A Glimpse of What God Will Give the Faithful from the 7 Churches of Asia
Text: Revelation 2-3
Thesis: To note what awaits the faithful in order to encourage faithfulness.
(1) The addresses to the seven churches in Asia in Revelation 2 & 3 contain many important messages that need to be heard today.
(2) This morning, we will focus in on the descriptions of what God will give those who repent or continue to be faithful.
I. “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7)
A. “The tree of life conveys symbolically the truth of eternal life or the banishment of death and suffering (22:2)” (EBC).
B. “‘Paradise’ (paradeisos) is a Persian loan word meaning "a park" or "a garden." The LXX uses it to translate the Hebrew expression the "garden" of Eden (Gen 2:8-10). John seems to reinterpret the Jewish idea of Paradise. First, Jesus Christ is the restorer of the lost Paradise (22:1-4, 14). He gives access to the tree of life. Paradise means to be with him in fellowship rather than the idea of a hidden paradise with its fantastic sensual delights (TDNT, 6:772)” (EBC).
II. “I will give you the crown of life … He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death” (Rev. 2:10-11)
A. “The crown of life”
1. The city itself had an acropolis on Mount Pagas, which gave the appearance of a crown, which became the symbol of the city (Hailey 125).
2. Further, a crown of victory was awarded to athletic and military victors.
3. Here, Christians are said to receive an incorruptible crown of victory from the Lord Himself.
a. Earthly crowns would fade away.
b. Our spiritual crown will never fade away (cf. 1 Cor. 9.25; 1 Pet. 5.4).
c. Christ declares us the victors and there will be no recount!
B. “Not … hurt by the second death”
1. This is the lake of fire, everlasting punishment (Rev. 20.14).
2. We will be spared because Jesus paid the debt for us and we accepted His gift.
III. “To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it” (Rev. 2:17)
A. They would be able to eat once again of the hidden manna.
1. Jesus is the true manna from Heaven, and to eat of that bread is to live (John 6:33-35, 50-59).
2. “Hidden” in the sense that one had to have eyes to see it.
B. They would be given a white stone.
1. In ancient times those acquitted in a trial were informed of it by a white pebble dropped into an ure; the guilty had a black pebble.
2. These people would be acquitted.
C. They would be given a new name; i.e., the new relationship to Christ.
IV. “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; and I will give him the morning star” (Rev. 2:26-28)
A. They would be given power over the nations, rule with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken.
1. This is familiar with Psalm 2:9, which is Messianic (cf. Acts 4:25-26).
a. The time of His reign is the Christian dispensation (cf. Acts 13:33).
b. Christians will rule when Christ rules and He is now on His throne (cf. Acts 2:33).
2. Christians rule through conduct and influence.
3. Christians live under God’s Law which is an inflexible “rod of iron” (I Cor. 4:6; II John 9).
B. They would be given the morning star (vs. 28).
1. Jesus is the “bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16).”
2. Jesus is their heavenly reward.
V. “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Rev. 3:5)
A. The faithful will be clothed with the white raiment of victory.
B. The faithful will have their names in the book of life.
1. The Jews had a national register that contained the names of all the Jews who were living at that time.
2. At death, their names were removed from the register.
3. Those who were spiritually dead had removed their own names from God’s register.
4. Those in the book of life will have a home in Heaven (Rev. 21:27b).
C. They had to confess God in their lives before Christ would confess their names in Heaven before God the Father.
1. The faithful ones had done this in word and in deed (Col. 3:17).
2. Those who will not are told by Christ Himself, “I never knew you (Mat. 7:23)!”
VI. “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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 I will write on him My new name” (Rev. 3:12)
A. The faithful will be made a pillar in the temple of God; i.e., they are awarded a permanent and secure place in God’s temple.
B. They will go no more out; i.e., a promise of permanence in the heavenly temple of God (cf. Rev. 21 – the church in its glorified state).
C. Three names are written upon them.
1. The name of God the Father, to whom the individual would now belong in a permanent and fixed way.
2. The name of the New Jerusalem identifies the victorious saint as a citizen of the heavenly city, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
3. Christ’s own name identifies the victor as sharing the glory which is Christ’s (cf. Eph. 2:6).
VII. “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:21)
A. Christ overcame and was exalted (Phi. 2:6-11).
1. He was placed on the right hand of God (Eph. 1:20-21).
2. He overcame the world (John 16:33).
B. The redeemed sit with Him in this spiritual realm (Eph. 2:6).
1. He reigned with Him in life (Rom. 5:17; Rev. 5:9).
2. We shall reign with Him (II Tim. 2:11f.).
(1) Truly, the faithful will be rewarded.
(2) Are you one of God’s faithful servants?