Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's Your Number?

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Revelation 2:4

While looking at a synopsis of the messages of each of the seven letters in Revelation that John dictated for the Lord Jesus Christ, it became apparent that each church's commendation or rebuke was also related to the church's ordinal position.  To the first church there was/is a message related to their unity.  To the second there was/is a message related to their fellowship and so on.  These all encompassing letters also have a message for us.  The question dealing with your relationship is then, "what is your number?"

One is the number denoting primacy and unity as was mentioned in the last post, Unity and Fellowship.  Immediately, the correlation of the position of the church and its condition is seen.  Ephesus, the first church the Almighty addressed, had a unity problem.  This was the busy church filled with many good works.  The problem was that they had left their FIRST love.  Though their work for the Lord was praised, their heart was far from Christ.  Jesus must always remain first place in our lives, and we must maintain unity with Him no matter how much we do for His glory!  Christ our redeemer values our heart over our service.

Two represents Christ, the second man on the cross, and His fellowship and suffering on behalf of mankind.  Smyrna, whose name comes from the Greek word for myrrh used as a spice for burial, was in close fellowship with Jesus.  This fellowship also brought them great persecution.  They remind us that there are times when walking with the Lord will bring us trouble but great is the reward of the faithful.  Hear the words of Jesus on this.  "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Three speaks of things that are whole, complete, or entire.  To most outsiders, the church in Pergamum may have appeared to be a complete church.  They held tightly to the LORD and even had those who were martyred among them.  However, they were not whole nor complete.  There was a problem.  They were allowing false doctrine to be taught.  Jesus warned that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  Brood on the fact that even the little foxes spoil the vine.  Deal with those "little" things in your life that the LORD reveals to you immediately before it eats at your wholeness in Him.

Four symbolizes creation or the world.  Thyatira, the fourth church addressed, was spoken to in a fitting position.  This group of believers began to be swamped with worldliness.  They were allowing perverse pagan teaching from a "prophetess" who was leading them astray.  Furthermore, some were worshiping idols, mere statues made from worldly materials.  It is important to remember that this world, controlled by the god of this world, is your enemy.  Any teaching that deviates from "Thus saith the LORD" needs to be cast out.  The Bible alone should direct our lives.

Five is the number for grace.  God's grace brings life!  However, Sardis was a works based mess.  Men's works apart from grace, no matter how noble, bring death as they are an affront to the redeeming work of Christ our Redeemer.  While good works are an important indicator of our faith and trust in the LORD, they are not the source of our salvation.  Christ alone saves.

Six is the number for man.  Usually this number is always associated with that which is negative.  In Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, we see this number representing what God wills for His church--to be a vibrant witness to mankind.  This church had an open door for ministry.  It was a door that allowed "whosoever will, come"!  It was a church where God and man were in close fellowship (2) and where the congregation stood complete in Christ (3).  Isn't 6 always the product of 2 x 3?  ;)  

Seven usually is a number that relates spiritual perfection.  Like six above, we see the opposite in this church.  Laodicea was anything but perfect before the LORD.  Yet, they were perfect in their own eyes.  They were so perfect, according to their pride, that they had need of nothing.  They didn't even need Jesus, so they left Him on the doorstep.  While Philadelphia had an open door to all men, Laodicea shut our the only Man that matters--Jesus Christ.

So what is your number.  Find out and hear the words Jesus spoke often, "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent (Revelation 3:3a)."  Also remember as always, Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!

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