Follow a Faithful Leader
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
John begins to write down what he has seen that is current to his time, approximately 95 AD. He writes Jesus' assessment of the seven Asian churches. We can learn from each of these churches what to do and what not to do. We can learn that Jesus does know all about us and loves us enough to praise us, to expose our sin and to show us how to overcome our sin. Jesus knows the local church is taught by the local pastor. He praises the local pastor and exposes his sin. Most of the "you's" in the passage are singular. Jesus is addressing the pastor of the local church and he is to take the message to the church. Why? The pastor is the teacher and example of the each local church (1 Timothy 4:12). What he teaches, models and allows will affect the entire local church.
Get the leader right and the local church will get right. Jesus knows that changing the leader will change the local church. It is folly for a local church member to stay in a church hoping to change the church if the leadership is not willing to change.
Jesus praises the pastor's works, toil, patient endurance, and the testing of the those claiming to be apostles and finding them false. He praises the pastor for hating the works of the Nicolaitans, who are promoting sexual immorality in the church. The pastor has stood firm in the truth.
Jesus also brings a correction to the pastor. He has abandoned his first love. Jesus observed that he was not doing the loving works he did at first. Love is displayed by the works that a person does (1 John 3:18). Jesus offered the correction, "Remember from where you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first."
We can all learn from this. Are we doing the works we did at first?
Have we held fast to the truth, but neglected the works of love we used to do?
Get with Jesus and ask Him to help you remember what you did when you first loved Him. He will tell you if you have left your first love. If you have abandoned your first love, then you need to repent, remember and restart the works of love you did at first.
Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures:
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