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Chapter 2=    =Chapte 4


:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sar'dis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sar'dis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

:5 He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.




:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These thing saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and no one shutteth, and shutteth and no one openeth;

:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.

:11 Behold, I come quickly: Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

:12 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 New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches." '




:14 And unto the angel of the church of the La-o-di-ce'ans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot.

:16 So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and am increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white garments, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.

:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.

:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

:21 To him that overcometh, I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.



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Statement of Faith

Revelation of Jesus Christ


Verses 1 - 6

"...the church in Sardis..."

The church at Sardis had, for the most part, become a church of worldliness. Jesus sternly tells them, "...I know thy works..." They had become a church of nominal christians, having the name of Christ, but few works to give evidence of their profession of faith.

Evangelizing the world for Christ was obviously not at the top of their agenda. Jesus basically regarded them as a dead, or nearly dead church. He admonishes them to strengthen the few things which remain which were also about to die.

The Lord has high expectations of His church and really gives a call to each of us to be mindful of our walk with Him, to keep ourselves clean of the world and obedient to work He has set forth for us to do. We should daily examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith, or not.

Becoming too busy with the affairs of this world {Luke 8:14}, and taking the mission of the church lightly appears to be their greatest sin. The church is advised to remember the word which was delivered to them, and repent.

Their failure to be watchful or considerate of the Lord's return, or their relationship to Him, was a sure sign of worldliness creeping into the church. Because of this, He issues the warning that if they continue in the same mind, that He will come unto them as a thief. The implication of this is, that the Lord will take that which has not yet died from them, leaving them destitute and cut off from Him.

His promise to not leave or forsake one {Heb. 13:5}, is made to those whose hearts are set on obeying the Lord. It doesn't matter what we believed twenty years ago; or what we believed yesterday. The question is: what do we believe at this present moment? Eternal security of the believer is guranteed, with the understanding that the word, "believer" is always to be held as present tense.

There was an obedient remnant within the church there, who were indeed holding faithful to the word first delivered to them. To these Jesus promises that they shall walk with Him in garments of white. These are the garments of righteousness {Rev. 19:8}

Jesus further states, that the names of these will no be blotted out of the Book of Life. This is a very strong and fearful statement showing that He, in fact, has the power to do this very thing to those who do not follow Him all the way, but turn away and deny their connection to Him before men.

To those He says, that He will deny them before His Father and His angels. This is the same thing which He spoke in {Matt. 10:32-33} and {Luke 12:8-9}. Jesus is, here speaking, to those whose names are written in the Book of Life. So, the question is posed here: If He denies us before the Father and the angels, will there be a place found for us in the Kingdom of God? Will it not be that He will blot our name out of the Book of Life and say to us, as with the wicked: "...Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire..."? (Matt. 25:41). This is seroius business, not something we should take lightly!

 
 
 


Verses 7 - 13

"...the church in Philadelphia..."

The church in Philadelphia was a well beloved church by the Lord. He found no fault, or reason to offer reproof to this one; but rathers see a church which is striving to endure according to His will. The "open door" set before them gurantees them immediate access to the Lord Himself. His ears are inclined to their prayers, because they have kept His word and have not denied His name. This church represents the epitome of what Christ is looking for in His church: one which is submissive to His will; careful about matters of faith and practice, and continuously looking for the Lord's return.

Those Jews, who Jesus said were of the "synagogue of Satan", were troubling the saints there, and Jesus states that He will humble them in their arrogance making them to come and bow down before their feet, as to acknowledge that Jesus has loved them. The sense here is that they are those who sought to be lords over the church through the law, rather than using the grace of God as an incentive to right living. They appear to represent a "Christianized" version of the Pharisees.

In verse 10, Jesus promises to those who persevere the hardships and trial in this world, He will deliver them from a time of universal testing, which will try all men. Many see this as prophetically referring to the church being raptured out of the world prior to the Tribulation period beginning.

I Thess. 5:9 is often referred to concerning this, where it states that, "...God has not appointed us to wrath..." The promise given in verse 10 is followed by Jesus telling the faithful that He is coming quickly and that they are to "...hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." The crown here is the garland of victory, or the crown of life, which shall be given to those who overcome in this world.

