Changes God requires in His church today in order to produce the perfected 'bride of Christ'




We will summarise the aspects of the five churches that Jesus criticised as operating as 'kings' rather than 'kingdom'.







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DEFINITIONS (For serious students only)



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We will firstly summarise the aspects of the five churches that Jesus criticised as operating as 'kings' rather than 'kingdom'.

The root of the problems in the Revelation churches, and still today, can be seen developing way back in the early days of Israel, where the people asked Samuel for a king, so that they would be like the people around them. Both God and Samuel objected then, as God still does now.



1 Samuel 8:6-9



God, then and now, wants to lead His people personally, not through human intermediaries. Although God acceded to the people's wishes it was not the best way. King Saul set the pattern of what was to come. David was an improvement, but still far from perfect, while Solomon who started out with everything, ended up walking away from God, seduced by the world. Little has changed today!




Let's summarise the 5 churches criticised by Jesus.

The people of Ephesus had changed focus from God to survival, one based on their own strength rather than the power of God. While this is highly understandable from a human perspective, it is not God's way. We can appear to be doing great things, yet if they are in our own strength, they are not great in God's sight.

If we don't do things the Lord's way rather than our own, He will remove the full power of Holy Spirit anointing from us.




Two lessons from Pergamum. Prophets are NOT TO ACCEPT MONEY OR GIFTS for the use of their prophetic gift, for the gift is not their own, but belongs to God! Inevitably they will lead people into sin, either physical or spiritual adultery.

Prophets beware! People beware!

We must be very careful to be discerning and not follow prophets who use God's gift to acquire the pleasures of this world.




God is a personal God to each and every one of us, if we will only search Him out individually. He desires a unique relationship with you and with me, not a second hand one through another, irrespective of how godly that person may be.

If we insist in following the old ' Nicolaitan' ways of following a church leader instead of God we will be punished.

As Jesus said to the church at Pergamum licentiousness, both physical and spiritual, will not be tolerated in His church.



Then, and today, false unbiblical teachings were promoting the ways and values of a selfish, manipulative, fallen world, within the church.

The message to the church in Thyatira, and to us today, is to be so careful that the church and our lives are based upon godly values, not those of the society within which we live.

May each one of us be careful to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, seeking daily to become more like Him.

As Christians, we are to be seen to be different to the people of the world.




The church, very grey today, is to become the pure, spotless bride for which Jesus is returning. He wont come until we are! We determine the time of His return by our preparation. If we are not ready, if our robe is soiled, He will wait for another generation.

Sobering, isn't it!



Finally, the church in Laodicea, generally regarded as being a picture of today's church. A church with a lukewarm faith, brought about by riches that lead to self sufficiency.

How much we need to be reminded of the Parable of the Rich Fool so that we don't meet his fate.



Luke 12:20-21



God desires for us to be dependent upon Him for our provision.

We all (including me!) need to continually take heed of the warnings Jesus gave to these 5 churches. For we so easily fall into the very human traps that they did.

Jesus is returning for a 'pure spotless bride'. This is a church that will 100% do the will of the Father, following the example of Jesus through the leading of the Holy Spirit. A kingdom church, quite different to the one we know today, for it will be Spirit, not being people (king) led.

I realise this sounds idealistic and impossible to achieve. In our own strength, past experience and understanding, it is! Yet this is the church for which Jesus will return.

(Picture of Jewish bride)



Revelation 19:6-9







We now finish our look at the Revelation churches by summarising the characteristics of the 2 churches Jesus praised, those at Smyrna and Philadelphia.



Revelation 10b



The people of Smyrna had nothing materially. They were persecuted. They were ridiculed. They were likely to die for their faith. Yet, spiritually, in their faithfulness, they had everything! And were given the promise:



Revelation 10b



God, above all, desires us to be fully reliant upon Him.

At Philadelphia, the situation was much the same.

Here we have another church that wouldn't seem successful in today's terms. Success today is regarded as being strong, confident, with a super faith that will get one through all situations and challenges in life. Yet, very often, this 'strength' is grounded in human maxims of success rather than godly principles. Strength in self rather than total reliance upon God!

To truly 'go up' in God, one must first 'go down' in self.

Yes, in Philadelphia they had little strength, yet they kept God's Word and did not deny His name.

Also, as one commentator put it,

This church has opposition from the false church (synagogue of Satan), the counterfeits. These false brethren claim to be the church and oppose the ministry of God’s people, but Christ promises to bring them to their knees. The false church has popularity, influence, and money, but it must one day bow before the few saints of God who take the truth to the world.

Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament, (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books) 1992.

All too often today, the churches with popularity, influence and money are regarded as the successful true church. Yet, according to Jesus, the churches at Smyrna and Philadelphia which were poor and persecuted, lacking in human strength and ridiculed, were those that He was pleased with. Yet, as the commentator says, it must one day bow before the few saints of God who take the truth to the world.

Jesus desires us to work in His strength, not our own.




I have a heart for the church. I was brought up in a Baptist church. I was a 'good churchian' until my early 30's. It was even suggested that I should go to Baptist College and train to be a Minister. Yet I knew what was really in my heart.

After a bad experience in the church I attended, I threw away all the 'pretence' of my churchianity and went out into the world for 10 years or so. It wasn't until I faced the implications of bankruptcy that I truly gave my heart to Jesus.

Back in the church I absorbed all my traditional Baptist church had to offer. I became filled with the Holy Spirit and absorbed all the Pentecostal church had to offer. But in my heart I knew there was more. Then the Lord gave me the revelation of Revelation 12:11, upon which Walking with Jesus Ministries is based.



Revelation 12:11



A church which in the Bible described as the overcomers, the bride, the double anointing, and more. A people sold out to God, 100% doing the Father's will, leading to spiritual death of our human nature putting on the nature of God as modeled in Jesus, being prepared to die physically also for God, as Jesus did for us.

Yes, I have been called a dreamer, and worse things!

Yet, as we can see in the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia, the characteristics of the churches Jesus praised are not those desired by most of the church, then and now. Principles of sacrifice, faithfulness, full reliance upon and submission to the will of God. Something to consider next time.





We will look at how the church has developed since the time of Jesus.





As we have seen, right from earliest times, the church has mostly developed in ways that Jesus wasn't happy with.

What we, in our humanness view as success, isn't success in Jesus' eyes.

May we learn the lessons He is trying to teach us.

Extra-Biblical Historical Evidence for the LIFE, DEATH, and RESURRECTION of JESUS


Clement, elder of Rome, letter to the Corinthian church (95 AD):

"The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their firstfruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe."

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, letter to the Trallians (110-115 AD):

"Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth; who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His Father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe on Him."



So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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920. In the world, submission is weakness, in God, strength.

David Tait         




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