Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
December 6, 2015
Listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.
One of the most important principles our Lord said for the pastor-teacher to understand is found in the Book of Revelation in the phrase “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” It is so important that the Holy Spirit said it seven times in REV 2:7 2:11; 17; 29; REV 3:6; 3:13; 3:22. Seven is the number of completion revealing the importance placed upon the phrase by God the Holy Spirit.
Remember that under the timing of God ECC 3:1 says,There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
God has a perfect time for everything. But always remember that Satan and his kingdom of darkness will do what he can to try and sidetrack the believer from hearing what God is trying to say to the Church. And a great illustration of this is found in Rev 3.
REV 3:1, “And to the angel [or angelos - the P-T today] of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God [the seven Spirits refers to the ministries of God the Holy Spirit to TLJC], and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”
According to ISA 11:1-2, the seven Spirits of God refer to the sevenfold ministry of God the Holy Spirit which was upon the Lord Jesus Christ who is speaking. The sevenfold ministry of the Spirit is found in ISA 11:2 which says 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. Those are the seven ministries of the Spirit to our Lord.
- Indwelling of the Spirit
2. Filling of the Spirit.
3. Spirit of understanding - ability to receive doctrine.
4. Spirit of counsel which is the guidance of the Spirit.
5. The spirit of strength to sustain the humanity of Christ.
6. The spirit of knowledge which gave Him discernment.
7. The spirit of the fear of the Lord meaning His awe and respect for His Father.
They are the seven Spirits or ministries of God the Holy Spirit mentioned in REV 3:1 which refer to the sevenfold ministry of God the Holy Spirit to the humanity of Jesus Christ. Back in REV 3:1, “And to the angel [angelos - the P-T’s today] of the church in Sardis or of the churches who have the Sardis type of believers write: He who has the seven Spirits of God [the sevenfold ministry of God the Holy Spirit] and the seven stars,
Now, who are the seven stars? REV 1:20 tells us who they are: “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches,”
Now, the word translated angels is angelos which is really a transliteration which means a word brought over into another language using the exact letters of each of the alphabet. Whereas, the translation describes what the word actually refers to and inREV 1:20, angelos means a messenger not an angel. Therefore when REV 1:20b says, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches it refers to the messengers or the pastor-teachers over the churches like saris and therefore it refers to the pastor-teachers who are the messengers over those type of churches. The last things a pastor is, if you know any, is an angel.
Back in Rev 3, now you know how we arrive at the following translation.
REV 3:1, “And to the angel [or angelos - the P-T today] of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God [the sevenfold ministry of God the Holy Spirit] and the seven stars [a reference to the completed number of messengers or pastors in every generation],
Next the Lord says REV 3:1...‘I know your deeds [or accomplishments], that you have a name or reputation that you are alive, but you are dead. They were beginning to lose their “first love” for the Lord and therefore they were living in cosmic death. Therefore, our Lord goes on to say in REV 3:2-3, ‘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 or guard it, and repent [get rid of your system of negative thinking].
Notice next what the subject is that God the Holy Spirit is talking about. 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. What subject is He referring to when He says “I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you?” He is talking about those who need to change their attitude at the time that He is ready to come back.
Some say “Well they have always been saying “He’s coming back.” Well, could this be the time when 2PE 3:3-6, has come when it says Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep [the founders of our faith have died], all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
What is Peter talking about? He is talking about the days of Noah when God was getting ready to judge the world and people were laughing at and mocking Noah just before the judgment came. Why is that important? It is important because of what our Lord said to “look for” just before He does come back. Look at it, and rejoice in it. Our Lord said in MAT 24:33-42, even so you too, when you see all these things [all the things mentioned in the previous verses], recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
Remember what we are dealing with in this doctrine of the pivot which is whether or not the USA will play a vital role in the last days of biblical prophecy. Could it be that “It is”? Well, first of all, we all need to evaluate ourselves, in 2CO 13:5, Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you‑‑ unless indeed you fail the test? Now, here is the main issue, if the Lord is in us then how should we live?
GAL 2:20, tells us how we should live when the apostle Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me or through me;”
Notice, I am to try my best to live as He lived. One way or the other, we make choices every day either through omission or submission. What do I mean by that? I mean that sometimes not doing anything at all is doing something whether you know it or not.
This is why we need to learn from history - that we don’t seem to learn from history. What is the main lesson we need to learn? Again, it is the principle that: As goes the believer, so goes the nation. This is the result of apostasy as it begins to reign. People are falling away from the truth...not from religion, but from the truth. For example, there were periods of apostasy in Israel in the Old Testament and God dealt with them, and the apostle Paul tells us not to think that God will not do the same to us.
1CO 10:1-12, For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized or identified with Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well‑pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty‑three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
This is a warning that we do not turn out like the believers in Sardis. This is a warning that we do not do what the Jews did when they ignored their responsibilities to God and their responsibility to a lost and dying world. Paul also warned us of this in ROM 11:15 speaking to the gentiles about the Jews, the apostle Paul says For if their rejection [God rejecting them because they had rejected Him] be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? One day when the Lord comes back and sets up His Millennial kingdom both Jews and Gentiles will live in peace and prosperity with Him for 1,000 years.
Both the Old Testament saints, including those who died during the Tribulation Period and the New Testament saints will live together with Him in our resurrected bodies.
And then there will be the fulfillment of this verse: ROM 11:15, For if their rejection be or cause the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? A fantastic life beginning with 1,000 years of perfect environment.
Then in ROM 11:16, Paul writes And if the first piece of dough be holy, the lump is also; and if the root be holy, the branches are too. This refers to God making both Jews and gentiles holy in His sight. ROM 11:17-18, But if some of the branches were broken off [some of the Jews were rejected by God for not living in His plan], and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, [a reference to the root of Jesse, who was the father of David and therefore the root refers to the lord]. do not be arrogant toward the branches - [the Jews;] but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. The root is a reference to TLJC who was a Jew and supports both Jews and gentiles.
ROM 11:19-22, You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness or His grace; otherwise you also will be cut off.”
That’s why I said to you on Friday evening, our biggest problem that we are facing as a nation today is not ISIS or ISIL, it’s not terrorism, or Russia, China, or North Korea but our biggest problem the church is facing is fallen away from God into apostasy.
Apostasy is not necessarily ignoring God but it is ignoring and rejecting His word. A lot of apostate believers say “I believe in God” but they ignore His word and certain biblical principles and verses that are vital.
For example, apostate believers ignore passages like JAM 1:22 which says, Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.
They ignore passages like JAM 1:25, But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does. They ignoreJAM 4:17, Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.
There is your sin of omission! They ignore HEB 4:11, Let us therefore be diligent or study to enter God’s rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. as the Jews did. They ignore what Peter said on his dying bed in 2Pe1:10, Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; They use the name of God but they ignore their daily responsibilities to God.
Apostasy has always been around in every generation, but it’s the size of apostate believes that is the real important issue. We live in a day and age when the kingdom of darkness has all kinds of influence with apostate believers who have a sounding board of some form or another! And I’m not talking about unbelievers but believers being used by Satan to discredit doctrinal teaching and the believer’s commitment to the daily intake of God’s word or literally our “Daily Bread.” There’s more to the phrase, “Give us this day, our daily bread” then just referring to physical food - it also refers to spiritual food.
There are people who make it seem like you’re a fanatic if you listen to the word of God daily, or that you are getting puffed up because you’re getting of too much knowledge. However, what does the scripture say? Remember that Nehemiah was a prophet and in NEH 8:18, a revival was taking place in Israel because of the desire for the word of God or Bible doctrine from their teacher, Ezra, the priest. And notice what it says NEH 8:18 Ezra read from the book of the Law of God daily, from the first day to the last day.
