Daily Archives: February 18, 2013

Control

Scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own expectations. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.”(Proverbs 3:5-11)

Many people want to have everything under control, or at least believe they do. It feels predictable; it feels safe. At least we hope those feelings will result from having control of our lives. And though we should know better, it is our human nature to crave control…..

Click here to read more .

Just for You

Letting the Holy Spirit be your constant companion and helper means that no task God gives you will ever be too big. Click this link to learn about more about letting the Holy Spirit guide you. New Believer’s Guide!

Personal Help

You might have questions about surrendering your life to God. You might also need help and guidance as you begin to give up things you control to God. We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out. Just click here to share your story. You will hear from someone shortly!

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week:
•Praise God for His guidance, faithfulness and unconditional love.
•That God will show you the ways you have been trying to control your life.
•Ask God to take control of your life, and surrender your fear and anxiety to Him.
•That God will heal your body and renew your spirit during your rest period
•That God will forgive you for all your past, present and future sins.
•That God will deliver you from evil and keep you on the narrow path.

GodLife Family

Where can you talk about various needs around the world and figure out how you can help meet them in your community? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page, where we can daily gather to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!

‘America needs the Ten Commandments’ – WND founder launches national billboard campaign featuring the moral law

WASHINGTON – America has turned from God and has forgotten right from wrong,  says WND founder Joseph Farah, who is announcing the launch of a dramatic new  national billboard campaign featuring the Ten Commandments to help awaken  believers and non-believers alike to “the wickedness and evil that abound in our  country.”

The campaign kicks off this week with 11 major billboards – all in the heart  of what some call “sin city,” Las Vegas. Farah  is asking for contributions from those who recognize the Ten Commandments  represent the glue that holds civilization together to take the campaign  nationwide.

“The problem is America is not limited to atheists, agnostics, cults and  non-believers,” says Farah. “In fact, the biggest problem America has is with  those who call themselves believers but who act no differently than the  worldliest individuals on the planet. You can call these people backslidden. You  can call them false converts. Or you can call them undiscipled, nominal  believers. What they all have in common is they are not in obedience to God.  They are not even trying to follow the most basic moral law, as Jesus and the  prophets all instructed.”

With that in mind, Farah  is planning to erect hundreds of Ten Commandments billboards around the country  in a move that is sure to annoy the American Civil Liberties Union and the  organized atheists with the help of like-minded and like-spirited  partners.

“The goal is two-fold,” Farah says. “I want to prick the consciences of  believers and non-believers alike, and I want Americans to see the basis of all  our laws as handed down by God at Mount Sinai in hopes they will repent of their  sins and turn back to their Creator.”

America has never needed a campaign like this so badly, he says.

“The Ten Commandments have been banished from our schools,” says Farah. “They’ve been banished from our courtrooms and law schools. They’ve even been  banished from some of our churches and synagogues. Look what has become of  America since. Maybe it’s time to roll them out on highways and byways, in big  cities and small towns so no one is without excuse as to the moral code the One  True God gave us to govern ourselves.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/america-needs-the-ten-commandments/

5 Homeland Security ‘Bots Coming To Spy On You (If They Aren’t Already)

It’s been 10 years since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) started up operations. During that decade, DHS has moved to the forefront of funding and deploying the robots and drones that could be coming soon to a neighborhood near you… Click here for full story

Muslim Villagers Attack Church in Egypt

Morning Star News reports:

Muslim villagers in Egypt’s Fayoum Province attacked a church this weekend – pelting four Christians with rocks, setting parts of the church building on fire and tearing down a cross atop the structure, witnesses said.

http://morningstarnews.org/2013/02/muslim-villagers-in-egypt-attack-church/

Chinese Preacher Sues Police After Being Arrested For ‘Harming Social Order’ With Hymn-Singing

Christian News Network (CNN) reports the story of Cao Nan, 39, a Chinese preacher who recently was arrested “for preaching and singing hymns in a public park without prior government authorization.” Nan was taken into custody last December and was “held for ten days under the charge of ‘conducting activities in the name of religion that harm society.'”

