Revelation Chapter 2 we have the first of 2 Chapters, where Jesus Christ is addressing the 7 churches to whom the Book of Revelation is addressed. When He addresses these 7 churches, He has a message to each of these churches that is specific to them. He talks about the things that He likes. He talks about the things that they are doing well. He talks about the areas where they need improvement. To many of the churches He makes this threat that if they do not fix these serious problems that they have, He says, "I'll remove your candlestick out of His place."
Now, if you back up to Chapter 1 Verse 20, the Bible explains some of the symbolism here, because in Chapter 1 it talks about how Jesus is standing in the midst of these 7 golden candlesticks. It says in Chapter 1 Verse 20, "The mystery of the 7 stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the 7 golden candlesticks. The 7 stars are the angels of the 7 Churches, and the 7 candlesticks which thou sawest are the 7 churches."
The 7 candlesticks are the 7 churches. He says if you do not repent, if you do not fix these things that are destroying your church, I'll remove your candlestick out of his place. I'll remove the church. Now, part of that could be that the church will seize to exist, or part of that could also be that the church will no longer be recognized by the Lord Jesus Christ as being a true church. Sometimes you see churches that die in the sense that they disband and there is no building, there is no people meeting there. It's just gone.
More often than that what you see is a church where the spirit of the Lord just departs. It's gets to where "Yeah, there's a building, yeah, there is people meeting there," but the Lord Jesus Christ would not even recognize that as being a church; the candlestick is gone. I remember my pastor back in Sacramento used to illustrate it this way. He said one time he was in Tracy, California, and he saw that there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken. They were removing Colonel Sanders head from Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was swinging from a crane.
He said, "What's going on? Why are they removing it?" They said that the Colonel is coming down. He said, "Why is the colonel coming down?" They said, "Well, this restaurant has lost the franchise." They were not serving food that was of the right quality. They were offering things that were not on the menu. They're no longer allowed them to call themself a Kentucky Fried Chicken, so the Colonel must be removed.
That's sort of like the removing of the candlestick, if you think about it. There could be a church where God says' "This is no longer church that I can bless. This is no longer church that I can have anything to do with." You know and I know that there are churches all over this city that God would not consider a true church. He would look at it and say, "That's not even a Bible-believing church, that's not even a Christian church, that my spirit is not even present there, because of the fact that they are so apostate and so far from what they should be that I won't even recognize them any longer."
Now, let me say this though. A lot of these churches that we read about in these 2 Chapters had some pretty serious problems. Yet God still recognize them as a true church. God does have grace. He doesn't expect us to be perfect. When you do certain things that just cross a line with God, God says, "Look, I am going to warn you to fix this. If you don't fix it, I cannot bless this church."
As a church in 2014 going into 2015, we want to make sure that Faithful Word Baptist church is church that pleases God where God will look down and be pleased with us and glad about that the things that we are doing and that he would not even have to threaten us, "Hey, you better fix that or I am going to remove the candlesticks out of his place." Hopefully, we wouldn't even get close to that.
Now let's start out looking at the first church on the list. Let's see some of the things that God said, "Hey, if you don't fix this, I am going to remove the candlestick." Look at Verse number 1 of Chapter 2, "Unto the angel of the church of the Ephesus write," by the way the word "Angel" simply means "Messenger." That's basically I believe talking about the preacher or the pastor, the one who brings the message at that church because the lot of the criticism is directed at the angel or the pastor.
Okay. Then a lot of the criticism is directed towards the church itself. You say, "Well, how am I going to know the difference?" Well, if you are reading a King James's Bible the word "Thee or thou" is singular, whereas the word "Ye, you, your" is plural. When God is saying "Thee," he is talking to the pastor. When is saying "You," he is talking to the whole group. The reason that's important to note is that God holds the pastor accountable for the problems in the church, because everything rise and falls on leadership. It's the pastor's job to be the bishop or overseer to be the under shepherd under Jesus Christ and to make sure that the things are right in the church. That's why a lot of the criticism is directed at him and he being told to repent.
Look at the Verse number 1. It says, "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the 7 stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the 7 golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil, and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars, and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted."
He starts out by praising them for the things that they have done well. This is a [inaudible 00:05:35] that's doing work. It says, they are working, they are laboring. "Labor" is just another word for work, that means hard work. Then it says thy patience. It says these people could not bear them which were evil. They tried them, which said that they were apostles and found them liars. These people were great at pointing out false doctrine. These people were great at warning people about the false prophets and false apostles that were out there. Amen. They would not bear with them they were evil. I mean they were strict, and they were very militant about making sure that things were right.
Look what it says in Verse number 4, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." Even though this church was great at keeping the false doctrine and false prophets out, that wasn't enough because God said "Unless you fix this, I will remove your candlestick out of this place."
Now, what was the problem? Well, it says that they had lost their first love. He says that the solution is to do the first works. Now it's not that this church was doing nothing because remember he said, "I know their works," and he said, "I know thy labor," but it's just that they weren't doing the right works. They were not doing the first works. He says, "In order to get the first love back, you are going to need to the first works." Now, what is he referring to here when he talks about the first love and the first works?
Well, go over if you would to 2nd Corinthian Chapter 5, while you're turning to 2nd Corinthian Chapter 5, if we just take the term first works, any way you slice it, I think it come up with the same answer of what the first works are, no matter how you approach this. Because if we look at the first works, we could say, "Okay, maybe first means the most important works," the number one things, the first works. We say, "Okay, what are the most important works of the church or what is the most important job of the church?"
