Rebuilding – Consecrated and Cleansed

[SW143] 06/28/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Consecrated and Cleansed”

Always when I preach, it is as much a message to be worked in my own heart as it is one that is to be delivered to you. And that is so today!

I tell you, He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it until Christ comes (Philippians 1:6)! So let the work begin, Lord, in me, in your church, in all believers!

“God’s work!” we say, as He consecrates us and we are baptized in water as a sign of it.

“God’s work!” we cry, as He cleanses our hearts and fills us with His holiness, bringing us into holy intimacy with Him!

In Nehemiah 12:27-30, the completed wall was dedicated, and the priests purified themselves.

It was God’s work.

It began with Nehemiah’s intercession, seeking the Lord’s heart and petitioning Him on behalf of His distressed people.

We have talked about the steps that follow. Now we are at the conclusion.

The dedication of the wall in today’s passage was an outward act done as a sign of an inward conviction, a recognition on Israel’s part that the wall they had worked on was God’s wall, and it was completed only by His provision.

It is like that when we are baptized under the new covenant (God’s promise fulfilled), the one Jesus instituted. We are God’s workmanship:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We could not save ourselves. He saved us and bought us with a price (1Corinthians 6:20) — the blood of His Son.

We acknowledge we are God’s, and no longer our own. He wants us to be His. He wants us to be His children. He made us for that purpose. Step into that purpose!

Just as with the dedication of the wall, baptism yields worship — gladness, thanksgiving, and songs of praise!

Then came the purification of the priests, the people, the gates and the wall  (Verse 30). It was outward, it was external — they performed a cleansing ritual established through Moses.

Under the new covenant, God Himself cleanses us inwardly, purifying our hearts so they are wholly His.

When Jesus walked the earth, He chose His disciples, setting them apart to Himself. And He does that with us today. But then He said (and still says today), “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (see Matthew 5:48).

Peter repeated God’s call when he quoted Leviticus 11:44ff in 1 Peter 1:14-16, “As children of obedience, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior, because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

We are consecrated and set apart with water baptism.

But there is a greater work, one that makes us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus, victors who are no longer slaves to sin:

Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

If we do not ask for the greater work to be done, we will be as Eliashib, inviting Tobiah (the ways of the world) in, and finding that he displaces everything that feeds worship in us (see Nehemiah 13).

We will be as those who went out and married the world (13:23ff).

We will violate the Sabbath (13:15ff), Christ’s sabbatismos (Hebrews 4:9), the true Sabbath rest of God, where we rest from our own works.

We will distance ourselves from our God by continuing to willfully disobey him (Isaiah 59:2).

But if both consecration AND cleansing are done, then we will hear the Holy Spirit say, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 13:2). These are the keys to effective service.

He will continue to mold and shape us as we go, but our hearts will be ever willing and not resistant.

The church as a whole and we individually must let Him to a complete work in us, consecrating ourselves to Him 100% and asking Him to purify our hearts.

Then the rebuilding of the church (and you and me) will be complete.

Our cry must be as David’s in Psalm 51:10-13.

Then we will hear and walking the way He continues to show us (Isaiah 30:21), obedient from our hearts.

REBUILDING – HIS INSPIRATION AND STRENGTH

First intercede, then seek provision, then act on the inspiration of God, the heart of God that we have sought and got!

[SW138] 04/26/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — His Inspiration and Strength”

First we intercede, standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild. Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!
Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:
Chapter 1 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Defeating the Enemy

Chapter 5 — Conviction regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance

Chapter 10 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Ezekiel 22:26-31 describes the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel). Judah had sinned greatly against the Lord, and refused to listen to the prophets the Lord sent to them, who warned them to repent. And so God sent them into exile in Babylon for 70 years.

Nehemiah 2:11-20

Nehemiah interceded for Jerusalem after his countrymen brought him the sad news that the city was in great distress and reproach, with its wall broken down and its gates burned with fire.

He asked the Lord for favor with King Artaxerxes, and reminded the Lord of His promise to return them to Jerusalem if they returned to their God.

He found favor, indeed! The king sent Nehemiah with authority, timber, officers of the army and horsemen to rebuild Jerusalem.

Nehemiah now arrived in Jerusalem. After three days, he and a few men secretly went out under cover of night to survey the damage. He likely rode a horse.

He told no one “what my God was putting on my heart to do for Jerusalem.”

