Jesus' description of a future of judgment begins with the letter to the seven churches, which the apostle John prefaces, "Blessed
is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near"
The letters serve as an evaluation of the churches' spiritual state in preparation for Jesus' return and Day of the Lord. Although
written in the first century, the evaluations are still relevant today.
A church that promotes sound doctrine, discerns and removes false teachers, but serves without agape love. (Ephesus,
A church, whose members are quite poor, experience slander for their faith yet strong enough to endure and persevere
under the circumstances. (Smyrna, Rev 2:8-11)
A church that has sound doctrine, but does not enforce a doctrinal standard, has teachers who embrace society's sexual
norms and advocate that all religions are good. (Pergamum, Rev 2:12-17)
A church, motivated by love and faith, places an emphasis on and does good work, but allows teachers that teach a
different gospel and unfounded biblical doctrine; there are other ways to salvation. (Thyatira, Rev 2:18-29)
A church, teaching little about the gospel, preaches with a focus on Christian living echoing cultural values and with
little basis on the Bible. (Sardis, Rev 3:1-6)
A church, faithful and evangelistic, is unapologetic for God's word despite prevailing cultural pressures.
(Philadelphia, Rev 3:7-13)
A church, whose members are wealthy and prosperous, chooses to teach Christian values that are consistent with
society's values and with an emphasis on the examples found in the life of Jesus; it avoids discussion about man's sin and Jesus' death
of atonement. (Laodicea, Rev 3:14-22)
For deeper study:
Message to the Churches
What is the Hour of Testing? Examining Revelation 3:10