Summary: John describes what the Lord sees about 7 churches, which one describes us?
A True Church
Illustration: Gregory P. Elder tells of his childhood. He spent many hours at the beach and in the sand building sandcastles. Whole cities would appear by his hand, in the sand. One year bullies, or toughies as he called them, appeared and smashed his creations in the sand. Day after day they would come to destroy what he has made. One day he decided to do something about it. He gathered stones, rocks, blocks and other hard materials. He put them in place and covered them with sand to create his sandcastles and cities. Just as the bullies appeared he disappeared, but watching from a vantage point he saw these bullies, barefooted, run off as their bare feet had met their match. In the church these bullies might be secularism, politics, heresies (false teachings) or just plain old sin that kick at the foundation and structure of the church and its people. Like the story, churches that do not have the ROCK, as their foundation will crumble, but those that have the ROCK, even though Satan and all his cohorts kick at it, will stand. The TRUE CHURCH/Believer has the ROCK as its foundation. There are several characteristics of a true Church/Believer.
The first of these characteristics is:
1. They Proclaim Jesus as the Messiah
a. Matt. 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, Him will I acknowledge before my Father in Heaven”
b. Paul said in Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the Power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. First to the Jew and then to the Gentile.
c. All churches proclaim they follow the Lord, all believers say they proclaim Jesus. But in this passage Jesus identifies “those who claim they are Jews but are of they are of the synagogue of Satan” the same is true of those who say they are Christians but are not really. Is Jesus Lord of our lives?
Another of the Characteristics of True Believers/Churches is
2. They Walk their Talk: Rev. 3:8
a. Romans 1:17 “…the righteous will live by faith”
b. They will be patient Rev. 3:10 they make the connection between Bible and Life. They live what they learn
c. James 5:7-9 “Be patient then brothers until the Lord’s coming See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its crop, and the autumn and spring rains. You too be patient and stand firm, for the Lord’s coming in near. Do not grumble against each other brothers or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door. Many ideas can come from this, the true believers are patient and they do not grumble against each other. It is by our words and our actions that we will be judged. If we say we are one thing and act another we are hypocrites. So the righteous back ups their words with their actions.
This leaves us with the final characteristic
3. They will not let anyone or anything steal their crown Rev. 3:11ff
a. His reward is with him; many times in the letters to the churches he uses the words “…to him who overcomes I will…”
b. The perserverer will
i. Receive His name (individually)
ii. Receive God’s name (congregationally)