Open as PDF
In the vision of the Isle of Patmos, John beholds the Lord walking in the midst of seven golden candlesticks. He holds in His hand seven stars, which are the seven angels of the seven churches. The seven golden candlesticks, or lightholders, represent the seven churches.
This revelation to John unveils the destiny of the Church and the world as connected with it, from the ascension of Christ till the end of the age. Failure is depicted among the seven churches. Each church epistle is concluded with a solemn call to every hearer to attend and apply the message to his own conscience.
Heavenly glories, priestly honors, high estates and seats on Christs Throne are bestowed upon those who mortify the corruptions of the flesh, and overcome the temptations of Satan and the world.
But awful are the Lords threatenings and tremendous His rebukes upon those whose life and performance fail to square with the Word of God.
"I Know Thy Works"
Standing in the midst of the seven churches, the Lord begins His judgment in the house of God, "I know thy works" (Rev. 2:2).
The Lord Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church, in beginning His judgment at the house of God, does not appraise the churches as Baptists, Methodists, Fundamentalists, etc. He is not judging the virtue of creed, or of sect at all, but in the final sifting, focuses all on overcoming.
As the Lord prepares to close the church period and take His place upon His throne, John beholds Him with a two-edged sword going out of His mouth (Rev. 2:16). His words flashed out of His mouth like sword thrusts!
"The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17). "The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword..." (Hebrews 4:12).
His eyes as flames of fire are directed upon the churches (Rev. 2:14). Searching through and through the work and service of the churches, the eyes of the Lord are not eyes of tenderness and compassion, but eyes of fire and flame! There is something hot and scorching about fire.
Moreover the sword is an instrument of punishment. Hence Johns revelation is one of searching severity and sharp judgment, as the floor of the Lords house is purged, for the wheat to be gathered in and the chaff to be burned with unquenchable fire! (Matt. 3:12).
Finally, in the severity of His judgment of His house, the Lord turns aside from the church and directs pointed appeals to individuals to identify themselves with Himself alone. Each letter to the seven churches is concluded with His sovereign challenge, seven times repeated, to individuals to overcome even as He overcame.
Scholars translate the word "overcome" as "conqueror,"--victorious members of the Body of Christ. Revelation unveils in chapters one, two and three, judgment beginning at the house of God.
"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power...It is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick [living] and dead" (Acts 10:38,42). The Judge of the quick and the dead solemnly brings the last judgment down to the individual who conquers or fails to conquer.
"I...Will Remove Thy Candlestick"
Is it not sobering to contemplate? Seven golden candlesticks, but if the light given is not clear and bright, the candlestick is removed.
Bibles we are not reading; light we have but are not walking in; churches we are not supporting and attending; religious literature we do not take time to study; opportunities and privileges we are not using for the glory of God, will be taken from us by the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
O Beloved, quickly let each of us repent of every sin of omission and every sin of commission and return without a moments loss to our first love lest our candlestick by taken from us in America! (Rev. 2:1-5).
Church of God! Forewarned! Forearmed! Everything that savors of lukewarmness is foredoomed! "Because thou art lukewarm...I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:16). Lukewarm Bible study! Lukewarm praying! Lukewarm service to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Lukewarm preachers! Lukewarm people of God! Lukewarm congregations! Lukewarm elders and church officials--doing business in the Name of the Lord! Lukewarm stewards!
Without respect of persons, God has proclaimed judgment on everything that is lukewarm--"for the Lord thy God is a consuming fire" (Deuteronomy 4:24).
"Space to Repent"
"I will give unto every one of you according to your works...that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron...
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Rev. 2:21-29).