Raymond Arthur Waugh, Sr.
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Initially: discussion of the letters.
A. The churches of our Lord Jesus Christ have been in business since before that Day which is spoken of as Pentecost.
B. Then, before the end of the century, Our Lord came to the churches of the Lord Jesus with another message. Since the churches had been scattered, and since the message of Jesus was going forth into the the world of that day both by individual and by church activities, He came to them with a message. This message concerned an interesting subject, even "CANDLESTICKS."
1. As you may be able to tell from my title, my whole intention this evening was to speak regarding growth, and what is required by our God for such. I had thought to speak at length regarding:
a. the need for a climate of happiness
b. the need for a Bible-centered atmosphere
c. the need for enthusiasm
d. the need for evangelism
e. the need for great faith on part of all
f. the need for prayer
g. and the need for a climate of loving concern
2. Yet, right in the midst of my plans, our God moved my heart to "The Seven Churches of Asia.
a. I do not know Cuthbert or Trinity well enough to know what "the shape of your Candlestick" may be.
b. So, as our Lord, I believe, has impressed my heart, we shall look at all seven of of these churches very briefly.
I. The Church at Ephesus:
A. Initially, we might think of it as the most sound church of the seven
1. It had good works
2. It had patience
3. It had sound doctrine
4. And it had been steadfast concerning the truth.
5. It had one major flaw: it had left its first love!
6. It had hated the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.
B. God explained, however, that it was in danger of having its "Candlestick" put out or taken away.
C. It was advised, then, to "hear what God was saying," and it would be able to eat of the tree of life, still in the Paradise of God.
II. The Church at Smyrna:
A. God explains that it was a poor church in worldly things but that it was rich in heavenly things.
1. Yet, among them was "the synagogue of Satan"
2. They were promised a future of great trial: prison
3. Then, they were promised tribulation
B. They, however, were advised to be faithful unto death if they wanted to earn "a crown of life"!
III. The Church at Pergamos:
A. God explained to them that though they had held His Name steadfast, they had permitted a bad environment to build up around them.
1. Interestingly, they had given Satan a seat among them
2. One had been martyred because of Satan's seat which was among them
3. God called their hand because they had been tolerant of corrupt doctrines and heretics
B. Nevertheless, God had some promised blessings
1. They were to receive hidden spiritual blessings, and
2. God was going to give them a new name
3. They were advised, however, to repent or God would attack them with the Sword of the Spirit - His Mouth
IV. The Church at Thyatira:
A. God wanted them to know that He appreciated their works of charity, their service, their faith, and their patience
1. God was displeased, however, because they had permit- a woman who claimed to be "a prophetess" - a "preacher" - to teach
2. Too, they had let her lead the people into gross sin
a. even fornication (this could have been religious as well as physical)
3. She had led them, also, to eat things that were sacrificed to idols (e.g. taking Mass with Catholics)
4. God was giving her and them opportunity to repent
B. God promised great tragedy upon all involved
1. She and others involved were to be given great tribulation
2. God promised to kill her children
3. In order to show that He is God and in control
C. Those who held fast to the truth, however, and who kept the works of God intact would be given power over the nations.
V. The Church of Sardis:
A. God clearly explained to this church that it was dying
1. God advised them to strengthen the things that remain if they wanted to live
2. The Lord explained that their works had not been perfect before God; that is, they had not been done in faith.
3. They were advised to remember the good word that they had heard and to repent
4. Otherwise, God was going to come upon them as a thief
B. God explains, nonetheless, that there were a few
1. Who had not defiled their garments
2. Who were worthy, and who would walk with their Savior in white
VI. The Church of Philadelphia:
A. God explains that it was a church with an open door, and He commends them in this, though God had arranged it all.
1. God is pleased that they yet have a little strength
2. God is pleased that they have kept His Word, and
3. He is pleased that they have not denied His Name
B. God, however, is going to humble some who are not true to His Word
1. These say they are Jews, but they are "the synagogue of Satan, and they have caused problems (Judaizers?)
2. Because they have kept His Word with patience, God is going to keep them from the hour of testing [temptation.]
3. When they have overcome, they will be as pillars in the temple of God
4. They are going to wear the name of NEW JERUSALEM
5. They will wear, too, the Lord's NEW NAME
C. A Preacher friend of mine in recent days has spoken rather eloquently, it seems to me, concerning this open door. He speaks of Gal. 3:26-28, "For in Christ Jesus, you're all sons of God through faith, for as many of you as were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There's neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither males nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus." He says,
"Even in the church where often we hear words that tell of a people clutching what they already have; to deny others a share; ready to split the world. Just how far does self-interest go? ...Are we really open to all? I believe that attitude is the key, and it will make or break the church. The Gospel is clear that the church has got to be something other than a gathering of all the 'good' people in town. It would help if we could keep that in mind. Too many of us are turned off too soon...."
VII. The Church of Laodicea:
A. God is displeased with them because they are neither cold nor hot; that is, they are wishy washy, have no positive opinions
1. Their condition is such that God will spew them out of His Mouth
2. They boast that they are rich with many goods
3. They boast that they have need of nothing
4. Yet, God explains that they are miserable, wretched, blind, and naked
B. God counsels them to buy His Gold which has been purified by by the fire
1. That is, they are to be more concerned about their treasure in heaven than their earthly riches
2. They are to be more concerned about the "righteousness of Christ" than they are their earthly clothing for their earthly clothing cannot cover their sinfulness, only the Blood of our Lord Jesus can do this
3. And they are "to bathe" their eyes in the Word of God that they might no longer be blind to His Will and His commands.
C. God explains that though they may be called a church, He at this point in time really is on the outside of their organization knocking, desiring that they might let Him in.
1. He gives them, nonetheless, a wonderful promise
2. When they have overcome, He will permit them to sit with Him on His Throne, as the Father has granted Him the Right to sit on His Throne.
A. This preacher friend draws his message to a close with these words:
"Churches are meant to be a gathering of those who are growing, changing, maturing in faith; embarking on the discovery of what it means to be God's people living out the adventure of faithfulness. I believe a good sign that ought to be in from of every Christian Church should read, 'Christians under construction.' I think that's a word that out to describe not only the church but us, individually. I am a 'Christian under construction." There is a sign in my office which reads, 'Please be patient; God isn't finished with me yet."
B. He has another word in which I delight:
"You and I have a choice about our future; we can live in the past, or we can move into the future boldly and faithfully. You see, saints are people who know that they're called to new life and refuse to live in the past. 'You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood. A holy nation, God's own people. You may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light' (2nd Peter 2:9)."
Last updated Friday, October 17, 2008
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