In the book of Revelation Jesus had the Apostle John write a letter to each of the seven churches in Asia minor. These seven churches were literal churches that existed at the time when John wrote these letters from the island of Patmos. Asia minor is modern-day Turkey and some of the remnants of these churches can still be seen to this day.
The seven churches were: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Five of the churches were rebuked by Jesus for tolerating sin in their midst. Ephesus was the loveless church, they had left their first love. Smyrna was the persecuted church, they endured and kept their faith during fierce persecutions. Pergarmos was the compromising church. Thyatira, was the corrupted church. Sardis was called the dead church by the Lord. Philadelphia was not rebuked, because they kept His word and faith. Laodicea is known as the lukewarm church. This church I believe got the worse rebuke from the Lord. They were neither hot nor cold. A terrible condition to be in.
There are various viewpoints on the seven churches. Some believe it was the seven churches at the time of John and Jesus was addressing them regarding their short comings and called them to repent.
Another viewpoint is that these churches represent the church age, beginning with Ephesus the first century church, Laodicea the church of toady in the last days of the church age. I believe that both viewpoints have some truth to them. The seven churches as mentioned before were literal churches at the time of John’s writing and these seven churches also represent church history for the last 2 millenniums. Many books have been written about the seven churches, who they were in the past and throughout the church age. I don’t want to go into a big study on the churches, which time they represented and possible denominations etc. There are many good commentaries available.
I would like to look at the churches from a different view. I do believe the above, that the seven churches were literal and that they represent the entire the church age.
I also believe that each of these seven churches represent individual believers throughout history and for the last 2000 years.
The true church is not a building or denominations, the true church, the bride of Christ is every true believer that is an individual stone making up the temple of God.
“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1Pe 2:4, 5.
That is what we as believers are, living stones with Jesus as our head cornerstone. Our foundation is Jesus on which we must built on. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1Cr 3:11.
Jesus is the head cornerstone that was rejected. Bob Marley even cited that verse in one of his songs. “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.” Ps118:22.
With this in mind, Jesus being the cornerstone on which I as a believer built on, which church am I? Paul the Apostle exhorted the believers to examine their faith.
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2Cr 13:5.
I examen myself from time to time and ask the question, which church am I? Have I left my first love which is Jesus? Am I enduring persecutions and mocking because of my faith in Jesus? ( not a bad thing considering many were persecuted before us). Have I compromised with the world, sitting on the fence? Or have I become corrupted and polluted by the things of the world? Maybe I’m as dead as the church of Sardis was? Have I become lukewarm the worse condition to be in? Am I on fire for the Lord or just ride the wave as it comes? What is being lukewarm? No real commitment to the Lord or passion for others. Not being on the alert just as the 5 foolish virgins were and just being a Christian by name only with no fruit to show for. I’m afraid that many of today’s churches have become lukewarm. There are many so-called followers of Christ that have no discernment at all about the signs of the time or know the word, they have become sleepy and are not watching.
I pray to the Lord that I will not be lukewarm or compromise with the world. No physical church or denomination can save anyone. No certain Priest or Pastor can save anyone. I can talk a lot of Christianise, play Churchanity or appear to be highly spiritual. All of those are just outward things and the Lord does not look on the outside as people do, He looks at the heart. God knows our heart. I think it is very wise and important to examine ourselves from time to time, to see if we are truly in the faith or if we have left our first love. There is one thing Jesus said that should concern all of us who are confessing believers in Christ:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Mat 7:21.
The letters to the seven churches can be found in the book of Revelation, chapter 2 and 3.