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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Churches Have Personalities (Revelation 2:1; 2:8; 2:12; 2:18; 3:1; 3:7; 3:14)

 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus . . . Smyra . . . Pergamos . . . Thyatira . . . Sardis . . .  Philadelphia . . . Laodicea" (Revelation 2:1; 2:8; 2:12; 2:18; 3:1; 3:7; 3:14) 

Several truths emerge regarding the seven churches addressed in the Book of the Revelation:

1.  Church buildings come in all shapes and size and, like people, they each have their own personality. Churches generally take on the personality of their leaders:
  • Friendly pastors lead friendly churches;
  • Legalistic pastors who communicate rules and regulations lead legalistic churches;
  • Evangelistic leaders teach their people to become evangelistic churches;
  • Theologically liberal pastors lead their churches to become liberal;
  • Reformed leaders lead their churches to become reformed in their theology;
  • Giving pastors lead their congregations to become generous giving churches;
  • Financial responsible pastors raise financially responsible churches;
  • Missional pastors lead missional churches;
  • Praying pastors lead their people to become praying churches.
Your church has a personality. How would you describe your pastor and your church?

2.   Churches also have problems, just like the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters two and three. 

  • Left first love - "I have this against you, that you have left your first love" (2:4)
  • Fearful under persecution - "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer" (2:10)
  • Compromise and sexual immorality - "You have there those who hold to the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality" (2:14)
  • Sexually immoral women in leadership - "You allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols" (2:20)
  • Undeserved reputation and apathy - "You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead" (3:1). "I have not found your works perfect before God" (3:2)
  • Lukewarm - "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot" (3:15-16). 
4.   Churches have potential. Each church in Revelation 2-3 is given a conditional promises to which they must respond in order to be restored to a place of blessing.

5.   Furthermore, every church and her leaders, like those in the first century, will one day answer to Jesus Christ for their influence in this world.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
As you read about the seven churches in Revelation chapter two and three make a list of the following:
  • Jesus' description
  • His omniscience (what He knows about each church)
  • His warning
  • His reward
  • His power
  • His promise
  • Satan's involvement
What do these passages teach about Jesus and His relationship with churches? About churches?

Revelation 4:1-5:14
  • What activity is taking place in heaven?
  • What question is asked that brought much weeping?
  • Why is Jesus able to open the the scroll?
  • What does all of heaven acknowledge about Jesus?
Turning truth into prayer
If the All Knowing One were to visit your church this Sunday what would He see? Pray that your church and your pastor will walk in the fear of God. Pray that your pastor will live in the light of God's presence and your church will glorify Christ in all that she is and does.