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Revelation 4:1-5 “The Throne Of God In Heaven”

SIH STSTA ICONTHE TEXT:

The Letter To Laodicea…

 

Revelation 4:1-5 KJV

(1)  After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

(2)  And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

(3)  And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

(4)  And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

(5)  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

 

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

Chapter 4 begins a new section in the book of Revelation… “Jesus Christ In The Midst Of Heaven”.  Prior to this section, our attention was placed upon earth and the Lord in the midst of His assemblies, communing with them and instructing them.

In chapters 4 and 5, we will have our attention switched to the great worship taking place in heaven.  This worship will be pointed toward Christ and the Father.

A very brief outline of this section of Scripture:

Vision Of Heaven 4:1-5:14

  1. Worship Before The Throne  (4:1-11)
  2. The Throne Of God (vs 1-5)
  3. The Four Beast’s Worship Of God (vs 6-11)
  4. The Scroll And The Lamb (5:1-7)
  5. Worship Of The Lamb (5:8-14)

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Revelation 4: -

(1)  After this I looked, 

Following John’s receipt of the vision of Christ’s messages to His seven local assemblies, he begins to receive a new vision from God.

and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: 

John sees a door that leads to heaven beginning to open.  This helps us to understand that this vision is about to reveal activities taking place in heaven.  Just like an open door allows us to see into another room, this open door will allow John to see heaven and heavenly activity taking place.

 

and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me;

As the vision begins, John hears a voice speaking to him. By implication, this voice appears to be coming from heaven.  John describes the voice as being like a trumpet.  In other words, it was a loud, clear, easily understood voice.  This voice is probably the voice of an angel that will be showing John the greatness of heavenly worship..

A trumpet was used in Bible times to call an assembly to worship.  This is perhaps also a part of the reason why this voice was described as being like a trumpet. It was inviting John to approach and view a scene of great heavenly worship taking place.

 

which said, Come up hither,

John is now invited to “come up hither”.  In other words, this voice is inviting John to, through receipt of this vision, enter into heaven and view its worship.

(Please remember, John’s spirit and body are physically located on the isle of Patmos, and throughout this vision, both will continue to reside on this island.  He was not literally, physically taken into heaven.  He was allowed to view heaven by means of this vision, and in that sense would “come up hither” to heaven)

 

and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

As his vision continued, he would be shown things that would take place from this point forward.  In other words, he would see events that would take place from the time he received this vision through the eternal reign of Christ on the New Heavens and New Earth.

The previous section of our study revealed to John what was taking place slightly before and during his time (the seven local assemblies and their condition before the Lord [Revelation 1:19, 2:-3:]).  Now, he will gradually begin to see what will take place in his future and the future of the world which will culminate in Christ’s second coming and His eternal rule.

 

(2)  And immediately I was in the spirit: 

John was now “in the spirit”, in other words, he was surrounded by the Holy Spirit’s power as the Spirit intervened in the life of John (Rev 1:10).  This allowed him to receive this vision as also the prior ones.  This was a common phrase used to describe the Spirit’s intervention in a Christian’s life allowing him to serve the Lord in great ways (Rom 8:9, Gal 5:16, 25 etc), including the receipt of visions (Ezek 37:1, 17:3, 21:10),

This is not teaching us that John’s spirit left his body and ascended to heaven.  Based upon a proper understanding of the Biblical phrase “in the spirit”, there is no reason to believe this is speaking of John’s human spirit within him.  Also, please note “spirit” in most translations is capitalized helping us to understand that we are talking about the Holy Spirit of God, not John’s human spirit. (See NKJV, ESV, ASV, ERV, ISV etc.)

 

and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

As John receives the vision from the Lord, the first thing that attracts his attention is the throne of God with God seated upon it.

The throne was looked upon as a seat of authority.  When one sat upon the throne, it was an outward declaration of the great authority that they held.  In this case, we will see in the following verses, it is God who is sitting upon this throne clearly revealing that He is the ultimate Authority Holder over all of His creation.

 

(3)  And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: 

God is now described as appearing like a “jasper and sardine stone”.

The jasper stone was a clear stone found in multiple colors (Rev 21:11,18-19).  Its clearness is a picture of the great holiness and justice of God.  Upon him is no filth nor imperfections. He makes no mistakes nor is He unfair or unjust.  He is the sinless God who is perfectly just and holy.

The sardine stone was a blood red stone.  It points to shed blood which, in turn, reminds us of a two-fold truth about God.  Firstly, it reminds us of the shedding of the blood of lost mankind as they face His wrath for their sins. Secondly it reminds us of His great grace and mercy shown in the shed blood of Christ for His people.

In both, we have seen His great justice and holiness.  As a holy and just God, He cannot allow sin to go unpunished.  Therefore, either the sinner must be punished, or a substitute must be punished (Christ on the cross).

 

and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

Here the Lord’s faithfulness (rainbow) and role as Life-giver (emerald) comes into view.

Of course, the rainbow is a constant reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness.  The rainbow was placed in the clouds to remind us of His faithfulness to the promise He gave to Noah.  Likewise, the color of an emerald, green, reminds us of new life.

When we are told that John saw “a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald”, he seems to be describing a rainbow that is made up of varying shades of green.  What a wonderful picture for us all to try to imagine.  A throne surrounded by a beautiful rainbow filled with many shades of green!

 

(4)  And round about the throne were four and twenty seats:

John now notices that surrounding the throne of God are 24 “seats”.

It is important for us to notice that the word “seats” comes from the very same Greek word as “throne”.  In other words, John saw 24 smaller thrones surrounding the throne of God.  This helps us to understand that whoever is sitting in these seats (thrones) are holders of authority.  Implied is that their authority is delegated authority coming from the greater authority of God.

 

and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

24 elders are sitting on these thrones.

They are described as clothed in white raiment picturing righteousness that clothes them.  This can also be a picture of the white robes warn by the priests.

They also have crowns of gold upon their heads.  The Greek word for crown here is a word that is used to describe rewards given to those who are victorious.  One of the great rewards believers are promised is to share in Christ’s authority.  This involves the authority to judge, gain victory, and to reign with Him (1 Corinthians 6:2, Revelation 5:10, 19:14, 20:4-6, 22:5 etc).    The gold on the crowns reminds us that this reward of authority originates, is delegated by, and perpetuated by, God Himself.  It is all because of Him!

Who are these elders?  These elders represent all of those who are saved by God’s grace from both OT and NT time frames who have died and whose spirits are now in heaven with God (Rev 5:8-10).  It represents the redeemed as those who share an eternal citizenship and inheritance with Christ as members of the Lord’s nation and family.  They are given the white robes as believer priests and the gold crowns of victors and ruling authorities.    They are like the 12 tribes of Israel (symbolic of God’s OT followers) added to the 12 apostles (symbolic of God’s NT followers.)    They are believers of all ages who possess Christ’s righteousness and receive great blessings and rewards for their faithfulness throughout eternity.  They are surrounding the throne of Christ, enjoying communion and citizenship with Him (as priests), recognizing His authority and sharing in that authority (as victorious rulers).

