This week’s news + a look at the state of the Church through history as described in Revelation
IT’S NEWS TO ME
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrates at the Likud victory rally on March 3, 2020. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL,SELLEM)
SETTING OUR MINDS ON THINGS ABOVE
The Church as seen in Revelation
Part 1 – Ephesus
In chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation, we see in Christ’s messages to seven churches His judgment of not only these particular assemblies, but also of the Church throughout history, including today. Some believe that each church represents the Church at some point in history. Since all the seven churches existed at the same time, others believe that all these types of churches exist today, some good, but most are bad. Only the churches at Smyrna and Philadelphia had nothing bad written about them. Keep in mind that the judgments of the five other churches weren’t of sin. That was completed at the cross. All judgments since then are of works-what we have done with what we have been given. As we consider the very real possibility that the sad state of the Church in general today our current crisis is the result of God’s judgment, it’s worth looking at how God may be speaking to us today (in these two chapters) regarding the current sad state of the Church in general in America (and your church.) Try also to see yourself in each of these seven messages to determine if Christ’s comments apply to you personally, whether good or bad.
Today, let’s take a brief look at our Lord’s stern words to the church at Ephesus. Despite her hard work, patience, and refusal to tolerate evil men, they had left their first love. The pure devotion of a bride’s intimate love affair with her husband had lost its freshness and settled into a routine. Their excitement over their Lord’s love for them had lost its luster. Christ’s love for them had never diminished, but it was not being returned as it once was.
The Christian religion had taken the place of
personal devotion to the Bridegroom.
If they would not repent of grieving the Bridegroom’s heart so deeply and return to the genuine affection they once showed, Christ would come to them (as the Lord came to Sodom) and remove them as part of His Church. They wouldn’t even know He had come in judgment, but in His eyes, their assembly would cease to exist. They would continue on as if nothing had happened, but His Spirit would have departed forever. They would no longer be a lampstand.
Apparently, they never repented. Thirty years earlier, this was a model church. Paul’s extended time with them had paid off. His teaching and miracles (Acts 19) had a profound effect far beyond Ephesus. Today, not much remains-a partial surviving archway, a Muslim dwelling and a “forbidden castle.”
While there’s a lot more in Christ’s message to this church, I just want to focus on the reality of His special visit to carry out His promised judgment. He actually came and “removed their lampstand.” How could they have let that happen? Were they so blind to how far they had fallen that they no longer took His words seriously? I wonder how many churches today have had a visit from their Lord and their lampstand removed, but they were (and still are) oblivious. Did they ever have the love for their Bridegroom as was once displayed in Ephesus?
How about you? Have you ever loved Jesus with the unbridled joy and affection of a new bride, enthralled with His presence, always anticipating your next encounter? If so, how is your love for Him now? How about your church? What is it known for? Good teaching, powerful sermons, or great music? Or do visitors leave saying, “Oh how they love Jesus?”
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