Letters to the Church: Hinckley

October 31st, 2016

Letters to the Church: Hinckley

Various Texts


·         As we have examined Jesus’ letters to the 7 churches of Asia Minor in Rev. 2-3

·         We have been seeking the Lord to see what He wants to say to us

o   This is a process that the Elders have been going through

·         From this process, God has shown us some areas that we are doing well in

o   And others that we need to focus or refocus on


A Vision of Jesus

·         Each letter opens with a vision of Jesus

o   A reminder of who is leading the Church

·         Jesus is:

o   Present with the church (Rev. 2:1b)

o   The eternal & victorious One (Rev. 2:8b)

o   The Conqueror (Rev. 2:12b)

o   The all-knowing, Ancient of Days (Rev. 2:18b)

o   The Possessor of the Holy Spirit and the churches (Rev. 3:1b)

o   The holy One who gives us unlimited access to God (Rev. 3:7b)

o   The faithful Ruler of all creation (Rev. 3:14b)


Jesus would commend us for:

·         Our commitment to the Word, which includes:

o   Sound Biblical teaching & doctrine

§  Like Ephesus (Rev. 2:2)

§  “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” (Titus 2:1)

o   Staying focused on the ‘majors

§  Not being divided by ‘minor’ theological differences (Rom. 14:1)

§  “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”

·         Our unity (1 Pet. 3:8a)

o   We are not easily divided

o   But tend to focus on the One who brought us together

·         Our welcoming and gracious spirit

o   “Come as you are” mentality (Rom. 15:7, NIV)

o   Allowing people to fail and still feel loved


Areas to Grow

·         Like Ephesus (Rev. 2:3) & Laodicea (3:15) we have lost focus in some areas

·         Community

o   Being the church beyond Sunday mornings (Acts 2:46)

o   Something that used to come naturally

§  But has faded as we have grown

·         Service & Giving

o   Ministering to one another and our neighbors

o   Through our time, talents, and tithes (1 Pet. 4:10)

·         Prayer

o   Both individually and corporately coming before the Lord (Jas 5:16)

o   Not just to talk, but to listen

o   And moving beyond our comfort zones to before the throne of God

·         In a word, what we have lost focus of is our Vision (Pro. 29:18)

o   We need to return to the vision that God has for us as a church


The Good News

·         Just like the churches in Revelation, Jesus is not done with us

o   This is a wake-up call!

o   There is hope and healing for us in all these things

·         We need to return to that which we know God has called us

o   While not abandoning that which we are doing well

·         We will spend the next few weeks with this as our aim


So What?

·         Are we ready to let God refocus us on His vision for His church?

·         Are we willing to be challenged and changed by His word and His Spirit?

·         We don’t do this alone!


Meditation Verse: Revelation 2:1b

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Letters to the Church Laodicea Rev 3:14-22

October 24th, 2016

Letters to the Church: Laodicea

Revelation 3:14-22

Laodicea (v. 14a)

·        Very wealthy city

o   Where travelers would exchange their money for higher quality currency

·        Suffered a major earthquake on AD 60

o   So wealthy that they refused aide from Rome to rebuild

·        Despite their wealth, the city had no good water source


A Vision of Jesus (v. 7b)

·        Jesus describes Himself as:

o   The ‘Amen’: The affirmation of God

o   Thus, He is the faithful and true witness to who God is

o   The beginning of God’s creation: Referring to him being the source & ruler of all of creation

§  Arche: beginning, source, or ruler (see John 1:1)


“I know…” (v. 15-17)

·        Jesus’ knowledge of the Laodiceans work leads to His rejection of it

·        The city piped in water from the Colossae & Hierapolis

o   Colossae had a cold spring of water that issued forth from the side of the nearby mountain which was the most refreshing water in the region

o   Hierapolis had hot mineral springs, which were used for healing purposes

o   By the time it got to Laodicea, it would be lukewarm, and mineral laden

§  Thus, nauseating

·        Like their water supply, the Laodicean church’s works were nauseating to Jesus

o   Thus, His declaration that He is about to spit them out

o   This is a declaration of the worthlessness of their work

§  Not that Jesus desires that His people be on fire for Him, or be apathetic toward Him!

·        And they think that they are rich spiritually

o   When they are really the poorest of the poor

·        Like their city’s self-sufficiency

o   The church had become prideful, boastful, and complacent


Jesus’ Offer (v. 18-20)

·        He counsels the church to invest in Him

o   To exchange their worthless works for something of real value

§  Like travelers would exchange their inferior currency for the better Laodicean kind

·        This call to exchange is to trade their self-sufficiency for reliance on Jesus’ own righteousness

o   Which will heal their shame and spiritual blindness

·        He reminds them that His discipline is an act of love

o   And calls them to repent and rekindle a zeal for God

·        This is not a call of first belief

o   But rather a call back to intimate fellowship with Jesus (Song 5:2)


The Call to Conquer (v. 21-22)

·        Jesus promises those who persevere in their faith:

o   That they can sit on His throne with Him

§  Sharing in His rule

§  For their work will be done


So What?

·        Are we lukewarm; complacent in our relationship with Jesus?

o   Or are we growing and investing in that relationship?

