Revelation 2 & 3 [Clear Word]
31B. A DIVINE/HUMAN PARTNERSHIP
Revelation 1:20 The seven stars that you saw in my hand and the seven golden lampstands are symbols. The seven stars represent the seven overseers who serve as messengers to the seven churches, and the seven golden lampstands represent the seven churches.
Revelation 2:1 To the overseer of the church in the city of Ephesus write: Greetings from the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and who is always with His people. What's happening in your congregation illustrates what will happen during the first period of the church's history, but it also has lessons for my people until the end of time. 2 I know everything that you and your people in Ephesus have tried to do for me. I know the effort you've put forth, the patience you've shown, and that you would rather die than be disloyal to me. I admire how you've hated wickedness and have had the courage to test people who claim to be sent by me when I never sent them. I commend you for the careful work you have done in exposing their lies. 3 You've gone through many hardships because of me, but you never gave up. Through persecution, you have remained loyal to me. 4 However, I do have something to say to you. You have lost your first love for me and are more concerned with the work of the church than you are in serving me. 5 Reflect on your past experience and you will see how your love for me has changed. Repent and do things for me like you did at first. If you don't, I must come quickly and remove your lampstand from its honored place and your light will go out. 6 You do have one thing in your favor--you can't stand what the Nicolaitans are doing. They're abusing the freedom I gave them and are teaching that obedience has no bearing on salvation. Like you, I abhor how they twist the gospel. 7 If you have ears to hear, then you need to listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you. To those who recapture their first love for me I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life which was once in the Garden of Eden but is now in heaven in the Garden of God. 8 To the overseer of the church in the city of Smyrna write: Greetings from the One who is the beginning and the end, who died and is now alive, who knows your congregation better than you know it yourself. What is happening to your church is symbolic of what will take place during the second period of the church's history and what will happen to some of my people until the end of time. 9 I know what you've done, all the suffering you've gone through and how you've been reduced to poverty because of me. Yet this experience has made you rich in heaven's sight. I know all about the false accusations that some who call themselves Israelites have brought against you, but they are not true Israelites, no matter what they say, because they are not friends of God. They are serving Satan. 10 Don't be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Satan will have some of you thrown into prison, which will test your faith. There will come a time of severe persecution that will be extremely hard on you and it will last for ten days, each day meaning a year. Be faithful until death and I will give you a crown of eternal life. 11 If you have ears to hear, then you need to listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling God's people. The one who overcomes will not die the second death. 12 To the overseer of the church in the city of Pergamum write: Greetings from the One who, when He speaks, has a stream of light coming out of His mouth like a sharp, two-edged sword. This message is not only for your congregation, but for my people who will be living during the third period of the church's history and will be helpful to believers until the end of time. 13 I know what you've done and that you're living in a town which Satan largely controls and uses as one of his bases of operation. I know how you've held on to your faith in spite of intense persecution, even during those dark days when they executed my loyal disciple Antipas and others like him who gave their lives for me in this very city where Satan lives. 14 But I need to point out a few things to you and to my people who later will be living during a time similar to yours. Some who worship with you are making suggestions similar to those Balaam made to Balak. He suggested that Balak could separate the children of Israel from God by enticing them to have sexual relations with his people in connection with their pagan rites and then have them eat food which had been sacrificed to idols. Listening to them and compromising your loyalty to me is nothing less than idolatry and adultery. 15 You also have in your congregation those who believe what the Nicolaitans teach, that it doesn't matter what you do as long as you believe. 16 Repent and change your ways or I will come and fight against you with the sword of my mouth. 17 If you have ears to hear, then listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you. Those who overcome, I will feed with manna which you can't see. I will also give you a new name engraved on a white stone. It will be a special name between us, and no one will know it except you and me. 18 To the overseer of the church in the city of Thyatira write: Greetings from the Son of God whose eyes blaze like flames of fire and whose feet glow like burning bronze. This message is not only for you and your congregation, but for my people who will be living during the fourth period of the church's history covering centuries of spiritual darkness, and for those who might face similar situations in the future. 19 I know what you have done. I know how much you love me. I know your activities, your faithfulness, your patience and your willingness to serve. I also know that you're working harder for me now than you did before. 20 However, I need to point out some things to you. Unfortunately, you tolerate people like Jezebel who called herself a prophetess of Israel but who led my people into sexual immorality and into eating foods sacrificed to idols. Similar mixed worship has been going on among you. 21 I have given these people time to repent, but they refuse to change their ways. 22 I will leave them alone and let them continue to live like Jezebel who loved to lie on her bed with her lovers. But they will have to suffer the consequences unless they repent of their ways. 23 Those who continue to behave like Jezebel I will not protect from the plague of death. Then the church will know that I search everyone's heart and mind, and I will repay each one for what he has done. 24 Those who belong to the Thyatira church and have not given in to Satan's spiritual allurements, I will not ask you to do anything else just now except to stay faithful. 25 So hold on to what you believe and stand for your faith until I come back. 26 I will give to those in Thyatira and to my people everywhere who hold to their faith and walk in the light of truth, the same authority over nations that my Father has given to me. 27 When I return, my people will sit with me on thrones judging the nations. As it is written, 'I will come with an iron scepter to crush the arrogance of this world as a man crushes a clay pot.' 28 But each of you will stand out as brilliantly as the morning star. 29 If you have ears to hear, then listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you."
