Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks (2:1);
So the description of Jesus out of chapter one, “He holds the seven stars in his right hand and He walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks”. And you will find that His message is going to be relative to this description. It is going to come up again in the message to the church of Ephesus. It should be noted that each of these churches comprise a period of church history. And you can find that it fits very well to the periods of church history. And we will point out these periods of church history as we go through the seven messages.
These seven churches exist today. The conditions in this state you will find are relative to the church today. So they exist concurrently and they were addressed to the seven churches that existed, than dealing with situations that did exist within the churches, but they also have a historic application, which we will also see.
Now to the church of Ephesus,
I know thy works (2:2),
He says that to each of the churches.
and thy labour, and thy patience (2:2),
Now John in the first chapter described himself as on the island of Patmos for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and he said he was their brother and companion in tribulation in the kingdom and patience.
Now towards the end of the first century, they began to realize that the coming of Jesus wasn’t as quick as they thought originally it was going to be. They were all anticipating the Lord to return immediately to establish the kingdom. There were rumors going around that the Lord had promised John that he would not die before the kingdom was established. John in the last chapter of his gospel said that is not so. That is not what Jesus said.
Jesus said to Peter when Jesus told Peter how He was going to be martyred for the gospel’s sake, he said, “But what about him,” pointing to John. Jesus said, “Look, if I want him to remain alive till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me. You take care of Peter. I will take care of John.” And so many said that the Lord said that John was not going to die. John said, “No, the Lord didn’t say that. He said, If I will that he should stay alive till I come”(John 21:23). But Peter in his epistle began to encourage the people towards patience in waiting for the coming of the Lord. James had said, “Have patience, brother. Establish your souls for the Lord is waiting for the complete fruit of harvest.” So in the patience in waiting for the kingdom.
So the church has been patiently waiting for the kingdom. And because of our patient waiting for the kingdom, scoffers have come and said, “Ah, where is the promise of His coming? You know the world is going on as it was. There is nothing different. It has always been the fight of good against evil.” And they can show you headlines in the papers of 1897 that read like today. It’s been happening all the way along. Where is the promise of the kingdom? Since our fathers fell asleep all things have continued as they were from the beginning. So the patient waiting for the kingdom as the Lord is patiently waiting for the complete fruit of harvest.
I know thy works, thy labour, thy patience, and how you can not bear them which are evil (2:2): So they really had the gift of discernment going. One of the problems of the church is the evil that exists within it. And Jesus declared in the kingdom parables that it was going to happen. The seed is going to fall on various types of soil and there would be an abnormal growth to the church, like a mustard seed, a small seed, but it grows into a tree, abnormal growth. And the birds of the air, which are always a symbol of evil, will come and lodge in its branches. There have been a lot of evil birds lodged in the branches of the church and they exist today. There are a lot of dirty birds in the church.
The woman that took the three loaves and hid it in the leaven until it had permeated; so, the leaven is the symbol of evil permeating the whole church. The history of the church is shameful. I have no defense for it. I do not seek to defend the history of the church. I am embarrassed by the history of the church.
Whenever I go into a college class to lecture, I am so often challenged by the history of the church, and I always say I have no defense. The church’s history is rotten. I have no defense for the history of the church. I will defend Jesus Christ and my faith in Him and the simple gospel as it was taught by Him and practiced by the disciples, His apostles. But what happened in the church, I will not try to excuse or defend. I am only going to apologize and say, “That doesn't represent true Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ.” But God help us to be a true and faithful witness of what He wanted His church to be.
“You can not bear those that are evil.” They had the purging power within the church of Ephesus. And it is a healthy body that can purge the poisons from its system. It is when the church begins to tolerate the poison that it is going to die. If your body gets so weak it can’t purge poisons anymore, than death is going to follow very soon. It is necessary that the healthy body purge itself of the poisons within it. Thank God we have Romaine to purge the poison from the body.
you have borne, you have patience, and for my name’s sake you've laboured (2:3),
Their labor was done in the name of Jesus.
for his name’s sake you've laboured, and have not fainted (2:3).
And they have got all these works and all of these efforts going. They are a tremendously active church. All the committees are functioning as they are designed to.
Nevertheless I have this against thee, because you have left your first love (2:4).
