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GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 06/26/05
Pennsylvania 2005 Conference.

REV 3:1-6, "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 'Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white; for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

We have begun a study of the church of Sardis, or the Sardis type of believers mentioned in this passage. In Rev chapters 2-3, there are seven different churches mentioned. Some teach that the seven churches portray seven historical stages the church would go through, while others teach that it refers to the seven different types of churches or seven different types of individual believers that live in every generation. While both have some validity, we have been looking at this study from the latter point view.

The Ephesus type believer has some divine good production, but has left their first love (REV 2:1-7). 
The Smyrna type believer who is willing to accept suffering for blessing (REV 2:8-11). 
The Pergamum believer is warned about compromising and becoming a stumbling block to others (REV 2:12-17). These believers are not negative toward doctrine; they just sell out at times for the sake of acceptance and self-satisfaction.
The Thyatira type of believers tolerate false doctrine and false teaching even though they have love, faith, service, and perseverance (REV 2:18-29). The Sardis types need to "Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain," this is our current study (REV 3:1-6).
The Philadelphia types who have kept with doctrine and have not denied the Lord's name (REV 3:7-13). 
Finally, the lukewarm Laodicean believer (REV 3:14-22).

We have studied the first four churches and are now ready to look at the fifth, REV 3:1, "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write:"
The word angel is the Greek noun angeloo which does not refer to angels but to the messenger or the future pastor-teachers of the church of Sardis or the Sardis type of believers. Sardis was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Sardis and Laodicea were the most wealthy churches and in the most beautiful geographical locations in the ancient world. Sardis had a reputation that it was a church filled with life, but it was a carnal religious life and not a doctrinal one. The majority of believers at Sardis were dead spiritually. When a person just lives for pleasure and forgets about the calling of God upon their life, it's just like being dead, 1Ti 5:6. Whether you're a believer with PVTD or a local assembly communicating doctrine, there will always be demonic influences that try to hinder your momentum.

REV 3:1, "And to the messenger [the future pastor-teachers] of the church in Sardis [or the Sardis type of believers]write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, says this: The seven Spirits is a reference to God the Holy Spirit as the provider of the power system of the PPOG. This title is taken from the prophecy of ISA 11:1-2,Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
This ministry of God the Holy Spirit sustained the humanity of Christ in the PPOG while He lived on earth just as He also does for every Church-age believer in time.

The seven stars refer to the teaching pastors of the Church-age, seven being the number of completion and the finished work (Rev 1:16-20). Not every pastor is a star because the function of a star is to give light and not every pastor is giving light to the Church. The stars in the celestial heavens were once the voice that God used to communicate His word all over the earth, as He did to Abraham. That which the stars in the heavens once did, the stars on earth must do now as they communicate from the scriptural record.

So, the corrected translation of REV 3:1, And to the messengers, future pastors in the church of Sardis, write, He who has the seven spirits, [a reference to God the Holy Spirit as the power systems of the PPOG], and the seven stars, [orthodox pastors], communicates these things. I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead."

The word dead is the Greek noun nekros which refers to carnal death, believers living inside the cosmic system; over time this leads to reversionism. In this state it is impossible for any believer to comply with the first mandate of our next verse, REV 3:2, Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God."
The phrase wake up means to have alertness, a factor which accompanies capacity for life. We actually have two Greek verbs, ginou and gregoron which mean "to be constantly alert." You must have constant alertness for every type of problem throughout your Christian life. The second command, "and strengthen," is the Greek verb sterizo,meaning to establish, support, confirm, and to strengthen. This is a command to the pastor to continue teaching Bible doctrine in Sardis, in spite of the negative volition on the part of many believers. This is why our Lord warned us to stay away from the majority who walk through the wide gate, and to enter by the narrow gate with the minority, MAT 7:13-14. Perceiving, metabolizing and applying doctrine daily is going to put you in the minority. The majority is always wrong but there will be a minority which is always right.

The pastor must be faithful in teaching the minority. These positive believers glorify Christ, provide blessing for the client nation, fulfill the plan of God for the Church-age, personally advance to maturity and have great blessing from God in time. The good congregation identifies, submits to, and remains under their right Pastor/Teacher (1PE 5:3,HEB 13:7, 1TH 5:12). They have consistent positive volition to doctrine, which avoids distractions (COL 1:4). They are thoughtful of others and recognize their privacy. They follow the pastor in his spiritual advance, and through spiritual growth and progress, they come to be blessed of God in time and are relaxed about their blessings. They are occupied with Christ, share God's happiness, and enjoy a capacity for life. In eternity they and their pastor will be highly decorated because they glorified our Lord Jesus Christ (COL 1:25-29). A good congregation also truly believes in HEB 10:25, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the habit of some [believers], but for the purpose of encouragement.