Revelation 3: 1 "To the overseer of the church in the city of Sardis write: Greetings from the One who in the fullness of the Holy Spirit is holding the seven stars. This message is not only for your congregation, but also for my people who will be living during the fifth period of the church's history and will be helpful to believers until the end of time. I know what you have done for me and your reputation for being fiercely dedicated to me, but the momentum of your reformation has died out. 2 You should wake up and strengthen what zeal you have left before it completely dies. What you started was good, but in God's sight your actions are a long way from being what they should be. 3 Remember how you responded when you first understood the truth of the gospel. You need to continue to respond like that or you'll lose your hold on what you have. If you don't stay awake, I will come when you least expect it, like a thief in the night, and catch you unaware. 4 There are a few in Sardis who have kept their spiritual robes clean. They will walk beside me dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 All who overcome will, like them, be dressed in my righteousness. I will never take their names out of the Book of Life, but will acknowledge them as mine before the Father and the whole universe. 6 If you have ears to hear, then listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you. 7 To the overseer of the church in the city of Philadelphia write: Greetings from the One who is holy and true, the One who has been given the key of David. When He opens a door, no one can shut it, and when he shuts it, no one can open it. This message is not only for your congregation, but for my people living during the sixth period of the church's history and for believers until the end of time. 8 I know what you're trying to do for me. I have opened a door of opportunity for you which no one can shut. I know how little strength you have, yet you have held to the teachings of Scripture and have not denied my name. 9 Listen carefully. Some who are worshiping with you are serving Satan. They claim they're true sons of Abraham, but they're not. They are lying, and someday I will make them come and bow at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my commandments and endured so much criticism because of me, I will be with you as you go through the time of trouble that will come on all those who live on the earth. 11 I want to say to those who will be living at that time, Don't become discouraged, because I will come quickly to save you. Hold on to what you have and don't let anyone rob you of your faith and cause you to lose the crown of life. 12 He who remains steadfast will be a living pillar in the Temple of my God and He will never have to leave. I will inscribe on his heart the name of my God, the name of the royal city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, and my own new name. 13 If you have ears to hear, then listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you. 14 Finally, to the overseer of the church in the city of Laodicea write: Greetings from Him whose word is final, who is the faithful and true witness and who is in charge of God's entire creation. This message is not only for you and your congregation, but for my people living during the final period of the church's history and for believers everywhere who at any time need this counsel. 15 I know what you have done for me, but I also know that you're halfhearted, neither totally for me nor totally against me. I wish you were one or the other. The way you are only confuses people. 16 Because your religious experience is so insipid and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, 'I'm spiritually rich because the Lord has given me so much understanding, and I really don't need any additional spiritual help.' But you don't realize that you are spiritually wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. 18 I advise you to buy from me faith, which is like gold purified in a furnace and proven to be true, the kind that will make you spiritually rich; buy from me a white robe woven from my righteousness alone to cover your shameful spiritual nakedness; and apply the heavenly eyesalve administered by the Holy Spirit to help you truly see and understand the things of God. 19 Those I love, I correct and discipline. So be earnest, repent and change your ways. 20 I am standing at your heart's door, knocking. Anyone who hears my voice and opens the door will be glad, for I will come in and eat with him and he with me. 21 He who overcomes will receive the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and now sit with my Father on His throne. 22 If you have ears to hear, then listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you."