According to the CNN report:

Following a recent statement by the Chinese government that the nation’s religious policies would remain unchanged, Nan decided to file a lawsuit and challenge the actions of police. In his complaint, he asserts that the Christians were peaceful and caused no harmed to anyone in the area. Nan also states that he has preached in the city over 100 times, and only a few of those times has he been reprimanded by police. Source

It is against the law in China to worship at an unregistered church. Nan’s actions come at an interesting time, as the human rights group ChinaAid recently released its 2012 annual report on “Chinese Government Persecution of Christians & Churches in Mainland China.” Read more of this post

Four Christian Missionaries Arrested in Libya

The Christian Post reports:

Libyan authorities have arrested four foreigners on suspicion of distributing Christian books and proselytizing in the eastern city of Benghazi. Evangelism in the “100 percent Muslim” nation is a crime, assert police, who have allowed Islamist extremists to drive Christian out of Libya.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/libya-arrests-four-suspected-christian-missionaries-90218/

Benny Hinn Ministries Reports ‘Amazing Revival’ in Brazil; Hinn’s Son Arrested for Assaulting Man During Event

Evangelist Benny Hinn is known for his massive “healing” crusades which are held all over the world. Most recently, Hinn traveled to Brazil, where Benny Hinn Ministries (BHM) reports that “an amazing revival” is taking place.

During the 16 February crusade in Manaus, however, it is reported that Benny Hinn’s son, Joshua, was arrested, along with two of Hinn’s bodyguards, for assaulting a deaf man who tried to approach the stage. Read more of this post

Retail Apocalypse: Why Are Major Retail Chains All Over America Collapsing?

If the economy is improving, then why are many of the largest retail chains in America closing hundreds of stores? When I was growing up, Sears, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack were all considered to be unstoppable retail powerhouses. But now it is being projected that all of them will close hundreds of stores before the end of 2013. Even Wal-Mart is running into problems. A recent internal Wal-Mart memo that was leaked to Bloomberg described February sales as a “total disaster”. So why is this happening? Why are major retail chains all over America collapsing? Is the “retail apocalypse” upon us? Well, the truth is that this is just another sign that the U.S. economy is falling apart right in front of our eyes. Incomes are declining, taxes are going up, government dependence is at an all-time high, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is employed has been steadily falling since 2006. The top 10% of all income earners in the U.S. are still doing very well, but most U.S. consumers are either flat broke or are drowning in debt. The large disposable incomes that the big retail chains have depended upon in the past simply are not there anymore. So retail chains all over the United States are now closing up unprofitable stores. This is especially true in low income areas. (Read More….)

Five Tools To Protect Your Privacy Online

Online privacy is becoming more important by the day. And nobody is going to give it to you, you have to take steps yourself to secure it.

Below are five different tools and services that will get you started:

http://www.businessinsider.com/five-tools-to-protect-your-privacy-online-2013-2

23% Of America Is Illiterate

Following on the heels of the dumbing down of the State of the Union speech we noted yesterday, we thought a simple visualization of just how stunningly poor our nation’s reading skills really are would be useful. One in five Americans lacks the basic reading skills beyond a 4th grade level – are you one of them?

Source: http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-13/23-america-illiterate

9 Things You Should Know About George Washington (and his Birthday)

Today in the United States is the federal holiday known as Washington’s Birthday (not “Presidents Day—see item #1). In honor of George Washington’s birthday, here are 9 things you should know about America’s foremost founding father.

1. Although some state and local governments and private businesses often refer to today as President’s Day, the legal public holiday is designated as “Washington’s Birthday” in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code. The observance of Washington’s birthday was made official in 1885 when President Chester A. Arthur signed a bill establishing it as a federal holiday.*

2. Washington was actually born on February 11, 1732, under the Julian calendar in effect at the time he was born. But his birthday is considered to be February 22 under the Gregorian calendar which was adopted throughout the British Empire in 1752.

