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Letter to Thyatira 3

Revelation 2:24-25

Not everybody had succumbed to the Jezebel personality in the church in Thyatira (Revelation 2:20-23). That woman sought to lead the church astray, into idol worship and sexual sin.

Letter to Thyatira 4

Revelation 2:26-29

This church was being subverted by heretical teaching from a Jezebel-like woman, who was tolerated by the leadership (Revelation 2:20-23).

Letter to Sardis 1

Revelation 3:1

Sardis had been the third biggest city in the region after Ephesus and Smyrna; its citadel was on a steep spur at the foot of Mount Tmolus in the middle of the Hermus river valley. It had been an important trading crossroads but some 70 years earlier it was devastated by an earthquake. Despite the Emperor pouring in money for rebuilding and the citizens being exempted paying taxes for five years in an effort to restart the economy, trading patterns changed, and the city was in decline - although still boasting of its former glory.

Letter to Sardis 2

Revelation 3:2-3

Jesus started this letter to Sardis by saying, "I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead" (Revelation 3:1). The church had become spiritually inert, unable to exert any Christlike influence on their city. They were disheartened, inward-looking and merely processing religious routines. They had started well but their zeal had almost gone, and they were unproductive in Christ's kingdom.

Letter to Sardis 3

Revelation 3:4-6

This church had lost its way. It was content to be a religious club instead of enjoying a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. It was asleep to the awesome character of Christ, the glories of heaven, the dangers of hell and the privilege of being in God's kingdom. They were obsessed with themselves and fear of others, having no care for the lost. So Jesus commanded them to wake up. Twice in their history, the citadel of Sardis had been invaded because watchmen were not alert.

Letter to Philadelphia 1

Revelation 3:7-8

Philadelphia (modern Alashehir) is about 45km south east of Sardis. Its original citadel was up the hill on the north east edge of what is now Boz Dağ. Its name came from Attalus II of Pergamon. He was given the title 'Philadelphus' because of his love for his brother, Eumenes, who preceded him as king. Coins of the period had two identical heads on them. It was a prosperous city, filled with trading and pagan temple worship, and also a large synagogue of Jews.

Letter to Philadelphia 2

Revelation 3:9-10

As Philadelphia was the gateway to trade with the east, so Jesus promised that the church in that city had an open door to share the gospel – and nobody could stop the gospel being proclaimed (Revelation 3:8).

Letter to Philadelphia 3

Revelation 3:11-13

'Hold on' is an instruction to people who might not hold on, or who do not realise the danger of letting go, or who might feel falsely secure in the present not understanding what the future might bring. The church of Jesus Christ is always at risk of attack from outside by persecution and from inside by false teaching, temptation and lovelessness. Mercifully the pressure is often not constant, but in the times of quiet – hold on to the Truth. And when the pressure becomes almost unbearable – hold on to Jesus.

Letter to Laodicea 1

Revelation 3:14-16

In contrast to all the other churches, the Lord Jesus Christ has nothing good to say about Laodicea. It was a rich church in a rich city, which boasted a renowned trade in wool, linen, financial services and eye ointment. It had a medical school. It was a desirable place to live and work, full of self-satisfied people. Having no water source of its own, Roman engineering brought water from a hot spring at Hierapolis, near modern Pamukkale, where it still bubbles out of the rock – depositing its chalky minerals over the surface of stony steps.

Letter to Laodicea 2

Revelation 3:17-18

Jesus had just accused the Laodicean church of lukewarmness, ineffective apathy, and existence without love (Revelation 3:14-16).