Our family's study of the seven churches of revelation
The month of January has been a good time for our family. It is summer in New Zealand and because of this our schools close for about 6 weeks.
In past years, during the holidays, we have struggled to put Jesus first in our family. This is largely due to our living on a family property by the sea and during holidays other families come with their children and it can become difficult for us to consistently share together. Our children want to do other things with their cousins and friends. This year, however, our sharing/prayer times have gone much better then in previous years.
One thing that is becoming an increasing blessing to us is Scripture Memory. In November we decided, as a family, to memorize the same portion of Scripture together. Matthew wanted us to memorize the letters to the Seven Churches of Revelation in Chapters two and three. These two chapters in Revelation have also been a blessing to us as we have discussed them together.
And as we have memorized these passages it almost seems as if the Lord is talking to us as individuals. There is one phrase that comes up in every letter to the 7 churches which is this: "I know" "I know your deeds, your hard work and perseverance" or "I know your afflictions and your poverty" or "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot". It has been a comfort to us, but also a challenge to us to know that Jesus knows all about us and what we are going through.
Jesus was only happy with two of the Churches; Smyrna which was being slandered and persecuted and Philadelphia, which appears to have been like a missionary church. As a family we want Jesus to be happy with us as He was happy with those two churches. We do, however, often see ourselves doing some of the things that the people did in these other 5 churches.
Ephesus appeared to be a wonderful Church, but by the time Jesus gave this message to the Ephesians they were now third and fourth generation Christians and they had left their first love.
Pergamum appeared in many ways to be a good Church. They had remained faithful to the Lord even when they were being persecuted but they had people who were into false teaching and such things as eating food sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality.
Jesus was pleased with many of the things that the Church in Thyatira were doing, but this Church was tolerating a woman who called herself a prophetess and was leading people into sexual immorality and to the eating of food sacrificed to idols as well as holding to false teaching.
There were two churches that Jesus had nothing good to say about. They were Sardis and Laodicea. Sardis looked to be a great church and yet Jesus said this: "You have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead."
Likewise Jesus had nothing good to say about Laodicea. They were a wealthy Church and probably looked good on the surface, but Jesus said they were neither hot nor cold, and because of this, he was about to spit them out of His mouth. He said they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
We constantly struggle with putting such things as our comfort, possessions or people before the Lord. When we do this Jesus can't become the deepest joy in our family.