Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I was a fake Christian

As we continue in Revelation, it is worth reminding ourselves of the promise Jesus gave us in verse 3: blessed is the one who reads aloud, hears, and keeps the Words of this prophecy. I read and listened to the first 6 chapters this week-end and it reminded me of the movie Slingblade when the main character said, "I didn't understand a good deal of it." However, we can be confident that when we are born-again, God will reveal His Truth to us as we are ready to receive it.

One thing that isn't hard to understand; however, is the fact that God commands all men everywhere to repent. That message couldn't be more clear as we move through what Jesus had to say to the 7 churches. Of the 7, only 2 were not called to repent of some type of behavior. Jesus makes it about as clear as possible that better isn't best. He doesn't say, you did this and that, so don't sweat the other stuff, you're doing OK? As we move through the first few chapters we will see that He does give some pats on the back, but He WILL NOT wink at sin no matter how the rest of your walk looks.

Just as Peter writes in 1Peter 2:9, He calls us out of darkness in to His marvelous light. In Revelation, He is calling these churches out of some type of darkness. As we work through these over the next couple weeks, see if you recognize problems in your own church, or your own life that The Lord is calling you to repent of.
Let's take a look at the first church He addresses.

In the first chapter we are given some very descriptive characteristics of Jesus, as we read His Words to the churches we find that He repeats most of these descriptions again.

Revelation 2:1  "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

Jesus commends them for being patient and tireless in their work for The Gospel. He also commends them for not being able to stand evil, but instead they test those who have proven to be fake Christians.

Revelation 2:2-3 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;3  and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.

Question: If Jesus commends the church of Ephesus for testing and calling out false apostles, how come our society criticizes those that do the same? Whenever you see someone pointing out the false doctrine and false teaching of a professing Christian teacher the insults of the person pointing out the heresy are not far behind.

If you are born-again, do you remember the zeal you had when you got saved? Remember the excitement you felt when you realized that you have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life? I have to admit, I was a little bit like a bull in a china shop when I got saved, but I was so excited after spending so many years being a fake Christian. I didn't have the gentleness, love and patience we are called to have; and I praise God He has dramatically changed that part of me. But even if it wasn't the best way to go, I still "went". He doesn't want us to lose that zeal and excitement and love we had at first. Apparently the Ephesian church had lost the love they had at first, and Jesus calls them to repentance. He wants them to turn from what He doesn't like (fading love) and turn to what He does like (the love they showed when they were first born-again).

Revelation 2:4-5 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Then He returns to commending them. They hate the works of the Nicolatians which Jesus also hates. Jesus hates?! That's what He said. He hates the works of the Nicolations!

Revelation 2:6  But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Then Jesus concludes His Words to the Ephesian church:

Revelation 2:7  "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." '

The ESV actually uses the word conquer:

Revelation 2:7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.'

So that leaves us with a crucial question….how do we conquer?  We conquer be keeping the faith, staying the course, fighting the good fight, and being obedient to God.  None of this happens unless you are born-again, none of this happens except through Jesus Christ:

Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

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