When the media scrutinizes the Christian Church, there seems to be a critical attitude of finding fault with Christians in general and with church leaders/pastors in particular. Scandals, conflicts, and conspiracies are often sensationalized. Occasionally, commendable programs or activities are mentioned, such as the CrossWalk services. During the Easter week earlier this year, the North Shore News reported on the collaboration of four West Vancouver churches on the front page!

Whether Canadians and the media think favorably of the Church, a more relevant question is what congregants think of their local church. Do we feel the local church is doing well and fulfilling the stated mission? What concerns do we have about the state of the church in society? What is the future of the Canadian Baptists in Canada? Again, these questions are legitimate and helpful. But I wonder if there is a more pertinent question that needs to be considered?

Over the next seven weeks, we shall read and learn from the seven letters the apostle John sent to the churches in Asia Minor as recorded. The letters to the seven churches focus on the vital question: “What does Jesus Christ think of the Church?” Beyond public opinion, media scrutiny and congregational assessment, I am persuaded that what Jesus thinks of the church is more important than what people think.

The letters from Jesus in Revelation 2 and 3 convey vital and compelling messages for each church. Jesus knows the condition of each congregation but he also discloses some critical concerns. Jesus calls the local church to account and he expects the believers to listen carefully to his message. If the congregation responds in repentance, obedience, and perseverance, then the local church will survive and thrive. If not, then the threat of judgment and punishment is inevitable.

What does Jesus think of our church today? What message do we hear the Spirit of Christ communicating? How should we respond? Why should we care about what Jesus is saying to the seven churches in Revelation? I believe what Jesus thinks of his church is absolutely crucial to our future wellbeing. By a series of commendations and censures, warnings and reminders, Jesus Christ reveals what he wants his church to be like in all places and at all times. So let us pay careful attention to the letters from Jesus.