The Living Dead
A SURVEY OF THE SEVEN Series
1. Dead spiritually – lack salvation
2. Dying spiritually – The Frozen Chosen.
1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands [churches], 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars [messengers], out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. [CONTEXT is in verse 20.]
How do you describe God? Snow, fire, brass, many waters.
Lamps light the way — churches light the way.
A sword goes out of his mouth – the word of God pierces like a double-edged sword – it hurts before it helps (5 of 7 churches).
NOTE: I believe that all of us can fall into these 5 conditions –
17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.
KEYS: locking and unlocking — ULTIMATE power and authority.
“Hades” in the N.T and “Sheol” in the Old Testament – place of the dead. “Gehenna” – final place – valley of fire and death.
Death does NOT have the final say.
SHIFT GEAR: A.W. Tozer said, “A Christian will make spiritual progress exactly in proportion to his ability to criticize himself.”
This type of CHURCH/PERSON often has the courage to speak God’s truth but not the humility that allows God’s truth to speak to them.
Rev. 2:1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
I know your works. Nevertheless…
WORKS DO NOT TRUMP LOVE. Outward works must FLOW from inward love. Workers labor and are patient; they hate evil. But without love we become rigid and controlling – we snap at people and don’t like to be challenged. Workers WITHOUTlove are often grumpy and easily irritated.
There’s a sense of entitlement. Workers become bitter and arrogant because they are workers and others aren’t. They’ve been around awhile and they want the control. They view themselves as more spiritual and in tune with God – they “know” more.
Jesus is saying pastor, preacher, teacher I hear your truth, but it’s lacking Spiritual Life. Mom/Dad, Ministry leader, Usher team, Worship team, Children’s Ministry team… I see your works, but there’s no life.
Jesus often hurts before He helps: “I have this against you….”
Blind Spots are hard to see – “Seeing The Blind Spots.”
When work flows from love, we go from Depressed to joy-filled. Empty to purpose-filled. Joyless to joyful. Bitter to loving. Tired to renewed. Angry to gentle… and Boastful to broken.
A fresh move of God can make workers uncomfortable because their control is threatened – they don’t have intimacy with God so they don’t want intimacy at church. Church becomes very mechanical – they become hard and abrasive versus humble and gracious.They typically are not worshippers. They work, but it’s hard to worship.
CONFESSION – THIS IS MANY IN THIS CHURCH: Lukewarm people don’t stick around long.
JESUS IS NOT MESSING AROUND – “Quickly.” This is why many churches die. He removes the lampstand of influence because they’re unwilling to return.
ALSO a call to the leaders[s] – “I will remove you.”
Remove the light and churches and Christians go through the motions.
The fire fades … very few baptisms and conversions take place… they are the Living Dead. Individually, they are not loving and witnessing.
They are sometimes apologists – have a zeal for truth: “They have tested those who say they are Apostles.” They are very opinionated – but not very loving.
A HARD HEART PROCEEDS A DEAF EAR. Worship and prayer are stifled – our heart is not engaged: “On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross. I’m so mad the Dodgers lost. The emblem of suff’ring and shame. That was a terrible game.”
THE EPHESUS TEST: Are you rigid, unyielding, & like to be right? Do you weep over the sins of others or enjoy pointing them out. Are you more concerned about being right or being loving? Does being challenged about your attitude bother you…are you often defensive and critical? Has gentleness vanished? Is grace hard to come by? Are you judging the church and others?
Did last Sunday’s service bother you? Does coming to the Altar and being broken before the Lord and humbling yourself bother you? Does emotional worship bother you?
Those who left their 1st love [or in the process of it] will avoid this type of service.
“Sunday at church is how I picture heaven. I didn’t want to leave. At the ending of 2nd service I went back up to the altar one last time to beg God to heal my husband of his addictions. As I got up, my grand-daughter was motioning to me to go up to the altar. I walked her up and we knelt together. It was an experience I will NEVER forget. I had my arm around her as we bowed our heads together, and I had the overwhelming feeling to just sit there and be quiet. The words that poured out of my grand-daughters mouth will never be forgotten.”
Or did you forget all about it? Did it not really phase you? Are you making excuses such as, “That’s for the spiritually immature; weaklings and wimps; charismatics and crazies.” Oh sir – you are gravely mistaken.
Have you ever killed 1000 men in battle like David? Are you as bold as Samuel, as courageous as Elijah, as passionate as Jeremiah – they were all worshippers. John fell down in the presence of God!
THANK GOD – Jesus builds back up – do you?
6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’
WORKERS ARE DEFENDERS OF THE TRUTH. 1] Followed Nicholas (false teacher) 2] or offered meat to idols, 3] or ungodly authority over the laity.
Defending the truth must come from a loving heart so it pierces and encourages. Some of those who are so adamant about truth are also the most offensive.
THEY MUST OVERCOME THEIR PRIDE – OR their pride will overcome them.
Tree of Life – they lost communion with God but it can be restored – overcome, prevail, subdue your pride.
CLOSING: One word this type of Christian does not like to hear is repent. They’ve been telling everyone else to repent.
QUICKLY – They are hurting; not helping. They divide rather than unite.
After we surveyed this church, are you …
1) Dead spiritually – lack salvation.
You were able to listen into a family meeting, but is your heart hard?
2) Are you Dying spiritually! Is your pride preventing a mighty filling of the Holy Spirit – a mighty baptism of love? Do you always have to be right – the final Authority?
Samuel Chadwick – PG. 8-9
We yield – He fills!
Communion is returning and remembering the “first love” – or meeting Jesus for the first time.
Remember – Repent – Do the First Works.