The Book of Revelation is one that is quite often overlooked by a lot of Christians for one simple reason…it scares them! Coming in at a closed second, is the fact that it seems somewhat cryptic and hard to understand. I find both of these reasons sad for a couple of reasons:
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
The entirety of God’s Word is given to us for several reasons. God’s Word is the “revealed and preserved” will of God for all of us. From the Word of God we find sound doctrine, we find a mirror that reflects our lives in the light of God’s Will thus allowing us the opportunity to repent and change when we find ourselves outside of God’s Will, and it gives us a “map” to find our way.
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:29)
The Scriptures help us find Christ. Everything we read points to Jesus. The Old Testament is Jesus “concealed” and the New Testament is “revealed.” A popular phrase in recent years has been, “What Would Jesus Do?” At one point it was quite in vogue for someone to wear a little bracelet with that question, and bumper stickers showed up everywhere. It became the “cause celeb” for Christians, and was similar to the colored ribbons that people were wearing to show how much they “cared’ about certain causes.
THE REST OF THE STORY
With these two thoughts in mind, can you see why it is so important that we read ALL of the Scripture, and not one or two books of the Word? There is so much left out when we forsake reading the mysterious and cryptic book of Revelation.
Today, I want to share with you a passage from the Book of Revelation from the New Living Translation (NLT):
“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. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you dis at first! Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first. If you don’t I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. (Revelation 2:2-5)
Honestly ask yourself how you are feeling in your heart as you read the passage above? Do you feel everything is okay, or does it stir something in you? Is it possible that anything here might apply to you or to your local church? Don’t be deceived! Only a genuine, heart-searching answer will do in this case.
Perhaps the greatest fear in my heart is that many of us, perhaps many of our churches are dangerously close to the warning of the last portion I quoted above. We could be in fear of having our lampstand removed! Why is it that many local churches simply close down? EXCUSES ARE READILY AVAILABLE FOR WHY CHURCHES DIE, BUT ARE THEY INTELLECTUALLY HONEST?
I think it interesting that in this passage, Jesus points out all of the good things the local church was known for, but He reminds them that among His praise for them, there is a warning. While the GOOD WORKS were quite evident among them, there was a biting condemnation of a loss of first love.
As we move away from denominationalism and return to a MISSIONARY MOVEMENT fulfilling the great commission, this question MUST be asked of ourselves, and we have to be honest about what we see.
There is a real move of the Holy Spirit among God’s people to “return to their first love.” The voice of the prophet is rising among us, and it would be good for us to be careful to NOT miss the move of the Spirit taking place. Please join me in prayer to this end…