Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Church is a Lamp

The Church is a Lamp
July 17, 2017
Matthew 5:14  "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden."

The Church is a lamp, something that gives light. The Bible says very clearly that we are the light of the world. This refers, not just to individuals who make up the church, but to the church as a whole, all Christians who claim to actually be Christ followers. When John, the beloved of Jesus, was exiled to an island, the Lord gave him a vision and told him to write it down. This became the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. It starts out with several mini letters that the Lord told John to write down for seven lamps. No one knows if the mini letters every made it to the churches, but nonetheless, the Lord told John to write each of them a specific message. The Lord calls each of these churches a lamp, or a light representing Himself to the world.

Right before John starts to write the letters to these churches, he is introduced to Jesus as a deity. John knew Jesus as a friend when He was on the earth, but this meeting with Jesus it was different. Jesus was in human form but His hair was white and His eyes were balls of fire and his tongue was a sword. Jesus told John not to be afraid of Him, that it was in fact the same Christ that was once on the earth as a man. After the re-introduction, John was told to write the letters to the churches, to sit as a scribe, listening to the dictation of Jesus. Now, why would Jesus appear to John with fire in His eyes and a sword in His mouth, while He was instructing John to write a few short letters to some churches? The answer is that Jesus was angry and He was preparing to speak judgment and punishment upon each of those churches, those seven supposed representations of light to the world. If you read each letter, the seven letters have a specific criticism of each church. These seven churches were specific bodies of believers at one time, but are also meant as an analogy of seven types of churches all still alive today, one of which you might be a member. Jesus had a message for them back then and He has the same criticism for some churches alive today, all around the world.

The first letter written to a church was in Ephesus. This was one of the churches coached by the apostle Paul when he wrote a letter to that same church; the letter now known as the book of Ephesians. Jesus had a criticism for that church. Before He criticized them, He praised them for enduring hardships on account of His name. Jesus was quick to say that there was so much good about them, that they were healthy and dedicated to serving Him. They had a flaw, however, and that was over the years they had fallen stale in their love and dedication to Him. In fact, Jesus used a very harsh word, forsaken. Jesus said they had forsaken their love for Him. In honor of His memory for their years of service to Him, He was going to give them one last chance. He told the church to repent, and return to their dedication of loving Him. Remember, Jesus had fire in His eyes and a sword ready for judgment. Jesus was serious, and was giving them an opportunity to get it right before He executed His judgment upon everyone.

Christian, you are a lamp, a representation of Jesus, shining for the world to see. Evaluate yourself honestly, and ask if you've forsaken your first love over the years? Is your love for Jesus fresh and vibrant, or have you possibly forsaken it and now you just go through the motions, in the memory of your past? Jesus is giving you an opportunity to fix it, to make it right once again before He executes judgment on you. If you've nothing to repent, then don't fear the fire in His eyes or the sword in His mouth. Otherwise, no matter how much good you did for Him in the past, if you don't end things well, there will be harsh judgment. You may not be the church in Ephesus, but make sure you don't fall into that same trap.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Matt 5:14-16, Revelation 1 & 2

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