Revelation 3:3

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Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Introduction

The admonitions to the angel of the church in Sardis, are really to “he that hath and ear”, and to “he that reads, hears, He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Rev 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Rev 22:6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

“The time is always “at hand” for “whoso reads and understands …[ that] these sayings must [ always] shortly be done” in every generation, since Christ. What we need to ask and answer is which sayings made to this church must shortly be done? Must the angel of the church in Sardis “shortly… have a name that he lives, but is really dead?” Must Christ come on the angel of the church in Sardis as a thief? Must this also “shortly be done” in the life of “he that hath an ear?” Must such negative statements all have personal application in the lives of all of God’s elect?

The answer is, yes, all of God’s elect must “live by EVERY word of God… read, hear, and keep THE things written therein, and keep THE sayings of the prophecy of this book.” God’s Word does not say that ‘man must live by some of the words of God… some of the things written therein… some of the sayings of the prophecy of this book.’

When the words “You shalt not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”; “In the day you eat thereof you shall surely die;” “Proceeded out of the mouth of God,” all men of all ages had to live by and keep those words, “the things written therein.”

We are all “in Adam,” but we do not die because Adam sinned. We die because “all have sinned.” We sin because we are in Adam, not because Adam sinned. Death comes by sin in each of us, and is “passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Adam sinned because he was Adam. He did not sin because he “freely chose to do so.

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Rom 3:23 For [ Greek, gar, because] all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Adam’s sin was predestined and the scriptures tell us this was so:

1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [ even] the hidden [ wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called [ us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Yes, death entered by Adam, but you and I are in Adam by nature, and would, by nature, have done exactly what Adam did under the same circumstances. To foolishly say “The first thing I am going to do at the resurrection, is to walk right up to Adam and punch him in the nose,” is to display that you are still taking pride in your yet carnal Adamic nature, and making a proud carnal display of your own total dearth of spiritual understanding. What you are saying is essence is that you intend to punch yourself in the nose. Adam is not responsible for your sins or mine. You and I do not die because of Adam’s sin, we die “for [ because] all have sinned” in Adam.

Rom 3:23 For [ Greek, gar – because] all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

That is exactly what Christ meant when He made this statement:

Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, ( whoso readeth, let him understand:)

“Let him understand” that all these things are to be fulfilled inwardly in the lifetime of every reader:

Mat 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

The battle of scripture is being waged between two men. That is the message in “the things which are written therein.” That is “the ends of the ages [ which] are come upon us.”

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [ Greek, tupos – types of us]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [ aion] are come.

There is the inspired answer to the disciples question:

Mat 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [ shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? [ Greek, aion]

Or as Christ Himself said:

Mat 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

With this is, was and will be, “shall not pass away” character of these words in mind, let us now consider what is the meaning of the first verse of our study today of what the spirit says to the angel of the church in Sardis which is within “he that hath and ear.”

Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Immediately the natural man will say, ‘All right! Now I have been warned, “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.” Now I will be sure never to make that mistake!’ Is that the way we are told to approach this book? Is that what “keep the things written therein” means? That is exactly how the whole world comes to this book of “signified” symbols. They come actually believing that they can simply read these words and these admonitions and then somehow avoid having to “keep the things written therein.” The whole world, approaches this book as if it were not a vision of what we see “behind” us. But “He that has ears to hear” never forgets that this entire vision is seen from the perspective of looking behind himself and seeing what God has already accomplished in his or her life.

Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

He that has “ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the angels of the churches,” is also “he that reads and hears and keeps the things written therein.” That man realizes that when God tells us “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it,” that by the time he understands why that command was given, it will always be “behind us,” after we have already eaten of that tree whose fruit is death. Yes, that is right, we have all “eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” because we have all been “made of a woman, made under the law…” by which law we “know sin.”

Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

So also, we have all “had a name that we lived, and we were, [ in reality, spiritually] dead.” These words mean nothing to a man who thinks he has never been sick and in need of a physician, never been blind and in need of sight, never left the sheepfold and therefore “needs no repentance.” Nevertheless “all these things” have proceeded out of the mouth of God, and will be lived by every man who has ever lived.

