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The Church of Ephesians

The Seven Churches in Revelation   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

In theology language can be a very big problem.
On the one hand, our language never adequately communicates what we are thinking and on the other hand certain words have certain definitions.
In order to communicate a person we must use words even if they are not the best words. I also find that sometimes we overload words with meaning that make it difficult to clearly communicate.
Take for example the word “Church.” It can have four meanings:
It can refer to the church building. Example, “Krista I am heading over to the church.”
It can refer to the different congregations. Example, “I attend Lewis and Clark Bible Church, which church do you attend?”
It can refer to a large group of people that profess faith and attend a local congregation. Example, “The church in America is in really bad shape.”
It can refer to the universal church. Example, “The Church is around the world, we have brothers and sister in every country.”
A problem can arise and often does in interpretation of the scriptures. For example, in , Jesus says, “I will build my church” has been abused and misused to mean many things.
First example: The idea is that Jesus promised to give a church a bigger building!
Second example: Some have argued that Jesus will grow individual local churches.
The idea is that we can do whatever we want and Jesus will build the church. They change the promise. Normally, these people often attach to this promise that Jesus will had more people to church. In the American tradition, large numbers are often equated with God’s moving. It is bad theology. You then have three terrible reactions to this line of thinking:
Don’t lift a finger, Jesus will do all the work!
Of course this theology has many problems. The bible never teaches this type of approach to the christian life. Of course we trust and wait on the Lord but that wait does not equal inactivity. We are to continue to be obedient to the word.
Jesus will build and He needs me!
Here is the other extreme. Of course this is wrong. Jesus does not need our ideas! programs! plans! or any other thing. However, we as man act in ways that are not prescribed in scripture and act as if one the Lord doesn’t care or two that he will sanction any action done in his name. We are instruments.
If Jesus will build it then we can act whatever way we want and He must build this local church.
Of course this is very, very, very wrong. This seems to be the attitude of today’s believer. The scriptures have very little role other than proof texting certain behavior or that if the scripture never prohibits it then it must be okay inside the church. Minister’s have changed how the church looks at people. In many respects people are not sinners in desperate need of a savior, or weary saints in desperate need of God’s Word. Rather, people are categories and demographics. They block off different groups of people and say that we must appeal to them based upon modern data. We must study the demographic and offer a redeemed version of what they want. They assume that Jesus must accept any gift that is given since he must build the local church.
The real understanding of this text is very clear, Jesus will save individuals and continue to sanctify His people until the end of the church age. Thus, Jesus is speaking of building not a local congregation, per se, but the universal church.
Jesus is concerned with the Universal church. It is possible for Jesus to dispose of a local church, if that church is disobedient or rebellious he will remove the local church. Jesus is not obligated to save a local church.
The implication of this promise is great, we know that Jesus has a vested interest in saving souls and sanctifying the believers. He will use the local church to build the church. However, the flip side of this is that Jesus is not so much concerned with the success of a given local church.
What I mean is this, a local church is expendable. Jesus is the one doing the work. He will and has risen believers without the aid of any local church. The local church if obedient to the Lord can be used by the Lord to accomplish his task. This means that Jesus is not under obligation to grow the church numerically. In fact, if there is unrepentant sin, self-centeredness, unbiblical methods and practices, and heresies, we cannot expect God to honor those types of things. Oh, we may get people to come and see but it is not a Christ grown church!
We are about to study the Seven Churches of Revelation. We are about to see what Jesus things of different churches their various issues. Some of these issues are self inflicted and other are from outsiders. Some of the issues are from neglect and some of the issues are from willful departure.
“Why is pastor only looking at the Seven Churches? what can we get out of a study like this?”
It will help us understand what is important, we will see what Jesus expects from his churches.
It will help us address issues in our own church.
Do not think that just because a church is healthy that does not mean we do not have church issues. I expect many of us to see problems that appear in our church and we will have the advice of how to make things right.
It will help you understand my philosophy of ministry.
Philosophy of ministry is the defining successful ministry and outline how ministry is done. We all have a philosophy of ministry. I hope that mine is biblical. A study like this will show you my philosophy of ministry.
It will help us as individuals.
I hope that mine is biblical. A study like this will show you my philosophy of ministry. It will help us as individuals. It is wrong, at some level, to assume that every person in this room is the same. It is also false to assume that we are all dealing with the same issues. We may have one that is flirting with heresy and one that is suffering with persecution and one that is struggling with apathy. Jesus will offer advice to the each person and the common spiritual problem that we can face.
It is wrong, at some level, to assume that every person in this room is the same. It is also false to assume that we are all dealing with the same issues. We may have one that is flirting with heresy and one that is suffering with persecution and one that is struggling with apathy. Jesus will offer advice to the each person and the common spiritual problem that we can face.
The First church that we will study is found in , it is the church of Ephesus. The major issue that we will deal with is “Mixed devotion.”

