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Revelation 2 – Follow to the end 启示录 2 – 跟随到底

Sister Emily Huang

Wednesday, 14th September 2022

Section One V1-7 Back to the First Love

Jesus was talking to His churches; He built His churches and would not leave them. The seven stars means the messengers from the churches. The church of Ephesians had done a lot for the Kingdom of God, and Jesus knew everything they had done. God knows every hard work we have done for Him, but He also knows when we have lost the Agape love for God. The people of Ephesians loved people and loved God at the beginning, but as time pass by, they seemed to have lost this love. When we serve at church, in the family, or at workplace, we would have the passion and love for what we do at the beginning, but can this love keep on?

V5 ‘Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.’ God wants us to remember where we have fallen, like the little fox, who stops us pursuing the goodness of God. We must examine ourselves, seek inside our hearts, to see if we have any pride, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy… that make us fall and forget the love we had for God at the beginning. We must repent and return like a child, simply follow Him, and love Him.

Our church is the lampstand in this dark world, and the light is not from us, but from God and His destiny for us. If we cannot reflect the light of God, then we are unable to carry out our mission for God in this world.

V6 ‘But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.’ At the same time, God also reaffirmed the church of Ephesians for their hate for the evil and speaking truth in love.

V7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.’ We are blessed to be able to hear the Word of God, and He rewards us for hearing Him and obeying Him.

Section Two V8-11 Faithful Until the End

V8-9 ‘And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.’ They might not be a rich church in the eyes of people, but God saw them as rich. God sees us different to how the world sees us. We must seek God’s eyesight for us, do not be deceived by this world.

V10 ‘Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.’ God knows what is going to happen to His church and He is telling us not to be afraid. All trials and hardships have an end date, can we be faithful to the end and believe there is reward from God? Jesus Christ is already in our lives, we will be with Him in eternity, therefore we must not give up and always look upon Him.

Section Three V12-17 Be Alert and Repent

V12-13 ‘And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, these things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: I know your works, and where 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, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.’ The location of the church in Pergamos had many religious, people there worshipped false gods and rejected the way of God. They were facing many challenges and hardship in preaching in Gospel.

V14-15 ‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.’ God also rebuked them for following the teaching of Balak, who could hear God’s voice but compromised with the world for money. God is reminding His beloved churches to repent and return right away, do not end up with those God hates, to be struck down by the sharp two-edged sword of God. We must repent and return from our evil ways, for those who are willing to listen and repent, the two-edged sword will help us get rid of all detestable things in our lives.

Section Four V18-29 Hold Fast and Wait Upon God

V20 ‘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.’ The church of Thyatira had the love and passion for God, but their problem was to follow the false prophet. We must be alert with the things we hear, to always examine if they are really from God that is beneficial for us and for our church.

V21-22 ‘And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.’ God is always giving us the opportunity to repent, but if we see it lightly then we are being rebellious against God and will taste the fruits of our own wrongdoings.

V23 ‘I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.’ God sees inside our hearts, He knows everything we do and everything we say, even the things come across our mind. We must come quickly to God, to repent and to return, do not let our words or actions affect us from receiving the blessings God is going to give to us.

V24-25 ‘Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come.’ God knows how much we can handle; He will not burden us with things we cannot carry. Can we really live under the Tree of Life, to be humble and obedience, to benefit others and to deny ourselves, then we can receive the abundance of God.

V26-27 ‘And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father.’ Do not underestimate the power and authority we have been given from God, when we are willing to carry out the Word of God, to speak out the Truth from God, then our reward is great.

V28-29 ‘And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ The Morning Star also represents Jesus, it’s also a gift God has given for us, when we are willing to shine for God, then He will let all nations to come near us. God is talking to us today, He is talking to His church, and what is our respond?

