Today’s Reading in The Story is found on page 461 with the words “…”To the angel of the church in Ephesus write…” and ends on page 462 with the words, “…Spirit says to the churches.” (Read in your bible Revelation 2:1-7, 3:1-6, 14-22)
“Take a couple of deep breaths. Now, just breath normally…” Can you tell I’ve been to the doctor’s office recently? My Dr. spoke those words to me, as he listened to discover the condition of my lungs and heart. It’s part of the basic medical “check up”.
We could do the same a “check up” on ourselves, spiritually-speaking. How is your worship life going? “Are you getting to church every Sunday? Are you reading God’s Word daily? Are you praying throughout your day for yourself and others? How’s your faith? Is it growing in grace, knowledge and service? Are you serving and giving so that the work of the church and the proclamation of the Gospel will be done?
In our readings today from Revelation 2 & 3, the LORD of the Church, the RISEN Christ sends a letter, a “church check up” to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Only He’s not asking: He’s diagnosing. In each letter, the LORD of the Church, identifies a matter in the church to be dealt with. Here are the matters:
- “you’ve lost your first love” – return,
- persecution is coming – be faithful,
- stop embracing false teachings – repent,
- idolatry and sexual immorality are poisoning the church – repent,
- you have a reputation for being “alive,” but you’re “dead” – repent,
- “false believers” are among you – beware,
- “lukewarm” Christianity is unacceptable.
Why does the “LORD of the Church” send these letters of encouragement and warning? Christ loves His bride, the church. He loves her enough to be “honest”! He loved her so much that He purchased…
Acts 20:28 (NIV) “…the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
He paid the ultimate price to purchase the church. He shed His own blood and gave up His
life. Before His suffering, death and resurrection He told the 12,
Matthew 16:18 (NIV) “…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
The church is in good hands. It’s in the hands of Christ. And what does He the LORD desire for His Church?
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV) 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
He wants His Church to be a lampstand, not hidden, but shining brightly, revealing HIM to a world living in darkness.
He designed His Church to be a light house…warning all who will hear of the dangers ahead.
He planned for His Church to be a light guiding those in darkness…
Psalm 43:3 (NIV) Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.
The good news is: The LORD of the Church has promised to ransom His church once and for all times.
Lord of the Church, Lord Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice and Your love for us. Send Your Spirit upon Your Church today, on Your people pour Your power, that we may be salt and light in an ever-darkening world. In Your name, Alpha and Omega, First and the Last, in Jesus’ name. Amen
1 The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heav’n He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.
3 Though with a scornful wonder
The world sees her oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping;
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.
4 Through toil and tribulation
And tumult of her war
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.