This evening we are on our seventh stop and it’s such a blessing. How it all ends. We’ve been looking at the book of Matthew chapter 6. We looked at the Lord’s prayer, thy kingdom come. Then we moved right into Matthew 24, where Jesus continued that exposition of how the kingdom is going to come. He gave the outline of the book of Revelation. We saw that. Basically the book of Revelation could be summarized, if we had to use the Word of Life one sentence description for a chapter, for a phrase, or sentence description of a book. The book of Revelation is how it all ends. I really think about how the Lord’s prayer ends. It says, “For thine,” God’s, “is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” Everything is about God. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, he says until all things are delivered over by the Son to the Father, that He might be all in all. That’s how it all ends, that God the Father is all in all.
This evening from the book of Revelation, we’re looking at what it means to God, especially God the Son that we are called to live as citizens of Heaven. We’re citizens of Heaven while we’re living on Earth. Jesus’ main occupation right now is individually checking on all of us regularly, systematically, deeply, prompting us to live like citizens of Heaven. That’s the only reason He left us here. That’s what He wants us to do.
In Revelation 1, we saw that the same outline that the whole Bible follows Genesis 1 and 2 is about God the Creator. Genesis 3 through Revelation 5 is about God the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. By the way, God the Creator is Jesus Christ, also. Through Him were all things made that are made, and all of that. We know Jesus is the Creator, He is the Redeemer. Then, from 6 to 22, that we saw all those trends for, we see that He is the Judge. We know that from John 5. In John 5, Jesus said God the Father has committed all judgment to Me, the Son.
Then all those people, his detractors were standing there. He says, “Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming.” This is one of the greatest statements Jesus ever made. I love it. He looked at them and He said, “all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth.” Wow. Every time you get to a graveyard, just think about that. There is only one person in the universe that can speak and have people come forth. You know, how people go to dust and the tree roots, especially in those old European and New England cemeteries, that tree roots go through, all those people buried at sea, and all the people that are being blown up right now in Ukraine. You can never gather their pieces together, but God is going to re-corporealate them, (I wonder if that’s a word), make their body back together instantly as He speaks. It’s amazing.
We want to see Him as our creator. He said that to, at the moment, the most powerful entity on Earth. The Roman Empire has still not been excelled in some of the things they’ve done. There are functioning aqueducts that they built 2000 years ago that still work. In fact, the one that went into Constantinople or Istanbul today was actually still working until some crazy, a few years back, dynamited it because they heard there was gold from the Roman Empire in it. They dynamited some of the long passes that it was taking, coming into town to see if they could find the gold. That Empire symbolized power you could not resist. Right in the heart of it God planted His Church. The Lord wanted them to learn how to live through the darkness of pagan rulers, pagan religions, of even horrific cults. That’s why 1 John is so much about testing the spirits, whether they’re of God and how to know who’s really a safe person.
When you lived in Rome in the 1st century, there was a counter to Christianity group that actually came out of, it was Mithraism, it came out of the Persian area. The initiates would go to these secret meetings to be washed by the blood of the son of god. When they were washed in the blood of the son of god they were born again. Being washed in the blood of the son of god was to go down into a catacomb like place, down deep underground. A bull was strapped into this thing, and it was slit while it was alive. Its hot blood would come across the people who would stand beneath there in an orgiastic, that’s negative, ceremony. They’re doing all kinds of stuff down there as that hot blood is going on them. That event made men and women born again by the blood of the son of god.
That’s why casual Christians couldn’t walk down the street and say, I’ve been born again.
They say, I’ve been born again too.
How were you born again?
I was born again by the blood.
Oh, me too, by the blood of the Son of God.
No, you went… which son of god? Is your son of god, Mithras? Where you in an orgy?
Christians didn’t just slap everybody on the back that said the right buzzwords, they questioned. Do you remember, Paul got questioned? Paul. He wrote half the New Testament. They said, thank you for the message. We’ll talk more tomorrow after we study to make sure everything you said matches up with the scripture. That’s why we all should be Berean Christians. It was very hard for the Gospel to go in this darkened empire because Satan was pulling out all the stops with all these cults and with all this persecution.
Jesus comes back, on the far right of the slide, to check how the Church is doing. What we’re doing is, we’re excavating what He said, and we’re using a simple method. By the way, you’ve all heard of Rick Warren. How many of you have heard of Rick Warren? Everybody’s heard of Rick Warren. He’s one of the best-selling Christian authors of all time. My dear pastor, mentor, friend, John MacArthur said, Rick Warren’s best book, in fact the only book he thinks is good that Rick wrote, was his first one. His first book was when he was just a struggling Southern Baptist pastor. Do you know what he wrote? He wrote a book on Bible study methods. He identified the 12 Bible study methods that are most needed by the Church to follow. That’s actually the title of book, Bible Study Methods.
Number one is the Devotional Method. I read this book long ago. In fact, I’ve taught through it several times to groups. It’s a great thing to have your church learn all 12 Bible study methods, but not just to learn them, to have them learn them, to actually start a group and start doing it. I just am so simple I thought the first one was so good I just have stayed with that one. It’s the one that everybody can adopt. We should all be in a lifelong journey, surveying the whole Bible. Howie Hendricks used to say, one of my professors at Dallas Seminary, he said you don’t want to get to Heaven someday and run into Habakkuk and say, hi Habakkuk. I’m Jim. Where are you from? He says, from the Bible and I wrote a book. You go, oh, I never got to read the whole thing, but I’m glad you’re here in Heaven. Howie Hendricks used to use that to remind us we should be mastering the whole Bible. Every word of God is pure, and all scriptures are given, breathed out by God, and they are the only thing that can transform us on the inside.
For four years, Bonnie and I were spiritual mental healthcare providers with the Christian Medical/ Dental Associations, Extension and Education Department. We would go. They actually flew us every year to a secret location, where they had high security, where a minimum of 700 to 800 to 900 missionaries who all worked in Moslem, repressed, closed, limited access, whatever you want to call countries were. We had doctors from North Korea, from Cuba, we had them from China. Multitudes, from China. Tibet, and everywhere else you can think of in the world that is difficult for the Gospel. Hundreds of them would convene in these secret locations. They would re up their licensures. They kept up on the latest whatever they were in. The urological this or the hematological that. They weren’t in America, they were off in the Himalayas somewhere, they came annually to get recertified in some aspect of their, of their practice. Usually all of them wore many hats because they were in these little hospitals. They told us that they came with the battle scars of spiritual warfare and of all the stuff that’s going on. Plus, the hardships of being in a closed country and everything else.
Bonnie, when she would meet with the women, they talk about the fact that in their country you can’t even sing out loud. They had to sing in the shower with your face under the water so no one could hear you. That’s the only way you could sing because their country didn’t even have glass in their windows. It was one of those poor countries.
The reason I say that is when I would address these people, and I got to address them once or twice a day through the two weeks, I would teach them the Bible, then we do Q and A. I told them, I said, I know all of you are medical doctors, but I happened to be dispensing the only thing that can work inside your mind. Drugs can affect chemically, but can’t fix, renew, transform utterly a person’s internal nonmaterial part. I said, I dispense that just like you do except I’m going to be your pharmacist this week. I’m going to be dispensing the word of God. I’m going to talk about that.
What you do is, you write a title for every chapter. You find the lessons and you note them. Most of all, you make this prayer. Let’s just go through this and let’s practice. Here’s my journal. This is where we left off this morning before the concert, but I didn’t want some of you to miss it because you were so excited about the concert. I didn’t want you to miss it. Jesus is actively coaching me right now and always. Look in your Bible and remember it’s like we’re sitting at Panera and we’re having a Bible study. We all have our Bibles open and we’re all trying to find as many trues, and principles, and promises from God’s word. We’re in verse 12. “I turned to see the voice […] I saw seven golden lampstands […] One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet.” He had this golden band. Then, all those other descriptions that I went through with you.
