“And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of
them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues,
as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:3-4).
g159 A lifeless and dying church needs to seek the witnessing power of the Spirit.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be
witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the ut-
termost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
2. Jesus Christ has the seven stars in His hands; that is, He holds the ministers of the church in His hands. The minister
is the one who is responsible for bringing about the awakening. He is held in the hand of Christ; he belongs totally to Christ.
This means that he...
• has been chosen by the hand of Christ to do exactly what Christ wants.
• has been placed into the dead church by the hand of Christ.
• has been placed there for a reason: to be aroused himself and to arouse the church.
(See note 2—Rev.2:1 for more discussion.)
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring
forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my
name, he may give it you” (Jn.15:16).
“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved be-
cause he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all
things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep” (Jn.21:17).
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name be-
fore the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath
made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts
“But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee
a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I
will appear unto thee” (Acts 26:16).
“These things command and teach” (1 Tim.4:11).
“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them re-
pentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2 Tim.2:25).
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but
willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind” (1 Pt.5:2).
“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten,
and he will bind us up” (Hos.6:1).
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee [Moses] unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth
my people the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Ex.3:10).
“And he said unto him, If now I [Gideon] have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign
that thou talkest with me” (Judg.6:17).
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then
said I [Isaiah], Here am I; send me” (Is.6:8).
“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at
my mouth, and give them warning from me” (Ezk.3:17).
“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not
warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity;
but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezk.33:6).
(3:1) Church—Formalism—Ritualism—Complacency: there is the complaint. Note: there is no commendation, none
whatsoever, given to this church. This means that its sin is one of the most serious problems that a church can have.
What was the problem? It was a dying church, a lifeless church. But note: the church had works—all sorts of programs, min-
istries, and activities. It had so much bustling activity that it had a great reputation among other churches. Other churches
looked upon the church as being progressive, alive, well attended, well liked, prosperous, busy, and full of good fellowship.
It had ministries for every age group and for every area of need throughout the community. It had the works, the right beliefs
and doctrine, and it had all the ministries and activities. But note: it was dying and lifeless. However, verse two says that it
was not yet totally dead; a few living things still remained, but they too were quickly dying. How could a church be so active
and well attended and have so many ministries and yet be dying? What does this mean? It means to die spiritually; it means...
• to have a form of worship but to deny the power thereof (2 Tim.3:5).
• to focus upon ritual, ceremony, and worship instead of Jesus Christ.
• to focus upon activities instead of Jesus Christ.
• to become formal in worship instead of alive in Christ.
• to conduct activities in order to keep the organization going instead of learning about Christ and sharing
• to hold services and activities for social fellowship instead of for spiritual growth and edification.
• to lose one’s zeal for witnessing and sharing Christ and for seeing others grow.
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