Counter Culture - May 6, 2018

Counter-Culture: Triumphant Living in a Turbulent World

Week 1: Revelation 1:1 – 2:7

We love to rate things. Rotten Tomatoes rates movies. Facebook offers “likes”. Yelp rates restaurants. Google rates everything. Ratings, done accurately, help us evaluate how we’re doing against a standard of excellence. But, how do you rate a church (we rate 4.5/5 online)? How do you rate your personal faith? In the New Testament book of Revelation, Jesus rated seven second-generation churches on doctrinal integrity, holy living, and gospel impact. Over the next eight weeks we’ll discover how Jesus rated each church. Then, we’ll learn ways to grow in our own walk with Jesus: How do I learn and grow in healthy doctrine? How do I live a God-honoring life in a culture that disregards or opposes God? How do I share my faith winsomely with a world desperate for good news? Join us for this series as we invite the Lord to use his word to lovingly evaluate our church and our faith. Our goal is to develop a “Five-star Faith”.

 

Discussion Starter:

Do you use ratings to make decisions? Which ones do you find most or least helpful? Have you ever considered what criteria Jesus uses to rate the health of our church and your walk with him?

 

Getting into the Text:

1.     (Revelation 1:1)  Who is the source of all that is revealed in this book? For whom is it intended?

 

2.     (Revelation 1:4-18)  The book of Revelation is centered on Jesus – who he is, what he has done, and what he will do. What words are used to describe Jesus and his work in this passage?

 

3.     (Revelation 1:10-20)  Symbolism is an important part of Revelation. What important symbols appear in this passage and how are we to interpret them? What does the presence of the impressive figure in v. 13-16 among the lampstands imply about Jesus’ care for the local church?

 

4.     (Revelation 2:1-7)  As Jesus evaluates the church at Ephesus, he affirms them for some things and holds other things against them. What does he list in each category? Do these seem like important criteria for evaluating the health of a church?

 

5.     (Revelation 2:4)  What does Jesus mean when he says they have abandoned or forsaken their first love? (See Luke 10:25-37 for more.)

 

6.     (Revelation 2:5)  What does the threat of removing the lampstand mean? (Recall Rev. 1:20)

 

Application:

1.     How does it make you feel to know that Jesus is present with us and watching us closely?

 

2.     How does what you know about who Jesus is and what he has done give you confidence in the midst of being evaluated? How does this knowledge also spur you on toward high standards?

 

3.     Three marks of a healthy church (and believer) are healthy doctrine, holy living, and high commitment. How do Jesus’ words to the church at Ephesus speak to each of these areas? How are his words to those in Ephesus also relevant to our own church and your own life today?

 

4.     Jesus instructs the church at Ephesus to remember, repent, and do the things they did at first. How does each of these instructions apply to you today? What are some next steps for you to take this week?