Christ and His Church in Ephesus (1-3)

Christ (1)

Verse 1:
You must write to the messenger of the Church in Ephesus The one who is holding the seven stars in His right, the one who is walking in midst of the seven gold lampstands, is saying this:
Meaning of messenger (Τῷ ἀγγέλῳ):
It is most likely speaking of the teaching elder (
Τῷ ἀγγέλῳ:
(NASB95) — 17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.). It would seem rather silly, for God to command John to right to an angel.
Important pattern, the teaching elder is directly told what needs to be done in the church and his job is to relay that to the Church.
How different is this biblical pattern than what we see today? Many people feels that God directly talks to the individual completely bypassing his ordained institution and his ordained leadership structure.
Elders:
Offer oversight to all the ministries of the church, are responsible for the primary task of teaching the church and praying for the church. The pastor, is one of the elders. He is not above the elders! However, special responsibility is added to this elder since he especially works hard at preaching and teaching.
Deacons:
Offer assistance to the elders in that they take care of daily ministries, which frees up the elders to focus on oversight, teaching and praying for the church
Deaconess:
Offer assistance to both the elders and the deacons in the care of daily ministries. Historically, the deaconesses have been used for hospitality, nursing the sick, cooking food, and mentoring younger women.
Church
ἐκκλησίας)
(ἐκκλησίας) This means “called out.” It was used to speak of an assemble for a specific purpose. N.T. uses the word to refer to the assembly of Jesus followers, or professing believers. It is also used in a sense to speak of the universal assembly of believers.
The english word church comes from the german kirche, which comes from the greek word “Kurios.” Kurios means Lord and kirche came to mean the people of the Lord Jesus.
Ephesus
The one who is holding the seven stars in His right, the one who is walking in midst of the seven gold lampstands, is saying this:
We know a lot of things about this church and this city. In fact, we know that their founding pastor was Paul. Timothy and John both pastored this church. We can easily see that Paul wrote a letter to this church, John is writing a letter to this church, two letters were written to Timothy while at Ephesus. As we will see that the church has the marks of their former pastors and even within the epistles and letters we can see some problems forming.
As we will see that the church has the marks of their former pastors and even within the epistles and letters we can see some problems forming.
This city was considered the capital of Asia Minor and was the greatest city. It had the greatest harbor, It had the best roads. It was a rich and big city. It had its problems. It had the great Temple of Artimetis.
First present participle: The one holding (κρατῶν)
κρατῶν)
Christ is holding: This demonstrates Jesus’ constant care and protection.
Seven Stars
Stars
These stars are the pastors of the church.
Understanding the nature of the pastor
Under shepherds:
Here Jesus has directly addressed the pastor. It shows that the pastor and overseers of the church are to act as under shepherds. This means that Jesus is the main shepherd and we follow his lead and direction.
Messangers:
Here Jesus calls them “angels” meaning that they are sent to proclaim the message of the Jesus Christ. It carries the sense that pastors are divinely send messengers. Not in the sense of Jesus being sent but they are set apart for the work. Their main task is proclamation. This proclamation must be:
God glorifying
Christ Centered
Spiritually empowered
Scripturally based
Christ Centered
stars (Light on the hill) and divine placement.
Spiritually empowered
Seven: Perfect oversight
I think that the reason there is the number seven, is because there are seven pastors. However, we also know that the number seven can mean perfection and completion. It is a very important number in the book of Revelation. In fact, Herbert Lockyer suggests that “Jesus holding seven stars” means perfect oversight and perfect ability to command, reward, or remove the pastors or the church.
In His right hand: The BKC suggests that the right hand demonstrates a royal edict.
Second present participle: The one walking (περιπατῶν)
περιπατῶν
Christ is walking: Omnipresent and active
This gives us the idea that Jesus is omnipresent among the churches. He knows each church and sees each church and is among the churches. It also underscores his ability to reward or remove any lampstand if they fail to repent. It also shows that he is active among the churches. Jesus is not sitting from a position watching but he is right there active, walking.
Seven gold lampstands: Seven literal churches
The seven lampstands stand for the seven literal churches. This shows that a church has the light of the gospel and presence God.
In the midst:
Though Christ is transcendent and bigger than the churches and is able to command the churches, he is also near by the church.
Verb present: Say this
This comes as a command
Jesus’s opinion of the church

