BibliaTodo Commentaries


Smith Chuck - Through the Bible C2000 Series
2 John 1

1. The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

2. For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

3. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

4. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

5. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

6. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

7. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

8. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

9. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

11. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

12. Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

13. The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

2 John 1

Tonight, we want to look at 2 John and 3 John and the book of Jude, all short little one-chapter epistles. The epistles of 2 John and 3 John were of course, written by the apostle John. A situation existed in the early church of itinerant prophets. There were men who traveled and they would come to the various churches that have been established or founded. And they would exercise to the churches their gift of prophecy, speaking through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, in the edifying of the churches, in the comforting of the saints, building up the body of Christ. Now there were those who would come to the church claiming this gift of prophecy, claiming to be speaking in the name of the Lord who were really false prophets, and they would be giving off with their false concepts under the guise of a prophet. If someone should come in here and say, I'm a prophet of God, you know, and I have a message for the church, we'd send them to Romaine to check out the message. But in the early church, there would be these groups, itinerant prophets who would travel around, come to the church, minister to the church. Now there came to be abuses with this. There would come those that would claim to be a prophet speaking for God and they'd say, Thus saith the Lord, Prepare a great steak dinner, mashed potatoes and green beans, you know. Or, In the name of the Lord, you know, they would --they would say, Thus saith the Lord, you know, Take care of this man's needs. Give him money for his purse. So it was necessary in the early church that they write some guidelines for these itinerant evangelists and prophets. And so there was a book known as the Dedike, which means the teachings of the apostles, the didactic. And this Dedike were instructions from the apostles to the various churches on how to judge a false prophet and basically, some of the rules by which they judge them. If they come in, if they came in and ministered, received them and all, accept them, and if they stayed more than three days, then they were false prophets. Started living off the people, you know. And they did have a rule in the Dedike, it said, If they order a meal prepared in the name of the Lord, and if they eat of that meal, they're a false prophet. But if they order it prepared for the poor, and all, and don't partake, then they are to be accepted and honored. If they, in the name of the Lord, you know, order money to be given to them, they were false prophets. Now in the second epistle that John writes, he deals with the truth. Of course, both epistles are very interested in the truth. And in the first one, he deals with those false prophets and their false testimony concerning Jesus Christ. In the third epistle, he deals with one of the men in the church who did not want any prophets coming in, would not accept or receive any of them because he himself was one of the preeminence. And to Gaius, who the third epistle was addressed to, he told them that he did well in accepting and giving hospitality to these itinerant prophets and evangelists and that there was one, Demetrius, who was coming and he encouraged him to receive him. He was a good man. So behind the two epistles lie these itinerant prophets and evangelists who just traveled around, sort of nomads in the early church. And of course, the theme of both of the epistles is truth. So the first or the second epistle of John, he writes to the, he writes addressing himself as the elder. Now that word "elder" could mean aged or ancient. It also was a title within the churches. Each of the churches had their elders who were the overseers of the church, but the Greek word "presbyturos" was originally just used for an aged person. At this point when John is writing, he's probably over ninety years old, so he's very qualified to call himself the elder. Both of these epistles, if you'll notice, are quite short and in both of them, he mentions that there are a lot of things he wants to write about, but he will save that until he sees them face to face. He'd rather just talk to them about it than write to them about it. Now in those days, they had a writing material, a parchment, that was 8 x 10 inches, which is close to the 8 1/2 x 11 notebook paper that you grew up in school with. And interestingly enough, each of these little epistles would fit very well on one of those little 8 x 10 pieces of paper. So that's probably what John originally wrote these on, just some of that original parchments that they had, 8 x 10 inches and he wrote out these little epistles. But he calls himself the aged, The elder unto the elect lady and her children ( 2Jn 1:1 ), Now there is, you know, question as to who the elect lady was, if it were actually a person, an individual, or if he was writing to a church. "The elect lady and her children." We don't know. But he said, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth ( 2Jn 1:1 ); As I said, the truth is the theme of the epistle. For the truth's sake, which dwells in us, and shall be with us for ever ( 2Jn 1:2 ). Jesus said my words are truth. He said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, my words shall not pass away" ( Mat 24:35 ). The truth exists forever. And so I love in the truth. I love in truth. And all they that have known the truth, for the truth's sake. Grace be with you, and mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love ( 2Jn 1:3 ). Grace, mercy and peace: these are common greetings in the New Testament epistles. Usually just grace and peace, some of them is added mercy. To Timothy and Titus was added grace, mercy and peace. The grace of God is God's unmerited favor to you. It's getting what you don't deserve, the goodness of God, the blessings of God which we don't deserve, yet God bestows upon them. That's grace. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. David when he prayed, prayed very wisely, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions" ( Psa 51:1 ). And whenever I pray, I always pray, Have mercy upon me, O God. I never say, O God, I want justice. I'd be burning, mercy, Lord, not getting what I deserve. But God goes one step further, grace, hey; He gives me what I don't deserve, His love, His goodness, His kindness, His blessings. I don't deserve them but He bestows them upon me, the grace of God, the mercy of God and peace. He said, I rejoiced greatly that I found thy children walking in truth ( 2Jn 1:4 ), Boy, if you don't know that truth is the theme of the epistle, you ought to know it by now. He in each of the verses so far has mentioned it at least once, sometimes more than once. "I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth," as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another ( 2Jn 1:4-5 ). This is really the essence of the New Testament and the commandments of Jesus. Jesus said, "A new commandment give I unto thee, That you love one another." Jesus said, "By this sign shall men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another" ( Joh 13:34-35 ). This is a sign to the world. Now unfortunately, the church's witness to the world hasn't been that good. When churches get in squabbles with each other, when there is fighting and division in the body, it's a very poor witness to the world. It's no sign that we're His disciples. "We know," John said, "that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" ( 1Jn 3:14 ). How do I know that I've really passed from death unto life? God's love planted in my heart for the brethren. So the commandment that we have from the beginning is that we should love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it ( 2Jn 1:6 ). So we should walk in love. Love one towards another. This is the agape love that's sacrificing, self-effacing, giving love. Now he deals with, Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist ( 2Jn 1:7 ). Remember in his first epistle, he said, "Believe not every spirit but try the spirits to see if they be of God. And every spirit that testifieth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: But every spirit that testifies not that Jesus is come in the flesh is not of God: the spirit of antichrist, which is already at work in the world" ( 1Jn 4:1-3 ). So now again he talks about "deceivers entered into the world, who confess that Jesus Christ, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh" ( 2Jn 1:7 ). Interestingly enough, though it looks identical to his first epistle, there is a very interesting difference in the Greek. That difference lies in the tense. And in the second epistle here that we are considering tonight, the word literally is "coming in the flesh." Now in the first epistle, it was that He had come in the flesh; that is, His first coming was in the flesh. You see, there were the Gnostics who declared that Jesus was a phantom, an apparition. There appears to be a person but it wasn't really there. It's just an apparition. That everything of the material is evil, everything that is of material substance is inherently evil. Thus, had Jesus had a material body it would have been evil and He could not have been God; therefore, He did not have a material body because that's evil. All material is evil. And the Gnostics taught that Jesus was just a phantom and they had stories about when He would walk on the sand, you wouldn't see any footprints, you know, and they developed all kinds of things like this. Jesus was an apparition. He didn't really come in the flesh. John said in the first epistle that whoever declares that was, you know, that's the way you test the spirits to see if they're really of God. Here the test is: Is He coming in the flesh? Now there is a very interesting point to be made here and that is, the Jehovah Witnesses deny that Jesus is coming in the flesh. His coming is a spiritual coming. He came in 1914, established the kingdom of God in the secret chambers. He's not really coming in the flesh. Now what does this then say of those who hold that doctrine? "Many deceivers are entered into the world who confess not that Jesus Christ is coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." Now look to yourselves [or be careful], that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God ( 2Jn 1:8-9 ). Though they claim to have the Father, Jehovah Witnesses, yet their denial of Christ is also denial of the Father. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you ( 2Jn 1:9-10 ), On Saturday morning. and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him goodbye, God speed: for he that bids him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds ( 2Jn 1:10-11 ). So when they leave, don't say, Well, God bless you, brother. Or God bless, you don't want God to bless their pernicious ways. They are denying the truth of God that Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh and that Jesus is coming in the flesh. They deny that. So don't bid them God bless you. You might say, God bring you to the truth. God bring you out of darkness into the glorious light of His Son, but not God bless you. Having many things to write unto you, I would not write them with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full ( 2Jn 1:12 ). Fullness of joy, that's what the Lord wants for every child of God. The fullness of joy is mentioned by Jesus in John, the fifteenth chapter. It's related to abiding in Him. In the sixteenth chapter of the gospel of John, it's related to your prayer life. "Ask, that you might receive, that your joy may be full" ( Joh 16:24 ). In the first epistle of John, the fullness of joy is related to our fellowship with God. "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you might have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full" ( 1Jn 1:3-4 ). Now the fullness of joy is related to just getting together with the body of Christ in fellowship. Tomorrow we go out to Santa Cruz and we'll be meeting with a lot of the ministers from the Calvary Chapels in Northern California and Nevada, Southern Oregon. We'll be meeting with about, oh, couple hundred of the ministers and some of the staff from the various Calvary Chapels up there, and I'm looking forward to it. Last year when we were up there we had just a fabulous time. After the service in the evening on Monday night last year, we got together in Mike Macintosh's room and I guess we were up 'til 2Jo 1:30 , 2Jo 2:00 o'clock, just fellowshipping together, talking about what the Lord is doing and it's just the meeting face to face. You know, we can write letters to each other and share but there's just something about that personal meeting together and the time that we can share together. So there's that fullness of joy as we relate to each other the things of Christ, as we talk about the Lord and about the ministry of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and through our lives. Fullness of joy. "I'd like to write other things to you but I'd rather wait until we see each other face to face, that our joy may be full." The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen ( 2Jn 1:13 ). "

