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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 4 - WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS (II) (REVELATION 3)

I. INTRO: IF I ASKED YOU WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF WHEN I SAID THE WORD,
"REVELATION" , I'LL BET YOU WOULD SAY THE 3 ANGELS MESSAGES OR
SOMETHING FROM THE LAST HALF OF THE BOOK.  ADVENTISTS GENERALLY
CONCENTRATE ON THE LATER CHAPTS. OF REV., BUT I HAVE THE FEELING THAT
MOST CHRISTIANS CONCENTRATE ON THE LETTERS TO THE CHURCHES.
      LAST WEEK AT CAMP PAST. GOLDENBERG LED DISCUSSION OF 1ST FOUR
LETTERS. THIS WEEK, LAST THREE: SARDIS, PHILADELPHIA, AND LAODICEA.

II. SARDIS
      A. TURN TO REV. 3:1-6 (NOT READ YET)
      B. LET ME TELL YOU A LITTLE ABOUT THE CITY OF SARDIS.  700 YRS BEFORE
THIS LETTER WRITTEN, SARDIS WAS ONE OF GREATEST CITIES OF WORLD.  RICH,
ORIENTAL CITY. GREAT LOCATION TOO.  IT WAS BUILT ON TOP OF NARROW
PLATEAU.
       ONE DAY THE KING OF SARDIS DECIDED TO COME DOWN FROM HIS CITY
AND GO DOWN AND ACROSS THE RIVER TO FIGHT THE PERSIAN.  BAD IDEA.  HE
LOST AND RETREATED BACK ACROSS THE RIVER.  THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN OK,
EXCEPT THE PERSIANS FOLLOWED HIM, SO HE WENT BACK UP TO HIS CITY TO REST
AND REFIT FOR ANOTHER ATTACK. NOT WORRIED, CITY WAS INPREGNABLE.
      PERSIANS CAME ALONG AND KING OFFERED A REWARD TO ANYONE WHO
COULD FIND ENTRY INTO THE CITY.  ONE FELLOW REALIZED THAT THE PLATEAU
WAS MADE OF MORE MUD THAN ROCK.  WHICH MEANS THAT IT CRACKS.  SO HE
FOUND A CRACK AND LED A SMALL PARTY UP INTO THE CITY OF SARDIS.  WHEN
GOT THERE FOUND THAT NO ONE WAS GUARDING THE WALL--BECAUSE PEOPLE
THOUGHT THEY WERE SAFE.  THEY WEREN'T.  THE PERSIANS TOOK OVER.
      AMAZINGLY, SEVERAL CENTURIES LATER THE SAME THING HAPPENED.

      C. READ V.1-3.  IF THEY DON'T WAKE UP, WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
            1. DO YOU THINK THAT A CITY WITH A HISTORY LIKE THAT KNEW
WHAT IT MEANT TO WATCH?
      D. WHAT EXACTLY WERE THEY WATCHING FOR?  WHAT IS MEANT BY "A
REPUTATION FOR BEING ALIVE, BUT IS DEAD"? LETS BREAK IT DOWN.
            1. WHAT WOULD A REPUTATION FOR BEING ALIVE BE? (GOOD
CHRISTIAN.  THESE WERE NOT PEOPLE WHO HAD OBVIOUS PROBLEMS)
            2. WHAT MEAN BY "DEAD"? 
      E. LOOK AT THIS.  SARDIS WAS NOT COMDEMNED FOR HERESY.  WOULD A
CHURCH TROUBLED BY HERESY BE DEAD? (NO. HERESY IS A RESULT OF A
SEARCHING MIND.)
(PROBLEM HERE SEEMS TO BE THAT THE PEOPLE WERE ORTHODOX (LIKE US), BUT
WERE THAT WAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO LAZY TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES.)
      F. AREN'T YOU TROUBLED HERE?  IF PEOPLE ARE ORTHODOX, ISN'T THAT
ENOUGH? DO YOU HAVE TO BE ACTIVE TO BE SAVED? (SEEMS TO REQUIRE
ACTIVITY: WAKE UP AND STRENGTHEN! (V2)
            1. SOUNDS LIKE MUSCLE BUILDING.  ARE YOU BUILDING SPIRITUAL
MUSCLES AND WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BUILD THEM?
      G. NOTICE THREE FOLD BLESSING FOR THE FAITHFUL IN V.4-6.

III. PHILADELPHIA
      A. PHIL. WAS A GREEK OUTPOST.  IT WAS BUILT NEXT TO A VOLCANIC PLAIN
AND AT ONE TIME THAT CREATED SOME REAL PROBLEMS FOR THE PEOPLE.  THEY
STARTED HAVING MINOR QUAKES ALL THE TIME, SO MUCH SO THAT MOST OF THE
POPULATION MOVED OUTSIDE OF THE CITY BECAUSE THEY WERE AFRAID OF
BEING KILLED BY FALLING MASONRY.
      B. READ V.7-8.
      C. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MEANT BY THE "OPEN DOOR?" (A.JESUS HAS
AUTHORITY TO ADMIT TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. B. THE DOOR OF MISSIONARY
OPPORTUNITY IN THIS AREA WHICH WAS ON THE IMPERIAL POSTAL SERVICE ROAD.
C. PERHAPS DOOR TO HELPING TO CONVERT JEWISH COMMUNITY IN THAT CITY.
(WILL NOTICE LATER REFERENCE TO THAT.))
      D. I JUST GOT THROUGH TELLING YOU TO BUILD UP YOUR SPRITUAL
MUSCLES, AND NOW WE HAVE A LETTER COMMENDING THOSE WITH "LITTLE
STRENGTH."  WHAT GIVES?
            1. WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THESE PEOPLE HAD LITTLE STRENGTH?
(SEEMS THAT THEY HAVE HAD SOME SORT OF TRIAL, OR THAT THEY ARE FEW IN
NUMBER.) 
      E. READ V.9-10. THIS SEEMS TO BOLSTER THE IDEA OF TRIAL.  THE
SUGGESTION IS THAT THE JEWISH COMMUNITY HAS ARGUED IN SOME POWERFUL
WAY THAT GOD DID NOT LOVE THEM.
      F. LETS SKIP DOWN TO V.11. CAN SOMEONE ELSE STEAL OUR CROWN?
      G. DO YOU THINK THAT GOD GIVES "CROWNS" TO OTHER PEOPLE BECAUSE
THE FIRST WEARER DOES NOT MEASURE UP?  CAN YOU LOSE YOUR PLACE TO
ANOTHER BECAUSE YOU SHOW THAT YOU ARE NOT FIT TO KEEP IT?  (ESAU TO
JACOB., SAUL TO DAVID., JUDAS TO MATTHIAS., JEWS TO GENTILES.) 

IV. LAODICEA
      A. THIS IS THE ONLY CHURCH FOR WHICH JESUS HAS NOTHING GOOD TO SAY.
      B. WHO WOULD YOU SAY IS THE HARDEST PERSON TO CONVERT? (THE ONE
WHO JUST DOESN'T CARE.)
      C. THE PROBLEM IN THIS CHURCH IS INDIFFERENCE.  IF THIS MAKES A
PROBLEM TO THOSE OUTSIDE THE CHURCH, IT IS WORSE INSIDE, BECAUSE WE
DON'T WANT TO BELIEVE THAT WE ARE INDIFFERENT.

V. NEXT WEEK: REV. 4.  SOMEONE ELSE WILL TEACH!