Serving the Abundant Life family since 1985, Pastor Greg has a passion for teaching God's Word in a practical and relevant way!
Episode 37 The Revelation 3`1-6
Wake up! This is the message for the church at Sardis, for the church today and for each individual. Wake up!
Episode 36 The Revelation 2`18-29
The letter to the church in Thyatira, the 4th of the 7 churches of the Revelation. The message to the church and to us today is to "Hold Fast" and not let anything cause you to doubt the Word of God.
Episode 35 The Revelation 2`12-17
“The Letter to the Church at Pergamum: Be Separate!
Background of Pergamum
Present city - Bergama
Pergamos/Pergamum - both used.
Pergamos - great religious center. Intellectual center.
60-70 miles north of Smyrna, 15 miles inland from the Aegean Sea.
Alter of Zeus here.
God of healing - Aesculapius (scalpel) was worshipped here with the idol - serpent on a pole.
Caduceus - official emblem of the city. Symbol of our present medical services.
Persecution of Christians caused growth of the church.
Pergamos - mixed marriage
Background of Babylon
The Heritage of Nimrod
Babylon founded by Nimrod - the first world dictator.
Wife - Semiramus;
Son - Tammuz - associated with the Sun god.
Yule log, Christmas tree, mistletoe, all trace their origins to Babylon. Names of days, names of months, calendar, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in minute all from Babylon.
The Seat of Satan
Persians conquer Babylon, the center of Babylonian influence shifts to Pergamos
Persians conquered by Greeks and Greeks conquered by the Romans.
Center of pagan influence then shifts to Rome.
Constantine and the beginning of compromise
312 ad - Constantine gains control of Roman Empire and declares Christianity the state religion.
Under Roman rule and persecution, Christianity has grown.
Pagan and Christian cultures clash as Christianity is now acceptable.
What Satan could not do by persecution he does by mixing Christianity with paganism.
The first Pontifus Maximus is put in place and we have now the concepts of celibate priests, crucifix, purgatory, worship of Mary. All trace their roots to Babylon.
The one with the sharp, double-edged sword Vs 12
The sword is the word of God. Heb. 4:12, Eph. 6:17
From Revelation 1:16, 19:15 Out of His mouth comes the sharp sword
The only way to combat deception is with the absolute clear understanding of the word of God.
I know you live where Satan lives Vs 13
The emphasis is not on the works of the church but on where they dwell.
Satan’s spiritual throne is here.
Reference to the fact that the Babylonian paganism is central there.
1. You remain true to my name.
2. You did not renounce your faith in the time of trials.
I have a few things against you. Vs 14-15
1. Balaam - “not of the people”. Numbers 22-25, 31
Principle of Balaam - through fornication the people will fall.
Fornication used two ways - 1. physical sexual adultery 2. Idolatry, spiritual fornication.
The way of Balaam is religious compromise - 2 Peter 2:12-16, Jude 11
2. The Nicolaitans
Ephesus – hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans.
Pergamos – hold to the teachings of the Nicolaitans.
Nico - rule, control
laity - the people
Separation of laity and clergy.
Repent and be separate! Vs 16
Repent - change your mind and your behavior will change. Turn about 180 degrees.
All churches are told to Repent except for Smyrna and Philadelphia.
Repent or else!
1. He will come soon to you.
2. He will fight against them with the sword of His mouth.
The weapon of God’s warfare is His word.
Manna and a new name on a white stone Vs 17
1. Hidden manna - the manna hidden in the ark to remind Israel of God’s provision in the wilderness. Jesus is the manna, the bread of life. John 6
He will be no longer hidden. We’ll see Him face to face. 1 John 3:2, 1 Cor. 13:12
2. White stone with a new name on it -
a) Stones used in judgment. A white stone was acquittal, and black stone guilty as charged.
b) A stone different than the 12 in the breastplate of the priest. This stone is new.
c) Roman practice: when a certain person was a victor in a contest or challenge he was given a white stone with his name on it as a ticket to gain entrance to a special feast or party afterward. A VIP ticket.
d) The stone has a name on it only known by the bearer and God. When
Episode 34 The Revelation 2`8-11
“The Letter to the Church at Smyrna: No Fear!” Revelation 2:8-11
Still exists today as Ismir. Third largest city in Turkey. 300,000 pop.
Known as “Beauty of Asia” “The City of Life and Strength”
A seaport city 35 miles North of Ephesus.
Loyal to Rome, erected the temple to the Goddess of Rome.
Polycarp was the young (20-30 yrs.) Bishop of Smyrna.
Polycarp was martyred during the Christian persecution.
The Church suffered intense persecution from the first century – 313 A.D.
Major theme of death in the Letter to Smyrna.
Smyrna – Hebrew root: myrrh.
Primary purpose – embalming.
Gives off its fragrance from being crushed.
Gift of the Magi to Jesus – Mt. 2:11
Gold – royalty
Frankincense – deity, priesthood
Myrrh – suffering, death.
In the millennium gold and frankincense given but no myrrh will be offered to Jesus. Is. 60:6
Who Jesus is – Verse 8
Angel - messenger. Literal angel of the church.
I am the first and the last who died and came to life again. Rev. 1:17-18
What Jesus Knows - Verse 9
1. He knows about your afflictions: pressure from outside the church. Satanic affliction.
2. He knows about your poverty: one who has lost property and possessions because they were a believer. ”Yet you are rich!” 2 Cor. 6:10, Matt. 6:20, Luke 16:11
3. He knows the slanderous talk spoken about you: the Judaisers 1 Pet 2:19-23, Rom. 2:28-29
What Jesus Commands - Verse 10
1. Do not fear: 2 Tim. 3:12
The Devil is behind this testing: Rev. 12:12 - he knows his time is short.
2. Be faithful unto death: Rev. 12 - The overcomers will be faithful even unto death.
What is the meaning of “ten days”?
Ten waves of Roman persecution?
Nero - 54-68
Domitian - 95-96
Trajan - 104-117
Marcus Aurelius - 161-180
Septimus Severus - 100-211
Maziminus - 235-237
Decius - 249-251
Valerian - 257-260
Aurelian - 270-275
Diocletion - 303-313 the worst of all.
According to Fox’s Book of Martyrs 5,000,000 people died over 250 years.
Tied to Daniel 1:12-20 - Hebrew captives tested in Babylon for ten days with special food not from the King’s table etc.
What Jesus Promises - Verse 10-11
1. A crown of life: the victors crown. The crown is the symbol. Life is the promise.
2. Second Death will not touch you: Rev. 20:14-15 - Eternal death. The lake of fire.
How does this letter, with a theme of persecution apply to us today?
Rev. 12 - we will overcome by the blood of the lamb, by the word of our testimony, that we did not fear death as to shrink back from it. Do we fear death?
Episode 33 The Revelation 2`1-7
The Book of Revelation
“Ephesus: Your First Love” - Rev. 2:1-7
About the 7 letters
4 Levels of interpretation
1. Local - these are actual churches with real needs
2. Admonitory - “churches” all seven letters apply to all seven churches
3. Homiletic - “he that has an ear…” it speaks to the individual
4. Prophetic - in this particular order they lay out the entire history of the church from Acts through the tribulation.
7 churches - He is speaking to the church as a whole.
Ephesus: neglected priorities - Apostolic age - to 100
Smyrna: satanic opposition - Age of persecution - 100-313
Pergamos: religious compromise - Imperial Church - 313-590
Thyatira: immoral practices - Age of Papacy - 590 Tribulation
Sardis: spiritual apathy - Reformation - 1517 - Tribulation
Philadelphia: lost opportunities - Missionary Church - 1730 - Rapture
Laodicea: material prosperity - Apostolic Church - 1900 - Tribulation
Ephesus - Background
Ephesus - Maiden of Choice, darling
1400 B.C. founded before the time of David.
Center of trade and business. Seaport, and naval base. The capital of Asia Minor and the largest city.
Possibly 500,000 population. 25,000 seat amphitheater.
Pagan city with idolatry and immorality dominating its religious and social life.
Location of the temple to Artemis ( Diana) - the goddess of sexuality and fertility.
Study Acts 19-20 and the Book of Ephesians
Address to the Church Vs 1
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:”
Angel - messenger.
These are literal angels of the churches Heb. 1:14.
Description of Jesus: him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven lampstands.
Stars - the angels of the churches
lampstands - the churches
Praise for the church Vs 2-3
Every letter - “I know…” 2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 15
3. Cannot tolerate wicked men
4. Tried and tested false apostles
6. Endured hardship
7. Not grown weary
8. Hate deeds of the Nicolaitans (nico - rule laity - the people)
Acts 19-20 Paul’s prophetic warning against false teachers coming to Ephesus
Criticism for the church Vs 4
“I have this against you: You have forsaken your first love.”
Good works are commendable but Jesus wants our devotion, our passion, our love.
First - protos - love of rank, best love
Espousal love. 20 times mentioned in the Book of Ephesians
Martha and Mary.
David and Solomon.
Greatest commandment - love the Lord your God with all your heart.
1 Cor. 13 - love is the greatest.
Exhortation for the church Vs 5-6
How do we get back to our first love?
Forsaking our first love is rarely a decision but a matter of drifting. Heb. 2:1-4
Without repentance your ability to shine for Jesus is lost.
“He who has an ear let him hear…” Vs 7
“He who has an ear let him hear what the spirit says to the churches” - to all churches, to all individuals.
Promise to the Overcomer Vs 7
The promise in the first three letters comes after the letter. Post script.
The last four letters the promise comes within the letter. Present
The Overcomer - true believer
A tale of two trees:
1. The tree of life
2. The cross
A tale of two gardens:
We will one day eat of the fruit of the tree of life in the paradise of God.
Episode 32 The Revelation 1`9-20
“The Revelation of the Son of Man”
I heard - Vs 10 John heard his voice
I turned - Vs 12 John turned to face him - repentance
I saw - Vs 12 John saw Jesus in his fullness - the truth is realized
I fell - Vs 17 John fell at his feet - a proper posture
The Third Introduction - Vs 9
Vs 9 “I John” - Patmos - 6 mile by 10 mile rocky, barren island off the coast of Turkey near city of Ephesus.
Verb #1 - “I heard…” Vs 10, 19
Vs 10 “the Lord’s Day” - Sunday
Acts 20:7 - the believers met on Sunday.
1 Cor. 16:2 - the day to set aside your tithe.
“in the Spirit” - John was in the position to hear from God
“loud voice like a trumpet”
Revelation is a “loud” book - 82 times in Rev. Loud voice - 20 times.
Like a trumpet - reminds us of his homecoming call in 1 Thess 4 and 1 Cor. 15
“Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches.”
Vs 19 - Write what you have seen, what is now, what will take place later.
Verb #2 & #3 - “When I turned...I saw…” Vs 12-16, 20
He calls, we must turn
Turning - repentance
seven golden lamp stands
The seven pronged menorah.
These lamp stands are the seven churches - Vs 20
Jesus is standing in the midst of the lamp stands (churches) - Rev. 2:1
Someone like a son of man
More than 85 times in gospels. 83 by Jesus himself. Heb. 2:17, 4:15
1 John 3:2 - we will be like him for we will see him as he is.
Robe down to his feet girded about the chest with a golden sash
The robe of majesty - It is the long garment of Royalty. Like that of the High Priest - Ex. 39, Is. 6:1
Head and hair were white like wool and snow
White for purity and wisdom. Is. 1:18, Daniel 7:9, 13, 22, 2 Cor. 5:21, Heb. 4:15
Eyes like blazing fire
Perfect in knowledge. Heb. 4:13
“He loves you so much he can’t take his eyes off of you.”
Feet like bronze glowing in a furnace
Judgment - Num. 21:9, Jn. 3:14-15
Voice like the sound of rushing waters
Power of life is in his voice. Ezek. 1:24, 43:2, 3:12, Heb. 12:25-26
In his right hand - the angels of the churches, ownership
Out of his mouth came a sharp, double-edged sword
The Word of God. Heb. 4:12, Eph. 6:17, Rev. 19:15
Face - shining like the sun in all its brilliance
He is the light of the world. Rev. 21-22 - He will be the eternal light of heaven.
Verb #4 “ I fell…” Vs 17
John fell at his feet as though dead.
Phil. 2:10-11 Every knee will bow…
A 5th Verb “He placed…” Vs 17-18
He placed his right hand on me. - comfort, ownership
“Fear not…I Am” Gen. 15:1
“I am the first and the last” - God has been there, is now, and always will be here for you.
“I am the living one who was dead and is now alive forever and ever.” - He died and rose for you.
“I hold the keys of death and Hades” - Hades = Sheol = the grave
Eph. 4:8-9 - He descended to the grave and ascended to glory.
Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:31 - He was not abandoned to the grave and his body did not decay.
Luke 16:19-31 - comfort for the righteous, torments for the wicked with a great chasm fixed between.
1 Peter 3:18-20 - Jesus preached to the lost souls in torment.
Rev. 20 - lake of fire not populated until after the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment.
1 Cor.15:52-55 - the grave as no more power over us. Jesus removed the sting of death.
Rom. 6:9 - Christ will die no more. Death has no more mastery over him.
Heb. 2:14-15 - we have been delivered from the fear of death.
Practice the Four Verbs
Hear His voice
Turn and face Him - repent
Humble yourself before Him