Looking again at the seven letters to the churches, real churches, toward the end of the first century from Jesus, the head of each church and of the whole church, we note that seven failings of some of the churches are identified. Text is Revelation 2 and 3.
*Left its first love, 2:4
*Allowed false teachings, 2:14, 15
*Too great of an accommodation to its culture, 2:14
*Tolerated a false teacher, 2:33
*Failed to see the sickness of the church, 3:1, 17
*Flawed works, 3:2
These were issues then, and they still are. To summarize, each church must focus on pleasing Jesus, not themselves, not others—only Jesus. So, we must evangelize, disciple, do good works and good work. It is not about us. It is about Him. Troubles come from within and from without. Suffering is and will happen, both for individual believers and churches. Leaders have a special calling and responsibility for the spiritual health of individuals and the local church as a whole.
Jesus also provides a prescription for the sin sick individual and for the unhealthy churches. It can be seen as a kind of seven step program, never fully completed, but continuing, again and again and again.
- Remember, 2:5. Forgiven. Transformed. The coming of the Holy Spirit into the body. Joy.
- Repent, 2:5. Boldly confess ones sins. Boldly confess the sins of the church. And know that forgiveness and renewal will come.
- Do the first works, 2:5. Acknowledge personally, and as a church, that Jesus is Savior and Lord. Do this in worship, in prayer, in witness, in testimony, and in mission and ministry.
- Hold fast, 2:25. The Tempter will attack, but do not be thrown off course. Walk with God.
- Be watchful, 3:2. Do not be caught asleep by Satan. Do not allow others, or the whole church, to be deflected from its mission of evangelism and discipleship and ministry to others.
- Work with Christ the Carpenter to repair your personal weaknesses and those of your church, 3:2
- Rely on spiritual resources for health, wealth and wisdom, 3:18.
Read this five more times. Consider how you can use the prescription in your life. Consider how you can facilitate its use in your church.
Let me testify that I have experienced the effectiveness of this prescription in my personal life, in the lives of many persons here in our area, and in some of our churches during my period of ministry here. Use it and let me know the results. Next month we will look at the promise of us becoming overcomers.