The Seven Churches of Revelation (Revelation 2-3)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project
Messages to the churches

The messages to the seven churches emphasize the importance of works in the Christian life, and thus indirectly contribute to a proper understanding of work in general. The messages to several churches begin, “I know your works . . .” Ephesus is rebuked for not doing the works they did at first (Rev. 2:5), and Sardis likewise has not completed the work it ought to have done for Jesus (Rev. 3:2).

It bears repeating that “works” are not a bad thing in the Bible. They are rather the concrete expression of our love for God. The myth that God only cares about our heart and our feelings is a major reason work in general has been given short shrift in some Protestant circles.

There is evidence that the notorious worldliness of the Laodicean church was evident in its outlook on work and economics. When Jesus counsels these believers to buy from him gold refined in the fire, white garments to hide their nakedness, and salve to heal their eyes, he is likely playing off three of the major industries in Laodicea: banking, wool, and ophthalmology. It seems likely that the Laodiceans assumed that the resources available to them from their culture were all they needed in life. Churches, especially in prosperous countries, must recognize that material abundance can often mask spiritual poverty. Success in our work should never lead us to a sense of self-sufficiency.

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