Preparing for the imminent return of Christ:
Consider the words spoken by the “…one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength” (Revelation 1:13b-16 ESV).
Apocalyptic literature frequently contains the use of “like” and “as,” for the author struggles to record, as best they possibly can, a vision which they are grappling to comprehend and to describe. It was “like” this, which is an attempt to describe what may be impossible to express.
What is written cannot begin to compare with what they actually witnessed.
Though this letter was addressed to each of the seven churches named in Revelation 2, of course, we find application for our own churches today, for these churches, though actual first-century churches, stand in as various pictures of what our own churches may still look like today.
Our circumstances may be different, but the application of the instructions given to them by Christ himself is still appropriate.
How does this apply to us?
The Lord Jesus said: “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (Revelation 2:1 ESV).
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. (Revelation 2:2-3 ESV).
Ephesus merits high praise. Consider your own church. Is this what occurs within the halls and walls of the church building and in the homes and daily lives of the members?
“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. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent“ (Revelation 2:4-5 ESV).
The church members of Ephesus had abandoned their first love. Church history indicates that this church may have included the apostle John, Mary the mother of Jesus, who was in his care, and possibly Mary Magdalene, who also cared for Jesus’ mother. I doubt the abandonment of their first love was true of this group of three, but the church itself, once prominent in that region, had grown cold.
Let’s consider where we are spiritually. Consider our churches. Are we merely going through the motions? Has our first love grown cold?In light of Christ's imminent return, let's consider where we are spiritually. Consider our churches. Are we merely going through the motions? Has our first love grown cold? #EndTimes #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Have we embraced the lie of Christian nationalism, subjugating our faith in Jesus to our politics, even though Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world?In light of Christ's imminent return, are we prepared? Or have we embraced the lie of Christian nationalism, subjugating our faith in Jesus to politics, even though Jesus' kingdom is not of this world? #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
The prescription is to “remember from where we have fallen” and once considered and examined, to “repent, and do the works we did at first.”
If we are a true believer and our church a true church, there will be action.
Turn around and go the other way (the meaning of “repent”), retrace your steps to when and how you loved the Lord with passion, couldn’t get enough of his Word, talked to him continually in prayer, and reached out in love and service to aid others. This is what a true believer would do in this situation.
If there is no repentance, the lampstand is removed, for faith was not genuine.
This “means that both in the near future and when Christ returns, they would lose their status as a church and Christ would treat them like apostate Israel.”1.
Lack of repentance in our lives is an indication of a lack of faith.Lack of repentance in our lives is an indication of a lack of faith. In light of Jesus' imminent return, how should we then live? #EndTimes #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Do we truly believe? What is the evidence?
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7 ESV)."He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God (Revelation 2:7 ESV). #conquer #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
- ESV Study Bible note on Revelation 2:5, portion on the lampstand.