WHAT DOES CHRIST LOOK FOR IN HIS CHURCH?

At the end of each of the prophetic oracles to the seven churches of Asia has the call to be “overcomers” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). The people of God are called to be overcomers, conquerors, or victors (“nike,” νικάω). “This military metaphor assumes that the faithful in each congregation are engaged in a struggle to remain faithful” (Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things, 57).

The saints win the victory by faithful endurance in following the Lamb wherever He goes (Rev. 14:4). But what does “faithful endurance” look like? What is involved in persevering in faithfulness to God? To answer these questions in the context of Revelation, one can look for what Jesus is pleased with and exhorts His people to do as He walks among His people?

The church at Ephesus: deeds (works, toil), endurance, intolerance of false teaching and evil (Rev. 2:2-3).

The church at Smyrna: suffering, being slandering on account of Christ, faithfulness until death (Rev. 2:9, 10).

The church at Pergamum: holding fast Christ’s name, not denying the faith and faithful witness, and repentance (Rev. 2:13, 16).

The church at Thyatira: deeds, love, faith, service, perseverance, and not holding to Satanic teaching (Rev. 2:19, 24-25).

The church at Sardis: purity (Rev. 3:4).

The church at Philadelphia: deeds, obedience, not denying Christ’s name, and perseverance (Rev. 3:8, 10, 11).

What is Jesus looking for in His church? People who say “no” to evil. People who say “yes” to the God and His ways. People who are doing kingdom deeds. People who “conquer” their opponents by remaining faithful to the point of death. People who change their ways when they go wrong. People who wake up to the way in which their levels of commitment have been eroded by comfort, compromise or accommodation. People who endure. Jesus is looking for people with godly spiritual character.

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