A few years ago, I saw a portrayal of the wilderness temptation of Christ that resonated with me. Satan took the form of a coifed executive who led Jesus through multiple future scenarios of all the horrifying things that would be done in His name if He went through with the crucifixion … Catholics and Protestants burned at the stake, the torture-induced confessions of the Inquisition, mind-destroying cults, and “healing-for-hire” televangelists.
In the second and third chapters of Revelation (the last book of the Bible), the Apostle John included letters from Jesus to seven churches in an area of the world that is now modern-day Turkey.
In some of these letters, Jesus points out the embryonic forms of the abuses listed above, and threatens to “pull the plug” on these congregations if they don’t stop it.
(In these letters, “pull the plug” is translated “remove your lampstand” – which essentially means that Jesus simply steps away from congregations who keep doing things in His name that are dishonoring to Him and to others).
In the end, Jesus will not tolerate being misrepresented.
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? (Luke 6:46)
In the meantime, keep an eye out for (and avoid) the counterfeits—and then don’t hesitate to engage and embrace the real thing.
Especially when …
(Next post: The Church of Ephesus: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”).
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