Persecution, Purity, and Power
A SURVEY OF THE SEVEN Series – pt. 3
INTRO: Series and What the Spirit says to the churches: “Lord, I want to hear – I’m open; I’m teachable – speak to me.”
The Persecuted Church – Rev. 2:8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
A reminder of the resurrection – who was dead, and came to life.
HEADLINE: “Cremated remains unearthed in China are the Buddha’s, inscription says.”
Why were these “works” different then the church in Ephesus?
Impoverished financially but not spiritually.
POVERTY is not a gauge for spirituality – Paul said, “I know how to be thankful in all…”
God blesses, but may also withdraw. However, poverty can be the result of sin and bad choices.
What is a synagogue of Satan – saying they are Jews but are not? “I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
Romans 2:29 “but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”
To blaspheme GOD is to speak with contempt about Him or to be defiantly irreverent toward Him – To disregard…He is beneath our consideration.
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to attribute God’s work to the work of Satan. Or failing to heed His convictions.
THEY ARE DECEIVERS: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers [servants] transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (II Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV).
10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’
Offered a prophetic word as well as comfort – do not fear / suffer. Without this, they may have become discouraged – Where are you God?
David Ravenhill’s book – “He hates mommies and daddies.”
Why Persecution 35 miles North in Smyrna?
Dead orthodox – Dead teaching – Dead services and Dead worship lack spiritual life; there wasn’t much persecution in Ephesus.
The calling of God and His anointing are a magnet for spiritual trouble: The devil is about to test you…this is a spiritual upheaval.
A] Brings out the best and the worst – “when a vessel…”
B] God becomes the only solution.
C] Purifying agent.
Persecution – Purity – Power: “Holiness is not the way to Christ; Christ is the way to holiness” (Spurgeon).
Sickness, discord, financial collapse, etc.
EXPLAIN: “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”
What we do know: 1] there is a battle…a real soldier fights.
We don’t win every battle.
Restrain versus Retrain … both?
Submit yourself to God and resist the devil; he must flee. Endure temptation as a good soldier. Deny the flesh and be filled with the Spirit. Do not yield to temptation or make provision for it; crucify it…flee! Don’t be brought under the power of temptation: “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
He who does these things is a warrior in God’s army – though they fall they will not fail!
2] there is demonic oppression and influence.
“…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded…”
Those who are not ready for the first death, are often not ready for the 2nd death – It was said of John Wesley, “His people die well.”
HOPE: If you do not have hope and peace, could it be that you are trusting in all the wrong things?
Man loses 8 family members in the Texas shooting.