Feb. 15th, 2015 | Series: The Movement

Acts 19:11–41— The church at Ephesus got off to quite the start! In fact, Luke’s recording of what happened in Ephesus is the best example of a city-wide revival in the New Testament. If you’re hoping for revival, praying for renewal, or longing to see God move, take a listen to this message.

Sermon Content

(Intro summary — Ryan described a “pizza lunch outreach” to high school students he had while a Youth Pastor in Aurora.  First the problem was ordering enough pizzas to feed the students!  Then it was keeping the quantity of pizzas warm!  A few too many pizza boxes were packed into the oven at the church.  According to Ryan, the church always needed a new kitchen!  In the middle of that lunch the fire alarm went off, the kids scattered, the firetruck came, the church got a new kitchen.)

What we did in that oven was create a tinderbox.  We created the perfect environment for a fire!  Cardboard pizza boxes right next to a hot oven element!  I think in a spiritual sense the city of Ephesus, that we’re going to dive into in Acts 19, finds itself in the same position.  They’re a tinderbox waiting to explode!  And here’s what God’s going to do in this chapter and, as we study, my prayer is that he does it in our hearts as well.  Here’s what he’s going to do—he’s going to light a match and he’s gonna flick it on this city of Ephesus and what you’re gonna see is just a beautiful gospel/Jesus-centered explosion in the city of Ephesus!  Now my hope and my prayer, throughout our whole study of the book of Acts has been, Lord, would you move in our church, would you move in our lives in the same way that you did through the early church!  I’ve gotta be honest with you, my prayer this morning is the same thing.  My cards are on the table.  As I’ve read this this whole week, my prayer has been Jesus, do the same thing in this church.  Do the same thing in your Body that you did here.

Let’s read together Acts 19:11.  If you were with us last week, you’ll remember that the Holy Spirit descends on these twelve disciples, these believers, at Ephesus.  There’s miraculous signs, there’s wonders and there’s Paul who grabs the microphone and starts to, in light of the Spirit’s descension, tell people about the Kingdom of God. So have to directly tie, if you’re following Paul and his ministry, to Spirit’s descension —> Kingdom reality.  And now what we’re going to see in our study of Acts 19 is what does it look like when the Kingdom starts to break forth?  Great question.  Verse 11: And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, {Immediately we have a tension on our hands?  Who’s doing it?  Clearly God, but he’s using Paul as his instrument.  Paul abiding and being obedient, walking with Jesus; and God says my Spirit’s on you, my power’s on you, I’m gonna use you for great and miraculous things.} Verse 12: so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. {Sounds like a pretty normal Tuesday for you, huh?! The kingdom is breaking forth!  He blows his nose and people are healed!!!  He sheds a layer because the wind kicks up, somebody grabs his coat and runs off with it!  He’s like where’d my coat go? And the lame walk!} Verse 13: Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists {Another quick time out.  Sorta shows you the spiritual climate of Ephesus.  There’s a market for an itinerant exorcist—traveling around—you got a problem with demon?  I can drive that bad boy out!  There’s a market for this—there’s people who are engaging in this.  This is their livelihood.} ..Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”  Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.  But the evil spirit answered them, {Just a side note: You never want to hear this from an evil spirit!} “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?”  And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. {Now, you may have been a part of some altercations/fights in your day.  You may have seen some.  And some of those are debatable as to who won.  I got in a few blows there, he got a few blows in, too.  But I feel like I won or let’s go to the cards—let’s see, it’s a draw.  Now here’s the deal—If you walk into a fight wearing clothes and you walk out naked…..you LOST!  You don’t need to go to the cards….no draw…..  If you walked in clothed and out naked,  you lost!  And you can’t go to your friends and brag, I got a few good blows in!  Bro, where’re your drawers??!!!!  You lost!  You’re done!  Verse 17 is a kicker!  It’s phenomenal!  It’s crazy!}  And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus. {YES!!! These guys are like did you hear what happened to Billy and his brothers? No, what happened? Walked into a fight clothed, got upped by a demon, he stripped him, they walked out naked! No way that happened!!  What follows is even crazier!}  And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. {It was lifted high. It was mightily praised.  How’s that for an evangelistic outreach??!!  Let’s take on some demons; let’s get beat up; get stripped naked; let’s spread the word; people will bow to Jesus!!}

