Photo (Chris D.) Life among the ruins
We were based for three days, in Selchuk, a small town that is within walking distance of Ephesus. Our guide would pick us up each morning and drive us to two or three of the 7 churches each day. The cost of the tour was not inexpensive, the daily travel: exhausting, many of the ruins: less than impressive but the lasting impact on our lives: priceless. So much so that we returned to Turkey a year later and continue to live in this amazing country for six months of each year, delighting in showing and sharing the riches of this land where the early church grew up.
The actual churches John wrote to nearly 1900 years ago have long gone. He wrote to congregations of people, believers in Jesus Christ, who lived in these 7 cities of the same name. Today, those seven cities have all been identified, although some have different names, and all can be visited. All contain ruins of church buildings from as early as the 5th century, which of course represent the ongoing presence of Christian congregations in each of those towns right up until the arrival of Islam with the invasion of the Arabs in the 8th century and the later Selchuk Turks in the 11th century. The ruins of these churches stand as a tragic symbol of defeat, disaster and judgment.
The bottom line of our study is this: Why did these churches fail to survive the test of time and what can we personally and corporately learn from their stories?
As we start to dig deep into the mysteries of the messages of Jesus to the angels of the 7 churches, read with me Revelation 1-3 in the week ahead. Meditate on each of the 7 messages and ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight, then let’s compare notes!