Be Sorry And Repent Of Sin
If you are wondering how to get back on track with God, the answer is always the same: repent. Turn back to the truth of Gods Word and turn away from sin. Churches die because of the sinfulness of their members. Buildings cannot repent, but churches atone through the repentance of their members.
For all its shortcomings, Christ offered hope to Sardis: The church could experience eternal life if it returned to obeying His commands . There are no Christians in the area today, but archeology offers hope that Sardis repented. A Byzantine church, which now lies in ruins, was built in the city hundreds of years after Johns death.2
Speak The Truth In Love
Wherever corruption or compromise seeks a foothold, we need to be vigilant, sober, on guard, and to speak the truth in love . Our goal in confronting sin is not condemnation but reconciliation. A day is coming when Christ will judge every soul. Until then, we have a responsibility to lead people to the cross. Paul called this the ministry of reconciliation .
Ephesus The Loveless Church
Ephesus : the church that had forsaken their first love . They were hard working, but they no longer had the same passion for Christ as when they first believed. Their work was no longer motivated by love.
Revelation 2 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
I know your DEEDS and your TOIL and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My names sake, and have not grown weary.
4 BUT have this against you,that you have LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and REPENT and do the deeds you did at first or else I AM coming to you and will REMOVE your lampstand out of its placeunless you repent.6 Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.
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The 7 Churches Of Revelation
Find out why these letters are relevant for churches today. Filmed on location in the lands of the Bible.
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Its been almost 2,000 years since the apostle John was instructed by Jesus to write letters to the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. These timeless letters reveal a message of Gods love through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus, identify and provide correction for problems in the church, and offer hope and encouragement for the future.
The Seven Churches of Revelation
The Prescription For Their Christlessness
Christ does not barge into churches where He is unwelcomeHe waits for an invitation. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me . Apparently, there were even fewer believers at Laodicea than there were at SardisHis invitation extends to anyone who hears His voice.
From a prophetic perspective, Laodicea is a picture of the Church in the Last Days. It is sad to imagine Christ standing outside His own Church, but we need to ask ourselves if it is a picture of us. Has the Lord been pushed out of our assemblies? Has His Word been compromised in our pulpits? Are we too busy with plans and programs to even notice that we have crowded Him out? If Christ is knocking at the door of your heart or your Church, do not delayinvite Him in.
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Philadelphia The Faithful Church
Philadelphia the faithful church that had endured patiently and the ONLY church that received the promise of escaping the time of trial that comes upon the whole earth .
Revelation 3: 7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:
11 I am coming quickly hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 He who overcomes,I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore 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 out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
The Role Of The Churches
In Revelation 1, we find the apostle John in exile on the tiny island of Patmos. Having been the overseer of the churches in Asia Minor, he was banished from society by the Romans to reduce his religious influence . Exile was a horrible sentence, second only to the death penalty. In this context of persecution, John received the most detailed vision of things to come given to any apostle.
When Christ appeared to John, he saw seven lampstands representing the seven churches. Standing among them was One like the Son of Man . Jesus came as the light of the world and then commissioned us to be the light of the world . Johns vision was a physical representation of this imagery. Christ was standing in His rightful place amid the churches.
Every churchthen and nowhas the opportunity to be a lampstand shining forth Christs light in a dark world. The churches do not create the light they reflect it. Christ is the light.
Bearing His light in the world is the Churchs primary purpose.
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What Are The Seven Churches Of Asia And Where Are They
The Seven Churches of Asia as stated in the Book of Revelation are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Today, all these are existing names in Turkey as they are ancient cities protected by the Culture and Tourism Ministry of the Republic of Turkey. They are located in the Izmir, Manisa, and Denizli provinces of Turkey. Smyrna is the ancient name of Izmir city which will possibly be your starting point of a tour of the Seven Churches of Asia. Smyrna is located in Izmir city and Pergamum is only 2 hours away from Izmir. Thyatira is located one hour east of Pergamum. Sardis and Philadelphia Churches are very close to each other and they are less than an hour away from Thyatira. The furthest Church of Revelation is Laodicea which is two hours away from Sardis. To complete the tour of Seven Churches, you need to drive to Ephesus which is 2,5 hours away from Laodicea. The House of the Virgin Mary and the Basilica of Saint John is within the vicinity of Ephesus. In three days and two nights in Pergamon and Pamukkale, you can easily visit the Seven Churches of Asia along with the House of the Virgin Mary and The Basilica of Saint John. If you would like to explore the surroundings of the Seven Churches, you should spare a few more nights in the west coast of Turkey.
