REVELATION – Jesus Determines the Life of the Church – Part2

Image source: LifeHopeAndTruth

I completed my undergraduate studies when the mobile phone and emails, were not yet common place as they are today. I was far away from my parents; communication between me and my mother was through letters. While her words of wisdom inspired me, the most joyful thing was knowing that she cared a lot.

We have lost the joy of writing and receiving letters from those we love In our culture today. Instant messaging means the waiting, the anticipation, and the expectation that goes with writing and receiving love letters is gone forever. So, when we read the letters of Jesus to the seven Churches in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, we don’t see the relief, the excitement, and the joy it gave to the Churches.

The Church leaders and Church members not just in the seven Churches mentioned, but in all of the Churches everywhere at that time, and all of the Churches from that time to the present, have drawn courage and joy from the letters. All the seven letters follow a similar pattern; there is a positive feedback, a comment on what is not going right, an exhortation to do better, and the re-assurance of rewards.

Revelation 2:1-7 (The Living Bible) (shortened) states: “Write a letter to the leader of the church at Ephesus and tell him… “I write to inform you of a message from him who walks among the churches… “He says… I know how many good things you are doing… You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. “Yet there is one thing wrong; you don’t love me as at first! Think about those times of your first love… and turn back to me again… else I will come and remove your candlestick from its place among the churches… “Let this message sink into the ears… To everyone who is victorious, I will give fruit from the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God.”

The first letter was to the Church at Ephesus; the city was part of the Roamn empire back then, but is located in Turkey today. The next letter was to Smyrna, then Pergamos, then Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Apostle Paul helped establish the Church at Ephesus and taught there for three years; many magicians there became Christians and burnt their magic books (see Acts 18 and 19).

Timothy was the pastor in Ephesus (see 1 and 2 Timothy); the Church was spiritually strong (see book of Ephesians) and stayed strong till Ephesus was destroyed about 150-200 years after Revelation was written. The Church survived Roman persecution, and was a great light to the early Christians. The Ephesian Church no longer physically exist today, but its light continues to shine through the Bible.

The other six Churches no longer physically exist too; those cities were also a part of the Roman empire back then but are now part of Turkey. We know more about the Church in Ephesus than any of the others. Protestant Church tradition says Apostle John took Mary the mother of Jesus and they both lived and died in Ephesus. The light from the Church in Ephesus continues to bless us because Jesus has preserved their light. How about you, would your light still shine, lomg after you are gone?

Lord, lead us in love, preserve our light, long after we are gone, Amen!

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