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Dear 52 Greatest Chapter Small Group Student Family, We are traveling and unable to get some of the weeks done on schedule, so we are releasing the last three weeks (#50-52) and then hope to circle back when we are off the road, and back in the USA to get those other weeks (#46-49) done as soon as possible. Thanks for your prayers as we travel to train the NextGeneration of missionaries. This week’s study was my most exciting week yet in our year-long study, I spent two weeks combing through every verse of Rev. 2-3 and found 55 AMAZING lessons that I want to share!


John Barnett here. I’m so excited to share with you the middle of the three lessons of surveying the book of Revelation. For you, if you’re just joining us today or if you’re part of the 52 Greatest Chapter Study and you’ve been waiting finally for this lesson whichever one it is, the pieces we need for our class are number one, a journal of some kind. This is my journal. This is the one I’ve worked on all week long. Let me find where we are. See how I write week 51, Revelation 2 & 3? Look how many pages I have here. Look at all that scribbling I have. This was probably the most study I’ve ever done for any one week that we’ve ever covered.

I keep referencing this, our MacArthur Study Bible. This has voluminous notes, all of your questions. In fact, I see the questions you ask at the on the videos on YouTube. 3/4’s to 90% of them, if you had taken the time to look in the footnotes, it would answer it. Keep asking me, but if you want to study it, look in your MacArthur Study Bible.

Of course, you need your Bible. What I would suggest, and I want to remind all of you that have heard this, this is the 51st time I’m telling you this, read our passage we’re studying through each day. In other words, read all of Revelation 2 & 3 each day. As you do that, you keep finding more points. In fact, did you know for me, look here, these are the lessons. This is lesson 1 and 3, 5, 8, 11, all the way down to 55. I found 55 different lessons this week. That’s why it took so much room in my journal. I’m only going to cover a handful of these. At the end of the class, I’m going to challenge you where I do these entire chapters, 2 & 3 in its entirety. It’s right over here and I’m going to grab it for you. This is Christ Last Words for His Church. At the end, I’m going to explain and read the table of contents. For some of you, you’re saying I want all 55 lessons. I don’t want you skipping them. I don’t want you to skip a meal. They’re all written down in here.

This book, let me see, is 452 pages. It is one solid year of me going through just Revelation 1, 2, and 3 with my small group, teaching them earnestly like this for a solid year. 52 hours all reduced into this one book. You can get it on Kindle if you like an electronic version or you can actually have that paperback.

Let’s start with the slides and we’re going to go through our lesson today. First of all, we’re on week 51. That means if you haven’t watched week 50 you’ve missed the introduction, right from Patmos. Right here is my Bible. This is the Aegean Sea, and these are the rocky islands. I introduced Patmos. This week, lesson 51, we’re Going to chapters 2 & 3. I want you to see and understand that the whole book of Revelation is God Almighty’s guide for how He wants us living during the last days.

The next slide gives you an idea of how close we are to the end. We’re right here on week 51. That’s understanding Christ’s mandate for the Church. Next week, when we go through Revelation 4 to 22, we’re going to actually walk through God’s plan for the future. All of this is part of a much larger lesson. That is, that Revelation, God inspired it to have three parts.

Look over here at my Bible and I’ll show you what I mean. In Revelation chapter 1, verses 19 and 20, this is what Jesus said. This is a red letter edition. You don’t need a red letter edition, but this is a red letter edition. Whenever Jesus is talking, do you see, it’s in red. See all the red? It might be hard to see the red because of all my other ones. All the words of Christ are in red, in a red letter edition. When you get here to the Gospels, see all the red? This is a red letter edition. If you’re wondering what Bible, this is linked down in the YouTube description, you’ll see a link that you can actually look at this actual Bible that I mark in. I have about six or seven of them because if you notice they’re getting worn out. This one actually is broken all the way through and look, the pages are falling out.

Look at verse 19, “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” Three very clear divisions of the book of Revelation. The things you have seen, that’s the vision of Christ. The things which are, that’s his tour through the churches. The things which we will, see that is will, the future elements take place after this. That is the outline.

Back here to the slides, remember Revelation has 3 parts. Chapter 1 Jesus, as He is now. Chapters 2 & 3, believers as Jesus wants us to live. Then the ending, God’s map of the final days of humanity. Look up here at this drawing. This, I want you to understand that the book of Revelation can’t be divided into, I think chapter 1 is just right, and chapter 2 & 3, but I’m not sure about 4 to 22. That’s how 80% of Christendom looks at the book of Revelation. They go, I’m not sure you can understand it. It’s divisive, and confusing, and people fight over it. It’s one tapestry.

Chapter 1 introduces the whole book that Jesus is God the Son. He is the image of God. He has all the attributes of God. If you remember in our first lesson on Revelation, number 50, I went through and actually listed off, from another one of our resources the attributes.

Those of you that are heavy-duty students, Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology described down in the description of this video. I don’t 100% agree with Wayne Grudem or John MacArthur. I only 100% agree with God. From Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology. He has the finest presentation of the attributes of God. I covered them all in the last lesson. Jesus in the book of Revelation, exhibits and displays all the attributes of God, even the most difficult ones to understand. That’s why I think Revelation is the most important book of all. That’s why I wrote down here, the book of Revelation is Christ Jesus Himself’s final explanation, look at this, application. A lot of people are heavy duty on all this theology. They could quote Grudem over there, but they never what? Apply it.

That’s what Revelation is about, how to explain all these great doctrines of God, applying them, and in every part of scripture to our lives. Jesus, chapter 1, encompasses the entire book of Revelation. He’s at the front. He says, every part of this is true, and honest, and just, and pure, and lovely, and it’s beautifully unfolding. God’s plan of the Creator, Redeemer, and Judge. Then Jesus says, I want to focus on the purpose of this book. Revelation was written to us, the Church. Let me say that again. This is the only book of the Bible written directly to you. Every other part of the Bible was written to the people that were struggling in the book of Acts through Jerusalem to the ends of the Earth. Before that the people that are going through the captivity. The people before that under David’s reign. Every other part of the Bible is secondarily to me. This was written by Jesus Christ to the churches. That plurality is through all the churches of Asia minor and through all the Church saints of all time. That’s today. This the only book of the Bible that was directly written to you and to me. We are his Church, chapter 2 & 3. How Jesus wants us to live in an ever darkening evil world is what it’s about. He says, I know what the future is. I know what’s coming. I’m writing down what I want you to live like. Especially, I’m going to show you today, the Roman empire and how that was impacting each of these churches. They were in the epicenter of the Roman Empire.

