Welcome to God First with Brian C. Thomas, a program committed to encouraging you to put God first while viewing life through the window of the Bible. Now, in honor of the one and only true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, let's join Brian C. Thomas for today's message.
Right, so this week we are coming together to resume our series in the book of Revelation. We come to the first of seven letters, letters that Jesus Christ is having John pinned by way of an angel. Jesus gave the word to the angel and the angel conveyed the word to John. And so John is writing an actual letter. And so we have to remember, remind ourselves that these are letters to seven literal churches that existed during this time.
The seven churches were in the land of Asia Minor, which is present-day Turkey. And so again, our Lord is giving the message and we will begin this week by looking at the first of the seven, what we're going to call the Loveless Church, the Loveless Church of Revelation, chapter two, verses one through seven. Heavenly Father, we thank you, Lord, for this day. We thank you, Lord Jesus, for your sacrifice and dying for our sins. Lord, we are forever grateful for you standing in our place, taking on the punishment that we deserve. And Lord, we are forever grateful. We just ask, Lord, that during this time that all things that are spoken, that it be nothing but sound doctrine, may you be honored and glorified in all things in your name, Jesus.
Amen. The Loveless Church. Turn your Bibles to Revelation, chapter two. We're going to look today at verses one through seven. Revelation chapter two, verses one through seven reads as follows.
To the angel of the Church of Ephesus writes, 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 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. 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 work. So 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. The Loveless Church of Revelation, Chapter two, if we go back up to verse one in which our Lord is opening this letter to the church, the church at Ephesus.
The Church of Jesus Christ was founded on the testimony of his personal deity. He stated in Matthew Chapter 16, verse 18. And I also say to you that you are Peter and on this rock, I will build my church in the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. So Jesus was speaking of the future and speaking of the church because he would protect the church. And he was saying that the gates of Hades would not prevail against it. And we look today and we certainly see the attempts of Hades trying to prevail against the church as we see so many doctrines that are of demons that are coming into the church trying to corrupt it.
But Jesus said there's no need to worry because they will not prevail. And we see this displayed in John's vision in which Christ is walking among the churches represented by seven golden lampstands. It is Jesus Christ who is the source of light. He gives light to the church to shine in a world that is spiritually darkened by sin.
And if you've ever experienced for those of us who are born again, believers and people meet you and they say there's something about you that I just see and I feel. Well, that is that light that comes from Jesus Christ. That is that light that shows the world that we have the Holy Spirit that is indwelling us. And so people see that light and they feel it. And we must shine our light in this spiritually darkened world because as we look around today, I must admit that as I've studied prophecy for a number of years, for decades now, back to when I was 10 years old and now I'm in my upper 40s and I will admit I did not expect to see the world become as dark as what I have witnessed in my lifetime. I really thought that we would be taken out of here by this point and and we just look at the darkness. We look at the way in which people are out on the streets and and they're in a frenzy over the the overturning of Roe versus Wade.
People are just screaming and they're irreconcilable because they don't have the so-called right as they perceive it to take the life of an unborn child. And so there is this this this seeing that is darkening in the world is getting darker and darker. But as I state that I say don't fret because as the late Pastor Adrian Rogers used to state that the world is getting gloriously dark. And what he meant by that is as the world gets dark, that lets us know that Christ is coming soon because Jesus foretold us in his word.
Things would become this way prior to his return. So we need not fret but we must shine our light in this spiritually sin-sick world. So as we noted previously in previous messages that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. And these words that we see here are for the Church of Ephesus, but it will also be relevant to future churches, including the times in which we are living in today.
Because remember John was writing this way back in the first century. So it was to a literal specific church, but the message is still relevant to us today and has been relevant to churches throughout the past 2,000 years since John first pinned this message from our Lord Jesus Christ. The church at Ephesus was considered to be one of the finest and largest churches in the New Testament by scholars. It was started by the Apostle Paul at the end of his second missionary journey. You don't have to turn there, but just make a note of Acts chapter 18 verses 18 through 20, which tells of the second missionary of the Apostle Paul.