Here’s the thing.  God uses all sorts of methods to draw people to himself.  And I think what they recognize….because I’m wrestling with this…does that fit with the narrative?  Why in the world would people bow at the throne of Jesus?  Because they see the power that the enemy has!  Yes, that’s what happened. They go well, if the demons have that kind of power and they’re real, then what does it look like to embrace and walk in the power Jesus has?  And what started off with a group of twelve disciples, that we read about in the first part of Acts 19, starts to just mushroom up.  It starts to explode! People are getting healed, demons are being confronted, freedom is starting to be the reality for people to walk in.  Here’s what we see:  God is stirring his people to this INTERNAL TRANSFORMATION that changes the inner workings of their soul.  And he’s creating through that EXTERNAL IMPACT that radically, drastically changes the city of Ephesus.  We’ve a number of people in this church who pray regularly for revival.  To see God do something amazing, miraculous! To see him heal a city.  To see homelessness wiped out; to see people turn to Jesus; to see some of the wickedness that people in our city are a part of repent and turn to Jesus.  Here’s what you’re going to read in Acts 19.  The BEST–second to none–New Testament description of what corporate revival looks like.  Here’s where it starts.  It starts with the people who understand they have the Spirit.  Who relate to the Spirit; walk in the Spirit; see the presence and power of the Spirit through their lives and they follow him.  That’s how it starts.  The best description of revival in the New Testament. So I want to unpack some of the DNA of what this looked like in the city of Ephesus with the admitted prayer.  God, would you let your Spirit fall in such a way that you do something similar in our day, in our time, in our midst, through this Body.

The story goes on….Dr. Luke records so as people that didn’t know Jesus turned to him, because some guy got beat up and stripped naked…..it says verse 18: Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.  And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.  And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. {That’s a lot of money.  Notice this is believers.  Believers who are confronted with this reality that we know Jesus, we’ve been walking with Jesus to a certain extent and the way that God moves and the way that God stirs in their midst….they go there’s some things that we’re doing, there’s some things that we’re believing, there some things that we’re walking in that don’t honor this King of King and Lord of Lords.  And they bring those things to the table, and they burn the books.  Here’s what they do.  They bow their hearts at the throne of the Father.  That’s what they do.}

We have a word for this…..it’s called REPENTANCE.  A word that’s gotten a really, really bad rap.  People yell it on the streets without any context behind what does it actually mean.  Here’s what it means to these believers.  It’s believers that are repenting in this passage.  It’s an invitation HOME.  The welcome mat of the Father is out.  Make no mistake about it!!  I want to say this as clearly as I possibly can…the gospel DEMANDS–doesn’t ask, doesn’t say hey if you want to—genuine, authentic repentance that leads to practical, natural change in our life.  Repentance is simply is a changing of mind or thought that leads to a change in direction.  So the Scriptures will continually say repent and believe.  Not repent and behave.  So if our behavior hasn’t changed, if our actions haven’t changed, it’s not that we need to try harder, it’s that we really do need to repent.  To change our mind and our thinking in a way that eventually changes our actions.  That’s what the gospel demands. And that’s what this group of followers of Jesus do.

I love the way that Tim Keller puts it.  This is a lengthy quote, but I think it’s worth our time this morning.  “It is important to consider how the gospel affects and transforms the act of repentance.  In ‘religion’ the purpose of repentance is basically to keep God happy so he will continue to bless you and answer your prayers.” {Essentially it’s God, I know I’ve screwed up and I know I’ve messed up so I’m going to say x-number of these prayers and I’m going to do these actions and I’m going to give this money and if I do that, God, well then will you be happy with me?  Will you be pleased with me?  Can we come back into right relationship after I jump through these hoops?} Keller writes: “This means that ‘religious repentance’ is a) selfish, b) self-righteous, c) and bitter all the way to the bottom. But in the gospel the purpose of repentance is to {this is beautiful–catch it} repeatedly tap into the joy of our union with Christ in order to weaken our need to do anything contrary to God’s heart.”  It’s a minute-by-minute invitation from the Father……Come home! Come home!  You’re drifting, your heart’s drifting.  Your affection is drifting…..COME HOME!  That’s exactly what the believers in Ephesus do!  Will you look up at me for just a second?  Changing the altar that you bow at, of your life, always alters (changes) your life!  Changing the altar of your life alters your life….every time!  Where we bow always determines how we live!!  No caveats!  No footnotes!  No well, not me!  Uh uh uh!  All of us across the board!