Luk 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

It is only a self righteous Pharisee, looking down on a repentant tax collector, who thinks of himself as “just person, which needs no repentance.” So with “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” we see and hear these things only because we have already endured them. We have been that self righteous Pharisee, looking down on God’s repentant publican elect, and looking down on His repentant lost sheep elect, and “the day of the Lord,” the day of His judgment, has come upon us as a thief in the night, and we are now being judged. It was only yesterday that I myself considered the doctrine of universal salvation to be rank heresy, and any and all who propounded that doctrine to be heretics. It was at that very point that this happened:

2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. [ Have you ever been an “ungodly man?”]
2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [ That is a “two edged sword” statement]
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us- ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements [ Greek, stoicheion – same ‘elements’ in Gal 4:3] shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. [ Are your works being burned up?]
Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements [stoicheion] of the world: [ under the law].
2Pe 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, [ Since our works are being dissolved, we ought to be holy and godly in our “Christ in us” way of life, our ‘conversation.’]
2Pe 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements [stoicheion] shall melt with fervent heat? [ Have your heavens ever been on fire and been dissolved with fervent heat?]
2Pe 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
2Pe 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
2Pe 3:15 And account [ that] the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
2Pe 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Peter is telling us that “all of Paul’s epistles” spoke of “these [ same] things.” Our old heavens and our old earth, are “reserved unto fire against the day of judgment,” which “day of judgment,” Peter has already explained as being within our lives.

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [ It is hard for the natural man to believe that his ungodliness deserves the wrath of God’s indignation]
1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. [ That is right, Christ endured “fiery trials” while here on this earth]
Luk 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Mar 14:33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;_ Mar 14:34 And saith unto them, _ My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

The flesh has to be left behind, because it has been judged unfit for the kingdom of God, and its judgment is a fiery trial, even for our Lord Himself. “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death… And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” We too, must “die daily,” and as His body, endure “the fiery trials” of the day of judgment in our own lives:

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

This is the very “day of judgment” to which Peter refers to in his next epistle which we quoted above:

2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Just as Peter has told us, Paul agrees with Peter. All “ungodly men must be destroyed:

1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

We have all been guilty of “defiling the temple of God,” and we must all endure the destruction to which Paul refers here in 1Co 3 and in 2Th:

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [ that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [“perdition of an ungodly man” 2Pe 3:7]
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

How does this “day of the Lord,” this day of judgment come to us all?

2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Did the risen Lord come to his apostles when they were expecting Him? No, He did not. Did He strike down the apostle Paul when Paul was expecting Him? Of course not. Neither did He come to you or me when we were expecting Him. He came while we were “still in our sins;” still unrepentant, and He drug us to Himself: He came to each of us when we least expected him, and He destroyed and burned up our old heavens and our old earth with the “fervent heat” of the words of His mouth:

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw [ Greek – drag] him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Mat 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Christ’s coming is the theme of Mat 24, and last week we saw and demonstrated that the “wars and rumours of wars; nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places; the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be: the sun being turned into darkness and the moon turning into blood, and even the gospel being preached in all the world for a witness to all those nations then shall the end come,” must all be within because of these two verses:

Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Here are some of the verses leading up to this statement:

Mat 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [ these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The sign of the Son of Man in heaven, is preceded by the “great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Only then does the “sign of the Son of Man in heaven appear, while the tribes of the earth are mourning and seeing the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” All of this is solemly pronounced by our Lord, to be fulfilled in “this generation:

Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” What this tells us is that these words are not to be understood as literal, passing words. They can only be understood as spiritual words which “shall not pass away,” but shall be applicable in “this generation… who reads and understands… that the holy spirit teaches… the things of the spirit… comparing spiritual with spiritual.”

1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [ them], because they are spiritually discerned.

