The Message to the Churches (Part I)
Sermon shared by Eddie Snipes
Summary: Part I of the message of Jesus Christ to the Churches. Instead of looking at the individual churches, this study examines the message.
Audience: General adults
To encourage the church to continue the race, Jesus begins with praise for what is being done. The church is praised for its works, labor, patience, intolerance of those who are evil, testing those who claim to be God’s messengers and apostles, perseverance, and especially for enduring persecution and not denying His faith (vs. 2:2-3, 13, 19, and 3:10). Every deed, sacrifice, suffering and act that is done in faith and love for Christ will be rewarded and will not go unnoticed. Jesus said that what God sees in secret, will be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:4). God measures success differently that the world. It is easy to think that good works have to be seen, but God says that when we receive praise for our works, we have our reward already. God rewards labor that is done out of love and not for fanfare. The same is true for wealth. In Revelation 2:9, Jesus said, “I know…your poverty, but you are rich”. Then in 3:17 Jesus condemns the Laodicean church by saying, “you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' -- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. The Smyrna church was suffering from tribulation and poverty, but God praised them and called them rich in spite of the poverty. The Laodicean church was comfortable, wealthy and at ease and God called them wretched, poor, miserable, blind, and naked. Laodicea was living for the ‘here and now’ but Smyrna was living for the hope of heaven and the eternal rewards of God. Those with an eternal perspective are always praiseworthy and those who love the world are always under condemnation (1 John 2:15).
As mentioned earlier, it is essential to point out the failure so that correction can be made. Failure due to neglect and disregard for God’s word are condemned. We live in a culture that is offendiphobic. There is a fear of offending anyone. So much so that we would rather let someone die and go to hell than to risk sharing the hope of salvation and being called intolerant or offensive. Only those believers and churches willing to take a stand and be beacons of light will make an impact on this culture. The so-called tolerant churches are having little if any impact on our culture. Those who obey the command to share the truth while also obeying the command to ‘pursue peace with all men’, will see God open the doors and work through their ministries. To be effective we always must align ourselves and our churches with the purpose God is blessing. If a church departs from God’s will, the door will be closed. If a church seeks God first and then seeks to fulfill His will, the door will be opened. Look at Revelation 2:7-8:
7 " 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":
8 "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.
Those who “have kept His word and not denied His name” will have the open door. Those are the people and churches that will make an impact. They may not be liked, but God will open the door. Even persecution
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