Why is Jesus dressed like that? Did he not make it to the Dillard’s spring sale? What is the deal? Nobody dresses like that. Oh no, no. A few people dress like that in history. That’s exactly the outfit of the high priest. If you know the Old Testament, if you’ve really read some of those hard to read parts like Leviticus, that the priests were actually the health inspectors of Israel. They’re the ones that if you get a little spot, you didn’t go to the dermatologist at the Mayo in Scottsdale, you went to the priest. The priest looked at that. They were actually health inspectors. They were totally involved with keeping the nation of Israel healthy. Boy, they were healthy, they still are healthy. It’s amazing, the longevity of Jews that don’t even know the Lord, just because of all their customs that are built in, packed into the Old Testament that they follow. Jesus is dressed like the Old Testament highest health inspector. Why would He dress that way? We all say, oh, it’s so great, the Great High Priest of the Church, who ever lives to make intercession for us. That’s one aspect that the high priest does. What does Jesus go out of His way to emphasize in Revelation? His inspecting, the health department. Yeah, He’s interceding for us, but there’s a lot less to intercede for if we will get more uncomfortable about sin.
His goal is, He came around and looked at the comfort level of the Church with sin and it sickened Him. Five were basically sick churches, five of the seven. One, He gave only one warning to, He said stop. That’s the Smyrnians, people of Smyrna. To only one church, did He say that. I’m so glad for that. You know what it means? It’s possible to completely obey the Lord, as much as it’s humanly possible, so He doesn’t have, as He said it, I have nothing against you. I have nothing that I have to say, you’re lax and that you’re coasting, you’re whatever, but it was only one church out of seven. Jesus is seeking how to help us best reflect Him as lights in the world. That’s why He’s coming to tune us up. Some people are not reflecting the light.
When we were newlyweds, we were driving every day. We’d get up at 5:00 am, leave at 5:30 AM, and we drive downtown Los Angeles. Grace could only hire me half time. I had to work half time; Bonnie worked full-time. I was still working at Grace Community. We would drive two hours in the traffic to downtown Los Angeles, I’d drop her off, I’d go do my half day job, I’d pick her up, we’d go home. One day we were sitting in the traffic jam after we’d eaten our breakfast in the car. After we’d read our devotional reading. We were reading a chapter of the New Testament aloud and discussing it. It was time for her to put on her makeup. As we were somewhere halfway up the Harbor Freeway, I heard Bonnie, and I’ll never forget this. She went, oh no! She said, honey, the whites of my eyes are turning orange. She said, I think I’m getting sick. I’ll never forget this, I reached over and wiped off the mirror. I said, check your eyes now. That powder that is inside the mirror thing, that has the little puffer, somehow the powder from the puff had gotten on the mirror. It made her eyes look orange and immediately made her feel sick. You know that reminded me of? It wasn’t reflecting the image properly. Did you know, Jesus looks at us and He says, you’re not a good reflection of me and I want to do something about it.
What does He do about it? He is what I call our life coach. He knew right where John was. I think we don’t realize that. In fact, some people pray like they’re almost catching the Lord up. Hello Lord, I’m here. I’ve lost my job; I have ill health. It’s like catching Him up. He knows right where we are. He knew where every member of the seven churches were. He didn’t just know where their physical body was, He knew where their heart and their mind and the deepest desires of their heart were spiritually. The good news is, Jesus reveals He’ll help each of us all through life, not just help us to be all we want to be. All these people have their dream houses when their younger. I know that’s not something we’re into, but they all have these Pinterest boards of their bathrooms, and their whatever. Jesus says, you’re spending so much of your life on all you want to be, I’m going to do whatever it takes to get your attention to make you start focusing on being all that I want you to be, all that I designed you to be, all that My goal is for you. I want you, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,” and you can do anything, “do all to the glory of God.”
My father worked in the same building, Plant 3 of General Motors in Lansing, Michigan for 46 years. That’s a little boring if you asked me. He didn’t think it was boring. The UAW gave him so many breaks. They worked four minutes and they had five off, it was unbelievable. The UAW back then. It wasn’t quite that bad, but it was a lot. My dad says, I’m not going to waste sitting around with the men all talking about what girl they found at what bar, and what they did, and when they dropped her off, and how they’re looking forward to the next time they find her in another bar. He packed into his little metal lunch pail, they used to call them, all the Moody books that would fold, those paperback kind. He would fold them in. He took a book every day. There were enough UAW mandated breaks that he could read whole books. Then he graduated beyond reading Moody books and he started reading the Overview of the Bible. Then he thought, I want to learn Greek. He made his own Greek cards. You understand what I mean? What he said is, I want to be all that He made me to be, Christ made me to be. He says, I want to understand how to teach the Bible. I want to understand how to serve Him. Christ’s plan is simply to just listen to what I’m saying here in Revelation and repent.
