Revelation Session 07 Ch-3 1-6 The Letter To The Church Of Sardis
Let’s start off radically let’s borrow its for word of Prayer well father we thank you once again that we can gather together in peace and safety to open your word to us and we pray that you would open your word to our hearts and lives and we thank you for this evening and we thank you for your word and we thank you for your holy spirit we invite into our lives that we might grow in grace the knowledge of a Lord and Savior and that we might be more responsive to your will in our lives as we commit ourselves into your hands without any reservation in the name of Yeshua our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ well we are in session 7 of our study of the book of Revelation and the first six verses of chapter three involved the letter to the church at Sardis and let me mention this right now that of the book of Revelation as you will quickly understand I regard chapters 2 and 3 as the most essential part for you and me as professing Christians because they’re the 7-letter 7 Jesus Christ wrote 7 epistles and they are in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation but strangely enough as we study those seven letters it’s going to emerge I think that the most provocative the most impacting of these seven letters at least in one way of reckoning them is the letter to Sardis the most impacting one to you and me so let’s take a look at this just by way of warm-up and review and for visitors we’re in the book of V Revelation notice that’s singular the word means the unveiling the apocalypsis is the unveiling it’s the consummate of Jesus Christ it’s the consummation of all things it’s the only book of the Bible that has the audacity to promise a special blessing to the reader other books they read the Word of God in a collective sense but only one book emerges to say read me I’m special there are 404 verses of the book which can over 800 illusions from the Old Testament and they’ll actually be listed in the notes that will accompany the study and of course it presents the climax of God’s plan for man when I say it that way it sounds a little academic so let me say the God’s plan for you and me is climaxed in this book and that’s one of the reasons one of many reasons it’s such a special blessing and let’s keep in mind to whom the book was given this comes as a zipper as a surprise to many who haven’t paid attention to the first sentence the revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him unto whom Jesus Christ write on why to show unto his servants things which must suddenly come to pass shortly or suddenly come to pass and he sent and signified it rendered it into signs in other words it’s Jesus Christ and he written signified it by his angel unto his servant John who bare record of the word of God for the testimony of the testimony of Jesus Christ at of all the things that he saw so John’s a Penman recording this special message that was given to Jesus Christ then verse 3 announces this blessing that’s echoed all through the book blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written therein for the times at hand did you notice the catch and keep those things all of you are eligible for this blessing but you have you got to keep these things you got to hold them you got a hold fast to them and we’ll talk more about that as we go this book has its own outline the first thing you do when you study a book in the Bible for most people as you try to outline at least in broad terms revelation gives you that in verse 19 near the end of the first chapter Jonah said write the things which thou hast seen the things which are and the things which shall be Hereafter you don’t catch it at first and he studied carefully but that’s actually partitions the book into three sections write the things which thou hast seen John and what that was when you get to verse 19 from verse 12 to 18 is a vision of Jesus Christ that he saw in heaven and he that we detailed that when went through that that’s the vision of Christ it occupies the bulk of chapter 1 then he says write the things which are and we’ll discover chapters two and three are seven letters to churches in existence at that time and the things which shall be meted outta the Greek term meaning after these things are hereafter and that what follows after that what follows after the church is starting from chapter four verse one on is the is subsequent to the church chapter four verse one opens up with the greek word met it outta the same keyword that’s in verse 19 of chapter one here so that’s the those are three partitions and obviously we are plunging into what we regard as the most practical most impacting section of the entire book and yes we’ll get into the seals and trumpets and bowls but that’s later the last verse of course is an example of how Jesus explains what the signs mean all these things are rendered in the signs he says the mystery of the Seven Stars which thou sawest my right hand that’s an illusion earlier in the chapter and the seven golden lampstands the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands which thou sawest are the seven churches this is very typical of the whole book the book is rendered in two signs and I still remember as a young teenager attending a lecture one Sunday evening of a teacher that pointed out that the entire book of Revelation is in cold but every code is explained somewhere else in the Bible and that just fascinated me and that caused me that started a treasure hunt that’s lasted me for over fifty years you can’t exhaust this book and the more you study the book and track down these things it’ll take you virtually into every other book in the Bible people challenge you what about Esther well I haven’t linked it to Esther particularly but I’m sure it’s there but that’s the only one I haven’t linked the to if you will anyway the seven churches that thinks the charr why these seven this this question will haunt us as we go because there are over a hundred churches in the New Testament period but Jesus chose seven in the proconsular province of Asia and each one of these letters has a strange closing phrase he that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches and this we discover by examination and application there are four levels of applications the first level is local Sir William Ramsay searched researched visited RK archaeologically each of these places and was shocked to discover that they they worked real churches in those days and they also uncovered evidence that the problems they deal with had a local application so he’s he’s written a substantial volume on this I happen to have his volume published back and I think turn-of-the-century 1901 a 1904 I think now there’s a second level he that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches plural and that’s a reminder to each of us that each of these letters applies to all churches as we go through we’ll recognize certain central tendencies certain thematic emphases for certain churches it’s easy to forget that all churches are impacted by all seven letters in fact when once you understand all seven letters you’ll be able to map spiritually any church you run into every Church has elements of all seven to varying degrees so let’s not forget that because it’s gonna be so easy to deal in stereotypes as we go be careful of that and of course if that’s true we also know as it says he that hath an ear and I love to ask you how many of you have your lobes this evening okay so this is written to you and there’s a personal application each one of the seven applies to each one of us and that’s probably in many respects the most valuable thing you’ll take from these these seven letters but there is a fourth level that sounds pretty fringy something on the lunatic fringe these prophecy enthusiasts can read prompts in to anything you can almost hear people say that I’m going to suggest to you that these seven letters in among other things lay out the history of the church from Pentecost to the rapture and book of Acts covers 30 years give or take the book of Revelation covers 2,000 and we’ll watch that and he said-she that that’s kind of specular that’s conjecture Chuck yes it is it’s just a conjecture and I’m just gonna lay it out for you and you come to your own conclusions but I’ll point out something right up front if you put these letters in any other order it wouldn’t be true but in the order of their end strangely enough it seems to profile the history of the church we’ll discover as we its it you’ll see why tonight to why I emphasize this it’s important to understand the design as we study mankind there’s the software architecture of ourselves as the Bible reveals it or as we talk about the Bible itself how its structured in our product they learn the Bible 24 hours it leans heavily on the design profile that we discover of the whole it’s also useful for these seven letters to realize that each of the seven letters has seven elements there is the name of the church which turns out to be significant to the main theme of a letter in each of the letters Jesus selects a title of himself a different one for each letter from the seven titles that are introduced in chapter one and as we in fact you can take you can begin to infer the central thrust of the letter by noticing what attribute Christ emphasizes of himself in the letter then he has a commendation it’s a