Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Revelation 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Revelation 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.


MEMORY VERSE: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. —Revelation 3:20


CENTRAL THOUGHT: Five out of the seven Asian congregations were given the command, “Repent!” as Jesus had found their works lacking in His sight; two were commended for keeping His Word; all were given a special promise to overcomers, plus a challenge to truly hear what He was saying.




In the 2018 3rd Quarter (July, August and September) issue of the Bible Lessons (Volume 50, Number 3), we did an in-depth study of these scripture passages. In order to save time and space for this issue, the reader may refer to that issue for Word Definitions. You may check online at and go to Archives; 2018; July, August and September.




While on the Island of Patmos, in the Aegean Sea, John the apostle, there “for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ,” was commanded to write the vision he was given and send it to the seven churches in Asia. Most scholars agree that it was around 95 A.D. The Romans had already destroyed Jerusalem, the other apostles had been killed in the persecutions by Domitian, the Roman Emperor, and the fleeing Christians were scattered into different parts of Asia. How comforting it must have been to receive this vision from the Lord concerning the present persecutions and spiritual challenges of the church and those to come, and the final triumph of Christ over it all.

Two of the churches, Smyrna and Philadelphia, were praised and comforted, but five of the churches received a stern rebuke from Jesus. The Christians at Ephesus had fought so long and hard against the false doctrines and evil spirits working through false apostles that they were no longer filled with the “first love” they had for the Lord, as when they had first heard the gospel.

The Pergamos believers had not denied the faith of Jesus, even in the midst of severe persecution; however, they were reproved because they had allowed dangerous false doctrines among them, which the Lord said He hated.

The church at Thyatira had allowed a false prophetess to teach and seduce the brethren to fornication and idolatry. Jesus said that He had given the prophetess “space to repent” of her fornication, and she “repented not.”

Jesus commended the few saints at Sardis who had not “defiled their garments,” but for the most part, the congregation was full of spiritually dead, “name-only” believers.

The Laodiceans were, in their self-righteous formalism, as disgusting to the Lord as tepid water. They didn’t feel they needed a thing, but Jesus said, “You are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked,” and counseled them to acquire true spiritual riches, white raiment to cover their spiritual nakedness, and spiritual eye-salve so they might see.

To all five the command was, “Repent.”

—Angela Gellenbeck




  1. Name John’s physical location and his spiritual “location” when he received this vision.
  2. Name Ephesus’ good qualities and their fault.
  3. Pergamos and Thyatira had both allowed ___________ _______________.
  4. What was the spiritual condition of Sardis?
  5. What counsel did Jesus give to Laodicea?




In this lesson we can see the justice, love, and mercy Christ has for souls. He may have sent a “group message,” but He had every individual in mind. Not one soul who had allowed a false spirit or doctrine missed reproof, and not one soul who had been true and faithful was forgotten. Space was given for repentance, even for grievous errors. Every good and worthy deed was remembered and noted before judgment was meted out for the sins. Encouragement was equally given with rebuke.

Yet—there was no getting around repentance. The pastor (called an angel, and represented by a star) and the church (represented by a candlestick) were commanded to turn back to God; change their ways of thinking and doing; throw out the idolatry, fornication, false doctrines, and those who were teaching false doctrine; and pay the price to get what was lacking. They were called to remember, to be zealous—and there you have the weeping, the earnest praying, the fasting—to do the first works—confession of sin, baptism, consecration to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and to hold fast to the revelation of the gospel which had been given them at the beginning.

Here is the route for congregational repentance. As much responsibility is on the pastor as is on the congregation. If we receive the kind, loving warning alert—yellow “danger” lights flashing, siren sounding, mega-phone blasting—from the Lord, it is time to repent. Turn around, get rid of the sin and false doctrine and those who spread it, weep, and pray, or else— He will remove our candlestick out of its place, spew us out of His mouth, fight against us with the sword, cast us into great tribulation, and come upon us like a thief.

—Angela Gellenbeck




Recently while traveling on the road, we passed a billboard that stated, “Does your pastor preach the truth?” It was a thought provoking sentiment. It probably should have been followed with a billboard stating, “Does your congregation believe and practice the truth?” How comfortable would you be if Jesus came visiting your congregation to decide if it should go forward or be dissolved?

This Bible lesson is a very sober one. The churches mentioned in Revelations were being pinpointed and judged on some very unsavory and uncomfortable subjects. Thankfully, the Lord gave space for repentance for those congregations and their pastors. There is a responsibility that lies within each one of us. This does not happen in mundane repetitions but with a passionate heart. Here are a few questions that might be asked of individuals/ congregations of today:

Do you love the Word of God? Do you have an understanding of the doctrines of the church of God? Do you practice any personal convictions?

How are your daily devotions? Do you have a sincere desire to read the Word of God and search the scriptures or do you read/pray just so you won’t feel guilty?

Do you attend services regularly? Are you happy to give of your financial means to the work of the Lord?

How is your passion level for the unsaved? Are you interested in reaching out to those who are lost or are their names just a passing phrase in a repeated prayer?

What kind of environment does your congregation have? Is it warm and inviting? Or is it toxic?

How about your relationship with those of the household of faith? Is everything clear between you and your brother?

These questions may make us squirm a bit, not unlike the churches in this lesson. But thankfully, the Lord gives space for us to repent so that we may all stand faultless before his throne. When the Lord comes knocking on your door, be willing to open to Him gladly. He

wants to sup with us; to have a close and personal relationship with each one of us. The Lord desires that we all go to heaven.

—LaDawna Adams