So here’s what the believers do.  In a very public act, they go and they get their books, and they go and they get their idols and they burn them and they smash them.  Here’s the picture you need to see in your mind, here’s what they do.  They bow afresh at the throne of Jesus!  They identify we’ve strayed.  We’ve walked away, we’re not following you; our words may say that we are, but our actions don’t look like it.  And this is a beautiful picture, because they not only do it publicly, but they do it completely.  They’re not going to go back through the rubble and go I need to get that book back……..they burn it, they cut ties with it and they walk the opposite direction.  I can remember when my brother first started to follow Jesus.  He was a big “Green Day” fan and he had this ritualistic burning of Green Day cds in the backyard.  We’re like yeah!!  Anybody else been a part of a music or book burning thing?  It was this picture of we are cutting ties with who we were and we’re walking into who we are.  And we are people who are loved by the Father!!

I think it begs us to ask the same question.  What are some of the things we are holding on to, even as we follow Jesus?  Where it’s yes, it’s Jesus PLUS, it’s Jesus plus…our family.  It’s Jesus plus our bank account; it’s Jesus plus our resume, it’s Jesus plus…..that’s where we find life, that’s where we find hope, that’s where we find meaning.  Want to try an exercise to figure out what those things are in YOUR life?  What are the things you’re willing to lie about?….in order to preserve.  Those are our idols.  And this beautiful movement of God starts with the descending of the Spirit in the life of believers.  They have this mirror that’s held up and then they go listen, we talked a good game, but we haven’t walked the walk!  And although we say we’re following Jesus, really our cupboards are still FULL of books and idols and we watch things and we participate in things that don’t honor and lift high the name of Jesus.  At Ephesus, here’s what they say….we’re done with those! We’re done!  And we’re walking the other way!

Well, that has huge implications for the culture around them!  It crashes the economy! Verse 20: So {as if to say because or the fact that they repented and turned to Jesus and were embraced by the Father} the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. {Verse 23—Paul explains a few of his travel plans in verses 21 and 22.} At that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way.  For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. {He was the go-between, between people who wanted to order an idol and the people who actually produced the idol.  He’s the middleman.  He does a pretty good business, makes a pretty good living and he sees that starting to slip away.} Verse 25: These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth.  And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with (human) hands are not gods.  {His argument is pretty simple—If you made it in your backyard, you shouldn’t bow down and worship it!  And they’re going WHAAAATTT??? What did you say??} Verse 27: And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may be be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” 

Interesting!  Here’s what you see—-a genuine, spirit-driven repentance, bowing at the throne of the Father saying we’ve worshiped these things, but now we’re going to worship Jesus alone, has these massive ripple effects into the culture that they live in!!!  Genuine repentance doesn’t just change the people who enter into it, it does that, but it also leads to this citywide corporate revival!  The progression is the church repents….people are redeemed and saved by the gracious hand of God because of the way the church rubs up against them…..decisions are made where people start to change and eventually a culture is transformed! Well, how does this happen?  Dr. Luke gives us a little bit of a hint in this passage.  He tells us that the church at that time isn’t called the church.  It’s called something different—–The Way (verse 9).  They’re referred to again as the Way in verse 23.  So this isn’t a pretty church, this isn’t a church that has all their theology totally in line and their programs laid out.  They are The Way!  People who simply together, in community, follow the “Way” of Jesus.  Not a religion, but a WAY!  It’s very, very different.   It was a way of, if you go back to the book of Ephesians that Paul writes BACK to this church of Ephesus years later, speaking differently. It’s a way of working differently.  It’s a way of loving your spouse differently.  It’s a way of dealing with our anger differently.  It’s a WAY……not a religion.