Then we could also think about chronologically the first works. When we see Jesus first calling the disciples, and calling the apostles, what was the first work that he gave onto them to do? Or we could say, "Okay, how about chronologically in the New Testament?" After Jesus died and was buried and rose again and we move into the New Testament, what was the first work that he gave onto that early church to do in the New Testament?
If you answer all three of those questions, you come up with the same answer for all three. What was the first thing he told the disciples when he called them to be his disciples, he said, "Come with me, and I'll make you fishers of men." That was the first thing he brought out to them as works. Then if we look at the first thing he gave in the New Testament, after he's died and buried and risen again, what's the great commission that He gives unto them, "Go ye therefore and all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."
He said, "As my father had sent me, so sent I you." He said, "Go therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." At the end of all four Gospels you have some variation on that command to go out and to preach the Gospel and to win people to Christ.
Then when we get into Acts 1, how does Acts 1 start? Well, they get organized in Chapter 1. They get everything squared away with a 120 there. They replaced Judas Iscariot, and then the first thing we see is that they're going out and they are preaching the Gospel to the lost. In Chapter 2, in Chapter 3, in Chapter 4, in Chapter 5, it's preaching the Gospels of lost, getting people saved.
Those are the first works anywhere you slice it and when you look at what's the important thing that we should be doing, well, it's going out and winning people to Christ and getting people saved. You say what does that have to do with the first love? What does it have to do with loving Christ or loving our fellow men or what does it mean? Well, look down at 2nd Corinthians Chapter 5 Verse 14 I think we'll see a tie in here.
Because it says in Verse 14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead, and that he died for all," but the Calvinist will tell you of course that he didn't die for all, but a lot of scripture that says he did. He says, "That he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh, yeah, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more."
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and have given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." The Bible says, we are ambassadors for Christ. We have been committed with the ministry of reconciliation. When the Bible talks about reconciliation, it talks about salvation because it says that Jesus died on the cross to reconcile people onto himself and that we are out there in the stead of Christ.
Basically, Christ is not physically walking on this earth today, but we're here in Christ's stead beseeching people, begging people, compelling people be reconciled to God. We're showing them how to get that reconciliation with God. The Bible says in Romans 5:1, "Therefore we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through faith." I'm not quoting it right, but you know what I'm saying in Romans 5. See, I don't know what I'm saying.
Anyway, we see here that it's the love of Christ that constrains us, according to 2nd Corinthians 5:14. What gets us out there as ambassadors for Christ? What gets us out there motivated to beseech people to be reconciled to God and to win people to Christ and to preach the Gospel in every creature. Well, it's the love of Christ that constrains us. Now, notice in Revelation 2, if you want to flip back there, when He tells them you've lost your first love, He says, repent and do the first works.
He doesn't say do the first love. He says do the first work. See if you do the first works the love will come back. You get spiritually cold and you don't have the love that you used to have for the Lord. You don't have the love that you used to have lost, getting out and doing the first works will increase your love for the Lord. It will increase your love for the lost. When you find a church that's an unloving church toward the lost, you'll realize they are not a soul winning church, because soul winning keeps your love for the lost.
Right, because when you go out soul winning, and you are actually confronting people and knocking on their door and talking to them, and having a heart-to-heart, one-on-one conversation of the Gospel, you feel love for that person. You want that person to be saved. You care about that person. It's more real to you than just getting together in a church where it's just all of your own people. It's just all of us that are already brothers and sisters in Christ, we can preach and talk about them out there.
When you go out there and actually talk to people then you will love those people. You'll notice that the people who do the soul winning are the most loving people. They care about, because it builds love in you. When you do the first works, you recover the first love. Your love increases and grows as you go out and win souls. How does this unloving spirit manifest itself? Well, you know what I find is that churches that don't do the first works, churches that don't go out and do any soul winning or reach people with the Gospel, you'll notice that they start making it really hard for people to get saved.
They start saying things like, "Well, I don't think that any of these people that were getting saved through soul winning at this other church, I don't think that those people are really getting saved." They start criticizing the people who are doing the first works, then they start saying things like, "Well if somebody really is going to get saved, you shouldn't have to help them with the prayer. They should have to do that on their own." You shouldn't have to help them. This preach to them, and they should just do it on their own. Then they'll start say, "Well, but if they are not willing to give up their sinful life, then I'll see how they could be saved if they're still going to continue living in sin."
They start adding all this prerequisite of making it harder for people to be saved. They got to be willing to give up the sin and they got to word their on prayer and they got to do this. They can say brag, and say, "Yeah, that's how really it is when people get saved. When I got saved, I got all the way saved, and blah, blah, and blah, and these people are going to say that's all when they are not really going to say."
What it is, they make it so hard to get saved and they're not getting anybody saved. Maybe they're getting one person saved a year whatever, they sit there and they get decided to, you know what it comes down to it's not love, because if you actually love somebody, you'd want to make it easy for them to get saved. You know what the Bible says, "Pulling them out of the fire."
Does that sound like here just like well, here's the way out of the fire. Do what you want to do. Is that what God said? Okay, you are in the fire. Here is the way out. I'm just going to leave it with you to do that. No. God said "Pull them out of the fire." You know what that means. You are helping them. You're trying to make it easy for people to be saved. I'm not saying dumb down the Gospel or make it to where you know oh just pray this part.
No, I'm talking about actually really getting people saved and actually preaching them the truth in a thorough way, and teaching them the Gospel and constraining them and trying to persuade them to believe on the Gospel and not making them jump through hoops. You know what other hoops people make you jump through sometimes. Walk down an aisle. They say, "Hey, if you want to be saved, you need to come down to the aisle and come to the front right now."
Well, the problem with that is lot of people are too shy to do that. In a lot of churches the only way you are going to get the Gospel is if you come down that aisle. You know what love does, love goes and meets them where they are at. It doesn't make them come up here and come down at. No, you go to them. You go talk to them. You pull out the Bible and show it to them. You make it easy for them because you love them. See if you love people, you want them to get saved.
You don't want them rejected. You don't want to make it hard. You know what, you actually love people, and when you go out soul winning with love in your heart. When the people don't get saved, you walk away disappointed and sad. You feel bad for that person. You pray for them and think, "Man, I wish that person would get saved." You actually care about it, not just going out and just preaching and just let the chip fall where they may.
When I go out soul winning, I actually want people to get saved. I actually love the people I'm talking to and want to be gets saved. A part of it is street preaching mentality. You know I'm talking out? Instead of going out and just doing normal soul winning, and he say, what's normal? Let's just opening the Bible and showing somebody how to be saved. What could be more normal in that? What could be more intuitive and natural than it is knock on somebody's door and ask them if you can show them how to be saved.
You get this mentality, where it's just a bunch of guys getting all riled up. "We're going to go out. We're going to preach." Then they get their signs, their obnoxious signs. They go out, [inaudible 00:18:00]. Then if you talk to these ministries, the numbers of people that they get saved are a joke. They are a joke. They get barely and they are not speaking the truth and love. Now, you say were you screaming and yelling and preach hard. I'm screaming and yelling preaching hard to people that are already saved. Hello, this is church. It's church. We're screaming at the saved in here. Okay, but notice, the Bible says, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their sins." Show God's people their sins.
When we go out soul winning, we determine not to know anything among them except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We're bringing them the Gospel, the good news, and not just an obnoxious screaming hateful version of it. No, we preach hard to the saved because the saved need a swift kick in the pant sometimes at church. When we go out to the lost, and we're trying to win people to Christ is about the Gospel. It's about the good news. It's about Jesus, about the death, burial, and resurrection.
This thing of going out and holding a sign and screaming to people in an obnoxious way, it's not effective. It's not even biblical. What's the point? It's probably fun on some levels, right? I mean it probably is. There are probably people who enjoy going out and just get the adrenaline going, go to some really hostile place where they know a lot of people are going to get mad, and really start a fight with people. There are people who have that personality.
Honestly, that's not what I do when I go out soul winning. I'm not interested in going out and picking a fight with people. I'm not interested in getting in some screaming mat. When I got out soul winning, I'm looking for the person who wants to be saved. That's why when I get to a door, whether they are not interested, I'm just out. I'm out of there. See you later. Let me leave you with one verse, "Adios."
I'm not going to sit there and go on and on with that person, because I'm more interested in getting to the guy down the street that actually wants to hear the truth, wants to hear the Gospel. I'm not going to spend a bunch of time arguing and screaming back and forth with some reprobate or some false prophet. Might as well just go to the next door, where somebody is going to be saved. You know what, love says let's go out and get people saved, because we love them, not just, "Yeah, we're going to go out and we're going to really raise some hell down at the …"
I'm not interested. It has no appeal to me. I want to preach hard sermons to God's people to wake them up, but not interested in going out and screaming at a bunch of lost people that don't even understand anything. They don't know their right hand from their left, my friend. They're not even saved. They need the Gospel. What I'm saying is that this mentality too goes out. The numbers are a bit small.
I've talked to these street preaching ministries. They will have a couple of people saved in a year. Now, just look at this statistics of how many people are dying every second and how many people are born every second. You're going out and winning 2 people to Lord a year. Yeah, that's not going to cut it buddy. If the world has been what you are doing all along, then 99% of people would all be going to hell at the rate you are going.
You say, "Well, but your numbers are inflated." Our numbers are inflated. If you look at the book of Acts and if you look at the four Gospels, they had multitude saved. Why would we not have multitude saved. "I just find it hard to believe that you had all these hundreds of peoples saved." I find it hard to believe how many people that we have saved so far in this year on soul wining. I know that numbers are not updated all the way to the end of the year.
Going up half way through November, we had 1354 people saved. I don't believe that. That's ridiculous. You know what it's the truth. Obviously, that number is not exact because there are going to be some people that they go through it and pray and they didn't really believe. We can't see the heart. Then there are a lot of other people where if I pray with them and I have any doubt that they understood it or got it I won't count them.
Some of those people really did get saved. Because later you'll talk to them and they were saved. You don't know. Honestly, that's pretty accurate of a number, to be honest with you. It's pretty close to the truth. We can never know the exact count until we get to heaven. People will say, "Well where are all those people then? You know what so foolish about that is that if you look at the four Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus and John the Baptist are winning multitude to Christ. The apostles are winning multitude. John the Baptist is baptizing multitudes.
