October 28, 2020

Faithful, False, or Foolish

Revelation 3

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To the Church in Sardis

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

To the Church in Philadelphia

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

To the Church in Laodicea

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Faithful, False, or Foolish

Key Verse | Revelation 3:6

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Bio | Sara Fusco

I grew up on a very bumpy, crooked road leading to perfectionism, pride, and depression. By the grace of God I came to know Him as a teenager. The road is still bumpy at times, but it's leading me straight to Him. I daily get to share my relationship with the Lord as I teach science at an amazing local Christian private school and on Thursday nights at Watermark's Women's Bible Study. Thanks to an opportunity to sit under the tutelage of a Watermark staff member who loves this book, I love me some Revelation. Dig into Revelation 3 with me, and let's be the faithful. 

Central Truth

How much we listen to the Holy Spirit determines whether we walk faithfully, falsely, or foolishly. 

Devotional | Revelation 3

There are so many avenues to explore here. Do I address the multitude of characteristics of Christ listed (Holy One, True One, the Amen, the faithful and true witness, etc.)? Do I address the distinctions of the...

There are so many avenues to explore here. Do I address the multitude of characteristics of Christ listed (Holy One, True One, the Amen, the faithful and true witness, etc.)? Do I address the distinctions of the churches (dead church, faithful church, lukewarm church)? How about the challenge offered to each (repent, hold fast, be zealous)? Or, maybe the reward for those who conquer (clothed in white, pillar in the temple of God, sit with Christ on His throne [note: not His Father's throne where He is now, but His throne where He will someday be—I dare you to dig in to that!])? You see my dilemma, right? With only space for one, let's look at the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

The good is the church in Philadelphia who "have kept my word and have not denied my name." (Revelation 3:8) They are faithfully walking with the Lord, patiently enduring with hope in Christ's return. The bad is the church in Sardis who, even though they have an appearance of being alive, are dead. They are falsely walking to seem pleasing but wear soiled garments and are unworthy. The ugly is the church in Laodicea, who are neither hot or cold. They are lukewarm and destined to be spit out of Christ's mouth. They are foolishly walking thinking they're without need but are "wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." (Revelation 3:17)

Can you relate? I know I sometimes don't recognize my need or God's provision. Sometimes I think I can do this life on my own or I'm wise in my own opinion. (Romans 12:16) I can hold appearances above motive and forget who works through me. Thankfully, I have good days too, when I walk faithfully, hopeful, and dependent.

All three churches were ultimately commanded to listen to the Spirit. What a blessing to have the Holy Spirit. He guides my steps and informs my heart. When I humble myself and listen, I have many more good days than bad or ugly. How about you? Are you walking faithfully, falsely, or foolishly? It's your choice.

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Discussion Questions

1. The obvious caveat to the devotional is that you can't listen to the Spirit if you don't know Christ. So first question is, do you know Him? Have you placed your faith in Christ's death and resurrection for the payment of your sins? When we do, we are promised to have the Holy Spirit reside inside of us. If you aren't in a relationship with Christ, I encourage you to seek Him and reach out to someone who knows Him. You can also find more information here or by watching this message on salvation here.

2. If you know Christ and thus have the Holy Spirit, do you listen to Him? Do you know His voice? We can hear His voice through prayer, studying God's Word, and community. How can you pursue God more through these avenues?

3. Which of the churches do you want to be a part of? Is your walk faithful, false, or foolish? What do you need to do to have more faithful days? 

6 Comments available

Greg Jones about 2 hours ago

Q3aEveryone believes they’ve picked the right one. But how often in the past has the right church then become the empty building the congregation can’t afford today? A different way to ask the question might be which direction is my faithfulness taking a church?

b.Easy to diagnose others, hardest to diagnose myself. Faithful, false, and foolish are not so far apart that two can be discarded without one being challenged. Fear has a perspective and that perspective can make me justify not calling out false and foolish as faithfulness. Over time it’s easy to become more faithful to a narrative than any action connected to the narrative.

Sue Bohlin about 2 hours ago

Thanks, Sarah! As a science teacher, you get to point out the Creator’s fingerprints Every. Single. Day!!!

I was stunned by v. 19, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”

Thanks to shallow preaching and almost non-existent discipleship, much of the American church has been made captive to a Jesus who represents a feel-good, demand-nothing warm and fuzzy feeling. Yet the risen Lord, biding His time until He takes His throne over the whole earth (thank you Sarah for that), tells us that evidence of His love is reproof and discipline, not coddling us!

We recently read in Hebrews 12, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Lord, give us grace to WELCOME Your discipline!

Hope Harris about 2 hours ago

GM JTJ friends Part One

In conjunction with todays chapter I read this article from Jon Bloom https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/reformation-day-jesus-came-knocking

Bloom points out that idolatry dulls the soul and numbs a person from repentance. He goes on to state “We know that significant portions of the Western church are diseased with various heresies. Do they provoke us to earnest prayer?”

Hope Harris about 2 hours ago

Part Two

Here is what I am called to do

I am called to examine what areas in my life numb my soul repent and guard my heart.

I am called to faithfully pray for is that God would protect churches and believers across the globe who uphold the biblical worldview of God’s intended design for gender, sexuality and marriage.

This morning I am adding churches and believers who have fallen prey to pro-gay theology.

4)That God would call gay-affirming churches and gay-identified believers to repentance globally and that they would submit to the call of Jesus to deny themselves, pick their cross and follow Him.

Hugh Stephenson about 5 hours ago

GM Sara. Well done and many thanks for a thought-provoking devo.

Today I am reflecting on verse 3:16 “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

What does it mean to be “lukewarm”.

In a recent Summit we studied these letters. The point was made, (paraphrasing), that hot water has a use. And cold water has a use. But lukewarm water is useless.

I my box-checking dead-church history it became clear to me that taking a stand would have a cost. I avoided it. I knew it would result in disagreements, criticism and conflicts.

Yet, there was at least some call of the Holy Spirt that let me see that the life as a “hot” believer had joy, peace and purpose.

Finally, I saw that lukewarm water eventually got cold and made the choice to get hot.

Michael Scaman about 17 hours ago

Smyrna looked poor but was rich Laodicea looked rich but was poor

There is an old sermon by John Piper called 'How to buy gold when you’re broke" https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/how-to-buy-gold-when-youre-broke

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