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Outreach Quote of the Day:

The best remedy for a sick church is to put it on a missionary diet.”

Unknown

Free PowerPoint Sermon: Strong to the Finish Part 1

The Long Race & the 1st of the 7 Churches Exhorted
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Free PowerPoint Sermon: Strong to the Finish Part 2

Four More Churches Running Out of Steam
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Free PowerPoint Sermon: Strong to the Finish Part 3

The Final Two Churches Run the Course & Win the Prize 
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Preview Part 1 Here:

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Preview Part 2 Here:

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Preview Part 3 Here:

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Free PowerPoint Sermon Transcript: Strong to the Finish Parts 1, 2, & 3 (Including, Signs of a Dying Church)

“He is the One Who saved us from the punishment of sin. He is the One Who chose us to do His work….” 2 Tim. 1:9 (NLV)
“I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me.” Phil. 3:12 (NET)
To be used of God as fully as we are called of God.
But I don’t place any value on my life, if only I can finish my race and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
Acts 20:24 (ISV)
“I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14 (NET)
“You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So, run to win!” 1 Cor. 9:24 (CEV)
It is possible to run and live (barely), and not receive any reward!
Judgement of the Saint’s Works
“Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.
But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done.
The fire will show if a person’s work has any value…
If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.
But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.
The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” 1 Cor. 3:12-15
C. T. Studd
Our reward is not for serving God.
Serving God IS our reward!!!
The Christian calling is a race that must be run with vigor and endurance all the way to the finish line.
“That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Many get invited; only a few make it.’” Mat. 22:14 (MSG)
“Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever… I keep my body under control and make it my slave…” 1 Cor.9:25, 27 (CEV)
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Eph. 4:1 (NIV)
He had done all that the Lord had called him to and he was ready to be with Jesus in Heaven.
Faithful believers who died spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ have passed our generation the baton.
“Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We heer us on!must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up.”
Heb. 12:1 (GW)
Believers (and whole churches) who are not moving forward in God’s call to spread the Gospel, are in the process of dying on the track.
The letters to the Seven Churches (in the book of Revelation) show us five churches that are dying and two that are continuing in God’s calling.
Of these, the grandest, richest church is a dying church.
In contrast, the church about to lose everything and perish from the earth, is the strongest runner.
Each church started with real zeal for Christ’s work, but eventually they became cool and even corrupt— most were dying.
Likewise, carnal interests have eventually decayed every revival movement in history.
Unless there is prayer, repentance & strong intervention, every growing church and denomination, is subject to sin’s decay.
We must then repent and seek God for both cleansing from our sin and renewal of zeal for Christ’s work.
While John was in exile on the island of Patmos. He saw Jesus who gave him a message for each of the seven churches of Asia. Churches just like ours today.
Upon examination of the Revelation text, we will see that John’s description of Jesus shows that Jesus, Himself, is exactly what each of these churches needs to get healthy and be strong to the finish.
The Vision
“…I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands (churches) one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest…
The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters…
In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength…
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades…
As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
Rev. 1:11-18, 20 (ESV)
The Early Good Days:
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.
And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars
and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary…
“But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Rev. 2:2, 3,6 (NKJV)
1) They worked hard, patiently & tirelessly
2) They hated sin, including immorality (the Nicolaitans) & spiritual pride (the professing apostles).
The Growing Problem
“Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Rev. 2:4 (NKJV)
Like someone who is married, dutiful, and committed, but no longer in love.
Runner Type
This runner is just going through the motions with a fixed “Christian” smile, but his heart is not engaged. His chest is empty.
He is doing Christian works for works sake alone. These works are nothing more than heartless form and ritual with no feeling.
