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7 Churches of Revelation – God’s Message to the Church

What’s going on? What’s happening in the world? Is Jesus going to return soon? You can’t imagine how many people have asked me these questions, and others like them about end-time signs, wonders, miracles, and the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. As governments have shifted, pandemics have increased, weather patterns have reached epic proportions, and the economies of the United States and other countries have dramatically shifted, everyone is looking for answers.

Book Of Revelation & Bible Prophecy

That’s why I believe the Spirit of God had me do an exhaustive study on the Book of Revelation and specifically, the seven churches.   As most of you already know, in recent years I have written a book called, the “Seven Living Prophecies.”  Even though that provided lots of insight into the times we are living in, I just felt I had to revisit the subject again of Bible prophecy.

I believe the message to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation isn’t about “doom and gloom” but a “wake-up call.”  The messages to each church are meant to motivate us to return to our first love,  make us stronger as we see things changing, prepare us for what is about to happen, and show us how to bring in the end-time harvest of souls.  It’s also a reminder to us to continue to stand for Israel and the Jewish people, now more than ever as we expect the soon return of Jesus.

The Bible says, “The wicked servant says, ‘The Master delays His coming.'”  I’m not saying that.  Of course, no one knows the specific day or hour when Jesus will return.  Only the Father knows.  I do believe we can know the times and the seasons.  What we are experiencing right now, are “the birth pangs.”  God is saying to each of us, “Wake up”, “Get Ready,” and Prepare!”  He wants us to have “eyes to see” what’s coming.    He wants us to have “ears to hear” what His Spirit is saying.  He doesn’t want us to miss a thing.

We also don’t want you to miss anything.  If you are wanting to go deeper in this study, for your gift of any amount, you will receive Part 3 of the teaching Jesus and the 7 Churches of Revelation

7 Churches of Revelation

With all of that in mind, I want to set the stage for the message John wrote to the church of his day, and to us, right now.  He was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos because of his preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  While there, God gives him a vision.  We read in Revelation 1:10:

“I was in the spirit on the Lord’s Day and I heard behind me a loud voice, as a trumpet, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.”  
Book of Revelation 1:10

The messages were written to each of the seven churches in Asia Minor.  The seven angels mentioned by John refer to the pastors of each church.  Each church also had a lampstand, or a menorah, which represented the light and anointing of God.  John describes in detail what he saw in the vision God gave Him.  He knew then that it was a warning and prophetic blueprint of things that would happen before the return of Jesus, our Messiah, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

God’s Message To The Church- Then & Now

As you and I look at each of the messages to the seven churches think about what is happening now and prepare for what is yet to come.  I believe a tremendous awakening has already begun.  Things are changing politically, naturally, and spiritually.  An unprecedented move of the Holy Spirit has already started with signs, wonders, and miracles.  As economies change around the world, God is also releasing the end-time transfer of wealth that He has promised.

Today, the messages to the seven churches of Revelation are speaking to pastors, the Church, and believers everywhere.  God is calling us to wake up, be prepared, stand up, and take action.  He wants us to be a part of the end-time harvest of souls.  He is looking for faithful stewards to release the end-time transfer of wealth, and finance the Kingdom of God during this exciting time.  He wants us to be the occupying force until Jesus returns.

Now is not the time to be wallflowers.  Instead of shrinking back and waiting out what is happening, we need to be bold, stand up, take action, and complete our mission.  We need to do what needs to be done.  This is a time of amazing, spiritual opportunities.

The Church In Ephesus

We need to look at each of the churches, the message they were given, understand the revelation, and make sure we make the changes that God is requiring of us.  I want to walk you through each of the churches, and give you just a brief insight into what the Spirit had to say to them.   Ephesus is the first church John addressed.  Here’s what he recorded.

“And you have tested those who say they’re apostles and are not, and have found them liars.  You have persevered and have patience and have labored for My namesake and have not become weary.” 
Book of Revelation 2:2-3

John is laying out what the church was doing right. Then he delivers a correction from God.

“Nevertheless, I have this against you. You have left your first love.”  Then he gives a way to make things right.  “Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen, repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent.” 
Book of Revelation 2:4-6

In a lot of areas, they were doing all the right things.  Yet, their love for God was gone.  They were doing this and doing that.  They even had a hatred for the evil of their day.  The word “but” is like the word “therefore.”  You have “to see why it’s there for.”  The “but” is revealing what they had stopped doing.

God went straight to the heart of the matter with the believers in Ephesus.  Good works are good.  Fighting evil is important.  But He wanted them to look at why they were doing all those things.  Was it because they loved God?  Was it to feel good about themselves and show everyone else how great they were?  Or was there another reason?

