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Warm Hands but Cold Hearts

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WARM HANDS BUT COLD HEARTS

Revelation 2:1–7 NASB95
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: 2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. 6 ‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
Revelation 2:1–7 NIV - Anglicised
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favour: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:1–7 HCSB
1 “Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus: “The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and who walks among the seven gold lampstands says: 2 I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. 3 You also possess endurance and have tolerated many things because of My name 4 But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 Yet you do have this: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.
rev 2
WARM HANDS BUT COLD HEARTS
Revelation 2:1–7 NASB95
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: 2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. 6 ‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
Revelation 2:1–7 ESV
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Revelation 2:1–7 CSB
1 “Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus: Thus says the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. 3 I know that you have persevered and endured hardships for the sake of my name, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet you do have this: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:1–7 ESV
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Revelation 2:1–7 NKJV
1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 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. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’

INTRODUCTION:

INTRODUCTION:
Beginning with these verses, we are going to be studying the seven churches to which Jesus is writing…He calls these churches by name in .
As we study these seven churches, I want you to keep in mind that these churches can be seen in three different ways.
They can be viewed Prophetically
They can be viewed Prophetically – These churches seem to represent different stages of the church over the last 2,000 years…If this is true, then the church at Ephesus represents the time period between the Day of Pentecost and 100 AD…This was a time of great expansion for the early church…But, it was also a time when some began to loose their zeal and fervency.
These churches seem to represent different stages of the church over the last 2,000 years…
If this is true, then the church at Ephesus represents the time period between the Day of Pentecost and 100 AD
This was a time of great expansion for the early church…But, it was also a time when some began to loose their zeal and fervency.
They can be viewed Practically
They can be viewed Practically – These letters were sent to real congregations that were actually functioning at the close of the First Century…While they were written to real churches existing in that day, they still speak to every church in existence today…God has a word for Jefferson COG in these verses!
These letters were sent to real congregations that were actually functioning at the close of the First Century…
But even though they were written to real churches existing in that day, they still speak to every church in existence today…God has a word for Jefferson COG in these verses!
They can be viewed Personally – These letters speak to congregations, but we should also be mindful that God has a word for the individual in these letters as well…He has something to say to you and to me about our relationship with Him.
They can be viewed Personally
These letters speak to congregations, but we should also be mindful that God has a word for the individual in these letters as well…
Churches are made up of individuals, so God has something to say to you and me about our relationship with Him.
The first church that we will study is the church in Ephesus…
Ephesus was a powerful city in its day.
It was located near the Aegean Sea with a large harbor for commercial trade.
It was considered a “free city” under Roman rule and was allowed self-government.
It was also a religious city…
Christianity wasn’t the only religion in Ephesus.
In fact, Ephesus was home to the temple of Diana, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.
Diana was the Greek goddess of sex & fertility…She was represented by a statue of a many breasted woman.
The temple was filled with hundreds of temple prostitutes & the way that you worshiped Diana was to have sexual relations with a temple prostitute.
The city of Ephesus could be compared to cities such as Las Vegas or St. Louis...
It was filled with wickedness & immorality…and it wasn’t the kind of place that you would want to visit let alone live.
But it was to this city that God sent the apostle Paul…He preached in Ephesus for 2 years and started this church.
While he was there, he wrote the books of 1 & 2 Corinthians.
Timothy was the 1st bishop of this church...Aquilla, Priscilla & Apollos all labored in the Ephesian church.
This was an established church & God had done great things in this church…but not every thing in this church was perfect.
So, tonight let’s look at the church that had: Warm Hands but Cold Hearts…

1) JESUS’ PRAISE OF THE CHURCH (V. 2-3, 6)

