Christ’s vision for His church is revealed in Revelation in special and intimate detail. There are seven churches in Asia identified in Chapter 2, which portray the church through the ages, including now. This is prophetic and apocalyptic or revealing language. The churches are represented by seven golden lampstands. The church is to be the light in the darkness, but the darkness is coming. For every church there is good news and bad news.
The Church of Ephesus brings the lesson why a church is only as strong as its love for Christ. This church was dynamic, doing many works, but had lost its first love. Christ tells it to remember, repent and repeat its first works.
Smyrna was the suffering church, teaching us how to have everything when we have nothing. They were poor and persecuted in Rome. Jesus admonishes them to be faithful and fearless. He will reward them in their imprisonment and suffering.
The church of Satan’s City is Pergamos, teaching us how easy it is to have the world enter it. Compromise identified this church as paganism reigned. Yet, they still held fast to His name and doctrine. However, they tolerated evil. Sound familiar to today? He tells the overcomers to separate themselves and clean up the mess.
Thyatira teaches not to tolerate immorality while trying to be faithful. They were loving and patient, but there was the cancer of sexual immorality in the church. This church represents the middle ages where pagan unholiness mixed with the church. They were promised to rule and reign and be raptured if they repented and overcame.
In Sardis is found a church that dies. Why? Because it was dead on the inside. They were the church of the “nominal Christian.” They were not being watchful or vigilant. He tells them to be vigorous in faith. They are admonished to be virtuous and repent. The church died from relying on past reputation, and losing track of its own spiritual condition of falling asleep.
Now comes Philadelphia or faithful church. It was the city of “brotherly love,” mentioned seven times. Pure living with right doctrine kept them strong in faith with weakness. This means they knew they needed God to lead them. This brought them big opportunity with an open door to the world around them. This church represented the church here between 1750 and 1925 when we started a spiritual decline.
The last church of Laodicea closed its door in the face of the Lord. It is lukewarm and compromising. It is a time of political correctness and fear of offending anyone. Does this sound familiar? Yes, it is our church today. It is not only compromising, but also conceited. They think they are rich, but they are poor in every way. Pride and arrogance brings judgment. This is a “Christless” church. God is standing at the door and all we need to do is open it and let Him in. But we are nailing the door shut in every way we can to allow all faiths and religions to be equal. We must repent and turn around. We must open the door to the Lord of the church so that He might give His true riches to us.