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Sermons from Faith Bible Church Greenfield Illinois

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The Church of the Living Dead

Sardis was a magnificent city with a Church that could be called the Church of the living dead. Jesus describes them as alive but dead. How does a Church get to the point where they are doing things but have forgotten why they are doing them? How does a Church fix that problem? Jesus challenges the issue that the Church in Sardis had and then tells them how to fix it and make it right. I. How does Jesus describe Himself to this Church? A. He who has the seven Spirits of God (Revelation 3:1a) 1. Jesus possesses The Spirit in His fullness as prophesied in Is. 11:1, 2 2. He completely possesses the Spirit of the Lord 3. Messianic prophecy fulfilled in the way Jesus is described here B. He holds the seven stars (Revelation 3:1b) 1. The messengers to the seven churches 2. He holds them in His hands – He is in charge II. Jesus gives a diagnosis of this Church A. What they still had (Revelation 3:1c) 1. They had works – They were doing things 2. They had a name – They had a reputation 3. They were alive – It looked like it anyway, but they were a hollow shell B. They were dead (Revelation 3:1d) 1. They had stopped doing what they were doing for God 2. They were dead inside 3. Had a form of godliness (II Timothy 3:2, 5) 4. Full of action but not of God (Matt. 7:22, 23) 5. They convinced themselves they were alive, but they were dead III. Jesus tells them how to come back to life A. Jesus tells them to be watchful – wake up 1. Strengthen the things that remain – Am I doing what I do for Jesus? (Rev. 3:2a) a. There was a little life here b. They needed the life of the Spirit to strengthen them (John 6:63) c. We are strengthened by His words taught to us by the Spirit (John 14:26) 2. Wake up what is dying – I have not found your works perfect before God (Rev. 3:2b) a. Faith without deeds is dead (James 1:17, 26) b. Deeds without faith are dead (Matt. 7:22, 23) c. We are new creations made to do good works in Christ (Ephesians 2:10) B. Remember how your new life started – It was all about Jesus (Rev. 3:3a) 1. Remember how you heard and received the gospel (Ephesians 2:8, 9) 2. Hold fast to that (Heb. 10:23, Col. 2:6) 3. Repent from where things have gone – get back to serving for Him (Romans 12:1) We have a tendency to want to do things on our own and then to desire recognition for what we have accomplished on our own. That sort of thinking leads to dead works and can kill our relationship with God and lead to a Church full of people who are alive, but are dead.

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Don't Allow/Follow Jezebel

The Church in Thyatira had a group of believers that were loving, faithful, serving and patiently persevering through the difficulty of living out their lives in a pagan culture, but it appears that the vast majority of the Church had allowed a prophetess to teach who was leading the Church into compromising lifestyles. Jesus, the Son of God, who introduces Himself as the one that sees our hearts and minds and knows our paths condemns this activity and warns the Church of coming judgment if they don’t change. I. They had a woman there Jesus calls Jezebel (Revelation 2:20) A. Who was Jezebel? 1. She was a Phoenician/Sidonian (I Kings 16:30-33) 2. She married Ahab, King of Israel 3. She was a committed worshipper of Baal 4. She went after the true prophets (I Kings 18:4, 19:1, 2) 5. She did evil conniving things to get Ahab a vineyard (I Kings 21:9, 10) B. The writer of I Kings tells us this about Jezebel’s influence (I Kings 21:25, 26) C. Jehu said of Jezebel Israel could not have peace with Jezebel as Queen (II Kings 9:22) II. There was a Jezebel in this Church A. She called herself a prophetess and the Church allowed this (Revelation 2:20) B. Here is what she was guilty of 1. She was teaching – she was a false teacher 2. Seducing God’s servants into sexual immorality 3. Teaching them to eat things sacrificed to idols C. This Church was guilty of “allowing” this to happen (Revelation 2:20) D. There are serious consequences for those who lead believers to sin (Matt. 18:6) III. If this continued judgment would fall on the Church as it fell on Israel A. God says, I gave her time to repent and she did not (Revelation 2:21) B. Judgment was going to fall (Revelation 2:22) 1. Sickness/Death would come to her 2. Those who commit adultery with her will enter into great tribulation 3. He would put her spiritual children to death (Revelation 2:23) C. Unless they repent D. Jesus would end this with death if rebellion continued, Why? 1. As an example to all the churches (Revelation 2:23) 2. They would know then that God sees all – searches hearts and minds/knows our path E. They would get what they have coming based on their works – Works show heart The good news here is that even though this Church was so messed up, opportunity was there for even this false prophetess to repent and for her followers to be saved. It was a shame that this Church allowed her a platform and it was to her shame that she led God’s people into sin and it was shameful that so many followed her, but there was still a way to fix all this, if this Church would repent.

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The God Who Knows All

With the Church in Thyatira we reach the mid-way point of Jesus’ messages to the Churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). Like the Church in Pergamos this Church had a big problem, but also, like the Church in Pergamos this Church had some in it who were faithful. Jesus introduces Himself to this Church and encourages those who were doing the right thing. I. Jesus introduces Himself A. As the Son of God (Revelation 2:18) 1. The only time this phrase appears in Revelation 2. He appears to this Church as divine judge B. The attributes that are emphasized 1. Eyes like flaming fire – Seeing and illuminating what is in the heart 2. Feet like fine brass – Purity of path and feet of judgment, judging our path C. Quite a picture - Divine Son of God walking in purity with eyes of flame II. Jesus knew of the good works that were going on in this Church (Revelation 2:19) A. They had love – first of the seven churches to be commended for love 1. Love for God (Mark 12:30) 2. Love for each other (I John 4:21) 3. Love your neighbor (Mark 12:31) 4. Love your enemy (Matthew 5:44) B. They were doing service – meeting the needs of others 1. In the Church (Romans 12:10, 13) 2. In the world (Proverbs 19:17, Matthew 25:35, 40) C. They had faith – better translated faithfulness (Hebrews 10:23, Galatians 5:22) D. They had patience/perseverance (Matt. 24:11-13) E. All of these attributes were increasing III. Here is what Jesus had to say to this group A. Jesus ends His address with encouragement (Revelation 2:24) 1. To those who would repent 2. To those who hadn’t been sucked in to ungodly conduct B. Hold fast to what you have till I come (Revelation 2:25) C. What does it look like to hold fast? (Revelation 2:26a) 1. He who overcomes 2. He who keeps My works to the end D. What is promised to those who will hold fast? (Revelation 2:26b, 27) 1. They will rule the nations – Rule with Jesus in a kingdom on this earth 2. They will receive the morning star (Revelation 2:28, 22:16) E. If you have an ear to hear, listen (Revelation 2:29) Jesus knows our hearts and minds. He knows the paths we take and when we stray from the path of true conduct that He sets for us. He sees us when we take the path of love, service, faith and patient perseverance. When we are on that path He urges us to stay there, hold fast, overcome, keep His words to the end, and He promises that those who do this will rule with Him and possess Him forever.

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Divided by Truth July 8, 2018

In Revelation 2 Jesus is speaking with the Church in Pergamos. This Church was divided by truth. There were some in this Church who were holding to the truth. Antipas had even died as a martyr because he would not deny the truth. For those who were holding fast their confession and who were not denying the truth Jesus gives encouragement. For another group in the Church though Jesus has a warning. I. There was a group of compromisers – Like Balaam A. These people are compared to the prophet Balaam (Revelation 2:14) 1. Balaam was asked to curse the children of Israel for money (Numbers 22-24) 2. He blessed four times them instead B. He gave King Balak a plan though on how to get Israel to fall 1. Send in the pretty girls (Revelation 2:14, Numbers 31:16) 2. Get them to engage in sexual immorality 3. Get them to compromise and worship false gods – that will turn God against them C. The plan worked to a certain extent 1. The men of Israel committed harlotry with Moabite women (Numbers 25:1) 2. The Moabites invited the Israelites to sacrifice to their gods (Numbers 25:2) 3. They joined in the worship of Baal (Numbers 25:3) 4. A plague came on Israel as a result and 24,000 people died (Numbers 25:9) D. We should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14) II. Another group of compromisers – The Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:15) A. They promoted the liberty we have as believers B. Everything we do wrong will be forgiven anyway – let’s sin C. It’s not like we’re going to lose our salvation D. Their teaching perverted grace and replaced liberty with license E. The scripture warns against this kind of thinking 1. Should we sin so grace may abound? (Romans 6:1, 2) 2. Do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh (Galatians 5:13) III. Judgement lay in the path of these compromisers A. He tells them to repent (Revelation 2:16) 1. Confess what they are doing is wrong (II Corinthians 7:10, 11) 2. Go the right direction B. If they wouldn’t He would come after them 1. He would come to them quickly 2. He would fight with them 3. He would use the sword of His mouth to judge them a. God cleanses the Church (II Corinthians 11:30) b. He will judge with truth those inside and outside the Church (Revelation 19:15) This Church was divided by the truth. Some held to the truth uncompromisingly while others married into the pagan society they were in and still others tried to have their faith and live worldly lives too. These compromises, if continued, would lead to the judgment of the Church as it led to the judgment of Israel. Compromising Christianity puts the Church at risk for judgement.

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Divided by Truth

In Revelation 2 Jesus is talking directly to the Churches in Asia Minor (Modern Day Turkey) and commending them for what they are doing right and correcting them for what they are doing wrong. The Church in Ephesus was strong in upholding the truth but they lost their first love. The Church in Smyrna was under great persecution. Jesus told them, I know what you are going through, don’t be afraid, be faithful. Next we come to the Church of Pergamos. This was a Church that was seemingly headed in two directions. One part was holding fast while the other was compromising. Today we will examine the part of the Church that was doing things right. I. Jesus’ description of Himself to this Church. A. He who has the two edged sword – He is the source of truth (Revelation 2:12) 1. This is the word that He speaks (Revelation 1:16) 2. The word that separates right from wrong (Revelation 19:15) B. It is sharp and precise (Hebrews 4:12) 1. We want it used on our lives (Ephesians 6:17) 2. We need it used in our Church 3. We need to wrestle with what it means to apply the truth of God’s word II. Jesus knew where they were living and what they were going through A. He knew their works (Revelation 2:13) 1. You hold fast to My name (Hebrews 10:23, Deut. 10:20) 2. You did not deny My faith (Hebrews 3:14) 3. Even to the death in the case of Antipas a. My faithful martyr b. Who was killed B. He knew where they dwelt 1. Where satan’s throne is 2. Where satan dwells III. Jesus encourages them (Revelation 2:17) A. Overcome and I will feed you with hidden manna (I John 5:4, 5, John 6:51) B. I will give you a white stone C. I will write a name on the stone a. A new name b. No one will know it except him who receives it There were many brave believers in this Church and there were many who would faithfully overcome. They stuck to the truth and lived by the word of God even to death. These are the saints that we want to emulate. Their promises are the ones we want to claim. The way that Jesus encourages them and the promises He makes to them are for us too if we will live like them.

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