report card there’s good news and bad news he opens up I know your works and he tells him what they’re doing right it’s amazing to discover that most of them are surprised about that report card because he has a commendation and then he also expresses a concern the people who thought they were doing well were not the people who thought they weren’t doing well we’re doing better than if I’d every church is surprised it would seem and that should humble us because whatever opinion we might have of whatever church it’s not necessarily true that that’s the opinion Christ would have and we want to be sensitive to his concerns well then of course on the basis of this he has an exhortation in each letter and then he has this promise to the overcomer is special promise to the individual in each of those churches and then he has this closing phrase either heaven ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches those seven elements to a four of the churches of the seven have something missing and that’s going to be very provocative two of the churches have nothing good said about them two of the churches have nothing bad said about them we want to be pay attention to that well we’ve been through Ephesus Smyrna Pergamum Thyatira when we studied Smyrna we noticed they were distinctive and that there was no concerns she just commended them because they were enduring a lot of suffering he just in effect said hang in there guys there was no concern there wasn’t something need to work on other than just to do what they’re doing we also noticed something else in the first three letters that the promised of the overcomer seemed to be appended to the letter after this closing phrase he that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches when we got to fight Tyra we noticed strangely that that promise to the overcomer was in the body of the letter and we’ll discover that’s going to be true of the last four letters so there’s something architectural e distinct between the first three in the last four and we’ll be able to infer that a little better when we looked at all seven but I’ve called to your attention as we go now indicated there’s a prophetic profile Ephesus Smyrna Pergamum Thyatira Sardis Philadelphia and Laodicea in some sense seem to be prophetically relevant we discovered Ephesus was the Apostolic Church German that Smyrna was the the suffering Church Smyrna being a cinema synonym for myrrh and so on pergamus was the perverted marriage the married Church and then last time we had the medieval church I could call by other names but that’s good enough but we noticed that the first three had the promises the you know PostScript it if you will and the last four those promises are in the body of the letter so beginning to wonder at least what what’s behind all this Fiat IRA also had a strange threat I start saying a promise may be threats a better term that it if it doesn’t straighten out it will be cast into the great tribulation so that was a little disturbing so what about Sardis I’m going to suggest to you if you know that the Protestant commentators have had a field day libraries are full of books that tie Thyatira previously called Semiramis to the Vatican the papacy the the Roman Catholic Church well let’s just grant that for the for the purpose of discussion here and say if that’s the case where does Sardis fit that makes Sardis a profile of the Reformation it would seem well there’s something about Sardis that we will notice as we go that should really disturb us because Sartre the letter to Sardis has nothing good said about it it’s one of the two letters that has no offsetting favorable comment so we need to look at Sardis with great gravity whatever Sardis really means let’s take a look we’ll take a look at it the letter to Sardis under the angel of the church in Sardis right and as I indicated before there’s four levels we’re gonna start this one taking a quick look at the local reality what was the city of Sardis all about what is its history it is one of the oldest cities of a planet Earth or at least was it started probably well below to before 2000 BC a number of the ancient Greek writers mention it as a city of renown when you get to about the ninth and eighth centuries before Christ the Phrygians were the dominant Anatolian power the power of Anatolia being the region that we think of his Turkey the eastern part of Turkey they had a king by the name of Midas who is credited by the Greeks with the power to change anything he touched into gold he’s a king of legend obviously for some reasons I’ll come to and during the same period of time we’re dealing here is a mellitus Ephesus and a number of other cities of Ionia were established along the Aegean coast about 700 BC the Phrygian Kingdom was overrun and destroyed by the Simran’s that’s a nomadic people who settle along the northern shore of the Black Sea and they were driven from their homes a couple centuries earlier by the skiff Ian’s the skid Ian’s being a nomadic tribe that dominated the southern steppes of Russia from the Ukraine all the way to China and are known in the biblical terms as the make as Magog but in any case the Sumerians over and those Phrygians about 7th century BC the Lydians established an empire along the Aegean coast and they founded a kingdom in which Sardis was its capital so you know the Lydian Empire is very prominent in ancient history Sardis was their capital and so Sardis is of special interest as to anyone that’s studied the ancient language this which is known as the father of all history and Xenophon right about the brother of Darius who lived there Xerxes invaded Greece from there Cyrus marched against his brother our desert seas there we’re going to talk a little bit about Cyrus in a minute but it’s one of the oldest artists this was one of the oldest and most important cities Asia Minor until about 549 BC when it was the capital of the kingdom of Lydia to give you a map feeling here I put Athens in the lower left and Istanbul in the upper right on this map to give you a frame of reference but the and the the circled island there’s Patton astound the middle of the bottom of the map and I’ve dotted in the seven churches Ephesus Smyrna Pergamum Thyatira Sardis Philadelphia lay Asiya in a in a clockwise the swing from Ephesus on around and obviously we’re dealing here with Sardis you know just looking at the map you can tell that Sardis is likely to be very prominent because it’s at the intersection of all the roads it’s at a hub and that turns out to be that plus it’s it’s topography is very very significant it was a very strategic location between Pergamus smyrna emphasis philadelphia and also Phrygia the empire and therefore it had very fair Commerce and therefore it became very wealthy for several reasons that being one of them there was gold found in the river Peck tell us which it was bordered on and gold and silver Lydians Staters are considered the first coins in the world they had their origin there at its zenith they had a very famous King Croesus and he became very proverbial for riches now both be both he and I both his name and also the river tactless becomes proverbially identified with great wealth and their patron deity was Sibley which we mentioned before who presumably had a son by the name of Midas the wealthy king of Phrygia so Midas is of course a highly fabled guy whether they really existed or it’s just a Greek fable ization of Croesus is a question of debate in greek mythology the king of Phrygia of course was Midas for his because he presumably had hospitality the cetera Salinas dine us the god of wine offered to grant – anything he wished and he requested that everything he touched be turned to gold but that was pretty stupid because he couldn’t eat anything he soon we just forget his choice because even as food and water were changed to gold so so goes the legend but again this legend links itself to the history of Sardis and of course to free himself from Enchantment Midas was instructed by Dionysus to bathe in the Pax River and has said that afterward the sands of the river contained goals that’s the way that Greeks tie their legends to the the discovery of gold in the river but anyway the key thing you want to understand about Sardis in terms of its history is that it appeared to be impregnable it was a thousand feet up on like a peninsula in the mountains only this the southern connection needed to be defended because it was about sheer cliffs over a thousand feet some say 1500 feet high were on three sides so it was regarded as impregnable if you guarded the one exit access to it you were very strong and crease Croesus had a big battle against Cyrus the Persian that in which he came home utterly defeated but he thought by being back to his capital he was safe because it was regarded as impregnable but you’ll notice I used the term ostensibly impregnable ostensibly is an almost synonym for apparently but it’s something that’s apparent but not really so okay and so this will establish the paradox that is suggested by the name Sardis in the beginning so it’s it was situated on the northern slope of Mont Tom loss which is a nine and fifty feet above the broad valley I’ve seen other reference say was fifteen hundred but they whatever the distances and at the base is the river pectus which served also as a moat and making the city practically impregnable because he could defend that one access