John was shepherd over the seven churches in Asia, and by revelation Jesus appeared to him and showed him the hidden sins in the people. John addressed these beloved ones as children of God, “loved . . . and washed . . . from . . . sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5). They were “kings and priests unto God” (verse 6). But on a particular Lord’s day, the Spirit of God came upon John and he heard God’s Word sounding as a trumpet: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” (verse 10). Jesus appeared to him and “out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword” (verse 16).
To a beloved, blood-washed Church, a sharp knife appeared! And in spite of their goodness, hard work or love, God found them wanting.
In Revelation 2, John described a wonderful congregation at Ephesus. They were patient and hardworking; they hated evil works but they were growing cold. They had lost their white-hot love for Jesus and had fallen into lethargy. Jesus cried, “Repent! Come back quickly or I will remove your candlestick [You will not be anointed]” (verse 5). At Pergamos, a congregation was “holding fast to His name, not denying the faith, some willing to die” (see verse 13). But one thing was terribly wrong: false teaching was creeping in and doctrines of devils were taking hold. Jesus said, “Repent or I will fight against you with the sword of My mouth.”
A Jezebel spirit had infiltrated the congregation at Thyatira, even though the people there were charitable servants, full of faith, patience and good works. To that church, Jesus said, “I will cast . . . them . . . into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (verse 22).
The congregation at Sardis had a reputation for being a church alive. But Jesus said, “Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Revelation 3:1). They did not have much spirituality left because their hearts were not perfect toward the Lord. Yet, like so many churches today, they saw themselves as being full of life. Only those who walked in the Spirit knew that, in reality, they were dead.
Jesus came forth with a sharp knife and placed all those under His cutting Word. This is true love!