The Warnings to the Churches – 12-2-22

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 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.” Revelation 2:4-5 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:                                                                   

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of The Revelation of Christ, chapter 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).

The Loveless Church

“To the [a]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: “I know your works, your labor, your [b]patience, and that you cannot [c]bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 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. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

“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.” ’

The Persecuted Church

“And to the [d]angel of the church in Smyrna write,

‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “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 [e]synagogue of Satan. 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.” ’

The Compromising Church

12 “And to the [f]angel of the church in Pergamos write,

‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, [g]which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’

The Corrupt Church

18 “And to the [h]angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, [i]service, faith, and your [j]patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have [k]a few things against you, because you allow [l]that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, [m]to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to [n]repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of [o]their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[p] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, [q]and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I [r]will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Revelation Chapter 2 – John jumps right in with the messages to the 7 churches. These messages must be very important if Jesus is going to reveal himself in His full glory just to give them to John so John can write to the churches.

First up is the church at Ephesus, and prophetically to the loveless church.
Last year I was speaking with a pastor who told me his church struggled with Love. I asked him what he was preaching on and was it helping. Well he did “god is love” and all the places Jesus said to love and even First Corinthians 13. I suggested a line by line teaching from Ephesians and to use Rev 2:1-7 to begin each sermon. Well, the thought Revelations was too scary and believed he was on the right path on his own. A year later he has added greetings and fellowship behaviors to the Sunday activities in church – he thinks they will fake it till they make it. I do not run a church, I do not know. I know people are slow to change unless they are touched by grace and I know we cannot make grace touch people. They must be open and accepting and have their hearts soft and receptive… if the problem is love, chances are their hearts are hard. A year later and he is still working on them.

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: “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; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 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. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
“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.” ’”

Ephesus was doing so much right, like this pastor’s church – but loving each other may have fallen short because their love waxed cold with God. Remember when we read Ephesians? The overall theme was how we transform into a loving unity. Paul had tried to address this very thing with them. They did not read Paul’s letter and immediately repent and get it right.  Did they now that John is writing it and Jesus is threatening to leave?
My friend’s church, will Jesus, and the anointing leave him like Sampson’s anointing left him without him realizing – because the lack of love with each other is a lack of first love starting with the very top – with the pastor?! Yes – I did tell him these very things and no I was probably not any gentler. We are all grown up and are able to call our ugly mess into the light and repent – make it right. No need to sugar coat it. We are all bent towards being a stiff necked people – we need a good Bible passage banged over our heads every now and then – especially when it is a warning that Jesus might remove the lampstand (his anointing and symbol of His presence) from us!

Next up is the persecuted church. Not a lot of that happening locally – none of these churches are shaking things up enough to be a threat to anyone, including the devil. But to the rising remnant who is shaking the earth with its prayers and steps – and therefore has become the persecuted church – and to all the churches in this world who are persecuted (in China, Iraq, in Kazakhstan, and so many other places):

“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: “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. 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.” ’”

I think of Paul and Silas in prison. At the end of his life he was in “light chains” a form of house arrest. But when Paul and Silas were tossed in jail and had the sing along – that was an unsanitary pit with prisoners chained to the walls sitting in their own excrement – it was there that Paul had a sing along. Something about Paul makes me think it was not a worship music service either – no deep worship in awe of God. I bet Paul pulled out the Psalms of praise and thanksgiving! I bet, like David, who wrote many while hiding in caves, Paul felt similarly chained in the cave and became overwhelmed with thanksgiving.
Last night I was speaking with an old childhood friend and she shared the struggles in her life and I shared the struggles in mine and talked about it and prayed and the truth is – God is still the provider even in chains and persecution and despair – Even with daily threats and mild persecution – it is not just possible to praise and give thanks, but it can actually well up and overflow naturally when you realize, we are in chains and His love and sovereignty are not in chains and He is still over it all.

Next up is the compromising church – the people pleasers and false teachers. The ones with pronoun identification and drag queens in leadership. The ones who make the wrong compromises.

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’”

Well it seems we must revisit where Paul said we could eat meat sacrificed to idols… To me, animal sacrifice is so far from my understanding and not a sin I struggle with. Most animal sacrifices are not cursing the meat. So – according to Paul, once prayed over and blessed – there is no sin in eating them. HOWEVER, there is a sin if you cause your brother to stumble or if this is something you came out of. Many Chinese restaurants still offer food and make sacrifices to idols – so pray over your food and bless it. Now, if a brother came out from that life style – eating a food offered to an idol represents a whole process and remembrance – this is wrong for him. It is like for some people, a drink is not wrong. I used to drink too much so for me I do not let myself have any – it is wrong for me, because I can lose control.
Now, as for the other compromises – they are easier for us to understand. They are still compromises in our culture. Many of these churches have the in and out of service in one hour methodology and no room for the Holy Spirit to move.

Next up is the corrupt church. Specifically the church that is corrupted by Jezebel.

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

Often Jezebel corrupts the same way – but, sometimes the power play lacks seduction so Jezzy is not recognized so quickly. Many, if not ALL new ministries run into a Jezzy here or there at the beginning – eager to help, quick to manipulate, even quicker to throw fits if they do not get their way.
If you overcome Jezebel – the reward is great – you get the power over the nations and a rod of iron! They will be given the morning star!
I have often thought about doing good teaching on the Jezebel spirit – however, there are a few really good ones out there already and we are on a schedule.

If you need help identifying her and extracting her do a YouTube search. Or reach out and I will recommend a few.

Join us this weekend as we begin to wrap up our weekend wisdom readings for the year – and we will be back on Monday with more from Revelation (which really isn’t so bad, now is it?)

***

I also wanted to remind and inform all of you, that instead of writing a book on fasting (since it is the topic I get asked the most about) I have created a Facebook group that is designed to be interactive and give you all the Bible verses on fasting, all the types of fast, and how to fast. In the group are specialist to help us along the way, like the creator of The Fasting Protocol (fasting for health and weight loss; which is part of fasting and important to know about – He can also speak to fasting in a healthy manner). The group is new and other experts are invited, I am hopeful they will join. So let’s join the group and see what we will learn about prayer and fasting. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/509149707741862

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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