His Church in Ephesus (2-3)

Verse 2-3:
I know your deeds and work and your steadfastness and that you are not able to tolerate evil and tested the ones who are calling themselves apostles and they are not and find them false (3) and you have been steadfast and endured for the sake of my name and did not grow weary.
I know your deeds and work and your steadfastness and that you are not able to tolerate evil and tested the ones who are calling themselves apostles and they are not and find them false (3) and you have been steadfast and endured for the sake of my name and did not grow weary.
Perfect verb: I know: Perfect past and present knowledge of the church
This is a perfect knowledge of the churches. Jesus does not have a partial or incomplete knowledge of the workings of the churches. We have an incomplete and partial knowledge of any church. Jesus perfectly knows everything about the church. He can question their motives, actions and words perfectly.
We should also note that this knowledge is both something that has happened in the past. This means that Jesus perfectly knew their actions in the past. It also suggests that Jesus knows their current actions in the present.
We could insert this phrase, “I know...” to the following list of characteristics of the church.
List of what Jesus knows:
Deeds: Good Deeds
What are the nature of these deeds? It is most likely, especially consider the other things on this list we can say that these things are relatively good works. Another thing that J. V. McGee reminds us of is the fact that these are believers (901). Therefore, we must extend to them some benefit of the doubt. Especially this church who has such an impressive list of good characteristics. This church would be known in heaven as in the past having good works and in the present having good works.
We must understand that for believers, all good works are relatively good works. It is very difficult to suggest that a believer perfectly does good deeds. In fact, it is very clear, from this passage, that a person can do a good work and be loveless.
This church would have understood the meaning of good works, God has spoken to them already about the meaning of good works:
Salvation is not by works but by faith (, ) The believer is created for good works and they flow from salvation (). God gave gifts to the church to build them up so that they may be able to do the work of service (). The believers are told not to participate in dark unfruitful deeds, but rather we should expose them. Woman are to adore themselves with good works () Being an overseer of a church is a good work () A widow that is put on the widow’s list should have good works (). All deeds are evident and they cannot be hidden () The church is to be instructed to do good deeds, especially being generous and ready to share (). If a person is free from false teaching and shameful practices and submits himself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ prepares himself for good deeds (). The scriptures equips the man of god for every good work ().
Salvation is not by works but by faith (, )
The believer is created for good works and they flow from salvation ().
God gave gifts to the church to build them up so that they may be able to do the work of service ().
The believers are told not to participate in dark unfruitful deeds, but rather we should expose them.
Woman are to adore themselves with good works ()
Being an overseer of a church is a good work ()
A widow that is put on the widow’s list should have good works ().
All deeds are evident and they cannot be hidden ()
The church is to be instructed to do good deeds, especially being generous and ready to share ().
(). If a person is free from false teaching and shameful practices and submits himself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ prepares himself for good deeds (). The scriptures equips the man of god for every good work ().
If a person is free from false teaching and shameful practices and submits himself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ prepares himself for good deeds ().
The scriptures equips the man of god for every good work ().
