Ephesians 1:22

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,

Although a church can be named geographically in the Bible such as Macedonian churches and Galatian churches, churches are never named after a person such as Paul's church or Peter's church, or by denominations. We do see churches today named after apostles, great Christians and various denominations, but we should understand that the essence of a church is the God the church worships and serves and the preaching of the gospel and the nurthuring of Christ disciples (1 Corrinthians 1:12-13). Churches do not necessarily associate with a magnificient and well-constructed building. It is the people that matters. As a mtter of fact, some churches simply meet at a house (Romans 16:5).

Churches are a community of people saved and united in Christ Jesus and born again by the Holy Spirit. The members of churches are like different members of the same body, and Jesus is the head of the body. Obviously, all the members have the same faith based on the teachings of Christ. Churches should all be identified and belong to God and Christ who is appointed by God as the head of the church (Ephesians 4:4-6;Romans12:4-5;Romans 16:16;1 Corinthians 1:2). Members of churches serve God together in unity with different gifts and functions for the glory of God and attain Christ's maturity as a goal and process (Ephesians 4:12).

1 Corrinthians 1:12-13

12 What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cepha"; still another, "I follow Christ." 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?

Romans 16:5

Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.

Ephesians 4:4-6

4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Romans 12:4-5

4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Romans 16:16

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.

1 Corinthians 1:2

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

Ephesians 4:12

12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

What does God expects from churches? We all understand that the church should be a community to worship God. One essential attribute of a church should be the existence of brotherly love (John 13:35). It should also be a place of purity and prayer of all nations and collectively carry out Jesus' command to further the gospel to the whole world (Mark 11:17; Matthew 28:19; John13:35). This implies that the church will withness and stand firm on the principles based on the words of God as salt and light in the corrupted and dark world (Matthew 5:13-14).

John 13:35

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Mark 11:17

And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: " 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations' ? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.' "

Matthew 28:19

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 5:13-14

13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Mark 11:17 And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: " 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations' ? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.' " Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 5:13-14 13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

1. The Church in Ephesus was praised by Jesus of perservence in labor in the name of Jesus. Moreover, the church was sound in doctrines based on the words of God and was able to discern false teachings and apostles. Incidentally, we should note that we are not saved by good works (2 Timothy 1:9). But, the natural consequence of redeemed people is the manesfestation of redeemed life with good works (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 6:13). But, one problem that Jesus pointed out was the loss of first love of Jesus. There labor was no longer motivated by love, but rather driven by legalism.

Revelation 2:2-4

2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

2 Timothy 1:9

who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Romans 6:13

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

2. To the church of Smyrna, Jesus reminded them the truth that He is the Lord of resurrection and the almighty God who is the alpha and the omega because the church was under persecution in all fronts. They might have been excommunicated in the community such that they could not engage in ordinary business and employment. Their characters were assasinated and were put in prison in the wicked legal system. The church was deprived, shamed and poor in the world but was apraised as rich by Jesus (Revelation 2:9) and the Lord encouraged the church to stand firm as withness even to the point of death (Revelation 2:10). This should be a reminder of all churches that how much they should be more faithful and zealous in serving the Lord and be a witness to the world When they live in a free and affluent condition.

Revelation 2:9-10

9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

3. The church of Pergamum was situated in a difficult location filled with idol worshipping people and temples. Yet, the church was appraised by Jesus as faithful witness. Unfortunately, some church members began to lean towards false doctrines: doctrine of Balaam and doctrine of the Nicolaitans contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Jesus warned them to repent from these cultic teachings. Therefore churches should stand firm against and be purified from false doctrines and be a bright and guiding light for all people to accept sound doctrines based on the teachings of the words of God the Bible.

Revelation 2:13

I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

4. From the comments of Jesus on the church in Thyatira, we learn again that good deeds and service with love and faith are very much pleasing to God i.e. doing God's will. The tolerance of false prophets and false teachings that mislead people away from the truth and into immoralities is a serious mistake (Revelation 2:19-20). Not following false and immoral teachings but holding fast to the principles based on the scriptures should be the basic attitudte and determination of all Christians.

Revelation 2:19-20

19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

5. As the head of the church, Jesus warned against professing religious persons inside the church. The church in Sardis was a church consisted of many members with deeds incompatible to the faith (Revelation 3:4). These church members were rebuked to repent and be obedient to Christ's teachings otherwise GOd's righteous judgement could come in an unexpected manner (Revelation 3:3). This warning to the church makes clear the fact that it is not a membership in a church an evidence of salvation into the kingdom of God, but rather a genuine faith in Jesus Christ which is always evidenced by bearing of good fruits to the glory of God. The professing church members are members who grow out of Satan's seeds, and the genuine church members grow out of the good seeds which are the words of God. The separation of the good and evil will not be performed until God's judgement day (Matthew 13:25, 29-30). Therefore we should not be too surprised to hear news of immoralities and even crimes in churches, and we should not be discouraged either. This is not something new for sins and unrepentant sinners are all around us even under the facade of religious buildings and organizations.

Revelation 3:4

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

Revelation 3:3

Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Matthew 13:25, 29-30

25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 29 " 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

6. The church in Philadelphia was appraised by Jesus as a faithful church witnessing to the world. The church did not have great strength in terms of money, and political power and was oppressed by unbelieving community, yet faithfully obeying the words of God in the name of Jesus Christ (Revelation 3:8). This should be an example of all churches in the world. Sadly, we see some churches abandon the teachings of the scriptures and become diplomatic and bend to the influence of various political interest groups and organizations.

Revelation 3:8

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

7. The church in Laodicia was a model of churches which have lukeworm relationship with God. They may still manifest themselves as churches in rituals and ceremonies inside well-constructed buildings, but they are all facade with little or no real substance that God values. Basically, people in these churches have mindset of people in the world. They are proud of the possession of worldly power and wealth (Revelation 3:17) rather than the power of God. Perhaps they have not received the gospel themselves let alone possess the spiritual power required to be witnesses to God and to serve as the light in this dark world. Jesus, the head of the church rebukes of this deceptive conditions and advised them to repent. They should change direction and run toward Christ to receive the gospel of salvation and His power (Relelation 3:18).

Revelation 3:17

You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Revelation 3:18

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.