Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Revelation 1:17 - 2:7

Oh boy, here we go with the book of Revelation again. When we wrote devotions about Revelation earlier this year I thought we would be through with this part of the Bible for a while. But God, in His wisdom, has brought us back to this book for a look at additional messages.

This reading begins the letters to the seven churches. In this reading Jesus through John writes to the church in Ephesus. Christ commends this church for (1) hard work, (2) persevering, (3) resisting sin, (4) critically examining the claims of false apostles, and (5) enduring hardships without becoming weary.

Every church should have these characteristics. But Jesus says doing all of these things is not enough or not the highest priority. Love must remain the core of any church. The motivation for any action, be it hard work, perseverance, resisting sin, or defending the faith must be love.

The mission of Saint Matthew's is to know and share God's love. This reading reminds me of our mission. We are doing much at Saint Matthew's these days - pizza and game nights, community outings to musicals, ESL, Link, mission trips, great worship services with terrific music, WATCH (Wednesdays AT CHurch), bible studies, parish retreats, Bible reading marathon, an energized youth group, and much more - however, we must never forget that none of these activities account for anything if we lose our ability to love. Without love we will just be going through the motions.

This theme is so important it is repeated again and again in the New Testament. Jesus himself said the most important commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and spirit and the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (the Jesus Creed).

Work for God must be motivated by love for God or it will not last.

Wishing you much success in your walk with Christ,
Richard Leach

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