A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
In our series of homilies from the book of Ephesians, we focused on reviving Christian families. Now, I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages from the book of Revelation, specifically targeted at reviving the church. If our country is to be awakened, the family and the church must be revived first.
TEXT: Revelation 2:1-7:
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
John Wesley said, “Value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The cross is going to judge everything in your life — your eating, your drinking, your sleeping, your spending, your talking. Everything in your life will be cross examined.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Before Robert Haldane left Geneva, however, a pastor agreed to take him to visit a local tourist attraction. The evening before the tour, the pastor came down with a severe headache but arranged for a young divinity student at the local college to accompany Haldane. During the tour, the Scottish preacher and the student began discussing theology. Haldane wrote in his journal: I found him profoundly ignorant, although in a state of mind that showed he was willing to receive information. He returned with me to the inn, and remained till late at night. Next morning he came with another student, equally in darkness with himself. I questioned them respecting their personal hope of salvation, and the foundation of that hope…. After some conversation, they became convinced of their ignorance of the Scriptures, and of the way of salvation, and exceedingly desirous of information. I therefore postponed my intended departure from Geneva. After listening to Haldane for a day, the student told a friend, ‘Here is a man who knows the Bible like Calvin!'”
In life, there are many things that the Christian will need to overcome. For the Ephesian church, they had to overcome the deceit of the Nicolaitanes, the legalism that was cropping up in their church family, and the complacency that caused them to turn away from their first love. Could they overcome all these things? Yes, they could. They could overcome all things if they relied on Christ for strength.
When we think of the word “overcoming”, we typically envision an external enemy — physical or spiritual — that becomes a threat to the progress of our walk with Christ. But, for the most part, the enemies that we must overcome in the Christian life are internal. We must overcome our own pride, hatred, envy, unbelief, unforgiveness, bitterness, and leaving our first love. These are all things that can tear us down from the inside. And we need the power of Christ to overcome these things just as we need the power of Christ to overcome the devil and human beings used by the devil.
Christ tells the church at Ephesus that there is a reward waiting for those who overcome. He says, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Dr. John Walvoord said, “This tree, first mentioned in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:22, is later found in the midst of the street of the new Jerusalem, where it bears fruit for the abundant health and life of the nations. It is especially appropriate that those who hate the world’s evil deeds and idolatrous worship are given the reward of abiding in the abundant life that is in Christ in the eternity to come. The gracious nature of the promise is designed to restore and rekindle that love of Christ known in the early days of the church.”
God wants all of His churches and all of His children to be overcomers. There is no elite group of Christians who are overcomers. The word “overcomers” can also be translated conquerors. This word implies that there will be a struggle. We will face false brethren like the Nicolaitanes. We will also face the temptation to let other things take the place of our first love. But the Bible says “we are more than conquerors” through Christ. Nothing can permanently defeat us or undermine us. We always possess the power to overcome anything that we face because “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.” And greater is He that is in us than our selfish, fleshly will that is susceptible to turning away from our first love.
We must trust in the power of Christ the Overcomer in order to navigate the pitfalls of the Christian life and emerge victorious on the other side where we can partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God.
Charles W. Naylor wrote:
Be an overcomer, He who stands with you
Is a mighty One, who is always true;
In the sorest conflict you shall win the day,
Face the legions dark till they flee away.
Be an overcomer, you are heaven’s heir,
And a crown of life you may ever wear;
So with courage press the battle to the gates,
Till you gain the prize which in heaven waits.
Be an overcomer, forward boldly go,
You are strong enough if you count it so–
Strong enough to conquer through sustaining grace,
And to overcome every foe you face.
Now, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, please keep in mind that the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” First, understand, that you are a sinner and that the wages of sin is death and Hell. But God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins. He was buried, and He rose from the dead by the power of God so that you can be saved from death and Hell. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Revival Prayer List
PRAY FOR SPECIFIC FAMILIES
Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
— Macarena in Argentina
Please heal her child who has down syndrome and pneumonia
— Daniel Zhen Khaw Tuan in Poland
For religious freedom in his country and for America
Please end the drought in Israel
For the peace of Jerusalem
Deliver him from all devilish spirits
— Bisesango Kisose Sesa
Please take away all evil spirits and poverty and heal him of hypertension
PRAY FOR CHURCH LEADERS
Paul said in Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Leaders of the Southern Baptist Church
PRAY FOR GOVERNMENTAL LEADERS
1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
IDAHO STATE LEGISLATURE
Kelly Arthur Anthon
Clifford R. Bayer
Bart M. Davis
Lori Den Hartog
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.