Rev 1:10‐11 “I was in the Spirit on the Lords day, and I heard behindme a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, ‘Write in a bookwhat you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and toSmyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and toPhiladelphia and to Laodicea.’” (NAS) 1. These seven churches actually existed in John’s time and they were just as John described them. 2. Throughout the Christian Era there have been churches spiritually like each of those churches. 3. Those were not the only churches in Asia Minor, they were chosen by the Lord in a specific order for a reason. What was that reason?
The Post Road Though there were three other cities nearby to whom Paul had written epistles (Thessalonica, Philippi and Colosse. They were not included because they were not on a Post Road beginning in Ephesus. As a result, they could not give us a timed picture of conditions in the Church during this era. The Post Road began in Ephesus and continued on to the various cities in the order given in Revelation 23. From “Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” And that exactly matches the spiritual condition of Church during this era.
32‐95AD Ephesus..........“Lost your first love...” Rev 2:4, Heresy enters church: Marcionites, Gnostics, Nicolaitans, Balaamites, etc.95‐321AD Smyrna...........“Persecuted 10 days...” Rev 2:10 Ten major persecutions under ten Roman Emperors: (1) Domitian (2) Trajan (3) Hadrian (4) Antonius Pius (5) Marcus Arelius (6) Septimus Severus (7) Maximin (8) Decius (9) Valerian (10)Diocletian321‐450AD Pergamum......“Where Satans throne is...” Rev 2:13 Constantine makes Christianity state religion. Church hierarchy begins.450‐950AD Thyatira.........“That Woman Jezebel...” Rev 2:20 Beginning of Mary worship. Idols brought into the churches. Bishops rise to power.950‐1450AD Sardis............“But you are dead...” Rev 3:1 Dead Catholic formalism. Bible taken from the people. Persecution of the brethren intensifies.1450‐1948AD Philadelphia...“You have kept My Word...” Rev 3:8 The Reformation, Protestant churches rise, the Puritan movement, foreign missions founded.1948AD‐???? Laodicea........ “You are neither hot nor cold...” Rev 3:15 Lukewarm church of today. Great “so‐called works,” but spiritually cool.
Less than 3% of Europeans still claim the faith.Their great cathedrals have been turned into tourist attractions. 30,000 people a week are leaving mainline churches. (1995 statistic) In Britain, more people worship in mosques than in the Church of England. In Scotland, it’s difficult to find a church open.
THE CHURCHES OF TODAYRevelation 3:1422 “And unto the angel of the church of theLaodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and truewitness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, thatthou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So thenbecause thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue theeout of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased withgoods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou artwretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counselthee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; andwhite raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame ofthy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve,that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: bezealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him,and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh willI grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and amset down with my Father in his throne.”
“He that hath an ear,let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”