to it and you’ve got it made but see there’s a there’s a oversight here because the the cliff is of clay and so it suffers from continually erosion and the untrustworthy mud often left cracks which could be exploited by their enemies that’s exactly let me give you the first example 549 BC the Persians Croesus thought because he this battle that he engaged Cyrus and he got pretty badly beaten he returns home humiliated embarrassed and what-have-you but he thought he was safe but he foolishly left the three sides unguarded assuming that the main site was was protected Cyrus launches a 14-day siege and he offers a reward to any man who could find a way of scaling these impossible cliffs and one of the soldiers here I see is here Rio Edie’s I guess you pronounce it a notice that a Lydian soldier accidentally dropped his helmet over the battlements and he noted he watched the path the guy took to go retrieve it and that obviously revealed to him and unguarded oversight and so they at night Gale this thousand-foot cliff and take the city over and so in the darkness evolving night the whole party led by this guy climbed the cliff and clambered over the unguarded battlements and take the city the city was taken as that historians say like a thief in the night that becomes a proverb of Sardis because this is another example you know Hegel is famous for his quote he says history teaches us that man learns nothing from history people don’t read their history books see the sardian sir this audience didn’t learn their lesson in 214 BC a two and a half centuries later again these cliffs proved susceptible to a hazardous climb when ligarius repeated the exploit of her eighties in the city was similarly taken by Antiochus for the Seleucid Empire and so that’s again way Hegel says he said it history teaches that man learns nothing from history George Santayana said the same thing another way says he that doesn’t know his history is doomed to repeat it there’s another example of that Herodotus talked about the skitty ins how because they were entire society on horseback you couldn’t ever attack them they just retreat and then as they retreated you overextended they nail you and that was their strategy and her oldest wrote a lot about that because the Greeks were variously to understanding the skiff Ian’s if Napoleon had read Herodotus he would have been able to anticipate how the general in charge of Moscow defeated Napoleon’s invincible army because he adopted the same strategies that his ancestors adopted the skitty ins either the skiff thean strategy even extent of vacating moscow and burning moscow behind him and when napoleon in his argue enters the the russia with three quarters of a million troops and discovered is no one to surrender Moscow’s and claims he think he doesn’t understand it until the winter sets in and he went in with three-quarters of million and left with 10,000 because the winter closed in and they nipped him and he was lucky to leave the skin did gee he should have read Herodotus so should have Hitler because he did the same mistake that Napoleon did again it’s fascinating to see these traditional strategies from the skiff ian’s the napoleon thing of course is what led to the Vova tour of 1812 psychic Tchaikovsky celebration so anyway Sariah is the Sardis is a similar situation they didn’t learn their lesson they become a proverb it’s important for us to understand their ostensibly secure but not really so they get taken like a thief in the night as the expression they use so in 549 they fell to the Persians and 501 they were burned by the onions in 334 they surrendered Alexander the Great 322 taken by Antigonus 214 they felt as Seleucids as I mentioned it’s a city of failure the name Sardis becomes synonymous with pretensions unjustified promise without performance appearance without reality false confidence that heralded ruin they betrayed themselves by a lack of what watchfulness and diligence and that’s exactly what Jesus is going to preach to them in his letter by the New Testament time just to complete the history here most of Sardis earlier dignity and splendor of course had disappeared even had an earthquake in 1780 that practically destroyed the place it never quite recovered in 1402 of them in AD the town was destroyed by a Tamerlan and archeological excavations were begun on 1910 but the city wasn’t even uncovered until 1958 so there’s not much left and a little little town Sartre is only a few fragments all you’ve got there’s a few Greek pillars of the past of what once was one of the proudest cities in the region Leonard of Sardis under the Angel of the Church of Sardis right and by the way I have to mention one thing I have worked hard to try to find the meaning of each and several letters with Sardis I saw all kinds of conjectures many pick up commentaries and well it probably means remnants something like that it turns out the sardius stone is a stone that used to be regarded as a precious stone they believe it was read they’re not sure but it became then common rather than precious and I think that’s very fascinating no one can be quite sure what the side of stone actually is I have 30 pages of speculations about what it really is because it shows up in the breastplate of the high priest and it shows up in the New Jerusalem as an idiom of part of the problem in both the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the new is the labels for semi-precious stones was not consistent and so the experts wrangle on what is it what was a jasper really or what was it sardius stone but the interesting thing this heart stone is originally probably meant something very precious but then has to become very very common and there’s reasons that that’s enough of that but you get the idea the fact that it’s not identifiable it has a name and no significance is exactly what the letter is all about I worked in work trying to figure out what really is the name and then I realized that’s the point because you’re gonna see that’s the main thrust to letters that you have a name but it’s empty but they were going so Jesus is so Jesus picks as his title here these things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God and the Seven Stars that’s a remember that idiom is familiar to you from Chapter one the seven spirits of God at which frequent four from Hebrews from Isaiah chapter 11 verse 1 and 2 are is a Old Testament idiom for the Holy Spirit and that’s the remedy for what they’ve got going on in Sardis Jesus opens up says I know thy works that’s the way opens many of the letters right I know that word Jesus knows what’s going on he’s paying attention he loves his church and he’s watching he said I know that works here’s the here’s the summons substance of the report card that thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead boy you know I’ve waited through a lot of commentators some contemporary ones and it’s amazing to me how many don’t really understand that phrase they they they built from this Leonard build a message to be more diligent and get over your spiritual blahs by being more devotional together of appropriate suggestions but they don’t really they don’t really hit the nail on the head Jesus says they’re ill they’re not in need of a remedy no they are dead let that sink in this is a serious letter it’s among the most serious I know that works that thou hast a name but aren’t dead now the word name in the Greek is anima it refers to a label it means being covered by a name you have a label but you are dead that’s a heavy heavy indictment coming from the King aren’t dead so let’s I’m in this case what I’m going to do take us out of the usual order I’m going to skip ahead and let’s stand back and understand where this fits prophetically to see to get the full impact of the letter so let me pause here if if Thyatira was the papacy or the medieval church or the dominant you know the the the dominant church in the medieval period then this would impress uma bleed be the Reformation and I think many of us identify with some of the vestiges of that Reformation let’s try to understand it and you have to understand that long before luther by the way the winds of reformation were starting to blow because the papacy had become vulnerable to attack because of greed they’re well known for their wanton lifestyles immorality we went through that last time and the ignorance the untrained nature of the of its officials in all ranks not just at the top all the way through was it was it was ready for referenda and there wasn’t the great tragedies is that they had popes that didn’t reform and the the the many of them that were fighting Luther and his day were upset with their own Pope because he should have been reforming rather than dealing with it way he did but anyway so we they had tax-free possessions throughout the world some estimate as much as a third of the lands of Europe were under their thumb and that of course incited among other things envy and resentment because the peasantry of course was starving well when you get to the 14th century there’s an English he farmed by the name of John Wycliffe that boldly attacked the papacy by striking at the sale of indulgences the same thing that would that would trigger Luther’s Reformation the excessive venerations of the Saints the moral and the intellectual standards of the ordained priests and so on and to reach the common people see in those days the only thing available was Latin and if you were educated and could have access and that was a very controlled access so his approach was to translate the Bible into English from Latin and that that for which that’s it’s it’s those kinds of things people get burned at the stake for so his teachings were spread to Bohemia and there John Hughes was his powerful advocate and he of course gets executed and as most these guys do as they get into this sort of thing and that led to the the hussite wars and so the only roman emperors is trying to squash these things with just brute force and these wars that are then ignited are a precursor of what would go on in germany shortly thereafter in Luther’s time meanwhile the French we talked about in the previous session time before last about the captivity of the Pope’s in Avignon in the 14th century and so forth and the the big split then between the between Rome and and Byzantium and so they’re all fighting among themselves there – of course we have the Council of Constance in 1414 a four-year council and all kinds of ambitious programs for reorganization for the entire Harkey but they just kept debating and debating and never did anything and that was part of what brought it all down and in 1516 we have a concordant between the king and the and the pope in which the french church was essentially under royal authority so there’s there’s there’s huge tension within the papacy and so all of this is setting the stage for what we triggered now one other factor that we don’t want to minimize so you understand what’s going on here the invention of the Gutenberg press the whole idea of movable type generated a whole revolution in printing that made books possible the invention of printing with movable metal type and the Gutenberg Bible is the first book so printed in 1455 in Germany see all these things help make possible what comes with Luther because he was able among other things paralleled what he was doing people were getting their hands on a a Bible they could read first yet just a Bible get their hands on but then of course gets translated and with increased efficiency of the press that also created a more literal illiterate population people those are revenant Renaissance and learning of all kinds of things and all this fuelled the 16th century and the subsequent Protestant Reformation and so Luther Calvin and so forth holidays could claim now the Bible is the authority rather than the church that really becomes the wedge that divides is this it’s a source of authority isn’t just the paganism indulgences in a sense those are symptoms not the cause the root issue was is the Bible the authority or the church traditions Authority that’s the division even to this day well of course you’re talking this just by way of review we talked about Martin Luther blunder to a coal miner he was set out to be a lawyer but a violent storm caused him to make a commitment to to become a monk and pursue a doctor of theology disillusioned by what he found at Rome Habakkuk becomes his life text and he in October 31st 1517 he nails the thirty the ninety-five theses to the door at wooden bird wood you basically a call for reform and most of them have to do with the indulgences and of course they the response was to threatened with excommunication he had 60 days to retract or death he just simply burned that and the Reformation was born we have the centuries of war if you will the diet of worms as they call it diet of worms and our mean something each word means something different my language and I being the conclave and worms being the town but the emperor charles v summons his princes and has luther appear and instead of Kansas here I stand I can do not else so help me God and that the the what made it work is the princes not all of them but the majority of them rally around Luther and given protection and they lead to what’s called the confession and so forth but then we have the centuries of wars the war on the German Protestants which most of that rest of that century the war the Protestant Netherlands the the Pope with his resources is going after them wherever we can the Huguenots wars in France we’ll talk a little bit more about these in a little bit helps attempt against England then the so-called 30 Years War all these things were really struggles by the Pope attempting to maintain control and bloody bloody period the Jesuits were a major arm of the papacy in this regard and the supreme aim was the destruction of heresy and whatever as they would call it and thinking anything different than the Pope does and anything was justifiable which is a deception the morality of Isis even murder and they of course we were behind them st.
Bartholomew’s Massacre which we talked about last time and in Spain Netherlands South South Germany not North Germany Bohemian Austria Poland other countries the massacre of unto untold multitudes we’ll talk a little bit about this when we get to Revelation chapter 17 st. Bartholomew’s Massacre is an example of this where 70,000 Huguenots were massacred and when they were there’s great rejoicing they celebrated in Rome like a big bit like a great big victory struck a medal and sent a Cardinal of Paris to tell the King and Queen Mother congratulations the Pope’s away well so just summarize the 14th century we have the eastern church splitting with the Western Church we have the various what you and I would consider Protestant groups the ones is the Lord’s the Hussites being abused get to the 16th century course we have a Lutheranism Martin we talked about that the Anabaptist also gets slaughtered the in single Ian’s in in Zurich and in Switzerland has a parallel situation going of course Henry the eighth most of another story where he for political reasons broke off from the church to created the Church of England and meanwhile about the same period of time we got the Mennonites and we have John Calvin finds it takes advantage of Geneva has there really a fortress there to to enforce his approach to these things and on the journey through the sixteenth century we have all these different variations the German reform I’m getting reformed the French Calvinists or sometimes called Huguenots the Scottish Presbyterians and the Puritans and in the 60s Dutch Reformed and so forth yeah there’s a substantial number of threads to try to follow here the English Baptists under John Smythe in this in the 17th century the Quakers the Amish and so we get to 18 19th century it restarts if we have Methodism and John Wells Wesley and 1739 the Protestant Episcopal Church 1785 the United Brethren Unitarianism disciples of Christ seventh-day Adventist in 63 William Miller the Salvation Army under William Booth there’s there’s literally I could probably made a list of a hundred things of these things all in various ways people express themselves in biblical terms you wouldn’t agree with some of them but basically in the course of 1914 the Assemblies of God one of the largest denomination nominations so what I’m going to say about not to pick on any one of them we do want to stereotype them but if we talk about the denominational Church what seems to characterize them as we stood out with 20/20 hindsight look back is what I’ll call soft hermeneutical traditions hermeneutics theory of interpretation can be very tight very high you regard every letter every word as God breathed or you can take it just sort of allegorically or thematically this is sort of what it means I’ll call that soft and as you can tell we hold to a very high we believe that the Bible is the Word of God doesn’t contain the Word of God it is the Word of God there’s a big difference human editors don’t decide what that is God does and yes there are translational issues but the in the original we believe it’s inerrant and so that’s one of the the denominational churches increasingly tend to get soft on their hermeneutics many of them I’d say in fact most of them deny the millennial reign of Christ that the Bible talks about I’m not speaking just of Revelation 20 most of what we know about the millennium is from Isaiah 65 in other places we’ll deal with that when we get to Revelation 20 in detail but most churches deny that that’s one reason most churches abhor or certainly avoid the book of Revelation because they can’t read EAL with it and I spoke at a liberal arts college recently that the favors a they call themselves post millennialist s– we are primarily brothers really going to be a millennium most churches believe there is no millennium this church believes we are in the Millennium and this is really I’ve never run into them before I knew those views existed before the in the 1800s but once you got to the 20th century with World War 1 World War two most people realize things are not getting better and better getting worse and worse so the idea that were somehow heading toward the millennium or even in it is is not a popular view I don’t think well turns out what they really mean is that everything’s allegorical as you know it see if rended Millea and Satan’s traders who are and it’s well you know st.
