When Sound Doctrine & Furious Action Displease Christ

Lampstands, No. 3

A congregation that is sound in doctrine and active in deeds may nonetheless displease Christ, and might be in danger of losing the privilege of representing Christ on earth.

Jesus warns just such a congregation in Revelation 2:1-7. The church at Ephesus had been so alert and orthodox doctrinally that it had exposed false teachers and dealt with them appropriately. And it had engaged in good deeds to the point of collective exhaustion, “not growing weary” when lesser congregations would have collapsed.

But Jesus still had stern words for the church. They had “abandoned the love they had at first.”

Because we only love when God loves us first, and Jesus’ prescription is to do the “deeds” they did at first, it seems that his focus is on how we express love towards one another. What does it mean, then, to abandon an initial love we had for other people?

  • If your greatest delight is no longer in Jesus…
  • If you are not concerned to know his commands and do them…
  • If you have no interest in the condition of the lost…
  • If you don’t care about the widow and the orphan…
  • If you close your ear to the cries of the poor and the oppressed…
  • If you spend as little time as possible with other Christians, particularly those in your own congregation…
  • If you hold to sound doctrine in order to belittle others…
  • If you serve in order to compare yourself with those who don’t…
  • If you constantly find fault with others…
  • If you serve while resenting those you serve…
  • If you speak negatively to outsiders about the church and about those in it…
  • If you hold back in your commitments to the congregation…
  • If you avoid constructively confronting sin in others (and aiding their restoration)…
  • If you judge others for failing to meet a standard not found in the Bible…
  • If you grumble, complain, and criticize…
  • If you hold a grudge, nurse a hurt, or refuse to forgive…

…you have likely abandoned the love you had a first. Jesus calls you, therefore, to Repent!

Jesus shows us great mercy because he gives opportunity to repent and return to him. He does the same with entire congregations. Some churches likely suffer in gospel ministry, failing to see much fruit in evangelistic efforts, because they have left their first love.

Examine yourself, and your congregation, for signs of love abandonment. If you detect it, repent.


Sermon audio: listen below orĀ  click here.

Theme: Because loveless doctrine & action displease Christ, we must return to our first love.

Outline:

  • A Record to Recognize
  • A Reason for Rebuke
  • A Route to Restoration
    • Remember
    • Repent
    • Re-Do
  • A Reward for Rededication
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