Of all seven epistles addressed to the Churches in Asia, the letter to the Church in Smyrna is by far the shortest. In just four verses, all that the Lord had to say was said! Smyrna was a Church that found itself amidst much tribulation and upon seeing their plight, Jesus sought to encourage them to hold fast and to prepare for an even greater period of persecution that was to follow.
There is much that can be learned from this epistle that we would do well to take heed. May God give us much grace in the days ahead so as to not only prepare for persecution but also to endure it.
There’s a thought that so grips my heart, subconsciously hanging over my head like an appointment. What is this thought you ask? It’s this...my personal accountability to God for what I have done with the time He has given to me whilst on this earth. It is this...the purpose for which I expended my life; the reason for which I lived and moved and had my being; to what end and to whose glory did I spend this little passing moment called life.
This sermon is a challenge and an exhortation for the Body of Christ to press into the will of God. Who will enquire of the Lord and seek out His will for every area of their lives? May God grant us much grace that when our Lord appears, we would not stand before Him empty handed. May we be able to say that we were busy about our Masters business!
We are living in a post-modern generation where a new breed of thinking has invaded the imaginations of men's hearts and minds. Once upon a time, there existed something called objective truth which in turn set the parameters for objective morality. God was that objective truth and His Holy Word the moral standard which was brought to bear upon the consciences of men. God the creator dictated to man the created, what was right and what was wrong and the consciences of men bore testimony and approval. But now, we are seeing an altogether different scenario taking shape before our eyes, where man is fast becoming answerable to no one. science, we’re told has now explained away God and if there is no God and man is just an advanced ape with no God-given conscience, then it naturally follows that man is free on his upward journey of evolution to define his own truth and in turn his own morality without the baggage of accountability.
The call goes out in this sermon without reservation; REPENT!! God is one day going to judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom he hath appointed. In that day the secrets of men’s hearts will be laid bare and no stone will be left unturned. Justice cries aloud to have its fill and unrighteousness will not be left unpunished but mercy cries louder, DO NOT GIVE THEM WHAT THEY DESERVE!! Hell opens wide its mouth to receive you but the arms of God are open even wider to receive you if you are willing to first repent and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus that you might be saved!! What will you do?
Ephesus was a city of tremendous importance and was by far the greatest city in Asia. Commercially it was unrivalled and was the wealthiest being surpassed by very few cities of that day. Being situated at the mouth of an important river, Ephesus commanded the trade of that region and was dubbed “The Vanity Fair of the Ancient World”. Politically, it too was a city of great importance earning for itself the name “Supreme Metropolis of Asia”, and of course religiously, it held a place of incredible prominence being the centre of the worship of Artemis aka Diana and the temple situated in that city was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. To this city dared to come the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!
Around the year AD 52, a Church in Ephesus was founded and a decade later, around the year AD 62, Paul wrote his epistle to this same Church. In the passing of some three plus decades Jesus Christ now addresses this Church and though He had much good to commend them for; their labour and patience in exposing false doctrine and rooting out false teachers, He nonetheless had something against them, namely that they had left their first love!!
Every one of us has known at some point in our lives, the blessing of having the precious companionship of a good friend. Admittedly, acquaintances are very easy to come by but a good friend, a trustworthy and well-worn friend, a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, is hard to come by and when one finds such a friend, one finds a friend indeed!!
Whether we have any such friends or none at all, for the blood-bought child of God, we have a true friend and companion in Jesus Christ. Well we could speak of Jesus Christ our Saviour, rightly we could make much of Jesus Christ our Lord, but amongst these nouns surely ought to be found, Jesus Christ our friend!! Earthly friends will fail you and even companions as close as husband and wife will inevitably fail one another, but there is a friend, a trusted companion who cleaves to us through thick and thin, one who calls us friends!!
There’s a verse in Sacred Scripture that is the very engine of the Christian life, the very fountain of life, from which all spiritual vitality arises. You see, there are many today that have reduced Christianity to nothing more than a neatly packed formula; a convenient list containing few dos and a few don’ts! Is Christianity simply about following the example left us by our Lord? Are Christians nothing more than a human parrot left in our own strength to imitate the life of Christ? I say with resounding passion, NO!! What saith Paul? “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
The secret of the Christian life is found in our spiritual union with Jesus Christ. From start to finish and everything in between, Christianity is about a relationship with the Triune God of Holy Scripture!! Whether it be sanctification, Christian character or Christian service, there shall be no abiding or lasting fruit unless it be found arising out of an intimate union with Jesus Christ maintained and sustained by faith.
The four Gospel accounts record for us the earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Mention is made of His birth and great detail is given to his ministry of some 3½ years, culminating in His death, burial and resurrection. Following His resurrection, Jesus showed Himself alive for 40 days by many infallible proofs being seen of the Apostles and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom until the time in which He was taken up to heaven.
We have very little recorded in the New Testament of the words of Jesus Christ following His ascension. However, it’s not until we come to the final book in the Bible that we have a detailed description of the risen ascended Son of God and the words spoken by Him to His Churches. This therefore if for no other reason, makes the Book of Revelation a very unique book in the Bible. In this teaching, we examine this first vision of John who beholds the risen, ascended Christ!
1 Samuel 14:1-23
The Church of Jesus Christ in this our nation finds itself at this late hour in a terrible squalor. On every hand, her enemies seem altogether to be prospering and yet the professing Body of Jesus Christ lies impoverished, weak and feeble. Every wicked thing proceeding from the prince of darkness seems to be having its heyday whilst Christianity is being seen off in embarrassment out the book door. Brothers and Sisters, I don’t know how you feel about this, but on a personal level my heart is grieved at this sad state of affairs; saddened by what ought never to be. As I look in my New Testament I don’t see a Church subjugated by the forces of evil, nor do I see a Church that has assimilated itself into the dying corpse of this world. No!! A Church triumphant is what I see, that Church about which Christ our Lord said “...the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18).
This sermon is a call to action! A call for the Body of Christ to believe God for better things in this critical hour and to move out and to wipe the reproach from the face of our Saviour!
What a greeting, packed with plenty of punch and pace!! The Apostle John, writing by the Spirit of God brings a glorious triune greeting to the Seven Churches from God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! Particular emphasis is laid upon the wonderful person of the Son. What titles are given Him, “the faithful witness”, “the first begotten of the dead” and “the prince of the kings of the earth”.
In this teaching, we expound these beautiful titles before turning to the doxology given by John. In every which way, there is no escaping it, this teaching brings to light the very glory and the honour of our blessed Saviour, the Lord of lords and the King of kings!!
There’s not a single person who having named the name of Jesus Christ does not now find themselves in a spiritual war; wrestling not against flesh and blood but “...against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). It is for this reason that in the very next verse Paul exhorts us to take to ourselves “...the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:13). Passivity in the Christian battle will never do!! There is no such thing as a conscientious objector in this battle against spiritual wickedness.
This sermon is a call for the Christian soldier to take to arm them for the fight, the whole armour of God. It’s high time that God’s people stood their ground in Christ and stopped falling prey to the evil schemes of the enemy. It’s one thing to be ignorant of Satan’s cunning strategies of war, but when light has been shone on his antics and what was previously obscured has now been set in plain view, there’s no excuse for our continual succumbing. There’s some who have shown the back to Satan for too long now and God this day is calling them to play the man!!