Not just an idiom for evil in general whatever so the point is those are prevalent views in it and people hold whatever view they want but it is false labeling to call it Christian you can be an atheist fine you you speak you announce what you believe that your view that’s your privilege if you choose to do that run ad I’m only one question ask him what’s your backup plan so obviously because that they’d also deny Israel’s prophetic destiny most churches that are all millennial most churches are have no respect or regard for Israel in a biblical perspective and and iminium Ten have a tendency towards to NSmen Semitism and there’s also in most of these denominational churches absence of a biblical devotional life dealing with the Bible as the center of their devotional life that your your knowledge of God comes from studying the word your fear of God comes from your devotional life and most churches don’t have a serious devotional life as I’m defining it here and they celebrate Easter rather than Passover and so forth they meet on Sunday rather than on Shabbat I’m not a seventh-day Adventist don’t misunderstand me but there are issues and of course what we’re really getting at what’s probably more important than any of this is that the there’s a de-emphasis of the gospel of Christ as defined by Paul the first four verses of 1st Corinthians 15 how the Christ died for our sins according scriptures that he was buried that he rose again the third day that’s the gospel and not the things you hear from most pulpits most Sundays and of course you have this even there’s other issues I just picked one of the dozen ordination of homosexuals unthinkable from the biblical perspective Christ died for homosexuals that they repent they can be saved but putting practicing homosexuals in positions of office in the church is is a abrogation of the teachings of the scripture and then this we have in recent terms of course this whole joint declaration between evangelicals and Catholics together which of course is a way of saying check your faith at the door because the gospel hasn’t changed and the compromise of the gospel lies at the heart of this agreement well let’s take a look at the letter to Sardis and up right in here under the Angel of the Church of Sardis write these things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God and seven stars I know thy works that thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead and I mentioned it we just pick up where we were so here’s his exhortation you notice the first thing you notice there is no commendation just the concerns and now the excitation be watchful and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die for I have not found thy works perfect or complete before God remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast and repent if the if therefore thou shalt not watch I will come on me as a thief and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee and when you hear this in the context of the history of Sardis it fits that fits in surprisingly what’s the exit be watchful pay attention do your homework why to strength of the things which remain the implication is that what you had is eroding away just as the cliffs were loading way just as you the doctrines get softened and swept under the carpet no watchful strengthen things that shall remain and are what ready to die I have not found that works perfect for god what remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast then we’ve had you know it sounds to me that if this is the Reformation I thinks the later stages see the Reformation did a lot of things right I’ll come back to that but they also blew it in a few ways and I’ll come back to that too but the main point is since the Reformation these glorious denominations that fought the good faith have ossified become rigid become fossilized remember therefore how thou hast received and had her and hold fast and repent hold fast and repent that’s the message to that church and the people in it if therefore thou shalt not watch I will come these come on there is a thief and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon me you know what the flipside of this means is that if you do remember and do hold fast and do repent you won’t be caught by surprise you won’t be caught by surprise because if you don’t do this you’ll not know what hour come upon me apparently the flipside is also true come on these a thief that’s a Sardis phrase if every woman be watchful what does it mean be vigilant in Matthew 24 we talked about that previous session the next chapter is about the ten virgins five were watchful five were not watchfulness is admonished in Romans script in 16 and lots of other places throughout Paul’s epistles what should we be watchful of well the wiles of the devil Peter reminds us in this first letter Satan is out to have you destroyed how do you avoid that by being watchful to understand his methods to anticipate them were watchful of temptation according to Matthew watch that you would not enter into temptation how do you not into temptation by watching it and temptation doesn’t catch you by surprise it creeps up on you you can see it early and mail it before it gets out of control his coming be watchful of his coming Matthew 24 mark 13 first Thessalonians 5 6 so forth watchful of his coming one of the great tragedies of the modern church today it’s not watching for the second coming of Christ they get uncomfortable well you’re one of these prophecy nuts no no I read the scripture and of course false teachers watch out for the chuck Missler of this world remember emphasis was watchful the one thing they did right is they would not allow them that say their apostles in or not found them liars that’s the commendation he admonishes anything he wants devotion not just doctrine so they had worked that homework to do but they did that we need to watch for false teachers there you want to find a false teacher turn on the radio turn on the TV set they’re loaded remember Paul’s message to the Ephesian elders in acts 20 was to hammer away that there would be coming people among you like wolves not sparing the flock and the vision elders took his advice and that’s why they got the good read that which was good in the Ephesian letter Jesus strengthen the things which remain see the great truths that are being lost today the justification by faith alone that was the great cry of the Reformation but many churches the justification by faith has been turned to what some people call cheap grace don’t worry about it you’re saved by grace relax you don’t have to repent you don’t say it that way but that’s the flavor of it the other great truths is the inherent Word of God you know it’s hard to find pastors that really believe the church is built on a Word of God that is without error and I’m not talking about translations I’m drawn by the originals it’s inerrant that’s God breathed a small minority of teachers today really hold that view the depravity of man well there’s some good and everybody that’s why Christ had to die for us there’s no way that you can repair us there’s no place in the Bible that the heart is repaired or improved it is replaced with a new heart man is incurably wicked Jeremiah tells a 17-9 incurably wicked we’re not looking for a cure we’re talking about being born again a fresh start spiritually and redemption by his blood the blood of Jesus Christ how you you accept in a few old fashion style churches you don’t hear about the Precious Blood Jesus says your works are not complete our love’s not complete our fear is not complete what do you mean fear our devotional life I can tell what your devotional life is by how much you fear God and I don’t mean the sense of quit quivery I’m talking about all respect he’s not our buddy he’s the Almighty God before whom we all stand judgment and the devotional life is is where you learned you you’ll learn about him in the scripture but you grow devotionally in your private time is it regular is it sincere as it committed and our loyalty what am i talk about there I’m talk about an ambassadorship you’ve heard me many times I’ll say it one more time I think the commandment thou shalt not take the name of LORD thy God in vain has nothing to do with vocabulary or swearing or foul language that’s a different problem it has to do with taking the name of the king if you’re going to take the name of the king by the way it’s interesting there are many names of God in the Bible but whenever you hear the name of God it’s always singular because it’s not talking about a label it’s talking about his authority who he is and if you take the name of the Lord you’re talking about being his ambassador if you’re going to be his ambassador you better represent him faithfully that’s a test of loyalty and of course our service you see without him of course we can’t we all know that but do we realize without us he won’t and that’s what the message is to Sardis be watchful and so on be watchful and strengthen the things which remain that a ready to die for I’ve not found thy works before perfectly before God remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast repent and therefore if therefore thou shalt not watch I will come on thee as a thief and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee watchful strengthen remember hold fast and repent that’s the message or he’ll come upon us as a thief let’s remind ourselves of what Matthew tells us one of the most sobering passages in the scripture finishing up the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 7 not everyone that saith unto me Lord Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven many will say to me that day Lord Lord have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name