First Baptist Church Laredo
Sunday 6-21-2020
      • Download

        Ladies Bible Study

        August 13, 2019 - 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
      • Download

        Ladies Bible Study

        August 13, 2019 - 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
        Ladies Bible Study, “Remembering the Foundation of Our Faith” Join us every Tuesday at 10:00 am in the fellowship hall
      • Download

        Wednesday Night Bible Studies

        August 7, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
      • Download

        Wednesday Night Bible Studies

        August 7, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
      • Download

        Mandarin Bible Study

        November 2, 2019 - 7:30 PM - 7:30 PM
        如果需要更多信息,请联系王红卫姊妹, 联系电话 (806)620-6521,邮箱 
      • Download

        Mandarin Bible Study

        November 2, 2019 - 7:30 PM - 7:30 PM
        如果需要更多信息, 请联系王红卫姊妹, 联系电话 (806)620-6521, 邮箱
      • Download

        Pantry of Hope

        July 13, 2019 - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
        Volunteers please arrive at 9 am through the back kitchen door. Thank you!
      • Download

        Pantry of Hope

        July 11, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
        Volunteers please arrive at 9 am through the back kitchen door. Thank you!
  • Glorious Day
  • Way Maker
  • Lord I Need You
      • Joshua 1:1–9ESV

  • Sanctuary
      • Psalm 116:2HCSB

  • This is the first message a series from the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation begins with an encounter with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. After the vision in chapter one, John records seven messages to seven churches from Jesus. These messages were given to seven historical churches which were scattered throughout Asia Minor. These messages from Jesus dealt with actual, real-life circumstances and conditions in these churches. Jesus could have addressed any of the churches which existed during the first century. However, Jesus chose these specific churches because they perfectly represented conditions that would characterize many churches throughout history.
    In Scripture, seven is often understood to symbolize completion or perfection. Seven messages to seven churches indicates there are basically seven types of churches. Each letter closes with a verse which will be our theme verse for the series.
    Read it with me.
    Revelation 3:6 CSB
    6 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.
    Notice the plural. The message is for all churches. These messages are for us. These messages are for any church who is willing to listen to what the Holy Spirit wants to say.
    Open your Bible to Revelation 2.
    The city of Ephesus was located near the mouth of the Cayster River only three miles from the coast.
    <show picture of Ephesus’ location>
    Ephesus became the capitol of Asia Minor. She was connected by highways which led into the interior of Asia and all of Asia’s chief cities. She was a great center of business and trade. The emperor of Rome made Ephesus a “free city” and she was given the title “Supreme Metropolis of Asia.”
    Ephesus contained one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the temple of Diana.
    <show picture of the temple of Diana>
    Ephesus was a center of cultic worship. The Temple of Diana was massive. It was 425 feet long, 220 feet wide, and 60 feet high. The entrance to the Temple was built with great folding doors and 127 marble pillars, some of them were covered in gold.
    The church at Ephesus was established by Paul on his third missionary journey. You can read about the establishment of the church in Acts 19-20. Ephesus became a residence of the apostle John before and after his exile. Church history tells us that Mary, the mother of Jesus, moved to Ephesus to be care for by John.
    Let’s read the message first addressed to the church at Ephesus.
    Revelation 2:1–7 CSB
    1 “Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus: Thus says the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. 3 I know that you have persevered and endured hardships for the sake of my name, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet you do have this: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
    If you miss everything else in this message, remember this statement. It is a crucial message for the church. It is woven throughout the Scriptures. Ready? Write it down.

    God wants our love and obedience.

    Here are three quick points. I am not going to develop them with you in this message, but I want you to take them with you and think about them. They are true throughout the Scriptures. God doesn’t simply just want us doing things. He doesn’t want simply religious activity. Here they are:

    Ritual without relationship is meaningless.

    Doctrinal purity is no substitute for obedience.

    God doesn’t simply want our activity.

