97 Dear Church, Love from Jesus

Start the challenge by finding and reading a Bible verse from Revelation 3:20a.

Do your friends sometimes tease you or do other people laugh at you because you try to live God’s way?

Have you ever been unpopular because you stood up for God?

Who or what helped you?

Do you ever feel like giving up on God because it all seems too difficult? Talk with your Bible Coach about how you feel and how you can help one another.

 

Read more…

The story so far…

Revelation begins with Jesus’ messages for the Christians in seven churches scattered across today’s western Turkey: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Life was hard for all Christians, but some of them weren’t hanging on to all that they knew about Jesus. Here is what Jesus said to the churches at Philadelphia and Laodicea.

Now read Revelation 3:7–22 together

 

What happened next…

Jesus had a different message for each church. The Ephesians needed to keep on loving Jesus as they had at first. Christians at Smyrna would suffer greatly for their faith, but they would be rewarded with life. Believers in Pergamum had some wrong ideas and, in Thyatira, the Christians weren’t staying true to Jesus’ teaching. The believers in Sardis needed to wake up and get back to living for God. Jesus encouraged the people in Philadelphia because they had obeyed his message and endured. John invites us to hear what the Holy Spirit was saying to all the churches. Like the people in Laodicea, Jesus wants us to keep on inviting him into our lives.

 

Explore the Bible

Answer the questions from Big Bible Challenge page 126 together.

 

Did you know…?

Time of testing The Christians were experiencing many difficulties because the Roman rulers were trying to stamp out Christianity. Many were suffering and some would die because of their faith. John encouraged them by telling them that God would judge the Roman leaders and that their empire would collapse.

Laodicea This was an important city in the area now known as Turkey.

Lukewarm This word means neither hot, nor cold – just a bit warm. John is making a clever link to Laodicea’s water supply. Water was carried along an aqueduct from natural hot springs. The water contained limestone that had dissolved with the heat. As the water travelled along the aqueduct, it cooled down and the limestone settled out. By the time the water reached the city it was lukewarm and sludgy. You would not want to drink it! John says that the church in Laodicea is like that water!

 

Try it out

Revelation 3:20 is one of the best-known verses in the Bible. Many Christians use these words to describe how they first became friends of God. In Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St John, a young girl, Annette, has heard this verse in church and asks her grandmother to explain more…

“Grandmother, what does it mean when it says that Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts?”

“It means,” said Grandmother, laying down her knitting, and giving Annette her whole attention, “that the Saviour sees that your life is full of wrong things and dark thoughts. He came down and was crucified so that he might bear the punishment of those wrong deeds and those dark thoughts instead of you. Then he rose again so that he could come into your life and live in you, and turn out all those wrong thoughts, and think his good, loving thoughts in you instead. It is like a man knocking at the door of a dirty, dark, dusty house, and saying, ‘If you will let me in I will take away the dust and the darkness and make it beautiful and bright.’ But, remember, he never pushes in – he only asks if he may come in. That is what knocking means. You have to say, ‘Yes, Lord Jesus, I need you and I want you to come and live in me’ – that is what opening the door means.”

Annette’s eyes were fixed on Grandmother; there was a long, long pause.

Annette broke the silence.

“But, Grandmother,” she said, drawing her stool nearer and leaning against the old woman’s knee, “if you hated someone you could not ask Jesus to come in, could you?”

“If you hate someone,” said Grandmother, “it just shows how badly you need to ask him to come in…”

(from Treasures of the Snow, © Patricia St John 1950, published by Scripture Union)

 

Talk to God

What do you want to say to God about this part of the Bible?

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