The Book of Revelation (Part 9): The Seven Churches (Part 4)
October 9, 2019
THIS SERMON WAS ACCIDENTALLY SKIPPED
The Book of Revelation (part 9)
The Seven Churches (part 4)
We are going through the book of Revelation verse by verse on Wednesday nights. Our world is changing. Jesus’ return is soon! I want you to be informed as to what the scriptures have to say about His Second coming and what we should be doing to prepare for that day!
We are currently looking at Jesus’ message to the seven churches in Asia Minor.
John had been exiled to the penal colony of Patmos in the Aegean Sea by the Roman Emperor Domitian because of his Christian faith.
Jesus appeared to him there and revealed to John what was happening in seven churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) and revealed to him what would happen in His second coming.
These seven letters were directly from Jesus to the seven churches. This in itself is amazing, as this is the only time in the Bible that Jesus spoke directly to churches and had His words printed for the rest of the church age.
Jesus’ message to the church in Ephesus: To come back to their first love is an appeal to keep our heart affection close to Jesus as His second coming approaches.
Jesus’ message to Smyrna is that persecution is part of the normal Christian life, and that we should not let up in our convictions when the pressure to compromise comes.
We left off last time with the church in Pergamum – the compromising church. The church in America has been challenged with compromise. Jesus is asking us to be a light in the darkness and to refuse to compromise our standards as believers just because our culture is changing.
These churches show us the challenges we face before the return of Christ.
The spirit of antiChrist is already working to desensitize people to spiritual values. Anything that leads you to lessen your time in the word, in prayer, in commitments to the local church, to loosen your morals, to be deceitful, to be harsh to others, to live in any immoral way, porn, sex without marriage, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism, etc, is promoted by demon spirits. It was creeping along for years, but now it is in high gear, tearing down moral values worldwide…
September 18 – Thyatira Church: the Corrupt Church
Today: October 9
Sardis Church: the Dead Church
Revelation 3:1-6 – NKJV
And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
Historically, the Sardis Church fits the period from 1500 A.D. until 1750 A.D. This is the period of the reformers.
Martin Luther changed history in 1517 when he protested against Catholic doctrine with his 95 theses nailed to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. His act of faith and defiance against spiritual norms caused a huge response known as the Protestant Reformation. Three mottos from that period changed the church –
Sola Scriptura – the scriptures alone
Sola Gracia – grace alone
Sola Fide – faith alone
Still, deadness remained a problem for the church within the Catholic faith.
The city of Sardis was located about 30 miles southeast of Thyatira, and was on a well-used trade route.
Sardis was a wealthy city and was abundant with industry, including jewelry, dye, and textiles.
Sardis was also a center of pagan worship. The temple of Artemis was there.
This church didn’t have a problem with emperor worship, with Jews persecuting the church, or with the deeds of the Nicolaitans (the world influencing the church).
It was a pagan city that was well-established in its pagan religious ways. And that got into the church.
Revelation 3:1 – NKJV
And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”’
The seven Spirits of God was also mentioned in Revelation 1:4. The number 7 refers to perfection or completeness, and so the Holy Spirit is the sum total of what we need in our walk with God the Father.
Very few in Sardis were actually born again.
We’re to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, or in reverence for God, but our works don’t save us. They show us what we believe. James 2 explains it well.
These folk obviously were replacing relationship with works.
Revelation 3:2-3 – NKJV
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.
Sardis was built on a large, steep hill, about 1500 ft. above the floor of the valley. It was inaccessible on 3 sides, so the 4th side, the entrance, was easy to defend.
Twice in the history of Sardis, the city was overrun by the enemy (in 218 B.C. by the Romans and earlier in 549 B.C. by the Persians), because they were not watchful.
Jesus mentioned watchfulness as a key to His return (Matthew 24:45-51), so here He is encouraging them to be ready for His return.
Revelation 3:4-6 – NKJV
You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Sardis was well-known for its wool industry and its dye industry, so for Jesus to say that a few had not defiled their white garments was well understood.
Names not being blotted out must be understood. You don’t lose salvation at the drop of a hat. Every human at birth has his name recorded in the Book of Life. If you die without the blood of Jesus cleansing you, it is blotted out! God is not waiting and eagerly looking for an opportunity to blot anyone’s name out. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Ex 32:32-33 – NKJV
“Yet now, if You will forgive their sin — but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” 33 And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.”
Revelation 20:15 – NKJV
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:27 – NLT
Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty — but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Even in the most unfaithful church, God knows those who are His!
Philadelphia Church: the Faithful Church
Corresponds with the church from 1750 until 1950
During this 200-year period, faithful men of God were raised up to spread the Word of God, men like William Carey, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, Dwight Moody, Billie Sunday, etc.
Jesus had NO correction for this church!
Revelation 3:7 – NKJV
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”
Philadelphia was founded in 140 B.C. It means “one who loves his brother.”
It is located in modern-day Alaschir, Turkey.
Jesus reminds them that He is holy and true, that He is the promised seed of David and heir to the throne. And that He will establish His kingdom on the earth.
Revelation 3:8 – NKJV
I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
The ‘open door’ is Jesus saying He is the one who gives opportunity for fruitful ministry.
No condemnation here, only praise.
Revelation 3:9 – NKJV
Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
The religious Jews were persecuting them. Today, religion still persecutes true believers.
One day, all opponents of Jesus and the church will fall down and acknowledge the truth.
Revelation 3:10 – NKJV
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
Jesus is saying here that because they have been faithful during the great tribulation, He will keep them from the hour of trial or from the Day of the Lord wrath of God that is coming. (Some believe here Jesus is referring to the entire 70th week of Daniel they call the tribulation. I do not personally believe that now. We will be here during the first part of the 70th week, during the wrath of man, the anti-Christ, but will not be here during the wrath of God that begins after the 7th seal is broken.)
Revelation 3:11-13 – NKJV
Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.