Every Faith Leader should read the book of Revelation regularly. You shouldn’t fear it or avoid it. Revelation 1:3 says, Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. The time is more at hand now than ever before and the blessing is still available.
Warnings and Acknowledgments
It’s a blessing to read the book of Revelation because as you read it with the Holy Ghost’s insight, you will learn some valuable things. The last book of the Bible contains some warnings for those who were missing God and some acknowledgments for those who were following God fully. So, by reading it and applying it, you can find out what to do to get all the blessings and benefits of following God. Just as when we read the Old Testament and learn from their obedience and their slip-ups, we can also learn from what Jesus said to the first century churches He addressed in the second and third chapter of Revelation.
The Seven Churches of Revelation
John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ begins by addressing seven churches in Asia Minor.
The first church Jesus spoke about was the church in Ephesus. This was the Mega church of the first century. Timothy was the pastor of the church in Ephesus and the Apostle John (who penned the book of Revelation) preached there before his exile to the Isle of Patmos. The church in Ephesus was big and busy, but they had left their first love. (Revelation 2:4) Jesus told them to repent and do [their] first works. (Revelation 2:5) The Ephesians stopped prioritizing their relationship with God!
Jesus acknowledged the church at Smyrna for their faithfulness despite persecution. In Revelation 2:10, He said, Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
The city of Pergamos was “sin city.” Sexual immorality was encouraged and accepted, even among Christians. To them, Jesus said, Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:16)
Thyatira was between Sardis and Pergamos. The church there did some good works, but they tolerated blatant sin, including pornography, sexual immortality, and even child sacrifice. One thing Jesus said to them was, and he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. (Revelation 2:26)
The church at Sardis did some good deeds, but they did works by their own power and for their own benefit rather than relying on God. Jesus told them, be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (Revelation 3:2)
The Laodicean church was financially well off, but they were selfish. They didn’t prioritize God’s kingdom through tithing or generosity to others. The Laodicean church was the one to whom Jesus said, I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)
The church of Philadelphia is listed before the Laodicean church in the book of Revelation, but I am putting it last because I pray that your church identifies the most with this one. This church avoided all the shortcomings of the others. Revelation 3:10-11 says of the Philadelphia church: Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Pray and believe to be like the church at Philadelphia, but make corrections where needed. Jesus didn’t condemn any of the churches; He told them what to do to get back under God’s blessing. Obey God’s Word and hold fast to it because Jesus is coming quickly!