3. Although Washington wore false teeth, they were not made out of wood. One set of teeth created by his dentist, included a cow’s tooth, one of Washington’s teeth, hippopotamus ivory, metal, and springs.

4. Washington also never wore a wig, chopped down a cherry tree, or threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River (which is over a mile wide).

5. Although his religious beliefs are still a topic of heated debate, evidence of Washington’s religious life would warrant calling him a “deistic Christian.” Although he was raised in the Anglican Church and frequently attended services, Washington was never confirmed and consistently refused to take Holy Communion. He often used deistic language in reference to God and never used the terms “Jesus” or “Christ” in his correspondence or public communications. (The most famous reference came in a 1779 letter to a delegation of Indians, but the letter was in the handwriting of an aide and most historians argue that the letter was written by the aide rather than Washington).

6. Washington operated the largest liquor distillery in the country during the 18th century. In 1799, Washington’s distillery produced almost 11,000 gallons of whiskey, valued at $7,500 (approximately $120,000 today). The average Virginia distillery produced about 650 gallons of whiskey per year which was valued at about $460.

7. During the French and Indian War, Washington had two horses shot out from beneath him and found four bullet holes in his coat. However, despite many close calls he was never injured in any of the military actions he served in.

8.  Washington was the only founding father to free his slaves. In his will he freed all 124 of his slaves and left enough money in his estate to care for all of them for decades after his death.

9. Washington was the only president who never lived in the White House, never lived in Washington, D.C., and never represented a political party.

* Some sources—including Wikipedia and the U.S. Mint—incorrectly claim that President Nixon changed the name of the holiday to “Presidents Day” to honor all past presidents. While Nixon did issue an executive order making the third Monday in February a public holiday, the claim that he changed the name of the observance is a modern myth.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/02/18/9-things-you-should-know-about-george-washington-and-his-birthday/

What Is Institutionalism and How Does It Affect the Church?

Prior to Constantine, the church, although organized, was less  institutional and more communal or organic. In other words, the outside world  didn’t think of “the church” as that building on the corner. Instead they  thought of a community of people who were distinct in both their conduct and  character, the overarching characteristics being their love for others,  compassion toward the needy, and joy-filled lives. The early Christians lived  with hope and shared their hopeful vision of life and a world made better by the  redemptive work of Jesus Christ. These Christians saw the world through Jesus’  tearful eyes, seeing that things were not as they should be. This vision would  shape their mission and purpose as they worked to bring the redemptive power of  Christ and his kingdom to bear on every aspect of life and society. These  Christians, through reliance upon God, would change the world!

Over the centuries, however, this would change. First, the marriage between church and state would lead to the  concentration of social, cultural, and political power-power that corrupts. It  was this condition that, in large part, would spark the Protestant Reformation.  Then came the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on human reason and ingenuity.  Over the years, the influence of the Enlightenment would elevate man’s role in  human affairs and diminish the role of the Holy Spirit and the reality of  Christ’s kingdom. Increasingly within the church, men would come to rely more on  management techniques and human strategies (i.e., the tools of modernity) to  fulfill the church’s mission on earth.

Today, the managerial and therapeutic revolutions of the twentieth century  have come to dominate. As a result, the church is less communal, less organic,  and more institutional. We have become reliant on marketing techniques and  programs and tend to treat the church as a mere organization to be maintained  and managed as opposed to a supernatural life to be lived together under the  rule and reign of God. This cultural accommodation is perhaps our greatest (and  least recognized) and has rendered the church and its mission less relevant and  devoid of any real power to influence the world.

