In his debut series on the seven churches in Revelation that will inform his preaching in the next few weeks, Senior Pastor Georges William Ntemi sounded that a relaxed church is a breeding ground for congregants to descend into a vacillating realm, just like the Nucholaitanes of old did. who flip-flopped because of their sophist view of Christianity.
He read Revelation 2: 6, “But, this thou hast that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicholaitanes which I also hate.” But, who are the Nicholaitanes? the Senior Pastor asked. “They are followers of Nicholas who proselytized that one must deliberately sin in order to be saved, a message that clearly antagonizes Matthew 6: 33, where Christ says, ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything shall be added on to it.’
“Nicholas was also a flip-flopper, he went back and forth, when God’s word clearly denounces those who know the ways of God and return into sin.”
The Church in Ephesus hated the Nicholaitanes for their perversion of the Word of God, but still some who were relaxed in their faith believed the Nicholaitanes and their proselytizing, so Paul spent two years in Asia Minor preaching the truth according to the gospel there.
As is his habit, the Senior Pastor began with a brief review of the previous week’s sermon by noting that Apocalypse means the unveiling of Christ in his majesty and glory. John’s Revelation is an epiphany that is directly opposite the previous coming of Jesus Christ, where he was bruised, mutilated, whipped, and perforated and crucified on the cross, with thorns as his crown.
“The next time, he will come as the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Almighty Warrior who will come and judge Pontius Pilate. The last time, he was crucified in the middle of two thieves, but the next time he will come as a Mighty Warrior. You have not seen Christ until you have seen him in Revelation.
“John was the only disciple who leaned on the chest of Christ and heard his heart-beat. He was there when Christ was crucified; he was there when he resurrected from the dead, so when the Roman soldiers wanted him to call Caesar lord, he defiantly refused, for which he suffered persecution from the Romans,” said the Blessed Man of God.
The Senior Pastor read Rev. 2: 1-7. Here John is sending a message Christ gave him through an angel for onward delivery to the Church in Ephesus. “Unto the angel of the Church of Ephesus write: These things said he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.
“I know thy works and thy labour and thy patience and how thou cannot bear them which are evil. And thou hast tried them which say they are apostles but are not and has found them to be liars. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake, has labored, and has not fainted.
“Nevertheless, I am somewhat against thee because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except ye repent. . . .
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God,” read the Senior Pastor.
According to Pastor Georges, God tells the Ephesians in verse two that He knows their deeds and is cognizant of their diligence. The problem, however, was that they abandoned their first love, which was giving due diligence to the Church for it to grow and prosper.
“Hard labor is for those who go the extra mile to think about the Church first and put smiles on the faces of their brothers and sisters in Christ. They are those who persevere and never give up until they have accomplished their tasks. Perseverance in this context means having something on your mind for the Lord to do for you, and until He does it, you persevere, you push until it is done. The problem however is that some give up too easily,” said the Senior Pastor.
He continued, “With Christ, there are no limitations. The all-powerful God tells us, ‘Fear not,’ so have courage in everything you do in the name of our Lord. John had the valor to stand up for Christ, and He revealed Himself to him in his glory and magnificence.
“Jacob had the same courage at Bethel where he held the leg of God after wrestling with him and saying, I won’t let go of your leg until you have blessed me. ‘Your name shall be Israel, and you will be a priest unto me,’ said the Lord. Don’t let people define you with whom you used to be. Whoever Christ sets free is free forever,” noted Pastor Georges.
Citing 1 Cor. 15: 58, he stated, “Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know, your labor is not in vain in the Lord.’ Endure. Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Nothing means nothing. Persevere for your hard work in the Lord will not be in vain.”
At that juncture, Pastor Georges wondered where some Christians have positioned God in their lives and if they read the Bible at all. “How often do you read the Bible and if you do, do you act on it? What have you dedicated to helping others? Closing the doors of blessing on others is a curse. Remember, the Lord recommended the Ephesians for their hard work, good deeds, and perseverance. The Church is a recruitment center for building an army to fight the enemies of Christ.”
He reminded the congregation that after one has given one’s life to Christ, that is when one starts facing persecution from every corner, so assured the congregation that Christ is always there to set up persecutions to for success.
“What made the Ephesians become relaxed? Is it pride? We are full of pride, but the Lord hates the proud and arrogant. This brings me to the Ocean liner that sank in 1912, the Titanic. When the Titanic was built, J.P. Morgan boasted that not even God could sink it, but it took a small iceberg to sink it. They calculated that, it should have taken about 24 hours for the ship to be totally submerged in the sea, but it took only two hours. The Lord hates the proud,” preached the Blessed Man of God.
In the meantime, high school senior, Ms. Sheckina Wese won this month’s Bible Trivia. She won from an impressive field, and she will get to defend her crown in March when the next Trivia will be organized.