(Fourth in a series on the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. Revelation 1-3)
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him. For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6).
The Lord Jesus was unhappy with His churches. Five of the seven congregations scattered across Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) were already getting off-track and needed some swift attention. The two exceptions were Smyrna and Philadelphia. But the other five churches received stern rebukes.
To all the seven churches of Asia Minor, the Lord gave four things (with slight variations for Smyrna and Philadelphia):
HIS ANALYSIS. This is His report card. His “state of the state” message.
HIS WARNINGS. Repent or else.
HIS INSTRUCTIONS. Remedial actions the Lord would like to see.
HIS PROMISES. To Him who overcomes, blessings await. Each church gets its own promise.
These four blessings–for they were that–were not given to the unbelieving world, not to pagan religions, and not to political powers. They were gifts from Heaven to seven congregations for whom the Lord Jesus had great expectations and important roles to play.