State of the Church Address
Revelation • Sermon • Submitted
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Ahead of time:
Talk to ushers
—about passing out (both before service and before sermon)
Please turn to Revelation, chapters 2 and 3.
The ushers passed out a piece of paper as you entered—that everyone needs…if you need one would you raise your hand? (invite ushers in)
Online people—you can download it...
Every year, toward the beginning of the year—the President of the United States, gives a famous speech to a joint session of Congress, and some of us watch it. What is that speech called?
The State of the Union Address.
He addresses things like the economy, the budget, the news, the agenda, his party’s achievements, and priorities for the new year. Challenges, encouragements, opportunities. it’s always fun watch politicians respond to the President’s comments and make faces.
See if you can guess which President in our country’s history said this:
“In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free...” when in doubt say…Abraham Lincoln.
“…we look forward to a world founded upon 4 essential freedoms. The first is freedom of speech…the second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way…the third is freedom from want…the fourth is freedom from fear...” —Franklin Delano Roosevelt…FDR
hardest one “I must say to you that the State of the Union is not good.” every President! No—Gerald Ford —1975.
In Revelation 2-3, Jesus Himself is giving his own State of the Church address. These are 7 real churches that existed in modern day Turkey—and like the President He has things to say that encourage and also challenge the churches.
and we have just finished this passage—and we are going to look at it as a whole…
because really—each passage is addressed to every church back then (it was read aloud) also to every church today.
because each passage ends by saying
22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
So we are going to look at this in 4 sections, 4 chunks.
1st chunk is Ephesus.
(Invite up __________)
Kelli Moore - both services (serves as a deaconness on our church board) and remember this is Jesus talking in our text—these are the red letters of Jesus....
______ is going to read Revelation 2:2-5
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
the key verse is verse 4.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
For all the good Ephesus was doing—they had abandoned their first love—which refers to their love of and for God, and love for others.
it’s worth asking you:
would Jesus say that to you PERSONALLY?
would Jesus say that to our church as a church COMMUNITY?
How are you doing in your love life with God (and others too)—but especially God…because from that—flows love for others...
The Christian is very simple—Jesus said to love God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength. and love your neighbor as yourself...
King David—said there is one thing—Psalm 27:4
4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
What is your one thing? are you growing? declining....have you forsaken your first love—for God.
On your paper now...
look at the first row—we have the passage—Revelation 2:1-7
the church - Ephesus
now look at the 3rd column—it says theme—write this question down:
What or Who is my one thing? (write it down)
how are you doing personally in this area—what is your one thing? Is it Jesus and His love—how are you doing—write down whatever you feel led. or have your forsaken the love you had at first...
Now as a church—how is FMC doing at loving Jesus and others? have we forsaken the love we had at first?
Finally, what is God calling you to do about this?
Take some time (Mike play)
thank you that Jesus never abandoned his love with the Father and us...
next chunk is 2 churches.
_______invite them up—they are going to read a couple of passages.
Invite Jerry Amstutz - 1st service
Invite - Gregg Liechty - 2nd service
Turn to Revelation 2:9-10
9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
This is the Church at Smyrna.
and now we are going to see another similar church in chapter 3—the Church at Philadelphia.
8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
As Pastor Logan mentioned last week—one of the big themes of the book of Revelation is this: are God’s people going to stick with Him and persevere and endure…or will they give into the world, the devil/dragon. there are 2 ways in life...
Jesus challenges them and us—to be faithful to the point of death. (Smyrna)
He challenges us to endure patiently! (Philadelphia)
and he promises a crown of life!
He promises that we will see evangelistic results—they will come and fall at our feet.
enduring---produces…results in God’s kingdom...
so let’s take a moment and think.
2nd row. now What is the theme of these 2—(write this in):
“Am I enduring through suffering for Jesus?”
Are we going to endure? are we going to persevere—Jesus says its worth it! trust me! I got this—but it’s hard to trust. it’s hard not to get sucked into the world’s values, to being like everybody else
How are you doing at this individually right now? take some time to evaluate yourself…ask the HS for wisdom and insight
how are we as a church doing in this area? how can we persevere better...
What does God want ME to do about it?
—maybe you need to confess sin to him, and repent
God help us to endure patiently…thank you that your Son Jesus endured for us
Invite up our 3rd speaker...
Ben Sprunger - 1st service
Dean - 2nd service
We are going to look at a couple of different churches.
back to back in Revelation chapter 2.
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
2x it mentions teaching.
“by her teaching—she misleads my servant...”
“there are some who hold to the teaching of Balaam...”
What we believe matters?
because what we believe—is not just absorbed in our brains—but our imaginations and hearts—and comes out in what we do. out of the overflow of the heart, we speak and do...
in this case with these 2 churches...—idolatry, worshipping others gods, and sexual immorality.
we behave based on what we believe.
and most of us are not sitting down with a bunch of books and doctrinal statements—consciously saying “I hope I absorb some false teaching today.” “That sounds pretty good.”
no most of our false teaching that we absorb—is just very simple everyday—what we focus on. what we let in—the messages we let in. and the messages we absorb are through social media, internet, the series we watch on Netflix, Hulu, or Prime. it’s the news…Fox News or CNN is discipling us...and you can’t avoid all that nor should you.
BUT—what is captivating your attention—are we focusing on the message of Jesus and the Good news found in His Word—do we have that regularly before us—daily so we can filter and discern the others messages?
so if you look at the row with Pergamum and Thyatira—what is the theme to write in?
“What messages am I absorbing?”
so we have looked at what is our one thing
am I enduring through suffering for Jesus
what messages am I absorbing...
invite up 4th speaker
Renee Captain both services
we are looking at 2 churches now in chapter 3.
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
and now Laodicea--
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
these are churches that had it all.
very rich—materially, financially...
but spiritually poor.
spiritually needed to wake up
We love self-sufficiency here in small town America…we love it—and there is good in hard work and in providing for yourself....
BUT we were never made to be self-sufficient—spiritually.
We were made to be dependent on God, and also interconnected with others.
we thrive when we are dependent and needy on God---God wants us to depend on Him.
and usually we only recognize our neediness and dependency not during prosperity but during suffering...
so the theme—2 questions:
Am I hungry for Jesus?
Am I dependent on Jesus? (or something else)
how are you doing individually and as a church?
At very bottom — What now? can’t do it all—next step...
I want to end by showing you how Jesus helps in all this—the amazing thing about these encouragements and challenges—is Jesus gives us hope—HIMSELF!
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
if you think of these themes--
Jesus Christ has the power—His one thing—was pleasing His Father—glorifying Him.
his one thing was to die on the cross to glorify HIs Father and rescue us...
Jesus endured through horrible suffering for us. He knows what it is like...
Jesus’ message He absorbed was His Father’s will and way.
and Jesus was incredibly hungry and dependent on the Holy Spirit and His Father.
Let’s look to Jesus for help.
as we leave 2 options:
You can keep this
but if you would like to turn it in for our pastoral staff and church leaders to see, please give it to the ushers