Cary Allen
06 Jun

Was in Revelation this week and reading Jesus’ report card on the seven churches and am always amazed at how messed up were the 1st century churches. I mean Jesus was just crucified and resurrected and there were still living witnesses.  I can more easily understand why our churches are so messed up over twenty centuries later, but then I realize that it’s our same fundamental sin problem that causes all the trouble.  So the good or bad news depending on your point of view or your church is that these report cards show us exactly what Jesus commands us to do depending upon our churches’ alignment with these seven 1st century churches - repent, faithfully endure and/or hold on to what we have until He comes. 

Ephesus:: [Rev 2:2a,4-5 NIV] 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance…4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.   

Smyrna: [Rev 2:9a,10 NIV] 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown. 

Pergamum: [Rev 2:13a,14b,16a NIV] 13 …You did not renounce your faith in me… 14 … There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 16 Repent therefore!... 

Thyatira: [Rev 2:24-25 NIV] 24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets, 'I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.'  

Sardis: [Rev 3:2-3 NIV] 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I ec come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 

Philadelphia: [Rev 3:10a-11 NIV] 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial … 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 

Laodicea: [Rev 3:15a,17,19 NIV] 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. 17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. ... 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 

God loves us and sees our hearts and rebukes and disciplines us as needed to bring us back to Him.  His Word clearly shows us our sin of pride, lack of love, fear, depending on wealth, sexual immorality and/or focusing on outward appearances or past experiences rather than finishing our deeds.  And thankfully, we’re given His solutions to each of these above – repent, faithfully endure and/or hold on to what we have. 

Regular prayer that includes confession as modeled by the Lord’s prayer helps keep us humble and following the Lord.  There are also many scriptures about our how God is building us into His house (e.g., 1Pet 2:5, Eph 2:20-22), but I was in 1Chron this weekend and reading about how David instructed his son Solomon to build the first temple for the Lord and this scripture stood out. 

“Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.”” 1 Chronicles 22:19 NIV 

And below we see the endgame for the temple of the Lord. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. Revelation 21:22 NIV 

The heart is everything, the exterior counts for nothing (Matt 23:27). Spend time on your heart and knowing the God who chose to create and know you.  Choose to yoke yourself to Jesus and learn from Him (Matt 11:29). This builds our love and faith that drives our deeds, services and perseverance and our growth in these (Rev 2:19). Then Jesus says, “hold on to what you have until I come” (Rev2:25).

Cary Allen (  

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