13 October 2015

BSF 2015-2016: Revelation 2:1-11

For the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about the seven churches at the beginning of Revelation. Jesus gave specific messages to each church, and many of these messages have applications for us today!

First, what is the Church? The Church is God’s redeemed people. There are two facets to the Church – the Church Invisible and the Church Visible. The Church Invisible is all of God’s redeemed people – past, present, and future. The Church Visible is all of the people we see in local churches on earth right now. Not all members of the Church Visible are members of the Church Invisible. But all members of the Church Invisible should be a part of the Church Visible by participating in a local church.

The Church’s responsibilities are to spread the Gospel, to make disciples in all nations, to love God and people, and to live as Jesus lived. All members of the Church Invisible are called to listen carefully to God’s Word and Spirit.

Now let’s talk about the first two churches Jesus addressed. The church in Ephesus was a large, booming church. This church worked hard and persevered. This church recognized false teachers because its members knew God’s Word.

But this church had forsaken its first love – its love for God. Jesus told the church to remember how far they fell from their first love, repent, and go back to what they used to do. If you have fallen away from loving God, remember His love for you, repent of your sin, and go back to what you did when you first started loving God.

The church in Smyrna was located about 25 miles away from Ephesus. Jesus promised a limited suffering for this church. He also promised to be with them as they walked through the suffering. He told this church not to fear people who can kill their physical bodies because these people cannot kill their spiritual souls. He also promised the victor’s crown and eternal life to this church.

Today Jesus also calls believers to remain faithful through suffering and persecution. God uses suffering to purify His Church and to lead the Church to victory. Suffering will come. Ask God to enable you not to be afraid for the suffering that is to come. But when the suffering does come, stand firm, remain faithful, and don’t fear those who can kill the body.

Things to Think About

  • If you are a believer, are you actively involved in a local church?
  • How carefully do I listen to God’s Word as I read it?
  • What is distracting me from hearing God’s Word?
  • Do I know God’s Word well enough that I can discern false teachers?

This Week’s Memory Verse
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7 NIV