You have a story. I have a story. Everyone has a story! Some are God-led stories. Some stories result from being led by the fleeting, unstable whims of the world. Most stories are earth shaking and life changing—good or bad. All stories affect our lives. When we hear Truth and understand the changes we need to make, our stories change. We take up residence on higher ground, digging our feet into a solid foundation that doesn’t shift or move us—and we get better. Our stories get better. Our lives grow and blossom with beauty we never thought possible.
So, what is your story? I’m reflecting now on my story.
As we read “the big reveal” of Jesus coming back, we learn that churches (people collected in one group, striving to be like Jesus) have stories, too. It is revealed to John that each church has kinks in their personalities, attitudes, and behaviors that could cause them to be less than worthy when Jesus comes back for his own. Each story is known by God. It is God through Jesus Christ who can rectify and redeem their story—if the warnings are taken seriously.
What is the story of your church? Our churches?
REVELATION—JESUS IS COMING!
Revelation 2, The Message
2 Write this to Ephesus, to the Angel of the church. The One with Seven Stars in his right-fist grip, striding through the golden seven-lights’ circle, speaks:
2-3 “I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out.
4-5 “But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall!
“Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.
6 “You do have this to your credit: You hate the Nicolaitan business. I hate it, too.
7 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’m about to call each conqueror to dinner. I’m spreading a banquet of Tree-of-Life fruit, a supper plucked from God’s orchard.”
8 Write this to Smyrna, to the Angel of the church. The Beginning and Ending, the First and Final One, the Once Dead and Then Come Alive, speaks:
9 “I can see your pain and poverty—constant pain, dire poverty—but I also see your wealth. And I hear the lie in the claims of those who pretend to be good Jews, who in fact belong to Satan’s crowd.
10 “Fear nothing in the things you’re about to suffer—but stay on guard! Fear nothing! The Devil is about to throw you in jail for a time of testing—ten days. It won’t last forever.
“Don’t quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing. I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you.
11 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. Christ-conquerors are safe from Devil-death.”
12 Write this to Pergamum, to the Angel of the church. The One with the sharp-biting sword draws from the sheath of his mouth—out come the sword words:
13 “I see where you live, right under the shadow of Satan’s throne. But you continue boldly in my Name; you never once denied my Name, even when the pressure was worst, when they martyred Antipas, my witness who stayed faithful to me on Satan’s turf.
14-15 “But why do you indulge that Balaam crowd? Don’t you remember that Balaam was an enemy agent, seducing Balak and sabotaging Israel’s holy pilgrimage by throwing unholy parties? And why do you put up with the Nicolaitans, who do the same thing?
16 “Enough! Don’t give in to them; I’ll be with you soon. I’m fed up and about to cut them to pieces with my sword-sharp words.
17 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’ll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I’ll also give a clear, smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new name.”
18 Write this to Thyatira, to the Angel of the church. God’s Son, eyes pouring fire-blaze, standing on feet of furnace-fired bronze, says this:
19 “I see everything you’re doing for me. Impressive! The love and the faith, the service and persistence. Yes, very impressive! You get better at it every day.
20-23 “But why do you let that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet mislead my dear servants into Cross-denying, self-indulging religion? I gave her a chance to change her ways, but she has no intention of giving up a career in the god-business. I’m about to lay her low, along with her partners, as they play their sex-and-religion games. The bastard offspring of their idol-whoring I’ll kill. Then every church will know that appearances don’t impress me. I x-ray every motive and make sure you get what’s coming to you.
24-25 “The rest of you Thyatirans, who have nothing to do with this outrage, who scorn this playing around with the Devil that gets paraded as profundity, be assured I’ll not make life any harder for you than it already is. Hold on to the truth you have until I get there.
26-28 “Here’s the reward I have for every conqueror, everyone who keeps at it, refusing to give up: You’ll rule the nations, your Shepherd-King rule as firm as an iron staff, their resistance fragile as clay pots. This was the gift my Father gave me; I pass it along to you—and with it, the Morning Star!
29 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Ephesus: They lost their first love while trying to do church. Their motive to do things right became paramount over loving Jesus first and asking what He wanted. Our Light begins to fade as our love for Jesus-first and only begins to fade in the background of why we do what we do. Be then do.
Smyrna: Rich or poor, never stop believing! No matter what happens—never stop believing! I be back soon, leave the Light on!
Pergamum: You call on the Name of Jesus, but you’re looking for love in all the wrong places, partying close to the edge which can lead to death. People led of evil are great influencers of those who follow Christ—if we let them. Jesus will daily give us what we need to conquer the crowd of evil influencers.
Thyatira: Impressive work without pure motives of heart, mind and soul is not what God is looking for as servant followers of God alone. When the church becomes a business, the people suffer growth in Godly character (fruits of the Spirit). When the church is confused by world thinking religions with an attempt to merge all religions with the Truth of Jesus Christ, the Body suffers. God is not pleased. Christ alone, nothing more, nothing less. “Hold on to the truth you have until I get there.” God rewards those who stick the His Truth alone.
“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”
What “wind” is blowing through our churches today?
I pray for your church everywhere, around the world, to love you first, ask what you want, hear your voice above all other voices and obey you because we of our love for you. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen!