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The Book of Revelation

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The Letter to Your Church

Revelation 3:22
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches."
This phrase occurs 7 times in Revelation, once for every church addressed by Jesus.  And in every one of them, the word churches was in the plural form.  In other words, what Jesus said to one of them applied to them all.  We just finished Laodicea who was lukewarm.  God told them to be zealous, this was not just meant for the church at Laodicea, it had an application to them all. 

The letters to the seven churches are a priceless treasure of information for all Christians of all ages.  We do not have to guess or to speculate as to what Jesus expects from His church.  We have it right there in front of us.  In all of Revelation, the language used in the letters to the churches is the least figurative and by far the easiest to understand.  Any babe in Christ can pick up the Revelation and understand what "be zealous" and "he that overcometh and keepeth my words" means.  It's easy to figure out what Jesus is saying to these churches and this is probably why they are somewhat overlooked today.  Most people pick up the Revelation and gloss right over the first three chapters and jump straight into the thick of all the imagery afterwards and sometimes miss some of the most valuable information in all of scripture. 

The Gospel accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John reveal Jesus Christ.  The book of Acts teaches us how to get into Jesus Christ.  The general epistles teach us how to live in Jesus Christ and Revelation teaches us how to die in Jesus Christ.  "He that overcometh" and is "faithful unto death" is the one who dies in Jesus Christ. 

So with that said, what if we take all the positive things Jesus said to all seven of the churches and put them all together?  And then what if we took all the negative things Jesus said to them and do likewise?  What would a church look like that had all of the good qualities of all seven churches, rejecting all the bad qualities and obeying all the exhortations at the same time? 


Praiseworthy Qualities Condemned Qualities Exhortations Ephesus:
  • Labored for His name's sake
  • Had patience
  • Had borne their burdens
  • Exposed and refused to tolerate false teachers
  • Had endurance, did not faint
  • Lost their first Love
  • Remember from where they fell
  • Repent of wrongdoing
  • Heed the words of Christ through the Spirit
  • Overcome
  • Good works
  • Persevered against intense persecution
  • Persevered against deep poverty
  • Do not fear
  • Be faithful unto death
  • Overcome
  • Heed the words of Christ through the Spirit
  • Held fast to Jesus' Name
  • Did not deny the faith of Jesus
  • Tolerated false teaching
  • Allowed false teachers to throw stumbling blocks
  • Repent
  • Heed the words of Christ through the Spirit
  • Overcome
  • They were commended for their charity
  • and service
  • and faith
  • and patience
  • and works which were increasing
  • Tolerated false prophets
  • Tolerated fornication and eating of meats sacrificed to idols
  • Hold steadfast
  • Overcome
  • Keep (Obey) Jesus words to the end
  • Heed the words of Christ through the Spirit
  • Some had not defiled their garments
  • Spiritually dead
  • Not vigilant
  • Be watchful
  • Strengthen what they do have
  • Overcome
  • Heed the words of Christ through the Spirit
  • Good works
  • They had opportunity
  • They kept, (followed), Jesus' word
  • Patient
  • Had not denied His name
  • Be steadfast
  • Take advantage of opportunity
  • Overcome
  • Heed the words of Christ through the Spirit
  • Poor works
  • Lukewarm service
  • Think too highly of themselves
  • Wretched
  • Poor
  • Blind
  • Miserable
  • Naked
  • Open their eyes and see themselves for what they really are
  • Be zealous
  • Sacrifice themselves in service
  • Open the door of opportunity and let Jesus in
  • Overcome
  • Heed the words of Christ through the Spirit
Taking all in all and forming a total picture of what we see, we get a mental image of a church that first and foremost loves Jesus Christ and has Him as its head, heeds His word, is loving, patient, enduring, fearless, watchful, faithful, busy, growing, steadfast, self sacrificing, charitable and obedient to the will of God.  Intolerant of sin and false teaching, zealous for and rich in good works, repentant of wrongdoing, eager for opportunity, not thinking too highly of themselves and faithful unto death.  

These are the qualities we must seek in our own congregations.  If we lack any of these, we need to heed the words of Christ through the Spirit and diligently try to add them.  Some of these churches only had one or two things that Jesus Condemned them for.  The penalty He warned them of was severe.  Their fellowship with Christ was at stake. 

The application for us today is that we need to recognize that we have before us a picture of exactly what Jesus Christ expects of His church.  He died for it, He shed His blood for it, he built it, He heads it and possesses it, He loves it and rules it from heaven.  It is up to us to make sure it is what He would have it to be.  We know exactly what He expects and the responsibility for that has been given to us through the word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and authoritative for us today. 

We do not want Jesus Christ standing on the outside of the door of fellowship like He was with Laodicea.  We do not want Him knocking on the doors of our congregation from the outside.  We want Him on the inside, in fellowship with us and the way to assure ourselves of this is to be what He would have us to be. 

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches"


Church of Christ Lessons on the Revelation of Jesus Christ

1.  Understanding Revelation
2.  Symbolic Objects in Revelation
3.  Understanding the Numerical Symbolism in Revelation
4.  Identifying the Opposition Characters in Revelation
John's Introduction to the Churches of Asia

6.  John's Vision of Jesus Christ
7. The Church who Left Her First Love, Ephesus
8.  Smyrna, the Suffering Church
9.  Pergamum, the church in Hell's Headquarter
10.  Thyatira, the church that Condoned Sin
11. Sardis (The Dead Church)
12. Philadelphia (The Church With Opportunity)
13.  Laodicea (The Lukewarm Church)

14.  Letter to Your Church
15.  John's Throne Vision (chapter 4)
16.  God the Redeemer Revealed  (chapter 5)
17.  God the Avenger of His Children (Chapter 6)
18.  Who Will Be Able To Stand  (Chapter 7)
19.  The First Four Trumpets
(Chapter 8)
20.  The Fifth Trumpet (Chapter 9:1-12)
21.  The Sixth Trumpet Announcement (Chapter 9:13-21)
22. The Little Book and the Unutterable Thunders (Rev 10)
23.  The Seventh Trumpet Announcement (Rev 11)
24. The Conflict (Revelation 12)
25.  Revelation 13 (Identification of the First Beast)

26.  Revelation 13 (Identification of the Second Beast)

27.  Chapter 14 (The Victorious Lamb and the Redeemed)
28.  Revelation 14 (The Turning Point)
29.  Revelation 14 (The Sickle and the Winepress)
30.  Chapter 15 (Comfort for the Saints)
31.  Chapter 16 (Bowls of Wrath)
32.  Chapter 16 (The Battle of Armageddon)
33.  Chapter 17 (The Scarlet Woman)
34.  Chapter 18 (Fallen  is Babylon)

35.  King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Chapter 19)
36.  The Fall of Satan  (Chapter 20)
37.  Heaven, the Home of the Soul  (Chapter 21)
38.  The Spirit and the Bride Say Come  (Chapter 22)
39.  The Dating of the Revelation

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Revelation 21:5-7

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.