Do not miss this warnings. When Jesus says something, He means it. I firmly believe that they apply to churches and individuals.
To the Church in Ephesus
Rev 2 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 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.
The church in Ephesus did some most excellent things. They sounded like the perfect church. But because they abandoned the love they had Jesus said He would remove their lampstand – i.e., their church. That’s serious. Do you still love the Lord like you used to? If not, heed his warning and repent!
The Church in Smyrna had no warnings — good for them!
To the Church in Pergamum
Rev 2 14 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. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
There are so many churches enticing people into sexual immorality these days, either directly by mocking God’s word or indirectly by ignoring the issue and being afraid to preach about divorce and fornication. It is the opposite of loving God and your neighbor. They love the world more than they love God, and they don’t really trust his word, and it will not end well for them.
Jesus wants churches to purge themselves of false teachers. The church was doing so well otherwise, but that wasn’t good enough. The Methodist church we left was like that. The preacher knew the truth but tolerated a guy teaching classes that the preacher himself called a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The church Ephesus in Ephesus didn’t love what God loved, and churches like those in Pergamum and Thyatira didn’t hate what God hated: false teachings and sexual immorality.
This is where knowing the Old Testament comes in handy. Balaam seemed to get off to a good start by not cursing the Israelites, but he ultimately harmed them. This is also referenced in Jude, where it speaks of false teachers abandoning themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error.
To the Church in Thyatira
Rev 2 20 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. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 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, 23 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. 24 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.
And here’s another church that was already promoting sexual immorality. Jesus had some serious punishments in mind for them. This has the “Christian” Left written all over it. And what they are doing isn’t insignificant at all. Jesus himself says that those promoting sexual immorality have learned the deep things of Satan. Keep that in mind the next time some “Christian” Leftist says that LGBTQX behavior or heterosexual fornication is acceptable.
The lack of church discipline is a key problem today. Churches are afraid to call people out who are sinning.
To the Church in Sardis
Rev 3 . . . ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 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. 3 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.
They sound a little frozen chosen-ish and Jesus is not happy with that. Faith without works is still dead. There are so many ways to serve. Find something and do it, as churches and as individuals.
The Church in Philadelphia also had no issues. Good for them – it can be done!
To the Church in Laodicea
Rev 3 15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 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. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Not much good going on in Laodicea. Jesus jumped right into his warnings against them to turn back to him.
Again, I think those were warnings to the real churches at that time but also timeless challenges to every church and individual Christian to stay strong, remember our first love and to never lose sight of our mission. Do we really love and trust God? We’ll hold fast to his word and not apologize for it, and we’ll find ways to love our neighbors.