Is your church candlestick burning bright, or is it about to go out? Just in case you have no clue as to what I’m talking about, let me refer you to Revelation 2 when Christ, by way of his messenger John, told the church at Ephesus that they needed to repent, or else He would come to them swiftly and remove their “candlestick.”
What did he mean by this? In verse one, he mentions the seven golden candlesticks, which are the seven churches in Asia Minor. But the letters are addressed to the “angels” which are the pastors. Christ’s New Testament church is to be a beacon — a shining light in a dark, sinful world. When sin, indifference, and engaging in empty, meaningless busy work in the name of religion, takes the place of genuine, spirit-led worship of Almighty God, her light ceases to light this sin-cursed, dark world.
Let me give you a modern-day illustration: There was a great old church, Central Baptist Church, located in downtown Lubbock, Texas, which, at one time had a bright, shimmering light. She was a powerhouse for God. She produced more preachers, preachers wives, pastors, denominational leaders, missionaries, missionaries’ wives and vocational church workers than any church with which I have ever been familiar. The 900 seat sanctuary was filled to overflowing, and the Sunday school annex was always abuzz with Bible study and joyful believers of all ages.
But as is the case with many churches, she hit a plateau. She began to gradually lapse into self-satisfaction, outside interests overtook that passion they had for Christ. She tried to latch onto the latest church growth fads and gimmicks and began to try to prop her ministries up with the mentality of the flesh rather than relying upon Christ to build His church.
Over a period of a few years, attendance and activity declined. She had a most Godly, vibrant, spirit-filled, Bible scholar for a pastor, who offered a vision — a very do-able, wise, and Heaven-sent vision. He challenged the church to move out into the southwest area of the city, which was experiencing an explosion of growth of young families, housing developments scores of eateries and a large shopping center. In her more thriving years, “Old Central” planted a satellite congregation there. In dealing with a mover, the pastor was told that they could go under the foundation of the solid masonry, 900 seat auditorium with giant chains, lift it up with helicopters, and fly the monstrous building out, and with great precision, set it up on the property of the satellite church, turn-key, for $300,000. To build a comparable one at that time would have been into the millions of dollars. Plans were for the old downtown congregation to merge with the younger group, and only the Lord in Heaven knows what revival and revitalization the old church may have experienced.
But the men in the church said “no” to the pastor’s vision. They wanted to remain right where they were. That was about 20 years ago. Today, the place where the old downtown church stood, is an auto dealership. The old church is no more.
Could this be a modern-day removal of a candlestick from a once-thriving church? Be warned that when a church lapses into doing things the world’s way and shunning what may be a God-sent vision, she is probably signing her death warrant.
“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:5.