cast out devils and in thy name done many wonderful works and then Jesus speaking then will I profess unto them I never knew you depart from me ye that work iniquity oh boy I can understand someone who has been ungodly all his life who is rejected to the gospel and lived a lie dissipated life coming before Lord and not being surprised or I should say as surprised Brad as those that think they’re saved and are not that’s got to be terrifying you want to make sure you know where you are and the way you do is by evidence of the faith done many wonderful works that ain’t it it’s your relationship with him well the excitation concludes them with verse 4 he says thou hast a few names even in sardis lost a few names even in your church if the very phrasing is an indictment hey there’s a few in there that are saved really where thou hast a few names even in sardis which have not defiled their garments and they shall walk with me in white for they are worthy so there is a remnant in Sardis that’s why some scholars attribute the label remnant to Sardis but there’s no linguistic link for that it’s really a stone that has lost its meaning but a few names even in sardis then we have the promise the overcomer he that overcometh the same shall be clothed in white raiment I will not blot out his name out of the book of life but I will confess his name before my father and before his angels see all through this letter its name name name name name name in different countries and then the closing phrase he that hath an ear let him hear what his Spirit says to the churches well we’ve talked about the local and the prophetic what does this have not what is this lesson then to all churches to churches in general remember it’s plural okay well we have the emphasis was devotion not just doctrine remember smyrna was just simply hanging there and during a prosecutor persecution pergamus stand fast against the world / ghost being married to the world churches should stand fast against that pressure in Thyatira you’re a boy the pagan practices we talked about that what Sardis is thing watchfulness and diligence straightforward enough in it okay this leads me then to an stand back and let’s talk about the historical church really and what the future church is going gravitate to because we’re watching something very interesting there very dark day is coming and yet there’s a very interesting groundswell starting we want to be sensitive to home fellowships why is the divorce rate among Christians no better than among unbelievers that’s a heavy that it may be even worse and that says something’s not working right and what is really meant by thou shalt not taking the name of Lord thy God in vain we that manner that around what does it really mean there is a regeneration gap in the church over two thousand churches planted per week 150 million in 74 is grown to 650 million 1998 but there’s a silent exodus of people slipping out at the back doors of churches unnoticed lots of new ones coming in but no one knows wasn’t leaving they’re attracted but not contained they’re interested but not inserted into the fellowship the harvested but not gathered they’re touched but not transformed they looked in briefly but were disappointed in what they saw that’s the description of the mega churches today or many churches today just got an interesting quote 52,000 defections each week from church dumb according to Charles a chris meyer in his book out of egypt 52,000 defections each week from church them but here’s that here’s the surprise an astounding 94 percent of them are the leaders what’s going on here and yet just this past week WorldNetDaily published this interesting poll that was taken at a time when public display of the ten commandments and discord about discourse about matters of faith have been under attack a new poll indicates that most Americans 63 percent of them almost to call two-thirds believe the Bible is literally true and the Word of God that’s wild deep in longing for poll biases that’s astounding so in the one hand we have people leaving the established churches on the other hand we have some evidence at least that people have a regard that’s relevant let’s go back and look at the way this whole thing started there were 12 guys on a seashore and the birth of the church in Pentecost in Jack’s chapter 2 was in a house it was in houses until the third century in houses they’re in church Menten houses in acts 2 5 8 9 12 16 18 20 21 in roman in romans 16 first Corinthians 16 Colossians 4 first Timothy 5 and on and on and on if you read your New Testament recognize virtually everything you see going on there happen in homes see as a persecuted Church seen a place they could meet Jesus taught the synagogue but the puzzles didn’t get very far because the primary persecution in the earliest days came from the Jews it was a little later that Nero you know the Romans getting the act and then after and yet even after the Roman Caesars after that era when you get into the papacy remember this one Pope one afternoon murdered more Christians than all the Roman Caesars Caesars put together and by the way the 20th century murdered more Christiane’s then all the previous Christians put together to put things in perspective the papacy this and and the abuses during the Dark Ages small potatoes compared to the technology of violence that was at our fingertips during the 20th century let’s get back to basics the church is supposed to be the secret and powerful Society of the redeemed a place where people could see the body of Christ not simply moved by some order touched by some abbreviated gospel by some evangelistic list blitzkrieg that is quickly forgotten we want to return to New Testament simplicity and authenticity that’s what people are looking for that’s why the kids are rejecting church because they see it as a spectator sport they want to participate and we have no models or advocating here we want the spirit to be free to move as you will not shackled by liturgies and traditional ceremonies see our foundations are evaporating biblical literacy extent we have allegorical myths we have the no awareness of the centerpiece of Israel and God’s plan no real focus on the imminent return of Jesus Christ we’ve exchanged that for pagan fallacies evolutionary myths that I don’t mean just the stuff that’s taught in high school about biology which is nonsense I’m talking about our entire culture our psychology our laws are all influenced by the so called evolutionary myth and then that leads of course to denial with absolutes there’s no god there’s no absolutes that there’s no absolutes and you got everything’s relative and that’s that’s that’s the society we’ve embraced and that all is it all really was in empowered by the state churches in 220 origin introduced infant baptism constantine for his own purposes adopted Christianity we took over the unity of toleration endorsed religion is being legal house churches in 380 were outlawed and that continues to be the pattern even in the Protestant Reformation Luther and Calvin tried to wipe out the house churches loss of control in their mind 431 the council of ephesus mary was then instituted mary worship as the mother of god and all that and as a state church to see all this starts getting the forest leo the grain of course became the so-called bishop of rome valencian confirmed as a spiritual leader the western empire this is a recount of what we talked about last time then then they started adopting a common priestly code about five hundred Justinian the state ordered odain Church the church the state now known it permits it it out ordains it and they have the the first pope title goes to several different claimants kissing the Pope’s foot begins in 709 worship of images and relics develops in the eighth century use of holy water begins in 850 the canonization of dead Saints in ninety nine and just before the the million ends fasting on Fridays before Lent was introduced just in 998 celibacy of the priesthood was instituted 70 the the hidden agenda there is to keep priests from having a state to have all property belonging to the church so if they’re celibate they don’t have an estate they may have illegitimate sons that doesn’t encumber the assets prayer beads adopted from paganism 1090 the Inquisition begins against the Jews and witches and what-have-you an 1180 for on and 1254 we officially establish the sale of indulgences and so on that’s several that’s three centuries before Luther by the way 1215 transubstantiation of water in wine the reading the bible forbidden to laymen and 1229 and on 1414 the communion cup forbidden to laypeople 1439 the doctor purgatory was decreed that’s not biblical obviously 1492 the law the Jews were outlawed in Spain in 1492 that’s why Columbus had to split before at midnight with his crew the tradition granted equal Authority with the Bible that’s where it starts to get shredded even in Judaism today Cole Kabbalah really repudiates and goes contrary to the Torah pond theoretically it’s based because they start mixing it with traditions and as we say in the computer business you torture the data long enough to confess anything and of course that brings in 1517 that Luther’s ninety-five theses actually the right the the the the winds of Reformation started said a couple centuries earlier but it was that when he’s crystallizing events which led to Bingley and Martin and