Walking among the seven golden lamp stands and speaking with the voice of the glorified and resurrected King of Kings, the Lord Jesus dictated seven poignant letters. All are to be read. All contain insight to the response of God's people to His message. Two letters contain praise and commendation. Two give grave warnings. Three are mixed.
Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) is faithful in the middle of terrible persecution and is promised a "crown of life" for their steadfast testimony. Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13), because of its attention to the Word has an "open door" from the Lord and will see even their enemies acknowledge their success through Christ. They are serving in the Kingdom with favor and with promise for victory.
Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7), although doctrinally sound, has a love that has grown cold and are in danger of losing the "lamp stand" -- the very church relationship that keeps them tied to service in the Kingdom. Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) is oblivious to their danger of expulsion. They are neither "cold nor hot" (neutral) and assume that being successful and well thought of by the world is the goal of the church.
The "Polar Opposites" reflect the reaction among today's evangelicals to the foundational issues of Biblical creationism and the pervasive impact of the approach to inerrancy. Some, like Smyrna are standing firm in spite of denominational disdain, social ostracism, or limited resources. Larger "Philadelphian" churches are boldly ministering within their spheres of influence, heedless of the pressure to yield to the majority. May their fruit increase!
Sadly, many are similar to Ephesus and Laodicea. Some like Ephesus are so concerned over technical nuances in doctrine that they have lost their love for the Word, the Lost, and the Kingdom. More, however, are caught up in the "neutrality" of "acceptance" like Laodicea, and are more concerned with "the praise of men" (John 12:43) than "sound doctrine" (II Timothy 4:3).
Help us, please. ICR is on the front lines of this critical battle for truth.