In Revelation 2: 4, the exalted Jesus reveals to the church at Ephesus that they’re a model church outwardly, effectively withstanding false teachers, but are guilty of leaving their first love.
In every generation, believers have struggled to make this first love a priority. Relating rightly with God depends on our choice to love him, and the Spirit’s work is to provoke us with dynamic love for Jesus.
Apart from growing in love for Jesus, it’s difficult to correctly respond to the other messages the Spirit trumpets.
Awakening the Church
The Spirit seems to be emphasizing the need for the body of Christ to cultivate a deeper spiritual reality. In some countries, the number of believers is increasing and churches are growing, yet transformation from convert to disciple isn’t keeping pace. Believers abound, but Jesus distinguishes believers from true disciples. Complacency, compromise and self-centeredness prevail.
A lack of zeal to obey Jesus’ commission correlates with a lack of spiritual life in the church. A lack of praying, giving, advocating, promoting, sending and going reveals the need for a revival of true and fervent devotion to Jesus and of surrender to serving him.
A current priority among believers should be helping revive the spiritual life of local churches and campus fellowships, that spiritual fervor for God’s purposes may follow.
Those committed to global mission mostly speak about and advocate for the externals of the Great Commission: church planting, leading people to Christ, discipling others and more.
This is good and right, and it’s much of what I do.
However, there seems to be an equally great need for promoting a deeper spiritual life. History and God’s ways in Scripture reveal that helping disciples go deeper in God will, over time, motivate them to become active in his Great Commission.