August 23, 2021
Prayer: I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Revelation 2:3-5 ESV
Observation: For the next seven days, we will follow John’s revelation of Jesus’ warnings to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) that foreshadow the body of Christ’s struggles worldwide through the past two millennia. First is Ephesus, where Paul invested approximately two and half years to establish and grow a church. Ephesus, a key trade center, was the de facto capital of this Roman province. Its cultural religion centered on the Greek fertility (bee) goddess Artemis. At one point, these new believers were so enthusiastic about the Gospel that they burned their magic arts books centered around the worship of Artemis valued at 50,000 pieces of silver. Approximately three decades later, John writes this circulatory letter addressing Ephesus’ and the six other churches’ decline since Paul’s absence.
Takeaway: First, we can deduce that solid, godly leadership is essential to sustaining the church’s health. Secondly, as pertains to the above verses, persecution and suffering will either draw us closer to God and deepen our love for him or cause us to drift and become complacent. And when our hearts have grown cold toward God, we need to remember, repent, and revitalize. We need to remember what life was like before Christ poured out his love and forgiveness on us. Then we need to repent of how we have become ambivalent toward him. Lastly, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we need to revitalize our passion and joy for Jesus and get back into the game of glorifying him and growing his kingdom.
Prayer: Father God, keep our hearts tender toward you and your Son, that we might not grow cold and lose sight of our first love. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling