In writing devotionals this week, I was taking a look at the seven churches addressed in book of Revelation.
John was very systematic in addressing the churches. He followed this pattern:
Address or Greeting
Descriptive title of the Lord from the vision of chapter 1
Criticism, complaint, or condemnation
Instruction or Warning
Since the pattern is so clear, it is easy to see anomalies.
For example, there is only one church who did not receive commendation–Laodicea (Revelation 3:15-17). Their self-sufficiency led to indifference which blinded them to their own needs and the needs of others.
The reminder to us–we are totally dependent on the Lord and should therefore live not only by faith but surrender. Which should excite us, because we are dependent on the One who can supply all that is needed and more importantly, what is best. (See more in Friday’s post of Devotional.Calvarychurch.org)
But there was another anomaly. There where two church that did not receive criticism or condemnation.
First, Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) a church that was suffering under persecution.
The key lesson–the church with the most to complain about or the strongest pressure to compromise did not.
In our society we face very little true persecution.Â So how do we handle opposition?
We should expect suffering and remain steadfast.
Writing those words is difficult.Â I don’t like suffering.Â I really don’t want to suffer.
Second, Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) a church who had withstood pressure from outside.
The key lesson–no matter the outside pressure, the changes in society, we must remain faithful.
True Success takes time.Â Faithfulness is not a sprint.
We must not become weary; we must keep being faithful–faithful in purity and faithful in truth.