Jesus starts out by having some good things to say about the church in Ephesus.
He gives them words of encouragement…Notice that He recognized that they were:
He starts by giving them words of encouragement…
Notice that He recognized that they were:
A Serving Church (v. 2a)
A Serving Church (v. 2a)
Revelation 2:2 NKJV
2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
Jesus spoke of their works & their labor
This church was busy for the Lord…No doubt their weekly schedule was filled with activities.
This church wasn’t lazy but they served the Lord no matter the cost.
In spite of opposition, they still served God…and labored to the point of being exhausted.
This church was not a Sunday morning only crowd…
They actively served God at great personal expense and great personal sacrifice.
A Separated Church (v. 2b, 6)
Revelation 2:2 NKJV
2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
Revelation 2:6 NKJV
6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
They didn’t tolerate evil people or false teachers…They had the right beliefs & they stood for doctrinal purity.
Also, the members of this church didn’t compromise with the world.
These people were living a separated lifestyle…The immorality and evil that defined their world wasn’t a part of their lives.
They took a stand for morality and they lived differently than the world around them.
NOTE: God still expects His people today to live a separated lifestyle.
We can’t tolerate sin or be open-minded about sin.
God demands that we be separate from this evil world that we live in.
2 Corinthians 6:17 NASB95
17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.
2 Corinthians 6:17 NIV - Anglicised
17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV
17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
2 Corinthians 6:17 HCSB
17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you.
2 Corinthians 6:17 ESV
17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
2 Corinthians 6:17 CSB
17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you.
2 Corinthians 6:17 ESV
17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
2 Corinthians 6:17 NASB95
17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.
In our walk, talk, dress, choices of entertainment, and in every area of life…we are commanded to be different/to be separate from the world around us.
If Jesus were to come speak to us today, would He commend us for being a separated people?
A Steadfast Church (v. 2-3: patience/persevered)
Revelation 2:2–3 NKJV
2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
This church didn’t quit or give up.
Even though they faced opposition, they patiently endured.
This church didn’t quit or give up…Even though they faced opposition, they endured.
Even though they labored to the point of exhaustion, they never quit.
They suffered hardship for the name of Jesus but they endured & they kept going.
NOTE: The church of Ephesus was a great church…
In fact, you could say the church at Ephesus was what every church should strive to be.
We at the JCOG should have the desire to be a serving, separated, steadfast church.
We at the JCOG should have the desire to be a serving, separated, steadfast church…
1 Corinthians 15:58 CSB
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV - Anglicised
58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.
1 cor 15:58
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB95
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58 HCSB
58 Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB95
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Does that verse describe our church? Does that verse describe your life?

2) JESUS’ PROBLEM WITH THE CHURCH (V. 4)

Revelation 2:4 NKJV
4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
After offering words of encouragement & praise, Jesus now gives them some words of complaint.
Even though they look good on the surface, there are problems beneath the surface that have to be dealt with.
NOTE: Outwardly things can look good but inwardly there can be problems.
We need to understand that Jesus sees what we do, but He also sees what we are.
He’s able to look beneath the surface of our lives and see the condition of our hearts.
Jesus looks at this church that He loves and He tells them that they simply don’t love Him like they used to…
He tells them “you have left your first love…”
They still have love, but the fervent love that filled them with a passion to serve Him has left their hearts.
NOTE: There was a time when their love for Jesus was vibrant and consuming, but now they had lost the zeal of their love.
Outwardly they were busy and steadfast, but inwardly they were cold and indifferent…
They displayed “works…labor…and patience” but these qualities weren’t motivated by a love for Jesus.
The fire that once burned within them was nothing but an ember now.
They had lost their sensitivity to Christ.
They weren’t having personal fellowship with Jesus…They weren’t walking & sharing with Him like they once did.
They loved their church & they had the right beliefs…but they didn’t love Jesus the way they once did.
They had become more attached to their church than they were to Jesus.
NOTE: It’s tragic when a believer grows cold in their relationship with the Lord…but the truth is - it happens...
In fact, Jesus said it would happen in the last days...
Matthew 24:12 NKJV
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Matthew 24:12 NASB95
12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
Matthew 24:12 CSB
12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.
Matthew 24:12 NIV - Anglicised
12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
Matthew 24:12 HCSB
12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.
And if we’d be honest, we would have to admit that it has happened to each of us at times.
In fact, you could be here tonight and this condition describes your relationship with God right now.
NOTE: Our activities & works may please Him, but what He really desires is that we love Him.
Do you remember when you were saved & how your love for Him filled your heart?
Do you remember how you wanted to spend time in His presence?
Do you remember how you wanted to read the bible, come to church, and spend time in prayer?
But sadly, our love for God tends to fade with time…
NOTE: If we aren’t careful, the passion & enthusiasm we once had for God will dwindle away.
NOTE: If you aren’t as excited about God & devoted to Him as you once were, you have left your first love.
This happens even to the best of believers.

