True New Testament Revival: Getting Back to Our First Love, Part 2 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #280)
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
TEXT: Revelation 2:1-7:
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
D.E. Gifford said, “Abandon the world, burden our hearts with the lost, invest our lives in the cross, die to ourselves, then we will emerge fruitful as Jesus desires.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “It would be wonderful to have a few men like Paul. He said, ‘I’m dead!’ Dead to self, dead to ambition, dead to feelings, dead to being offended, dead to being flattered… dead. Paul died to everything.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Throughout his ministry during America’s Second Great Awakening, evangelist Asahel Nettleton traveled to many New England churches, bringing them revival. After the revival was technically over, he became pastor of the Congregational church in Bridgewater, Connecticut. It was not his preaching but his absence from the pulpit that ignited revival in his town.”
Today, we return to the letter that Jesus Christ wrote to the Church at Ephesus. He began with a few words of commendation about their behavior. He said, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.”
In our last homily, we looked at the quality of hard work or labor that was present in this church. Another positive quality that they demonstrated is that of patience. Twice, Jesus commended their patience and the fact that they ‘had not fainted.’
Patience is a virtue which goes against human nature. Most people do not like to wait for things to happen or to wait to receive something that they want. But, as Christians, we must realize that whenever we are waiting, we are waiting on God. All things happen in His timing and they will work out for our good if we love God and remain inside His will for our lives.
However, patience is more than just willingness to wait. The Greek word translated as patience also means steadfastness, constancy, or endurance. It is “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”
The church as a whole must remember to be patient in times of trial and tribulation. Most of the churches that Jesus wrote to in Revelation were facing persecution or were about to face persecution. Hard times are not times to throw in the towel. In fact, James said that hard times actually produce patience. “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
Paul said that we ought to “run with patience the race that is set before us.” This implies that the Christian life is not like a shooting star — burning out in a fast-lived blaze of light and fire. Rather, it is like a slow-burning flame — one that is continuously fed by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, helping the believer become more like Christ and helping him to stay on the straight and narrow path no matter what he is faced with. Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “Patience is not only a virtue, it’s also the path to blessing and spiritual maturity.” Let us all pray for and practice patience in our daily walk.
William D. Longstaff reminds us:
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.