Bible Reference: Revelation 2:4-5
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)
Bible Text: 4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.
OBSERVATION: In this book of Revelation, God is speaking to the seven churches about their condition, and the subsequent result of their condition. For the church at Ephesus, God was pleased with some aspects of their ministry, but in these two verses we can see where God is getting to the root of their ineffectiveness. Let’s pay close attention to this, because I believe we will find God speaking to us about our own respective churches as we study this Book.
APPLICATION: From time to time we hear of many churches that fail for various reasons. Often we will hear of churches declining at such a rate, that it will only be the matter of time before they are forced to close their doors. Friends, churches are made up of folk like you and I, so when we say that our church is failing, I believe that we are really saying that we have become a sorry people. I know, that sounds really harsh. But allow me to challenge myself and you with a few sobering questions: When last have you prayed for your pastor? When last have you attended prayer meetings, to join hearts and souls in prayer about the needs of God’s people? Do you tithe and give generously to the work of the local church? Just like you need money to run your home, so the church needs money to pay salaries, and other operational expenses, plus support worldwide missions. When last have you visited the sick or helped the widow in need? No, that’s not the responsibility of the pastor, for we all should be obedient to the Word of God. Friends, I believe that when the church – you and I, becomes ‘the church’ and we follow the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, then it will be evident who rules and reigns over us. People still need the Lord, and when they see God at work through His people, then perhaps they will be convinced of His existence and their need to accept Him as Lord. Looking back at our focal verses, we will see that God accused the church at Ephesus of losing their first love. Please take a moment and meditate on the days and weeks following your conversion. Remember how ‘in love’ you were with Jesus? I know, you still love Him, right? But I want you and I to think of the differences that are evident in our love now, compared to our love for Jesus at the time I referred to. What happened? I believe that such an influence of this old world has found its way into our lives, that our actions now portray more of the world than that of the One who saved us. Will the church – we the body, survive and flourish like this? Do people that we touch see more of Christ, or the world? Unless they unmistakably see Christ, let’s not think for a moment that we have a flourishing church. Examine yourselves and draw close to the One who gave up everything for you my friend. Only what’s done for Jesus will truly last!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for not giving up on us. Your Word is a light to our path, because It illuminates our earthly condition, that is often far from the path that You have laid out for Your people. Lord, we want our family and friends to know the Lord, so we want to look and sound more like You in everything we do and say every day. Please touch us once again and draw us close to You. May we become Your hands and feet on the ground, so that our people can see You and experience You when they come into contact with us. AMEN!