God Speaks to Us
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”
—Revelation 2:7, emphasis added
THE SPECIFIC MESSAGE-Christ is speaking to His church. Each letter to the churches has all or part of these seven components:
- Jesus addresses each assembly: “To the angel of the church in” (2:1a NASB).
- Jesus also addresses specific individuals. Jesus knows all about the problems of the local church—He is not out of touch.
- Jesus addresses each church with authority: “[He] walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands” (2:1b).
- Jesus addresses each church with an approval: “I know your works, your labor” (2:2-3).
- Jesus addresses each church with an admonition: “I have this against you” (2:4).
- Jesus addresses each church with an appeal: “Repent and do the first works” (2:5).
- Jesus addresses each church with an assurance: “To him who overcomes” (2:7).
Jesus knows what is going on in both your local assembly and your life. This is His message to each of His local churches!
THE UNIVERSAL MESSAGE—Christ is waiting for His church. To all churches throughout history Jesus says, “I always expect your devotion to me!” That is phenomenal!
The seven churches in every age represent seven varieties of Christians—true and false. Everyone who professes Christianity is like one or more of these seven.
The Church at Ephesus: These Christians had a great start but left their first love, their all-consuming passion for Christ. Jesus told them, “You started out so well—you could not get enough of My Word; you could not get enough of fellowshiping with My people; you could not get enough of worshiping Me; and you could not get enough of doing everything for Me!”
That is Christ’s universal message throughout the church age: some will start great, but sooner or later their devotion will wane. So Jesus says, “Listen to what I have to say, for I am all you need! Be an overcomer and come back to Me!” Overcomers know that Jesus is all they need, so they will repent and return to their first love!
The Church at Smyrna: The Smyrnean Christians stood fast during great persecution. No matter what the devil threw at them, they became even more purified. Christ’s universal message to the churches is this: saints should expect to suffer and, as a result, be purified. Are you suffering in your family? Are you suffering through spiritual warfare in your private communion with the Lord? Are you suffering at your job or at school? Wherever you are suffering, Jesus says, “I know that you are being purified by persecution. Be faithful!” Overcomers know that Jesus is all they need, so they will remain faithful to Him at all costs.
The Church at Pergamos: These Pergamite Christians were drowning in worldliness. Some were wed to the world like “country club Christians” with no standards. Do you have a focus and grip on your money, your car, and your job? Have you decided that you will do what is socially acceptable—even if it compromises Scripture’s absolutes? Are you more concerned with fashion than with holiness? In every church there are “country club Christians.” There are always those who try to reconcile Christ to the world. They try to make Him palatable so that no one is offended. Overcomers know that Jesus is all they need, so they will resist worldliness and keep their eyes on the Lord.
The Church at Thyatira: The false teacher, Jezebel, seduced the Thyatiran Christians. Some believed her and started following a false doctrine, which had a social gospel rather than a divine call to the new birth. They thought that God just wanted to clean up the world, but not the individual. To them, the gospel was a call to society, and not the sinner. Overcomers know that Jesus is all they need, so they will resist all such evil teaching and lifestyles.
The Church at Sardis: These Christians had a big name, but no life. Throughout the centuries, the persecuted in Christ’s church have sat right next to the cold and lifeless. Jesus said that His message universally goes to all; He calls us where we are, and asks us to come to Him! Sardian Christians are as dead as last week’s cut flowers—cold and lifeless—in a spiritual stupor. Overcomers know that Jesus is all they need, so they will not defile themselves with the “corpses.”
The Church at Philadelphia: Jesus gave these believers no condemnation or blame. Philadelphian Christians of today are sound in doctrine and zealous in ministry, and are reaching out to the world with their deep love for the Lord Jesus Christ! Overcomers know that Jesus is all they need, so their heart beats for Christ alone.
The Church at Laodicea: These individuals are apostate, counterfeit, and sickening to Christ—members of the Christless church that will thrive in the Tribulation under Satan’s leadership. They are part of the visible church in name only. Jesus therefore told them that He would spit them out of His mouth!
This is Jesus’ universal message: the whole church is comprised of these seven types of Christians—there are some of each in every age. So, in a most emphatic way, if you are a born-again Christian, this letter is addressed to you. If you are among the persecuted, remain faithful! But if you have left your first love, remember what Jesus did for you. Repent! Repeat those things you did at first for Christ! Go back to Him with your whole heart!