INTRODUCTION: We often hear today about how we should only stress positive things in preaching. We should never mention, or at least mention negative things as little as possible (and never stress it!) it in our preaching. Jesus is said by many of these advocates to be the "Lord of the positive." Is this the full picture of our Lord.

Let's look at the seven churches of Asia, to which our Lord spoke, as models for the kind of preaching that God wants.



A. To the church at Ephesus - Standing against false teaching.
1. Revelation 2:2, 8-9 "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;

2. Christians are urged to hold onto the doctrine received from the Lord.

a. 2 Thessalonians 2:15- " Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

b. Ephesians 5:11

c. Jude 3-4 " Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4- For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."

B. To the church at Pergamos - Remaining faithful in the face of persecution.

1. Revelation 2:13- "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."

2. We are to bear up under persecution had difficult times!

a. 2 Timothy 2:3- " You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

b. 2 Timothy 3:12- " Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

c. Matthew 5:10-12 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11- Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12- Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

3. We should use our Lord for our example when we grow weary and are tempted to abandon Christ.

a. Hebrews 12:2-3 " looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3- For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

C. To the church at Thyatira - They were more active in the Lord's work now then at the beginning.

1. Revelation 2:19- "I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first."

2. Christians are to be active in the work of the Lord and be zealous after good works.

a. 1 Corinthians 15:58

b. Galatians 6:9- " And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

c. 2 Thessalonians 3:13- " But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

d. Colossians 1:10- " that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

D. To the church at Philadelphia - They had remained faithful in all ways!
1. Revelation 3:8- " "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

2. These are the brethren who have stay loyal to God's word, remained loyal in the face of persecution, and had continued zealous as God's people were to be.

3. A call to remain faithful unto death. 
a. Revelation 2:10- " "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.


A. To the church at Ephesus - They had left their first love.
1. Revelation 2:4- " "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

2. They had somehow let the original fire for Christian living had burned low. While they had remained as defender of
the truth, they had lost their zeal for living the Christian life. 

3. They were determined to "hold the line" for the truth but had lost all the joy and zeal from the Christian life.

B. To the church at Pergamos - They had tolerated false doctrine in the church.

1. Revelation 2:14-15 "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15- Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I

2. For all their bearing up for the name of Christ against persecution and pressure from without, they disregarded the enemy from within, false teaching.

3. Romans 16:17-18 " Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18- For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

C. To the church at Thyatira - They had tolerated moral sin in the body.
1. Revelation 2:20-21 "Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21- And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent."

2. They had worked harder and harder for the Lord, while winking at moral sin in the body.

3. The Scriptures urge God's people to live lives morally pure.

a. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19- Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20- For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."
4. Must not let sin remain in the body without being dealt with.
a. 1 Corinthians 5:6-7 "Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7-Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us."


A. Jesus stressed positive themes.
1. Sermon on the Mount, Loving enemies, lack of worry.
B. But Jesus spoke what man would call Negative preaching.
1. Matthew 7:13ff

2. Matthew 15:3-9

3. Matthew 15:12-14

3. Mark 16:16

4. Mark 8:33-34 " But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men. 34- When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Copyright 2000 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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