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Read Introduction to Revelation

 

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”

 

Jesus turns now from encouragement to exhortation.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen

The “therefore” refers to a loss of love for the Lord Jesus (Re 2:4). They fell from a deep passion for the Lord Jesus, declined from fellowship with Him, sank from all heart to all head, and lost warm love for the Lord.

In Greek, the word “fallen” means that the church was in a state of spiritual decline. This was more than an occasional slip.

repent

The word “repent” comes from two words: change and to think. Repentance, then, is to change one’s thinking about something. The idea is to change one’s complete viewpoint on something by looking at life as Jesus looks at life.

The English word “repent” conveys the idea of sorrow or remorse. The Greek word does not carry that idea; it is about total thought and behavior change. Depending on the context, it conveys both ideas of attitude and behavior.

You buy a chartreuse dress and bring it home for your family to see. You ask, “How does this dress look on me?” Everyone suppresses roaring laughter. You take the dress back for something more sensible. That is repentance. You change your mind about the dress.

In this case, the meaning of “repent” is clear — change your attitude toward your love for Christ (Re 2:4). Reverse your lackluster love into a burning love for the Lord Jesus. Think about the depth of your love for Him. Change your apathetic love to an appreciating love for Him.

and do the first works

The word “do” is a bit misleading. We almost exclusively use this term for a deed or an action, but “do” carries the idea of cause, bring about, purpose, manifestation, or practical proof. The context indicates that by “first works,” Jesus wants this church to get back to their “first love” for Him, the love they had when they first became Christians (Re 2:4).

or else I will come to you quickly

Jesus is not afraid to give an “or else” to His church: “Repent…or else.” Jesus always disciplines those He loves. He would not love His church if He did not discipline it. To discipline is to care about the people you discipline. In this case, this is a collective discipline of the entire church.

and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent

The word “remove” means to set in motion, to move. We obtain our English words “kinetic” and “cinema” from this Greek word. Jesus will remove the church from a sphere of effectiveness or possibly out of existence.

Discipline is contingent upon repentance. If we repent, Jesus will not execute His discipline upon the church (“lampstand”). The church’s repentance depends on its response to discipline from the Lord.

Look at the churches that once preached the gospel but now stand as empty shells. All you find in these churches is “Us four and no more,” except for maybe a few mice. Jesus removed the testimony of these churches in Asia Minor. Thousands of churches disappear every year throughout the world.

Principle:

Some churches were more than what they became.

Application:

We need to change our thinking about our present spiritual status. Spiritually, we were more than we are now. Get back to where you started.

There is a tendency to compartmentalize our sin. We can labor with excellent dynamics, albeit in a deep vacuum of fellowship with the Lord. This kind of labor for the Lord is sublimation. Sublimation always produces misery. That is why we must change our minds about true communion with the Lord. First, we must “remember” and then “repent.”

Has your church lost its “first love?” Has your church lost its passion for salvation and for the One who gave it that salvation? Remember your first love for Him. Remember the days when you first became a Christian. Remember your love for Him at that time. Remember your enthusiasm for sharing Him with others. Have you fallen from that? Repent! Change your mind about your present state. Quit your complaining. Let go of that critical spirit. Put love for the Lord back at the center of your attitude.

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