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Rekindling Your Spiritual Flame

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
May 12, 2021 8:00 am

Rekindling Your Spiritual Flame

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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May 12, 2021 8:00 am

An examination of the message God gave John for the church at Ephesus. (Included in the 7-part series You’ve Got Mail.)

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These are days when perseverance doesn't come easily to a lot of people because we live in a get it done quick, get it done easy society. And I love that feature of technology. But the problem is that the best things in life often require perseverance.

In an age of Instacart, online music and on-demand viewing, we can get almost anything we want, when we want it. But true Christian joy and peace, well, those are a little harder to come by. Hello and welcome to this Wednesday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. Wherever you are and however you may be listening, thanks for spending part of your day with us. Pastor Paul takes us today to the book of Revelation and to a letter written to the church at Ephesus. As you follow along, you'll see that this body of believers had a lot in common with many modern churches and maybe even your own. Stay with us here or visit anytime to listen to Destined for Victory on demand.

A reminder, you can also download and subscribe to the podcast at Google Podcasts or wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Let's join Pastor Paul for today's Destined for Victory message, Rekindling Your Spiritual Flame. I want to continue our examination of the early part of the book of the Revelation in the last message. We looked at the fact that Jesus is the one who loves us. We talked about the fact that nobody loves you like Jesus.

I don't care how well loved you think you are by anybody else. Their love doesn't compare to the love of the Lord. He's the one who freed us from our sins by His blood. We talked about the fact that since we were sinners by nature and nurture, He has now made us righteous by nature and by nurture. He is the one, we're told in verse 5 of Revelation 1, He is the one who has made us a kingdom and priest. We talked about being a royal priesthood unto God.

He's the one in verse 7 who is coming again. And we affirm the fact that Jesus is not going to leave us in this world, thank God, but He is coming again. And we combed through the rest of the chapter and just noted those things that show us who Jesus is in what I called high definition. Now as we move into Revelation chapter 2, I want us to notice that God gave words to John to pass on to seven churches that existed in Asia Minor at the time of his writing.

To our best knowledge, John was on the island of Patmos somewhere between the year AD 90 and 95. Somewhere during that period is when he received this revelation. And after he returned from his exile on the island of Patmos, the Lord told him to go and to give these messages to those seven existing churches. But these were words not just to those churches, these are words by way of divine inspiration for the church down through the ages. So as we look at the seven letters written to seven existing churches at that time in the early history of the church, we can learn lessons that apply to our lives here and now. Everything that God says in His word, you will find an appropriate application for your own life. Things written beforehand or written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

So we're not doing any damage to our walk with God when we take these messages to those churches as though they were messages to us because indeed by way of inspiration they are. So all I want to do is comb through this first letter with you and just make sure we get the gist of what God had to say to the church at Ephesus and to the church today. He says to the angel of the church in Ephesus. Now just a sidebar, the word angel here could also be translated messenger, messenger. It's written to the messenger of the church.

What's that about? All of the letters are written to the angel of that church or the messenger of that church. No doubt it is a reference to the senior pastor we would call in today's church culture or teaching elder in certain churches. The one that God uses to deliver His word to that congregation, to lead them and feed them. God said through Jeremiah, way back in Jeremiah 3, He said, I will give my people shepherds after my own heart who will lead and feed the people with knowledge and understanding. And so this has reference to those who would speak to those congregations.

He said, John, take these words, give them to the messenger who will in turn share them with the church. They are called the seven stars. He said these are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand. We're told in the last verse of Revelation 1, the stars are the angels or the messengers of the church and the lampstands are the churches themselves. So God calls me a star here in the Bible.

Just thought you ought to know that. Calls me a star. I'm not supposed to be big headed. I'm not supposed to be conceited because He can knock any star down that He wants to knock down.

So you don't have to worry about me. I'm going to stay humble. You know, every now and then you hear people say, well, we got to pray that the Lord will keep the pastor humble.

