THE COMPLAINT OF GOD
Revelation 2:4, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." To understand this you must realize that the Spirit is not speaking to the original saints of Ephesus alone. This message is to the entire age which lasted about 120 years. Its message, then, is to all the generations in that span. Now history keeps repeating itself. In the generations of Israel we see revival in one generation, only to see the fires fading in the next. In the third generation, embers may be glowing slightly, but in the fourth there may be no vestige whatsoever of that original flame. Then God lights the fire again, and the same process is repeated. It is simply the manifestation of the truth that God has no grandchildren. Salvation is not passed on by natural birth any more than is there any truth to apostolic succession. It isn't in the Word. You start out with truly born-again believers, and when the next generation comes along they are no longer just plain Christians, but they have taken a denominational name and are now Baptists, Methodists, etc. That is exactly what they are, too. They are not Christians. You have to be born of the will of God, not the will of man, to be saved. But these folks are all coming together now by the will of man. I don't say that some of them aren't right with God. Not for a minute do I say that, but the original fire has died down. They are not the same any more.
The fervent desire to please God, the passion to know His Word, the cry for reaching out in the Spirit, all begins to fade and instead of that church being on fire with the fire of God it has cooled off and become a bit formal. That is what was happening back there to the Ephesians. They were getting a bit formal. The abandonment to God was dying out and the people weren't too careful about what God thought of them as they began to be careful about what the world thought of them. That second generation coming on was just like Israel. They demanded a king to be like the other nations. When they did that, they rejected God. But they did it anyway. That is the history of the church. When it thinks more of conforming to the world instead of conforming to God, it isn't long until you see them stop doing things they used to do, and start doing things they wouldn't do initially. They change their manner of dress, their attitudes and their behaviour. They get lax. That is what "Ephesus" means: relaxed - drifting.
That cycle of revival and death has never failed. All you have to do is recall this last move of God in the Spirit when men and women dressed like Christians, went to church, prayed all night, took to street corners and weren't ashamed of the manifestations of the Spirit. They left their old dead churches and worshipped in homes or old store buildings. They had reality. But it wasn't too long a time until they began to get enough money to build fine new churches. They put in a choir instead of singing unto God for themselves. They put gowns on the choir. They organized a movement and ran it by man. They soon began to read books that weren't fit to read. They let down the bars and goats came in and took over. The cry of joy was gone. The freedom of the Spirit was gone. Oh, they kept on with a form; but the fire had died down and the blackness of ashes is about all that is left.
A few moments ago I mentioned that John understood what it was to love God. That great apostle of love would certainly see it when the church began to lose that first love of God. In I John 5:3, he says, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments (His Word)." One little deviation from that Word was a step away from Christ. People say they love God, they go to church, they even shout and rejoice and sing and have a great emotional time. But when it is all over, watch and see if they are in that WORD, walking in it, living in it. If they go through all the other and then don't walk in that Word, they can say they love God but their lives tell another story. I wonder if John didn't see a lot of that before he died; people saying they loved God but not obeying His Word. Oh, Ephesian Church, something is happening to you. Someone is trying to either add to that Word or take from it. But they are doing it so subtly that you can't see it. They haven't made a move so big you can see it out there in the open. It is under cover, and they are bringing it by way of reason and human understanding and it will take over unless you refuse it. Go back to Pentecost before it is too late!
But as usual people don't heed God's warning. That revival fire built upon the sacred Word is so wonderful, and the manifestation of the Spirit so blessed, that a little fear creeps in and a whisper in the heart says, "How can we protect this truth we have? What can we do to see this revival goes on?" That is when the "antichrist spirit" comes in and whispers, "Look, you have the truth now, see that it doesn't get lost. Organize and set up your creed of what you believe. Put it all in a church manual." And they do it. They organize. They add to the Word. And they die just like Eve did for taking One wrong word. It's God's Word that brings life. And it's not what we say about the Word that counts, but it's what God said.
THE WARNING OF GOD
Revelation 2:5, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
God tells them to REMEMBER. Evidently something had left their minds. They had forgotten something. He told them to turn back in their minds to their point of origin. The origin of the first age was Pentecost. They had fallen from it. They had forgotten the glory and wonder of it. It was time to go back in mind and then in reality. Back to when they could say, "For me to live is Christ." Back to purity when Ananias and Sapphira were dealt with. Back to the Gate Beautiful. Oh, what a reproach it is to drift from God and countenance those acts that defile His Name. Let those who name His Name depart from sin and keep their vessels pure for God. Look at what you once were in your heart, and mind, and in your life. Then go back to it.
And what is the way back? The way is the way of repentance. If a sinner has to come to God by way of repentance then the lukewarm or backslider will have to repent that much more. Repent! Bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Prove it by your life. "If you do not repent," said God, "I will remove your lampstand." Certainly. A church in that condition can't give light to the world. Its light has turned to darkness. God will then take away its faithful messenger and its faithful shepherds and leave them to themselves, and they will go on talking about Christianity but be bereft of it.
Repent quickly! Don't hesitate! Evidently Ephesus did hesitate, for her life span was not very long. The glory of God decreased ever so rapidly. It was not long until the city was in ruins. Its glorious temple became a shapeless mass. The land became a marsh inhabited by water fowl; the population was gone except for a few unbelievers in a squalid village. There was not even ONE Christian left. The lamp was rent from its place.
Now it does not mean that she could not have repented. It does not mean that we cannot repent. We can. But it must be quickly. It must be a true heart cry to God in sorrow, and then God will restore. The glory shall come again. 7ch011.htm
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