Sunday, April 20, 2014

THE RESURRECTION DAY

THE RESURRECTION DAY

            During this time of the year we get questions asked by friends, neighbors and our own children about Easter and certain traditions surrounding Easter. That is a good thing, in fact in the Jewish tradition, questions are part of the way festivals are celebrated and they are a way to remember what God has done.  Don’t you think that we Christians have gotten a little foggy and confused about what we believe at times? 

Let’s clarify a few things before we go further. How and when did the name Easter come about? How about the Easter Bunny and the Eggs? What is the Christian significance of Easter? Should Christians celebrate Easter in the first place? This is what I found during my research. As early as in 8th century the name Easter was used. The name itself is not Christian but pagan. “Easter—the name comes to us from Ostera or Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, for whom a spring festival was held annually, as it is from this pagan festival that some of our Easter customs have come”

On Easter Sunday, children wake up to find that the Easter Bunny has left them baskets of candy. He has also hidden the eggs that they decorated earlier that week. Children hunt for the eggs all around the house. Neighborhoods, churches and organizations hold Easter egg hunts. The Easter Bunny is a rabbit-spirit. Long ago, he was called the "Easter Hare", hares and rabbits have frequent multiple births so they became a symbol of fertility. The custom of an Easter egg hunt began because children believed that hares laid eggs in the grass. The Romans believed that "All life comes from an egg." Christians consider eggs to be "the seed of life" and so they are symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and new life.
            
Should we celebrate Easter or allow our children to go on Easter egg hunts? This is a question many Christian parents struggle with. There is nothing essentially evil about painting and hiding eggs and having children search for them. What is important is our focus. Now I believe that not only the church has a role to play in keeping the record straight I believe it has to start in the Christian home.  That is where we are to have the right focus in the first place, it is up to parents to not let the media dictate terms as to what our holidays should be like.  If parents make knowing and serving God the first priority in the home there are many ways in which we can build a culture at home that is Christ centered, through reading and discussing the meaning of scripture, through singing hymns and making music, through art or service projects and many other ways.

            Last Thursday we had the incredible opportunity to share the true meaning of Easter right here in the sanctuary with 53 children from the Chinese after school program, just before their Easter egg hunt.  We asked them some questions and interacted with them before we shared the story of Christ’s death and resurrection. You should have seen the rapt attention of these kids as the gospel was presented to them in simple terms.

Wilma and I were amazed at some of the questions the kids asked, such as: Does Jesus know what I am thinking? What about Easter eggs and bunnies? How was Jesus born?  We said that was the Christmas story to deal with another time. They wanted to know more. We could not have presented the gospel to them had we not capitalize on their interest for Easter egg hunt. So let’s not be rigid and adamant, Celebrations like Christmas and Easter presents us a rare opportunity to share the good news of the gospel to those who need to hear the most. May be we should put up a big Easter Extravaganza next year.

In the Christian faith, however Easter has come to mean the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after His crucifixion. It is one of the oldest Christian holidays and the most important day of the church year because of the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the events upon which Christianity is based. Therefore the main focus on Easter Sunday for us as believers is not on Easter baskets and bunnies, we remember and celebrate the glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. By this He conquered death and proclaimed to the world that one day every human being will be resurrected; but each to a different destination.

There are skeptics who discount any sort of resurrection of the dead let alone the resurrection of Christ. In the midst of growing controversy surrounding the resurrection of Christ, how can we hold on to this most important Christian doctrine, live out its message and most importantly pass it on to the next generation? I began my study exploring the word resurrection, the importance of Christ’s resurrection, other references to human’s resurrection and how it effects our view on life.

What does the word Resurrection mean? In the English it means: A rising again from the dead. The Greek word anastasis means “A standing on the feet again or rising of the body from the grave. Have you wondered what happens to humans when they die? Is the grave yard or crematory their final resting place? Depending on where you are from; most people even from other religions agree that there is life after death. What does the Bible say about life after death? In the Bible there are several references concerning life after death beginning with the resurrection of Christ.

RESURRECTION OF CHRIST IN THE OT:
Here are a few OT scriptures that foretell the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Psalm 34:20, “he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. and Zechariah 12:10, They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." Isaiah 53 is all about crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and the work of redemption of Christ, in Vs 10 “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.”

In the midst of intense agony and suffering Job prophesied about the LORD’s resurrection, Job 19:25-27: "As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another.