That’s the key scripture for this message. All that Nehemiah did was inspired by the Lord! All Scripture is inspired by Him (2Timothy 3:16, 2Peter 1:20-21). All men and women must be, to rebuild Jerusalem then and to rebuild the church now.

And when it is truly the Lord’s inspiration, He will give you His strength, and many will join hands with you to rebuild, just as with Nehemiah. Not all will join you. But many will.

Not all followed Jesus, and ultimately, even His closest disciples abandoned Him. He would like a pretty poor leader, by today’s standards. So would Paul, who lost his head for Jesus, and Peter, who was crucified upside down. What failures, some said. But they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, shepherding the church faithfully and teaching believers that they needed to be filled with all the fullness of Christ. That’s how to rebuild — not by might, not by power, but by the Holy Spirit!

Beloved, beware of who you follow. Many leaders are leading people through the broad gate, and many follow them down the wide path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). I say this because I love you.

Nehemiah did not look to Egypt:

Isaiah 30:1   “Woe to the  rebellious children,” declares the LORD,
    “Who  execute a plan, but not Mine,
    And   make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
    In order to add sin to sin;
2 Who  proceed down to Egypt
    Without  consulting  Me,
     To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh
    And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3 “Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be  your shame
    And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation.

I tell you, beloved, we have been looking to Egypt. We have been looking to business practices, making our pastors CEOs, and we have been trusting in Management by Objectives (MBO) — Peter Drucker has become our advisor! We consult “pop” psychology instead of our Father in heaven. How do I know this? Our great ideas are not scriptural. Therefore, the Lord has humiliated us and made us a reproach.

Nehemiah did not trust in horses and chariots:

Isaiah 31:1   Woe to those who go down to  Egypt for help
    And  rely on horses,
    And trust in chariots because they are many
    And in horsemen because they are very strong,
    But they do not  look to the  Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!

Nehemiah did not seek the support or assistance of the pagan nations around him, but rather, spurned it:

Nehemiah 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite  official, and  Geshem the Arab heard it,  they mocked us and despised us and said, “What is this thing you are doing?  Are you rebelling against the king?”  20 So I answered them and said to them, “ The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build,  but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah did not forge ahead under his own inspiration. He interceded, got the heart of God, and God inspired him.

But if our leaders are blind to the spiritual condition of the church, they will not intercede for her. If they seek worldly ways to grow the church, they will ultimately fail:

Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are  wise in their own eyes
    And clever in their own sight!

So Nehemiah told no one what his God had put on his heart to do for Jerusalem, until he had inspected the damage. In some spots, the wall was so broken down that he could not pass through on his mount.

Then he returned and spoke to the people:

Come, let us rebuild
The hand of my God has been favorable to me
The king supports us

I tell you, beloved, they will say, “Let us arise and rebuild” and will put their hands to the work!

The Enemy will mock, despise and accuse. But like Nehemiah, who sought and got God’s heart, we will say to the Enemy:

Nehemiah 2:20 So I answered them and said to them, “ The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build,  but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.”  

The sheep gate will be consecrated, and there will be no bolts or bars. Access will be free for every sheep of the Good Shepherd!

Side by side, the people will work, united in purpose.

The gates and walls will be rebuilt!

REBUILDING – PROVISION

[SW136] 04/12/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church —Provision”

First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild.

Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Interceding

Chapter 2 — Requesting Christ’s provision

Chapters 3 and 4 — Possessing God’s strength and wisdom

Chapter 5 — Convicting regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discerning

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repenting

Chapter 10 — Consecrating

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Ezekiel 22:26-31 describes the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel). Judah had sinned greatly against the Lord, and refused to listen to the prophets the Lord sent to them, who warned them to repent. And so God sent them into exile in Babylon for 70 years.

Nehemiah 2

Having heard the report that the remnant in Judah was under great distress and reproach, Nehemiah interceded for the sons of Israel, asking the Lord to forgive, and reminding Him of His promise that, if they would return to Him, He would return them to Israel. He asked the Lord for mercy when he went before King Artaxerxes.

It was not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit that Jersusalem and its walls and temple would be rebuilt (Zechariah 4:6). Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Spirit-filled believers, will the church be rebuilt.

As intercessors for today’s church, we ask the Lord Jesus Christ, head of the church, to have compassion on His church. Unlike Nehemiah, thought, we do not deal with a pagan king as an intermediary used by God — we go to the King of kings and Lord of lords, the One who is above all things:

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —  all things have been created through Him and for Him.  17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

The earth is His, and all that is in it (Psalm 24:1)!

