THE CHURCH FACES THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY CONDITIONS

                                        AND CHARACTERISTICS OF MATURITY

                          (The Spirit of A Living Church, Revelation chps. 2, 3, 22: 12-17)

 

Our LordŐs last recorded words are not in the Gospels, but in the book of The Revelation. When these words were given to our brother John by revelation, the Church was about sixty years old and undergoing severe persecution from the Roman state. Apostasy (especially Gnosticism, see Colossians) was especially acute in Asia Minor (contemporary Turkey) where the seven churches mentioned in chps. 2 and 3 were located. I say were located, because they are no longer in existence. But Christ created His Church to grow until the whole world knows of Christ as Lord and Savior, or else will ultimately know Him as judge.

 

Descriptive Images of The Church - The People of God

 

1. Salt of the Earth - Matt. 5.13.                           2. Light of the World - Matt 5.14

3. Letter from Christ - II Cor 3.2,3

4. Bride of Christ - II Cor 11:1ff; Eph 5.22-31; Rev 21:2-4

5. Citizens - Eph 2.19; Gal 6.10                           6. Exiles - I Peter 1.1; 2.11; Heb 11.13

7. Dispersion - James 1.1; I Peter 1.1                     8. Ambassadors - II Cor 5.18-21

9. Israel of God - Rom 9-11; Gal 6.16 (People of God, Household of God)

 

Conditions of The Church: Models of Maturity? (From Asia to Central Illinois)

 

(Our Lord analyzes each congregation considered by seven factors:

1. The Church at Ephesus - 2.1-7 - Repent

2. The Church at Smyrna - 2.8-11 - Realize your riches

3. The Church at Pergamum - 2.12-17 - Stand for something

4. The Church at Thyatira - 2.18-29 - Hold fast to the truth

5. The Church at Sardis - 3.1-6 - Beware of nominal Christians

6. The Church at Philadelphia - 3.7-13 - Evangelize (Open door)

7. The Church at Laodicea - 3.14-22 - Warm your hearts (neither hot nor cold)

 

Characteristics of Maturity: Faith, Hope, Love - I Corinthians 13

 

1. The Commission                   5. The Correction

2. The Character                        6. The Call

3. The Commendation                7. The Challenge           

4. The Condemnation

 

The Church Facing the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century

 

What is the Lord saying to the Church today? ŇThe Spirit and the Bride say come.Ó

 

Gene Getz, Marks of A Mature Church (Regal Press).

H. Hort, The Christian Ecclesia (College Press reprint)

M. Tenney, Revelation Interpreted (Eerdmans Pub. Co.)

J.R. Stott, The LordŐs Last Words To His Church (Inter Varsity Press)

J.D. Strauss, The Seer, The Savior, and The Saved (College Press, reprint 1990)

also, The Birth of A Revolution (Acts) (Standard Publishing Co.)

 

James D. Strauss