-3 John So the third epistle of John is now again, John addresses himself as The elder [the presbyturos] unto the wellbeloved Gaius ( 3Jn 1:1 ), Probably not the Gaius mentioned in Paul's epistle to the Corinthians where he was in Corinth, and it would appear that these letters were written to those in the area of Ephesus. whom I love in the truth. Beloved ( 3Jn 1:1-2 ), And he's talking to Gaius. I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth ( 3Jn 1:2 ). Now there are many people who quote this scripture as a sort of promise for healing. And they twist the scriptures slightly making it really sort of God's declaration, God saying I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers. But this is a personal letter from John to Gaius. And he is greeting Gaius who is well-loved with this beautiful wish that you may prosper and be in good health. As we so often in our letters writing to someone we haven't seen for a long time, I hope that this letter finds you in good health. So to use this as a promise for healing is really not scriptural, as God's promise for healing. It is the wish of John for Gaius. Beautiful wish indeed. "I wish that you might prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers." But it is interesting that there is a relationship made between the prosperity of the soul and the physical well being. And we are discovering more and more as we study the human body that there is a very definite direct relationship between a person's physical health and their mental well-being. We are learning how that attitude can change the body chemistry and that bad attitudes can create harmful chemicals that will attack your body physically. And there's a definite relationship between mental attitude and organic illnesses in many cases. The psychologist say ninety percent, I think, that they're overstressing their side. But there is a definite relationship between many illnesses and the mental attitude of the person. So there's a correlation made between the physical well-being with the mental, the prosperity of the soul, the mind. There is a proverb that says, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" ( Pro 17:22 ). You know that they have discovered that that is scientifically correct. That laughter aids tremendously in the digestion of food. You ought to have a joke book at your dinner table. Bitterness can eat at your physical being, can create ulcers, chemicals that are harmful, destructive. So it is interesting that John would make the correlation between the physical and the emotional or mental. "I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers." For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as you walk in truth. And I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth ( 3Jn 1:3-4 ). I can concur with what John is saying here. The greatest joy, I think, of a teacher is to hear that their children are walking in truth. You know, to come across someone that you ministered to fifteen, twenty years ago and find them walking in the truth is just a thrill, no greater joy. In the same way, there's probably no greater sorrow than to hear that your children have turned from the truth, got caught up in some weird doctrine, some heresy. That's painful, that hurts. But "no greater joy than to hear that they are walking in the truth." Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do to the brethren, to the strangers; Which have borne witness of your love before the church: whom if you bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, you will do well ( 3Jn 1:5-6 ): Now he's talking about Gaius's treatment of these itinerary evangelists and prophets. You've been hospitable to them. You've helped them along their way. And in this you did well. It was, and they've come, and they've told of your love. They've told of your hospitality. Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing from the heathens ( 3Jn 1:7 ). So these itinerant prophets have gone forth in the name of the Lord and for his name's sake, but they wouldn't take anything from the Gentiles, which is in the New Testament Greek the heathen or the pagans, because in Christ, you know, they were all brothers. "There is no Jew nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian" ( Col 3:11 ). So the Gentiles referred to those outside of Christ. I question some of the fund raising techniques of the churches today that go to the major corporations or they go to the businesses or they go to the world to find financing for the ministry and for the work of the church. The early prophets that went forth did not practice that. In fact, as I told you, if they asked for money they were considered to be a false prophet. That's the apostle wrote their Dedike and they said if they ask for money they're false prophets. So he is encouraging Gaius in his hospitality, the love that he had shown was good. It had been reported and he said, We ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers of the truth. Now I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, did not receive us ( 3Jn 1:8-9 ). Diotrephes, an interesting character. We look how his sin has been exposed throughout the years. A man who loved the preeminence in the church. He didn't want to give, you know, any place to anybody else. He wanted the preeminence. So when these prophets would come in, he wouldn't receive them. In fact, he even refused John the beloved, apostle of the Lord. There are Diotrephes still in the church today, those who are looking for a position for themselves, those that are looking for a place of power and authority, who want preeminence. So John said, Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and he forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church ( 3Jn 1:10 ). I mean, this guy was a real tyrant. He wouldn't receive these itinerant ministers and if someone in the church would receive them, he'd throw them out of the church. John's exhortation is Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. And he that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God ( 3Jn 1:11 ). Again here, John puts the emphasis upon what a person is doing. "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself" ( Jas 1:22 ). "Not he who has the law is justified by the law, but he who does the law is justified by the law" ( Gal 3:11-12 ). Having the knowledge of Jesus Christ doesn't save you. It's following Him as your Lord that brings salvation. It isn't mouthing the Apostle's Creed that will save you. It's what are you doing. You're doing good, then you're of God, but if you're doing evil, you really don't know God. Demetrius has a good report of all men ( 3Jn 1:12 ), And probably this letter was given to Demetrius who was headed that way as a letter of reference from John and he told him to give it to Gaius, and so he is encouraging now, when Demetrius gets there to receive him. "Demetrius has good report of all men," and of the truth itself: yes, and we also bear record; and you know that our record is true. Now I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face ( 3Jn 1:12-14 ). So as he closed the second epistle, so he closes the third with the anticipation of seeing him, not having to write to him the things that are on his heart. Peace be to thee. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends [my friends] by name ( 3Jn 1:14 ). "

