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Lesson 3 Lesson # 4 Lesson 5
Seven Special Messages From Jesus
INTRODUCTION:The New Testament books are primarily letters written by the Apostles to churches or individuals. True Christians, from that time to the present, accept all these letters as God’s authoritative word. Revelation, one of the New Testament books bears the name of Jesus Himself. In fact, the book is entitled "The Revelation of Jesus Christ."
Revelation begins with seven special letters from Jesus to the churches. Surely these letters of love and special counsel, direct from Jesus, should receive our greatest attention and our best possible response.
Tragically, these seven special letters have been almost entirely ignored. Satan, the enemy of God’s people must rejoice to see that most Christians are not following Jesus’ counsel found in His love letters to us in Revelation.
Thank God it is not too late! This Revelation Seminar comes to grips with these seven great messages. May the Holy Spirit guide as we study chapters two and three of Revelation, and listen to Jesus’ crucial counsel for busy Christians in 2004.
1. Why did Jesus warn about changing His word?
a.Revelation 22:18: If I add anything to Revelation God will add unto me the plagues that are written in the book.
b.Revelation 22:19: If I subtract anything from Revelation, God will remove my name from the book of life.
Note:Everything in Revelation is important and absolutely nothing can be left out; nor can anything be added to improve it!
2. Where were the seven churches located?Revelation 1:4: "John to the seven churches which are in Asia."
Though these seven letters were originally written to the seven churches in Asia, the messages apply to all Christians today, as do all the other letters or books of the bible.2 Timothy 3:16,17
3. What are the three basic messages to these churches?
a. God knows about me. He says: "I know thy works." Note: God cares about my conduct and this fact is repeated to all the churches. Rev. 2:2,9,13,19 and 3:1,8,15.
b.Overcoming is imperative. "To him that overcometh."
Note:This takes place only through Jesus, and its importance is strongly emphasized to each church. Rev. 2:7,11,17, 26 and 3:5,12,21.
c.Listen to the Holy Spirit. Jesus counsels, "Hear what the Spirit saith."
God’s Holy Spirit convicts people of sin and leads them to repentance.John 16: 8,13.
Without the Holy Spirit no one ever feels sorry for sin or finds the new birth experience. No wonder Jesus stressed so forcefully the importance of listening to His Spirit!Rev. 2:7,11,17,29 and 3:6,13,22.
What are the 3 Basic Messages?
God knows about me.Overcoming is imperative
(essential, important, necessary, crucial, critical).
Listen to the Holy Spirit.
4. What do the seven churches represent?
As we study further, you will clearly see they representseven periods of Christian history, from the time of John to the time of Jesus’ return. Only the key points of each era will be emphasized.
Ephesus - Era of Apostles
5. Why was the church of Ephesus rebuked? Rev. 2:4.
Answer:They had left their first love.
Ephesus, the church of the Apostles represents God’s church in the 1st century A.D. which grew with incredible speed. There were 6 million Christians scattered all over the world when the century ended. However, they lost their original love for Jesus and His wonderful message of salvation. We too must be careful on this point!
6. Why was the church of Ephesus commended?
Revelation 2:2: "Thou hast tried them which say they are Apostles and are not."
Note: They withstood false teachers openly and Jesus commended them for this. The Nicolaitans advocated spiritual compromise with worldly practices. They felt their liberty gave them freedom to practice idolatry and immorality (this sounds very much like the new morality that is creeping into some churches today).
The Overcomers of Ephesus:
•To him that overcometh will Igive to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Smyrna - Era of Persecution7. What encouragement did Jesus give Smyrna?
Rev. 2:10:"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life."
Smyrnarepresents the church from about 100 A.D. through to 313 A.D. This was a fearful time of persecution and martyrdom. The Roman Empire tried to stamp out Christianity. Only God knows how many of His children were beheaded, burned, fed to lions or slain by the sword.
The church in this period lived so close to Jesus that He gave them no reproof, only words of encouragement.
8. What promise was given to Smyrna?
Answer:They shall not experience "the second death." Rev. 2:11
Note: All must die the first death (Heb. 9:27) but there is a resurrection from the first death (1 Cor.15:51-54). The second death is the one in which the lost die in the fire (Rev. 21:8). From this death there is no resurrection.
Overcomers of Smyrna
He that overcometh shallnot be hurt of the second death.
Pergamos - Era of Compromise9. Satan attacked Pergamos by the false teachings of? Rev. 2:14,15:
a. A man: Balaam
b. A group: the NicolaitansNote:
Pergamos covers the church during the 4th, 5th and part of the 6th centuries. It is the era of state-supported religion and compromise. The Roman Emperor Constantine and his entire army were baptized and joined the church. Satan could not destroy the church by persecution so he corrupted it by popularity and worldly practices. Pagan practices and beliefs came into the church.
Overcomers of PergamosRevelation 2:17
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him awhite stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
1. Ephesus: Era of the Apostles
•(1st Century A.D.)
•2. Smyrna: Era of Persecution
•(A.D. 100 - 313)
3. Pergamos: Era of Corruption
•(4th, 5th & part of 6th centuries)Thyatira - Era of Apostasy
10. Who was the woman who corrupted Thyatira? Rev.2:20:
An evil woman named Jezebel.
Thyatiracovers church history for nearly 1,000 years, from the last half of the 6th century to the first half of the 16th century
(538 A.D. to 1560’s A.D.).
This period is sometimes called the Dark Ages.
•The Bible was pushed aside and it was a time of fearful apostasy, represented by the influence of the evil woman, Jezebel, upon the ancient nation of Israel. Therefore, Jezebel symbolized the apostasy of this era, which grew to great proportions and plunged the Christian world into the Dark Ages, as superstition and tradition superseded the teachings of the Bible.
11. What warning does God give to followers of Jezebel?
Rev. 2:22:I will cast … them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Rev. 2:23:"I will kill her children with death."
Note:Any unfaithfulness to Jesus or His pure teachings is called adultery or fornication. The punishments (sickness, tribulation & death) are indeed real. Neither the church, the state, nor false teachers will escape God’s punishment for spiritual adultery.
12. Who were the "rest" who opposed this corruption?Rev. 2:24:
"…and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine and which have not known the depths of Satan…"
Note: This refers to the powerful ministry of many great spiritual leaders whom God raised up to expose error and apostasy, and to lead His church back to Jesus and Bible truth. Their names are well known: eg. Wycliffe, Huss, Jerome, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Knox, et al. Though many of these men lived in the Sardis era, some had already begun to bring reform into the church during the last part of the Thyatira period of church history.
Overcomers of Thyatira
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will Igive power over the nations.
Sardis - Era of Reformation13. What striking words describe Sardis?
Rev. 3:1:"Thou livest and art dead."
Note: Jesus here points out that formal religion is worthless. Paul describes such religion as "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof."2 Tim. 3:5
•14. What tragedy was about to happen in Sardis?
Rev. 3:2:Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain and are ready to die.
Note:Sardis embraces Christianity in the 16th, 17th and part of the 18th centuries. It covers the crucial period of reformation when spirit-filled men of God shook the world with their messages. But, alas, when these men died, their followers, instead of prayerfully seeking more truth, went backward with astounding rapidity. This solemn lesson is for us today. Keep pursuing truth, and follow it as you find it, then all of God’s blessing will come into your life.
Overcomers of SardisRevelation 3:5
He that overcometh the sameshall be clothed with white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels.
Philadelphia - Era of Revival
15. What does the name Philadelphia mean?
The literal meaning of the name is"brotherly love".
•Note: The Philadelphia era of the church covers the second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. During this time the birth and expansion of foreign missions took place. The American and British Bible Societies were organized. Great revival preachers like Wesley and Whitefield came on the scene. A study of the books of Daniel and Revelation sparked the greatest religious awakening since the Reformation. Jesus offers no reproof to this church.
Overcomers of PhiladelphiaRevelation 3:12
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, … and I will write upon him the name of my God … andI will write upon him my new name.
Laodicea - Christianity Today
16. What is Laodicea’s Problem?Rev. 3:16, 18
a. We are "lukewarm".
b. We feel we are spiritually "rich" and need nothing when we are actually, wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.
How are we?
The Laodicean era of the church covers the second half of the 19th century on through the time when Jesus returns(1840’s A.D. to the end of time). Our heart hurts to see that Laodicea represents the church of today. It is a church that is big and boastful, but is dreadfully sick and in need of Heavenly healing. This condition is alarming and needs prompt attention!
17. Name 3 things that Jesus tells us to buy.Rev. 3:18
1. GOLD 2. WHITE RAIMENT 3. EYESALVEWhat are we to buy?
This means the true riches of Heaven which are manifested in a Christ-like character. This comes from a knowledge of God’s Word applied by faith in your life and revealed by deeds of love.
(Psalms 19:7 - 10, Gal. 5:6, James 2:5, Job 23:10)2. White Raiment:
This meansJesus’ robe of righteousness.
Isaiah 61:10 & Rev. 19:8.
•It is given by Jesus as a free gift. We do nothing to earn it. We receive it by faith alone and it is retained by faith.
Zechariah 3:1-5, Rom. 1:17.
(a) discernment to understand God’s Word.
Psalm 119:18, 1 John 2:20, 27.
(b) the Holy Spirit to help us see our true condition and make proper choices.
John 14:26; Eph. 1:17-19.
18. How can I receive these precious gifts? Rev. 3:20
Answer:Open my heart’s door and let Jesus enter my life.
Note: Though Jesus can open many doors, He will not force open the door to my heart. I must open the door myself.
19. Are you willing to accept these gifts?Note: Jesus says His last day church is not ready for His appearing. His counsel to us in Revelation 3 is fantastic. However, He has much more to say to us in the remaining 19 chapters of Revelation. Some of His counsel may be startling, or even shocking, but since it is His counsel, I want it anyway. Don’t you?
Overcomers of Laodicea
To him that overcometh will I grant tosit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.
Quick Look at Overcomers:
Overcomers of Ephesus(Rev. 2:7)
I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Overcomers of Smyrna (Revelation 2:11)
Shall not be hurt of the second death.
Overcomers of Pergamos(Revelation 2:17)
I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name.
Overcomers of Thyatira(Revelation 2:26)
I will give power over the nations.
Overcomers of Sardis (Revelation 3:5)
Shall be clothed with white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life.
Overcomers of Philadelphia(Revelation 3:12)
I will write upon him my new name.
Overcomers of Laodicea(Rev. 3:21)
I will grant to sit with me in my throne.
Era of the Apostles
(1st Century A.D.)
Era of Persecution
(A.D. 100 - 313)
Era of Corruption
(4th,5th & part of 6th C.)
Era of Apostasy
(538 A.D. - 1560’s)
Era of Reformation
(16th,17th & part of 18th C.)
Era of Revival
(1750’s - 1840’s)
(1840’s to present)
Lesson 3 God Bless You! Lesson 5