WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS
To The Angel Of The Church In Sardis
The words that Christ speaks to the church at Sardis are devastating and blunt, this church has a reputation for being alive, but she is dead. Christ commands her to wake up and strengthen what little life is left because she is headed toward death. Jesus announces that he will come to judge her unexpectedly. Jesus calls this church to remember and repent with the serious warning that failure to do so would result in the church being opposed by Jesus himself. It seems there was a remnant remaining faithful. Christ promises to keep those who conquer from being blotted out of the book of life. The faithful will remain until the end, and they will be confessed by Jesus before the Father.
To The Angel Of The Church In Philadelphia
Jesus is the holy one, the true one, and he has the key of David. This statement is most likely a reference to Isaiah 22:22. Jesus has the authority and power to act in ways that none can interfere. The open and closed doors may describe entrance into the city of David, the heavenly Jerusalem. Philadelphia is commended for standing firm in spite of having little power. It seems the letter to Philadelphia contains no words of censure. They are commended keeping God's word, not denying Christ, and patiently endured persecution. Jesus loves them, and others will recognize that as well. He urges them to continue to hold fast. The church of Philadelphia had been faithful to the Lord in the face of real opposition. The synagogue of Satan seems to refer to the Jews who opposed Christianity. These Christians would be rewarded by the Lord for their faithfulness by making their enemies recognize that the church truly is the fulfillment of God’s promises from the Old Testament. They will enjoy the presence and the name of the Lord forever.
To The Angel Of The Church In Laodicea
Jesus addresses Laodicea as the Amen of God, faithful and true for he alone is supreme and preeminent over creation. Laodicea was known for its prosperity, a city with banking, manufacturing, and a medical school. The prosperity of Laodicea led to pride and arrogance. Prosperity can be as great a threat to God’s people as adversity in spite of the fact that it is usually overlooked as an imminent threat. This church received the most severe rebuke of Christ’s letters. He issues a blistering indictment of the church’s sickening lukewarmness. These Laodiceans did not see their spiritual condition and had no sense of their need. They thought that they were just fine when in fact they were wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Pride can lead to a false sense of security. Jesus offers them everything they need, but he requires repentance. Jesus' love is accompanied by rebuke and discipline. He is able, willing, and ready. If the church will not listen, he individually appeals to any in the Laodicean church that will respond. The penitent will be seated at a banquet with Jesus and given a seat with Jesus on the throne of heaven. Jesus introduces these seven letters with titles demonstrating his right and authority to correct these churches. He is the one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. He is the holy one, the true one, and has the key of David. Jesus is the Amen, the faithful witness, the true witness, and the beginning of God's creation. His call to these churches has application for us today. May we wake up, be strengthened, remember, endure, obey, and repent. If you have an ear, listen to what the Spirit says.
Things To Consider:
- How does a reputation get separated from the truth?
- What is repentance?
- How can one be strengthened in the Lord?
- How do you deny the word of God?
- How does someone hold fast to the faith?
- Why is being lukewarm such a problem?
- Why is prosperity so dangerous?
- How can you guard against being blind to the truth?
- What can we do to seek the riches of God?
- Why does God discipline us?
- Why do we reject discipline as love?
- How can one be zealous to repent?
- What does it mean to have an ear to hear what Jesus says to his churches?