So what the Lord was really longing for is not so much works, but just a loving relationship with his people. That is what God longs to have with you tonight. The Lord is just looking for a loving relationship with you. We are so often trying to substitute our works, efforts, for just plain fellowship. And the Lord longs for just plain fellowship. Rather than busying yourself for Him, He would rather that you just sit, relax and share time and love and fellowship with Him.
“I have this against you that you have left your first love,” that excitement, that thrill that you knew in the beginning. God said to Israel, “I remember the love that you had for Me when I was espoused to you in the wilderness. How that you were talking about Me all the time. What happened?” Jesus is saying I am missing the first love. That first bloom of love that you had.
So remember from whence you are fallen. And notice it is “fallen”. It is backsliding. You have gone backwards. You should have a deeper relationship of love with the Lord tonight than ever before. “Remember from whence you have fallen”. Remember those exciting days of following the Lord wherever He might lead. Hey, we were daring. We would do anything for Jesus. We would go anywhere for Jesus, our love.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent (2:4),
Change, turn, and then repent.
do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, unless you repent (2:5).
So the warning is that He will not stay in a loveless church. He will take that church away from His presence. For where was Jesus walking in the midst? “This sayeth he who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” So, it is relevant to the message of judgment that He announces. “If you don’t repent, I am going to take and remove the church from the place of My presence. I won’t stay”, He is saying, “in a church that lacks love.”
And the tragedy of so many churches today is there is a lack of love, and thus, the absence of the Spirit and what ensues then is fighting and bickering and all the other things that we see. Oh, how important it is that we maintain this love. More important than having miracles or anything else is having love.
Paul said, “I will show you a more excellent way. Not all work miracles, not all have the gift of healing, not all speak with tongues, but God wants that we should all have love. Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, if I don’t have love it is meaningless. It is just sounds. It is just noise. Though I have the gift of prophecy or I understand all things, if I have not love it is really nothing. Though I give my body to be burned and sell everything I have and give to the poor, if I don’t have love it is meaningless”(1Corinthians 12:31-13:2). Love is everything.
“You have left,” He said, “your first love.” Oh, what an indictment. “You better repent,” He said, “or else the next thing that goes is My presence. I am not going to stay.”
But this you do have, you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate (2:6).
What are the deeds of the Nicolaitans? The Greek words “Nicolaus” or “nikos” and “laos” are the words for Nicolaitanes. “Nikos” is priest or priesthood, and “laos” is the laody, the common people. So it is the establishing of a spiritual hierarchy, where a man would come between you and God. And would say, “No, you can’t go directly to God. You come to me and I will go to God for you.” That is exactly why Jesus died, to set aside—When Jesus died the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom as God was signifying to all men that every one can now have direct access to the throne of God. And in Hebrews we read, “Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we might receive mercy in the time of need, or the throne of mercy to receive grace in the time of need"(Hebrews 4:16). But that entry has been made through Jesus Christ.
Now there is within the Pentecostal churches that thing that is called shepherding, which is the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. You come to us and we will advise you what God has to say concerning “who you should marry” and “what you should sell” and “what you should buy” and “when you should do this or that”. And they seek to exercise a lordship over the people. It is the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, that shepherding movement. And of course we see it in the Catholic Church with the priesthood. You come and confess your sins to me and I will remit your sins, because I will go to the Father and I will take care of things for you. And it is putting a man between you and God. It is inserting here a man that stands here between you and God.
Now we will see this system develop when we get to the church of Thyatira, but at least the church of Ephesus hates it, which the Lord said, “I hate it too.” Why does He hate it? Because He died to abolish it. It used to be that man could not come directly to God because of sin, but Jesus dying for our sins made access to God for every man.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (2:7).
Adam was banished from the garden of Eden, because he had the choice of all of the trees that are in the garden to eat, but the tree that is in the midst of the garden thou shalt not eat thereof. Adam had the choice. He could have eaten of the tree of life, which was in the Garden of Eden, but he chose rather to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And in a sense, each of us makes that same decision that Adam made. There is the tree of life available to each of us through the cross of Jesus Christ, but so many times people choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They want to dabble in the evil things. They want to know about the evil.
Now to him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. God transplanted that tree. When Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden, God placed a cherubim at the gate of the garden to guard it, least man should return and eat of the tree of life and live forever in a sinful state. That is the most horrible thing that could have happened to man. God was protecting man from his own folly. But one day we will eat of that tree of life.