The solution, in my opinion, is to repent of our reliance upon the tools of  modernity and seek first the kingdom. Practically speaking, this means we must  recover the reality of God’s kingdom come to earth-those paradoxical virtues  that teach that real power comes from God as expressed in the abandonment of  worldly power, eagerly offering forgiveness, seeking others’ welfare rather than  our own, and loving others without conditions. The reality of our salvation into  God’s kingdom should lead us to trust not in our own understanding but live  instead as children dependent upon God-by following in the radical way of  Jesus.

We must resist the temptation to do for God and learn once again to abide in  Christ, allowing him to transform us into holy children of the Living God who  have received new lives that display his power and character. This is the  radical way of Jesus and there is simply no other way in which the church can be  truly faithful to its mission.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/what-is-institutionalism-and-how-does-it-affect-the-church-90008/

Why I Do Not Join Popular Gospel-Only Organizations, Part Two

Even among evangelicals, the gospel constantly faces the danger of being obscured. It is obscured when gospel believers embrace gospel deniers in cooperative ministry. It is obscured when new doctrinal constructs redefine gospel essentials. It is obscured when Christians embrace values or practices that are contrary to gospel living.

Since such obfuscations abound, Christians ought to give themselves to the task of clarifying and defending the gospel. Organizations that support this task should be welcomed as helpers in a day of theological confusion. The common perception is that groups like The Gospel Coalition (TGC) and Together for the Gospel (T4G) have been created specifically to perform this task. Many people believe that these organizations exist only for the clarification and defense of the gospel.

To be sure, both TGC and T4G are strong defenders of the gospel. Insofar as that is the case, I support their efforts. Nevertheless, I find that I cannot bring myself into too-close association or identification with groups of this sort. I cannot “join” them.

As I explained in a previous essay, The Gospel Coalition displays a curious mixture of doctrinal diversity and specificity. Because it is The Gospel Coalition, it includes leaders who differ in their denominational commitments, in their understanding of the present role of miraculous gifts, and in their teachings about the literalness of the biblical creation accounts (but who are “not quite” theistic evolutionists). This range of views represents considerable theological and practical diversity. Consequently, it is surprising to discover that TGC has adopted doctrinal standards that de facto rule out most traditional dispensationalists. Its leadership appears to include no one who objects to Calvinism or to a fairly strongly-worded version of Lordship salvation. Given the breadth that it displays on some issues, the specificity of these other commitments is startling. Evidently, The Gospel Coalition intends to stand for something more than the gospel.

By itself, that is not a problem. It does, however, raise the matter of truth in advertising. If a farmer purchases a bag labeled Oats, he does not expect to find that it is half full of black-eyed peas. Christians who hear about The Gospel Coalition have no reason to suspect that they will find the bag half full of inaugurated eschatology and Reformed soteriology. At least some of them are bound to be pretty disappointed.

Like The Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel is often thought of as an organization that focuses upon the gospel alone. This thinking is reinforced by the opening words of the “Affirmations and Denials” that constitute the T4G confession: “We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause—to stand together for the Gospel.” In some ways, these “Affirmations and Denials” are less specific and idiosyncratic than the TGC confessional statement. Consequently, T4G evidences approximately as much breadth as TGC. For example, its platform brings together representatives who hold different understandings of church order and of miraculous gifts. I have heard a leader in T4G comment that this level of diversity is acceptable exactly because the organizers and speakers are together for the gospel.

Nevertheless, the “Affirmations and Denials” do rule out certain traditional evangelicals. Article V states, “We deny that the God of the Bible is in any way limited in terms of knowledge or power or any other perfection or attribute, or that God has in any way limited his own perfections.” One effect of this denial is to exclude certain versions of moderately Arminian and Wesleyan theology. Traditional Arminians and Wesleyans very often argue that God voluntarily limits his power in order to preserve libertarian freedom for humans. For example, H. C. Thiessen states, “Nor does omnipotence exclude but rather imply [sic] the power of self-limitation. God has limited Himself to some extent by the free will of His rational creatures.” (Lectures in Systematic Theology, Eerdmans 1949, 126). One can disagree with this perspective while recognizing that some Arminians (people like A. W. Tozer) have been earnest believers in and proclaimers of the gospel. Why would people who hold a moderately Arminian theology not be embraced by a gathering that was together for the gospel?

