Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Church report card - 3

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 3:7-22

TO CHEW ON: “‘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. To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.’” Revelation 3:20-21

What a contrast in the two churches addressed in our reading today! The church at Philadelphia has the best report so far. It is hard-working, persevering and obedient. It is promised a place in God’s presence, destined to live with Him forever.

The Laodicea church, on the other hand is described as nauseating. It thinks well of itself while it is actually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked." It is the only church to which Jesus gives no commendation at all.

Some Bible students have interpreted these seven messages to the churches as seven dispensations.* They see them as an outline of stages in church history. In their reading:

1. The Ephesus church represents the church at the close of the first century.

2. The Smyrna church represents the church from the beginning of the 2nd century until Constantine (beginning of the 4th century).

3. The Pergamos church is the church of the 4th through 7th centuries.

4. The Thyratira church is the church of the Middle Ages.

5. The Sardis church  represents the church just prior to the Protestant Reformation.

6. the Philadelphia church represents the “true church” throughout all of church history, especially the segment that experiences revival prior to the last days.

7. The Laodicea church represents the church in its final days, prior to its pretribulation rapture. It is characterized by apostasy.

Many Bible teachers feel we’re living in those last days. If we look at current events and line them up with Bible predictions, it’s easy to agree. On many fronts the modern church has fallen into apostasy. Does that mean we’re doomed to capitulate to the same thing ourselves?

I would say ‘no.’ In the end, it is not as a group that we respond to Jesus but individually. That’s why Revelation 3:20 is one of my favorite verses. Jesus comes to me. He knocks on the door of my heart. He wants to spend time with me, eat with me – and you. As groups of us who have welcomed Him into our lives join together, we will continue as a church that delights Him.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, come in! Make Yourself at home. Let’s visit, eat together, and live together. Please make Your home in my heart. Amen.

MORE:O Church Arise” by Keith and Kristyn Getty

*Dispensationalism  ("dispensations" explained) is a way of interpreting the Bible and history. It was developed by C. I. Scofield and became popular through study notes in the  Scofield Reference Bible.  Personally, although I think that interpreting the Bible in a dispensational way  is interesting and has some value, I don't entirely agree with it.

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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