Our risen Lord addressed the seven churches in Asia condemning them for sinful and ungodly deeds, as well as commending them for godly deeds. When carefully considered, these condemnations and commendations can also be applied to the church in the present century. If our risen Lord should address the local church, of which you are a member; which ones, or how many of the following would be applicable to you? As we look at these it is wise to understand that the local church is comprised of individuals, and it is the individuals that make or break the church!
“To (the individual) ______,  I hold these charges against you:
·        You have forsaken your first‑love! [Ephesus, the loveless Church] – the main cause of all sin and failure.
·        You hold the teachings of Balaam! [Pergamum, the over-tolerant Church] – greed, covetousness and sexual immorality. You hold the teachings of the Nicolaitans! – compromising with ungodly principles.
·      You tolerate the teachings of Jezebel! [Thyatira, the compromising Church] – service driven by formality and pride. Service becomes an idol and is ineffective. Symbolism replaces true worship/service. Nothing changes in respect to our worship/service ‑ there is constant meaningless repetition. An attempt is made to join or reconcile two opposing principles or practices ‑ God and the world. .
·     You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead! [Sardis, the sleeping Church] – self-satisfaction in service.  I have not found your deeds complete! – no status: irrelevant, ineffective service.
·        You are lukewarm! [Laodicea, the complacent Church] – You are miserable, pathetic, deprived, sightless and exposed! – little zeal or enthusiasm; indifference; no courage to follow God or rebel; disgusting to God.
“Nevertheless, I commend you: “
·        For your hard work and perseverance [Ephesus] – service being conducted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
·    That you are rich in the things of God [Smyrna] – Be faithful in your service in spite of any persecution that you may be enduring.
·        That you remain true to my name although faced with tremendous persecution [Pergamum] – do not abandon your faith even though Satan is hard at work .
·        That you are now performing more faithful service than you did at first [Thyatira] – growth and maturity.
·   That you have made some effort, but not enough, to grasp the opportunities given you [Philadelphia]. Hold on to what you have and do not neglect your opportunities.
“Therefore, remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. I am He who searches the hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds; so remember what you have received and heard; obey it and repent! Behold, I stand at the door and await your invitation to enter and renew our fellowship.” .

It is obvious that temptations and sins that plagued God’s people in days gone by are still stumbling blocks to God’s people today, and as we receive and enjoy the rewards of our labours we tend to forget God and drift away from His Word and the commands He has given us .
We must all be aware that in these “last days” the work of Satan, in individual lives and consequently in the Church, is on the increase and many are falling for the false teachings that are widespread today . We must be conscious that our lives will be influenced by the things that we are exposed to – reading material, types of music, television, movies – and such the like. So we must determine the necessary balance between spiritual and secular that is best for each individual and the body of Christ

“You who have ears to hear, hear what the spirit says!….To {those} who triumph…” Our Living Lord Jesus will reward.

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