Well, that's fine. You can pray along those lines. But trust me, I know the price of getting conceited in the things of God.

I've seen a few folk go in the wrong direction and I've seen what God does with stars who start tripping. So I'm good. Pray for me that I might stay humble if you care to.

But believe me, that is not a particular temptation I'm facing. So He said the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden candlesticks. In fact, when John saw Him in chapter 1, he said, when I turned to see the Lord, I saw Him walking among these lampstands. I want to let you know that the Word of God is clear that God is walking among the churches not only then but among churches now. I want to let you know God knows very well that the church belongs to Him. Sometimes we manhandle the things of God. We are the church by organization but God birthed the church to be an organism, a living body.

And it is His body. The Bible says that the church is the body of Christ. So we exist for His purposes and He is walking among the golden lampstands.

And then the next word just helps you understand that, the next phrase because it says, I know your deeds. God says to the church, I know exactly what is going on among you. Please understand that the church belongs to the Lord which is why we can't act any old kind of way in the family of God. You can't be any way you want.

You can't do anything you want. You can't serve under any conditions you want because we are the organization but we belong to the organism which is the body of Christ. He is the head. He is the one that has dominion over all that we say and do.

He says, I know your deeds. If you have any doubt about that, just look at the early church and you see that God was very, very concerned about what happened among His people. When they were giving with extraordinary generosity in Acts chapter 2 and Acts chapter 4, you see verses that explain that the church was giving with unusual generosity because there in the opening days of the church, many people were being disowned because they were forsaking the traditional Jewish lifestyle and they were now following what the Bible called the way.

The church was originally called the way in those early days. And many people were being disowned by their families and the church pulled their resources together and said, we'll do whatever it takes to take care of one another. And so people were selling property and giving the money to the apostles and saying, listen, do with this what you need to do in order to take care of the needs of people. Extraordinary generosity broke out in the early church and God was pleased with it because it was coming from hearts that were right before Him.

If you've ever read Acts chapter 5, you find out that there was a couple in the church that wanted to sell property like the other folk were doing, but their hearts were not as generous, yet they wanted to appear to be like everybody else. Coming up next, the rest of today's message, rekindling your spiritual flame with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. If you've never stopped by our website,, I invite you to do it when you have some time. You'll find all of Pastor Paul's recent messages on demand, plus a host of great resources at our online store, including books and DVD messages from Pastor Paul. is a great place to learn more about the ministry and all the great things friends like you are doing through your prayers and financial support. And be sure to watch selected video clips by subscribing to Pastor Paul on YouTube. For more details and links to all of his social media sites, be sure to visit You can fool some people all of the time and all people some of the time, but in Acts chapter 5, we're reminded that we can't fool God any of the time.

Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's message, rekindling your spiritual flame. So what you read in Acts chapter 5 is that Ananias and Sapphira sold some property, but they held back some of the money. Now, it was their property, and they didn't have to sell it in the first place, because God never forces people to give. It is always your privilege to worship through giving, and you will be blessed as you do it. But God does not force people to give, so they didn't have to sell their property.

And once they sold it, they didn't have to give it, but they chose to attempt to give part and to act like they were giving all. They held back part of it, and it was an offense to God. Imagine now that God is so active in the church that he sees how much we give, and he sees the heart out of which we give it, which means someone could give what seems to somebody else to be a generous amount, and God looks at your heart and says, that's not acceptable to me.

I don't like what's going on on the inside. And God is so sovereign, and these were the early days of the church, that God decided sovereignly he would make an example of Ananias and Sapphira. So when you read Acts chapter 5, what happens? You see the Lord send the apostle Peter to their house. Peter shows up and runs into Ananias and says, listen, let me ask you something.

Did you sell your property and then give all the proceeds to the work that God is doing among us? And Ananias said, yes, I did. And listen to what Peter said after that. Peter said, you have not just lied to men, you have lied to God.

