Seven Letters to Seven Churches
December 25 - Nº 359 Revelation 2 – 3
Jesus instructed John to write a letter to each of the seven churches that had been under his care (see #355 - December 21). The letters revealed how intimately Jesus knew what was going on in each church and how eager he was to meet their particular needs. The churches were congratulated for the things they did well and rebuked for any areas where they failed: · The church in Ephesus: Jesus congratulated them for their hard work and patience, and for not putting up with false teachers. However, even though their hands were good at serving and their heads knew all the right information, their hearts were no longer in love with Jesus. They needed to stop going through the motions and allow their faith to become fresh and vibrant again. · The church in Smyrna: Jesus commended them for their willingness to endure poverty and persecution. They were rich in the things that mattered most. He encouraged them not to be afraid of what was ahead. If they died for their faith, they would receive a crown of life. · The church in Pergamum: Most of the members were praised for not renouncing their faith—even though they witnessed one of their own members being executed! However, some of them were beginning to engage in immoral practices and accept untrue doctrines. They were compromising to avoid criticism. They needed to repent, or they would be removed from the church. · The church in Thyatira: For the most part, they were commended for their love and faithful service. As a matter of fact, their works were getting better. But they were reprimanded for tolerating the teachings of an immoral woman and allowing her to stay in the church where she was corrupting others. He warned that she was about to be judged along with everyone who followed her. · The church in Sardis: Most of the church members were hypocrites. They looked great on the outside but were dead on the inside. They had quit obeying God. They needed to wake up and repent before Jesus allowed them to die completely. · The church in Philadelphia: They were praised because they were willing to go through a door Jesus had opened for them even when Jewish leaders ridiculed them and made it difficult. The church members did not give up even though they almost ran out of strength. Jesus promised that one day the religious leaders who had persecuted them would acknowledge that the faithful believers were the ones who were truly loved by God. · The church of Laodicea: Jesus gave them no praise at all. As a matter of fact, he considered them repulsive. He detested the fact that they were “lukewarm” believers. They were wealthy in material goods but had no idea how poor they were spiritually. Jesus let them know that they were actually “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” He told them they needed to buy spiritual clothing from God. He described himself as standing outside the door of their church—knocking. If they opened the door, he would come in. Then they could enjoy his fellowship again.
Does one of these church situations describe your spiritual life? Are you in love with Jesus? Do you think he is happy with how you are living your life? Are you willing to take a stand for him? What difference will it make if you do?