Work: Hard all out effort. Physically mentally emotionally exhausted
I think John Walvoord captures this word perfectly, “Kopos denotes labor to the point of sweat and exhaustion. It describes an all-out effort, demanding all that a person has to give — physically, mentally, and emotionally (59).” Jesus has seen these people, who have done good works and did them with extreme effort. At the end of the good work they were physically, mentally, and emotionally tired.
Steadfastness: Trusted in trail while anticipating their savior.
This phrase according to EDNT says that these people were trusting God in the midst of a trial while anticipating the future coming of Jesus Christ.
Not tolerate of evil (Men): 1) false teachers 2)rebellious brother 3) could include church discipline
This church distanced itself from evil men. It is clear that they are distancing themselves from professing believers. It is clear that they are doing church discipline. The word itself means that they cannot carry on with these evil people. They cannot put up with evil men.
Testing men: 1) knew sound doctrine 2) Discernment
to try to learn the nature or character of someone or something by submitting such to thorough and extensive testing.”
LN says this, “[T]o try to learn the nature or character of someone or something by submitting such to thorough and extensive testing.” Here we see that this church was very truthful and very doctrinally sound. Think about a church that was known for being doctrinally sound. They did not have their ears tickled but wanted the truth of God’s word.
Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains 1996 : 331. Print.”
Proving that they are false: 1) articulate 2) “The place where no heresy could grow”
In the midst of their enquire they determined that these men were not apostles but false apostles. They were lying and the church knew that they were lying. In fact, later on in church history, this church was known as, “The place where no heresy could grow.”
and you have been steadfast and endured for the sake of my name and did not grow weary.
Steadfast: 1) Steadfast in their work 2) steadfast in their doctrine 3) Steadfast in their will
Here we have the same word that was listed above. It is important to see that Jesus used this word twice. The rest of this verse we see similar idea, endurance and strength. The sense is that this church was faithful. This adds to the nuance of the problem that is found in Ephesus. Notice that on one hand they were faithful but on the other hand they have left their first love.
Endured for Jesus’s name
Here we see an interesting word play, they cannot carry on with the evil men but they are carrying on for for the Lord. They were able to keep the right path and the right teaching.
For the glory of Jesus’ name
διὰ τὸ”
A.T. Robertson says this about “διὰ τὸ”, “A common idiom in the Graceo-Roman and Byzantine Greek is the use of διὰ τὸ and the infinitive in the sense of [hina]. It is practically equivalent in the N.T. to [hoti] and the indicative and is frequent (584).”
this means that they were done for Jesus’ name and for his glory. They wanted to worship and lift of up the name of Jesus Christ.
Did not grow weary: 1) had a level of strength
This church had not grown weary from the work. They were ready to serve the Lord. we get the picture of a church that is working hard, serving Jesus, Doctrinally sound and willing to be obedient on very difficult issues.
Summary:
If we stopped here most of us would think that this was an amazing church. In fact, we could say that this would be any IFCA or Bible church around the world. This church has things that I am looking for in a good church. In fact, we will find that other churches are not commended for their doctrinal purity. These people are hard workers and love the truth.
It is difficult to see what this church could be doing wrong. Yet, with this information we can better see the issue before us. We can properly nuance the issue of this church. In properly nuancing the issue we can properly apply it to ourselves.

Crime of the Church and Commands of Christ (4-5)

Crime of the Church (4)

