in the Christian Library
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. John was writing his discouraged brethren. He sought
to rekindle their devotion and dedication to God. They faced many trials
and pressures because of their faith and many were ready to give up. Immediate
attention was required if Satan's objectives were to be foiled.
II. The way God chose to strengthen the members of the
7 Asian churches was through their memories. The basic message of these
7 letters is "remem ber!"
1. The call to remember would cause these readers to contemplate
life and know that God really cares about them. Such an exercise would
change their viewpoint.
2. The primary question which we should answer in times
of sorrow and trouble is, "Where will we stand?" John urged his readers
to remember that their strength was found In God not in the world.
III. This is needed counsel for many today. When sorrow
strikes it is so easy to forget God. We must "remember" just as our brethren
in these 7 churches did. Note 4 things which believers need to remember
in trying times.
I. REMEMBER GOD
A. Throughout this book John reminds his readers to focus on God.
He urged them to remember their Almighty Creator.
B. A careful reading reveals that John wanted his readers
to remember the following things about God.
1. Remember His promises (2:7, 10-11, 17, 26-28;
3:5, 12, 21). Each letter closes with a promise to the believer who remains
faithful -- heavenly blessings are promised to those who persevere.
a. 2:7 -- Enjoyment of heavenly blessings. We find a beautiful
garden specially prepared full of delights.
b. 2:10-11 -- A trophy of victory (Jas 1:12) and they
will be saved from the second death (20:6, 14). Eternal joy and victory
are pictured here.
c. 2:17 -- Believers will find themselves at home in the
great banquet feast (the wedding supper) feasting on heavenly manna (Jn
4:31-33; 6:35). They will find eternal identity with God - "white stone
and a new name."
"The white stone was a symbol in the Roman world used in legal trials, academic grading systems, and at athletic games. The stone with the Roman letters SP imprinted upon it was given in Roman games as an award for valor.
Also it was first-century practice that after a serious
illness a patient who recovered would often take a new name to signify
his or her complete victory. The point is dramatically symbolized for the
Christians at Pergamum. Their drift into sinfulness does not need to be
the last word for either themselves or for others. In spite of the harm
that has happened, there can be healing - a new identity to fulfill the
identity distorted by sin; healthy food from God who knows of the human
need to be fed and healed, and made whole."
d. 2:26-28 -- The victorious believer, because of faith,
will help vanquish all evil (22:5). Faithfulness enables them to spend
eternity with Christ, the bright and morning Star (22:16). Believers will
be given the morning "star," a symbol of deity. This cannot refer to a
millennial reign of 1,000 on earth, for this takes place in heaven.
e. 3:5 -- Those who remain steadfast will be registered
in the roll of heaven. Standing in heaven the believer will be recognized
as a colleague of the Lord's.
f. 3:12 - The blessings of eternity will be secure. This
security is possible because the believer has identified himself with God,
the church (Jerusalem), and the Redeemer.
g. 3:21 - Marvelous fellowship is available. This fellowship
begins in this life and is perfected in the hereafter when believers sit
h. NOTE: John encouraged his brethren to remember these
wonderful promises and they would remain faithful to God!
2. Remember God's majestic and awesome power.
a. Revealed to Ephesians (2:5) - He demands repentance
and has power to remove the "lampstand" (1:20). God can cause a church
to cease existing!
b. Revealed to Smyrna (2:10) - God's power can assure
calm. "10 days" - a number represents completeness. When the suffering
is complete God's power assures us that there is an end to problems.
c. Revealed to Pergamum (2:16) - God can handle the situation
with the power of His Word.
d. Revealed to Thyatira (2:21-24) - God's power will handle
the impenitent ("Jezebel"). He offers time for repentance but will not
always be patient!
e. Revealed to Sardis (3:3) - God is so powerful that
only He can demand and expect active service.
f. Revealed to Philadelphia (3:9-10) - God is the divine
g. Revealed to Laodicea (3:18-19) - God's power can satisfy
all of our needs - we must "buy" from Him if we are to be satisfied (Isaiah
3. Remember God's great love in sending Jesus to
save our souls and intercede for us.
a. Jesus Christ is the focal point of this book. Believers
must look to Him if they are to survive. Believers must realize that He
is supremely great and allow nothing to take their devotion away.
b. To impress his readers with the greatness of Christ,
John presents Him in majestic terms.
1) 2:1 - He rules the angels and is ever present among
2) 2:8 - He has conquered death, the great enemy of man,
and is now forever alive!
3) 2:12 - He possesses a power greater than any earthly
4) 2:18 - He sees all things and will reward accordingly.
His feet are shod to trample evil.
5) 3:1 - He possesses the ability to offer life to dead
6) 3:7 - He possesses absolute authority.
7) 3:14 - Christ is the One in Whom we can find true faithfulness.
He is also the "beginning" (source) of God's creation (cf John 1:3, 10).
c. Believers needs to remember (Romans 8:32; Galatians
4:4-5). As we remember this fact we will be faithful.
4. Remember God's Omniscience - HE KNOWS! (2:2,
9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 15). God is aware of our struggles and will not forget
II. 3 other points which should be remembered so we will
never surrender to the Devil.
A. Remember that it is essential to remain involved.
1. Involvement will help keep our commitment strong and
will renew our devotion (2:5). 3:8 - "Open Door."
2. Caution - it is possible to be too involved and fail
to possess love (2:4). There may be a deep sense of duty but no devotion;
a response from guilt but not from appreciation and thanksgiving (John
3. John reminds his readers to "hold fast" (3:11) - to
be active and involved.
B. Remember what true values are in the world.
1. Smyrna was impoverished yet was rich beyond measure
2. Philadelphia had "little power" but was connected to
a power source of unlimited strength (3:8).
3. Laodicea trusted in the values of the world and found
herself in abject poverty (3:17).
C. Remember to face trials without fear.
1. Even though you may live and work where Satan's strength
is the greatest, you can face your foes without fear (2:10a).
2. When God is for you and you are obeying His will there is nothing which can cause you eternal harm (Matthew 10:28).
I. It is easy to give up and surrender to Satan. John
urges us to "remember" and remain faithful!
II. A blacksmith known for his strong faith, had a great
deal of illness. He was challenged by an unbeliever to explain why God
would let him suffer. He explained, "I take a piece of iron, put it into
the fire and bring it to a white heat, then I strike it once or twice to
see if it will temper. I plunge it into water to change the temperature,
put it into the fire again, then I put it on the anvil and make a useful
article out of it. If it will not temper when I first strike it I throw
it into the scrap heap and sell it for a 1/2 penny per pound. I believe
that God is testing me to see if I will take temper. I have tried to bear
it as patiently as I could, and my daily prayer has been, 'Lord, put me
into the fire if you will; put me into the water if you think I need it;
do anything you please only don't throw me on the scrap heap."
Let us trust in God to deliver us and care for us when
we have needs. When times become difficult and the burdens press us to
give up and give in - REMEMBER! "God's Sky is over us yet!"
Copyright 1998 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes
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