These are only a few. All the events that surrounded the crucifixion and resurrection took place so that the scriptures might be fulfilled. Jesus himself told his disciples about his resurrection, Matt 17:23, “They will kill him, and on the third ay he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.”

According to his own words Jesus after the Sabbath at dawn on the first day of the week was raised back to life. All the four gospel writers give various details of that glorious resurrection day. Jesus’ resurrection was a precursor to the resurrection of men. Death is not the end of life; but is the beginning of eternal life. The first resurrection day though it was powerfully experienced by the guards who were manning the tomb and his own disciples the devil tried to discredit it by spreading a lie.

What was the lie about Christ’s resurrection? The guards who witnessed the resurrection were bribed by the chief priests to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” Matthew 28:13 unfortunately this lie is still being circulated even after 2000 years.
How can we counter this lie and silence the vain allegations of skeptics? Here are a few scriptural references: After his first appearance to Mary and other disciples Jesus spent over a period of 40 days with his disciples, teaching them about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3)

There is other evidence of Paul who himself was converted by the appearance of  Jesus Christ on the Road to Damascus writes now to the young church believers in Corinth. Listen to his witness: I Cor 15:3-7, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

All the early apostles were the first eye witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They saw with their own eyes, their hands touched Him, they believed and spread the good news of the gospel to the rest of the world. As a result the gospel came to you and me and changed our lives. The truth is that the gospel of Christ is still changing lives all over the world. That is the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You may be wondering about the relevance of the Resurrection of Christ today. Speaking to a group of people who were preaching that there is no resurrection of the dead Paul says, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”( ICor 15:13-14) Not only our faith but also 2.2 billion (this is growing by the day) (show the slide) who claim themselves Christians is useless.

Paul did not leave us hanging on a negative note, Vs 20 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” Christ himself has said, in John 5:28-29 “28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”

Dear friend do not be fooled; a day is coming and on that day no matter who you are, we all will be brought before God and judged according to what we have done. Those who have put their faith in Christ will be raised to be with Him forever in heaven and those who reject Jesus will be cast away into a fiery place called hell.

On this resurrection day the way to eternal life is presenting itself before you. Do you have the assurance that there is resurrection for you, life after death? If not today you can have it by confessing that you are a sinner and ask Jesus to forgive your sins and have him come into your life to be with you forever. The power of resurrection can give us hope, perspective as we experience the challenges, trials of this life here on earth, above all grant us eternity with Christ forever and ever. Amen




BEING FAITHFUL TO THE END: (Letter to the Church in Smyrna) Rev 28-11


           Our hearts and prayers go out to the families who have lost their loved ones in the recent Ferry tragedy in South Korea. While we mourn the lives lost and get angry over the heinous acts of the captain and some of the crew members there was one crew member who was faithful to her duty all the way to her own death.  22 year old “Park Ji- Young” put the lives of others above her own safety she literally gave up her life so that others might live.
As the ship began to sink Park Ji Young showed the passengers a way to safety. Park handed life jackets to the students and rushed them to rescue boats, "When asked by a student why she wasn't putting on a life jacket, Park reportedly replied that the crew should be the last to leave the ship and assured the student that she would make her way out after helping the passengers to safety."[1]  Through her selfless; courageous; faithful act of duty Park Ji Young saved nearly 50 people a third of all those who survived the tragedy. Parki Ji Young who remained faithful till the end of life will go into the history books as a faithful martyr whose life saved fifty lives.
We have been going over the letters written to the seven Churches in Asia Minor in the book of Revelation. So far we learned about a Church who was on fire for the Lord at first but in the end have lost their first love for God and for others. Today we will learn about a Church that was poor and undergoing persecution yet were encouraged by the Lord to remain faithful unto the end. What is the reward for those who will remain faithful unto the end?
 Rev 2:8-11 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death”
I. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT SMYRNA?
Smyrna, present day İzmir is the third most populous city of Turkey and the country's largest port after İstanbul.[2] Osborn notes, “Smyrna is the only city that has continued to the present day. It was the first city in Asia to erect a temple to the goddess Roma (195 B.C). Other famous temples (the temples of Zeus and Cybele were connected by a mall that was the envy of the ancient world. A group of buildings called “the crown of Smyrna and a beautiful road way called, “the Street of Gold”
At the time of writing the church in Smyrna was undergoing persecution during the reign of Domitian. Rome had given the Jews the right to practice their religion and they did not want this precious privilege threatened.  In addition in the 80s Judaism excommunicated the Christian “heretics” from their synagogues and they wanted nothing to do with them. In A.D 155 the famous bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp, was burned alive for refusing to call Caesar “Lord”[3]

II. THE GREAT REVELATION
Vs 8 To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. Here Jesus was referred to as the First and the Last and once dead, but now alive. In Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12, God is projected as the beginning and the end and there is no one who is equal to him. By Jesus saying I am the first and the last he is ascertaining that he is equal to God. He went further and said “I was once dead and now I am alive.” What do you think those words must have done to those who were seeing Christians getting martyred for their faith? I am sure they must have injected faith and hope to the persecuted Christians.

III. THE GREAT PARADOX
          Smyrna is a church that is experiencing both afflictions (persecution) and poverty. Christ said, “I know your affliction and your poverty yet you are rich.” What has contributed to their poverty? Due to their uncompromising faith they found it difficult to make a living in a pagan environment.”[4] The linking of persecution and poverty together suggests that poverty may be more than just lack of employment or under employment, but a lack of the basic needs that sustain life.
         This is a similar situation today for many Christians in China, Cuba, India and many Muslim countries.  Because of their commitment to Christ, these Christians are unable to find good employment, to receive housing or food allotments from the government, and in some cases even medical assistance is not available.           This is what the church at Smyrna was experiencing. However, God was referred to them as being “Rich” This is an obvious example of paradox. We used to have a fine Christian woman coming from a very poor background work for us at home; doing household work. In spite of her abject poverty she maintained certain dignity and integrity. She was radiant with Christ. I am sure if Christ has to look at her situation He would say to her, “I know your affliction and poverty yet you are rich.” 
       By and large the Christian life is a life of paradox isn’t it?  We are called the sons of the living God yet we get sick, struggle financially; may not rank very highly in society; people may ridicule; hate and even kill us because of our faith.

Let’s see how this life of paradox played out in one of the veteran missionaries of Christendom the Apostle Paul. 2 Cor 6: 3-10, “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

          Coming back to the believers in Smyrna whatever may be the reason for their poverty the comforting thought is that Jesus took note of it and he says to them that they were actually rich. In other words, in spite of the affliction they were going through, God has given spiritual riches beyond their wildest dreams.” The same is true for you! The only reason why we might not be experiencing these blessings is unlike the early Christians we are distracted by many other attractions. The early Christians put their eyes on what is unseen more than their troubling circumstances therefore they were ready to pay the price and willing to endure hardships. Let’s talk about paying the price; and how it will reward us in the end.

III. THE GREAT PRICE & REWARD
When we are about to cut a business deal or taking up a new job we naturally ask this question; what is in there for me? In other words how is it going to profit me? I am sure the believers in Smyrna may have asked themselves the same question; they may have been aware of the price they had to pay yet they decided to become Christians. I wonder how many people in the West are being made aware of the price that one may have to pay for following Christ.
           When someone makes a decision to follow Christ or join a church, I wonder what they are looking for.  Are they only looking at the blessings of following Christ and not at the high price and are they unwilling to suffer for Him? The truth of the matter is that; yes there are indeed great blessings in following Christ but at the same time God never promised total ease and comfort. Jesus said to his disciples that they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Him.” (Luke 9:23) Paul writing to the young Timothy uses these words. 2 Timothy 3:12, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” The message cannot get any clearer than this.
           The irony of our churches today is that the emphasis has been so much on prosperity theology and very little or no theology of suffering and hardships. Yet down through the ages in Church history, Christians have suffered for their faith; and many were killed. There is a whole book written of them called the “Fox Book of Martyrs.” The 2nd-century Church Father Tertullian wrote that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church," It is estimated that 100,000 people are getting killed because of their Christian faith every year and these numbers will only increase. So dear friends if we want to follow Christ we must be willing to pay the price even if it means losing our very lives.
         It is somewhat bearable and justifiable when opposition comes from pagans but when it comes from the so called people of God or our own Christian brothers and sister in the family; who can bear such opposition? That was exactly what the church in Smyrna was enduring. Christians were being accused by zealous Jews. Jewish opposition to Christianity was quite common in NT. Several scriptures in the book of Acts indicate that the Jews were the primary opponents and caused many problems to Christians. (e.g., Acts 13:45-52; 14:19; 17:6-9) With its large population of Jews in Smyrna, this opposition against Christians reached its heights.”[5]
Vs 10,Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life”. Here Jesus is encouraging the believers to be faithful even to the point of death. He promises a great reward, the crown of life which should be understood in the sense of “I will crown you with eternal life.”. As I read this letter to the church in Smyrna I cannot help but wonder; we American Christians, who always get what we want; who do not want anyone to tell us what we should do or should not do.  How will we be able to handle it when real persecution hits us?
                 Jesus’ exhortation to the believers then and now is the same; “To be faithful till the end.” God will take care of the circumstances. Our obligation in every situation is to maintain our faithfulness to Him- even to the point of sacrificing our lives. The letter to the church ended with these words “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” indicating that this message is even relevant for all of us today.  Shall we then heed the voice of the Spirit that is saying unto us today “Be Faithful to the End!”  Amen



