I am very excited to lead our group through this book especially as Revelation is the only book of the Bible that promises a special blessing for those who read it. We just recently looked at chapters two and three, the 'letters' to the churches from Jesus, and were able to discover some personal attributes we are able to apply to our lives of faith.
Jesus' report card for the churches
Looking at the 'letters' to the seven churches we are able to see the areas Jesus was happy about and those He was concerned about. Ephesus was praised for their diligence in doctrine but should have more concern for their first love (Jesus) and get back into devotion.
Smyrna was encouraged in their suffering and persecution. Pergamum was exalted for their loyalty but were to be wary of the worldly influence that was creeping into the church. Thyatira were commended for their love, faith, service and endurance but were accused of allowing pagan practices to be committed under their noses.
Sardis was told they had a name, but were spiritually dead. Philadelphia were applauded for their outreach and evangelism. And Laodicea were told to not lean on their own abilities and to open the door for Christ, who was standing outside their church.
Our personal reflection
Through looking at the comments Jesus made to the churches, we should be able to take away our own personal ideals of how we are to live for Christ. We need to set our priorities properly. God's law should be followed and stuck to, but we should always lean on the love of Jesus, his forgiveness and grace and spend time in devotion to Him. We should take heart if any persecution befalls us, if Satan tries to oppose us, because we know that God will never leave us and He is always there to bring us out of the pit into glory.
We need to avoid worldly compromise, which comes at us from every angle. We need to flee from pagan practices and not allow our hearts to accept these practices. We need to be watchful and diligent, not allow pride to overtake and build a great name only to have very little life. We need to be loyal ambassadors for Christ, sharing the good news to this world. And we need to repent out our own ways and be committed to the way of Christ.
We can be encouraged in knowing that nothing in the bible is there for the sake of it. The Holy Spirit guided all the writings, every single chapter and verse, that went into the greatest book ever written. Here is just one of numerous examples of seeing God's handiwork bridging across the unstopped history of his Holy Word.
In these letters we can clearly see the way Christ would want us to live and for the things we need to be wary of. Christ is amazing, He loves us and He wants the very best for us. We can see those very things all over the Bible especially here in Revelation.
Tim McDonald lives and works in Mackay Queensland with a family of four children. He leads YAC (Young Adults Cell) group and is the drummer in his church's youthful band.
Tim's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-mcdonald.html