DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-11-28
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS
BIBLE REFERENCE: Revelation 2:2-5
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)
BIBLE TEXT: 2 I know all that you’ve done for me—you have worked hard and persevered. I know that you don’t tolerate evil. You have tested those who claimed to be apostles and proved they are not, for they were imposters. 3 I also know how you have bravely endured trials and persecutions because of my name, yet you have not become discouraged.[c] 4 But I have this against you: you have abandoned the passionate love you had for me at the beginning.[d] 5 Think about how far you have fallen! Repent[e] and do the works of love you did at first.[f] I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place of influence if you do not repent.
OBSERVATION: John had a vision where an angel spoke on Behalf of God about how he felt about the seven churches mentioned throughout the book of Revelation. I believe that we will see characteristics of each of our churches in at least one or more of these churches. Of course, we must remember that ‘the church’ is a body of believers that gather to worship and serve God through their cooperation together, so we will see our own character in the descriptions of these churches. As we study the Word together, ponder in your heart how much you and/or your church corporately might be like the church at Ephesus. God saw the good, but He also challenged this church with her shortcomings, so protect your toes as you are challenged by what God has to say.
APPLICATION: Over the past number of years there came a time that I felt it was time for my family and I to move to a different church. Much to the dismay of a few members sitting near the door, I walked into the church on a Wednesday night looking for the prayer and Bible study group for adults. By the conclusion of that evening service, I called my wife and told her that I had found our next church, for the Word of God was taught very clearly, and the sincerity of the attendees was warm and heartfelt. Did I find the ‘perfect’ church? Perhaps not, as I found that there were neighborhood people passing our doors and going to a different church. Obviously they found indifference in at least one aspect of the ministry there. In the first of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation, God praised the Ephesian church for their hard work and perseverance. He was also pleased that they dealt appropriately with the evil personified among its members, and they also dealt with false teachers head on. I’m sure that church leaders would probably have stood to their feet in praise and thanksgiving if they were hearing these things as they were spoken of by the angel of God, because we all like to hear about the good that we do. However, God wanted this church to know that there was a very serious matter that still existed. They had lost their initial zeal for the Lord, and therefore their love was weakened for the Father and for the Brother or Sister who worshipped with them and served alongside them. Now I know that you and your pastor could probably read right over this, because this in no way describes you or your church, correct? Well, let’s give this some thought and see if God agrees with us. What’s different in your life today, compared to the moments following your conversion – when you gave your heart to the Lord? Are you as alive in the Lord, active in His Word, and praying in deep faith, as when you first accepted Jesus as Lord? Have you freely spoken to others about your faith recently? Remember how excited you were to tell the world about your Lord after you accepted Him as Lord? Are you richer in your faith today because of the time you have spent in His Word, and because of experiences that you have benefited from, through your faith and your prayers? What if your church consisted of only folk like you that answered these questions in similar form? Would God have room to say to your church what He said about the Ephesian church? I’ve experienced rich-spirited revival services where my spirit was revived and I felt on fire for the Lord again, but I haven’t heard of revival services recently, have you? Friends, I believe that God might be patiently awaiting the moment that you and I might come to Him and ask that He remove any obstacle that may dim our vision of Him and His wondrous works for us. Oh that we may see Jesus in His fullness and fall back in love with Him all over again! Surely our love for our brothers and sisters will benefit richly from our enhanced relationship with God.
PRAYER: Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand strongly in Your presence and boast of Your goodness to me. Please Lord, revive Your church again. Help us to always remember that You have promised to never leave us nor forsake us, so when we feel like there is distance between us, may we quickly invite You to look deeply into our hearts and lives and help us overcome the sin that has settled into our lives that separates us from You. May we always seek to worship You, adore You, thank You and welcome You into our lives so that we might renew a right spirit with us. You alone are worthy Lord, please work in our lives so that we might look more and more like You each day. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!