[1] http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/22/305830690/as-korean-ferry-sank-some-crew-members-fought-to-save-lives
[3] Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, commentary on NT, (Baker Academic: G.R. Michigan, 2002), 127.
[4] David E.Aune, World Biblical Commentary 52 A, Revelation 1-5, (Word Books Publisher: Dallas Texas, 1997), 161.
[5] Ibd., Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, commentary on NT, (Baker Academic: G.R. Michigan, 2002),131.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

LOOSING OUR FIRST LOVE? PART-II
(Lessons from the Church of Ephesus)
                                                  Revelation 2:1-7, 04/13/2014
            For the past few weeks we have been on an exciting journey of studying the book of Revelation. This book is all about the message of God to the world and His Church in particular, about what would happen before the final return of Jesus, prior to establishing His eternal Kingdom. You may be wondering why should I read this boring and irrelevant book with all these weird symbols? Well don’t discard it too quickly; there is a blessing in simply reading it even when it doesn’t make sense in the beginning. Listen to what the author of the book John has to say, Rev 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” For what and whom is the time is near, one may ask?

If you follow the world events and observe certain unusual signs in the sky like this article a friend of mine sent about the four blood moons, “America is soon to be treated with the first of four marvelous sky spectacles. The lunar eclipse has been celebrated as a sacred event by many religions throughout history, but the coming  of eclipses seems to have been foretold in the prophecy of the Four Blood Moons. The date of the first total lunar eclipse will occur early April 14 on the West coast, and April 15 elsewhere in the States, and will be visible all across America.” Those who follow New Age philosophy link this to Biblical prophecy of the Lord’s second coming. The friend who sent me also thinks that Christ may come to North America and not to the Middle East; I had an interesting discussion with him in regards to why he will surprise everyone and come to the Middle East.

All these signs are certainly pointing towards the Lord’s Second coming, and his coming is very near; in fact nearer than when we first began to talk about it. In view of that it is important that we take a look at what the last book of the Bible has to say about the end of the world rather than draw our conclusions based on every other conspiracy theory.

Two weeks ago we looked at a Church that once was on fire for the Lord yet ended up losing its first love. Though they received praise for several things that were going well for them however Jesus was upset with them for losing their first love. Revelation 2:1-7

Before we delve into our topic a special note on how we connect these ancient seven Churches to the Church in modern times?  These were seven local churches in Asia Minor, but they were each representative of a particular age in church history.  Therefore in a marvelous way, the Lord takes churches currently existing at that time and compares their behavior and their circumstances with certain epochs which were yet to appear in church history. 

Throughout the book of Revelation the Lord wants to make one thing clear that he is writing the history of the future. Here is the most common approach to the seven churches in the book of Revelation. This view holds that the seven churches represent seven periods of Church history and the character of Christian commitment during those seven periods:
1. Ephesus: Pentecost- 95 AD- The Apostolic Church
2. Smyrna: 95-315 AD The persecuted Church under Rome
3. Pergamum 315-500 AD the state approved Church under Constantine
4. Thyatira: 500-1500 AD The Middle ages and rise of the Roman Church
5. Sardis 1500-1800 AD The period of the Reformation under Martin Luther
6. Philadelphia 1800-1900 AD The Church and its missionary efforts
7. Laodicea 1900-Present The Modern Church lacking in spirituality[1]

Like all letters, the letter to the church in Ephesus begins with a command, “To the angel of the Church in Ephesus write.” The word angel must not be confused with angels who are the spirit beings, whereas here it could be translated as messenger, elder, leader, bishop or pastor. Vs 2 begins with words “I know” What did Christ know about the lives of the believers in the Church of Ephesus? That brings us to the Commendation part of the letter. The believers in Ephesus had persevered, tested the spirits (I John 4:1) exposed the false apostles, (2 Cor 11:13), endured for the sake of God’s name, they had not grown weary and hated the deeds of 
Nicolaitians and they were commended for it.

