Hold on to what you have

“Write to the messenger of the congregation in Thyatira: ‘The Son of God, with eyes like a fiery flame, and feet like glowing brass, says these things: I know your works, love, faith, service, and steadfastness, and that your last works are more than the first.’” (Revelation 2:18-19 McCord)

Jesus was aware of what the Christians in Thyatira were doing. He knew their works, their love, the faith that they had, the service they were giving and that they were steadfastness – they were continuing to be faithful in spite of what they were going through. In fact, their activity was increasing. They were growing as Christians.

This is a message that we find in each of these letters to the congregations in Asia: Jesus knew what they were doing. This should be a message to Christians today, as well: Jesus knows what we are doing. He knows what each of us is involved in, as well as what each congregation is actively doing for him. Are we growing in what we are doing? Is our love, faith and serving increasing as we remain faithful to Jesus? Continue reading “Hold on to what you have”

Change your heart

“Write to the messenger of the congregation in Pergamus: ‘He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things: I know you are holding fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of my faithful martyr Antipas, who was killed among you, where Satan lives.’” (Revelation 2:12-13 McCord)

When we begin examining the Christians in Pergamus (or Pergamum), we discover what looks to be an exemplary group of Christians. They were standing up for Jesus, even though they were being persecuted. Even when some were being killed, presumably because they would not deny Jesus, they still were true to Jesus – and at least one Christian had been killed. This was taking place “where Satan lives” and Satan was the evil behind what these Christians were going through.

When you find Christians who have such a strong faith, you would think that they would not allow anything or anyone to undermine their faith. Sadly, this was not the case. Continue reading “Change your heart”

Be faithful even if it means death

Write to the messenger of the congregation in Smyrna: ‘The First and the Last, the One who died and lived, says these things: I know your distress and poverty, but you are rich. I also know the slander of those who call themselves Jews, and are not, but they are the synagogue of Satan.’” (Revelation 2:8-9 McCord)

Most who are Christians, at least in the Western World, have never suffered persecution as the Christians did in the first century. Although we may be aware that this is always a possibility in a changing and volatile world, in our minds any persecution that might come would be from someone we don’t know, from someone who does not even acknowledge God.

Yet the early persecution we read of in the book of Acts came from Jews, those who thought themselves to be God’s people. And it was against fellow Jews who had become Christians, followers of the Messiah. Jesus had warned about this. Continue reading “Be faithful even if it means death”

Do the deeds you did at the first

In the beginning of John’s Revelation Jesus addressed seven letters to seven congregations in the Roman province of Asia. The first of these is addressed to the Christians in Ephesus.

The congregation in Ephesus had a wonderful beginning. Paul visited the city at the end of his second teaching trip, spending time debating with the Jews in their synagogue. Such was the interest that he returned on his third teaching trip. He spent two years teaching in this Roman city which was steeped in paganism. Such was the success of Paul and his companions that those who made images of Artemis, the local goddess, started a riot in protest. (All of this can be found in Acts 18-19). Continue reading “Do the deeds you did at the first”