When you first got saved, if you were like me, you were so in love with Jesus, everything you did was because you couldn’t live without Him.  Since that time in your life, however long ago it was, have you become more of a “professional” Christian?  Or have your become more in love with Him?  Is going to church something you have to do? Have you forgotten what it was like to go to church because you loved His presence, the worship, the teaching, and the fellowship with other believers?  God wants you to keep your heart in the relationship. The message to the believers at Ephesus was return to your first love.

The Church in Smyrna

The next church, Smyrna, was a different story. John writes this to them.

“And to the angel of the church of Smyrna, write these things says the first and the last, he was dead and came to life. I know your works, your tribulation and the poverty, but you are rich.”   
Book of Revelation 2:8-9

God recognized their works, their perseverance during tribulation, and that they were standing up against government pressure.  The more they tried to do the right thing, the more those that were in power took away from them, making them poor and even destitute, without what they needed to survive.

They were surrounded by the spirit of anti-Semitism.  John explains more when he writes, “I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, but are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.”   Rome was putting believers in the church under pressure, not just financially, but spiritually.  They wanted them to stop celebrating Passover, and celebrate Easter instead.  As far as the church was concerned, they were just doing what Jesus, a Jew had done during His life and ministry.  He studied the Torah, went to synagogue, and observed the Sabbath and all the feasts and holidays.

The church at Smyrna had to make a critical decision.  Who would they serve, Rome or God?  Should they be politically correct, and avoid persecution and poverty, by giving up their Jewish roots, or stand and do what they believed was right?  That was the choice they had to make.  It’s the same one God is asking of us today.  Who will you serve, God or the world?  We have to do what God’s Word and His Spirit says.  We cannot be the Church the world wants.  We have to be the Church God has destined us to be.

After two thousand years of anti-Semitism, we are still seeing it around the world.  Recently it has even increased.  We need to not be silent, but speak up and refuse to back down, as we continue to be a blessing to the nation of Israel and the Jews around the world. None of the messages the Spirit of God gave John are easy to hear – then, or now.  We have to hear them, and see, and understand the revelation they provide so that we can avoid the pitfalls of each church, and become the glorious Church God intends us to be during these last days.

The Church of Pergamos

The church of Pergamos, which is mentioned in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 2, verses 12-17 was also a picture of believers encountering persecution. Many had been martyred for their faithfulness to God. In this city where John notes, “Satan dwells” many believers were still not willing to stand against the worship of idols, sexual immorality, and food that was being sold after being sacrificed to the pagan deities. Their correction to hold fast against corruption is the same to us today.

The Church of Thyatira

Next is the church of Thyatira.  Here’s part of God’s message to them.

“I know your works. Love, service, faith, and your patience, and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you because you allow the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach, and beguile my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed.” 
Book of Revelation 2:19-23

The list of things the church was doing included; love, service, faith, patience and good works.  That’s not a bad list at all.  It wasn’t enough.  God had a major correction for them.  It was serious.  They allowed Jezebel to teach, seduce people from the truth, and lead them into sexual immorality and eating things that were sacrificed to idols.  The harsh word for Thyatira, I believe this is a word to us – as a Church, as believers, and, here in the United States, as a nation.  That is the same for you where you live in the world. 

Many Christians have stood by, uninvolved in the educational process, as our government promotes an immoral and ungodly agenda regarding sexuality to children at all levels of education.  Tiz and I are outraged.  We have heard things from our own grandchildren about what is being taught.  We believe the only people who should be talking to children about their sexuality are their parents. 

We need to be a voice for righteousness at our school board meetings, and help support godly leaders at the local, state, and national levels or government.  And we need to preach and stand for the truth of God’s Word in our churches and ministries.  We cannot allow others to determine the sexual behavior and orientation of children from kindergarten, through high school.  Now is the time to take a stand against the spirit of Jezebel and immorality, make our voices heard, and support legislation that is based upon Judeo-Christian foundations. 

As we are willing to stand up for righteousness, God has a promise for us.  He says, “I will give you the morning star.” The morning star appears at the darkest point of the night, right before dawn.  God is saying to us, if you are willing to stand and be immovable, I will bless you and bring a dawning and new beginning to you, your children, families, schools, churches and nations.

The Church of Sardis

There’s more to share as together we look at the church of Sardis.  John writes to them.

“And to the angel of the Church of Sardis, write, these things says He who has the seven spirits of God, the seven anointings of God, and the seven starts, I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” 
Book of Revelation 3: 1-5

This church had a well-known reputation for being great.  What makes a church great?  I’ve been to churches that have thousands, and others that have a handful.  What makes a church great isn’t in the numbers, but the presence of God.