Calvin John Knox and others and we have the reversions then to traditional forms of worship get get persecuted the Anabaptist gets slaughtered and so forth and even Luthor has statements like all lay pastors teaching publicly ought to be killed these are pronouncements of Luther and Calvin and the like they had their own power problems and Springfield was outlawed disciples jailed so for than 16-hundred we had 40 translations from the Latin Bible that’s putting the Bible in the people’s hands so they can go to the real authority 1700 the Huguenots murdered where the leaders executed before 10,000 witnesses so 4th century we had a Ken linesman estate independent fellowships are you know outlawed and persecuted then we have the Reformation they did a marvelous job on soteriology the doctrine of salvation but the other traditions are ignored namely eschatology and so on and even the Protestant leadership continues to persecute deviant groups adhering to biblical doctrines and that’s a shock to many and it was I know it was – – Dave hunt when he researched his book what love is this and how Calvinism misrepresents the character of God is very controversial book that I encourage you to take a look at and evaluate yourself when we go through more of these there’s a whole bunch of these deviant groups we won’t go through all of that the Wesley revival is interesting to notice everybody knows about the Western revival many people don’t realize what it constituted they involved that involved directed growth and discipleship not just coming down the sawdust trail and you had they had what they call dirt groups were called BAM you started with a trial band which emphasized prevenient grace that is grace that precedes your commitment and this was for provisional seekers if you will four to six people met a week went weekly with a leader for a couple months and when you outgrew that you were allowed to go to a what’s called a class meeting which was convincing grace that dealt with the mind you remember the society then 12 to 36 people you tend that for about two years before you went to a band meeting converting grace and in that kind of groups you’ve divided into 48 people all born again by now and then the select band where it’s spirit-filled so the point is they had these different groups but they had highly organized how you earned your way from one to the next if you will in 1768 after 30 years they had 40 so-called circuits 27,000 members by 1800 one of 30 Englishmen were a member of the Western revival but again it was the dynamics of a small group now I’m not saying this is the right way to do it that’s the way they did it when they died it all fell apart but we have alternatives today the mega church is a popular one many people are familiar with that there’s also a place for a local Congregational Church in them in the more typical model then we also have small study groups some of these are sells at homes that are organized as supervised by the local church very healthy very poor way to do things some of the home fellowships are independent because they’re not encouraged or in some cases discouraged by the local churches and then we have actually now home fellowship at home churches a slight difference there but the the congregational church you know the whole concept of the building the church is the the whole Congregational Church idea you have a building first of all you call a cathedral or Church you have a special day typically at Sunday not Shabbat it’s a professional leadership a priest clergyman or a hireling that that leads it all and then you have a special service performed for the people with ceremonies interpretations and motivational speeches and as a way to maintain itself with tithes and offerings that’s the basic model of of the typical nominal stereotyped Congregational Church and there is a life cycle for such churches that may surprise you everything is a life such nations have life cycles as well as people start with the people-oriented pastor he draws a crowd he pretty soon becomes puppet oriented man I’ve got a pretty good shot then as that grows he becomes property earning name we need a bigger feed Cathedral and that remember Gideon you know Gideon had this incredible victory and they wanted to make him Kings I won’t take your king I’ll take your money though and he went he went instead billed as a state so when he died his 70 sons get murdered by his bastard son you know as there is a danger in accumulating too many assets as some churches are finding out today and that leads of course to a power oriented pastor it we have the return of the Nicolaitans if you will and that leads to politically driven decay that tragically is a cycle that one can visualize in some places and the issue of course is accountability and management by hearsay and all these other evils that there the argue that Matthew 18 wasn’t for us that was for the laymen see the politics always emerge when there’s no objective function if you’re an infantry squad or if you’re in a sales organization where you have numbers every week what you’ve done or if there’s an objective function for the organization then it tends to be performance oriented but where that’s lacking as is the case in schools hospitals and churches how do you measure what’s a good a bad job it’s a qualitative judgment and that’s when politics have takes reign let’s take an example of one modern example it’s not the one to follow necessarily it’s just an interesting one to study called the Rock Church in San Diego everyone in Sunday church has to be in a small group of six to twelve once this good more than twelve they force him to split these small groups meet weekly under a facilitators not a teacher he just directs the discussion they meet together pray together discuss the notes that were emailed to them from the Sunday sermon they they hold themselves accountable and when they pray for their friends children they know their names and when it goes beyond 12 it is forced to split in two and two years this church has grown over 4,000 I think it’s about 8,000 now this is written a few some months ago so that’s one example what’s interesting is most I think that the average age is under 25 and the church young people they’re excited about it if there’s a meeting and they’re five minutes late they’re out they’re serious they take them so seriously and the kids love that they eat it up it’s astonishing see they’re these small groups have some advantages that the structural denominational churches don’t have they have a discipline multiplication it’s called mitosis cells divide soon you have twice as many then you have four times as many it’s a there’s an intrinsic multiplication that takes place there are free of growth barriers there’s not there’s no leadership problem all you need is facilitators because it’s playing the trails around if they can someone just lead the discussion about them the participants are involved in fact the facilitators primary job to make sure buddy participates in the discussion and there’s personal transformation evident and thus accountability among the group this is more effective for new Christians because they’re in an environment where they can ask no questions and it also solves the leadership crisis it’s more biblical than in models that we generally see on the horizon it’s also persecution proof structure if everybody’s meeting in small homes across the landscape how you get your hands on that one looked a lot tougher a lot tougher it’s also more efficient there’s no cost fundamentally interesting the true church is a supernatural invention it’s endowed with immortality but it requires the means to disciple one another it didn’t say convert people I said make disciples teach all nations that is the transfer Jesus life to somebody else it turns atheist apostles it takes terrorists into teachers it turns plumbers into pastors take turns the elders into evangelists that’s what we’re really all about it’s a way of life not a series of meetings the way as exist the way it was called in the book of Acts the way the way they refer themselves there’s no such thing as a house of God that was a temple one day but God does not live in temples made with human hands chewing gum in the sanctuary no no the sanctuaries are chewing gum there’s no bureaucratic clergy in the New Testament that’s interesting no clerical mediators there’s one mediator between God and man who it’s his name Jesus Christ the Nicolaitans were adaptations from pagan religions and it serve a line or staff situation the Alliance productive staff is overhead there are some issues here by the way when you form a home group and I’m encouraging all of you to consider that don’t assume that its primary mission is evangelism that’s not that not that that’s not a good one don’t misunderstand me but I’m Steve against your home fellowship I will need people Christ great but that isn’t necessarily your highest and best use it maybe edification in discipleship you can’t be disciple by sitting in a meeting once a week Sunday morning or even on a Tuesday night that’s interesting you take notes you learn something but that’s just that’s not the same thing these small groups are where you really learn and grow and get discipled that’s really the point and there are some formats in which that’s the primer that a newcomer isn’t and can’t can only come with permission they don’t reach out they’re