A Voice in the
Wilderness

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The
Seven Churches
of The Revelation

Introduction:

There are essentially three traditional views regarding interpretation of the letters to the Seven Churches.

1) These were seven "actual" churches that John wrote to. His letters were actually delivered to these churches in western Asia Minor, and they read them; during the first century AD.

2) The Seven Churches represent epochs of time over the past two millenia. That these seven periods of time traversed in chronological order, beginning with Ephesus and ending, in our times, with Laodicea. That each "church" represents the prevailing religious/spiritual "climate" during their respective epoch.

3) The Seven Churches represent the various elements that can be found during any period of time; from the time it was written, through, and including our time.

There could be some merit to #2, as I have seen scholarship by those who know history, to indicate its possibility. I believe it would be preposterous for anyone to say that #1 was not the case. These seven cities/churches existed at the time of writing in western Asia Minor. However, in looking at the church today, it is obvious that #3 has merit for today. Thus, I see all three views being valid...together.

This brief series will assume all three views to have merit, but will concentrate on view #3, for the days we live in. The Last Days just before the Rapture (1Cor15:51-52,1Ths4:17) of the "Church," after which nothing more is said about them in the rest of the book of Revelation, after the Redeemer has "taken possession" (Rev3:20) of that which He "escrowed" to Himself (Eph1:13-14) and has now said, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this." (Rev4:1)

The series is in two parts. An outline of each church which was compiled a couple years ago, which arranges in systematic fashion, all the minute analytical detailed elements of the church, and might be useful for further personal study; and a (current) narrative. The narrative, while not following the outline nor touching all details, is intended to address overall broad concepts. (It is recommended that the reader first look up the passage in Revelation before reading the narrative.)

In typical prophetic fashion, you will note that the good and bad are intermingled with each other, proving out Jesus' teaching about the kingdom of heaven being like the "wheat and tares." When the servants asked if the tares should be pulled out, the master said, "No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them." (Mt13:29)

If you are a Christian, or make any claim at all to christendom, you will find yourself somewhere in at least one of the seven churches. As the churches contain the good and the bad, you will find yourself falling into one of those two catagories, also.

The One Who says to each church, "I know your works" also exhorts, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Judgement is assured for the wicked, unless there is repentance; and blessed promises for "him who overcomes."


Introduction-Q/A
  1. Outline-Narrative-Q/A - EPHESUS
  2. Outline-Narrative-Q/A - SMYRNA
  3. Outline-Narrative-Q/A - PERGAMOS
  4. Outline-Narrative-Q/A - THYATIRA
  5. Outline-Narrative-Q/A - SARDIS
  6. Outline-Narrative-Q/A - PHILADELPHIA
  7. Outline-Narrative-Q/A - LAODICEA
Epilogue

Return to: Revelation series
Ephesus: - First Love (Revelation 2:1-7)

Nearing the completion of his last missionary journey where he has been establishing these churches in Asia Minor, at his final reunion with the leaders and elders, Paul warned, "Take heed to yourselves and to the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock..even from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples..therefore watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears."(Acts20:28-31)

It would seem Ephesus learned the lesson well. The Spirit says to the Angel of Ephesus, "I know your works." The labor, patience and abhorrence of evil. The careful scrutiny to ferret out the false teachers. The tireless persistence in faithful service. All these things they are doing well.

But they lack one thing. They have "left [their] first love."

What IS "first love?" It can be that which came First-in-Time. The love that was at the beginning. Such as, the first girlfriend, the first kiss, etc.

It can also be, that which is Most-Important. Such as, the love for one's wife is more important than one's love for his job or his hobby, or what-have-you.

"You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." (Deut6:5) "If you love Me, keep my commandments."(Jn14:15) "Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." (Jer15:16)

Do you remember the joy when your sin rolled away when you repented and then realized you were forgiven? People react differently. Some jump up and down. Others cry. But one thing is certain, there is peace and joy...and a LOVE for our Lord Jesus Christ for all He's done for us, and for His mercy and grace extended to us. Many cannot contain themselves...they are compelled to tell everybody they can.

