If the Lord Jesus Christ were to show up in your church unannounced, if He were to evaluate your worship, if He were to carefully investigate all of the interpersonal relationships in your congregation, what might He find? If He were to sit down with your leadership, would He offer words of commendation or words of criticism? And what if He were to write down His evaluation in an open letter and send it to your pastor, and he was given the task of having to stand up and read it? It is a sobering thought.
Let me tell you something right now—it is a frightening thought to know that you’re being evaluated by One who knows every dark secret, concealed fact, longstanding grudge, embarrassing mistake, and less than pure motive. And yet this is exactly what Jesus Christ did, according to the first three chapters of Revelation, and the apostle John describes it for us in vivid detail. The Lord Jesus addresses seven local churches in different geographical regions. He sends personal correspondence to them in the form of seven letters.
Think of them as sort of a ‘performance’ review. Those of you who work in the corporate world, do you ever have to go before your boss for a performance review? These seven letters are Christ’s ‘performance evaluations,’ of the church, His reviews of their faith and works, including points of encouragement and rebuke. As you read through each of the seven letters, you’ll notice certain similarities. Each letter opens with an address to the representative of the church, which includes an initial identification of Christ. The content of the message that follows consists of what Christ observes about each church. This includes any commendation, concern, correction, or counsel He may have. Finally, Christ ends with a call to action for those who have their ears attuned to ‘hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the churches.’
Over the next few days, we will look at each of these churches of Revelation. Let’s prepare our hearts to hear from the Lord!
For more, read Revelation 2-3