there to minister themselves I’m gonna saying that’s the right way either I’m just saying there’s different roles different different strokes for different folks leadership you can have prepared teachers have a home fellowship obviously but you don’t need to not today all you need is a discussion leader someone facilitates there’s plenty of material around you can get half a dozen people a neighborhood coming over when pop a DVD in for now and have some cup of coffee and discuss it then you give me some words what topic might be know with you have to why you have to be able to lead a discussion and and the criteria of goodness there is make sure every participates so you need to do you’re off a cd-rom or a DVD and the thing and Wow something you know controversial no discuss it and have some opinions and that’s he came into this again next Wednesday sure there’s plenty of material you can lead them through it from just some introductory stuff to get their attention to a very systematic say and in for one hour of things you through prophecy 101 get course credit if you want it this series that were many people be using the series that we’re talking about here that way with a small group simply a watch it and kick it around talk about it thanks we you don’t have to be a teacher to have long fellowship in Korea they do it a little differently by the way they’re organized by profession friend of mine was there and guess who is like him their own Bible so yeah I’d love to so they drove an hour in his Mercedes before they got there wasn’t in the neighborhood and when he got there nothing but Mercedes around there all doctors wealthy doctors and he had to get permission to bring a friend because it wasn’t an outreach thing it was they they all the people had something in common and and so it’s all guys but a different way of going at it and by special invitation only when they want somebody to join they pray about it six months as a group before they invite them in and then they pray who’s gonna push the guy that sits like a closed Club I’m not saying that’s the right way to do that I’m just saying there’s different styles for different people seek your small groups here organic not organized their relational not formal they have persecuting proof structure that matures under tears multiplies under pressure flourishes in the desert sees in the dark and thrives on chaos maybe that’s why I like him so much the only boast that a small group should have is the lamb that it worships the word Koinonia by the way means fellowship communication or communion sharing participating with someone it’s the Greek word for fiduciary to by the way for those of you that of legal background it can’t be organized in quotes has to be led by the spirit if it’s going to bear meaningful fruit and I encourage us to revisit the open organic styles in the Testament instead of being limited in our thinking by the structured approach that was canonized by the state in the fourth century think about it well how do you find the right one look around try um just probably some of your neighborhood maybe they’re by professional groups they might be Geographic whatever if you can’t find one start your own we’ll be glad to help you it’s easy and God will surprise you as to happens he always rewards the doujin and by the way if you’re having a group like that staying a week ahead of them or Sunday afternoon but what we reviewing someone else isn’t hard to do to be on top of it a little bit so you can direct the discussion a little bit more and we’ll be glad to help you that’s what we’re all about and those of you that haven’t seen it I encourage you to take a look at a briefing package we have called the once and future church the discovery that the historical church always has been in the homes even through the dark ages of the medieval period even through the persecutions brought on by the Protestant Reformation but on some that that’s always been in the homes and there’s a ground to what we’re excited about there’s a groundswell in America of people meeting in homes in some cases encouraged by their their local church in some cases done independently and there are a couple problems with the home churches to raising up new leadership as they grow and staying networked not becoming insular but for you you’re aware of and deal with those it’ll be fine the being a biblical Christian is becoming increasingly politically incorrect today if you haven’t noticed the true churches will eventually be forced underground no surprise but I was surprised by jaiva and Maggie’s remark and as Timothy conferred commentary a few decades ago he says the attack against them will be led by the liberal denominational churches so let’s recognize it for what it is there’s an explosion toward the past back to the future you might say and for me it was a personal discovery in 50 years of studying the Bible I’ve seen personal girls always take place in the homes not in Sunday church not the that is a role and appropriate for any sign of church but there’s a modern trend of hope it’s in the homes and I think it’s going to be the persecuted Church and the church always prospers under persecution and it was then and it will be again and all of this has an impact for you personally and to think it through pray it through and see what it has for you so the personal applications I think is pretty straightforward here Ephesus had neglected priority shmurda had satanic opposition’s pergamus spiritual compromise those were the challenges to each of those participants that tire again was the pagan practices issue and Sardis is Saints for the church watchful nurse and diligence is the call here and the overcomers promises were different in each one the tree of life for the people of Ephesus not hurt of the second death to the Smyrna people the mana stone and the man of the stone a name in Pergamos power over the nations that Thyatira aspire to is promised to by Christ and situs gets walk with Him in white and named not bottled out each one is a little different well who’s the overcomer be careful of this one whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world and this is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God don’t let that term overcomer thrust you into a legal legalistic work work strip so okay we talked about the name Sardis we’re not sure what it means it had a name but had no substance his title was the Holy Spirit allusion that he used it had no common day no commendation that is the shocker that should get our attention from the word go and he had concerns and expectation went through and then we had the promised overcomer and again it was inside the body the letter as the last for we’ll be looking at the prophetic profile a little bit further we had apostolic church the persecuted church Samaria Church the medieval church and we’ll call this the denominational Church by whatever label and the first group being one group having the promises post scripted the last group in the body of the letter and the last four have another distinctive that’s your assignment to figure out what distinctive the last four letters have in addition to the fact that the PostScript is in the body the letter dye tire was promised if they didn’t turn around that they go in the Great Tribulation and the Sardis is indeterminate we do know there’s a few names a few names in Sardis that have not defiled their garments what Jesus said let’s hope that those names include us well for next time I want you to read chapters 2 and 3 once again in fact I want seven times you say Chuck you’re kidding no not we devotional II don’t read it expositionally we’ll deal with that when you get together weird emotionally just let’s see what the spirit now starts to talk to you and see if not with the experience you’ve had so far if you don’t perceive things in the text itself that you didn’t see before let’s see what happens there then outline the letter to Philadelphia which is chapter verses 7 through 13 and as you do that outline there’s two questions you want to be able to answer so that’s answer for yourself what are the distinctives of reading to Philadelphia and what unique promise is given to them very distinctive come to your own conclusions as to what’s distinctive about those letters and what unique promises they enjoy everybody identifies with Philadelphia because it has nothing bad said about it but don’t just stop there find out what you can about Philadelphia let’s bow our hearts for word of Prayer father we do thank you for who you are and we thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ then we also thank you Father for the Holy Spirit who we do ask you Father to send to each of us to guide us keep us from error but to help us to be watchful and to be diligent with that which you have given us help us father show us the error of our ways that we too might repent and be more pleasing in your sight and above all a father to be more fruitful ambassadors for you not by power nor by might but by your spirit father we pray father that your purpose would be accomplished in every life that’s in the sound of my voice but pray father that you would put a hedge about each of us guide us protect us equip us and our families as we commit ourselves into your hands in the name of Yeshua our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ amen you
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