This church at Ephesus is located in an evil city that was given over to the worship of the goddess Artemis. And the Apostle Paul, he practiced to minister publicly from house to house with humility and tears. And this church took on that characteristic of their leader, the Apostle Paul.
Now, the word Ephesus means desired one. It was the most desirable of all the churches or church ages. And again, it was characterized by diligent evangelism. And that diligent evangelism came about because of the large number of Jewish converts that were at the church.
And that is something that we as as Gentiles, I think, really don't give the Jewish nation and the Jewish people their rightful due in. And we don't realize oftentimes that the early church was made primarily of Jews and these Jewish converts, these Jews that did recognize that Jesus Christ was truly the Messiah, the true Lord and savior. They were on fire for sharing it with the word. And so they evangelized.
They went out in large numbers. And so, again, we as the church, we owe a lot to our Jewish brothers and sisters because it is through the Jews from which comes the Bible. It is through the Jews through which comes Jesus Christ. Contrary to what the the black Hebrew Israelites say, Jesus Christ was and is a Jewish person. The Bible says clearly he came through the tribe of Judah.
So dismiss all the nonsense out there. You hear people saying that Jesus was a black man or that Jesus was any other ethnic group. Jesus is and was a Jew.
And so they were on fire. These early Jewish people about evangelizing and sharing the word of our great Lord Jesus Christ. And we will see in Revelation Chapter seven how the one hundred and forty four thousand special Jews that God will have a sign to evangelize during the seven year tribulation.
They will do that in the same manner as these early Jews did in the first century church. And the thing is, folks, we should all have that zeal. We should all be on fire to tell people about Jesus Christ, to be excited about our great Lord. And I heard an account once of a man who he went to church and he was listening to the pastor challenging the parishioners and on witnessing to the unsaved. And the pastor stated that you should be ashamed if you've been a Christian for a number of years, but have never led anyone to Christ. And so this man, feeling both guilt and eagerness, this man was a barber, by the way.
He decided that he would witness to the very first person who sat in his chair on Monday morning. That person turned out to be a customer who came in for a shave. Now, this barber didn't use the type of raises that most men use today. He instead used the old fashioned long straight edge razor.
And if anyone knows anything about those, those things can do some serious damage if you don't know what you're doing with it. And so so as the barber gathered his thoughts to witness to the man, he picked up the razor, turned to the man and asked, friend, are you ready to meet God? And so the man bolted out the door never to return. You see, folks, it is OK for us to be eager and we should be eager in about sharing God's word to the lost and dying world. But but we must also remember to have tact so that we don't drive people away because we want to win souls to Christ.
We don't want to run them away. But the question is today, are you excited about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ? If so, turn to God, turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to effectively fulfill the Greek commission. But folks, again, the church takes on the characteristics of its founder, of its leader. I was once a part of a church in which the pastor did not believe in prayer before service. And what I mean by that is it was it was requested that he would gather all the church leaders together and all the participants on the program to pray before going out for the service so that everyone would be in unity. And so that so that everyone would be looking to the Holy Spirit so that the service would go in the way in which the Holy Spirit wanted. But he rejected that. He didn't want to do it. He also was against intercessory prayer and is mind blowing to think that a pastor would be opposed to these types of prayers.
But but that was the case. And so the congregation followed suit. And well, sadly, that church today is dying a slow death because when you're not willing to pray, you're not bringing in the spirit into the congregation, into the service, which we should be the center. The spirit should be driving us. The Holy Spirit is to point us to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So if you're not calling on him, then what are you calling on? If you're not calling and looking to the Holy Spirit to guide you, you're really just going through the motions.
It's really just the ceremony. But the thing we must all remember is that the ultimate leader of the church is Jesus Christ. And I cringe when I hear some pastors speak and they say, well, my church, my church, this and my church, that the truth of the matter is no pastor has his own church. Jesus Christ has simply appointed you there to to lead and to give his message.
