The Revelation of Jesus Christ
The mystery of the Church
The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven churches. —Revelation 1:20 MEV
The Church is spoken of as a mystery because it was kept secret throughout the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul explains that this mystery is being revealed among the nations! That mystery is Christ in us! It is the mystery of the new birth: God living within His people.
I have been made a servant of it according to the commission of God, which has been given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, even the mystery which has been hidden from past ages and generations, but now is revealed to His saints. To them God would make known what is the glorious riches of this mystery among the nations. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present them perfect in Christ Jesus. —Colossians 1:25-28 MEV
The 7 Churches
In chapters 2 and 3 the Lord gives a message of encouragement and admonition to the Apostle John. Pay close attention to what God is requiring of His church. Each church is admonished with these words, “hear what the Spirit says” and “to him that overcomes…”
First, lets take a look at what the Spirit of God is saying to the churches. The Spirit of God both encourages and warns us. The messages to the 7 churches from the Lord included praise and encouragement for the good works and a rebuke and call to repentance for sin and compromise.
- The church at Ephesus was commended for their perseverance but also rebuked because they had lost their first love, passion and fire for Jesus
- The church at Smyrna did not have any rebuke but received encouragement to remain faithful in the face of intense persecution.
- The church at Peramum was faithful in the midst of persecution but was tolerating false teachings and error that encouraged sexual immorality. (Remember Balaam’s counsel to Balak was to entice Israel into sexual immorality.)
- The church at Thyatira was commended for their spiritual growth and progress but some were tolerating a false prophet who promoted error, sin and idolatry. (Jezebel is a spirit that controls, manipulates and enslaves others into sin.)
- The church at Sardis had no commendations, it had become a dead church meaning their hearts had grown cold and they became religious. They were commanded to repent.
- The church at Philadelphia received encouargement and comfort in the midst of difficulty because they stayed true to the Word of God, no rebuke was given.
- The church at Laodocia was a carnal and worldly church, they had lost their salt and savor, they had wealth but were spiritual poor and naked. They were commanded to repent.
Now let’s look at the promise for those who overcome. (Remember what 1 John 5:4 says, “whoever is born of God overcomes the world, and the victory that overcomes the world is our faith.”) Those who live by faith in the Word of God are given the promise of eternal life and eternal rewards.
- “will eat the tree of life in the midst of paradise.”—Revelation 2:7
- “shall not experience the 2nd death.”—Revelation 2:11
- “shall eat hidden manna, a white stone with a new name.” (Stones served as admission tickets to public festivals and assemblies, this could mean admission to the marriage supper.)—Revelation 2:17
- “shall have power over nations.”—Revelation 2:26
- “shall be clothed, name in the book of life, acknowledged before all of heaven.”—Revelation 3:5
- “shall be a pillar in the New Jerusalem.”—Revelation 3:12
- “shall sit with me on My throne.”—Revelation 3:21
Remember, each church is admonished with these words, “hear what the Spirit says” and “to him that overcomes…” A church that follows the Spirit of God and lives by faith in the Word of God is a life giving church. What lessons can we apply on a personal level to keep our relationship with Lord vibrant and healthy? First of all be a part of a life giving church! Second follow these admonitions.
- Keep your passion for Jesus hot.
- Be faithful when you are persecuted for your faith.
- Keep yourself sexually pure!
- Keep yourself free from false teaching, error always leads to sin.
- Don’t become religious, ie a “Sunday Christian,” its all about relationships.
- Stay true to the Word in the midst of difficulty, due season always comes.
- Don’t compromise with the world and become carnal losing your Christian witness.