Summary: After the tragedy that has struck our nation one question we are hearing is "will we ever be the same again" The real question is should we be the same?
Getting Back to “Normal”
September 30, 2001
As we are seeing our nation begin to float back into some form of a routine; we are seeing that things are changing in our daily living. The television has begun to return to its regular schedule. The news media is starting to cover other stories than the terrorist attacks. The stores are gearing up for Christmas. The airports are back open and planes fill the skies. Life seems to be getting back to “normal.”
The question on everyone’s mind seems to be “Will we ever be the same again?” I believe the more appropriate question should be, “Should we ever be the same as we once were?”
Our nation has been a different place for these past few weeks. I believe that it has been a better place. The “normal” bickering and fighting of politicians has stopped. The “normal” barriers on public spirituality were erased. The “normal” racial tensions have been virtually non existent. The “normal” selfishness of people has subsided. The “normal” prayerlessness of our nation has been reversed.
No, we should not go back to “normal.” So, what should we do to keep our current focus? What should we do to keep the unity of our country, our community and our churches alive? We have to call our country, our community and our church back to its first love!
1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Revelation 2:1-7
I. The Praise
A. The one gives the praise – Jesus Christ
1. The speaker is Jesus
a.) Jesus gives His approval to the church at Ephesus and shows His name being honored by the actions of this church
b.) This message reveals the very power and presence of Christ within the church, The presence of Jesus is essential for every church to appreciate and understand
2. The power of His presence
a.) When Jesus is present within a church
Worship becomes real rather than routine
Prayer becomes powerful rather than placid
Outreach becomes effective rather than mere effort
People become loving rather than lethargic
Joy becomes contagious
b.) The church needs to be a place where people can see the evidence of the love of Christ. The church needs to be a place where people can establish a personal relationship with Christ. The church needs to be a place that is genuine in fellowship, followership and faith.
B. The points of praise
Jesus points out six areas where the Ephesian church was doing very well. Let’s take a quick look at these qualities:
The reference to hard work reveals the servant heart that was a part of the church. The Greek term literally means to work to the point of exhaustion. These believers knew how to work hard and serve Christ wholeheartedly.
The Ephesian church was extremely patient and was compelled to serve Christ even when it wasn’t comfortable or convenient. There were many obstacles and difficulties to serving Christ but they kept right on serving.
The Ephesian church was secure enough to deal with false teachers. This means that they endured a great deal of conflict to be sure that those who were within the church behaved with the attitudes and actions of a believer.
The Ephesians tested the beliefs of their teachers before they were given the responsibility of instructing on doctrine. The key is that they did not allow anyone who was not a believer to instruct within the church.
The Ephesian church suffered for the name of Christ and they endured. This is the church that would not quit. They kept on serving no matter what the difficulty came their way or the price that had to be paid.