Then comes the part everybody disagrees about, but there’s no disagreement when you see it in its entirety. When you see Jesus introduces this, talks to us as a Church and says, I want you living in this world, but I am going to keep you from the wrath I’m going to pour out in its entirety on the rebels who have rebelled against Me, and sinned against Me, and who have rejected Me. I’m going to pour my wrath out on them. That’s what the map of the end of the world is, Revelation 4 to 22. Where does it show the Church as it starts in chapter 4? In Heaven surrounding the throne in utter tranquility and peace and joy and joyful worship. That’s how you should look at the tribulation. It’s a time when we are falling on our faces before the Lord and saying, You are worthy and You are righting all wrongs because I believe the saints in Heaven. Revelation portrays them as seeing the events as they unfold on Earth. We’re going to see Jesus as the Judge moving in and righting all wrongs. That’s what He does. He will right all wrongs. 4 and 5 is in Heaven, that’s us. 6 to 20 is on Earth going back and forth between the scenes in Heaven and Earth. Then, chapter 21& 22 is Heaven. Let me repeat. The book of Revelation is Christ’s final explanation and application of all the scriptures for us.

Back to the slides. Those are the three parts. Revelation is three parts. Jesus says He is now, believers us, how He wants us to live, then God’s map of the final days of humanity. That’s where we are covering all three of those there. If you understand that, then it’s clearer what we’ve already covered last time, lesson 50, chapter 1. Today chapter 2 & 3 is lesson 51. Next time is Revelation 4 to 22.

Remember how we do this, surveying the whole Bible. That’s our 52 Greatest Chapter Study by choosing the 52 greatest chapters. Look at this, we’re using the devotional method. What is the devotional method? That’s what I’m going to spend the most time on today. We write a title for each of the passages. This one, I’ve already shown you. This is how Jesus wants us to live in the last days. Then, we find lessons. Look at this. Note as many, and I found 55, lessons. Trues, and doctrines you can find. Write them down in your own words. If you want to invest the time, use your MacArthur Study Bible or the Blue Letter Bible or Logos or whatever solid inspiration agreeing Orthodox doctrine resource you can find. Don’t stop there. Remember, this is the most important part. This is actually what I enjoy most. Writing a prayer in which I asked the Lord to unleash one of these truths or lessons that I’ve found into my life.

This is this map over here. I always am featuring maps. This is the Roman Empire. This is the context of what’s going on right here on Patmos. John is right here where you see me moving my little red dot right there. There’s Patmos and Ephesus. While John is there, he has come from here, the sea of Galilee is right here. He was in Jerusalem and of course he was all over the Holy Land until he began taking the Gospel and he ended up as the pastor, right there in Ephesus. That’s where the Roman emperors, especially the Roman Emperor Domitian arrested him in Ephesus and put him on the closest penal colony, a high security prison island right here off the coast. John is writing back to his church that he pastored Ephesus and the seven churches that Jesus picked in a little circle right here. I’m going to show you this up close on another map, but look at the extent of the Roman Empire.

It went all the way over here to the gulf area and right on the trade routes to India, all through Egypt, Northern Africa, of course what we would call Western Europe up here into Britain. In fact, during the ministry of Paul, the Roman Emperor came up here and divided, bisected the British Isles, and built a wall across there. In 41 Claudius came up in conquered this much of Britain and made it a part of the Empire. It’s just unbelievable. What I tell people is, God opened this as the mission field for the Early Church. Of course, they went far beyond it, but as the time that John was here every Roman road, and every communication avenue of the Roman Empire was open. That’s what’s going on.

Back to our slides. Let me show you this map. Again, this is the section we’re looking at in the book of Revelation. The consolidation of the Empire, the great Emperors who were controlling from Britain to the straits of Gibraltar, all of Northern Africa, right over to the trade routes, this whole area. Right here as John on the island of Patmos receiving this message from Christ.

In this next map, this shows what is called the spread of Christianity. Some of you say, what maps are those? They’re all down in the description. These are my teaching maps I use whenever I have a Sunday school class, Bible study, anything, I’m using these maps. This is what I want you to think about though. The spread of early Christianity in the seven churches of Asia Minor. This is what, the section we’re looking at, Revelation 2 & 3 describes. One of the seven churches is Smyrna. Smyrna is telling us what’s coming, the near extinction of Christianity.

This is the Emperor Nero who killed Paul and Peter, and a lot of others. Especially all those listed in Revelation 16. You remember we’ve talked about that and how he made them torches and did all kinds of horrible things. Basically, the persecution was in Rome while the widening of it came with Domitian. He started by hitting John in Ephesus. Then he went beyond it, just fanning out his persecution. This is the bad guy. He’s the final Emperor. Let me show you.

Here’s Nero 54 to 68, he started the martyrdoms. Domitian exiled John and continued the martyrdoms. There were many other persecuting Emperors but look at this one. This is the one who almost exterminated Christianity. His name was Diocletian. In many of the other classes, I’ve talked to you about him. He is what we’re seeing on the horizon as we read the book of Revelation. This is the time period of the book of Revelation.

Those seven churches I showed you here are in this map. Here’s Patmos right there. That’s where John was, he had pastored in Ephesus. Smyrna is where they had the martyrdom and persecution. Then, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. Notice it’s a postal route in Roman Asia. Guess what? This is what I want you to know. The churches that Jesus is writing to we’re at the epicenter of the Roman Empire.

Go back over here to my big map. I want to show you something. Rome was right here. Rome is the center of the empire. See it right here? It radiated out. It started here and went down the peninsula, went up the peninsula, jumped to Northern Africa. The history of Rome. This was the heart of Rome but as the years went on, it began to migrate eastward until Rome divided into two halves. There was Western Roman Empire and all the Barbarians, they were fighting and all that. There was the Eastern Roman Empire, which was Egypt and what we would call the Middle East and Turkey today. Right there was Constantinople. Constantine actually moved in the 300’s, the 4th century, he moved the capital from here to here. Why is that important? Because even in John and Paul’s day, the influence was greatest for Rome right here. Let me briefly say this, there are more Roman buildings in Turkey than there are in Italy. There are more Greek temples in Turkey than there are in Greece. There are more Holy Land sites in Turkey than there are in what we call the Holy Land. This was the epicenter of both the Roman Empire and the Church ministry going on.

Back to the slides, the churches were at the epicenter. Why am I emphasizing that? Because what Christ is writing is to a group of people that were right here in the most Roman part of the Roman Empire that were facing the most pressure, the most temptation, the most persecution that anybody could face. Jesus said, I know what you’re going through, and I’m going to show you how to live. How to live for God in an ever darkening world.

Here’s a chronology. Jesus died on the cross, stayed for 40 days, ascended back into Heaven. This is called the Ascension, that’s Acts chapter 1. The first-generation Church is born on Pentecost about 33 AD. By 40 AD Paul is actively working, doing his missionary journeys through 50 AD. He gets in prison finally in the 60’s. That’s the first 30 years of the Church history. By his imprisonment, the Gospels and epistles were on their way. By the time we get to Paul and Peter’s martyrdom here, all the Gospels were finished. The epistles were written, and the second generation Church was growing and flourishing in the 70’s and the 80’s. Now, there’s one apostle left, the Apostle John. Jesus who went to Heaven in the ascension, comes back to visit His churches. That’s what Revelation 2 & 3 is about. Look back up here, Jesus introduces Himself in Revelation. He says, I want you to see Me as I am now. I am the image of God. I was meek and mild when I was on Earth, just approachable. I have all the attributes of God. I am the creator. I am the Redeemer. I’m the Judge. That’s the purpose of Revelation. It’s to get all of us to be harmonized with who Jesus is. Some people get stuck in the Gospels, and they say oh, Jesus is so gentle and lowly and meek, he won’t do that. Yes, He will. He is the judge. He is the Redeemer. He is God the Son. Back to our slide, only John is left, he’s on Patmos. Jesus comes back, visits the seven churches, and then writes the book of Revelation. He says, to you who live at the epicenter of the Empire, I knew right where John was. I found him on that island. I can find all of you wherever you are today, all the churches through all the ages. I want a message to go to you.