We know he wasn't baptizing the unsaved, when he knew people weren't saved, he didn't baptize them. When he look at the Phareesis and the Sadducees, he knew they weren't saved. He wouldn't baptize them. Then it says that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John; multitudes and multitudes. Look at them when he is feeding the 5000. Look at him he is preaching and people are getting baptized and saved over … How many people were in that early church after four years of ministry from John the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles all soul winning full time all day, every day.
That's what Jesus and the apostles did. They went soul winning non-stop. They were going from village to village to town. When they were soul winning they were preaching the word of God, but they were out reaching people constantly. You know how many people were in the early church at the end of four years of that effort? 120. 120, because in Acts Chapter 1 they had a 120. I bet these phonies today that they don't have the first love and don't do the first works. I bet those phonies would say this. "Well, I think only 120 got saved."
You're going to tell me that John the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles were just baptizing all these thousands and thousands of unsaved people? No, here is the reality, my friend. Getting saved is easy. Getting baptized is easy. Staying in church and living the Christian life is an effort that a lot of people are not willing to make that most people are not willing to make. Most of the people that John the baptize won to the Lord, Jesus won to the Lord and the apostles. You know what, I guarantee that they were better soul winners than we are.
Yet, they could only get a 120 into church after the years, after the persecution, after everything. You see how foolish it is to sit there and say, "Oh, where are they all?" Okay, where is John the Baptist? Where is Jesus' converts? Where are these people you won to the Lord? You know where they are. Somewhere, they are out there somewhere. We can't find them. They are disappearing. They have all been ruptured.
Where are they? I'll tell you where they are going to be a hundred years from now; with Jesus. You know where your converts are … Oh, yeah, you don't have any. You know what. You can sit there and say, "Oh, I don't think …" Okay, let's say 1/10th of our salvations are legit. It's still more than the church down the street, even if 90% of them are not legit. I don't believe that for one second. Anyway, we need to have the first love. It's unloving when you get away from soul winning. Because you are … It's like you know what you are saying, I don't care about people. I don't care about people out there. People call our church a hate group and we don't love. You know what our love is a loving church. That's why we actually go out and tell people the truth and tell people the Gospel.
Love is when you actually care enough to go talk to somebody and tell them the truth, not to just give lips. The Bible says, "There's no love in word neither in tongue, but indeed in truth." There are a lot of people that are very loving in word and tongue, but indeed in truth. There are a lot of people that are very loving in word and tongue, but we need to love in deed. What's another word for deed? Works. They said, do the first works. That's how you love. In deed and in truth.
Let's look at the last Verse there of dealing with Ephesus. By the way, he said, "If you don't fix that, I'll remove the candlestick." That's why I feel that a church that has quit soul winning is not worth going to. If a church has quit soul winning and not doing any soul winning then at that point, somebody needs to try to fire up soul winning again in that church. Somebody needs to go to the pastor and say, "Hey, can I start a soul winning program? Hey, let's knock some doors. Is it alright if I start doing it?"
If he shuts down the soul winning and he does it and he will not get back to the first works, it's time to move on. That's when I … Look, I'll put up with a lot of stuff in a church that I don't agree with. I put up with music that I don't like. I'll put up with clothing that I don't like. There is 3 things that I won't put up with. I won't put up with the church that doesn't do soul winning. I don't put up with the church that's not preaching the King James Bible. I won't put up with the church that's wrong on the Gospel.
Those are my 3 deal breakers. That's my [inaudible 00:26:44]. Hey, if they are different on Bible prophesy whatever. Those three things are deal breakers with me. If you are not soul winning, you are not much because it's just a social club at that point. Let's keep going here. It says, "He that hath an ear," Verse 7, "Let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." By the way, if you are not on a King James Version, you are not hearing what the Spirit says to the churches because these modern versions are so corrupted.
It's no longer the Spirit talking to you when you are in an IV, ESV preaching situation. He says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." He says, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." There is a lot of debate about what this terms "Overcometh" means. Now, overcometh is not a term that's used a lot in the Bible. It's used very seldom in the Bible.
It's used very heavily in at the end of the Bible here in these books that John wrote. 1st John and also Revelation. Let's go back to 1st John Chapter 5 and get a definition of what the Bible means by overcometh. Then lets test that definition with every mention in Revelation and see if holds the water. Let's get a definition from 1st John Chapter 5. It says in Verse 4, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
Now, he told us repeatedly in those two Verses. He really nailed it down for us what it means to overcome. He said, "Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world." According to that, being born again is what makes you an overcomer because whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world. In order to be born again, you have overcome the world. Those two things go together. It says, "Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
How do we overcometh the world? By faith. Overcoming is being born again. Overcoming is by faith. Then in Verse 6 it says, or Verse 5, "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" Now, don't all three of those things go together? Overcoming is being born of God, overcoming is by our faith. Overcoming is believing that Jesus is the Son of God. Now, let's that definition. Go to Revelation, few pages to the right in your Bible where we were, Revelation Chapter 2.
Let's test that definition. It says in Verse 7, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Now, does it make sense that a person who is born again and has faith in our lord Jesus Christ and is saved that that person would eat up the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God because if you remember, the reason that Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden of Eden was lest they would put forth their hand and take of the tree of life and eat and live forever.
It was living forever that was the result of eating of the tree of life. It makes sense that a born again person who with faith in Christ would live forever because the Bible says that "Whosoever believeth in Him, should not perished, but have eternal life." Let's look at the next mention. It says in Verse 11, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." Now, what is the second death? The Bible says, "All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the 2nd death."
The lake that burneth with fire and brimstone is the second death. The Bible is saying here, that those who overcome will not be heard of the second death. Does it make sense that a saved person would not go to the lake of fire? Of course, we're saved from hell. Okay, look if you would, at Verse number 17, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."
It's where we get the song. There's a new name written down in glory and its mine. Oh yes, it's mine. Anybody heard of this song? [Inaudible 00:31:06] we sing it after the service, [inaudible 00:31:07] all right. Let's do it. There's a new name. He said, "I'll give you a new name. I will write it down on a stone an no man will know it except you." Isn't that interesting? We as Christians those who believe that has been born again will be able to eat of the hidden manna and receive a new name written on a white stone.
Now, look down at Verse 26, now watch this. This one is a little different. Pay close attention to Verse 26, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end …" This isn't just the person who just believed in Christ, this is the person who overcomes and they kept his works unto the end. This is the person who basically stayed faithful into Christ and did the work, "To him will I give power over the nations." It says, "And he shall rule them with a feather duster…" Oh, I'm sorry, "And he shall rule them with a rod of iron."
It's funny people don't believe that the criminal code of the Old Testament is coming back in the millennium. Oh it's coming back. He is going to rule with the rod of iron. They think it's going to be free, free love, free salivates, free adultery. No, he is going to rule with the rod of iron. That's why they are going to rebel after a thousand years. That's another sermon. Anyway, He says, "To him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. I will give him the morning star."
See, this is the person who is getting rewards because ruling and reigning with Christ is a reward that he gives one be thou power over … He says, "Be thou over one city or be thou over five cities. Be thou over ten cities. Be thou over two cities." God said, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be." See, we're saved by faith. We are rewarded by works.
He says, "I'll give you according as your work shall be." I have my reward with me and it's different for everybody because I'm going to give you according to your works. Here we still see that this definition is compatible with being saved because He is saying, if you're saved, if you overcome, and you keep the works unto the end, you will get rewards of ruling and reigning with Christ and greater authority.
See, the apostles, they forsook and followed Christ. That's why someday they will be sitting on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel. That's a pretty key position in the Kingdom, isn't it? Let's look at the next as mentioned in Chapter 3 Verse 5, "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment;" raiment means clothing. "And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
Doesn't it make sense that the person who is born again and believes in Jesus Christ would not be blotted out of the book of life? Because the book of life has to do with who is going to be saved and who is not going to be saved. Because remember, he said, "Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." It's interesting as you study the book of life throughout the Bible, you will never find anyone's name being added to it ever.
See, a lot of people will teach, "Oh you know when you get saved your name is written in the book of life at that moment." No. actually, you will never find a scripture where it's being added. The only time it ever talks about anyone's names being written in is before the foundation of the world. That's the only time frame you can point to of people's names being written into the book of life. You know what you will find a lot of talk up from Exodus and all the way up through Revelation, people's names is being removed.
What I believe, based on reading the whole scripture is that everybody's name starts out in the book of life because you are alive. You are a living soul and a living human being. Your name starts out in the book of life and that only people are removed. When is a person removed? Well, the Bible talks about people doing certain things that would get them removed. For example, an unsaved person who adds to or takes from the word of God, they can no longer be saved because their part has been blotted out of the book of life and from the Holy city and of the things that is written in this book.
Basically, a person who becomes reprobate or a person who loses their opportunity to be saved in this life basically their name is blotted out. Or I believe that if a person dies without being saved, if a person dies and they never received Christ the savior that person will be blotted out. Who is not blotted out according to this? Those who overcome. What does it mean to overcome? To be born again. How do you overcome? By faith. How do you overcome? By believing that Jesus is the Son of God.
We see that it's perfectly compatible again with this. Let's look at the next one. Verse 12, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." Again, that's compatible with something that would be for all believers. Then it says in Verse number 21, you know it's basically we will dwell in the house of lord forever.
We will dwell with Christ forever. "We will follow the lamb whithersoever he goeth." It says in John 14, "I go to prepare a place for you." He says, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." In Revelation 7 it says, "We will follow the lamb whithersoever he goeth." Look if you would at Verse number 21, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."
Again, go to Revelation 21 last place, Revelation 21, it says why would believing that Jesus is the Son of God be called overcoming the world? Well, first of all, I don't have to explain that. That's what the Bible said. That's what it is. Because it said, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" I don't have to explain it. Its end of story.
That's what it said. I believe that the reason why he calls believing on Jesus overcoming the world is because the world has an agenda to stop you from believing that. The world starts with little kids and starts training them not to believe that. They start teaching them in school that there is no God, the Jesus is a fable and the Bible is not … You have to overcome that in order to be saved. It's all by faith. That's what it said.
Look at revelation 21:7, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." In this scripture we seemed to have a contrast between two types of people; those who overcome and their children of God because they overcame, and then those who are cast into the lake of fire.
Again I believe its consistent as we look through it and test every mention of overcometh there. We go back to Revelation Chapter 2, I got to hurry. In Revelation Chapter 2, we saw that the first church Ephesus had lost the first love. It's clear that we're not going to get all 7 churches in this sermon. Just don't panic or anything like "Oh, man, you are doing the math? How long I've been on this first church?" okay, it's going to be like thanksgiving, where we have lunch around 3:00 pm.
Anyway, the second church is the church of Smyrna. Let's look at Smyrna. It says, "Unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."
