God Wins: The Message of the Book of Revelation – Introduction: Cultural Seduction

By:  Ray Jewell

The letters to the seven churches. (Revelation 2 & 3)

The churches in Sardis and Laodecia – Marked by a growing complacency with an abandonment of earlier faith and zeal. The communities did not bother to respond.

The church in Ephesus – Doctrinal and moral purity but a forsaking of their first love (God and other disciples).

The churches at Thyatira and Pergamum – Accepted false teachings and practiced immorality and idolatry. The trade guilds were very powerful in these communities with their immorality and idolatry.

The churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia – Did not compromise which led to attempts to destroy them.

Other passages showing the temptation to “go with the flow” of culture.

Rev. 14:4-5; 16:15; 18:4; 21:5; 22:11, 14-15.

Christians do not succumb to cultural pressures. The 1st century church was not acceptable to Rome in three ways:

Politically: they were viewed as a danger to the unity of the Empire by refusing to worship the Emperor as a god.

Religiously: they repudiated the legitimacy of other religions.

Socially: they rejected the pagan way of life.

Discussion Question

“Is one of the greatest threats to the integrity and witness of the church the “Americanization” of disciples of Jesus? Do Christ’s enemies find the American church enough of a threat to bother opposing?” (Lowery, Revelation’s Rhapsody, p. 65)

Until next time,


Ray Jewell is the co-host of the Basic Bible Podcast and has served Christ as a pastor, college professor, school teacher, author, talk radio host, and through various other roles.

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