Here’s my journal, lest I make this our very longest 52 Greatest Chapter. In fact, look up for just a second. Remember the context, how this started 5, 6 years ago. I used to meet with my small group at Panera, at Starbucks, Chipotle. All of us had our journals and our Bibles. We actually did this either over breakfast or over lunch, this study. If you go to our website, discoverthebook.org, you can download this chart. If you’ve never done it, this is the 52 Greatest Chapter how to do the study. This is the chart of all the chapters we’re covering. We used to sit, and I still think of this, In fact that’s why I’m looking right at you in the camera. I am so used to sitting at a table with my coffee, my Bible, and my pen. What I used to do is, I used to take the placemats, or I would bring paper and I would be doodling and drawing all these charts. Everything you see on these boards, Jesus as God the Son, Creator, and Redeemer; the Church is the body of God the Son; the world of Satan, sin, and all the rebels must be dealt with; I would write on scraps of paper. I used to love when the study was over. I’d pack up, and they’d turn, and I’d look, and all the napkins and place mats that I had drawn on they were taking. I finally realized what I needed to do was capture this study. Through some of you, because I mentioned this, you helped us to actually record and edit and upload all of these lessons. We were just talking today at lunch, our family, about how this person started our website. This person started all the publication of these books. One of the people in our ministry have published every one of our books. We know them and minister to them. I performed their baptisms and their weddings and everything. You’re getting to sit in on this study because of their efforts. I hope that you enjoy this.

Back down to my journal. I’ve written my 55 lessons and here they are. Starting with number one, Jesus keep track of us. Look over here at Revelation chapter 2, this is what it says. “To the angel…” we’ve already covered that in chapter 1. That’s not an angel with wings, that is the messenger. Angelos means messenger. The context determines whether the messenger has wings and comes from the throne of God or whether they have two feet like us and are human. “The angel of the church of Ephesus,” is actually the elder, pastor, teacher that Paul describes in 1 Timothy and in the book of Titus that is appointed in every church. There was one of those in Ephesus and probably every home church. John was the pastor of the whole town, but Ephesus had more saints than anywhere else in the world at the time, there were house churches everywhere. To the pastor, elder, teacher of the body of Christ “of Ephesus write.” The first lesson from chapter 2, verse 1, look over here on the slide. Jesus keeps track of us. Jesus knows us, who we are. He knows where we live. He even knows which church of His body we’re a part of. He feeds us. It says, I’m the one who holds the stars, the messengers. He holds the pastor teachers in His hand. If you go to a Bible teaching church, whoever is leading that church, Jesus is actually holding their hand. Wow. He knows what they have taught us. Plus, He knows how we’re functioning as our part in the body as a lampstand. Look back over here in verse 20, “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the [messengers,] the angels, [the pastor elder teachers] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.” Back over here, Jesus feeds us. He wants us, as we’re healthy, to be His lampstand. What Revelation says, He is with us, and He walks about among His churches.

Next, Jesus records our lives in Revelation 2 & 3. Jesus keeps our spiritual resume or CV, which means the course of our life. He’s constantly updating it. Look at this line right over here in verse 2, “I know your works.” This is all on your life record I’m keeping, the course of your life, your CV. “I know your works, your labor.” I know “your patience.” That’s internal. A lot of people can’t see that, only God. “You can’t bear those who are evil.” That’s an internal revulsion. They don’t like evil. “You have tested those who say they’re apostles.” That’s mental and emotional and physical, it’s all these elements. Look at this, Jesus is recording our lives. He’s keeping our spiritual resume. He knows us. That’s three lessons. See how I found 55 of these?

Number four. Jesus is monitoring our health. Jesus notices when we start coasting, when our spiritual lives slack off, when we’re just going through the motions. Look up for a second. I have to be careful. I remember once when I was teaching this and it was being translated, the translator stopped and looked at me and was trying to think how to do it. In their country, going through the motions means something completely different than in English. Jesus knows when we, and this is the word, you have aphiēmi, you have left… literally you’ve walked away from or you’ve released loving Christ Jesus chiefly, first and foremost. Look at verse 4 and see it and mark it.

“Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have [aphiēmi] left your first love.” Watch how I illustrate this. This is what I always do when I’m sitting at the Bible studies. I’ll say, this is the top shelf of your life. This is what’s most important to you. Just think of it like a high shelf in your parents’ house when you’re a little boy and they put stuff out of the reach, so you wouldn’t break it or get it. This is what’s valuable. This is where you put your car keys and your wallet when you’re in a strange place you don’t want to lose them. Think of it now in your life. This is what’s most important. This is what you keep track of, this is what you check on every day. This is what matters to you. This is what you will guard, fight for, die for. This is most important. This is your family. This is all that top shelf stuff, highest priority stuff. Do you know what Jesus said? On your top shelf I want you to lift it up, everything there is important, but among all that stuff there I want to be most important. I want you to love me more than all the other stuff, and people, and things, and events, and possessions. I want you to seek me first. Remember that? Matthew 6:33, seek first God’s rule in your life and everything else will be added to you.

What happens? We get saved and Jesus is first place. Then after a while we slip up there with Him our job, you got to have your job, our marriage is very important, our families are important. All of a sudden, our sports get up there and our entertainment gets up there. Boy, our finances have always been up there. You know what Jesus said? You’ve crowded the first place shelf. I am first with all the other first? He says, that means you’ve left your first love.

Back at the slides. What does Jesus say? Whenever He points out something in our life, He always gives us a way back. Jesus asks us to reset our compasses. Verse 5, I’ll show you verse 5. See what it says? “Remember therefore from where you have fallen;” and look at this, “repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand.” (That’s the influence of your church from this place) “Unless you repent.”

By the way, what happened? What happened is, Ephesus is no longer a flourishing church. They fell by the wayside. They silted up like their harbor. The city of Ephesus, if you go there today, the last time I was there, I think it’s seven miles from the ocean. It used to be the largest port that Rome used right there on the shores of Asia Minor. It was the epicenter of the Empire. They stopped dredging and cleaning out the inlet that led to a river, that led to the harbor, in the port. It just silted up. All the storms and all the debris would come down. The marsh grew, and now the water is miles away. That’s what Christ became in their life.