He that overcometh (2:7)
“He that lives and believes in Me”, Jesus said, “will never die.” So He is the tree of life, really, and partaking of Him we have eternal life.
And unto the angel of the church of Smyrna write (2:8);
Now the church of Ephesus historically is your first period of church history, up unto the death of the apostles, the book of Acts. Towards the end, there was a growing cold as they began to formalize the religion. The church of Smyrna is the church of the second and third century that went through such tremendous suffering and persecution from the Roman government. It was estimated that six million Christians were martyred during this period of time. Some of them were fed to the lions, stretched on the racks, crucified by the hundreds, as the Roman emperors at various periods sought to stamp out Christianity. So to this church that was going to experience such tremendous suffering and persecution, the message of Jesus is one of a different nature. It is a message of comfort, a message of hope.
To the angel of the church of Smyrna write; these things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive (2:8);
Remember the description of Himself, “the first and the last”? “I was dead and I am alive again”, because many, six million of this church are to be martyred for their faith.
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you art rich) (2:9)
Poor in material things, but rich in spiritual things.
I know the blasphemy of those that are Jews, and are not, they are the synagogue of Satan (2:9). Now when Jesus was in a confrontation with the religious leaders of His day, they said, “We have Abraham as our father.” Jesus said, “If Abraham was your father then you would believe in Me. For Abraham rejoiced to see My day and He saw it.” They said, “What do you mean Abraham saw you? You are not even fifty years old. What are you talking about?” Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” And they took up stones to kill Him. But then Jesus said, “I am of My Father, and if you were of My Father, you would know Me, but you are of your father the devil”(John 8:39-8:44). Who is He talking to? The religious leaders, the Pharisees. Now He is saying of them, “I know those who say they are Jews. They are really not.”
Paul the Apostle tells us that not all who have the Law are justified. For circumcision is not an outward ritual, it is really something of the heart. It is something that takes place within a person’s heart. It is not an outward ritual that a person goes through. It is an inward work within the heart. And there were many who were trusting in the Law. We have the Law. And they were trusting in the outward observance of the Law, where in reality what really mattered was in the person’s heart.
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount brought out this truth in chapter five. He said, “Unless your righteousness exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you are not going to enter the kingdom of heaven. For you have heard that it has been said by those in old times that thou shalt not kill; but I say unto you, if you hate your brother, you are guilty. You have heard that it hath been said that thou shalt not commit adultery, but I say unto you if you look at a woman and lust after her in your heart, you have actually violated the law.” For the Law is spiritual and the outward observance does not do it. It is what’s in a person's heart that really counts. And God is concerned about what is in your heart, not what you do on the outward. Not the rituals that you may observe outwardly, but what is going on in your heart. Is the love of God reigning in your heart? That is what matters. Do you have a genuine love for God or are you bound to a Law and to rituals?
I know those—the blasphemy of those which say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan, because they are opposed to Jesus Christ. They are fighting against Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
Fear none of those things which you will suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; you are going to have tribulation for ten days: but be thou faithful unto death, and I will give to you a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death (2:10-11).
Don’t fear those who are able to kill your body and after that have no power, but fear Him who after the body is killed has the power to cast your soul into Gehenna. “Ye, I say unto you, fear ye Him”.
Now they may kill your body. Don’t worry about that. You’ll not be hurt of the second death. So the words of comfort and hope to these who were to be martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ. Notice no call to repentance. They are going to have enough just being martyred for their faith. Now I do recommend highly that you read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs to get an insight to the church of Smyrna and the price that these people paid to believe in Jesus Christ.
Unto the angel of the church of Pergamos write (2:12);
This is the development now of the state church under Constantine.
These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges (2:12);
And out of His mouth there went a sword with two edges; the Word of God which cuts in judgment.
I know thy works, and I know where you dwell, even where Satan’s throne is (2:13):
Where is Satan’s throne? It is in the world. Here is a church that was trying to dwell in the world. It never worked, a church trying to join with the worldly system, a church state system, the legislating of righteousness, the legislating of religious issues. It can’t be done. It has to come from the heart. It has to be within a person’s heart to do it. You can’t make laws that will make people righteous or cause people to live righteous lives. That has to be a work of God’s Spirit within a person’s heart. So, here is a church that is trying to dwell in the world. “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.”
