Friday, January 5, 2018
I am by no means a church hopper but in my Christian life I have attended several churches and have learned by experience that they all have their own personality. Mostly, the members have been greatly influenced by the pastor and his general message and also by the programs, ministries, and mission of the church. In other words, the members are impacted by the way the church is run or the way they do things. If you’ve read the book of Revelation, you have probably noticed the different personalities of the seven churches which Christ addressed in His letter. You also noticed that although He needed to admonish each one, He first commended them for the good things they had done or were doing. This is a good point to remember whenever we deem it necessary to reprove or correct a friend or loved one who we feel is on a wrong path. If you analyze the message to each of the seven churches in the book, you will notice the uniqueness of each one and you should also know that today’s churches can have one or more of their characteristics.
Regarding the first church Christ addressed in His letter, Ephesus, the one glaring fault He found in them was that they had lost their first love. Revelation 2:4 reads: “Yet, I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” Yes, He lauded them for their hard and perseverance as well as for their doctrinal soundness and zeal for His Word. However, it is evident, that they were now more in love with what they were doing than they were in Christ Himself. I bet, many of you know some Christians who are clearly more in love with their denomination, pastor, church, or it’s ministries and programs than they are in Christ. What would be the tell-tale signs that this is happening in your church? It is really quite simple. These three things will be absent: (1) A genuine love for one another, beginning with the pastor(s) and leaders of the church. (2) The members will really care for each other and their conversation will always be centered on Jesus. (3) They will love spending time with each other. If your pastor has a hard time getting people to leave the building long after the worship service has ended, that is a good thing! On the other hand, it is not at all a good sign when the last service of the day is over and you see everyone rush to be the first one out to the parking lot. I personally knew a church whose practice it was at the beginning of the year to send out their deacons to go visit each household for the purpose of getting their monetary pledge for the year. Not once did they tell them to ask what their needs were or to pray for them. Sadly, that church is no more.
I pray you are in a church where people genuinely love Christ as well as each other and where He is the center and focus of all conversations. If you are not, don’t leave without first praying and looking for ways to start making a difference. If your church is in need of revival or spiritual awakening, remember that it starts with you. In the end, if you love the Lord with all your heart, you’re going to be alright.
God’s word for today: (John 14:23) Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”