These 24 elders represent God’s redeemed and their POSITION as the eternally blessed of God.

 

(5)  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: 

John’s attention returns to the throne of God where he sees God’s greatness on display.  John sees lightning and hears thunderings and loud voices (like trumpets), all three of these are used as pictures of the greatness of God’s presence in the Old Testament.

Some examples include His presence upon Mt Sinai at the giving of His law and as He led the Israelites through the Red Sea (Exo 19:16, 20:18, Psa 77:18).  Also in Revelation, His presence during times of wrath upon the earth is symbolized by these in Revelation (8:5, 11:19, 16:18)

 

and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Not only did the 24 elders upon thrones surround the throne of God, but also standing in front of the throne of God were seven burning lamps (implied: they are lamps containing olive oil which represents the Holy Spirit throughout the Scriptures).

Here, we are told that the lamps represent the seven-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit (the seven Spirits of God) in the lives of God’s people.  Their arrangement in front of the throne helps us to understand that these ministries of the Spirit are performed at the bidding of God the Father.  This is much like servants who would approach the throne of a king awaiting the King to speak and give them His instructions.

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

Although Christ not specifically mentioned in this section of our study, we can learn much about Him when we recognize He is equal with God (John 5:18, John 10:30).  The same attributes of the Father are shared by the Son.  These include His great authority, sinlessness, justice and grace.  Not only that but also He is the source of all life, being Creator of the Universe and Redeemer of His people.

What a wonderful Savior who is an equal person of the Godhead.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

Our study brings to mind the preeminence of our God.  As John saw the heavenly throne of God, he saw a grand display of the greatness of God.  Folks, we serve a great Lord.  He is a Lord who cannot be described through mere words, nor through the symbolism found in the book of Revelation.  Although we see Him as a great Lord who far surpasses everyone and everything around us, we must always remember this is but a glimpse of His true supremacy.  When we enter into eternity with Him, it is only then that we will begin to see Him as He is…

1 John 3:2 KJV – “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

May we always think upon His greatness and allow those thoughts to motivate us to trust Him in the fearful times, obeying Him during times of persecution and love Him no matter what our lot in life.  He is the Supreme Almighty God, in whom we have the privilege to love and serve.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

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Revelation 3:14-22 “Christ’s Letter To The Church At Laodicea”

SIH STSTA ICONTHE TEXT:

The Letter To Laodicea…

 

 

 

Revelation 3:14-22 KJV

(14)  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans 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 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 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 raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, 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 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.
(22)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

 

From our previous lesson, we saw a very basic summary of the contents of these letters include:

 

Church Location Name Meaning Areas of Faithfulness Areas of Unfaithfulness Possible Punishment Reward To Overcomers (proof of genuine salvation)
Ephesus Desired or Allowed Many areas of faithful outward service.  Hate doctrine of Nicolaitanes. Left first love (Christ)Service not motivated by love for Christ. Removal of candlestick (church no longer enjoying fellowship w God) Eat of Tree of Life in Paradise
Smyrna Myrrh Spiritually rich N/A N/A Not hurt by second death
Pergamos Fortified Tower Faithfulness in face of persecution Allowing doctrine of Balaam and Nicolaitans(physical and spiritual fornication) Will war against those who hold false teaching Be given hidden manna and white stone with new name
Thyatira Sacrifice, Offering, Corpse Works of love, service, faith, patience False Prophetess in midst. (sexual immorality and idol worship) Sickness, tribulation and death upon her and her followers. Be given power over the nations
Sardis Depart, Escape, Exit A few faithful areas of service remain. A few faithful members remain. Testimony that they are spiritually alive but really dead.  Their works not “perfect” before God. Will come upon them as a thief (implied removing anything of value leaving spiritually destitute) White garments.  Name not blotted out of book, confess his name before the Father
Philadelphia Love Of The Brethren Kept Word not denied name of Christ. Persevered in trials N/A N/A Permanent pillar in temple of God.  Name of God and New Jerusalem upon them. New name given to them
Laodicea Judgment Of The People N/A Lukewarm service.  Blinded to their spiritual destitution. Spew out of Lord’s mouth. Rebuking and chastening from Lord. Sit with Christ in throne.

 

 

Beginning in chapter 2 through chapter 3, John writes personalized messages to the 7 churches.  Each message contains four basic parts:

  1. Description of Christ
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences
  4. Promise to Overcomers

 

The first of these personalized messages is written to the church at Laodicea.

  1. Description of Christ (v 14)
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences (N/A)
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences (v 15-20)
  4. Promise to Overcomers (v 21-22)

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Revelation 3: – 

 

(14)  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;

Laodicea was located in the Lycus Valley which was route of travel and trade for many who were traveling from the east to west.  The great amount of wealthy traders that passed through the city caused the city to become very wealthy and self-sufficient.  At one point it time, the city was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake.  The citizens chose to reject monetary help from the Roman government and totally rebuilt the city by their own means.

Due to their great wealth and prosperity, the city became the home of great monuments, schools of science, medicine and art as well as other cultural attractions.   The city was originally called “the city of Zeus” and was a center of Zeus worship.   Many of its citizens were Jews who continued to monetarily support the temple in Jerusalem.

The city received its supply of water from a series of pipes that ran from springs outside the city.  Many believe that this is a source of reference for the Lord’s description of them being like “lukewarm water”.

 

These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

This description of Christ comes from John’s vision of Christ in Rev 1:5 & 8…

  1. the “Amen” or “thus it shall be” – Christ’s purposes will come to pass. He is the Almighty God who is in control of all
  2. the “faithful and true witness” – He can be trusted to speak factually. His testimony is reliable.
  3. the beginning of the creation of God – He is the originator of all God’s creation. As Creator, He holds authority over all.

When we look at these descriptions, we can see that Christ is presenting Himself as the Lord who possesses the authority, ability, and reliability to instruct us and rule over us.  His teachings are not to be ignored, nor to be accepted half-heartedly.  They are to be accepted and willingly submitted to.

 

(15)  I know thy works, 

The Lord now explains to them their spiritual condition.  Instead of commending them, He immediately turns to explains the great need of the assembly.

“I know thy works” – He sees our acts of labor for Him.  He knows what we do, why we do it, and the pain we encounter as we serve.

 

that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  (16)  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,

What was the condition of the church?

  1. thou art neither cold – Their attitude was not cold, seeing the need of repentance and STUBBORNLY REJECTING restoration.

2.  thou art neither… hot – Their attitude was not hot, seeing their need of repentance and ACTIVELY SEEKING restoration.