First Steps Back to God
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…”
Rev. 2:5 (NKJV)
Jesus invites us to fall in love with him again.
He reminds them of His Presence
“These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” Rev. 2:1 (NKJV)
We need to remember that He walks beside us. He is a very present Savior. We must love Him from our hearts.
Song: We Press On
 First, a Review…
While John was in exile on the island of Patmos. He saw Jesus who gave him a message for each of the seven churches of Asia. Churches just like ours today.
Upon examination of the Revelation text, we will see that John’s description of Jesus shows that Jesus, Himself is exactly what each of these churches needs to get healthy and be strong to the finish.
The Vision
“…I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands (churches) one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest…
The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters…
In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength…
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades…
As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
Rev. 1:11-18, 20 (ESV)
 Done
The Early Good Days
“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.” Rev. 2:13
Although they were surrounded by immorality and idol worship, they held to the faith.
One brother (Antipas) even died for the faith.
The Growing Problem
“I do have a few things against you. Some of you are following the teaching of Balaam. Long ago he told Balak to teach the people of Israel to eat food that had been offered to idols and to be immoral.” Rev. 2:14 (CEV)
Runner Type
This runner is running backward.
He is slipping back into his old life.
“…I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me.”
Phil. 3:13
First Steps Back to God
“Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” Rev. 2:13 (NKJV)
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.”
Or… No More Excuses! Heb. 4:12
He reminds them of His Sharp Word
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges” Rev. 2:1 (NKJV)
The Early Good Days
“I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.” Rev. 2:19 (NKJV)
“Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication…idols” Rev. 2:20 (NKJV)
Spiritual Pride always leads to idolatry!
Runner Type
Along the way, this runner got distracted by her own reflection.
She spent so much time idolizing herself, she forgot about the Lord’s race.
Back to God:
He simply tells the rest of the church to maintain their good works.
“…unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, …
“These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass.” Rev. 1:18
Brass feet are a symbol of God’s judgement.
He tells those with spiritual pride that
He alone is God!
The Early
Good Days:
“…you have received and heard.”
That’s it—period!
They had not grown one bit or done one thing for the gospel since the day they professed Christ!
The Growing Problem
“You have a reputation for being alive, but in fact you are dead!
Wake up, and strengthen what remains, before it dies too!
For I have found what you are doing…
incomplete in the sight of my God.” Rev. 4:1 (CJB)
But God Can Turn Death Into “Sleep.”
“Then he said, ‘Our friend Lazarus has gone to sleep, but now I will go and waken him!’ The disciples, thinking Jesus meant Lazarus was having a good night’s rest, said, “That means he is getting better!” But Jesus meant Lazarus had died.” John 11:11-13 (TLB)
Dead Christians go by the name Christian, but…
They don’t care much about The Cross.
They don’t care about bible study.
They don’t care about prayer or worship.
They don’t’ care about evangelism.
First Steps Back to God:
“Wake up, and strengthen what remains, before it dies too! Rev. 3:2 (CJB)
The word “Sardis” means “What Remains”
Sardis means “What Remains”:
Start with your profession of faith and re-commit your life.
Sardis means “What Remains”:
Start with your profession of faith and re-commit your life.
Sardis means “What Remains”:
Start with your profession of faith and re-commit your life.
Sardis means “What Remains”:
Start with your profession of faith and re-commit your life.
Runner Type
“For I have found what you are doing incomplete in the sight of my God.” Rev. 3:2 (CJB)
“Wake up, and strengthen what remains, before it dies too!
For if you don’t wake up, I will come like a thief; and you don’t know at what moment I will come upon you.” Rev. 3:2,3 (CJB)
“These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.” Rev. 3:1
This is the Holy Spirit represented as seven spirits.
There is enough Holy Spirit for each of the seven churches to have their very own Holy Ghost revival.
Only the Holy Ghost can waken a sleeping church!
The Early Good Days?
This is the only church that Jesus doesn’t have one good thing to say about!
The Growing Problem:
Complacency!
“I know what you do. You are not hot or cold. I wish that you were hot or cold!
But you are only warm—not hot, not cold. So I am ready to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:15, 16
Nearby cities had hot or cold springs.
These extreme conditions purified their water.
Laodicea had warm, germy, unsafe water.
Laodicea was prosperous. A powerful and “successful” church of it’s time.