After a while, the "novelty" of the new-birth wears off. And God becomes "ho-hum" humdrum in the person's mind/heart. As time moves along, one even becomes loath to mention the Name of the Lord, perhaps? ...first love; in "time."

Then, there are some who militantly maintain "the right!" They staunchly support God's Word, God's laws, holy living...and will very carefully scrutinize everything and everyone, and judge them against certain criteria. After all, "we must be TRUE to God's Word."

This is AS IT SHOULD BE.

However, when the "certain criteria" is found to be flawed in little ways when compared to God's Word, what is maintained? What do we love more...God's Word or a "version" of God's Word? Do we love "Thus says the Lord" ...or thus said Calvin, Wesley, Moody, Graham, Swindol... ABOUT what God's Word says. ..?

There are many trappings to the "church." The building. the crusades. the large attendance/membership numbers. the respect and adulation from men. The love is for the SYSTEM. the militance. the dogma (as distinguished from "doctrine" and "faith").

The Spirit says, "Remember from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place."(Rev2:5) The lampstand representing the church.(1:20)

Jesus asked Peter, "Peter, do you love Me more than these?"(Jn21:15) Peter was at a low point, having just denied his Lord, and had "now" returned to fishing. After being restored, his boldness and martyrdom proved out his love for Christ.

God says to David, Remember back when you were nothing in your own eyes? And I took you from the sheep, to lead My people Israel.(2Sam7:8) Pastors/leaders need to remember, it is not "their" ministry. But God's flock. In the beginning each sermon was with trepidation, and trusting the Lord. Now, it is "old hat" and quickly "whip something together" at the last minute..and go on instinct.

The Spirit says, Remember that beginning. You were little in your own eyes then, and felt that you were lowly and nothing, and you Loved God with all your being. But, as your "self-confidence" has grown, and you've become a successful "somebody" in your own strength...you have actually "fallen." You were doing well in your zeal. But the goals of your zeal have changed, as your love has been mis-directed. Remember from where you have fallen, and repent.

In the psalmist's words: "Restore to me the joy of your salvation." (Ps51:12)

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Smyrna: - Suffering and Persecution (Revelation 2:8-11)

There has been a mentality in American "churches" which elevates the suffering, persecuted Christians of Russia, China, Muslim countries, etc. Often, someone will sponsor former Russian or Chinese persecuted Christians to visit this country, and put them on "display." As though, imprisonment, beatings or other such physical torture is a "worse form" of suffering, to somehow be held in greater awe.

Jesus promised, "In the world you will have tribulation." (Jn16:33)

The reason: "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you..because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you..A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." (Jn15:18-20)

Persecution comes in all forms and varieties. The most easily discernable forms are found in books like Fox's "Book of Martyrs." Beatings, dismemberments, burnings, drownings, filleting and putting salt in the wounds, rape, imprisonment, etc. The forms that are physically agonizingly painful.

The forms not so readily recognized are the mental, psychological, spiritual forms, and don't usually get classed as "persecution." One cannot see the severed limb sitting there, or the dead corpse.

The Spirit says, "I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."

Objections come quickly if one uses expressions like, "so-called-christian," or "claiming-to-be-christian" when referring to apostates. "How can you judge?!" Well, the Holy Spirit judges. Paul said, "from among yourselves men will rise up."(Acts20:30) And Jesus said, "Be ware of false prophets..by their fruits you will know them..I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me.'" (~Mt7:13-23)

This persecution is so much more subtle. You will be labelled as "divisive, unloving, judgmental" ...in the churches and by church leaders. ..By "christians." (small "c") And the apostates will constantly harague you, always getting in the "last word" as they spout off with Scripture, mis-read and mis-applied. ..as they CLAIM to be "Christian" and are so full of Luuuuv and Graeeesss. You are actually the one made to FEEL like the non-Christian for your faithfulness.

The early Christians, "[rejoiced] that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."(Acts5:41) And would hold in high esteem a believer who had risked life and limb for the Name of Jesus.(Acts15:26)

It would seem that Christ also holds in high esteem those who suffer for His Name. Jesus Christ Who "sat down" at the right hand of God (Heb1:3) ..STOOD on the occasion of Stephen's martyrdom, to accept him into His presence. (Acts7:55)

The suffering Church Smyrna was given accolades. And NO CRITICISMS. The encouragement that, while they seemingly had "nothing" as far as the world could see, they were "RICH" in Christ.

Yes, the persecution will continue. All forms of it (depending on which part of the world you live in). But do NOT FEAR! You will have even more! But BE FAITHFUL, even unto death. "He that endures to the end shall be saved"(Mt24:13) "No temptation [trial] has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [tested] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape [exit-by-death], that you may be able to bear [endure] it. (1Cor10:13)

If you are faithful you will receive the crown of life, and the second death will not hurt you!

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Pergamos: - Satan's Dwelling (Revelation 2:12-17)

Is it possible for an individual to be in the Catholic or Mormon church and also be a Christian?

"I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (Rev 2:13)

'Probably the largest organization in the world. Its leader is the "vicar of Christ" lit. substitute or in-the-place-of [anti] Christ. It has been responsible for the incalculable maryrdom of Christians (those who believe in Jesus Christ by Faith). It has maintained the early religions of Babel and Nimrod in its variations throughout the centuries and now dresses the idolatries and harlotries with "christian" labels. When a person fully understands its scope, it could easily be understood, "where Satan's throne is."

Another organization adds to and replaces Scripture with "another testament" of Jesus Christ. Fulfilling Paul's curse, "Even if we, or an ANGEL FROM HEAVEN preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed."(Gal1:8) An "angel" appeared to J.Smith, giving the new laws. Not only do they "replace" Christ as the other group has done, they degrade Him to a position as "brother of Lucifer."

Is it possible for someone to be in these groups, and be a Child of God? The blood of the martyrs cries it! After all..where does Faith reside? Figuratively speaking, "he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God"(Rom2:29) And while a person's doctrine may be messed up due to false teaching received, salvation comes to "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."(Joel2:32) It is God Who does the saving, and not man's ability, wisdom, or perfect understanding, "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."(Rom5:6)

You see..God has not left Himself without witness. Even though these organizations are most corrupt, the person who is drawn by God and seeks for God can find Him.(Jn6:44,Jer29:13) Jesus is depicted as having died on the cross. This is all the thief next to Jesus saw, and his faith saved him. Jesus is presented in the music and from Scripture. Even if Scripture is presented out of context and distorted by the purveyors, God is not frustrated, "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."(Isa55:11)

Two organizations have been selected for mention here. This scenario is not limited to these two.

At the counsel of Balaam, the Midianites intermarried with Israel and led them astray to idolatry. Solomon was led astray to idolatry by all his pagan wives. When a couple gets married, what church do they say their vows in? If one of them is from the region of Satan's throne, the edict is quite clear; vows are said before Satan, and his vicars do not compromise. "Two become one flesh." It is a marriage into the church.

Eucharist. The sacrifice of Christ upon the altar. And then consumed. We are told, "Christ was offered ONCE to bear the sins of many." (Heb9:28) ..that there is no longer an offering for sin"(10:18) And to sacrifice Him again would "put Him [Son of God] to an open shame."(6:6) Thus, every time Mass is celebrated, Christ is blasphemed. He is openly "shamed" ...again!!

Jesus says, "Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them.." Notice the words "you" and "them." Later on the voice from heaven says, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues."(Rev18:4) And as He fights against "them," Babylon is destroyed.

Let there be clear understanding as to "who" is in the place "where Satan dwells." The forces of the world religions are moving and joining all together. Catholics, Evangelicals, Muslims...all...are joining together. And, the goal as planned, is to have a worldwide celebration of the MASS...blaspheming Jesus Christ...in the year 2000. The major religions are laying aside their doctrinal differences in order to accomplish this. Even ALL the major evangelical groups and leaders have signed into this adultery...and as a result, are bowing and marching up to that "throne."

So, the question which opened the article is now expanded. Is it possible for an INDIVIDUAL to be in the Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Nazarene, AOG, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, etc. churches and be a Christian? For those who "hold fast to My name, and do not deny My faith" ...Yes!