He preserves His promise to those who love and obey Him (Nehemiah 1:5)!

We can come before Him and ask whatever we will, and He will do it:

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because  I go to the Father. 13 “ Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that  the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything  in My name, I will do it.”

The Lord sees our sadness of heart over the brokenness in the church (Nehemiah 2:2). But we are not afraid, as Nehemiah rightfully was afraid of the pagan king. No, perfect love casts out fear of punishment:

1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but  perfect love casts out fear, because fear  involves punishment, and the one who fears is not  perfected in love.

And so:

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Oh, our King lives forever! As we sit at the table with the Father, Son and Spirit, the Son will ask us, “What would you request?”

Our desires are Your desires, Lord Jesus. We have come to do Your will, O Lord; Your Law is written in our hearts (Psalm 40:6)!

We will say, “Send me to Your broken church, that we may rebuild it” (v. 5).

“Whom shall We send, and who shall go for Us?” Isaiah said, “Here am I! Send me!” He saw the Lord highly exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. His heart was cleansed by the coal of fire touching His lips, in Isaiah 6!

It will please the King of kings to send us (v. 7), and we will return to Him at the appointed time.

Our fathers were in the church, and we want to bring it back to what it was in those days. The church was with Christ at one time, but now all but a remnant have been exiled from God’s presence.

What must we ask our King for?

— First, authority. We must have authority to pass through Enemy territory, from the One who is greater than our Enemy, Satan:

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to  tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that  your names are recorded in heaven.”

Beloved, in today’s church, few have asked for Christ’s authority to pass through Enemy territory. Therefore we are blindsided and ambushed, deceived and destroyed.

We cannot ask for Christ’s authority over Satan if we are disobedient. But if we will ask Him to change our hearts, so we love and obey Him, He will surely grant us the authority we lack!

— Second, timber. Nehemiah needed natural wood.

We need the whole message of the Cross, from the bounty of the King. What is the whole message?

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. We all know that one.

Why was that necessary? He was, indeed, a sin offering to cover our past sins.

But the message of the Cross goes beyond that — it is the rest of the story, the part which must be in place for the church to be rebuilt.

God sent Jesus Christ that we may have His Spirit, His heart, His love,  His nature, with our old, rebellious nature crucified, in a moment of time!

That is the timber by which the church will be rebuilt — the whole message of the Cross! We must ask Him to put steel in our backbones so we boldly speak it!

In today’s church, beloved, the message of the Cross is the message of the “CRO.” It is half the message. It leaves out the “SS” which is Sin Sickness. That is a disease only Christ can heal, and that by way of His work on the cross and afterwards, when He rose from the dead after three days. He ascended to the Father, was glorified, and poured out the Holy Spirit, who fills us with God’s holiness and gives us a new heart, a new nature!

Yes, we continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, but we no longer resist as the Lord molds and shapes! We have given up our rights to ourselves! We are dead, and now He lives in us (Galatians 2:20).

We must return to building on the one foundation, Christ, so our work will not be found by Him to be wood, hay and straw.

1Corinthians 3:11 For no man can lay a  foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver,  precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  13  each man’s work will become evident; for  the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test  the quality of each man’s work.  14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will  receive a reward.  15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

As the Nehemiahs for today’s church, we call that all pastors once again build on the foundation which is Christ!

When we ask the Lord for the authority and the whole message of the Cross, He will go beyond what we have asked. He will send with us (Verse 9) officers of the army and horsemen — angels, ministering servants:

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,
“ SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES
A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?
14 Are they not all  ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

They will assist us when the Enemy hears of the church’s rebuilding and is displeased that we seek her welfare, just as Sanballat and Tobiah were displeased!

But our Lord has won the victory. Satan has nothing in Him (John 14:30). And we walk in Christ’s victory, when we have called the Father to do the whole gospel in us (Luke 11:13)!

Jesus Christ WILL have a church glorious, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:27). But just as with Nehemiah, He wants those who love and obey Him to participate in the church’s rebuilding (Ephesians 4:11), even to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

Will you join me, O remnant, and rebuild the church? The One we go to for provision will certainly provide.

Next week, we will celebrate His victory, on Resurrection Sunday. Then we will return to Nehemiah and learn the next step to rebuilding.

