Good Morning Beloved,
It is always such a joy having all of you here with us
thank you for making the decision to join us today
Thank You for all of those You have lead here today
Lord, I pray that all will be blessed by Your Word
Speak to each one of us, the message we need to hear
settle Your Word in our hearts
that we be changed by it, and inspire others to change
Use us O Lord, to fulfill Your purposes and plans
for our lives, strengthen our witness and testimony
grant us courage to share it boldly with others
that others might come to receive the precious gift
All for Your glory and increase
In Jesus' name
Today's Message: The Church With Heart Problems
"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
‘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. 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. Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’"
Now, the seven churches here in Revelation, were seven actual churches in Asia Minor.
And in fact, they run in the sequence of the postal route that began at Ephesus, ran through the country all the way to Laodicea.
It is highly likely, that these churches, were established by the influences from the church at Ephesus, which was the mother church were Paul had spent three years of his ministry, and that church had grown quite strong. The message of the Gospel, was taken from Ephesus, and other churches were then planted.
So when we look to the book of Revelation, we find there obvious patterns that help us to understand the book more clearly. The same particular pattern occurs when you look at the writings to the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2-3.
To look at the book of Revelation 2-3, is to find answers.
It provides for us a warning, not only of what happens on the larger scale, but what happens on the small scale, what we need to be aware of as a church. It begins with the individual churches and then escalates until it takes them all down the same ultimate path...
Beloved, Satan, has a five step plan. He wants to destroy the church..
It's not enough to neutralize, rendering it ineffective, he wants to completely obliterate it, running them all out of existence.
In Revelation 2-3, in the seven letters, to seven churches, we see that plan unfolding.
We can note the following comparisons:
The Commission – “To the angel of the church at. . . . .write. . . . .”
The Character – “The ... says this. . . . .” Then follows the words that paint an introductory portrait of that church.
The Commendation – “I know your deeds. . . .” Then there are favorable compliments that are listed to the church being addressed.
The Condemnation – “But I have this against you. . . .” Then there is a list of criticism that is given in sequence.
The Correction – These are varied commands that are not couched in diplomacy. God is basically saying to the pastor and to that church. Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I’m coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent. "FIX THE PROBLEM!!!"
The Call – “He who has an ear. . . . .” This is spoken to all seven churches.
This part is uniform in all seven letters, except that in the last four it takes the seventh place in order rather than the sixth.
The Challenge – “To him that overcomes. . . .”
Each of the letters has a promise for the overcomer who rises above the temptations and perils of each of the churches. It was pretty clear, penetrating eyes of Jesus saw through to the heart of these churches.
The One who walks through the church is described in Revelation 1:11-20. It is a descriptive picture of One who has the ability to redeem by also to prosecute.
The first church that is addressed is the church of Ephesus. Paul established the church later on and Timothy ministered there. Ephesus was located in the largest city of the Roman province of Asia. By the end of the first century, it had been one of the most thriving seaports in the world.
In fact, the birth of the church was so powerful that the whole church was thrown into confusion. People literally burned their idols and they burned their books on magic, and created a riot in the city. Paul had pastored them for three years, and they had really founded the other six churches.
But now the sediment and sludge from the Cayster River brought down from the mountains had began to fill in the harbor. Careful engineering had kept some of the channels open but the port was now accessible through great difficulty to sailing vessels and it was losing it’s importance in the grand scope of history.
To gain a better understanding of the surrounding atmosphere that prevailed in the region of Ephesus, we would have to look back to Acts 19 where Paul found himself set at odds with the craftsman of the city.
The chief cult in the city was devoted to the goddess Diana. There was a huge temple that had been constructed there and was recognized as one of the wonders of the ancient world. The worship of Diana was attributed to her supposed fall from heaven and the craftsmen who worked with precious metals had formed idols for the Ephesians to worship. They formed a strong union of workers and when Paul arrived in Acts 19 and began to preach about a Christ that could save them from their sins, and an uproar arose.
John’s disciples were introduced to the Holy Spirit – Acts 19:1-6
John’s disciples were baptized in Jesus’ Name – Acts 19:5
John’s disciples received the Holy Spirit – Acts 19:6
Paul taught for two years and three months in Ephesus – Acts 19:8-10
Special miracles occurred during this era at Ephesus – Acts 19:11
Handkerchiefs were sent out from Paul and healing occurred, demons were cast out – Acts 19:12
Books about witchcraft and other material was burned, the value being worth fifty thousand pieces of silver – Acts 19:19
“So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed” – Acts 19:20
Then Demetrius got together with the other silversmiths of the city and the Bible declares they began to spread great confusion. Through this Paul found himself facing an uproar. Yet in all of this God was at work and people were prepared to go into the church.
Yet in the midst of all those troubles the birth of the Gospel at Ephesus proved to be one of the early footholds of the church. This strong church in the face of the enemy found an ability to establish itself as a headquarters church and evangelize all the province of Asia.
The qualities that made them fanatical pagans, once the Spirit had been instilled in them, they became zealous Pentecostals.