Look at this slide, Revelation 2:5. Jesus maps the way back by these three commands that we just saw. Remember where you used to be when you love Me most. Repent. Which means a change of a change of mind that leads to change of behavior. Start doing again, what you did back then. Jesus already asked us to seek Him first. I quoted that Matthew 6:33. He asked us to live by every word of God, Matthew 4:4. He told us, through Paul, to set our affections above, Colossians 3:1. All Jesus asks is for us to reset our settings that have made us drift away from pointing at Him. When we seek Him first, He is the goal. He is what our map is set to in life. We’re heading toward Him. The spiritual disciplines or works we need to do again are always the same, just like in any marriage or relationship. It’s about where we invest our time, our focus and our trust. Do we spend our prime time with Jesus? You know what your prime time is? It could be morning, could be evening, could be on your lunch hour. Do you really focus and look at Him? Do you intently look right at Him when He speaks and you’re trying to understand everything He says? Have you ever talked to Him?

Think about this. When you’re having a conversation what do you think about someone that you’re earnestly telling them your problems and they’re looking all around or worse yet, they’re texting. I was just on an airplane with Bonnie. I don’t know if anyone noticed it, but the steward, we were on a 777, one of those gigantic planes. I didn’t think it was ever going to get off the ground, they packed more people into it. COVID is over and everybody’s flying. We were on the 777 and the steward said, put down your phones, take out those earbuds, put down your magazine, look up here at me. You know what he did? He walked down the aisle. I thought I was back in first grade. You know what it reminded me of? We’re all distracted. If someone in our distracted electronica age, if someone’s talking to you they want to see that you’re listening. If they’re talking to you on the phone, they don’t want to hear the clicking of your keyboard. If they’re talking to you in person, they don’t want you looking down at your screen, and looking around, and everything else. They want you to focus in.

Back to the slide. Jesus said, I want you to focus intently, look right at Me as I speak, understand what I say. How do we do that? We focus in prayer, reading the word, memorizing scripture. He loves us to be showing our devotion to Him by our sacrificial giving, by our evangelizing, and by serving in Christ’s Church. He said it shouldn’t be the motions. It should be prompted by consuming love.

Next, the sixth lesson than I found. Jesus knows our loves and hates. Look at verse 6 over here. “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Jesus knows what we love, whether we love Him most. He knows what we hate. Jesus knows what we love and hate, and whether we hate what He hates. If you love Christ, then whoever His enemies are they’re your enemies, et cetera, et cetera. Jesus knows. He knows us to that level.

Number seven, Jesus reveals what genuine salvation looks like. Look at verse 7, right over here. It says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” In other words, if you’re in the Church, you have the Holy Spirit, you hear the word of God because God gave you spiritual ears when you and I got saved. Here’s a great verse to memorize, Acts 26:18. This is what God does to us, “To open their eyes.” That’s the first thing that happens when we get saved. All of a sudden, we can understand the Bible spiritually. We can start seeing the world the way God sees it. “To turn them from darkness.” This is where we were focused, on the dark toward the light. You know what? Salvation is a 180. You know what repentance is? It’s when we stop acting like we were changed by Christ and we’re turning facing the wrong direction. Repentance is a change of mind where I say, oh, I’m starting to pay more attention to the darkness than seeking the light, I don’t want to be that way. It’s a change of mind that leads to a change of behavior. I start heading back this way.

Genuine salvation is this, the evidence of salvation, John 10 says is quoting Jesus. “My sheep hear My voice.” Those with ears are Christ’s and we respond to Him when we hear His voice. It is God’s Spirit within us that empowers our response. We, by faith, want to respond. It’s like putting our car into gear. We choose where we want to go. The car engine empowers us to do so. It’s us in agreement with the Holy Spirit.

Here’s the eighth lesson, it’s still from the same verse. Jesus speaks to all believers through all the ages. This message is plural. Notice, it doesn’t say to the church but the message at the end, the application is to all the churches not just the saints at Ephesus then, but all saints in every church throughout all the ages. Look at it again in verse 7. I’ll show it to you. It’s right here. Churches, plural. Look, churches in verse 11. Verse 17, churches. Verse 29, churches. Chapter 3, verse 6, churches. I could go on and on all the way through, it’s the same. Churches. Churches. It’s to all the churches in all the ages. That’s us.

Back to the lessons, lesson number nine. Jesus sees us as we are. Do you know what He calls us? He said, that’s what you are; you’re an overcomer. How are we overcomers? Paul said, He that began a good work in us is going to finish it. God is going to finish what He started. We are kept by the power of God, that’s how Peter put it. Jesus sees us as we are now. For just a minute I want to share with you something that deeply affected me. When I began in the ministry, I just graduated from all the years of Bible College and Seminary and everything else. I went out to California, and I started on staff with Dr. John MacArthur. I remember the first lesson; I was a staff pastor. I wasn’t the only one, there were 40 of us. 40 staff pastors. Praise the Lord, I got to travel with him, and do all kinds of stuff, and consider him a dear friend. I’ll never forget that initial lesson I learned from him. Things were challenging at Grace Community Church at that time. It was funny. The senior citizens got upset. Some of them drove their cars and blocked the parking lot. Kind of like what just went on in Canada with the truckers, only they were upset with the church emphasizing the youth too much and not them. They parked their cars in all the entrances and blocked it, so people couldn’t come or go. Boy, did they get the attention of the elders and John MacArthur.

He told us on staff, he said, do you know how I get up every week and teach to those people that block the parking lot? He said, I don’t see them as they are today, I see them as they will be, as Christ design them. They’re going to be in all of the fullness of the likeness of Christ. They’re not acting like that right now, but I choose to think about them as they will be. Do you know how Jesus chooses to think of us? He said, you are an overcomer. You didn’t act like it this week. Your wife wouldn’t think you are. Your kids wonder. Your employer. I see you as you were going to be because I began this good work in you. I’m going to finish it. I’m going to complete it at the day of Christ. Jesus sees us as we are in Him. Complete. Overcomers. Kept. He’s going to do this work and finish it.

We’re going to the next church, Smyrna. Can you believe we got nine lessons and the majority of our lesson already? I’m going to go at warp speed. Only Jesus can identify with all of our struggles. Notice how He introduces Himself in verse 8. “To the angel of the church in Smyrna, write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life.’ “ Why did He… that’s not how He introduced Himself to Ephesus. Why did He say that? Because, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who [are opposing you]. Don’t fear any of those things.” “The devil’s about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation 10 days.” Look at this. “Be faithful until death, and I’ll give you the crown of life.” That’s why He introduces Himself as the One who was dead and came to life.

Only Jesus can identify with all our struggles. They were facing fatal persecutions. You know what that means? Martyrdom. Jesus knows what we’re facing. He helps us through the affliction. He’s the only one that can identify with all our struggles. You know what that means? Verse 9, I read to you when I was surveying just a second ago. He’s our greatest sympathizer. He knows our financial, emotional pains. He knows when we’re verbally abused. He knows everything. Do you know what the word sympathizer in Greek is? It’s sympatheō. That’s a compound word sym means with, patheō means to feel. Jesus feels with us. He’s our greatest feel with-er, sympathizer.

Next lesson. Fear not. Verse 10, I already read it to you. Jesus understands, Satan uses fear. How do we know that? 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear.” It’s from the devil. Jesus uses the most repeated negative prohibition in the Bible. This statement, a command, fear not is the most common negative prohibition in the Bible. Why? God says, don’t fear because I don’t author fear, that’s Satan’s domain when you’re fearful. Think about all the bad things people do when they’re afraid. They make hasty, rash decisions. They get paralyzed by fear. They just go into a mode that they’re acting like God is gone. He says, don’t think I’m gone. Don’t think God Almighty is not still in on the throne. Fear not.

You can be surrounded by fear, we’ll see in a minute another church was surrounded by fear, but you don’t have to be controlled by it. It reminds me with my kids. I used to put my kids on my shoulder, and they would ride up there. Of course, I tucked their little feet underneath my arms. I called it the clampers, I had them down. They could try and do back flips and they couldn’t get off my shoulders because I was holding them as tight as I could. You know what? A little while, after a few times riding my shoulders, they got so relaxed. I’ve had children, I have pictures in the Holy Land of having kids on my shoulders while we’re on tour and they have their head down on top of my head, they’re sound asleep. You talk about trusting. They’re totally relaxed and limp and just sound asleep on my shoulders. They knew I was holding them. Guess what? When they get surrounded by fear, they would grab onto the only thing they could find to hold onto. You know what it is? My hair. They used to grab it like a mane. Some of you that have been watching these videos wonder where my hair went, the children pulled it out. I think they would grab it and hold on like this. I would say, hey! I’m holding you. They were scared to death. Did you know? I see a lot of Christians that act like God is going to drop them and they fear.

Jesus limits Satan’s harm to us. Verse 10, I’ll remind you when it says, “Do not fear any of those things which you’re about to suffer. […] the devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested.” “Be faithful.” “I will give you the crown of life.” Jesus limits Satan’s harm to us. The devil can cause bad things to happen in our lives, Job 1 & 2. Do you remember? We did a whole class on that. Such as being put in prison, or like Job, lose your kids and all your possessions and your health. Look at this. God knows how much we can endure. We covered that last week, His attributes in the box that He surrounds us with, of security. He asked us to be willing to lose our Earthly temporal life in exchange for a Heavenly permanent life. I think that’s why most people fear. They’re not sure God can really keep His word, so they have to protect themselves, provide for themselves rather than let Jesus limit Satan’s harm to us and live like lesson number 14. We have the power of an endless life. By the way, it says that in Hebrews chapter 7, verse 16. It says true believers live after the power of an endless life. We have spiritual ears, and we have endless life.

The next church, Pergamum, starts in verse 12. Jesus knows our spiritual lives. He knows where we live. He knows if we’re gathering with His body. He reminds us about the power of His word when you read verse 12. We have a good works tracker. People have their Fitbits and their Apple watches tracking everything. You know what? Jesus tracks, verse 13, our good works or absence of them. He also knows the level of spiritual toxins we live around. Look at verse 13 over here, this is just fascinating. “I know your works, and where you dwell.” You dwell “where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr.” Talk about a troubling thing. Someone was killed within their local church. That’s devastating. That’s fearful, fearsome. He was killed among you, where Satan dwells. Notice it says, Satan’s throne, Satan dwells. We’re going to talk about it.

First of all, the Lord knows our good works or the absence of them. Secondly, only God is omnipresent. Satan’s throne and Satan dwells, that means Satan is always someplace and he’s never everywhere. Remember that. Don’t blame everything on the devil. He’s only in one place at one time.

Here’s the lesson, number 18, fear can surround us, but doesn’t have to control us. Antipas was martyred from among the body. It was very disturbing. A potential promoter of fear among the believers. What did Jesus say? Fear not.

Here’s another lesson verse 14. Jesus knows when we’re tempted with false teaching and allowing Satan’s defilement to infect our lives. What is that? Sin is contagious? Look at verse 14. “But I have a few things against you, […] you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam.” Jesus knows the false teaching and false teachers. “Who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the church of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. […] you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” He says, you are letting those infect you. “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” Then the same closing. If you have an ear to hear, then listen.

Look at lesson 20. Number one, sin is contagious. God has an eternal sin registry. There’s the registry of sex offenders and all that kind of stuff, terrorists, no fly list. God eternally keeps track of false teachers, and every false doctrine, and those who follow them. That’s why He says don’t get near that contagious, horrible, sin. Repent. Flee.

What happens to those people? No matter how far we get away, it’s always just one step back. Going to be a youth pastor. I was a youth pastor, I started out in ministry as a youth pastor. I was a college youth pastor in Georgia. This is what I always told my students. When we turn to God, we’re headed this way and we’re walking toward the light. Then what happens is, we get our eyes off the Lord, we start looking around, and we’re actually floating along with the current of the world, and we get quite a ways away from God. I’ll turn and point here, here’s where we’re supposed to be next to the Lord. We take one, step two steps, three steps, four steps, maybe a hundred steps away from God. Do you know what most people think? They have to take a hundred steps back. They agonize and flail themselves, and beat up themselves, and feel so guilty. They try and almost do penance to get back to God. Do you know what the lesson of the Bible is? No matter how many steps we take away from God, it’s always just one step back. One step back.

What’s that one step. Look at your slide there. The one step back for us is to repent. If we don’t, He says in verse 16, I’ll discipline you. We covered that in 1 Corinthians 5, we covered that in the book of Hebrews, we’re going to see that when we go through 1 John, and it’s coming up in the next church.

The last thing Jesus says is in verse 17 to this church. He says, you can be experiencing God today. Jesus offers daily satisfaction, it’s called manna, as we eat the word of God daily. He offers as we listen and heed to His voice, we have a thrill that we have access to Christ. This white stone was the way you got in. If you were a white stone carrying member of a club, you showed them your stone. They had a special name on it. Jesus uses something right from this church in Pergamum for them to understand that He offers access and intimacy with God. You can experience God today. Take that one step back, no matter how far away you are.

Now we go to the next church, Thyatira. The 23rd lesson, the unashamed life. Jesus reminds them that He can see into their eyes. That’s why He says, I have eyes of fire, nothing is hidden from Me. He judges any sin allowed to stick around in our lives. That’s what those feet of brass are. Remember what it says in 1 John 2:28. As my wife always reminds me, look with me at 1 John 2:28. One of the great lessons, I’ve learned hundreds of lessons from my wonderful wife, but one of the best ones was every time I always say you know what it says in 1 John 2:28, don’t you? I can see her eyes widen, out in the audience, because she’s always listening, always out there with her Bible taking notes, and she looks up at me and goes, show them. I could hear her saying it. I am. I’m showing you 1 John chapter 2, verse 28. “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence…” look at this, “…and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

Guess what? Look up. Some believers when Jesus Christ returns, they’re going to go, oh no. He’s finding them doing something that He clearly told them not to be doing. Like wasting their lives, pursuing after temporal things instead of eternal things. I know so many people that have never shared the Gospel with anybody. They’ve never taken a Gospel tract. Here’s mine. I always have my little Gospel tracts up here that I keep in my wallet, and I pray over them and I share them. They’ve never done that. It’s too scary, too embarrassing. They’ve never put up the flag at work and let people know they’re a believer. I was just being poked and prodded in a doctor’s office. They actually stuck this thing against my eyeball. They were examining my eyes because I guess I’ve read too much and had too much blue light, whatever. The nurse said to me, she was looking at my chart, my email address, because they were going to send me my prescription and email it to me. She went like this on the screen, and she looked at me. She said, Pastor John Barnett? I said, that’s my email address. Everything changed. She looked at me and said, my mother’s dying of ovarian cancer, she’s bordering on leukemia. She wants me to sit with her and talk to her. She just stopped right there. Thankfully, she pulled that thing that was sticking in my eye out. I went, yeah? Okay. I said, you know what? I would take her on a journey, what Heaven’s going to be like. I said, the book of Revelation, I’m teaching it right now. I wrote on the little thing, the address of the playlist on Youtube. I said, but let me give you a snapshot.

