As we continue to teach about being prepared for Jesus’ return. It’s truly important to look at the 7 Churches that Jesus addressed in the Book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3. There’s so much insight to the spiritual condition that Jesus appreciates--and the poor spiritual condition which HE clearly details and dislikes. Jesus also went on to give them constructive criticism and promises if they overcome the trials and tests of their faith in their time that has similar applications to Churches we have today.
Clearing Up the Theological Facts
Dispensational Theologians suggest that these letters to the 7 Churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are seven stages of Church History from the time John was on the Island of Patmos till today. In other words, we are supposed to be in the spiritual condition that the Lukewarm Church is today. However, as Intelligent Bible Students—we must interpret Scripture as it was written for that era before we can take it any further into other interpretations. The 7 Churches existed during the time the Apostle John was physically alive on the island of Patmos. The revelation that Jesus gave to John was to be written and then sent to those 7 Churches to encourage them to live a life honoring the Lord and if there were any current issues that needed to be dealt with Jesus made it clear what needed to change and be applied to overcome and reap in the blessings HE said they will receive.
As I meditated on what the Lord wanted me to teach, the thought of the 7 Churches came to mind over and over without my input as to a possible topic for the next article. Then I was wondering why? The Lord said to me that these Churches and each individual congregation at that time still exist today and some need to know what HE said in regards to serving HIM as HE laid out the conditions of a faithful servant. WOW! This is how the Holy Spirit brings Scripture alive to us. To make this point easier to understand the 7 Churches could be 7 different congregations that exist today in your city or state or country. Each one having its own issues and great accomplishments, because 2 out of 7 Churches were doing great and they did not need any correction or be censured for their misapplication of faith. Jesus is fair in giving us compliments when we are doing the right thing. Jesus will also speak to us to repent and change the way we think and live when we are doing the wrong thing.
Here are the 7 Churches…
1. The Loveless Church—the Church of Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7 NKJV)
Jesus commended their works—they rejected evil doers, tested ministers to see if they are genuine, they persevere, and are patient. They also hate false doctrine.
Jesus criticized them—they lost their fire of their first love for HIM.
Jesus reinstructed them—to consider where they have fallen and do the first works of Love.
Jesus said those who overcome--will eat from the tree of life.
2. The Persecuted Church—the Church of Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11 NKJV)
Jesus acknowledges--their works, tribulation and suffering, their poverty but assures them they are rich, and they also recognize who’s a fake believer.
Jesus tells them they will suffer more and be placed in prison and even martyred; but tells them to endure even till death.
Jesus then tells them if they overcome they will receive a crown of life and not experience the second death. Awesome!
3. The Compromising Church—the Church of Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17 NKJV)
Jesus commends them—for their works, where they lived is satan’s territory, some of them held on to Jesus’ name and did not deny HIM despite believer’s being martyred.
Jesus then reveals that some of them—keep the false doctrine of Balaam and Nicolatians that teaches people to eat things sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality. They tolerated it.
Jesus said to repent—or else HE will come and fight with the Sword of HIS mouth against those who are practicing the false doctrines.
Jesus said those who overcome—HE will give them hidden manna to eat, and a white stone that will have the names of those who overcame written on it that no one will know but them.
4. The Corrupt Church—the Church of Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29 NKJV)
Jesus mentioned their—works, love, service, faith and their patience; the last more than the first.
Jesus then begins—to state their poor spiritual condition, they allowed this woman called Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess to teach the people that its okay to eat things sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality and engage in sex with her in the temple.
Jesus is so patient—He said I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality and she did not. So HE is going to cast her in the sickbed and all those who continued to practice this ungodly lifestyle. And kill all her children with death, why? So that all the Churches will know that HE is the one who searches the minds and the hearts. And HE will give to each one their reward according to your works.
Jesus said—that the over comers and those who have remained sincere that HE will not place anymore burdens on them but to hold fast (remain faithful) and HE will give them power over the nations and the morning star.
Teachers Note: This is strong language but in this particular Church Jesus had to declare some strong persuasion to bring other Churches a spiritual reality check that HE’s also a God of chastisement (See Hebrews 12:3-11 NKJV) God is not a stranger to punishing evil Christians (See Acts 5:1-11 NKJV). If we continue to do evil after the correction is brought to our attention then we should seek the mercies of God and sincerely repent. Then God will deliver us from those evil practices and empower us to live victorious lives in Christ Jesus. So don’t remain in the practice of that particular sin, we have the Grace of God to motivate us to live a holy lifestyle.
5. The Dead Church—the Church of Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6 NKJV)
Jesus acknowledged—their works, but stated that they have a reputation for being alive but Jesus said you are dead. WOW!
Jesus told them—be watchful, strengthen things that remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
Jesus told them—remember how you received and heard, hold fast and repent. A failure to remain watchful for HIS return will result in them missing HIM. (Evil Servant Matthew 24)
There were a few that did not defile their garments.
Over-comers—will be with HIM and walk in white apparel and their names will not be blotted out. He will confess their names before His Father and the Angels in Heaven.
Teachers Note: There is some speculation that there are unbelievers in this Church that have not been Born-again. However, being spiritually intelligent all 7 Churches have people who are not Born-again. The Parable of the Sheep’s and Goats tell us that there is a mix congregation of people and some may appear like a Born-again Christians but are religious (Matthew 25:32-46 NKJV). It’s hard to make the distinction but at the end we will know for sure. In any event, if you personally think you are not Born-again I recommend that you read “The Born-again Experience parts 1-4” to experience the New Birth.
6. The Faithful Church—the Church of Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13 NKJV)
Jesus acknowledges—their works and that HE set before them an open door, and no one can shut it. For you have a little strength, have kept MY word, and have not denied HIS name.
Jesus said, that HE will make those who are in satan’s synagogue to come and bow down before them. (This means those who are practicing evil and perhaps talking bad about your good works as believers they will come and humble themselves and seek your spiritual guidance and help).
Jesus then assured them that HE will keep them from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole earth (The Great Tribulation).
Jesus is coming quickly, be faithful in what you have, that no may take your crown.
Over-comers—will be pillars in the house of God and shall not go out of the temple, and have a new name in the New Jerusalem.
Teachers Note: As faithful Believers we sometimes fail to see the open door that is set before us to continue to serve Him. We’ve kept the faith did so many things to honor God but don’t understand what kind of door is open for us to walk thru. (Food for thought!) Door in the Bible is an awesome topic; Paul used the term to acknowledge how God open the door of faith to the Gentiles so he can preach the gospel (Acts 14:27 KJV). Paul also told the Church at Corinth that a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries (1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV). See also 2 Corinthians 2:12. And Paul asked the Church at Colosse to pray for him that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains (Colossians 4:3 NKJV).
We must learn the Biblical principles of the open doors that God made available to us for Ministry, Work, Marriage, Business endeavors and every positive thing that HE wants us to be involved in. Being a faithful believer comes with spiritual perks that we must be aware of so we can flow with the blessings of God despite the adversaries. Amen.
7. The Luke Warm Church—the church of Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-22 NKJV)
Jesus came strong to this Church—He said you’re not hot or cold. I wish you were either or but because you are lukewarm I vomit you out of MY Mouth.
They say I am rich, have become wealthy, but you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. (Sounds like anyone you seen?!)
Jesus said—buy gold from ME refine in the fire, that you may be rich. And white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed.
And anoint your eyes with eye salve (The supernatural water that moistens the eye ball of faith) that you may see. The Holy Spirit and the Word (Jesus) will cause to see the kingdom of God and enter in (John 3:3-5 NKJV).
Jesus rebukes and chastises to demonstrate HIS Divine Love.
We must be zealous on fire for God (Romans 12:11/ 2 Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV).
Jesus stands at the Door of our hearts and knocks hoping we will invite Him in to fellowship, dine, and have an intimate relationship with Him (Revelation 3:20 NKJV)
Over-comers will sit with Him on His throne. Like Jesus overcame and is sitting with the Father on His Throne.
Facts about the 7 Churches
As we read this list of issues that each Church has had and how we can notice some similar things that may be going on in our Church congregation. There will be those who will rise up to the challenge to change for the better, and those who need to be saved and then those who will miss out fall sick and be left behind in the Rapture. In any event, every individual believer needs to assess this list and seek God the grant them Wisdom to be able to make the adjustments to improve in whatever area we may be lacking so we can be in right standings with God.
In my next article, I will be addressing Pastors and leaders because each of these letters written was to the Angel of the Church (that is, the leader of that particular Church). If the current Pastor or leader you are under has not challenge the congregation about the spiritual issues that they must consider and repent then we should individually take the challenge to change and serve as an example to other believers so they may come to us and ask us how we made the improvements in our lives. Then we can minister to them if the Pastor fails too. We are all here to help one another improve in the Kingdom of God on earth, so that we may enjoy the Kingdom of God in Heaven, Amen.