Jesus Judges His Church Pt. 1
Jerry A Collins
Ø What does the church need to watch out for?
Ø How is the church to respond to sin?
Ø What is an overcomer and how does one do that?
We usually champion the one who overcomes something that has potentially kept them down in some way. We do this with someone who is less advantaged, connected but pursues tenaciously and overcomes their background and accomplishes. Howard Hendricks, great influencer of xian leaders began in divorced home with alchoholic father. One facing physical setbacks—too short for basketball. One who lacked educational opportunity but became successful. Hindrances, hampered, but able to overcome, to conquer the disability and we count them a victor. One worth rewarding with our accolades, our cheers and following as an example. God wants His church to be conquerors, overcomer’s too. Not because we are less advantaged or connected but because we are in danger of compromising our devotion to Christ. So, Jesus personally instructs His church, through John’s vision, that we had better hear what it is that the Spirit says to the churches. He tells us so at the end of each message given to a group of seven churches (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). Jesus will not only judge the world Rev 4-22 but He will also judge His church Rev 2-3. In both cases the only proper response is to repent (5, 16, 22, 3:3, 19 so we stay faithful , persevere and are rewarded 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21) because we conquered and overcame the tendency to compromise our devotion to Christ. The same response is needed from the world when it finally faces God’s judgment in tribulation but will refuse too so the only thing left is more judgment Rev 16:8-9, 21. 4 of the 7 churches are in this chapter.
1. THE DESCRIPTION OF CHRIST IS RELEVANT TO THE CHURCH’S
Jesus is described in a specific and different way to each of these four churches—a description we already have had in chp 1 and repeated and relevant to each of these churches individual situations and needs. Each message is sent to the angel or messenger of each church. This could refer to either a specific leader, like a bishop of some kind overseeing the group of believers in the city or to an angel like a guardian angel over each of these cities of believers. A message is being delivered to these messengers for these churches from Christ. Christ is described differently in each case: (1) Ephesus One who holds 7 stars in rite hand walks among 7 golden lampstands 11 cp to 1:12-13, 16. We know the lampstands are these 7 churches and the stars are the angels 1:20. So Jesus is introduced as the one who is intimately connected to these churches and so has something to say worth listening too. (2) Smyrna He is the 1st and the last who was dead and has come to life 8 cp to -18. This description especially relevant here because like Christ in Hs death they were experiencing severe persecution 9-10. Jesus, too as Eternal One suffered death at hands of persecutors hen resurrected. (3) Pergamum He is The One who has the sharp two-edged sword 12 cp to . This group would know both the cutting word and the healing word if repented—the Word of Gd sharply judging all compromise here and sin in the camp. (4) Thyatira He is The Son of God who has eyes like flame, feet like burnished bronze 18 cp to -15. This reference to eyes and feet emphasize the indignation and righteous judgment of Christ because of their tolerance of sin, false teacher and teaching. So Jesus is intimately and personally involved in he life and ministry of His church. It s a personal thing for Him. He judges all of our activities and evaluates and judges accordingly.
2. THE MESSAGE TO THE CHURCH IS NO COMPROMISE
In Ephesus Jesus says He knows your deeds. Jesus knows the details of what is
going on with believers. Jesus compliments them because they are
judgmental—they do not tolerate evil men, especial those who lyingly call themselves apostles assuming by this to
influence 2-3. But Jesus has this against them—they have abandoned, forsaken
and departed from their first love! They had a high level of service but while
lacking in devotion to Christ. He had their hands but not their hearts. Going thru the motions of devotion. Making
rite judgments, having rite doctrine. Orthodox, but like a father who
controls thru fear rather than molds by loving disciplne.
The remedy is to remember the heights fallen from and return to the love and
devotion they had had. They had correct doctrine but a cold heart. Loss of your
first love is a major impediment to your ministry, your marriage and your own
spiritual passion and devotion. If
not, they in danger of Christ not using them anymore to build His church vs 5. Don’t know about Nicolatiins
possibly some sort of worldly group pulling some away from Christ but they
hated them as Christ did. Point of letter is to individual to overcome the
influence of these and there is some type of reward for doing so vs 7 ‘
(1) Remember Jesus knows, evaluates and judges all of our activities as believers in this city, including groups we support and condemn 9, 14, 15, 20.
(2) One of Jesus’ answers to our prayers about suffering is fr us to be faithful until death 10.
(3) When you see you are not keeping Christ’s standard, repent and change your mind and lifestyle 5, 16.
(4) There are consequences for our sin. We will reap what we sow into eternity.
(5) Make it your goal to be an overcomer—one who is more influenced by devotion to Christ than compromise with world.