In Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, the Lord Jesus evaluates 7 representative churches. Most of them He finds spiritually impoverished in some way. To a great extent, these two chapters are chilling to read, because there’s probably some measure of spiritual poverty in all of us.
Following are 7 warning signs that Jesus alludes to in His letters to the churches:
- “You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” (Revelation 2:4 NLT) Jesus warned that in the last days sin would increase and the love of many would grow cold (Matthew 24:12). And we would expect that of the world that doesn’t know Him. But this spiritual poverty afflicts us as well.
Jesus urges us, “Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first.” (Revelation 2:5 NLT)
- Sexual immorality. (Revelation 2:14)Sexual immorality manifests itself in many ways including sex outside of marriage, sexual abuse, pornography, a lustful heart, and homosexuality.
In 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Paul explains, “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (NLT)
- Holding on to false doctrines. (Revelation 2:15) I fear we’ve allowed political correctness to dictate our doctrine instead of holding to God’s Word. Believing wrong things about God affects our relationship with Him and with others. False doctrines lead to false practices that dishonor God and us.
- Idolatry. (Revelation 2:14) We don’t think of idolatry as being an issue much in the 21st Century. But money, status, and stuff frequently take the place of God in our lives. Jesus warned, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” (Matthew 6:24 NLT)
- No visible evidence of spiritual life. (Revelation 3:1) Jesus said He came to give us life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). But many who claim to know Him bear no evidence of the abundant life that Jesus gives. Jesus urges us, “Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.” (Revelation 3:2 NLT)
- Failure to keep God’s Word. (Revelation 3:8) God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). We need the nourishment of His Word like we need food. But to our own hurt, we neglect to read and incorporate God’s Word into our lives. Paul urged the believers in Thessalonica, “Dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15 NLT)
- Lukewarmness. (Revelation 3:15) Many of us are neither hot nor cold. This speaks of sameness with the world. We’re wishy washy and complacent; invisible Christians.
I hope you’re not offended by reading these 7 warning signs. But if you are, please ask yourself why? These indictments come from Jesus Christ, not from me. I’ve already admitted that I need this reminder as much as the next person.
And the truly tragic reality in these warnings is that when we’re trapped by such spiritual poverty, we have nothing left to give to those who don’t yet know Christ!
But here’s the good news. Jesus wraps up these 7 letters with an invitation and a solution.
His invitation: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20 NLT)
- Wake up!
- Renew your love for Christ and others.
- Repent of any and all sin.
- Strengthen the good that has remained.
- Start living the victorious life in Christ that He calls us to.
©2019 Rob Fischer