Church is Not Optional
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches.” This the Lord’s admonition to each of the Seven Churches of Revelation.
Five of the seven churches he calls to repentance. The two that he is exclusively positive about are Sardis and Philadelphia. With the others he observes positives and negatives, except for the Church at Laodicea to which he has nothing good to say.
Usually, Christians are concentrating more on what the Spirit is saying to them as individuals instead of what he is saying to the Universal Church. Of course, in the admonition to hear what he is saying to the churches in general, he addresses particular churches. As well as telling individuals to be overcomers.
I don’t hear him saying to come out of the organized churches. He does teach in Revelation to come out of Babylon, which symbolizes the world.
The Churches are the called-out ones from the world, who then assemble in particular congregations.
What I hear from my newsfeed about the churches is usually the negative, usually from people that have come out of the churches. In reaction to all the negativity, I typically emphasize the positive and urge men to work within the church to bring about the necessary reformation.
The Lord is speaking to the angel (pastor) of each church. He is still speaking to the pastors of particular churches today.
Hopefully, Pastor has been in his study all week praying, seeking the Lord and studying his text to hear what the Spirit is saying to his church and churches in general in our time. It would be a significant hearing aid, if we all were in attendance each week to hear our pastor’s message.
The Apostle John was not afraid to say negative things about the churches. But John himself was a churchman, not a renegade. He addresses churches in The Revelation, which he is believed to have founded, except for the Church at Ephesus. As founder of these churches for which he is burdened, he earned the right to a hearing and personally knew their strengths and weaknesses, and, yes, even their sins.