SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 2022
Pastor Troy Brewer, OpenDoor Church, Burleson, TX
Epistle: a poem or other literary work in the form of a letter or series of letters; a book of the New Testament in the form of a letter from an Apostle.
An epistle is also genre of writing which look like this: “A letter written to be used as curriculum.”
Of the 27 books in the New Testament, 21 are epistles, or letters, many of which were written by Paul. The names of the epistles attributed to him are Romans; I and II Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; I and II Thessalonians; I and II Timothy; Titus; and Philemon.
You also have Jude John, Peter and James writing their epistles
Advice and instruction to the early church
James is all about FAITH and work
James 1:5-6 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:19 – So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
James 22-24 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
James 2:14-17 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 4:7-8 – Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
But what if I told you there is a letter hidden in the Bible that is an epistle of Jesus? What if I told you there are actually seven epistles from King Jesus Himself–not from Paul, Peter, James or Jude–but actually straight from the mouth of Jesus. Letters of advice, instructions, commands and priorities that tell us exactly what we are supposed to do and who we are supposed to be as a Church.
Jesus Himself sent seven letters to seven different churches telling them, and us, exactly how we should and should not represent Him. Exactly what we should be a part of what we should not be a part of. He gives us consequences of reward and judgment–even much more than the other epistles–which should be read, heard, spoken and lived out as a general curriculum for every Christian associated with any church, anywhere in any time.
The seven letters to the seven churches found in the book called REVELATION: “The Epistles of King Jesus”
The reason we don’t know these letters like we do Romans or Galatians is because they are found in the book of Revelation and most Christians are afraid of Jesus as presented in the book of Revelation.
THIS IS JESUS:
Jesus in the Gospels is Jesus living among us representing the Father.
Jesus in the seven letters is
When Christ appeared to John he saw seven lampstands representing the seven churches and standing among them was one like the son of man. Verse 13 Jesus came as the light of the world and then commissioned us to be the light of the world John’s vision was a representation of his imagery. Christ was standing in his rightful place amid the churches. Every church, then and now, has the opportunity to be a lamp stand shining forth Christ light in a dark world. The churches do not create like they reflect it. Christ is the light bearing his light in the world is the church is primary purpose.
Revelation 1:9 – I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day…
John was in a hard place in a hard time.
Patmos: The Lord’s Day
Some would say it was sabbath or Saturday.
Some would say it was Sunday or the first day of the week.
Some would say John was saying he was in the Spirit when he saw the 2nd coming, because the second coming is also called “The Lord’s Day.” John writing to seven Churches to inform them he was shown a vision of the “Day of the LORD.”
“his day” (Luke 17:24). Afterward, Paul spoke of it as “the day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:2) and “the day of Christ” (1 Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 1:6, 10; 2:16; 2 Thess. 2:2). And Peter calls it “the day of the Lord” (2 Peter 3:10) and “the day of God” (verse 12).
“I will see you on the great day. I love you, son!”
Last words of Bill Brewer (August 12, 2020)
John was overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and was being shown, or allowed to experience, “The Lord’s Day.”
By the time Revelation was written, Caesar worship was the one religion which covered the whole Roman Empire; and it was because of their refusal to conform to its demands that Christians were persecuted and killed. The essence of Caesar worship was that the reigning Roman Emperor as embodying the spirit of Rome, was divine. Once a year, everyone in the Empire had to appear before the magistrates in order to burn a pinch of incense to the godhead Caesar, and to say: “Caesar is Lord.”
To refuse to burn the pinch of incense, and to refuse to say “Caesar is Lord,” was treason, in addition to being evidence of open opposition to the established religion.
The worship of the Emperor began with the worship of the Caesar after his death.
However, the Roman Emperor Domitian, who died in AD 96, was most probably the emperor who sent John into exile on the Isle of Patmos.
In AD 96 Domitian put to death Florius Clemens (his own cousin) who was consul, and exiled his wife Floria Domitalla, niece of Domitian, and both were charged with “atheism.” They were probably Christians, for many Christians were thrown to the lions, charged with atheism for refusing to sacrifice to the Emperor, who claimed to be God.
“Domitian was the first Emperor who arrogated divine honors in his lifetime and caused himself to be styled, ‘Our Lord and God,’ in public documents. He informed all governors that government announcements and proclamations must begin ‘Our Lord God Domitian commands.’
They must call Domitian god or die. Thus the issue was clear. It was a matter of gods. Either the Lord Jesus Christ or the emperor of Rome was lord-god. It was Jesus or Caesar. Who was Lord? That was the issue. The Scriptures clearly show why the writer was banished.
Revelation 1:9 – I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos for the Word of God.”
Jesus shows up to John in a hard time on a hard day in the midst of terrible suffering horrible persecution
Polycarp would be the next bishop or “the angel” of Smyrna.
Polycarp was a personal disciple of the Apostle John. He was burned live one the Lord’s day. February 22nd or 222!
Revelation 1:10 – …and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet
Isaiah 58:8 – Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
Isaiah 52:12 – yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.
The place of protection
Psalm 3:3 – “But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”
Psalm 5:12 – “Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”
I need that kind of shield because sometimes I deal with difficulties that seem to come at me from all directions and even from within – from my own thoughts. How wonderful to know that if I’m willing to take up the shield of God, He will protect me from anything life or Satan aim at me.
Ephesians 6:16 – “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Revelation 1:11 – saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”