In Revelation 2-3 we find out what the risen Christ had to say to seven specific churches. Some of them were facing persecution – just as many Christians today face hostility. But many of these churches were fatally compromised.
1. Ephesus: the centrality of love (Revelation 2 v 1-7)
2. Smyrna: the pressure of persecution (Revelation 2 v 8-11)
3. Pergamum: the importance of truth (Revelation 2 v 12-17)
4. Thyatira: the challenge of consistency (Revelation 2 v 18-29)
5. Sardis: the emptiness of reputation (Revelation 3 v 1-6)
6. Philadelphia: the pain of exclusion (Revelation 3 v 7-13)
7. Laodicea: the danger of self-reliance (2 Timothy 4)
To each church Jesus says: ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ These seven messages are rooted in the particular challenges faced by each congregation. But they are not just what the Spirit spoke to one church back then. Through these messages, the Spirit also speaks to the churches of our day, who face the same challenges and temptations now as they did then.
Jesus brings a message of comfort and hope to those who are under pressure.He brings a wake-up call to those who are compromised. In love, He speaks of the love that matters most. He tells us what is truly important. He offers great resources to those who remain faithful. He promises great rewards to those who overcome.