Revelation 2:1-7 – This is the Lord’s omniscient, and righteous, and spot-on evaluation of you:
“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:
I know your works, your labor, your patience, and 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; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 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. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 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” (NKJV).
1. Our culture might boast of their acceptance of certain people who are activists for sin, but you cannot tolerate those who are evil. You don’t shake their hands. You don’t accommodate to them. Jesus commends this about you. You firmly practice church discipline. You stand against all aberrations of human sexuality. You despise religious hypocrites. You are warriors against the cesspool of corruption. You separate yourselves from a world system in opposition to God, false teachers, and those who claim to be Christians but are in blatant disobedience and rebellion.
2. You declare the truth about false apostles. You test their doctrine. You expose their false gospel. You shed light on the lies. You are Bereans who compare religious leaders’ lives and creeds with the Scripture. You renounce those claiming the positions of religious authority but who do not follow the Bible. Like keen bloodhounds on the trails of heretics and wolves in sheep’s clothing, you sniff out deceit. You preach and teach discernment. Thank God for your relentless courage.
3. You labor long and hard for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ each week. You work like a slave in your ongoing toil. You have a full-time job in town and on top of that, you are involved in so many ministries in your local congregation. It exhausts you, but you do not give up. You grow weary in the work but not weary of the work. Others quit. But you do not. You persevere. You continually bear up under the pressure of service. And you don’t cave in to the criticism.
4. You are not afraid to demonstrate the h-word. You hate as Jesus hates. Specifically, you hate the doctrine and deeds that Jesus hates. You don’t give in to compromise. You don’t fall prey to spiritual treachery. The colors of your banner are black and white — not grey.
Thank God for those of you in Christ’s Church in Idaho Falls who display these qualities. You give your strength to sound doctrine, seeking to be a bastion for truth and orthodoxy. And in the midst of the Eastern Idahoan beehive, you are the busiest. You are not lazy. You just keep going, week after week, month after month, year after year.
But will you listen to where Jesus is deeply displeased with you? This might come as a shock. Jesus says to you, “I have against you. You have left your first love.”
You are not the same as when you first began. You have forgotten what is really important. The chief priority. You have wandered off the beautiful Greenbelt path, forsaking that which is most precious. Your heart is distant. Mechanical. You are just going through the motions. Business as usual. The sober reality is that God is going to shut down your business if things don’t change.
Do you find yourself grumpy? Joyless? Does Jesus taste as sweet to you as Orange Leaf yogurt? What was it like when you first became a Christian? How is your heart now? When was the last time that you gave yourself in reckless abandonment to the Lord? How often do you find yourself in the Lord’s presence where you just lose track of time?
Jesus shuts down the part of His Church where it is all head and no heart. You will not be in heaven if you do not love Jesus.
1. Remember. Do you remember what it was like to be eating out of a pig’s trough? Do you remember the days when you were in painful, shameful, helpless bondage? Do you remember what it was like to have the heaping, suffocating burden of your sins removed from you at the foot of the cross? Do you remember when the Lord found you in the Snake River high desert among the sagebrush, naked, lonely, and destitute?
2. Repent. Tell the Lord about the weakness of your love. Agree with Him about your idolatry. Turn from that sin which you have been holding with a steady grip. Embrace His love and forgiveness. King Jesus is everything. Jesus is the treasure. Jesus is what makes heaven actually heaven.
3. Do the first works. Prostrate yourself before Jesus. Talk to Jesus. Laugh with Jesus. Sing to Jesus. Start sharing all over again in Idaho Falls your Jesus story of amazing grace. And let Jesus know that there is not anything that you would not do for Him. Let this be the prayer to the majestic King who walks in the midst of His Church in Idaho Falls. Lord Jesus, send me anywhere, only go with me. In this city, be His golden love and light.