As we study the book of Revelation in Sunday School and in Bible Bowl class, we try to look closely at the text to make sure we understand what it says before we jump to the question of what it means. One thing that encouraged me this week was noticing a phrase that is repeated in the letters to each of the seven churches of Asia: “To him who overcomes…”
The overcomers in Ephesus, the loveless church, were promised to “eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (2:7).
The overcomers in Smyrna, the persecuted church, were told that they wouldn’t be hurt by the second death (2:11).
The overcomers in Pergamos, the compromising church, were told they would be given hidden manna to eat, a white stone, and a brand new name (2:17).
The overcomers in Thyatira, the corrupt church, were promised power over the nations (2:26).
The overcomers in Sardis, the dead church, would be given white garments and a name that wouldn’t be blotted out of the Father’s book of life (3:5).
The overcomers in Philadelphia, the faithful church, would receive a pillar in the temple of God and be given the New Name (3:12).
And finally, the overcomers in Laodicea, the lukewarm church, were promised that they would sit with Jesus on the throne (3:21).
Notice two things: first, the beauty of the promises to those who are faithful even in the face of death. Second, notice that Jesus fully expected that in every church and in any situation—even in the dead and loveless churches, we could overcome. I find great comfort in these words and hope that you will too. Let’s be overcomers together!