Jesus speaks directly the churches, so let’s examine a bit further into each church:
Vs. 4, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” Ephesus had become a large & proud church…they had accomplished plenty. Discerned false teachings, suffered for Christ, grew in their knowledge…yet they had lost the most important ingredient of all: Love. Without love the light of Christ could go out.
Vs. 9, “I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” Smryna had opposition from both unbelieving Gentiles & hostile Jews. Though they lived in a affluent city, they found themselves in poverty (maybe because of sanctions against Christians at the time). They were a picture of a suffering church. Small & beaten…yet Jesus reminded them that the crown of life awaits them in this temporary world we liven in.
Vs. 14, “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.” Pergamum was a city full of idolatry…and where idolatry is…Satan flourishes. This was not a easy city to live in as a Christian. Christians were compromising their faith & were peer pressured into following the crowd. They were accepting things that God had clearly laid out to his children that are wrong….Idol’s & sexual immorality.
Vs. 20, “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” Thaytira would be the opposite of Ephesus…plenty of love, but no discernment. They were easily swayed by false teachers, particularly a woman prophetess by the names Jezebel (ironic…I think not). We must be careful when it comes to accepting activities in this world that contradict our Lord!
Regarding application…Good News & Bad News. Vs. 23b, “Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Just when we think we are doing well in our churches…in our walks with the Lord…we are reminded here in Scripture that there is no time to grow complacent. I am reminded of when someone tells us, “I have good news & bad news.” We usually don’t even want to hear the bad news in the first place. Jesus came to us today with good news & bad news. Yet, the beauty of Jesus is that He made sure to praise the churches for the good things, share the bad things in truth & love, and then share the best part by sharing what happens when we overcome!!! Dearest brothers & sisters, as Jesus searches our hearts today…let him show us what it is in our lives that we need to correct! Let us not be like Jezebel from Thyatira who was given the chance to repent, but chose to harden her heart instead. Let us overcome together in prayer & petition to our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ!