Summary: The greatest slump that we can experience as Christians is a loss in our love for Christ. This is a message that I prepared for Superbowl Sunday 2004.
How to Overcome a Slump
February 1, 2004
As everyone knows I really like football and today is one of the greatest days in professional football; its Super bowl Sunday. This is the game that determines who is the champion of the entire league. It is the biggest game of the season and millions of people will be tuned in to watch the game.
During the regular football season teams and players sometimes go through a slump. A time when they just don’t perform at the level they are able to perform. The result for those teams that remain in their slump is an early end to their season. For those teams that overcome their shortfalls, their weaknesses and break out of their slumps, there is greater victory.
So what exactly is a slump?
Slump: Fall or decline substantially or over a prolonged period
If you are honest with yourself you have experienced a spiritual slump or two in your life. Maybe you are in one right now. A slump is reveled when your passion has slacked off. When your desire to worship just is not what it used to be. When your level of enthusiasm has grown cold. When your commitment was once greater than it is today.
Slumps happen to everyone at some point or another. A little slack, a little slow down or a little lack of strength here and there and boom you fall into a slump. Maybe you started to let your devotional life slip or you stopped praying as often as you used to. Whatever the reason the result is still the same you in a slump.
It is far easier to get yourself into a slump than getting yourself out of one. So how can we get out of the spiritual slumps of life? How do we get back what we have lost?
This morning I want to look at the advice Jesus gives to a church that had fallen into a spiritual slump and how He suggested they get out of it.
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:
1. Service - I know your deeds, your hard work
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.
2. Steadfast - and your perseverance
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.