The Lord of The Church To His Church

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Sermon Outline:

  • Ephesus – The Loveless Church
  • Smyrna – The Suffering Church
  • Pergamum – The Worldly Church
  • Thyatira – The Tolerant Church
  • Sardis – The Dead Church
  • Philadelphia – The Faithful Church
  • Laodicea – The Apostate Church
  • Each church has a consistent outline of 5 key things:

    1. Commendation
    2. Concern
    3. Corrective
    4. Consequence
    5. Counsel

    These will vary based upon the church itself (i.e. Smyrna and Philadelphia are not given any concern, corrective or consequence.) Follow along carefully to see how each church varies within these five descriptions.

    Sermon Text:

    To the Church in Ephesus

    2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

    2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

    To the Church in Smyrna

    8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

    9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander [1] of those who say that 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 throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

    To the Church in Pergamum

    12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

    13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith [2] even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

    To the Church in Thyatira

    18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

    19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

    To the Church in Sardis

    3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

    “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

    To the Church in Philadelphia

    7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

    8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

    To the Church in Laodicea

    14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

    15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

    Sermon Notes:

    The Seven Churches of Revelation

    The book of Revelation is the Apocalypse–the unveiling and manifestation of Jesus Christ in His full glory. It is a book in which all things find an echo and a reverberation. It delineates the consummation of the ages. It touches things in heaven, in earth, and under the earth. It speaks predominantly about Jesus Christ. But it also talks about angels, demons, war in heaven, Armageddon, the judgment of God, the breaking of seals, the sounding of trumpets, and the pouring out of bowls. It speaks of the new heaven and the new earth. It announces the destruction of the grave–of death, hell, and the enemies of Christ. It is our destiny because it tells us where we will spend eternity.

    John said, “… the time is at hand” (Rev. 1:3). When John looked upon Jesus in His eternal deity, he fell over like he was dead (Rev. 1:17). That is how the book of Revelation begins. In Revelation 1:13-16, Christ was pictured as moving among seven lampstands, or seven churches. In Revelation 2–3, the identity of those churches–and their meaning in time, history, and prophecy–are unfolded for us.

    How do these churches fit into a prophetic book? John is writing to the ministers of those churches with instructions. (The term “Angels” in the text literally means “messengers.”) What does that have to do with prophecy?

    Seven is God’s sacred number. It symbolizes completion, perfection, totality. By choosing seven churches, He is saying in effect, “This is My message to the total church.” Although the churches were actual churches existing in Asia Minor, they represent the complete picture of the total church. So when Christ speaks to those churches, He is speaking to all the churches of all time. Although the messages in Revelation 2–3 are often overlooked by Christians, they have a tremendous meaning for the church today. That is why John concludes every one of the seven letters with the same words: “He that hath an ear, let him hear …” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). In other words, whatever age you are alive, these messages are for you. There is tremendous prophetic importance in those churches because their messages represent the total message to the total church.

    Those seven churches exactly represent the seven different types. The same seven types exist today. Although every individual in a church is different, churches still fall into categories that make them different from other churches. You can go to one church that is totally different than another church. It is the mixture of people who make them different, but they still seem to fit into one of those seven categories. For example, if a majority of the members running the church are Ephesian-type people, then the church will be an Ephesian-type church. If most of the people are Laodicean-type people, then the church will be a Laodicean-type church. Whoever rules the church will determine what type it will be. –John MacArthur