I said, there’s only two religions in the world. I just finished a comparative religion class. There’s religion of human achievement. That I’ve got to try harder and be better and balance out my good and my bad. I’m going to really try hard and hope I get to Heaven. I said, that’s human achievement. I said, that’s religion. The Bible on the other hand is completely different than human achievement. The Bible says Jesus paid it all. I call it divine accomplishment. Jesus already paid the price for my sins. Here I am, my eyes stores from being poked and it probably was really a panic to look at. I said, Jesus died in the place of your mother. Is she trusting in that?

Can you believe that in a doctor’s office, in that little room with all that stuff going on, that God opened a door to share the Gospel. Did you know I had a choice to not go through that door? Who wants to talk when your eye is running, and when it hurts, and when they’re spraying and doing all that stuff? In that moment, when she looked over and the Lord convicted her that she needed to think about how to help her mother. By the way, she needed to think about her own soul too. I went through all that. I shared the Gospel. I went from thinking of the temporary to thinking of the eternal. That’s a choice we make, that makes our lives last forever. Back to the slides. The unashamed life is that we want to not be ashamed before Jesus at His coming. We want to be doing what He left us to do. Fleeing sin. Sharing the Gospel. Living for eternity.

Lesson 24, either you’re advancing or retreating. Look at verse 19. I love this. Chapter 2 verse 19. “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works,” look at this, “the last are more than the first.” Look at the slide. Either you’re advancing or retreating, and Jesus knows it. There’s no floating aloud. If you float, you go away from Him. You’ve got to advance or you’re retreating.

Number 25. Are you quenching God? Jesus knows who’s influencing our lives. He knows whether they’re challenging us to sanctification or to feed our flesh. Look at what was happening in this church. Let’s read it. Look at verse 20. “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” To eat the things sacrificed to idols you had to go to the temple to get them. They were totally immersed in this evil. He knows whether our friends around us are challenging us to sanctification or feeding our flesh. When we feed our flesh, it grieves and quenches the Lord, which leads us to what I just said. Either you’re floating along or resisting the world.

Look up for a second, youth pastor again. We used to take our youth group on canoe rides. We learned something on canoe rides with the youth group, that if you put them downstream and they had to paddle they never made it. They never made it because young people don’t pay attention. They’re in and out of the boats, splashing each other, jumping, turning over each other’s boats. We found, we would take them in the bus with the canoes upstream, get out, put them into the canoes and what happened? The current carried the canoe down to where we were going to pick them up and they didn’t even know it. They would be splashing and they’d look, the canoe is down there. They’d run down there, and they get to the canoe. They’d splash and duck each other. Oh, they’d run to the canoe again. They were going along with the current. Guess what?

When you and I were saved, we were floating down the river toward Hell. When we got saved, Jesus turned our canoe around, got in the canoe with us and said, start paddling, you’re headed that way. Every time we paddle, which means we do the things He created us to do, the work of sanctification, reading the scriptures, praying, walking in the Spirit, everything about the life of sanctification and the Bible is paddling. When you paddle going upstream. You feel the strength of the current. When you don’t paddle, you never feel the strength of the current. You just get slowly floated away from God. You’re either floating along through life, away from God or you’re paddling, resisting the world. There’s no middle ground, no place to coast or tread water or float along. The world is a powerful river current, always flowing away from God. That’s what it says in Matthew 7. The world is the broad and wide gate, and that’s where the river is flowing. God is through the narrow and difficult way, and you have to resist and follow Him.

There’s something else in verse 20. Remember, committing sexual immorality it said, when we read it. Beware of sins, look at this, against your own body. Sexual immorality is a sin against our body. You say, what do you mean by that? All other sins are outside sins. Sexual things are tied to the inside, the very temple of God. Where’s that? Oh, you know where it is, right? Let’s look. Thanks Bonnie, for always changing my whole way of looking at teaching, taking people to where it says it. 1 Corinthians chapter 6, look at verse 18. “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” Why is that so bad? Paul, “do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God.” That’s an aorist active imperative, I wrote. Once and for all say, I surrender. I want to glorify You. Then, keep getting back in the canoe, paddling. “Glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Wow. Back to the slides. Be aware of sins against the body.

What we all need to do is renew the challenge of verses 19 and 20 I just read you. Ask God to control us, lead us, protect us, cleanse us. We’re not our own. We belong to God. This challenge is especially important because we’re all living in a world like Lots. Do you remember that? When Lot lived in an evil world, everything he saw in the world around him was evil. Look at 2 Peter chapter 2, verse 7. 2 Peter 2:6-7. “And turning the cities,” verse 6 says, turning “Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemning them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds). Then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.” A summary of the book of Revelation.

2 Peter 2:7, Lot’s soul was vexed. That’s how we know he was saved. Being troubled by the evil around us is evidence of salvation. God delivered Lot, but because Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, that’s what it says in Genesis, Lot lost everything. He’s the quintessential example of being saved so as by fire. That’s what it says in 1 Corinthians 3:15. We’re going to give an account for what we did with this body, 2 Corinthians 5:10. That will determine our eternal reward.

Let me pause by saying this. I’m going to read through all the rest of these, but if you would like to in their entirety, learn all these lessons. Jesus is watching and recording every moment of our life. That’s lesson 1 & 3. Number 5, Jesus asks us to reset our lives regularly. He speaks to all believers. He’s our greatest sympathizer. Keeps track with our spiritual lives. Sin is contagious. How to live the unashamed life. We either float with the world or resist it. We wear our good works forever, that’s what it says in 2:20. That’s Revelation 19. It says that believers are going to be closed with their righteous acts, that’s Revelation 19. It says you and I are going to wear our good works forever. Do you know what really does matter? Whether you’re going to float or paddle. Our good works don’t save us, but we pursue good works because we’re saved. Why? Because we’re going to have to answer to the Lord. How to avoid restlessness and emptiness. Spiritual chemo. Your best life. Riches can be toxic. Allow Jesus into your day. All of those are part of this book.

