Faithlife Sermons

The Return of Jesus and Being Awake

Seven Churches of Asia  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Tonight, we will see the biblical call to being spiritually awake through obedient living. We are distinguished from the world through obedient behavior.

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Introduction:

Biblical Christianity is evidence based.
Evidence for God.
Evidence for the incarnation of Jesus.
Evidence for the resurrection.
Evidence for claims to belief/loving God.
Our lifestyles either provide evidence of genuine belief, or they raise questions for concern.
An obedient life is the effect of salvation not its cause.
Therefore, an assembly of genuinely saved people should be assembly of obedient people eager to obey God together.
Being ready for the coming of the Lord involves more than trying to discern the “signs of the times.”
In preparation for that day, we need to be awake.
What does it mean to be alert?
How sad to be a church the majority of whom may be lost.

A Confirmation of Jesus’ Deity

Central to the book of Revelation is Jesus’ deity.
He alone is worthy to approach the throne and open the seals of God’s book.
Being in possession of the seven spirits of God equates him with God.
He also has possession of the “messengers” of the churches.
Rev. 1:16-20.
Each letter is addressed to the “angel” of the church.
We know they are church letters because of the ending of each one.
But they are also addressed to those with the responsibility of communicating the Word of God to His churches.

Characteristics of a Deluded Congregation

b: a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary

Blinded by its public reputation: Jesus says they are “having a name”.
The contrast between their reputation and their reality was stark.
He says “you are dead.”
The illusion of success:
Only Sardis and Laodicea have no positive characteristics.
We should pay attention to no praise for their obedience, faith, endurance, love.
Given that all the other churches, except Laodicea, receives similar praise, what does that suggest about Sardis?
Had they successfully avoided persecution?
If so, in light of all the letters, how did they do so?
A congregation that has managed to survive through doctrinal and behavioral compromise has not survived at all.
It only has the illusion of life.
There is no such thing as a “worldly church.”
James 4 has this warning: to be the friend of the world is to be the enemy of God.

A Divine Wake Up Call

Jesus commands the congregation to become ones who are awake.
This is common terminology connected to the coming of Jesus.
It is built upon Jesus’ own teaching (see the parables of Mt. 24-25).
Paul repeated this teaching (1 Thessalonians 5).
See the parallels with Rev. 3:3.
What does it mean to be alert?
Alertness does not mean that we are standing at attention, instead, it means we are living in the proper way.
Rev. 3:2-3 has five commands:
Become awake (γίνου γρηγορῶν).
Strengthen what’s left which is about to die (καὶ ⸀στήρισον τὰ λοιπὰ ἃ ⸂ἔμελλον ἀποθανεῖν).
He then explains the reason for all four commands.
Next comes the final two commands:
Remember the teachings (μνημόνευε °οὖν πῶς εἴληφας ⸋καὶ ἤκουσας)
Be keeping (obeying) - (τήρει)
Repent (μετανόησον)

Consequences and Realities

Obedient living is evidence of expectation of Jesus’ return.
1 Thessalonians 5:1 ff.
1 John 3:1-2.
Some had not defiled themselves, and they will walk with him in white in the future just as they metaphorically do now.
The one who overcomes: Rev. 12:11.
Evidence that we are true believers comes when we obey.
Lifestyle doesn’t bestow life, it confirms that it is there.
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