Summary: A study on the 7 model churches as described by Jesus in the book of Revelation. Learn why the church is so important, and your part in what He’s up to in these last days.
How to Be a Loyal Church
Series: Will the Real Church Please Stand Up?
October 1, 2006
There are all kinds of people out there today who are ragging on the church…
a. The church is a place for hypocrites.
b. The church is responsible for all the hate and wars in the world.
c. The church is nothing more than a social club.
d. Organized religion is all about the money.
The Church doesn’t have a shortage of it’s critics. And even though many of it’s critics have a point… no one really has a right to criticize the church except for one person… it’s founder… Jesus Christ. He earned His right to critique the church, because he was the only one who loved her enough to die for her. It’s kinda like you as a parent… because you brought that child into the world…by your own sweat and tears…you’re the only one who has the right to look at them right in the eye and say, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it!” But let someone else criticize or in any way put your kid down… and you come out swinging! Right? Sure, that’s because blood is thicker than water.
And because Jesus gave His blood for His church (and nobody else did)… He’s the only one who really has the right to point out her shortcomings. In Rev. 2-3, that’s exactly what He does. But not as a way of tearing her down, but in order to build her up! His criticism isn’t full of selfish motives, or bitterness (like outsiders are)… His criticism is constructive and it comes out of a heart of love. Out of a desire to make His church better. To help her to live up to her potential. Because of what He’s done for us… we know His motives are pure.
If your son wants to be the best baseball player in the world, wouldn’t it be in his best interests to not only point out his strengths, but also his weaknesses? If you don’t love him enough to point out his weaknesses… how much do you really want him to succeed? If you ignore those weaknesses they’ll eventually negate the strengths! The same is true of Christs church. So Jesus goes over His church with a fine-tooth comb, inspecting for cracks, pointing out not only it’s strengths, but the weaknesses that will destroy it if left unattended.
Now, I was a 2nd child in my home, and if no anything about birth order… the 2nd child always watches the trouble the 1st kid gets into and figures out a way not to make the same mistake. I can’t tell you how many ‘spankings’ my older sister saved me from just because I watched her mess up, and then I avoided the same error! Well, that’s what we should be doing as we study these 7 churches out of Revelation. Watching closely as Jesus disciplines them, so that we don’t make the same mistakes. These are our older sister churches!
First, Jesus comes to Ephesus in Rev.2:1-7… The “Busy Church” and points out, “Sure, you’re working hard for me, but you’re doing it out of duty not delight”… so we talked about how we can be a more “Loving Church”.
Next Jesus comes to Smyrna, a church that was experiencing a tremendous amount of persecution… it’s the ‘Persecuted Church’, and instead of pointing out faults, Jesus encourages them to hang on! So from Smyrna, we can learn, how to be a “Faithful Church” in the face of persecution.
Then, Jesus inspects the church of Pergamum…”The Compromising Church”. Jesus told us that we are to be “in” the world, but not ‘of’ the world. It’s that fine line between relating to the world, but at the same time being different enough to attract the world . The Church of Pergamum crossed the line. Instead of changing the world, the world was changing them.
It’s happening in the church today. So we talked about how we can keep from making the same mistake in our culture.
This morning I want you to turn in your bibles to Rev.2:18-19, where we come across what I’m naming, “The Tolerating Church” of Thyatira, and hopefully from their experiences we can learn how to be a “Loyal Church”. Loyal to Christ only, as our Lord and Master. (READ) Again, just like all the other churches we’ve read about, the message starts out by reminding us who’s talking. Jesus gives us a description of who He is…and it may be different from the almost feminine, milk toast, 60’s hippy you might have…
Ephesus… he is “the one who holds the 7 stars in his right hand and walks among the 7 lampstands”. In otherwords, He OWNS the churches. We’re HIS and we’re accountable to Him alone.