Tuesday, May 20, 2008

To the church in Ephesus

To the church in Ephesus 1"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

I do not think there can be harsher words leveled against a church than these. Now I am not a Biblical scholar by any means, but I understand a true gut-wrenching call out when I see one. I was talking with a friend recently and his perspective on the church was this. That we as a church have become so focused on performance, excellence, and standard that we have lost sight of our love for Jesus Christ. It pained me to hear that his experience with the church was this. Now it is his perspective (thus not necessarily the gospel truth) but it still saddens me to know that he has been driven away because he did not think the church was about loving God and loving people. Are all of our hard work and good deeds useless because we have missed out on simply loving God? It is a gut-check question that I must ask of not only the church but of myself. To know Christ is to love Christ and if we are not loving Christ than I must ask do we truly know Him? I don't know if there are any easy answers to this. However, I do know that it is something that must be asked. I have to know that above all else, I am deeply in love with Jesus Christ and it is only in and through that love that I do anything I do in my life. I also must know that the church I work at, serve at, worship at, grow at, and experience community at is completely focused upon loving Christ first and hard-work/good deeds second. Performance and excellence must never replace loving Jesus. Is my friend mistaken about the church? I think so. I honestly think he is. But I will do whatever it takes to make sure I can confidently say he is wrong. Not because I want to be "right" but because I want myself and my church to be exactly where Christ wants us to be.