A new focus for a new year
Our focus at AWBC as we start the new year is ‘Vision: 2020’. My heart’s desire for our church is that we take a good look at ourselves, both individually and as a congregation, to determine what Christ is calling us to be and then dedicate ourselves to achieving that end. More information on Vision: 2020 will come in the near future to our website and in our weekly services. There are several tools I would like us to utilize in the coming weeks to help us in this journey, but our emphasis must be first and primarily on our communion with God. We are seeking the Lord’s will for His church through prayer and scripture meditation.
We will be turning our attention to the first three chapters of Revelation on Sunday mornings. In these chapters, John gives us a description of Jesus and then offers the letters He dictated to seven specific local churches. We will spend eight weeks examining the Christ who spoke and the word He gave to His people. As we do, I hope we allow His word to speak to us this year both personally and corporately.
Heeding the words of Christ
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”-Revelation 2:7 (ESV)
John describes Jesus’ voice as being loud “like a trumpet” (verse 10) and “like the roar of many waters” (verse 15). One thing trumpets and roaring waters have in common is the futility of trying to talk over them. You may or may not like the sounds they make, but you can’t silence them and you can’t argue with them. You can’t shut them out and you can’t shut them up! When Jesus speaks to His church, it is similarly unwise to try to ignore His message. He speaks with the power and authority of the one who not only created all things, but also purchased the church with His blood (Eph 5; 1 Peter 1). He alone can evaluate the church to determine the things that ought to be added to or torn from us. We are His church!
It is interesting to note that as Jesus speaks to the churches in chapters two and three, He ends each section with a charge for anyone with an ear to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Jesus dictated the message personally, but affirms it is the Spirit who is speaking to the churches. When we meditate on God’s Word, we find that the Holy Spirit works within us to illuminate the text and to touch our hearts with His message. But sometimes our hearts become callous and it seems that our ears have become deaf to the message the Spirit is speaking. We must be sure that our ears are open and our hearts are willing to receive the message that the Lord will bring us in the weeks ahead. Please begin praying now that we would be receptive to His word.
Overview of Series
As we survey Christ’s message to these seven churches, we will find that each one will in some way mirror the successes, failures, and trials that we encounter today. There were real problems that real people faced in real churches, but Jesus had a real answer to every victory and every defeat. If we are listening, He will answer the questions of our lives as well in the weeks ahead. If we are receptive, He will show us our strengths as well as our weaknesses. Best of all, He also gives assurance to us that He will bless those who listen and heed His message. Most of these churches had a list of things Jesus commended them for, as well as a list of things they were to correct immediately. In only two churches did Jesus have nothing to condemn, but one lamentable church had nothing that Jesus could compliment. I believe we will find ourselves, individually and collectively, represented in these writings to the churches. Here is an overview of the messages for our morning worship services in the coming weeks.
- Revelation 1:9-20, “The Authoritatively Present Christ” (January 12)
- Revelation 2:1-7, “The Passionately Separated Church” (January 19)
- Revelation 2:8-11, “The Eternally Wealthy Church” (January 26)
- Revelation 2:12-17, “The Steadfastly Deceived Church” (February 2)
- Revelation 2:18-29, “The Zealously Tolerant Church” (February 9)
- Revelation 3:1-6, “The Respectably Lifeless Church” (February 16)
- Revelation 3:7-13, “The Feebly Unstoppable Church” (February 23)
- Revelation 3:14-22, “The Tepidly Revolting Church” (March 1)
Hear what the Lord is saying
I hope you will be part of this journey of seeking our Lord’s message and direction for Antioch West in 2020. Join us on Sunday mornings at 10:50 to worship Him and hear what He is saying to His church today.