During Jesus’s earthly ministry, he spoke about the church only twice (Matt 16:18, 18:17). In Matthew 16, we have Jesus’s promise that the church is His and He will build it. In Matthew 18, we learn that the church has the means to address conflict. Jesus certainly expresses ideas that have been incorporated into the ministry of the church such as baptism, communion, evangelism, discipleship, giving, caring for the marginalized; however, these are generally responsibilities of disciples. Outside of Matthew, the only other place where Jesus addresses the church is in the final book. To the angels of the seven churches in Asia Minor, Jesus wrote individual letters commending some, admonishing most, and warning about the future if they do not listen to the Holy Spirit. In Rev 2 and 3, we can discern the following distinctives of a healthy church:

  • Obeys the Holy Spirit (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22)
  • Confronts false teaching (Rev 2:2)
  • Proclaims God’s glory (Rev 2:4-5)
  • Stands up for the marginalized (Rev 2:6)
  • Stands firm in the faith (Rev 2:13)
  • Goes beyond the work of love, faith, service, endurance (Rev 2:19)
  • Endures hardship (Rev 3:11)
  • Keeps sound doctrine (Rev 3:3, 8, 10)