We can learn a lot from what happened to the church at Ephesus + Weekly news
CHRIST’S WARNING TO OUR CHURCHES
As we find ourselves in the last of the last days, more and more people are becoming interested in Bible prophecy. They want to know what’s coming, but I think they should first focus on what the prophetic book of Revelation says about things as they are today. This is the subject of Chapters two and three. Christ’s messages to the seven churches speak to us, but are we listening? His words speak of the sobering reality of Christ coming to judge our churches and possibly removing our lampstand, meaning that He will no longer recognize us as one of His churches.
Sadly, few churches are able to recognize their own problems. They have become so set in their ways that they assume that Christ is pleased with their efforts. To see what Christ is looking for, all they really have to do is examine how well they are carrying out the Great Commission, corporately and individually. Making disciples (out of love for Christ) is why we’re here, but most churches are so focused on their programs, rituals, and traditions that all their religious activities leave no room for real evangelism and discipleship. Most members have never led anyone to Christ and have no intention of changing course.
The Church at Ephesus
Consider the church at Ephesus. It had a lot worthy of commendation. It was a hardworking and patient church that sought holiness and wouldn’t tolerate evil men and false teachers. Yet, they had left their first love. They had focused so much on secondary things that they had walked away from pure and devoted love for Christ and His Church. Christ’s love for them had never diminished. He had remained completely faithful to them, pouring out grace and mercy on them. Yet, they were blind to the fact that they had allowed themselves to walk away from His love instead of embracing it. So, how did that likely happen?
Newlyweds start out doing things for each other purely out of love. They just want to do things to please the other. They want to show their affection and devotion in tangible ways. But over time, they become occupied with the details of life. They may still do the same things, but their motivation has changed, and they have become routine. Eventually, they stop doing some of the things that brought the other so much joy. The things they do are now done with a sense of duty—obligations that are expected.
The Church at Ephesus was warned to do the deeds they used to do, or Christ would come and remove its lampstand. The good things credited to them weren’t enough to offset what they lacked, which was the most important. The warning to return to their “first works” was not a call to what we would call Christian service. It was a call to repent and return to their genuine affection to Christ. They were told to return to a loving desire to please Him, not become engaged in endless religious activities, checking off the boxes so they would feel good about what they Had done for Him. With the correct motivation, they would regularly find themselves doing things they never thought possible.
If they didn’t repent and return, Christ would visit them in judgment as He did at Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18). Sadly, the church wouldn’t even know He had come, but He would no longer recognize this church as His. It only took 30 years for the church at Ephesus, which had such a glorious beginning, to fall out of favor with Christ. Today all that exists is a ruined archway, a Muslim dwelling, and a forbidding castle surrounded by desolate hills.
Most churches today never began like the church at Ephesus. They have always been as they are now, so they have nothing to return to. They resemble the Church at Laodicea—lukewarm and disgusting. Yet, it’s still possible to recognize the reality of their state and repent unless Christ has already removed their lampstand. Does your church have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches?
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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Joe Biden’s version of old sayings:
Never put off tomorrow ‘till you come to it.
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