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Outline and Audio Sermons:
Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

www.thischristianjourney.com

How To Use This Outline

 

Introduction To The Things Which Are

Revelation 3.1

More Resources On Revelation


 

[The first division of the Revelation, “. . . the things which thou hast seen . . .” (Rev 1.19) is completed at the end of revelation Chapter one.  With the opening words of Chapter two the second division of the text begins to unfold, “. . . The things which are . . .” (vs 19).   In this second division the apostle writes seven letters to the seven churches to whom he was commanded to write in chapter one verse eleven.]   

[These seven churches were actual congregations that existed in the day that the letters were sent.  However, they clearly represent more than just their separate churches; they must in some way account for the Church body as a whole.  This is indicated by the fact that our Lord is seen standing in the midst of seven golden candlesticks which are the seven churches.  The number seven is the number of completion, as noted earlier, therefore the seven candlesticks and churches in some way represent the Church as a whole.] 

The THREEFOLD meaning of the messages [ - As we consider the letters to these seven Churches it will be important recognize the Primary Association of the letters, the Personal Application of the letters, and the Prophetic Anticipation of the letters.] 

A.     A Primary Association [- The letters had a local and direct bearing upon the local church to which it was written.  As in many prophetical utterances there is an immediate meaning for those to whom the letter is written, but for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ there is a far more reaching and prophetical meaning within each letter.  As we consider the primary association of each letter to its intended congregation we should carefully understand the Condition recognized within the Church,  the Caution to be heard by the Church, and the Challenge given to each congregation and its members.] 

1.      The Condition of the Congregation [– In each of these letters the condition of each congregation is described.  These various conditions tell us much about the spiritual well-being of these Churches.  Since these churches actually existed when the letters were addressed and sent we know that the conditions described were present and working within each congregation.  Each Church is described differently indicating the distinctive struggles within each congregation and the breadth of the struggles encompassing the universal Church of our Lord.  Each Church had its own unique spiritual struggles, just as various congregations have their distinct struggles in our day.  The differing struggles seen in the various individual congregations come together in the universal Church to show a multiplicity of problems that need to be overcome.] 

[It is often pointed out by disenfranchised Church members that they left their varying congregations because of the hypocrisies and problems within their congregation.  Trials and trouble should have been expected, after all congregations are composed of human beings tormented by a sinful condition and nature.  However, the troubles in a congregation should never be allowed to drive the people of God away from the Church our Lord so dearly loves.  Trials should be expected and the people of God should work through their trials by cleaving whole heartedly to the enduring Word of God.] 

2.      The Caution Given the Congregation [– In most cases, when the condition of the congregation warrants one, a caution is given to the congregation.  The caution expresses that our Lord is concerned enough about His Church and its members to warn them away from situations that will harm them spiritually or drive them away from our Lord.  As our Heavenly Father, God loves us, all of us, and as any loving father would He will corrects us for our Good.  The correcting or chastening hand of our Heavenly Father is never a comfortable thought, but it is always a necessity for our growth (cf. Heb 12.4-11).] 

3.      The Challenge proclaimed [– Near the end of each of these letters to the Churches there is a challenge proclaimed in the form of a statement to the overcomers.  It appears that in each of these overcomer challenges that our Lord calls for each member within the congregation to be greater than the condition found within the congregation.  In other words, individuals may not always be able to shape or control everything that might happen within their Church, but they can control what is happening within themselves personally and their homes.  Each Christian should be a functioning part of their local Church body, but they should not be adversely affected by the challenges and struggles found within their congregation.  This calls each and every Christian to be a selfless agent of the Word of God within the body of Christ, while keeping himself unspotted from the world and the world’s wickedness around them.] 

B.     A Personal Application. – [To each Church Christ says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Rev 2.7,11,17,29; 3.6,13, 22).  As already mentioned, the message to “overcome” is addressed to each individual within the Churches (2.7,11,17,26;3.5,12,21).   Hence, the condition of the Church is representative of the body politic, but the individuals within the Church are capable of being far more than the Church as a whole, and should be.  The failures of the professing Church should not be the failures of each individual Christian.  In respect to the individuals comprising these Churches we again consider the Condition, Caution, and Challenge given.] 

1.      The Condition [– It is again noted that each congregation has problems within them.  Some of these problems seem more grave than others.  But the problems are real and present.  The problems not only concern the congregation and its ability to serve in God’s kingdom but they also have an undeniable bearing upon each member of the Church.  That Christians grow spiritually is of the utmost importance for each and every child of God.  Dissention in the Church body can stifle the spiritual growth of its members.  It is each member’s responsibility to recognize the struggles within their respective Church and to carefully nurture and tend to their own spiritual well-being.  The condition of a believer should be more than the condition of their Church and the condition of their Church is no excuse for spiritual weakness in the individual.] 

