The Joshua Victor Theory
Easter Letters: Smyrna–Crown of Life

Easter Letters: Smyrna–Crown of Life

April 19, 2010

Sermon on Revelation 2:8-11, to the church of Smyrna. The second part of the seven part series "Easter Letters" to the 7 Churches of Asia in the book of Revelation.

Sermon Talking Points:

Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com

Listen to audio at: https://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

  1. The city of Smyrna is only mentioned here in the Bible. Its citizens were proud of its beauty and architecture, and it’s thought that the shape of the city with a hilltop crest in the middle resembled a crown, which was a prominent symbol associated with Smyrna’s beauty. The city had dedicated a temple to Rome there in 195 BC. There was hostility between the Jewish and Christian communities there. In 156 AD, Polycarp, the aged Christian bishop of the city was martyred in the arena.

  1. Identify the following in the letter to Smyrna: (these basic features are repeated in each letter)

Image of Christ:

Local detail about the church:

What Christ sees: A) Good B) Bad

Call to Repent:

Promise to the One who Conquers:

  1. How does the title used for Jesus: “the first and the last” (2:8) show His divinity? Compare to who else receives this title in the following passages: Rev. 1:8, 17-18; 21:6; 22:13; Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12.

  1. What does it mean to be physically poor, but spiritually rich? How is this greater than all earthly treasure? Matthew 5:2-12; 6:19-24; James 5:1-5

  1. What persecution and slander do Christians face? What are some common slanders against the church? Against God or Christ?

  1. What is the reward for faithfulness in the midst of persecution—even to death? How was Polycarp an imitator of Christ? What is the second death that cannot harm us? Rev. 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8. Cf. John 5:19-30
Easter Letters: Ephesus–Eat of the Tree of Life!

Easter Letters: Ephesus–Eat of the Tree of Life!

April 12, 2010

Sermon on Revelation 2:1-7, the letter to the Church of Ephesus. The first part of a seven-part Easter sermon series based on the letters to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 2-3.

Sermon Talking Points:

Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com

Listen to audio at: https://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

  1. For background on the church at Ephesus, read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Read Acts 18:18-19:40; 20:17-38; 1 Cor. 15:32; also 16:8; 1 Tim. 1:3; 2 Tim. 1:18; 4:12. How do you evaluate the reception of the Gospel in Ephesus? By the time of Paul’s letter, the church seems quite commendable. What positives are mentioned in Paul’s letter? In Jesus’ letter? What negatives?

  1. Identify the following in the letter to Ephesus: (these basic features are repeated in each letter)

Image of Christ:

Local detail about the church:

What Christ sees: A) Good B) Bad

Call to Repent:

Promise to the One who Conquers:

  1. How discerning are we as a church? What is the basis for determining who are true and false apostles/what is true and false teaching? See Matt. 24:3-14; 7:15-23; 2 Peter 2; 1 John 4:1-6; 2 Tim. 3:16-17. How is hatred of evil works and false teaching different from hatred of the person(s) who are caught up and deluded by them? Eph. 6:12; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 1 John 2:15-17; Psalm 5:4-6. How should we help those who are caught in error? Gal. 6:1.

  1. What is the “first love” which we are to return to as a church? Cf. Jeremiah 2:2ff; 1 John 2:15-17. How is our Christian life and walk changed when we return to our first love? See esp. Rev. 2:5.

  1. What promised blessing is there for faithful endurance and conquering? Through whom do we have victory? How is the promise to eat of the Tree of Life a reversal of the original curse in the garden? Cf. Genesis 3 and Rev. 22:1-4. How is this a promise of resurrection?
Who are the Saints?

Who are the Saints?

November 2, 2009

Sermon on Revelation 7:9-17 for All Saints' Day.

Sermon Talking Points:

Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com

Listen to audio at: https://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

  1. Why is racism not in line with the truth of the Gospel? What does the Bible teach about humanity that combats the idea of racism? Acts 17:26; Genesis 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 15:45; Col. 3:11 See also http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/are-there-different-races

  1. What racial prejudices or stereotypes have you been guilty of holding? How does John’s vision of heaven transform how we must look at our fellow human beings? What does it teach us about who the saints are?

  1. What does John’s vision teach us about the importance of worship? What does the posture of a worshipper convey about themselves and about God? Rev. 7:11; 1 Tim. 6:16; Heb. 12:28-29; Matt. 2:11; 14:33; John 4:20ff

  1. What is the central truth about who the saints are, and how we become saints? Reread Rev. 7:14. Heb. 12:22-24; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; Col. 1:11-14.

  1. Describe the heavenly comfort that awaits the saints. How does this vision help us in this life? What will be gone, and what will be our heavenly provision? Isaiah 25:6-9; John 4:10; 6:37-39. What does the presence of all the saints in heaven remind us of? (Think of Rev. 7:14 again).
Behold, I Am Making All Things New!

Behold, I Am Making All Things New!

December 11, 2008

Sermon on Revelation 21:5, 21:9-22:5 for All Saints Day

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