Revelation 3

By Pastor Steven L Anderson

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January, 2013

Now in Revelation chapter 3 we’re continuing the personalised messages that Jesus Christ is sending unto the 7 churches. We say 4 of those churches in chapter 2, and in chapter 3 we’re gonna see the remaining 3, look at verse number 1, the Bible reads “and unto the angel of the Church in Sardis write these things saith He that Hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars. I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead. Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die. For I have not found thy works perfect before God.” So basically, what he is saying to this church, is that they are a church that’s living in the past, they’re riding on their old reputation. He says that they have a name that they live, but they’re dead. And he is saying “be watchful and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Now let me emphasise to you again that these messages to the 7 churches were given unto 7 literal churches that existed in Asia at that time about 2000 years ago. And these churches are told about things that they’re doing well, or things that they’re doing poorly. And the reason why we have these messages in the Book of Revelation today is to provide an example for us and our churches today. These are basically 7 pattern churches. And any church today might find itself in a situation similar to the churches that are listed in the book of Revelation here. For example, there could be a lot of churches today that in the past were great churches, that were on fire, that were winning souls to Christ, that were preaching hard, that were filled with the spirit. But now, they’re starting to die, they’re starting to fade. And yet they still have that reputation that they’re alive. It would be like if someone heard about faithful word Baptist church and they heard about the great things that we’re doing for God and saw all the people that we’re getting saved, and all the doors that we’re knocking. And then lets say they came out here, and we’d all backslidden, we’d all softened up, and that would be the situation that Sardis was in. They had a NAME that they lived, but they’re dead. Now look what he says in verse number 3. “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names, even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.”

So here, even though Jesus Christ is rebuking this church, for having a NAME that they live, but being dead.... He still commends some people in the church. He says in verse 4, “thou hast a few names, even in Sardis.” Meaning that the vast majority of the people in the church at Sardis were not living for God and doing what they were supposed to be doing. But he said “thou hast a FEW names”, and he says “EVEN IN SARDIS, that have not defiled their garments, they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” You know what that tells me? That tells me that you’re better off going to a church that’s a little bit of a dead church, than not going to the church at all. You see there are many people today, that can’t find a good church in their area, so they just don’t go to church at all. And the Bible says, “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is’, he said, “but exhorting one another, and so much the MORE as we see the day approaching.” You know, as we see the day approaching of the second coming of Jesus Christ, we need to be assembled together so much the more. Now is not the time to get out of church. And there are many people who say “well, you know, I can’t find a good church in my area, so I’m just not going to go to church at all, I’m just going to forsake the assembly, but God gives a very stern warning in Hebrews 10 to those that forsake church, and forsake the assembling of themselves together. You see, these people did not have a great church in their area. I mean, Jesus is telling us that the Church in Sardis was a dead church. In the past it had been a great church, but it’s a pretty dead church. BUT, the ones who just went to that church anyway, he says the ones that have NOT defiled their garments, they shall walk with me in white, they are worthy. You know, I would rather have Jesus Christ look down on me from heaven and say that I’m worthy, say that I’ve not defiled my garments, be proud of me for what I’m doing for him, even if I’m going to a church that’s not the greatest church in the world. At least I’m in church. But I’ll promise you one thing. If you’re not in church at all, if you don’t go to church whatsoever, God is NOT pleased with you. Because Jesus Christ said “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He said “NOT forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is.” The Bible says he purchased the church with his own blood, and so we are in sin if we just do not go to church. I mean God commands us to be in church, over and over again. Now, although these messages are written to specific churches about things that they were dealing with at that time, and yes they can be used as a pattern for us today... most of these messages to the churches have very clear symbolic meanings that carry over into end times Bible prophecy. So they’re very much at home in the book of Revelation because they have symbolic meanings that can be applied to endtimes Bible prophecy. Verse 3 is a perfect example.

Look what he tells the church at Sardis in verse 3. “Remember therefore how thou hast seen and heard, and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch”, watch this, “I will come on thee as a thief and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Go to first Thessalonians chapter 5. 1st Thessalonians chapter 5. Notice he says that he will come on them as a thief IF they do not watch. Did you notice that? He says “IF therefore thou shalt not watch I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” That means that if they are watching, they WILL know what hour he will come upon them, and they WILL NOT be overtaken as a thief. Look at 1st Thessalonians 5, which teaches the exact same thing. Let me of course point out that 1st Thessalonians 4 is the most famous passage in the Bible on what we call “the Rapture”, and what the Bible calls “his coming in the clouds”, where the trumpet sounds, the dead in Christ rise first... In fact, let’s just read a few verses of that. Look at verse number 15 of 1st Thessalonians 4. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with him in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we EVER be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” Look at the first word of the next verse... “BUT”. Now, “but” is a conjunction, is it not? And a conjunction is something that connects what’s about to be said with what was just said. So in chapter 5 we’re not switching to a completely different subject here. We’re continuing the same thought of chapter 4. Chapter 4 talked about Christ’s coming. He said “the coming of the Lord”, Christ “coming in the clouds”, the dead in Christ rising first, then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together. This is known as the rapture. Let’s see what he says about the rapture in chapter 5 because he continues along the same thought. He says “BUT, of the times and the seasons brethren, you have no need that I write unto you.” The times and the seasons of what? Obviously what he just told us about. I mean, if he just told us about the rapture, and then he says “but”, which is a conjunction, “of the times and the seasons brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you”... Why do we have no need that he write unto us of the times and the seasons of the rapture? He tells us in verse 2. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” Now ask yourself this question. Why would the timing of the day of the Lord tell us anything about the timing of the rapture? He says, I don’t need to write to you of the times and seasons of the rapture, because you already know that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. Well the reason is simple. Because the rapture takes place ON the day of the Lord. That’s the only way that this would even make sense. And it’s very consistent all throughout scripture, because if you study all the Old Testament passages on the day of the Lord, what do they always emphasise? The sun and moon being darkened, every time. For example, it says “the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come.” Now, the day of the Lord is a very dreadful day for the unsaved, because that’s the day when God begins to pour out His wrath upon this earth. But to us which are saved, it’s a glorious day, it’s an exciting day that we are looking forward to. It’s the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the famous rapture passage in Mathew 24 which says “Immediately AFTER THE TRIBULATION of those days”, and then it mentions the sun and moon being darkened, and it talks about Jesus Christ coming in the clouds to gather the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. That proves right there again that the day of the Lord and the rapture have the same timing. They take place at the same time. The same day that we’re taken out of this world and removed from this earth at the rapture, is the same day that God begins to pour out His wrath, which is what the day of the Lord is. “The great day of His wrath”, the Bible calls it.