Doctrine was a daily thing for TLJC and it should be a daily thing for us. Doctrine also promises blessings to those who listen to it daily in PRO 8:34, Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts.
The Lord made it crystal clear that we would need the word of God daily to survive in MAT 4:4 and LUK 9:23. In LUK 9:23, And He was saying to them all, “if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross[when?] daily, and follow Me. The Lord not only learned doctrine every day in LUK 2:40,52; but in LUK 19:47, And He was teaching daily in the temple; [and that is why] and the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him.
The early church even met daily and they were becoming strong in doctrine and increasing in number. ACT 16:5, So the churches were being strengthened in the Christian faith [the Christian doctrines], and were increasing in number daily.
Now, I am not saying that you need to gather together physically with other believers every day. What I am saying is because life has changed drastically and knowledge has increased so rapidly...that through technology it is possible for you today to have some sanctified time every day when you can fellowship with God by listening or reading His word. So, do not be deceived or discouraged by individuals who are sent to try and stop your momentum in the PPOG which only comes from your consistent intake of Bible doctrine. You can see why Satan loves to discredit the daily relationship with God and the intake of Bible doctrine...it exposes him for the liar that he is.
For the believer who is not involved with apostasy it says in PSA 1:2, “But his delight [the adult believer] is in the Law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Even through simple prayer we read in ISA 8:9, “My Lord, I have called daily upon you.” We read that the apostle Paul ceased not to warn the early church night and day in Acts 20:31 “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
Paul tells us in 2CO 4:16 that our inward man the new creature is renewed day by day, 2CO 4:16, Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. The early church recognized the importance of staying out of apostasy by gathering daily, which you don’t have to do literally, but you can do it spiritually by staying in tune with the PPOG and what the Spirit is saying to the churches! It’s very sad in our day an age that there is such an attack upon the daily P.M.A. of B.D. A daily commitment to the Lord is something that the apostate believer just doesn’t even consider to be important today!
It is very easy to see that a daily commitment to spiritual exercise and self-discipline is definitely taught in the scriptures! Do not be deceived by individuals who are sent to try and stop your momentum in the PPOG which only comes from your consistent intake of Bible doctrine. The religious crowd, the emotional crowd, the legalists, the lovey dovey crowd loves to discredit anyone who challenges the believer daily. Therefore they get involved with apostasy. Apostasy in a client nation is always a cancer. If it spreads continually that client nation loses all the blessings of God that were upon it...especially when it comes to how we treat the nation of Israel.
I would like to close with a passage that I hope will be a part of my eulogy and even yours. A eulogy is what people say about you after you’re gone, unless the rapture comes first! In Acts chapter 4, I want to read a few verses beginning with verse 10 after the apostles Peter and John had just healed a lame man who couldn’t walk for years...and Peter said to the leaders of Israel who asked him, “By whose authority did you heal this man?” Peter said in ACT 4:10-13, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead‑‑by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He [Jesus Christ] is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which or he became the very corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
Peter and John were facing severe threats and intimidation to keep them silent.
Why? Because they were taking ground from the kingdom of darkness and they were boldly speaking the truth and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were a great threat, so they had to be silenced. They had to be threatened and bullied and intimidated.
But I want you to see in verse 13 the phrase “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled, and they realized that they had been with Jesus.” I would that this could be said of all of us!
That we are bold and may be uneducated and untrained, but others realize that we have been with Jesus.” Where else can they get such boldness? A few verses later we read that they devised a plan to threaten and silence them. And that plan is alive and well today.
Peter and John were unafraid. They had an unflinching fearlessness, a holy boldness to speak the truth. Act 4:14-20, And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to go aside out of the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.
Listen, I don’t know how else to say it. We have the truth, and if there was ever a time that we should not cower or falter in the face of threats and intimidation to silence us as Christians, it is now. Don’t cower or bow down to the fear of man, if you want to fear someone --- Fear God! And remember 2TI 3:12 says, And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.