SETTING THE FOUNDATION: These seven letters to the churches that are in chapter 2 and 3 set the pattern for the rest of the Apocalypse (Revelation) in a couple of ways. First of all it shows that the Church is Christ's highest priority on earth and that He will preserve it through whatever lies ahead. Second, each of these seven short epistles promises a prize for those who overcome the world (v7, 11, 17, 26-28). Knowing that Christ holds the Church in such high regard, and that it's only through the Church that you can overcome and claim the promised victory should cause you to hold the Church in the highest regard in your life as well.
OPEN LETTERS: Although each of these epistles are addressed to a particular regional church, these messages have application for you as well. Each letter also includes the phrase "whoever has ears, let them hear (v7, 11, 17, 29)." All of the commendations given can apply to you as well, as do the warnings.
THOSE NASTY NICOLAITANS: The Nicolaitans are specifically mentioned twice in this chapter, although the references to the Old Testament villains Balaam and Jezebel in v14 & 20 probably refer to the same type of people, who have one foot planted in the church, but the other out in the world. In other words, their lifestyle is completely worldly, yet they occasionally show up for church. God makes clear he hates these kind of people (v7). Don't be one.
DANCE WITH THE ONE YOU CAME WITH: We don't have the time to go through all of the sins Jesus convicts these churches of, but we'll spend a short moment on the first. "You have forsaken your first love (v4)." By the time John receives the Apocalypse, the Ephesian church is almost 40 years old, so it's well into its second generation. As is so often the case, the second (and following) generation(s) do not have the same zeal for serving the Lord. Jesus doesn't promise swift and sudden punishment will fall upon churches in this condition, rather, He will just unceremoniously remove their lamp since it's no longer emitting light. Let's make sure our lamp keeps burning brightly at Worthington Christian Reformed Church.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all of which are active in bringing these messages to the Church
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will strengthen you to be victorious (v7, 11, 17, 26)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
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