But you hold fast my name, you have not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold to the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat the things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication (2:13-14).
So, the doctrine of Balaam was the introduction of idolatry to the people of God. And it was at this time in church history that they began to introduce representations of Jesus and Mary and of the Apostles and Saints and Moses and so forth. They began to introduce the arts and statues and so forth within the churches and it became part of the church structure, the introduction of idols in the worship of God, the doctrine of Balaam, worshipping God in unprescribed ways.
Jesus said, “God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth”(John 4:24). Someone said, “Hey, I go to the beach and I worship God at the beach.” I believe you. I do too. “I go to the mountains and I worship God in the mountains.” I do too. You see, God is a Spirit. They that worship Him, worship Him in Spirit and in truth, and we don’t have to confine ourselves to a building to worship God, nor should we. We worship God everywhere. “God is a Spirit.”
Now God has prescribed how we are to worship Him. To try and worship Him in an unprescribed way is a spiritual fornication in a sense.
You also have those that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes (2:15),
And so, we find that in this period of church history there began to be the establishment of the professional ministry, the priesthood, the ruling over the laity. And here again the Lord says,
I hate these things. Repent; or else I will come to thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword in my mouth (2:15-16).
They will come against them in judgment with His Word.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it (2:17).
The white stone was a stone of acceptance. The black stone was a stone of rejection, black-balled. I will give them a white stone. I will receive him. I will accept him and give him a name, which no man knows except him who receives it.
Now unto the angel of the church at Thyatira (2:18);
Now we have the development of the Roman Catholic system. And please, if you are a Roman Catholic or have a Catholic background, don’t be angry with me, because we are going to lay it on the Protestants when we get to Sardis. At least the Lord has some good things to say about Thyatira and Pergamos. He doesn’t have anything good to say about Sardis. So hang around. We'll get there. There is something in the messages of Jesus to the churches to offend everybody, so it is here.
I think it is wrong to just bury my head in the sand and say, “Oh, that doesn’t exist, or that is terrible, or you shouldn’t judge.” If there is something wrong, I want the Lord to show us. If there is something wrong with what we are doing, with what I am doing, I want God to show me. I don’t want to be blind. I don’t want to be bigoted and say, “No, we have got the only way and we are it, and there is nothing to improve on.” I can’t believe that.
David said, “Search me O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there is a way of wickedness in me and You lead me in Your way” (Psalm 139:23). That is what I want. I don’t want to be headstrong and so set in my ways and in my traditions that I am not open to the voice of the Spirit. Let him that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying. I want to hear what the Lord is saying to me. And if there is something wrong or off in the way I am teaching or the way I am living or whatever, I want to be open so God can reveal it to my heart and show me. I don’t want to be so dogmatic or narrow that I can’t see the flaws that exist in my own life. That would be terrible.
The church of Thyatira writes,
These things saith the Son of God, who has his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass (2:18);
Whenever you come across brass in the Scriptures, you are coming across a metal that is a symbol of judgment. The laver in which the priests would wash was made of brass. Moses made a serpent of brass and lifted it up in the wilderness. It is a metal that is symbolic of God’s judgment.
So, eyes like a flame of fire. And fire is always looked at in the terms of judgment in purifying, the refining of the fire.
I know thy works, and your charity [love], your service, and your faith (2:19),
And these are the dominant issues of the Roman Catholic Church, their love and their service and their faith and,
patience and works (2:19);
And this they have a lot of, a lot of good works. And there are some marvelous, marvelous people in the Catholic Church that I highly admire. Mother Teresa is just an unusual person, marvelous. It is not saying things against those individuals, because God has His overcomers. It is just talking about a system.
Notwithstanding though you have these things, I have a few things against you, first of all because you allowed the women Jezebel, which called herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit [which would be spiritual] fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols (2:20).
So again the introduction of idols in worship, relics to be worshipped; the idols to be kissed or prayed to.
