In the second and third chapters of John's Revelation, we find the letters dictated to the seven churches. Here, in a uniquely direct way, we have the Lord's assessment of health indicators for local congregations.
What strikes me is that some of the usual indicators—evangelism, stewardship, church planting, attendance are not evident. In a quick scan of these two chapters, the indicators that stand out are:
- holiness and dealing with sin.
- endurance—being "overcomers." The Lord praises churches that face corporate challenges with vital faith. That's an idea I hadn't thought much about, but churches do face difficult times—a rash of deaths or unemployment or natural disaster.
- confronting evil and heresy in the church.
- exclusive love for Christ.
- corporate growth in ministry—"you are doing more now than before."
- love for one another. This is evident in the specifics of how the Christians are called to relate to each other dealing with sin, earnestness of purpose, etc.
[by Lee Eclov]