The letter to the Church in Sardis covers the period of the Reformation. The Church was addressed as “dead.” Yet there were things remaining which were not dead, but “ready to die.” The address is largely to that living remnant. The charge to be watchful was not spoken to death, but to life. Christ’s message to the period was a call to establish the things that remained.
The letter to the Church at Philadelphia covers the great period of evangelization which, ushered in by the Puritan movement, broke into its full power in the Evangelical Revival. In this time the Church is seen following her Lord as never before and cooperating with Him in His purposes.
The letter to the Church at Laodicea describes the final period prior to the advent of the Lord. It is, indeed, a dark and terrible picture. The Church is seen in a lukewarm condition. It is, however, the Church of the excluded Christ. Nevertheless, though excluded, He waits, knocking at the door and seeking admission.
In these seven letters there are two statements of our Lord’s common to every one: “I know,” and “I will.” Thus He is seen presiding over the affairs of the Church with perfect understanding of conditions obtaining in the churches, and declaring His authority as He condemns or commends. He walks in the midst of the lampstands, holding in His hands the stars, and reveals both His knowledge and His authority in every message.