USEFUL in God's Kingdom Work
I’m speaking about being useful as congregation, and individuals. I believe each and everyone of us desires to be useful and fulfill the purpose of God through our lives.
Jesus through John sent a letter to the church in Ephesus that contains teaching that can help all of of us to be useful in God's work.
Let's unpack that letter in Revelations.
Revelations 2:1-7 ESV, “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.’”
1. The Promise to His Church
Jesus' said to this church, I who move in the midst of the golden lampstands.
He is saying to the church, I am with you. I'm not leaving you.
Then Jesus complements them verses 2-4. This shows us that the Ephesian congregation was faithful and committed to Jesus.
2. The call to Simplicity and Works
V4,5. I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. . . I am on the edge of removing your light.
The simplicity I'm talking about is losing their first love. Many teach that they lost their love for Jesus. That does not seem to be the case when you read what Jesus says about them in the beginning of the letter.
What first love did they lose?
Matthew 24:12-14 ESV, “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.(not believers, church = world) 13 But the one who endures (church Ephesis) to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Here Jesus links “the love of many tapering off” to God’s desire that the gospel be proclaimed throughout Ephesus and the whole world. I believe ti ws their love for their mission and calling has tapered off. Listen to the message to hear what I am saying about that.
3. Jesus says, We can fix this.
Revelation 2:5, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”
Repentance means to re-order your thinking in a way that is inline to His.
Isaiah 55: 9 ESV, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
By Nature we do not think like God’s thinking.
Romans 1:2, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
4. The Elephant in the room.
Revelations 2:6: “Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
Word Nicolaitan comes from two Greek words, Nicos and laos.
Nicos Greek word 'to conquer', idea of dictatorship, or dominion.
Laos: Greek word for 'people'. Sadly: where we get our word 'laity' or lay people.
(1.) It is the making of the clergy and the laity.
Mark 10:42-45 ESV, “And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[a] 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave[b] of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Ephesians 4:11-12, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry,
Matter of over lordship. Not a matter of servant leadership.
I never use the word laity. I don't believe in laity. I believe we are ALL CALLED TO BE MINISTERS.
(2.) Too many are willing to let someone else become the spiritually maturing person. People that refuse to grow, people that say, "I want somebody to be spiritual for me."
Are you content to let someone else pray for you, rather than you to pray?
Do you have a love for winning souls?
Do you leave ministry to others?
Maybe you have lost your first love?
5. The Promise to the overcomers.
Revelations 2:7 ESV, "He that has an ear let him hear, and to him that overcomes,' To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.'"
The promise is: NOW and the FUTURE.
Ex: Adam and Eve cast out of the Garden, two angelic creatures with flaming swords kept the way of the tree of life lest people should enter into Eden paradise and partake of life and live forever in their sin,
Now Jesus said, 'I've redeemed you'
He said, 'I've opened the way for you to come back to Eden again.'
Eden place of humans fullest relationship with God.
He is saying that you can experience that NOW in this LIFETIME.
You can walk with Him daily.
You can be who He created you to be.
Do not let . . .someone be mature for you.
Do not let . . .someone be the minister in your place
Do not let . . someone be the go between — Jesus and you.
Walk with Jesus, talk with Jesus, fulfill your purpose through Jesus.
You will EXPERIENCE the LIFE JESUS CREATED YOU TO LIVE to it’s FULLEST!!!
Pray with ME:
Jesus we love You. We worship You. We give ourselves to You.
Bring us back to the SIMPLICITY of FIRST LOVE and FIRST WORKS
So we can ENJOY the FULLEST EXPRESSION of YOUR LOVE, PURPOSE, for us, in us and through us.
Until he returns, Larry Neville