So, REV 3:2 is saying, "Be constantly alert, and strengthen the remnant," the pastors must persist in teaching the positive believers left in Sardis because without doctrine they are potential candidates for the cosmic system. Satan, the ruler of the world, tries to stop us from receiving knowledge. Satan knows the reality of PRO 24:5, A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power. The early church recognized the importance of this daily commitment in ACT 2:46; ACT 5:42. It's very sad that these attacks upon the daily P.M.A. of B.D are successful today. The average Christian church meets twice a week! That schedule did not come from the Bible, while daily teaching does, (2CH 8:14; 2CH 31:16; EZR 3:4, JER 7:25, ACT 19:9, HEB 10:11; 10:25). The remnant of positive believers in Sardis are the minority in a congregation where the majority are negative toward doctrine. The minority are constantly tempted, and are candidates for being influenced by the majority, rather than being influenced by the teaching of Bible doctrine.

REV 3:2, Be constantly alert, and strengthen the things that remain [the remnant], which were about to die; The Greek verb apothenesko means to die, a reference to cosmic death which can lead to the sin unto death. This follows the principle that people influence people, and believers influence believers. This is why the apostle Paul said in 1CO 15:33-34, Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals. Become sober minded as you ought, and stop sinning; [and then the sin is described] for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. The presence of cosmic believers as a majority in any local church means the potential spread of apostasy through cosmic involvement. They discredit grace, your pastor, your church, and therefore, they discredit Christ. It is easier for believers to follow their friends into the cosmic system, than to remain faithful to the teaching of Bible doctrine. However, remember PRO 13:20, He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm. A true friend will be honest with you and won't follow you into the cosmic system.

REV 3:1-2, "And to the messengers, future pastors in the church of Sardis, write, he who has the seven spirits, [a reference to God the Holy Spirit as the power systems of the PPOG], and the seven stars, [orthodox pastors], communicates these things. Be constantly alert, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God." The Greek word for deeds is ergon and should be translated accomplishments. The Greek word for completed is the verb pleroo which means to fill up a deficiency, to fully possess, to fill with a certain quality, and to fully influence. So we could say REV 3:2, Be constantly alert, and strengthen the things that remain [the remnant], which were about to die; for I have not found your accomplishments or production to [fill up the deficiency in your life, or to fully possess your life, or to fill you with a certain quality of life, or to fully influence your life] in the sight of My God.

There is a historical downtrend in the city of Sardis, caused by the inconsistency and instability of the majority of believers who vacillate between positive and negative volition; between the PPOG and the cosmic system; therefore, nothing is accomplished or completed, including their advance to spiritual maturity. The fulfillment of the Christian way of life and the completion of the plan of God for our lives must be motivated by the function of our royal priesthood inside the PPOG. This means that your life as a believer truly matters and truly counts. You are a believer-priest and as a priest you represent yourself before God. You have privacy so that you can learn Bible doctrine, however, you can never learn anything if you are not objective, if you reject authority, or if you have any form of arrogance. This is why the local church should be an environment where believers can gather together and yet have their privacy respected, a place where your sins and your strengths should be kept private. God wants you to become spiritually self-sustained.

The royal priest's self-improvement is based on the function of perception of doctrine, not upon the advice and counsel of others. No believer can think, apply doctrine, or solve problems through the mind or the personality of another Christian; you have to advance to maturity on your own. You have to motivate yourself; you can't depend on someone else's leadership. God will not permit anyone to take His place in judging or evaluating other believers,ROM 8:33. This not only refers to human beings but angelic beings as well. God is the one who will do the judging; no one else. Our salvation and election does not depend upon human opinion or human observation, ISA 50:9,"Behold, the Lord God helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me?" As a believer-priest who has been elected to have God's highest and best, never let someone judge you or condemn you. Live your life as unto the Lord and receive what you have been elected to receive. Do not let anyone hinder you from fulfilling the plan of God and rob you of your reward in Christ (COL 2:16-18, GAL 5:7, REV 3:11, 2JO 1:8).

It is very easy to criticize someone who is wrong, or has made a mistake, and this is all too often the arrogance demonstrated by born again believers. We see this when a Pharisee asked our Lord over for dinner. LUK 7:37, And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining {at the table} in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, This was the town hooker who crashed the party when she learned that Jesus was a guest. She came with a bottle of very expensive perfume.

