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Thursday, February 21 2019

Many often recognize an imbalance in their lives between home and work or between children and spouse. People strive to balance their diet and sleep. The church faces a great struggle for balance between compassion and standing for truth. Often, elders must make hard decisions for which some quickly criticize for being too strict or too permissive. Christians would be better to avoid such opinionated judging and give grace to their leaders.

            Do churches of Christ need to repent? Some needed to repent in the first century, and some need to repent today. The church at Corinth had a long list of sins, but the apostle Paul still identified them as a church of Christ (1 Cor 3:23). First Corinthians helps demarcate when a church is drifting from Christ as members within the body are falling asleep and dying spiritually.

            The first churches of Christ had problems much like churches today. In John’s Revelation, Jesus instructed the apostle John to write to seven churches of Asia (Rev 1:4, 11, 19). Christ called five of the churches with sinful problems to repent (Rev 1:10, 13, 17; 2:7).

            Jesus’s words to the church at Ephesus included commendation and addressed issues that many churches have today. In Revelation 2, Jesus revealed that He knew their works and endurance for His name’s sake (Rev 2:3). Christ commended them for not bearing with those who were evil and falsely called themselves apostles (Rev 2:2). They rightly did not tolerate false teachers in the church. Jesus also hated the evil works of these heretical teachers (Rev 2:6). Jesus revealed to another church at Thyatira that they sinned by tolerating such seducing doctrines (Rev 2:20). Jesus referred to these false teachers as Nicolaitans who like Balaam who deceived believers to accept sexual immorality and eat what was sacrificed to idols (Rev 2:14–15; cf. 2 Pet 2:14–15).

            Jesus called for the church at Ephesus to repent. While they did well in opposing false teachers, they had abandoned their first love by not doing their first works (Rev 2:5). Scholars continue to discuss what the first works were that the church at Ephesus left. Evidently, the description of love and first works is not opposing false doctrines along with avoiding sexual immorality and mingling the Christian faith with other religions. This leaves Christians with a general definition that this sin is what new churches and new Christians do in abundance and yet the church at Ephesus abandoned.

            Today, believers of Christ must balance between doctrine and good works. While Christians oppose fallacious beliefs, the faithful need to continue to love in service. The church of Christ at Ephesus was imbalanced like many believers today who may spend too much time arguing over beliefs and not enough time uniting in service and sharing the gospel. For repentance, Jesus concluded His message to Ephesus by encouraging them, “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Rev 2:7b).

Posted by: AT 08:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email