At the practical level, T4G appears to be committed to almost the same doctrinal system as TGC. Speakers at the biennial conferences include many who are known for their defense of Calvinism and Lordship salvation, but few if any who are visible critics of these positions. The circle of prominent speakers has featured one person who characterizes himself as a “leaky dispensationalist,” but other (and less “leaky”) representatives of dispensational theology are difficult to spot. While the leaders of T4G are indeed together for the gospel, it does not seem to be the only thing they are together for.

Either organizations like T4G and TGC mean to be gospel-only organizations or else they do not. If they do, then it seems wrong-headed not to embrace dispensationalists or moderate Arminians who are committed to the gospel. If they do not mean to be gospel-only organizations, then their labels promise something that the organizations really do not intend to deliver. More than that, the rationale for their considerable theological diversity becomes much more suspect. If these organizations intend to stand for more than the gospel, then why should they make an issue of Calvinistic theology but not of cessationism? The answer is not obvious.

This strange interplay of breadth and specificity creates a problem for people who do not hold the entire TGC or T4G bundle. Where do we stand with these organizations? Of course, we know that they would like us to show up at their meetings and encourage others to do the same. How enthusiastic can our endorsement be, however, when it seems that these groups are committed, not simply to defending the gospel (with which we heartily agree), but also to propagating a doctrinal system that treats some of us as second-class Christians?

This is part of my reason for not “joining” (i.e., bringing myself into too-close identification) with these popular, gospel-only organizations. While I am by no means an opponent of these organizations, and while I do want them to succeed in much of what they do, I do not see them as gospel-only. Furthermore, I am not sure that they truly see themselves as gospel-only. If they intend to represent more than the gospel, then a more specific set of standards has to be applied. On my view, they fail that standard partly by what they include. They also fail by what they neglect. That topic will be addressed in the next essay.

Hymn XI: God, the Offended God Most High Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

God, the offended God most high, Ambassadors to rebels sends; His messengers his place supply, And Jesus begs us to be friends.

Us, in the stead of Christ, they pray, Us, in the stead of God, intreat, To cast our arms, our sins, away, And find forgiveness at his feet.

Our God in Christ! thine embassy, And proffered mercy, we embrace; And gladly reconciled to thee, Thy condescending goodness praise.

Poor debtors, by our Lord’s request A full acquittance we receive! And criminals, with pardon blest, We, at our Judge’s instance, live!

http://sharperiron.org/article/why-i-do-not-join-popular-gospel-only-organizations-part-two

Islamism: ‘Spiritual pathology based on deformed theology’ – ‘If you get the idea of who God is wrong, you’re going to get a lot of other things wrong’

Editor’s Note: Three American scholars, two Christians  and one Muslim, spoke to WND to sound alarms on Islamism – otherwise known as  political Islam. They say there will be trouble unless Americans fight political  Islam’s war of ideas. This interview with Robert R. Reilly, of the American  Foreign Policy Council, is the first of the series.

WASHINGTON – America needs to interact with Muslims and encourage them, but  not all Muslims, and especially not those the U.S. government has taken under  its wing, says noted Islam expert Robert R. Reilly of the American Foreign  Policy Council

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/islamism-spiritual-pathology-based-on-deformed-theology/

USDA preaches Pilgrims were illegal aliens – ‘Can someone please explain how any of this helps employees?’

Washington watchdog Judicial Watch  has obtained videos of seminars for U.S. Department of Agriculture employees  with an instructor explaining that the “Pilgrims were illegal aliens.”