3.  thou are lukewarm – They did not even see their need of repentance.

They were not motivated to turn from or seek restoration through repentance, they continued along their way not even seeing the great need of the assembly.  They did not care about their spiritual condition, they were not willing to make the effort to examine themselves and see their great need.

What a horrible condition to be in.  To be one of the Lord’s assemblies and not seeing the sin that lies within.  They were caught between cold and hot, feeling at comfort and at ease, thinking they were fine, when really they were in a shameful condition with great spiritual needs.

This is the worse condition to be in.  In the case of those who are hot, if they see their sin, they will repent. In the case of those who are cold, if they see their sin and refuse to repent, the Lord can convict them and eventually bring them to repentance. In either case, it is better to be hot or cold so the Lord may deal appropriately with the sin.  To be lukewarm is to be condemned to spiritual failure not seeing our sin, not feeling guilt nor feeling the need to repent.

 

 

I will spue thee out of my mouth.

As long as the need of repentance is not recognized, it can never be dealt with.  This was the sad condition of the church at Laodicea.  They were so lax and uncaring they did not see their great needs.  The Lord was disgusted with them for being lax in such important matters as these.  As long as they remained in this sinful condition, they would lack fellowship with the Lord and be rejected by Him.  (1 John 1:5-7)

 

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

Their condition in further explained…

They thought their condition was wealthy, overflowing with riches and lacking nothing. They were more concerned about their physical state (their wealth, overabundance, and self-sufficiency) than their spiritual condition.

In actuality, they …

“knowest not” –  they were ignorant of their true spiritual needs.

“wretched” – balancing great hardships, distressed (juggling spiritual deficiencies without remedying them)

“miserable” – pitiful, needing great mercy and compassion

“poor” – spiritual beggars

“blind” – unable to see due to callouses (their sinful conceit  blinding them)

“naked” – spiritually stripped and shameful

 

They were in a horrible condition having great needs, without recognizing them and, therefore, not dealing with them.

 

(18)  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich;

The Lord tells them the three remedies they need…

1.   gold tried in fire – acts of Godly service that proceeds from persecution (1 Peter 1:7) – in doing this they will be laying up riches for their eternity with Christ. They would have to wake up and see the great needs around them, deal with the sin in their midst, and begin again to serve their Lord in Spirit and in Truth.

  

and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;

2.  white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed – acts of righteous, Godly service that covers the shame of disobedience and laxiety. They needed to no longer continue to drift, but to rise up and serve the Lord in a way pleasing to Him. In doing so, they will be clothing themselves in works of righteousness through the gracious intervention of the Lord in their lives (Ephesians 4:24).

 and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

3.  anoint thine eyes with eyesalve – wake up! Open their eyes to their true condition and be honest with themselves. Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we examine ourselves to see the sin that lies within us (1 John 2:20-24)

Please note all three of the remedies mentioned point to the need of an awakening to self-examination and active service for Christ… please notice the three basic remedies teach us three aspects of good works of service:

  1. gold in fire – service to the Lord holds great eternal value
  2. white raiment clothed – righteous works that prevents the shame of sin
  3. anoint with eyesalve – righteous works are direct results of spiritual sight, understanding the Word and seeing the needs around us.

 

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

The Lord explains to the church at Laodicea that, due to His love for them and the assembly as a whole, that He will warn, convince and discipline them to bring about repentance for their sin.  They should not take these warnings as a sign of His hatred and anger, but as a sign of His love and concern for them.

Also, because these warnings are given from a heart of love and concern, the church was to take them very seriously and act accordingly.

There are three basic results of sin as the Lord deals with sin in the lives of Christians or churches:

  1. separation from God (inhibited fellowship)
  2. rebuke – guilt (the revelation and conviction of sin)
  3. chastening – discipline (punishment to restore fellowship in the rebuke is ignored)

 

 

(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.

Although the church as a whole is separated from the Lord due to sin within, the Lord now offers each individual member to willingly accept His warnings, welcome His renewed fellowship and do what each person can to correct the situation in the assembly and their own personal lives.  If they do, He will restore fellowship with them as individuals, in spite of the condition of the church as a whole.  In this we can see His great love and mercy.  Although He was disgusted with them and ready to spue them from His mouth, His mercy still called out to them willing to renew fellowship with them.

 

It is much like His teachings in Luke 12:36 –

“And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.”  

In other words, Christ is speaking to His servants knocking at the door wanting them to welcome Him in and receive His instructions for them.  This should have been the attitude of the members of the church at Laodicea.

 

In Song of Solomon 5:2-6 –

“I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?  My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.  I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.  I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.”

This gives us the perfect of example of a local church that ignores the Lord’s desire to renew fellowship and communion.  Because, they were occupied with other matters, and careless about their spiritual condition, they are too late to receive Him when He comes to knock.

 

Please note: the Lord is not speaking to lost men, contextually, He is clearly speaking to members of this church with whom fellowship has been broken.  The members must individually take action (submit to His will, and see the great need of the assembly) for things to change in the assembly.

He is not speaking to the church as a body, but to each and every individual member, note the “any man” and “him” and “he”… clearly singular individuals.  This helps us to understand that any change that takes in an assembly must start in the hearts of individual believers. Without individual members submitting to His will, the church as a whole will never come into submission and renewed fellowship with Him.  It is only when members see the needs of the assembly and then submit to His will, that genuine change will take place in the assembly as a body.

 

(21)  To him that overcometh 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.

The Lord now promises those who are truly saved “overcomers” or “victors” (Revelation 12:11) to enjoy great blessings in eternity.  One of the greatest blessings is to rule with Him as authority holder in judgment and rulership (1 Corinthians 6: 2-3, 2 Tim 2:12)  During the 1000 Year reign we will be ruling over the new creation of God (Revelation 20:4-6)

This is simply following the example of Christ who was the Victor over sin and death and then was exalted to His Father’s right hand (Eph 1:20-23)

2 Timothy 2:12 KJV – “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:”

Suffering for the cause of Christ (a sign of genuine salvation experience) will result in His people sharing in His authority over all.  If a person denies Christ (a sign of a lost individual) will result in Christ’s rejection of the denier in the last day.

Those in the church who would awaken to the desires of the Lord and do what is necessary, would show themselves to be genuine believers and share in His authority.  Those who remain in denial of the truths of God and reject His hand of chastening, show themselves to be unregenerate, and therefore will not share in the inheritance of God’s people.

 

(22)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The Lord speaking to the members of the church at Laodicea says,  “If you are truly saved, pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is telling the churches.”

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this section of Scripture, we see Jesus shown to us as the One who possess the supreme authority, ability, and reliability.    We also see Him as One who cares so much for His people that He takes the time and effort to chasten those whom He loves, while standing ever-ready to forgive those who come to Him with a genuine repentant heart.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

Based upon the person, work and love of Christ, He deserves passionate, committed service from His people. He deserves for His people to recognize their desperate need of Him as the chief supplier of all their needs and desires.  Above that a careless, halfhearted, lukewarm commitment to His service will not be tolerated.

