Sunday, November 1, 2015

What If Churches Got Report Cards?

   While on the Isle of Patmos, the aged apostle John received a visit from Jesus Himself, Who asked His servant to deliver a series of messages "to the seven churches which are in Asia".  Each message contained a review of the church's strengths and weaknesses, with the promise of rewards for excellent service, and corrective actions for failures. A "report card", if you will, on each of the pastors & congregations of select cities in Asia Minor!
   The first three chapters of Revelation present Jesus's assessment of the overall health, attitude, priorities, faithfulness, and effectiveness of the seven churches. He doesn't pull any punches, and He doesn't sugar-coat any issues! Roughly speaking, the grades Christ gives are:

  • A+    Philadelphia (not PA!)
  • A-     Ephesus
  • A      Smyrna
  • B-     Thyatira 
  • B-     Pergamos
  • D      Laodicea
  • F      Sardis
   So how would your church stack up? It's time we dig a little deeper and really try to get a handle on what Jesus loves, what He hates; what He's glad we do, what He wishes we'd do; what He'd like us to stop doing, what He'd like us to continue doing, what He'd like us to resume doing. What's in our churches that Christ wants out? What's out that He wants in?
   Why study the report cards of churches that have long since faded into history? Because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever! The problems He had with them are the same problems He'll have with us when we do what they did, when we allow what they allowed, when we ignore what they ignored.
   And the rewards for obedience and constant faithfulness will be the same for us, if we continue in well-doing. Likewise, the judgements and punishments will be the same for us if we continue on in sin and compromise. Yes, Jesus punishes His church!  Did not our Lord say, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten" ?  God is good all the time, but sometimes chastening is the good thing to do!
   So if you have "ears to hear", let's dive into this: it won't always be easy, won't always be fun.....toes will get stepped on, faces will get slapped! But these are the last of the last days, my brethren, and on that day, you wanna hear, "Well done thou good & faithful servant" or "Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity; I never knew you" ?
    * * * * *
   Rend your hearts and not your garments! See ya next time.....Peace!

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