Christ Speaks to Seven Churches in Asia Minor


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Letter is addressed to the church through its pastor. The word "angel" means "messenger." The word doesn't mean an angel as heavenly being, but it simply identifies one as the "messenger. It is important to note that the pastors derive their message from Christ. A church is ruled by Christ who is its Head and He brought it with His own blood. (Eph. 5:23, 25) The church that follows Christ will have no problem honoring and following God's messengers who faithfully preach the Word of God and follow the Lord.
Addressing the message to the pastor is putting him in the proper perspective as the overseer of the church. God reveals the ministry of a pastor in 1 Peter 5:1-3. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:2-3) A pastor does not rule a church, but follows God’s word in leading the congregation in worshipping and serving the Lord. The elder, bishop, pastor are various names the New Testament gives to the overseer that God sends to a local church to set the example and lead it. The New Testament is clear in that God instituted congregation rule as the biblical polity in a church.
Many preachers amass great power and glory unto themselves and the people allow it. But it is wrong for a church to esteem its messenger to the point he over shadows Christ and the Word of God. It is also just as wrong to show little esteem and respect for a pastor or recognize him as God's messenger. (See 1 Tim. 5:17)
The pastor is to be the leader or overseer of the church as New Testament clearly states. He is not to be a lackey of the congregation, nor should he lord over the flock. (1 Tim. 1:18-19; 4:16,12; 5:20:22; 6:3-5,17; 2 Tim. 1:8, 13; 2:2-3, 14; 3:5; 4:1-5; 1 Peter 5:7) Many churches and pastors allow a group of elders, deacons, trustees or committees to rule over a church. Many churches and denominations are ruled be an outside hierarchy of rules who exercise authority over a church. Nowhere in scripture is this found and in fact God expressly denounces this as He did in Ephesus commending the Nicolaitans. The point can be made here that God did not speak to any individual or group in the churches, but spoke directly to the pastor whom he had appointed as their leader. Ideally the congregation is made up of born again believers who are in fellowship with the Lord and are spiritually mature. Being spiritually sensitive to the Holy Spirit they properly cooperate with the overseers of the church and jointly they do God’s will. The precedent is firmly established that God spoke to the church through their pastor that He through the Holy Spirit had set over the congregation.(Acts 20:28) A church that ignores this principle of Scripture is outside of God's will.
God is not pleased nor will bless those who do not listen and follow His messengers. Throughout the history of Israel their rebellion against God was directed toward God's messenger. (See Acts 7:52, Heb. 11:35-40) Often those whom God had not called tried to elevate themselves into that position. Miriam and Aaron rebelled against Moses' leadership falsely concluded that they were better qualified to lead Israel. However in spite of Moses' shortcoming God's choice was Moses. (Numbers 12:1-16) God struck them down for their arrogance and disobedience. Korah also rebelled against Moses saying, "Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?" (Num. 16:3) He argued that all the congregation of Israel did not need Moses and without God's approval he proceeded to take the leadership of Israel upon himself. God severely punished Korah for his error and destroyed him, his family and those that followed him and 14,700 people died. (Num. 16:1-50)
Leadership over the local church is set by God in the man that He calls. The pastor is to lead, guide and set the example. (1 Tim 4:12) God's pastor should be warned not to abuse or to take his responsibility lightly. A church, as well should, not allow itself to usurp the pastors' role as God's under shepherd, nor should the pastor allow his God appointed position to be degraded by the church. (Heb. 12:17)

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