Summary: REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST - (part 2) The Church needs a fresh revelation of Jesus. You can learn a lot about someone by looking in their trash. How is Jesus revealed to the churches of Smyrna and Philidelphia, the only churches with empty trash cans.
A REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST– Empty Trash Cans
• Revelation 2:8-11, 3:7-13
You can tell a lot about a person by looking in their trash cans. Within trash cans you can find the left-overs from days gone by. You will find things that were once useful and are now broken, things that were valued but have since lost their importance and usefulness to the owner. And within our trashcans we will also throw things we are trying to hide and keep others from knowing about.
Over the next several weeks we are going to continue to look at The State of the Church as revealed through the seven churches in Revelation, and we are going to do it by taking a look inside their trash cans. As we see what they have thrown away we can also examine the contents of our ‘spiritual garbage cans’ to see if we too are guilty of the same thing. Christ knows His church and knows what we have thrown away and discarded.
WHAT IS THE VALUE FOR CHURCHES TODAY?
1. The letters to the seven churches each contain a revelation of Jesus Christ. Above all the church today needs a fresh revelation of Who Jesus Christ is. Without a revelation of Christ today we cannot be the church! We must come to know Jesus better, and through these seven letters Christ is revealed to us.
2. Within these letters we learn what Jesus loves and values within His church. If we are going to be a church that makes Jesus smile, then we need to know what he expects of the church and do it.
3. We also find out what is not pleasing to the Lord. These letters contain words of rebuke for sin within the church as well as the consequences and judgment that is the result of their sin.
4. Because we see both what pleases the Lord and what He does not want within His church we are given a biblical standard by which we as individuals and the church can judge ourselves and one another.
5. A call to repentance is given by the Lord to His church, a call of repentance that the church must hear today if we are going to receive a fresh revelation of Jesus Christ. For each church Jesus makes a promise to those who will stand firm and overcome. Christ has the blessing of reward for each church that will repent and remain faithful to His word.
6. These letters will show us how Satan will attack the church both from within the walls of the church and from outside the church. We need to be on guard and take our stand against the enemy, for we know that Christ has overcome Satan and has empowered and equipped us to likewise be more than conquers.
WHAT DO THESE LETTERS TEACH US ABOUT HOW THE CHURCH CAN RECEIVE A FRESH REVELATION OF WHO JESUS CHRIST IS?
1. We must be willing to heed Christ’s call to repent. If there is garbage filling our ‘spiritual trash cans,’ if there is sin within the church then we are cut off from fellowship with Christ. When we repent we are then able to again enjoy an unbroken relationship with Christ so that we might know Him better.
2. We must be willing to “Hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” God will speak to our church; the Lord will direct us and make Himself known to us, but we must have an ear to hear; that means more than just listening. It means we listen and obey!
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO UNLOCKING THE MESSAGE TO THE CHURCHES OF REVELATION?
1. Jesus reveals Himself to each church in a unique way. We need to understand how Christ makes Himself know to the church and how it applies to the message given to the church.
2. What is the condition of the church? First, we need to notice what Jesus puts his stamp of approval on, to see how the church is commended by Jesus. We need to learn to put into practice those things that Jesus approves of. Second, the spiritual health of each church cannot be known unless we also look in their trash cans. What do we find there that Jesus wants changed in the life of the church? What is the Lord’s rebuke for each church? We need to pay attention to not only what each church is doing right, but also what Jesus disapproves of within that church. What might Jesus hold against us? How have we compromised as a church and not done what is pleasing to the Lord?
3. Finally we need to learn from the judgment pronounced against each church together with the promise Christ makes for those who overcome. Will we receive the judgment of Christ or the reward for obedience?