Our senior pastor Barret Jordan has been going through Revelation, and spending a good bit of time on the first several chapters. I think this is a wise approach, because most interpretive grids often forget these early chapters as a reason WHY the book was written.
On a side note, The Millenial Maze is a book which graciously, not angrily, dogmatically, or presumptuously, deals with the different ways of interpreting Revelation’s end times scenarios.
Anyhow, Barret encouraged the congregation to consider what it means, “….to have abandoned the love you had at first (Rev 2:5).” There are several clues to exactly what it means to have “abandoned the love,” and you can hear Barret’s exposition here. His conclusion was that “abandoning the love” referred to a church’s inward turning, where it stops being a light to the community.
The result of “abandoning the love” is something that is perspicuous and not debatable: Jesus says “I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (Rev 2:5)
That’s pretty straightforward.
And we cannot deny that Jesus has done this throughout history. Churches will open and then they will close. Exactly what leads to their closing may not be something any onlooker or member can with certainty pinpoint. However, we should all realize Jesus is not afraid to shut down a church when it abandons it’s first love and ceases to be a city on a hill.
This happens cross-denominationally. I’ve seen it happen in both presbyteries I’ve served in, and I know it will continue to happen. And Barret reminded us that it could and will happen here at Redeemer, should we choose to squabble amongst ourselves and ignore our community.
The takhomasak (to be Steak-N-Shakean) application from this sermon, and from this passage is to regularly repent of ignoring the community. Nowhere does Jesus promise that an individual church will last forever.
But this is also somewhat encouraging. It shouldn’t do anything to our faith when we see church’s close their doors. Jesus says it will happen. But his church universal will not fail to move forward, even when numbers of local churches will come and go. Jesus will build His church, and He will always have some sort of lampstand around until He returns.
So when we see churches-in the past tense-like this one off I-64 in WV, we can both repent and relax.
You can click here if you want to here his sermon.