But let’s look at this very carefully in 1st Thessalonians 5:1. It says “But of the times and the seasons brethren, you have no need that I write unto you, for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. And many people will stop reading there. And they will say, “see, it’s coming as a thief in the night! Jesus Christ is coming as a thief in the night!” And there’s even a movie that was out back in the 70’s called “A Thief in the Night”, and it was explaining how “the rapture could happen at any moment, because it’s coming as a thief in the night.” But really, the rapture cannot happen at any moment, because the Bible is real clear about a lot of things that have to happen first. And, I’m going to prove to you that to us which are saved, he is NOT coming as a thief in the night. Look at verse 3. “For when THEY shall say”, now is this what we’re saying? Or is this what THEY’RE saying? This is what the unsaved, unbelievers are saying, not God’s people. “When THEY shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon THEM, as travail upon a woman with child, and THEY shall not escape.” So notice when it’s talking about the WRATH and the judgement and the punishment, it’s always coming on them, not us, okay? THEY’RE going to say “peace and safety”, and then sudden destruction comes on them. But look at verse 4. “But YE BRETHREN”, he is saying on the other hand, “are NOT in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief.” So according to verse 4, are God’s people going to be overtaken by these events as a thief in the night? No. So it’s not accurate to say that Jesus Christ is coming as a thief in the night to those that are saved. That’s not an accurate thing to say to those that are saved. Now to say that to the unsaved would make perfect sense. But he said “Ye BRETHREN”, “brethren” means you’re saved, you’re a brother in Christ, “are NOT IN DARKNESS that that day should overtake you as a thief. And then he goes on to explain why that day will not overtake us as a thief. He says “ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day. We are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.” So what’s the difference between us and them? The difference is that they’re asleep and we’re not. The difference is that they are not watching, WE ARE watching. He says “Therefore, let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.” Now, let me ask you this. Is every single believer watching? No. That’s why he’s commanding us to watch. That’s why he’s exhorting us to watch. You see, some people have NO CLUE what Revelation teaches.

Thank God for people who are interested enough to listen to the preaching of this series through the book of Revelation, so that they can learn and understand these things, so that they’ll know what to watch for. So they’ll be awake. So that they’ll be able to see the truth and not be in darkness concerning the events of the end times. The unsaved are in darkness, but sadly, many Christians today- even though they don’t have to be in darkness, even though the light is there for them, even though the information is right here in the Bible for them...Even though they could be watching for these things- they’re asleep at the wheel, because they don’t know what’s going on, and that’s why it’s so important we study these things. But he says “let us not sleep as do others.” Don’t be like the unsaved world, in that you know NOTHING about what’s going to come to pass. He says “Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us WATCH and BE SOBER, for they that sleep, sleep in the night. And they that be drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the DAY, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” Now go back to Revelation 3 with that in mind. So in 1st Thessalonians 5, the Bible was clear about a few things. The Bible was clear that if you’re SAVED, you don’t have to be overtaken by these things as a thief. You will know they’re coming. You have the word of God that has warned you. You know what to watch for. And if you’re awake and watching, you will not be surprised, you will not be overtaken as a thief. He also talks about being drunken. That’s another illustration that he uses in Mathew 24 about the exact same subject. But look at Revelation 3 with that in mind now. Verse 3, “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not WATCH, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” So he’s not telling believers “I am coming to you as a thief”, period. He says “ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT WATCHING will it come upon you as a thief. But if you are watching, you are NOT in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief.”