I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and those that commit adultery with her into the great tribulation (2:21-22),
So, here is now first of all the indication that the Catholic Church would exist right up until the coming of Jesus Christ and the rapture of the church, because he talks of them being allowed to go into the Great Tribulation. So this church will exist. You see nothing was said of Ephesus. That church existed in the first century. Smyrna existed in the second and the third century, and the church system joined by Constantine became divided and you had the Eastern and Western. And now you have the development of this great system. And the threat that they will exist to the last days, unless they repent, they will be cast into the Great Tribulation.
What is the rationale there? If they do repent they can escape the Great Tribulation. You see the Great Tribulation will be judgment for their failure to repent, which means that repentance would bring you deliverance or escape from the Great Tribulation.
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one according to your works (2:23).
Not so Lord, according to your mercy and grace deal with me.
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you no other burden. But that which you have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (2:24-29). So, these glorious promises of Jesus to the overcomers in this system, reigning with Him upon the earth, ruling over the earth, receiving the morning star, even Jesus Himself.
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis (Protestant Reformation) write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God (3:1),
And so the fullness of the Spirit as it dwelt in Jesus, Isaiah the eleventh chapter.
and the seven stars; I know thy works, that you have a name that you are alive, but really you are dead (3:1).
Dead Protestantism. And I’ll tell you if you don’t believe it is dead, go to Europe. You go into a post-Christian era when you get to Europe. It is dark. The church is dead. The Protestant Reformation in Europe is dead. You say you are alive, but really you are dead.
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works (complete) before God (3:2).
The problem with the Protestant Reformation is that it wasn’t complete. In the Protestant Reformation they drew with it many of the pagan practices that originated in Babylonian religion systems. They came out, but not far enough. Their works weren’t complete. So, we find within the church today a lot of relics from the Babylonian system, the Babylonian religion. We just went through one, the celebration of Christmas on December 25th. It is a tremendous pagan celebration originating in Babylon adopted by Rome called Saturnalia. It was a time of drunkenness and feasting and the giving of gifts and celebration as the sun past through the winter solstice. It was adapted by the church. It was picked up by the Protestants. We are soon going to be entering into the Lent season which was borrowed from the Babylonian system. So, it wasn’t a complete reformation.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, hold fast, repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and you'll not know what hour I'm coming upon thee (3:3).
So now He is warning concerning His coming for the church. Paul said, “You are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are children of the light, therefore walk as children of the light.” Now there are many today who are not watching for the return of Jesus Christ. There are many who in the church mock the idea of the Lord returning and interrupting history.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy (3:4).
So within the Protestant Reformation, those great persons didn’t defile their garments, walking with Him in purity, they are worthy.
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but will confess his name before my Father, and before his holy angels (3:5).
“He that denies me before men,” Jesus said, “I will deny before my Father, but if you confess Me before men, I will confess you before my Father which is in heaven.” I am looking forward to the Lord confessing my name before His Father. That is my only hope. If that doesn’t happen, I have had it. I will confess his name before the Father.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (3:6).
Now we have the church of Philadelphia, the faithful remnant. Those who are holding to the Word of God. Those who gather on Sunday evening to study the Word of God.
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens (3:7);
Now he is borrowing a description not out of chapter one in this. The rest of the description is out of chapter one. He is going back to Isaiah 22 for this description. And in the twenty-second chapter of Isaiah in verse twenty-two, well, go back to twenty-one, we read this prophecy concerning the Messiah, “I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder, so he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut and none shall open.” So, Jesus is here laying claim to that prophecy of the Messiah in Isaiah 22:22. I have the key of David. I open and no man can shut. I shut and no man can open.
I know thy works: behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it (3:8):
That to me is exciting. The Lord sets before us an open door of opportunity and no man can shut it. I believe that that open door will be open to us until the Lord comes. No man can shut it.
for thou hast a little strength (3:8),
I don’t see a super church, or super saints. There is a doctrine known as the manifested sons of God that advocates the super sainthood. One of these days we are going to go into the phone booth and change our clothes and we are going to come out with super power and we are going to just point at the Russians and they will just shrivel and die. And all of the enemies of God we are just going to subdue when we are manifested finally as the sons of God before the world. Balderdash. You have a little strength.
We are not very strong. You know it is true that God is doing a wonderful work here and it is exciting to see what God is doing, but we have hardly touched the county. There are so many out there who need Jesus Christ. We can’t really sit back and say, “Look, how many we have got coming here.” There are so many more to be reached. We have a little strength. Thank God we have a little strength. Thank God that He has set before us the open door.
