“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” (Revelation 2:5).
IN YESTERDAY’S READING, WE TALKED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF RESTORING THE FAITH AND PRACTICE THAT WE FIND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. Today, let’s reemphasize the fact that restoration must be an ongoing work. There will never come a time when we can say, “What is taught in the New Testament has been restored, so we won’t have to work on that any more; we can relax and enjoy it.”
The church in Ephesus is a good example of what can happen. The brethren there had been zealous in defending the apostolic faith against corrupters and compromisers (Revelation 2:2,3). But toward the end of the first century, they themselves were in need of returning to the standard. They didn’t love the Lord as they used to (v.4), and the problem was deeper than just not “feeling it” anymore (as this text is sometimes taught). They weren’t doing what they once did, and the Lord said, “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” (v.5). This church needed to come back to Christ!
Both individually and congregationally, restoration requires constant vigilance. We must reassess and return. Reassess and return. Reassess and return. If our forebears did this, we are blessed to have their example. But like them, we need to reassess and return.
It is uncomfortable to have it brought to our attention (either individually or congregationally) that we stand in need of restoration — just as what your cardiologist tells you may not be fun to hear. But God forbid that we should react as Isaiah’s people who, when they heard calls for restoration, said, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions” (Isaiah 30:10). Granted, the preacher who frequently emphasizes returning to the standard may be more of an irritant than a comforter, but any preacher worth his salt will have the attitude that Peter had: “It seems right to me, as long as I am in this tent of flesh, to keep your minds awake by working on your memory” (2 Peter 1:13 BBE).
“Better the discomfort that leads to repentance and restoration than temporal comfort and eternal damnation” (Francine Rivers).