Ephesus was the most important political center of Asia. Also there stood the Temple of Diana (Artemis), considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Paul ministered there, and through the ministry of Priscilla and Aquila and later through the ministry of young pastor Timothy, the gospel took hold. Reading Acts 20:18-35, we see how Paul and the elders in Ephesus felt about each other. Reading this is a touching farewell.
Through the apostle Paul, they were trained and shepherded well in the whole counsel of God, i.e., the Scriptures. Over the next 30 years, time and interia took them to a place that put their place as a church of Jesus Christ in jeopardy. Think about all that can happen in 30 years. Think about ARBC and all that has happened in 30 years. Thirty years ago, a man named Dean Burk became pastor, and was pastor here for 14 years. In the sixteen years that followed, I’m the third pastor in that time. Many staff ministers have come and gone, many people have come and gone. The old boom came and went. But you know what can also go in 30 years.
The first generation of a church has a passion for the lost.
The second generation has a passion to keep the passion of the first generation.
The third and fourth generation’s passion turns to apathy outside of an intentional renewal!
Our hearts can grow quite cold to the right things. Our hearts can grow cold to Christ and can grow cold to others. We can have all the right doctrine, know our Bibles inside and out, but if our love for Christ and others goes, then we are not simply normal church-going people–we are in grave danger of having that lampstand removed.