Have you ever had someone tell you that you’re not quite there as a Christian, that you need to do something else, fulfil some extra requirement, maybe have some sort of extra experience? if you do that then you’ll be a real Christian! In preaching on Colossians 2:6-23 back in September 2014, Steve Blyth points out how the Apostle Paul says very clearly that authentic Christianity is all about Jesus. If you have Him – you have everything you need. It’s through keeping Jesus at the very centre of our focus that we grow in the way God wants us to and become the type of people He’s created us to be. Beware of people who tell you otherwise.
Jesus appeared to his disciples on a number of occasions following his resurrection. Perhaps the most signficant of these is recorded in John 21:1-19 where Jesus specifically took time to speak to Peter. He did this, because in the lead up to the cross, Peter had failed Jesus so badly, denying him three times. So, as they met on the beach, by the fire, the scene that John records unfolds and centres around the question Jesus asked Peter, ‘Do you love me?’
You have to wonder what the church in Sardis thought when they received their letter from the Lord Jesus in Revelation 3:1-6 and read that his estimation of them was that they were ‘dead’. The church at Sardis may well have had the appearance of being alive. Activity. Preaching. Worship. Giving. Outward signs of life…without inward reality! It is clear then that Jesus’ message to this church was written then to bring them back to life and to re-awaken them to repentance, without which the church will never see the blessing of the Lord.
Of all the seven cities listed in this part of Revelation, Thyatira was by far the least important. It was neither a major religious centre nor a regional political capital. It was simply a busy, minor Macedonia trading colony notable, if it was notable for anything at all, for the number of trade guilds that provided the structure for civic society and business life in the city of Thyatira. And yet of all the seven letters, this letter to the believers in Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29 is the longest and the most involved and perhaps the most urgent.
When Jesus spoke to the 7 churches of Asia Minor, he did so to bring forth spiritual life and vitality. This is seen clearly in the message he spoke to the church at Pergamum in Revelation 2:12-17 where the church was in danger of compromising with the world – especially due to their toleration of false teachers. Sadly, church history revelas that whenever the church has played around with the truth, Jesus has come against His Church – not to bless it and make it comfortable, but to bring it back the the ‘straight and narrow’ paths of the Lord.
When Jesus sent His message to the church at Smyrna through John in Revelation 2:8-11, and called them to perservere in their time of suffering for the gospel, He did not forget that they had already suffered much in the way of persecution. However, He did urge them to ‘keep on, keeping on’ in the midst of their trials. Perhaps the believers in Smyrna might have hoped that He would end their trials. Not this time. He called them to endure, but also gave them many promises that would help them do as He bid.
The Lord Jesus gave John seven messages to deliver to the seven churches of the region, and the first of the seven churches mentioned is the one in the city of Ephesus. What Jesus had to say to them was clear in Revelation 2:1-7. There was much to commend the church at Ephesus – they were hard working, dligient and orthodox – but there was one thing that caused Jesus much concern. They had lost their first love. But Jesus not only pointed this out, He also told them the steps needed to bring about the needed renewal.
With the federal election on our doorstep, it is important that God’s people continue to be informed about the significance of the Religious Discrimination Bill (RDB) and its benefits. To answer key questions, the Institute for Civil Society* (ICS) has made a three-part explainer video regarding the RDB.
When John turned to see the voice that was speaking to him in Revelation 1:1-20, he saw the Lord Jesus Christ in all His glory and fell at His feet as ‘though dead’. While the vision John had was of significance, of even more signficiance was what he heard Jesus say. In this second message on Revelation 1:1-20, we find out what Jesus thinks of His church and why he wrote the seven letters that appear in Revelation 2-3.