Summary: setup sermon for a study of the 7 churches found in Rev. 2-3
From Your Mouth To My Ears
Rev 1:9-11, 17-20
One of the things I have heard over and over in our fellowship is the need to be like the church of the Bible. That sounds great, but which church are we supposed to be like? The church in Jerusalem that was bigoted? Corinth with it?s immorality and division? Many of the churches listed in Rev. 2?
I know that?s not what they are really saying, but it does lead to some interesting thoughts. What can we learn from specific congregations mentioned in the Bible? What did they do well and what did they do badly? That?s my goal over the next several weeks with the churches mentioned in Rev. 2. Hopefully we can see what Jesus saw in them and make sure he won?t say the same bad things about us and will say the good things he did in Revelation.
Let?s learn the lessons provided by these churches to make our congregation one God can be proud of.
I. When God Speaks To The Church
A. The Bible, communication for then and now
1. Many churches are saying that the Bible doesn?t relate to the church today.
2. That theory has allowed them to do things that are politically correct but spiritually wrong.
a) Churches today are allowing so many things into their worship and teachings because they don?t hold the Bible as God?s indisputable word.
b) One preacher here in town believes that Heaven will have rooms for the Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims and so one. The verses in John 10 where Jesus I am the way, and I am the only way don?t seem to matter to him.
c) Another minister told me that the Bible we have today isn?t at all what God intended it to be, so we just have to use it as a guideline as we create teachings for our church.
(1) Again scripture says differently.
(2) 2 Tim 3:16-17: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV)
3. If the Bible isn?t relevant today then anything you wish to believe is fine.
a) Everyone saved - fine
b) Doesn?t matter what you believe - fine
c) living immoral lifestyles - fine
d) Whatever you want - fine
4. If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, wouldn?t it make sense that his teachings are too?
B. God speaks through prayer
1. Along with Biblical teaching, it?s important that we listen to God?s answers to prayers.
2. When we built on here, we spent a lot of time praying for God to help us know the best way to build and use a building most effectively for his purposes. We bought land and continued to pray.
3. A few months into the process, it seemed so clear that we needed to build on rather than build new at that time.
4. I honestly believe God gave us a peace with that decision because it was the best move for this congregation at that time. Who knows, the next move may well be to build new. We?ll need to pray about that.
C. God speaks through the counsel of brothers and sisters
1. One area that is the hardest to determine is how God answers through the words of brothers and sisters around us.
2. How do you discern his words through their words?
3. Yet God uses others to help us know his will.
4. Listen to what people have to say and honestly evaluate if it is something that seems God led.
II. Why Should We Listen?
A. So we can be in his will
1. That first answer seems so simple that you would think it wouldn?t even need to be mentioned.
2. However, so many people and churches are less concerned with being in God?s will than being in their will.
3. Just think of the people in your own lives who have left the Lord.
a) Why? Because they liked being in control more than God being in control.
b) They wanted to do things their way rather than God?s way.
4. If we are that way individually, should we be surprised to learn that whole churches are that way?
5. I would hazard to guess that the hardest issue we struggle with is letting God control our lives.
6. Yet, when he is in control, our lives seem so much more content.
a) Not always easier or less painful, but more content.
b) Life is easier to navigate when we realize we are going in the direction that God wants us to go.
B. Because we love him
1. Helene and I don?t always agree on how to do things, but because we love each other we listen to the other and often do what the other wants simply because we love them.