As we read through Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Timothy, we see that these churches were spiritually healthy as Paul last ministered in this region. But by the time Revelation was written, approximately thirty years later, five of these same churches had suffered serious spiritual decline. Ephesus had left its first love, and most of the rest had been infiltrated by false doctrine and sin. Only two of the seven that Jesus addresses are not condemned by Him in some fashion, Smyrna and Philadelphia, yet today none of the seven currently exist. So, what are we to make of this?
The Lord had called the prophet Amos to speak to the people so that they would come to their senses and repent, yet he seems not to have made very much of an impression on them, because most of them had failed to mend their ways. Israel was continuing to live under the delusion that because God had chosen and loved them, he would protect them to the end of their days—regardless of their behavior. God’s imminent judgment on Israel would not be a mere punitive blow to warn, but an almost total destruction. Following the conquest of the northern kingdom by the Assyrians in 721 BC the ten tribes were scattered throughout the Assyrians empire. Should America read Amos closely and turn from their national sin?
Remember how your fathers, in times gone by, defended God’s truth, and blush, ye cowards, who are afraid to maintain it! Remember that our Bible is a blood-stained book; the blood of martyrs is on the Bible, the blood of translators and confessors. The pool of holy baptism, in which many of you have been baptized, is a blood-stained pool: full many have had to die for the vindication of that baptism which is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” Charles Spurgeon