The book of Revelation is written in what is called apocalyptic literature. There is great symbolism and graphic, lurid descriptions. This type of writing was common from 200 B.C. to 200 A.D.
Some scholars believe the apostle John wrote this letter; others dispute that claim. Some think it may have been a disciple of the apostle John. It is generally agreed that it was written around the year 90.
I mention this because of the nature of how the author addresses the seven churches. In this reading the church of Sardis and Laodicea are warned. Of the seven churches, Sardis is the fifth church, Laodicea is the seventh. It would be good to go back and listen to what is said about the other five churches.
Whoever the author is, he holds nothing back in ordering and prophesying the negative outcome of each of the churches. Although he appears to be talking to the angel of each church, it is as if he is talking to the church as if it were a living being. In literature such as this it is good to search for these descriptive references to understand what the author is trying to convey.
I can imagine the four churches of our cluster as being ‘living beings’. Each having its own personality, strengths, and weaknesses. The author of Revelation is demonstrating whether the seven churches he addressed are dead or alive. If you do look back at all seven descriptions in Revelation, then compare the church you attend to those descriptions.
How would you describe your church? If you say you are alive and vibrant by what you do, then you must ask if you are also alive spiritually. If the Holy Spirit isn’t among us then we are actually dead. It is the final assessment that is most important. If you find us lacking in your comparison, what will you do to make the necessary changes?
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen