Only a Matter of Time
“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.” (Revelation 2:5)
During a visit to New York City, I once noticed a church building that had been turned into a nightclub. It was a place where God had been worshiped at one time, but it had become a place where other things were worshiped. I think that's sad.
Jesus warned the church of Ephesus, “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” (Revelation 2:4–5).
In the book of Revelation, a lampstand is a symbol of the church. This is a reminder that no single church has a guarantee that it will continue on indefinitely. But the church will always march on. Jesus said that “all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18). No one is ever going to stop the church, try as they may.
But individual congregations may have a lifespan. I have seen churches that were once filled with people hungry for the Word of God that now sit empty—cavernous buildings. If a church neglects God’s Word, if a church stops loving Him as they did at first and begins to compromise, that church can come to a point where it is no longer a light in the community. It is no longer impacting lives. It is no longer what it once was. And in some cases, the church splits, it disappears altogether, and the building is sold to someone else.
Yet God always raises up another church and another church. And He always will.
But here is the thing. We don’t want to lose our place. We don’t want to lose the light we have. But if you lose your love, then it is only a matter of time until you lose your light.