True New Testament Revival: Getting Back to Our First Love, Part 12 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #290)
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.”
In our series of homilies from the book of Ephesians, we focused on reviving Christian families. Now, I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages from the book of Revelation, specifically targeted at reviving the church. If our country is to be awakened, the family and the church 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.
Doug Perry said, “Your growth in Christ is directly proportional to your willingness to rush headlong into the refining fire and embrace it.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The world is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity; it’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity as it already is.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Arriving in Paris, Robert Haldane encountered a significant disappointment. He made contact with an employee of the American embassy, an evangelical Christian, who had lived in Europe for some time and was familiar with the ministry of the Haldane brothers in Scotland. The American informed Haldane that ‘there were only two pastors in Europe who shared his views of revival,’ but neither lived in France. The two pastors who might work with him both served churches in Geneva. The Scottish preacher thus concluded that Geneva would be the next stop on his journey.”
It is becoming increasingly evident that we need more Christians and more churches that can receive the commendation of Jesus Christ to the Ephesians: “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” This is the case because we live in a day when people do not want to hear clear preaching against sin. They feel offended if you tell them that God says they are wrong. In an attempt to keep crowds and please people, many churches have decided it is better to brush what the Bible says about sin under the rug. They, instead, focus on things that people want to hear — things that are ‘affirming’ and ‘uplifting’ — and they let people go on in their sin.
But Jesus says He hates sin, especially sin in the church. Like the Nicolaitanes, false teachers take advantage of the present climate, encouraging people in sin or remaining complacent about their sin. In so doing, they lead people into a false understanding of what God thinks about their sin. And that is how we end up with churches full of Nicolaitanes — people who call themselves Christians but feel it is okay to continue in a sinful lifestyle — because the pastor and Christian teachers do not preach that God hates sin.
As we continue looking at the Nicolaitanes, we return to John MacArthur’s explanation of this sect. He says, “For sure we know that those who followed Nicolas were involved in immorality and uncleanness and they plied the church with sensual temptations. Clement of Alexander says, ‘They abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats, leading a life of self- indulgence.’ They were involved in immorality and loose living. Liberty was replaced with license. They were involved in teaching perverted grace. They were probably a pre-gnostic group, thinking that through their sexual activity and their superior knowledge they had ascended to the deities. They may even have perpetrated on the church a classical hierarchical structure which found its final form in Catholicism. But verse 6 says Christ hates their deeds. ‘I hate what they do and so do you.’
“Now the sum of all this commendation is, this is a noble bunch. This is a great church.” We lament those who have gone astray, but there are many churches like this today. They are “hard working, toiling for the Kingdom, persevering through difficulty, unable to endure evil men, acting in behalf of holiness and virtue, putting church discipline into action, able to recognize false apostles, not being victimized by those who come along no matter who they are.”
The danger, as we saw in the previous verse, is that a church can be doing all of this. They can have the right stuff, the right doctrine, the right teaching, the right outreaches, but have lost their love for the Lord. And if that love is not there in the center of everything they do, they will eventually fall.
Now, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, please keep in mind that the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” First, understand, that you are a sinner and that the wages of sin is death and Hell. But God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins. He was buried, and He rose from the dead by the power of God so that you can be saved from death and Hell. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.