Behold, I will make of them the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee (3:9).
There will be that day that will come that the Jews will recognize that Jesus is the Messiah. That is a work that God is going to do in bringing the knowledge to these people. I do not feel called of God as an evangelist to the Jewish people or to the Jewish nation. I believe that is something that God is going to do. He may call others. And that isn’t to say that God doesn’t call people as He did to the Jews, but He has not called me. And I don’t feel that I have this great obligation to share the Gospel to the Jews. I believe that God has blinded their eyes until the fullness of the gentiles has come in. And so the day will come when they will acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah and I pray and long for that day. I hope for that day. But in the meantime I share the truth of God with those that accept, with those that believe.
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, [and here it is, because you've kept His Word], I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (3:10).
So, the promise of being kept from the Great Tribulation, because we have kept the word of His patience.
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name (3:11-12).
Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord is our righteousness.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the church (3:13).
No call to repentance, just a commendation for keeping the Word, the promise that He would also keep them.
Now the final apostate condition of the church, the church of Laodicea represented by those ministers that sued President Reagan for announcing the year of the Bible. Those ministers that are pro-abortion and pro-pornography and pro every other evil that comes down the pike, who dress in clerical robes and claim to be ministers of Jesus Christ but are really of the synagogue of Satan.
to the angel of the church of Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness (3:14),
In chapter one, He was known as the faithful and the true witness.
the beginning of the creation of God (3:14);
Or who was in the beginning of God’s creation. In the beginning was the Word, that the word was with God, all things were made by Him.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth (3:15-16).
The nauseating state of the church.
Because you say, I am rich, [endowed with great foundations and funds, we're rich.] we're increased with goods, we have need of nothing; you know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (3:17):
Interesting how the church observes itself and how Jesus observes the church.
I counsel thee buy from me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness does not appear; anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see (3:18).
That is of the Holy Spirit.
As many as I love (3:19),
And here He is loving the church in this sad condition.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent (3:19).
Oh, how patient the Lord is. He still loves the church in this apostate condition. "As many as I love, I rebuke." If the Lord has rebuked you, then be thankful He loves you. If the Lord chastens you, be thankful you are His child and He loves you.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock (3:20):
Actually the church has put Christ on the outside. You read the Gallup Polls and all and it is rather frightening to find out how many ministers do not really believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, do not believe in the virgin birth, do not believe that there is an actual heaven or hell. The percentages are down around fifty to sixty percent that don’t believe in these things. It is sad. You wonder why they are ministers. You might as well establish another religion on Mother Goose rhymes or something, or Aesops Fables. Why espouse a book that you can’t trust or is not true?
I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in, and will sup with him (3:20),
Eating supper is a very significant act from a Biblical standpoint, from a cultural standpoint at the time of Christ. It signified becoming one with the other person. And Jesus is always wanting to eat supper with people. What does it mean? It means that He wants to become one with you. Just open the door and He will come in and become one with you. He will eat supper with you.
Now, the Jew would not eat with the Gentile. He didn’t want to become one with the Gentile. You remember when Peter came to the house of Cornelius, he said, “Now look, I am really not supposed to be here. We Jews are not supposed to go into the house of a Gentile, but the Lord told me to come so that is why I am here.” And he was apologizing, but he went into the house of Cornelius. God was breaking down some of these barriers. Jesus doesn’t care. He says, “Just open the door and I will come in and eat with you. You can become one with Me. I will be glad to share with you and become one with you just open the door.”
To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches (3:21-22).
So we come to the end of the second section of the book of Revelation, the things which are. And next week as we get into chapters four and five. We will enter into the third section, the things which will be after these things of the church. We will take you to heaven next Sunday night. Oh God, give us ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. May we tonight, O God, listen to what you would say to us. Search us, O Lord, know our hearts, try us, O God, know our thoughts, if there is a way of unrighteousness, if there is a way of deceitfulness, God help us that we would not deceive ourselves, and be blind to the truth. Lord, if there is something wrong in what we are doing, how we are doing it, let your Spirit reveal to our hearts. God we don't want to go on living in a lie or a fallacy. We long to know Your truth. Thy Word is truth. Teach us thy Word that we might in its precepts and live in its light. In Jesus' name, Amen.