Now JW president Tom Fitton is wondering who can “explain how any of this  helps USDA employees better serve the American taxpayer?”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/usda-preaches-pilgrims-were-illegal-aliens/

Orthodoxy

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:19-24…

View original post 1,233 more words

Christ’s Remedy (Remember, Repent, Repeat) – By Alexander Strauch

What we learn from Revelation 2:4, and must never forget, is that an individual or a church can teach sound doctrine, be faithful to the gospel, be morally upright, and work hard, yet be lacking love and therefore, be displeasing to Christ. Love can grow cold while outward religious performance still appears to be acceptable—or even praiseworthy.

 

We have a tendency to trust in external religious rituals, traditions, denominational distinctions, doctrinal correctness, and moralistic rules, while we overlook the essential, foundational elements of love for God and neighbor. How easy it is to be self satisfied with external religious performance and be like the Pharisees who “tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God” (Luke 11:42).1 External religious performance can insidiously replace true, inner faith and heartfelt love. This is an ever-present danger. It is a problem that is often difficult to identify or explain until it is too late. Yet it must be identified and corrected because love for God and neighbor lies at the very heart of genuine spiritual life. Thus, Revelation 2:4 is a wake-up call to all churches: love or die!

 

It is not easy, however, to restore a heart that is deficient in love. There is a physical heart condition called cardiomyopathy that weakens the heart muscle so that the heart can no longer sufficiently pump blood. If left untreated, such a condition will cause a person to become weaker and weaker and eventually die. There is a similar risk when a heart has become deficient in love. A cold heart becomes a hard heart, a heart that is resistant to change. As time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to restore the warmth of Christian love. The progression must be stopped and the situation reversed before it’s too late.

 

In the church at Ephesus, a spiritual heart disease, love deficiency, was weakening the church. If the condition was not diagnosed and properly treated, the church would die. Instead of growing stronger in love, as a healthy church should, the church was becoming weaker. The Great Physician put his finger on the problem, diagnosed the condition, and prescribed the remedy.

 

Calling the Ephesians to action, Jesus ominously warned, “I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent” (v. 5). If they didn’t act, he would. This was no idle threat, and it demonstrates how strongly Christ feels about forsaking first love.

 

Although the exact meaning of Christ’s pronouncement is debated, the seriousness of the  situation is clear. His words reveal the Ephesians’ sick spiritual condition. Lack of love is a life- threatening disease, one they had brought on themselves by their own neglect. If they did not repent, Jesus Christ would remove their light.

 

To help the church’s weakening spiritual heart condition, Jesus directs his people to do three things to avoid divine discipline. Their situation is not beyond repair, but failure to act quickly would mean disaster for the church. So Jesus prescribed a three-fold remedy: remember, repent, and do the deeds they did at first.

 

 

 

Remember

 

The first thing the Lord directs the church to do is, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen.” Jesus says they have fallen; they have backslidden; they are not what they once were spiritually.

 

Ironically, the church was not deceived by false teachers from without (v. 2), but was deceived by the failure of love within. The Ephesians successfully confronted one grave danger—false teaching—but had succumbed to another equally deadly danger—lack of love. This is a lesson to all churches: Sound doctrine and fervent love both must be maintained and balanced.

 

To help the Ephesians recognize the seriousness of their condition, Jesus admonished them to remember their early days when love motivated all that they did. They needed to recall the love they originally possessed but had forsaken.

 

To “remember” means to recollect past feelings and actions, but not in a passive sense. It is not sentimental daydreaming about the “good old days” with no intention to act. The present imperative command, “remember,” emphasizes an ongoing, continuous mental attitude of remembering. It requires making the effort to recall past joys, deeds, attitudes, and experiences in the life of the church in order to repeat them and act upon them.

 

These memories will guide the church’s present action and provide future direction. They will set the standard and will motivate change. Remembering these things will help the church see and admit its lapse of love. Remembering will lead to repenting and returning to the first acts of love. For this church, the way forward is by going back: clearly identifying what they had lost and acknowledging their fallen, sinful condition.

