When Jesus rebuked/chastised the churches in the book of Revelation (you remember that He did that, I trust), He repeatedly said the following words: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7,11,17,29, Revelation 3:6,13,22). He had a point to make. “Listen up,” He was saying. Unfortunately, for those seven churches, it seems they didn’t do ENOUGH listening. The end result of those churches was sheer devastation. Today, those lands (Turkey, etc.) where the first churches were established, AND HAD A CHANCE TO PROSPER, “lost it all,” because they simply DIDN’T LISTEN to what Jesus was saying — i.e., they simply didn’t take what Jesus had to say seriously enough. Maybe they didn’t take the person who delivered the message seriously, I’m not sure. It all amounts to the same thing, of course. “Take the message seriously. It comes from above.”
Jesus said to the church at Ephesus, “repent … or else I am going to remove your lampstand.” (Rev. 2:5) (Repent means “change your ways,” or, “make an about face,” or “turn around quickly.”) Their “lampstand” was their ability to be a “successful” witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. We know, of course, that that did happen. Today, that same land (in and around Turkey) is one of the spiritually darkest places on the face of this incredible earth that we live on — no light at all! It is no doubt whatsoever that Satan controls this region, and the gospel has very little ability to make any significant change or impact in that area. Simply put, it is a cursed place. Don’t think that Jesus’s words didn’t somehow have something to do with that. They certainly did! He means business. When He gives a “word,” we must quickly respond to it.
Let’s be honest and ask ourselves a few questions. What have we done that needs repenting of? (You know, I ask myself that question a lot, especially whenever some type of “curse” seems to fall on me, or on my family. Often I get an answer, and when I am quick to respond to what I feel the Lord has shown me, the Lord is quick to respond by saying, “I will heal you now.”) I know the message is boring, mundane, awful to even consider (etc.), but please, for your own sake, as well as the sake of many others who may well be influenced by you (for example, your children, spouse, family at large, church family, or friends) do not be too quick to think that you don’t need to repent. Don’t respond the church at Ephesus did. They didn’t repent, and they lost it all. Be a courageous person. Stand up for what is right — in your own life, that is. If you have done something wrong, please, take it to the Lord. If you don’t know if you have done something wrong, “take it to the Lord in prayer,” like king David did, who asked God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts, And see if there be any hurtful [or, wicked, or wrong] way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24).
As we willfully come to God, with this attitude, and, if He should show us anything wrong, we should immediately “confess” our sins to Him (i.e. humbly, and intentionally, with an attitude of repentance, “agree” with God that it is wrong and that you will not do it again). The Bible says that — under these conditions — God is “faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). Then (and only then), will we be able to properly claim, or take hold of, God’s promise to then “work all things together for the good to those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) — which, indeed, God can and will do, in our lives (despite what our past is like), if we allow Him to.