Rev. Sudha Mehta©
Jesus and seven churches from fulfillingthepromises.com
2 Thesselonians 2: 3 No one is to deceive you in any way! For it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, . . . (NAS)
As the day begins I am bombarded with fresh news of wars, rumors of wars, storms, volcanoes, famines, plagues, persecution of believers, suffering around the World. It is hard to find any good news anywhere. I see the convergence of signs just as Jesus said it would be before His return. Even what the World sees as good news through corrupt eyes only promises the demise of truth and the propagation of lies. I often find myself speechless when I see lies spoken with such boldness by corrupt politicians, and the people in the media that carry their water, and propagate them continually. As the old adage goes, “tell the same lie enough number of times, and people will start to believe it.”
I run to the comfort of God’s Word, the only Truth that keeps me centered and on track. With this in mind, without getting distracted by other noises, let us look at the seven letters to the seven churches that Jesus Himself dictated in the Book of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3.
The Church was founded on the “Rock” of His Truth (Matthew 16:18) and Jesus declared that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. In other words the Church is a formidable force that has the power to break through the gates of hell to rescue the lost. Think about that! It is immence power. Yet people, often led by false teachers have heeded the call of contemporary culture in lieu of the Word and have chosen to corrupt the very teaching of the same. These are ones to stay away from, for their path leads to destruction.
2 Timothy 3: 1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.(KJV)
This is where the falling away (apostasy) of many in the church takes place, and it is one of the signs preceding the return of Christ.
On the one hand the seven letters to seven churches, dictated by Jesus Christ Himself, in the order that they are listed tell the Church History of the last 2000 years, on the other hand they were applicable then to the churches, and have been in very era as well as today. So, it is linear history, and who but God could tell it before it ever happened? It is also a picture of the true condition of church in every age.
seven churches chart by chuck missler
Incredulously, in the darkest moments of the dark ages of the church, faithful believers willingly laid down their lives for the Savior. In every era the persecuted church has suffered, but it has not walked away from God. The ones who do tend to walk away from God are the ones who live affluent and easy lives. Let that sink in! Persecution has historically made the faith of the persecuted stronger, and afflence and ease of the believer has made their faith watered down, and powerless. Look at any country, the more the people suffer hardship for their faith, the closer they get to God. The more ease and affluence they have, the more the Christian is likely to wander off into temptation.
Lets look at the seven churches a bit:
The seven churches were located in Asia Minor now part of Turkey.
In addressing the seven churches, Jesus does several things. He identifies Himself with a title that is significant to the particular church, praises the church for what they are doing right, points out their shortcoming and admonishes them to make right that which is not, and ends with a promise of reward or consequence as owed. In short, every church gets a report card and a promise with it which is dependent on their conduct. I only want to highlight somethings in each report card:
He begins with Ephesus.
Ephesus: Revelation 2: 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.(ESV)
church in ephesus from godversusreligion.com
Ephesus was doing fine, but they were so busy doing, they forgot about the One they were doing for! Every relationship gets stale and loses life if you stop paying attention to the person you are in relationship with. So, Ephesus is called to repent and pay attention to that which was necessary, their First Love.
Smyrna: 9“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) . . . 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.(ESV)
persecuted church from survivalblog.com
The not-so-obvious “great” report card is to Smyrna. This was the church called to martyrdom. Strange, isn’t it?! Yet, in every era people in some country around the World have had to give their lives for the Lord. For them is reserved the Martyr’s crown in Heaven. I must admit I do not long for that. While I believe if called to die for Him, He is the One who gives grace, I also believe that it isn’t necessary to long for it. Notice though, He doesn’t ask them to run, or hide, or even do battle that they would lose anyway, He asks them to look at the longterm result, eternity with Him. He also was their shining example having suffered Himself. Today in many countries persecution continues, and the Bible says many will be martyred during the Tribulation.
Pergamus: Revelation 2: 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.(ESV)
Balaam from flickr.com
Pergamus was guilty of the same thing many churches are guilty of today. They had paganized Christianity. They brought in the idols, false teachers, false prophets, compromised with the culture of the day, and yes, sexual immorality was approved by the church.
