The Loveless Church
We come to the First Church in the list of Seven, (Rev. 2:1 – 7), However, if you recall some of the introduction in chapter one, it is the Lord Jesus’ revelation to His servant John and in verse three, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
So, what does “is near” mean? Well God knew just how long it would take Christianity to run its faithful and committed course and He didn’t make me or anyone privy to how long it would actually be until the end of its age and sufferings, of its persecution. We do know that Jesus will come in the clouds and those who sleep in the Lord will rise first, then those of us who are still struggling along, will meet them in the air, in a twinkling of an eye. That will be the close of the church age, when Christ collects His church.
Chapter two verse l: — 7: “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 lampstands: — 2) ‘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.’ – 4) ‘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 – un-less you repent.’ 6) ‘But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.’ 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.’”
First, we are to understand that Jesus commends the church on the good that they have done and are currently doing. yet, with verse four God has a ‘Nevertheless’ as He strikes with the sword against their condition, they have left their first love. And the sword condemns this condition of falling from their first love, that love we have when we first surrender to Jesus as Lord of our lives, and the commitment we surrendered our soul to the kingship of our Lord Jesus.
We love Jesus because He loved us first, and for the born-again Christian, at the very moment of our rebirth, at the time of adoption and the death of the old nature, being justified in our new life, inside we fall in love with our Savior. Now, although that is correct and sounds wonderful, I do believe Jesus was referring to the First Commandment as Christians see it. “I am the Lord thy God – Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” One of the costs of the free gift of our salvation.
Jesus is God the Son – the incarnate God, Jesus who walked among His people, His creation. By grace through faith in Jesus we are redeemed to God and justified. God simply wants to be first in our lives and we are beside ourselves that God would want to be first in my life, He wants us, His church, to love him because He loves us, loves us enough to die for us of course, we love Him more than life; it is understandable that the church has become almost deniably obsessed in protecting our salvation as solely a free gift of God’s grace. Of which it is but it does cost us our lives as we knew them. I am proud that I chose the offer of grace and in return my surrender, my total surrender to His finite love.
Nonetheless, we all get caught up in the world in work, sleep time, church and that is where most of the problems lay, we spend – say, 40 hours a week working (providing we can get by on a 40-hour week. Then we spend around 56 hours sleeping, and we give God around 5 hours a week if we are not on staff, or say a Sunday school teacher, choir member, maybe a Deacon as well.
That should put a top member of the congregation with 10 – 14 hours for God plus prayer time, and the rest of 168-hour week for or in the world the world, and it begins to reflect in our lives and the rightful position of God in our lives, our minds have a lot more input of the world than of God. When we consider our condition or the condition of our church, we may want to get brutally honest with our self, because only you and God know the truth.
Before we first loved God, we are the center of our lives, after we are born again, we start our journey and work hard at putting the old man away, and we work even harder of putting God in the center of our lives, putting Jesus center and on his throne of our lives, our existence. We work hard, very hard as we start our Christian walk, our love for the Savior soars like the eagle then levels off somewhat as we float on the winds of God’s grace.
Then one day we look around and find we have been losing altitude unaware, we find our peace not so peaceful, we find that there have been unnoticed changes, Jesus is not found on the throne in life’s center and we are not on the submissive side as we were, but closer to the throne, now occupied by other worldly things like money, work, leisure enticements. We find anxiety and guilt for not paying attention to the things of God, and trouble in our lives is becoming serious.
We have not crashed our spiritual love in Jesus, and it is here that we can avert the nose dive of recession through cultural allurements and the wisdom of the world. Not keeping a real handle on the old nature, which although is claimed dead, when we are born again, all things made new, and for a while they are, they are until the demonic strength of the human nature’s appetites slowly erode our passion for the Lord, and unless we catch the slipping away, we will be overcome by the things of the world.
When we confess and repent and really experience the work of Christ, the work of Christ on the cross, the Death, Burial and resurrection, the motive for His horrific sacrifice, we find our rescue there at the cross. One Christian Counseling course explains this as identifying with the cross. I call it more of having God opening our eyes and ears, which He can do rather boldly, and the longer we ignore God’s little prodding’s the more intrusive and fouler they may become.
