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Last week we started a four-week series on ‘The Church’ and we unpacked our true identity as the Church community from the book of Hebrews chapter 8. Like I said everything starts on a right note when we know and understand our true identity as a Church.

We learnt that we are a covenant community knit together as a body of Christ, not on the basis of the old testament laws but because our faith in Christ Jesus.

In Hebrews 8:6 the author points to Christ as the one who obtained a ministry that is as more excellent than the old covenant, enacted on better promises.

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Christ has obtained everything needed for us to relate back to God and we don’t have to please God in our own efforts.


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Under this new identity we recognize that Christ has obtained everything needed for us to relate back to God and that we don’t have to please God in our own efforts. This identity is given to us so that we declare the goodness of Him and live for his glory. And last but not the least we learned to stay humble and remind ourselves daily that we are mercied by God through Christ and we need to allow this gospel truth to govern our lives.

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Today morning we will look into a very interesting book in the Bible called the book of Revelation, and particularly chapter 2 & 3. I believe these two chapters have a lot to say to us about Church life. It will unpack for us Christ’s expectations from us as a church community.

The book of Revelation is actually a revelation of Christ to Apostle John while he was in an island called Patmos where he was exiled (banished/punished). The island of Patmos was the most uncomfortable, lonely and horrible place where John happen to see the vision of Jesus and heard him talk.

The purpose of this book was to comfort and encourage believers in the midst of suffering and persecution at the hands of evil ones by assuring them that Jesus Christ, and they themselves, will ultimately and finally triumph.

In Revelation 1:12-20 John writes a beautiful description of his encounter with Jesus.

He writes “I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

In chapter 2 & 3 Jesus goes on to address the seven churches and tells them certain things which I believe can help us understanding God’s heart and His expectation from his people. And I hope you are ready to hear them out, not just for knowledge sake but to allow the spirit of God to enlighten our hearts with his truth and live a life worthy of his calling.

Before we begin looking at these verses let me also remind you that even though we as a group of churches across the globe have the same faith and calling, we still differ with respect to our cultural context, our backgrounds and the challenges we face, and that’s exactly what you will see in these seven churches. Each of them are unique and have their own set of good and bad.

I believe this understanding should help us identity our own cultural challenges and apply the word of God accordingly.

This Sunday we will look at the first three churches followed by the rest four next week.

So, here we go

Church of Ephesus

The first church Jesus addresses is the Church of Ephesus (2:1-7)

Let’s start with the compliments

  1. Jesus commends them for their toil and patient endurance – The first impression it gives me is that they obviously seem to be hard working people.
  2. They stay away from people who do evil, especially the ones who call themselves apostles but are not.
  3. For not growing weary and patiently enduring and bearing up for the sake of his name.

But then in verse 4 Jesus goes on to say “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

This reveals to us God’s first expectation from his church

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Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul


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The saints in Ephesus were not being obedient to the central truth of the Scriptures Old and New Testament which is Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. (Matthew 22:37)


The saints in Ephesus were not being obedient to the central truth of the Scriptures Old and New Testament which is Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. (Matthew 22:37)

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Their lives were clogged with so many things that Jesus was no longer first in their hearts, in their daily schedules, in their thoughts which clearly signals that Jesus was no longer the King of their lives.

Here Jesus is telling them to press the reset button and go back to their original settings when they started off.
I don’t know how you feel about these words of Jesus but I want to confess that in the past couple of weeks I’ve been far away from loving Jesus more than I should. Even though I can hide from all of you I cannot hide from my wife. She knows how frustrated, angry and disappointed I was the last one week. The reason I believe is clear – My love for Jesus has not been the same.

But I also believe God in his mercy has revealed my heart condition and led me to repent and ask for forgiveness.

Today as we hear these words where do we find yourself? Are we too busy to even take out time and search our hearts?

Jesus paid the highest price by dying on the cross for our sins.
Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus endured the cross with joy, scorning its shame.

He loves us beyond measure because we are his creation
John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

And that’s is exactly what Jesus did for us.

In return he expects that we love him back and be willing to give away everything and anything that we hold dear in our lives. Whether it is our love for money, desire for comfort, our longings for the pleasure of this world.
It is quite a sad thing when everything around our lives revolves around work, making money & pleasing people – when it should be the other way around.