 

 

 

Repent

 

The imperative command “remember” is followed by another imperative command “repent.” They must sense the need to return and restore the love they once possessed. Remembering from where they had fallen would lead them to repentance.

 

What is repentance? D. A. Carson gives a good definition of repentance:

 

What is meant is not a merely intellectual change of mind or mere grief, still less doing penance, but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in “fruit in keeping with repentance.” Of course, all this assumes that man’s actions are fundamentally off course and need radical change.2

 

 

 

Through repentance, the church in Ephesus would demonstrate

 

• that it accepts Christ’s evaluation of its fallen condition,

• that it has judged itself according to Christ’s Word to be sinful and deserving of divine discipline (1 Cor. 11:31-32), that it grieves over its loss of love and displeasure to Christ (2 Cor. 7:8-10),

• that it is turning away from sin and returning to its past life of love,

 

• that it will, by God’s grace, take appropriate action (2 Cor. 7:8-12).

 

 

 

 

The Ephesians could not restore their first love without repenting—the Lord would not allow it. The lesson here is that sin must always be dealt with; it can- not be ignored. Repentance is at the heart of what the Ephesian believers must do to restore their first love. If they neglected Christ’s call to repent, they would face divine judgment: “If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent” (Rev. 2:5).

 

 

 

Do the Works You Did at First

 

After “remember” and “repent,” the third imperative command is “do the works you did at first.” Literally the text reads, “And do the first works.” The word first reminds us of its earlier appearance in Revelation 2:4, “you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Genuine repentance produces “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:8; also 2 Cor. 7:10-11). Thus, Jesus points them back to their first works, which sprang from their first love.

 

In the case of the Ephesians, returning to their first works means returning to their former state and eagerly seeking to reengage in the deeds of love they once had done but had abandoned. Jesus is not simply telling them to do more works—they have works (Rev. 2:2)—but to do the works they did at first. It may be that their present “toil” and “patient endurance” were largely confined to stopping false teachers, preserving sound doctrine from attack, and facing opposition from a hostile society.

 

As the Ephesian believers gradually abandoned their first love, they also abandoned, or greatly minimized, certain acts of love, kindness, compassion, care, hospitality, and prayer.3 Loss of love always has adverse consequences on a church’s works, conduct, attitudes, and activities. The Ephesians worked hard and endured, but there were missing elements of their work that needed to be restored.

 

To the church at Ephesus, it is good news that repentance secures the Lord’s forgiveness and help. Christ will “supply them with the oil of fresh love”4 for their lamp to shine bright again. He wants nothing more than their love to be revived and to grow stronger. He wants them to love like they first loved.

 

For us, as for the Ephesians, the fire of love can be rekindled. Lives can be rededicated to Christ. The Holy Spirit can breathe new life into prayer, Bible study, evangelism, worship, and fellowship with one another. We can more fully know and abide in the love that God has for us (1 John 4:16). We can more consistently walk in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us (Eph. 5:2). Practical ways of doing that are provided in the next part of this book.

 

Notes – Christ’s Remedy

 

 

 

 

1 For an example of one scribe who understood the foundational truth of love for God and neighbor underpinning all external “burnt offerings and sacrifices,” see Mark 12:33-34.

 

2 D.  A.  Carson,  Matthew  1–12,  The  Expositor’s  Bible  Commentary  (Grand  Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 99.

 

3   Rom. 12:9-21; 1 Tim. 5:10; 1 John 3:11-18.

 

4   Robert Tuck, A Homiletic Commentary (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, n.d.), 9: 451.[1]

 


[1] Dave Jordan, M. E. Pulpit Magazine February 2013 Vol. 02. No. 2.

http://www.graceadvance.org/docs/pulpit/Pulpit-2013-02.pdf