·        Are we relying on ourselves or on Jesus?


Meditation Verse: Revelation 3:18

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Letters to the Church: Philadelphia, Revelation 3: 7-13

October 17th, 2016

Letters to the Church: Philadelphia

Revelation 3:7-13

Philadelphia (v. 7a)

·        Suffered a devastating earthquake in AD 17

o   Along with Sardis

·        Was once the hub for the spread of Hellenism in Asia

o   Hellenism: Greek language & culture

·        Known for their vineyards

o   Large temple to Dionysus


A Vision of Jesus (v. 7b)

·        Jesus describes Himself as:

o   Holy: Something other than creation

o   A term used exclusively for God

·        True: Both trustworthy and the source of truth

o   The holder of the key of David

o   A reference to the one who alone had unfettered access to the king (Isa. 22:20-23)

o   Jesus alone gives unlimited access to God


“I know…” (v. 8-10)

·        Jesus commends the Philadelphians for their works

o   Including not denying Him despite pressure to do so

§  Especially from those of the Jewish synagogue

·        He tells that He has opened a door for them

o   Probably a reference to opportunity for them to spread the Gospel

o   Much like the city was used to spread Hellenism

·        For their endurance Jesus promises to reward them by “keeping them from the hour of trial” that is coming (v. 10)

o   This is seen by some as a reference to the Rapture

o   But may also be a reference to His protection of His people throughout the coming tribulation (see John 17:15)

o   Τηρέω (tareo): keep watch over, guard

§  keep, hold, reserve, preserve

§  keep, observe, fulfill, pay attention to

o   Regardless of how you interpret it, Jesus is promising to protect His people

§  Either by removal or perseveration through trials

§  A theme throughout Revelation

·        “sealing” (7:1ff.), “measuring” (11:1–2), and “nourishment and protection in the wilderness” (12:6, 14–17)


The Call to Conquer (v. 11-13)

·        To those that persevere in their faith in Christ, Jesus offers:

o   A crown: The stephanos/victor’s crown

§  Having it taken is not a reference to loss of salvation

§  But rather, loss of reward

o   To be a pillar in God’s Temple: A place of permanence before God

§  In order to bring Him glory

o   Names written on them (1 King 7:12; 2 Chr. 3:15, 17)

§  The Father’s name: Showing that they belong to Him

§  The New Jerusalem: Their new place of citizenship (Ezek. 48:35)

§  Jesus’ new name: Reflecting their special relationship with Christ (Isa. 62:2)


So What?

·        Are we walking through the ‘open door’ that God has set before us?

o   Are we looking for opportunity to share the Gospel with others?

·        Are we comforted by the protection that God offers?

o   As He calls us His own


Meditation Verse: Revelation 3:8

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Letters to the Church: Thyatira, Revelation 2:18-29

October 3rd, 2016

Letters to the Church: Thyatira

Revelation 2:18-29

Thyatira (v. 18a)

·         Located on a vast plain

o   The modern city of Akhisar

·         Ancient defensive city for the kingdom of Pergamum

·         Known for their trade guilds

o   Lydia (Acts 16:14, 40)

o   Including their metal working


A Vision of Jesus (v. 18b)

·         Jesus is described as being the Son of God

o   Having eyes of fire: All-knowing

o   Feet of burnished bronze: Symbol of strength

·         Daniel’s Ancient of Days (Dan. 10:6)


“I know…” (v. 19)

·         Jesus commends the church for their:

o   Love

o   Faith

o   Service

o   Endurance

o   Maturity: They had not become stagnant (2:4-5)

o   But were growing in their relationship to Christ


“But I have this against you…” (v. 20-23)

·         Thyatira’s sin was tolerance of false teaching and immorality

o   Much like Pergamum

·         This came via a false prophetess called ‘Jezebel

o   May be an allusion to Ahab’s wife who encourage idol worship and led Israel astray

·         This represents the dangers of assimilating to the culture around us

·         Jesus claims that judgment will come upon her and those who follow her

o   Though He desires repentance (v. 21 & 22b)

o   The result of such judgment is to act as an example to the Church (v. 23)


“But to the rest…” (v. 24-25)

·         Jesus gives comfort to the faithful

o   Who have not fallen under such false teaching

§  “Deep things of Satan”: Probably a reference to Jezebel’s teaching and/or Gnostic heresy

·         He encourages them to continue doing the good work in which they have been growing


The Call to Conquer (v. 26-29)

·         To those that persevere in their faith in Christ, Jesus offers:

o   The authority to rule* with Him (see Ps 2:9; Isa 30:14; and Jer. 19:11; see also Mark 25:21; Rev. 20)

§  Sharing in Jesus’ authority from the Father

§  Rule: To shepherd or pastor

o   The Morning Star: Jesus Himself (22:16)


So What?

·         Are we assimilating to our culture?

o   Going along with idolatry and immorality of the world around us

o   Or are we acting as lights in the darkness?

·         Are we letting Jesus prepare us to shepherd like He does?

·         Do we live like Jesus Himself is our great reward?


Meditation Verse: Revelation 2:28

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