Messages to the Seven Churches
References from Google; Kay Arthur, New International Bible
- Ephesus - which means desirable, was a prominent city. Jesus walked among the candlesticks demonstrating His enduring presence. Christians of Ephesus had patience and good works and had tested the false teachers. They had remained faithful to the truth. They hated the deeds of the Nicolations, which were are group who sought accommodation with the pagans and discounted obedience to God's law. However Ephesus was admonished because the first stages of disunity was creeping into the Church. "Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because you have left your first love." Revelation 2:4; "Remember therefore from whence you are fallen and repent and do the first works or else I come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of this place, except you repent. Revelation 2:5
- Each letter ends with an encouragement to overcome and each church was told of a special blessing from heaven. "To him that overcome will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7
- Smyrna - which means sweet smelling, was possibly established by Paul on his 3rd missionary journey. Smyrna had no admonishment. The sacrifice which Christians were called upon to make in that time served to draw people to Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
- To this church, many of whose members would actually suffer death by persecution, Jesus introduced Himself as "the first and the last, which was dead and is alive" Revelation 2:8. "Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days. Revelation 2:10
- "Be you faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life...He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death. Revelation 2:10-11
- Pergamum - which means elevation of exalted, was located on top of a mount. It was known as Satan's seat, according to Revelation 2:13.
- When persecution didn't work to rid the earth of Christianity, the great adversary turned to deception and compromise. The letter to Pergamum rebuked them for fraternizing with those who held the doctrines of Balaam (Numbers 22) and the Nicloaitans.
- The promise to the faithful of Pergamum was, "To him, that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written which no man knows saving he that receives it. Revelation 2:17
- The white stone = freedom from slavery of sin
- Hidden manna - new life in Christ
- Thyatira - means sacrifice of contrition or sweet savor of labor. Thyatira received the longest letter which contained grave information about the conditions that would prevail. Thyatira would be inundated with false doctrines and persecuted from faithfulness to God and His Word.
- Works, as a means to obtain grace would become a prominent feature of the time. "I know your works, love service, faith and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Revelation 2:19
- Sun worshiping had silently replaced Christianity with pagan rituals objects and works abounding. Added to this was the confusion of Genesis 11:9 where the Babylonians believed in numerous gods and intercessors. Thyatira were turning away from faith in Jesus.
- The promise of the ultimate victory of Christ sands as a rebuke to the Church. "And he that overcomes and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nation: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron. Revelation 2:26-27
- Sardis means renewal. Sardis was located in an area which was thought to be impregnable but their lack of attention lead to being conquered without resistance. "I know your works, that you have a name that you live and are dead." Revelation 3:1
- Sardis was considered a "dead orthodoxy" because instead of continuing the work of restoring Christianity, they submitted to the protection and support of civil authorities, meaning subject to the state. Sardis was given the warning: "Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, tat are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard and hold fast and repent. I therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:2-3
- In the midst of persecution, many courageous reformers for Christianity were willing to lay down their lives rather than deny Christ. Christ said to them, "You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy." Revelation 3:4
- "He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life but I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels." Revelation 3:5
- Philadelphia - means brotherly love. The letter was of commendation which stated, "I know all the things you do and I have opened a door for you that no one can shut. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my Word and did not deny Me. Revelation 3:8
- "Look! I will force those who belong to Satan, those liars who say they are Jews but are not, to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love. Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world." Revelation 3:9-10
- "Hold fast what you have that no one may take your crown." Revelation 3:11
- Laodicea - means judgment of judging the people. The message to Laodicea is not a message of hopelessness. To the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; "These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." Revelation 3:14
1 John 5:4 - for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Subject: "Weapon of Mass Destruction"
Destruction means to totally destroy or wipe out something.
- There is a spiritual war going on.
- Angels rebelled against God and were expelled from heaven.
- Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy.
- Satan uses two weapons on Christians..... Fear and Doubt.
- Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real
- For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
- Doubt is uncertainty of mind.
- And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
- Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
- Remember, Christians have a weapon..... The Whole Armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-18
- Anyone who is born of God is an overcomer of the world.
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6