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Tuesday ↥        January 15

Christ’s Message to Sardis

Sardis had a glorious history. But by the Roman period, the city had lost its prestige. While the city was still enjoying wealth, its glory was rooted in its past history rather than in present reality. The ancient city had been built on top of a steep hill and was nearly impregnable. Because the citizens felt so secure, the city walls were guarded carelessly.

Read Revelation 3:1-6 along with Matthew 24:42-44 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8. What three things does Jesus urge the Christians in Sardis to do as a cure for their spiritual condition? How did Jesus’ warning to “watch” correspond to the city’s history?

While Jesus recognizes a few Christians in Sardis as faithful, most of them are spiritually dead. The church is not charged with any open sin or apostasy (as are those in Pergamum and Thyatira) but with spiritual lethargy.

The message to the church in Sardis applies prophetically to the spiritual situation of the Protestants in the post-Reformation period, from approximately 1565 to 1740, as the church degenerated into lifeless formalism and a state of spiritual complacency. Under the impact of the rising tide of rationalism and secularism, the church’s focus on the saving grace of the gospel and commitment to Christ waned, giving place to creedal and dry philosophical arguments. The church of this period, although appearing to be alive, was spiritually dead.

Jesus’ message to Sardis also applies to every generation of Christians. There are Christians who always talk in glorious terms of their past faithfulness to Christ. Unfortunately, these same Christians do not have much to share about their present experience with Christ. Their religion is nominal, lacking the true religion of the heart and genuine commitment to the gospel.

Keeping ever before us the great truth of salvation by faith in Christ alone, in what ways could we say that our works have not been found “perfect” before God? What does that mean, and how can we “perfect” our works before Him? See Matt. 5:44-48.

Wednesday ↥        January 16

Christ’s Message to Philadelphia

The sixth church addressed by Jesus was Philadelphia (meaning “brotherly love”). The city was located on an imperial trade road and served as the gateway - an “open door” - to a large, fertile plateau. Excavations indicate that Philadelphia was a center to which people came for health and healing. Shaken by frequent earthquakes, the city’s inhabitants moved to the countryside, living in humble huts.

Read Revelation 3:7-9. How does the way that Jesus presents Himself relate to the situation of this church? What does Jesus’ statement “You have a little strength” (Rev. 3:8, NKJV) say about the condition of the church?

The message to this church applies prophetically to the great revival of Protestantism during the First and Second Awakenings that took place in Great Britain and America from about 1740 to 1844. Given the light they had, God’s people did indeed seek to keep “My word” (Rev. 3:8, NKJV) at this time. There was a growing emphasis on obedience to God’s commandments and pure living. The “open door” is apparently the way into the heavenly sanctuary, because “the temple of my God” is also mentioned (Rev. 3:12, compare Rev. 4:1-2). One door being closed and another door being opened point to the change that would take place in Christ’s high-priestly ministry, in 1844.

Read Revelation 3:10-13. What indications are given that time is short and that the coming of Jesus is drawing near? What is the significance of God’s name being written on His people (2 Tim. 2:19)? If a name represents a person’s character, what does Exodus 34:6 tell us about those who bear God’s name?

Great revivals took place in churches on both sides of the Atlantic. In the years leading up to 1844, the message of Christ’s soon coming was proclaimed in many parts of the world. God’s promise to write His name on those who overcome indicates that God’s character will be seen in His people. Just as important as the message that Christ is coming soon is the message that Christ promises to make His people ready for that great event by forgiving their sins and writing His law in their hearts (see Phil. 1:6; Heb. 10:16-17).

What does the hope of Christ’s soon coming mean to you? How does Christ’s promise to complete the work He has begun give us assurance?
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Lesson 3 *January 12-18




Jesus’ Messages to the Seven Churches



Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon








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Signs of the Times / Re: Global Warming?
« Last post by Wally on January 11, 2019, 03:28:07 PM »
UN: Global Warming Causes Mental Illness!!
[Excerpts]

 

A very convenient conclusion.  Now they can claim that all of those who don't believe in global warming are mentally deranged.
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Signs of the Times / Re: Global Warming?
« Last post by Wally on January 11, 2019, 03:25:41 PM »
They keep changing the narrative.  Only among activists (and the complicit media) is "climate change" a serious concern.  The media over reports news that seems to bolster their theory, while ignoring stories that present a different picture.

It's a balmy 0° F right now, and dropping.  Time to stuff another log in the wood stove.
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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--41--The Crisis in Galilee
« Last post by Richard Myers on January 11, 2019, 01:44:49 PM »
I contemplated one day what I would do if I ceased doing ministry? What blackness!! It is something that has not entered my mind again. What joy we have in Christ! Where would be go? There is nothing else!

I was impressed again that Jesus wants the whole heart, not part of it. He knows that unless we give it all to Him, we remain dead in sins and trespasses and will have no love, joy, and peace. As Beacon shared, we are told what we must do in order to be saved, how we can be brought to give Jesus the whole heart.

 To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Saviour, believing that He forgives our sins, and that we are complete in Him. It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace, must be assimilated. 


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Women's Ordination / Re: Christ and His Church - Male and Female Illustration
« Last post by Richard Myers on January 11, 2019, 01:30:07 PM »
Hello Marelis, good to see you back!

You are right. There is a larger issue than the ordination of women pastors or the acceptance of homosexuality. These are only symptoms of a much more serious problem. When you look at those who support both, you find that they are part of a larger society. And, we can say that most of the time for those that in either group, not all, but most. They have something in common with another larger group, their attitude and understanding of the gospel message and salvation.