Do we care enough that we take the time to examine ourselves, recognize our true spiritual condition, and deal with our sin promptly?   Do we look to Christ as the Ultimate Provider of all of needs and abilities?  Do we live for Him, or do we live for our own comfort and ease?  Do we really care or do we simply go through the motions of service as long as there is little or no cost to us?

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

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Revelation 3:7-13 “Christ’s Letter To The Church At Philadelphia”

SIH STSTA ICONTHE TEXT:

The Letter To Philadelphia…

Rev 3:7-13 KJV

(7)  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 shutteth; and shutteth, and no man 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 upon 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 unto the churches.

 

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

From our previous lesson, we saw a very basic summary of the contents of these letters include:

 

Church Location Name Meaning Areas of Faithfulness Areas of Unfaithfulness Possible Punishment Reward To Overcomers (proof of genuine salvation)
Ephesus Desired or Allowed Many areas of faithful outward service.  Hate doctrine of Nicolaitanes. Left first love (Christ)Service not motivated by love for Christ. Removal of candlestick (church no longer enjoying fellowship w God) Eat of Tree of Life in Paradise
Smyrna Myrrh Spiritually rich N/A N/A Not hurt by second death
Pergamos Fortified Tower Faithfulness in face of persecution Allowing doctrine of Balaam and Nicolaitans(physical and spiritual fornication) Will war against those who hold false teaching Be given hidden manna and white stone with new name
Thyatira Sacrifice, Offering, Corpse Works of love, service, faith, patience False Prophetess in midst. (sexual immorality and idol worship) Sickness, tribulation and death upon her and her followers. Be given power over the nations
Sardis Depart, Escape, Exit A few faithful areas of service remain. A few faithful members remain. Testimony that they are spiritually alive but really dead.  Their works not “perfect” before God. Will come upon them as a thief (implied removing anything of value leaving spiritually destitute) White garments.  Name not blotted out of book, confess his name before the Father
Philadelphia Love Of The Brethren Kept Word not denied name of Christ. Persevered in trials N/A N/A Permanent pillar in temple of God.  Name of God and New Jerusalem upon them. New name given to them
Laodicea Judgment Of The People N/A Lukewarm service.  Blinded to their spiritual destitution. Spew out of Lord’s mouth. Rebuking and chastening from Lord. Sit with Christ in throne.

 

 

 

Beginning in chapter 2 through chapter 3, John writes personalized messages to the 7 churches.  Each message contains four basic parts:

  1. Description of Christ
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences
  4. Promise to Overcomers

 

The first of these personalized messages is written to the church at Philadelphia.

  1. Description of Christ (v 7)
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences (v 8-11)
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences (N/A)
  4. Promise to Overcomers (v 12-13)

 

 

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

 

Revelation 3: –

 (7)  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; 

The Lord addresses this letter to the local church located in Philadelphia.  The main north-south and east-west trade routes intersected at Philadelphia.  This caused the city to be greatly influenced by the Greek traveler/merchants/traders that passed through the city.  Their influence included introducing the worship of Greek Gods into the city.  Those who began this idolatrous worship turned against the local church there and persecuted its members.

Besides these idolaters, the city also contained many radical Jewish citizens that actively persecuted the members of this church.

The city had undergone a very severe earthquake about 80 years earlier which had resulted in a majority of the city being destroyed.  Following this massive quake the city suffered from aftershocks for many years afterward resulting in great destruction and the need to be constantly rebuilding the city.

 

 

These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

The Lord now, using symbolism from the vision of Himself seen by John in chapter 1, describes Himself using symbolism that points to Him as the promised OT Messiah:

  1. He that is holy – He that is sinless and separated for God’s use (Isaiah 47:4)
  2. He that is true – He is the One that is genuine, sincere, and only speaks with veracity (Psalm 31:5)
  3. He that hath the key of David – He possesses ultimate authority over the physical and spiritual nations of Israel (Isaiah 22:22)
  4. He that openeth and no man shutteth and shutteth and no man openeth – He is the Sovereign Lord who controls all things, His will cannot be stopped by anyone. (Isaiah 22:22)

 

Every one of these titles for Christ are used in the OT in reference to the promised Messiah.  When Christ refers to them in this letter, He is giving the local church at Philadelphia a very strong reminder that He is the promised Messiah who will gain the ultimate victory over His enemies…

Psa 21:7-10 KJV – For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.    Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.   Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.  Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.

During this time of great persecution at the hands of both Jews and Gentiles, the church could know with certainty that the Lord they serve is the True Messiah who will have the ultimate victory over those that oppose His people.

 

(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.

The Lord now commends them for their faithfulness in these areas:

  1. I know thy works – the great effort they expended as they served their Lord
  2. thou hast little strength – although they had much spiritual strength, they had very little respect (“clout”) in the eyes of the world. They lacked great authority, social status, education and wealth. (Many times the Lord uses the weak of the world to bring Him the most glory and honor.  The weak cannot claim their strength won the victory, they must acknowledge that any victory they are given is through the power of God and not their own.)
  3. thou hast kept my word – they possessed, guarded and maintained the truths of God.
  4. thou hast not denied my name – they neither disowned nor blasphemed His name.

I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it – Because they were faithful in these areas, the Lord blessed them with additional opportunities to serve Him.

The Lord blesses faithfulness by giving greater responsibilities and opportunities of service.  Likewise, when we are unfaithful in the responsibilities we have been given, many times He will decrease the opportunities of service. (Matt 25:26-28)

 

(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.

Just as in the city of Smyrna (Rev 2:9), the local church at Philadelphia faced persecution at the hands of physical Jews who mistakenly believed their lineage made them a part of spiritual Israel (God’s spiritually chosen people.)  Note that these physical Jews were called “the synagogue of Satan” because they were, in actuality, worshipping and serving Satan by denying that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

The Lord gave them the promise that someday these lost Jews would be defeated and the saved members of the church would be given positions of rulership over them.  This will take place during the Battle of Armageddon and final judgment of lost mankind (Rev 19:11-16, 1 Cor 6:2)

 

(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 upon the earth.

Another blessing they would receive of the Lord, based upon their faithfulness, was that the Lord would “keep thee from the hour of temptation…”

In other words, the Lord would keep them separated from the great Roman persecutions under Trajan that would touch the lives of all men on earth.  These same persecutions would fall specifically on churches and individual Christians in various nations as a time of trial or “temptation” upon Christians (to forsake Christ and turn from His teachings).  The Lord protected the church at Philadelphia from these Trajan persecutions.

