I’m playing catch-up again. As I said last time, I don’t mind. I need to provide 8 passages today, but I think what I will do is just 7, then catch up again in a few days. I want to use the letters to the 7 churches in Rev. 2 & 3 today.
Today I want you to ask yourself two questions as you read these
- By what measure does Jesus judge these churches while they are here on this earth?
- Does Jesus clarify at any point that these works he is demanding can only be done by faith?
Revelation 2:1-7: To the angel of the church at Ephesus, write: … I know your works, your labor, and your patience, and how you cannot put up with those who are evil … Neveretheless, I have something against you because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you are fallen, repent, and do the first works. Otherwise, I will come to you quickly and remove your candlestick, unless you repent. You do have this, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans [idolatry and wife-swapping], which I also hate. To him that overcomes I will give him to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:8-11: To the angel of the church at Smyrna, write … I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich) … He that overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.
Revelation 2:12-17: To the angel of the church in Pergamos, write … I know your works and where you live, near Satan’s seat. You hold tightly to my name and you have not denied the faith even in the days in which my faithful witness, Antipas, was slain among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you because you have among you those who hold the doctrine of Balaam … You also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans … Repent, or I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth. To him that overcomes I will give to eat of the hidden manna and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written.
Revelation 2:18-26: To the angel of the church in Thyatira, write … I know your works, love, service, faith, patience, and works, and the last to be more than the first. Still, I have a few things against you because you allow that woman Jezebel … to teach and seduce my servants to sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols. … I will give to each of you according to your works. … He that overcomes and keeps my works to the end, to him I will give power over the nations.
Revelation 3:1-5: To the angel of the church in Sardis, write … I know your works, that you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. Pay attention and strengthen the things which remain, which are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember how you have received and heard, hold on tightly, and repent. … You have a few names, even in Sardis, who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcomes, that one shall be clothed in white garments and I will not blot his name out of the Book of life.
Revelation 3:7-12: To the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write … I know your works. Behold, I have put an open door in front of you, which no shuts, and shuts, and no one opens. … Because you have kept the word of my patience, I will also keep you from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world. … Him that overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God …
Revelation 3:14: To the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write … I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, then, because you are lukewarm, I will vomit you out of my mouth. … As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous, therefore, and repent! … To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and have sat down with my Father on his throne.
The Purpose of This Exercise
This is passage 31 of what I hope will be 180 passages (six months worth). The point is to establish that we can exhort each other to good works without apology because Jesus and his apostles certainly don’t apologize for their exhortations or their warnings concerning good works.
This is a faithful saying, and I want you to affirm constantly that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. (Tit. 3:8)