Summary: Dealing with the seven letters to the churches in Asia Minor.
Revelation’s Form Letter
Sept. 21, 2008 FBC, Chester Dr. Mike Fogerson, Speaker
A Opening story
B There are seven letters to seven different churches in Asia Minor (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, & Laodecia).
1 They make up 1/5 of the book of Revelation.
a A good student of God’s word learns to give attention to what God emphasizes.
b Some scholars see these churches as dispensations (periods) of time that reflect the history of the church age.
aa Some see it as only for those churches
bb Something for all of us
cc Me? YES-I can see all, each separately
2 “Let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches...”
a Let’s pray & look at the form letter of Revelation.
I Ephesus: The apostolic church age (30-100 AD)
A The first generation of believers had begun to fade away, & some of their passion with them.
1 This doctrine was very straight, solid like a gun barrel, but their love/ passion was gone.
a Love for God & Christ, for each other, & for the lost was gone.
b They were loyal, but had lost their love.
2 I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance , and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 ’But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 ’Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. Rev 2:2-5 (NASB)
B They were told to remember to repent
1 Church, as we see some of our favorite saints go home, it’s imperative we inherit their passion, love for the Kingdom.
a The way to become a dear saint is by the year
b Not seniority, but legacy
2 If not, we’ll run the risk of having a candlestick removed
a The church at Ephesus today is a Muslim mosque
b Doctrine is important, but so is passion for the Lord!
II Smyrna: The Martyr church (100-313 AD)
A The church/Christians were ruthlessly persecuted under Roman emperors (Domitian made it a capital offense not to sacrifice once a year to him).
1 The church did fine under persecution (always has because it runs hypocrites off).
a Loved God, faithful to Him, hated by the world, persecuted, loved God even more
b This is proven time & again (Russia, China, Iraq)
c Smyrna was loyal, and they would be tested
2 I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 ’Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Rev 2:9-10 (NASB)
B They were told to remember that they were not home yet.
1 The moment your human nature is touched by God, you enter a new dimension.
a Supernatural, walking in a new anointing, power, realm, & the demons responded...
b We know that, but when we suffer we either: 1) forget 2) don’t believe
2 When the enemy starts trouble, remember you are rich & not yet home!
III Pergamum: The age of the state church (313 AD to the end)
A In 313 AD, Constantine, with the Edict of Milian, gave religious freedom to the Christian, & adopted Christianity as the favored religion of the Roman Empire.
1 This edict ended 2 ½ centuries of Christian persecution.
a This begins the process that will merge the church to the Roman state.
b Heathen priests became Christian priests-heathen temples, churches, holidays/feasts.
c The church married the political system of Rome (adultery! She is Jesus’ bride)
2 ’I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 ’But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 ’So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Rev 2:13-15 (NASB)