“Revelation: The Seven Churches, Part 1”
Welcome to Revelation chapter two! Here’s what we will cover this morning:
— See who this chapter is written about.
— Understand what applies to each of us in this chapter.
— Figure out how our church measures up to the standard Jesus sets for the church.
— Discover the promise of God for churches which honor Him.
A. Who is this chapter about?
1) Specifically, 4 churches that actually existed at the time John received this Revelation. SEE MAPS.
2) Broadly, any church of any age, including Sunny Hills Church. This chapter is about US.
What does this chapter say about us?
— Use listening ears! Vv. 7, 11, 17, 29, 7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”
— God knows His church. Vv. 2, 9, 13, 19, “I know you …”
— We’re a mixed bag. There is good to be praised, and problems to be addressed.
1 “Write 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:
2 “I 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.
3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!
5 Look 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.
6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
7 “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.
- Hard work.
- Patient endurance of suffering.
- Don’t tolerate evil people (especially the Nicolaitans).
- Discern the truth.
- Don’t quit.
- Love for Jesus has fallen off.
- Love for each other has fallen off.
- Turn back to Jesus.
- Do the works you did at first.
- If you don’t repent, “lampstand removed.” (Church will vanish.)
- To the victorious: fruit from the tree of life in Paradise!
8 “Write 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.
10 Don’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.
11 “Anyone 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.
- Even though they are suffering and in poverty, they are truly rich!
- Don’t be afraid.
- About to suffer.
- Some will be thrown in prison.
- To the faithful in the face of death: the Crown of Life!
- To the victorious: no harm by the second death!
12 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:
13 “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.
14 “But 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.
15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching.
16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 “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.
Nicolaitans is a Greek compound word meaning “to lead people astray.”
The name of Balaam, an OT evil prophet, is a Hebrew compound word meaning “to lead people astray.”
The church must always be wary of people who would lead us away from the Gospel into the minefields of personal opinion or cultural popularity.
- Remained loyal in a difficult setting.
- Remained faithful in the face of martyrdom.
- tolerate teaching that leads people astray.
- Sexual sin.
- Repent of your sin.
- Sudden removal of leadership.
- To the victorious: hidden mana from heaven, and a white stone with a secret name.
18 “Write 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:
19 “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.
20 “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.
21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
22 “Therefore, 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.
23 I 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.
24 “But 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
25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come.
26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations.
27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.
28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!
29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
- Some have remained faithful.
- Tolerating “Jezebel” and allowing her to lead people astray.
- Sexual sin.
- Hold on, tightly until Jesus arrives.
- Suffering and death to those who don’t repent.
- To the victorious, who obey to the end: authority over all the nations, and the morning star!
Main Point: “God wants our church to honor Him and remain faithful to His calling upon us to help ordinary people experience full life in Christ.”
A closing prayer, “Dear God, we are one of many churches in Wythe County, Virginia. God help us to know what is good here, and what you have against us. Command us. Help us to hear and heed Your warning … and God, make us a people of promise. In Jesus’ name, amen.”