Counter Culture - June 24, 2018

Counter-Culture: Triumphant Living in a Turbulent World

Week 8: Recap of Revelation 1-3

This is the final lesson in our current series on the powerful and encouraging message Jesus Christ sent his church in the New Testament book of Revelation. Here’s what we learned: 1. Jesus loves me. The fundamental truth of God’s word is that Jesus “loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev. 1:5). Think, feel, and act with this truth in mind. 2. Jesus calls me to spiritual excellence. Each of the seven churches was challenged to grow in spiritual excellence. We don’t deny our failures or struggles. Neither do we give up because of them – fight the good fight – it’s worth it. 3. Jesus equips us for victory. “Conqueror” is used for each church. No matter their weaknesses or the threats they faced, each church was expected to be victorious. Each was given the formula for conquering in their context. They were given powerful promises intended to motivate patient endurance. Don’t quit – conquer in Jesus’ strength. “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died and behold I am alive forevermore . . . do not fear . . . be faithful” Revelation 1:17-18, 2:10.

 Discussion Starter:

When was the last time you wrote a love letter to someone or received one yourself?

 Getting into the Text:

1.      Throughout this series, the text has drawn attention to who Jesus is. Read the following versus all together and celebrate the picture they provide of our Lord: Rev 1:5-7, 1:12-18, 2:1, 2:8, 2:12, 2:18, 3:1, 3:7, 3:14.

 2.      The seven letters to the churches include words of affirmation and also critique. Looking at the whole set of letters, what types of things does Jesus affirm and what does he condemn? How would you characterize his standards?

 3.      Jesus gives each church one or more commands. Identify these in each of the letters. What level of urgency is expressed? What is Jesus’ motivation in giving these commands? (Remember Rev 1:5b-6 and Rev 3:19.)

 4.      Each of the letters also delivers promises for those who conquer or overcome. Many of these use symbolic language. Review the following: Rev 2:7b, 2:10b-11, 2:17, 2:26-28, 3:4-5, 3:12, 3:20-21. How are these promises an important part of what Jesus wants to communicate to the seven churches and to us? How do they call us to something beyond merely living a good and moral life in the here and now?

 Application:

1.      Jesus pays attention to what we do. He cares and he takes the initiative to affirm and correct for his glory and our good. All of this demonstrates his ongoing, active love for us. How do you think the seven churches responded to these “love letters”? How will you respond? How does God want to use these letters to lovingly call you to spiritual excellence? Are there ways that you might imitate Jesus’ model of loving attention, care, and initiative in your relationships with others?

 2.      What has been most meaningful to you as we have gone through this series? How has the Lord used this part of his word in your life? Spend some time reflecting on the past few weeks and thank the Lord for what he has started in you. Trust that he will bring it to completion as you are faithful to hold fast to what you have learned.