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Is Your Life a Flame or an Ember Rev

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Is Your Life a Flame or an Ember  Rev. 2:1-6

EBC   7/12/09

  As we read these verses we can understand they can be seen practically. While they were written to the churches of that day they can also speak to Emmanuel Baptist Church today. What is our spiritual temperature? They can also be seen personally.  What is my spiritual temperature?

  Before getting into the verses lets know something about the city of Ephesus. It was an important City.

  1.It was the richest city in Asia Minor. It had beautiful seaports open to all shipping vessels of the day.

  2. It was a free city. It had been so faithful to the Roman government that no Roman troops were gathered there.  It was able to make its own decisions concerning government

  3. It was a true Godless city. It was home to the Temple of Diana. The Temple was one of the seven wonders of the world and people from all over came to see the Temple. Diana was the goddess of sex and fertility. This temple were filled with many temple prostitutes. The way you worshipped Diana was to have sex with a Temple prostitute.

  The church at Ephesus was an active church serving in a vile city. The Apostle Paul had formed this church. Paul preached here for over two years.

  Thirty years later the Lord speaks to this church about where they are and where he would like them to be.

  V.1- Holdeth- being in absolute control

I.Jesus Looks at Their Reputation (2,3-6)

  A.He applauds their service

    1. Works- “that which one undertakes to do”. He acknowledges they have done much for the glory of the Lord

    2. Labor-  intense work coupled with toil and trouble. This was no Sunday morning crowd- they were working their finders to the bone. They were serving the Lord at great personal expense and sacrifice.

   3. Patience- they were serving in spite of severe opposition. The people of Ephesus did not like nor understand them in their work for the Lord.

  We need to understand a church can’t build itself nor sustain itself. It takes work on our part. Someone said, “We can turn this place into a country club where the frozen chosen meet to congratulate themselves on their salvation.  Or we can turn this church into a place where the saints enter to worship and to be equipped for service; and then they go out of this place to work for the glory of God in their homes, schools, communities and places of business.  God did not save us to coast into glory on flowery beds of ease.  He saved us to be active in His work until He called us home to His glory.

  B. He applauds their separation- “canst not bear them that are evil”.

    1. The evil that marked the areas in which they lived was not part of their lives.

    2. They took a stand for what was right and they lived differently from the world around them.

    3. God commends us today to be different from the world around us.  We should be different in our walk, talk, dress and choice of entertainment.

  C. He applauds their standards-

    1. They held to correct doctrine. When men came into town claiming to be men of God they put them to the test. They didn’t just agree with them because they told them what they wanted to hear. They tested their words against the Bible.

    2. If they weren’t men of God they exposed them as liars. They took a stand for the word of God.

      a. Many today listen to preachers on tv and radio they would never have as their preacher. If someone makes them feel good they don’t care what he believes.

  D. He applauds their steadfastness –

    1. They did what they did for the sake of the Lord.  They had been carrying much load.

II.He Looks at The Reality (4)

  A.His disappointment-

    1. While everything seems to be good on the outside there are problems of the heart.

      a. We need to understand that God knows our heart and what we are thinking.

      b. Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking before they spoke

  B. His diagnosis –

    1. Jesus looked at them and said- “you simply don’t love me that way you used to”.

    2. They may still love him that that burning love is now gone. The flame that used to burn so brightly is now an ember

      a. Charles Stanley- we read about the Lord’s charge that the church at Ephesus had left their first love. It wasn’t that they didn’t love the Lord Jesus. It was that they didn’t love Him like they used to. If there ever was a time when you loved Jesus more than you do at this moment, then you’re backslidden. G. Campbell Morgan said that luke warmness is the worst form of blasphemy. I believe he’s right. Luke warmness is a way of saying, “God, I believe in You, but You just don’t excite me.” Oh, how we ought to stay in love with the Lord Jesus Christ!

       b. Someone said, You see, the Christian life is basically a love affair with the Lord Jesus Christ. Growing in salvation is a deeper love for him. Love is the motive for all we do for Him. We serve him because we love Him.

       c. First love- first in succession of things, first in desires.

   3. Can you say today your heart is still filled with that fervent love that causes us to serve him.

III.He looks at the Remedy (5)

  A.He talks about Remembering

    1. Some of us need to remember when we first got saved. Things that used to offend us- do they still offend us or have we gotten used to them. We have maybe gone from being offended now to tolerating to indulging in.

    2. Take a minute to reflect on how it used to be.

     3. Can you still say you are head over heels in love with Jesus?

  B. He talks about repenting

    1.Repent- a change of mind that causes a change of action

    2. They need to search their hearts and change their minds about Christ and their relationship with Him.

     a. Maybe we could give that a shot today in the modern church. We have allowed much to come between us and the Lord, family, fun, places, desires (we have allowed our desires to take his place).

  C. He talks about Repeating- “do they firstworks”

    1. Get back to where you used to be. We need to get back to reading the Bible, praying, witnessing, back to crying over the condition of this world.

  D. He talks about removing –if they refuse to get back where they used to be Jesus said he would put out their candlestick.

    1. This is what Jesus did at Ephesus. Today, they is no gospel preaching church in Ephesus.

    2. What happens when a light bulb goes out in your house- you throw it away.

      a. Do you want God to take away our light? I do not want God to remove us as a candlestick in this area.

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