Sermons

Summary: The messages to the seven churches are vital to the survival of the church in any part of the world at any time in history. The lights of the church go out all through history and produce dark ages when Jesus is not heard and heeded.

If someone asks you, "What is the modern name of the country where Paul was born?" Would you

know?

If someone asked you, "What is the modern name of the country where Christians were first

called Christians?" Would you know?

If someone asked you, "What is the modern name of the country where Noah's Ark landed and

the new world began?" Would you know?

If someone asked you, "What is the modern name of the country which became the center of

Christianity after the fall of Jerusalem, and which became the center of world power and spread of

Christianity for 16 centuries?" Would you know?

The answer to all of these questions is the same: It is the land of Turkey. I must confess I had no

idea that Turkey was a major Bible country, but the fact is, it is. All 7 of the churches Jesus sent

letters to in this book of Revelation were in Asia Minor, which today is Turkey. The Hittites of the

Old Testament developed this land. Abraham came here on the way to the Holy Land. It was

famous in Greek history as the land where they deceived the city of Troy into taking their wooden

horse in which were hidden some of their soldiers. They took this famous city, and the story is

recorded in Homer's famous Iliad.

Turkey is the bridge between Europe and Asia, and it is famous for more than most of us realize.

This is where Florence Nightingale paved the way for modern nursing. This is where Hippocrates

the father of modern medicine came to work centuries before. Dr. Luke got his training here, and

Paul spent most of his life here, and a great deal of his ministry was in this area. John the Apostle

served the churches here, as did Timothy. Mary the mother of Jesus lived her last days and was

buried here. When Constantine the Roman Emperor became a Christian he transferred the capital of

the Empire from Rome to Constantinople in what is now Turkey. For 7 centuries, which is three

times as long as the United States has existed, this was the center of world and Christian power.

The first ecumenical council where Christian leaders from all over the world met was in Nicaea

in 325 A.D. There they established basic Christian doctrine held by all Christians to this day. Not

only is a good portion of the New Testament written to churches in what is now Turkey, but out of

that area has come the theological foundation for all the creeds of Christiandom. Everyone of us has

been greatly influenced by what happened in the land of Turkey. The reason I share this is two fold.

First, because most Christians never think of it or hear of it. It is lost knowledge because we don't

know history. Second, it becomes a startling piece of evidence as to the consequences of not

listening to Jesus when he speaks to the church. Jesus warned these churches that if they did not

listen they would be removed, and would no longer be lights in the world, and that is exactly what

happened.

This center of the Christian faith was destroyed, and today it is 98% Moslem, and the Christian

church has very little influence. The churches and even the cities are nothing but rubble and

wasteland because the church stopped listening to her Lord, and went her own way just like the

people of Israel did, and the glory of the Lord departed as it did from the temple of Israel.

The messages to the seven churches are vital to the survival of the church in any part of the world

at any time in history. The lights of the church go out all through history and produce dark ages

when Jesus is not heard and heeded. This background should make us realize how seriously we

need to give heed to these letters of our Lord to the church. Most all of the churches of Turkey have

been turned into Mosques or museums because they had ceased to listen. History teaches us that

Jesus says what He means and He means what He says. We want to look at what He says to the first

church-the church of Ephesus. This letter is really second Ephesus, for Paul wrote one of his most

impressive letters to this church several decades earlier. It was a great church in a great city.

In the original list of the seven wonders of the world which goes back to the second century B.C.

The second one on the list was the temple of Diana in Ephesus. Pliny the Roman Historian called it,

"The most wonderful monument of Grecian magnificence.." It took a 120 years to build it. It was

425 feet in length and 225 feet wide with 127 60 foot columns, each given by a different king so

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