“You say you are rich. You think you have become wealthy and do not need anything. Rev. 3:17
“But you do not know that you are really miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” Rev. 3:17
This person isn’t lazy, just complacent. She feels she is “blessed by God” and has served Him so well she can coast a while.
Germs grow in tepid conditions, but extreme environments (heat, cold) can cleanse them.
Likewise, sin grows when we loiter about, complacent, in our comfort zone.
“Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him…” Rev. 3:20 (ISV)
They were the most “successful” church in the area, but Jesus never got in the door.
Most Still Needed Salvation:
“Therefore, I advise you to buy from me gold purified in fire so you may be rich, white clothes to wear so your shameful nakedness won’t show, and ointment to put on your eyes so you may see.” Rev. 3:18
“I advise you to buy gold from me—gold made pure in fire. Then you can be truly rich.”
Rev.3:18
“He will act like a refiner and purifier of silver and will cleanse the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will offer the Lord a proper offering.
Mal. 3:3 (NET)
“That the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet. 1:7 (DRA)
Sometimes, it takes trials to shake us up and bring closer to God.
Sometimes the contaminated, lukewarm, complacent soul must be deconstructed so that he can be remade by our Maker.
“These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.”
Rev. 3:14 (NKJV)
Our Creator can break us, melt us and make us again as worthy vessels.
First, a Review…
To be used of God as fully as we are called of God.
The letters to the Seven Churches reveal five churches that are dying and two that are continuing the race for the prize of God’s high calling.
Upon examination of the Revelation text, we will see that John’s description of Jesus shows that Jesus, Himself is exactly what each of these churches needs to get healthy and be strong to the finish.
Runner Type
This runner is just going through the motions with a fixed “Christian” smile, but his heart is not engaged. His chest is empty.
He reminds them of His Presence
“These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” Rev. 2:1 (NKJV)
We need to remember that He walks beside us. He is a very present Savior. We must love Him from our hearts.
Runner Type
This runner is running backward.
He is slipping back into his old life.
“…I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me.”
Phil. 3:13
He reminds them of His Sharp Word
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges” Rev. 2:1 (NKJV)
Runner Type
Along the way, this runner got distracted by her own reflection.
She spent so much time idolizing herself, she forgot about the Lord’s race.
“These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass.” Rev. 1:18
Brass feet are a symbol of God’s judgement.
He tells those with spiritual pride that
He alone is God!
Runner Type
“For I have found what you are doing incomplete in the sight of my God.” Rev. 3:2 (CJB)
“Wake up, and strengthen what remains, before it dies too!
For if you don’t wake up, I will come like a thief; and you don’t know at what moment I will come upon you.” Rev. 3:2,3 (CJB)
“These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.” Rev. 3:1
This is the Holy Spirit represented as seven spirits.
There is enough Holy Spirit for each of the seven churches to have their very own Holy Ghost revival.
Only the Holy Ghost can waken a sleeping church!
“I advise you to buy gold from me—gold made pure in fire. Then you can be truly rich.”
Rev.3:18
“These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.”
Rev. 3:14 (NKJV)
Our Creator can break us, melt us and make us again as worthy vessels.
Done
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered, “Your Majesty, we will not try to defend ourselves. If the God…
Jesus describes himself as…
“The one who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David.” Rev. 3:7
“The Lord God All-Powerful told me to go to Shebna, the palace manager, and say this: “…What a big man you are!
But the Lord will crush you… I will force you out of your position here. Your new leader will take you away from your important job…
…At that time I will call for my servant Eliakim… I will take your robe and put it on him. I will give him your scepter. I will give him the important job you have…
I will put the key to David’s house around his neck. If he opens a door, no one will be able to close it. If he closes a door, no one will be able to open it.” Isa. 22:21, 22 (ICB)
David was the Jewish King who was promised that the coming Christ would be born through
his blood line.
Like Eliakim,
His offspring
was promised great authority.
“…I will make your son’s family rule forever…. I will put him in charge of my house and kingdom forever. His rule will continue forever!” 1 Chron. 17:12, 14 (ERV)
“The Lord God will give him the throne of his forefather, David, and he will be king over the people of Jacob forever. His reign shall never end.” Lk. 1:32 (Phil)
Jesus, like Eliakim, would be given the official position and put in charge. Jesus would be put in charge of everything!
Runner Type
This runner is tired and sore but someone stronger is helping him get to the end.

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