To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Affirmation-Correction-Promise is the typical pattern of God’s word to the seven churches. As we read the words to the seven churches throughout the remainder of the week, I invite you to discover which two churches are the exception to this rule. I also want to invite you to think about which church or churches are you most like? And which church or churches is First Methodist Mansfield most like? The love that has been forsaken is not clear but its retention is of significant importance to the church’s mission. We are told their deeds are good and they are aware of false prophets. I wonder if their hearts have gotten a little cold? Has the burning fire of their faithful hearts grown dim? The church in Ephesus was a major pillar in the early church. The church grew and thrived on the basis of Paul’s leadership. The city was a major economic center with massive buildings and about a quarter-million population. There are no active churches there today. This would have been unthinkable to John’s audience. “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Do you think the decline of the American church is due to our lack of repentance? Is our lampstand being removed because we aren’t seeking God? In what ways has the church accommodated to cultural norms and values? In what ways have you? What do you need to ask God to burn away from your life so you can live in His freedom?
Holy God, we are not worthy to break the seal and open the scroll of your word for us. But you are. You are the Lion of Judah. You are the one who conquered the grave. You are David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave. You are worthy of all blessing and honor and glory. Thank you for sending your Word to us. Come Holy Spirit. Amen
Please enjoy this song as it’s our prayer for the week.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.