Series: The Radical Call of Jesus
Message: Radical Church
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Daily Walk: Japhet De Oliveira
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 99:6–9.
Read: Revelation 1:1–3:22 (ESV). As you re-read the text for the final time this week in the English Standard Version, what new insights did you discover about God’s character?
Reflect: Steve Case and Daniel Wysong, in their book Finding Jesus in the Book of Revelation, summarize the message of the seven churches with one word: Immanuel—which means "God with us" (p. 39). This is the message all through the ages and given directly to the seven churches in John’s time. If you are failing, Jesus will step in even more. The blessings He places on the Church just keep on increasing as the Church—with human leadership—keeps on failing.
Eugene H. Peterson in Reversed Thunder, challenges us to see the Church today for what it is—a family living room in which all are welcomed.
The churches of Revelation show us that churches are not Victorian parlors where everything is always picked up and ready for guests. They are messy family rooms. Entering a person’s house unexpectedly, we are sometimes met with a barrage of apologies. St John does not apologize. Things are out of order, to be sure, but that is what happens to churches that are lived in. They are not show rooms. They are living rooms, and if the persons living in them are sinners, they are going to be clothes scattered about, handprints on the woodwork, and mud on the carpet. For as long as Jesus insists on calling sinners and not the righteous to repentance - and there is no indication as yet that he has changed his policy in that regard - churches are going to be an embarrassment to the fastidious and an affront to the right. St John sees them simply as lamps stands; they are places, locations where the light of Christ is shown. They aren to themselves the light. There is nothing particularly glamorous about churches, nor, on the other hand, is there anything particularly shameful about them. They simply are (p. 54).
The promise of Jesus to be with us, has never been needed more than today. The reality of Jesus shaping our Churches has never been more appreciated than today. The radical call of Jesus for our Church has never been harder than it is today.
Respond: Pray for the sight to see the hand of Jesus in your Church.
Research: Read one of the suggested commentators on these chapters.