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TEARING DOWN STRONGHOLDS IN THE CHURCH BY DR TONY EVANS
John who was on the isle of Patmos wrote Revelation 3:11. God send this message to the churches. By understanding the 7 Churches (number of perfection or completion); and taught them how they should operate. What is God's message to the 7 churches? That Jesus and only Jesus is the standard by which the people of God function and when the church responds in that standard then the church is The Church. It was the complete message about how they should be. God let John see Jesus first before he talked about the churches. Jesus is the standard that the church should respond to. In England, sometimes people will look up and coordinate their watch with the official clock in England. We need to look at our standard Jesus and adjust ourselves according to his standards. The churches need to adjust our programs and our thinking.
There are seven principles between our standing and our state. If any church receives all John's messages, we will overcome the devil and the devil will not overcome the church. When we accept Lord Jesus, we are automatically an overcomer.
John 5:5 says, you have already overcome. The most important thing is to learn that we are an overcomer by knowing and realizing our position in Christ. Later in Revelation, John said “to him who overcomes.” John stated you are an overcomer by position and not an overcomer by your practice. You are victorious by your standing but may not be victorious in your daily life (your state). It is possible to have a right relationship with God and never experience the power of God.
It is possible to be on your way to heaven and never experience heaven come down to earth. You may not have matched your position with your practice. This is the message of John about the Seven churches. Revelation 1:4 King James Version (KJV) John to the seven churches which are in Asia: 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.
· Ephesus: Don’t leave your first love. The Church in Ephesus left their first love and lost sight of Christ as well as good doctrine. We should love Jesus more and more and not lose our passion. Never replace passion with programs. Every church needs to evaluate if they still have their first love. This church could have the right truth, the programs, etc. but we need not lose our passion for Christ.
· Smyrna: When the things get tough, don’t throw God away. Our job is to stay faithful. People jump out of the marriages really quick. Everyone wants to quit when things get tuff especially when times are down. People move churches rather than be committed to Christ.
· Pergamum: Don’t Compromise with other Gods. Behind every idol is demons. Satan dwelled there. Pergamum was a cultural church, a compromising church, and did not expect their people to live up to God’s standards. Immorality and Adultery was in this church. Vs.13, Like a hospital, the church should have an attitude that they are ready to go to surgery. Sermons should have an effect on our hearts. If we feel guilty, we are doing good. We should be visibly different. Singleness before compromise. Homosexuality has nothing to do genes. Homosexuality is an act of will to engage in sexual activity with the same sex.
· Thyatira: Don’t Tolerate Sin in the Church. There was a Holiness issue in this church and they tolerated sin in the church. Jezebel dominated the church; she was an un-submissive, ornery, rebellious, mean, evil, conniving woman. Jezebel was dominating this church and acting outside of her role. She, calling herself Prophetess, and was also teaching people false doctrine. The problem was the church did not stop her. They did not say anything, address it, speak out against it, or stand on God’s word. This woman went public and gave herself a theological giftedness title and was teaching false doctrine in the church. She robbed people in the church and contaminated the message of Christ in the church. The church should not tolerate sin in the church because Christ is going to judge the Church.
· Sardis: A Sleeping Church makes no progress. This church was stuck on yesterday which was wonderful or bad. Yesterday has a place, so we will not do the same today. You can’t fix or change yesterday. If we spend all day today thinking about our failures or successes yesterday, we will ruin our tomorrow. When today looks at yesterday, we are borrowing from tomorrow’s time. Yesterday is like a rearview mirror in a car. You don’t move forward by focusing on the rearview mirror, you move forward by focusing on the windshield because the windshield covers a lot more territory than a rearview mirror. While we drive forward in our Christian life, take a look behind and don’t spend too much time in your rearview mirror you will waste your time. Satan wants to keep you busy looking in the rearview mirror but focus on where you are going. Look in the past but don’t dwell on the past. Forget those things behind
· Philadelphia: Lesson of Obedience. You have kept my word and the testimony for Christ in the midst of a satanic environment, but if you deny me before men, I will deny you. Keep yourself from the hour of testing.
· Laodicea: Lesson of Commitment. Wealthy Church was rich and in a great community. This was a rich church but has become wealthy. This caused them to turn away from seeking Jesus. They lost their vision due to having everything at their disposal. God said, I wish you were you hot or cold. Because you have said you are rich, really you have nothing to give back to God. We’re too successful when the blessings by God replaced God. You’re making too much so that you expanded your sphere of living so you don’t have nothing left to give to God. Cold means less prayer, devotion, less commitment, less loyalty, less love and then say thank your that’s neither hot or cold; there’s no commitment there. No matter how successful you are: Money can buy you a bed, but it can’t buy you sleep; money can buy you finery but cannot buy you beauty. Money can buy you a house but can’t buy you a home. Money can buy you books but can’t buy you brains, money can buy you medicine but not buy you health. Money can buy you a crucifix but can’t buy you a savior.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.:)
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