Summary: 3 things are demanded for us to have the mark of the best and avoid the mark of the beast (Material adapted from Alger Fitch's book, Revelation, Chapter 4 The Perspective of Endurance, pgs. 77-92)
What is the mark of the beast? Social Security card or number; smart cards or credit cards; bar code on body; Micro chip implanted; literal tattoo; Apple and/or smart phones
Read Revelation 1:9
Covered preaching the Word, Kingdom, and suffering, now patient endurance
Steadfastness and patient endurance are synonymous. Breaking down the Greek word into parts: first part means “under,” second part means “to remain.” Literally this term means “to remain under” the load placed upon one’s shoulders. No follower of Jesus Christ should step out from under the burden of responsibility to share with others the story that has so blessed his or her own life. We dare not let tribulation sidetrack us from our mission. No matter how we understand the “millennium” or other topics in Revelation or other prophetic books, stick-to-itiveness that never lets go should mark every Christian as he brings the Savior to this lost world.
The book of Revelation is intended to encourage faithful endurance. Let us beware of growing weary (2:3) or forsaking our first love (2:4). Let us avoid denying either our faith (2:13) or Christ’s name (3:8). Let us watch out for the danger of becoming lukewarm or useless (3:16). Rather than faltering, let us overcome (2:7, 11, 17; 3:5, 12, 21). Let us hold on (2:25) and remain true (2:13). Let us be earnest (3:19), keeping what is written (1:3; 2:26; 3:8; 22:9) and doing what is commanded. Being “true” is a description of Jesus (3:14; 19:11) and His words (22:6). May it be said of Christ’s followers that they, too, are faithful (2:10)
John did not give this counsel from the easy chair of some comfortable office. He was their “brother and companion in the suffering” (Revelation 1:9) from the isle of Patmos.
It is exciting to hear a lecture on the end times and pinpoint things to look for. However, to endure through whatever may come is more essential. Throughout the book of Revelation there rings the cry, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:7. This is repeated to every church addressed (2:11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13,22). In reality the Spirit is speaking to the churches of every age. Many have these churches representing each stage of church history, with most believing that they are now in Laodicea. No, these are local churches represented and each of these kinds of churches are represented today. Jesus is speaking to each of these local churches and telling them how to survive. But they are not listening. Are we listening? The words were not meant for just Ephesus or Thyatira. They come to “churches.” Note the plural. The warnings are for congregations in all times and places. The sad history of these 7 local churches is that they did not overcome in the present and lost their future.
To “overcome” or to have “victory” is God’s will for His church. Our resources are inadequate, but God’s resources will give victory if we are but faithful.
How can we avoid having the mark of the beast on us and make sure that we have the mark of the Lamb on us? To do this 3 things are demanded.
Thesis: Rely on the Savior’s vow, recognize the serpent’s voice, and receive the saint’s victory
I. Rely on the Savior’s vow- 3 vows or promises from Revelation
1. Vow to support His Word
The promises of people often fail us, for sometimes people lie intentionally. Most of the time people do not lie intentionally but they are unable to carry through on their promises.
We are not talking about people but God. “It is impossible for God to lie” Hebrews 6:18. Since God knows the beginning from the end and nothing is impossible with God, we know that he will always be faithful to his vows, promises. “The Scripture cannot be broken--” John 10:35, NIV. The word of mortal man is frail and breakable. Not so with the word of Almighty God.
The 7 letters in Revelation 2 and 3 concludes with a promise from Christ, who supports His Word. These 7 letters follow a structure. After an introduction, there follows what is right with that church, what is wrong with that church, what is needed by that church, and then what is promised to that church. After identifying their needs, He gave a word of promise.
Every individual, like every congregation, having pledged allegiance to the Lamb, ought to respond to the promises of Christ in faithfulness. In doing so, there will be blessings untold (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21)