Today in America there is a wide variety of Churches. Many non-denominational community churches have been organized since the 1970’s Jesus People Revival. Some churches have exchanged their denominational name for a generic community name, yet they remain within their denomination. Several entire denominations have split into a liberal branch and the traditional branch. Many large churches are creating contemporary worship services with a more relaxed dress code, as an alternative to their traditional services. All these events are the result of society’s influence upon the Christian Church, and/or church leaders and attempts to compete for membership and attendance. Along with the rise of nondenominational churches there has been an increase in charismatic interest. Even within denominations there appears to be an increase in spiritual awareness or at least spiritual rhetoric. Names, worship styles, and casual dress, are inconsequential matters, but abandoning fundamental historically maintained truths are matters of great importance.
To accurately address this issue we need to listen to Yeshua Messiah’s word to His Church. First, the Bible teaches that if we accuse others we will do those same things ourselves. Therefore, we must not judge, even if it were accurate, as we have not been given the authority to judge the servant of another. (Luke 6:37,42; Rom. 2:1). The book of Revelation gives us the Lord’s view, His assessment, and His exhortation regarding the seven churches.
Ephesus — I know your deeds, your hard work and perseverance. I know you can not tolerate wicked people, you test and find out false apostles, endured hardships and have not grown weary, but you have forsaken the love you had at first. Repent and do the things you did at first. (Rev 2: 1-7).
Smyrna — I know your afflictions and poverty, yet you are rich. I know you have been slandered by Satan’s followers. Some of you will be tested with imprisonment and suffer persecution. Be faithful to the point of death and I will give you the victors crown of life. (Rev. 2: 8-11).
Pergamum — I know you live where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. Nor did you renounce your faith in me, in the face of martyrdom. Nevertheless, some of you hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice Israel to commit sin, and the teaching of the Nicoliatians. Repent of this. (Rev. 2: 12-17).
Thyatria — I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, you tolerate Jezebel who by her teaching misleads my servants into sin. I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely unless they repent of her ways. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you; hold on to what you have until I come. (Rev. 2:18-29).
Sardis — I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Rev. 3: 1-6).
Philadelphia — I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of Satan, who claim to be Jews but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the coming trial which will test the inhabitants of the earth. Hold on to what you have. (Rev. 3: 7-13).
Laodicea — I know your deeds, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. (Rev. 3: 8-22).
In summary, we need to:
– Repent and regain the love we had at first.
– Remain faithful to Yeshua
– Repent of wicked Balaam and Nicoliatian teaching
– Cease to tolerate Jezebel teaching
– Hold on to what we have in Yeshua
– Wake up, strengthen what remains
– Remember what we have received and heard, hold it fast
– Repent of unfinished work
– Hold on to what you have
– Recommit to Yeshua, buying gold, garments, eye salve
– Earnestly repent
Yeshua searches hearts and minds. He knows each one and administers rebuke to those He loves who need it. He exhorts us to hold fast what we have and to repent. We must cease to tolerate wicked teaching that subverts God’s rule to men or leads people to sin. We need the love we had at first.