September 4: What is the Book of Revelation? (Revelation 1:9-20)
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
This Sunday Josh Herring will continue a series called Christians Creating Culture: An Examination of Gospel Identity, True Community, and Cultural Flourishing at 9:00am in the youth room. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the Old Testament).
 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet  saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,  and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,  his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,  and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.  Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.  As for the mystery of the seven stars that 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.
This week we begin a series going through the seven letters to the churches at the beginning of the book of Revelation. But before we get into the letters, we will first assess the nature of the book of Revelation in order to keep in our minds the context in which the letters are given. The first words of the book tell us that it is "a revelation of Jesus Christ," meaning that it is both from Jesus and all about him. And although this vision may be about the end, it is useful for today, because what we learn in the book of Revelation is that "the end" has already begun. This means that we, the church, should understand that this revelation is for us - it is written not only to the seven churches of Asia Minor, but it is written to the church of all time.
Review and Apply
What is the book of Revelation?
Have you ever experienced the kind of fear of Jesus that John does in verse 17? Do you think it is appropriate to fear Jesus, to "fall at his feet as though dead"? Why or why not?
How would this vision be encouraging to someone facing unusual hardship and suffering, such as the churches that John was writing to?
Verse 19 describes the already-not-yet dynamic that occurs throughout Revelation: these things have already begun, but are not yet complete. What implication does this have for our understanding of the suffering and judgment described throughout the book? Based on this vision of Jesus in chapter 1, how can we pray for believers around the world who are experiencing persecution on account of their faith in Jesus?
What are some of the themes of the seven letters that we will be looking at? If you don't remember based on the sermon, look over the letters and summarize some of the main ideas.
Knowing that these seven churches represent churches of all time, how can we use these letters to grow in our own faith as we seek to follow Jesus?
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