Shall we go to the general epistle of Jude. Jude introduces himself as... A servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James ( Jud 1:1 ), The word servant in Greek is doulos, bondslave of Jesus Christ. But also adding this identification as brother of James, which leads to a very interesting speculation, which is in all probability correct. In Matthew's gospel, chapter thirteen, when Jesus was attracting great multitudes, there were those that were offended because of Him. They said, "Hey, we know who this is! This is the son of Joseph, the carpenter! Aren't his brothers still around here? James, and Simon, and Jude?" So he is named as the brother of James, but also would make him a stepbrother to Jesus. In Mark's gospel also, James and Jude are named as brothers of Jesus. It is a fallacy and invention of the Catholic church that Mary remained a perpetual virgin. That's just one of the added benefits that they tacked on to Mary, the perpetual virginity of Mary. Not scriptural. In fact, we are told that Jesus' brothers really didn't believe in Him, and that's why He said, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country among those in his own household" ( Mat 13:57 ). Once when Jesus was ministering at Capernaum and the crowds were pressing and He really wasn't able to rest, almost twenty-four hours a day being compelled by the needs of the people, Mary and His brothers came down to rescue Him! They thought He'd flipped; the pressure of so many people had gotten to Him. So Mary and His brothers came to rescue Him from the crowd. Once Jesus was raised from the dead, His brothers became believers. James became one of the leaders of the church. James, the brother of John, exited from the church very early in its history. He was one of the church, after Stephen, he was the next martyr. Herod stretched forth his hand against the church, and he had James beheaded. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he had Peter put in prison, intending to bring him forth the next day and execute him. But that night, as Peter was asleep, the angel came and woke him up and let him out of the prison. You know the story. So James, the brother of John, was beheaded very early in church history. This other James became one of the leaders of the early church, and one of the spokesmen. When, in the fifteenth chapter of the book of Acts, the question came up as far as the Gentiles' relationship to the law, the Gentile leaders in Christ, their relationship to the law. It was James who made the final proclamation that was accepted by the church and sent to the Gentile church in Antioch, encouraging them in their faith in Christ, and freeing them from the responsibility of obedience to the Mosaic Law. So the identity, then, of Jude becomes very interesting: a servant, the bondslave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James. He is writing to those who are first of all sanctified by God. The word sanctified means to be "set apart" for exclusive purposes. Now, when in the Old Testament they built the tabernacle to worship God, they built the instruments that were to be used in the worship: the cup, the tables, and the plates and so forth, and they sanctified them. That is, they set them apart to be used exclusively in the worship of God, and therefore, were not to be used just in an ordinary sense. In other words, if you were thirsty, you weren't to grab one of these cups and get yourself a drink out of it. They were set aside for the worship of God. It was to be used exclusively in the worship of God. So they were said to be sanctified unto God. So when we commit our life completely unto God, sanctified, what it means is that your life has been set apart for God's use and you're really not to use it for your own purposes. So... those that have been sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, [or kept in Jesus Christ,] and called: [A typical greeting] Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. [So rather than grace, mercy and peace, and love. Now he said] Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and to exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints ( Jud 1:1-3 ). Now, his original intention in writing to them was to just write to them concerning the common salvation that they had. But as he sat down to write to them about the common salvation, that which was upon his heart, the Holy Spirit changed the subject, and the Holy Spirit pressed upon him to write to them encouraging them to earnestly contend for the faith that was delivered to them. So here's an interesting thing where the Holy Spirit superceded that which Jude was intending to write, the subject upon which he was intending to write. The Holy Spirit superceded and he writes to them concerning the necessity of holding on to the faith and to the truth that they had received. For again, the deceivers and the false prophets were a problem to the church. So "it was needful" or "it was impressed upon me to write unto you and to exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." For there are certain men who have crept in unaware, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ ( Jud 1:4 ). So into the church had come these men. Now the same thing is true today. There are men in the church, garbed in the robes of ministry, who deny our Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ. I am appalled at what some so-called reverends have to say about the issues of the day, or about spiritual matters. I'm appalled when ministers sue President Reagan for declaring the Year of the Bible saying that, "That's unconstitutional. He has no right to do so!" Ministers sued him! Rather than rejoicing that a president is pointing the people to the right direction, for guidance for the nation. But they are the same kind that had crept into the early church. Hey, this has been the curse of the church from the beginning! Those who purport to speak for the Lord, or those who purport to be servants of Christ, planted really by Satan to undermine the faith of the simple people. You see, Satan found that he could not destroy the church by a frontal, so he decided to destroy it from within, and he joined the church. The danger to the church today really doesn't lie from communism or outside forces. The danger in the church lies from within the corrupting leaven within the church. That's the real danger! That's the danger I fear. That corruption from within. Not the outside attacks of the enemy. That only makes the church stronger. But the church is weakened by these forces within. You think I'm bad, wait until we find out what he has to say about them! "They were ordained," he said, "to this condemnation, before ordained, before of old ordained to this condemnation. They are ungodly men who turned the grace of God into lasciviousness." "Well listen, God's grace will cover. It doesn't matter, God's grace, His undeserving favor is ours, and so we can do what we please. You know we can live like we want! It doesn't matter. God will forgive us. God's grace will cover it!" So they use it as a cloak to cover their own lascivious lives, and life's standards, and desires. "Well, the grace of God will cover." Peter warned about those also who had twisted the words of Paul. "Unstable, unlearned persons wresting the scriptures to their own destruction, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness." Paul spoke about them in Romans. He said, "Where grace" or "where sin abounds, grace does much more abound" or "grace overflows. What shall we say then? Shall we sin freely that grace may overflow? God forbid!" He talked about those who were in the church who were saying, "Hey, my rotten lifestyle is only proving God's grace and love. I'm just a good example to people to how God can love such rotten persons! So it's bringing glory to God; my evil vicious living brings glory to God because people say, 'Look God forgives, and God loves even a person like that!'" They were saying, "Now how can God condemn me when my life is really bringing glory to Him?" Paul said, "whose damnation is just." They denied the only Lord God, our Lord and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, that though you once knew this ( Jud 1:5 ), It's interesting how we need to be, needed to be reminded often of the things we already know. Peter said, "Now I know that you know these things, but I feel it is necessary to write them unto you and to bring you into constant remembrance of them. Knowing that I'm gonna be leaving this tent; I'm gonna be moving out of my body pretty soon. I'm now gonna write them to you so that even after I'm gone you might be reminded." Certain things of which we need constant reminding. So Jude said much the same, "I'm gonna put you in remembrance of these things that you already know." how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not ( Jud 1:5 ). So God brought the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. It was the intention of God, the desire of God, to bring them into the land that He had promised to their father Abraham. To bring them into a rich land that they could call their own, that they could possess as their own. No longer be slaves in a foreign country, but now to have your own land, and to possess your own land, build your own houses, plant your own vineyards, eat of the fruit of your own labor. God's intention to bring them into the land that was well-watered, flowing with milk and honey. But they came into the wilderness, to the border of the new land, Kadesh-Barnea; and when the spies brought back a discouraging report, "Giants in the land! Huge cities with high walls, we can't go! We can't take it!" the people lost faith. They did not believe that God would keep His word and deliver the land to them. Their lack of faith, their lack of entering in, kept them from all that God had for them. They said to Moses, "Why did you bring us out here to perish in the wilderness? If we try and go in there, they'll kill our kids and we'll be wiped out!" So God said, "Alright that's it. Moses, I will not allow them to go into the land now. But they will wander here in the wilderness for forty years until they all die off. And their children that they were worried about being slain, they will go in and take the land." Unbelief kept them from all that God had for them. God, in His love, was wanting to bless them, wanting to bring them into this land of promise. God in His love wants to bring you into a glorious life of fellowship and relationship with Him. Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life, and that more abundantly!" The Lord wants to bring you into an abundant life! But unbelief will rob you of the things that God desires to do for you! It's amazing how unbelief can rob you of the work of God and of the blessings of God! In the Old Testament we have the story of the king who, Jehoram, it was the king in Samaria. The city of Samaria was being besieged by Benhadad in the Syrian forces. They had cut off the food supplies. They had encircled the city and they were starving the people out. They almost succeeded. The donkey's skull was selling for sixty-five pieces of silver. People began to boil their own children and eat them. That's how desperate they were! When the king decided that Elijah was at fault for this whole problem, and he said, "I'll have the head of that fellow!" He ordered the guy to go down and behead him. Now Elisha was sitting in his house with his friends, and he had an extremely strong gift of discernment. He just knew what was going on. In fact, when Benhadad was having his secret meetings of war with his generals, Elisha was reporting to the king everything that Benhadad had planned! So the king was there to ambush every sortie that was sent against him, until Benhadad came to one of his generals and said, "Okay, one of you guys is a fink! I intend to find out which one! You know it's impossible that that king could know all that we're planning to do unless one of you guys were telling!" So the General said, "That's not so. We're, all of us, loyal to you, but there's a guy over there in Israel and he knows what you tell your wife in the bedchamber. I mean, you can't even talk to your wife without that guy knowing what you're saying!" He had a very keen gift of discernment! So he was sitting with his friends, and he said, "Look what that son of a murderer is planning to do now! He's sending a guy down here to get my head! Can you beat that?" He said, "When the guy knocks on the door, open the door hard and hold him fast. Pin him, for behold, his master is right behind him!" So the knock came on the door and the guy opened it and pinned the guy behind the door, and here came up king Jehoram and his head of state, and he said, "Ah, we've got you now. You've been troubling Israel!" Elisha said, "Come on, you're the one that's brought on the problems. You're the one that's introduced the worship of Baal and turned the people after these other gods, and it's because of you that the problems have come! But," he said, "tomorrow in the gate of the city of Samaria, they'll be selling a bushel of fine flour for sixty-five cents." Now the man on whom the king leaned said, "Oh crazy! If God would open up windows in heaven such a thing couldn't be!" He didn't believe the promise of God. Elisha said to him, "Fellow, you will see it, but you won't eat it." That night God caused the Syrians to hear a noise that they interpreted as chariots of the king of Egypt, and they fled, leaving their camp and all of their supplies intact! In the morning, they opened the gates so that the people of Samaria could go out, (who had been starving to death, remember) to go out and to get all of the booty and all of the loot that was out there. The king said to this guy who had said the night before, "God would open up the windows in heaven," and the prophet said, "You'll see it; you won't eat it." He said, "You go down there and stand in the gate and keep order." The people were so hungry they trampled this guy to death. He saw it, God provided it, but he didn't eat it. That's the price of unbelief. Even when God keeps His word, you're not able to partake of it. Unbelief can hold you back from what God has given, what God