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Jesus had a message to the persecuted

Church in the first century.

That message is just as pertinent today.

Weekly Sermon Notes, Recording and Table Talk Questions

VII - Revelation Sermon Series
Overview Video

Sermon 1 - Introduction to Revelation

Sermon 1: Introduction to Revelation
Key Verse: Revelation 1:1-5

The Book of Revelation is easily the most misunderstood book of the Bible. No writing in the biblical canon has produced such widely divergent views as this one. What has driven this
confusion for centuries is a failure to understand some foundational structures in this text.

Today, as we open up this fascinating book, Pastor Rusty will discuss some of the foundational truths that will help us better understand how to approach this magnificent work. For God’s words to them, then, is still God’s word for us today.

My Goal Today
– Give you some foundational understandings of this book
– Present the four historical ways the book has been interpreted
– Set us up to examine the Seven Churches addressed in this writing

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The Book Itself
1. This is written in the form of an epistle (Revelation 1:1-5)

    a. Jesus is the revealer
b. Contains an opening and closing like the other letters in the New Testament
c. These churches are real, live congregations of the time in real cities.
d. Thus, the first step toward gaining a correct understanding of Revelation is to recognize that it is an epistle to a particular group of Christians, aiming to address their specific needs at the time it was written. This requires that we should first seek to discover how it applied to and would have been understood by its original readership, as we would seek to do with any other epistle. Only secondarily do we transfer truths to our own modern circumstances. This is how responsible readers approach other letters in the NT.

2. This is also prophecy (1:3, 22:7, 10, 18, 19)

    a. This prophetic word is imminent
b. This prophetic word is indefinite
c. Jesus has something to say about the future and how things will come to an end

3. This is also apocalyptic writing

    a. Use of vivid images and symbols
i. Nations are depicted as animals
ii. Cities as either a harlot or a bride

     b. Numbers convey more than merely counting units (full of sevens)

    c. Depicts Good and Evil in stark terms

   d. Draws heavily from Old Testament Images and Ideas

4. Written during the Domitian persecution

     a. According to Pliny the Younger, Domitian believed that the Roman Empire was to be governed as a divine monarchy, with himself as the benevolent despot at its head. In addition to exercising absolute political power, Domitian believed the emperor- role encompassed every aspect of daily life, guiding the Roman people as a cultural and moral authority.

    b. Several causes for his attack upon the church have been assigned: the unsocial habits of the Christians; the prevalent charges against them that they were atheists, child murderers, and addicted to malevolent magic; Domitian- zeal for the traditional Roman religion; an effort on his part to force the Christians to contribute to the fiscus Judaicus-; Scholars, however, are now coming by general agreement to date the Book of Revelation in Domitian's reign.- And the Domitianic persecution was called forth by a refusal on the part of the Christians to participate in the observances of the imperial cult. (THE


    c. Can refer to the Neronian persecution at times

5. Leads believers to make tough choices about their commitment to Christ and the

    a. Persecution forced believers to consider their relationship with Christ and to the community of Christ.

Four Views on Revelation
Many Bible readers are unfamiliar with various interpretive methods used throughout history. Familiarity with these approaches will assist believers in the various ways this book has been understood over the past two millenniums. Understanding these approaches helps us better dialogue with believers who hold different perspectives about the book.

1. Historical- The events described in Revelation begin in the author’s day and span history,
continuing into the present (often in 7 main periods of history)
– Very subjective approach
– Little agreement between the adherents
– Views the Papacy as the Anti-Christ

2. Futurist- the events described in Revelation will occur in the future of the last days
– Extremely popular
– Very literal approach to the readings
– Sees the book as a chart of history (“yet to take place”)
– Most of the book becomes largely irrelevant to the Church through history (skipping over the real persecution experienced by the early church).

3. Spiritualist (Idealist)- The events described in Revelation do not describe literal events but rather help us understand God’s character and interaction with the world in a general way.- Does not point to any particular person or time period
– Rather, these writings refer to the recurring themes of war, persecution, famine, etc
– What is on display are principles of human conduct and God’s interaction with these cycles.
– Most of the other views incorporate this approach to some degree in their interpretive system.

4. Preterist- The majority of events described in Revelation occurred in the author’s day
– Immediate Relevance (must shortly come to pass)
– Coheres with the destruction of Jerusalem and Josephus’ historical record
– The message aligns with the governmental persecution of the early church
– Works much like other New Testament Letters

My Approach
– John is writing to real congregations who are facing real persecution (Chapters 1-3)
– John also highlights the bigger picture of God’s work in Heaven and earth between Jesus’ departure and return highlighted cycles of judgment, persecution, and difficulty (Chapter 4-18)
– John then highlights how Jesus will return and set up His new Kingdom (Chapter 19-22)

– Visit https://concordchurch.com/oikos/  and register
– Join us on Wednesdays 6:30 pm for the End Of Things Bible Study 


Table Talk Card

Please use these questions throughout the week to discuss the message with family and friends.


Sermon 2 - Jesus - The Central Figure

Sermon 2: Jesus – The Central Figure

Key Verse: Various Verses in Revelation 1


Many come to the book of Revelation looking for secret timelines of major world events. Others scour this document to locate details concerning the identity of the Anti-Christ. Unfortunately, in this fervor for hidden meanings and deep spiritual insights, readers overlook the central figure- Jesus, Himself. John, however, does not intend for us to bypass the person and power of Jesus. The author goes to great lengths to write down some of the most profound titles ascribed to Jesus in the entire Bible. By examining these descriptors, we are reminded of just what kind of Savior we have in Jesus and why He is completely worthy of our devotion and obedience.



