Years ago two companies were contracted separately to construct a bridge that would connect a highly populated vacation area to the main land mass. It would be the primary passage to, and off, the island. Cars would be able to move freely from their choice of multiple lanes in either direction. The project would cost millions of dollars and several months to complete. The new connecting bridge progressed with record speed, with one company and its engineers building from the east and the other and its engineers from the west. Their goal was to meet in the middle, connect the bridge, and open in record time. All of this sounded great and, theoretically, a wonderfully expedited concept.
However when they reached the middle, the two halves were so far apart the entire project had to be demolished and rebuilt.
There never seems to be enough time to do things right, but there’s always enough time to do them over. The problem is, not every build comes with a set of do-overs. Once time has expired, the game is over.
Jesus mentions in Revelation 1:8 that he is the beginning and the end. He calls himself the Alpha and Omega. He tells us in this verse that he is the one who was, who is, and who is still to come. Revelation is the last recorded messages from the Lord himself, and he speaks these words to the Apostle John for him to record to seven churches and to the future of mankind. He specifically chooses these churches to send letters to. Letters we can glean and learn from as we cultivate and walk out our own salvation. He writes concerning preparedness, sin, the consequences of our sins, a warning to turn back to him, and the promise attached to those conditions.
The seven churches were located on what was known as the Roman Road. Today, in the book of Romans, Paul lays out a path of salvation from chapters 3, 5, 6, and 10. In the 10th chapter, he walks each reader through the intricacies of a simple prayer of repentance known as the Roman Road to Salvation. What we can learn from a series of letters written to churches strategically chosen by God 2,000 years ago about things that are to happen by a wrinkled old man cast away on an island is mind boggling and honestly revealing.
John begins by describing his deep time in prayer and worship when Jesus appears behind him and begins speaking. His presence and appearance were frightening, and John’s reaction was to fall on his face before the Lord as if he were dead. He reassured John not to be afraid and confirmed his sovereignty and deity to him at that time. He simply told him to write what he saw. Record it, and send it to seven specific churches. Then, he began to speak and show him visions as John dictated. His first letter was to the church in Ephesus.
As we parallel these churches with our own spiritual journey, let’s take a trip down that old Roman Road and see if we can find instruction from thousands of years ago that not only apply to us today but are very specific to our very lives and the lives of our families and friends.
Please remember that Jesus wrote those letters to the churches, not to the cities. It is the responsibility of the believer to set the atmosphere of faith and devotion to follow God for the world to see and follow. We cannot allow the outside to infect and alter the message of Christ. Each of the seven churches that Jesus wrote letters to have a distinct parallel to our current lives. Their location and social and economic status as well as exterior influence from their surroundings echo the Christians’ walk, which, in turn, influences the churches of today. Jesus mentions to John in verse 3 of chapter 1 that the “time is near.” He calls the person who reads his prophesy “blessed.” He then elevates the level of depth by charging the reader to also, hear and obey. I’ve said it before, so I will reiterate it here, God didn’t place words in various chapters just so he could sell a thicker Bible. Every word and message has deep meaning, and, in verse 3, his message is clear when he calls for us to read, hear, and obey the words that he dictated to John because time is running out with every tick of the clock.
There never seems to be enough time to do it right, but there always seems to be enough time to do it over, but, concerning your salvation, this rule doesn’t apply. You have one life to make a choice where you will spend eternity. There will be no do-overs. Listen to the words of Jesus. The one who was, who is, and is still yet to come - time is running low. Read, hear, and obey his message. Run to him now and bring as many with you as you can. Three things in this life are certain for every person. One of the three cannot be avoided. In this life we will either die a natural death, we will be part of the rapture of the church, or we will experience tribulation where Jesus says unless those days be shortened, no person will survive.
I challenge you to make that decision to follow Him now. Don’t put it off, and don’t think you will have a do-over after this life is complete, because the book of Hebrews chapter 9 makes it very clear that you won’t. Join me in the next few weeks as we discuss these letters. You can do that by reading these articles, joining us online, by television, or in person, on the square, in Sparta at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., every Sunday. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.