You’ve Got Mail
I. Seven LETTERS, one FORMAT. (Revelation 2-3)
A. Picture of JESUS. (2:1,8,12,18;3:1,7,14)
B. Picture of the SPECIFIC CHURCH.(2:1-6,9-10,13-16,19-25;3:1-4,8-11,15-20)
C. Call to OVERCOME.(2:7,11,17,26;3:5,12,21)
D. BLESSING promised.(2:7,11,17,27-28;3:5,12,21)
E. A “LISTEN UP” phrase… (2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22)
These seven church seem to cover the entire spectrum of what the church across the world is like today. We have wealthy churches who look great, but from God’s perspective are spiritually poor. There are churches who suffer greatly. There are lukewarm churches, churches who struggle for correct doctrine and yet forget that they should live out their love for Jesus. I’ve often heard it said that there are no perfect churches. The same was true 2000 years ago.
1. Kid’s question: Have you ever gotten a letter? Who was it from? What did it say? How did you like it? Would you want others to read your letter?
2. Which of the churches do you find to be most like the North American church today? Why is that? What can we learn from Jesus’ message to that particular church?
II. WHAT was Jesus SAYING to them?
A. A. He is HERE. (1:13)
B. He KNOWS what is HAPPENING. (2:2,9,13,19;3:1,8,15)
C. He knows THEIR DIFFERENCES. (Rev. 2-3)
It’s seems so obvious, but Jesus has a message for these seven churches. Through what He says to them we all can hear His voice today. They were a church in crisis. Many of them were suffering, many were poor, and to them He says, “I am here…and I’m not blind to what is happening.”
3. From the 7 churches’ perspective would it have been easy to argue that Jesus was not with them? How about today? How do we recognize the presence of God in any given church?
4. If God knows about their suffering why doesn’t He move to stop it? If the cross was His victory, why does the church not “appear” victorious?
5. “Our North American definition of success has distorted our understanding of what it means to be the church.” True or False? Why do you say that?
III. The CALL to ALL is to OVERCOME. (2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21)
A. How do we DEFINE that WORD? (2:26)
B. CHURCH is the BODY of Christ. (12:10-11)
C. We are ALL in this TOGETHER. (I Cor.12:26-27)
D. He is WITH us… and He KNOWS us… (1:13; Rev.2-3)
E. We need to CAREFULLY define SUCCESS. (2:26; I Cor.3:10-13)
Seven churches. Seven times they are called to overcome. Overcoming is a good thing. Dictionary.com defines it as “To get the better of another in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat…” It means winning. It means getting the victory over those who would seek to destroy you. It sounds great. Until Jesus clarifies how that looks…
6. Smyrna and Philadelphia are the only two churches that receive only praise and no correction. From the text, would you want to be a part of these churches? Why or why not?
7. How would “keeping His deeds/works to the end” look today in Hope, BC?
8. What are your thoughts on the fact that all of these letters would have beenread to each church? How would that go over in North American culture? Does our desire for spiritual privacy hinder our growth?
9. Describe a “successful” Grace Baptist Church? What steps can we take this week to move in that direction…?
Three rules for the Revelation Series:
1. For a moment, let go of your previous idea of what Revelation means.
2. Read the text…a lot…out loud.
3. Tell someone else what you are seeing, hearing, thinking, or learning.