Do the 7 assemblies in Revelation 2 and 3 possess the great blessings we have in Romans 8?Posted: Thu. Jan, 19 2017
Our heart’s home
As Christians, Romans 8 is our heart’s home. It’s the mountaintop experience of Christianity. And it’s all ours. We end up at the top of the mountain, secure in the love of God forever, because we are in Christ forever.
We are in Romans 8, where we are working to answer, with confidence, the question that has spawned this entire series. Namely -
Are the seven assemblies in Revelation 2 & 3 made up of born-again believers who are indwelt by the Spirit and by Christ, in union with Christ, and the adopted sons and daughters of God the Father?
In other words, are these assemblies in Revelation 2 & 3 Pauline assemblies? Do they exhibit the characteristics of the churches that Paul describes and addresses in his letters?
In a nutshell, is Jesus Christ, in Revelation 2 and 3, addressing us?
Last time, we were in the first section of Romans 8 - ROM 8:1-11. We were examining the ministries of the Holy Spirit, and this section of Romans 8 is full of references to the Spirit.
But we did not find any reference to these ministries of the Spirit in Revelation 2 or 3 ("Rev 2-3").
Now we are going to continue in Romans 8 to see whether what is said to us here bears any resemblance to what is said to the seven assemblies in Revelation 2 and 3.
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, " Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Notice that the only solution to living according to the flesh is putting to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit.
The assemblies in Rev 2-3 are in many cases losing the battle of the flesh. They are told to repent. But they are not told that the only power greater than the power of the flesh is the power of the Spirit.
Have they been adopted?
According to Romans 8:14-16, we are the adopted sons and daughters of God the Father.
This is not said of the members of the seven assemblies of Revelation. We call God our Father, and are heirs of God. In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus calls God His Father (REV 2:27; REV 3:5, and 3:21) but does not go on to say that the assemblies can call God their Father.
Promises without caveats
ROM 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Notice what is promised us as the sons and daughters of God. The sufferings of this present time are nothing compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us. This is a promise. It will occur.
There are glorious things in Revelation 2 and 3 also. Authority over the nations, and sitting down the Lord Jesus on His throne - to name two.
However, these glorious things in Revelation are not guaranteed. They are not promised to the assemblies.
To the contrary, in order to receive these things, the people must repent, do deeds to the end, and overcome (REV 2:26; REV 3:19).
Our resurrection body
ROM 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
We wait eagerly for the redemption of our body. The resurrection body is a promise to each member of the body of Christ. At the Rapture, our Savior will transform these present bodies of corruption into bodies like His own in glory (PHI 3:20-21).
But none of the seven assemblies in Revelation are told that they will receive their resurrection bodies when Jesus comes for them. Not even Smyrna or Philadelphia, the two assemblies that are commended by the Lord, and receive no rebuke or warning.
Our promised blessings are amazing. But they are not promised to the people of Rev 2-3.
Who intercedes for them?
ROM 8:26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Born-again believers during this age of grace have the Holy Spirit helping our weakness.
We have the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ interceding for us with God the Father.
But nowhere in Revelation 2 or 3 are the assemblies there told to rely on the Holy Spirit for help of any kind. In fact, no prayer of any kind is found in Rev 2-3.
Called, justified, and glorified
ROM 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.
We are promised that God is causing all things to work together for good to us, who are called according to this purpose.
We are called the brethren - the brothers and sisters of our Lord Jesus. The Rev 2-3 assemblies are never referred to as brethren of the Lord. Or saints, for that matter.
We have been called, justified, and glorified - already!
At that risk of sounding like a broken record, I am going to ask again:
Is there any evidence in Revelation that the members of the seven assemblies share in any of these things?
The answer is no.
Not even to those who overcome.
ROM 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
So much grace here… so much grace. And it is all freely given to us.
God is for us.
He will freely give us all things, as we are with Christ now.
No one can bring a charge against God’s elect - church age believers who will be conformed to the image of Christ.
Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God in heaven, interceding for us.
Nothing will separate us from the love of Christ.
You know the question….and you know the answer. There is no evidence at all that the assemblies in Revelation 2 and 3 have any of these blessings.
To remove all doubt about this, I highly recommend that you read all of Revelation 2 and 3 this week. See if you can spot any one of these Romans 8 blessings there.
More than conquerors, secure forever
ROM 8:36 Just as it is written,
"FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Verse 36 sounds very similar to the situation that the assembly at Smyrna faces in REV 2:9-11.
But what is offered to them as consolation is quite different from what we have here in ROM 8:36-39
8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:
9 'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 ' He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.'
Throughout Revelation 2 and 3, the blessings are always conditional. IF you are faithful until death, the Lord will give you the crown of life.
IF you overcome, you will not be hurt by the second death.
But there are NO conditions to the blessings we receive in Romans 8:28-39.
We are not hoping to overcome. We overwhelmingly conquer through Christ who loved us!
And no matter what happens, we will never be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus. This is a promise, and it’s unconditional.
Once again, we comb the 7 letters in Revelation 2 & 3 in search of the things we have in Romans, and come up empty.
Next time, we are going to perform a similar exercise to this week's. Only this time we will look at the one place above all others where we ought to find the most similarities between a letter of Paul and a letter in Rev 2-3.
If we can’t find them there, we are not likely to find them anywhere.
Until the next time, we’re all ….
In His grip,
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