But ultimately, the supreme leader is Jesus Christ. And for those church bodies and pastors that recognize that and follow that, then those are effective churches. But just like this church at Ephesus, they took on the characteristics of the apostle Paul in evangelizing. And so whether it's positive or negative, you often see congregations take on the character of their leader. And so it's important for leaders to portray and convey the right things when it comes to following our Lord. In verse two of our main text, Revelation Chapter two, 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. So once again, the speaker in this verse is Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ commended this early church for their faithful work of service. In Christ, our Lord, he notices all acts of labor. Matthew Chapter 10, verse 42 states. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, surely I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward. Jesus Christ recognizes the things that we do, our labor, our works.
Now, let me be clear for anyone that might misunderstand. We cannot work our way into heaven. You cannot earn eternal life through your works. The only way we are saved is by by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But once we are saved, our works do determine our level of rewards in eternity.
And Jesus Christ makes note of our works. And I was in a grocery store one day and I was just shopping and looking around and I happened to notice this man. And, you know, sometimes how when someone is looking at you, you kind of feel it or you sense it. And so I felt that and sensed it. And I look back at this man and I noticed he was looking at me. And so I sort of made eye contact with him and just gave him a nod as a greeting and a smile.
And I continue shopping. But a few moments later, I turned and I noticed the man was still looking at me. And so he then began to approach me. And as he approached me, he started telling me of how he had been going through hard times. He had been having hardships and it's been hard for him to make ends meet.
And he had a wife and children at home. And he was asking if I could purchase groceries for him. And he said that if I would do so, he would come to my house and do yard work for me. He would pay me back through washing my car, whatever it was I wanted.
He would do. But he said that was all he had to offer was labor. And so I told the man, don't worry about it.
Go in and shop. Get everything that you need for your household, because I saw an opportunity to help someone for their physical needs, but also for their spiritual needs. I saw an opportunity for evangelism and I saw an opportunity again to to help someone who is truly in physical need. And we sometimes as believers can sort of push the the physical need to the side and say we need to just focus on the spiritual. But we are physical people. We are physical beings that that do need those physical needs met without food.
We die. And so I told the man to go and do a shopping and I said, I'll meet you at the self checkout when you're done. And a few moments later, we both completed our shopping and I met him there and I paid for his groceries. And as we were walking out, he again was offering, what can he do? Can he wash my car?
Can he do something? And I told him, I said, sir, don't worry about any of that. I said, there's just one thing that I want you to do. And I told him, I said, I want you to go home and tell your wife and your children that this was done today. You were blessed today because of Jesus Christ.
I said, that is what I want you to tell them. And so I saw that as an opportunity to share Christ along with meeting a need. And the thing about it is I didn't do it for the purpose of getting the notch under my belt in the eyes of our Lord.
I did it because I even though I didn't know this man or his family, I loved him. My heart was touched by his situation and I wanted to meet the physical need and and even more importantly, the spiritual need of making sure that they inherit eternal life. And so Christ keeps record, though, of that type of thing when we do that, even though we're not doing it for the sake, again, of getting another notch under our belt. But but Christ keeps record of our labor. And so he is making notes here of the works from this church at Ephesus. Now, the word church in the Greek is ecclesia, which literally means called out ones. So a true church is in the world, but not of the world. And this church adhered to Romans 16, 17.
Turn your Bibles there with me to Romans chapter 16, verse 17. The word states, Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned and avoid them. This is almost unheard of in churches today.
To. See those who are causing divisions and offenses and and point them out in the Bible says avoid them. That's almost unheard of in churches today.
But you see, Satan had planted many deceivers, quote unquote apostles in the early church, and he's planning deceivers in the churches today that are speaking doctrines of demons. And so when we look at this church at Ephesus of the seven churches that we're going to look at in chapters two and three, this is the only church in which references to the apostles were made. Thus, it has the designation, the apostolic church.
The apostolic church was the time period from the day of Pentecost, which was 30 A.D. to the end of the century, 100 A.D. Now, we also have to note that the early church had no written copies of the scriptures. A church was considered fortunate to have just one copy, which was laboriously hand copied. And so the people had to memorize scripture. But we today, how many Bibles do we have? Most households have Bibles that are just collecting dust. But we don't so we don't have that excuse that we don't know the word that we don't know the scripture.
But but they had to to hand copy. And it was, again, considered a fortunate church, one who who actually had a hand copy of the scriptures on hand. And for those that did not, they had to memorize the scriptures. So the church at Ephesus tried the spirits of these so-called apostles and were not deceived. And so Jesus is commending them for that. And again, we have false apostles continuing in the church today, but many do not test their spirits. Many just say, OK, well, he's in the pulpit preaching. He must be a man of God. But don't don't trust the word of everyone that calls themselves a pastor or an apostle or this or that.
We have to test them. Have to test their spirits, because Matthew, chapter seven, verse 16 says you will know them by their fruits. So so test those who say they are of God. That is scriptural.
You're not doing anything wrong. There are some people that say, well, if you're if you're testing to to see if he truly is a person of God, then then that's offensive. That's wrong. But that's not what the scripture says. But the church at Ephesus, they tested those who claim to be apostles and based on their fruits, they were found to be false. And so Jesus is commending them for doing so. Verse three of Revelation, chapter two. You have persevered and have patience and have labored for my name's sake and have not become weary. Notice that our Lord repeats the words from verse two.
Patience and labor. God expects us to work. There are some people out there who are Christians, but they're lazy. They don't want to work. They don't want to work in the secular world. They don't want to work for the kingdom of God.
They just want to have their own desires and needs met. And so, you know, God is not pleased with that. You are listening to Brian C. Thomas on God First. For more of Brian's teachings, please visit Godfirst.org to browse our extensive library of material. There you will find devotionals, blogs, articles and audio messages available as MP3 downloads on various topics such as salvation, Bible prophecy, marriage and the significance of Lesson Israel, just to name a few.
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God says here, your patience and labor is repeated, showing the emphasis of what God expects. And I was talking to a group of people not too long ago and and the discussion came up about homosexuality. And one lady was really, really she seemed to be almost be justifying homosexuality and that people can't come out of it. And there was another lady that was trying to explain that is seeing and we must call out seeing and people must turn away and repent. And so the one who was saying that we must turn away from it and that is seeing she she began to get flustered and her voice started to elevate and talking to the lady who kept seeming to to justify that scene.
And and I was thinking to myself. There are some people that are not as mature in their walk with Christ, or there are some people who are not even saved. And so there are some things that they're not going to see.
It's not going to be it's not going to come as easy for them. And so it's important for us to have patience because we want to to win them to the way of the Lord. But if we start losing our patience and we get flustered and we get upset, we get angry, our voices begin to rise, then that's going to turn that person away.
But the thing about it is I'm not saying you go soft on seeing I'm not saying that at all. What I mean is we have to be led by the Holy Spirit and Jesus did get angry. So I'm not saying there's never a time to get angry, but even in anger, you can still have patience. There's a thing called righteous anger. So you can become righteously angry, but you still have the proper level of patience. And Jesus displayed that perfectly, of course, because he is God. And so we as believers, we don't just let things go on forever because we say, well, we're going to be patient. Now, there comes a point in time where you have to say, OK, wrongdoing is wrongdoing. You have to put it to an end just like Jesus did. But he is commending this church as a faithful, patient church with labor.
And they're a consistent church. And I'm a person that certainly likes steady consistency and faithful behavior, even to the point of sports. I'm a big sports fan. I love basketball.
And I remember as a Tar Heels fan, basketball, Tar Heels basketball fan years ago, and they had the worst season in school history in which they went eight and 20. But even in the midst of that, I stayed with my team. And there are some people out there, they're ready to jump ship. When the team starts getting bad, they'll they'll jump to another team.
Whoever's on top, that's what they go with. But no, I like to be consistent and faithful. And in the question that we need to ask ourselves is, are you faithful to the Lord? Because he is faithful to those who are faithful to him. As a matter of fact, he is faithful regardless of whether you are faithful or not, because that is just his character.
That is his nature. God is perfect and he is always faithful. Are you faithful to the Lord? He is commending this church at Ephesus for their faithfulness, for their patience, their love. He says in verse four, nevertheless, I have this against you that you have left your first love. So he's commending them for their patience, their labor.
