Revelation: Letters to the Churches

Revelation: Letters to the Churches

This study will help you understand God's messages to the early churches.

In our own materialistic age, it is only too easy to miss the meaning of this book. On the one hand, instead of seeing it as something written to inspire and to capture the imagination, we quickly reduce it to a timetable of events. On the other hand, we lose its message in fantasy and mysticism. This study will guide you through the letters in the Book of Revelation and help you pull powerful lessons from the text.

Session One

The Transforming Vision
This long-ago vision, described by the apostle John, can transform us.
Revelation 1:1–20

We often use the word apocalypse to describe a tragedy or catastrophe. But the word literally means "an unveiling"—something that has been hidden for some time is now being revealed.

Session Two

The Church that Forgot How to Love
No matter how many other things we do right, if we get this one wrong, we've missed the point.
Revelation 2:1–7

In trying to get all of our ducks in a row by determining how to live and what to pour our energy into. We, in the midst of doing our duty, often forget the relationship we are called to with Christ. If we miss that, we've missed it all.

Session Three

The Church Where Faith Was Costly
We are to be faithful to Christ, even unto death.
Revelation 2:8–11

The church at Smyrna was one of only two churches that Jesus did not reprimand in his seven letters. People there evidently did things right, and we can learn a lot from their faithfulness.

Session Four

The Church that Was on the Front Line
We need to confess what we are doing wrong.
Revelation 2:12–17

The church at Pergamum was doing a lot right. But they let sin eat away at them. Jesus gave them a warning to save them from disaster. He offers the same warning to us.

Session Five

The Church that Flirted with Danger
We have to be careful whom we listen to in our churches.
Revelation 2:18–29

The church at Thyatira had a false prophetess in its midst who was leading its people astray. It appears they had good hearts, but bad doctrine. This letter warns us to guard who is teaching us.

Session Six

The Church that Fell Asleep
The church at Sardis wasn't desperately wicked. It just wasn't paying attention.
Revelation 3:1–6

The letter to the church at Sardis best presents the subtle danger that churches in comfortable societies are susceptible to. It is easy to slide into complacency without realizing we are slipping toward the fire.

Session Seven

The Church that Was Worthy of Praise
The praise for the church at Philadelphia teaches us what God values.
Revelation 3:7–13

Jesus doesn't ask us to be super-Christians. He asks that we remain true to his word and stand for his name. If we endure, we are promised reward. The church at Philadelphia is a shining example of how to do it right.

Session Eight

The Church that Would Make You Sick
Nothing is worse than a church or a Christian who fails to recognize its true state.
Revelation 3:14–22

The church at Laodicea receives some of Jesus' harshest words. Yet even as he rebukes the people of that church, he showers them with love and invites them into fellowship.

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