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Week 104

September 16th, 2017
 
Fan the Flames
Revelation 2:1-7
 
Read
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:

“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.”

“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:1-7)
 
Reflect
Just as when a man and woman fall in love, so also new believers rejoice at their newfound forgiveness. But the ardor of love later cools. When they lose sight of the seriousness of sin, they begin to lose the thrill of forgiveness (see 2 Peter 1:9). Here, Jesus confronts the believers in Ephesus about their lost love.

Paul had once commended the church at Ephesus for its love for God and others (Ephesians 1:15), but many of the church founders had died, and many of the second-generation believers had lost their zeal for God. They were a busy church—the members did much to benefit themselves and the community—but they were acting out of the wrong motives. They needed to fan the flames of love once more.
 
Respond
In the first steps of your Christian life, you may have had enthusiasm without knowledge. Do you now have knowledge without enthusiasm? Both are necessary if we are to keep love for God intense and untarnished (see Hebrews 10:32, 35). Are you in need of a “second honeymoon” with God? Ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle your love for God.
 
He’s Worthy
Revelation 5:1-14
 
Read
No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it.

Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. (Revelation 5:3-6)
 
Reflect
In John’s day, books were written on scrolls—pieces of papyrus or vellum up to 30 feet long, rolled up and sealed with clay or wax. The scroll that John sees contains the full account of what God has in store for the world. The seven seals indicate the importance of its contents.

Jesus is pictured as a Lion (symbolizing his authority and power) and a Lamb (symbolizing his submission to God’s will). One of the elders calls John to look at the Lion, but when John looks he sees a Lamb. Christ the Lamb was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. He was worthy to break the seals and open the scroll by living a perfect life of obedience to God, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, and being raised from the dead to show his power and authority over evil and death. He conquered sin, death, hell, and Satan himself. Therefore, he can be trusted with the world’s future. Christ the Lamb won the greatest battle of all. But as the Lion, he’ll return in victory to lead the battle where Satan is finally defeated (Revelation 19:19-21).
 
Respond
Which of Jesus’ roles—Lion or Lamb—brings you the most comfort? How has Jesus been victorious in your life or especially comforting to you recently?
 
 
 
 
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