#LoveLetters: From Jesus to the Seven Churches – Revelation 1-3
Part 4 Blog #5!
What day is it?! You guessed it..It’s Monday! 🙂 Hey, loves! Welcome to Part 4 – the final post of the blog series #LoveLetters: From Jesus to the Seven Churches! In this final post, we will focus on reflections and thoughts as it relates to each letter Jesus wrote, and we will conclude with our final takeaways from this study. If you are just now beginning to follow this blog series and study, you are in for a treat! But first, I strongly recommend reading the previous four blog posts (beginning with the introduction) so as not to miss anything previously discussed! Don’t worry, the previous posts aren’t super long; this is one of the reasons why I decided to make this a blog series. 🙂
Per last week’s blog post, have you taken some time this week to ponder on which letter to the seven churches applies most to you and your current relationship with Christ?
I am personally encouraged by each of these love letters from Jesus to His Bride. They are filled with so much of His kindness, compassion, mercy, grace, and perfect and unfailing love.
Let’s reflect once again on the letters written to each of the seven churches and the studies in Part 1-3. Here is a list of the seven churches addressed: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (Revelation 2-3). What do you recall about each of the seven churches? Do you think there was any thought given to the order in which Jesus addressed each church? Which of these churches have you identified with in the past? Which of these churches do you identify with now? Where do you honestly see yourself as it relates to your relationship with God? Are you in good standing, or are you in need of change? Through these letters, Jesus is calling each of us to repentance. Jesus had a rebuke and a reprimand for five out of the seven churches listed here. So it is safe to say that most of the church is not ready for His return. This is not a good thing. We must desire true change and heart transformation in Christ and through Christ, and truly desire to live for God wholeheartedly.
Jesus is coming back for a blameless and spotless bride. He is coming back for a pure bride, a bride dressed in white. The only two churches that were spotless and blameless at the time these letters were written were Smyrna and Philadelphia. And these letters still apply today. Are you among the spotless? Or are you among the ones who have yet to be completely cleansed, sanctified, and ready for the Bridegroom at whatever hour He may come? May we examine ourselves.
I can see pieces of myself and my current relationship with Christ in two of these churches. However, each and every one of these letters serve as warnings and reminders to stand firm in the faith and continue along the right path. It is only by His grace that we can remain steadfast in our commitment and service to God until the end. And out of the two that I can see pieces of myself in, I currently identify most with the Church of Smyrna. I’m being hit hard with adversity. And to be honest, it really hasn’t ceased since fully surrendering my life to Christ and fully committing to obedience by His grace. In seeking to understand why it has been such a tough road for me, I genuinely asked God several weeks ago with tears in my eyes and frustration in my heart: “Why has my cross been so difficult to bear when it seems that everyone around me is having it easy? I just don’t understand!” And of course, as always, He comforted me with His Word while gently correcting my assumption that “everyone else has it easy.” If we are true followers of Christ, we are all suffering for Christ. In different ways, in different capacities, and on different levels, but we are all suffering. Our crosses may all look, feel, and weigh different, but they are crosses that Jesus has given us nonetheless. This is what we have been called to do; to take up our cross and follow Him. My cross is mine. Your cross is yours. We each have our own cross to bear.
All in all, we (the church) are most effective in converting the world as a cross-bearing, suffering, and persevering church; not as a triumphant, self-glorifying, and prosperous church. Jesus confirms this by what He tells the Church of Smyrna in Revelation 2:9-10:
I know your works, and your tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich), and I know the blasphemy of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan: Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days (temporarily); be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
He will give us the crown of life.
I also love how Jesus admonishes each church (whether they were commended or rebuked) and repeats several times within the first three chapters of Revelation: “He that overcomes…” (King James Version)
He that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7, Church of Ephesus
He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death. Revelation 2:11, Church of Smyrna
He that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows unless he receives it. Revelation 2:17, Church of Pergamos
And he that overcomes, and keeps my works until the end, to him will I give power over to the nations; and he shall rule over them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter they shall be broken to shivers; even as I received of my Father. Revelation 2:26, Church of Thyatira
He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels. Revelation 3:5, Church of Sardis
He that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name. Revelation 3:12, Church of Philadelphia
He that overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and set down with my Father in His throne. Revelation 3:22, Church of Laodicea
Yes. Such good, glorious, eternal promises. His love for His church, His bride is unfathomable.
May we all be found amongst the overcomers and conquerors; may we all be found amongst those who will receive the crown of life and and will be granted a seat in the throne with our Savior Jesus and His (and our) Father.
In what ways has these seven letters from Jesus encouraged, examined, warned, or rebuked you?
Are you like the Church of Ephesus who were strong proponents of God’s truth but had lost their love and fervor for the Lord; who had lost their love for the main thing? Are you like the Church of Pergamos who fell into idol worship although they had not completely denied the name of Jesus? What about the Church of Thyatira who had tolerated the spirit of Jezebel who sought to destroy them with sexual immorality? Are you like the Church of Sardis who had become so complacent in their spiritual walk with the Lord that they were dying, and were slowly drifting away? Are you like the Church of Laodicea who could not make up their minds who they wanted to be and what they wanted to proclaim? Or are you blameless and spotless in your walk like the Church of Smyrna and Philadelphia?
Whatever you have found within the confines of your heart during this study, praise God for the revelation. He is so worthy to be praised. This is why He has given us the Word of God and His teachings, encouragement, and correction. It is because He loves us. Repent in every way necessary for your relationship to grow and thrive with Christ. Believe that He will change you by the power of the Holy Spirit at work within you. Move forward with complete trust in what the Savior can do in and through your life.
Persevere. Endure. Fight the good fight. Be faithful until the very end.
With God’s Love,
I hope you enjoyed this #LoveLetters series! There is more biblical truth and encouragement to come that will spur you on to growth and good works in Jesus Christ! If you have not signed up for this ministry’s weekly #ELoveLetters and our monthly handwritten, personalized #LoveLetters, it isn’t too late! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to join the work that God is doing! If you are already subscribed to the blog, the #LoveLetters and #ELoveLetters ministry is different from the blog and the posts will be different at times and may not always be posted here! The first weekly email (shorter versions of bible studies and devotions) will be delivered to email inboxes on Monday November 23rd and they will continue weekly every Monday.
The first bulk of monthly, handwritten letters will be delivered to your physical mailbox on Monday December 21st! You must sign up for this one via email at email@example.com with the subject line #LoveLetters Mailing! We are very excited about this aspect of the ministry as well!
There is also a Christmas gift prize opportunity for all who sign up by 5pm today! Please see the first #LoveLetters post for more information!
To view the Introduction and Parts 1-3 of this blog series, please browse the site to be encouraged by the Word of God and our Savior’s exhortation to the Body of Christ.
The time is near. Are you ready for Christ’s return?