#1 REBUILDING — INTERCESSION

[SW135] 04/05/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“#1 Rebuilding — Intercession”

The Lord Jesus Christ is calling for intercessors within His church to beseech the Father to rebuild today’s broken down church (see the latest Barna report). He is faithful and will hear us!
Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Interceding

Chapter 2 — Requesting Christ’s provision

Chapters 3 and 4 — Possessing God’s strength and wisdom

Chapter 5 — Convicting regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discerning

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repenting

Chapter 10 — Consecrating

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Here was the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel) was exiled through Assyria:

Ezekiel 22:26-31 “Her  priests have done violence to My law and have  profaned My holy things; they have made no  distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the  unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  27 “Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and  destroying lives in order to get  dishonest gain.  28 “Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing  false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.  29 “The people of the land have practiced  oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have  oppressed the sojourner without justice.  30 “I  searched for a man among them who would  build up the wall and  stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found  no one.  31 “Thus I have poured out My  indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath;  their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord GOD.

Prior to the exile, the Lord’s prophets had warned and called for repentance, but no one listened. It continued during the exile, and once again, men stood in the gap to intercede for Israel:

— The Lord’s call to intercession through the prophet Joel, in Joel 2:12-17

— Daniel’s great prayer of intercession in Daniel 9, after he read Jeremiah 25:11 and realized that the 70 years of Babylonian exile had been completed.

— Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, who stood in the gap before the Lord for the people, to restore and rebuild.

Nehemiah 1

Cyrus of Persia made the proclamation to his entire kingdom (and the Medo-Persian empire conquered the Babylon empire which encompassed the known world). In 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Cyrus proclaimed that the Lord God had appointed him to build Him a house in Jerusalem, and released all Jews in exile to go up to Jerusalem. This was just according to the prophecy the Lord gave Isaiah in Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1, 150 years before Cyrus came to power!

Persia was now under the rule of Artaxerxes. Of the approximate million who were in Judah at the time of the exile, only 42,360 Jews would return to their land and rebuild. The rest died in battle when Babylon laid siege, or tried to escape to Egypt and were killed there. A few were allowed to remain in the land to tend it and a few escaped. Some stayed in Babylon, preferring it to Israel.

Intercession was the first step to rebuilding, and that’s what Nehemiah 1 is all about.

Nehemiah heard the terrible report about the remnant in the land. He wept and mourned, fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

That’s intercession — seeking God’s heart for the church or for individuals, weeping and mourning, praying and fasting day and night (v. 6), beseeching God to act on behalf of His people, and having faith that He will answer.

Let’s look at Nehemiah’s prayer in Chapter 1, so we may understand how to pray for today’s church —

— He beseeches the Lord God of heaven, who is faithful to keep covenant with those who love and obey Him.

— Hear! See! I am Your servant. I am praying on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants. We have not served you well, for we have sinned against you. Even I and my family have sinned against you.

— We have acted very corruptly against You. We have completely disobeyed You. And just according to Your command to Moses, You have scattered us.

— But remember, Lord God, that if we repent, if we return to You and obey You, even though we’ve been scattered to the remotest parts of the earth, you will gather us and return us to Israel, where You have chosen to cause Your name to dwell.

— You redeemed them before, Lord, by your great power and strong hand.

— I beseech You! Hear the prayer of Your servants who love and revere You.
Bless me by granting me compassion (7356, raham mercy, from the word for womb) from King Artaxerxes.

— For I am cupbearer to the king. I have a close relationship to him, as a friend. I hear what goes on in his throne room. He trusts me not only with his secrets, but with his life, for I taste his wine before he drinks it, so if it is poisoned, I die rather than him.

For today’s church:

Please listen to the message, for I interweave the Lord’s words for today’s church with verse-by-verse explanation of Nehemiah 1. The video will available later today at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/SetFreeMinistriesFMC

http://vimeo.com/myfathersplace

Intercession did not end when Jesus came! Our Lord interceded in John 17, and He literally IS our intercession in heaven, for His work is finished! The Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray (Romans 8:26-27). The Apostle Paul was a great intercessor, in Ephesians 1 and 3 and throughout all of his letters to the churches.

Oh, beloved, intercession is not only petitioning God, but it is spiritual warfare!

2Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war  according to the flesh,  4 for the  weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but  divinely powerful  for the destruction of fortresses.  5 We are destroying speculations and every  lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the  obedience of Christ . . .

Colossians 1:9   For this reason also,  since the day we heard of it,  we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the   knowledge of His will in all spiritual  wisdom and understanding,  10 so that you will  walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,   to please Him in all respects,  bearing fruit in every good work and  increasing in the  knowledge of God;  11  strengthened with all power, according to  His glorious might,  for the attaining of all steadfastness and  patience;  joyously 12 giving thanks to  the Father, who has qualified us  to share in  the inheritance of the  saints in  Light.

And it must be done for today’s church. She is exiled from the presence of God. She has sinned greatly and been scattered. Many have fallen away, many follow false teachers who tickle their ears. Many do not believe or declare that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Many of our churches are dying or dead.
Ezekiel 22:26-31 “Her  priests have done violence to My law and have  profaned My holy things; they have made no  distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the  unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  27 “Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and  destroying lives in order to get  dishonest gain.  28 “Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing  false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.  29 “The people of the land have practiced  oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have  oppressed the sojourner without justice.  30 “I  searched for a man among them who would  build up the wall and  stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found  no one.  31 “Thus I have poured out My  indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath;  their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord GOD.

So I pray the same prayer as Nehemiah. By the grace of God, all whose hearts are entirely His are able to pray and beseech Him to act on behalf of our broken churches. Who will pray with me? Who will return with me to rebuild the church?

JESUS’ PROMISES TO OVERCOMERS

Those who overcome this world by way of Jesus Christ, who overcame the world, have great promises from Him!

[SW134] 03/28/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Jesus’ Promises to Overcomers”

First, the definition of “overcome” —

3528. nikao, nik-ah´-o; from 3529; to subdue, conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.

3529. nike, nee´-kay; conquest, i.e. (figuratively) the means of success, victory.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Overcomers —

— Repent from leaving their first love

— Stand steadfast in Christ amidst persecution even to death, thus gaining the crown of life

— Repent from eating things sacrificed to idols and committing sexual immorality

— Repent from tolerating/compromising false teachers in the church who teach the above (i.e., it’s OK to sin) and from following such teaching

— Repent from their deadness and wake up, remembering and keeping what they have heard

— Remain steadfast in their faith in Christ, so as not to lose their crown

— Repent from their pride and from trusting in their riches, and seek
the purification of heart that only the Lord, our Refiner can give

To Ephesus:

Revelation 2:7 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

This is a promise to those who repent from leaving their first love, Jesus Christ . . .
and is also a promise to all overcomers.

The tree of life in the Paradise of God

Genesis 2:9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This is the tree of life from which God prohibited Adam to eat, after he sinned against the Lord (see Genesis 3:22). And this is a word of restoration . . . He who overcomes eats of it, in heaven. 

For those who overcome, eternal life starts here and now, in that His eternal life is in us, but we will also eat its fruit with God in heaven! Hallelujah!

To Smyrna:

Revelation 2:11 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

This is a promise to those who remain steadfast in Christ, despite persecution even to death . . . and is also a promise to all overcomers.

No harm from the second death,

Defined at the end of the sequence of events in Revelation 20:4-11:
The first resurrection — His saints come to life and reign with Christ for a thousand years.

[NOTE: remember Paul’s words — absent from the body, our spirits go to the Lord (see 2 Corinthians 5:6-8). When we die, our spirits go to the Lord, but there is a later resurrection of our bodies.]

Then Satan is released for a period of time.

Then there is great battle on the broad plain, with enemy armies surrounding Jerusalem — instantly defeated by the Lord who rains down fire on them.

Then the devil joins the beast and the false prophet (see Revelation 19:20) in the lake of fire where they are tormented day and night forever and ever.

And then the second death is defined:

Revelation 20:11  Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

So that we may understand:

Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Remember —Revelation 3:5 “‘ He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

It is possible for a name to be erased from the book of life.

To Pergamum:

Revelation 2:17 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

This is the promise to those who repent from eating things sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality, who repent from the things of this world, and is also a promise to all overcomers.
Hidden manna

Reflects a Jewish tradition that the pot of manna that was placed in the ark for a memorial to future generations (Exodus 16:32–34; cf. Hebrews 9:4) was taken by Jeremiah at the time of the destruction of Solomon’s temple (sixth century B.C.) in the Babylonian overthrow of Jerusalem, and hidden underground in Mt. Nebo (2 Maccabees 2:4–7). There it was to remain until the coming of the Messiah when Jeremiah would reappear and return the ark and its contents to the new messianic temple in Jerusalem. [Source: New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT)]

White stone

Again from the NICNT, I believe the white stone refers to a tessera (small block of stone like a mosaic tile) that served as a token for admission to a banquet. They were distributed to the poor in Rome by the emperors to insure a regular supply of corn, and to victors at games.