Now, we need to be watching for what? And haven’t you heard preachers say “There are NO SIGNS of his coming, there are no signs of the rapture, the rapture can happen at any moment. No prophecies need to be fulfilled before the rapture takes place. That is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible gives us a whole run-down of things that are going to happen first in Mathew 24, and in Mark 13. He tells us about wars, rumours of wars, famines, pestilences... He talks about the abomination of desolation. He says “when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet...” He talks about the sun and moon being darkened. Look, these are all things to be watching for. We need to be watching and seeing these events unfold. Then we will be prepared for what’s coming. But if there are no signs of his coming, if there’s nothing to affect us, what are we watching for? Why does he keep telling us, “Watch. Watch.”? Because there’s something to watch for, that’s why. And in Mark 13 he says “what I say unto you, I say unto all. Watch. And so if we are wise, we will learn what is going to happen first, what the order of events is going to be, what is going to lead up to the second coming of Christ, we’ll be watching for those things, we will be prepared, and will be able to be act as occasion serveth us. But let’s keep going here in Revelation chapter 3. The Bible reads “thou hast a few names”, verse 4, “even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment. And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess His name before my father and before his angels.” And again, we talked about what overcometh means. Go to 1st John 5:4 and 5 to find that answer, but let’s keep moving here. It says “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches.” Verse 7. So that was the message to the church at Sardis. Now let’s look at the message to the church at Philadelphia. “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, these things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth”, (and that’s a quote from Isaiah 22. It says in verse 8, “I know thy works, behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it. For thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word”, notice that phrase- “kept my word”. “Thou hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name”, verse 9. “Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie. Behold I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” Now, we talked about the synagogue of Satan when we went through chapter 2. And it’s clear who he is referring to when he talks about the “synagogue of Satan”. First of all, it’s a synagogue. Well, how many religions do you know, that have a synagogue? I only know one. Judaism, okay? I mean if we were to just do a word association game, and say “what do you think of when you hear the word “synagogue”?” People would say Jews, or they would think of Judaism. And it says that they “say they are Jews, but are not, but do lie.” Okay? So, what’s a group that says they are Jews, and goes to a synagogue? See how easy this is? But, you say “well, Pastor Anderson, those really are Jews.” No, the Bible says “for he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh.” But he is a Jew which is one inwardly.” And this is in Romans 2:28 and 29. “Circumcision is that of the heart and the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.” The Bible tells the Gentiles in Philippians 3, we are the circumcision if we put on Christ, if we believe in Christ, we are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. So these unbelieving Jews who reject the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible says “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.” They are the synagogue of Satan. And again, it’s not a racial thing, it has to do with religion. When we say the jews, we’re talking about those who worship the religion of Judaism.

Obviously there are people who are Jews ethnically who’ve believed on Jesus Christ, they are God’s people. But those who reject Christ are not his people. And I don’t want to repeat that because I went through it in chapter 2. But I want to point out something different about this mention in Chapter 3. Because it says “they say they are Jews and are not, but do lie.” Look halfway down in verse 9 there. “Behold I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” So the next thing that we can see about the synagogue of Satan, according to this passage, is that they don’t know that God loves those of Philadelphia, right? Because He is saying, “I am going to MAKE them to come and worship before thy feet, and I am going to MAKE them to KNOW that I have loved thee.” Now, why would the Jews, or the synagogue of Satan question God’s love for those of the church of Philadelphia. Well, I’ll tell you exactly why. Because many Jews- and we see this in the Bible- they had this idea that they are better than everyone else. Didn’t you see that a lot in the book of Acts? Where, you know, they didn’t want anything to do with the gentiles, they’re constantly rebuking the apostles for taking the gospel to the gentiles. The Bible says in 1st Thessalonians 2 that they were “forbidding us to speak to the gentiles that they might be saved.” I mean the Jews had this idea that because God had chosen them above other nations in the Old Testament, they let that go to their head, and they start thinking they’re better than everybody else, and that “God only loves us, and God doesn’t care about anybody else, and that we’re somehow better, and everybody else is a second class citizen.” You know what, in Christ, there is neither Jew nor gentile, okay? And in the New Testament today, the nation of Israel has already been rejected- the PHYSICAL nation of Israel- because “He came unto his own and His own received Him not”. And Jesus told them, “The kingdom of God shall be TAKEN from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” And so many of the Jews today, they somehow think that they are on a higher level... And even a lot of Christians, and Baptists today think that the Jews are somehow special, just by virtue of their ethnicity. They need to think not within themselves to say that they have Abraham to their Father. “God’s able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham”, is what John the Baptist said. And so he said, now think about this... I believe the Bible, and I believe it literally. He tells these people that He will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say that they are Jews and are not, but do lie, to come and worship before their feet, and to know that God hath loved these at Philadelphia. I believe that that will literally take place. I believe that these Jews that were persecuting them. I mean, these are unsaved, unbelieving Jews of the synagogue of Satan is what He called it... And look, any synagogue that denies that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, is the synagogue of Satan.

Just as much as Islam is of Satan. Just as much as any false religion is of Satan. A religion that denies that Jesus is the Christ is an antichrist religion. And so those of the synagogue of Satan will be forced to worship before the feet of the church of Philadelphia to know that God loved them. And here’s the thing. Jesus said there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, “when ye shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And he’s saying that the children of the kingdom, meaning the children of the kingdom of Israel, are going to be cast out. He said “many shall come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But he said “you yourselves shall be thrust out.” And he said “you’ll be weeping at that time.” But look at verse 10, verse 10 is a key verse. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly. Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Now this is a verse that those who believe in the pre-trib rapture will often go to as their main proof verse. They say “well of course, there’s a pre-trib rapture, because of Revelation 3:10. It tells us that we will be kept from the 7 year tribulation”, is the way they say it. Now of course, the Bible never says that the tribulation lasts 7 years anywhere. And of course the number 7 is not in this verse. “Tribulation” is not in this verse. Years are not in this verse. Nothing about the coming in the clouds, nothing about a trumpet sounding. And so it’s really silly for them to build their doctrine of a pre-trib rapture so heavily on this verse. You know a lot of times you will ask them, “just show me one verse that teaches a pre-trib rapture, just give me one”. I’ve had them give me this verse! My reaction is, “Are you serious?!” And let’s read this verse again, because I’m sorry, I’m not seeing a pre-trib rapture in this verse at all. It says “because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth.” So if you put your pre-trib, pre-conceived idea glasses on, and you look at this verse, here’s what you see. You see, “Because you’re saved, I’m going to keep you out of the great tribulation!” There’s no mention of tribulation. “Temptation” is not tribulation. I mean I know that both start with a “T”, and end in “tion”, but they are two completely different words, okay? Tribulation and temptation are two different things. And here’s another key point. 1 HOUR is a lot different than several years, do you agree with that? Okay. Now let me just show you how there’s no mention of an hour in regard to the tribulation. I mean you will never see the tribulation related to an hour in the Bible. Even symbolically. But let me show you something that is related to an hour.

