By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
There is a high standard to which the churches of Christ will be judged on the Last Day. We find a glimpse of that standard when the church of Ephesus is judged.
Christ is going to judge the works of the congregation, the work ethic of the congregation, and the ability of the congregation to endure for the faith. He is not only going to gauge our knowledge of the truth, He is going to note our willingness to adhere to the Word and whether we tolerate false teachings.
Revelation 2:2-3 (NIV): I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
The judgment of a faithful church does not end there. As we find throughout the Bible, our judgment has a personal component unique to our effort and talents. Much like our willingness to forgive is how we will be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15), and the manner in which we judge others is how we will be judged (Matthew 7:2); the work we put in at our strongest, is the standard Christ expects us to uphold throughout our ministry.
Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV): Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
If we find ourselves speaking about what we use to do more than what we are doing, we are on the wrong path. If we frequently speak on the Bible Studies we use to have, the classes we use to teach, the people we use to visit, the doors we use to knock, and the fellowships we use to attend; we are slowly losing our first love and our salvation. There is no benefit in a congregation growing sounder in doctrine if their willingness to preach the good news disappears. To be victorious, a congregation will need to recall their greatest year and emulate that year every year.
Revelation 2:7 (NIV): Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.