If you participate in the One-World religion, Christ will come quickly when you are not expecting. The world will blaspheme Christ with a united Eucharist.

If you are an "overcomer" Christ promises, "I will give some of the hidden manna to eat."

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!

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Thyatira: - Jezebel ...and the depths of Satan (Revelation 2:18-29)

Not only is there the vicar (substitute) of Christ; there is an even "higher" authority. An authority that the Pope bows to. Who or what might that be? Jesus? God? The Holy Scriptures? ...No! ...The "blessed virgin."

Down through the pagan centuries, cultures worshipped variations of a female deity. When the Roman empire amalgamated "christianity" into the empire with the pagan rituals and beliefs, this female deity became called "Mary" in order to "beguile My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols."

Worship of the "virgin" has included all sorts of perversions, including the sacrifice of human babies, and eating them. Temple prostitution and sexual orgy-like rituals as part of worship, where the sexual partners were then killed and sacrificed in order to insure things like bountiful crops, fertility for cattle, and continuity of the human race. Out of these come things like festive evergreen trees in winter, and eggs in spring time.

Many of these things have become an integral part of the "church" festivities down through the years. And now, what is the message of the virgin? The witch, Jezebel (2Kgs9:22), conjures up apparitions all over the world. Invitations into the "immaculate heart," to the "fires of love." Enticements to ALL to partitipate in the Eucharist...to blaspheme Jesus Christ.

And ALL church groups are joining together to follow her bidding! Racing toward the year 2000. The major evangelical leaders, names you all know, have signed into this unity to follow Witch Jezebel! Indeed! "These will be cast into great tribulation, unless they repent."

How are "evangelicals" preparing themselves? They are engaging in Prayer Summits. Who do they pray to? To Satan. e.g. "Satan, we have the victory over you now!! You had better start trembling before us!" Or..."Satan (or demons), I command you...!"(Compare this with Jude8-10,2Pet2:10-12) They revel in exorcisms, and talking with demons. They spend their time exploring the "depths" of Satanism and witchcraft and how to manipulate him, and dedicate their entire energies and ministries to research and propagation of information about all that is false. They invite other religions to join together, with "spirit guides" and other pagan beliefs.(And then they wonder why there's no revival!!)

In amongst all this confusion are those INDIVIDUALS whose hearts are pure before God. They sit in the pew hearing Jezebel's blasphemes, but are uneasy about it all, but don't know quite for sure "why" always. They faithfully meditate on Scriptures, and serve the Lord with their whole heart. And quietly, they touch individual lives here and there. They are part of the "seven thousand...all whose knees have not bowed to Baal."(1Kgs19:18)

Sometimes service seems hopeless. "What's the use! We can never win!" But they persevere on through all the confusion of the blasphemes. The Spirit says, "I will put on you no other burden." Just hang in there. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1Cor15:58)

Many of those dealing in the "depths of Satan" do not believe in heaven or hell, and seek to establish an earthly kingdom by "fleshly" means.

However, To him who overcomes, "and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations..."

"He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the potter's vessels shall be broken to pieces." And Jezebel's kingdom will be shattered. "For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered..in the cup which she has mixed, mix for her double."(Rev18:5~)

"Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!..Alleluia! ..her smoke rises up forever and ever!"

Therefore..."come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues."(Rev18:4)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!

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Sardis: - Dead (Revelation 3:1-6)

"I don't know what you came to do...I just came to praise the Lord!" Words from a 70's hippy song. "Preacher don't want to talk about religion [teach-&-preach] no more...he just wants to praise the Lord"

There is a generation that does not want teaching from God's Word. They do not want doctrine. They don't want accountability. They just want to gather together and dance around, sing and clap, and shout "Praise the Lord! Bless you, Jesus!"

But...they are also experts. They have "authority." (so they think) They will command, "I command....!!" Or.."the Lord gave me a word for you." "The Lord told me to ... this or that."

Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, "Hear the word of the LORD!" Thus says the Lord God, "Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, "Thus says the LORD!" But the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed. Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, "The LORD says," but I have not spoken. (~Ez13:2-7)

They are really into signs and wonders. They will lament and complain if a meeting doesn't include some tongues and miracles. And of course, the all-important...healings. (e.g. Everyone must have both legs being the same length) All this, to them, is "power!"

All this comes, they say, as a result of being "spirit-filled." But, what "spirit" is this of?

He Who has the Seven Spirits of God...says, "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead."

This group, now, is not without God's Word. They recognize Jesus' blood shed on the cross, and the need to receive Jesus as Savior. But they are not perfect before God. The edict to them is, "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die...remember how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent."

Typically, too, this group does not believe that Jesus will return for His own before He judges the world. In fact, they REFUSE to do so, even though many try to show them from Scripture that it is so. Since their understanding of Scripture is so infantile and immature, they think everything in Scripture is for the "Church." They think "they" are the only ones who exist in God's plans. Not realizing the greater picture, which includes Israel. But you see...they have been so busy "praising the Lord" that they haven't had time, or desire, to study God's Word and find out what He has told us...to understand Scriptures in the "big picture" of things.

He Who has the Seven Spirits of God says to them, "Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you." Yes. In accordance with their choosing they will remain, and He will COME UPON them in judgment.

You notice this group receives NO ACCOLADES!

Even though Sardis, as a whole, is dead...there are a few INDIVIDUALS who are not defiled. "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."(Mt7:14) They "shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy." They will be clothed in white garments. Their names will not be blotted out of the Book of Life.

But, many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name..done many wonders in Your name...IN THE NAME OF JEEEZZZUS!!! ..??" And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; DEPART from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Mt7:22-23)

However, of him who overcomes Jesus says, "I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!

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Philadelphia: - Faithful (Revelation 3:7-13)

A close relative of Smyrna, Philadelphia is the only other church which receives no criticisms. Where Smyrna is beset upon and physically oppressed, Philadelphia has freedom. Doors wide open for service. Much like the Churches experienced "peace and were edified" once Saul had been converted (Acts9:31), and Paul was encouraged by the Lord at Corinth regarding physical safety, to continue speaking without fear. (Acts18:9-10)

Philadelphia has been responsible for sending missionaries into all the world, translating Scriptures into the languages of the remotest parts of the earth, setting up Bible schools to train indigenous pastors, smuggling Bibles for Smyrna to use.

The accolades: You have a little strength. But you have kept the Lord's command to persevere, and your "little" strength has been multiplied by His mighty power. (2Cor12:9-10,Eph1:19)

You have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Yes, you have been taunted by the pretend "christians" who are liars from Satan's synagogue. He pretends to be an "angel of light" and his servants pretend to be "christians."(2Cor11:13-15) Many of whom are from Sardis.

These liars come along with other doctrines. They continue to harrass you with little changes in Scriptural teaching. They point to great "men of God" and "historical perspectives" from the teachings of other pretend "christians." But you have stuck to God's Word for "Thus saith the Lord."

You are loved by Jesus Christ. And as a demonstration to the liars of His love for you, they will be brought before you, and be made to bow at your feet because of your faithfulness...as they remember how they tried to belittle you with their scholarly demonic human wisdom, and no doubt laughed at you when they had you cornered. But, even though you didn't always have an answer for their foolishness, you remained faithful to the Lord...by faith.

These liars tried to persuade you it wouldn't be so, but it will be. Because you have persevered, I will keep you from the "hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth." They have persecuted you. Now it's their turn. "It is their just due."(Rev16:6)

Hang on to what you have. Don't let them take your crown. Overcomers, "because you have been faithful in little things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord."(Mt25:21) You will be part of God's dwelling, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God." (~Rev 21:3)

Behold, I am coming quickly! "..I am at the doors!"(Mt24:33) Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Rev22:20)

Q/A -False "Jews" or "Christians"?

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Laodicea: - Sensuous Filthy Vomit (Revelation 3:14-22)

"God wants you to be rich!" are words spewed forth from the pulpits into the TV cameras. "It's not God's will for you to be poor." They misapply God's word in Malachi 3:10, saying, "Send us your 'seed money' and just watch God overflow you with riches and wealth." Of course, the only ones getting rich are the TV stars!

