Summary: What necessitates revival? Sin, willful disobedience to the will of God; many have become cold, indifferent, compromising, sick and spiritually weak churches as a result of sin. Why the letters to the seven churches and what have they to teach us, that
If you ever moved to a new community and had to select a new church home, you know how difficult it is to examine and evaluate a church and its ministry. Imposing buildings may house dying or dead congregations, while modest structures might belong to virile assemblies on the march for the Lord. The church we think is rich may turn out to be poor in God’s sight.
The Bible Exposition Commentary
p. 571 Revelation 2
My wife and I, some 12 years ago, was looking for a new church home in the community that we lived. After many Sunday morning church visits across the small city and the surrounding county area, we had become convinced that none of them held an interest for us. The people, if they even noticed, could care less that we were there, no warm invitation to Sunday school or concern by the Pastor that we had even stopped in for a visit.
After several months we had been told about a small country church in the southern part of the county, some 30 miles from our home, was working hard for the Lord and their pastor was motivated to see the community come to a saving knowledge of the Lord. Lynn, my wife, immediately knew this was the place that God was calling us to.
After being in this church and a major part of this family, God called me into youth ministry and as they say, “The rest is history.”
What made us pull away from the many churches we visited?
Dry dead orthodoxy, complacent idol people, and a loss of love for the lost and for their master in whom they had been called.
What drew us to the small country church so far from our home??
Preaching of the Word of God with compassion, mixed with a genuine desire for our family to be part of their family and brotherly love.
See, friend My wife and I owe a great deal to a small country church and her Pastor; there is no way we would be where we are today without them, their prayers, their direction, but most of all their love.
After being in Pastoral ministry for seven years, I have learned a great deal about the need for revival and also how it impacts a community.
I. Ephesus, The careless church
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Ephesus has had many wonderful pastor’s in its early years, which taught the word, lived the word; yet something had taken place in the hearts of the people. They lost something very important to their spiritual well being, their love for Christ. They had every type of service to reach every type of people, but they lacked purpose. The love of Christ gives purpose and meaning to every activity, every sermon preached, every home visit; without it we simply are just doing.
Many churches of today have the finest of buildings but no since of direction or purpose.
Three marks of a careless church
1. Doctrinal stability
2. Laborious (full of activity)
3. With no devotion (love)
It’s of the highest recommendation that every church be doctrinally sound and full of Good works; but if she has no since of purpose, no devotion, no love for her Lord then she is sadly just another dry dead church.
What is missing from this church is her honeymoon love, yea, that type of love that young couples have on their wedding day. This is the type of love that Christ desires from his church.
Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
In the illustration given earlier about my wife and I, I mentioned we had visited several churches: Some of these churches could be characterized by their loss of their love for the Lord Jesus Christ. This prototype church can be distinguished by one visible sign.
1. No Fruit
How or why would I make such a harsh statement? Because of its truth; when a church has lost her purpose and motivation, she has also lost her love for the lost, and it will show in our numbers.
After careful study of the 2005 Arkansas Baptist Convention Annual report’s given by the local churches across the state, I found a startling truth; there was 254 churches out of all those reporting that had not baptized one soul, not one! Why? Most likely they have lost their love for the Lord and the lost.