Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Leviticus 23-24; Revelation 2
God has highly exalted Christ and given Him a name that is above every name. He sits in authority over the whole world. The day is coming, and I think it may be very soon, where every Christian will bow before Him and give an account for the works done here on earth. It will be a day of honest evaluation. I often encourage people to be as honest during preaching as they will have to be on judgment day. There will be no pretend on that day. Paul reminds the Corinthian church that the hidden things of darkness will be made light. The churches mentioned here are real churches, which the Lord, the head of the church, addresses honestly. He assessed the good and the bad and lovingly corrected them. These seven churches also represent church age history. The different churches are indicative of the different eras of church history, culminating with the Laodicea church, which pictures the apathetic attitude of the church today. He begins with the church of Ephesus. He commends their work ethic, patience, separated stand, discernment, and resilience. However, Christ has one major issue with this church: They left their first love. They had not lost it as some misquote this verse, but rather had made a conscious decision to leave it. I do not believe this was a rebellious act of walking away from Christ, but rather a decision to little by little replace the passion of knowing Christ with the duty of simply serving Him. It did not happen over night, but rather it happened a little at a time. The unique thing here is that they replaced a personal passion for fellowship with a public pursuit for function. Christ warns them about the demand to get back to the basics. Too many Christians today are doing acts of mature Christians (teaching Sunday school, sharing the gospel, being in full time ministry, tithing etc) but they are not doing the basics. They have neglected reading their Bible regularly, praying effectively and fervently, having an attitude of gratitude and graciousness, or just fellowshipping with their Savior. God has done everything to make fellowship with Him possible. Why don’t we decide to nurture the first love principle today? The church of Smyrna did not have any negative comments. They were a church under attack. It is interesting that Christ points out that the attacks are from pretending Jews who are really just the instruments of Satan. It is one thing to fight the unsaved of the world, but it is a much more difficult thing to fight those who pretend to be on your side but persecute you. How sad to see so much of that, even today, in our churches. Christ says to us, “stay faithful through the tribulation, because joy comes in the morning.” Though there is not room to deal with the other churches of this chapter, there are certainly applicable lessons for all of us to learn from these churches.
• Lord, please help me to nurture my personal relationship with you. I know I can easily get wrapped up in the demands of the ministry. I am overwhelmed that you would love me, save me, and keep me. Please remind me often of your personal interest in my relationship to you.
• Lord, please help me to not just do the Christian life, but may I constantly be motivated by the love I have in my heart for my Savior. May I never get distracted by those who seek to cause harm, create drama, or cast judgment. May I remember Dr. O’s admonition, “put the puck in the net and let the heathen rage!”
• Lord, may I always remember that the church is yours. You bought it and you promised to build it. Thank you for the privilege to participate in your program.