Revelation 2: Testing the Faithful

What does Revelation say to believers today?

What does Revelation say to believers today?

To the Church in Ephesus

I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. (Revelation 2:2, ESV)

In the Chapters 2 and 3, the LORD speaks specific messages to particular churches. It would be easy to gloss over these messages as though they were written with some one else in mind (which they were) but we must always remember that the entire Bible is written to you and me. The goal in these examinations of of Revelation is to find practical messages to believers today.  With this in mind I keyed in verse 2. In particular, I believe that we need to pay close attention to the second half of verse 2 in which God commends the believers in Ephesus for “testing those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” 

This is our LORD‘s calling us to test what so-called experts are telling us to determine if they are true to God or is they are false.  This should sound familiar to readers of this blog.  “Question everything,” I like to say, “the Truth can handle it.”  We also took some quick looks at a few popular popular teachings (Jesus Only/Oneness, Prosperity Gospel, Dispensationalism) and teachers of today ( e.g. T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen)  and found them wanting. It seems like this blog has been doing something right. If  we are, indeed in the last days (and even if Jesus continues to tarry, we must always believe this to be true), These false prophets are stumbling blocks to many who would believe the Truth are are therefore, their condemnation.

To the Church in Smyrna

I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:9-10, ESV, emphasis added)

In the LORD’s message to the church in Smyrna, we see what is going to be an ongoing message through Revelation: Be faithful. Though this church was not rich by worldly standards it was still called “rich” by God. It was rich by faith.  I seem to remember Jesus speaking of storing  up treasures in heaven.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matther 6:21)

Evidently, being true to the faith, will bring slander from others who claim to be true believers.  All the more reason to question everything in order to be faithful to what remains, for that will be the true.  God will reward one’s faithfulness when one joins Him.

To the Church in Pergamum

I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith(Revelation 2:13, ESV)

Once again we a church praised by our LORD for not denying Him even when faced with extreme adversity. As we read further, we see that there are some who are following false teachings like the Nicolaitans and He calls for them to repent.   This is a call to turn from what is evil and to what is true.  God is being very consistent in His message to the seven churches. Follow right teachings and stay faithful and they will be rewarded in the “end”.

Conclusion:

So far we see some very practical advice from our Savior: Follow right teachings and stay faithful to God.  Nothing has really changed in all this time.  There were false teachers with false teachings from the very beginning of the Church.  There are false teachers with false teachings today.  There has always been a call from the LORD to stay true to the Truth of the Gospel and to maintain faith in Him. This cannot be stressed enough.

May God grant you wisdom and faith for today and the days to come.

Stay as this study will continue with Chapter 3 of Revelation next in which we will see what our LORD has to say to the remaining three churches and to us.

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