The following points are recurring topics in these letters and they would likely be things that Jesus would say to us today.
- Jesus knows His churches. He said such things as: “I know your deeds”, I know where you dwell”, “I know your tribulation”. He knew Antipas of Pergemum by name. He knows us very well.
- He wants churches to guard their teaching. We must understand there is always a tendency to drift away, so we must carefully guard our teaching of the scriptures.
- He wants Christians to live in purity. We must live by God’s standard and not by the worldly standards around us. We are continuously exposed to ungodly standards of our society. Christ will punish both those who lead others and those who participate in the immorality of the world around us.
- Christ wants Christians to grow in service. Christ is not only interested in what we believe and how we live, but also how we serve. Are you serving Christ more this year than last? A new year can be a new and better start in Christ’s service. Christ wants us to be growing in His service as we have abilities and opportunities.
- Christ wants Christians to be ready for persecution. How would you react to the word from Jesus that you were about to undergo suffering for Him? Our persecution will not likely be life threatening, but more likely ridicule, loss of a job, being left out of things, sacrificing hardships, or even abuse. Whatever it might be, we should be ready for it. Paul wrote to Timothy that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim. 3:12)
- Christ wants Christians to know they can be lost. Those in the church, those saved by Christ’s blood could be lost. That is why Christ urged them to repent, to hold fast, to obey, to be faithful. While Satan cannot take those who are Christ’s from Him, those who are in Christ can take themselves away by unfaithfulness. Christ warns the churches to know that they must keep on living for Him and not fall back into sin.
- Christ will richly reward those who overcome. Every letter, even those containing severe warnings, closes with the promise of reward, all focusing on eternal life with God and Christ in heaven.
Unfaithfulness can take these things away, but those who overcome have great rewards in store.
This article has been adapted from the book, “Unlocking Revelation” by Dr. Stafford North, Printed by 21st Century Christian, pages 34-35.