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Where Are The Seven Churches Located Now
While there are still some believers in these cities, they all exist in modern day Turkey, an Islamic nation. Through the centuries, these churches have increased and decreased, and experienced persecution. Some of these cities do not exist today like they did during Johns day, such as Pergamum.
Through time, theologians, historians, and even lay-people in the church have tried to come up with a certain, definitive answer about what the messages to these churches, and the churches themselves, mean beyond their historical existence. New religions and end of days cults have sprung up around some of these theories.
Still others spend their entire lives attempting to interpret this final prophetic word from the Lord. Are there seven church ages? What action items should the church take in light of these seven messages? Which kind of church is best?
Some of these questions may not have good answers until the Lord returns. Ultimately, Christians should meditate on these things, but not allow the unanswered questions to dictate their lives. In his second letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul answered some questions they had about the days. To them, he gave this advice, To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ .
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Remember The Lesson From Pergamos
Guard against the dilution of true doctrine. If that makes us intolerant in the eyes of some, then so be it. We cannot define truth by our preferences. It exists outside of popular opinion and does not bend to popular demand. If we hold fast to sound doctrine, Christ will commend us just as He did Antipas, His faithful martyr.
Specific Messages To 7 Churches Of Revelation
Some of these seven churches kept closer to the gospel than others. Jesus gave each one a short “report card.”
Ephesus had “abandoned the love it had at first,” . They lost their first love for Christ, which in turn affected the love they had for others.
Pergamum was told to repent. It had fallen prey to a cult called the Nicolaitans, heretics who taught that since their bodies were evil, only what they did with their spirit counted. This led to sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. Jesus said those who conquered such temptations would receive “hidden manna” and a “white stone,” symbols of special blessings.
Thyatira had a false prophetess who was leading people astray. Jesus promised to give himself to those who resisted her evil ways.
Sardis had the reputation of being dead, or asleep. Jesus told them to wake up and repent. Those who did would receive white garments, have their name listed in the book of life, and would be proclaimed before God the Father.
Philadelphia endured patiently. Jesus pledged to stand with them in future trials, granting special honors in heaven, the New Jerusalem.
Laodicea had lukewarm faith. Its members had grown complacent because of the riches of the city. To those who returned to their former zeal, Jesus vowed to share his ruling authority.
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Nd Day: The Adulterous Church The Dead Church The Faithful Church
- Depart for the visit to Thyatira, the adulterous church that, as mentioned in the Revelations, tolerated the false prophets, Jezebel .
- Proceed to Sardes, the dead church, another of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Jesus told Sardes, I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead.
- After visiting the faithful church of Philadelphia, we will stay overnight in Pamukkale.
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The Prescription For Spiritual Nakedness
Nakedness in Scripture is a metaphor for defeat and humiliation. The Laodiceans pretended to be clothed in righteousness, but in fact, they were naked, lacking righteous acts. Instead of being on fire for the Lord, they were lukewarm. Therefore, Christ counseled them to procure white garments from Him so that their shame might be covered .
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The Miracles Of Jesus
In this series, The Miracles of Jesus, Pastor Tim Ross takes us on a journey through the Gospels to explore the miracles Jesus performed. Together well discover nothing is too hard for Jesus to revive, restore, or redeem.
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The Seven Churches Of Revelation In Turkey
If you grew up in the Christian church, chances are youve heard of the Revelation is higher. This apocalyptic book at the end of the Bible is filled with strange imagery and predictions of doom. But, before the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride in, the author has a message for some people in particular.
John wrote the Revelation as a message to seven churches around the western region of modern-day Turkey. The seven churches of the Revelation have become a pilgrimage site for many modern Christians. Read on to learn more about these churches and where they are today.