Go if you would to Revelation 14 verse 7. Revelation 14:7. Now first of all, let me say this. I’m not going to build my whole doctrine on a verse that was spoken to a church that existed a few thousand years ago that doesn’t even exist any longer today. Yes, I realise that there are symbolic meanings, like I showed you the symbolic meaning from the church of Sardis. But the literal application here, is not about endtimes prophecy. The LITERAL application is about stuff that happened a few thousand years ago. So keep that in perspective. But, when we go to look for a symbolic meaning, of Revelation 3:10, a secondary meaning, we have to base it upon some sort of reality. We can’t just make it mean whatever we want. We can’t just make “well, I think it means this...” There has to be some basis in the Bible for our interpretation. Well, if we were, let’s say we wanted to say that chapter 3:10 has something to do with the rapture- and I’m not even saying it does! No clouds, no trumpet, no Jesus Christ coming in the clouds... okay. But hold on a second. Let’s just say, okay, it has some kind of application about the rapture. Well then wouldn’t it make more sense that the rapture would take place before a certain event that’s actually an “hour” event, versus an event of many years? For example, look at Revelation 14:7, the Bible reads, “Saying with a loud voice, fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment IS COME.” Meaning it has just now arrived. “And worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea and the fountains of water.” Now if you get the context here of where Revelation 14:7 falls in the book of Revelation, it actually takes place AFTER chapter 13 where he just finished describing the antichrist making war with the saints, persecuting the saints, causing everyone to have to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead to buy and sell. And if they don’t receive the mark in their right hand or in their forehead, they will not be able to buy or sell and they’re going to be beheaded, and he’s going to persecute the saints, he’s going to make war against God’s people and overcome them and so on and so forth. So in Revelation 14:7, that has already happened, what the Bible calls “the tribulation”, and the events of Revelations 13 specifically, where the antichrist is in power over the whole world and so forth... That’s already happened by the time that we get to chapter 14 verse 7, where he says “the hour of his judgement is come”. “And worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea and the fountains of waters.” Go to Revelations 17 verse 12. So, in Revelation, we don’t see the word “hour” used ever symbolically about the tribulation period, about a period of several years, about the period where the antichrist is making war with the saints. God’s hour of Judgment does not come until AFTER the antichrist has made war with the saints. This comes later.

Look at Revelation 17 verse 12, it says “and the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings ONE HOUR with the beast.” Go to chapter 18. So, I’m just showing you every time the book of Revelation is mentioning an hour in regard to something. Look at chapter 18, because remember chapters 17 and 18 are about the destruction and judgment upon Babylon. And the destruction and Judgment upon Babylon takes place at the very end of Daniel’s 70th week, okay? This is at the very end of the 7 years, toward the very end of the 7 years. Look if you would at verse 10 of Revelation 18. “Standing afar off, for the fear of her torment, saying alas, alas, that great city, For in ONE HOUR is thy judgement come.” Look in verse 17. “For in ONE HOUR, so great riches is come to naught, and every shipmaster, and all the company and ships and sailors and as many as trade by sea stood afar off.” Look at verse 19. “And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying alas, alas, that great city”, talking about Babylon, “wherein were made rich all that ships in the sea by reason of her costliness. For in ONE HOUR is she made desolate.” So, ONE HOUR is used in regard to God’s JUDGEMENT and WRATH that is about to be poured out, because in chapter 14 He is talking about the fact that He is about to pour out His wrath, in chapters 15 and 16 with the 7 vials full of the wrath of God who liveth for ever and ever. And then, the term HOUR is used to describe the time period in which God destroys Babylon and burns Babylon with fire, and demolishes that great city. So, when we look at the term “hour” in the book of Revelation, it is referring to God’s WRATH BEING POURED OUT. The HOUR of God’s Judgement, the HOUR when he pours out His wrath on Babylon, “the HOUR of His judgement is come.” So, does Revelation 3:10, if it’s even talking about the rapture prove a pre-tribulation rapture? No. It only proves a PRE-WRATH rapture. And the tribulation and God’s wrath are two completely different things. Because the tribulation takes place, and it is described in Mathew 24 when he says “then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be.” Then he says “Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light.”

