“If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:5)
What does it mean?
Jesus is the lamp. God is the light. We as the church are the lampstand. We belong to Jesus and Jesus belongs to God.
What is it that removes the lampstand from its place? Persecution. When we no longer rejoice in the provision of Christ by God to outshine to the world and cause others who are seeking the light to come and rejoice in Jesus as well, as an established local church, it is best that we let go of earthly comforts to once again welcome the heavenly comforts in Christ our Lord that God has freely given us.
Jesus never said he would destroy the lampstand, nor did he say that he would leave us, but instead that he would remove the lampstand from where it is. Many times, the mind of the church is in a whole other place other than the joy of Christ, the love of Christ, the peace of Christ. Many times, we as the church start believing as the world believes rather than start knowing as the Holy Spirit is teaching us.
What Christ is basically saying is that, if we as the church are not repenting, He, being the truth, will come and persecute our false beliefs, remove our minds from such sinking foundation to bring our minds back to Him.
At some point, I found myself really deep in the institutionalized church. I went to seminary, headed Sunday School, church administration, gained acceptance of local leaders. I did all to try to prove my love for God. But eventually, Christ said to me:
“But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love.” (Revelation 2:4)
My first love is Christ. He’s the one who brought me to God. By trying to rely on what I’m doing rather than what He did for me, I had truly abandoned my first love. I needed to repent. But I couldn’t repent on my own. The very things that I was to deny were being lifted up real high by all of my surroundings including my pastor. I couldn’t jump ship by my own initiative. It was only when I found myself and all my works being rejected by my own pastor that I felt so helpless, so lonely, that I realized the time had come for me to jump ship.
But wait, it wasn’t a rejection of my works alone that caused me to jump ship. It was the truth that was planted in me weeks before by Basic Gospel Ministry. What my pastor was rejecting wasn’t me at first, but the truth, the simple and unabridged gospel of Jesus Christ. And when I started dwelling and resting in the simple truth that God loves me and proved it in Christ, when I became so sure that Christ alone is the assurance of my salvation and never anything that I would or wouldn’t do, I was despised by him then. When he realized that I could rejoice authentically without attributing credits to him, he had lost his grip on me because I no longer feared him.
When Jesus comes, great things happen.
“I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:5)
Jesus came to me in the form of the gospel and removed me from the false beliefs I once held high and he filled me up with himself in the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit. I was so happy to hear the little bit of the truth that I heard from People to People Ministry (now Basic Gospel Ministry) that I couldn’t wait to hear more and more. The more I heard it, the more I felt liberated. The more I heard the gospel, the more I felt grounded in Christ. The more I heard the gospel, the more I understood my acceptance in Christ. The more I heard the gospel, the more I want to hear it.
Then something came out of heaven lifted up my entire being, lit me up like the sun and rejoiced me so much that I couldn’t find anything wrong at all. Christ filled me up with the Holy Spirit just as he said it would happen (But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8)
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Does anyone believe in me? Then, just as Scripture says, streams of living water will flow from inside him.” When he said this, he meant the Holy Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus would receive the Spirit later.” (John 7:37-39)
The more I heard the gospel from Basic Gospel, the more I became thirsty for Christ. When I was released from the grip of fear of my pastor, when he had handed me my fair punishment an official outcast for not siding with him, when he had kicked me out of his heart and spirit due to my hearing and acceptance of the truth, immediately the worship leader started singing the following song:
“I traveled on a lonely road and no one seemed to care.
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair;
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him say so tenderly,
“My feet were also weary, upon the Calvary road;
The cross became so heavy, I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me.”
“I work so hard for Jesus” I often boast and say
“I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune, I’m worth a lot to Thee”
And then I hear Him gently say to me,
“I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we’ll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me.
Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday,
‘Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
“No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die”
These are the words He gently spoke to me,
“If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand.
But if by death to living they can Thy glory see,
I’ll take my cross and follow close to Thee.”
She was singing it in Haitian Creole. In that moment of loneliness, that moment of rejection, the song literally became my prayer to Christ at that moment. It was the very first time I had a heart to heart conversation with Christ. Though I was playing the piano, I couldn’t contain the joy He filled my heart with when He filled me up with himself and overwhelmingly made me felt that He truly loves all of me.