In Today's Reading:
Greetings to the seven churches; a vision of the Son of Man; His messages to the churches
The seven churches of Asia Minor each received a letter dictated by Christ and recorded by John while he was on the island of Patmos. Since the character and conduct of churches and Christians is similar in every generation, the messages are just as vital and valid for us today.
Words of praise were given to the church at Ephesus for its sound doctrine. However, Christ said: Thou hast left thy first love (Revelation 2:4). Losing devotion to Christ usually happens gradually. Some Christians become so involved in business, leisure activities, or even church responsibilities that the worship of Christ becomes mechanical and a mere formality. This charge is most serious: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent . . . or else I will come . . . and will remove thy candlestick (the church, see 1:20) . . . except thou repent (2:5). Twice in one verse Jesus warned them (the church) to repent.
The letter sent to the church at Smyrna acknowledged that they were suffering: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) (2:9). This church appeared destitute of the comforts of life. Some would be cast into prison, others would suffer persecution. But, because of their loyal devotion, the Lord promised: Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. . . . He that overcometh shall not be hurt of (by) the second death (2:10-11).
The letter sent to the church at Pergamos reminded them that they lived where Satan's seat is: But hold fast (remain true to) My Name (2:13). However, some hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel . . . to commit fornication (2:14).
Jesus warned: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth (2:16).
In Paul's letter to the Galatians, we are warned of such dangers: If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (condemned) (Galatians 1:8-9).
For Revelation 1:5: See Psalm 89:27. Revelation 1:6: See Exodus 19:6. Revelation 1:7: See Daniel 7:13; Zechariah 12:10. Revelation 2:7: See Genesis 2:9. Revelation 2:23: See Jeremiah 17:10. Revelation 2:27: See Psalm 2:9.
1:8 Alpha and Omega =b> the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Christ is saying He is everything and knows all things A to Z; 1:13 girt =b> wrapped around; paps =b> chest; 2:19 charity =b> love; 2:23 reins =b> minds, innermost thoughts.
Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Michael Burgess (TX) and Rep. David Loebsack (IA) • Country: Turkey (64 million) in Asia Minor and southeastern Europe • Major languages: Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic • Official resistance to Christian witnessing • 79% Sunni Muslim; 20% Alawi Shi'ite Muslim; .2% Christian; .04% Jewish (25,000); .09% Armenian Orthodox; .02% Syrian Orthodox; .02% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Remember that one of the purposes of prayer is to glorify God (Psalm 115:1).
Memory Verse for the Week: Hebrews 13:21