“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5- Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.” -Rev 2:4-5 (NASB)
Churches and Christians have become lazy and lethargic in their faith of a Holy, Righteous and Living God. Many Church services have all the bells and whistles but are empty, lifeless and void of any relationship with Almighty God.
There are many Christians who just go to church to “fit” in with the church crowd or they go to satisfy their egos or they go to make them feel good alleviating them from the guilt of not going. Notice I didn’t say they go there for the main purpose of meeting God and engaging in worship with Him only.
No act or show, just worship!
Pastors are keen about telling their flocks how good they are and how they can prosper. And as such these fake pastors fail miserably at confronting sin and repentance and teaching all the Rock Solid truths of the Gospel.
Churches today are all about giving motivational talks – pep talks – to their flocks and steer people away from the rock-solid truth of God’s word.
God must be the only foundation of the church. Nothing else can replace this or assume His position. It cannot be about the men and women who form the leadership team, not the worship team, nor the anticipated growth in attendance or the building infrastructure.
Consider the Seven Churches of Revelation written around 95 AD. Corruption, heresy, and spiritual deception had infiltrated them even at that early stage. Today, it’s 10-times worse! The Seven Churches were addressed directly by the Lord; He applauded some (2) but chastised the others (5).
I was talking to a good friend the other day and they said what a super teaching a local pastor had given at their church. One of faith and fear and how you arrive there. What was missing from our discussion was the teaching that God is the sole author of faith and Satan is the author of fear, guilt, worry and doubt. You see the church my friend attends is one of those that engage in a pleasing, non-engaging, softening of the Gospel with lots of rock music and entertaining pulpit attractions a “seeker” church model. Disgusting!!
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit must be at the core of every church and every Christian. No exceptions! Let’s learn today from how the Lord addressed the very first and young churches of Christianity.
The Churches of Revelation
“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” -Rev 1:3 (NASB)
Ephesus – abandoned their first love but looked good on the outside. They did and said all that was good but on the inside they had “lack-of-a-heart-for-God” trouble. The Lord’s rebuke was to REPENT and seek Him again.
Smyrna – Suffering persecution and were about to face more persecution for their faith.
Pergamum – Called out as Satan’s throne. They compromised their faith and idolatry crept in. They had succumbed to the likes of the Nicolaitans who taught occult paganism and compromise. Jesus hated their doctrine and deeds. The Lord’s rebuke was to REPENT and seek Him again.
Thyatira – A false prophetess – a Jezubel – was leading new Christians away from God. “...that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” The Lord’s rebuke was to REPENT and seek Him again.
Sardis – A looking good church but was known that it was dead on the inside. It housed those who looked like Christians (you know they played the part very well) . They did and said all that was like Christianity but were not real in their faith. People were asleep to spiritual discernment and revelation. I think most of our churches today take on the traits of this church. Notice there were no commendations given to this church at the opening of the letter. Instead the Lord hits them hard with several rebukes. The Lord’s corrective action was to REPENT and seek Him again.
Philadelphia – “...because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Christ was at the center of their faith and Jesus was with them. This is the model for a church and a Christian.
Laodicea – A purely lukewarm church. A church that would make God vomit them out of His mouth. They compromised God’s truth, they were puffed up in their beliefs and they were totally Godless. They engaged in the prosperity doctrine; were known for richness in material goods, but bankrupt in spiritual truth and maturity. The Lord’s corrective action was to REPENT and seek Him again.
So these seven churches represented the early spectrum of Christianity and their messages were clear but what about today? Yes indeed, they represent us today both at church and in our Christian walks. Take heed everyone the Lord is watching and He hears and sees all that goes on. He knows where people are at in their faith, in their Christian walk whether good or bad. He knows fake worship from the real worship and He hates false, empty and worthless worship. Read Rev 1-3 and see what the Lord had to say in the last book of the Bible. The message, the reasons for a declining church and what they had to do to get back in line and return to Him.
Churches and Christians, come back to the Lord in true and holy living. Look back on why you became a Christian and :“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” – Matt 22:37 (ESV).
Come back to the Lord. Worship Him in spirit and in truth!
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
-BPWatcher, Internet Preacher and Bible Prophecy Watchman
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” -2 Peter 3:11-12
GLORY TO GOD!