2.      The Caution [– The caution given to each congregation is a reminder to each individual within the Church that they must carefully consider how they might be contributing to the problems within their Church.  Churches are composed of individual members.  The problems within a congregation are the result of problems between the individuals who compose the Church.  In order for a congregation to respond to the cautions given to it the individual members must respond first.  Christians must carefully consider their part in the struggles found within their Church.  Those who are the most likely to say they have no part may be the ones who need to hear the caution the loudest.] 

3.      The Challenge [– Again the challenge to overcome is given to each individual.  If each and every member of a congregation were to personally and carefully respond to the challenge given then there would be no one left to carry on the disputes described within these Churches.] 

C.     A Prophetic Anticipation [- Many have suggested that within the description of these seven Churches there can be seen seven ages or stages in the life of the Church on earth, commencing with Pentecost and concluding with the Rapture.  Some might call this view the Dispensations of the Church Age.]

1.      The Dispensations of the Church Age [- M.R. DeHaan once wrote,]

[Chapters 2 and 3 give us the history of the Church pre-written from Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church.  This history is in seven periods, represented by the seven churches of chapters 2 and 3: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. These seven churches represent the successive chronological history of professing Christendom.  It is a history of declension, apostasy and progressive decline.  The history of the professing Church closes with chapter 3 where Jesus is pushed outside the door.  In the first period of history under the figure of the Church of Ephesus we see the Lord in the Church walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, which are the seven churches.  In the last days of the Church we see Him pushed outside professing Christendom, typified by the Church of Laodicea, knocking at the door from the outside.  He is now outside, having been turned out by the mass of professing Christendom.  The door is shut to Him, and the place He should occupy has been taken by social services, the social gospel, banqueting and feasting, bloodless preaching and denial of His deity, atonement, resurrection and coming again.  When Christendom shuts the door on earth to Him, something happens in heaven.[1]]

[Concerning this Church Age point of view it has been suggested that the Ephesus Church Age covered A.D. 33 to 100, the early Church.  The Smyrna Church Age covered A.D. 100 to 312, the persecuted Church.  The Pergamos Church Age covered A.D. 312 to 590, the political Church.  The Thyatira Church Age covered A.D. 590 to 1517, the dark ages or the idolatrous Church.  The Sardis Church Age covered A.D. 1517 to 1750, the reformation Church.  The Philadelphia Church Age covered A.D. 1750 to 1925, the missionary Church.  The Laodicean Church Age covers A.D. 1925 to present, the apostate Church.  When the historical record concerning these various time periods are compared to the descriptions given in Revelation chapters two an three there is an astounding correlation that strongly supports this teaching.]

2.      The Kingdom Parables [- Also supporting this point of view are the kingdom parables of Matthew chapter thirteen.  G. Campbell Morgan, in studying these parables notes,]

[In our general survey of these parables in this chapter, the Kingdom is viewed in its progress in this age among men.  Those spoken to the multitude present the Kingdom process from the human viewpoint.  In the second group of parables spoken to the disciples, the same age is in view, but the Kingdom is seen from the divine aspect.[2]]

[When the kingdom parables are carefully studied and compared to the dispensational (historical) theory of the Church Age another astounding correlation is found.]

[Clearly a prophetic revelation for the history and condition of the professing Christendom was given by our Lord.  Understanding what our Lord revealed about the Things Which Are, the historical progression of the Church provides great enlightenment for those who are striving to be good stewards in our Lord’s kingdom.  This enlightenment empowers the people of our Lord to know what to expect from those who claim to belong to our Lord, and how to continue in ministry and service in the midst of perilous times.]

3.      A Church Age Chart (Fig. 1)  [- A Church Age Chart has been prepared to help one see how these various passages appear to support the same prophetic theme.  When pictured in a chart the correlation between the various descriptions offered by the various passages of scripture come into view.  ]

 

Chart

Church Age Chart in PDF Format

 [The importance of this point of view becomes clear and encouraging.  The problems clearly evident within professing Christendom in our contemporary culture have not caught our Lord by surprise, He not only expected them, but He also prophesied that they would occur.  Our Lord is still sovereign and in absolute control.  Many in our culture try to use the hypocrisy and treachery of organized religion to claim that either God is dead or that He at least has lost all influence, but the scriptural evidence is just the opposite.  Our Lord knew what would be and revealed the historical condition of the Church from the very beginning of the Church.  These revelations should give every born again Christian and stronger and more certain sense of the power and authority of our Lord.]

 


[1] M.R. DeHaan, Revelation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1956), 16-17.

[2] G. Campbell Morgan, The Parables and Metaphors of Our Lord (New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1953), 43.

 


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