desires to give, from the blessings of God. The children of Israel through unbelief, and we read in the Psalms, "They limited the Holy One of Israel through unbelief." It holds back. Now you see our unbelief comes from looking at ourselves instead of looking at God. I look at the circumstances. I look at the situations and I say, "Oh, I don't see how that could be! Just can't be man! I've tried everything, there's no way!" I give my testimony of unbelief. I've looked at myself, I've looked at my resources, I've looked at my abilities, and I've concluded that there's no way. But you see, that's because I've looked at me instead of looking at God. Unbelief always comes from looking at myself and the situation in light of myself. Faith always comes from looking at God! Turns away from the situation. Abraham considered not his own age, about a hundred years old, or yet the deadness of Sara's womb, about ninety years old. He staggered not at the promises of God through unbelief. But being strong in the faith he gave glory to God, believing that what God had promised He was able to perform. So the children of Israel, the first example of those who did not enter into God's full blessings because of unbelief. Second example... The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day ( Jud 1:6 ). The Bible indicates that perhaps as many as a third of the angels rebelled with Satan against the authority and the government of God. In the book of Revelation, "John saw the dragon being cast out of heaven with his tail he drew a third part of the stars," and stars are often used in the scripture as a reference to the angels. We know that there are angels which did not keep their first estate. They are mentioned here. It was this co-mingling of angels with men before the flood that brought the flood upon the world. The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they went unto them, and their offspring were giants. Genetic manipulation before the flood. So these no doubt are the angels kept not their first estate that God has now in chains of darkness awaiting the day of judgment. Angels dwelt in the very presence of God. They were servants of God, messengers of God, doing and bidding His work. These glorious creatures, higher in creation order than man, unredeemed man; they will be lower than us in our redeemed state. In our glorified state we will be judging them. But in the natural state, "God made Jesus a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death." You see, angels can't suffer death. But He made Jesus a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death. We see Him now crowned with glory and honor according to Hebrews. These creatures of God, dwelling there in the presence of God, the glory of God, kept not their first estate, their first principles, and now are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness until the judgment of the great day. Third example... Sodom and Gomorrah, cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire ( Jud 1:7 ). God sent fire and brimstone and destroyed the cities of the plains, Sodom and Gomorrah, and those cities of the plains. Cities that existed in this beautiful fervent valley that was well-watered. Tropical climate, great soil, produced food without any effort. You see, as cultures develop, the first thing is in the primitive cultures a person is usually capable of producing enough food to keep himself alive. With primitive tools, primitive cultures, and this is what you find in areas where you really don't have any cultural, any culture kind of a development. The reason why is that people can only, they have to work all day just to provide food. I mean that's basic if you, you've got to have food. Now, it is not until the means of supplying food develop to the extent that one person can produce more food than what he needs for his own use. The surplus of agriculture is the necessity for the development of any kind of society, or social structure within a community. So you have a fellow who's busily engaged in providing his own food; he has to make his own tools. He has to make his own hoes, he has to make his own plows, and he has to, you know his whole effort is into providing the food for himself, for his family. Now as you begin to develop, here's a fellow who is especially skilled in making plows. So he starts making plows because others are able to produce more food than what they themselves need for their own personal use, and now they can trade their food for his plows. He's particularly adept at making plows, so he spends his time now making plows and he trades his plows for food, because they can now produce more than what they need for themselves. That's how your society develops is through an agricultural surplus. Now they were able to develop the agricultural surplus in this Jordan valley because it was so rich and verdant, so productive. You didn't have to work so hard to create enough food for your needs. So we are told in Ezekiel that, "In Sodom they had an abundance of bread, and idleness of time." Because it was such a productive area. So that really, natural advantage. I mean, you live in an area like that where you don't have to work so hard to provide the food for what you need, you can develop now a beneficial social structure. But instead, they used their idleness of time and just following after the flesh. Homosexuality became a very prominent thing, "strange flesh" he calls it here. It's homosexuality that really developed there in Sodom. Kinky sex you might say, "strange flesh". Using their idleness of time, the abundance of bread, bringing about the idleness of time, using it then for these corrupt purposes. They serve as an example as they suffered the destruction of the fire and brimstone sent by God. The eternal fire, the vengeance of eternal fire. And in the same way these filthy dreamers [That is the apostate teachers] they defile the flesh, they despise dominion [or authority] and they speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, and dared not to bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee ( Jud 1:8-9 ). Now here is an interesting insight that the Bible doesn't give us anyplace but right here. And that is, we are told in the Old Testament that the Lord buried Moses. Moses went off from the camp and God buried him. They never found his grave; they never found his body. The Lord buried him. He died somewhere in the area of Moab, Mount Nebo, able to look over and see the land that God promised, not able to go over. "And the Lord buried Moses." Well, Michael was the instrument, no doubt, that God sent to bury him. God said, "Michael, go down and bury him." Satan met him there and began to dispute with him over the body of Moses! Now, Michael didn't even make a railing accusation against the devil. He didn't say, "Oh you dirty scum! You can't have him!" or whatever. He didn't make any railing accusation against him, he just said, "The Lord rebuke thee." I am a little wary about these people who are always railing on the devil. I'll personally tell you, I don't want any confrontation with the devil! In fact I always want the Lord between me and the devil. I don't want any personal confrontation with him; I want the Lord between us. In dealing with him, I want to deal with him only through the Lord, "The Lord rebuke thee." I wouldn't say, "I rebuke thee Satan!" Who am I to rebuke him? He'd say, "Who are you? Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?" But, "The Lord rebuke thee." Yeah that's all right, I can handle that. Get the Lord between him and me! That I can handle. So even Michael, hey, one of the greatest angels in heaven didn't make railing accusations against Satan, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee." But these filthy dreamers, these false teachers that were perverting the truth within the truth. They were speaking evil of the dignity; they were speaking evil of the church leadership, of the apostles. How many times they would come in and run Paul down! "Ah, he's not a real apostle! Paul's a renegade, Paul's a..." And here he was anointed of God and doing such a great work, and these false teachers, though, they always try to improve their stock by running down someone that God is using. You know, it makes them look better if they can find flaws in someone, so people take pot shots at Billy Graham, you see. If I can find fault in Billy Graham, hey, I'm able to judge him! If he would only do this, and that, and the other, then he can be a successful... You know it's, but people do that, they try to raise. Well, someone said, "You'll never gain ground by throwing mud." But yet that seems to be the philosophy of many people. They try to increase their stock by tearing down someone else. They speak evil of things that they don't even know about ( Jud 1:10 ): This is so true and it's crazy, but there are people who have spoken evil of the work that God is doing here, and they don't even know about it! They've never been here! I'm amazed at some of the articles I've read in some of the magazines and papers and so forth about things that are supposedly happening here at Calvary Chapel. In the days when the hippies were around, you know, someone with great authority said I was at one of those houses and the kids climbing up nude in the trees to read their Bible, smoking a joint. Crazy stuff! "They speak evil of things they don't even know about!" Have never bothered to examine! but one thing they do know naturally, as brute beasts, [I mean, you have a certain innate natural knowledge.] they even corrupt that. Woe to them! for they've gone the way of Cain, [The way of hatred, the way of bitterness, the way of the works of the flesh, rather than relying upon the work of God.] they've run greedily after the error of Balaam, [Filled with greed they looked to better their own position using the things of God, or their knowledge of the things of God.] they perished in the gainsaying of Core ( Jud 1:10-11 ). As Core came to Moses and said, "You've taken too much upon yourself. Put in Aaron, your brother, in the position of going in before the Lord. We're Levites, we have as much right as Aaron." He perished when the ground opened up and swallowed him. Now here's what He has to say about these false teachers and apostles, apostate teachers: They are spots in your feast of love, when they feast with you, they are feeding themselves without fear: they are clouds without water, carried about with the winds; they are trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots ( Jud 1:12 ); Now rain, of course, was always a welcome thing in that land. It's a desert area. The clouds form and you have the promise, "Oh, it's gonna be great we're gonna get some rain!" You know, they give great swelling words of promise, "We're gonna do this, we're gonna do that." But there's no substance, no rain, clouds without water. They're carried about with every wind. They are fruit that withers, it doesn't really come to maturity; it doesn't really develop fully. Again, it gives the promise, "Oh, there's a blossom." I've got an apricot tree, the rottenest tree. I swear I'm gonna cut it down! In the springtime, it blossoms out. It even sets some little apricots, but they always fall off, never develop. Every year, I think "Oh, this year!" I told the tree, I said, "Look, if you give me one apricot, I'll let you live." That tree's got to go! It gives the promise, but it never produces. Apostate teachers, they give all kinds of promises; they never produce. The fruit withers, it dries up. They are like raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; [Just driven, no real purpose, just raging waves foaming.] wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever ( Jud 1:13 ). Now Gehenna is described as the place of the eternal abode of Satan and his followers. Jesus described Gehenna as existing in outer darkness. Our scientists have discovered galaxies that they estimate to be some twelve billion light years from the earth. But they, at the present time, believe that that is the edge of the universe. They do believe that they have discovered the edge of the universe some twelve billion light years away. They just recently funded for a new microscope. I mean, not a new microscope, a new telescope that will probe the heavens: seventy million dollars. It'll be set up in Hawaii. They are hoping to maybe catch the light of galaxies that are so far away that it has not yet reached the earth. Now, out beyond the furthest galaxy, say twelve billion light years away for the sake of argument, what if you continued out beyond that galaxy for another, say, a hundred billion light years distance? Because it would seem to me that space would be impudent, I mean, I can't imagine a sign out there, "This is the end of space." So imagine being able to travel beyond the furthest galaxy, say, another hundred billion light years. But they wouldn't really be light years, because light wouldn't get out that far yet. You'd be in total darkness. Have you ever been in total darkness? I mean totally darkness. Down in the Oregon caves, you're way down there in the caves and then they turn off the lights and they say, "You can now experience total darkness." It's so dark you can feel it. A total darkness you feel. It says that there was a darkness in Egypt that they could feel. You can actually feel total darkness. I mean it's an awesome sensation to be in total darkness. It's something that's very rare. But to get out that far into the universe, you would get out into total darkness. What a fitting place for God to put the people who hate the light! Jesus said, "They will not come to the light, because they hate the light." Outer darkness, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Now that would be awesome. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints ( Jud 1:14 ), Now this reference to Enoch prophesying, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints," is found in the book of Enoch, which is known as an apocryphal book. An apocryphal book is a book whose authorship is questioned and has not been brought in and accepted as a part of the cannon of scripture. There are doubts as to its authenticity, or its inspiration. The book of Enoch, the apocryphal book of Enoch, is such. Now Jude, no doubt, was aware of this statement of Enoch from somewhere. The book of Enoch does have the statement in it, but the book of Enoch that we have, the apocryphal book of Enoch, didn't show up until about the second century. So whoever wrote that book of Enoch could have known that Jude made reference to it, and so included it in the book of Enoch so that it looked like it was a very authentic book. But that book of Enoch, the apocryphal book, did not turn up until the second century. It was not, of course, one of the books that was copied by the Hebrew scholars that wanted to put the scriptures in the Greek language, the Septuagint, so that the Jews of Jesus they could understand the scriptures, or read them for themselves. So he does make reference to this prophecy of Enoch. So Enoch was a prophet. He was a man that we know walked with God, was not, for God took him. But before God took him, he had this testimony that he pleased God. But "without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him" ( Heb 11:6 ). So, he was a man who was raptured before his time. He experienced the rapture several thousand years before Christ. Actually, he was raptured before the flood! He was the tenth from Adam, tenth generation from Adam. Or seventh was it? Seventh from Adam. Seventh generation from Adam. So Enoch testified that the Lord was going to come with ten thousand of His saints. Now when Jesus comes, we're gonna be coming with Him. "When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory." In the nineteenth chapter of the book of Revelation, as Jesus mounts the white horse to come back to the earth, "and the armies that came with Him riding on white horses," the church returning with Christ in power and glory to establish the kingdom of God upon the earth. So Enoch prophesied of these things, "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all." Now in the prophecy of Isaiah, chapter sixty-one, of the coming of Jesus Christ, the one that Jesus read in the synagogue in Nazareth, the prophecy of Isaiah said, "To execute judgment, to proclaim the day of the Lord." Jesus did not read this portion of the prophecy, but He closed the scroll of Isaiah before He got to this portion. Because His first coming was not to include the judgment; that's to be in the second coming and in Matthew's gospel, twenty-four, twenty-five, when he talks to them about His second coming, "then when He comes, He will gather together the nations for judgment and He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all of their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him ( Jud 1:14-15 ). The day of judgment is coming. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouths speak great swelling words, having persons in admiration because of advantage ( Jud 1:16 ). So these are the typical politicians! Having persons in admiration because of advantage. The politicking of man. But beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you that there would be mockers in the last times, who would walk after their ungodly lusts ( Jud 1:17-18 ). This is probably a reference to Peter. In Peter's epistle he said, "In the last days scoffers will come saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?'" These are they who separate themselves, they are sensual, they do not have the Spirit. But you, [in contrast], beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith ( Jud 1:19-20 ), Our faith should be increasing. Our faith should be growing. The longer you walk with the Lord, the greater your faith should be. "Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God" ( Rom 10:17 ). What advantage of coming out on Sunday night? Your faith is growing, because you're learning about God. Because we're doing nothing but just going through the Word of God. Even as we go through it and read it, what we read is gonna be an advantage and benefit to you, though what I may say may never make any impression at all. Just the reading and the hearing of the Word is gonna build your faith! Because you're gonna begin to understand more and more about God, and the more you understand Him, the more you'll trust Him and learn to trust Him. Building up yourself in a most holy faith. Praying in the Holy Spirit. Asking the Holy Spirit to direct your prayer, in cases, groaning in the Spirit because of situations, or in other cases, if you have the gift, praying in an unknown tongue. Keep yourselves in the love of God ( Jud 1:21 ), That's the important thing! You see, God loves you and because He loves you, He wants to bless you. He wants to bestow His goodness upon your life. But is able, it is possible for you to get out of the place of God's blessing. As the children of Israel, who through unbelief, did not enter into the full blessings that God had intended for them. So you can keep yourselves from the full blessings that God wants to bestow upon you because of His love. Even as the angels, which kept not their first estate, lifted up with pride, rebelled against God, so you, through pride and rebellion against God, can put yourself outside the place of God's blessings upon your life. God won't do for you those things He desires to do in His love for you. So as though the Sodom and Gomorrah, who used their idleness of time in the pursuit of their own lusts, so you, giving yourself over in this day of idleness of time, an abundance of opportunities of going after your own lustful desires. If you use the idleness of time, and the pursuit of the lust of your flesh, you're gonna move yourself away from the place of God's love and God's blessing. That is, God can't do for you. It doesn't cause, God says, "Well, I don't love him anymore. Look at the way he's living!" No! No, God still loves you, but He weeps. He can't do for you what He wants to do, because your life is inconsistent with Him. Like Cain, if you allow hatred to fill your heart, God can't bless you. Like Balaam, if you allow greed to fill your heart, God can't bless you. Like Core, if you allow jealousy to master your life, God can't bless you, can't do for you what He wants to do. Keep yourself in the love of God, keep yourself in that place where God can do all He is wanting to do for you because of His infinite love. As we look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Looking for the Lord to come again at any time. Looking for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, realizing that this could happen tonight! All of these things in the material realm that we've been working on, building up and so forth, poof, they're gonna burn! Then the only thing of value you're going to possess are the spiritual things. The whole material gain will all be gone. Some of you who may be materially very rich could be spiritual poppers. So you're rich for a few years and you're a popper for eternity. Oh yeah, you'll be in the kingdom, but barely. The Bible says that we should pray that we might have an abundant interest in the kingdom of God. You say, "Oh, I thought salvation wasn't my works!" Of course it isn't. You can't work to receive a gift! Salvation is a gift, but we will be judged according to our works and our place in eternity will be determined by our works. Not salvation, that's a gift of God. But there will be positions within the kingdom, ranks within the kingdom, determined by our faithfulness and our stewardship now. Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life! Several years ago a fellow came up to me in the church, said, "Chuck, I want you to have a new car." I laughed! I said, "I never buy a new car! Too much depreciation of it, someone else take the loss." He said, "I own a dealership here in Orange County, and I want you to come over and pick out the car you want, and I'm gonna take the depreciation off the price." He said, "I'll give it to you at my cost, and you can pick all the options that you want; I'll put them on." So I went over to the dealership and I picked out my dream car! All the options that General Motors offered, the color I wanted. They sent the order into Detroit, and they manufactured the car and then he called me up and said, "Your car is here." So I went over to pick it up. Turned in my old used car, drove out of the dealership with this brand new car. First time I'd ever had a brand new car and the smell was all mine. Belonged to me, you know, that special new car smell! As I drove out of the dealership I knew that everybody was watching me. Admiring that car! You know as I drove down the street I could see people's heads, at least I thought I did, turn and look at that fancy car. Oh man it was nice to drive! All the way home I was praising the Lord, worship the Lord, "You're so good. Wow! Lord! You're, ah this is outrageous Lord! I love it! So good to me, I love you Lord!" My wife had said, "Honey, would you pick up some milk on your way home?" So I went to Alpha Beta. While I was in the store wheeling the cart around the store getting the few things my wife wanted, just praising the Lord. Cause I knew as I got out of that car in the parking lot everyone was just, you know, looking at that thing. Man was I enamored by it! "Oh Lord, you're so good. I love you so much! Oh my Lord, this is glorious!" Got to the check stand, checked out, came out to the car and there in the driver's side, my door some stupid, inconsiderate nincompoop had opened up their car door carelessly, recklessly, put a ding, a dent! I hadn't even gotten home yet! I was so mad! I quickly tried to see if there was any paint sample there, play detective, see if I can get the color of the car. Maybe it's still here in the parking lot and I can pound on somebody! Boy was I upset! All the way home from the store I was just miserable! "Rotten people, rotten world! I hate, hate, hate people!" Inconsiderate! Boy, you're glad, you can be glad I'm not God; I'd have sent half the world to hell in a moment! Took the groceries into the house, my son Chuck Junior was there. Said, "Hey, Dad, you get your new car?" I said, "Yeah." "Oh I want to see it!" I said, "Sure." So I went out and it was a convertible, and he put the top up and down he, you know, did all the push button things, windows, seats, the whole ten yards. Then as he was standing back and looking at it, he said, "Oh, Dad, what's that?" I said, "Would you believe while I was in the market some stupid dirty, rotten..." I started to get into my little thing again. Chuck said to me, "Hey, Dad, it's all gonna burn." I said, "Thank you son, I needed that!" I had lost perspective! You know, the shininess of the new car, the luxury points and all; I'd lost the perspective. I forgot that this whole thing was gonna burn! Hey, the thing did burn I guess on the highway. I got a thing from the DMV the other day wanting to know if I knew anything about that car. I said, "Hey, I sold that car years ago." "Well it's been abandoned on the highway; the engine's blown up." It's all gonna burn! I could hear the Lord in a sense saying to me when I was on my way home from the market, "Where's all the joy and the glory and the blessing and the love that you were talking about a few moments ago?" All dissipated over one little ding. From "Oh Lord, you're so good! I love You so much," to "God, I hate people!" One little ding! "Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ," as we look for the return of the Lord, hey, it keeps your perspective. It's all the material world, it'll burn. Seeing then that all these things: pulpit, mike, stereos, television, buildings. Seeing that all these things are gonna be dissolved, what matter of persons are you to be? Spiritual! Now on some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh ( Jud 1:22-23 ). You can't witness to everybody alike. I mean this pattern witness, or this little can witness, it is not really good. People are different, people are different temperaments. Some you've got to scare the hell out of them. Others are drawn by love. Some with compassion making a difference, others, by fear, pulling them out of the fire. I mean, what's that mean? Now, it means that we have got to be led by the Spirit as we deal with people, hating even the garment that has been spotted by the flesh, pull them out of the fire. But hate the garment spotted by the flesh. The close of the epistle is with a benediction, a beautiful benediction, one that is used quite often within the church. Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy ( Jud 1:24 ), Hey, that's exactly how the Lord's gonna present me, faultless before the presence of His glory! That's how He's gonna present you! "There is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus" ( Rom 8:1 ). Jesus bore the sins of the world. Every sin you have ever or will ever commit, Jesus died for, all covered by the blood. Now we don't take the grace of God and use it as a cloak for lasciviousness. He who does evil, doesn't really know God. But thank God for those who believe and are trusting in Jesus Christ and seeking to walk. We may stumble, we may fall, but He's gonna present us faultless when He presents us to the Father. " Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, [Reference to Jesus Christ] be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen ( Jud 1:24-25 ). When the Lamb takes the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits upon the throne there in glory, the angels will declare, "Worthy is the Lamb to receive dominion and glory and might and power!" "To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen." Next week we start the exciting book of Revelation, an overview of the book. Now, may you be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. May you go forth and practice the injunctions. Basically they are, walk in truth, and the truth is, we are to love one another. So may God's love just dwell in your hearts richly through faith. May you walk in love and increase in love, and increase in your knowledge and understanding of God's love for you. May you keep yourself in the love of God so that this week God can do all the wonderful things He wants to do for you, just because He loves you so much. May you experience the touch of God's love in a new and special way, in Jesus' name! "

Shall we turn in our Bibles now to the book of Revelation, chapter one? The Revelation of Jesus Christ ( Rev 1:1 ), The Greek word "apokalupsis" is literally the unveiling. So in the very first phrase you have what the book is all about. It is the unveiling of Jesus Christ, the lifting of the wraps. When I was a child, I lived in Ventura and went to Elementary School in Ventura. I played in the school orchestra. And in front of the city hall they had a sculptor make a sculpture of Father Juan Opero Sierra, who had established the mission there in Ventura. So the day came for the unveiling of the statue, and among other things for entertainment they had our school orchestra there playing. So I was sitting there in the violin section. And the mayor made his speech and the county supervisors made their speeches, and all, and the Catholic priest made his speech. Then finally the crane that was there, they had a ring in the top of the canvas that was covering this large statue. So they began to crank up the canvas and finally we could see what was under the canvas, the statue of Father Juan Opero Sierra. It was the unveiling. It was the apokalupsis. The unveiling of this statue and we could finally see what was behind the wraps. Now, there is a common misconception concerning the book of Revelation, and a lot of people will say, "Well, I never deal with the book of Revelation. That is a sealed book." Exactly the opposite, rather than a sealed book, it is an unveiling. It is taking the wraps off. It is taking the seals off. It is allowing you to see what the future holds, as far as Jesus Christ is concerned. So it is the revelation, or the unveiling, of Jesus Christ as far as the future. which God gave to him, to shew to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John ( Rev 1:1 ): So for the most part in the book of Revelation, there will be the angel speaking to John and revealing to him the things that were being revealed to him by Jesus Christ. So He sent this revelation by the angel to John. And there are times when the angel appears to John. There are times when John sees the Lord himself. There are times when the elder is explaining aspects of this revelation to John. But the basic format was the revelation of Jesus Christ given to him by God, to show to his servants, and it was sent to John signified by the angel, which is a messenger. Who bore record of the word of God ( Rev 1:2 ), And that of course is John's declaration in his gospel and in his epistles that he was just a recorder, a recorder of the things for which he had seen and of which he had heard. And his job was just to record these things, and he bore record. And he said we know that our record is true, or our witness is true. Who bare record of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all the things that he saw ( Rev 1:2 ). Now, most of this revelation came to John by way of visions. And a vision is really insight into the spirit world. Now, there is a spirit world that exists about us. We cannot see it with our natural eyes, but God can open our eyes to the realm of the spirit, and the capacity of being able to see the spirit realm is called a vision. Now, the spirit realm is the eternal realm. So in a vision you can spiritually see things either past, present or future, because the eternal realm is a timeless realm. So John, a little further down, is going to say that he was in the spirit unto the day of the Lord. That is, he saw the things that are going to yet transpire in the future. He saw things that have not yet taken place. Time hasn't yet caught up with it. Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy ( Rev 1:3 ), So it is an easy book for me to plunge into, because I know you are going to be blessed, even though I may not say anything worthwhile. Because we are going to be reading the words of this prophecy and hearing the words of this prophecy, and so there is a built-in promise blessing for you. You can't escape it. It is there promised to you by the Lord, those that read and those that hear. So I am going to be blessed. And if you keep up with your reading, you will be blessed, and you will be blessed as you hear. Not only hearing, but also keeping those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand ( Rev 1:3 ). There has always been in the church the sense of urgency and immediacy as far as the return of Jesus Christ. The time is short, we are told in verse one. Here in verse three, "the time is at hand." And there is a sense in which that is perennially true. Time is always short for each of us. We don't know how much time we do have. If we live to be one hundred years, time is short, such a short time especially in comparison to eternity. So, now the greeting of John beginning with verse four, John to the seven churches which are in Asia ( Rev 1:4 ): We know that seven is a number that is symbolically used in the scripture often, the number of completeness. It is called the number of perfection, but the Greek word perfection in its use is different from our use of the use perfection. We think of something without flaw. The idea in the Greek is literally fully matured or of full age or complete. So we find that there are many things that have a seven as a completion. For instance there are seven days in the week, so you have a complete week, seven days. Seven notes on the scale, then you start over again. Doe, ray, me, fa, so, la, tee, doe, and you have to go to doe, ray, me, again. So, the seven makes the complete scale. The seven churches, there were more churches than this in Asia. There were some very prominent churches in Asia, for instance the church of Galatia also established by Paul. The church of Colossi, which Paul wrote to, which was not really far from the church of Ephesus. So, why seven churches? It is to give you the complete picture of the church. Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne ( Rev 1:4 ); The first, of course, is a description of God, "from Him which is, which was and which is to come". And this is a way of describing the eternal nature of God. He is, He was, He is to come, but He is all of that at the same time. There is no past and future with God. It is all now for He dwells in the eternal. "I am that I am"( Exo 3:14 ). Only God can declare that because He is in the eternal. "I am" I may say that, "but than I was," because I said, "I am" a moment ago. But God dwells in the eternal. "I am that I am," the eternally present one. So, in describing the eternal character of God He is, He was, and He is to come are all at once and the same. "The seven spirits which are before his throne," again the completeness of the work of the Holy Spirit. The seven being the number of symbolism again of completeness. And from Jesus Christ ( Rev 1:5 ), Now when he comes to Jesus Christ, he has quite a bit to say, who is the faithful witness ( Rev 1:5 ), The word "witness" in the Greek is "martys", and is the word from which we get our word "martyr", which has come to mean one who dies for his faith. But originally the idea is one who has a faith so strong that he would die for it. So, Jesus is the faithful witness. What does that mean? He is the faithful witness of what God is. Do you want to know what God is? You can look at Jesus Christ and know exactly what God is. "No man has seen the Father at any time, but the only begotten Son who was in the bosom of the Father, He hast manifested Him, made Him known" ( Joh 1:18 ). So that when Philip said to Him, "Lord just show us the Father and we will be satisfied." And He said, "Have I not been so long a time with you and haven't you seen Me. Philip don't you realize that He who has seen Me hast seen the Father"( Joh 14:9 ). The faithful witness of what God is. Now we are called to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. That is, it should be that people could look at you and know exactly what Jesus is like. That is God's intent and purpose for your life. That is what the Spirit is seeking to accomplish in conforming you into the image of Christ. So that as the Spirit's work is complete in me, I will respond as He responds. I will love as He loves. I will forgive as He forgave. I will be His representative. I will be His true and faithful witness. The witness of what He is, even as He was the true and faithful witness of what God is. And so unto Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead ( Rev 1:5 ), That is the first of this whole hope that we have of eternal life through Him. and the prince of the kings of the earth. [King of kings, and Lord of lords we will be proclaiming Him in a few weeks as we get to chapter nineteen.] Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood ( Rev 1:5 ), The redemption that is ours through Jesus Christ. More than that He has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen ( Rev 1:6 ). So, this is the work of Jesus Christ. He was the faithful witness. He is the first begotten from among the dead. He is the prince of the kings of the earth. But He loved you and redeemed you with His blood in order that He might make you a kingdom of priests unto God, in order that He might receive "glory and dominion forever". Behold, he cometh with clouds ( Rev 1:7 ); Probably a reference to the church that is coming with Him. In the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews, it tells us of all of these Old Testament saints who through faith made their mark upon the world. And then chapter twelve begins, "Seeing we are encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,"( Heb 12:1 ) a multitude of people. "Behold He cometh with clouds," the multitudes of people that will be returning with Him, the church. "And when Christ who is our life shall appear then shall we also appear with Him in glory"( Col 3:4 ). Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him ( Rev 1:7 ), Contrary to what the Jehovah Witnesses teach that He came privately in 1914 into the secret chamber and only those with spiritual eyes could see Him, and that He now rules the world in the kingdom age from this secret chamber. Satan is bound, cast into the abysso. Well, they left a chain too long. He's got too much freedom to suit me. every eye shall see him and they also which pierced him ( Rev 1:7 ): At His second coming we are told that Jesus came as far as Bethany with His disciples there on the mount of Olives and then He ascended up into heaven and a cloud received Him out of there sight. And while they were standing there two men stood by them in white apparel and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye here gazing into heaven? For this same Jesus, is going to come again in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven"( Act 1:11 ). Every eye shall see Him. He is going to come. It will be a public coming. Jesus is coming in the flesh to establish God's kingdom upon the earth. every eye shall see him and they also which pierced him shall mourn ( Rev 1:7 ): There is a prophecy in Psalm twenty-two concerning Jesus Christ and it said, "they pierced His hands and His feet"( Psa 22:16 ). They that pierced Him shall see Him. In Zechariah, another prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, "and they shall look upon him whom they have pierced"( Zec 12:10 ). And again in Zechariah, "And they shall say unto him in that day, what are the meaning of these wounds in your hands"( Zec 13:6 ). They shall look upon him whom they have pierced. and all families of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen ( Rev 1:7 ). The recognition finally that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the longed for Messiah that the nation of Israel has waited for and sought. That recognition will come, but only after Jeremiah's prophecy is fulfilled and Jacob has gone through a time of great trouble and great sorrow. But, "they will look upon Him whom they have pierced". Now Jesus addresses John directly and declares, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty ( Rev 1:8 ). Now whether or not this is Jesus or God, it really is immaterial. But, Jesus addresses John in a moment in verse eleven saying "I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and what you see write in a book." Now if God declares of Himself that I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, and Jesus declares that I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending. You know I took Geometry back in the ancient days and there was something about equal angles and equal sides make an isosceles triangle or something. If your angles are equal, sides are equal and they become equal. Now if God says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending," and Jesus says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending," then it makes them the same. "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made" ( Joh 1:1-3 ). "And the Word was made flesh, and He dwelt among us" ( Joh 1:14 ). "Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending." Now John gives a little background to the vision. He said, I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and the patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ ( Rev 1:9 ). Now at this time all the rest of the apostles had all been martyred. They had all been put to death by the Roman government. John is the only one of the original left. He is well into his nineties. It is estimated that this was written in 96 AD, and it is estimated that John was probably approximately the same age as Jesus. So John is probably close to ninety-six years old at the writing of this book. He is in a little rocky crag out there in the Mediterranean, offshore a little bit from the area of Ephesus. And he is there for the word of God and the testimony that he has. He was exiled to the island of Patmos. According to Usibius in his book on church history, as he records the violent death of all of the other apostles, he says concerning John that there was the attempt to boil him in oil, but he survived the experience of being boiled in oil. So they exiled him to the island of Patmos. God wasn't through with John yet. God had one final word for man. The book of Revelation needed to be written and John was the one that was eminently qualified to write the book. So there on the island of Patmos, the aged John received this vision of the future. And I was in the spirit on the Lord's day ( Rev 1:10 ), Now there is two possible ways to interpret this. One is that on Sunday, he went into a spiritual trance and had this vision. Another possible translation of this same Greek text would be, "I was in the spirit unto the day of the Lord". I prefer that translation myself. For I believe that John was taken in the spirit through a time machine, if you please, which of course is the transition from the natural into the spiritual world; that is a time machine, because you enter into the timelessness of eternity. Something that will take place when you die; you will enter into the timelessness of eternity. Time is only relative to our planet earth, because of its rotation on its axis and its revolution around the sun. So we count time here, but time is relative. "John was in the spirit unto the day of the Lord" and heard behind me a voice, as of a trumpet ( Rev 1:10 ), Later on he is going to hear a voice as of a trumpet calling him up into heaven. "Come up hither and I will show you things which must be"( Rev 4:1 ). Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What you see [again he saw these things. It was a vision.], write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. So I turned to see who it was that was talking to me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to his feet, and gird about his [chest] with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet were like unto fine brass, as if they were burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters ( Rev 1:11-15 ). So it is interesting to me that in the New Testament, with all of the gospel writers writing concerning the life of Jesus Christ, there was never an endeavor by any of them to describe Jesus in a physical sense. None of them said he had brown eyes or he had blues; He parted his hair in the middle; He had a beard. No descriptions at all of Jesus Christ so that we are totally without any real knowledge of what Jesus looks like from a physical sense. Man has often drawn pictures of what he envisions that Jesus might have looked like. But it is hard to really envision what a person looks like just by hearing the words that he said, or by even hearing his voice. You know, it is an interesting thing when I travel around the country to these radio rallies where we go into an area, where we have been broadcasting on the radio for seven years, and we get a chance to personally meet the people that have been listening to us on the radio. And the moment I walk out, I can sense the shock when people finally see the face behind the voice. And they will come up and say, "I thought you were tall and had curly hair." And they have all kinds of mental pictures of what you must look like because of your voice. And it is amazing how far off you can get in your mental, you know, somehow when you hear a person's voice. Of course you kids today that grew up in the TV era, you didn't have it like we used to have it when we were kids. All of our entertainment was by radio. And I had a picture of what Little Orphan Annie looked like, and what Jack Armstrong looked like. Somehow you get a mental picture of what they must look like because of their voices. What you see depicted, as Jesus is just the figment of some man's imagination. The Bible hasn't really described Him in a physical sense. The only real description we have of Jesus in the New Testament is given to us here in the gospel of John, by John himself. And this is Jesus as he sees Him in His glorified form. And he describes Him much as Daniel described Him in the book of Daniel, only a little more fully than Daniel described Him. And he had in His right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword ( Rev 1:16 ): Now the Bible says the Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. So His words are like a sharp two-edged sword, because they are "able to cut between the soul and the spirit. They are a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the hearts of man"( Heb 4:12 ). and his countenance [or face] was as the sun shineth in his strength ( Rev 1:16 ). It would be like looking into the noonday sun. His feet would have been like brass heated to an incandescence. His hair white as snow, eyes like a flame of fire. What a vision. Holding in His right hand the seven stars, And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last [I am the Alpha and the omega. I am the first and the last. I am the beginning and the ending.]: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, so be it; and have the keys of hell and of death ( Rev 1:17-18 ). When Jesus died He descended into hell. Peter, in the second chapter of the book of Acts in explaining to the people of the phenomena that they were observing on the day of Pentecost, declared, "Jesus of Nazareth, a man who proved himself to be of God by the signs and the miracles, which He did in your midst, whom you with your wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God rose from the dead: because it was not possible that he could be held by death; for the scripture predicted and prophesied in Psalms thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you allow the Holy One to see corruption"( Act 2:22-27 ). So Jesus descended into hell and preached to the souls that were in prison. And when he ascended He lead those captives from their captivity for He had the keys of death and hell and He concords over death and hell. Now, there have been a lot of people who have claimed that they were going to come back from the dead. Houdini often made the claim that he was going to escape death, and for several years they had a phone in the crypt where his body was waiting for him to call. They finally disconnected it. The escape artist couldn't escape death, but Jesus did. He has "the keys of death and hell". And this same Jesus has God raised from the dead. It was not possible that He could be held by it. The prophecy of Isaiah concerning Jesus was He was to set at liberty those who were bound and open the prison doors. He did that. Those who were held by the prison of death, He opened the doors for them and lead the captives from their captivity. Now the command of John in verse nineteen gives to you the key to the book of Revelation. And the understanding of this book is really dependent upon your using the key, which is verse nineteen of chapter one, for there are three divisions to the book of Revelation. Write the things which you have seen ( Rev 1:19 ), This is past tense; so, it was this vision that he wrote of Jesus Christ that he saw here in chapter one. Secondly, the things which are ( Rev 1:19 ), These are the present things. And thirdly, and the things which