Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Jesus Christ and the Churches of Revelation

Churches involved in Immorality. Drugs. Sorcery. Troubles. Persecutions. Legalism. Weakness. Overbearing priesthood. Total deadness. False teachings.

Sounds like today, right?  Actually, it's not.  It's the churches of Asia Minor at the end of the first century. Human problems always play out in the church, because Christians, after all, are human, and sometimes people who are not Christians get involved in leadership. If your church is full of problems, it's like every other church that's ever existed on the planet.  People bring problems, because people have problems.
Jesus has lots to say to these folks, but it interests me more today that it only took a few years for all this trouble to develop. We are about 60 years away from the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus in these chapters, and here is all this trouble. In addition, these issues developed in a supercharged religious atmosphere, because all seven of these churches were influenced (if not pastored) by the Apostle John, and the other great leaders of the early church.
This one fact--all the troubles in the early church--tells us several things that we must consider in our own life with the Lord:

  1.  It's very hard to stay "on course." There's always someone or something pulling us away.  All but two of these churches had that sort of problem. Satan is always ready to derail our lives, or to sidetrack them into something useless.
  2. It doesn't matter how great your Pastor is.  It's about you, and your own personal life with God. Your minister can help some, but your spiritual life is up to you. Each of the people in these churches was responsible to the Lord, not to their ministers.
  3. It's very easy to consider secondary issues as the main thing when you're living and working in church. Jesus ends each of His admonitions to the churches with the little phrase, "To him who overcomes..." and, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." The single most important matter in your life right now is what's not right now. In other words, the future. God is preparing you for life with Him forever.  Be sure that YOU "overcome," so that you are ready to meet Him and give account of yourself to God. You will give account. You can be certain of that. Listen when He speaks.  What He says is always important, and He has your best interests at heart.
  4. Staying on track involves a number of different things, depending on your situation:
    1. Focus on Jesus, and love Him more than any other thing. Rev. 2:4. When duty becomes your main focus, Jesus is out of focus.  Don't get sidetracked from Him.
    2. Stay true to Jesus' teachings, and don't believe teachings He hates Rev. 2;6, "Nicolaitans".
    3. Expect trouble sometimes, and if you really get into trouble, look to the future, where you'll live forever 2:9-10
    4. Don't get involved with false prophets who want your money 2:14-15.
    5. There are lots of false prophets around (and prophetesses). Stay true to Jesus' words. Don't worship other gods, don't give in to evil.
    6. Don't die.  Dying spiritually is a choice. Some people have only "a name that they are alive;" don't be one of them. 3:1-6.
    7. Even if you're weak, Jesus has your back--and your front.  He'll strengthen you and stabilize you. He'll also protect you from the troubles He's bringing on the earth if you've kept His Word. 3:7-13
    8. Lukewarm people are in trouble with the Lord--but invite Him into your life, and you'll have the best of Him, and the best He has to offer. 3:8-22.
As you can easily see, people had problems "way back then," and the problems are very much like we see today.
Don't despair if you have problems, issues, and sins. You're just like everyone else.  The only failure is the one who gives up.
"The righteous man falls seven times and gets up again..."
So get up, don't give up.