First, let me affirm my belief on something that has been denied and fervently rebuked by liberal political activists who along with other liberal organizations have come against fundamental Christianity, overtly since the 60s, but for some time in order to justify lifestyles that are less than simply sinful but vile evil sins, the whole thing of abortion dividing women, Christian women, Homosexuality dividing Christian churches and denominations. These divisions come with the bullying and intimidation of the media, the Hollywood elites, the UN and even the from President Obama. This in turn caused many Christians to seek a comfortable church, where they would not be under fire and persecution from the liberals. They found it in liberal theology.
We see a liberal church filled with people in a comfort zone, a comfortable church which had once done a lot of good works for Jesus, it involved most of them, but today, we have the comfortable. With 20 percent of the body doing 80 percent of the Lord’s work. At first, we probably had most of the people doing great work for Jesus’s name sake. While Pastoring, I become acquainted with a problem for Pastors as they were trying to figure out how to enlist volunteers for the various committees and duties of the church. That “rule of thumb” problem is simple and works its problematic nightmare nearly everywhere (except in liberalism), and that is 20% of the members do 80% of the work, and giving as well, it may not be the same ones … giving and working, because it seems we have the workers and the givers, most of the 20% are both, the smaller the church the greater the number of those who are committed.
Those who are genuinely committed to our Lord, don’t seek a comfortable church where they can be ministered to feel good in the community, and not be under the liberal attack and persecution. I use the present tense, because it is continuing on and probably will go on for years. One of the problems of the church falling from where it once was, is that the normal battle between Bible-believing Protestant churches and denominations, which in most part was the application of the various doctrinal and theological positions, most of which Bible believing Christians could agree to disagree on. Point is that most in-fighting was inconsequential to salvation.
Somewhere in or around the turn of the nineteenth century liberal theology was born in order to protect Christianity from the philosophers. But, he erroneously lumped Bible authority into his thought of the church learning to experience the total dependency on God and have nothing to do with any outside authority including the authority or the inerrancy and infallibility of the Word of God. Over the next dozen or so liberal theologians it simply went from bad to worse.
Original sin, then sin, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, Salvation by Grace through Faith alone, it is now God Consciousness and works or everyone will eventually all will be saved. Sorry folks but that is where liberal theology has taken the church. A brief study of liberal theology can show how it evolved over the years to now it is morphing into socialist theology along the lines of Karl Marx … perhaps, they may think that it will help later when most of the world will be ruled by a global socialist union.
Not the one-world government with the Anti-Christ, but the UN’s Global Socialist Union. The way things are going socially and with the American culture, now so lawless, no moral values, integrity gone, and a war against the church from outside and from inside. The lure of the world and its evil lawlessness has truly taken a hard-deep bite from the church and there is truly those who are born again believers who have left the biblical theology as they slipped from their intimate love relationship with Jesus and have sought the tolerance of liberal theology churches. knowing that liberal’s subculture will leave them alone and not mock their belief. They join the ranks that the liberals call tolerant. Tolerant of most things evil, as long as the elites call them okay. They have joined the ranks of those that have changed their view of the Bible being the inspired word of God, inerrant and infallible. Those who deny the virgin birth, the resurrection and being born anew by grace through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. These are the ones slipping away from their first love in Christ Jesus.
There was once a great Evangelist Dr. A.T. Pierson, and when he was asked: “Don’t you think the world is getting converted already?” his reply, “Well, I admit that the world has become a little churchy, but the church has become immensely worldly.”
The church at Ephesus was slipping away from Jesus, our first love, and the church has continued to slip, under the rise of and re-establishment of liberal theology, liberation theology. It has been allowed by God, I guess to keep us on our toes; only one problem of keeping us on our toes is that we have to have the ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. We are being destroyed from within and it seems like no one really cares. In general, there are only few preachers who preach the Bible against the wiles of liberalism in its various forms.
Conservative biblical churches are being torn apart by liberalism, post modernism … and the liberal global or one world government’s push through liberalism/socialism. Liberal theology and political liberalism mold well into socialism, and when the church begins to fall away from Jesus and the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God, they believe the lies of the false prophets, teachers and politicians of the world.
He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Christian church. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Christian.