To you, who is Jesus?


John still believed even though-

  • His Rabbi was beaten, scorned, and then crucified
  • His Jewish homeland was torn to shreds by Rome
  • His friends all faced martyrdom
  • He was detained and dipped in a vat of boiling oil by Domitian
  • He was forced to drink poison
  • He was imprisoned in Patmos


Ten Magnificent Titles for Jesus (Rev. 1)

  1. Jesus Christ (v. 1)
    1. Jesus, the one chosen to suffer, is also the anointed Messiah
    2. This apocalypse is from Him
    3. He who is currently unseen will soon be revealed
  2. Who was and is and is to come (v. 4)
    1. John is now describing the true source of the authority
    2. Jesus is pure existence in the past, and present and will be arriving soon.
    3. You cannot really have Jesus as a Savior if you don’t see Him as the returning Lord.
  3. The faithful witness (v. 5)
    1. Jesus is the ultimate witness of God. No one better communicates who God is than Jesus the Son.
  4. Firstborn of the dead (v. 5)
    1. This is an oxymoron statement
    2. Jesus’ resurrection is the prototype for future resurrections
    3. John’s belief in this was enhanced since he faced the possibility of an early demise
  5. Ruler over kings of the earth (v. 5)
    1. Jesus is the ultimate Davidic king
    2. His reign will be completely manifested at some point in human history
    3. That this will happen is a certainty in John’s mind (11:15, 17:14, 19:16)
  6. Him who loves us (v. 5)
    1. Christ’s reign is not one of cold, transactional force, but it is deeply motivated by love. This is a present tense verb which indicates ongoing action.
    2. His love has freed us. What a powerful phrase for John the prisoner to use
  7. Alpha and Omega (v. 8)
    1. Look at this closely- This is a direct address from God Himself
    2. This phrase is a merism where two extremes are mentioned in order to include all that lies between.
  8. Son of Man
    1. Jesus’ favorite phrase of himself in the Gospel
    2. He is the full intention of humanity- the ultimate human, the perfect Adam.
  9. First and Last (v. 17)
    1. Jesus is eternal.
    2. Through Him, all things were created
    3. Through Him all things will be consummated
  10. The Living one (v. 18)
    1. Jesus is alive and brings life
    2. We need not fear death if we are associated with Jesus



Because Jesus is the full representation of God’s power, majesty and holiness, He has ever right to speak to the Church.



  • You can start a relationship with the same Jesus
  • John 3:16
    • God loves
    • God gave
    • We believe
    • We receive





Table Talk Card

Please use these questions throughout the week to discuss the message with family and friends.


Sermon 3 - Message to the Church in Ephesus

Sermon 3: Message to the Church in Ephesus

Key Verse: Revelation 2:1-7


We all know the surge of excitement when we begin something new. Our neurons fire up dopamine as we dive into some adventurous journey. This experience can be seen with new romantic relationships or welcoming a new child or launching into a new career.  We greet this new chapter with fresh legs, grand excitement, and a burning passion. But the passage of time has a way of grinding away all that energy. As weeks turn into years, we see our zeal and zip zapped with frustration and boredom. Tasks that were once accepted with enthusiasm are now viewed as unwelcomed interruptions. We continue to show up, but some days we are ready to give up. Such was the case with the Church at Ephesus. They did many things right, mind you. Yet they had forgotten the most important thing. Fortunately, Jesus reminds them and us how critical it is to not just believe the right things- but to pursue the right goal. And the goal this church had forsaken was love. If you seem a little weary, then listen closely to John as he relays Jesus’ guidance to this important congregation.



  • Knows each church
  • Loves each church
  • Tells the truth to each church


Our cultural moment is not the authoritative voice for the church

Our personal inclinations are not the authoritative voice for the church


Jesus loves us enough to tell us the truth. Jesus is strong enough to tell us the truth.



  1. A Word of Encouragement for Ephesus
  • They were active in service to the community.
  • They persevered in their commitments even though they were a small minority.
    • Notice the Cultural and Religious Influences in Ephesus
      • Hosted three temples for the Imperial Cult (viewing the emperor with divine attributes and worshipping him as a god-like figure)
      • A major center for the Worship of Artemis (a goddess of nature and fertility)
      • Maintained a large Jewish community and synagogue
      • Known for many transient prophets and teachers
      • This was a main port of commerce and trade
    • So, the influences there were Political, Cultural, Religious, financial, and a few fringe groups.
  • They carefully screened their leaders
  • They were gutsy



  1. The Problem: A Word of Correction for Ephesus
  • They had forsaken the main thing – emulating the love of Christ
  • Does the unchurched person know that they are loved by you and Christ
    • Christ loved by passionately dying
    • We love practically serving


A Word of Instruction for Ephesus

  • Repent (turn away from something)
    • Fear
    • Apathy
  • Return (turn back to something)
    • Courage
    • Compassion

Jesus is just as concerned about your love for the Bible on your phone as He is about the people on your street.




Start loving someone that Jesus has been loving for a long time.


Table Talk Card

Please use these questions throughout the week to discuss the message with family and friends.


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