Verse 4:
But I am having against you that departed from your first love.
Jesus is holding against the Church: All the other is good one things missing. Jesus wants 100% not 75%
In this list of great things Jesus has one thing against them. In fact, it is a very big thing. It is so big that it could wreck the church. The church could loose its effectiveness in the community.
They departed: 1) intentional leaving 2) a moment when they went after another love
This word for departing means an intentional leaving. It really has the idea of separation. They are separating themselves from Jesus. In fact this word speaks of an intentional leaving. The question is in what way have they left Jesus? It cannot be said that their mind has departed from the Lord. It cannot be said that their wills were departed from the Lord. It can be said that truest devotion and affection have gone. It is clear that they are going through the motions.
This word for departing means an intentional leaving. It really has the idea of separation. They are separating themselves from Jesus. In fact this word speaks of an intentional leaving. The question is in what way have they left Jesus? It cannot be said that their mind has departed from the Lord. It cannot be said that their wills were departed from the Lord. It can be said that truest devotion and affection have gone. It is clear that they are going through the motions.
Think for a moment, of how Jesus described their labor. It was tough and hard. They sweated. It is clear that there very real and painful burden was about Jesus however, the proper motivation was not. You get the sense of a person who is gritting their teeth and just doing something willfully and not lovefully.
There was apparent moment in time, when the church decided not to have Jesus as their primary love. There was a moment or a cross roads, where they either chose to continue to love Jesus and love something else. They apparently
Let me illustrate this truth: Go with me to . In the beginning of the chapter we see Jacob meeting Rachel. Rachel was the love of Jacob’s heart. In fact it is so clear that he loved Rachel that he was willing to give Laban seven years worth of wages. Notice the phrase that is said in verse 20, “Jacob served for seven years…they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” Notice that the Jacob’s hard service seemed very little because he loved Rachel. We understand that there is a different between going through the right motions and have the right motivation with the right motions.
First love: 1) The person of Jesus 2) prominent love. Jesus demands real heart felt devotion. , Luke 10:27
Here I see this love as the person of Jesus Christ. This means that Jesus is not the object of their love. They willfully stay the course and they fight for him on the theological battlefield but he is not the love of their soul.
We also see the word first. We understand that they have some love for Jesus but Jesus is not the prominent love of their souls. It is most likely that they had some love for Jesus but he was not number one in their heart, they were distracted, they were mechanical, they were cold in their love. Remember, sound doctrine and service can indicate love but it is not a sure sign of love.
Think for a moment, of how Jesus described their labor. It was tough and hard. They sweated. It is clear that there very real and painful burden was about Jesus however, the proper motivation was not. You get the sense of a person who is gritting their teeth and just doing something willfully and not lovefully.
Let me illustrate this truth: Go with me to . In the beginning of the chapter we see Jacob meeting Rachel. Rachel was the love of Jacob’s heart. In fact it is so clear that he loved Rachel that he was willing to give Laban seven years worth of wages. Notice the phrase that is said in verse 20, “Jacob served for seven years…they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” Notice that the Jacob’s hard service seemed very little because he loved Rachel. We understand that there is a different between going through the right motions and have the right motivation with the right motions.
This is a far cry from the demands that Jesus placed upon his followers. He demanded a full commitment. He demanded real heart felt devotion. Listen to the demand of Jesus upon his followers:
37 "aHe who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 "And ahe who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 "aHe who has found his 1life will lose it, and he who has lost his 1life for My sake will find it.
37 "aHe who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 "And ahe who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 "aHe who has found his 1life will lose it, and he who has lost his 1life for My sake will find it.
(NASB95) — 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
(NASB95) — 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
From these verses we see that our devotion should flow from our love for the Lord. If we love anything close second, equal too, or more than Jesus we are wavering in our love.
From these verses we see that our devotion should be from the entire inner man:
It includes all of our heart, if our devotion is half hearted then we do not love him as much as we say we do.
It includes all of our soul, if our devotion is half souled then we do not love him as much as we say we do.
It includes all of our strength, if our devotion is half strengthed then we do not love him as much as we say we do.
It includes all of our mind, if our devotion is half minded then we do not love him as much as we say we do.
From these verses we see that our devotion should be so vibrant that it looks like we hate others. What things, people, ideals do we make into our new strange saviors? What things steal your devotion and affection from Jesus?
From these verses we see that our devotion should be from our God-esteem and should put to death our self-esteem.
The question is how do we
We will see Jesus’ commands to this church in the next verse. However, a question that we need to ask is, “How can a church get to this point?” I think it is a very slow and slippery process. However, I think we are all in danger of falling into this type of thing. Therefore, we should avoid:
Selfishness. The great killer of love is selfishness. When you start thinking your purposes, agendas, goals, fulfillment, satisfaction, recognition, enjoyment, and possessions are the most important you are selfish.
Spend more
Spend more time doing and less time praying
Spend more time away and less time with
Busyness. As Americans we often busyness with work. The idea is if you are not busy then you are not working. When it comes to spirituality
Spend more time fantasizing and less time in reality
Spend more time complaining and less time thanking
Spend more time talking about yourself and less time talking about Him
Spend more time in the minor issues of life and less time major issues.