What does that mean? Repentance is if I’m going this way, I have a change of mind. That I say, I don’t think I should be going this way anymore. That leads to a change of direction in my life. It’s not just one time we repent. Godly sorrow works repentance, not to be repented of, I know that. I know what Paul’s talking about in 2 Corinthians 7. I’m saying Jesus is telling born again Christians they need to keep repenting, listening to where they’re falling short of being all He made us to be every time they hear His voice, saying ah, you’re right Lord, I agree. No matter where we are now in the spectrum of obedience, Jesus has His plan to get us back on target. Some people are way far away, other people are just slightly distracted. We’ll see that in the seven churches.
Basically this, the whole description I just read to you of Jesus wearing that sash, and the robe down to His feet, and His eyes, and everything is Jesus coming in, what we would call, as a doctor. We don’t have priest health inspectors anymore that see if our skin rash is leprosy, or see if the mold in our house is enough to knock it down. We go to doctors. Jesus gives a diagnostic report on the five sick churches.
Five of them were sick. Ephesus was sick, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, and Laodicea. Smyrna, Jesus didn’t say they were sick. He said, you’re on the edge of fearing and don’t fear. Stop fearing actually, is literally what He said. He said that Philadelphia was great. Jesus can say that because He has compassion. He feels our fears. In fact, if you study in the Gospels and look at Jesus’ emotions, do you know what His most frequent emotion is? Compassion. Did you know that compassion is the Greek word is splánchnois? It means to viscerally, to feel in your deepest part of your being. You feel it. Jesus felt for us when it says He was moved with compassion when He saw the people like sheep without a shepherd. It didn’t mean He just said, oh, they have problems. He went, oh. That’s how He is now.
Revelation 1:13, Jesus examines us as a priest physician. That’s when He says, I’m the Son of Man. Let’s look at what He says. My wife always reminds me of this. In the early days when I used to teach… and let’s turn to Hebrews 2… when I used to teach the young people. By the way, Bonnie gets the award. I think she has sat through every single one of my messages, which are numbering like 4,200, except for a few times I let her off to have a child. She had to be back within the next service, but I let her off. Look at this, Hebrews 2:14. I used to say, you know what it says in Hebrews 2:14, and when Bonnie started being in the back of all my classes, especially smaller ones, I’d see her go they don’t. They don’t honey. Don’t assume that. Look at Hebrews 2:14, see what it says? “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same.” That’s what it means to be the Son of Man. “That through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Look at verse 18 of Hebrews 2. “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He’s able to aid those who are tempted.” Wow.
Keep going to chapter 4 and look at verse 14, “Seeing then that we have a Great High Priest.” There’s that great high priest, the health inspector, the body inspector, the food inspector. That’s what they were in the Old Testament. Jesus says, that’s what I am. Not to make sure you don’t eat pork and shrimp, and that you follow the whatever diet. He says, I’m looking at your spiritual health and diet.
Verse 14, “We have a Great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize…” He feels. The word sympathize is a very clear transliteration of the Greek word is sumpatheō. Sum means with, patheō means to – with feel. To sumpatheō means with feeling or we call it compassion, feeling someone’s pain. Jesus who can, verse 15, “sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted.” Boy, that’s a hard verse to swallow. Most people think Jesus could never be tempted with what I just was tempted with. In fact, I’m too ashamed to even say what I was tempted by. I don’t want anybody to know, and certainly Jesus would never have been like that. Yes, he was. Let me give you an example. Do you remember when the Devil in Matthew 4 came and met Jesus out in the wilderness? He hadn’t eaten for 40 days and 40 nights, had no food or water. He was out there in the habitat of the demons; the wilderness is always the habitat of the demons. What were the three temptations? The one that is most connected to this is, the Devil said hey, you hungry? Why don’t you command those stones to be made bread? People go, I’ve never been tempted for that. Yes, you have. What is bread? It’s something that fulfills a legitimate appetite or desire or hunger. We were born with hunger for food. The Devil wanted Jesus to satisfy a legitimate desire in an illegitimate way. Nearly every young person, except for a few, are constantly faced with the barrage to fulfill legitimate sexual desires in an illegitimate way. Jesus said, I was in all points tempted like as you are. He can look at that, the guy I told you about earlier, the student from Wales who had a legitimate sexual desire but wanted to satisfy it in an illegitimate way, a homosexual way instead of a heterosexual way. Can Jesus relate to that? You bet. He said the Devil did the same thing; it was just as intense. He said, I have a legitimate need, because He was 100% human. Remember that’s what the deity of Christ is, that they had to hammer out at all those huge councils the Church had. Jesus wasn’t half and half; half God, half man. He was all God and all like us. That’s why He can say, He can sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted just like we are.
Verse 16. What should that make us do? Come boldly to His throne of grace, find “mercy and grace to help in time of need.” Jesus feels our pains, our struggles, our weaknesses, our fears, and He’s standing there waiting to help us every time. It’s not like He’s absent. I was sharing with someone; I was sitting right here. After one of the services someone came to me and asked me this great question. I said, do you remember Joseph and Potiphar and Potiphar’s wife? What did Joseph say to Potiphar’s wife when she started pulling his clothes off? He said, I can’t do that in the sight of God. Potiphar’s wife was looking all around. She thought, I didn’t know anybody else was in the room. To a godly believer, God is in the room all the time and we don’t want to offend Him. That was number 15. I’m starting to skip. You can tell, because I just find dozens of these.
Jesus is the Great I Am. Notice what it says in verse 17 of Revelation, chapter 1. Look at verse 17. “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am…’ “ Note the sequence. John saw, he fell down as dead, Jesus laid His hands on him, and then says do not fear. Then, Jesus says, I am. That must’ve been amazing to John because he’s the I Am-er of the Gospel writers. John is the one that records all the I Am’s in the Gospel. He finds eight more items in the book of Revelation. Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, Who is and Was to come, Almighty, First and Last, lives and was Dead. Have the keys of death and Hell. I’m the root and offspring of David. What I like is, John was feeling the hand of the one he’s tracked with closest all the way through the Gospel by John. Jesus reveals seven I Am’s in the Gospel by John. Not eight. Not six. Seven, a complete set.
It’s His perfection. I’m the bread of life. I want to sustain you. If you don’t let Me, you’ll only be unsatisfied your whole life. Look out the window at this world we’re living in. It’s a whole bunch of unsatisfied people. They just want to have that better car. They’ll kill someone for better shoes, those expensive/ famous ones. They’ll lose their family to get a better house further up the hill or closer to the water, whatever is the big thing wherever they live.
Light of the world. He illumines me. We go through life with boldness. We know why we are here; we know exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, and we know exactly where we’re headed. We know that we’re invulnerable until the Lord is through with us. We don’t live in fear. We don’t live in unsatisfied darkness. If you reject that, apart from Him is only impenetrable darkness.
Do you remember what it says that Hell is going to be? they are going to be suffering the vengeance of eternal fire in the blackness of darkness, forever. Do you know what it’s like to be falling in a bottomless pit, tumbling, and expecting any moment to hit? You never hit the bottom and you’re in darkness, but you’re suffering the searing pain of everlasting fire, the wrath of God, when you could have just said yes to the light of the world. That’s going to be what’s cutting deepest in all these people. The Bible says that God, Acts 17, is within an arm’s length. I am, right now, an arm’s length away from that microphone. That means I could grab it at any time, I’m right here. God says, I am that close to every human on Earth.
People always say, what about the Aborigines, or the Pygmies, or the Eskimos, or the Native Americans, they didn’t get the Gospel. Better than getting the Gospel, they got within an arm’s length of the creator Himself. He says, I’m that close to everybody. You know what Paul said at Mars Hill? He said, God is doing everything He can in hopes that they will grope for Him. You know what groping is? You feel around in the dark. You feel around the dark, you bump into something and you say, what is that? I want to know. God said, that’s all you have to know. He says, I’ll reveal myself to you. He’s done that to everybody.