Remember, the Lord had told the church at Smyrna that they would face tribulation (Rev 2:10).  This helps us to understand that the Lord deals differently in the lives of those who are faithful to Him.  We need to always be sure and not try to guess why the Lord deals with His people as He does.  His mind is greater then ours, His ways are higher than ours.  We can never begin to really understand all His workings among men.

This great promise of escape from temptation was given to them because they had kept God’s Word patiently, while under great persecution and stress.  They were willing to wait on the Lord to remove the persecution from them, instead of taking matters in their own hands, forsaking the truth, so that their persecution might end prematurely.

 

 

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

The Lord promises the church that He will come suddenly and unexpectedly. This is speaking of the Lord’s intervening protection keeping the church safe from the Roman persecutions.   They were to hold onto the areas of faithfulness that existed so that they might receive eternal rewards at His second coming.

In other words, “Church at Philadelphia, don’t give up.  I am coming quickly to protect you in the midst of the persecutions that will take place around you.  By remaining faithful NOW it will secure many eternal rewards for you when I come back at the second coming.”

 

 (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.

To those who were true believers in Christ (overcomers) he promised:

  1. will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: – the overcomer will become a “permanent fixture” in the temple of God. In other words, he will forever be in the presence of the Lord, honoring, praising and serving Him.  This is emphasized by the phrase “he shall go no more out”.
  2. and I will write upon him the name of my God, – showing ownership, much like a servant who wore the mark of his master upon him.
  3. I will write upon him… the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: – showing the overcomer’s citizenship in the New Jerusalem (heaven on the new earth – Rev 21:1-2)
  4. and I will write upon him my new name. – showing the new relationship that will be enjoyed by the overcomer and His Lord Jesus. He will see Christ in a new way and experience a new level of intimacy with Him.

 

 

(13)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Those who are genuinely saved, able to understand the Word through the ministry of the indwelling Spirit, are invited to read this letter, understand it and put it into action in their own personal lives and the life of the corporate assembly.

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this letter to the Philadelphians, we can see Jesus as the Promised Messiah of the Old Testament.  It is this same Jesus that holds the ultimate authority over Israel, the physical nation separated for His use in the times of the Old Testament; and the spiritual nation of Israel (found in both Old Testament and New Testament times) made up of all the elect to salvation, sanctification, and eternal glory.

Jesus, the Messiah and King of Israel, is shown as the Loving Lord who rewards the faithfulness of His followers with increased opportunities of service and temporal blessings of protection and strength and eternal blessings of security, fellowship and revelation of Himself.

 

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

Folks, we can see in this short letter the need for faithfulness in times of trials.  May we be motivated to this faithfulness by remembering our Lord is in control.  He is in control of the opportunities of service placed before us, our temporal physical and spiritual needs being met, and our security and eternal glory.

May we honor and serve Him knowing He is truly the Sovereign King that constantly is at work on behalf of His chosen people.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

 

 

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Do We Have A Godly Fear Of The Lord?

SIH HALTAL ICONRevelation 3:1 KJV – “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis 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.”

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Qm

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “he that hath the seven Spirits of God (4)”

SIH TOTT ICONRevelation 3:1 KJV

“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis 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.”

 

In this devotional, we will continue to look at the seven ministries of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2), which is described in this passage as the “seven Spirits of God”.  For our devotion this morning, we will be looking at “The Spirit of knowledge” and “The Spirit of the fear of the Lord”.

What do we learn about the ministries of the Holy Spirit from these titles?   These two ministries of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s people go hand in hand.  As we learn more about the Lord, we are moved to reverence, and fear Him in greater ways.   Truly. with knowledge comes a greater respect for the Lord, a recognition of our frailty, an admittance of our continuing sinfulness and our great need of the Lord’s mercy.

It is very important that we understand the meaning of the word “fear” for this lesson.   The word fear is the Hebrew word “yare” it is translated in the Bible as “afraid”, “fearful”, “dreadful”, “exceedingly”, and “fearfulness”.  It always carries with it the idea of fear or anxiety, or distress, and many times is linked to the idea of greatness, veneration or astonishment.

The idea is this whenever “yare” is present in the life of a person:

  1. it shows itself as “fear” which comes from anxiety based upon…
  2. the realization of the greatness or overwhelming ability of the thing feared.

To put it simply, when Christians come to a greater knowledge of the Word they also come to an  understanding of  The Lord’s greatness, His overwhelming power, His authority and His holiness.  This in turn reminds us of our frailty, sinfulness, and inability to please Him of our own ability.

These truths (about God and ourselves) cause us to reverence His person and to fear His chastening hand in our lives.  It is much like a child who, not only reverences their Father, but fears His hand of discipline.   This type of fear, in no way, minimizes the work of Christ, nor the assurance of salvation that the Christian possesses.  It is simply a recognition of our continued failings in life and His love for us in as a heavenly Father, disciplining us to renew a heart of obedience to Him.  (Hebs 12:4-17)

There are some that mistakenly believe a Christian is only to reverence the Lord and not to fear Him.  However, if we correctly understand the scriptures we know that a Christian is to have a healthy fear of the chastening hand of God in our lives which is one motivation, among many to live Godly lives for Him.  Although we do not fear losing our salvation, nor Him sending His eternal wrath upon us, we are to fear what He may do in our lives when we fall into known, unrepentant sin.

This principle is clearly brought out in Isa 11:2 as a ministry of the Spirit in our lives, this is why He is called “the Spirit of the fear of the Lord”.  We can also see the same principle in many verses including…

Psalms 2:11 KJV – “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”

Psalms 89:7 KJV – “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.”

Psalms 119:120-122 KJV – “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.  AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.   Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. “

Isaiah 66:2 KJV – “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Hebrews 12:28-29 KJV – “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:  For our God is a consuming fire.”

 

May we ask the Lord to develop within us a Godly reverence and fear in our lives through the intervention of His Spirit and increased knowledge of His Word.

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3OE

 

 

Are We Led And Empowered By The Spirit? Or Are We Doing It On Our Own?

SIH HALTAL ICONRevelation 3:1 KJV

“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis 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.”

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3PX

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “he that hath the seven Spirits of God” (3)

SIH TOTT ICONRevelation 3:1 KJV

“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis 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.”

 

 

 

In this devotional, we will continue to look at the seven ministries of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2), which is described in this passage as the “seven Spirits of God”.  For our devotion this morning, we will be looking at “The Spirit of counsel” and “The Spirit of might”.

What do we learn about the ministries of the Holy Spirit from these titles?   It is from the Holy Spirit that the saint is given divine guidance and instruction (counsel), and the strength and the boldness (might) to follow that His leadership.

The Holy Spirit leads us to do the will of our Heavenly Father.  Without this leadership in our lives, we would be unable to begin to discern the Lord’s will and know the path of life we are to take.  Then, following the Spirit’s guidance, we then find that the He strengthens us to boldly follow the will of the Lord in the face of persecution and sacrifice…

Psalms 18:32 KJV – “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.”