Commands of Christ (5)

Verse 5:
Therefore, you must keep on remembering from where you have fallen and you must repent and do your first deeds. But if you do not, I am coming to (for) you and I will remove your lampstand out of its place, if you do not repent
First command: Keep on remembering where you started
Continual command.
Continual command.
Remember that the love in the past? when Jesus was relatively number one. Gen. 29:20
The sense is that the church is to remember back to that point when they were properly motivated by love to listen and serve the Lord correctly. We must have something in our mind about when we first came to know Christ. There is never a moment which we should forget our salvation. We should look back and remember when Jesus was the only person that mattered in the world.
Think for a moment, of how Jesus described their labor. It was tough and hard. They sweated. It is clear that there very real and painful burden was about Jesus however, the proper motivation was not. You get the sense of a person who is gritting their teeth and just doing something willfully and not lovefully.
Let me illustrate this truth: Go with me to . In the beginning of the chapter we see Jacob meeting Rachel. Rachel was the love of Jacob’s heart. In fact it is so clear that he loved Rachel that he was willing to give Laban seven years worth of wages. Notice the phrase that is said in verse 20, “Jacob served for seven years…they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” Notice that the Jacob’s hard service seemed very little because he loved Rachel. We understand that there is a different between going through the right motions and have the right motivation with the right motions.
Friends you remember? right? You remember when you could spend hours reading the bible just because you wanted to read to know him. There was not obligation. Remember when coming to church was an act of love for Jesus! You were not obligated. You didn’t think, “Well if I don’t go so and so will talk to me about not going.” or “Well, I have to sing, I have to teach, I have to this or that.” Remember when Sundays were exciting because you were surrounded with people who love Jesus. You sing songs with tears because you were still amazed that Jesus saved you. Remember! Remember when you felt like you could pray enough? Friends, you remember when you moved tables and chairs because it was for Jesus. Remember you felt like you could explode with passion because Jesus saved you and you wanted to know everything.
The crime of obligation, selfishness, robotic service and doctrine
Oh, the crime that we became obligated. O that our flesh lied to us and made us see Jesus as obligation. Oh that Satan would lie to us and tell us that true doctrine is best served in the cold glass of orthodoxy. Oh, how I am ashamed that I have made these things obligations and not from love.
Fallen
Second command: Repent (aorist)
Once you remember you need to repent:
Once we remember that feeling, we repent of our sin. We realize that our lifestyle was wrong! We realize that our thinking was wrong! We realize lack of love was wrong. We agree with Jesus and with heart felt sorrow cry out, “I am wrong! Please forgive me!”
The primary command:
The Importance of repentance
The remembering is not the major command, nor the repeating of the deeds, repentance is the major command. Repentance is the key! It is the special discipline of the mature believer. As believers, we should be in a constant state of repentance. Some repentance is big and some is small.
As I see it, until you acknowledge God’s word and your own sin and have that real change of mind, nothing really changes. It is not confession, just agreeing with is falling short, it is a real paradigm change. Without this change we are not willing to give up or see Jesus as we should see him.
See, there must be repentance! you will never have victory in your spiritual life if you do not repent. Your passion for Jesus will grow ice cold if you fail to repent. Real change comes from repentance
What is repentance?
Definition: Repentance is the appropriate response of the hearing of the Word of God by which there is the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit and a person reorients their mind and will to God from sin.
Robert Bolton says this about repentance, “[I]n contrition there must be sorrow of heart because of sin; there must be a dislike of it int he will; there must be a strong reasoning in the mind out of the word of God against sin.”
Another says this about repentance, “Repentance is thus understood as a process in which the individual reorients the mind and will—away from sin and towards God (Lexham).”
Repentance in Hebrew:
No one Hebrew word is an exact equivalent for the English term “Repentance.”
The primary understanding of the concept in the OT is a change in a persons thinking and attitude. This change was aimed at their view of sin and God.
From this repentance there was a visible demonstration of repentance:
Mourning over sin
Tearing of garments
Wearing sackcloth
Making restitution
Abasing yourself before the wronged party
Of course, the word also carries the idea of turning from one thing to another.
Repentance in Greek:
The Greek word for repentance is a radical change of mind or a paradigm shift. It is clear that the changed behavior is not repentance but is a result of repentance.
