The Lord told John to write to the seven churches which were spoken of in the first chapter as the seven golden lampstands. What does a lampstand do? It brings light into darkness, and the church is meant to bring light into a dark world.
As we read here in Revelation, each of the seven churches is singled out by Jesus, and He has a message for each. Of the seven, only two receive commendations with no negative comments. Those two are the Philadelphian church and the church at Smyrna.
Jesus says He knows that the church at Smyrna is suffering and is poor. “But,” he tells them, “you are rich!”
How could they be rich if they are poor and suffering? Because they are faithful.
This sort of puts the lie to those who say that God wants you to be materially rich, doesn’t it? It puts the lie to those that say that God will bring prosperity to your church if you are pleasing Him, doesn’t it?
The Philadelphian church is similar to the church at Smyrna, in that Jesus says, “I know that you don’t have much strength.” Then He says, “But you have obeyed my word. You have not said no to me.”
Several years ago I read a book by Henry Blackaby that changed my life. It’s actually a Bible study called Experiencing God. And the thing that changed my life was this. Blackaby said that one of the things that we can do to please God is to decide in advance to say “Yes” to whatever God asks of you. Don’t wait until He asks. Trust that He is loving and faithful and able to manage your life infinitely better than you can. Then decide that whatever He asks you to do will be for His glory and will be the right thing to do.
The Philadelphian church might not have had much strength, but they never said no to God.
The remaining five churches all had serious problems, but each were given a “those who overcome” promise, and a warning of “Those who have ears should listen to what the Holy Spirit says to the churches.”
Until Jesus returns it is never too late to turn back to Him, but we must listen and hear.
What do you think?