3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2023/09)

Revelation 1:9-20 (ESV)
9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Day 1: Loving God
Read over the description of the risen Christ in verses 13-16. Is your vision of Him big enough? His “hairs” are “white, like white wool, like snow,” because He is the eternal “Ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:9), and He is as wise as He is old (cf. Prov. 16:31; 20:29; Lev. 19:3). His “eyes” are like “a flame of fire” with which he perceives, discerns, and judges with perfect accuracy (Prov. 20:8). Nobody can put one over him. Nothing gets past His all-discerning eyes. There is no error in His judgments. His “feet” are like “burnished bronze, refined in a furnace,” with which He crushes His foes underneath His feet (cf. Matt. 22:44; Mark 12:36; Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor. 15:25-27; Eph. 1:22; Heb. 2:8). Jesus is victorious and no one can oppose him. His “voice” is like the “roar of many waters” (cf. Ezek. 43:2). Ezekiel 1:24 gives us more details about what that sound is like, “like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army. …” So imagine the sound of a mighty host marching, or the full, lush, surround sound of the ocean waves when you’re at a beach, or the roaring flow of a large body of water, like the Niagara Falls—a big voice, with deep rumbling vibrations. Jesus is immense and powerful. He holds the “seven stars” “in his … hand,” which symbolizes His sovereignty and authority. He is in full control of the fate of the churches on earth. That means we not despair in the midst of tragedies and setbacks and persecutions and tribulations. We are in the hands of the resurrected Lord Jesus. As Jesus says in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” “From his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword” (cf. Isa. 11:4). The sword proceeding from Jesus’s mouth represents His Word. Ephesians 6:17 says that “the word of God” is “the sword of the Spirit.” Similarly, Hebrews 4:12 famously says, “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Jesus’s weapon is the sharp two-edged sword of the “word of God.” It is not sharp in the sense that it cuts people down, but sharp in the sense that it cuts people to the heart (Acts 2:37). It’s no earthly sword that can only cut flesh and blood, it is a spiritual sword that can cut “soul and … spirit,” “the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” It’s a sword that can slay the devil. It’s a sword that cuts open sin and exposes it. It’s a sword by which Jesus “strike[s] down the nations” opposed to His rule, as we see in Revelation 2:16 and 19:15. And lastly, Jesus’s face is ike “the sun shining in full strength” (cf. Matt. 17:2), because He is “the radiance of the glory of God” (Heb. 1:3), “who dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:15-16).
This is our cosmic, glorious, risen Savior Jesus Christ, and He is not far off! John turns and sees “seven lampstands,” and what does he see immediately after that? “In the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man.” Jesus is in the very midst of the lampstands as our High Priest and King, Jesus is carefully and diligently tending to His Church, so that our lamps might not go off (cf. Exod. 27:20-21). Jesus is watching over us to ensure that we endure to the end and conquer as He did.
Recommended Song: “Glorious Christ” by Sovereign Grace Music (Find it on our church’s Spotify playlist, “Trinity Hymnal,” at http://bit.do/trinityhymnal)
  • Praise Jesus according to what He is like, as described in Revelation 1:13-16!
  • Confess the ways in which you have related to Jesus as if He were small, weak, or aloof.
  • Ask Father to enlarge your vision of Him and Christ, that you might worship Him rightly and trust Him fully.
  • Pray that you might live humbly as a lampstand, a setting and a stand to let Jesus, the light of the world, shine.

Day 2: Loving One Another
John describes himself as a “brother” of the Christians to whom he is writing (v. 9). This conveys the incredible reality that we, as Christians, are those who have been united by faith to Jesus Christ, who is God’s only-begotten Son, and by virtue of our union with Christ, we have been adopted by God the Father. And because we have God in common as our heavenly Father, we are now brothers and sisters in Christ. This is John’s way of identifying with the believers to whom he is writing. He could have introduced himself as an Apostle, since he is one of Jesus’s Twelve Apostles, but instead he puts himself on the same, level playing field, and introduces himself as a “brother.” This is John’s way of saying, “I am one of you. I am with you.”
Jesus said in Mark 3:35, “[W]hoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister…” Romans 8:29 says that Christians have been “predestined to be conformed to the image of [God’s] Son,” Jesus, “in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Hebrews 2:11 says that Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers or sisters. When we call each other “brother” or “sister,” we’re saying that LORD God Almighty is our “Father”! When we call each other “brother” or “sister,” we’re saying that the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is our Brother”! We are declaring what Romans 8:17 says, that we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” that all of God’s heavenly inheritance is ours, that we will reign in the Kingdom of God as co-heirs with Christ! We are in the same family, bound together by the blood of Christ.
We are also partner[s] in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus.” These three things are bound up together in Jesus.” They are inseparable. If we want to be co-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom of God, we also must be His partners “in the tribulation … and the patient endurance.” Because Jesus went through “tribulation” with “patient endurance,” because Jesus’s glorification to the right hand of the Father’s throne went through an inglorious death on the cross for our sins, we who will share in His glory must also share in His suffering. That’s why Jesus said to His followers in John 16:33, “.. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” How are you partnering in the “tribulation” of your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Recommended Song: “How Firm A Foundation” by Norton Hall Band (Find it on our church’s Spotify playlist, “Trinity Hymnal,” at http://bit.do/trinityhymnal)
  • Pray that we would love our local church as the family of God, and one another as brother and sisters.
  • Pray for church members going through loss, suffering, and tribulation, that God would help them to endure patiently.
  • Pray that new regular attendees would join the upcoming Membership/Baptism Class, so that they might partner with us in the tribulation, kingdom, and patient endurance.

Day 3: Sharing the Love of Christ with Others
The glorious picture of Jesus in this passage provides the basis for the main command of this passage in verses 17-18, “… Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.'” Jesus is assuring John that He has risen from the dead, and that consequently, He has “the keys of Death and Hades,” because He knows that the situation that John and the churches are facing is persecution and tribulation, which calls for “patient endurance.” Jesus is essentially repeating what He said in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” You don’t get the keys to the house, until you’ve closed on the house and own it. And once you have the keys, you don’t have to set up appointments for walkthroughs and open houses, you don’t have to worry about curfews or about being courteous to the current residents, it’s yours, and you can go in and out whenever you want. Jesus is saying, “I have defeated death. I own death.” Because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and He rose again, death no longer has any claim over us as Christians. So why fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul? Jesus can unlock the door and get you out whenever He wants. If you die bearing witness to Jesus, He will raise you up again unto eternal, resurrection life! So fear not!
Recommended Song: “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” by Indelible Grace Music (Find it on our church’s Spotify playlist, “Trinity Hymnal,” at http://bit.do/trinityhymnal)
  • Pray that our church would “fear not” when it comes to taking a bold stand for Christ and sharing the gospel with our neighbors.
  • Pray for the new Evangelism Team leaders Bailey McLernon and Jerray Chang, that God would give them love, zeal, and creative ideas to equip and lead the church well in evangelism.
  • Pray that unbelievers in our midst would join the upcoming Baptism/Membership Class and subsequently repent of their sins, believe in Jesus, and get baptized.
  • Pray for a few of your unbelieving neighbors by name, for boldness and opportunities for you to share the gospel with them.
  • See page 26 in the Open Door USA World Watch List Top 50, and pray for India, the country we have been praying for this month.

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