December 10, 2014
Revelations about the church in Revelation
We’ve been talking about the church – where we’ve come from, where we are now, and where we’re going as the Body of Christ. These conversations came about because of concerns we have as Christians who see church membership declining and people openly maligning Christianity.
Since I believe communicators for Christ can do something about this through our writings, I’ve been searching and praying for inspired ideas that might help us to minister healing and strength to the church – 1, 2, 3 steps we can do – with the grace of God. So, when a member of my Bible study group asked if we could please study Revelation, I sighed, thinking I really didn’t want to get into end-time expectations or personal interpretations about what this symbol or that might mean. I wanted to focus on the needs, concerns, and direction of the church now.
I’ve read the book several times, but actually studying Revelation brings all sorts of revelations about the church. For example:
The letters to seven churches in chapters one through three of Revelation reveal and reflect the very problems we’re having in and with the church today. Consider, for instance:
Sometimes our love needs rekindling in the Holy Spirit
Sometimes we’re so caught up in doing good, we have no time to soak up God’s goodness.
Sometimes we’re so politically correct, we let society dictate, rather than God’s word.
Sometimes we need to admit we’re wrong, repent, and intercede for others.
Sometimes we need to remember how to live in Christ and not just for Him.
Sometimes we need to encourage and strengthen one another in the faith.
Sometimes we need to prayerfully consider how we might fuel our gifts and stoke our passions for Christ.
After the letters to the churches, the next few chapters remind us of Christ’s Passion for us: Who Christ was, Who Christ is, and Who Christ will be in the church, in our lives, and throughout eternity.
Maybe we’ll be excused from terrible sufferings in the future, and maybe we won’t. Regardless, here’s the 100% sure revelation in Revelation.
We are marked as Christ’s own.
Through Jesus Christ, we have God’s Seal of Approval – the exact opposite of the “mark of the beast.” Most of us have heard and heard about 666, but have we heard – really heard – that we have no need to worry about this, because God’s seal is and will be on us.
God’s seal cannot be broken! God’s seal was, is, and will be on the church. And, this seal shows we have God’s authority, God’s ownership, and God’s protection because we wear and bear God’s seal through our belief in the redemption of Christ.
As we are the church, the church is us – you and me. May we all have ears to hear what God says to the churches and reveals to us in Jesus’ Name.
©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler is an ecumenical Christian poet, writer, and lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts.