Summary: This is the first in a series on the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3

I am praying for, and believe, by faith that revival will take place in us in the next few months!

I am praying for, and believe, by faith that God is going to do some extraordinary things among us during the next few months!

I am praying for, and believe, by faith that we will have an overwhelming sense of the presence of God in our midst!

God wants to send real revival!

And revival is more than just putting up a sign saying,

“Revival meetings, come to our church!”

Revival is more than just a temporary rush of emotions.

God wants and God desires to send real revival.

The real kind of revival that finds people’s lives radically changed. God wants to send the kind of revival that invades our homes.

God wants to send the kind of revival that heals our hurts that we’ve thrown at each other.

He yearns for the kind of revival that finds entire communities, entire cities, turning to Him for His glory!

I am praying for revival. Why?

Because I need it!

Because we need it!

Because our community needs it!

We are going to begin a 40 Day Adventure in October: 40 Days of Community. And I want us to be ready for the adventure.

We will be taking a fresh look at what it means to be in community.

We will be looking at what it means to have an impact on our community.

Hopefully, we will begin to see our community through Christ’s eyes. To represent Christ well (that’s what a Christian is, you know, “little Christs”) we need to get used to seeing our community through Christ’s eyes.

As we look at our community, I’m afraid that too many of us are like Charlie Brown in a “Peanuts” comic strip...

Charlie Brown and Lucy are on their backs looking up at cloud formations. Lucy asks, “What do you see, Charlie Brown?”

Before he has a chance to respond, she continues, “Over there in that cloud I see Stephen, the first Christian martyr, being stoned by an angry mob in Jerusalem. And look up there; I see the Battle of Actium unfolding with Mark Anthony & Cleopatra being defeated by Octavius. Look off to the right, Charlie Brown; over there I see an early map of Prince Henry the Navigator. Now it’s your turn, Charlie Brown, what do you see?”

Charlie Brown gulps and has that funny blank expression on his face when in the last frame of the comic, he says, “I was going to say that I see a horsy and a ducky, but I’ve changed my mind!”

As we look at our community, I wonder what we see.

Do we see what Christ sees?

As we look at our church, I wonder what we see.

Do we see what Christ sees?

What does Christ see?

When Christ looks at us as a church family, what does He see?

“Well, that’s not a very good question to ask” some of you might be thinking, “Christ doesn’t go around evaluating churches like that.” Oh, yes, He does. And we even have some of those evaluations recorded for us in God’s written Word to us.

You’ll find these evaluations of actual, literal, churches recorded in Revelation 2-3. We will be looking at Christ’s evaluation of these churches in the next 7 weeks.

As we look at these evaluations, we will see some of us in each one of these churches. Christ gives some strong words to these churches, but the words are not just for those churches, they are for us as well. And we had better listen to what Christ has to say to us.

Turn to Revelation 2-3...

If you think these words are not for you, please look at a phrase that is repeated at the end of every evaluation of every church:

(Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:29; 3:6; 3:11; 3:21)

[Background to passage]

The Book of Revelation (NOT Revelations!) was written by the Apostle John while he was in exile on the island of Patmos.

He was an old man when he wrote this.

He wrote down what Christ told him to. Look at 1:17-20...

(Notice the red letters those who have red letter edition Bibles).

1:19 is the key verse to understanding the structure of the book of Revelation. [Expand]

In Revelation 2-3 “...what is now...” Christ tells John to write 7 different letters to 7 different churches in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) to tell these churches what His evaluation is of them.

These are real, historical churches that existed. Yet, they also represent every kind of church that has ever existed throughout history. The first church being evaluated in Revelation 2:1-7 is the church in Ephesus. Since this is a letter, and since it’s addressed to not only the church in Ephesus, but also to anyone who has ears, let’s open up and read our mail, shall we? This is a letter from Jesus... [Show envelope] You can follow along in your Bible since this letter is found in Rev. 2:1-7 [Open envelope & read letter]

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