CHAPTER 11 – Revelation 3:1-6 聖靈與生命 THE HOLY SPIRIT AND LIFE

耶穌在世上的時候,新約教會還沒有開始。祂升天之後,教會纔產生。教會為甚麽不早點出現?因為要先等聖靈降臨。教會必須有聖靈在其中作工。主耶穌升天之後十日,五旬節那一天,聖靈像火一樣,也像洪流大潮水一般降臨,使徒們都被聖靈充滿。彼得當天講道,有叁千人悔改,於是教會就產生了。聖靈是教會存在的先決條件。

When Jesus was on earth, the New Testament Church had not yet begun. The Church came into being after Jesus ascended to heaven. The reason why the Church did not start earlier was because they had to wait until the Holy Spirit came. The Church must have the work of the Holy Spirit in its midst. Ten days after the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven, on the Day of Pentecost; the Holy Spirit descended like tongues of fire, and like torrential flood waters on all the apostles; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. On that same day, Peter preached the Word of God and three thousand people repented and were baptized. That is how the Church started. The Holy Spirit is a prerequisite for the existence of the church.

各時代教會的需要,各有不同。撒狄時代嚴重缺乏的是聖靈工作。

Each Church era has different needs. The era during the Church in Sardis gravely lacked the work of the Holy Spirit

主的自稱

THE LORD’S SELF-DESCRIPTION

1 那有神的七靈和七星的說。

1 These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

教會有沒有生氣?有沒有生命?看兩件事:( 一) 有沒有聖靈工作?( 二) 有沒有神所揀選的工人在其中作工?我們從撒迪教會就可以看到,他們在這兩方面的嚴重缺乏。

Is the church energetic? Is it alive? Look at two things: (1) Does it have the work of the Holy Spirit? (2) Does it have people chosen by God to do the work of the church? We see that the Church in Sardis was seriously lacking in these two areas.

基督開始介紹祂自己的時候,已經表明他們這兩個需要。「七靈」指全備工作的聖靈;「七星」指神所揀選的工人。他們最需要的是這兩樣。這教會代表中古時代黑暗時期,十四到十六世紀,宗教改革前的教會。

When Christ started to introduce Himself, He was already making clear their two kinds of needs. “Seven spirits” refers to the perfect work of the Holy Spirit. “Seven stars” refers to God’s chosen workers. These two things were what they needed the most. This church represents the dark period during medieval times, from the 14th to the 16th century, the church before the Protestant Reformation.

他們雖然自稱教會,實際上是剝削平民的吸血機構。只利用宗教騙錢。得救的人少,這裡說「只有幾個名字」是在羔羊生命冊上,只有幾個人穿白衣,有聖潔的生活與主同行。教會是死的教會,因為沒有聖靈的工作,也沒有神的工人。所以主對他們說:「我是那有神的七靈和七星的主。」你們如果是屬於我的,為甚麽卻沒有這些呢?

Although they claimed to be a church in reality they were a bloodsucking institution; using their religion to deceive people into giving them money. Only a few people were saved. Here it says: “a few people” were in the book of life of the Lamb. Only a few will walk with the Lord, dressed in white, for they are worthy. It was a dead church because it did not have the work of the Holy Spirit; it did not have God’s workers. Therefore the Lord said to them : “These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.” If you belong to me, how come you don’t possess these two things?

主的責備

THE LORD’S REBUKE

1 我知道你的行為,按名你是活的,其實是死的。

1 “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

對於這教會,對這時代中的教會,基督對他們沒有甚麽稱讚的話。

The Lord did not have any words of commendation for the churches of this era.

只說:「其中有幾個人穿白衣與主同行。」看來是比老底嘉教會好一點,因為對老底嘉教會一丁點稱讚的話都沒有。但實際上這個教會比老底嘉教會更糟,是一個名存實亡的教會。基督徒不是應該已經都得到生命、得到聖靈了嗎?但在這個教會中,卻沒有幾個人得到生命,或得到聖靈。老底嘉教會看來很可憐,教會應有的屬靈產業,都只得一半。但至少還有一半。這一個撒狄教會,連一半都沒有,接近零。

He only said: “You have a few names who have not defiled their garments; they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” It seemed that they were better than the Church in Laodicea because the Lord did not have any words of commendation for that church at all. But in reality, the Church in Sardis was in a bigger mess than the Church in Laodicea. This was a church that was completely dead. Aren’t Christians supposed to already have life, have the Holy Spirit ? But in this church only a few people had life and the Holy Spirit. Apparently, the Church in Laodicea looked very pitiful because they can only get half of the spiritual inheritance, but at least they get half of it. The Sardis Church did not even get half of it, they got almost zero.

馬丁路德在1517 年貼了95 條指出梵帝岡錯誤的條文,他既是當時的神職人員,從他的論點,就可以知道當時教皇與所有神職人員,全犯了嚴重的錯誤。他們為了梵帝岡與眾神父能夠過富裕的生活,出賣贖罪券,告訴百姓只要買贖罪券,罪就得赦免,靈魂在煉獄中的親友,也得到赦免可以升上天堂。完全是商人賺錢手法,欺騙無知迷信的小民。

In 1517, Martin Luther wrote the 95 Theses protesting against the wrong doings of the Vatican. The disputation protested against clerical abuses, especially the sale of indulgences. From his theses we can see that during that time, the Pope and the clergy were making a very serious mistake. They told the people to buy indulgences so that their sins would be forgiven and the souls of their relatives in purgatory could ascend to heaven. It was completely the way businessmen make money; deceiving the ignorant superstitious people.

主說:「我有七星在手,你們說是屬於我的教會,卻沒有一個正常的工人。連一星都沒有,怎可能是屬於我的?」他們也不教人悔改,只用「告解」代替「悔改」,以為神父說一聲「罪已得赦免」,就沒有問題了。悔改是靈魂裡面的活動,不是外面的禮節。主的工人應該明白屬靈的事。他們卻把神的事工,變成普通宗教的活動,變成人的活動。

The Lord said: “I hold the seven stars. You say you are a Church that belongs to me, yet none of you are conventional workers. You don’t even have one star. How can you belong to me?” They did not teach people to repent; they only used “confession” instead of “repentance”. They thought that the priest could just say: “Yours sins are forgiven,” and the problem would be solved. Repentance is an inward activity of the spirit; it is not an outward procedure. The Lord’s workers should understand spiritual things. They handled God’s matters as ordinary religious activities, they had become secular activities.

主說:「我有全備的聖靈,你們卻沒有聖靈、沒有生命,怎可以算是屬於我的教會呢?」他們以為只要有人的教導責備,罪人就會悔改,誰知人的責備只把人趕跑。但聖靈責備,叫人自責,那纔是真的悔改。

The Lord said: “I hold the seven-fold Spirit, but you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you do not have life, how could you be regarded as my Church? They believed that as long as sinners were taught to feel guilty, they would repent. Who knows, putting the blame on someone would just drive them away. But when the Holy Spirit convicts people, they convict themselves and that is true repentance.

古代教會對聖靈的知識沒有多少,只要看使徒信經就可以知道了。「我信上帝」方面有好幾句話;「我信耶穌基督」有更多的話;「我信聖靈」卻只有一句話。可見他們不肯定怎樣去描寫聖靈。撒狄教會的人雖然在教會中,但沒有經歷聖靈工作,沒有從聖靈而生,那等於是死的,名字是活的,說是信仰活的主,卻沒基督的生命。名字不在羔羊生命冊上。

The Church in ancient times did not have much understanding about the Holy Spirit; you will notice this just by reading the Apostle’s Cree d. Several words follow the statement “I believe in God;” a few sentences follow the statement “I believe in Jesus Christ;” but no description follows the statement “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” Clearly they were not sure how to describe the Holy Spirit. Even though their names said they belonged to the Church in Sardis, they did not experience the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives; they were not born from the Holy Spirit, they had a reputation of being alive, but they were dead. They did not have the life of Christ in them. Their names were not written in the book of life of the Lamb.

主的警告

THE LORD’S WARNINGS

2 你要儆醒,堅固那剩下將要衰微[ 死] 的,因我見你的行為在我神面前沒有一樣是完全的。

2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.

短短一段經文,「死」字出現兩次( 衰微原文是死) ,死的教會就是沉睡的教會,沒有聖靈、沒有生氣,就是沉睡,所以主叫她儆醒wake up 過來。「醒過來」出現了兩次。教會要醒過來。

In this short passage the word “die” appears twice. A dead church is a church that has fallen asleep. Without the Holy Spirit, without energy, the church falls asleep, that is why the Lord calls them to “wake up”. The words “wake up” appear twice. The Church has to wake up!

帖撒羅尼迦前書第一章,保羅讚揚他們有聖靈的明證。甚麽是他們得聖靈的明證?就是在患難中仍然充滿喜樂。在普通人眼中,患難與喜樂不可能同時出現。受苦時還笑嘻嘻的,必被看為神經病。但這是聖靈工作的明證,因為靈裡清醒,看見的不是肉身之苦,是屬靈生命之福。

In I Thessalonians chapter 1, Paul praises the believers for having the evidence of the Holy Spirit, having joy in the midst of severe suffering. That is the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit, because your spirit is awake, what you see is not the tribulations of the flesh but the blessings of the spiritual life.

他們需要醒過來,因為在神面前沒有一樣是好的。教義上有錯誤,強調煉獄的存在,給人虛假的希望;他們重外表禮儀,沒有真理教導,沒有福音,沒有悔改之道。只重視經濟收入。他們誤導人說,不需要賙濟貧窮人。所以連羅馬教庭唯一的優點都失去了,一敗塗地。沒有彼此相愛的生活,根本不像是主的教會。基督徒必有的特色,就是信、愛、望,全部看不見,怎麽可以稱為主的教會?

They needed to wake up because in God’s eyes none of their deeds were good. Their teachings were wrong; they emphasized the existence of purgatory which gave people false hopes; they put importance to external rituals but did not teach the truth of the Gospel and the need for repentance. They only attached importance to economic income. They misled people by saying that it was not required to help the poor. They even lost the only merit that the Catholic Church possessed…they were a dead failure. They did not have a lifestyle of loving one another; they were not like the Lord’s Church at all. The characteristics that Christians should have are faith, love, and hope. They did not display any of these characteristics. How could they be called the Church?

主的鼓勵

THE LORD’S ENCOURAGEMENT

3 所以要回想你是怎樣領受、怎樣聽見的,又要遵守並要悔改。若不儆醒,我必臨到你那裡,如同賊一樣,我幾時臨到,你也決不能知道。

3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

第一步要回想。主對以弗所教會有同樣的勸勉,要回想曾經怎樣領受、怎樣聽見,當初怎樣相信,從頭再來。要她回到最原始的教導。很多教會問題都是跟傳統,道聽途說。傳統怎麽說我就怎麽做。不可以打鼓,不可用結他,不可以用樂器,或有固定的禮拜儀式。傳統都是人定的,不是聖經的教訓,不是原有的教義。

The first step is to remember. The Lord gave the same advice to the Church in Ephesus. Remember once again what you have received and how you believed at first. You have to return to the original teachings. The problem with many churches is that they follow traditions. Whatever the tradition says they will do. They follow fixed liturgies; they don’t allow the playing of drums, guitars or certain musical instruments. Tradition is set by people, it is not the teachings of the Bible.

以弗所是最早期的教會,都要回想。到了中古世紀,完全遠離了起初的教訓,更要回想。又要「看守」,teirew 是看守,不是遵守。要守住最原始基督所給的教導,不是要發明新的理論。現代的學者沒有新的理論,地位就會動搖。撒狄教會的問題,就是發明新的東西。發明神父的赦罪證書,為死人禱告認罪,用錢買將來的贖罪票等。

The Church in Ephesus was the earliest church and even they had to remember. In the middle Ages, they had drifted far away from the original teachings; now more than ever they had to remember. They also had to “guard” (not to “ hold fast”). Guard the original teachings that Christ gave them, not to invent new theories. They invented the priest’s absolution certificates, praying for the forgiveness of sins of the dead and using money to buy indulgences.

教會不需要新的學說,或跟隨人的傳統。只要守住原始的真理,無論世界怎樣變,我們對主所頒佈的信仰不作改變,忠心持守。唯一要變的,是心意常常更新變化,常常悔改,在主面前常省察自己的錯誤,常認罪。這樣,聖靈不停在我們靈裡作工。這就是儆醒生活的特色。

The Church does not need new doctrines or to follow the traditions of people. They only had to guard the original truth, no matter how much the world changes, we should not change the belief that the Lord gave us, and we should guard it faithfully . The only thing that should change is us as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, as we examine ourselves, repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness often. In this way, the Holy Spirit will continuously work in us.