This is the two-fold ministry that the Spirit performs among all of God’s people.  This is why He is described as “The Spirit of counsel and the Spirit of might”.

 

Folks, do we appreciate the Holy Spirit’s leadership for our lives?  And, likewise, do we appreciate His enabling grace which allows us to bravely do what we have been called to do?   Following His leadership and seeking His strength are two keys to living a successful Christian life.

May we all remember our frailties and the great need of the Spirit’s daily leadership and strength as we seek to fulfill our life’s callings.

 

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3OE

 

Do We Appreciate The Spirit For Giving Us Understanding and Wisdom?

SIH HALTAL ICONRevelation 3:1 KJV – “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis 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.”

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3PR

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “he that hath the seven Spirits of God” (2)

SIH TOTT ICONRevelation 3:1 KJV

“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis 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.”

 

 

 

In this devotional, we will continue to look at the seven ministries of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2), which is described in this passage as the “seven Spirits of God”.  For our devotion this morning, we will be looking at “The Spirit of wisdom” and “The Spirit of understanding”.

What do we learn about the ministries of the Holy Spirit from these titles?   The Spirit of God is the One that opens the eyes of God’s people giving them a comprehension of God’s Word (understanding), as well as insight into its application to their lives (wisdom).

A.  understanding – When we possess understanding, we not only accept His Word as a series of facts, but we are also given insight into WHY these things are so. This is vital for the life of every Christian.  An understanding of His truths greatly effects the MOTIVATIONS for our service.

For example, it is one thing to know that we are to live lives pleasing to the Lord.  But when we grasp that obedience results in the following, our motivation for service is drastically effected:

  1. a display of Christ to a lost world,
  2. a display of appreciation for all He has done for us,
  3. a display of our status as members of both the spiritual nation of Israel and the family of God,
  4. and the receipt of temporal blessings and future rewards,
  5. etc etc

 

B.  wisdom – When we possess wisdom, we are aware of how to apply the principles of God’s Word to our day to day life. Wisdom shows us HOW to make Godly decisions, HOW to avoid temptations, HOW to pray… the list is endless. Wisdom effects the ACTIONS of our service.

For example, wisdom shows us the way to avoid temptations involve:

  1. keeping our minds upon Christ and His Word
  2. learn how Satan works
  3. learn the areas where we are most susceptible to temptations
  4. avoid situations where we will be tempted
  5. be ever vigilant to recognize attacks that are taking place
  6. consistently recognize our inability and seek Christ’s enablement to overcome temptation
  7. etc etc

Understanding answers the WHY…. Wisdom answers the HOW.  Understanding affects our MOTIVES for service… Wisdom affects our ACTS of service.

Both understanding and wisdom are recognized as essentials for service in the cause of Christ…

Colossians 1:8-10 KJV – “Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.  For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work,…”

Both of these come to us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.

 

Folks, as we open His Word on a day to day basis and we have thankful hearts pointed towards the Holy Spirit.  It is only through Him that we can come to an understanding of the truths of the Word and the wisdom needed to apply those truths to our lives!  What would we do without either of these?  Our service to the Lord would be impossible.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3OE

Do You Recognize The Seven Ministries Of The Spirit In Your Life?

SIH HALTAL ICONRevelation 3:1 KJV

“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis 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.”

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3PJ

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “he that hath the seven Spirits of God” (1)

SIH TOTT ICONRevelation 3:1 KJV

“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis 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.”

 

 

 

In this text, our Lord is described as having “the seven Spirits of God”.  The last time I looked in the Bible there was only one Holy Spirit.  So what in the world could “the seven Spirits of God” be talking about?

We find the answer to our question in Isaiah 11:2…

“And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”

Here, we find listed the seven-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s people.  It is in that sense that there are seven Spirits of God working in our midst.

Everything that the Holy Spirit does for the people of God can be categorized in one, or a combination, of these seven:

  1. The Spirit Of The Lord
  2. The Spirit of wisdom
  3. The Spirit of understanding
  4. The Spirit of counsel
  5. The Spirit of might
  6. The Spirit of knowledge
  7. The Spirit of fear of the Lord

Here, we find listed the seven-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s people.  It is in that sense that there are seven Spirits of God working in our midst.

Please note the four natural divisions of these workings of the Spirit… ““And the spirit of the LORD”, “the spirit of wisdom and understanding”, “ the spirit of counsel and might”,” the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”

 


In this, and the next three devotionals, I would like us to take a quick look at these four divisions of the seven Holy Spirit ministries to help encourage our hearts by reminding us of the many daily blessings we receive through the ministry of the Spirit.

For this morning I would like us to simply look at the first division which contains only one title of the Spirit… “The Spirit of the Lord”, or “the Spirit of the One who is our Master, Ruler, and King”.

It is the Holy Spirit that brings God’s people to recognize that Jesus is their Lord.

 

This title reminds us that the Holy Spirit is the One that brings upon the people of God a spirit of repentance and submission to the will and ways of God.    It is the Holy Spirit that softens the sin-hardened heart and leads it into compliance with the will of God…

Psalms 143:10 KJV – “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.”

 

 

Folks, before our salvation, how did we come to a knowledge of our sins and the need to turn from our sins to the Lord?  It was through the ministry of “The Spirit of the Lord”.

How did we recognize Christ as the Lord of our life and the One to whom we are to serve?   The Spirit of the Lord showed us these things.

After our salvation, as we read God’s word and become convicted over the sin that still dwells within us, how did this take place?  It is through the ministry of the Spirit of the Lord”.

As we live our life and recognize the proper decision that we are to make, how do we come to these decisions?  It is by the intervention of “the Spirit of the Lord” guiding us and leading us to do His will.

As we enter our day, let us all be thankful for the Spirit’s leadership in our lives, as He brings us into a greater submission to the will of God, the Lord of our life!

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3OE

Does Christ Light Your Way In This Sin Darkened World?

SIH HALTAL ICONRevelation 2:28 KJV –  And I will give him the morning star.

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Px

Revelation 3:1-6 “Christ’s Letter To The Church At Sardis”

SIH TOTT ICONTHE TEXT:

 

The Letter To Sardis…

 

 

Rev 3:1-6 KJV

(1)  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis 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 Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
(5)  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 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 unto the churches.