The church at Ephesus:
Had a foundation constructed by the great Apostle Paul.
It was sustained by the careful labor of Acquila and Priscilla.
It had been favored by eloquent sermons of Apollos.
It had been blessed with a young pastor named Timothy, whom Paul described as one who was likeminded. Timothy would give the prime of his life to the church at Ephesus.
A blessed church, a godly church, a revival church was Ephesus. But now an entire generation has passed since the founding of this early group of men and women. With the passing of the first converts came a cooling in the fervor and intensity of their relationship with God. The victories that the pioneers had won by labor and endurance became the accepted privileges that the children now enjoyed.
Now in John’s vision, he notes a Christ walking among the church at Ephesus and assessing the character and content of that church. We must never get an attitude in our lives that we do not want a Christ to walk the halls of our heart nor the halls of this church.
The Lord is emphasized by John as "The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands," 2:1. No matter how great the failure of the church may be, there is a God who will still speak to it’s leaders and will never abandon them to a total loss.
The commendation starts with the words “I know your deeds. . . .” Special notice is taken of the Ephesian church. They are known for their labor and endurance, it is a church that has not grown weary with well-doing. Despite the excessive external pressures that have come to this church, they have stood strong and continued steadfastly.
They also have shown themselves to be committed to the Word of God. They have forced self-appointed apostles to align themselves with the Word of God and those who have refused to do so have been called false. They are commended for this.
Much can be said about a church that has a purity of discipline in it. To gain a view of an undisciplined church, take a look at the Corinthians. The atmosphere was chaotic at best. Those who grumble about a church that has discipline and standards and guidelines for both leaders and laity are very foolish.
There were some other traits about this church that set it apart. It was a patient church. The patience of the Ephesians are mentioned twice in these verses. The second time that patience is mentioned is not as a feature of a soldier or worker but rather the patience of him who can suffer, and suffer in silence. This kind of patience brings forth something to us. Patience, endurance, and fortitude. A real stick-to-itness.
The condemnation of this church: Had nothing to do with embracing false doctrine.
Had nothing to do with their refusal to support both home and foreign missions.
Had nothing to do with a huge church split.
Had nothing to do with allowing false prophets to take advantage of them.
There were no great scandals involving their leadership.
Their reputation as a church was spotless.
The organization was still functioning smoothly.
But the condemnation of this church had to do with one thing: Revelation 2:4,
"But I have this against you, that you have left your first love."
This letter can be summed up in three words... Remember, Repent and Repeat
The Greek Word for left is: APHIEMI. It means to forsake, lay aside, leave, omit, to send away.
Beloved, this is step one in Satan's plan!
This is where it all begins. You lose your first love. You leave that fiery passion. Our spiritual defection comes from forgetting.
They are being called to return to their first love.
Well, they didn't and they failed. There's nothing left but ruins.
Their light had gone out and was never to be lit again.
Their problem wasn't that they were inactive, but they had grown cold. The love that is required for any church to effectively touch the world. When men of God lose their early first love for Christ, there are some things that begins to occur in their lives. When that first love dies and you began to labor in the service of self, you become cynical, suspicious, and cold. Your head is going in the right direction, but the heart has gone astray. You're only going through the motions.
Beloved, listen carefully: The devil is going to use everything in this world to conquer your first love for God. He will use deception, treachery, charm, your family, your friends and the depraved actions of others. He will try to use pride, ambition, selfishness, and even luxury to get you to give up the value of your own soul. When you leave your first love, you then compromise with the world, then you tolerate sin, then ... you’re dead. Spiritually Dead!
You know, when you look closely at many of the churches in Europe and the churches in America that have followed this process, they’re under divine judgment. They’re spiritually dead, because the Lord has effectively cut them off from the Spirit.
These liberal churches today, were once the passionate, God fearing, spirit filled churches of this nation. However, the seminaries today, which teach and train pastors, have become liberal and apostate..
But all does not need to be lost, there is hope!
They can open the door if they want, salvation’s still available...
Because there is something powerful that happens when we return to our first love!!
Spiritual things which seemed to be far off are now within reach.
Things which once seemed so far away now seems to be in the next step.
Life becomes full of meaning and of value for us.
All of this occurs, when our first love is restored.
So with all of that there is a word that I would like to draw your attention to.... That one little word is "overcomer" You find this word in every aspect of the letters to all of the seven churches..
Overcomer is a word that foretells of a battle and a victory.
One can only be fought and won through Christ..
In that one word, there is an understanding that your spiritual life is a fight, that everyday you are on a battlefield.
The Lord always has His remnant. There are still some churches who remain true to the Word!
I'll tell you this, what the church today desperately needs is a revival of the hearing of the truth!
The Lord always, always has His remnant.
Beloved, the people of today's churches have essentially two choices..
Return and repent... to the truths in God's Word
Or die, and continue to having your ears tickled.
God gives us all have the freedom choose for ourselves...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His dace shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever in Jesus' name
Brian Monzon Ministries