Ephesians 5; Revelations 2,3
As 2012 continues to wind down, I have been doing a shoulder check and reflecting on some of the good things that have come my way through the year.
One of the most impacting teachings that I have heard this year did not come from our own pulpit, but through Andy Stanley. Andy Stanley pastors a “mega” church in Atlanta. Early this year, I heard his teaching on “Guardrails.” Andy pointed out in his opening message how valuable guardrails are. Guardrails are designed to keep us in bounds. When we hit them, it may do a little damage, but they prevent us from much more destructive things like going over the side of the bridge or entering a line of oncoming traffic. The obvious application was that the Bible erects guardrails to keep us from getting out of bounds and ultimately destroying ourselves.
Ephesians 5:15 says, “Be very careful then how you live…”
Andy Stanley effectively pointed out God’s concern for us in warning us by placing checks and balances, guardrails so to speak, in our lives.
So much for Andy Stanley. I thank him for his good work.
I find the book of Ephesians to be a noble work. I notice as I move through its six chapters how many verses I have underscored. I find notes to myself in the margins throughout the book. The Apostle Paul did a great job in turning the Ephesians from idolatry to the Savior. I have often run to the Ephesians letter for support through the years. Paul had a lot to say bout the clear distinction between the Christian life and the sinful life. His instruction on the conduct of the Christian family has blessed the Body of Christ immensely.
Included in today’s reading is Revelation 2. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 are addressed to the seven churches of Asia Minor. The Revelator does an assessment as to how each church is performing, now some years after their founding.
To the Ephesians, the Spirit addresses the fact that this church was known for hard work, and perseverance. “I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men. You have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. You have endured hardship for my name and have not grown weary.” Rev. 2: 2,3
Any church would be thrilled to get such a report, especially from the Apostle Paul. However, the story does not end there.
“…you have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” Rev. 2: 4,5
What happened in Ephesus has happened in lots of churches, perhaps yours, or mine. The folks in Ephesus held on to their good works. A sense of superiority had come over them. They could see and criticize in others what they could not see in themselves. They kept their good works but lost their Grace.
Why not reread Ephesians in light of the guardrails God has placed upon you.