~ Applications From the 7 Churches ~
The Seven Churches of Revelation 2-3 outline the history of the Christian Church from Pentecost until the present time. There are a number of basic lessons to be learned from this important passage of Scripture—and we have both a general command and a specific command to learn from these churches. The general command, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We also have specific commands. Each of the seven letters to the seven churches contains the phrase, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” If you are a Christian then you are commanded to listen to the Spirit of God regarding these churches.
The Prophetic View ~ This passage is rightly viewed as prophetic literature. It was written ahead of the period of the seven churches and accurately describes the general progression—actually regression—of the church of Jesus Christ on earth. It is a condensed spiritual history of the Church from the ascension of Christ until His Second Coming. It includes not only the seven types of churches but the exact order in which they appear. As fulfilled prophecy it confirms our faith and the truth of God’s Word.
Current Christendom Collectively ~ This portion of Scripture allows an accurate evaluation of the Church in all its manifestations and in all time periods. It is a sobering evaluation which comes with plenty of specific warnings and lessons—lessons which should be applied by local congregations and individuals today.
Individual Churches Today ~ Every local assembly of Christians should examine themselves and see where they fit. Each local church doing so will find that they are a combination of the characteristics of the seven churches. The question that needs to be answered is in what proportions of the seven are present in their current congregation.
Individual Christians Today ~ We live in the period where the last four of seven churches are well represented—but especially the last two. The Laodicean church seems to dominate the prosperous well-developed countries. The third-world countries tend to see more influence of the Philadelphian church. There are many warnings from Revelation 2-3 and the Seven Churches. How about you? Are you lukewarm as is characteristic of the Laodicean church?
Summary of the 7 Churches ~ The Ephesus believers warn us about moving away from our first and best love. Are you as close to your Savior as you once were? The Smyrna believers illustrate that we should not fear suffering for Christ. Are you fearful of God’s continuing presence should you be called upon to suffer for His name? Pergamum believers warn of the danger of false or incomplete doctrine. Does your church preach the whole Word of God? Thyatira includes worldliness, paganism, and idolatry. Have you succumbed to the world, the flesh, or the devil? Sardis believers warn of the danger of spiritual deadness. Is your faith current events or ancient history? Our Savior reminded the Philadelphia believers that His reappearing would happen quickly. Are you constantly expectant regarding His sure return? Finally, the Laodicean church is apostate professing to be Christian but lacking the reality and vitality of real Christianity. Have you maintained the early excitement and enthusiasm you had when you first believed? How about doing a personal inventory based upon these seven churches?
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW
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