So, according to Mathew 24, the sun and moon are darkened AFTER the tribulation. Then in Revelation 6 when we see the sun and moon darkened. AFTER the sun and moon are darkened it says “the great day of His wrath IS COME, and who shall be able to stand?” So the great the great day of the Lord’s wrath comes right AFTER the tribulation. So, if the sun and moon are darkened after the tribulation, and God’s wrath is poured out after the sun and moon are darkened, how can the tribulation and the wrath be the same thing? One of them is before the sun and moon are darkened, one of them is AFTER the sun and moon are darkened. It’s very simple when you look at it that way, to see there’s no way the tribulation is God’s wrath. And if you look up all 22 times that the word “tribulation” is used in the New Testament, you will notice, it’s not about God’s wrath. Tribulation is usually referring to God’s people being persecuted, or suffering for the cause of Christ, which fits in perfectly with the period where the antichrist is making war with the saints, forcing people to take the mark of the beast, and anyone who won’t take it is killed. And obviously no true believer- the Bible tells us- will be deceived, they will not take the mark, and so on and so forth. So Revelation 3:10, let’s go back to it with those things in mind, with what we just went over in mind. Revelation 3:10 says “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon ALL the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly, hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. So if you want to apply Revelation 3:10 to the Rapture symbolically (because we know the literal application was about a church thousands of years ago) but if you want to use this symbolically to talk about the rapture... My friend, you must face the fact that the “hour of temptation” fits in much more closely with the “hour of judgement”, or the “hour of the destruction of Babylon”, or the “hour when God begins to pour out His wrath”. Those are all things that have to do with God’s wrath. And so if you want to apply the symbolism of Revelation 3:10 to the rapture, it proves a pre-wrath rapture, it DOES NOT porve a pre-tribulation rapture. Because the tribulation is NEVER characterised as lasting for an hour. It’s never even symbolically referred to as an hour. Is God’s wrath referred to symbolically as an hour? Absolutely, I mean I showed you 4 scriptures in the book of Revelation where God’s wrath is symbolically referred to as an “hour of His Wrath”. And so saying that the hour of temptation is a multi-year tribulation is just to make things up. And it’s funny because people who believe in a pre-trib rapture, they CLAIM to believe in the Bible literally, and they always accuse those who don’t agree with them of “spiritualising everything”. Well, you know what? I’m willing to take the literal application. It’s THEY who want to basically dramatically alter the meaning symbolically.

But let’s keep moving, I’ve got to hurry up here. It says in verse 12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out, and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and I will write upon my new name.” And again, let me just point out that the city of God is NOT the current Jerusalem that’s on this earth. It’s the heavenly Jerusalem. And in Galatians 4, we don’t have to turn there, but God makes a very clear distinction between Jerusalem which NOW is, which is in bondage with all her children, and Jerusalem which is ABOVE, which is free. He uses in Galatians 4 the current city of Jerusalem as an allegory representing bondage, representing false religion, representing works salvation, and then he uses the heavenly NEW Jerusalem as a symbol of salvation by grace through faith, the free gift of eternal life, being the children of the promise as opposed to being the children of bondage and servitude. And so I really would STRONGLY... if you are misunderstanding anything I’ve said, or are having trouble with anything I’ve said about the synagogue of Satan, or about the Jews, or about Jerusalem... I highly recommend that you read Galatians 3 and 4, because Galatians 3 and 4 lay it out better than I could even think of laying it out. I mean it’s so clear. If you’re saved, you should be able to read Galatians 3 and 4 and have no trouble understanding it. But let’s go to the final church here that get’s a specific message, church of Laodicea. Look in verse 14. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, these things saith the Amen, the faithful and the true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” And of course, Jesus is the one talking to all these 7 churches. And look at what he is calling himself, he is calling himself the Amen. You say “what does the word Amen mean?” Well, the word “Amen” is a greek word that we’ve borrowed into English language. And the word Amen simply means “truly”, or ”truth”. It’s actually the same word as the word that we see all throughout the four gospels, “verily”. You know Jesus would often says “verily, verily I say unto you”? That “verily” there, is actually the same word as “amen”. He’s basically saying “amen, amen, I say unto you.” But in English, that doesn’t make any sense, okay? Because when we hear “amen”, we use it on the end of something, not on the beginning of something, okay? So basically, “verily” means “truly”. “Verity” means “truth”. “Amen”, means “truth”. That’s why when you’re in church and you’ll hear a preacher preaching and somebody says “amen!” What are they saying? They’re saying “that’s true, that’s right, what he is saying is the truth.” And it says here that Jesus Christ is “the Amen”. Now doesn’t that make sense when we thing about the fact that Jesus saith unto him “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” He is the amen. He says he is the “faithful and true witness”.

And notice, he is the “beginning of the creation of God”. Now, a lot of people will twist this scripture, and some false Bible versions will change this verse to say that he was the first thing created by God, or he was the first person created by God. No, Jesus Christ is not a created being. The Bible says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In the beginning, the Word was God. And the Bible says that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” And so you have to understand that Jesus Christ was NOT created by God, He is the first and the last, He is the beginning and the ending, he IS the Alpha and the Omega. He IS the Almighty, we saw that in chapter one. But Jesus Christ is the beginning of the creation of God, so he wasn’t created in the beginning, he IS the beginning. He IS the one who “created all things”. Collosians 1 makes it very clear that Jesus Christ is the creator of all things. Colossians 1 is crystal clear on that. Let’s keep going it says in verse 15 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth, because thou sayest I am rich and am increased with goods and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” So here is a church that’s neither cold nor hot. I mean what does that mean? That they’re wishy-washy. They’re half in, half out. They’re not completely fired up, they’re not completely dead, they’re just lukewarm, and God’s saying “that makes me sick”. And he is comparing it to a drink. You know, if you had an ice cold beverage, tastes great. Let’s use coffee for an example. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but... Iced coffee is pretty popular. And then hot coffee is pretty popular, right? But you know, lukewarm coffee that’s neither cold nor hot, no coffee drinker wants to drink that. Iced Mocha, okay, you know. Steaming hot cup of coffee, great. But lukewarm? And especially... have you ever started to drink something, you were ready to drink one thing, and it was something different than you expected and you just spewed it out of your mouth? And sometimes what you are drinking is not even that bad, but if you just have your mind all ready for a certain drink and then a different drink comes... argh. You’re ready for it to be hot, you’re ready for it to be cold, then... blechhh...

