The Book of Revelation is the last book in the Bible. It presents a sweeping overview of God’s plan of redemption for the human race. It chronicles the events of the past, this current age, and looks ahead to the eventual return of Jesus Christ to this earth. In the beginning of the Book of Revelation, theologians and Bible scholars have analyzed these solemn words of Jesus Christ to seven churches. He began with the church at Ephesus.
But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.
Revelation 2:4-5 (NLT)
Jesus then spoke to five more churches, addressing the faults of each. For the church in Smyrna, they were faltering in the face of persecution. For the church in Pergamum, they accepted false teachings. For the church in Thyatira, they tolerated false teachers. For the church in Sardis, there was overconfidence in their previous successes. For the church in Philadelphia, they were reluctant to spread the Gospel beyond their own members. Finally, for the church in Laodicea, Jesus chastised them for their indifferent lukewarm attitude.
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”
Revelation 3:15-17 (NLT)
Jesus was addressing the sins of each church and some theologians have speculated that Jesus was also prophesying how the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, would gradually turn to apostasy and indifference, culminating with this current age. However, as I reflected upon this progression of sins that each church allowed, I realized that Jesus could also be describing individual Christians. When we lose our first love and do not love Jesus Christ with the same fervor and passion as we did when we first accepted Him as Lord and Savior, we begin a slow and inexorable downward path to more sin. This is how it starts. We do not hold fast to our faith under persecution. We tolerate false teachings and teachers. We grow overconfident in our past successes and no longer seek to share the Gospel with others. The end result is an indifference to God.
There have been times in my spiritual walk with God when my love for Jesus Christ was replaced by carnal desires for the world. With varying degrees, I have descended down this dark path to indifference. Thanks be to God that He continues to rescue me and brings me to my knees in repentance. It does not excuse my behavior but is a solemn reminder how I must continually cling to God’s promises, renewing and reaffirming my faith in every moment. I am grateful for God’s grace and mercy in my life and for all who have experienced His forgiveness.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.