    The church at Ephesus had a lot of things right. Jesus knew their works. They were doing good things. They were working hard to maintain their doctrinal purity. They weren’t giving up. They had no tolerance for sin. They refused to allow apostasy and immorality to go on in the church. They tested the claims that people made. Some people might claim to have a “word from the Lord”, but they tested them and found them to be liars. They weren’t really what they claimed to be, and the church of Ephesus exposed them for who they really were. They had persevered. They had endured hardships. They had not grown weary. They were doing the right things. They even believed the right things, but something was seriously wrong.
    Revelation 2:4 CSB
    4 But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first.
    The word “abandoned” means

    ἀφίημι (aphiēmi) - left, to leave, forsake, or depart

    The word stresses an act for which a person is completely responsible. This is not that they “fell out of love” or “lost love”. This is about leaving your love. They had moved away from the original love and devotion they had for Jesus. They decided to put service and doctrinal purity ahead of their love for Jesus. Their labor had become what they were trusting in for salvation, rather than the one they claimed to be serving. Ritual or service without relationship is meaningless. Doctrinal purity is no substitute for passionate obedience. God wants our love and obedience.
    Christ is more concerned about what we do with Him than for Him. Labor is no substitute for love. To the public, the Ephesian church was successful; to Christ, it had fallen.
    Do you see the danger for our local church, for FBC Laredo? The church at Ephesus, from all outward appearances, was a very spiritual church. It was a church which was actively doing the work of God. I can say this confidently, “we are too!” We are actively doing the work of God. So much good is being done in and through us. We are feeding, clothing, and supporting the needy. We are actively caring for widows and orphans. We are teaching the Scriptures. We are discipling parents and children. People are being saved and baptized. Even through the midst of this horrible pandemic, we are continuing to do whatever we can for those to whom we are called to minister. We are actively doing the work of God.
    The church at Ephesus was working hard for God, but something was wrong. They were guilty of a sin that is hard to detect, but Jesus, who knows our heart as well as our activity, knew the problem. Jesus counseled the church at Ephesus, and anyone with ears to hear, to do three things to reestablish their closeness and walk with him. If they didn’t, something tragic would happen. They would lose their gospel witness.
    Look at these words of Jesus concerning the end times.
    Matthew 24:12 CSB
    12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.
    Do you think lawlessness is multiplying? I do. Have you heard the calls, even within our own city to disband the police force? Powerful people are not be held to an account before the law. The Supreme Court is perverting the law. We are seeing riots in the streets. Criminals are ripping down and defacing statues. Sections of cities are being overwhelmed by lawless mobs. Abortion is still rampant in our land. People are doing whatever is right in their own eyes.
    We are bombarded with these situations by the retail media constantly. I truly believe the retail media has done more to harm this country than they have done good. Lawlessness is multiplying at a seemingly exponential rate. Social media fans the flames. The Internet is a cesspool of wickedness and debauchery. Here’s the thing, we aren’t even talking about the things we consider “little sins”, which may be even more the cause of our love growing cold.
    How is all of this affecting you? I would have to think it is having some effect because the statistics are showing it is. Drug abuse, alcoholism, spousal abuse, child abuse, and suicide are all rapidly increasing. People are afraid to be around other people. Many times, we find that isolated people say and do things they would never say and do around other people. The evil one has found a way to physically shutdown just about every church in America and drastically reduce our outreach. Do you think lawlessness is multiplying? How is it affecting you? Jesus said one of the effects would be that the love of many will grow cold.
    Are you growing cold towards the church? Are you growing cold towards your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you growing cold about seeing the gospel given to those who do not know Jesus? Are you growing cold towards the broken and the needy? I see it. Many are growing cold. Are you growing cold?
    What are we going to do about it?
    Revelation 2:5 CSB
    5 Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

    What do you do when your love is growing cold?

