Monday, June 26, 2017
“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 did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. Revelation 2:1-5(NLT)
Complacency at any level just isn’t pretty. It must have been a stinging, embarrassing moment when the church elders at Ephesus read this letter to the congregation. It was one of seven letters Jesus dictated to the apostle John while he was being shown the future. Mostly it was warnings to churches that had slipped off the serving trail.
Besides embarrassment, there had to be a wave of nausea rippling through the church as the gathered believers heard the warning that if they didn’t lose their complacent attitudes, their place of service in the Kingdom would be relocated to the unemployment line with other false prophets! Jesus was saying, love me or leave me! That is an either/or with no neutral choice! In fact it is the choice against neutral!
This is a message any church can hear if we have enough sense to put our pride on hold and look past our former victories long enough to see how complacency, laziness, forgetfulness and just plain lack of caring have crept in and replaced what was once a passionate love for Christ.
If we can be objective enough to look at the clear handwriting on the wall (so to speak), we will see that most of the (so-called) “reasons” we have to explain why churches are falling apart these days is not a lack of programming, evil opposition, weak preaching, bad singing, too many choices, or indifference to God in the communities we serve. The real reasons are unbelief in the pews, marked by unwillingness to tithe, serve, and give our time to the work of sharing the Gospel with lost people. Joyfully serving Christ is the mark of first love in a believer; without that, how can we say we love Jesus?
Jesus told the believers at Ephesus they were at a cross-road, a tipping point, where their very existence as a church was at stake. It was either return to first love of going all-out like they had at the start, or take the sign down from the door.
Complacency; not pretty and not honored in Heaven.
There is a place to drop off the garment of complacency; it’s called an altar!