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Revelation Commentary – the Seven Churches – Part II

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Matthew 22:11  “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.

 

Matthew 22:12  ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes (that I provided)?’ The man was speechless.

 

Matthew 22:13  “Then the king told his attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

 

Matthew 22:14  “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

 

This parable sums up man’s need for a spotless wedding garment very succinctly. Here’s the meaning of the parable:

 

The King of the Universe has prepared a wedding banquet for His Son.

 

The so-called friends of the King are too busy and distracted to come to the banquet. When invited, the “friends” excused themselves because it was at an inconvenient time.

 

Even worse, they mistreated and killed the servants of the King who announced the banquet.

 

Then, the King commanded His servants: Go everywhere and find anyone willing to come to the banquet….

 

A man was spotted at the banquet without the prerequisite wedding garment….

 

He was immediately thrown into the fire outside….

 

Here’s the punch line:

 

The invitation to the wedding banquet comes with terms and conditions. The friends of the King were not interested in meeting those terms and conditions.

 

When the banquet began and a man was found who had not surrendered to the terms and conditions, he was thrown out….

 

This is the meaning:

 

Many are invited… But few will submit to the terms and conditions. Those who submit are the elect, the called and the chosen.

 

In Sardis, there were members who had not soiled their wedding garment.

 

Revelation 19:7   Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

 

Revelation 19:8   Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

 

God is happiest with us when we submit to the terms and conditions for salvation on a daily basis. What are the terms and conditions for salvation?

 

1.   Submission to the Spirit – Purifying our lives so that we may bring glory to God…    

2.   Loving God and His Word with all our heart, mind and soul.

3.   Loving our neighbor as ourselves. This means caring for the sick, helping the poor, giving up free time to assist others…

These things produce a character like that of Jesus – serving others with the heart of a servant.

 

Reviewing….

 

Revelation 3:4   Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

 

Revelation 3:5   He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.”

 

Jesus said something to the church at Sardis that is widely misunderstood today.  He promised that He would never blot out the names of the over comers from the Book of Life. Most Christians misinterpret these words of Jesus in one of two ways: 

 

First, some believer that “if a person receives Christ as Savior, he or she cannot be lost thereafterbecause Jesus will not blot any name out of the Book of Life  - meaning once you are saved, you are forever saved,” or…

 

Second, some believe that “If a person overcomes every besetting sin, his or her name will not be blotted out of the Book of Life – meaning salvation belongs to those that achieve perfection.”

 

These conclusions are fatal. First the doctrine of ‘once saved – always saved,” and the reciprocal of this doctrine, “Some people are predestined to be lost and some are predestined to be saved,” is disputed by the text itself.

 

The Bible teaches that salvation belongs to anyone and everyone who overcomes this world of sin.

 

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

 

Revelation 22:17   The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him that hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”

 

The Bible also teaches that a person can walk in the assurance of salvation and then lose it by turning away from the Lord and doing wicked things! (Ezekiel 18) Consider (a) the fall of Lucifer and (b) the fall of Adam and Eve.

 

At one time they were perfect, they were “saved,” they had eternal life, but they turned away from righteousness and fell from God’s favor. So, what did Jesus mean when He said that the names of the over comers would not be blotted out of the Book of Life?

 

He promised the believers in Sardis that once over comers get to Heaven, their names will never be blotted out of the Book of Life. Over comers will never perish. Do you think this promise is limited only to the church of Sardis?

 

Of course not.

 

Notice how the meaning of the promise unfolds within the context of all the promises made to all seven churches:

 

Ephesus:   The right to eat from the tree of Life;

Smyrna:   The second death will not hurt you;

Pergamum:   The right to eat hidden manna and the receipt of a white stone;

Thyatira:   You will receive authority over the nations and the Morning Star;

Philadelphia:   I will write on you the name of my God and the name of His city;

Laodicea:   I will grant you the right to sit with Me on My throne. 

Listen closely: The rewards to the over comers in these six churches will be implemented after the Second Coming. In other words, there is no revealing who the over comers actually are nor is there any reward for the over comers until the Second Coming. At which time, Jesus will return “with his reward.”

 

This means the promise to the churches at Sardis occurs after the Second Coming. The names of the over comers in Sardis will not be blotted out of the Book of Life after get to Heaven. The problem for most people with Revelation 3:5 is timing.

 

Jesus was not talking about entering or blotting people’s names from the Book of Life at the time He spoke to the church at Sardis (or any of the promises made to over comers in the other churches). Rather, Jesus promised the over comers in Sardis that He will never blot out their names from the Book of Life after they arrived in Heaven. This means over comers will live forever with Jesus!

 

This brings us to the second problem. Many people misunderstand God’s function and purpose for the Book of Life. According to Revelation 20: 12, the Book of Life is not opened until the thousand years are over.

 

In fact, the Father wrote the Book of Life and sealed it seven seals before any life was created! (Revelation 17:8) This means the over comers and sinners were entered into the Book of Life before life was created. This is why the Book of Life remains sealed until the end of the thousand years.

 

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