    1. Remember

    This is a call to reflect, to go back and recall the past. Jesus is saying, “Do you remember the way our relationship used to be?” Do you recognize your true condition? Compare where you are now to where you used to be. Have things in your relationship with Jesus gotten better or worse based on what your relationship should look like according to God’s Word. Are you becoming content with this supposed “new normal”?
    “Have fallen” is in the perfect tense in the Greek. It looks at a completed act with existing results, a state, not a process. We are in a fallen condition and working in our own energy moves us away from God. We do harm to our relationship with God whenever we stop doing God’s work out of a motive of love and devotion that comes from personal fellowship with God.
    Sometimes, I will ask my wife to make me something and she will say, “Why don’t you make it yourself?” I will tell her, “Because you make it with love.” Really, I am too lazy to get up and do it for myself. The point is are you doing what you are doing out of love and obedience. Do you remember when you were reading your Bible, praying, and looking to serve simply because you loved God? Remember.

    2. Repent.

    Revelation 2:5 CSB
    5 Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
    Repent means to change your mind. It means to change your decision. You were going one way, you recognize it is the wrong way, and you turn to go in the right way. It is a decisive decision. Stop the bad behavior so it can be replaced with what is right before God.
    In this case, repentance would mean to change your motives. Start loving and obeying God. Stop doing things because you think they curry favor with God. Start doing things because you love God and want to obey him. The thing you are doing is not the problem. The reason why you are doing the thing is the problem. God knows the motives of your heart. Only you and God know why you are doing what you are doing. You might even be deceived by your own heart, but God knows. Have you asked him? Have you talked to him about it? Say, “God, reveal to me my motives. I want to honor you, love you, and obey you.” Motives are vitally important. Remember, repent, and repeat.

    3. Repeat.

    Revelation 2:5 CSB
    5 Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
    Do what you did at first. This is not a call to more Christian ministry or activity. The church at Ephesus had plenty of that. They needed renewal and revival. They needed the Holy Spirit to revive them.
    We need revival. Our churches are suffering. Our community is suffering. Our nation is suffering. The world is suffering. The only solution to the problem is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The answer to our problem will not be found in a vaccine or treatment. The answer to our problem will not be found in legislative solutions. The answer to our problem is not getting the right judges to hear the cases. The answer to our problem is not having the perfect president or abolishing the media. I want you to hear this. It is vital to the future. Our society will continue to degrade without it. The only solution to our problems is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    The warning from Christ is clear. If the church at Ephesus did not remember, repent, and repeat what they did at first, then Jesus would come and remove their lampstand from its place. In other words, they would lose their gospel ministry. Brothers and sisters, may it never be said of this church that we are doing good things for our community, but we have no gospel witness. Doing good for our community is what we should be doing, but it must always be paired with giving the gospel to those in need. There are so many people in our community who have never made a decision to follow Christ. It is our job to tell them about Jesus and what he can do for them. Our first love is for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Light is lost when love is abandoned. The church of Ephesus does not stand today. Its light has been not just dimmed, but completely snuffed out. May that never be said of us. Our first love is for Jesus and the ministry of his gospel.
    Perhaps you are listening to this message and you have never made the decision to follow Jesus. You have never made the decision to give Jesus control of your life and right now, you are just trying to survive. You are running from one relationship to the next, one experience to the next, and one empty promise to the next. You can’t find happiness, satisfaction, or peace because you are trying to find it apart from Jesus. Let me tell you. You will never find what you are looking for unless you give your life to Jesus, unless you place your faith in him.
    Let me tell you what Jesus has done for you because he loved you so much. You are a sinner. Your sin leads you to do ungodly things and separates you from the God who loves you. We have a sin problem inside of us. Jesus went to the cross, died, and he rose again. He did all of this because he loves you and he wants to save you from your sin. He wants to transform you, so you can experience his goodness, so we could experience his grace. He wants to heal you and bring peace to your life.
    To reject Him is to reject life. To delay this decision is to continue on the way that leads to destruction.
    John 3:16–18 CSB
    16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.
    God, in his love decided to give mankind the opportunity to escape the wrath of his judgment. Jesus came and laid down his life for us. God expressed his love for humanity and paid for the sin of mankind through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
    Romans 10:13 CSB
    13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
    The word “call” means “to appeal unto.” Lost sinners who come to Jesus for forgiveness of sins, believing that He is the Christ, the Son of God, will be saved. The amazing grace of God, no matter how bad you have been, no matter how dark your life is, no matter how many people you’ve let down, when you call on Jesus, he hears your prayer and he will forgive every sin and make you brand new.
    This morning, if you are here and you know that you need God’s forgiveness for your sins; realize that you are not here by accident. Will you surrender your life to God and experience his forgiveness? Please bow your heads and close your eyes. Will you pray this prayer with me expressing that you are trusting in God’s ability to forgive you and save you?
    “Heavenly Father, forgive me for my sins, make me clean. I ask Jesus to be my Savior and to be the Lord of my life, first in every way. My life is not my own, I give it to you. Thank you for new life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
    If you prayed that prayer and you want to talk more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus, this is what I want you to do. My email address is on the screen:

    pastorben@fbclaredo.org

    Write to me. Let me know of your decision to follow Jesus. Use the QR code on the bulletin to fill out a connection card, so we can get int contact with you. You can also go to our website and at the bottom of the page is the link to Connect with Us. We want to help you and support you in your decision. We might need to guard our physical proximity, but we can still support one another in the love of Jesus.
    Maybe you are here this morning and you realize that something is wrong in your relationship with Jesus. The ending of this passage said, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.” Have you left the love you once had for Jesus? Do you remember the excitement and joy you used to have for the things of God? Do you remember the joy you had in telling others about Jesus? Do you remember when coming to worship was something you looked forward to? Now, coming to worship and Bible study is something you don’t really care if you miss. You come and you judge others by what they are wearing. You don’t like the music selections. You serve, but only because you have to because you think that if you don’t God is going to get you. Remember the joy you once had when you first believed, and you felt your burden lifted. Please let us pray with you and support you. Our church staff is here to support you and help you. Write to me. Just a short email to let me know what is happening in your life. Use the QR code on the bulletin to fill out a connection card, so we can get int contact with you. You can also go to our website and at the bottom of the page is the link to Connect with Us. Let us help you grow and support you in your relationship with God.
    Close in Prayer.
      • Revelation 3:6CSB

      • Revelation 2:1–7ESV

      • Revelation 2:4CSB

      • Matthew 24:12CSB

      • Revelation 2:5CSB

      • Revelation 2:5CSB

      • Revelation 2:5CSB

      • John 3:16–18CSB

      • Romans 10:13CSB

  • All The Way My Saviour Leads Me
  • Christ Is Risen
      • Download

        Ladies Bible Study

        August 13, 2019 - 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
      • Download

        Ladies Bible Study

        August 13, 2019 - 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
        Ladies Bible Study, “Remembering the Foundation of Our Faith” Join us every Tuesday at 10:00 am in the fellowship hall
      • Download

        Wednesday Night Bible Studies

        August 7, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
      • Download

        Wednesday Night Bible Studies

        August 7, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
      • Download

        Mandarin Bible Study

        November 2, 2019 - 7:30 PM - 7:30 PM
        如果需要更多信息,请联系王红卫姊妹, 联系电话 (806)620-6521,邮箱 
      • Download

        Mandarin Bible Study

        November 2, 2019 - 7:30 PM - 7:30 PM
        如果需要更多信息, 请联系王红卫姊妹, 联系电话 (806)620-6521, 邮箱
      • Download

        Pantry of Hope

        July 13, 2019 - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
        Volunteers please arrive at 9 am through the back kitchen door. Thank you!
      • Download

        Pantry of Hope

        July 11, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
        Volunteers please arrive at 9 am through the back kitchen door. Thank you!

Let us get to know you!

Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
Age:
How did you hear about us?