|So we see “good news
and bad news.” God praises; God criticizes. Note that the criticism has a purpose: it is to cause repentance. God does not criticize or discipline us
because He is vindictive; He does so
to produce repentance. For the
experienced Christian, there is a lesson here:
|• Remember what you
were like when you were first a Christian?
Remember the love and enthusiasm?
Is there some reason you should not be so now?
|• Repent, therefore,
and regain that first love.
|• Then repeat what
you did at first.
|It is interesting
that athletic coaches spend so much time on the basics. We see why God does here; he points it out clearly that the Lord of
the church, the head, is Jesus Christ.
Jesus will have his bride spotless, as we shall see later. Thus, he will not be satisfied as long as
there is something to criticize (pleased with progress, but not satisfied).
note the passage about the Nicolaitans -- it’s the syncopation in this
section. The Nicolaitans were a
heresey that sprang from Nicolaus, a deacon.
Nicolaus (one of the seven deacons in Acts, according to Eusebius)
wrote that the body “must be abused” (an early form of “no pain, no gain”-
actually, he made the statement with regard to his repentance of jealousy of
his wife) and was misinterpreted to mean that the body should really be
abused -- as in promiscuous sex and drunken orgies. This sect taught that the body was evil and
should be given over to evil (while keeping the mind and spirit pure, of
course!) Note that the Lord hates the practices
of the Nicolaitans, not the sinners themselves.
|In the futurist
view, this is the church of the Apostolic age, up to about 100AD (death of
John) -- and even then the church had its problems.
|What happened to
Ephesus? The city is a ruin. It housed one of the seven wonders of the
ancient world (the temple of Diana of the Ephesians); it was a rich city on a major trade
route; it has been a ruin for
centuries. The lampstand has been
removed; he who has an ear, let him