Is it true that Christ's message to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation applies to all of us today? If so, what are the points of encouragement and admonitions to take note of? Are those "safe" who belong to an organization which does "the Work of God"?


As we point out in our free new booklet, “The Mysteries of the Bible,”
Christ’s “message pertained to the Church of God for all times,
including seven historic Church eras… [and] also… seven local
Church congregations at the time of John” (p. 23). In this Q&A, we
will strictly address Christ’s timeless message to individual

Christ’s message INCLUDES a warning and admonition to
all Christians throughout the existence of the Church. This can be seen
by Christ’s repeated admonition to ALL seven churches, to “hear what
the Spirit says to the churches” (compare Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29;
3:6, 13 and 22).

We should, first of all, take note of the fact
that Christ addresses true Christians in the Church of God, who have
received God’s Holy Spirit! He is not talking to people who are not a
part of the Church! Still, we find that Christ is warning ALL OF US not
to lose God’s Spirit. He is admonishing ALL OF US to make every effort
to succeed–to “make it into the Kingdom of God.” His warning is real
and stern. He utters His warning to awaken Christians out of sleep and
lethargy, and to encourage them to continue–and to NEVER give up!

claim that they are in a Church organization which seemingly does “the
Work of God”–in whatever way THEY define such “Work.” They continue to
claim that no other organization does the Work–or at least, not as
effectively as their own group. They conclude that as long as they
belong to their group, they are safe and have already as good as made
it “into the Kingdom.” These self-righteous people are normally also
very quick to say that others, who don’t belong to “their”
organization, won’t make it–or if some few do, they will have to go
first through the “Great Tribulation.”

We may note, however,
that Christ’s message to the seven churches shows that most Christians
are involved with doing “works” (Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8,
15). While many of the works find Christ’s approval, some do not. For
instance, He says in Revelation 3:1: “I know your works, that you have
a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” He adds in verse 2 that
He did not find the works of those individuals “perfect before God.”
Likewise, Christ says in Revelation 3:15-16: “I know your works, that
you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So
then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit
you out of My mouth.”

We can clearly see from the foregoing that
Christ encourages a Christian to perform “perfect” works. The mere fact
that persons may belong to an organization which does “works” and which
has a “name” claiming to be “alive” (3:1), will not help them. Neither
will an attitude of self-righteousness and self-contentment–which
Christ describes as spiritual blindness. Although they may do works
(3:15), Christ warns them: “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become
wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are
wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked–I counsel you to buy from
Me gold refined in the fire… Therefore be zealous and repent”
(Revelation 3:17-19). Even though they work, they act in a
self-confident, half-hearted fashion, thinking that they have already
made it. They do not really understand the need to grow in God’s
knowledge and His way of life. Christ tells them that they must become
“zealous” about what they are doing–to seek God and His righteousness
first, while overcoming their own spiritual indifference (3:21).

even Christians who are doing “works” which are seemingly pleasing to
God are in need of improvement. Some have resisted false teachers (2:2,
6) and have been very diligent to do God’s works (2:3)–but they have
lost their “first love” (2:4). They might have begun to labor in God’s
Work for wrong reasons–perhaps for the purpose of getting or keeping a
job with a nice salary and the security of a future pension, or so that
they could obtain recognition and praise from man. Christ tells them to
repent of their wrong motives and conduct, and to do “the first works”
(2:5)–when they did them out of a genuine desire to please God, not
themselves or other men.

Christ also addresses those Christians
who actually increase in the works of God. He says to them that “the
last are more than the first” (2:19). Still, they may have become
indifferent to wrong teachings, allowing false doctrines to seduce them
(2:20). Christ tells such to overcome these problems (verse 26), while
continuing to do His works until the end (same verse). Others, who are
performing “works” and who are holding fast to God’s truth (2:13), have
surrounded themselves with wrong teachers and are listening to wrong
doctrines (2:14-15). They may think, perhaps, that they are strong
enough to resist false teaching, but Christ tells them to REPENT of
such self-deception, and to cleanse themselves from those wrong
teachers and teachings–because, if they don’t do that, Christ WILL do
it for them (2:16).

Then there are those who ARE doing the works
of God in the right way (3:8), being motivated by a true love for God
and the people of this world. But even they still need encouragement
and an admonition to endure until the very end. Christians who are
doing good works, who keep Christ’s word and who don’t deny His name
(3:8), are encouraged to persevere and to hold fast (3:10-11)–showing
that even they COULD fall away, by losing patience and giving up their
struggle for the crown of life. Christ tells all of us that only those
who endure until the end shall be saved (Matthew 24:13).

commands all Christians at all times to overcome and to be victorious
over Satan, their own selves and society (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12,
21). This shows that not one living Christian is already perfect–ALL
need to continue to press on toward the goal of the Kingdom of God. In
fact, some of those who think that they have already made it because
their organization may do “the Work” might find themselves described by
God as “lukewarm”–as their own personal lifestyle may not at all
reflect the high prize of God’s calling.

Christ’s warning to
His disciples rings loud and clear: We all must be diligent and zealous
in doing the “works of God”–including His Work of preaching the gospel
in all the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20). But we must do
it because of genuine love for God and man (1 Corinthians 13:1-13). If
we do “the Work” with improper motives, it will profit us nothing.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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