Have you ever wondered what the Seven Churches spoken of in the book of Revelation were? Jesus gave John a very important message to write to them. He had a message for them and He has a message for you as well.
These are the seven kinds of churches that dominate the world. The seven kinds of believers, not only for that time but for those in this very day and age. Jesus has a warning to those who are of His Spirit, those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. Has God opened your eyes to see and are you listening?
Depending on where God has placed you in this world. According to His plan and purposes, He has placed all the people of the corporate church of believers into one of the seven churches. Some to be His true believers and many to be in the church but not of His Spirit, false believers.
He has encouragement, rebuke, a call to repentance, warnings, and a reward to those who stand firm in their faithfulness to Him. Think about it and pray about it. May God open your eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit has to say to the churches.
These are not in order as they were written down. But I put them in order from the most faithful church to the least faithful. Take some time to meditate on each one and see if you see yourself in one of them and if you can see the others being played out in the world around you.
1. Church of Philadelphia – The Chosen Church
“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.
Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.
The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:8-13
The people of this church have been chosen by God to be His faithful followers, firm in their faith to the end. They are chosen. He has opened a door to Heaven for them. His great plans and purposes for them that no one can shut. Because of their steadfast faithfulness and the truth they proclaim, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Lord. God will even cause the wicked to come and fall at their feet knowing God loved them. Knowing they have always spoken the truth of Him.
They will be kept from the hour of trial or severe persecutions. Great will be their reward and with it, great privileges will be theirs. God will give these rewards to no other. They are the holiest, most faithful, and most godly of all the churches. They have been given a very high and important calling. God will see to it that they fulfill their purpose for the Kingdom of Heaven. To save souls.
2. Church of Smyrna – The Spiritually Rich Persecuted Church
“I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:9-11
The people of this church are spiritually rich and faithful to the Lord and His Word. Though they may be very poor by the world’s standards. They will have to go through many difficult struggles, persecutions, beatings, taunts, and even martyrdom by the hand of the servants of Satan. Those who seek to silence and kill them for their faith in Jesus.
They will endure brief suffering, but God has no rebuke to this church for they are righteous and true even to the point of death. They will receive the glorious Crown of Life and their destination and reward will be great in Heaven.
3 Church of Ephesus – The Loveless Church
“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:2-7
The people of this church are very involved in the local church, perhaps for their entire lives. May it be in ministry, leadership, helping in different ways in the community through the works of their churches. They are doing many different works, zealously doing good deeds, and rebuking those who are false. But they have forgotten their first love, Jesus. They have become legalistic, rebuking and instructing without being loving, which is the most important command.
They have accomplished many good works and patiently endured for His name. Yet have begun to do them without the love of Jesus. It has become their duty and it has hampered the heart of the Lord.
God calls them to repent, turning back to loving one another in the way they began. To listen to the heart and Spirit of Jesus Christ. To serve Him out of love and not out of duty. Those who turn to Him and repent, those who conquer over the lies of the devil, will have their place in the paradise of God. They will be given the privilege to partake of the tree of life in Heaven.
4. Church of Thyatira – The Half Good Half Evil Church
“I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am He who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come.
The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:19-25
The people of this church are either very good and righteous before the Lord or very evil. Yet they dwell together. The good people in this church are faithful to God and continue to grow in their faith. They hold fast to what they have been given and are determined to follow through to the end. The wicked in this church have completely given themselves over to doctrines of demons, sexual immorality, the worship of idols, and all kinds of hidden depravity.
God has given the wicked much time to repent but they have refused. They will be punished severely with sickness and death because of their evil deeds. According to the will of the Father.
But to the righteous and their faithful endurance in the face of such depravity and temptation, they will be given a place of authority and rule with the Lord Jesus Himself.
5. Church of Laodicea – The Deceived Church
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:15-20
The people of this church are wealthy and prosperous in the eyes of the world. They have all the good things this world has to offer. They are prominent and puffed up with pride because of their wealth. They do not depend on God for anything but their own wealth, stages, abilities, accomplishments, and arrogance. Little do they know they are filthy, poor, and wretched in God’s sight. He is about to spew them out of His mouth to destruction if they do not repent.
But still, God will reprove and discipline a chosen few, those who are His, who have been called by His name to repentance. Those who conquer, repent, and follow Him will surely not lose their reward but will have the great right to sit upon His throne with Jesus himself, just as Jesus sits on the throne with the Father.
6. Church of Sardis – The Church of False Converts
“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:1-6
The people of this church have heard the Gospel and the Word of God preached to them many times. They may even have verses memorized and can spout them at a moment’s notice, but they have not taken them to heart.
They believe that they are truly saved, but they do not have His Spirit within them. Their fruit is spoiled. The truth is their hearts are far from Him. They are lukewarm, apathetic, blind, and self-centered. Their fruit is worthless in the sight of God.
They may be a Sunday Christian. They attend church every Sunday without fail and even rebuke those who do not. They praise God with their lips, claim to have great and powerful faith, but have no intention of sacrificing their own desires for Him. They live their lives for themselves and their own pleasures. Claiming to love Him, they do not practice what they preach. They walk the halls of their churches for others to see them. But the truth is they are totally of this world.
God is still pleading for them to repent and a few will. Those that do, will be clothed in white, for God says, “they are worthy.” God says, “their names will not be blotted out of the book of life.” Again, great will be the reward to those who give up their lives for God.
7. Church of Pergamum – The Adulterous Pagan Church
“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:13-17
The people in this final church seem to be the worst of them all. They have turned the church into a farce, a mockery, adulterous, and full of idolatry. Not at all what the Spirit called the church to be.
Their church is full of hidden pagan practices, secret or open sexual immorality, and open idol worship throughout. Where secret evil is both hidden from the eyes of the world and exposed and at the same time.
They have changed the traditions of God and the worship of Him into following and adhering to the traditions and rituals of man. They worship dead people, statues, religious items, and hold to many doctrines of demons.
In the same breath, they claim they worship God and give Him thanks. But they practice all kinds of evil. Even to the point of proclaiming they are the only true church, the only way to God.
God calls them to repent and the few that do overcome the lies and deception will conquer. He will give to them a special reward. Giving them hidden spiritual food to eat to keep them devoted to Him in the midst of dwelling with this rebellious church. They will be pure and receive a new name that no one else can know, and a place promised in Heaven.
Please examine yourself by asking for eyes to see and ears to hear from the Spirit of the Lord Himself. Take an honest evaluation of what church you are in and the dangers that lay within many of them. Determine to be one of those who are faithful to the Lord even in the face of persecutions, temptations, trials, and even death.
Do as the Lord commands and repent, follow, and obey Him in everything, and great will be your reward in Heaven.
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” Isaiah 55:1-2
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:12-13