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First Baptist Church of Rockville

The tree of Life

Text: Revelation 2:1-7

* Losing your first love! Keeps us from being Victorious.

* Someone once asked a bunch of elementary aged children what they thought about love.

* Glenn, age 7: If falling love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.

* Regina, age 10 agrees: I’m not rushing into love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.

* Angie, age 10: Most men are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one.

* Dave, age 8: Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I’ve been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.

* Manuel, age 8: I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be painful.

* When you're in love, your eyes light up, your face lights up - and apparently, so do 4 tiny bits of your brain. According to Andreas Bartels, a research fellow at University College London: It is the common denominator of romantic love. When test subjects were shown photographs of their sweethearts certain areas of their brain just lit up which means there’s a higher flow of blood going to that part of the brain.

* These "love spots" were near, but not the same as, sections that become active when someone is feeling simple lust. And looking at pictures of their sweethearts reduced activity in 3 larger areas that are active when people are upset or depressed. (Janet McConnaughey R.Digest 9/01)

* I wonder how you would respond if shown a picture of Jesus?

(Series “Promises)

Title: “To the Victorious is given the right to eat of the Tree of Life.”

Theme: Throughout this series, we will find that God is closely watching His church, which include each one of us. He expects certain things from us. Just like in earthly love relationships, God expects us to put forth a little effort in finding out what pleases Him. When we get it right, He declares us ‘Victorious’. This new year will you dedicate your heart to discover what God desires from you?”

* Most of us have heard sermons on the seven Churches mentioned in Revelations 2-5, but how many of you have heard a sermon series on the Seven Promises to the Victorious? Some translations read, ‘to him or those who overcome’.

* The book of Revelation is full of the number seven (7). In fact, it occurs 54 times in the book. In chapter one we are told there are seven blessings, seven churches represented by seven-candle stand and seven angels for each of the seven churches.

Revelation 1:3-5, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. 4John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,”

* This morning I will begin a seven sermon series on the seven promises found in the first five chapters of the book of Revelations. We might look a little at each church but my focus will be on the promises that are presented.

* The outline of the book indicates that in chapter one we have what ‘John Saw’. Followed by, “What is now” Revelation chapter two through three. Chapters 4-22, are the prophecies of “What will take place later”.

* In this new series we will mainly focus on ‘What is Now’, chapters one through four.

* The seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelations were actual churches that existed during the life of John. Beloved, let me suggest to you that only seven were mentioned even though we know that many more existed and flourished in John’s lifetime.

* This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.

  1. 1. The promise begins with being in tune with the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 2:7, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

* If we desire that God would reveal more to us, we must first respond in obedience to that which has already been revealed.

* Jesus was always speaking about people hearing but not understanding and seeing but not perceiving.

Luke 4:10-12, “When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

* This also applies to the lukewarm Christian who believes he sees and hears, but has become blind and deaf.

* In each one of these promises, you will find the same command to hear what is said in them. Yet even today, we find so little attention has been paid to them.

John 14:26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Colossians 1:26 “…that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints.”

John 16:13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

 

  1. The Promise centers on being Victorious.

Revelation 2:7, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

* The promise belongs, to the victors; as the preceding summons to hear, to everyone who has an ear. The hearer is through the prophecy to learn to be victor, and thus to be saved.

* The Bible is full of verses about what God expects from us. Therefore, it would be to our benefit to know them and put them in practice. God expects us to be doing this daily not just once a week on Sundays.

* Beloved, I want you to notice there is not one thing or an event that brings us to the point of being ‘Victorious’.

* The reference to conquering is a prominent feature of St. John’s other writings. The word—is found in John 16:33; 1John 2:13-14; 1John 5:4-5; and occurs in all these epistles to the churches.

* The verb to "overcome" or "conquer" (νικᾷν) is strongly characteristic of St. John. It occurs seven times in the Gospel and the First Epistle, and sixteen times in the Revelation; elsewhere only in Luke 11:22; Romans 3:4

* Beloved did you notice it is not stated what is to be overcome. Very important. Maybe each person has their own set of circumstances that they must overcome.

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

* I think this verse makes it very plain that God has certain things in our lives He expects us to accomplish. It definitely supports the doctrine of a Divine purpose being carried out in our daily lives.

* This next verse shows the first time the loss of love for God is recorded.

Genesis 3:8, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

* This is the very essence of the first love, which the Church of Ephesus gave up.

  1. The Promise gives the right to eat from the Tree of Life.

Revelation 2:7, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

* Notice, for a moment, the form that this great promise assumes here. That is a very significant reference to the Tree of Life in the paradise of God.

* The old story tells how the cherub with the flaming sword was set to guard the way to it. And that paradise upon earth faded and disappeared. But it reappears. ‘ Then comes a statelier Eden back to man,’ for Jesus Christ is the restorer of all lost blessings; and the Divine purpose and ideal has not faded away amidst the clouds of the stormy day of earth’s history, like the flush of morning from off the plains. Christ brings back the Eden, and quenches the flame of the fiery sword; and instead of the repellent cherub, there stands Himself with the merciful invitation upon His lips: ‘Come! Eat; and live forever.’

* During the present age, man is barred from the tree of life. God has provided another tree of life: the cross of Jesus Christ. Those who place their trust in His atoning work upon the cross have eternal life (John 3:16)

Genesis 3:23-24, “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”

* To him that overcomes (or, conquers) will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

* You can regain that first love with God and have access to the Tree of life.

Revelation 22:1-5, 14, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. 14“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

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