Written By: Keli Miller
In the End // Week 2
This week we dove into 3 of the 7 letters written to churches in Revelation. These were real churches, with real people, and real problems. Each of these letters closes with the same line, “to anyone who has ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit says…”. We have a God who not only sees our struggle but calls to us in it. Whatever season you find yourself in there is something to be heard from each of these letters.
The Church of Smyrna
“I know your affliction and poverty, but you are rich.”
The church of Smyrna was excluded and persecuted. Their letter, while encouraging, speaks of more pain and affliction to come. Their suffering is nowhere near over, but God meets them here in their season of deferred hope. I am thankful for Smyrna and their faith. Though they did not know it then, they were planting seeds of faith that would impact generations. His message is the same to all in pain and suffering: I see you, I am near, keep going. Our call amidst suffering is to hold tightly to hope. It’s seasons like this we need to pray His promises over our lives, again and again, I bet the church of Smyrna re-read their letter more than any other church. The church of Smyrna’s challenge was their very real suffering and they needed to hold to hope.
The Church of Thyatira
“I know your works- your love and faithfulness, but I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel.”
Thyatira, a networking city, was full of wealth and success. The church was most certainly on the outside, but they wanted to be in. So decision by decision they began to compromise. God says, “I see you, you are doing better than you were. But….” I imagine Thyatira did a lot of justifying. Their nights were filled with compromise and mornings filled with guilt. God desired more for His people then and He desires more for us now. God’s plans for us are always greater than our own. We must not trade our inheritance for momentary desires. Thyatira’s challenge was compromise and they needed to surrender their desires.
The Church of Laodicea
“I know your works that you are neither hot nor cold….”
The church of Laodicea was probably a lot like the church of the West- highly accepted and successful. The church of Laodicea’s problem was their own lack of need. They were self-sufficient and boiled their relationship with God down to a Sunday appearance. They missed what our God desires most- relationship. God wanted to be invited into every room of their heart. God was standing at the door knocking and no one was answering. Comfort does this to us, it makes us think that we have control and don’t need God. The challenge of Laodicea was their comfort and they needed to stop and listen to God’s voice, making room for Him.
“To all who have ears to hear let them listen…”
This is a message of forgetfulness. How often in seasons of waiting have you wondered if God has forgotten you? How often have we forgotten God when life is easy? God’s message to each of these churches is the same, remember me, remember what I have spoken. Our first job is to stop and listen. He will fill in the gaps it’s our job to make space for Him. No matter what “church” you find yourself in today this is the message that God has for you. He is near, He is speaking, and He is enough.
In the Word
Psalm 33:20-22, Hebrews 10:32-39, Revelation 2-3
On the journey inward
Which of the churches do you relate with the most in your current season of life?
What has God been speaking to you in this season?
Where have you forgotten God or feel as if he’s forgotten you?