启示录 2 – 跟随到底
2022年9月14日 星期三
Emily 姐妹

启示录2章所讲的4个教会就是第1章11和20节所讲的七个教会的前面四个。两千年前神亲自对这七间教会说话,如今他也在对我们南奥克兰灵粮堂说话,我们要如本章经文里反复提到的一句话那样:“凡有耳的,就应当听!” 我们要听圣灵对我们的提醒。今天的经文讲到的四个教会中有三个似乎都被“责备”,就仿佛我们平时在被牧者“提升”时的情景,虽然听上去不舒服,不过,要记住主耶稣对约翰说的话“不要惧怕。我是首先的,我是末后的”(启1:17) – 他是为我们的信心创始成终的主,他既然开始了,就为他所爱的仆人”包底”,只要我们愿意谦卑跟随他。

一、v.1-7 回到起初的爱
V1 每一颗“星”代表每个教会的使者 – 就是传递神话语的天使。耶稣右手拿着七星,正如昨天的经文所说,我们的教会都在主的掌握中,他在我们教会中间行走、动工,直到如今。
V2-3 以弗所教会过去为了主摆上的一切劳苦、并且为了真理试验出使徒的真伪,做了这一切,他们还不“乏倦”。这些主都知道,也记念。我们为神所做的,神也都知道,即使人没有看见,神都看见也纪念。
V4“责备”的原文有“反对、敌对”的意思。“爱心”的原文就是agape,是神和人之间最美好的爱 – 罗马书 5:8说:“唯有基督在我们还做罪人的时候为我们死,神的爱就在此向我们显明了。” 在保罗写给以弗所教会的书信中,他说以弗所教会的人是“信从主耶稣,亲爱众圣徒”(弗1:15)。当初他们可能确实是出于对神对人的爱而很认真地服事,但时过境迁,最后离开了原本的爱心,being变成doing, 所以主耶稣反对他们这件事。我们当初蒙主拯救时,我们的心是否被神的爱感动,是否有发自内心的热情想要回应神的呼召后来我们是不是仍然重复同样的事,却不是出于爱神爱人的心? 不管是在家庭或者职场教会,去牧养关怀,我们是否只是做事却把起初的爱心离弃了呢?
V5 我们要回想起是什么事、是哪一只“小狐狸”将我们对我们良人的爱心偷窃,让我们从基督的磐石上摔下来。是不是因为我们自己的骄傲 – 在服事的过程中只看到别人一堆问题?或是因为挫败、苦毒 – 别人对我们所付出的不理解甚至抵挡、拒绝、逼迫我们?或是虚荣 – 想要成就这些事以得到别人的称赞、认同?圣灵在这里提醒我们要为此“悔改”,回转像孩子一样单纯来跟随耶稣。教会在这个黑暗的世界就是发光的“灯台”,我们不是靠着自己的力量去发光,而是要有从神而来的光,若不能按着神给我们的命定、在神放我们所在的位置为主发光,他就会将我们挪走。
V6 尼哥拉一党的行为也是神所恨恶的,神并非只要我们有爱心当烂好人,却没有公义、真理。我们要彼此相爱,但也要恨恶罪,远离那些让人走向灭亡的行为。
V7 今天能够听到神对我们说话的弟兄姐妹有福了!当我们愿意去听从的时候,我们就能得胜,神应许我们要将他乐园里生命树的果子赐给我们吃,使我们有永恒的生命。

二、v.8-11 至死忠心
V8-9 主同样跟士每拿教会的人说,他知道他们所经历的一切患难。在人看为贫穷的,在神却看为富足。神的标准跟人的标准不一样。我们是否用世界的标准来看自己物质上的缺乏?其实神是丰盛的,我们有这位供应者就必不致缺乏。士每拿教会所在地,是现在的土耳其,那时是亚细亚,在这个外邦城市,原本最该理解基督信仰的犹太人反而成了毁谤他们的人。
V10 神不仅知道教会过去受的苦,他也知道我们将来要受的苦,所以提前告诉我们“不用怕”。在神眼中,试炼和患难是有期限的,对士每拿教会来说是“十日”,对我们呢?我们或许正处在一个被神调整、不舒服的阶段,或许我们因为信仰的缘故而在生活或工作上与周围的人格格不入,但这些都是暂时的、是会结束的,我们只要定睛在神的永恒里,就能至死忠心,得到神应许赐给我们的生命的冠冕。
V11 主耶稣是“死而又活”的(V8)。初代教会的信徒们面对的是真实的殉道、死亡;但正是因为他们对基督至死忠心,宝贵的福音才流传到如今。感恩神我们现在处在一个相对信仰自由的时代,不用面对死亡的逼迫,但我们的肉体总有一天会死亡,唯有当我们领受耶稣基督的救恩并且至死忠心,我们的灵才不会因审判而受第二次死亡的苦,因为在永恒里我们是与主同在的。

