Revelations 2 Part 2

Revelations  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  47:19
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Last week we spoke about Johns vision of Jesus.
The entire chapter lays the foundation for the rest of the book.
You have to get an understanding of the Nature, Character and plan of Jesus.
He is who He says he is, He will do what he will do and He has the power and the authority to do it.
No Greek God and No form of government is going to have any impact on the final result of God’s plan.
This gives us complete Confidence and Hope
Now we move onto the message that Jesus gives to the seven churches.
Why just these seven when we know of at least 11 Troas-Miletus-Colosse - Hierapolas? Because these seven represent what is going on in the churches as a whole. W can identify with these seven churches.
Some believe these messages represent specific church ages - these would be called dispensations. The problem is no where in scripture does it say that - They could be or they might not be, all these ideas are assumed.
2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
Ok so we can establish that even though this is sent to the church’s the letter has a direct impact on us as a church and us as an individual. Why - Because the church is people. No buildings will be resurrected, no denominations will have a place in heaven. There wont be sections in heaven for the Baptists or the Methodists or the Assemblies of God
Revelation 2:1–7 ESV
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
The churches are called lampstands - Why - the represent the presence of God in the neighborhood. They bring light into the darkness.
Matthew 5:14–16 ESV
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
OK lets move on
The seven stars - represent the seven angels of the churches which represents - which represents the spirit empowerd church as a whole - the Bishop or overseer of the chruch.
The main point here is this
Jesus says he holds the star in His right hand. He is what holds the church together. He is what protects it and has His hand upon it .
Not only does He hold it but He walks among it. This also can be seen in creation - In genesis Chapter 3 - God walked in the Garden. His presence was known to Adam and Eve.
In other words He is here and where his spirit is He is. This is very important especially as we look at vs 5 of Chapter 2.
The Church in Ephesus
This is a familiar church to us because Paul wrote a letter to Ephesus called the letter of Ephesians.
It is a political and cultural center - I
It has a large harbor - considered the most important Greek City - 2nd only to Rome in commerce
Very Busy City
It hosted games similar to the Olympics
It had a a huge temple to Artemis ( Diana) the goddess of fertility. The temple and all the trappings of it was an economic boost for the city. It was four times larger than the Parthenon
I didn’t know this until recently but it was a sanctuary city. If you were a criminal you could run there and be safe. Something like San Francisco.
Emperor Theodosius erased all traces of Artemis during his reign. The Temple of Artemis was destroyed, its ruins used to build Christian churches.
Priscilla and Aquila planted the church there - Apollos and Paul developed it.
Now lets get to the Good the bad and the Solution
The Good
Hard working church
Progressive, energetic and patient church
They could smell a false teacher a mile away
They knew the word
They hated the deeds of the Nicolatians- (The word Nicolaitan means “to conquer the people.” Some Bible students believe this was a sect who “lorded it over” the church and robbed the people of their liberty in Christ) others say they were like Balaam who wanted the church to compromise itself or a sect of people who were immoral gnostics. It can be seen as living on both sides of the fence. - Bonhoeffer calls it cheap grace.
The Bad
They lost there first love
That can be defined as they abandoned or some say forgot there love for Jesus and replaced it for something else
There love grew old and stagnant. If you lose your love you lose your light . You will have little impact and be unnoticed and your beacon of truth goes out.
It is a lighthouse with the light off
The Solution
Remember - Jesus saved you, not religion - He is your first love - You don’t cast him aside for something else the moment you feel you got enough out of Him.
Repent - turn back around - let go of what you are be pulled to and go back
Rework - get back to the basics of your faith. Relationship not works. In other words it is works stemming out of relationship not works for works sake
Receive - direction from the Holy Spirit.
If not I will Remove - the lampstand - The Spirit - As Jesus has already done in many of our mainline churches where rampant sin is allowed and encouraged all the way up the leadership ladder. It might look like a church might operate like a church, might have an order of service like a church but it is completely void of the Holy Spirit. There is another Spirit present and it is not the Holy Spirit.
If you do this - I will grant eternal life in paradise in other words Heaven with God
Interesting point it says in the passage to hear what the spirit says to the churches (plural) because every church has something that represents a challenge to our faith.
Now lets look at the second of the seven churches
Revelation 2:8–11 ESV
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. “ ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
The Church in Smyrna
Another Roman city
It was said to be very glorious and beautiful- beautiful buildings . It also had a beautiful breeze that would flow into it. Some say it was cool even during the summer. To me I could picture a pretty side of San Diego. The Smyrnans loved there city and they were loyal to it and to Rome.
Probably founded by Paul on his third missionary journey.
It had a person of great spiritual stature that was probably a student of Paul and that was Polycarp. He was burned at the stake in AD 155. He was asked to give worship to Ceasar by saying Ceasar is Lord. Poly carp said “ eighty and six years I have served Him and He never did me any injury, how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior.
Let me paraphrase his last words. Just in case you didn’t hear me the first time, I am a Christian.
They pressed him further and he said , you threaten me with fire which will only burn for an hour, you are ignorant of the fire , coming judgement and eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. Then he says what are you waiting for?
Christ is the conqueror of death - the ever living one . He holds the keys , though you die physically you will live.
The Good
The are a tough bunch, they were a people of faith. Jesus understands the constant barrage of hate upon them, how they are ripped of in every way. They were unemployed the minute they were saved and gave honor to Jesus rather than Ceasar. They became the rejected class.
We are getting a very slight picture of what is to come today. “If you are not vaccinated or in other words bow down to the state we will see to it that your job is terminated.”
You become an enemy of the state.
Christianity meant - unemployment, hunger, imprisonment or even death.
Jesus was also aware of those who called themselves Jews ( who also would in no way call Ceasar Lord but now have fully compromised themselves. Jesus takes notice. There synagogue was now to a point where Satan ruled not Yahweh. We have churches like that today.
The Bad
The Solution
Do not Fear - Judgement is coming - physical death is at the door ( ten days signifies “a short period of time”- you are going to be tested in your faith.
They are going to be judged unfit to live by the people but they are going to be crowned by Jesus
The message is to overcome.
Bonhoeffer another Martyr wrote, “When Jesus calls us, he bids us come and die.” At the gallows, his last words to his fellow prisoners were these: “This is the end. For me, the beginning of life.”
In His book Cost of discipleship he says , ““The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death—we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ.
When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call.”
We see this type of commitment to God as Shadrack, Meshack and Abendigo - In daniel Chapter 3 vs 17 and 18 it says - If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods nor worship the golden statue that you have set up.”
Lets put the two together
If Jesus is your first Love you will Take up your cross and follow Him. If he isn’t you won’t. WOW
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