These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: (Rev 2:1 NKJ)
These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: (Rev 2:8 NKJ)
These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: (Rev 2:12 NKJ)
It is so easy to think of these seven letters as the Lord scolding the Church, but in fact, it is just the opposite—Jesus loves the Church. At the start of each letter Jesus introduces himself in a manner familiar to the reader. So let’s look at the three churches we have mentioned this week. To the church at Ephesus Jesus describes himself as the one who is firmly in control of his church, intimately involved and third, he is active in the Church, walking in the midst of the churches. The church doesn’t operate in isolation; we’re connected, part of the wider body of Christ.
To Smyrna, he is the everlasting God, who was and is and is to come. In verse 18 of chapter one the focus is on his death, but here in chapter 2 the focus is on his resurrection and subsequent life, a life that is available to every believer—what a message of hope to the persecuted church at Smyrna.
To the third church Pergamum, he reminds them that he is the prophetic Word that cuts both ways. The Word that deals with the world’s sin, but also transforms the believer.
We are in the world but not of the world. If we are going to be effective, we need to make sure we don’t allow the world’s values to set the standard.