Why do some of us attend church on Sunday, a synagogue on Saturday or temple multiple times a day? Why do some of us kneel on prayer rugs, carry our bibles in special handy covers or dress up in shirts and ties to go door to door to spread the gospel? Others go to choir practice, study for bible studies or plan fund raisers to purchase Sunday school supplies?
What is it about getting up early on our only day off to get gussied up and drive to our local spiritual center to meet and greet other people who share our same religious convictions? How do we know that the churches we go to and the people we fellowship with actually believe and hold to the same ideals?
What is our motivation; is it to look our best, show off our new car, parade a new outfit down the aisle or somehow feel better about ourselves for making a sacrifice to go to church? Do you really believe that God is keeping track of those sorts of things? Do we believe that the Ancient of Days exists to keep a ledger of everything that we do, every idle word we say and sinful thoughts that we think in the secret places of our minds?
You bet he does!
Actually, the book of Revelation gives us a clear picture of Jesus Christ in his glorified state. Although he still has the nail prints in his hands and feet, the puncture wound from the spear in his side and marks from the crown of thorns on his head he is no longer operating as the Emmanuel, sacrificial Lamb of God but now he is our High Priest who offers intersession-presenting our prayers, interceding-washing our feet and inspecting us in the church where we meet.
Some of us, in our pursuit of holiness, have not yet met Jesus Christ. Some of us are still searching for truth or God while sidelined doing religious mumbo jumbo to either a pagan entity or lifeless idol. I am here to declare that the Savior of the world, the Messiah, has already come to the earth and that we are living at the very end of the “church age” before the seventieth week of Daniel, seven years of tribulation, begins.
Are you ready?
In chapter one of the book of Revelation we see the Apostle John’s vision of Jesus Christ standing in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. The seven lampstands symbolizes seven churches in Asia Minor that the Apostle John was overseeing at that time in history. In his vision he sees Jesus Christ dressed as our High Priest is inspecting his church to see if they are doing what he instructed them to do.
How is your church doing?
As we look into chapters two and three of the book of Revelation we see these seven churches’ report cards. Some were doing well, some had lost their direction, and some were going the wrong way while others had lost their first love. There are several things we need to understand about these seven letters to the seven churches and how we are to apply them to our own lives.
The book of Revelation is divided into three sections: chapter one, John’s vision of the glorified Jesus Christ, chapter two, the church age, from Pentecost to present and chapters four through twenty-two, the Seventieth Week of Daniel which is also known as the End of Days, the Day of Jacob’s trouble and the Great Tribulation. It is paramount that we have an understanding of the other sixty-five books of the bible, especially the book of Daniel, before we can fully understand the last book of the bible, the revelation or revealing of Jesus Christ.
The purpose of the church is to be a light unto the world, which is to share the “good news” the message that all men can be saved from their sin and live forever in paradise! If you don’t know what the gospel is, it has been spelled out word for word in first Corinthians 15:1-8. The word of God says that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. The church is not the light but our purpose is to shine or reflect God’s light and love to the world in which we live in.
I hope you will all stay tuned in next week as we start on a journey to explore the report cards of each of these seven churches mentioned in chapters two and three of the book of Revelation. The first church we will look at is the church at Ephesus. The message can be applied to each specific church, corresponds to the first church age and finally to our own personal congregations.