Thursday, December 10, 2020

More Letters to Church in Revelation

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 3:6, 13, 22).

Each of the letters to the seven churches begins by calling attention to one of the attributes of Christ as He was revealed in chapter 1. Each letter continues with Christ saying that He has evaluated them and that He knows their deeds. In all but one (Philadelphia), Christ tells them of things they need to correct. Their problems relate to a failure to understand the attributes of Christ and to walk consistently with Him as He really is. Finally, a reward is held out to those who persevere in righteousness. The reward is to participate in the glorious attributes of Christ mentioned at the beginning of each letter.

Even though they are located in the same region and have similar histories, each of these churches is different from the rest. That tells us something about what we can expect when we look at the church today.

Now, to Sardis Jesus reveals Himself as the One who holds the “seven spirits” of God. The seven spirits is a reference to the perfect Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who enables us to live righteously, but the church in Sardis has grieved the Spirit. They have not taken advantage of what Jesus offers them. Those few who have been faithful, however, will be dressed in white, like the spirits who serve God before His throne day and night (Revelation 3:1–6).

To Philadelphia Jesus reveals Himself as the One who has the key to the city of New Jerusalem. This church does not have any great problems. The door to Jerusalem is open for them, and they can enter and be spared the trial that is coming. When they enter the city, they will become pillars in the temple (Revelation 3:7–13).

And finally, to Laodicea Jesus reveals Himself as the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of the universe. As ruler, He possesses everything. The Laodiceans think they are rich, but in reality they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked” (v. 17). Everything they need is found in Christ, if they will only ask Him for it. Christ is, as it were, kept outside the church. He knocks, and is ready to come in and share the communion meal with them, giving them Himself and all His benefits, if they will but open the door. Those who are faithful will join with Jesus as rulers of the universe (Revelation 3:14–22).

Do we typically hear about Christ in these terms? Do we speak of Him as ruler of the universe? Perhaps our worship is so impoverished because our language is so bankrupt. The solution is obvious, we must return to the language the Scripture uses. Commit to seeing Christ as His Word describes Him.