We fail to realize that the satisfaction and fulfillment we are hoping to receive from the things of the world is false idea. Only Jesus can satisfy us and fulfill our deepest longings.

Q: Are we willing to love him more – and love him first?

Romans 12:9 – Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

I want to encourage you this morning if you feel your hearts not in the right place go to God, repent of your sin and make a decision to love him more.

Church of Smyrna

The second church Jesus talks to is the Church of Smyrna (2:8-11)

You see this church in comparison to the church in Ephesus is quite different culturally.

They are a poor church with many tribulations and sufferings.

People have been talking bad about them and putting false accusations

Jesus’s comforting words to them is “Do not fear what you are about to suffer” – “You are been tested”

And Jesus’s instruction to them is “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life”

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“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life”


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Last to last Sunday Pastor Jeff preached a sermon on “The Mission of God through the suffering of his people”. He explained how God uses our present sufferings to advance his gospel.

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Unlike what we’ve heard from the prosperity preachers who talk about pursuing a life of comfort and riches. The bible has a completely different take on it. Jesus himself said in John 15:20 “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”.

When we encounter suffering and pain in our lives the tendency of many of us is to close the door on Jesus and sulk in our depravity. We stop loving Jesus and stop serving him.

I feel sad to see many Christians in this condition. The devil has taken away their joy and filled their hearts with bitterness and anger.

Jesus’s words to us who suffer is “Do not fear what you are about to suffer” … rather continue to be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Remember, we’re not chasing an earthly reward – we might see and experience his goodness on earth or we might not experience his goodness on earth. Think of the numerous number of people who gave their lives for the sake of the gospel. What do you think they were chasing after? They died a miserable death on this earth for the sake of the kingdom.

Jesus was their greatest reward. They fixed their eyes on the crown of life they will receive from Jesus in heaven.
On the basis on these verses my encouragement to all of us is don’t give in to your present sufferings rather be faithful to God in what God has called you into irrespective of the pain and suffering you are experiencing at this very moment.

Church of Pergamum

The third church Jesus addresses is the church of Pergamum [2:12-17]

According to these verses we understand that the church of Pergamum is located in a very dark and satanic place.
Jesus compliments them by saying “Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith”

The description of this place reminded me of the area in malad where Jane and I have been discipling a catholic family “Joseph & ArokyaMary”. Last monday the family invited another two ladies to join us for prayer and bible study.

After we finished we started talking to one of the ladies and she started pouring heart out saying her husband works in gulf and both her children are married and gone away. She lives in her home all alone and every night a spirit in the form of a young girl visits her and talks to her. After talking for a while she then tries to kill her by chocking her throat and pressing her stomach.

When we heard her story and started talking to her we realized the strong hold of idols in their lives.

Jesus while talking to the church in Pergamum identifies these strong holds and says “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.”

I won’t go into the details of the teaching of Balaam but it is mainly to do with Idol worship & sexual immorality.
Jesus’s expectation from his church is to refrain from any kind of idolatry and sexual immorality.

Idols not just in the form of mud and clay, but heart idols that cause us to stumble and stop us from worshipping Jesus.

Sexual immorality is another rampant sin in our culture. With our current exposure to information and whatever else we need. Our society has been contaminated, our children’s future is in danger.

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And therefore as a true church of Jesus our choices and our obedience to God’s word is the only hope for this dying world around us. Our children’s future depends on the choices we make in favour of God.


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“Our choices and our obedience to God’s word is the only hope for this dying world around us”

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And therefore as a true church of Jesus our choices and our obedience to God’s word is the only hope for this dying world around us. Our children’s future depends on the choices we make in favour of God.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Paul writes “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”

In the light of what we heard today I want to urge you to come together as one body and re-commit our lives to Jesus once again.

Where do you see yourself falling apart from God’s calling over your lives.
Do you think your love for Jesus has become cold?
Do you see yourself sulking in depravity before of the current sufferings and pain?
Do you see the strong hold of Idols in your lives? Or
Do you see the sin of sexual immorality taking away your joy being a Christ follower.

If any of the above is true, then we need to repent and ask for forgiveness.

I believe our God is a forgiving God, a father who loves us dearly. More than us he wants to see us flourish and rejoice in him and take hold of the crown of life when we reach heaven.

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