By the way, people don’t go to Hell because they’ve never heard of Jesus. Let’s get rid of that myth. People go to Hell because they’re sinners and they never tried to find a way out of their sin. God was doing everything, asking them to bump into the only hope. He said, I stayed an arm’s length away from you. I was right there. You could have reached out to Me at any time. I went through life right next to you. Just like people that are too close to you in life that you try and get away from, I’ve been going through life right by you. You never sought Me to satisfy your desires, you sought everything else just not me. You never let Me light you.
You never let Me open the door. He admits us to life as the door of the sheep. Apart from Him is hopeless, being shut out. He cares for us. Without Him we wander, He’s the Resurrection and Life. Bonnie and I were sitting one day, eating dinner at Neuschwanstein in between our missionary work. We ate dinner at the castle that Disney World is built after. That’s a real castle. It’s in Bavaria and we were in Neuschwanstein at the place where you eat, looking right at the floodlit castle. We got there in the restaurant, and we brought our Bible as we always do. We sat there reading our chapter that we read, one verse at a time. We talk about it. Bonnie read a verse, then I read a verse. When we talked about it, we looked at each other. The food came and we ate and looked at each other and read the verses and talked. After about an hour and a half, this couple walks over to our table. We didn’t know anybody else was in the restaurant. When you’re in love and everything, love is blind.
We were way off in the corner; didn’t think we were bothering anybody. This couple walked up to our table. What a couple. She was wearing a full length, pure white, real fur that went from up around her ears to the floor, not touching the floor. It was perfectly tailored for her, this beautiful white fur coat. It didn’t close in the front. She had around her neck something clear, something red, something green, something clear, something red, something green. The closer this walking polar bear coat came, it clinked. There were so many stones. It was a necklace. It was more than one necklace. It must’ve been heavy. It’s amazing. She must’ve gone to finishing school to not have that make her lean over, it was so much. She’s standing there. Then the guy with her was unbelievable. Every part of his clothing that had an edge had actually a quarter inch glistening gold. He had gold edges of everything, pocket, shirt. Gold. Lots of other stuff.
They clink up to our table, I thought they were numbered and we were at the wrong one. I said, yes? Sorry. They said, we have a question for you. I said a question for us? They had this little French accent. Yes, the man said, we would like to know why you are so tranquil. I said, tranquil? I said, you walked over from wherever you were sitting to ask us why we’re so tranquil? He said, may we sit? I said, yeah. I’d never seen anything like that before, or had anybody do that. They sat at our table. They said, why are you tranquil? I said who are you? He says, my father was a Lutheran minister. I’m the director of the European Common Market Bank in Strasbourg. I said, oh, so you’re the head banker of Europe. I said who’s the polar bear? I didn’t really say that. I was very polite. They were the sweetest people, I think, I’d ever seen in Europe.
He says, this is the Shah of Iran’s daughter. I said, oh the Shah of Iran, the one that ran off with a hundred billion and caused the whole Iranian Revolution, and all of our captives and everything. I said, that’s his daughter? I didn’t say that middle part. What I knew was, that meant that they were either uber millionaires or more. They introduced themselves and they said, why are you tranquil? What do you think they were asking us? They were asking us why we, from their perspective across the dining room, were sustained, illumined, admitted into real life, totally aware that Christ cared for us, provided us life, guided us, and was filling us. Actually, the Holy Spirit was overflowing us enough that they felt the peace. That’s what tranquil meant to them in French, peaceful. They had money dripping from them and did not have illumination, peace, security, hope, joy, et cetera.
