David Pawson: Unlocking the Bible--Revelation Pt2
Thoughtful Thoughts 21.4.17
Revelation Part 2.
The seven churches.
During Passover, we were looking at the sacrifice our Lord made for us. As we all know, after His death and resurrection and many appearances Jesus went back to His Father. In Revelation part 1 we saw that He has been watching what has been happening to the churches since. Jesus had a message for John to send to the seven churches.
Now we arrive at Part 2 of that series, where Jesus saw that Satan had his residence very close to two of the churches. There was a building from which sacrifices went up continuously, and we now know that it was to the mythological king of all the gods, called Zeus. Jesus called this building ‘Satan’s throne’. (Now, we call it “The Pergamon Building”, (which was moved to Berlin by archaeologists.)
The churches that were further away from this ‘temple of Satan’ were not being challenged so much and had become lukewarm. The closer the churches found themselves being to it, found that they either had to compromise their faith or receive persecution. The ones that had the most money were the ones Jesus said were spiritually poor, (or ‘wretched’). The ones with the least money were the ones Jesus said were rich. What’s more, Jesus threatened to close some churches down.
Jesus tells us in both Revelation and in Matthew 24, that things will get worse before they get better. They will only get better permanently when Jesus returns.
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 was on the outside of the church! The church was just going merrily along without God! This shows us that God is present in some churches while not present in others. Some churches teach that membership of their church will ultimately save you. Many organisations latch on to this word ‘church’, as it normally means you get charity status and more social recognition. This means that the word has become almost meaningless. There’s a church now for almost every kind of belief. The word has been kidnapped.
The bottom line is, Jesus tells us that ‘no man can come to the Father but by Him’. Peter says in Acts 4.12, ‘there is no other name under heaven by which man can be saved’. The only way to know what Jesus actually says, is to read the Bible for yourself, and not rely on 'Chinese whispers'. The church cannot save anybody. Only Jesus can do that. Who you trust and believe is important. The real Church of Jesus is a group of people who have Jesus present with them by His Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me”.