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A Warning to Ephesus Christians by Chip Brogden

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A Warning to Ephesus Christians by Chip Brogden Empty A Warning to Ephesus Christians by Chip Brogden

Post  Admin on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 10:05 pm

A Warning to Ephesus Christians
by Chip Brogden

Take a look at the church in Ephesus. Jesus says of them:

"I know your works, and your labour, and your patience, and how you cannot bear them which are evil: and you have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and have borne, and have patience, and for My name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted" (Rev. 2:2,3).

Now that sounds like a good church. That is the kind of Church that would televise its services, would be really active in the community, doing good and preaching the truth. That is the kind of Church that would be reaching out and growing and really making a difference.

We might look at a church like that and think they are doing pretty well, but Jesus looks at this and acknowledges all the good things they are doing and says nevertheless....

Nevertheless! Something is missing. "You have lost something. You have lost your first love. The work of the Lord became more important than the Lord of the work. You have a lot of leaves but you don't have any fruit. I am not satisfied. In fact, I would rather you shut down altogether than continue to do so many good works in My Name when you have forgotten what it means to love Me and put Me first. Repent and go back and do the first things over again. If you do not repent, I will come, and I will take away your candlestick. That means you will no longer be able to give or receive light. I will no longer be in your midst, and I will no longer consider you as having anything to do with Me."

If that does not frighten you then you simply are not paying attention. It is very sobering. It is a wake up call.

The Church in Ephesus underscores that Jesus is seeking a specific outcome from those who are gathered in His Name. He will be patient. He will encourage you. He will warn you. He will work with you. If you repent He will take you deeper and deeper into His Purpose. But sooner of later if you do not bring forth the fruit then He just takes the candlestick away. He cursed the fig tree and it withered and died. Now when the judgment of God comes upon a group the meetings will continue, and the preachers will continue to preach, and the programs will continue to function, and the money will continue to be collected and spent, but there is no Light, no Life.

It isn't that Jesus has left them; He says you have left Me, your first love. "You seem to be getting along and having a good time without Me, so off you go. Keep playing church. But I have removed your candlestick."

Now if you are a member of the Church in Ephesus, and you hear this warning from the Lord and you repent, well and good. But if you do not see that church heed the warning to repent and return to its first love, you'll be sorry and you'll agonize over the situation and you'll plead with your friends to listen and obey the Lord - but if they don't repent, are you going to hang around and go down with them into the darkness? Not if you have any common sense.

Jesus said the servant will be be where the Master is. If Jesus says, "My glory is departing. I am no longer welcome here. I am leaving", then all faithful servants will say, "Well Lord, if You're leaving them we're leaving too. God forbid that we should continue alone and apart from You. God forbid that we should continue to support something that has come beneath Your judgment. We are the servants of the Lord - we are not the servants of the pastor or the servants of the church."

To the people you would say, "I love you and I pray for you, but it is time for me to go. I have to follow the Lord." Now that is what a faithful servant would say. And when the Master gets up and walks out then we will get up and leave also.

There are some good things about church. I'm not going to take the extreme position that there is nothing good about it. If it were that bad no one would want to be a part of it. But the majority of people still get something out of church, and I have come to the conclusion that spiritual babies still need a safe place to play and drink their milk and get their dirty diapers changed. You find that most people who have left the church do not hate everything about their former church. Most of them say they still love the people, and are concerned for the people. They do miss something of the fellowship they once thought they had. And sometimes they miss it so much that they do go and visit other churches, trying to fit in, trying to find a place. But try as they might, something in them just cannot go along with it anymore.

How do you explain this? Dissatisfaction. The bottom line is that a growing number of people have come to the conclusion that the social benefits of going to church can no longer compensate for the lack of spiritual life. People are tired of going to fig trees that hold out the promise of fruit but offer a hungry person nothing but leaves to eat. They've been eating leaves or chewing on bark, but there is no fruit, no sustenance, no nourishment.

One day they wake up and say, "No more. Whatever this place used to mean to me, whatever purpose it used to serve in my life, this place no longer represents the Lord Jesus. I can't fully explain it, and I don't completely understand why or how, but the religion of church is hindering my relationship with the Lord and it is time for me to leave..."


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