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Revelation - The Age of the Apocalypse

Hear What the Spirit Says unto the Churches” Revelation 2:1-17

Date:September 14, 2022
Author: Wayne J. Edwards


Dear Heritage Family,

While the interest in the study of the Book of Revelation is primarily about the events of the end times, it is important that we understand why Jesus began His revelation to John with seven personal letters to seven particular churches in Asia.

  • First, while these seven churches were actual, historical churches in that day, the Lord’s letters were intended for every local church of every age, and even more importantly, The Church of the ages.
  • Second, like the nation of Israel failed in their calling to be God’s representatives on the earth and God had no choice but to chastise them, so the church will also reach that point where it becomes so entangled in the world it can make no difference in the world, and it will face a time of severe persecution.
  • Third, while those believers who remain “faithful” to their calling will be spared from God’s wrath, those who reject Jesus Christ will be vomited out into the time of Tribulation.

We will explain this further in tonight’s sermon: The Age of The Apocalypse: “Hear What the Spirit Says unto the Churches,” based on our study of Revelation 2:1-17 While the sermon study guide is attached, we encourage you to view the sermon on our INTERACTIVE WEBSITE:  The live stream will start at 6:00 PM, but the sermon will remain on the Website for future viewing.

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Heritage Baptist Church Sermon

The message from our Lord through the pen of the Apostle John

was to seven literal churches in Asia Minor.

  • However, since the Holy Spirit inspired these letters to be included in the written Word of God, they apply to:
    • The Church of every age – the spiritual maturity of the universal church body.
    • Every local church of every age – the spiritual maturity of every local church body.
    • Every Christian of every age – the spiritual maturity of every member of the Universal church Body.
  • After every letter, John quotes the Lord Jesus saying, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
    • When Jesus speaks through His Word, He expects those who believe in Him to hear what is being said and to search their hearts to see how it is to be applied to their lives, to the local assembly of believers to which they belong, and to the universal Church.
  1. The Church at Ephesus: The Fallen Church – Revelation 2:1-7

Ephesus was a large city with a population of over 200,000 people.

  • The Temple of Diana was there with its evil activities and evil influence.
  • Paul visited the city with Priscilla and Aquilla and began a church in their home.
  • Paul stayed there for two years and had great success until a riot broke out, and he was forced to leave.
  • You can read about this in Acts 19:23-45.

The phrase: “You have left your first love” is better understood as “You have left loving Me first.”

  • They were busy in the Lord’s work but barren of the Lord’s love, and therefore, there was no blessing.
  • Jesus told them to do three things:
    • “Remember from where you have fallen”- Go back to that point in their spiritual journey where they loved the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and might.
    • “Repent”- stop doing all the busy work and meaningless ministries.
    • “Do the first works” – return to doing the things you did when you first fell in love with Jesus.
  1. The Church at Smyrna: The Fearful Church — Revelation 2:8-11

Smyrna is an example of the Church under persecution.

  • Since Christianity was considered a revolutionary movement, Christians were considered dangerous to the Roman Empire.
  • For over 300 years, Christians suffered ridicule, threats, persecution, and even death because of their faith.
  • In the first year after Jesus’ resurrection, over 2,000 Christians suffered martyrdom, including Stephen, the first martyr.
  • While Jesus commended the Church at Smyrna for their works against such hardships, He warned them that it would get much worse.
  • However, Jesus told them not to fear anything but to be faithful even unto their death.

Jesus promised them five crowns:

  • The Incorruptible Crown – 1 Corinthians 9:5
  • The Crown of Rejoicing – 1 Thessalonians 2:19
  • The Crown of Righteousness – 2 Timothy 4:8
  • The Crown of Glory – 1 Peter 5:4
  • The Crown of Life – James 1:12

“More Christians were martyred for their faith in the 20th century than in the previous 19 centuries combined.

Open Doors USA

  1. The Church at Pergamos: The Faltering Church – Revelation 2:12-17

There were two major problems in this church:

  • The synagogue of Satan had located in the city.
  • Roman Emperor Constantine decreed that everyone was to be baptized as a Christian.
    • The physical church grew like a “tower” as “Christianity,” and the “state” merged into one entity.
    • This phenomenal growth allowed the doctrine of Balaam in the church, which was:
      • Worldly Wisdom – seeing heavenly things through earthly eyes.
      • Worldly Worship – worshipping God through fleshly efforts.
      • Worldly Wickedness – compromising the standards of holiness in the Church.
    • This also allowed the doctrine of the Nicolaitans in the church, which believed one could be saved without a change in behavior.
  • Jesus gave the church at Pergamos one warning: Repent, or He would come and fight against them.
  • Those who did repent would receive:
    • Hidden Manna – Jesus, the Bread of Life
    • A White Stone – Jesus, the Purity of Life
    • A New Name – Jesus, the Holiness o Life