Lessons from The Seven Churches of Revelation
“The doctrine of the church is not only a matter of a corporate sense of being in Christ; it is also a matter of being in the world. When, for example, the first three chapters of the book of Revelation are treated as separate from the rest of the book, as is often done in series of sermons and Bible studies, the significance of the seven churches of Asia Minor is largely lost. When the book is taken as a whole, and provided it is not done with an exclusively futurist perspective, then we learn that the ordinary, small, unremarkable congregations, as much as any other, are in the front line of God’s action in the world to redeem and judge the whole universe.
~ Graeme Goldsworthy in “Biblical Theology and Its Pastoral Application”
“One cannot read these seven letters without noting the utter and unequivocal Christocentricity of their content. Jesus is the center of which all church life is the circumference. He is the head of the church, both local and universal. He is the unrivaled Lord over all. He is himself the standard according to which the life of every congregation is judged and the One whose person and personality shape the beliefs and behavior of all…
The spiritual condition of each body of believers is only as good as their faithful adherence to what Jesus has taught them and their perseverance in bearing witness to him in the face of persecution. Quite simply, if a church is not Jesus-driven, it stands on the brink of certain discipline. The only thing that ultimately matters is the degree to which a church corporately and the lives of its members individually are shaped and fashioned according to the likeness of him who is Lord indeed.
In the final analysis, Jesus cares comparatively little about numerical size, cultural relevance, social influence, or financial prosperity. What matters most to him and must therefore matter most to us is whether a church holds forth his name, proclaims the gospel of which he is the center, and heeds his words as guidance to govern its life and loves. Is your church Jesus-driven? Are the ministries and programs of your corporate existence energized and given shape by what pleases him? Is he prized above all earthly treasures? Is faithfulness unto death an easy choice for you and those of your congregation?
~ Sam Storms in To The One Who Conquers, page 17.
[Bold print emphasis is mine.]