三、v.12-17 当警醒悔改
V12-13 别迦摩教会的人不仅经历逼迫,他们当中甚至有人殉道。他们所在的环境对基督信仰是十分敌对的,被主称为“撒旦座位之处”。但他们还能持守信仰。我们可能只是传福音被拒绝,被权柄提升,我们就有负面,我们若在一个完全负面、甚至要为信仰流血牺牲的环境,是否还能像他们那样对主耶稣不离不弃呢?
V14-15 民数记22-24记载摩押王巴勒因为惧怕以色列人而出钱请巴兰咒诅以色列人,神保护了以色列人。后来巴兰用计谋让以色列人行邪淫,跟着外邦女子拜偶像。别迦摩教会的人当中有人对神的话语信心不坚固,对罪不敏感,以至于跟从巴兰的教训和尼哥拉一党的人,行出圣经和教会明确禁止的事。或许有些人在面对困难逼迫的时候,他们能持守真道,然而一旦面对诱惑、面对似是而非的理论,心就动摇、对世界妥协。因此,不要因为自己在一件事情上做得不错就自以为义,要时时警醒,我们是靠着耶稣基督行事为人,才能在无论经过高山低谷都能站立得稳,不需要从这个世界去获得使我们满足的喜乐。
V16 神提醒他所爱的教会,就是让我们能及时悔改,不然我们反而跟神所恨恶的巴兰、尼哥拉一党站在一边,成了神的仇敌,最后被神两刃的利剑攻击。
V17 神的话对于那些抵挡神的人就是带来审判的利剑,对于愿意谦卑悔改的人,就是供给生命需要的吗哪,是我们每日所需的灵粮。并且神还要赐给我们每一个人一块写着新名的白石,我们过去与这个世界偶像行淫的污秽都要被洗净,神给我们的是崭新、圣洁的身份,因为在耶稣基督里,我们都是新造的人,旧事已过,都变成新的了。

四、18-29 要持守等候主
V18-20 推雅推喇教会是一个非常棒的教会,过去不仅有信心、又有好行为,而且一直在进步,但他们现在的问题是受自称为先知的耶洗别的影响,行奸淫,吃偶像之物。先知本该是帮助使徒成就神给教会的异象,而不是带弟兄姐妹离开神。我们听到外面一些特别的理论、或者自己内心有“感动”时,要懂得在真理里分辨,看是否真的出于神。
V21-22 耶洗别这么恶的人,神给她机会悔改,神是给人机会悔改的神,然而我们若轻看神给我们悔改的机会,依然放纵自己的情欲,我们就要承担罪的恶果。
V24-25 其实神并不会将我们所承受不起的担子加添给我们;我们也不要去追求那些好像很厉害的世界上的深奥之理,真正的生命之道神已经借着耶稣基督给我们了。我们是否在生命树下谦卑顺服、舍己利他?看上去好像很难做到,但是当我们愿意降服在耶稣面前,靠主我们就能做到,而不是靠着人为的方式去做,持守耶稣基督的道,就会经历丰盛的祝福。
V26-27 不要看我们现在好像做的一些事情不成功,我们身上带着的是耶稣基督制伏万国的权柄。
V28 “晨星”就是打破黑夜的光,正如以赛亚书60章1-3节所说:“兴起发光,因为你的光已经来到,耶和华的荣耀发现照耀你。看哪,黑暗遮盖大地,幽暗遮盖万民,耶和华却要显现照耀你,他的荣耀要现在你身上。万国要来就你的光,君王要来就你发现的光辉。”虽然我们看见世界上发生很多不如意的事,可能我们关怀牧养也会得到人负面的回应,但我们要看到神将“晨星”赐给我们,当我们愿意为主发光,万国万民都会来靠近我们,因为耶稣就是我们的晨星,是为我们的信心创始成终的神。