Did you know the only reason that we’re left here on Earth is, wherever we are, to share the Gospel? You know what the good news is? They wrote us a letter. By the way, we invited them to church, and they came. Those kinds of people, they just go, where are you from? Our jet goes there. They just fly anywhere they want. They don’t go through customs. I said, I’m on staff at Grace Community Church for John MacArthur. Oh, my Aunt, the Shah’s sister lives in Santa Barbara. We can fly into her by her house. They came right to church and heard the Gospel. They wrote us a letter. By the way, it was on, I’ve only seen this a couple of times, some of you might be that wealthy, I don’t know. I can talk like this because I don’t know any of you. The rich people have paper that is not like our paper. It’s made with cloth or something, and it’s different. It’s soft and it’s thick. They sent us a letter on this kind of paper that’s embossed. They even put gold in their stationary, it might be gold leaf, but man I have leaves, I just don’t have gold leaves. They communicated with us, and they effusively said thank you for sharing our table with them. They came to Grace Community Church and listened to John speak for 75 minutes, like he normally does. I guess the privacy of their heart, they never shared with us that they rejected or accepted it. That’s not what we’re responsible for. We’re just supposed to go into all the world and proclaim, or to just reflect. That was one of the few moments that you can actually reflect Christ enough, that someone that He’s. stirring their heart, that’s going like this groping out. They’re trying to bump into something. Maybe they know how to get to Him. That’s what we’re supposed to be ready for.
Now, we’re getting to Revelation 2 and 3. I’m so excited for that. Jesus committed to make us useful all our days. He’s our Redeemer. As I said, He wants to be our coach. By the way my Bible study group, my small group that I went through this with, I went through it took me at this rate, it took me two years to go through all of chapter 1,2, and 3, discussing it with them and applying it. It’s a book. It’s called Christ’s Last Words to His Church, Revelation 1 to 3. For those of you that like paper books, our ministry sells it. Every book, I think that they make $5 on every book, that takes us one fourth of a mile flying on an airplane. Then also eBooks. Amazon sells them like mad and I still can’t believe they sell those. That’s everything about what Jesus wants us to do with our life and how to apply it.
This is my dissertation. This is my dissertation from Dallas seminary, took me 10 years to write. It’s everything about prophecy. I cover even all the minor prophets and everything else. Again, that’s a paper and on Amazon.
There’s our website. If you go to YouTube, just type into YouTube, DTBM. There’s even a button on there somewhere that they tell you whenever I post something. Everywhere I speak, anywhere in the world, within about a week, it just starts showing up online on YouTube. What’s amazing is, when Bonnie and I meet people, she was just witnessing to a group of kids when we were in Greece. All these five little teenagers. They said, we want to know more. She says you can see it on YouTube. It took them 10 seconds to get their phone out. They got to YouTube. She said, D T B M. They put it in, and they tuned into their phone and that opening video, What God says. They were all watching in 10 seconds. That’s how connected our world is. It’s amazing. That’s our website.
Before we go. Any sin, I’ll summarize Revelation 2 and 3 for you in Panera with me. Any sin, not forsaken in the life of a believer can become deadly. We don’t think sin is as bad as God thinks it is. God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, especially God the Holy Spirit is so grieved and quenched by sin that Jesus came down to work with His Body and to seek their help. With COVID. If you got a headache and fever and runny nose you were going to die. Do you remember when this was everywhere? You were assaulted with it in bathrooms? In airports. It was just like; you’re going to die if you’re not careful. These are the complications you might get, pneumonia or acute respiratory system, or kidney failure, or death. The virus will spread before you know it. If we were a 10th as worried about sin as the world was for the last however long about viruses. Chapter 2 and 3 is, Jesus starts going through and doing a medical report on each church, from each church.
He focuses by the way on the heart, when He’s right here. In fact, Ephesus appeared to be thriving. It was easily the largest church in Asia Minor. Paul pastored there three years. He explained the scriptures every day. It says in Acts 19, he answered their questions. He taught them how to live sanctified lives. When Paul moved on from Ephesus, he left Timothy behind, his spiritual son. Just before being exiled to Patmos, John lived there, John ministered there. Mary, Jesus’ mother was there. There was a galaxy of superstars there, but you know what? Ephesus appeared to be thriving, but the Lord said they had heart disease.
That is the first thing you would see in Ephesus. That’s the temple of Diana. Jesus had planted His greatest church right there in the shadow of Satan’s temple. That thing was a size of a city block. 10 stories high. It was the largest building of the ancient world. Not the largest structure; the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, all kinds of big things. That was the largest building. 10 stories high. A city block. Covered with gold. It was unbelievable. Just to have a church in Ephesus, that was the miracle. Ephesus was the occultic capital of the world. It was the greed capital. If you wanted the favor of the gods, you brought a gold offering to that place. It was just running with gold. The gods said that anywhere within the grounds of the temple of Diana, no one could be prosecuted for anything. You had the worst dregs of humanity that kept themselves within the shadow of that temple. It was a haven for demons, for sin, for derelicts, for anything you can think of. Jesus said, I want a church there. That became the site of the largest church of the ancient world.
