We've reached the halfway point in our revelation study, and I wanted to take some time to look back over what we've seen so far. I've actually seen some repeating themes, and I think those are important to note, and I can't wait to see how they play out in the remaining 3 letters.
With that in mind, let's look back on the churches we've studied so far.
- The church in Ephesus was recognized for their faithfulness to Christ and His teachings, but condemned for their lack of love.
- Smyrna was faithful to the point of death. They had love, and they were praised for their perseverance.
- The Christians in Pergamum had love and perseverance, but they were lacking in truth. They remained faithful to Christ, but not His teachings.
- And finally, the church in Thyatira was praised for it's love, faith, service, and patient endurance, yet they lacked truth. They tolerated false teachings.
Over and over again, Jesus has commented on their love, faith, perseverance, and whether or not they hold to the truth of the gospel or allow false teachings.
Love, faith, perseverance, and truth. Those are the highlights of the first four letters.
Which brings me to my reflection.
Do we see those things in our own lives?
Do we keep Christ as our first love? ...or do we tend to drift away?
Is our faith in Christ (and Christ alone) enough to sustain us? Do we remain faithful to Him and believe He is in control of all?
Will we persevere when hardships come our way? ...or will we cave under pressure?
Will we stand up for the truth of God's Word, even if it means sacrificing our standing within our church, community or family?
Those are hard questions, but they are the ones I am reflecting on this week.
A less prominent repeating theme I saw in the first four churches, is works. Jesus said He knew the works of the first three churches, and the church in Thyatira was praised for their service. One of the ladies in my Bible study reminded us this week that faith without works is dead (James 2:20). That's something to remember as well.
Jesus knows your works. What does He know about you?
Do your works stem from love? Prompted by faith? Do they hold to the truth? Do they persevere under hardship? Do they exist at all...
We'd love to have you join us for the second half of this study. Find out more at: http://www.paulandheatherhart.com/intro-to-revelation/
This post was originally posted on my website at: