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Summary: We are all in need of improvement. These churches were in need of improvement 2000 years ago, and we are today. God made His complaints to them and we ought to listen so we don’t make the same mistakes.

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Dealing w/God’s Complaints

We are all in need of improvement. These churches were in need of improvement 2000 years ago, and we are today. God made His complaints to them and we ought to listen so we don’t make the same mistakes.

EPHESUS

Work and endurance without love. How is that?

Complaint: You don’t love me or each other as you did at the first; fallen from your first love.

What we do is important, but why we do what we do is more important!

Remedy: Turn back to me and work as you did at the first.

First love: honeymoon type love

Look how far you have fallen; take stock, inventory

Turn back to God.

Then…Work as you did at the first

PERGAMUM

Greatest city of Asia Minor

1st temple to Imperial Cult

Temple to God of healing (Insignia of serpent like they use today in medical fields)

Nicolaitans like serpents.

Complaint: Tolerate Balaam-like people and Nicolaitans

Balaam: a prophet; his curse was turned to a blessing. But his advice led to idol worship & intermingling (24,000 died in judgment).

Church was worshipping Caesar to avoid suffering.

Remedy: Repent

What are you putting in the place of God?

THYATIRA

Smallest city

Military town

Commercial center; trade guilds, idolatry, immorality

Love, faith, service, patient endurance, but…

Complaint: Permit Jezebel to lead my servants astray.

Jezebel’s message: compromise with Roman religion and guilds so you don’t lose your job or lives.

Remedy: Hold tightly to what you have until I come.

Contrast between Ephesus/Thyatira

Eph: No love but strong in doctrine

Thyatira: Loved much but not strong in doctrine

Balance is key

SARDIS

Capitol; most important city

5 main roads intersecting; center for trade

Military center; 1,500 feet above the main road

Only a shadow of its former splendor

Like the city, the church looked alive, but…

Complaint: dead

Nature cult of Artemis: death and rebirth

Remedy: Wake up, strengthen what remains, go back to what you heard/believed at first, hold to it tightly and turn to me again.

Wake up: the citadel of this city was taken only twice during its history. Why were the enemies able to take it these two times? B/c the sentries failed. Perhaps they were sleeping?

In what ways do you need to wake up spiritually this coming year?

In what ways does our church need to wake up?

LAODICEA

Wealth city

Between Hieropolis (hot springs) and Colossae (cold springs)

Complaint: Neither hot nor cold

Remedy: Buy from me gold, white garments, ointment.

Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, we need our hearts warmed.

Gold: purified by fire (does this mean suffering?)

Suffering refines us

Like the goldsmith, while God is purifying us, He never takes His eye off us.

White garment: this city was known for wool manufacturing but not white garments. We can only buy this type of garment from God.

Blind: manufactured eye salve in this area

See John 9

Conclude: Knocking on the door of your heart to see if you will let Him in (Revelation 3:20)

Pastor Vinnie Cappetta

Cornerstone Community Church

Marlborough MA

www.faithandreality.com


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