Jesus ends His message to this church by saying that those who overcome the trials of this life, will be as pillars in the temple of God. They shall forever, be in the presence of the Almighty. Moreover, they shall have written upon themselves, the name of God, of new Jerusalem, and the new name of Jesus Himself. What an incentive it is to us, that we should strive to live as the faithful whom the Lord addressed in this church.

 
 
 


Verses 14 - 22

"...the church of the Laodiceans..."

With verse 14, we get to the last of the churches who receive a message from the Lord.

The church at Laodicea was a church which was ambivalent in their attitude towards the Lord. They were a sort of "fence-straddling" church: one foot in the kingdom of God, and one foot in the world. Because of this, the Lord says that He would "spue" (or vomit) them out of his mouth as lukewarm water.

"...thou sayest, I am rich..."

Verse 17 speaks of three things for which Laodicea was well known. First it was a financial center of the region. Secondly its apparel industry was widely recognized, and finally, it was famous for an eye salve made there, which was said to cure blindness.

Jesus however, saw the worldly comfort in which they have hidden themselves as very detrimental and deceptive. He says, in fact, "...thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked:" They have put their trust in worldly things, and have developed a false sense of security for their lives. It's one of the great sins of Babylon (Rev. 18:7-8)

Even so, Jesus still calls them to repent, for He says, "...As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten..." In this, we see that He calls all to repentance, even the wayward Laodiceans, and this reaffirms the word of the Lord that if we will return unto Him he will abundantly pardon {Is. 55:7}.

What the Lord said to the Laodiceans, He says to all, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." The question is: Do we hear His voice, and if so, will we open up to Him?

This chapter and the message to the Laodiceans ends in verse 22, with the promise of real security: Those who overcome will be allowed to sit with Jesus upon His throne. A tremendous word from our Lord!


CHAPTER SUMMARY

Chapter 3 concludes the messages to seven churches by addressing those at Sardis, Philadelphia an Laodicea.

The church at Sardis was one which had become very worldly in its outlook. So much so, that Jesus declared that it was essentially dead. Very little worthiness remained in it that it should even be considered to be a church which belongs to Him. Their failure to "watch" was a sure sign of their worldliness.

Even so, Jesus found some at Sardis, who were walking faithfully. To these it is told that they shall walk with the Him in white garments; and that He will confess them before His Father and the angels which are in Heaven.

To Those who would walk contrary to Him, the warning is given, that their names may be blotted out of the Book of Life. This is an awesome statement that all should consider, who attempt to keep one foot in the world and one in the church, as those at Sardis were doing!

The Church of Philadelphia was greatly loved by the Lord. It was well living up to its name, Philadelphia, which means "brotherly love". There is no rebuke extended to this church, and as such an "...open door..." is set before them. Those there are freely given open access to the Lord at all times.

Here, we see a church which is submissive to His will; careful about matters of faith and practice, and continuously looking for the Lord's return. Jesus promises that those who persevere in this world wil be kept from the great trial which is to come upon all the earth. He ends His message to them by saying, "...hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." Doing so, will assure that they have an everlasting position before the Almighty.

The Church of Laodicea was a church with an apathetic attitude. Wavering in their walk with the Lord: neither hot, nor cold; but a tepid mixture. Unable to come to a resolution of commitment, nor able to cast away that wherein they stood with the Lord. Because of this, the Lord states that He will "spue" them out of his mouth, even as lukewarm drinking water is not pleasant. This church has found its solace in the wealth which they posessed. Jesus cautions them to acquire the true wealth which is not corruptible. To those who overcome, Jesus promises a seat with Him upon His throne.

Here ends the specific words of the Lord to the seven churches of Asia. Jesus loves all the churches, however; He also expects them to walk faithfully and honorably before not only Himself, but the world, as well. Everything which cast a shadow upon Him, or His Holiness is to be challenged and brought into subjection by those who name the name of Christ.

The messages to the seven churches should be seen as a gauge of spirituality for all churches of all times. Examining ourselves and heeding the instruction given, as these churches were examined, can only serve to strengthen the Church of the Lord.

 

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