If you are truly one with Him then you will sense not only His joy and His peace, but you will also sense His urgency, and His dissatisfaction with those things that claim to represent Him, but do not.
I know that there are many who will say that God never sees us as anything other than the spotless Bride of Christ, all He sees is how wonderful we are and He loves us no matter what. And they will quickly dismiss anything that suggests that God is not 100% satisfied with things the way they are.
I think those with some maturity will see things differently. When I look at the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapters 2 and 3, I see another side of the Lord Jesus – One Who has eyes that burn with fire, Who stands in the midst of the candlesticks, and says, “I know your works… but I have this against you.” “You have lost your first love.” “You endure those who hold to the doctrine of Balaam, and the teaching of the Nicolaitans.” “You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, yet teaches and seduces My servants.” “Strengthen the things that are ready to die, because I have not found your works perfect before God, and if you do not watch I will come upon you as a thief.” “You say that you are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, but I see you as wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked, and because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
This Jesus cannot tolerate hypocrisy. This Jesus will go out of His way to curse an unfruitful fruit tree who claims to be something that it isn’t. When you read what He had to say to the believers in Asia, you do not get the sense that He was all that pleased with how things were going. Yes, He praised them for the good things whenever possible, but the overall tenor of those prophetic declarations reveals a divine dissatisfaction, and an unwillingness to allow things to continue on without some kind of correction, rebuke, and adjustment back to the way He wants things to be.
There is a mass exodus of people leaving churches today. The significant thing is that they are not so much leaving one church and then joining another; there has always been a lot of that, and that will always be the case. What is significant about this mass exodus is the numbers of people who are leaving their churches and not going back. They are not looking for another church to attend.
How do you explain that? I believe I can sum everything up for you in one word: dissatisfaction. They are dissatisfied. Dissatisfied… and that’s an interesting word, because it is the same word I used to describe how Jesus felt about those churches in the Book of Revelation – dissatisfied. Not content to just let things continue. It doesn’t mean everything is bad, but overall it was an appalling state of things.
Just take a look at the church in Ephesus. Jesus said of them, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not grown weary” (Rev.2:2,3). That sounds like a good church. That is the kind of church that would televise its services, would be really active in the community, doing good and preaching the truth. That is the kind of church that would be reaching out and growing and really making a difference.
But all of that is leaves dear friends. We might look at a church like that and think they are doing pretty well, but Jesus looks at this and acknowledges all the good things they are doing and says “Nevertheless….” Nevertheless! “Something is missing. You have lost something. You have lost your first love. The work of the Lord became more important than the Lord of the work. You have a lot of leaves, but you don’t have any fruit. I am not satisfied. In fact, I would rather you shut down altogether than have you continue to do so many good works in My Name when you have forgotten what it means to love Me and put Me first. Repent and go back and do the first things over again. If you do not repent, I will come, and I will take away your candlestick. That means you will no longer be able to give or receive light. I will no longer be in your midst, and I will no longer consider you as having anything to do with Me.”
That is very sobering. It is a wake-up call. The Ekklesia in Ephesus underscores that Jesus is seeking a specific outcome from those who are gathered in His Name. He will be patient. He will encourage you. He will warn you. He will work with you. If you repent He will take you deeper and deeper into His Purpose. But sooner or later, if you do not provide light, He takes the candlestick away; if you do not produce fruit, then He just takes the life away. He cursed the fig tree and it withered and died. When the judgment of God comes, the meetings will continue, and the preachers will continue to preach, and the programs will continue to function, and the money will continue to be collected and spent, but there is no Light, no Life. It isn’t that Jesus has left them; He says, “You have left Me, your first love. You seem to be getting along and having a good time without Me, so off you go. Keep playing church. But I have removed your candlestick.”
If you were part of the Ekklesia in Ephesus, and you heard this warning from the Lord and you repented, then well and good. But if your friends in Ephesus did not heed the warning to repent and return to their first love, what would you do? You’d be sorry and you’d agonize over the situation and you’d plead with your friends to listen and obey the Lord – but if they still didn’t repent, would you stay and go down with them into the darkness? Not if you have any common sense.
Jesus said the servant will be where the Master is. If Jesus says, “My glory is departing. I am no longer welcome here. I am leaving,” then all faithful servants will say, “Well Lord, if You’re leaving then we’re leaving too. God forbid that we should continue alone and apart from You. God forbid that we should continue to support something that has come under Your judgment. We are the servants of the Lord – we are not the servants of the pastor or the servants of the church.” To the people you would say, “I love you and I pray for you, but it is time for me to go. I have to follow the Lord.” That is what a faithful servant would say. When the Master gets up and walks out, then we will get up and leave also.