shall be hereafter ( Rev 1:19 ); The words "hereafter" are a translation of the Greek words "meta autos", which literally means "after these things". So you have John writing that which he saw. He will be writing in chapters two and three the things which are during this present age, the things of the church. And then as you begin in chapter four, he is going to write of the things that transpire after the things of the church, the things that will be hereafter, or more literally after these things, so it is significant. You need to watch for it. Chapter four begins with the Greek words "meta autos". "After these things, I saw a door open in heaven: and the first voice was as of a trumpet saying unto me; Come up hither, and I will show you things which must be". Again the repetition of the Greek words "meta autos", "after these things." So you enter into the third section of the book when you get to chapter four. So, you get into the future aspects of the book. We are now living in the eras of chapters two and three, "the things which are". The church continues to exist, and the testimony and the witness of the church, and the witness of Jesus concerning His church, which is even more important. So, there are three divisions of the book. It is important that you catch this, because if you don't you are going to have a constantly confused and garbled view of the future. You will see the church in the midst of the tribulation and the one hundred and forty-four thousand-you'll try to twist to be the church. There are all kinds of twisted and exaggerated concepts that have come from the book of Revelation, because people did not catch the key in this first chapter here. Now, the Lord explains to John a little bit of the vision that he saw. Remember he turned and he saw Him walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the [messengers] of the seven churches ( Rev 1:20 ): The word "aggelos" in Greek is literally "messengers". It is usually used of a heavenly messenger, but also used of earthly messengers too. Anyone who is bearing a message could be an aggelos, a messenger. The word by usage has come to mean a divine messenger, a heavenly being. The seven stars are the messengers of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven churches ( Rev 1:20 ). So the seven churches are the complete church and those who are ministering to the church. Now it is always to me a very comforting, and yet an extremely exciting concept, to realize the place of the seven stars. They were being held in the right hand of Him. And how beautiful and comforting it is to realize that as a messenger to the church, your life is being held in the right hand of the Lord. I don't know of anything more exciting than that and comforting than that. Another thing that is extremely exciting is where Jesus is. He is walking in the midst of the church or the churches, the seven golden candlesticks or the seven churches. So Christ is walking in the midst of His church. You remember in the Gospels, Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name there will I be in the midst"( Mat 18:20 ), His promised presence with His people. So Jesus is here with us tonight. He has promised to be with His people wherever they have gathered in His name. And that is always just beautiful and comforting to realize the presence of Jesus. Now He, for a time, sought to familiarize the disciples with the concept that He is there even though you don't see Him. So after His resurrection He would show up and then disappear. And suddenly He would be with them in the midst and then He would be gone. Two disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus and suddenly Jesus was on the path walking with them. When they got to Emmaus, He pretended like He was going on, and they said it was too late; come in and eat with us. And when He broke bread, their eyes were open and they realized it was Jesus, probably they saw the marks in His hands. Then Jesus disappeared and they said, "Wow, that was the Lord", and they ran all the way back to Jerusalem to share with the disciples. "Hey, we have seen the risen Lord." And they said, "He appeared to Peter and Mary and a bunch of them." Thomas said, "Ah, don't give me that stuff. I am not going to believe until I, myself, can take my finger and put it right there in His hand. I want to take my hand and put it right there in His side. I need more proof than your stories." So the disciples were gathered and Thomas was present and Jesus suddenly appeared and said, "Hey Thomas, go ahead, take your finger and touch me. See if it isn't me"( Joh 20:27 ). Hey, wait a minute. How did He know Thomas said that? He must have been standing there when Thomas expressed His doubts. You see Thomas couldn't see Him, but He was trying to get them used to the fact that He is there even though you don't see Me. That was part of the training. Paul the apostle after fourteen days and fourteen nights on a stormy sea, when all hope of ever surviving was lost, in the morning of the fourteenth day Paul stood up and said, "Hey men, be of good cheer"( Act 27:22 ). Everybody is seasick and miserable and they think they are going to die and he is saying, "Be of good cheer." He said, "Last night the Lord stood by me." The Lord was with him the whole while. The Lord is with us here tonight. The presence of the Lord is with us. He said, "Wherever two or three are gathered together here I am" ( Mat 18:20 ). Now often we wish that we could have been at the Sea of Galilee almost two thousand years ago, or that we could have been at Capernaum or Bethsaida or one of those cities where Jesus visited; that we could actually have seen Him ourselves. How thrilling it would have been to have lived in those days and to have followed him along the sea listening to Him teach. Oh, I know that if I could have only been right there, if I could have only seen Him, I know that He could have reached out and touched me and He could have healed me or helped me. If only I could have seen Him like that, I know He could have helped me. Like Martha when Jesus finally showed up four days after her brother had died, she said, "Lord if you only had been here my brother wouldn't have died"( Joh 11:21 ). "If You had just been here. If I could have just seen Him, I know that He could do it". Hey, He is here. He is here to touch you tonight. He is here to minister to your needs tonight. Wherever the church assembles in His name, He has promised His presence to be there with them. And He is always there to minister to the needs of the people. That is the purpose of His being here tonight, to touch you and to minister to the needs in your life. He said, "Behold I am with you always even to the end of the age"( Mat 28:20 ). Now, we come to the messages of Jesus to these churches. There are patterns in the messages. First of all, the messages to each of the churches begin with an address of Jesus naming the church that He is writing to. And then a description of Himself, and the description is usually taken from the first chapter here, and the description of Himself usually is correlated in the body of the message. So it is Jesus becoming all things to all people, no matter what your need may be. He becomes all things to all men. Even as the name of God, the Yahweh, or Jehovah, or however it may be pronounced, is the thought of the becoming One. "I am the becoming One", where God sought to reveal himself as the One who becomes whatever you may need. So this name Yahweh is used in conjunction with other words. So we have Jehovah Rophi, the Lord our healer. If you need healing, he becomes your healer. He becomes your provider, Jehovah Jireh. He becomes your righteousness, Jehovah Tsidkenu. He becomes your Savior, Joshua or Jehovah Shua. So, Jesus in the description of Himself, as He writes to the churches again, takes that adaptive form where He adapts to what you might be needing. He becomes all that you might need, so the description of Himself. Then in each of the churches there is the acknowledgment that I know what you are going through. I know your condition. I know what is happening. To five of the churches, there is the call to repentance. Now, remember the church is less than one hundred years old. We so often hear quoted, "The early church fathers this and the early church fathers that." Well, according to Jesus, the early church fathers became corrupted pretty early. Corrupt systems began to invade the church extremely early, as we will see when we get to the church of Pergamus and Thyatira. These corrupt systems had entrenched themselves within the church before the end of the first century. So you have some of the renown church fathers' origin and some of the others, who are espousing child and infant baptism, and some of the other things that were borrowed from the pagans. You have an early development of the priesthood. It began before the death of John in Thyatira and in Pergamus. So you cannot really look back at church history to find the model or the pattern. You have to look right back to the book of Acts to find out God's true pattern. And the true pattern is one of great simplicity. People just being brought to a faith in Jesus Christ and a living relationship to Him, no fancy organizations, no great structures, no seminaries; just a simple trust and faith in the Lord shared from person to person and friend to friend. In each of the churches there is a group who are victorious, who are overcoming, and they are recognized by the Lord. And there are special promises to those who do overcome and they exist in every church. So no matter how corrupt the church system may become, the Lord always has His true witness within that church. And in each of the churches there is that call of Jesus to pay attention. "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the church"( Rev 2:7 ). So seven times we are going to be commanded by the Lord to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. So, let us now as we enter into this very awesome solemn territory of the messages of Jesus, Jesus' epistles to the church, and may God by His Holy Spirit give us ears to hear what He is seeking to say to the church, for He is going to tell us that as many as He loves He chastens and He rebukes. Let's not try to defend ourselves or justify our positions, but let's be open to hear what the Spirit would say to us, His church. "

King James Version

This is the 1769 King James Version of the Holy Bible (also known as the Authorized Version). "Public Domain"