Views from the Pew – 8.4.21

What did you learn from last week’s sermon, “The Little Church That Could“?

Q1: Who is the author of Revelation?

Q2: Which two churches received commendations and for what?

Q3: What kind of synagogues were the Jews worshipping at?

Q4: What is the promise?

Q5: Can grace exist outside of human responsibility?

Q6: What is the price?

Sermon Summary & Answers

As we celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Grace Community Church, Pastor Steve brings us to Revelation and gives us a 6-point outline. 1. The Letter, 2. The Churches, 3. The Sender, 4. The Commendation, 5. The Promise, and 6. The Price. This is a revelation from Jesus of a Jesus the world has not seen, Jesus the eternal King forever. In Verse 4, we meet John who is not the author but a scribe. Here, we see a clear picture of Trinitarian communication:

Revelation 1:4
from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before the throne

The sevenfold spirit of God in all of his Godness

Pastor Steve Wilson

Revelations 1:5
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and ruler of the kings of the earth.

John was simply instructed to write down what he was told and what he saw. John was living on the island of Patmos in exile. He was the last living apostle, all the rest died for the faith. Being exiled to a rock in the sea, enemies thought that’ll shut him up. Well, not quite! It was a Sunday, John heard a loud voice in verse 11 and was told to write in a book the revelation of Jesus, a collection of words and visions that were dramatic and expansive carrying us into heaven and beyond. In Verse 4, John is told to send it to the 7 churches in Asia (now Turkey).

Now we move on to the Commendation or boasting of sorts. Commendations “from men are limited and crippled…appreciated but don’t mean much. These commendations come from Christ himself!”-Pastor Steve Wilson. However, Jesus didn’t commend all the churches. For 5 of the 7 churches, Jesus rebukes them with strong words of warning and tells them to repent. In Revelation 2:20, Jesus states to Thyatira that they tolerate Jezebel, who calls herself prophetess but is leading people astray, I gave her a chance to repent, she doesn’t want to. I’ll deal with her and I’ll also deal with you if you don’t repent! Revelation 3:1, to Sardis, I know your deeds, this church is dead! Wake up from the stupor you’re in. To Laodicea, Revelation 3:15, I know you too. You’re neither hot nor cold, so because you are lukewarm, Jesus said I will spit you out of my mouth. With these, “hard tough words the Lord of the church was ministering to the church that she might remain the church.”-Pastor Steve Wilson

Well now, Smyrna and Philadelphia received no criticisms, no rebukes, and no threats only commendation from someone who knows them better then they know themselves. He knows them because they’re faithful! Pastor Steve explained that Smyrna had no drains and when it rained sewage traveled through city to the ocean, due to the west breeze, the sewage stayed on the shore. Gross! So, they needed myrrh to combat the smell. Philadelphia is located on a faultline, prone to earthquakes. It was burned down in 1922 to make sure there was nothing left for the Turks who took over. Today, Turkey’s population is 48,000, so not much there to work with. “We imagine God roams earth looking for people that have the most to work with! No, not the important people or best city, these little churches are exactly the kind God will work in and commend.”-Pastor Steve Wilson. Revelation 2:9, Smyrna is in trouble due to poverty. Smyrna is a poor city and poor church. “God is not looking for assets. They don’t have any…only have trouble.”-Pastor Steve Wilson. The emperor was persecuting Christians. They had to bring offerings pledging allegiance to Caesar and later if found not to have certificates for offerings, they were killed for failure to serve Caesar. Therefore, this church had already suffered martyrdoms. One Christian Pastor was burned alive at 86 years old. It was a difficult place to be a Christian and not to mention the assembly of the devil’s servants. Revelation 2:9, they say they are Jews and are not! They worship in synagogues of Satan. Since the Jews crucified Jesus, they just traveled further into darkness and are no longer a den of thieves but a synagogue of Satan! “Anyone who rejects Christ is serving Satan. Only two options. Dress up as you might and imagine middle area but you’re wrong!”-Pastor Steve Wilson. Jesus tells them in Verse 10 don’t be afraid. Even though, they faced social annihilation, forced worship, and forced denial of their faith!

Why don’t we have this kind of suffering? You are the best disguised set of pilgrims the world has ever seen. So blended are you with current culture, almost no threat of this response ever from the world. But this trouble purifies Christians and the church. James says trials produce and shape you into something. 1 Peter chapter 3 produce endurance and be ready when anyone asks tell me how you act that way in trouble…shapes you to be evangelist. What makes you different in times like that? Chapter (Revelations) 3:8 Philadelphia know your deeds, but I open door of opportunity to spread good news of Jesus, nobody can shut it. Verse 9 Jews of Satan make them come and bow at your feet to bow to Christ make them know that I love you! This is how the world will know your love for one another! In verse 8 open door because you have a little power not rebuke or saying they’re feeble. He saying just a little church, but you’re the little church that could, that I can use, that I can open up opportunity. Christians we have to be used where we are, how we are, wherever God puts us. Church faithful to God despite troubles. A little church that’s faithful…who wouldn’t wanna be a member of a church like that.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

Next point is the promise, Revelation 2:10, they will receive the crown of life and that’s a promise from Christ himself! Revelation 3:11 Jesus says to hold fast so no one will take your crown. There’s a crown waiting for every church and Christian, all that name the name of Christ! He will make sure we get our crowns. Revelation 2:12, Jesus says he will make us a pillar in the temple of God!! What a “picture of permanence. In Athens pillars are all that are still standing.”-Pastor Steve Wilson. Last point, the price, all that we read and the usefulness of a little church, it’s all of God and His good intentions, but His Grace never exists outside of human responsibility. We have to be responsible as a church (Revelation 2:10) to be faithful until death, and Jesus will give us that crown. The price we pay is faithfulness.

20 years of faithfulness isn’t enough…can’t stop, can’t say been there, done that. Can’t express the joy to be your waiter for 20 years. Go into God’s kitchen, bring you a feast every week for 20 years and serve in worship of faithful body in all times good and hard. In the 1924 Paris Olympics, Eric ran for his country, his strength, 100 meters. He was a Christian and when competition was scheduled for Sunday, he pulled himself from what was sure to be a gold metal but decided to compete in 400 not his race… won gold medal and set a new world record. When asked how, he said I ran the first 200 as fast as I could then the second 200 with God’s help, I ran faster! Let us run faster with endurance the race set before us, let us not grow weary, let us be faithful until death!”

Pastor Steve Wilson


  1. A Trinitarian communication from God, the father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ
  2. Smyrna and Philadelphia for their faithfulness
  3. Synagogues of Satan
  4. The Eternal Crown of Life
  5. No
  6. To be faithful until death

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