LUK 7:38-50, and standing behind {Him} at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner." And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher." "A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii [silver pieces], and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more?" Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him," You have judged correctly." And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss [no greeting]; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." And He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven." And those who were reclining {at the table} with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this {man} who even forgives sins?" And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Here is Simon the Pharisee, a man of the cloth who is looked up to, and here is the town hooker, who is looked down upon. He is a church leader, she is a streetwalker, and Jesus knew them both. One of the lessons Simon learned that day was this: Don't think thoughts you don't want Jesus to hear. Simon did nothing to make Jesus feel welcome. The woman, however, does everything that Simon didn't. She has discovered the treasure of God's love and Simon hasn't. She came thirsty from guilt and regret, and when Jesus hands her the goblet of grace, she drinks. Simon, on the other hand, doesn't even know he is thirsty, and it wasn't that Simon couldn't be forgiven; he just never asks to be. Therefore we see the 7:47 Principle: "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."

You give love by first receiving it, 1JO 4:19, We love, because He first loved us.
Do you desire to be more loving? Begin by accepting your place as a dearly loved child.
Finding it hard to put others first? Think of the way Christ put you first. 
Need more patience? Drink from the patience of God. 
Is generosity an elusive virtue? Then consider how generous God has been with you. 
Having trouble putting up with ungrateful relatives or cranky neighbors? God puts up with you when you act the same.

REV 3:3, "Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you." The Greek verbmnemoneuo, is translated remember, and it means to recall. Here it is a reference to recalling doctrine, so we can translate, Recall to mind therefore what you have received. Received is the perfect active indicative of the Greek verb lambano and is a reference to the Bible doctrine they have received. You are to be influenced by the doctrine you have in your own soul. When you learn doctrine, you must be motivated by doctrine. If doctrine does not become your motivation, sooner or later some friend or someone you love, is going to very easily and very quickly drag you away from the plan of God.

Motivation is a very important subject because motivation is not only what makes people tick, but it will be the basis for the evaluation of your life at the judgment seat of Christ (2CO 5:10).
Motivation is located inside the individual's soul impelling or inciting action, and everything you do in life has some type of motivation behind it. You do not have to feel like doing something in order for it to be genuine or the production of divine good (Jam 4:17).
Proper motivation can encourage, influence, convince or persuade an individual to do what is right. Doing what is right is not the ultimate purpose, it is the motivation which is most significant.
The Lord will test your motivation even if it's from the emotions, PSA 7:9. In the Christian life, the believer is either motivated by Bible doctrine in the soul and the filling of the Holy Spirit, which produces personal love for God, or by the lust pattern of the old sin nature and Satan's cosmic system which produces good and evil. Your attitude toward doctrine and spiritual growth determines proper motivation, and doctrine judges your motivation. As you listen to doctrine, there are certain areas of your life where doctrine hits you right between the eyes.

The Bible is a book that is alive and active (HEB 4:12). There are a lot of people who do the right thing, but they do it in the wrong way, with false motivation. They give, serve, pray, learn, they even apply what they learn, but they do it with false motivation. Divine motivation is the grace of God as seen in the predetermined plan of God (ROM 8:28;ROM 9:11; EPH 1:11; EPH 3:11; 2TI 1:9).

REV 3:3, "Recall to mind therefore what you have received [application of doctrine] and heard [perception of doctrine];" The aorist active indicative of akouo (heard) views the function of perception and metabolization in learning a doctrinal principle in its entirely, but views the action from the existing results of application. The next word, keep, is the present active imperative of the verb tereo, which means to guard the doctrine. If you guard doctrine you will have wonderful friends, but if you don't you will live in the cosmic system and you will be a vacillating, hypocritical traitor to your friends. You guard it by living in the PPOG. The problem is that a little bit of flattery from a negative believer often leads to arrogance which is blinding. Arrogance means loss of discernment and whatever abilities or talents, or greatness you have in life is neutralized. Arrogance also destroys the balance of affection and passion. Affection comes from the soul, and is meaningful in human relationship, when it includes both integrity and capacity for love. Passion comes from the body and must be controlled or regulated by integrity of the soul. The pastor must be alert to avoid arrogance, and protect his congregation from arrogance through doctrinal inculcation from the pulpit. That's the meaning behind this command, be constantly alert and strengthen the remnant, which is the minority of positive believers.

REV 3:3, "Recall to mind therefore what you have received [application of doctrine] and heard [perception of doctrine]; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you." The Greek verb metanoeo (repent) means to change the mind and has to do with the rebound technique. The verb for wake up is gregoreo, plus the negative me, means to be alert. The verb hekomeans to come suddenly or to surprise someone. Part of divine discipline is that you are surprised by the suddenness of it. Many believers confuse this with testing when it isn't testing at all. Avoid this by sticking with the minority of positive believers and avoiding the majority who recruit for the cosmic system.

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