Laodicea has grand buildings in which to meet. And strangely enough, they send out many from Philadelphia to their faithful work. But Laodicea parades their generosity for all to see, assuming they are partakers in Philadelphia's work. They even try to immitate Philadelphia's work by engaging in the same [physical] activities. They somehow think they are a notch above Smyrna because they are "so blessed" and they "pray for" Smyrna, hoping that Smyrna could get out of their predicament in persecution and be like Laodicea. They shudder to think that they might ever be in such a predicament, themselves.

But what is the Faithful and True Witness about Laodicea? NO ACCOLADES! Where Smyrna appears to be poor and are rich, Laodicea appears to all the world to be rich, but in God's eyes are poor. They have an appearance they promote of being Christians, but their hearts are not right before God. But neither are they like Satan's throne; easily discernable as being corrupt. They ride the fence pretending to be Christians, using the world's allurements to increase their numbers, and also join in with Satan's throne for world religious unity. Truth cannot be found amongst them because they are so perverted, and about to be spewed out of God's mouth like luke-warm chocolate, in total disgust and revulsion! Yeee-uch!!!

Due to their wealth, they trust in their own abilities and works, as they sit like kings and rule with apparent authority. Many people flock to their fancy buildings. They have programs which impress even the world. And they frolic merrily along!

But the verdict: wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked.

They use the world's sensuality to entice people in...their music, their sensual stage antics, the sensual cooing of words, likening a relationship with their "christ" to that with a lover in the bedroom. This they parade about with latest fashionable sensual attire.

If anyone should point out that they are not right before God, they display their righteous indignation and spout off, "Don't judge, lest you be judged." Don't you know just how important we are before God? We are MOST VALUABLE to God! God's graeeesss accepts us "just as we are." How DARE you criticize us?!

Christ counsels: buy the gold refined in the fires of testing, built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, along with silver, and precious stones. Things which endure (1Cor3:12-13) and be Truly rich. Put on a white garment, washed in the precious blood of Jesus Christ (Rev7:14), and cover up your nakedness with His righteousness.

If you don't accept rebuke, you are not Mine. What legitimate father is there who does not chasten his son? (Heb12:5-13) Those I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent.

Furthermore, it is now time for me to take possession of what is Mine, which I escrowed with the Holy Spirit (Eph1:13-14). I would really like to have fellowship and share in sumptuous feast...if only you would be willing. But only My own know My voice, and they hear and follow Me. (Jn10:27)

However, for the overcomer: he will participate in REAL power and authority, as he sits with Me on My throne.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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Epilogue: - Overcomers

In each of the Seven Churches a phrase is repeated, "He who overcomes shall ..???" And under Laodicea He adds, "as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."

What does "overcome" mean?

To conquer. To be victorious. To come out the "winner."

Paul writes, "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil3:14) And he further explains how he does this, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1Cor9:24-27)

What was the victory that Jesus won?

When He cried, "It is finished" (Jn19:30) He had just completed the sacrifice for sin. (Heb9:28) And fulfilled God's prophecy in Gen3:15 that Satan would be crushed. Conquering death (1Cor15:26,55-57) and sin, and "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."(Heb1:3)

What is the victory for Believers?

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jeus Christ."(1Cor15:57) As Christ was victorious, He grants that we, Believers in Christ, will sit with Him on His throne next to the Majesty on high.(Rev3:21) Our victory is IN CHRIST. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."(2Cor5:17)

What do we overcome?

The World:
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1Jn4:4) "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

The Wicked One:
I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. (1 John 2:13)

How do we overcome?

Faith:
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith. (1John5:4) "For by grace you have been saved through fatih,, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Eph2:8)

Faith in What/Whom?
Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1John5:5)

What Works do we do?
This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." (John 6:29) ...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (Phil 3:10)

What is the Reward for overcoming?
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Rev 21:7)

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." (Acts16:31)

He who has an ear...
...Let him hear
What the Spirit says to the Churches

Amen!

Q/A -Where do YOU Stand?

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