Who are the Nicolaitans?  Last time we learned that, “the first commentator on Revelation, refers to them as ‘false and troublesome men, who, as ministers under the name of Nicolaus. They had made a heresy, to the effect that what had been offered to idols might be exorcised and eaten, and that whoever should have committed fornication might receive peace on the eighth day.”[2]

The Church in Ephesus was commended by Christ for their hatred towards such syncretistic teachings and practices that were rampant at that time. Are we today any different from them? Do we find the teachings of Nicolaitians today in the Church worldwide? We better believe it! The scriptures warn us in the last days, “Many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many.” On the surface the believers in Ephesus appeared very zealous for their love for God and His word. They had persevered, tested the spirits, exposed the false apostles, endured for the sake of God’s name, had not grown weary and hated the deeds of Nicolaitians.

Yet Christ said; Vs 4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Really? The text doesn’t really give us a clue on what it meant by leaving their first love. Is it their first love for God or their love for the fellow men or could it be both? How have they left their first love?

Osborne explains “In referring to the word Love here as many scholars assume that it is horizontal or brotherly love or primarily love for fellow men. Due to their struggle with false teachers and their hatred of heretical teachings, the Ephesian believers have left their love they used to have for their fellow men. Others view that it is Christ.”[3]  But how can we separate love for humans from love for God?

After reading various commentaries I conclude that the Ephesian believers have left their first love they once used to have for God which was expressed in their love for their fellow human beings. Hasn’t Jesus taught his disciples that they were to Love God first? Matt 22:37-39 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind….You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
In other words our Love for God must always find its expression in our love for our fellow human beings. For example; consider these scriptures and see where God places His emphasis on:  I John 4:20 “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” I John 3:16-18, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

These are just two scriptures, throughout the NT love for God/Christ is emphasized as is love for our fellow believers. Indeed one cannot exist without the other. It is interesting to reread Paul’s letter to Ephesus in the light of this passage in Revelation. Paul devoted half of the letter to the purity of doctrine and the other half to how Christians must walk in love. For example:  Ephesians 1:15, “give thanks for their “love for all the saints.”  And he prays in 3:17 that they will be “rooted and established in love.” In 4:2 he urges them to bear with one another in love; 4:15 to speak the truth in love; 4:16, as the part of the body of Christ to grow and build themselves up in love. In 5:2 He encourages them to live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” In 5:22-32 emphasizes loving relationship between husband and wife. Chapter 6 is about the relationships between parents and children slaves and their masters.”

Paul was writing to the Ephesian believers to maintain a balance in their love for God and for people. It is not all about loving God only or loving people; both needed to be kept in balance. When Christ was addressing the Ephesian Church they were out of balance. The swung to one extreme of just loving God; they were commended for their zeal against the heresies yet they were condemned because it had lost its enthusiasm and loving outreach to the community. Therefore Jesus commands them to “Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” They needed acts of love more than the talk of love.

What does that mean for us today? Some of us appear to be so spiritual and being busy for the work of the LORD yet neglect their most important duties of a husband, wife, and a father. Yet there are others who only care about their spiritual wellness and pay little or no attention to the welfare of those around them. In Christ’s eyes they have lost their first love and they need to repent and keep doing the loving things they did at first not only towards God but also their fellow human beings especially to those who are in their immediate loving sphere of influence which is their home and family.

My prayer is that we will repent and get back our first love. We will remain steadfast under persecution. We will remain loving to God and loving to our fellow human beings. As and when we do that we will become overcomers in Christ’s view and He will give us the right to eat from the tree of life.  To eat from the tree of life is to receive in full the life of God which we now know only in part.  When we do not compromise our faith with the world but maintain our commitment to Jesus then he will let us enjoy eternal life in the presence of God Himself. What more could we desire?  Amen













[1] Taken from:  "A Glimpse at the Back of the Book" By Douglas B. Barton.                                     
[2] Leon Morris, Revelation,(W.B Eerdmans Publishing Company: G.R. Michigan, 2002), 61.
[3] Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, commentary on NT, (Baker Academic: G.R. Michigan, 2002), 116.