|Introduction- Revelation 1-2
“Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen.”
A Twofold Division of the Revelation
The things that are now happening (Revelation 2-3)
The things that will happen (Revelation 4-22)
4This letter is from John to the seven churches
|Ephesus Forgets- Revelation 2:1-7
State of the Churches
Ephesus and Laodicea (1 and 7) are in danger of losing their influence. Smyrna and Philadelphia (2 and 6) are healthy. Pergamum, Thyatira and Sardis (3,4,5) are neither good nor bad.
1Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: 2I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
4But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
The Nicolaitans are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles (Acts 6:5). They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is very plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
-Irenaeus “Against Heresies I:26”
3Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
15Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16I have not stopped thanking God for you.
15Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
A church that loses its love will quickly lose its light.
Corrective for a Cold Heart
Remember when love was young (verse 5a)
Return to whole-hearted devotion (verse 5b)
Relate love with service (verse 5c)
When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, “At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!”
Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.
23So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
1Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
|Smyrna Suffers- Revelation 2:8-11
Suffering Smyrna Revelation 2:8-11
8Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive: 9“I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan.10Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life. 11Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.
WHO ARE THE PERSECUTED?
WHERE ARE THE PERSECUTED?
Map of persecuted churches
How do we respond to the persecuted?
Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.
How do we respond to persecution ourselves?
How do we conquer?
|Pergamum Compromises- Revelation 2:12-17
Seven Steeples: Pergamum Compromises
Revelation 2:12-17 Dale Beaver October 29 & 30
Revelation 2:12-17 page 1042 in the bible in the armrest
Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:
Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city.
12For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. 14So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
14But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
All five of the Midianite kings—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba—died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.
Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.
3“If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” 4Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.”
47I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. 48Yes, I am the bread of life! 49Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.
He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever!
23For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.
This is one of the most precious truths in all of scripture. When we are saved, God first and foremost changes our status.
2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
|Thyatira Tolerates- Revelation 2:18-29
Revelation 2:18-29 NLT
18Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze: 19I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. 20But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality. 22Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve. 24But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 25except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, to them I will give authority over all the nations. 27They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. 28They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star! 29Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
“Eyes like fire and Feet like bronze”
I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.
I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.
Ephesus lost vitality. Thyatira increased!
But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols.
1 Kings 16:31
The wicked wife of Israel’s most wicked king.
She claimed to speak for God and was convincing enough that the leaders did not stop her. They were uncertain and/or did not want to be judgmental.
She explained away what Scripture taught about sexual immorality, and eating food offered to idols and some were glad to hear her message.
I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
God’s time for repentance is limited. She knew enough but was unwilling to forsake her teaching and her actions.
…And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve…
Their strengths would not protect them from the consequences of the sin they tolerated.
…To those who have not followed her into sin, “hold tightly to what you have until I come”…
26To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, to them I will give authority over all the nations. 27They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. (Psalm 2:8-9) 28They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!” (Revelation 22:16)
5 Questions we will be glad we faced:
1. Does Jesus see love, faith, service and endurance in me?
2. Does he see me influenced by tolerance of sexual immorality?
3. Does He see me "eating meat offered to idols" - compromising His name so I am accepted by my culture?
4. Do I believe His judgment will make compromise with the culture not worth the short term benefits?
5. Do I believe He will triumph over evil and that it will be worth my effort and faithfulness to reign with Him?
|Philadelphia Perseveres- Revelation 3:7-13
|Sardis Sleeps- Revelation 3:1-6
Wake up! Go Back! Hold tight!
The Presentation of Christ
Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars:
The Problem with the church
I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead.
2Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. 3Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.
2 Peter 3:8-12a
8But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. 11Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along.
4Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.
6Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. 8She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
18For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.
2 Samuel 23:20-22
20There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 22Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors.
Stay Clean. Walk Confidently. Rest Assured.
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
|Laodicea Lifeless- Revelation 3:14-22