Summary: This is the 2nd sermon in the series "Are You Prepared".
Series: Are You Prepared? (Revelation) [#2]
Through the years when I have been asked to dress in nice clothes for something at school, work, etc…; I was often asked to wear my “Sunday’s Best”. Although my generation has seemed to change this a bit, for many years people equated dress clothes and church in the same thought. This attitude of being better dressed at church than during the week has carried over to more than just our clothes. People generally try to act better at church, talk better at church, etc… than they do in other environments.
This morning we are going to look at the 1st of 7 churches listed in Revelation 2-3, the Church in Ephesus.
Who should be in control of the church? Jesus Christ is the One who holds the ministers of the churches in His hands.
This means that the minister:
1.Is chosen by the hand of Christ.
2.Is placed where he is by the hand of Christ.
3.Is cared for and protected by the hand of Christ.
4.Is expected to be an instrument in the hand of Christ.
5.Is responsible to the hand of Christ.
6.Is to be held accountable by the hand of Christ.
Jesus Christ is the One who walks in the midst of the churches or the golden candlesticks.
This means that Christ...
1.Is present in the very midst of the church.
2.Sees and knows all about the church.
3.Is present to teach and grow the church.
4.Is present to provide and protect the church.
5.Is present to guide and direct the church.
6.Is present as the Light of the world to give light to the church.
This church is commended for 5 things:
1.The church had worked hard and labored for Christ. In the Greek text, this gives us a picture of working until you are exhausted, giving everything you have. Christ expects every church to work for Him with all they have. Every believer in Christ are servants of His and should serve Him with every ounce of their being. Regardless of what others see you do as our text says, “He knows our deeds”.
2.The church persevered. They continued on regardless of the situations and circumstances going on.
3.The church did not tolerate wicked men. Some of you may be thinking, “How judgmental of them”; but this is not talking about people in the church who were sinful; because they all were sinners. This is talking about tolerating things within the church that we know should not be going on instead of dealing with it.
4.The church tested all the preachers and teachers of the church and rejected those which were false.
5.The church persevered and endured hardships for Jesus.
We find in this verse that although this Church was doing all of the right things, they had forgotten who they were doing it for.
Jesus was no longer the first priority in their Church. They were putting their lives first. They were more in love with the programs of “their” Church than they were the founder of the Church.
The Church had lost its love for people. The people had started drifting apart and before they knew it, they had become a “Sunday Best” type of church. Those indicators of this type of church such as criticism, grumbling, jealousy, selfishness, etc.. I’m sure existed.
Jesus not only tells them the problem but He gives them the solution to returning to Him.
We are given 3 steps to returning to our First Love:
1.“Remember the height from which you have fallen.” Can you remember your love for Christ when you were first saved or when you felt His presence during a great time of need? Remember the Lord’s presence, the love that existed between you and Him.
2.“Repent”. This word means to turn around and go the other direction. If you have been going away from Christ, you simply need to turn around and go back to Him.
3.“Do the things you did at first.” Start spending time in prayer again. Start spending time in study of God’s Word again. Start striving to serve Christ because of your love for Him again.
Jesus warned them of what would happen if they did not heed to His counsel.
He gave them a 2 fold warning:
1.Jesus warned them that He would remove their Church. Let me point out to each of you that just because a local congregation has a building and some people coming to services doesn’t mean that it is a living church. There are many churches that are dead and their building is like a dead corpse. If Christ’s presence is removed from a church they have had it!