Recently, I woke me up one morning at 4:15 am. I was dreaming. In my dream I was preparing the subject matter for the class, the seven cities mentioned in Revelation chapter two and three. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
They were real cities, with real churches with real people. To each church, God revealed their heart.
Ephesus. Was commended by God for its work, perseverance and did not tolerate evil men, they tested those who called themselves “apostle” and the testing revealed those who were not. This church left their first love. In other words, they left the very purpose of a church – loving God and making Him the center of life. Have you left God? Become more focused on living life rather than living for God?
Smyrna. Endured difficulties and hardships. God, for reasons known only to Himself, allows individuals and churches to go through difficult experiences. God said to the church in Smyrna, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer… be faithful until death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Have you become fearful?
Pergamum. Recognized for their faithfulness and strength amid great persecution. But this church allowed unbiblical teaching which confused and mislead many. Nicolaitans are people who mislead others. We have Nicolaitans in our churches today. Are Nicolaitans teaching in your church?
Thyatira. God recognized the deeds, love, faith, service, and perseverance of this church. But He warned of Jezebel. Jezebel was a very wicked queen (1 Kings 19). Jezebel is the reference point for those who say they are followers of God but teach abhorrent, false, and mislead many. “Jezebels” can be male or female, people who stir up trouble in a church, plant seeds of doubt. Jezebels are jealous, territorial, deceptive, involved, and powerful influencers. They are the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. Every church has the Jezebel spirit present with in it.
Sardis. God described this church as “alive… but dead” (Revelation 2:1). This type of church exists to serve only a small group. This church does not look outward, it serves only itself. These types of churches have fallen asleep, forgetting what the purpose of a church is – to grow the Kingdom of God. Primarily, this is why churches no longer influence our culture – churches have become irrelevant in our society because they serve only themselves, churches have become selfish. Let it serve as a warning, if a church is not growing by reaching out to people, community, and strengthening Believers, it is dying. Is your church growing or dying?
Philadelphia. God congratulates this church because they have not denied His name and have kept His Word. This church is recognized for their faithfulness and encouraged for the testing to come. Disappointment’s, disagreements, divorce, death, financial troubles, ridicule, loneliness, aging, medical issues, persecution, and more. Everyone is tested, but to the one who holds fast and overcomes their testing, will be rewarded. You will be rewarded!
The testing in your life does not mean God has not forgotten or turned you away. Testing in our lives means that God has great confidence in us. God has confidence in you!
Laodicea. This is the church that woke me up at 4:15 am. This church described me. I’ll spare you the details. This church is described as “lukewarm” neither hot nor cold for Christ.
This church was instructed by God to “buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see” (Revelation 3:18).
The warning to this church was simple and strong, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:20-21).
The knocking at the door are the signs of our times – our world and nation has never-before seen the confusion, trouble, and pure evil we now see. The knocking is also personal.
I believe God speaks to us in different ways. One way is through His Word, another is through all that happens to us in our lives. Using the Bible as the filter to see all that has happened to me, I know I have drifted away from God. So, I repented, asked God to renew me with a stronger focus to serve Him and not my desires.
Reading about each one of the seven churches in Revelation is not just a warning to these churches, these are warnings to each individual Christian. How a church acts is largely dependent upon how each individual Christian acts.
When I wake up with something as strong as this was in my mind, I know I should listen. I have my warning sign. Do you know your warning sign?
Read about the seven churches and see if God will show you your warning sign.