“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.”
Revelation 2:7 NLT
In His message through John, Jesus reminded us that the Holy Spirit speaks to us, and we must listen. And not just hear what He says, but “understand“. Now this can be difficult for some, because many denominations minimise or even deny the active and necessary work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians everywhere. And to add to this we are not generally good at hearing that “still small voice” whispering in our souls. We would much prefer the Holy Spirit to audibly message our natural ears. Or, even better, write down what He wants us to receive. But if the Holy Spirit is talking to us, what does that look like, to us pilgrims in 21st Century planet earth? Once again, we can turn to the Bible, God’s Word, for inspiration and explanation. In John 14:26, Jesus stated clearly what the role of the Holy Spirit would be, “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you“. Though directed at His disciples, the Holy Spirit’s work has continued through the centuries, right up to the current day. In these verses, Jesus informed His disciples that “He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything”. “Everything” seems pretty comprehensive, I think. So, the Holy Spirit speaks to us, and our spiritual ears must discern His voice, from God’s Word, from the dreams and visions of Joel 2:28, from prophetic pictures and messages given to us or through another, perhaps through our consciences, and even directly from the pulpit or other Christians.
But what is the Holy Spirit saying to the churches? We obviously have the message to the Ephesian church, and the messages to come for the other six churches mentioned in Revelations. These messages are generally relevant to Christians and churches today, I’m sure. But what about anything specific? What is the Holy Spirit saying to the church that I attend? Speaking of which, my church is part of the Elim Movement, a movement that has been established on twelve foundational truths, covering topics such as the Bible, the Trinity, Salvation, the Holy Spirit, the Church, and so on. All Bible-based principles that are non-negotiable. One Holy Spirit message to us will ask if we are being faithful to these God-given principles. The authority of the Bible is paramount and is over-arching in all we believe and do; we stray away at our peril.
Another consideration is that we mustn’t go through a box-ticking exercise, legalistically interpreting and implementing Biblical truths. If asked, I’m sure the Ephesian church would have said they both loved God and each other, but Jesus reminded them that, somehow, this was much less than when they first came to know Him. We have a responsibility, as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:1, to “stay true to the Lord“.
Dear Lord, we are so sorry for the times when we have “erred and strayed like lost sheep” and neglected You and Your Words. We’re so grateful that You have sent the Holy Spirit to be with us, 24/7, helping us through our life-pilgrimage. Please help us to be sensitive to Your voice, each and every day. Amen.