However, one cannot get away from the strong connection between the change of mind (the act of repentance) and the change of life (the result of repentance).
However, it is important to note that the NT concept of repentance may have sorrow and deep grieve over sin. However, grieve by itself is not a sin of repentance.
We must also realize that repentance is something that is wrought by the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the word.
Repentance and salvation
If a person reads the book of Acts you find that the Apostle Peter and Paul uses the word repentance in the place of belief numerous times. However, the context of the use of this word indicates a radical change of mind that results in fleeing from sin and clinging to Jesus Christ alone.
We must understand that repentance and faith are two sides to the same coin. In fact, Lewis Sperry Chafer says this, “Repentance…is included in the one act of believing (Salvation).” In his Systematic he says, “[R]epentance is not to be added to belief as a separate requirement for salvation....[i]t is as dogmatically stated as language can declare, that repentance is essential to salvation and that none can be saved apart from repentance, but it is included in believing and could not be separated from it.” He points to two passages that demonstrate this truth.
(NASB95) — 9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,
(NASB95) — 9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,
In this text, Dr. Chafer points out that the church turned to God from idols. He says that this point is that Paul’s wording in this text implies a single act. Notice that the people are turning to God and as the consequence of turning to God they are leaving behind their idols.
He points out that if repentance was a separate and preliminary act the order would be reversed. Paul would have said, you turned from your idols to the living God.
Though it may very well be a play on words, it is important that Paul’s verbage is interesting that turned to God is first and the result of that turning is serving God.
(NASB95) — 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
Notice that in this text, notice in this text that the people believing are turning to the Lord. It suggests to me that it was the same act. It does not indicate two acts but one act.
This is important, since repentance is not a separate act nor is it a work that prepares you to believe. However, it is part of saving faith.
Another thing that we must remember is that there are numerous passages where the word repentance is seen as a synonym. This demonstrates to me that repentance is a part of saving faith, it is not the whole or separate. However, it is a big part of salvation.
(NASB95) — 30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
(NASB95) — 30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
(NASB95) — 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
(NASB95) — 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
(NASB95) — 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
(NASB95) — 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
(NASB95) — 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
(NASB95) — 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Repentance and sanctification
Repentance for the believer is similar as salvific repentance but is more frequent and continual. Salvfic repentance needs to only happen once and repentance for the people of God is more of repairing a damaged relationship.
Of course for a believer, the idea of conviction of sin by the scripture and the Holy Spirit, sorrow over sin, admittance of sin, relying on God’s forgiveness, plan to stay obedient, and reliance upon the Holy Spirit are part of our daily repentance. Of course sometime repentance is smaller and sometimes there is larger repentance.
Third command: Repeat the deeds you did at first (aorist)
Once you repent you must repeat
Repentance is a paradigm shift, it is a mind and desire thing. The fruit of repentance are the deeds that follow ( (NASB95) — 8 “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance). The repentance is not the change of behavior, it is the changing of the mind and from that paradigm shift your deeds will flow repentance.
The consequence of disobedience
Jesus will come to you:
Jesus will come to his church to discipline the church. We will talk about the discipline of the Lord later. However it is important to remember that the believer should not fear condemnation. We are not going to hell and in a sense a believer will not be punished for his sin. However, a believer will be disciplined by the Lord. This discipline may be very uncomfortable and takes many different forms.
Jesus will remove the lampstand:
Here we see that the church will lose its usefulness. Whatever light the church had will be removed. The idea is that if they continue in their path, Jesus will remove their light from the world. Here is the problem with downgrade that a local church could be so rebellious that Jesus’s only recourse is to remove that church.
We must understand that church may be able to exist for a moment in a loveless mechanical love, however, it is clear that they are on the edge of the cliff. At any moment all the things that are build will be lost.

Christ’s Commendation and Commitment to His Churches (6-7)

Christ’s Commendation to His Church (6)

Verse 6:
But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I hate.
Jesus likes that the church hates the deed of the Nicolaitans
Jesus hates the deed of the Nicolaitans
Here Jesus and the Church hates one of the major heresies of the day. We will speak of this heresy more in detail later.
However, notice that it is a good thing to hate heresy, if we hate them for good reasons and godly love. It also shows that there is nothing wrong with naming names so that people can stay clear of these heresies.
Beware! Many christians show unbiblical hatred towards heresies and heretics. Some people are so pre-occupied with pointing out what is wrong they fail to address their own sin.

Christ’s Commitment to His Churches (7)

Verse 7:
The one who is having an ear, you must listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is overcoming will be granted to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
This is advice to the reader
(The one who has an ear): You and I need to listen to these letters to the church. If you can listen you should listen.
There is a command to listen to the Holy Spirit:
We listen to the Holy Spirit through the Word
Understand this we listen to the Holy Spirit mainly through the Word of God. It is the major agent of his communication. It is the medium through which he works on us. If you are looking for the words of God outside of the Word of God, you are very misguided and demonstrate your ignorance God’s communication to His church.
We must careful heed the things said in this church.
the overcomer will eat from the tree of God.
Play on words, there is a heresy which call themselves overcomers but they are not. Only those who have faith in Jesus Christ are overcomers ( For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith.).
GotQuestions.org says this, “The tree of life, mentioned in the books of Genesis and Revelation, is a life-giving tree created to enhance and perpetually sustain the physical life of humanity.”
Expositor’s says this, “The tree of life conveys symbolically the truth of eternal life or the banishment of death and suffering (436).

Conclusion

Three pieces of advice:

It is good if you are convicted:
If you are convicted after hear this text, there is a very good chance that you are guilty of one of two things; one unbiblical expectations that you should always be passionate or two unbiblical behavior. This conviction of sin is part of God’s discipline to his children. It is painful but do not run from. Rather, take three pieces of advice:
If you are convicted after hear this text, there is a very good chance that you are guilty of one of two things; one unbiblical expectations that you should always be passionate or two unbiblical behavior. This conviction of sin is part of God’s discipline to his children. It is painful but do not run from. Rather, take three pieces of advice:
Guard your heart by Heeding the warnings of Jesus
Guard your heart by Remembering where you fell from
Guard your heart by Repenting of your sin
Guard your heart by Taking the right measures to repeat the right kind of deeds.
Add love to your orthodoxy and service
Some have suggested that orthodoxy is the enemy of love.
I have not seen a person who desires to have sound doctrine fall into this category merely by looking for sound doctrine. Rather, it is when they forget their sound doctrine they fall away. Rather, a person who loves Jesus will love doctrine!
Some have suggested that service is the enemy of love.
This is not true either. However, when a person is more preoccupied with serving for the sake of serving and not out of love they are wrong. Rather, there is a strange attitude that overtakes some workers. They either assume that they are superior because they are busy for the Lord. Or they are over compensating for their lack of love. They work hard to say, “See I love Jesus because...” Sometime it sounds like people like this are trying to convince themselves. Or some people are so particular and unbiblical expectations of a strange exceptionalism. They are self centered and get embarrassed if something is not perfect by their own standards. The work is done then to limit personal embarrassment and not for Jesus.
Kick out other loves
It was once said, “The man who learns to kiss and drive does great disservice to the kiss.”
The point is clear, sometimes we can not be fully devoted to the more important things in life. Each of us have a list of “loves” that call us. They appeal to us. They promise true, thrilling, momentary passion. Our hearts are prone to wander.
It is clear that the best way to deal with these other loves, are to put them in their place. It is difficult to give specific advice since there are such a wide range of loves and each have different places. But I can give you one simple piece of advice. Repent! That is the key!
I find that when Jesus is seen properly, it is hard for anything to compare with him. The problem is that sometime we willfully put things in our sightpath of Jesus. When things block our view, Jesus is devalued.
Repent! repent! repent! Remember, Repent, Repeat! Repent!
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