In the first chapters of the book of Revelation, Jesus is dealing with his body - the church, or ecclesia, and astonishingly, it seems that during John's lifetime, our Lord had a bone to pick with five out of the seven churches in Asia. I don't really like math, but this situation compelled me to do some figuring. We have heard the adage that "numbers don't lie," which is true, but people can use numbers to lie. Well dear reader, these numbers were provided to us by a man who doesn't lie, our Lord Jesus Christ. So, when I ran his numbers, I found that a whopping 72% of the named churches in Asia, had some manner of corrections by Jesus. That's a lot, dear reader! Not only did Jesus reveal what their problems and strengths were, but he also gave them the dire consequence of any disobedient non-compliance, which was their removal from Jesus' candle stick - - yeah, that can't be good!
Some more numbers to crunch are that four out of the seven churches were in trouble concerning some form of heresy; that's over 50%! Even more troubling, one of the seven was even declared to be dead! Well, mostly dead, which is slightly alive, but only because they had a few who hadn't defiled their garments, and were worthy to wear white [a kittle/white robe] and walk with Jesus. That means, only 28% of the churches in Asia, during John's apostleship, were living as they should, and were completely safe from Jesus' rebuke. That's right, only two out of the seven were living completely right! Would you say that made John 'feel' successful as a pastor? Is this numerical tally not extremely alarming to you dear reader? It should be!
Even more amazing is that only one of those two faithful churches [Philadelphia], would entirely escape imprisonment and the testing of their faith, provided that they remained faithful to Jesus' command to patiently endure. The other compliant church [Smyrna], had members that would be tested by being thrown into prison by Satan, even though they were doing what was right! So not fair, right? Well, we may not think it's fair, but Jesus encouraged them to be faithful witnesses even unto death! Their reward? Only the crown of life, and the promise that they would not be hurt by the second death, and they would get to rule with Jesus in the Millennium! Not a bad compensation, huh?
- loveless attitudes toward our brethren and our Lord
- love of worldly pleasures
- compromising corruption
- dead works from fake"Christians"
- false teachings and support of false prophets
- boasting in the false lukewarm dominion and prosperity gospels
- and even try to justify them
But by then, it seems that their fate will be sealed due to their callous hearts; if they didn't repent of their heresy in the first 3 1/2 years, then it is unlikely they will repent when the seriously heavy judgments start to fall upon them due to their apostasy. Meaning, they will curse the God they once claimed as their own, along with those who never wanted anything to do with Him in the first place.
This is a very real future reality, the numbers don't lie, and neither does our Lord. He said that all of this would come to pass, that many will not make it through the difficult to find narrow gate, and that many will be surprised to find that they were never known by the Savior. Are we listening? We each must determine if we are on the wide and easy ecumenical path leading to destruction, or if we are on the hard to follow path of righteousness that leads to life, and the map that helps guide us is God's word, rightly divided. It is entirely possible to misread a map and be lost while thinking you are on the right path. This is a very serious matter, so let us make sure we are not among the numerous who will say, "Lord lord," but will be rejected by Jesus, as one whom he never
knew, and even be called a worker of lawlessness. Amen!