But I believe these two uses of the tessera fit best:

— A token for admission to a banquet. We are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb, when we will be bride to our Bridegroom, united in a way not possible here on the earth! Read Isaiah 25:6 to hear what will be served!

— Given to gladiators who had won the admiration of the public and had been allowed to retire from further combat. We will have fought the fight and been victorious, and in a sense, we will retire! Read 1Timothy 1:18 and 6:12, and 2Timothy 4:7!

As for the stone’s color, white indicates purity.

Our new name

The new name written on the stone, I think, is as the Lord did with Simon Peter, saying:

Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter (4074 petros, a piece of rock), and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

To Thyatira:

Revelation 2:26 ‘ He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; 27 AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.”

This is the promise to those who repent from compromise and tolerance of false prophets and prophetesses who say it’s OK to sin, because our spirits are saved anyway, a version of Gnostic teaching. It is also a promise to all overcomers.
Psalms 2:7   “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”

Authority over the Enemy, and authority to rule with Christ, having become co-heirs with Him (see Luke 10:19, for we have authority now, but more so when we stand before Him at the end of things:

Romans 8:17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

If we will suffer persecution, and spiritually, death to our sin nature and become filled with His nature, by His Holy Spirit, we are indeed heirs.

Morning star

Morning star (5459 phosphoros) light-bearing, morning star, daystar.

2Peter 1:19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

Revelation 22:16   “ I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

I believe this is in reference to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Right now, the Holy Spirit is an earnest, a pledge:

Ephesians 1:13b-14 . . . the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

I believe the morning star is a greater portion of the Holy Spirit than we can contain in physical bodies.

To Sardis:

Revelation 3:5 ‘ He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

This promise is for those who wake up and repent from their deadness, and remember and keep what they have heard, and is also a promise to all overcomers.

Mark 9:2    Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; 3 and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.

White garments — exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. Heavenly clothing!
The book of life

Psalms 69:28 May they [the wicked] be blotted out of the book of life
And may they not be recorded with the righteous.

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

Philippians 4:3b . . . and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him (the beast), everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

Again, so that we are sure:

Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Confessing them before God

Matthew 10:32  “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.”

To Philadelphia:

Revelation 3:12 ‘ He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

This is a promise to all who remain steadfast, and thus do not lose their crowns, and and is also a promise to all overcomers.

Pillars

I believe He speaks of the two bronze pillars made by Hiram for Solomon’s Temple —

1Kings 7:21 Thus he set up the pillars at the porch of the nave; and he set up the right pillar and named it Jachin, and he set up the left pillar and named it Boaz.

Jaquin (3199) He will establish AND Boaz (1162) quickness (life, strength). He will establish us, in His strength! Thus, we are pillars in the temple of God that is in heaven.

And the overcomers will not go out from it anymore!

What will He write on us?

— the name of My God, YHWH

— the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem

Revelation 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

— My new name, the one He did not have until He was sent by the Father, crucified, dead, buried, risen, ascended, and glorified, Yeshua haMashiach.

To Laodicea:

Revelation 3:21 ‘ He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Hebrews 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high . . .

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Again, these are the promises, to all who:

— Repent from leaving their first love

— Stand steadfast in Christ amidst persecution even to death, thus gaining the crown of life

— Repent from eating things sacrificed to idols and committing sexual immorality

— Repent from tolerating/compromising false teachers in the church who teach the above (i.e., it’s OK to sin) and following such teaching

— Repent from their deadness and wake up

— Remain steadfast in their faith in Christ, so as not to lose their crown

— Repent from their pride and from trusting in their riches, and seek
the purification of heart that only the Lord, our Refiner can give

Beloved, it is not too late to turn. If the Holy Spirit has shown you that you are like Ephesus, or Pergamum, or Thyatira, or Sardis, or Laodicea, it is because of His love that He rebukes you. Turn now, for His grace is here to change your heart!

Those who are like Smyrna and Philadelphia, ask Him to continue to establish you in His strength, that you may remain steadfast and faithful, pillars in His temple! Hallelujah!