3) JESUS’ PRESCRIPTION FOR THE CHURCH (V. 5)

Revelation 2:5 NKJV
5 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 hasn’t come to hurt them…He wants to helps them.
So, now He offers them words of correction…He tells them how to regain & recapture their first love.
He talks about Remembering
Jesus calls on these people to look back.
He wants them to remember that moment when they came to know Him.
He wants them to reflect on what He did for them.
He wants them to recall all the excitement and emotion of those early days with Him.
He wants them to look back to a time when their love for Him motivated everything they did.
NOTE: Some of us need to remember what it used to be like.
Some of us need to take a stroll down memory lane & remember where we were when He found us…and how He changed our lives.
Some of us have been saved so long that we have lost the thrill of those early days.
Can you remember what it was like when you were first saved and the weight of your sins was lifted from your heart?
Can you remember when just the mention of His name brought tears to your eyes?
Can you remember when your heart was tender and you felt at home in the altar talking to Him?
Can you remember? - I challenge you to take a minute and reflect on how it used to be…and then consider what it’s like now.
Now, look at how it is.
Can you honestly say that you are still head over heels in love with Jesus today?
NOTE: When a believer falls out of love with Jesus, they are in a “backslidden” condition.
They need a revival…and the first step in revival is remembering.
He talks about Repenting
The word “repent” speaks of “a change of mind that leads to a change of action…
Jesus is telling these people that they need to repent of the sin of not loving Him like they should.
They need to search their hearts and change their attitude toward the Lord.
Jesus tells them that they need to turn away from whatever has pulled them away from Him.
NOTE: That same counsel needs to be heeded by the modern church today.
We have allowed everything in the world to come before God - Family, fun, work, and even church work has all taken His place in our hearts.
We need to get back to the altar & reclaim the passion & excitement of our first love.
We need to fall head over heels in love with Jesus one more time.
How long has it been since you confessed a lack of burning love for Him?
How long has it been since you were open and unashamed in your expressions of love for the Master?
NOTE: We need to repent of our coldness & complacency & fall in love with Jesus afresh and anew.
He talks about Repeating
He tells them to “do the first works…
They are told to start doing the things they used to do once again…That is the key for their revival and it’s the key for us as well.
NOTE: We need to get back to the first works - back to reading the Bible…back to praying…back to witnessing…back to crying over lost souls…back to praising His name…
We need to get back to the things that characterized us when were deeply in love with Jesus.

CONCLUSION:

Jesus tells this church that if they refuse to get where they need to be, He is willing to remove their light and His presence…and that’s exactly what He did at Ephesus…
They failed to heed the message and He took away their light.
Now, there is no great Christian work in that city...There is nothing there but ruins and rubble.
NOTE: When a church stops loving Jesus, He will take His power and His presence away.
The church may continue on as an organization, but it will no longer be a true church of JC.
I wonder - How many churches have been removed by Christ?
How many churches have been removed by Christ? How many churches …
How many churches …
• are lifeless?
• are dull?
• are mechanical?
• are nothing more than form?
• lack the presence of Christ in their services?
• lack the light and witness of Christ and His power?
Leadership Ministries Leadership Ministries Worldwide.
NOTE: I don’t want God to take away what we have…I don’t want JCOG to become like so many other churches in our world today.
NOTE: I don’t want God to take away what we have…I don’t want JCOG to become like so many other churches in our world today.
But, if we fall out of love with Him and continue in that state, the day will come when He will take what we do have and He will give it to those who will use it for His glory.
Where is our love tonight...Do we love Jesus as we ought to?
NOTE: Jesus said the greatest commandment was to “love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength...”
Can we say tonight that we love Him with everything within us?
Can you honestly say that you are filled with a fervent love for Jesus? Or, would you have to say that your heart has gotten cold...that your zeal is not what it used to be...
If you’re not as close to the Lord as you once were, you can come tonight & recommit your life to Him.
If you’re not as close to the Lord as you once were, you can recommit your life to Him tonight.
Let’s pray!!!
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