Summary: What best describes our church today? Are we a church filled with brotherly love, faithfulness and a love for God through Jesus Christ?
If we look closely at some rather unique music compositions, we’ll find interesting things about two gifted and well known composers – Beethoven and Haydn. Sometimes we need to look closely behind the scenes to understand the full story. We can do just that in music, and we can do just that as we look at seven churches in seven different locations found in the prophetic book of Revelation. As we look closer we’ll find some interesting, unique things.
This classic composition, Beethoven’s 5th symphony starts out in a way that is familiar to us all and is something rather unique as well. The repeated rhythm of “dit dit dit dah” is actually the letter “V” in Morse code. At the time, Beethoven's country, Germany, was at war. Beethoven wanted to communicate victory through this song to show his patriotism.
Joseph Haydn was begging the king to let his musicians have a break to visit their families. The king told him that there were many future parties for them to entertain. So, Hayden replied with a symphony named the “Farewell Symphony.” When the completed symphony was performed and as each movement progressed, a musician would pack up and leave until the end when there were none left to play. The embarrassed king only saw the musicians after their vacation.
The Apostle John wrote the inspired prophetic book of Revelation. This book describes the end times when Jesus Christ will return once again to earth. In the book entitled “Escape the Coming Night,” pastor, teacher and author David Jeremiah writes; “Take a poll among Christians who read their Bibles faithfully, and I can guarantee at least one consistent result: Very few Christians, even those who believe ‘all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable’…. (2 Timothy 3:16), spend much time reading and studying the Book of Revelation. Revelation is a form of Biblical literature called ‘apocalyptic’ meaning it uses symbols and imagery to reveal the secret purposes of God for the present and the future. Apocalypse means Revelation.”
As we take a closer look at the seven churches listed in the Book of Revelation, we can easily find a correlation to the 21st century church today. The text is from Revelation, chapter 1 verses 8 – 11:
“I AM the Alpha and the Omega” (beginning and the end) says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” I john, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos (in modern day Turkey) because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, (Sunday) and I heard behind me a loud voice (God) like the sound of a trumpet saying; “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches: To Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
These are the stories and descriptions of the seven churches. Pastor, author and teacher John MacArthur writes; “Although these seven churches were actual, historical churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), they represent the types of churches that exist throughout the church age. What Jesus Christ says to these seven churches is relevant in all times.” And according to David Jeremiah, “In his vision, John sees the seven churches in a circle, and in the midst of that circle, he sees Jesus Christ. If we look at a map of the actual seven churches, we will see that they are located in a circle in the order listed in Revelation 1:11. Taken in the order addressed, this circle is suggestive of the entire cycle of church history.”
Church at Ephesus – Dynamic, dedicated, disciplined, discerning and a determined church. But it was a church that had lost its love for Jesus Christ. The Ephesians’ passion and fervor for Christ had become cold and mechanical. Their doctrinal and moral purity, their undiminished zeal for the truth and their disciplined service were no substitute for the love for Christ they had forsaken. The closest church to the island of Patmos was the church that the Apostle John had pastored in Ephesus. It was while John was living in Ephesus that he was taken captive and was made an exile on this island. Charles Spurgeon, an English Baptist Preacher writes; “Pray God to send a few men with what the Americans call ‘grit’ in them; men who, when they know a thing to be right, will not turn away, or turn aside, or stop; men who will persevere all the more because there are difficulties to meet or foes to encounter; who stand all the more true to their Master, because they are opposed; who the more they are thrust into the fire, the hotter they become; who just like the bow, the further the string is drawn, the more powerfully it sends forth its arrows, and so the more they are trodden upon, the more mighty will they become in the cause of truth against error.”