As we jump into the book of Revelation, I am not going to even try to interpret John’s vision. I’m not going to try to convince you to believe that a Great Tribulation will occur before… or after… the Rapture. I’m not going to try to identify an antichrist or talk about lamp stands, bowls, and four living creatures.
I know there are a lot of dear Christians who spend a lot of time and energy trying to uncover the mystery behind the words written in this last book of the Bible. But instead, I am going to do what I’ve done every day this year. And that is to ask God what he would have me learn from his Word about my relationship with him, about my service to him, and my response to his grace.
As I read the letters to the seven churches I noticed that with each one God pointed out what appeared to be true, then told them what WAS true.
Like the church in Ephesus. They didn’t tolerate wickedness, but when it got right down to it, they had no love.
In Smyrna God saw their poverty yet told them they were rich because of their faithfulness.
Pergamum were true to God, yet they tolerated false teachers among them. God told them to repent.
Sardis talked the talk, they had a great reputation but they were dead.
Philadelphia was struggling but God commended them for keeping his word and not denying him.
Laodicea was indifferent about their faith. They had everything they needed materially and didn’t even realize how poor they really were.
God is saying to me that it’s not enough just to look like a Christian. There is so much more to this than just going to church and saying grace before a meal or reading my Bible and blogging. God is much more interested in my heart’s condition.
Each of the seven churches will receive exactly what they need. And that’s what God wants me to realize today. If I’ve lost the love, if I am indifferent, if I am too comfortable or have tolerated sin in my life, I have only to go to my Savior and confess, knowing he will give me exactly what I need to be the person he intends for me to be.
And one day, I’ll join that amazing worship service John tells about in his vision. I will sing with every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever.
God I thank you for John’s vision. My prayer is that you will reveal to us who are reading it here at the end of 2013 the things that will encourage us or convict us, excite us or break our hearts. Then, Father, may we use what you are teaching us to lead others to your saving grace. Thank you for letting us have a glimpse of heaven. I can only imagine!