27 October 2015

BSF 2015-2016: Revelation 3:7-22

Today we will review the letters Jesus sent to the last two churches. He only commended one church and only rebuked the other.

The church in Philadelphia was passionately devoted to the Lord Jesus. In the city of Philadelphia, the Christians were a minority and were persecuted for their beliefs. Yet they remained faithful to God.

Jesus only commended the church in Philadelphia; He did not rebuke it. He commended the church for its faithfulness through persecution. He called on them to hold fast, to persevere in His grace. He made four promises to His followers:

  1. Make them a pillar in God’s temple – a symbol of strength and security
  2. Write on them the name of God – a symbol of possession
  3. Write on them the name of the city of God – a symbol of a new permanent address with God
  4. Write on them a new name – another symbol of possession

Jesus called this church to view its identity and circumstances through Him. He asks the same of us today.

While Jesus only commended the church in Philadelphia, he only rebuked the church in Laodicea. Laodicea was a very wealthy city. But the Christians in this city had lukewarm hearts. Jesus reprimanded this church because of its complacency. This church left a bad taste in Jesus’ mouth and made Him vomit.

The people in the church in Laodicea felt competent and confident; Jesus said they were wretched and pitiful. The people felt secure in their wealth; Jesus said they were poor. They thought they were self-sufficient and didn’t need God. They were more satisfied with wealth and material possessions than with God. They ignored God and the needs of others.

In spite of these downfalls, Jesus still loved this church and wanted to correct it. Jesus urged them to recognize their spiritual poverty and “buy” the true gold of His Word, to trust completely in Him and His truth.

The church in Philadelphia came to the end of themselves and focused on Christ, but the church in Laodicea was full of themselves and focused on the wrong things. Jesus called both churches to look at themselves in the light of who He is and to align themselves only with Him and not the world.

Jesus calls us to stand for biblical truth rather than pursue comfortable lives.

Things to Think About

  • “God sovereignly and personally preserves His people in their suffering, even if they suffer to the point of death.”
  • Jesus does not delete the struggle, but He empowers the endurance.
  • Jesus calls us to view our identity and circumstances through Him.
  • “Self-satisfaction with a superficial life reveals spiritual poverty.”
  • In which areas of life am I complacent or spiritually empty? Where am I being lukewarm?
  • Is my comfort resting in earthly possessions and situations or in Jesus?
  • We studied seven different churches. Which church most resembles my life? What adjustments will I ask God to make in my life so I more closely align with His standards?

This Week’s Memory Verse
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.” Revelation 3:11-12 NIV