Let me survey, I’d like to survey the book of Revelation as Christ’s final explanation and application of all the scriptures for us. If I was to tell you, I distilled down everything the book of Revelation teaches, and explain, and apply it, how it ties to all the rest of scripture, for how to live for God in an ever darkening world would you come to that Bible study? That Bible study has been packaged for you in a book. By the way, the book has all of these amazing study guide questions at the end of every chapter, how to respond to the truth.

Remember the Devotional Method that I’ve been teaching you here? You can actually go through the year that I spent with a group doing only Revelation 1, 2, and 3. I spent one year with that group, that small group. I went through every word, and every detail, and every doctrine. I’ll read to you what we covered because it’s the chapters of this book called Christ’s Last Words. The Book of Revelation, we summarize the whole book like you see behind me. Then we did chapter 1 of Revelation, which is chapter 2, Unwrapping Jesus. Chapter 3, Seen with Eyes of Fire. Chapter 4, A Sobering Portrait of the Real Jesus. Chapter 5 of this book not of the book of Revelation, chapter 5, When Jesus Finds Sin in His Church. Chapter 6, The Seven Lessons of Revelation 1. I did six chapters of this book on the first chapter of Revelation in our small group.

The second section are these letters in chapters 2 & 3. Ephesus, I did two chapters. The Three Secrets of a Powerful Church, and how to Rekindle Your First Love. Those are each of those chapters, number seven and eight. Then to Smyrna, Life is Camping; Heaven is Home. That’s about the best chapter to read for our world. You want to change your whole life? Look at living now as camping. That means we’re not trying to make everything permanent around us, as comfortable as possible, and secure. We’re headed home, Heaven is where we’re pointed. Remember, our compass is pointed toward Christ.

On Pergamos Where Satan’s throne Is, I talk about spiritual warfare. what happens When Believers Compromise, that’s chapter 10 & 11. From the letter to Thyatira, When the Church Makes Friends with the World, that’s a whole chapter. The dangers, how to unfriend the world basically. Chapter 13 is How to Suffer Loss and Arrive in Heaven Empty Handed, like Lot. He was righteous. He’s going to Heaven. He lost everything. That’s sobering. A whole chapter on that.

You ought to read these, response to truth. If someone caught a drive by look at my life, would they call me alive or dead? What does Jesus see in my heart? Explain. Have I put my faith in the facts of the word of prayer that I walk the aisle or in Christ? All of these are talking, and applying, and discussing with a small group, whether you’re living the way Jesus wants us to live in an ever darkening world or not.

The next chapter in Christ’s Last Words, to the church at Sardis, When the Great Physician Declares You Dead. That’s a whole chapter on how many people go to church, go through the motions. They say, oh yeah, I’m a Christian. Jesus checks their pulse, and He says you’re not a Christian. You’re dead. There were people in Sardis going to church that were not Christians. Probably the most sobering chapter in this book. Jesus said, many will say unto me in that day when they stand in front of Me, Lord, Lord, I was in the church in Sardis. He says, yeah you were, but I never knew you. You’re not a Christian, depart from Me into the Lake of Fire prepared for the devil and his angels. I didn’t prepare it for you, but you never were saved and you’re going there. I never knew you. Then, the positive chapter after that negative chapter. Christ’s Call to Every Believer: Stay Awake. How to stay awake, how to walk in the truth, how to know you’re safe.

Then the church of Philadelphia, the best church, the one that Jesus commends. How to Meet Christ’s Absolute Approval. There was a church that did everything Jesus wanted them to do. They weren’t perfect, they didn’t walk blamelessly as far as they knew that they had failed the Lord. God says, you’re like David. David broke all 10 commandments, committed adultery, and murder, and everything else. God said, he’s a man after My own heart and he fulfilled my purpose with his life. Did you know, you can fulfill God’s purpose with your life, with an imperfect life. With a life of struggle, and failure, and resisting sin and sometimes failing and giving into sin, but coming right back and hating sin like Lot. Choosing to paddle and not float. This church is the only church that wasn’t floating. They were resisting sin. Jesus said, you can absolutely get my approval if you just do what I left you to do, resist sin.

Then there’s a whole chapter, the Rapture According to Jesus, how we know that the Bible teaches. Not Tim left behind LaHaye or Hal Lindsey or someone like that. God teaches that He’s going to take us from the hour of His wrath.

Then the last section, part three, is The Seven Bad Habits of Lukewarm Christians. I did the whole last section summarizing the book of Revelation’s teaching about The First Sickening Habit That Makes Christ Vomit. That’s number one, a chapter on that. Christians Who Have Need of Nothing: The Sickening Habit of Self-sufficiency. Thirdly, Spiritually Insensitive Believers Who Don’t Have a Clue. Four, Spiritual Wastefulness: Abandoning Christ as Our Investment Counselor. That’s people that live for their job, and their investments, and everything.

Getting Dressed for Christ: The Righteous Acts of the Saints. I have a whole chapter on Revelation 19, about our righteous acts right here. We wear our good works forever. Self-Induced Spiritual Blindness, chapter 23. Living Crucified: Therefore be zealous and Repent, every day, chapter 24. Life has God Designed It to Be, chapter 25. Fruitful and Pleasing to God: Maintaining a Spiritually Healthy Lifestyle.

Amazing. Christ’s Last Words. One whole year of small group study on Revelation 1, 2, and 3. Meeting God the Son and seeing how we, as His Church, are to live in an ever darkening world. I commend that to you. At the end, I’m going to show you a little slide about how you can contact us. We have paper copies of this that we can mail to you, you can order them on our online store.

By the way, our online store, what does that for? Bonnie and I are full-time missionaries. 100% of every book and every MP3 we sell goes into DTBM’s ministry that provides all these recordings, and website stuff, and everything you see online. Plus, pays for us to travel between all the Bible Institutes, and Bible Colleges, and Seminaries, and Missionary Conferences, and all the other places where Bonnie and I minister around the world. We’re able to go. In fact, I just volunteered to go and speak to 800 frontline doctors working overseas in 64 closed countries. They said, could you come? How much do you cost? I said, I can always come, it costs you nothing. I said, there are a group of people, some of them buy books, other people support us as missionaries outright they’re our partners. I said, they have provided for us our daily living expenses and all of our travel expenses, so we can come to you and minister. That’s why we make these materials available. Through you, getting them to study, you help us to go.

Back to the slides and I’m going to finish very rapidly. We will wear our good works in Heaven. You can go on sinning too long, that’s verse 21 of chapter 2 that talks about chastisement. God always has a three-step recovery program I talk about. He makes some believers weak, some sick, and if they won’t repent, dead. Each step restores us either back to repentance or closer to being recalled to Heaven. Then, how to avoid emptiness, restlessness, and boredom. Satan kills, and steals, and destroys. There are believers that can experience the depths of Satan. That’s horrible.

God’s amazing offer. The best life to all who hear and respond. God’s looking at our Bible teaching diet, He knows what’s going on, what’s being taught in your local gathering, what you’re feeding your soul on. He gives us an honest spiritual life assessment. He said they were dead, and they were not functioning as believers.

