THE MESSAGES TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Revelation 2-3

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says.”

This exact statement is made at the end of each message. Such repetition tells us that the concept is important. Let’s take it apart.

He who has an ear: Apparently, not everyone has an ear—at least not this kind, the kind that hears what the Spirit says.

let him hear: Seems like a bit of a ‘duh’ statement, but take a look through some of the other passages where ‘hear’ and ‘ear’ are found, and you’ll see that not everyone with ears hears. Some stop up their ears so they can do what they want.

what the Spirit says: This is important. Yes, John is the writer of the Revelation. But there is an ‘and’. John is the writer AND the Spirit is the speaker. John 16:12-14 tells us that the Spirit is the one who would guide the Apostles into all truth. When the Spirit speaks, we must listen. When the Word speaks, we must listen.

to the churches: Each message is crafted for the individual congregation, but each message is spoken and is to be heard by all the congregations. I think this extends today. We today, in 2005, who have an ear, MUST hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.


So, when we look at the messages to the seven churches, what stands out? I see four activities that are important to God:
  • Knowing the truth
  • Defending the truth
  • Loving each other
  • Loving God
Further, each of these is to be done with passion. Think of the message to Laodicea: Jesus wants to barf up lukewarm churches.

Given all of this, what do these churches need to hear? In other words, what is the purpose of the rest of Revelation? Here's the tentative answer: some of the churches need comfort and others need comfort. Do the visions in 4:1-22:5 fill that need? We shall see.

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2 comments:

  1. Hearing what the Spirit says is apparently no easier for the church today than it was in the first century. The Spirit is speaking to the church, or wants to. We need to have an attitude of expectation and a willingness to be directed, corrected, and encouraged. It's an important passage for the church, because it describes the normal stance we should take towards God -- ears cocked and attentive.

    Do you remember those old EF Hutton ads? A guy in a crowded and loud restaurant turns to his dinner companion and says "My broker is EF Hutton and EF Hutton says...," and the room falls silent as people lean towards him to hear. The tag was "When EF Hutton speaks, people listen."

    We need to have that sort of attentiveness, don't we?

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  2. The EF Hutton ad was exactly what came to mind, but I could not remember the name (which, in itself, is rather ironic). I think that kind of attentiveness requires two things: 1) practice and 2) a fuller knowledge of who God is. That's what the EF Hutton commercial was implying: because people know what EF Hutton is like, people necessarily listen.

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