“Be careful and strengthen things which remain that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect.  Remember therefore how you have received and heard and hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief.”

God was saying to them.  “How did you get to this place where numbers and other things matter more than Me?”   “I am coming soon.  Are you ready?”  The passage mentions a number of people in the church who had not defiled their garments and were worthy in God’s sight.  They were wearing garments of white.  Why is that so important?  In ancient Judaism the garments aren’t white because you are holy, but because you are doing righteous things.  You are repairing a broken world.  You are doing acts of kindness.   We’re here to be changed, and to make a difference in the world around us.

The Church of Philadelphia

The church of Philadelphia was known as the church “of brotherly love.”   Jesus said that the world will know us by our love for one another.  Unfortunately, that’s not the way most people think of believers and churches.  They see us as divided, segregated, and often unable to agree on anything.  One of the first times TD Jakes preached at our church in the Northwest decades ago he suggested to me, “You need to show your congregation on television so people can see who’s in your church.” “Why?” I asked. “Because your church is so rare. You have white, black, brown, and male, and female. Young, and old, and long hair, and no hair,” he said.   The Kingdom of God cannot stand when we are divided.  God commands His blessing when we stand united. 

Racism isn’t just about black, white, Hispanic and Asian.  It’s also about Jews and Christians. Anti-Semitism has been in the Church for almost two thousand years.  And it still is as many pastors still teach their congregations the false doctrine of “replacement theology.”  Strangely though, there was no division between Jews and Gentiles until 325 years after the resurrection of Jesus.   The Council of Nicaea, which was made up of Gentiles, Constantine and the Roman Empire, said, let’s divert the attention of Christianity off of Jerusalem, and onto Rome.  Let’s blame Jews for killing Jesus.  There was no truth to their claim. 

Today, as a fulfillment of end-time prophecy the dividing walls between Jews and Christians are coming down.  We are repairing an ancient breach.  The “one new man” is emerging.  We are standing with the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.

The Church of Laodicea

Most scholars say 7 is God’s number for completion. It isn’t surprising that the message to the seventh church, and the last in the Book of Revelation, is the harshest.  John writes to Laodicea.

“I know your works. That you are neither hot, nor cold. I would wish that you were hot or cold. So then, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” 
Book of Revelation 3:15-16

You have probably heard the traditional interpretation of this passage.  Many teachers say it simply means what it says.  Hot means hot.  Cold means cold.   Lukewarm is somewhere in between.  You’re either on fire for God.  Have no relationship at all.  Or simply stay in the middle and avoid the extremes at either end. I believe there is a different interpretation.

Laodicea had two water sources – one was very hot, contained minerals, and was known to heal the body.  The other farther away was cold and had clear, refreshing.  It was thirst-quenching.  When the water was piped into the city it changed and became lukewarm.  The water had lost its benefits. If you drank it, you spit it out because of the horrible taste.  It actually made people sick that drank it.  It was bad and good for nothing. 

Are you making a difference?

This is the message God brought to Laodicea and to us today. As possibly the last Church before His return, we need to ask ourselves as believers, “Are we bringing healing?”  “Are we offering refreshing and life?”  Have we drifted away from the living water of Jesus that quenched the thirst of all who came to Him for a drink and a new life?   You and I need to make a difference in the world around us.  If you are making a difference, you’ll “go out with a shout!” If you’re like the Laodicean church, you’ll go home in the rapture, but you’ll be “going home with a moan!”

Blessed To Be A Blessing

In these last days, the very best way to go out with a shout is by being a blessing to Israel. We need to be about our Father’s business.  We need to tear down the walls that divide Jews and Gentiles.  We need to be involved.

Our ministry has taken up this cause to bless Israel and is once again funding critical-care projects to bless the Jewish people. We are putting your offering to work by supporting some of the most important charitable projects you could ever be involved with including Project Aliyah, the Israel Ambulance Project, and caring for Holocaust Survivors.

This is the very best soil for your tithes and offerings. It’s what will lead you into an abundant harvest. Blessing the Jewish people and Israel is the blueprint for living a blessed life in these last days.

We live by the divine principle that “I’m blessed to be a blessing!” It’s the biblical pattern for how to make your covenant work—you first bless others and then God brings you a blessing! As you show God that you are using His blessing for His purposes, He will bless you with “life, prosperity, and honor.” Amen!

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Sign up today and you will receive full access to the daily devotional! Each day contains a video of Pastor Larry teaching on the shofar, a special scripture that will inspire you through-out the day and a short teaching about this anointed time.