The good news is that Jesus tells the church at Ephesus that they can still repent! What is the key according to Jesus? Remember from where you have fallen! We see Christians every day who simply have forgotten where Christ found them. They have become arrogant in their faith. Easily criticizing others and lofting themselves above everyone else. An arrogant Christian has simply forgotten where Jesus Christ found them. Consider the Apostle Paul:
At the time Paul penned this verse he certainly could have laid claim to one of the most important apostles if not the top dog. Yet what do we see? The humility that is supposed to mark a Christian's walk. Of these I am the least. But he does not end there. He tells us why he is the least -- because I once persecuted the church! Paul always remembered where God found him! We should strive to do no less because it is within our moment of salvation that our zeal is born. Forget not the love you had at first. If not Jesus warns; He will come and take the lampstand from its place. Well what does that mean? Jesus already said the lampstand is the church itself. It's place in the body of Christ. What Jesus is threatening here is that without repentance, He will remove Himself from that church. Wow. Think about that in terms of today. How many churches are out there completely devoid of the Spirit of God? Far far too many beloved. Relying on carnal tricks and rodeo side shows to draw people in. Raffling off plasma televisions. Sermons based on utter nonsense like reviewing popular movies. Smoke machines and club lighting to pass off an emotional reaction to a spiritual experience. I have seen pastors dressed up like Han Solo. Pastors dressed up like clowns during a "clown service." Sanctuaries turned into motocross tracks. Someone dressed as the Easter Bunny on the altar of God. The naked cowboy at a woman's conference. What are all of these examples of? Spiritless churches. A spiritless church cannot rely on the power of God so it is left to the wicked imaginations of the deceitful hearts of men. Jesus now concludes His letter to the Church at Ephesus:
Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one that conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. -- Revelation 2: 6-7 (ESV)
Who were these Nicolaitans and why does Jesus despise them so much? Based on other Bible passages, most theologians agree that they remain quite murky. There are however two teachings they seemed to hold fast to. One is the teachings or spirit of Jezebel and the other is referred to as the error of Balaam. Jezebel is certainly more widely known as the evil wife of King Ahab, who led Israel into worshipping foreign gods and sexual immorality. We will delve deeper into this and the error of Balaam when we speak about the Church at Pergamum but suffice for us today; the works of the Nicolaitans are generally considered works of licentiousness, immorality and idolization. It is a fleshly and worldly church that embraces the teachings of the Nicolaitans. Sound familiar anyone? The church today is the Nicolaitan Church. Filled with licentiousness and idolization. The church today idolizes their pastor. They idolize their church. They idolize this country before God. They idolize self before God.
But there are those who conquer. Praise God! Not conquer as in the NAR and war-mongering believers but those who conquer through humility, doctrine and zeal. For those, Christ promises to eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God. A greater promise and assurance we will never have. In closing today in our brief look at Ephesus we realize that within the seven churches from Revelation and those that are apostate today, there is always a remnant. They are the ones who test everything and hold onto the good. Who refuse to compromise the Word of God and stay fervent in their love for the Lord. Those who refuse to allow false teachings corrupt the purity of the Gospel. They are the ones who will conquer because they still serve the conquering King. Let him who has an ear, hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- October 24, 2016