Lesson 10 - The Christian Church, Past and Present - 2
The Goal of these lessons is to present the TRUTH as it is in Jesus. The book of Revelation is the revelation of Jesus. What great themes are hidden in the prophetic language of the Scripture? We hope you learn more about Jesus, His character and His plan for your life.
Lesson 10 - (downloadable pdf file)
In the experiences of the seven churches can be seen experiences of the Christian church through the ages, but beyond that, also the experience of individuals. The words of admonition, counsel, and warning are applicable to the lives of every individual Christian.
1. Who is the One addressing the churches? Revelation 1:11-13
2. Where was Christ standing? Revelation 1:13
3. What did the candlesticks represent? Revelation 1:20
NOTE: The candlesticks fitly represent the churches, the light in the world (see Matthew 5:14), because they give to the world the gospel of Jesus Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 4:4) Here Christ is pictured as walking among the seven candlesticks, a symbol of His relationship to His churches.
4. What was Jesus holding in His right hand? Revelation 1:16
5. What did the stars represent? Revelation 1:20
NOTE: Here are represented those who are entrusted with the responsibility of giving the knowledge of the saving truth of the gospel. To those who are faithful in fulfilling his commission, this is of great comfort, for nothing can pluck them out of the hand which holds them. See John 10:28, 29.
6. What was the name of the first church addressed? Revelation 2:1
7. What problem did the Faithful Witness (Revelation 1:5) find with the church of Ephesus? Revelation 2:4
NOTE: Under the leadership of the apostles, the church went to the world filled with zeal for Christ and love for souls. In the passage of time, this zeal began to fade and Christ presents this lack of love and devotion as a spiritual fall, though the members were apparently unaware of it. In viewing the condition of this church, Christ acknowledges the fact that they despise false doctrines, but this will not make up for the lack of love.
8. How did Christ refer to Himself, in addressing the church at Smyrna? Revelation 2:8
NOTE: Though the church of Smyrna is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, history tells us the Christians at Smyrna have seen more suffering than those of any other city of the region. Sometimes by earthquakes, but more often by invading armies, the city has been repeatedly destroyed. To those who would suffer for His sake, Christ comes as the one who has also experienced death and lives again. He holds out the promise that while they may lose this life, they will not have to face the experience of eternal death. (See Revelation 2:10) For this church Christ had only commendation.
9. Which was the third church Christ addressed? Revelation 2:12
10. Whose doctrine were the believers said to allow to go unrebuked? Revelation 2:14
NOTE: What Balaam had been unable to accomplish in trying to curse Israel, he sought to accomplish in leading them to violate God’s law through immorality and idolatry. So successful was he that Israel was led to national apostasy. (See Numbers 25:3) This idolatry weakened the forces of ancient Israel so that their armies, previously invincible, could not stand before their enemies. Satan recognized in the Christian church a force that could not be overcome. He therefore presented the idea that an accommodation in some areas, by an acceptance of some of the less objectionable features of the pagan religion, would lead to its wider acceptance.
11. Whose teaching was Thyatira guilty of accepting? Revelation 2:20
NOTE: Jezebel was the idolatrous queen who was instrumental in leading Israel into apostasy during the time of Elijah. By allowing a few to remain a part of the church, who held a friendship with idolatry, the church is now addressed as allowing leaders to teach idolatry, leading to the conditions that sparked the Reformation.
12. In spite of its name, what was the real condition of Sardis? Revelation 3:1
NOTE: Paul speaks of this condition in 2 Timothy 3:5. The Protestant churches coming out of the Reformation had the name of being living churches, but they soon sank into a deadly formalism. There was a profession of godliness, but its reality was lacking.
13. Which is the sixth church Christ addressed? Revelation 3:7
NOTE: For this church there is not rebuke, only commendation.
14. Though spiritually self-satisfied, what was Laodicea’s condition? Revelation 3:17
15. What will Christ do for those He loves? Revelation 3:19
When the spiritual powers are dwarfed and crippled, when they fasten upon the things of earth to the neglect of the heavenly, the Lord often permits trials and affliction to come. Just as the pruning knife is thrust into the vine that it may bring forth much fruit, so these trying experiences lead us to look to Heaven for help, that we also may bring forth much fruit.