Before the author of the book of Revelation enters into the dramatic sections of his text, he calls out seven churches by name and addresses each of them in their particularity. Each church is in a unique situation which calls for a unique word from the author. These seven letters, though addressed to churches in the first century, can help illuminate the struggles and pitfalls of—and can be a source of hope for—the church in the twenty-first century.
The Church’s First Love
Sunday, June 30, 2019
Audio Video Revelation 2:1-7
The church at Ephesus is a busy church, occupied with the difficult task of being the church in the Roman Empire. But in being busy with the good, hard work of the gospel, they had left something behind that was supposed to be their very center.
The Church’s Struggle
Sunday, July 7, 2019
Audio Video 2 Cor 4:8-12 & Rev 2:8-11
The church at Smyrna is suffering under the affliction of poverty and persecution—afflictions that come as a direct result of bearing faithful witness to the gospel. The pressing question for the church today is whether we are still capable of faithful witness.
The Church’s Teaching
Sunday, July 14, 2019
Audio Video 1 Cor 1:26 – 2:5 & Rev 2:12-17
The church at Pergamum is struggling with the question of truth: what teaching should Christians follow? The church has gotten itself into a lot of trouble over the centuries by claiming sole possession of absolute truth. There is a better way to think about the truth of our faith.
The Church’s Tension
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Audio Video Deut 26:16-19 & Rev 2:18-29
The Christian church at Thyatira has a pretty big problem. On the face of it, it looks like their problem is an inability to keep certain sinful practices outside the four walls of the church. In reality, however, the problem is much more complex, and it’s something that still challenges the church today.
The Church’s Life
Sunday, August 18, 2019
Audio Video Amos 5:18-24 & Rev 3:1-6
The church in Sardis is dying. It looks alive, but it has almost no real life left in it. Today, at a time of undeniable decline in the Christian church in the United States, what does it take for the church to live again?
The Church’s Hope
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Audio Video Romans 5:1-5 & Rev 3:7-13
The church at Philadelphia is remaining faithful, even amid great hardship, so they are given a hopeful promise. The church, then and now, must take care not to imagine that our hope entails the destruction of our enemies, but rather, that it is nothing less than the coming of God’s kingdom.
The Church’s Temptation
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Audio Video 2 Cor 12:6-10 & Rev 3:14-22
The last of the seven letters of Revelation is directed at the church at Laodicea and it’s a doozy. Christians in that city felt self-sufficient, but in reality they were anything but. The things they thought made them strong were actually their weaknesses.