The seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are historical churches but they are also types of churches – they are what churches at all times and places can tend to be. That is why these letters are for us. [Audio | Notes]
For further thought
Read the passage. These churches were located in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in what were major cities of the day (many of which continued to exist into modern times). In a book of symbols, the number 7 represents completion or fullness (you can see this use of numbers in Matthew 18:22 where Jesus requires his disciples forgive the brother who repents seven times seventy or, in some translations, seventy times seven – in other words, completely forgive, fullness of forgiveness, a totally restored relationship). The seven churches are historical churches but they are also types of churches – they are what churches at all times and places can tend to be. That is why these letters are for us.
Q: Why is it that the strengths of a church do not atone for its weaknesses in God’s eyes?
Q: Why is Jesus biased towards those churches which are persecuted, have few resources and are frail?
Q: How do the judgments meet the wrong in each church (2:2; 2:16; 2:21,23; 3:3; 3:16,19)?
Q: Using a study Bible, remind yourself of the Old Testament stories Jesus refers to: why does Jesus interpret and apply these stories as lessons for the church? What should be our attitude towards the Old Testament?
Q: What sort of church is your church? You may like to begin by listing your strengths, then your weaknesses, then consider how judgement and grace would be applied by Jesus in your case.
Christ speaks to us – Revelation 2 & 3 (a talk outline)