Hosea 5-8 Revelation 2
“Everyone who has ears should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give some of the hidden manna to everyone who wins the victory. I will also give to each one who wins the victory a white stone with a new name written on it. No one knows this new name except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17 NCV)
Revelation 2 and 3 both deal with messages for the seven churches addressed in this book. While there are admonitions and promises to individuals who heed the words of the Spirit, it’s interesting to note that the message of God is sent to the church. We’ve become so individualistic in life that it’s spilled into our faith to the point that people talk about having church on their own by doing <insert their favorite activity here>. The word ecclesia, one of the original terms for God’s people, is used for a assembly – a group of people. While God used an individual, John, to deliver a message, His message was for the church. He makes a distinction between those who are doing what’s right and those who are following the wrong path, but the power to overcome for anyone comes from God and the fellowship of His people.
While we are accountable to God for our lives, part of that accountability relates to how we build up and support His people in the church. As the world and our nation grows more hostile to Christianity, we need to support each other to overcome the temptations of the world. When China cracks down on Christian churches, we all suffer a little. When Pakistan persecutes, attacks, and kills Christians, we are all the lesser as a body. We are the ecclesia, the called-out body of Christ. We are united with our local church body and our brothers and sisters around the world. We are to listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. Our victory comes as we stay true to Him. God’s promise is that He will provide for our physical needs and that He will never blackball us, but instead give us a new name that represents our relationship with Him. Pray for your brothers and sisters around the world who are undergoing persecution. Pray for your sisters and brothers in your local church who are dealing with life in a world that is becoming more unfriendly to God’s people every day. Through it all, stay strong in the Lord and in the power of His Spirit.
Lord, thank You for Your love and promises. Thank You that we can overcome difficulties and persecution, when it comes, through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Remind me, remind us that together we can be an amazing power for God as we work and serve through Your Church.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.