This is a church where God has nothing negative to say. Do you notice that? Because the first church he said, here is what I like about you and here is the problem. This church, there's nothing negative said. Now, out of the 7 churches there are 2 of which He has nothing negative to say. Those churches are Smyrna in Chapter 2 and Philadelphia in Chapter 3. You know what's interesting? They are both churches that are being persecuted, specifically by the synagogue of Satan.
Isn't that interesting, because here is the church where they are doing everything right. Anything I'll ask the church I would want to go too because that's church where everything is right. They are not getting criticized, there's no threat of I'm coming to remove the candlestick. Notice what you have to put up with in a church where everything is right. Persecution. Why because he says, "I know thy works, and tribulation."
They are going through troubles. They are going through trials. They are going through hard times. He says, "Poverty," that doesn't sound cool. "Thou art rich," and he says, "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer." When you are in the church that's doing right, when you are in the church that has not lost the first love, when you are in the church that doesn't have phornication like some of the later churches had, when you are in the church that's not lukewarm, but that's fired up and serving God, you got to suffer persecution.
See, you're just never going to have it perfect in life. You never going to be in a church, oh yeah and the preaching is perfect and the soul winning. They love people. They are really reaching out and getting people saved and there is no persecution. There is no suffering and my family loves the fact that I go here. All my friends think it's a best church, all the politicians of Tempe, they come and cut the ribbon every time we get into a new building.
Look, you can't have it both ways, folks, because "All that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Yes, some of these churches weren't going through any persecution because they are not living Godly. They are doing things wrong. That's why they are not as persecuted. Why is it that the 2 Churches, don't tell me it's a coincidence that the 2 churches of which He has nothing negative to say are both facing opposition. This one it says, they are going to suffer. They are going to go through tribulation. Many of them are going to go to prison, he said. Thou be faithful to death. That's serious.
Perhaps, much more than anything our church has ever gone through. Yet, these people are being faithful. They are right with God. It's a great church. They are at Smyrna. Now, why is it that it says that the persecution is coming from the synagogue of Satan? Well, the synagogue of Satan people will debate about this what it means, as if there is a debate. There is no debate because look, what are the clues about it?
Number 1, they say they are Jews. Number 2, they are not. Number 3, there is synagogue. Number 4, they are persecuting God's people. Well, read the book of Acts. Who is persecuting the believers in virtually every Chapter of the book of Acts? The Jews, the so-called Jews because God says that they are outwardly Jews, but inwardly they are not. The so called Jews are persecuting God's people in every … Yeah, as the Romans, no actually if you read Acts, the Romans are constantly rescuing the Christians.
The Jews are trying to tear Paul in half and the Romans come in and rescue him. The Jews are like we've got 200 … Not 200 men, but they sent 200 soldiers to protect Paul when the Jews heads, I think there were 40 of them, they had sworn oaths and said we're not going to eat or drink until we've killed Paul. Then the Romans come in and protects him. The romans had given him his rights. The Jews are following Paul, everywhere he goes, stirring up the people.
They are the ones saying, it's not fill or fit for this man to live. In every Chapter virtually in the book of Acts, the Christians are being persecuted by the Jews. It just all fits perfectly, my friend. There is only one religion in the world that uses a synagogue, Judaism. You can narrow it down this way. They say they are Jews. How many people go out saying they are Jews?
Somebody told me, "Hey Pastor Anderson, you are the synagogue of Satan," because you said that you are a Jew because I said I was one spiritually, because I'm circumcised in my heart and in my spirit. They say, well you are the Satan … Here is the thing, the Bible says, "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not." Whoever this group is they blaspheme Christ. Well, guess what the Talmud, the Holy book of Judaism does. Blasphemes Jesus.
They fit the bill on all fronts. They say they are Jews; check. Okay. They are not, the Bible says, "He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh;" check. They persecute believers; read the book of Acts. They hate us right now in Tempe, here Faithful Word Baptist church. Then they also use a synagogue; check. Blaspheme Christ; check. It's not that hard to figure out folks, unless you just don't want to believe it.
Well, then believe what you want. If you look at Philadelphia. Let's just jump forward to the church of Philadelphia, just quickly. I don't want to go over everything about Philadelphia. I just wanted to point out a couple of things quickly. It says of the church of Philadelphia, it says, "I know thy works," Verse 8, "Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."
Again here we have a group of people who think that God loves them more than he loves other people and now what the Jews think, you know they're the special chosen ones that God loves them more than the gentiles. We see it all fits perfectly, but notice he said the church of Philadelphia I've set before thee an open door that's a term that the Apostle Paul used when he talked about an open door being set before him to preach the Gospel and the next words out of his mouth were this: "There are many adversaries."
He said Gods given us an open door and there are many adversaries. Here he says I've set before thee an open door. No man can shut it. Look, people want to shut that door. The synagogue of Satan wants to shut that door. What I'm saying is that the two churches that had it together in the book of revelation were the two that were being opposed that had the adversaries, that had the synagogue of Satan on their back and that were being persecuted.
Let's quickly look at the church at Pergamos Verse 12 of Chapter 2. Verse 12 of Chapter 2 that's says to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, "These things, saith he, which hath the sharp sword with two edges." I know thy works and by the way at the beginning of these, Jesus is describing himself in a different way every time. It's always Jesus. He says he walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks. He has the 7 stars in his right hand. He was dead and is alive. Here it says he has the sharp sword with two edges, meaning the word of God, of course.
It says I know I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is, so these people in Pergamos he is saying are in the capital city of Satan. I mean this is Satan's headquarters. He said, well where is Satan's headquarters today? Well, there are a few places I can think of. Hollywood might be one of his headquarters. Perhaps New York City, Wall Street may be one of his headquarters. Perhaps London could be a headquarters. He might have multiple branches that he's opened up, but Jerusalem could be considered a headquarters of Satan and also Colorado Springs Colorado is a headquarters of Satan.
I mean there if you look at Colorado Springs, Colorado you're like, "Where in the world," but Colorado Springs, Colorado has a lot of satanic stuff going. They have the world's largest satanic church there and a lot of the parachurch just making merchandise of you or filthy lucre, false profits. They have over a parachurch ministries based out of Colorado Springs; promise, creepers and others, and just a lot of false teaching and a lot of bad religion and a lot of Satanism is coming out of Colorado Springs Colorado.
That could be one of the … By the way that is also, and you're going to think I'm a crazy kook for saying this, but actually it's been documented in many books that have nothing to do with conspiracy theories that there is a base at Colorado Springs, Colorado that is built underneath the mountain there that can handle just insane amounts of earthquakes and basically if there's ever an attack on Washington D.C. that's where the continuity of government program, the shadow government is … Because it's essentially … If you look at the United States and then Colorado and they're there in Colorado Springs, there's an underground military installment that is the most secure military installation on the planet to my knowledge.
Who has heard about this installation? Half the building, okay, oh, I guess everybody doesn't think I'm crazy, I was there. I learnt about it from a book called Fast Food Nation of all places. There's a book called … Who's read that book before Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser? It's a great book. In Fast Food Nation he starts out with a chapter talking about this … Who has seen the movie Food Inc? It's like a documentary about the food. The same guy that put together that Food Inc is the guy who wrote Fast Food Nation. The film is an adaptation o the book.
In the book, he talks about this underground installation in the Colorado Springs, I don't what it had to do with fast food, but the book starts out with somebody delivering a pizza there or something, I don't know, but anyway I don't know why it's in the book, but it was really interesting. I've looked it up and studied it and read about it in many other places. It reminds me of when the great men and the kings of the earth and the rich men and the cheap captains are going into the mountains and rocks, and saying, "Hide us from the wrath of the lamb." On all the earthquakes that are coming in revelation.
I forget what Richter scale, but it can handle a serious earthquake. It has these shock absorbers. It's inside the mountain. It's super-secure, etcetera, etcetera. What in the world does that have to do with what I'm preaching about this morning? How did I get off on that? Oh, because it's at where Satan's seat is, and by the way the Denver airport too. Who's never been to the Denver airport? Creepy satanic murals all over the place, giant idolatry out of ancient Egypt, I remember the first time I went there I'd never heard of that, and I was just looking around like, "Something's wrong with this airport. This is weird."
I looked around and saw this creepy idolatry and these really demented murals depicting people being killed, and I was like, "What is wrong with his place?" Then I went home and Googled it and I saw that oh, yeah, it's this weird satanic stuff in Denver, which is called the "Mild high city," which I believe is the highest to my knowledge, I think it's the highest airport probably major airport in the United States. They love to worship Satan where? In the high places.
This is a really creepy sound. I'm sorry that was … Anyway, where satan seat is, so I don't know where that would be today. Colorado Springs, New York, would it be Hollywood? Would it be London? Just centers of evil. I don't know. Wherever they were, they were in a hard place. I mean they were in a place where there was a lot of evil and a lot of satanic things going on. He says, you're there where Satan's seat is, Verse 13, and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. They've even had somebody killed there. Somebody was killed for preaching the Gospel in this town.
I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. Hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which things I mildly dislike, I'm sorry, which things I hate. Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Now the Bible here is criticizing this church for fornication. They have this doctrine of Balaam and it's brought in eating things sacrificed unto idols and committing fornication. Those are things that are … It's interesting because he brings up fornication about two churches on this list and warns them, I'm going to remove the candlestick.
You should have get this fixed, because Thyatira had fornication, and also Pergamos here had fornication. This is one of the reasons why we in 2014 need to follow 1st Corinthians 5 and not allow fornication to go on the church. We don't want to lose the colonel. We don't want the colonel to come down. We don't want to lose the candlestick today. We need to make sure to keep this kind of sin. I think this doctrine of Balaam is a permissive doctrine. That says, "Hey, it's okay to eat things sacrificed unto idols." Hey, it's okay to commit fornication," because Balaam taught the people to commit sin and they committed fornication by the droves and God killed many people in the plague because of the fornications they committed in the days of Balaam back in the Old Testament.
It was an event that God kept referring back for to Baal Peor, and that whole incident was something that was constantly brought up. We need to keep fornication out of the church this permissive spirit that just allows wicked sin to run rampant in the church. He says, "I'll fight against you with the sword of my mouth." God's not playing around with these doctrines here. He says, look, if you're allowing fornication you become an enemy that he's going to fight against. The Bible says the adulterers and adulteresses, which obviously adultery and fornication of similar sense, he says, the adulterers and adulteresses know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Now if you study the story of Balaam what did he do? He taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel to teach them right? He says, before the children of Israel to eat things sacrificed unto idols and to commit fornication, what did he did, he got God's people to mingle amongst the heathen and learn their ways. Who were they committing fornication with? What brought that influence? Well, Balac and the Moabites, God's people mingle with the heathen they learn to eat things sacrificed to idols. They learn to commit fornication because of that bad influence and so what this church is in Pergamos is a worldly church, a church that's not separated from the world. They allow just fornication and things to go rampant because of influence from our wicked society and world that we live in they were influenced by their wicked society they lived in.