But he's saying you've left your first love. And this is the only condemnation against this church. We have to remember that the generation of the apostles had died with the exception of John by this point. So their children had come along the next generation and they forgot about God. They didn't have the same zeal for the Lord in which the apostles had that generation had.
The Ephesians loved the Lord, but the zeal had gone. It's similar to in marriages where you get married and you're excited about this person and you're you're talking to them all the time. They're always on your mind and you're sending them text messages and notes and emails and you're calling them and you're always thinking about them and you're taking them out on dates. But then you get married and over time you start to lose that zeal.
You start to take the person for granted and you get in this rut and then there becomes a distance between the two. And we must caution against that in marriage. And likewise, we must caution to guard against it when it comes to our Lord. Never stop appreciating the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Have that same excitement when you first met him, when you first came to know him and received him as Lord and Savior. Never lose that enthusiasm and that excitement that Jesus Christ brings when we think about what he has done for us. Verse five of Revelation, chapter two. 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. So Jesus instructs them to do three things. He says first to remember, then he says to repent and he says to do the first works. Christ knows a church by its works. John 14, 15 says, if you love me, keep my commandments. That's what Jesus said is the litmus test. He said, if you love him, you're going to keep his commandments. So you have to ask yourself the question, are you keeping the commandments of our Lord? That is what he says would be the test as to whether you love him or not. Have you lost that zeal for him?
Have you lost that excitement? He says, again, remember the things that you did in the past and repent for not doing those things. And then he says, go back and do what you did in the beginning. It's like when you first came to Christ and you were excited and you would arrive for church service early because you wanted to get a seat in which you could be in a spot to make sure you got the word and you were excited about it. But now you drag in late. You used to pray all the time in the mornings and in the evenings and throughout the day.
But now you may just give a quick little something before you close your eyes to go to sleep. Jesus says, go back to do the things that you did in the beginning when you first came to know me. When you first accepted Christ, how you were reading your Bible daily, how you were praying regularly, how you were attending church, you were helping the poor, you evangelize it.
He says, go back to doing those things. Verse six, Revelation Chapter two. But this you have that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. This is a very interesting text in that there are a lot of different theories out there concerning the Nicolaitans and what our Lord was speaking of different theories out there.
So I'm going to present one one. Nicolaitans comes from two Greek words, Nico, meaning to conquer or overthrow, and Leos, which means the people laity. So the followers of Nicolai had two major heretical views in the theory of some. Number one, it was separating spiritual and physical nature to give a license to sin. So the people would say, OK, spiritually, I'm over here with with the Lord, but physically I have the need for sex.
I have the desires to to do this and desire to do that. And so they would take it as a license to sin, which is heretical. And then secondly, it was to establish an ecclesiastical order. So this latter heresy is known as Nicolaitanism, and this involved the setting up of bishops and archbishops and cardinals and popes.
And it was simply unscriptural. Now, let me clarify that there is an order for the church. There is an order in God's ways. But what they did was they set up these positions in order to lord over the people in order to rule over the people. And that's not biblical.
That's not scriptural. God puts people in positions of leadership to point people to him. But what mankind often does is point people to themselves. And so what happened is they enslaved from a figurative speaking term.
They enslaved the people. By saying that they were the ones who would spiritually determine the spiritual success of the church and it caused people to look to the men to solve their problems rather than to the Holy Spirit. Now, again, we are to look to each other, to lean on each other. We go to the elders and the pastors and different ones. And even if you don't have an official title, a position in the church, we go to each other for prayer and for support. But ultimately, we are looking to the Holy Spirit to guide us. But what was happening here was, no, they weren't saying go past the man.
They that was where it stopped. So the men were the ones who determine the spiritual success of the church. The church at Ephesus resisted these practices successfully, because what happens is this this type of thing brings about the rise of denominations. And there's so many denominations out there today.
And I think about people who come from other faiths. So maybe people who were were raised in an area where where there was no Christianity, a strong presence of Christianity. And and they're trying to to learn and they come to receive and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And then they began looking around for a church home. So they look over there and there's the Methodist. And then they look over here and there's the Lutheran. And then over there is the Baptist.
