All professing Christians who have God’s Holy Spirit must understand we are to be overcomers. There was an angel, invisible to the human eye, assigned to the church of Ephesus (Rev. 2:1). Jesus Christ inspired the Apostle John to deliver a message to Ephesus. He told them: “I know your works, and your labor, and your patience …” He knew they couldn’t bear or tolerate evil. They didn’t fall away, but were faithful. In spite of this good record Jesus told them: “I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love.” It became old hat to them. They were told to repent of this weakness. The results would be: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes …” The reward follows the overcoming, but it is required.
Jesus sent a message by His angel to the church at Smyrna. Christ said He knew their works, tribulation, and physical poverty. He acknowledged they were rich spiritually. He told them in this message that He knew the tribulation they were and would go through. He mentioned a reward they would receive. “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.”
Jesus also sent a message by His angel to the church at Pergamos. He knew their works also. Satan’s seat resided there and he would give them trouble. Jesus recognized they had not denied His name or faith. Jesus found some faults with them, however. His simple instructions were: “Repent; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. … To him that overcomes …” The rewards followed.
An angel was sent to Thyatira with a message. “I know your works, and charity, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your works, and the last to be more than the first. … Notwithstanding I have a few things against you … And he that overcomes, and keeps My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron …”
The church at Sardis was not left out. An angel of Jesus Christ delivered a message to them. They were barely hanging on. They held Christ’s name, but they were practically dead spiritually. Their works were not found to be perfect. They were told to watch and strengthen the little they had left. Even that was about to die. Only a few in this church were headed in the right direction. “He that overcomes” will receive the final reward.
Jesus sent His angel to deliver a message to the church at Philadelphia. Jesus acknowledged their works. He gave them free passage to take the message out to others whether they believed or not. This church kept the Ten Commandments. As a result, they would receive protection FROM THE HOUR OF TEMPTATION, which shall come upon all the world. “He that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God …” Overcoming comes before the reward.
The final church that Jesus sent an angel to was in Laodicea. The congregation was indifferent – neither hot nor cold. Jesus said He would spue them out of His mouth because of this indifference. He explained how they thought they were spiritual, but was deficient in their walk with Him. He said as many as He loves, He will rebuke and chasten. Jesus was standing at the door of their heart waiting for them to straighten up spiritually. They were not to depend upon their wealth as a substitute for righteousness. Jesus concluded His messages by saying: “To him that OVERCOMES will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.”
I, David J. Smith, can remember that a message was sent to our congregation in St. Louis before we were instructed to move to Texas. Except for about 13 people, the others were not living the way Jesus has instructed. The Bible says: “Can two walk together except they be agreed” (Amos 3:3). Most played church and were not for real, spiritually! Because of the way people were living, an associate minister, Bob Rogers, was awakened at 1:00 AM. He wrote a letter under inspiration and sent it to the one person he thought was spiritual. He wrote: “If the church doesn’t get behind David Smith, God will kill the church in 30 days and start all over.” Thirty days later a dark, cool cloud blew in over our house and broke into many pieces. We knew God would kill the church and start over with the faithful few. He did! They would not be corrected by Jesus. A letter was sent, but not by an angel. Can we all learn lessons from these churches to OVERCOME?