Let me tell you a funny story. I was camping with my dad as a kid and my dad pretended this was an accident, but then the next day he said “actually I did that on purpose”, and we had a good laugh. And we still laugh to this day, I’m not bitter about it. But anyway, sometimes when you go up in elevation, sodas will explode, right? Bags of chips might burst, just from the pressure of changing elevation. So we had this little refrigerator in the back of the camper in the back of the truck. In this little refrigerator there was a 6 pack of cans of “Squirt”. Who knows what squirt is? It’s like grapefruit, it’s like the best soda in the world But anyway, we had a 6 pack of Squirt, and above that 6 pack of Squirt, there was a pack of Hot Dogs that had already been opened. And you know that juice that comes in a pack of Hot Dogs, that liquid in the Hot Dogs, okay? So this juice from the Hot Dogs had spilled onto the top of these cans of Squirt. So basically, you have got a can of Squirt with this puddle of Liquid that’s a similar colour to what Squirt would be. So we get back there, and we open the fridge once we got to our destination. And my dad hands me a can of that Squirt. And he says “quick, drink this down, this is burst, drink this down so it doesn’t spill!” And I said “Okay!” So I grabbed that Squirt and expected it to be Squirt, and just slurped Hot Dog juice into my mouth... You know, I’m expecting this cold, sweet grapefruit soda... and then I just slurp that Hot Dog liquid, you know, that’s in the Hot Dog. Blechchcch! Argh, it was horrible. And my dad just laughed his head off. He was like “oh, sorry, woops!” And the next day he was like “yeah, I knew that was Hot Dog juice, I just thought it would be funny.” I was like, “thanks dad...” (Laughs)

But that’s what God is saying here! He’s saying it leaves a bad taste in His mouth, and look, it’s not what He expects. I expected Squirt. He expects us to be red hot. He expects us to be fired up. And when he finds us luke warm. When he finds us NOT excited, NOT caring about the things of God, NOT filled with the spirit... You know, it makes Him sick... He’s just like blechhchch Argh man, are you serious? This is church? This is what you’re preaching is like? Blechchch! Now look what made God so mad. Verse 17, “Because thou sayest”. You see, what makes God the most angry, is when basically people think they’re hot, and they’re not. Because God doesn’t like pride, and especially God doesn’t like somebody who thinks that they are just all that, and a bag of chips, and in reality they’re lukewarm. They’re lame. He says to them, “Thou sayest”- verse 17- “I’m RICH and increased with goods and have need of nothing”. He says “here is what you’re really like...” “And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable and poor, and blind and naked.” You don’t even know how poor you are! You don’t even know how naked you are! And by the way, there are a lot of women today that dress in such a way that God would consider them naked. The Bible teaches that your thighs are your nakedness, he says in Exodus 28:42 that the priests were supposed to wear britches that would cover their loins and thighs in order to cover their nakedness. Yet we have ladies today who go out with their thighs totally exposed, and they don’t even know that they’re naked. But according to the Bible, that is their nakedness.

Isaiah 47 also teaches about a woman uncovering her nakedness and it says “uncover the thigh”, in regard to the nakedness. So theres a couple of scriptures right there that indicate that God considers the loins and the thighs to be the nakedness. Also in the book of Isaiah, he refers to the buttocks as nakedness, okay? And yet we have ladies today who will expose these parts of their body, and basically they think that they’re clothed, just because they’re wearing this tiny piece of fabric covering something... they think that’s clothed. There’s short shorts, there’s swimsuits. They think “oh, I’m not naked, I’m clothed.” No, that’s nakedness, according to the Bible. I mean, what if I were wearing a wrist watch and nothing else? You would consider me naked, right? Everybody draws the line somewhere. “No, I’m not naked, I am wearing a hat.” Obviously there are certain of the body that need to be covered in order to cover your nakedness. The Bible talks about “the loins”, okay, which is obviously the lap area. The loins, the thighs and the buttocks are areas that God says need to be covered in order to have your nakedness covered. And that’s not my opinion, that’s what the Bible teaches. Yeah, I’m sure you have your own ideas right, about what nakedness is? Well guess what? God has got his ideas, and he expects us to listen to Him and not to just make things up, and make up rules about how long or short the skirt should be, and just make up rules about what consists of nakedness, and what does not. So He says here, “you don’t even know how wretched you are. You don’t even know how miserable and poor and blind you are, and naked you are.” He says in verse 18 “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” You see, it’s a shameful thing to have your nakedness exposed. And he says “anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

Let me point out quickly just how poetic the Bible is. The Bible is such a beautiful book. I love the rhyme in the beginning of verse 18. “I counsel THEE to buy of ME, gold tried in the fire.” So there’s a lot of poetry in the Bible, the Bible is an amazing book. But look at verse 19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefore and repent.” So here we see that God refers to rebuking, and chastening as a way that he shows His love for us. Now that’s a little counter-intuitive to our mind today in 2013 to think “well, if I love someone, I’m going to rebuke and chasten them.” Because people today do not like to be rebuked. Now, the Bible says “Rebuke a WISE man, and he will love thee.” But if you rebuke a fool, they don’t want to hear it. And the Bible talks about preaching, it says “preach the word, be instant in season, out of season. Reprove, rebuke”- and rebuke means to tell somebody they’re wrong. “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine, for the time will come they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” So according to that right there, the Bible is saying that there will come a time when people don’t want to be rebuked! They don’t want preaching to rebuke them! They just want it to make them feel good all the time. Like for example, what I just said about nakedness... A lot of people don’t want to hear that! Because it hits a little bit too close to home, and they don’t want to be rebuked. But the Bible says “As many as I LOVE I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefore and repent.” The preacher who loves you is the preacher who obeys the command to rebuke you. “Preach the word. Reprove, rebuke, exhort.” And a preacher who won’t rebuke you, doesn’t love you. A preacher that won’t preach anything negative, that won’t tell you you are wrong about anything and try to correct something.... And again, “speaking the truth in love”, but still, speaking the truth, and rebuking what needs to be rebuked. That shows that he loves you. You see if I never told my children that they were doing wrong, if I never rebuke my children, that would prove that I didn’t love my children.

Go if you would to proverbs 13 in your Bible. Proverbs 13. We’re talking about rebuking and chastening. The Bible says “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore and repent.” Look at Proverbs 13, verse 24. It says “He that spareth his rod, HATETH his son, but he that loveth Him, chasteneth him betimes.” Now that right there says that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child? Nope, not what it says. He said “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son.” And I’ve heard people say sometimes, “well, I just love my children too much to spank them, I just love them too much. I just can’t bring myself to do it because I love them too much.” The Bible says you don’t love them enough! The Bible says if you spare your rod, you hate your son, if you love him, you’ll chasten him. “Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.” You say “spanking, that’s not love! That’s assault!” Look if you would at chapter 23, where God really spells it out. Proverbs 23. And again, I’m not talking about taking your fist and pummelling your child, or, assaulting your child. I’m talking about spanking the padded area of their body that God provided to receive the correction. I’m talking about taking the rod of correction and applying it to the seat of learning, okay? And spanking your child... I’m not talking about injuring your child here. I’m talking about basically inflicting a punishment. And we all got spankings as kids. It’s painful, it stings, it burns. But you know what? It gets the message through. It teaches you to do what is right. And it makes you grow up and be a Godly person. That’s why he said in verse 13 of Proverbs 23, “Withhold not correction from the child. For if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” Now that is just as much a command as “thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery”...“Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” So is spanking your children something that’s optional? “God condones it.” No, it’s not something God condones, it’s something that God demands. It’s something that God says “If you don’t do it, you hate your child. You don’t love your children. If you love them you will chasten them betimes.” “Betimes” means “early”. He says “don’t withhold correction from the child. If thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”

Go to Hebrews 12. There are A LOT of scriptures that we could turn to, but I’m just going to the main scriptures on this subject. A lot of scriptures in the Bible on spanking. A lot of scriptures that explain that if you love your children, you are going to discipline them and correct them. For example, while you’re turning to Hebrews 12, it says this “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, neither be weary of His correction, for whom the Lord LOVETH he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” The Bible says that the father who loves his children, he will correct the son in whom he delights. You say “oh man, I’m a child and I get the most spankings of anyone in my family!” You’re the one in whom they delight. You may not want to be delighted in THAT much, but I’ll tell you what, the more you are disciplined, that just shows that your parents love you. Because they will correct the one in whom they delight. You see, if I didn’t love my kids, I’d just stick them in front of the TV. I’d just give them whatever they want to shut them up, right? You know I heard an expression one time, there was a kid throwing himself down in the grocery store, throwing a fit. And this is what my old pastor back in Sacramento used to say, he’d always say “give him what he wants, or give him what he needs.” Basically, just shut him up. Either give him what he WANTS, to shut him up, or give him what he NEEDS. Well, the parent who doesn’t love their child, they’ll just give them what they want. You know, just, “get out of my hair, get away!” I remember one time when I was a child I was babysat and the babysitter does not care as much about your development, and your longterm growth as a person as much as your parents do, right? So the babysitter is talking on the phone, and busy, and doesn’t want to do anything to interact with you , and you’re saying “can I have a cookie, can I have a cookie?” And the babysitter is just like, “Here! Eat as many cookies as you want, just leave me alone!” And you just go and just feast on cookies... it’s a great day, when you’re a kid. BUT, the parent that loves you is going to correct you, and when you’re in sin, when you’re doing wrong, they’re not just going to put a cookie in your mouth and stick you in front of the TV to get you out of their hair. No, they care about you enough to want to train you and teach you and help you to do right, and to take the time to... And look, spanking your children is a lot of work It takes effort. It’s a lot easier just to yell at them, or just to put them in front of the TV, or just give them a treat or whatever. Spanking them and disciplining them can be a chore. It’s not something that any parent wants to do enjoys doing But they know that if they love their children, they’re going to do it. Look at Hebrews 12, and I’ll go through this quickly. It says “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” “Scourge” means whip. It’s like when you were a kid, and dad would take the belt off and give you a whipping. It says “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”

The Bible is saying “look, if you’re not being chastened by God, you’re not even his son, because “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth EVERY son whom he receiveth.” So when you get chastened by God... and I’ve seen people who were in sin have some serious chastening come into their life, and you know what I heard them say before? “Well at least I know I’m saved, because God is not letting me get away with anything!” Well, that’s a good sign man, that’s good to know that God loves you and that he cares for you and that He is trying to correct you, you’re His son! You are his daughter, He loves you, He is trying to correct you. Verse 9, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence”- or RESPECT. There you go folks. Children who don’t respect their parents... it’s because they’re not being corrected by their parents, they’re not being spanked by their parents. That’s why they don’t respect them. “we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” And so, important concept. God will chasten and correct us. And you know what? We should let it be a comfort to us. That’s why David said “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” Because it shows us that God loves us and cares about us, and he wants to help us to do better.

