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Midweek Discipleship Study

Revelation 2-3: The Seven Letters to the Seven Churches

The seven churches in Revelation 2-3 were not the only churches in the First Century

 

  • Antioch Syria (Acts 11:26)

  • Athens (Acts 17:22-34)

  • Colossae (Col. 1:2)

  • Jerusalem (Acts 2:5)

  • Joppa, Lydda and Sharon (Acts 9:32-36)

  • Rome (Rom. 1:7)

 

God selected these seven churches to give timeless instructions to believers throughout all future history

 

  • God's Word obviously spoke directly to those original hearers

  • God's Word also speaks equally as strong to believers of all ages

    • Romans 10:17

    • Isaiah 55:11

    • 1 Timothy 3:16

    • Hebrews 4:12

 

I believe that there are four ways to view these seven letters

 

  • Historically - These letters were written to seven very real, historical churches

    • God knew their works

    • God understood the difficulties that they faced

    • God understood what they were having to endure

    • God knew the issues that they were facing

  • Universally - These letters apply to all churches past, present and future

  • Prophetically - These letters refer to seven historical Church Ages from the beginning of the Church Age (Acts) until the removal of the church (the rapture) and the beginning of the Tribulation

    • Ephesus = The Apostolic Church (AD 30-100)

    • Smyrna = The Suffering Church (AD 100-313)

    • Pergamos = The Compromising Church (AD 314-590)

    • Thyatira = The Divided Church (AD 590-1517)

    • Sardis = The Reforming Church (AD 1517-1700)

    • Philadelphia = The Revived Church (AD 1700-1900)

    • Laodicea = The Worldly Church (AD 1900-???)

  • Individually - These letters apply to all believers past, present and future

 

These are the words of…

 

  • Each of the seven letters is addressed to the angel of the church

    • Angel is the Greek word aggeos and means messenger, which I believe is a reference to the spiritual leader of the church

    • The messenger is responsible for guarding the message

    • The messenger is responsible for not allowing the message to be distorted by such things as: compromise, fear and neglect

    • The messenger is responsible before God to boldly proclaim the message

  • There are 14 different descriptions of Christ in Revelation 2-3 and each one gives us some insight into the nature, character and power of Christ

 

I know…

 

  • There are 30 "I know" statements in Revelation 2-3:

    • These show Christ as being omniscient

    • These show Christ as being omnipresent

    • These show Christ as being omnipotent

    • These show Christ as being sovereign

  • This is not the only time in God's Word that we see the idea of God/Christ being all-knowing

    • Luke 12:7

    • Daniel 2:22

    • Psalm 33:13-15

    • Psalm 139:2-3

    • Jeremiah 23:24

 

Christ rebuked the seven churches (believers) 5 times

 

  • These are warnings for believers of all ages

  • These are warnings for churches of all ages

  • These are warnings to try and keep us from making these same mistakes

 

Christ spoke 17 words of encouragement to these seven churches

 

Christ made 14 "I will" statements to these seven churches

 

Christ makes 13 promises to those who overcome

 

  • Being an overcomer does not imply that you have attained perfection

  • Being an overcomer describes a believer who is maturing in his/her faith

  • Being an overcomer describes a believer that is constantly reaching for victory with all of their strength

 

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches

 

  • Jesus speaks these same words 9 other times in the New Testament:

    • Matthew 11:15

    • Matthew 13:9

    • Matthew 13:43

    • Mark 4:9

    • Mark 4:23

    • Mark 7:16

    • Luke 8:8

    • Luke 14:35

    • Revelation 13:9

  • There are four things to understand about this phrase:

    • This phrase signaled that the truth being spoken was extremely important

    • This phrase calls for believers to pay careful attention to what is being spoken

    • This phrase reminds believers that it takes the presence of the Holy Spirit to understand the truth being spoken

    • This phrase, in Revelation, is directly related to eternal rewards

 

Our focus in looking at these seven letters is to see the truths about Christ and the lessons that Christ gives His church (believers) for victorious living

 

  • God's Word makes it clear that God desires for us (believers) to walk in victory:

    • Deuteronomy 20:4

    • 1 Corinthians 10:13

    • John 10:10

    • Joshua 10:8

    • 1 Corinthians 15:52

  • Our journey for the next several weeks will focus on Christ's message to us through these seven churches

    • Ephesus: Reclaim your first love

    • Smyrna: Stand firm in your faith

    • Pergamun: Resist the enemy

    • Thyatira: Resist false teachings

    • Sardis: Guard your testimony

    • Philadelphia: Follow the will of God

    • Laodicea: Get off the fence

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