I mentioned earlier that you should evaluate the church, your church and your life. Let me draw your attention to the first six books of Revelation.
The first church Jesus addressed is the Church as Ephesus. He started with giving them a commendation, “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” Oh, but all is not good because He then rebukes them, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen!” If you have studied the Bible much at all you should know that love is one of the top three topics if not the one greatest of all. They had forsaken the LOVE! And then comes the warning, “Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”(In other words He would leave them in darkness!) And then He gives them a promise, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” Now there is some fine motivation. Have you forsaken the Love?
The second church in the evaluation is the church at Smyrna. He starts again with an accolade. I think this may be where the “sandwich” style of delivering some criticism in the business world might have come from. It is usually the way we get something positive as the first slice of bread and then the filling is the rough stuff before the last slice added is a word of hope and praise. Jesus tells them, “I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” Ouch! Next comes the warning, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Lastly he gives the hope, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the Churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.” Notice the hint to listen to what the Holy Spirit says for the things churches are to do. Be sure you are not a synagogue of Satan.
Church number three is the church of Pergamum. Right away we see the praise coming, “I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.” Not long after, however, comes the complaint, “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.” He is warning them against false teachers and sexual immorality which we have plenty of in these days. The warning is sharp, “Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” And He finishes with the hope, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” Once again He says to listen to the Holy Spirit! Do not worship idols or be committing sexual immorality.
The fourth Church Jesus addresses is the church of Thyatira and He starts by acknowledging they have grown from where they started, “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.” But then comes the reprimand, “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” It sounds to me like He is not happy with them, to say the least… So now comes a further warning, Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.” So to those of you that are somehow righteous you better stick with the program until I come get you. Jesus then tells of the reward for doing as He commands, “To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’ ¬- just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Hear it? Listen to the Holy Spirit? Do not follow false teachers.
Please join me in the next post (JUST CLICK HERE) for the conclusion as we review the last three churches and bring this series to a close.
God bless your day,