When we read about the Church at Laodicea, we usually think of it as the bad church, the lukewarm church. But Jesus’ message to the church is one of hope, of possibilities. The church had been hot. It had been cold. At the time of the letter it was … comfortable. But by His grace it could be more, and so can we. Message delivered 9/20/09.
The letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 all addressed both specific situations in that time, but they also apply to things in our lives and our churches today. For Philadelphia, the message was to endure. Everything about the World System separates us from God, but He said in the letter to Philadelphia to endure, because he is in control. Message delivered 9/13/09.
The church at Thyatira drew a warning from Jesus because it was tolerating “that woman Jezabel” — permitting and tolerating a lifestyle that leads away from the truth. Pastor John observes that our society is so fame-oriented that it doesn’t matter if the source of that fame is infamous. In that respect, we’re no different from the church at Thyatira. Message delivered 8/30/09.
In the letter to Pergamum in Revelation 2, Jesus warned the church against hanging out with the Balaam crowd. Why? Not because the Balaam teaching was to walk away from God. Rather, it is an active influence even today: “Take a look over here … why don’t you try this … it’s not so bad …” and leads us to tolerate and then to embrace sin. Message delivered 8/23/09.
Jesus’ letter to the church at Smyrna in Revelation 2 teaches us that experiencing hard times in our lives does not mean we are doing something wrong. It could, in fact, mean we’re doing everything right. Message delivered 8/9/09.
The first letter to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 praises the Ephesian church for its dutiful service, but then calls them out for somehow letting their focus change to just doing “church” rather than their love relationships with each other and with God. It’s this attitude that is so common today: that love can be earned or bought. Message delivered 7/26/09. (Technical problems prevented recording Part 2, which explored this same issue.)
The letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are often thought to be mysterious and etherial, but they contain solid, pratical instruction in God’s war against the self-serving, me-first attitude that pervades our culture today. In the first letter, to the church at Ephesus, Jesus reveals how easily God’s priority in our lives — loving Him — gets misinterpreted into doing things for Him. Message delivered 7/12/09.