Summary: THE BLESSING OF STAYING AWAKE FOR CHRIST!
The Blessings of Revelation part 4
SERMON 4 -TOPIC III - THE BLESSING OF STAYING AWAKE FOR CHRIST! -- REV: 16:15
"Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed."
This scripture of how to be blessed is the core teaching of the book of Revelation. The point behind Revelation and the New Testament is that we as Christians must stay awake and be ready to go with Christ at any moment. We as Christians do not have to know when were going! We by the way will never know even with all the detailed elaborate calculations and predictions out there. I want to be very frank with you today. Nobody knows when Christ is returning nor when the Rapture of the church will take place it could happen today, tomorrow, next week, next year, the next decade, or even the next millennium. The point to grab a hold of is this, "...stay awake and be ready at any moment!" This is the major message from the Scriptures when it comes to end time theology.
Over the last couple of weeks we have explored two churches that had committed themselves to staying awake and being ready (Smyrna, and Philadelphia). Know we will explore five churches that have fallen asleep in Christ. Each church is at a different level.
One church is taking catnaps while claiming that they live for Christ (Ephesus).
One church is taking afternoon siestas while claiming that they live for Christ (Pergamum).
One church is sleeping all night while claiming that they live for Christ (Thyatira).
One church is walking in their sleep while claiming that they are walking in Christ (Sardis).
One church is sleeping all the time while claiming that their awake in Christ (Laodicea).
Yet each church is criticized by Jesus Christ and told to wake up! The alarm clock of Heaven is sounding to each one of these churches.
T.S. - Lets look at the church in Ephesus in Rev. 2:1-7 and discover how this church has fallen asleep.
"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:
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. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 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.
I. Ephesus – this church liked to take catnaps in the midst of their busy schedule of ministry away from the Lord.
a. Once again in the address to this church we have more of Christ being revealed to the church and to us individually.
i. Jesus Christ is:
1. The one who holds the seven stars in his hands. This represents that he holds the universe in his hand. He controls it and he will fulfill everything that he promises.
2. He is the one that walks among the seven golden lamp-stands. These lamp-stands are the church and the message to the church is “He sees everything that is going on in the churches.” He is all seeing! Nothing gets by him. He is in contact with the body of Christ. He knows if you have been bad or good. He knows what drives you and motivates you in your life.
b. Historical background on the city of Ephesus.
i. Berkely tell us, " Ephesus was located on the Cayster River on a gulf of the Aegean Sea. The silt carried down by the Cayster eventually filled in the bay and brought an end to Ephesus as a port city, but in New Testament times it was large - more than a quarter of a million people lived there. The cult of emperor worship was evident, but the main attraction was the temple of the goddess Artemis"(164).
ii. Artemis or Diana’s temple was the 7th wonder of the world.
iii. Carr notes this about the city, " Ephesus, ‘the Vanity Fair of Asia’, ‘The Supreme Metropolis of Asia.’ Famous 3 ways: 1. Religion: The temple of Diana; 7th wonder of the world. ... 2. Commercially: Port city; military city; industrial city; 3. Politically; A free city, self rule.