David Pawson - Revelation Part 2
Thoughtful Thoughts 21.9.2018 Revelation, Part 2.
( map of the 7 churches )
The letter of Jesus to the churches
Jesus had a message for John to send to the seven churches, which you can see from the map.
Even though they were written to specific churches centuries ago, we will see that they are still relevant today.
Summary of the message to the seven churches...
1). The church at Ephesus had true doctrine but was loveless, Revelation 2:1-7.
2). The church at Smyrna was facing severe persecution, to whom Jesus says in Rev. 2:9-11;
“I know your works, tribulation and poverty but you are rich…be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life…He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” In Jesus eyes, the churches that had real value were the faithful ones, (and not the rich ones).
3). Then there was a warning given to Pergamos, a compromising church, in 2:12-17.
4). Then there was a warning to Thyatira, a sexually immoral church, in 2:18-29.
5). Then there was a warning to Sardis, a dead church, in 3:1-6.
6). There was encouragement to Philadelphia, a faithful church, in 3:7-13.
7). Finally, there was a warning to Laodicea, a church that was only lukewarm, (3:14-22).
( The Pergamon altar of Revelation 2:12-17 )
The problems caused by Satan...
Jesus said that Satan had his residence at Pergamon, which was very close to two of the churches. Jesus called this building ‘Satan’s throne’. That structure was an altar the size or a building, from which sacrifices went up continuously. It was found by an archaeologists, who moved it to Berlin and is now called located in “The Pergamon Building”.
The closer the churches found themselves to Satan’s throne, resulted in them either compromising through hardship, or remaining faithful and getting persecuted. In fact Jesus tells us (in Revelation and Matthew 24), that things will get far worse first before they get better. They will only get better permanently after Jesus returns.
The churches that were further away from this ‘temple of Satan’ were not being challenged quite as much. They valued their privileges more than their principles and become lukewarm. In fact the churches that were the wealthiest, were the ones Jesus called spiritually ‘poor’ and which Jesus threatened to close down. However, the ones that were ‘rich’ in Jesus eyes, were the ones with the least money.
Jesus told the church at Laodicea (in Rev.3:20), that if just one person opened the door to Him, He would come in. Jesus wasn’t even allowed inside the doors of the church. The church was just going merrily along without Him! Jesus was not even present in some churches.
The word ‘church’ has been kidnapped to get social recognition, or charity status! So, the words ‘church’ or ‘christian’ or ‘minister’ have become almost meaningless. There’s a church for everything and anything now. The word ‘church’ has been kidnapped. Some churches even teach that membership of their church is enough to save you. Well, we’ve seen from history how far that idea gets people. Listen. No church organisation can save you. Only Jesus can do that. Who you trust and believe in, is critical. So, rather than relying on Chinese whispers, why not get the truth first hand, by reading the Bible.
The true church.
The only way to be sure if we are in God’s family is to obey Jesus. He said:
a). “No man can come to the Father but by Me’.
b). “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me”. (Peter adds in Acts 4.12, ‘there is no other name under heaven by which man can be saved’.)
c). “You must be Born Again”.
When a man asks Peter what he had to do to be saved, he described what that meant by replying, (Acts 2:38), “Repent, and be immersed, (in Greek “baptizo”), in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. (Jesus had His disciples do all the baptising for Him. It says they were baptising even more than John the Baptist.)
By way of testimony, my journey started when I was 11 years old on my first night of being sent away to a boarding school for five years. I asked Jesus to be my Saviour and Lord as I lay awake in bed. Being “Born Again” did not start when my father wiped my forehead with water, as an infant, and calling it ‘christening’. It started by repenting of sin and choosing to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Infant christening is the traditions of men. My real baptism happened well over a decade later by being immersed as a believer in water. We are only disciples to the extent that we are obedient. Disciples obey. Jesus and those He authorised to teach us told us what to do. God’s family is made up of those who have God’s Holy Spirit living in them, and you can start the journey of being in God’s family just by doing following what Peter said in Acts 2:38.
I’m John Dunning and that “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.
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