Let me just quickly finish up in Revelation 3 here. He said “as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore and repent.” So therefore, being “zealous” is the opposite of being lukewarm. Zeal! Right? Passion about serving God. That’s what He is looking for. When we don’t have that, we’re lukewarm, we need to get zealous. He says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me.” This is often a misquoted verse. You see, there is a word in the English language, “into”, I N T O, that is one word, right? Preposition “into”. But that is not the word that is used here. Here, 2 separate words are used, “in” and “to”. Do you see that? Now, it might not seem like a big deal, but there’s a difference there. See, when He says “I stand at the door and knock”, who is he talking to in this verse? The saved, or the unsaved? He is talking to the church at Laodicea. He said “as many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefore and repent”, right? Now I’ve heard a lot of people say “well, the church at Laodicea, they weren’t saved”. Now here is why they say that. Because those who believe in the pre-trib rapture, they want to make these 7 churches be seven “periods of time”. And for a long time I heard them say “we’re living in the Laodicean church age, we’re in the Laodicean church age, Jesus is coming any moment.” But THEN, they got a hold of Revelation 3:10, the one that we talked about earlier, and started saying “YEAH, that’s the pre-trib rapture! You know, Revelation 3:10”. Well, here’s the problem with that... They were saying the “Philadelphian age” had already happened, and that talked about the rapture? That doesn’t make any sense. So here is what they adjusted it to. A lot of pre-tribbers now, here is how they adjust it. They say “well, we’re in the Philadelphian age, and the rapture is Revelation 3:10”, and here is what they say, “the church at Laodicea was a fake church, was an apostate church, that’s the church that’s left behind, because they weren’t even saved.” And they ABUSE Revelation 3:20, and say “this is talking about coming INTO them, where he says “behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come IN TO him.” “ And they say “See? That’s Jesus Christ coming INTO your heart!” No. Wrong. Because it doesn’t say “into”. You say “come on Pastor Anderson, are you nuts? What’s the difference between “into” and “in to”??” Totally different word! Because if I say, “I’m coming in to the Pulpit”, like I’m going to come into the church, I’m standing at the door of the church building and I’m going to “come in... to the pulpit.” That means I’m going to come in, and I’m going to walk over to the pulpit. But if I said I am going “into” the pulpit, it means I’m going to open up the pulpit and get inside! You understand the difference? “Into” means I’m going inside of it! “In to”... If I say I am going to come to your house, knock on the door, I’m going to come “in to” you and sup with you ... It means I’m going to come in, TO you. I’m going to shake your hand and sup with you and have dinner with you. It’s not talking about Jesus coming inside you, okay? It’s just saying he is going to come into where you are, and have dinner with you, do you see the difference? It’s not talking about the “spirit of God coming into you” or “Jesus Christ coming into your heart”. That’s not what it’s referring to. This is not an unsaved church. You say, “PROVE IT!” Because they will say “well, you know, He said it a little different, the church OF the Laodiceans, instead of saying “church in Laodicea”” Look, I’ll prove to you they’re saved. You know how you can prove that they were saved? Because he was chastening them. I mean the Bible says “whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth!” He said “and He scourgeth every SON whom he receiveth.” And then He says “as many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefore and repent.” “I stand at the door and knock...” He is talking about having fellowship with God, not Jesus coming into your heart! You’re ALREADY SAVED! But Jesus is outside, he wants to come in and dinner with you, supper with you. He wants to have fellowship with you, and talk with you. And he is saying that he is knocking and he wants to come in. Look, these people are saved. But they want to say “oh, Laodicea is a false church, not saved, because we’re living in the Philadelphian age, and then you know the rapture takes place...” Look, these are the kind of bizarre things that those who believe in a pre-trib rapture will come up with to try and prop up their doctrine. It doesn’t make any sense, okay? They can’t have it both ways. Are we in the “Laodicean age” or are we in the “Philadelphian age”? I don’t believe that any of these “ages” even exist! I think it’s a false man-made doctrine. I think that any church at any given time could become like the church at Laodicea. A church that is going through tribulation and persecution might be similar to the church at Smyrna. A church that has fornication in it is similar to the church at Thyatira. And so don’t misunderstand “into” and “in to”, two different words. He says in verse 21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer.

Father we thank you so much for this great chapter in your word. Thank you for the meanings that were right there on the surface, just the clear teaching about how we shouldn’t try to ride on our past glory days, “oh man, you should have seen what I was doing for God 20 years ago!” Help us not to have a name that we live and be dead. Help us to be serving you NOW. That was the message to the church at Sardis. And the message to the church at Philadelphia. Help us to realise that God has set before us an open door. Help us to take full advantage of the opportunities that you have given us, and as Paul said, when there is an open door, there are also many adversaries, many enemies. That’s where the synagogue of Satan come up. And help us not to be like the Laodiceans were, where we are lukewarm. Help us to be ZEALOUS! Help us to be fired up. And we love you, and in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.