January 18, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I will be selective in choosing the Scriptures that teach us Revelation Praise! You see, I am discovering so much in this last book of the Bible about which to praise God, it could be a very long series – perhaps a hundred blogs! That’s too long! Hence, being selective!
The next Scriptures we will consider are from Revelation, chapters 2 and 3 – one each from the letters to the seven churches. This one is from the letter to the church of Ephesus, Revelation 2:1 through 5:
These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who
walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works,
your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.
And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have
found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have
labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I
have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember there-
fore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works….”
Here we are shown God is praiseworthy in several ways:
• Revelation 2:1 – “…He…holds the seven stars in His right hand…[and] walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands….” We learn at the end of chapter one, in verse 20, that…
✞ “…the seven stars are the angels [messengers] of the seven churches….” If angels, they are assigned to the seven churches to watch over them (see Psalm 91:11-13; Hebrews 1:14), helping to direct them and protecting them from satanic attack! And if the messengers are human beings, they are the ones who bring the message of the good news! Praise God that Jesus holds them in His right hand !
✞ “…the seven lampstands…are the seven churches.” Jesus Christ walks in the midst of the churches! This is so encouraging to me. My current ministry includes preaching almost every Sunday. As I am needed, I fill the pulpits of several small and struggling churches. Some folks might say some of these churches are dead or dying, and that the Lord has given them up and left them to whither away! But Jesus walks in the midst of even these churches! “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20). Where He is, there is life and a future for even these churches! Praise Him that He walks in the midst of the churches!
• Revelation 2:2 – “I know your works….” And Jesus goes on the describe some of these works in verses 2 and 3 – labor, patience, not tolerating those who are evil, testing the claims of those who falsely say they are apostles, not becoming weary in it all! This knowledge of their works reminds me of what David wrote in Psalm 139:1 through 3:
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting
down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You com-
prehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my
ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but, behold, O LORD, You
know it altogether.
This is echoed in Hebrews 4:13: “…there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Such omniscient knowledge should be a terror to an unbelieving person! But it should greatly comfort the believer! For God knows all about you and me, and will meet all our needs! (See Matthew 6:31-33; Philippians 4:19). And, by the way, He keeps a record of all our works as Christians, to give us our due rewards! (See I Corinthians 3:11-15). “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10). Praise His holy name that He knows our works!
• Revelation 2:4 – “Nevertheless I have this against you….” On the other hand, Jesus knows our failings! In the case of the Ephesian Christians, “…you have left your first love.” Our first love, according to the Great Commandment in Mark 12:30 is, “…you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And, as it says in John 14:15, to love Him is to obey Him!
The Ephesian believers were busy with the things of the Lord, but they were not loving the Lord, putting Him first! That is so easy for any one of us to fall into! So yes, we can even praise the Lord for telling us when we fall short of fulfilling His will!
• Revelation 2:5 – “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works….” The Lord Jesus will never let us know our failures without telling us what to do to correct them! Here he tells these Christians of the Ephesian Church to do three things to correct leaving your first love:
✞ “Remember…from where you have fallen…”! Call to mind how it was when you first met the Lord – the joy, the zeal, the desire to grow in knowledge of and service to Him!
✞ “…repent…”! Turn away from the sin of not loving [obeying] God first!
✞ “…do the first works…”! Do again what you did when you loved Him so much!
Why should we praise God, according to Revelation 2:5? While Jesus will point out our failings, He will always give us the corrective measures to take! Praise Him for pointing us in the right direction, and telling us the steps then to take!