2005-04-22 - The Seven Churches
The Seven Churches, Part 1 - Ephesus
This week, we begin a series on John's letters to the seven churches mentioned
in the book of Revelation. I won't be delving into the deep theology of the
book. I'm an advocate by profession, and will leave that to the theologians.
But we will see what we can learn from each of John's letters.
Rev. 2:2-5 (NASB) I know your deeds and your toil and
perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test
those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them
to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake,
and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left
your first love.
They didn't tolerate evil men. Do you tolerate evil people? I don't mean
sinful, for all of us are sinful. But people in continuous patterns of sin,
who encourage us to join them - do we tolerate them? Do we sometimes even
What do you do when someone habitually tells jokes that makes fun of someone?
When someone regularly fires up a joint of marijuana? When someone gets their
term papers on the internet, pretending others' work is their own?
They tested their teachers against God's word. Just because someone is a
very popular or beloved Christian teacher or writer, doesn't mean they are
theologically sound. In fact, it often means the opposite; they are giving
readers/listeners what they want to hear. Check everything you hear, against
They were persevering. When times get tough, do you give up? Do you think
you (or someone else) is out of God's will because you are struggling? Again
- often the truth is just the opposite. The Bible promises us that we not
only have problems, but we can expect them. (See Job as the prime example.)
And their weakness? A very vital one - they had "left
their first love." What is your first love? Popularity with your friends?
Success? Money? Your family? Or God? Look at your checkbook register or credit
card statement. That often is very telling about who or what is our "first
love." There's nothing wrong with popularity, success, wealth etc. But none
of it should come at the expense of our personal Biblical ethics.
How do you and your church measure up to the church at Ephesus?
Comments or Questions?