That church, what we’ll learn about it is, Jesus says hey, I’m the one that designed your DNA. I know who you are. I know where you live. I even know which body of Christ you’re a part of. I’ve been tracking your diet. I know who your pastor teacher is. I hold in my hand who your pastor teacher is. He said, not only that… I’m recording your life. I do your CV. The course of your life. Your resume. They now call them CVs, curriculum vitae. That means course of life. He said, I’m constantly updating. I know all about you. I also noticed when you start coasting, when you slack off, when you just go through the motions. That’s when He says, you have aphiēmi, you’ve left, you’ve walked away from or released loving Jesus chiefly and foremost.
It’s amazing that these people had come to the place that Jesus wasn’t first. Jesus found something wrong with the Ephesians saints, their blood pressure was up, their arteries were clogged, their hearts had experienced a gradual buildup of other things. We like to say we love Jesus most, but most among many things. Jesus said, I didn’t say, I want you to love me most. He said, I want you to have what’s called first love. Have you ever seen a couple that’s in love? It’s like they’re oblivious. The world is in slow motion around them and they’re just locked on to whoever it is they love. They think about them. If they’re not talking to them, they want to talk to them. If the person’s away they’re texting them or they’re on the phone with them. Then they’re thinking and counting down to how long till they see them again. That’s first love. Jesus said, do you remember when you were like that with me?
When we first got married, Bonnie and I moved to Grace Community Church. We’re standing there with 3,000 or 4,000 people. John MacArthur is leading communion. He told us all to stand. I was a brand new newlywed. We had just gotten there Saturday night. We went to church Sunday morning. I was still nervous about being a husband and everything. I was standing there and John started leading us in, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. I glanced at Bonnie because she wasn’t singing. Her nose was all red, her eyes were all red, tears were not just running here, they were running like five of them down her cheeks, both sides. I went, (gasps) what did I do wrong honey? I am so sure I’ve forgotten her birthday, or our anniversary, or something. She said, I just can’t believe how much the Lord has forgiven me. I said, you’re crying about that? (I have been saved since I was six, I dealt with that a long time ago.) It was still first, unbelievable amazement that He loved me, He loosed me from my sins, He cleansed me, He still loves me despite my sins. Do you remember those days? Some of you probably are like Bonnie and you’re still like that. That’s why at night, you want to know what I do at night? When I wake up, I look over the other side of the bed, and I’m sure I’m going to see a wing poke out because she’s an angel, she’s not human. Honestly, because she still has that first love.
They didn’t, He was no longer their Supreme ruler of their lives. Their schedules didn’t reflect Christ. Their concentration didn’t reflect Christ. What He said to them and where we’ll pick up tomorrow is the bottom line. Jesus didn’t take first place in their lives; their heart didn’t belong solely to Him. The prognosis is always the same. It’s the same for every one of the seven churches, even though there was nothing that Philadelphia had to repent of. The Lord says, when it’s time… repent. In fact, let’s read that. Look at verse 7. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” This first letter, verse 7 says, is addressed to all churches. Back up verse 5, “Remember therefore 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 – unless you repent.”
We’re going to see, lord willing, tomorrow is in every one of the churches the bottom line was the same. The health inspector came. He found an individualized, a diagnosis, and a prescription for every church. Did you know that the seven churches represent, I believe, the seven types of Christians that are in every church? There are Ephesians that used to love the Lord that don’t love Him the same. There are Philadelphians that are absolutely keeping close accounts with the Lord. Then, everybody in between. Jesus is still walking between all the churches and still walking around each of us. He says the same thing to all of us.
Let’s bow for a word of prayer.
Father, I pray that we would seek You first, and Your righteousness, and let everything else be secondary to that. I pray that in any way we have not sought You first today, not even worrying about all of our life, just today I pray we’d remember that, and repent, and return back to that devotion, focus, and enthusiastic pursuit of You as our first love. In the name of Jesus we pray. All God’s people said, Amen.