 

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

From our previous lesson, we saw a very basic summary of the contents of these letters include:

 

Church Location Name Meaning Areas of Faithfulness Areas of Unfaithfulness Possible Punishment Reward To Overcomers (proof of genuine salvation)
Ephesus Desired or Allowed Many areas of faithful outward service.  Hate doctrine of Nicolaitanes. Left first love (Christ)Service not motivated by love for Christ. Removal of candlestick (church no longer enjoying fellowship w God) Eat of Tree of Life in Paradise
Smyrna Myrrh Spiritually rich N/A N/A Not hurt by second death
Pergamos Fortified Tower Faithfulness in face of persecution Allowing doctrine of Balaam and Nicolaitans(physical and spiritual fornication) Will war against those who hold false teaching Be given hidden manna and white stone with new name
Thyatira Sacrifice, Offering, Corpse Works of love, service, faith, patience False Prophetess in midst. (sexual immorality and idol worship) Sickness, tribulation and death upon her and her followers. Be given power over the nations
Sardis Depart, Escape, Exit A few faithful areas of service remain. A few faithful members remain. Testimony that they are spiritually alive but really dead.  Their works not “perfect” before God. Will come upon them as a thief (implied removing anything of value leaving spiritually destitute) White garments.  Name not blotted out of book, confess his name before the Father
Philadelphia Love Of The Brethren Kept Word not denied name of Christ. Persevered in trials N/A N/A Permanent pillar in temple of God.  Name of God and New Jerusalem upon them. New name given to them
Laodicea Judgment Of The People N/A Lukewarm service.  Blinded to their spiritual destitution. Spew out of Lord’s mouth. Rebuking and chastening from Lord. Sit with Christ in throne.

 

Beginning in chapter 2 through chapter 3, John writes personalized messages to the 7 churches.  Each message contains four basic parts:

  1. Description of Christ
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences
  4. Promise to Overcomers

 

The first of these personalized messages is written to the church at Sardis.

  1. Description of Christ (v 1)
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences (v 2,4)
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences (v 2-4)
  4. Promise to Overcomers (v 5-6)

 

 

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Revelation 3: – 

 

(1)  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write;

Christ reveals to John His message that was addressed to the pastor (angel) of the church at Sardis.  Sardis was the capital city of the Lydian empire.  Sardis was known for the gold and silver coinage they printed.  Both the gold and silver coinage was the most pure of all coinage found at that time.  Because of this Sardis became a very wealthy and influential city.

Sardis was the home of one of the largest temples dedicated to Artemis (Diana).  It was also the home of one of the largest Jewish synagogues found in a Gentile nation.  Both of these religious structures help us to understand the great wealth and power of this city.

 

These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars;

The symbolism of this description of Christ shows to us His role as the Revealer of divine truth.  Notice the two parts to this description:

  1. He that hath seven Spirits of God – In 1:4, the seven Spirits, based upon Isa 11:2, symbolizes the fullness of the HS ministries, many of which involves revealing Christ and the truths of His Word to mankind. It is only through the intervention of the Holy Spirit in the life of an individual that Christ and His Word can be understood, accepted as truth, and applied to the life.
  2. He that hath seven stars – In 1:16, the seven stars, represented the pastors of each of the seven local churches which are given the solemn responsibility of declaring truths of Christ, found in His Word, to the local churches.

If we look at both of these together, keeping in mind they are held by Christ, we can see that Christ is the One who holds authority over, and uses, both the Holy Spirit and the Pastors of local assemblies to reveal His truths to mankind. This is an important feature of the work of Christ for the church at Sardis to understand.

 

I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Christ begins to list that which He knew about the assembly at Sardis:

  1. thy works – their acts of service
  2. thou hast a name that thou livest – their possessed a testimony that they were spiritually alive and actively serving their Lord. However, their real condition…
  3. thou art dead – the were spiritually dead. Although they were outwardly going through the motions of worship and service, inwardly they were spiritually separated from God due to their sins… in that sense, they were spiritually dead as an assembly although they had individual members who possessed spiritual life.

 

(2)  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: Although the church as a body was spiritually dead, their communion with the Lord hindered due to their sin, there were still some areas of faithfulness that remained among them.  The Lord encourages the church to:

  1. be watchful – they are to “wake up” and recognize their condition and the need to be on guard against sin
  2. strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die. – they are to build up the remaining areas of faithfulness, because these were also ready to expire.

 

for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Why are they to do these things?

The Lord recognized their failings and their need to put things in order to renew a right relationship with the Him.

 

(3)  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.

The church was instructed to:

  1. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, – they were to recall the teachings, warnings, and encouragements they had heard and brought to themselves.
  2. hold fast – They were to hold them tightly and not allow them to slip away
  3. repent. – to reconsider what they have done, turn from their old ways and begin anew to serve the Lord.

 

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.

If they did not heed the warnings of the Lord, He would come upon them as a thief.  In other words, He would come upon them unexpectedly with the intent of harming not blessing them.  He would come upon them and judge them for their laxness and unfaithfulness. This is not speaking of His second coming, but of His “coming” (intervening) in the affairs of the church dealing with their sins.

 

(4)  Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; 

There yet remained in the church a few members who have remained faithful to the Lord and retained a pure testimony in the eyes of those around them.  By saying that they “have not defiled their garments”, the Lord is explaining that they are living holy lives that are free from the pollution of sin.  This results in them possessing a pure public testimony.

 

and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

The reward of their faithfulness and pure testimony in this world, would be possession of a white robes of righteousness in the world to come.  In other words, their temporal faithfulness would follow them into their eternal existence.  They would possess rewards in eternity for their faithfulness now.

1Co 3:12-15 KJV – “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 

“for they are worthy” – in other words, it is only fitting and proper for those who are faithful now to be rewarded and shown to be faithful in the world to come.  They are not deserving from personal merit, but they are deserving because of the Lord’s fairness, justice, and His work on the cross.  This is what makes them “worthy” of their future rewards (2 Cor 3:5).

 

(5)  He that overcometh, 

The Lord now gives promises to those who will be victors over the powers of darkness that oppose their service to Christ.

 

the same 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.

He gives them promises of three blessings awaiting them…

  1. the same shall be clothed in white raiment; – they will be clothed in the righteousness that is given to them through the work of Christ on the cross. Truly, we have no righteousness of our own, but can only be possessed through the grace of God as He applies the work of Christ to our account…

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1Co 1:30-31 KJV)

  1. and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, – Those who overcome proves they have been genuinely saved. Anyone who is genuinely saved will never lose their salvation, they are eternally secure in Christ. He constantly is interceding on behalf of His people guaranteeing their acceptance by the Father and their entrance into eternity in His presence. (Hebs 7:25, Roms 8:34, 1 John 2:1).

Please note He does not say He blots anyone’s name out of the book of life.  He is only affirming here that He does not blot out the names of those who are victors over this world.

  1. but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. – He will guarantee our entrance into God’s presence eternally as He publicly professes we are one of His people, redeemed through His work, our sins covered by His shed blood (Jude 1:24-25).

 

 (6)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Once again, Christ emphasizes He is only speaking to those who are saved by God’s grace, those who are given the ability to receive, understand and apply the truths of God to their lives.