My friends, Jesus Christ being the same yesterday, today and forever, has never lowered His standard of purity. His Love remains the same today and will also never change, but His love will never, ever, compromise His standard and approve that which He has already said “NO” to. Don’t be duped, for you play with fire and are grossly seduced by the lies that come from the pit of Hell itself if you think otherwise. Your eternity is at stake.
Thyatira: Revelation 2: 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.(ESV)
Jezebel from serieskhlnv.blogspot.com
A severe warning is issued to Thyatira in the same vein as to Pergamus. Here is a promise that unless this church repents and turns away from it’s current track it will suffer and then go through the Tribulation which amounts to immense suffering and death. Note that even her children will die. How much better to do a thorough self examination and turn from wickedness back on to God’s way with a repentent and humble heart.
Sardis: Revelation 3: “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. (ESV)
The Church of Sardis is called the Denominational Church (the Mainline Denominations) by Dr. Chuck Missler. The admonition to them is worth noting. They are told if they are not right and ready for Him, they will miss His coming. He will come like a thief, stealthily.
My friends, the Church is not called to be asleep, or lazy. We are called the children of light who are to be ready, alert and looking for His coming. Anticipating His return is what is called the Blessed hope. Indeed, He is our Blessed Hope.
Old stone church from fineartamerica.com
When I moved to a certain town more than two decades ago, I drove around town to check it out. I noted beautiful church buildings, superb architecture, high steeples, lovely stones, and beautifully manicured lawns. Some even had old cemetaries attached that were also well tended. Over time I discovered as I visited several of them that they were as dead as could be. They had no life, no fervor, no zeal left for the Lord. The buildings were their pride and joy, but the Word of God was mostly shelved. They were certainly not ready and looking forward to the Lord’s coming. In fact they didn’t know anything about it.
Philadelphia: Revelation 3: 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.(ESV)
worship from shutterstock.com
This Church in Philadelphia seems to be doing great, so there is the promise to them which we all should want. Here is the promise that they will be “removed” from the scene before disaster hits the whole World. This is the promise of the Rapture. My family and I look forward to this promise. I hope you are ready also, if not, then repent as needed, and be ready.
Laodicea: Revelation 3: 15“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. . . 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.(ESV)
Lukewarm church from campuslink.org
Finally, Laodicea is known for being the Lukewarm Church. My Pastor Dr. Rodney Dukes admonished us often to not be luke warm, so as not to be spit out. “Luke warm food tastes awful. Better to be hot or cold,” he would say! Notice this is the church of affluence. They have it all, so, they have no need for God. Yet it is a church. They come, they play, they socialize, they have their community programs that make them feel good. But their riches, their affluence have become the very things that keep them from being in love with God.
Notice that although this is a church, the Lord of the Church is outside. He isn’t even in the church. He gives the invitation to the individual. “Anyone!” Are you “anyone?” if so, hear Him knock, open the door and invite Him in. How sad to have a church with all manner of noise, and programs,but one that leaves God on the outside! Wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked indeed!!
The Church of Smyrna was poor, but God called it rich. The church of Laodicea was rich, but God called it wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
So, if we look at the linear history, we are at the last stage. The predominant church today is of the Laodicean variety. But if you look around the world, or even around town you will find signs of life in other churches that fit in the other types. Predominantly Laodicean, the Church age is about to close.
No matter which church you are in, it is upto you to walk in good stead with your Shepherd. Even if you do not have a church, if you live in a place where it is impossible to go to church, you have access to your Shepherd in prayer. You do not need a confessional to go confess your sins to a man, you are able to reach Jesus directly simply by calling on His Name. Jesus is the only One you need to address for salvation, no human is necessary.
If however, you live in a place where you do have the ability to find a good church that teaches the Bible, go, and be part of the family of God.
Stay in His Blessings!
If you like and want this post to spread, please share it with others. After 2.25 million views worldwide Facebook no longer allows me to advertise, the only way this and every other post goes out is by you sharing and liking. So, please share!
Subscribe on https://onewaystudies.com
This way you get my new posts in your email directly without being dependent on fickle social media.