The Next All-Church Study Starts January 5, 2020
7 Letters To Seven Churchs
The gospel (the good news) is never for individuals but always for people. Sin fragments us, separates us, and sentences us to solitary confinement. Gospel restores us, unites us, and sets us in community. The life of faith revealed and nurtured in the Biblical narratives is highly personal but never merely individual: always there is a family, a tribe, a nation—church. So it comes as no surprise that St. John’s vision is not a private ecstasy … but is to the “seven churches that are in Asia.” All revelation is. The gospel pulls us into community. One of the immediate changes that the gospel makes is grammatical: we instead of I; our instead of my; us instead of me. Sin, both our own and that of others, drives us into customized selfishness. Separation from God becomes separation from neighbor. Every tendency to privatism and individualism distorts and falsifies the Gospel. Love cannot exist in isolation: away from others, love bloats into pride. Grace cannot be received privately: cut off from others it is perverted into greed. Hope cannot develop in solitude: separated from the community it goes to see in the form of fantasies. No gift, no virtue can develop and remain healthy apart from the community of faith. It is observed and noted that both Paul and John wrote letters to seven churches. Seven churches summarize all churches. They are located in specific places and exist under different conditions of geography, politics, economics. At the same time, each church gets its identity from Christ and what he does. It appears that every church has faults, weaknesses that need to be addressed in Paul’s writings and John’s writings. One phrase is repeated without variation in the messages to the seven churches: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” No matter what, Jesus is speaking to a particular church, he is saying to all churches that: 1) He speaks. 2) We listen. In these seven letters to the seven churches there is an obvious and distinctive identification of Christ, the call to listen, and then there is an individualized message. Each message is a bit different in content but has a common outline that serves a common purpose: to provide spiritual direction to a people who are called to live by faith in Christ, “in but not of the world.” Spiritual Direction (as we will see in these letters) typically follows this order: 1. Accurate affirmation. Depending on the geography, culture, economics, and political situations the affirmation is dead on for those particular people. Jesus is celebrating the glorious and unique community, the church, in these Asian cities. Yet, these letters were to be passed from one church to another, so they were every church, in every area and every era. 2. Correction. The church, filled with people of various backgrounds and set of beliefs, can also be a breeding ground for sin. People are sinful and so sin can creep into a church, any church, if not identified and attended to. 3. Promise. The motivating promise of eternal life, life with God now and In the future, is the promise. In the 7 letters it is presented with different images; tree of life, crown of life, white stone, morning star, white garments, a pillar in the temple, and eating/ruling with Christ. —notes adapted from Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder
This January we’ll begin our all-new, church-wide study entitled Seven Letters To The Churches. Mark your calendars, make sure to join a group and be ready to dive in for the study of a lifetime!
If Jesus were going to write a letter to the church, what do you think He would say? What would it sound like? Over 2000 years ago Jesus did write a letter to the church. 7 of them. His words were affirming and pointed. Most importantly. They still carry the same weight today they did then. I want to personally invite you to join us for our church-wide study “7 Letters” kicking off January 5. This series will be a 7-week church-wide study as we study a letter per week. I want to thank you for personally digging in and joining us in this life-changing study.
About Highland Park
We are a Church Of God that has been serving Casper for over 60 years. We began in a house, built our first building on Washington St, then moved to 12th and Missouri, then to Walsh Dr and finally built our current building in 2011. From the very beginning, we have been Taking Risks To Pursue God and Love Like Jesus.
5725 Highland Dr.
Casper, WY 82609