Seven Letters To The Church

Access Study GuideGet Small Group Curriculum

Seven Letters to the Church Read just a couple of chapters of Revelation and most people are struck. On one hand, we notice how different the book seems compared to other parts of the New Testament, and on the other, we are drawn-in to understand more of its curious and strange images. Where is it going? What is it trying to say? In the earliest days of Christianity, the Roman world was confused about this new “sect” that followed one called “Christ,” and Judaism began to separate themselves from these new religious rebels who worshipped a false Messiah. So, for Christians, it was a time of uncertainty and eventually turned into a time of persecution from two sides. These seven letters at the beginning of Revelation were written to this world. John writes from prison about a vision, and in that vision, the resurrected Jesus speaks to local churches in a way that is unfamiliar and even frightening. Conquering seems to be the theme and the “one like the son of man” has challenging words for these young churches. External forces are pressing in. Sin and compromise are eating away inside and spoiling the witness of the church. Compromise or conquer. John’s details of his vision bring together imagery and language from all over the Bible, and wise readers will be aware of this. Not to mention, it is written to a people in an ancient place (see map). In fact, the letters read like a progressing traveler walking through the memory of his visits to a series of churches along a real route in the province of Asia Minor, which is part of modern-day Turkey. Two thousand years removed, what is the message we should take from this letter to churches that seemed so different from ours? Are we really that different? As we study together, let us listen to Jesus as ultimate Judge, encouraging and admonishing his people to ignite their passions and live holy lives that witness to His reign—then, now, and forever.

Get the latest delivered right to you