When we love God supremely and give Christ the whole heart, we then have the Holy Spirit abiding in the heart. With Him comes the work of His office, leading the converted in to all truth. That is to say they have "spiritual discernment." And, the foundation of Christianity is the gospel message, salvation by grace.  Those who are in either the group that is in rebellion against the church by ordaining or supporting those who ordain women pastors, or those who support bringing homosexuals into the church, reveal they have no spiritual discernment. Thus, they are easily deceived as to the plan of salvation and our continual need of Jesus in order to do any good thing.

First Satan deceives as to what it means to be converted, then he brings decoys into the church, then he makes some pastors, then he is able to lead these "Laodiceans" into believing all kinds of heresy. When the Holy Spirit speaks, they ignore, but there is another spirit that they follow. Human wisdom will always fail. There is a way which seemeth right, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Ask those who belong in either of the two groups, if they believe they retain salvation when they commit a known sin. The wages of one sin is spiritual and everlasting death unless there is repentance. This is a foreign thought to those in these two groups. If any do not understand this and are not part of those two groups, listen to God's warning to Eve, then listen to what Satan said to her, his great lie which continues on today. Read Ezekiel chapters 3, 18, and 33 the message given to the prophet to given to Israel who was to take it to the world. Here is one of the three statements (all say the same thing): "Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his [righteousness] in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, [that] he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it." Ezekiel 33:12,13.

Our only hope in Christ. We must become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). When surrender the whole heart, then His representative the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart and brings with Him every one of the fruits of the Spirit and empowers repentant man to keep the law of God. This relationship with Christ must be maintained in order that we have power to resist all temptations to sin. Christ promises us He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but this is a conditional promise. It is only for those who love Jesus supremely and abide in Him and He in them. This is foreign to those we find in those two groups because they are not following the Word and Spirit of God. They lack spiritual discernment.
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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--41--The Crisis in Galilee
« Last post by Dorine on January 11, 2019, 10:57:37 AM »
"With a yearning heart, Jesus saw those who had been His disciples departing from Him, the Life and the Light of men. The consciousness that His compassion was unappreciated, His love unrequited, His mercy slighted, His salvation rejected, filled Him with sorrow that was inexpressible. It was such developments as these that made Him a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.
     
Without attempting to hinder those who were leaving Him, Jesus turned to the twelve and said, "Will ye also go away?"         

Peter replied by asking, "Lord, to whom shall we go?" "Thou hast the words of eternal life," he added. "And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God."      "To whom shall we go?" The teachers of Israel were slaves to formalism. The Pharisees and Sadducees were in constant contention. To leave Jesus was to fall among sticklers for rites and ceremonies, and ambitious men who sought their own glory. The disciples had found more peace and joy since they had accepted Christ than in all their previous lives. How could they go back to those who had scorned and persecuted the Friend of sinners?"

These words spoke strongly to me today yet I fail to have the words to express what I want to say. If we are not clinging to Jesus moment by moment we too will be among the crowd that leaves the remnant before Jesus comes. Jesus is the only answer, yet humanity attempts to find a better way so that he/she can hang on to his/her pet sins and still be saved. Jesus will ask us the same question,
"Will ye also go away?" 
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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--41--The Crisis in Galilee
« Last post by Beacon on January 11, 2019, 10:35:37 AM »
"To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Saviour, believing that He forgives our sins, and that we are complete in Him. It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace, must be assimilated."

Jesus said, " Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest " Matthew 11:28   He invites us to know Him, to experience His Love and Saving Grace....In Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" But we must " Open the Door "


"But even these figures fail to present the privilege of the believer's relation to Christ. Jesus said, "As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me." As the Son of God lived by faith in the Father, so are we to live by faith in Christ. So fully was Jesus surrendered to the will of God that the Father alone appeared in His life. Although tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world untainted by the evil that surrounded Him. Thus we also are to overcome as Christ overcame."
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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--41--The Crisis in Galilee
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on January 11, 2019, 07:20:21 AM »
Amen, Jim! We need a life lived by a continual reception of God's word through the life-giving Spirit who has the power to bring that word into our moment-by-moment experience! To live by God's word and abide in Christ actuated with all of the fruits of the Spirit is what it means to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, who is the bread of life to our souls!

"While we cannot now comprehend the works and ways of God, we can discern His great love, which underlies all His dealings with men. He who lives near to Jesus will understand much of the mystery of godliness. He will recognize the mercy that administers reproof, that tests the character, and brings to light the purpose of the heart." {The Desire of Ages, page 394, paragraph 1}

Praise God that He knows how to lead us in the way that is best--even though we may not see the path, we can keep our eyes fixed on the One who blazed the path--Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith!!

 
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Women's Ordination / Re: Christ and His Church - Male and Female Illustration
« Last post by Marelis on January 11, 2019, 03:40:07 AM »
What we are observing is something unwholesome and rather frightening evolving universally and we sense that things are all somehow connected in the overall moral decline....the feminist movement, homosexuality, the transgender issue, emasculation, and we wonder where does women's ordination fit into the grand scheme of things? How big a deal is women's ordination as an issue? Is it a part of something bigger? I say this cautiously, but I see a parallel between the push to pass laws permitting gay marriage and the push for women's ordination. On the surface both are presented as an issue of gender equality rights, but might there be a broader, further reaching agenda? We do well to step back, ask questions, examine historical roots and links and to try to connect the dots beneath the murkiness.
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