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Revelation Bible Study – Part 6 (2:12-17)

Revelation Bible Study Notes & Aids

To the Church in Pergamum

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith[a] even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

The ESV® Bible (The Holy BibleEnglish Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Biblecopyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. https://www.crossway.org/


Revelation Bible Study – Part 5 (2:8-11)

Revelation Bible Study Notes & Aids

To the Church in Smyrna

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander[a] of those who say that 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 throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto 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. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

The ESV® Bible (The Holy BibleEnglish Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Biblecopyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. https://www.crossway.org/


Revelation Bible Study – Part 4 (2:1-7)

Revelation Bible Study Notes & Aids

To the Church in Ephesus

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

The ESV® Bible (The Holy BibleEnglish Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Biblecopyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. https://www.crossway.org/


A Joy Filled Life in Troubled Times – Part 2

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

A Joy Filled Life in Troubled Times

There is no reason and absolutely no excuse for any Christian not to have a joy filled life no matter what circumstances they find themselves in: a joy filled life is available to all Christians regardless of troubled times.

  • Philippians 2:1-3 – A key to having joy in troubled times is unity through humility.
  • Philippians 2:9-11 – A key to having joy in troubled times is humbling yourself like Christ for the sake of others.
  • Philippians 2:12–16 – A key to having joy in troubled times is pouring yourself out for others so that you may be a light in a dark world.
  • A key to having joy in troubled times is to consider the example of other godly persons.

– – – – – –

Christians have a hard time finding joy in troubled times is because they get wrapped up in the “things” of this world.  Philippians 3:7–11

Philippians 3:12–16 (NKJV; emphasis mine)  12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.   13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,   14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.   15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.   16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

Through genuine faith in Christ, discarding our prideful religious efforts, we come to know the Lord and the power found in salvation as we join Him in taking up our cross and being conformed to the example Christ gave us through His own life.

A key to having joy in troubled times is putting the past behind and pressing on toward the ultimate prize.

  • True unity in Christianity is all believers having this mindset, keeping our eyes ahead on Christ and having a single focus in life.
  • A three legged stool of our faith: TRUTH  – LOVE – UNITY

Philippians 3:17–21 A key to having joy in troubled times is having a spiritual mind and not an earthly mind.

  • The work of salvation is about what is DONE, not what you can DO.
  • Paul counted all his zealous religious achievements as useless garbage compared to genuine faith in Christ found not in man’s righteousness (by keeping some sort of law or checklist), but found only via faith.

A key to having joy in troubled times is faith in Christ not faith in our religious works.

Philippians 3:20A key to having joy in troubled times is reminding ourselves of our future destination.

  • One of the ways we avoid getting wrapped up in the things of this world is to continually remind ourselves of our future.

Chapter 3 that helps us attain a joy filled life even in troubled times:

  • We count everything as loss compared to the blessing of salvation
  • which is obtained only by faith in Jesus Christ
    that we may know the power of the resurrection and through suffering for the gospel
  • be conformed into the image of Christ forgetting what is in the past
  • and continually pressing on to the prize
    which is an eternity in heaven and a glorified and incorruptible body.

If we really believe that, and choose to focus on it, how can we even have one moment that does not result in joy once we get our mind firmly fixed on that truth?


A Joy Filled Life in Troubled Times – Part 1

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

A Joy Filled Life in Troubled Times

Philippians 1:3-6 – When Paul wrote Philippians his life’s circumstances were anything but joyful.

A key to having joy in troubled times is a focus on Jesus and not our circumstances.

Three aspects:

  1. fellowship in Christ
  2. growth of the gospel
  3. the increasing of our faith.

God has begun a good work in you and he will complete it until the day you meet Jesus.

Philippians 1:7-8 – Paul considers other Christians as fellow partakers of grace and it causes him to long for them with great affection. This grace and affection is a key to the joyful life.

A key to having joy in troubled times is to focus on grace.

When you feel a lack of joy and just cannot seem “choose” joy for the moment, think about the grace God has shown you.

Philippians 1:9-11 – Again you find Paul focusing on others and not on his own circumstances.  

Paul didn’t say “life stinks. There is nothing wrong with being tempted to feel that way, {it is the natural human response} it is only wrong to actually follow through with it, and choose to remain in that mindset.

  • It’s always a choice. Your joy, your happiness, your content IS YOUR CHOICE.  
  • If you don’t remember anything else about this lesson remember this: YOUR JOY IS  A CHOICE NOT DEPENDENT ON CIRCUMSTANCES

A key to having joy in troubled times is to choose to focus on others, praying and blessing them rather than focusing on your own circumstances.

Philippians 1:12 – make the gospel a priority in your life.

  • Whether done of love or of selfish ambition, the only thing Paul cared about was that Christ was preached. Therein he found his joy.

A key to having joy in troubled times is when we look for how God is using our circumstances to further the Gospel and glorify Christ.

Paul believed (and lived) that in every circumstance we can’t help but have joy if we have the right mindset.

  • There is no circumstance of trouble that cannot result in joy if we seek to find how it may focus others on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:21 – a foundational principle of the Christian life.

  • If we live, our life brings glory to Christ but if we die, it is to our gain because we go to be with Christ.

Philippians 1:27-30 – Selfishness or self focus always breeds discontent and unhappiness.

  • The Biblical approach to contentment, joy and happiness is always encapsulated in the idea of focusing on others, especially Jesus Christ, rather than our self or our circumstances along with the goal of “putting the past behind and pressing on”

A key to having joy in troubled times is remembering that our life is not our own, our future is not our own, our plans are not our own, and our reputation is not our own.

  • Whenever we choose to focus on others and on Jesus Christ with the mindset that no matter what happens it is Christ’s glory that matters, only then do we discover the secret of true joy in troubled times.

Philippians 1:27-30

A key to having joy in troubled times is to remember that we are not alone.

  • We are not alone. We take joy in knowing that God is not left us all alone in our struggle.
  • We can be confident we are on the winning side.

A key to having joy in troubled times is to remember that we have already won the battle.

Paul reminds us that it is a privilege to suffer for Jesus.

  • It is hard for us in our modern way of thinking that it is ever a privilege to suffer for any reason.
  • This is a privilege granted only to those who suffer for the sake of Christ. It is impossible for all others.

A key to having joy in troubled times is to remember is a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ.

  • Are you focused on yourself or on Christ?
  • Are you complaining about your circumstances or focused on and praying for others?
  • Are you having a pity party because life is so hard or are you choosing to remember that you are not alone and that our victory is already secured?

Are you choosing to believe that your difficulties can glorify Christ and further the gospel or are you just consumed and focused on the fact that you are unhappy and life is not going your way?


Revelation Bible Study – Part 3 (1:9-20)

Revelation Bible Study Notes & Aids

Vision of the Son of Man

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 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.

17 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, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 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.

The ESV® Bible (The Holy BibleEnglish Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Biblecopyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. https://www.crossway.org/