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Why Are These 7 Churches Significant
These seven churches were some of the most prominent churches at that time to which John the Apostle would have been close enough to communicate effectively. John was exiled to the Island of Patmos by the Roman Empire. The Jerusalem Church was scattered, and his writings to Rome would have been scrutinized. They were also in one of the central hubs of trade, commerce, and communication. The messages could have been easily passed onto other believers. It was also Gods divine will to communicate with these seven churches.
So why seven? Seven is the number of perfection or completion in the Bible. The Lord had seven messages to give before He revealed the visions of the End Times to John, which set the pattern of seven throughout the book. There were seven stars and seven lampstands. There are also seven angels blowing seven trumpets which herald seven judgments. These trumpets follow seven seals of judgements. The Tribulation period lasts seven years.
This number shows the completeness of Gods wrath, as well as the perfection of His love throughout the Bible, and becomes a motif in the Last Days. The messages to the church played their part in Gods perfect plan historically, and may still be a part of it currently, depending on which view of the Book of Revelation and the churches an individual takes.
Discover The Seven Churches Of Revelation For Yourself
The Seven Churches of Revelation were in desperate need of hope and guidance when John wrote to them. His message gave them that hope through allegories they would understand. And today, the ruins of those cities and their churches serve as a powerful reminder to Christians of what the early church endured.
If youd like to see these seven churches for yourself, check out this sample biblical tour of Turkey covering the seven churches. We have different options for a small group tour or a private guided tour in all the major historical areas of Turkey, including Istanbul, Troy, Ephesus, and more. Contact us today to discover the wonders of the ancient world for yourself.
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The Threat Of Discipline
When the prophetess refused an opportunity to repent, Christ warned of His judgment: Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed. Whether taken figuratively or literally, those words are cautionary. God is holy and will not tolerate rebellion forever. As Hebrews 10:31 says, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Progressive History Of The Church
Addressing this perspective, the late professor Dr. John F. Walvoord notes: Many expositors believe that in addition to the obvious implication of these messages the seven churches represent the chronological development of church history viewed spiritually. They note that Ephesus seems to be characteristic of the Apostolic Period in general and that the progression of evil climaxing in Laodicea seems to indicate the final state of apostasy of the church. The order of the messages to the churches seems to be divinely selected to give prophetically the main movement of church history .
Another scholar, C.I. Scofield , editor of the Scofield Study Bible, gives a similar explanation:
Again, these messages by their very terms go beyond the local assemblies mentioned. It can be seen that Ephesus , though a local church in the apostles day, is typical of the first century as a whole Smyrna characterizes the church under persecution, e.g. from A.D. c. 100-316 Pergamos , where Satan dwells is suggestive of the church mixing with the world, e.g. in the Middle Ages Thyatira reveals how evil progresses in the church and idolatry is practiced Sardis is representative of the church as dead, yet still having a minority of godly men and women, as during the Reformation Philadelphia shows revival and a state of spiritual advance and Laodicea is illustrative of the final state of apostasy which the visible church will experience .
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The Seven Churches Of Revelation
The idea there is a prophetic message hidden in the letters to the seven churches is not new. Some Bible scholars noticed it as early as the seventeenth century. The general idea is that each church and the order of the letter written to it are indicative of a period in future church history.
Thomas Brightman was an English clergyman, and biblical commentator was one of the first to write about the seven churches being seven periods of time.
The Order of the Letters with Church Period
The order of the letters is compelling. If the letters were in any other order the theory of them being future periods of what is now church history would fall apart. See below the order of the letters and the assigned periods.
Ephesus The Apostolic Church
Pergamum The Church that Marries the State
Thyatira The Church of the Dark Ages
Sardis The Church of the Reformation
Philadelphia The Missionary Church
Laodicea The Lukewarm Church
You might notice that in some form these churches are still in existence today. Further, in the article, we will look at the meanings of the Church names and how each fit their period.
Jesus and the Literary Device
This idea of the Lord using allegory or one thing to represent events in the future is consistent. One example is the life of Joseph who was both a real character and a prophetic representation of Jesus. See the article on the life of Joseph.
What the Names Mean
What these Seven Churches Were Known For