If you have/or had been coming regularly to the 9am service, you may have noticed that during the period we have been looking at Jesus teaching in the Beatitudes (the beginning of Matthew Chapter 5), there has also been a series of readings from the book of Revelation, where Jesus is talking to the seven churches (churches set in somewhat of a circle each some fifty kms apart in the area known as Asia - now western Turkey). He has words of encouragement and criticism aimed at enlivening them in their faith and service. It’s instructive to listen, even today, to what he had to say (Revelation 2:1–3:22):
- He firstly encourages them respectively for their deeds, hard work and perseverance; intolerance of false teachers, their endurance under hardship for his name; for their steadfastness of faith even in the face of opposition; for their love and service and perseverance; and yet
- there is also criticism and an exhortation to repent, to revitalise their life together and to stand firm in the faith: not to forsake the love they had at first; to turn from following false teaching and worship; to reject those who seek to mislead, to confuse and draw people away from true faith; to be alive, not dead, not complacent and resting on reputation or simply concerned with appearance; to be committed and energetic, not lukewarm in their commitment or resting in the wealth and pleasure this world brings.
He calls for renewed energy and discipline and He promises for those who are victorious in this eternal enterprise authority, power, and their names written in the book of life.