Christ Speaks To Churches
This morning we come to the most understandable portion of the book of Revelation.
Now, in chapter 1 the Lord has reassured these Christians that he is about to speak to that, even though He was crucified, He is still alive; 1: 18.
And that is significant because in chapter 2 here He is going to say some things to these churches…He is going to expose some things that are going on…and they can know that what He says is true and just.
And the message to them is if they do not repent of what they are doing they too will be judged.
So, let’s begin in chapter 2. He says: “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:”
What we do know for sure is that this “angel” is some figure or representative of the church.
So, the Lord says: “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
There is no doubt to these Christians who this is from and who is making these judgments.
He says in verse 2 and watch this closely: “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance…or steadfastness, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.”
And now drop down to verse 6: “Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
So when you consider all these things, this is a great church, right?
He says that they “cannot endure evil men (they were quick to defend the truth)
and that they “put to the test those who call themselves apostles.”
He says that they “have endured for His name’s sake, and have not grown weary.”
As far as this church is concerned, they were as straight as a gun barrel.
But inwardly they were lacking. Look at vs. 4: “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.”
They “have left their first love.”
Now, notice, He tells them to “repent and do the deeds they did at first.”
The only thing is, they needed to do those things with a different attitude and purpose.
Apparently these Christians at Ephesus were doing all these good things more because they “had too”…more out of duty… rather than because they wanted too.
Apparently, over time the love they initially had for Christ…the love that motivated them to do the things they were doing…had slowly faded away.
You see, it is not enough to just be right.
Listen, you can do all the church work you can do…but if you do it because you have too…and there is no love behind it…it does not please the Lord.
Next, the Lord writes to the church at Smyrna. He says: “And to the angel of he church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life (this statement will give these brethren hope for sure because some of them will soon die). ,
The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life says this: I know your tribulation(grinding, crushing pressure) and your poverty(“pooooor”…having nothing…bankrupt) (but you are rich)(rich spiritually), and the blasphemy by those who say(they only say it…it is all talk…not every one is who they say they are) they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer.(God allows His people to suffer…and for these brethren they haven’t seen anything yet) Behold the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested (tested to see if they will remain faithful or give up), and you will have tribulation ten days (Not a literal 10 days. 10 is symbolic of total time; Dan. 1:12-16; Gen. 31:7. They must remain faithful through the entirety of the persecution). Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Some of these brothers and sisters are about to die at the hands of the Roman Empire.
And as I think about these brethren it makes me ashamed when I sit around and complain about some of the things I complain about.
I feel pretty bad about the things I complain about in view of what these brethren are going to face…and yet I am envious of them because the Lord says “they are rich.”
And I am envious because if you will notice, there is no condemnation for these brethren.
Look at vs. 11 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.’
Brethren the message to us is “be faithful no matter what…even until death” and the crown of life will be ours.
And then the Lord speaks to the church at Pergamum. Vs. 12:
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two edged sword says this: “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is (He knows it is hard for them to be where they are because Satan has his throne right in their midst.)
He says, “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith, even in days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”
But now verse 14:
But I have a few things against you, because you have there some(not all…a minority) who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality.
Balaam taught compromise.
And notice again, only “some” were doing this.
Look at verse:15 ‘Thus you also have some(again, not all…a minority) who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (It seems that some were quick to follow anything that came along.)
And the thing that Jesus has against this church is that they are tolerating these things.
There is a time when the members of a congregation are to step up and say, “No more.”
16’Repent therefore; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’
Outwardly, this church looked good…they held fast to the faith where Satan lived.
Now, he writes to the church at Thyratira:
Rev 2:18-19 The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: 19’I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.
This church is getting better all the time.
But now, verse 20:
But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
‘And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality.
‘Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23’And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
Now notice vs. 24: ‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them– I place no other burden on you.
25’Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26’And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations;
27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;
28 and I will give him the morning star.(symbolic of eternal life)
29’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
So, with this said, let me give you from all this 4 marks of a great church.
What would Jesus say about us, the church at Brady? Individually?