Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do you Have Ears to Hear What the Spirit Says?

Rev. 2:1-7 NLT
  1 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:
  2  “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. 4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do. 7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.
In the end of Chapter One, Christ explained the seven lamp stands as being the seven churches. Seven, you recall, means complete Godly perfection. So the seven lamps can represent the perfect body of Christ-- the Church. He explained the seven stars that he held as the 'angles' of the seven churches. But there would be no reason for Christ to dictate a letter through John to angels, he has much more rapid means of communicating with them. These, no doubt represented the leader or pastor of those churches. Today they represent leaders in each and all of our local congregations, national denominations, and regional religious organizations. The warnings to them are explicit. It is clear that God intends to hold accountable those who presume to be leaders in His church. And all of the abuses that have been perpetrated by church and Christian leaders are going to be dealt with by God. The most severe of those will be that in absence of repentance they will lose their place among the lamp stands-- or in The Church.

In today's passage we see the first letter, or the letter to the first phase of The Church of Christ-- the one that begins to drift cold and off target; the one that becomes so obsessed with its religious processes that it loses the Christ compassionate heart; the one that forgets to serve in unconditional love. Here we see a call to the church locked into its 'churchiness' to return to unconditional love for Christ. Do we hear the invitation back to complete surrender of self will, self protection, self promotion? Jesus says that they have fallen far. They can still repent, but if they don't, the consequence will be most severe. He had already said that they had accomplished many good deeds, but good deeds are not the point in the body of Christ. Total surrender, complete obedience, and Christ-centeredness are the what it is all about to live in the Body of Christ.

How about you and me? Do we have ears to hear? Are we listening and understanding what the Spirit is saying to the Churches? Will we be among those who are victorious? Will we receive the fruit from the "Tree of life in the paradise of God?" We can be.

Your servant in Christ's love

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