In my previous article I discussed my interpretation of the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2. If you have not read it, I recommend that you do so that you might understand better what I write now, which are ways in which I have also been as Ephesus.
The point of this article series is not to condemn other believers, but to encourage us to consider ways in which we are unfaithful to Jesus so that we can repent, seek the Lord for mercy, and better stand with Him against all works of the Adversary.
When Jesus performed His ministry, He said that He did not come to condemn the world, but to save it because they were condemned already. Hard truth and I try to take the same approach. If we reject our calling as Christians, though Jesus deals long and patient with us, we are as dead men walking, ready to welcome the false Christ who will pander to these traits we see in the rebuked churches.
Let us trust in Jesus, knowing that He is faithful to perform all things within those who love Him and trust in Him. However, He is also faithful to send us a wake-up call when we need it. So, let us hear and consider.
As for myself…
The struggles of Ephesus speak to my own struggles within Christian ministry. Especially during the early years. I had considered myself to have a strong grip on doctrine, and I was ready to contend with anyone who opposed—but I did not do so in love—but in arrogancy and pride.
I have continued to struggle with loving the brethren as I should. Jesus told us that “because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
I relate to this. I have to stay on-guard constantly, reminding myself that I love the commandments of Jesus: commandments to love Him with all our heart and our brethren. Also, our neighbors in general, even our enemies.
I love this because I have needed His love too. I love this because His love transforms and renews. His love is wise, pure, and the only thing that will endure forever. Though all things pass away, Jesus and His love will never pass away. How I love it!
Yet, my heart can become cold and hard at times. This is a defense mechanism that is common to man. I have also experienced this: the more I seek Jesus with this struggle honestly, the more He opens my heart to love better. “I will run in the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”
We can mourn over sin, over deception, and over many forms of corruption in our churches and in the world. It is good to. Jesus is there to comfort those who mourn.
However, let us not grow cold.
If we put Jesus first, everything else will fall into place according to His perfect will and timing.
We also need to be willing to challenge some of our secondary beliefs, knowing that we all “see in part and know in part.” Our brethren have understanding that we might miss, but if we are willing to consider all things more fully, we can get to know God better. The true body of Christ is not scattered, as it so seems, but waiting to edify one another in a remarkable way! However, we must lay aside our prideful self-love and assumptions about our ability to know all truth and condemn others.
In humility, we will find the Kingdom of Heaven, and we will all rejoice in the amazing working, mercy, and patience of Jesus who is Himself Lord of all Lords and King of all Kings!