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Summary: The Seven Letters of Revelation provide a performance review for the church. How are we doing? What does Christ think of this church?

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Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister

First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO

Memo to the Church: Part 1

Revelation 1-3

Here’s the church . . . here’s the steeple, open up and..

Common thinking: building, institution ---- people

Group of Christian people who meet together on the first day of the week to encourage one another and work together to further their God given mission.

Dangers of independent church … no accountability … how are we doing

What’s the bishop think?

A spiritual audit . . .

Rev 1-3: Intro and seven memos--

Seven real places with principles

History panorama??? Common sense reading

Rev 2-3 is the Supervisors Performance Review; follows the format exactly

The Right/Authority to Make the Review;

Good points;

Problem areas;

Changes needed;

Incentives (negative and positive)

Do churches/congregations need such things? Jesus thought so..apply collectively and individually; remember Rev. is all about the intersection between heaven and earth; in the PR the disconnect between earth’s pereception and heaven’s perception.

I. What Matters Most (Rev. 2:1-7)

(Rev 2:1-7 NIV) "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:

A PR only as important as the view we have of the one giving it;

his authority and our dependence;

to the angel (messenger of supernatural news to church); angel assigned;

authority over angel and thus church;

among the lampstand---why this symbol for a church; Mt 5; Phil 2; light in darkness

no other purpose for the church being there

{2} I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. {3} You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

four imporant things doing right: deeds, hard work, perservance, and intolerance

good deeds and good doctrine

a. Not saved by good deeds, but saved for good deeds (being good isn’t good enough or the cross wouldn’t have been necessary)

A bird does not become a bird because he sings; he sings because he is a bird

What good deeds: Cf James 1:27--tongue, poor, unpolluted

b. good doctrine-- (doctrine means teaching) why this important

Christianity a revealed religion---not theoretical

There are false teachers and false prophets

(Cf (Acts 20:27-32 NIV) For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. {28} Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. {29} I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. {30} Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. {31} So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. {32} "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

{4} Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

The Problem Area---one thing; not so bad; 4 to 1;

What mean? can cut a couple of directions--unclear which; not matter

Love for God or man: two great commandments

“Satan goal is not to get us to hate God, just to love him less than something else; even something good”

Forsaken:

Collectively---what motivated this church in beginning; forefather; past generation

churches have lifecyles--movement to monument

Eph a second generation church; 30+ years---interesting to note what sparked their beginning (clearer undrstanding of HS; casting off idolatries) Acts 19-20

Individually---what passion when first personal relationship with Christ

love for community, the lost, the hurting

God’s great passion: lost, children, poor

Why love is important: the great motivator; nothing else compares

{5} Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.

the needed action; remember, repent, and redo

If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

{6} But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. {7} He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

The incentive: negatively and positively; decisions have consecquences

You don’t have to respond or change; up to you

Neg: remove lampstand-----church die? something much more urgent--light removed; influence on community; ministry opportunity

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