Thursday, February 12, 2015

Revelation 2:8-

Hello friends,

For those studying the Book of Revelation with us, here is the next installment.  In this lesson we continue with Jesus' words to the churches in Asia Minor. Tonight we hear how Smyrna, Pergamum,  Thyatira, and Sardis are doing in their living wholly for God.

Interestingly, only two churches receive no negative comments from Jesus, but most have something going well.  Wouldn't it be awful, though, if Jesus were to write a letter to your or my church and he had nothing good to say?!  Conversely, wouldn't it be wonderful if he had nothing overtly wrong to correct.

As you study God's Word with us, see if you can catch a glimpse of your church in one of these letters.  Remember...the purpose of The Revelation is to prepare the reader/disciple for the second coming of Jesus Christ - "Look, He is coming in the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the people of the earth will mourn because of Him."  (Revelation 1:7)

So be ready and there will be no need to mourn, but we will rejoice for the Glory of God will be revealed and the whole creation will be restored, and the Righteous will be with God for eternity!

God bless you as you take His Word seriously, Kirk McCormick

PS - Again, if you have any questions, let me know:

Smyrna – Revelation 2:8-11

Who is Speaking? …the “First and the Last” (i.e.: the Sovereign Creator)

Positives:  They were “rich”.  Not so much materialistically, but spiritually as demonstrated by their faithfulness even though they are slandered by the “Jews” (v. 9).

Negatives:  Nothing…Jesus does not correct them or call for their repentance.

Admonition:  A 10-day period of persecution is coming…so do not be afraid. Remain strong even
to the point of death…for there is a “crown of life” to be received.  (see, also, 2 Timothy 4:8)

Key Teaching Points:
1.     Persecution lasts only a short time
2.     Stay faithful and you will receive a blessing in eternity.

Pergamum – Revelation 2:12-17

Who is Speaking? …the one with the sharp, doubled-edged sword (i.e.: the warrior/judge)

Positives: Though Pergamum (sometimes Pergamos) is in the heart of Satan-worship, they hold true to Jesus.

Negatives:  They were practicing idolatry (could be the fertility cults or giving into the teachings of the Gnostics) AND they fell to the spiritual hierarchy of the Nicolaitans.

Admonition:  Stay faithful to Jesus and he will not only provide their daily needs (i.e.: manna) but they will be judged innocent and accepted by God (i.e.: “white stone” in v. 17)

Key Teaching Points:
1.     Religious syncretism is anathema to God. We need no other “god”.
2.     Discernment is necessary to not accept false religious beliefs and practices
3.     Faithfulness to Jesus assures provision of one’s needs in life.

Thyatira – Revelation 2:18-29

Who is Speaking? …the “Son of God”, the one who has the authority of the Father to judge

Positives:  Good works, love, service, faith, patience, ever growing testimony.

Negatives: Tolerance of bad doctrine/teachings (symbolism: Jezebel) which leads to ungodly lifestyles (i.e.: sexual immorality, eating foods to sacrifices)

Admonition: Repentance by those who are following “Jezebel”… and “hold on” to sound doctrine and enforce God’s rule.

Key Teaching Points:
1.     “Go along to get along” is not a Christian lifestyle option.
2.     Commercial gain at the expense of Christian faith leads to death.
3.     Keep your doctrine pure, and let your lifestyle follow your doctrine.

Sardis – Revelation 3:1-6

Who is Speaking? …the “one who holds the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars”, i.e.: the one

Positives:  Nothing…sadly/tragically.

Negatives: Even though they have a good reputation, they are spiritually dead…or dying as they can still “wake up.”

Admonition:  Remember (God’s Word), repent, and be obedient. To those who overcome – they will walk with Jesus dressed in white (i.e.: clean of sin). To those who remain in their sin – their names will be removed from the book of life.

Key Teaching Points:
1.     It’s never too late to recover from spiritual apathy…but recovery takes intentionality.
2.     To recover:  Wake up (i.e.: be on guard), strengthen (refortify or things crumble), remember (go back to the basics of belief), obey (be humble and follow the Lord).

Jesus’ Promise (3:5) – “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”

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