 

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this text, we see Christ revealed as the Perfect Revealer of the Truths of God.  It is under His authority that the Holy Spirit intervenes in the lives of men, opening their eyes to the truths of God.  He also calls and authorizes the Pastors of His local assemblies to teach His Word helping those in the assembly to come to a better understanding of God’s Word.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

Do we see the need to spend time in God’s Word, receiving it in our hearts, coming to a fuller understanding of it, and applying to our lives?

Do we see the need to examine the teachings we receive, making sure that they are Bible based?  Do we then forsake those who teach error, while actively following and appreciating those who proclaim His Word bringing honor to Christ?

Folks, this is the great lesson of this text and one of the greatest needs of the Lord’s people in today’s time.  May we all never forget the need to stand for the truth, and forsake error as we seek to live our lives for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

 

 

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The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “I will give him the morning star”

SIH TOTT ICON

Revelation 2:28 KJV

” And I will give him the morning star.”

 

The lost world is currently buried in the darkness of sin.  Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, sin has touched every aspect of our physical life on earth…

Psalms 82:5 KJV  “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.”

 

Christ, in our text, describes Himself as “the morning star”.    In other words, He is like the dawn sun that arises and gives light to the world. ..

Luke 1:78-79 KJV – “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

 

He is like the sun that arises in our hearts (at our salvation) and, someday, will arise in this world and chase away sin and the powers of darkness (at His second coming)…

2 Peter 1:19 KJV – “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:”

 

Folks, when we see the sun that arises in the morning may it remind us of the true Light of the World, our Lord Jesus.  It is this same Jesus that enlightens our heart, leading and guiding us in the midst of this sinfully dark world…

2 Samuel 22:29 KJV – “For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.”

 

But also, when we see the morning sun, let it remind us of the closeness of His second coming.   Folks, the day is at hand, may we all see the urgency of service to Him while we yet have opportunity..

Romans 13:12 KJV – “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

 

And may we be encouraged knowing that soon we will be home with Him for an eternity…

Revelation 22:1-5 KJV – And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.   In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:  And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

May we all keep the Word close to our hearts and minds this day and everyday.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3NL

Do We Hold Fast The Truths Of His Word Or Are They Slipping Through Our Fingers??

SIH HALTAL ICONRevelation 2:25 KJV –  But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Ph

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “that which ye have already hold fast till I come”

SIH TOTT ICON

Revelation 2:25 KJV

(25)  But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

 

 

 

What a blessing it is to come to a knowledge, understanding, and application of God’s Word to our lives!  How sad it is when we allow those same truths to then slip out of our lives.  The writer of Hebrews, possibly Paul, addresses this very issue…

Hebrews 2:1 KJV – “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

Here, we have explained to us the importance of diligently pointing our mind (“give more earnest heed”) towards God’s Word which keeps the Word from moving or departing from us (“slip”).   To put this in today’s terms, “We should be careful to keep our mind on the Word so that it will not slip away from us.”

Folks, how often do we open God’s Word to learn and remind ourselves of its contents?  How often do we think of God’s Word during the course of our day?  How often do we, on purpose, consider God’s Word in our decision making processes?  How often do we share the Word with others as the Lord opens the opportunity?  When we do these things, we are assured that the Word will not slip away from us.

May we all keep the Word close to our hearts and minds this day and everyday.

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3NL

Are Our Works For Christ On The Increase Or Decrease?

SIH HALTAL ICONRevelation 2:19 KJV

(19)  I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

 

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Pa

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “…the last to be more than the first”

SIH TOTT ICONRevelation 2:19 KJV

(19)  I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

 

 

 

One of the commendations the Lord gives to the Thyatira assembly is that their service their acts of service has grown over time.  Their works, charity, service, faith, patience and the effort they have expended had all increased (“the last to be more than the first”).

What a wonderful thought… as an assembly or as individual Christians, to know that, since we made our commitment to serve our Lord, our service has grown in quality and amount.   This should be one of the great goals of our lives… to shine more brightly for Him as we live our lives on earth…

Proverbs 4:18 KJV -  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.   

 

So how do we do this?  How do we increase in our life of service to our Lord?  The Apostle Peter has much to say on the subject…

1 Peter 2:1-3 KJV  – Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:   If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

 

In this text Peter points to 3 fundamentals to spiritual growth…

  1. we must be saved by His grace…“If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
  1. we must turn from our known sin… “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,”
  1. we must feed on His Word…“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”

It is this same Word that is used by God to bring about the spiritual cleansing and growth of His local assemblies…

Ephesians 5:25-27 KJV  – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 

May we all see the need to live daily in the Word of God, realizing that it is through His Word that we will grow in grace and knowledge and increase in our service to Christ…

2 Peter 3:16-18 KJV – As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.   Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.   But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3NL

Our Lord: The Perfect Judge Of All Men…

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 2:18 KJV

(18)  And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

 

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3P4

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “His feet are like fine brass”

SIH TOTT ICONRev 2:18 KJV

(18)  And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

Christ is symbolically described as having feet “like unto fine brass”.  This helps us to understand that the Lord rules (places enemies under His feet) and judges (brass) His enemies in a just, perfect way (fine brass).

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How thankful we should be that our Lord’s ruling hand of judgment is perfect.  He NEVER judges His enemies too harshly, nor does He meet out a judgment that is based upon “favorites” or “emotions”.  No, He judges His enemies justly, giving to them exactly what they deserve…

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Romans 2:5-12 KJV – “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;  Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:  But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;  But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

For there is no respect of persons with God.  For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;”

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If you have never trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior, this should be your first priority in life.  As you can see, apart from Christ and His work applied to your account, there is no escaping the punishment for the sin you have committed.  If you are sorry for disobeying the Lord, by simply turning from those sins and turning to Christ as your Savior, being willing to follow Him as Lord of your life, you will be delivered from the awaiting judgment for your sins.

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For those who have experienced God’s saving grace, we need to take this to another level.   Although He never judges too harshly, many times He withholds deserved judgment through His great mercy and love for His people.   How can a just God do this?  How can He pardon and withhold judgment from those who are guilt of sin?  The key to understand this truth is found in the work of Christ…

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2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV – “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

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Christ, the One “who knew no sin”, “became sin for us” so “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”.  In other words, Christ took upon Himself our sin and the punishment we deserved, so that we might receive God’s pardon for our sin and looked upon as innocent of sin.

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Folks, as we go through our day, if we have been saved by God’s grace, we can know that we stand before God as innocent, the blood of Christ has covered our sins.  What a wonderful thought.  No matter what our day may hold for us, we are loved by God and declared innocent through the work of Christ, nothing can change this!    His love transcends anything we may face on earth (Rom 8:35-39).  His forgiveness applies to all of our sins.  They are forgotten, hidden, and forever washed away (Isa 38:17, Micah 7:19, 1 John 1:7).

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No matter what we may face in this life, let us remember how good He is to us!

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May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3NL

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