Our Lord tells us he stands in the midst of golden candlesticks, which are the churches. Can you imagine the image He wants us to see in our mind’s eye? The intimacy. He has given His life for these saints and He has sent them into the world to carry on His great work of redemption, given to them the ministry of reconciling the world unto Himself. They are now the lights to the world. He stands there in the flickering lights of these lamp stands. His first words to them are, “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev 1:17,18)
Here are His counsels:
Remember, repent, and do the first works (Rev 2:5)
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer (Rev 2:10)
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight (Rev 2:16)
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. …That which ye have already hold fast till I come (Rev 2:19,25)
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. (Rev 3:2-3)
Thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name…hold that fast which thou hast (Rev 3:8,11)
Be zealous therefore, and repent …hear my voice …open the door (Rev 3:19-20)
Our Lord advises, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” These are messages for the churches, the warnings, promises, and counsels of Jesus Christ to His beloved. We are, everyone of us, to take these counsels to heart. In doing so, how might these infuse themselves into the lives and work of the saints, of the elders in the churches and of the itinerants among the churches?
Have these changed your life? Do these messages burn in your heart for the churches? Do you have a sense of what Paul means when he says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” (Gal 4:18-20)
When you consider the state of the church, do you feel some of Paul’s weight when he compared all of his physical sufferings and trials to “that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” (II Cor 11:23-30)
Are you gripped with an obsession to warn and restore, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (II Cor 5:10-11)
If you are a child of God, and these are not the burden of your heart, repent… If you are an itinerant, these are the burden of your work among the churches. But take care that your heart doesn’t grow cold, and your labors become just work with actions to take and goals to reach. Paul was associated with over 80 coworkers, yet there came a time he would say, “I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” (Phil 2:19-21)
Guard your heart; don’t leave your first love.