This is another thing that we need to watch out for in our church if we don't want to lose the franchise. If we don't want to lose the candlestick, if we want God to be pleased with us, if we look at Ephesus they did … They were good at standing against sin. They didn't have the problems that Pergamos had. They were good at standing against sin. They were good at exposing false prophets and I believe they were separated from the world, but they're not reaching anybody. They're not winning souls. They've lost the first love.
They don't care about the people outside the doors and then when we get to this third church of Pergamos what we see with them is that they're just gone into this worldliness and sinfulness and they're not separated. Look, we need to have both today if we want to be a church that God can bless. We need to have both … It seems like a lot of churches they have one or the other. There are a lot of Ephesus churches out there and there are a lot of Pergamos churches out there because a lot of times you'll find churches that are really zealous of reaching the lost, so they say, Oh we forgot to reach the lost. We got to stop preaching on sin and stop preaching on and stuff, because we got to just reach the lost and make it appealing unto them.
As soon as you get preaching hard against sin you know what they'll say in the Pergamos church? Oh, you're turning people away. You're turning people away. Stop preaching hard. Stop ripping on sin and then they'll quote to you the verse that determine not to know anything among you say Jesus Christ and him … Crucified that's the verse ant reaching the lost out there and they'll bring that into the church. Pergamos Baptist instead of going out and reaching the lost says, let's just bring all the lost in and have a big rock concert and get them all saved. That's Pergamos Baptist. Okay?
Then Ephesus Baptist says we don't need this junk. We don't need this worldly trash. We're going to be separated and we're going to be clean and pure and righteous, but then they're just like, yeah, and next to them, you know what I mean? Both are the world. What we need to be in order to be Smyrna Baptist in order to be faithful to the word "Baptist" we need to have a hard preaching for the saved, why? They don't get into fornication so that they don't need things to sacrifice now, so that it doesn't become just a worldly sin fest. "Hard preaching," that's where the screaming, and yelling, and poppa pounding comes in to show God's people there's it. We need to have that in order to not fall into the trap that Pergamos fell, but then we also need to still love the lost and go out and get them saved.
Not just sit around in our little social club talking about how holy and how righteous we are. Yeah, we tried those false prophets. They were lying. We got rid of them. We're casting people out of the church left and right. We throw some and we do by the way, in fact we throw more people out of Faithful Lord Baptist church in 2014 than any year we ever have. Let's give ourselves a big hand. We threw out more people. We threw out sodomites. We threw out fornicators. We threw out railers. I mean we're throwing people out, but you know what, to just sit around and just yeah, we're so … No, that's what it's about.
It's not about patting ourselves on the back, and yeah, we're so clean, we're so right. We ought to be doing? Going out and caring about other people. By the way, you know what, I've been around some people and thank God I don't think this is a spirit that exists at our church, but I've been in some fundamental Baptist churches though, where a spirit exists where when you go out soul winning with them. They're like looking down on people to the point of where it's just because they're not like us, but here's the bottom line though, you weren't like us either before you got saved. We need to understand, we need to love people where they're at. Of course people are, "What about these metafiles?" "Oh, shut up. Okay we're not talking about that this morning. That was a few weeks ago. Get over it."
Look, the bottom line is that when we go out soul winning, people are not going to be dressed right, people are not going to be acting right, people are going to be in all kinds of sin for wrong situations, and we need to just love people and desire them to be saved and not just be going out soul winning with an agile, oh, no … Just love people and care about people, and just understand that people are going to be if they're not going to be saved of course they're going to be worldly. Of course they're going to be living in sin. They're not saved. Go out and try to get them saved, and have love for people.
You say, "Well, how can we have both, pastors?" We got to figure out how we're going to have both, or we going to lose the candlestick, because you got to have both, you got to have the tear in the eye and the love for the lost and going out. By the way, we don't just go to the fancy neighborhood. We go to the ghetto to go soul winning. We go everywhere. Why? Because we want to reach people where they are, no matter how derelict they are we care about them.
Yeah, let's go out and learn to love the lost, tear in the eye, compassion for the unsafe, but then we also need to never stop preaching hard. Oh, it's going to run off the laws. Yeah, but that's why we get them saved out there, because before they figure out how hard we preach here. Look, you'll have both. It's balanced. Let's fair our heads and now go to prayer, Father, we thank you so much for these teachings Lord, and it would have been nice to have a section that said the church at Tempe that would basically tell us exactly what we're doing well, exactly what we can work on Lord, but we have these 7 Lord, and if the shoe fits Lord we'll put it on.
Help us as a church here in Tempe to look at these 7 churches Lord and figure out, "Okay, are we guilty of this, or are we succeeding in this area, or are we going through these things Lord? Help us to learn from these 7 pattern churches. Lord, help us to keep our candlestick burning right bright for decades, Lord, and that we would be a strong soul winning church that also takes a stand against sin and false doctrine that we'll be able to balance those two things, Lord." In Jesus name we pray, Amen.