When we consider the "Spirit of Elijah" we remember those who were the preachers of righteousness, those who were a voice in the wilderness calling for the servants of God to repent. The Master was also a preacher. He taught the gospel of the Kingdom of God for three years before he was first sacrificed, and then resurrected from the dead.
In addition to the work of his ministry, there is another account of his preaching that is not often mentioned. Well after his ascension to the right hand of the Father, Jesus continued to motivate and inspire his followers. The Apostle John was one of those followers, who received very specific letters of instruction from Christ to the seven Ecclesias in Asia, as recorded in the book of Revelation.
We often think of a preaching effort, especially a call to repentance, as one that is directed to the nations. This however, is not the case in many of the Biblical accounts of preaching efforts. So also, the preaching of Christ to the Ecclesias in Asia, was an effort directed not to the world at large, but rather to those who professed to be the servants of God – to those who were the elders and the members of the Ecclesias of God.
Without need to discuss all of the detail of this letter, we see that the primary purpose for the letter was a call to repentance. This call was given not only to those who were members of the Ecclesia at Ephesus, but also to all those who might hear these words. We read: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (v. 7).
It is interesting to note that in the opening message of the Book of Revelation, we are told "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand" (Revelation 1:3). We are invited to read and to listen, and to learn from these messages to the Ecclesias. We are also encouraged to overcome the worldly ways that are natural to us, and repent.
To Smyrna: "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" (Revelation 2:9).
To Pergamos: "Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Revelation 2:16-17).
To Thyatira: "Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds" (Revelation 2:22).
To Sardis: "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee" (Revelation 3:2-3).
To Philadelphia: "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Revelation 3:11).
To the Laodiceans: This final letter is well worth our review. It was written to the last Ecclesia in Asia. They may have been listed last because their characteristics are typical of the servants of God in a greatly deteriorated condition. Many feel that the Laodiceans were a fitting type of the conditions that would be in the earth during the last days, just prior to the return of Christ. We read:
Consider the characteristics of this Ecclesia. Would we want to be described with these words? Are we rich in many of the blessings of this life, but at the same time "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" in the eyes of Christ? (v. 17)
Do we need to repent? Jesus himself prophesied concerning these final days: "Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:7-8)
What did Jesus mean? Perhaps we do well to listen to what the Spirit said to the Ecclesias in Asia. "He that hath an ear, let him hear" (Revelation 3:22). We may want to examine carefully our own lives is light of the Word of God. We have space now to repent, if we need to. We have time now, to overcome as Jesus himself overcame and is now set down at the right hand of God. We all hope to be responsive to the Master's request: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Revelation 3:21).