Revelation: The Seven

In the history of the world, there has never been a more important, influential, and polarizing person than Jesus Christ. In the Seven, we’ll explore the seven reactions of seven ancient churches that sit in ruins today—and discover what we as the church today can learn from Jesus’ words to those churches in the book of Revelation.

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Lukewarm in Lacodicea: Comfort and Convenience Before Christ

Pastor Mark preaches on Jesus’ words to the church in Laodicea from the ancient city itself. Jesus has no encouragement for them. They are lukewarm and worship comfort, not Christ. Though materially wealthy, they are spiritually poor, blind, and naked. Jesus tells them—and us—to accept discipline, be zealous, and repent. If you stop repenting, you’ll start growing lukewarm. They had basically locked Jesus out of the church. Is he really welcome in your life and church?

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Missional in Philadelphia: Don’t Give Up or Give In

King Jesus knows the works of the church in Philadelphia—and ours—and he has only encouragement for them. Though Satan hates and hinders the church, they did not deny Jesus’ name. Jesus loves the church, and that’s enough to empower and encourage them. He opened a door of opportunity for them that no one could shut—it was the last church in Turkey to fall to Muslim swords 1,200 years later. Jesus also opened a door for Mars Hill Church and hasn’t yet closed it. Will we continue to walk through it, in faith and on mission?

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Dead in Sardis: Stopped Caring or Trying

Pastor Mark preaches on Jesus’ words to the church in Sardis at the site of the Temple of Artemis. Many people worshiped false gods and goddesses at that temple, yet the church in Sardis was indifferent, hard hearted, and stiff necked—in a word, “dead.” Would Jesus say the same to us? Is your relationship with him routine or ritual? Passionate or mere duty? Do you really care about Jesus and people? Are you dead or alive? Jesus calls you to wake up and repent.

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Progressive in Thyatira: More Tolerant Than God

Jesus’ words to the church in Thyatira include some commendation for their actions, but lengthy correction of their doctrine. They were sinfully more tolerant than God—which is still a temptation for us today. What should Christian tolerance look like in culture, community, and the church? Christianity begins with tolerance and moves to repentance and change. If we repent of our sin (incl. sexual immorality and sinful tolerance), we will be rewarded. If we do not, there will be justice in judgment.

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Apostate in Pergamum: Good Deeds, Bad Doctrine

Pastor Mark preaches on Jesus’ words to the church in Pergamum from the theater on the upper acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamum itself. Jesus encourages them for withstanding physical, political, and spiritual persecution in their city, where Satan’s throne is. However, he rebukes them for their apostate beliefs (false doctrine) and behavior (sexual sin). How could we fall into apostasy?

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Persecuted In Smyrna: Faithful No Matter What

Pastor Mark preaches at the church in Smyrna on Jesus’ words—still applicable today—to the church in Smyrna from Revelation 2. Today, Turkey is the least churched nation; still, Jesus tells the church in Smyrna to be encouraged and to endure what he endured (tribulation, poverty, slander, suffering, even death), but not to fear. Pray for Christians and churches where persecution still continues.

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Fundamentalist in Ephesus: All Head, No Heart

Pastor Mark preaches on Jesus’ letter to the church in Ephesus from the ancient city of Ephesus itself. Jesus commends the Ephesians for how they serve faithfully, endure hardship, have sound doctrine, and hate heretics, but his big criticism is that they are not very loving. Instead of merely criticizing the Ephesians, we must read Jesus’ words humbly and realize how we could become like them.

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A Message to Seven Churches

The book of Revelation is about loving Jesus and the church. Despite John’s suffering, Jesus redirects John to the churches—the lampstands that reflect Jesus to the world. Jesus tells us to persevere in him, with his people; to worship him privately and publicly, with his people; and to serve and give to his church. If you aren’t, it’s due to fear. But Jesus says to fear not, for he is with us.