儆醒不儆醒,聖靈動工不動工,結果會非常不同。如果主忽然回來,新郎忽然臨到,沒有油的童女,就要在外面哀哭切齒了。

The end result of being watchful or not and having the Holy Spirit working in us or not, will be very different. If the Lord returns suddenly, if the bridegroom comes unexpectedly, then the virgins without oil in their lamps will be left outside, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

主對他們說,我必臨到你那裡如同賊一樣。這話其實在告訴我們,你的結局將會非常悲哀。到主回來的時候,還有自稱是基督徒的人,過著昏昏沉沉的生活。沒有生命的信徒必須經歷大災難,因為災難是變相的祝福,在災難期中他們會回頭。信仰胡塗的人,在災難中也會回頭。

The Lord said to them, I will come like a thief. In fact, these words are telling us that their outcome will be very sorrowful. When the Lord returns, there will be those who claim to be Christians who will still be living a very lethargic life. The believers who do not have life will have to go through the great tribulation, because tribulations are blessings in disguise. They will return to the Lord during the tribulation. Those who are confused in their beliefs will also come back to the Lord during the time of tribulation.

神不願意人落在永遠的痛苦中,一點小痛苦能使人得益處。哀慟的人有福了,饑餓的人有福了,,苦難就是變相的祝福。

God is not willing that people suffer eternally, yet a little suffering could be beneficial. Blessed are those who mourn, blessed are those who hunger, afflictions are blessings in disguise.

主的稱讚

THE LORD’S COMMENDATIONS

4 然而在撒狄,你還有幾名[ 幾個名字] 是未曾污穢自己衣服的,他們要穿白衣與我同行。因為他們是配得過的。

4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.

祂說只有幾個名字,這一段「名字」出現多次,按「名」是活的,幾個「名字」,我必不從生命冊上塗抹他的「名」,且要在我父面前和我父眾使者面前認他的「名」。這裡用「幾個名字」,是很奇怪的用法。中文巧妙地譯作幾名,但卻也把強調的地方弄丟了。

The Lord said there are only a few names. In this passage the word “name” appears a few times. You have a “name” that you are alive, a few “names”, I will not blot out his “name” from the Book of Life, I will confess his “name” before My Father. Here it says: “a few names” which is a very strange wording.

名字,不像今天只是稱號,乃是本性的描寫。「雅各」是喜歡「抓住」的人,變成「以色列」,「神的勇士」,因為敢與神摔跤( 創32) 。名字描寫生命,或生命的特徵。

In ancient times, a name was given to describe the inherent qualities of a person. “Jacob” means “ supplanter ”, his name was later changed to “Israel” which means “he that striveth with God”, because he dared to wrestle with God (Genesis 32). A name represents life or a characteristic of the person’s life.

這裡另外有一個字,可以翻作「配得過」。是指天平兩邊對稱。施洗約翰說:「要結出果子來,與悔改的心相稱。」你如果有基督徒的名字,就要有基督徒的生命,這就是對稱。

The word “worthy” refers to the evenness of both sides of a balance. John the Baptist said: “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.” If you call yourself a Christian, you must have the life of a Christian; that is balance.

這裡提到的幾個人,不單有基督徒之名,也有基督徒之實。有基督的生命,有聖靈的烙印。他們就是穿白衣與主同行,衣服潔淨的人。

The few people mentioned here not only are called Christians but are truly Christians. They have the life of Christ and the seal of the Holy Spirit. They are the ones who shall walk with the Lord in white, who have not defiled their garments.

主的應許

THE LORD’S PROMISES

5 凡得勝的,必這樣穿白衣,我也必不從生命冊上塗抹他的名,且要在我父面前和我父眾使者面前認他的名。

5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

主應許也是針對她的缺欠。他們在教會裡面有名字,但處在沒有生命的基督徒中間,自己也擔心,我的名字在不在其中?主應許說,祂絕對在生命冊上抹去名字。在生命冊上有名,是永遠不會消失的。

The Lord’s promises are directed towards their shortcomings. Their names appear in the Church, but they live among the Christians who do not have life, so they worry and say: “Is my name among them or not?” The Lord promises that He will definitely not blot out their names from the Book of Life. The names that are written in the Book of Life will never disappear.

主還要表揚這些名字,說:「在我父面前,和我父眾使者面前,認他的名。」這是一種表揚,是一種讚賞。

The Lord continues to praise these faithful believers even more saying: “I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels.” These are words of commendation and of approval.