In this 8-session study, you will examine Jesus’ letters to the seven churches recorded in the Book of Revelation, considering how Christ’s message also speaks to the church today.
Getting the Most Out of Seven Letters to Seven Churches
This section introduces the topic, explains the structure followed in each study, and offers tips for those approaching the study on their own as well as those participating in a group.
The Lord Who Speaks
The apostle John, who wrote Revelation, was in exile on the prison island of Pátmos. While on the island, John was given an astonishing vision of God’s final victory over evil and sin. It all began with a majestic vision of Jesus in his glory, recorded in Revelation 1.
Revelation 2–3 records seven letters written by Jesus to seven churches. In the church at Ephesus, Jesus finds a lot to praise, but his heart is broken by one glaring absence: love.
The Attractiveness of Suffering
The church at Smyrna was under persecution for their faith. As Jesus speaks to these men and women, he reminds them that he is greater than any suffering—greater even than death.
Defending Truth in a Culture of Lies
Jesus calls the city of Pergamum the place “where Satan has his throne” (Revelation 2:13). You might think that such a church in such a place would be a persecuted church, but that was not the case. Satan’s tactic against the church was much more effective than persecution; he sought to corrupt the church from the inside.
Finding a Moral Compass
Jesus expresses anger at the church at Thyatira, coming to them with a rod of judgment and a sword to cut them apart. He gives them time to repent, but if they refuse his grace, he says he will come in swift judgment.
Reviving a Dead Church
The church at Sardis had the reputation of being alive—vibrant, Spirit-filled, open to God’s work, obedient to God’s Word. But as Jesus looked at this church, he saw a deeper reality. The church was not wicked or immoral, but dead, unresponsive to Christ.
Find Us Faithful
The city of Philadelphia (in Asia Minor) was a door for the Greek language and culture to spread into the surrounding region. In this letter, we see a new door of opportunity was wide open in Philadelphia for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was open to a small band of seemingly weak and uninfluential Christians, a band of Christians very much like us.
The Church That Makes Jesus Sick
Jesus says that the church in Laodicea is lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. In this letter, Jesus expresses his desire for this church to see the reality of their own condition and of the world around them.
Total number of pages: 68
Douglas Connelly is a pastor, writer, and speaker. He is the author of eighteen LifeGuide Bible studies as well as other books including The Bible for Blockheads.