Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
This past Sunday we concluded our sermon series on the seven letters from the Risen Christ to the seven 1st century churches as found in Rev. 2-3. Either by way of affirmation for its presence, or rebuke for its absence, each of these letters highlights a reality that should characterize every true church.
From the letter to the church at Ephesus we are reminded to keep our first love for Jesus alive and burning. From the letter to the church at Smyrna we are inspired to persevere in our faith even when it means suffering for our faith. From the letter to the church at Pergamum we are encouraged to hold on to the truth of the gospel while rejecting all that is false. From the letter to the church at Thyatira we are urged to live lives of holiness. From the letter to the church at Sardis we are confronted with the need to make sure our faith is authentic so there is an inward reality behind our outward reputation. From the letter to the church at Philadelphia we are spurred on to service, boldly marching through the doors Christ opens for us and taking advantage of the opportunities He gives us. And from the letter to the church at Laodicea we are warned against complacency and a lukewarm faith, pursuing instead a wholehearted commitment to Christ.
So, the seven traits that should characterize a true and living church are: love, perseverance, truth, holiness, authenticity, service, and wholeheartedness. They tell us what Christ thinks of His church, both as it is and as it should be, as Christ desires it to be. Let us keep these seven marks before us as we prayerfully and deliberately strive to make them marks of IBCZ – for His honor and glory.
Grace and peace,