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ATN 6 - "Of Awakenings and True Life"

Updated: Apr 3



Review: “All Things New”


  • John is in exile on the island of Patmos, a Roman mining colony (He will be later released under Emperor Nerva, and was “in the Spirit” on the “Lord’s Day” and had a vision

  • The Book of Revelation is the conclusion of the epic story of God’s redemption of humanity, where we are fully reunited with our Creator and are present with Him as we were in the Garden

  • The Kingdom of God is fully realized: all sickness, pain, sorrow and death – and all those who cause it – are removed from the universe

  • There is universal restoration – all things are made new

  • This book is an apokalypsis (a figurative narrative which reveals) and prophecy (the speaking of God’s will) and a letter (to real people for life-application)

  • It’s a manifesto for the Kingdom of God – a public declaration of God’s intentions; things which “are” and “are to come”

  • A blessing on those who “hear” and “keep” what is revealed here – think, the “Shema.” Update: there is no word for “obedience” in Hebrew)

    • shema levot: Hb.“hearing hearts” vs. obedience (Western view)

    • NOT a mental evaluation with obedience upon agreement, put an open and willing heart which responds to God

    • To hear is to obey, belief takes form ONLY in action

  • The tribulation and the Kingdom and the patient endurance. Yet, it is all “in Jesus” – making it possible and hope-filled

  • Ephesus: Commended for works, charged with a loss of heart, called to do the things they did at first

  • Smyrna: no rebuke, only encouragement!

  • Pergamum: commended for testifying to the faithfulness of Christ, rebuked for food offered to idols, sexual immorality, and tolerating the Nicolatians

  • Thyatira: commended for love, faith, service and patient endurance, rebuked for allowing “Jezebel” a false prophetess in the church

 

The Message to the Fifth Church: Sardis


  • Sardis is about 30 miles southeast of Thyatira, in Lydia, an important place for the manufacture of jewelry, dye and textiles – and was wealthy

    • Main temple was of Artemis, goddess of the hunt/animals, chastity/childbirth

  • Ch. 3:1 – Christ is the one who has the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and directs and empowers the actions of the seven leaders through the same Spirit.

    • He is the source of all life and ministry

    • “I know your works” – Again, Jesus is present and is intimately acquainted with their daily lives

    • “Have the appearance of being alive, but are really dead” The true inner reality of the church does not bear out their reputation

  • v.2 – “Wake up” – to be in continue readiness to learn; to be alert, watchful, vigilant –it’s about being focused

    • Firm up (Gk. stēriziō) what is left and is about to die

    • It is my judgement before God that your labor/task is incomplete

  • V.3 – Be mindful/call to mind again the valuable thing you have received and heard (tied to shema)

    • “Keep it and repent” – repentance becomes real in actions of obedience

    • “Wake up/thief” – The sleeping are unaware of the thief when He comes against them! 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

    • He is calling them to the watchful obedience of shema levot

  • V.4 – there are a few “names” still in Sardis who have not compromised the Way of Jesus and have walked in purity. These people are pointed out as an example to be followed: 1 Corinthians 11:1

  • V.5 – he one who conquers:

    • Will become like those “worthy” one in Sardis, “clothed in white”

    • Will not have his name blotted out of the book of life

    • Jesus will testify on their behalf in the court of heaven

  • V.6 – shema levot!

 

 Why This Matters


  • It lets us know the Jesus sees past our Facebook/Instagram spiritual façade

  • There is a call in this passage for us to awaken: Romans 13:11-14

    • In our Community we are faced with spiritual apathy, hedonism, cultural compromise, sexual immorality and poor stewardship

    • We need to awaken! And there are promises for those who do!  Isaiah 60:1-3, Malachi 4:2

    • We needed to live focused lives to accomplish the works God has called us to – as individuals, families and as a Community: Ephesians 2:10

  • Again, God provides a way to obey! We need to look no further than those around us for examples on how to live the Jesus way! Philippians 3:17-21

  • There is an abundant life for those who have shema levot, “hearing hearts”

  • Again, he promises eternity to those who conquer through obedience!

  • Remember, there is a different between conviction of the Holy Spirit (good) and condemnation (bad): Romans 8:1-11

  • God wants to awaken us and give us His true life!

  • Your Next Steps

  • What did the Holy Spirit point out to you today?

  • For reflection:

    • What argues in your thinking against your obedience?

    • What says in your heart, “No I can’t/won’t do/obey that because….”

    • Where do you continue to disobey what I have taught you from God’s Word? Why?

  • Read next week’s passage: Revelation 3:1-6

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