And it goes on and on and on. And the apostle Paul wrote about this. He he wrote against sectarianism, which is division. And that's what denominations has done. It has divided the church, divided the body. Because Paul wrote that some will say, well, I am appalled and then others will say I'm over Paulus. He said, no, we're not to do that now. It's one thing to say, OK, well, a certain preacher, I can follow their teaching better or I understand where they're coming from better.
I sort of prefer their teaching method over another. That's that's OK. But when you start dividing to say, well, I'm following him, then you've taken your eyes off of Christ and you've started looking to man. And the Bible forbids us doing that.
And so the church at Ephesus successfully resisted this. It's like today when the Catholics, they they teach to go to the priests rather than directly to Jesus Christ. But we are able to go directly to Jesus. We don't have to go to or through a man to get to God.
And so we are to resist and we are to to hate these manmade hierarchies that are are done to enslave people for those who are who are seeking power. And again, the church at Ephesus did this. And so Jesus committed them for it. Verse seven, 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. So Jesus often used this statement in his parables, and it implies three types of individuals. Those without ears, those who are dull of hearing, and then those who are willing to hear.
Again, folks, this is figurative language that we are speaking of here. It's like you think about a child as a parent or sometimes it happens with a spouse when you're talking to someone and they tune you out. They hear you, but then they don't hear you. And I can remember times with my my son in which it would be getting close to bedtime. And I might go to him while he's doing something, maybe play in a game or watching something on television. And I say, son, it's 15 minutes to bedtime.
So keep your eye on the clock and start wrapping things up. And he'll respond to say something like, OK, you know, he'll he'll acknowledge that he that he heard something. And then I'll ask him, I say, what did I just say?
He'll kind of pause and say, what did you say that? And so he heard words, he heard sounds and he even responded to sounds, but he didn't perceive what it was that I was saying. He didn't digest because his mind, his attention was somewhere else.
And that is the case with a lot of people today. Jesus is speaking, but our minds and our attentions are on things of the world. We hear the words, but we don't perceive the words. We don't take it to heart. We don't apply what Jesus is saying. And so he's saying that if you have ears, which we do have, he says, then hear what I am saying. That is what he was telling this church at Ephesus. Hear what I'm saying. Repent.
Go back to doing the things that you did in the beginning. And he says that for those who do, you will be able to partake in the tree of life. And this is the tree that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from after their sin in the garden. And overcomers are only those who are born again by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So the question today is, are you listening and are you adhering to the words of Christ? Are you born again, which results in eternal life? And I encourage you, if you've never received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, come to him today.
Because. For those of us who have received him. Even if life has had some struggles, even if life has had some pains, which the Bible forewarns us is that if you're going to be a follower of Christ, you are going to have tribulation.
It doesn't say if it tells you it's going to come. There's going to be persecution. Jesus said, if they hated me first, then they're going to hate you, too. So there is going to be trouble in your life if you follow Jesus Christ. That's just a given because Satan is out to get you. But he says that if you receive him, the best is yet to come. You have a perfect eternity that is awaiting living in the presence of our Almighty Lord, where you can partake of the tree of life, which is only allowed for those who have eternal life.
And so I urge you to come to him today. Because if you have not received him as Lord and Savior, then your future is going to be eternal damnation in the lake of fire. You say, well, why is that? Well, simply put, the Bible says the wages of sin is death. So when Adam and Eve sin, they had to be. Death as the price for that sin. And so Adam and Eve sin was passed along throughout history, throughout everyone else that was born generation after generation. And the only way that sin could be atoned for was a perfect sacrifice, the death of a perfect human being. And because no human being that was born of the conception of man and woman, no human being could do it. God himself said, OK, I'm going to do it.
