Today, Sunday February 13
Ephesus, The Careless Church Revelation 2:1-3 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.
First, I want to take a moment to thank all of my family and friends who have prayed for me this past week as I was hospitalized for a heart catheterization to find out what was causing some chest pains. They found some blockages and we are attempting to correct it with some medications to keep me from having a heart attack. I could feel your prayers and they are so very much appreciated. Please continue to pray for the doctors to have wisdom in the treatment and for me to patiently listen to them so we can continue to serve the Lord in these special golden years of our life!
For the next several weeks we are going to be studying these seven letters to the seven churches of Asia. The wonderful doctors and medical staff at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital were able to send a probe right into my heart to see exactly what the problem was so they could correct it. The Lord Jesus not only looks at the outward condition of the church and the individual, He looks into the heart of each to examine and see the real need and problem or sin that is causing the problems! And that is what He does with each of these seven churches. How interesting is that?
I want to give a title to each church to help us remember these messages over the next couple weeks.
Ephesus, the Careless Church.
Smyrna, the Crowned Church.
Pergamos, the Compromising Church.
Thyatira, the Corrupted Church.
Especially here in chapter 2 of Revelation we seen a pattern that is similar to each of these four churches.
Each message starts out with words of approval or commendation. There was some good things in each church. Next there was an accusation or a word of condemnation for each church. Then there was an admonition or a word of correction for each church.
I believe that is how the Lord so often deals with us. He sees what is right in our lives outwardly and wants to encourage us with that. But then He looks deeper and wants us to realize what is not right in our hearts. And then Jesus always has a word of correction and instruction for us so we can get back on the right path and stay there!
This reminds me how the Lord has provided all these things for the church and the individual in the Word of God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The church of Ephesus was founded by the great Apostle Paul. He stayed there for over two years, and Acts 19 tells us that from this new church plant that everyone in Asia heard the wonderful message of the Gospel. The Ephesian assembly had also enjoyed other great leadership. Timothy, and the Apostle John himself had pastor this church at one time. But the Lord reminded them that He was in control of the ministry, placing the "stars" where He pleased. How easy it is for a church to become proud and forget that pastors and teachers are God's gifts (Ephesians 4:11) who may be taken away at any time. Some churches need to be cautioned to worship the Lord and not their pastor!
What is the Lord Jesus seeing in the heart of your church and in your life today?