Monday, February 3, 2014

Which Church?

Oakland Church
People have strong feelings about the church that holds their membership. Obviously they chose it over all the other nearby churches – and in America there are a lot from which to choose. We might, however, take a look at the churches God examined. Don’t think of them as being “ages” of His Church theologians describe, think of them as the one holding your membership. Where would it fit?

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. (Revelation 1:11 KJV)

Ephesus sounds good for a while, but our first love must be God:

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Revelation 2:2-4 KJV)

Smyrna receives some good points, but has non-believers working against the church:

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2:9 KJV)

Pergamos’ faith is extolled, but there are those who lead the faithful away and block God’s work:

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (Revelation 2:13-14 KJV)

Thyatira is a good church, too, but allows one person’s error to be applied to the church:

I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Revelation 2:19-20 KJV)

Sardis comes out a little better than the previous and although their works are not perfect, they are encouraged to hold fast:

… I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (Revelation 3:1b-3 KJV)

Philadelphia!!  That’s my goal:

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (Revelation 3:8 KJV)

Laodicea? With a sense of security? Living is easy and prosperous? Sound familiar?

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Revelation 3:15-17 KJV)

Don't stop reading here, please.  There’s much, much more in the second and third chapters of Revelation about these churches and the Lord’s reaction to them. How similar are they to today’s churches? What changes in our lives can help us be as Sardis? Or, Philadelphia? Why should we?

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Revelation 3:22 KJV)

1 comment:

  1. Laodicea sounds like the prosperity gospel. Sardis reminds me of all of humanity. Jesus is saying that He has found them not to be perfect and that they need to change.
    Philadelphia! I agree, Grammy. That is what all of our goals should be.


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