I'm going to become a human being, go to the earth and die the perfect sacrificial death. And so in doing that, by way of the of Jesus Christ, by way of our Lord Jesus Christ, he paid the sin debt. And so that that that takes care of it in the eyes of the father. Sin is is atoned for. But the only way by which it will be atoned for in your life individually is that you have to accept what Jesus Christ did. You have to accept his his death at Calvary. And for those of us who do, then we don't have to pay the price anymore. Jesus already did it for us. But if you reject him, that means you have to pay the price with your own life. And because you're not perfect, because you have sin, then your death means eternal damnation.
That's forever, folks. So I heard you come to Jesus, give your life to him while you still have breath in your body. For those of us who are believers of Christ, I want you to examine your walk with him today and ask yourself the question, have you left your first love? As individuals now as a church, examine the walk with Christ today and ask the question, are you a loveless church? How do you treat visitors that come in? Do you welcome them in? Do you escort them to a seat?
Do you talk with them and get to know them or do you just leave them to go on their own way? Are you more concerned with business matters than you are with winning souls to Christ? I know of a church in which when it came to the business meeting, people were all passionate and they were all worked up and fired up and and arguing opinions and this and that. And then someone said, well, how many people have we baptized in the past two years?
And they went and looked in the log and there was none. And so that that tells you that, yes, there is a business side to church matters. But your number one priority should be to win souls and to make disciples. So if you're more concerned about business matters, if that's the the characteristic of your church, then there needs to be a change.
A change needs to be made because things are out of order, things are out of priority. So I want to urge you today, just like Jesus said, to repent. Remember the things that you did in the beginning, repent and return to your first love. Pray to draw back closer to him. Make Bible reading a priority again. Make church attendance a priority again.
Make serving your fellow man a priority again. And make sharing Jesus Christ with a loss in dying world a priority again. That is what our Lord is calling us to do.
Let us pray. Heavenly Father, we come to you today, Lord. And we want to be honest and transparent with ourselves in asking and asking the question to ourselves, have we left our first love? Lord, are we really dedicated to you in the way we should be? Are are we really dedicated to you in the way that we once were? And again, that's as individuals and as a church body. So, Lord, we ask that if we are not doing the things that we used to do, the things that you would have us to do, we ask, Lord, that you would show us, Lord. And then we ask to repent. We ask for repentance. And, Lord, we say we want to draw back closer to you.
We want to have that zeal that we have had in the beginning where we were excited about meeting you and we were excited about telling others about you. We were excited about spending time with you in prayer and in worship and in reading the Bible. And so, Lord, we just ask that you would place it upon our hearts to allow us to regain that zeal or to return to you our first love. So, Lord, we thank you today for your word. We thank you for your many blessings.
We thank you, Lord, most of all, for dying, for our sins, for for paying the sin debt so that we can have eternal life. Because if it were not for you, if you had chosen to to not come out of heaven, then we would all be headed for eternal damnation. If you had decided to come down from the cross, if you would have said this, this suffering is just too much, it's too much to bear.
And if you would have said, no, I'm not going through with it, then we all would be headed for eternal damnation. But, Lord, it wasn't the nails that held you to the cross. It was your love that held you there. Your love for us.
Wretched, fallen sinners. You did that because of love. And there's no greater love than what is found in you. And so, Lord, we are just thankful for what you have done for us. And not only in dying for our sins, but in this life, the way you bless us, Lord, the way you allow the sun to shine on us, the way you provide us with with food, with finances, with with clothing, with lodging. Lord, you've been great to us.
There's no words that can truly convey how great you have been. And so, Lord, we are just forever thankful. And we look forward to the day when we will stand before you in your presence and we will be able to take the crowns that you present to us and we will place them at your feet to worship you. And we will just fall in all of you, our great Lord and King. So, Lord, we look forward to that day when we will see you face to face, when you will come back for your church. And so until then, Lord, we remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, blessings over the great nation of Israel and to the only wise God. Be glory through Jesus Christ forever.
Amen. You've been listening to the Bible teacher, Brian C. Thomas, founder and president of God First. Brian and God first reserve all copyright protection under applicable law. Our copyright policy is available at our Web site, God first dot org. Until next time, remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Bless God's great nation of Israel and seek first the kingdom of God. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-25 18:07:35 / 2023-05-25 18:24:22 / 17