Summary: Love Jesus and love what He loves.
TWO STEPS FORWARD,
THREE STEPS BACKWARD
S: First Love
C: Love God, Love Others
Th: God Speaks to the Church
Pr: LOVE JESUS AND LOVE WHAT HE LOVES.
CV: “We wholeheartedly worship the everlasting God.”
Outline borrowed from John MacArthur
I. THE CORRESPONDENT
II. THE CHURCH
III. THE COMMENDATION
IV. THE CONCERN
V. THE COMMAND
VI. THE COUNSEL
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• Possess a passion for God.
• Repent and remove what keeps you from Jesus.
• Love what Jesus loves.
RMBC 25 January 09 AM
ILL Christians (S)
Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan once said this:
"It is odd that some Christians see themselves as the media do, as bland guys in gray suits with gray buzz cuts. They ought to see themselves as young Mar¬lon Brando on a Harley, for they are the true anti-establishment, the true rebels, and with a cause."
That’s an interesting assessment, isn’t it?
It makes me ask the question…
What does it mean to be a Christian ?
Quickly, I want to role out some essentials.
Being a Christian means you have a…
You have faith in Jesus as your Savior, knowing that He died for you.
You realize that you cannot earn your salvation.
It is not a matter of works.
It is a matter of grace.
Being a Christian means you recognize that Jesus is…
He is the Lord Jesus Christ.
And when you experience His salvation, you are no longer in charge.
He is now in charge.
Being a Christian also means that you know about…
We repent of our sin.
Out of gratefulness for the salvation we have been given, we express a determination and a will to not live that way anymore.
Being a Christian also means you are…
When we confess our sin, something really exciting happens.
We are forgiven.
We experience forgiveness.
Because of this, we also experience…
A change takes place inside of us.
We become a new creation.
Not by our own power, but because we are…
The Holy Spirit comes into us.
He sets up His home inside of us and teaches us about our purpose and mission.
And do you know where that purpose and mission starts?
It starts with…
The primary command – Love God!
Jesus put it this way…
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
You put this all together, and you start multiplying it with other people, you get what we call in the Greek, ekklesia – church.
As we come to our text of the day, we are going to discover that…
God speaks to the church…
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
One of the aspects we need to realize as we study the churches in Revelation 2-3 is that Jesus looks at churches differently than we typically do from our individualistic American perspective.
Jesus sees individual behaviors as corporate actions.
In other words, individual members recede and He sees a single body.
This means that what one does affects the whole.
There is never any such thing as individual sin.
There is always a greater impact.
So much so, God expects the church to deal with it.
THE CORRESPONDENT (1)
We see this in verse 1 as…
Jesus scrutinizes and assesses His people.
Jesus is visiting the church in Ephesus and He is inspecting it.
It will be a thorough examination.
He will be evaluating whether it is the kind of church that is worth His connection.
For as we have already heard in the text, He is willing to remove the lampstand.