Listen, our lives will go to the next level when we realize that God is intimately aware of the details of our lives. Ananias thought he could get over on people, but he didn't know you're dealing with God, not people. And he said, you just haven't lied to men.

If you were just lying to men, if this is just about us, then you can get over on folks all you want. He said, you have lied to God. Now, he was not judged because of his stinginess. He was judged because of his hypocrisy, because of his desire to pretend to be what he knew he was not willing to be. He'd have been better off saying, listen, listen, when he first went to the apostles, he should have said, you know, we got 50,000 for this, and I'm giving you all half, and I'm going to keep the other half. But no, he pretended like the 25 was all that he got, and that's what God judged. And Peter said, because you lied to God, the Lord is not pleased, and Ananias dropped dead. You can't fool around in God's church.

It's not ours, it's his. You can't mistreat people in God's church and get away with it. And we need to understand, this is the house of God. He wasn't judged for his stinginess. If God was getting stingy folk, there'd be a whole lot of folk dropping.

You know that's the truth. Down through the centuries, including today's church, if God is getting stingy folk, oh man, we won't have to build another facility. But God judges the heart, and their hearts were not right. And the Bible says Ananias dropped dead on the spot. Meanwhile, it says a little while later, his wife Sapphira comes in.

I always picture her coming in with bags from Nordstrom and Macy's. Bible doesn't say that, but that's the way I picture it. She coming in, and he asked her the same question, she has the opportunity to repent, and she chooses to lie.

She says, we gave it all. And Peter said, you haven't lied to men, you've lied to God, and the same men that just buried your husband are on their way back. Right in your Bible. You can't play with holy things. Better to be honest before God than to be a hypocrite. Better to say, Lord, I know I'm not where I ought to be, but Lord God, have mercy on me, and I'm willing to let you teach me and walk with me, and let me become the person you want me to be. Don't play in the house of God. He said, I know your works.

I know what's going on. And then look at what he says here, he first compliments him. I love that pattern, you'll see the pattern in most of the letters to the seven churches. That there is a word of commendation, but there's also a word of admonishment. God commends them for what he can commend them for, and then he admonishes them to call them up to a higher place.

So here, when he commends them, look at what he says. He says, I know your hard work and your perseverance. That you can't tolerate wicked men, that you've tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. I know that you have persevered and have endured hardship for my name and have not grown weary. Then in verse six, he also says, and you hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

All of those are wonderful things. I love that about God. If he is going to chastise us or admonish us, he first gives us a word, if there's something to be affirmed, he will affirm you. I love that about God. He's an even-handed parent. He's not just picking on what's wrong with you, he is affirming what he loves about what you're doing. I love that about God. He commends you with the left before he hits you with the right.

And so he commends them. He says, you're working hard, you're persevering, you have endurance, and you haven't grown weary. Let me tell you something, we are constantly told in the pages of the Word of God that we have got to be people who learn how to persevere. These are days when perseverance doesn't come easily to a lot of people because we live in a get it done quick, get it done easy society. Technology is a blessing and a curse at the same time.

It is a blessing because it allows us to do things efficiently and quickly and conveniently, and I love that feature of technology. But the problem is when you get so convenience in life, it is so easy to get so much done, you lose appreciation for the fact that the best things in life often require perseverance. There are some things that aren't going to happen quick in your life. There are some things that aren't going to happen easily in your life. There are some things you're going to have to dig down and persevere, and we have to develop in our day because we are so convenience.

I mean, just think about it. Again, there's no need of beating ourselves up over it, but we do need to recognize the way it handicaps us. We are so used to being convenience. I've told you many times before.

We had the nerve to complain about things that 50, 60, 70 years ago your grandparents, your great grandparents never dreamed of. When they said they were taking a trip, it was going to be a long trip. Now, when we say we're taking a trip, we can do it as easily as our budgets will allow. We can just get on the computer, make a reservation, don't even have to talk to anybody.

Make the reservation, get on the plane. You show up at the airport, get on a plane, a vehicle that God has blessed man to be able to build that will actually fly through the air 30 plus thousand feet in the air miles high. And instead of saying, Lord, thank you that I'm up here traveling at 500 miles an hour, that I'm going to get there quickly. I'm going to see my family in a matter of a few hours.

Lord, thank you that you've given man this kind of wisdom. No, what are we up there doing? I know you all better bring me some peanuts or something. I know you don't think that I paid for this ticket and I'm going to sit up here and you're not going to feel. You're going to get where you're going so quickly, you can eat when you get there. But instead, we ignore the blessing, the miracle of that speed of travel, that convenience of travel. This seat's all cramped up. You ever ride in a stagecoach?

Come on, we just got to think. We are so blessed, we take it for granted. Go to the grocery store, I told you before, go to the grocery store and mad because you can't park right up next to the building. Mad that you got, I had to drive around five minutes. Listen to yourself, you drove, you didn't have to walk to the store, you drove, found a parking space, got out. Oh my goodness, you had to walk two minutes before you got in the building. And then you get in there and you get the cart and you go up and down the house and instead of saying, Lord, thank you for this wonderful convenience. Thank you that I can just pull things off the shelf, put it in this cart and go pay for it and go home, feed my family and do what I need to do.

Lord, I bless you. No, we're walking up and down and I don't believe what they want me to pay. You didn't grow it, you didn't box it.

Come on, come on, let's be honest. You didn't have to do anything and you don't have to buy it. But you're choosing to buy that particular item and then you go. So you pile up your dirt and then God forbid if we get to the counter area and there are more than three people ahead of us. And I've seen them standing there in loud talk. I know you all better get somebody to come open up one of these other lanes. I thought this store had the three as a crowd policy. Yeah, well, it's more than three of us here. I suggest there's somebody over there on aisle six. I know he worked for y'all. He had the badge on. He ain't doing nothing.

Bring him over here. And you're loud talking because it's going to take you a few minutes to check your food out and get out of the place. And I'm telling you, folks, we had better learn to be grateful for technology, but we better also learn to acknowledge that there are some things in life you're not going to get easily or quickly. And God commends these people because they have learned how to persevere. When you got to go through, they put their heads down. Trust God and they go through. You know, spiritual maturity doesn't happen overnight.

There are no shortcuts, no easy buttons. It takes patience, perseverance and a lot of hard work to become all we can be in Christ. But be encouraged. He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Hold on to that promise today. This message, Rekindling Your Spiritual Flame, is part of Pastor Paul Shepherd's teaching series, You've Got Mail. This seven-part series offers some keen insight into the letters written to seven churches in Revelation, chapters two and three.

That's You've Got Mail. Look for it online at In Psalm 107, King David writes, Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. If you need prayer today, the Destined for Victory ministry team would like to pray for you. From the homepage of, use the contact feature to let us know how we can pray for you. And while you're there at the website, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation. And here's something else, a booklet from Pastor Paul called Traits of a Virtuous Woman. This is a great companion guide to Pastor Paul's message from earlier this month in praise of godly women. That's the booklet Traits of a Virtuous Woman from Pastor Paul based on Proverbs 31, our gift to you by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 to give over the phone. Or mail your gift to Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. You can also make a safe and secure donation from our website,

Thanks in advance for helping keep Destined for Victory on the air. What they did was they said, well, since we're saved by grace, which is unmerited favor, then God doesn't mind if we continue to live in sin because His grace will just keep on covering. In fact, all we're doing is just giving God a lot of sin to cover. Pastor Paul is talking about one of the first New Testament churches, but it's a problem we still face today. When grace becomes disgrace on tomorrow's Destined for Victory, I hope you'll join us. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-19 06:46:20 / 2023-11-19 06:55:32 / 9

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