Summary: Why the church would do well to carefully listen to Christ’s assessment of His church.
· What do you think of our church? (Opinions will vary greatly person to person…)
· More importantly, What do you suppose Jesus Christ thinks of our church?
Do you remember the old E.F. Hutton TV commercials? The setting was typically a busy restaurant or other public place. Two people would be talking about financial matters, and the first person would repeat something his broker had said concerning a certain investment. The second person would say, “Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says…” At that point every single person in the bustling restaurant would stop dead in his tracks, turn, and listen to what the man was about to say.
“When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen” was their motto.
So it would be if Jesus Christ were to give His evaluation of the church. If Christ were to speak, the churches would listen. (At least they should…)
What if I were to tell you that Christ has spoken?
· Would you want to know what He said?
· Would you be interested?
· Would you care to find out?
· Would you desire to hear His affirmations?
· Would you be willing to make changes in areas that He wasn’t pleased with?
Why should we listen to what Jesus has to say?
1. Because Jesus Cares for His Churches (vv. 9-13)
a. He personally communicated to the churches (vv. 9-10)
Jesus didn’t stay silent. He wanted to reveal His heart openly to all.
· Setting (vv. 9a): We find the apostle John exiled on the isle of Patmos. It was a small, bleak, and rocky island about ten miles long and six miles wide. It was a place where prisoners and undesirables were banished and forced to work in the mines. According to early church fathers like Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius, John was sent here and forced to work in the mines though he was quite old.
· Why was he exiled? (v. 9b) He was being persecuted “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Because of His unwavering faith and witness of Jesus Christ.
· Moses wrote the Pentateuch in the wilderness.
· David wrote many psalms while being pursued by Saul.
· Isaiah lived in difficult days and died a martyr’s death.
· Ezekiel wrote in exile.
· Jeremiah’s life was one of trial and persecution.
· Peter wrote his two letters shortly before martyrdom.
· Paul wrote several letters from prison.
Thus, in the will of God, the final written revelation was given to John while suffering for Christ and the gospel on the isle of Patmos.
· What happened? (v. 10) John was “in the Spirit.” He was in a time of deep worship. This was on “the Lord’s day.” It is uncertain what this means. It could mean either simply on Sunday, or that John was “transported” by a Spirit-induced trance forward to see visions of the future Day of the Lord, as described at length by the OT prophets. Either way, Jesus spoke, and John listened!
b. He personally named the churches. (v. 11)
· Jesus knows the name of our church too.
This was the days before denominations came about. There was no E’Free church, Baptist church, Methodist church, Lutheran church, Catholic church, Nazarene church, or even non-denominational church.
Illustration: Just Christians
You know there aren’t going to be any Baptists in heaven don’t you? Nor will there be any Methodists or Episcopalians. No, there won’t even be E’Free people. There’s just going to be Christians.
Jesus is concerned about communicating to Christians everywhere. I don’t think He is principally worried about what kind of stripes and spots you have. He is looking for doctrinal purity and devotion of heart.
What did Jesus want John to do?
“Write in A book what you see, and send IT to the seven churches…” (v. 11). John was to write this book, the book of Revelation, which included individual messages for seven different churches. But this one book was to be sent to them all.
· Some have suggested that these messages were for these 7 churches alone, and are therefore not applicable to today’s church at all. The Anglican church, for example holds this view. Their Scripture readings throughout the whole course of the year come from every passage of the Bible, except Revelation 2 and 3.
· Some have suggested that these churches represent the stages of development of the church throughout the course of history. Beginning with the Ephesian church that represents the Apostolic church (33 – 100 AD) ending with the Laodicean church that represents the Apostate church (at the end times, during the Trib).
· I think this is a very interesting theory, and there may very well be some validity to it. However, I understand these letters to be given to seven churches that are representative of the kinds of triumphs, trials, and failures common to all churches in all generations.