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LIVE AS A CHRIST-CENTERED CHURCH: by Giving what we Cannot Keep to Gain what we Cannot Lose (Revelation 2:8-11 ● Message #4) 10-31-2010
INTRODUCTION: 1. The Seven Churches in Revelation: NT Scholar Robert Mounce says the churches are addressed in geographical order (their respective cities were located about 30 to 50 miles apart, along a circular road). Note the outline below adapted from NT Scholar Greg Beale (it forms a chiasm: an outline with repetitive points): the 1st & last churches are in the worst condition; the 2nd & 6th are the strongest; the middle three are in decline. A. Ephesus: about to die – receives some praise & a strong rebuke/warning. B. Smyrna: healthy – receives strong praise and no rebuke. C. Pergamum: receives some praise and a strong rebuke/warning. C Thyatira: receives some praise and a strong rebuke/warning. C’ Sardis: receives little praise (if any) and a strong rebuke/warning. B’ Philadelphia: healthy – receives strong praise and no rebuke. A’ Laodicea: about to die – receives no praise & a strong rebuke/warning. 2. A Message Highlighting Contrasts (Revelation 2:1-8). ● Jesus: He is the first & the last; He was dead and is now alive. ● the Church in Smyrna: you are poor, but really you are rich. ● the Jews: say they are Jews, but really they are not. ● Jim Elliot Quote: 1 of 5 missionaries to the Waodoni people in Ecuador killed in 1956 (along with Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian): Jim’s quote summarizes a main theme in these contrasts above: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” 1. JESUS' SELF-INTRODUCTION ● Jesus reigns eternally: and He has endured and conquered death (v8). 2. JESUS' PROPHETIC WORD TO THIS CHURCH. ● a Commendation: for faithfully persevering thru slander and poverty (v9). ● a three-fold Command: do not fear, behold the coming tribulation, and be faithful unto death (v10). 3. JESUS' EXHORTATION & PROMISE. ● Hear what the Spirit says to the Churches: the one who conquers will not face eternal suffering (v11). 4. LIVE AS A CHRIST-CENTERED CHURCH. ● Fix our eyes on Jesus and endure slander for His Name. ● Love Jesus and trust Him through financial difficulties. ● Be Ready for tribulation/testing, and be willing to die for Jesus. ● Give what we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose.