Revelation 2 & 3
Revelation 2 & 3 is of course the famous prophetic word to the 7 Churches. John (the elder) wrote this from the tiny island of Patmos – where he had been banished for preaching the Gospel. The only remaining of the original 12 Disciples – John was now up in years and even more aware of the Life that awaited him in heaven.
He received the entire Book of Revelation in a dream, and then wrote down everything as soon as possible.
Of the 7 churches, 6 are in grave of danger of being completely wiped out, or removed due to falling away, being lukewarm,, or in the case of the church in Ephesus – losing their first love.
As I read Revelation 2:1-9 I am troubled. Do you see anything peculiar about this church?
The Ephesians did all these wonderful things:
- “your deeds“
- “your hard work“
- “your perseverance“
- “I know you can’t tolerate wicked people“
- “I know you have tested false apostles.”
As if that wasn’t enough – there is more
- “You have persevered”
- “You have endured hardships for My Name”
- “You have not grown weary”
This sounds like the Hebrews 11 Heroes of the faith honor role!
This church sounds amazing.
I would do almost anything to be part of a church like this! In light of that I am almost offended for them in the next verse:
Rev 2:7 “Yet I hold this against you:‘
‘You have forsaken your first love.”
Rev 2:8 “Consider how far you have fallen! 1) Repent and 2) do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will remove your lampstand from its place.”
Repent? Of what? Not loving Him enough?
That just seems kinda petty, right?
How in the world can Jesus say of people with this incredible list of Christian values and accomplishments – that He is about to remove their lamp stand?
At first reading… I’m going to be honest I’m really struck by how strong Jesus is to them and how bad of a situation this really is.
I’d be arguing my case to the Lord: “But Lord I did all these things for you!”
He’s not saying He “never knew” them. But he is saying he’s so done with them that the church as they know it he will remove it and move on.
This is heartbreaking.
In other words, He’s going to leave them and remove the lamp stand. Close the church or churches down.
Here’s the key message:
Without the white hot first love for Jesus we have in the beginning – we are in danger of completely ceasing to exist as a church and could possibly even include Jesus closing down our church as we know it.
So what would Jesus say to the American church in 2020?
What IS He saying to us?/1
Revive Equip exist to help Christians in two ways:
- Be Revived – God is your first love
- Be Equipped – Do the deeds you did at first
If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
I was churchified but not crucified
Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NIV)
I had become a very successful “churchman” and no longer a vibrant thriving Christian.
I was at a spiritual crossroads. I wanted a break. I wanted a sabbatical. I thought I needed a few tweaks. Jesus said I needed a total makeover.
In many ways my life resembled a Pharisee more than a Disciple.
I did an exhaustive study of the Pharisees in the Gospels. Every single reference folks.
Yep. All 4 Gospels. Every – single – verse. And I found about 6 major topics
I collated and organized these 6 areas and couldn’t believe what I discovered after this exhaustive study of Pharisees in the 4 Gospels.
6 WAYS OF THE PHARISEES
I will go into more detail on another post. But check out the 6 AREAS:
- Religious Pride
- Social Cliques
- Unethical Boxes
- Outward Performance
- Traditional Rules
- Spiritual Abuse
Now I did not resemble a Pharisee. But there were a couple of areas that the Holy Spirit convicted me to do better.
I repented of the small but very dangerous areas and God began the renewal process.
It’s a scary thing to ask God if you have lost your first love.
But the way I look at it, what did I have to lose? No one knew this but the Lord. And now, I have been humbled even more and do not even care if people find out.
I was guilty! But God helped me get back!
Besides, for those who think there was some huge skeleton in my closet of secret sins, think again: I was a virgin, I was a licensed minister, I had no record of any infraction with the law, I never cheated on a test. I hadn’t drank any alcohol in over a decade at that time. Never smoked in my life. Never took drugs. Never slept with anyone.
So, you see… that is why it was so hard for me to see I had lost my first love – I looked great to everyone… except God.
Take my advice, get away for a few extended prayer times and let God change your life for the better…
And if you have not signed up to PARTNER WITH us, either by prayer or finances, would you prayerfully consider doing that ASAP?
The FIRST 40 PRAYER PARTNERS and FINANCIAL PARTNERS are our special superheros we call the FFANTASTIC 40!
Join the FANTASTIC 40 today and help us see Christians and Christian Leaders REVIVED and EQUIPPED by His LOVE!
We love you with His Love He gave us for you!