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Devotional - week of May 22, 2005


PERSEVERANCE

"To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, … I know your works, your labor, your patience …  and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.  Revelation 2:1-3

 

Jesus commends the seven churches we read about in the book of Revelation with the exception of the church at Laodicea.

 

The one thing Jesus commends most is perseverance. He expresses this in several different ways. Obviously perseverance is of great importance in the Kingdom of God.

 

The churches persevered in spite of poverty, heresy, persecution, and the power of Satan. A few members of the church at Sardis persevered in spite of being members of a spiritually “dead” church. They maintained their faith in God and their faithfulness to His word.

 

The faithfulness of six of the seven churches which are spoken of in Revelation, as well as the faithfulness of churches today, is a powerful inspiration. The church of Ephesus, however, provides added revelation of a persevering church.

 

Ephesus was commended for her perseverance more than any of the other churches of Revelation. Yet, according to Jesus she was on the verge of extinction because she had left her first love.

 

Years before the warning of Jesus recorded in the book of Revelation, Paul had commanded her to continue to be filled with the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22 Paul teaches that love is the fruit of the Spirit. Ephesus, then, reveals that a church can persevere through sheer human determination.

 

Galatians 5:22 reveals a way for a church to continue to be faithful while being filled with love. The verse reads:

 

… the fruit of the Spirit is love … faithfulness …

 

We experience the filling of the Spirit when we experience the crucifixion of our flesh by living out our union with Christ.