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Christ's Evaluation of His Church

Stuart Briscoe

John, the aged overseer of the church at Ephesus, had been exiled on the island of Patmos because of his faith and ministry. While there, he received a vision, an apocalypse, of Christ that he was required to share with Ephesus and the six other churches around it. Each church received a different message. These same messages from Revelation 1-3 need to be heard today.

Messages From This Series:

John, the aged overseer of the church at Ephesus had been exiled on the island of Patmos because of his faith and ministry. While there he received a vision, an apocalypse, of Christ thst he was required to share with the churches around Ephesus. Christ’s words need to be heard today.

Scripture: Revelation 1:1

The church in Ephesus had many advantages. Planted in "the metropolis of Asia." led and taught by outstanding leaders, it had flourished. But Christ pointed out their lack of love.

Scripture: Revelation 2:1

Smyrna called itself "the glory of Asia". Situated 35 miles north of Ephesus, its great rival, it is still a flourishing city; although now it is called Izmir. The church in Smyrna receives no criticism from her Lord only understanding and encouragement.

Scripture: Revelation 2:8

Pergamum was never able to compete with Ephesus and Smyrna as a trade center but after it was willed over to Rome by its dying king, it became the capital of Asia and was therefore of great political significance. This made life in the church particularly difficult.

Scripture: Revelation 2:12-2:17

Thyatira was the least important of the seven cities but its church received the longest letter. This may have been because while outwardly the church was prospering, he who "searches hearts and minds" had detected serious problems that needed immediate attention.

Scripture: Revelation 2:18-2:29

Sardis had a great reputation both commercially and militarily. Unfortunately, the city rested on its reputation, became careless and self-indulgent, and, on two occasions, was overthrown. The church at Sardis had a great reputation, too, but Christ looked behind the reputation to the reality and was less than impressed. 

Scripture: Revelation 3:1-3:6

Philadelphia ("Brotherly Love") was a border city situated on a major highway where Mysia, Lydia and Phrygia met. It was "the gateway from one continent to another" (Barclay). The church, therefore, had no difficulty understanding "the open door" Christ had set before them.

Scripture: Revelation 3:7-3:13

Laodicea, Hierapolis and Colosse were situated within a few miles of each other in the Lycus Valley, due east of Ephesus. Laodicea, which was famous for its wealth, medical expertise, and garment industry, unfortunately lacked an adequate water supply. Christ used all these factors to illustrate His powerful message to the church.

Scripture: Revelation 3:14-3:22

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