as in a certificate of divorce mentioned in the gospels.
A biblion could be a longer composition.
I don’t believe John wrote 7 separate notes. I believe he wrote a 22-chapter compositions and the whole thing was copies and distributed to the churches.
The individual addresses we see in chapters 2-3 would have been read by the other 6 churches as a matter of accountability.

The Source of the Vision (Revelation 1:12-20)

This was not a mere dream

1. This is so specific and majestic it could not have been like anything that John had observed personally.

The Vision is Dripping with OT Allusions

1. Son of man
2. White hair (VERY unusual for olive skinned Jews)
3. Eyes of Fire
4. Feet of Bronze
5. Roaring Voice
6. Face that shines

Sharp two-edged sword (v.16b)

1. This word for sword is not a ceremonial sword that may be displayed by royalty.
2. It is a shorter weapon designed for warfare. It is an indication that whoever this person is, he is about to execute judgment.
Transition: John’s awe at the supernatural vision is about to get very detailed and specific.
Last week I proclaimed “whatever your situation…” But I did not attempt to get into the specifics of your life. Rather than simply offering general words of comfort that would be true of all such as “I know you’ve been disappointed” or “I know you’ve been hurt” or “I know you have questions”, The One in the middle of the Lampstands has specific words for specific situations.
This is an indication that Jesus knows your intimate concerns better than anyone else. Jesus is about to say “I know you” and/or “I know your” in ways that are individual and intimate.
Before we get into Chapter 2, I probably owe you an explanation of the references to angels in 1:20. The word for angel literally means messenger. The premier dictionary worldwide of Biblical Greek offers 2 designations…
This use of angel has nothing to do with harps or wings. It is unlikely that it is referring to a transcendent power other than the authority figure of the local church. We tend to read Acts 2 and get the idea of King Arthur’s round table with nobody having any authority over anyone else. But the NT picture of the local church does speak of those who accept responsibility for the care of others and those who are part of an administrative group such as a council of elders.
Without going on a power trip (as some pastors do), There is an order here of God speaking through the “angel” to address the church as a group.

The Structure of the Messages (2:1-3:22)

An Attribute of Christ

Each church gets a unique description of Jesus.
I am thrilled that our ladies have spent several months reveling in the attributes of our God. It is easy to get locked into our pre-conceived ideas of who God is and what He does.
Some have said that we try to squeeze God into the box of our understanding.
By providing a unique quality of Himself for each church, Jesus is inviting to a personal exploration to think of Him in ways that may not be our default.
Romans 11:33 ESV:2016
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Items Admirable about the church

Long before Mary Poppins figured out that a little bit of sugar makes the medicine go down, Jesus models that people will respond better if they know you don’t hate them.
1. We tend to think too highly or too lowly of ourselves.
2. Rather than concluding we are all good or all bad, Jesus demonstrates that most situations can find something positive to start with.
3. Jesus says some things in these chapters that are not real pleasant to hear. Our discipleship means sometimes we will participate in discussions that are not all roses and gumdrops.
4. Jesus starts with saying something positive because He is naturally gracious and kind. Most of us need to intentionally “put on kindness”
5. Part of being appropriately humble (for us) is to think of something positive to say before we ever have to deliver critical information.
Colossians 3:12 ESV:2016
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

Items needing Attention by the church

Starting with admiration does not mean that we can ignore the things that need attention.
but I have this against you does NOT mean that fellowship must be broken!
on Friday of this week, Ann and I drove to Manhattan to repair a couple of analog watches we had given to each other over the last 30 years. We found a skilled craftsman who repairs grandfather and cuckoo clocks. He began to speak of a generation that replaces things when they break rather than repair that which is precious and valuable.
3. Too many of us today may use I have some things against you as justification to go separate ways. The maturing believer can admit, “I have growth areas” and “you have growth areas” and even if it is painful, it is worth the effort to be gracious with each other and work toward harmony.

Aspiration and/or Assurance for the church

Jesus generally concludes each message with Hope. HE moves each church to look favorable at the future.
Have you ever felt scolded by another believer? If you’ve ever walked away from a conversation with your tail between you legs, it is probably an indication that Aspiration or Assurance were missing from the chat.
We all need to have hope that a better future is possible or guaranteed.
Jesus neither abandons a single church for their failures, nor concedes that any one of these 7 has attained full maturity.
Each received comfort and is given challenge.


1. Let me bring the 7 messages home to your seat.
2. Healthy things grow and growth means change.
Yesterday thousands of people descended upon our County to celebrate the heritage of what our area has been. I’ve been enamored in recent weeks with a historical drama set in the early 20th century. The lights, speakers, chairs and tents deployed by the Symphony are indicators that things have changed in the last 100 years in the Flint Hills. The drama I considered portrayed the angst over changes before and after the first World War. In the early scenes there was consternation about electricity coming into the house. Several chapters later there was conflict over installing a telephone and purchasing a gramophone.
3. Stagnation and decay set in when growth stops, and organisms become unhealthy.
4. I have no doubt at some time in your Christian pilgrimage you felt overwhelmed and ready to give up. Rather than give in, if we press through, we find the bright sunrise after the dark night.
5. I have no doubt that some of us have entertained the idea that we have arrived. We may have experienced spiritual victories and are tempted with the idea that we have settled into a routine that totally pleases our God.


Each church addressed by Jesus had some positive qualities and some negative qualities, but they ALL had room for improvement.
Whenever love and the building up of others demands that you express something painful, always wrap it on both sides with something pleasant.
Any of us who has ever had to administer medicine to a pet knows that a little cheese, peanut butter, or piece of meat make the medicine process MUCH more pleasant!
Jesus was gracious in the way he addressed these 7 churches, God is gracious in the way he continues to move each of us toward maturity. We should be gracious in our exchanges with others. And we can all adopt a mindset worthy of the Master, and will carry us through suffering and increase our obedience.
My prayer is that we each would receive the comfort from our Savior’s commendation while at the same time actively aspire to greater maturity.
There is no way we can earn or repay our Salvation, but we can walk in a manner worthy of our Master. Our final song is a testimony of those moving toward a higher plane.
Song of Response #399. “Higher Ground
Benediction: Rev 22:21 (ESV) - The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
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