36th lesson, Jesus diagnosis our spiritual condition. This church had a lack of vigilance. They weren’t watchful. They were weak. They needed strengthening. They lacked discernment. That means they didn’t know that they were sputtering out and they had a lack of maturity. They were not bringing to completion their works. What does the Lord prescribe? Spiritual chemo. Spiritual lethargy and dullness is only treated by reminding ourselves of the work of the Gospel, how you received and heard.

Number 38, God offers intimacy. The Sardians had defiled their garments. They needed, as Jude 1:23 says, to be pulled from the fire. Jesus says, if you will repent you can have intimacy with Me. Can there be anything better in the universe than that?

Your best life now, what’s that? Going through life clothed in Christ, feeling our eternal security, you can’t wait for the grand welcome in Heaven. I always read that at funerals. Think of it. Christ saying, place the robe on his shoulders, presenting us before the Father. Only believers can hear and respond. I call that being password protected. You can’t understand the Bible without the Lord quickening our heart.

Jesus revealed Himself to the Philadelphians in a special way. I love this. He opened doors of ministry. Those saints have an open door opportunity to serve, that Jesus opened for them. Jesus opens doors for us to do things He desires. Like I told you about the doctor’s office I was in yesterday and sharing the Gospel.

Treasuring God’s word is vital. God’s power is awesome. We should persevere in hope. That’s chapter 3:8, 9, & 10. We should cling to Christ, that’s 3:11. True security is incredible. You can read about that. We’re like pillars, were secure, we’re settled, we’re not going to go out anymore, we’re restless, and hopeless, and fearful. God has already addressed us to our destination. It says He’s written on us His name and the name of the city of God and Heaven. We’re individuals that are unique, special, gifted, and used. God loves us. He keeps us word. He’s the Amen, that’s what it says in verse 14. He knows whether we’re loyal to Him, whether we’re floating or resisting.

If we’re floating, we can sicken Him for a while. He warns us about how toxic riches can become. He tells us about what life is like when we don’t pursue Christ. When we float away life becomes awful. We as believers can make a choice to become wretched in God’s sight, not even knowing it. We can become miserable. We can blame our problems on other things, rather than our own alienation. We can become poor in God’s sight. We can become blind. C.S. Lewis says we’re content to make mud pies when we could have a beach vacation.

Jesus is the only source of true and enduring wealth. True children of God will get spanked by Christ. That’s what Hebrews 12 talks about. Then this, and let’s look at this one. Look at chapter 3, verse 20. I want to read it for you. I love this. My favorite one. I ended with it. Jesus said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come to in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Back over here to the slides, allow Jesus into your day. Jesus wants every day for us to respond to Him knocking at the door of our life that day. He knocks every day. What’s He doing? He is seeking our fellowship. The Creator of the universe is knocking on my door and wants to meet with me. By the way, look up, He knocked on my door this morning. I got up this morning when it was still dark. I got up; I could still see all the stars. I got up and spent my time starting out with prayer, meditating on the scriptures. Then, I began reading the scriptures. I got so excited, I started writing down in my little book what I found. Then, I wrote out a prayer. I’m going to read it to you. This is the prayer I wrote today. Look back at your slides. He wants to feed us, have our attention and feed us as our good shepherd, as we seek Him first. This is what I wrote this morning. My application, prayer.

Lord, You are watching my life and recording every part. You know what I’m feeding on. Stir my hunger for Your word. You’re setting open doors of ministry before me, help me to go through them every time. It was fun this week. I pray I’d go through every one of them and serve You with all my heart. Fear surrounds me as the world crumbles and Russia’s invades Ukraine. All the China stuff, and the virus, and everything. The world is crumbling, but help me believe You and fear not, knowing You’re shaping the history of this planet. As I see what You’ve planned for this world help me to live for what’s eternal, every day, and not temporal. I want more and more to hear what You say and respond to Your Spirit today, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

What I want to do now is, I’ll show you, look down at this slide. This is Christ’s Last Words to His Church, the book I just showed you. Jesus came back and concluded the Bible with a personal challenge to each of us. He shows Himself, He shows His Church, and He shows the future. Only Revelation explains precisely to us what Jesus wants me to do with my life. Jesus asked them to allow Him to change them into being focused on usefulness to Him. Paper books are at DTBM, discoverthebook.org, eBooks are on Kindle. This is what the cover looks like. This book, I strongly encourage. I have over here somewhere, Living Hope for the End of the Days, which is the survey, especially this part, all those trumpets, and bowls, and seals, and demons out of the pit. You know what? People get fascinated with that. What I found is they get obsessed with all that stuff and they forgot how Christ explained how to apply all this, how to live for God in an ever darkening world. You want to know how to live for God when the Ukraine is being invaded, when the dollar is being decimated and inflation is higher than it’s been in so long, plus all the crazy stuff’s going on with the weather and the climate and everything else? Study Christ’s last words. Study all 55 of those lessons I’ve just been going through, as fast as I could in an hour and only had half of them. Jesus wants us to know how to live.

I encourage you as we end this 52 Greatest Chapters, maybe you should think about starting your own yearlong study. That’s how long it took me to do this with my small group. I even have all the application questions, plus all the references, plus all the background material in one place. Christ’s Last Words for His Church. That’s my challenge to you. To know how God wants us to live as the world darkens and crumbles around us. That’s Christ’s last words.

Two challenges. Find someone you can share your findings and application prayer with. In other words, don’t just do this study, share it with someone, be a ministry to others. Then, pray for us. Bonnie and I are actually, you should see there are suitcases on the ground, we’re getting ready to go to out. In the next few months we are going to be going into Central America, then we’re going to do some conferences and colleges here in America. Then, we’re going to Europe, the United Kingdom and France to teach, on to the Middle East, and then to East Asia. Basically, that’s what we do. This is European, Middle Eastern teaching, African, and over in East Asia. There’s my wonderful wife that’s recording all this. This card is our missionary prayer card, and you can get that on our website, discoverthebook.org, but pray for us.

Let me just say goodbye. As you go, I challenge you this week. Read Revelation 2 & 3 each day. Each time you read it, note what you find. Then at the conclusion of your study each day say Lord, and then tell Him, I know you’re watching, recording every moment in my life. Help me to live that way. Reset my life back to You. I want to repent. I want to hear Your voice. You sympathize with me. You’re tracking my life. Help me.

We’re all avoiding COVID or have been with our mask and our everything. Sin is contagious, let’s start being as vigilant as we’ve been with wipes and hand cleaner. I think I’ve worn out some of my skin with hand cleaner. Do I fear sin as much as I fear COVID? I want to Lord, I want to live the unashamed life. I don’t want to float; I want to resist. I want to realize I’m going to wear my good works forever and pursue them. I don’t want to be restless and empty. I want to take your spiritual chemo and remember, and repent, and do again. I want to live my best life. I want to realize riches are toxic. I want to let You into my life every day.

That’s my challenge, that you look into this. Have a great week. In fact, you might need two weeks to do this study. God bless you. See you for the conclusion next week.



Check Out All The Sermons In The Series

You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, 52 Greatest Chapters In The Bible here

Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?

Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.