Jesus had specific messages to the churches in the region now known as Turkey, and they were revealed to John while he was exiled on the island of Patmos for continuing to speak about the Good News of Christ.
Here’s a snapshot of what he told each church:
Ephesus – “I know the good things you do and how you don’t tolerate those who practice evil. But I also know that you no longer love each other as you did at first…turn back to me, or else I will remove your lampstand.”
Smyrna – “Although you are poor in this world, you are really rich! Don’t be afraid to suffer. If you remain faithful to me even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.”
Pergamum – “You’ve remained loyal to me even though Satan’s throne is in your city. But you are tolerating those who are leading the people astray with sexual sins and eating food offered to idols. Repent, or else I will come suddenly and fight using the sword of my mouth. If you are victorious, though, I’ll give you some of the manna stored in heaven and each of you a white stone with a new name engraved upon it that only each of you in turn will be able to read — everyone will only be able to read his own name, not the others.”
Thyatira – “I’ve seen all the good things you do: your love, faith endurance, and service. But you are allowing Jezebel to lead the people astray. I’m going to throw her on a bed of suffering and will strike her children dead. I search out the thoughts and intentions of everyone and will give each of you whatever you deserve. Hold tightly to what you have until I come. If you are victorious, I’ll give you authority over all the nations.”
Sardis – “Wake up! You are almost dead in the faith! Go back to what you once knew and turn to me again. Those who are victorious will wear white, and their names will never be erased from the Book of Life.”
Philadelphia – “I know everything you do. Even though you barely had strength, you obeyed my word and did not deny me. So I will protect you from the time of testing that will come on the whole world. If you are victorious, you will each become pillars in the Temple of God, and I’ll write God’s name on them so they will be citizens of the city of God, the new Jerusalem. I’ll also write on them my new name.”
I’m wondering if all these messages to the churches apply to all of us even though we aren’t physically a part of those churches geographically speaking? The church is one, isn’t it?
I kind of like the idea of having a secret name that only the Lord and I know. It seems so special and holy.
I’ll hold that image in my mind for awhile, treasuring it.