When my older cousin messed up, I learned not to do what he did because I saw what it did in him and the consequences that came to him. Growing up, as a child who watched people intently, I learned to do what was right by watching others do life wrong. For example, I saw the results of family members yelling at people that didn’t satisfy their needs on the workplace or at other places of business. I didn’t want to be that person, surely there’s another way to work out problems, I thought. I looked up to wise people, watched how they handled problems and tried to model what they did because life seemed more peaceful for them. I learned from the story of others who learned from their setbacks and mistakes in behavior. I’m still learning for I am not where I want to be yet. God certainly is not finished with me yet.
Churches today can learn from the messages God sent John to the Seven Churches. Each church has a problem that needs to be rectified and solved by turning back to God for life’s answers. Each church (group of people who say they believe in Jesus) needs to evaluate where they are now and ask God for help in walking in His ways again. At times, churches are filled with good intentions only; while avoiding the real life of determinedly waking with God, doing what He wants. We get overwhelmed in the busyness of merely doing church, constantly coming up with a “new program” that will make us even more busy. Busy churches are highly susceptible to the devil and his schemes to divide us at this point. He loves it when we get so busy, we slowly walk further away from God’s plan, his purpose for each of us and for us collectively called “church”.
Jesus IS coming back. All who believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord can agree on this Truth. So, maybe it is time to pay close attention to all the ways the churches are not pleasing to God and learn from their stories.
REVELATION—JESUS IS COMING BACK!
Revelation 3, The Message
3 Write this to Sardis, to the Angel of the church. The One holding the Seven Spirits of God in one hand, a firm grip on the Seven Stars with the other, speaks:
“I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you’re dead, stone-dead.
2-3 “Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there’s life in you yet. But I wouldn’t know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God’s work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears—grasp it again and turn back to God.
“If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I’ll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night.
4 “You still have a few followers of Jesus in Sardis who haven’t ruined themselves wallowing in the muck of the world’s ways. They’ll walk with me on parade! They’ve proved their worth!
5 “Conquerors will march in the victory parade, their names indelible in the Book of Life. I’ll lead them up and present them by name to my Father and his Angels.
6 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”
7 Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True—David’s key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open—speaks:
8 “I see what you’ve done. Now see what I’ve done. I’ve opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don’t have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn’t deny me when times were rough.
9 “And watch as I take those who call themselves true believers but are nothing of the kind, pretenders whose true membership is in the club of Satan—watch as I strip off their pretensions and they’re forced to acknowledge it’s you that I’ve loved.
10 “Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I’ll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test.
11 “I’m on my way; I’ll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown.
12 “I’ll make each conqueror a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, a permanent position of honor. Then I’ll write names on you, the pillars: the Name of my God, the Name of God’s City—the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven—and my new Name.
13 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”
14 Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says:
15-17 “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.
18 “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.
19 “The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!
20-21 “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!
22 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”
I’m listening, learning and asking for you to come in and change our lives to be more in sync with what you want for all of us. We are conquerors with you. We want to hear your voice above all other voices and then walk in your ways. We know you are coming back. Come, Lord Jesus and live now in our hearts.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen