Monday, August 29, 2011

Correction back to the heart of our first love

Correction back to the heart of our first love

S - Rev 2:2-5 (NASB)
2 'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance , and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary.4 'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.5 'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.

O -  This portion of the Revelations letter was to the church at Ephesus. It was Christ, via John, sending message of correction. The correction was one of recognition of their hard work,  affirmation of what they were doing correctly, and correction of that which they were not.   What Christ points out that they are doing correctly was not tolerating evil men.  They were testing so called apostles in their midst to ensuring they didn't have false leaders among them.  This is critical in a young immature church as well as a established and thriving church.   False teachers are rarely obvious, they are subtle in the way they infiltrate the congregation and lead people astray.   The correction is one of a "heart check" or pruning back to the heart of Christ.   Christ is telling the church to remember their first love, and passion as they received their salvation and calling to be a beacon to the community,  to spread the Gospel,  to be examples of God's love in how they love one another and their passion for the lost.  The warning comes along with the correction, failure to correct will cause the lamp stand (the church itself)  to be removed.

A -   The application is for  me to understand and live God's heart for his local church's to always remember who they are and to be continually pruning back to the heart of the calling of the local church, to be a place where people can come broken and separated from God, and to find Him, worship Him, and be healed by Him.   This is done by following two basic principles pointed out here in the scripture:
1.   Put to test those who are leading the disciples -    This is a critical thing to understand and do continuously in being the church.  Often times people are allowed to lead before they are ready  ("under developed leaders") .  These you can correct and equip when they begin to stray off the core values of the church.   The scripture is not speaking of these, but rather leaders who have false doctrine in which they operate under that, subtly they are  "selling" to the congregation.  The key for the shepherd leaders in the congregation is to collectively confront, and challenge those who directly or indirectly are violating kingdom principles and/or core values of the church.
2.  Correct/prune back to the heart -  The outgrowing the original heart seems to be a natural tendency of either growing  church's or long standing stagnant church's.   Over time, we are making subtle adjustments to deal with our changing circumstances, or even out of a heart to improve we are making many changes over time.  If we stepped back periodically at took a look we might see things as Christ see's things,  we have lost our first love.  For the local church, that might look like when we begin to worry more about our church service problems, and less about the problems of the people in the community in which we serve.   Pruning back to our first love, the call, the vision and the mission of the church periodically helps us keep our calling, before Christ removes His anointing on the church.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, through your apostle John.   I pray Lord that you would help me to apply in my life, wherever you would send me, so that I may remember your calling on my life, and help the local church remember who she is.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment