Tag Archives: Churches

Amazing promises from Jesus’ messages to the churches in Revelation chapters 2 & 3

In this post I want to focus on the promises Jesus makes to those who conquer (or, as some translations say, overcome).   In other words, if you persevere to the end you get these astounding benefits (they aren’t just for martyrs).  Please read closely and be encouraged!  And remember the good news that if you are truly among his sheep that you will persevere to the end (John 10:25–30 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”)

Rev. 2 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Jesus is promising you that you’ll get to eat from the tree of life.  Whatever the best meal you’ve ever had has been, this will obviously trump that.  And you’ll be eating it in the paradise of God, which is Heaven.  And you’ll be eating it with countless other joyful believers.

Rev 2 11 The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.

There will be a second death – incredibly and permanently painful for many, but as a believer you won’t be hurt by it at all.  All your sins are already forgiven.

Rev 2 17 To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

This section has a double promise.  I was just reading through Exodus and wondering what manna tasted like, and this reminds me that we’ll get to know some day.  The mystery will be solved!  It actually sounds like my kind of food.

And the white stone with a unique name written on it is an interesting gift.  I think that some people think we forget other relationships in Heaven or that it is just some mass of humanity, but this is a clear reminder that in addition to joyful, corporate worship we will also have a unique, one-on-one relationship with Jesus and He will give you a special stone and name.

Rev 2 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

It isn’t clear exactly how we’ll rule in the millennium, but it will clearly be an honor and a responsibility.  I couldn’t find anything explaining what the morning star is, but if Jesus promised it you know it is good.

Rev 3 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

There wasn’t a lot of good news for Sardis, but Jesus did promise that you would be made perfectly righteous and that He would acknowledge you before Heaven.

Rev 3 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

We won’t be literal pillars, of course, but He promises that we’ll be permanent members with him and be forever aligned with the one true God.

Rev 3 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ”

We will actually eat and rule with Jesus for eternity!

There you go!  Always look for promises when reading scripture.  You can barely go a chapter in the New Testament without finding one.  Keep this in mind as you persevere through whatever challenges God, in his perfect sovereignty, is laying before you.

Serious warnings from Jesus’ messages to the churches in Revelation chapters 2 & 3

Do not miss this warnings.  When Jesus says something, He means it.  I firmly believe that they apply to churches and individuals.

To the Church in Ephesus

Rev 2 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

The church in Ephesus did some most excellent things.  They sounded like the perfect church.  But because they abandoned the love they had Jesus said He would remove their lampstand – i.e., their church.  That’s serious.  Do you still love the Lord like you used to?  If not, heed his warning and repent!

The Church in Smyrna had no warnings — good for them!

To the Church in Pergamum

Rev 2 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

There are so many churches enticing people into sexual immorality these days, either directly by mocking God’s word or indirectly by ignoring the issue and being afraid to preach about divorce and fornication.  It is the opposite of loving God and your neighbor. They love the world more than they love God, and they don’t really trust his word, and it will not end well for them.

Jesus wants churches to purge themselves of false teachers.  The church was doing so well otherwise, but that wasn’t good enough.  The Methodist church we left was like that.  The preacher knew the truth but tolerated a guy teaching classes that the preacher himself called a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The church Ephesus in Ephesus didn’t love what God loved, and churches like those in Pergamum and Thyatira didn’t hate what God hated: false teachings and sexual immorality.

This is where knowing the Old Testament comes in handy.  Balaam seemed to get off to a good start by not cursing the Israelites, but he ultimately harmed them.  This is also referenced in Jude, where it speaks of false teachers abandoning themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error.

To the Church in Thyatira

Rev 2 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.  24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.

And here’s another church that was already promoting sexual immorality.  Jesus had some serious punishments in mind for them.  This has the “Christian” Left written all over it.  And what they are doing isn’t insignificant at all.  Jesus himself says that those promoting sexual immorality have learned the deep things of Satan.  Keep that in mind the next time some “Christian” Leftist says that LGBTQX behavior or heterosexual fornication is acceptable.

The lack of church discipline is a key problem today.  Churches are afraid to call people out who are sinning.

To the Church in Sardis

Rev 3  . . . ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

They sound a little frozen chosen-ish and Jesus is not happy with that.  Faith without works is still dead.  There are so many ways to serve.  Find something and do it, as churches and as individuals.

The Church in Philadelphia  also had no issues.  Good for them – it can be done!

To the Church in Laodicea

Rev 3  15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Not much good going on in Laodicea.  Jesus jumped right into his warnings against them to turn back to him.

Again, I think those were warnings to the real churches at that time but also timeless challenges to every church and individual Christian to stay strong, remember our first love and to never lose sight of our mission.  Do we really love and trust God?  We’ll hold fast to his word and not apologize for it, and we’ll find ways to love our neighbors.

If you are ever in Louisville . . .

. . . check out Sojourn Community Church.  My daughter worshiped at Sojourn during the two years she lived there and I always loved visiting.  It had consistently accurate verse-by-verse preaching, contemporary style music with sound lyrics, and just an overall good balance.  It was recommended to us by some missionaries who now live in the Ukraine, and we are very grateful to them.

(Just to be clear, this church has nothing to do with Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” WallisSojourners organization.)

They took baptism very seriously, and would tell you about the people being baptized.  Someone would read a ~1 page overview of how the person being baptized came to trust in Christ.  The stories were so varied — tales of horrible abuse, drug / alcohol additions, etc. but also some people who grew up in Christian homes, went to church camp and such, but never truly committed to Jesus.  I like how a full range of people felt welcomed there.

Another nice touch: For communion, they would offer two cups — one of wine and one of grape juice.  I’ve never seen that before.  I know people have preferences but it is definitely a “debate, don’t divide” issue for me.  On second thought, it isn’t even a “debate” issue with me.  Just approach communion with the right attitude and drink whatever you like.

They are welcoming to the “over-churched or the under-churched,” though a “churched” person like me could get a lot out of it as well.

They didn’t water down the Gospel a bit, weaving it in the messages every week.  They did a 2 year sermon series through the Bible, and ended with a sermon on the lake of fire from Revelation — even though it was Christmas week!

They opened a Sojourn Community Church in the Heights area of Houston recently.  I want to check it out sometime.  It would be too far of a drive for us to worship at regularly, but it might be a good place for ex-prisoners I know who will settle in halfway houses in the downtown area.

I’d love to see this model expand across the country.