Just as surely as there is a “first Adam” and a “last Adam, there is also a first and a last fulfillment of these prophecies. If Christ does not “come a second time without sin unto salvation,” while we are still in these vessels of clay, causing “all the tribes of the earth mourn,” while we are still in these vessels of clay, then Christ lied to us and that generation passed away and the end has not yet come. If on the other hand all these words are primarily spirit, and are being fulfilled within His elect, then “the ends of the ages” really have come upon us, and Christ’s words “shall never pass away.”

Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Not “will come,” but “are come.” Christ is coming to His elect and is dethroning the man of sin sitting in the temple of God in every generation that reads, hears and keeps the things written therein.” Here is part of what is “written therein” which tells us exactly how this all happens within each of God’s elect:

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [ that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

That ‘as God’ is the beast of “free will,” which declares that your salvation and mine, is dependent, not upon the work of Christ, or the will of God, but upon your own will. That is part of “the depths of Satan as they speak,” doctrines which afflict the angel of the church in Thyatira, and which serve to make the angel of the church in Sardis, spiritually dead. It is this doctrine which serves to keep the beast on the throne in the temple of God “which temple you are.”

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

The false doctrine of “free will” is one of the single most tenacious, what Ezekiel calls “idols of the heart.” It is perpetrated by the very leaders of God’s own people, and it takes the coming of Christ as a thief in the night, to dethrone that beast with that particular idol of the heart. Notice how Paul speaks of this event within God’s elect:

2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

Paul taught the Thessalonians the same doctrine he taught in Corinth. “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you?” But Paul knows that we “live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” so he tells these Thessalonians that…

2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth [ Greek, katecho] that he [ the beast within; the “man of sin”] might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [ Greek – katecho, restrains, with holds] will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2Th 2:9 [ Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Here is Christ speaking of this same event when He was asked about the sign of His coming and the end of this age:

Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [ man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Mat 24:37 But as the days of Noe [ were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
Mat 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Mat 24:41 Two [ women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Mat 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Mat 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
Mat 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Mat 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Mat 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Mat 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

It is only when we are brought [ meaning, drug], by the sovereign work of God’s complete ‘seven spirits,’ working in us, and “turning us over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord;” that we see ourselves as the prodigal son, the lost sheep, and the woman caught in the very act of adultery; In other words we must “look behind ourselves to see ourselves as “the chief [ first] of sinners,” who must “fill up their sins… for the wrath of God to come upon us to the uttermost:

1Th 2:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

Had the apostle Paul ever been guilty of forbidding Christians, Stephen for example, and even intending to forbid Christians in Damascus, to speak to the Gentiles? Of course he had, and God struck Paul down on the road to Damascus and showed him that “he must suffer for Christ’s names sake:”

Act 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

All of this is what we all experience as we “keep the things written therein.”

Conclusion

Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

We have seen in this study that we have received and heard a calling to come out of the world, but even as we were coming out we were wanting to go back.

Hos 11:1 When Israel [ was] a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
Hos 11:2 As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

It is at this point that the angel of the church of Sardis, within us, has not “held fast or repented,” and it is at this point that Christ comes to us “the second time without sin unto salvation” to the carnal Adam whose nature had never yet been changed.

Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

We all “received and heard” because we, like Israel in Egypt, became weary of our taskmasters in the flesh, and we cried out for deliverance. God was gracious, and we, like the carnal Corinthians we “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, coming behind in no gift.” But just like the Israelites we have all been ready to stone God’s elect when we come to our first real trial, called the Red Sea. The Red Sea is just a precursor to the giants in the land. But we are infants at the Red Sea, and God carries us across on dry land, and destroys all of our enemies. But as soon as that happens, just like the carnal Corinthians, we go right back to our own carnal ways and follow men instead of God.
That is how we have “received and heard,” and we fail to repent until the Lord does come as a thief. It is only by His coming “the second time without sin,” that we are finally given to see the process that is this battle we are waging with the beast and the man of sin within.
Next week, Lord willing, we will see what is promised the overcomers in Sardis, and what it means to “not have our name blotted out of the book of life.”

Rev 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

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