One might summarize and say it was the way of both giving and receiving love of the Father and remaining in that place and returning to that place when they deviated and when they left.  When the church gets serious about Jesus—not about playing church and not about having a pretty, perfect church—when we start to embrace The Way, the city is changed; people are redeemed; the gospel goes forward.  There’s always ripple effects to a genuine repentance where we walk back under the goodness and grace of the gospel and receive it as our own!  That’s what this church does!  And there’s ripple effects to that!  It overflows into marriages.  It overflows into work places.  It overflows into neighborhoods.  It overflows into relationships.  It overflows into lives!   We have a lot of sorta problems–symptoms–that we address and that we stir up and that we, in good conscience and in good faith, try to move forward with, but the root of it all is that we don’t know and live in the goodness and love of the Father.  That only happens as we repent.  And that repentance has HUGE ripple effects.

If you jump down to verse 37 and you see the way that as Paul and his friends are put on trial that the crowd starts to speak about them.  The people who put them on trial, here’s what they say: You have brought these men here, who are neither sacrilegious {really interesting what follows} nor blasphemers of our goddess. Fascinating!!  So here’s what they can say with all honesty and believe me, they would say otherwise if it were true.  What they say about Paul and what they say about his friends is they haven’t said a word about Artemis.  This Greek goddess who had a temple where a thousand temple prostitutes worshipped by day and performed their duties by night.  Where people came, as they say in this text, from all over the world in order to worship.  It’s one of Seven Ancient Wonders of the Ancient World.  And what they say is that Paul hasn’t said a word about her!!  Are you kidding me??!!!  Well, how does revival start?  Isn’t it we create and we gather a bunch of evidence that demands a verdict??  Isn’t that what we’re called to do?  No offense to that fine book. Here’s what you see.   There’s undertones of this, it’s not on the surface of the passage, but as you read about it and here’s what Paul’s message was…..he was lifting high the name of Jesus!!  You go back and read the letter he writes back to Ephesus….no mention of Artemis.  None!  But he will address sexuality.  He will address how to, in a Godly manner, for husbands to love their wives, for wives to love their husbands.  He’s gonna address the issues, but he’s not gonna address her.

And here’s why!  Because you never change culture by trying to change culture!  And friends, under Christendom, we have bought this method hook, line and sinker.  You change culture by creating a better one! That’s the way you change culture—by creating a better one.  I’ve seen, floating around on the internet, like 1300 blogs about “50 Shades of Grey”.  Now I’m not promoting the movie in any way, shape or form, but what I do want to point out is if Paul were to write a letter back to the city of Ephesus and he doesn’t mention Artemis or Artemis worship explicitly, maybe we should rethink our methods.  Maybe? I’m just gonna throw it out there.  Because here’s what we do—-the more blogs we write, the more blogs we read, the more blogs we share.  Free promotion!!! And when we’re talking about “50 Shades of Grey,” we’re implicitly NOT talking about the beauty of Jesus and the glory of Christ.  And that’s the way those types of things start to lose their hold. It’s not by Christians writing blogs and saying this is wrong, this is evil, this is bad.  It’s by followers of Jesus living out the sexual ethic that the Scriptures teach us—where there’s beauty and intimacy, which is what that movie is longing for and hoping for……intimacy we show the world, put that on display, what it looks like when it’s Christ-centered, gospel-exalting.  And the ripple effects of that change…….a blog’s not going to change anyone’s mind.  REVIVAL doesn’t begin by attacking a culture.  It begins by creating a better one.  We create a better one as we surrender and walk in the love of the Father.

Here’s what happens as the word of God starts to expand–both in the world and in the hearts of his followers. It always meets opposition!  It always does!  So here’s the way we see that play out.  Verse 28: And when they {this is the crowd that Demetrius has gathered} heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” So the city was filled with confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel.  But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. {Now these are good friends! They said you’re gonna get your head beat in, bro!  You don’t wear a cape!  Stay on the outskirts.  Let us fight this battle.} And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater.  Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. {That’s hilarious!  They’re all there going we’re pumped up!  WHY??!!  I have no idea why.  But we are, indeed, fired up.  So this conversation goes on in the crowd—-hey, why are you here?  I have no idea, but this is awesome, is it not?  It is awesome!  Let’s shout some more.  And the crowd feeds off of itself!} Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, who the Jews had put forward.  And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd.  But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, ” Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 

Here’s what you see: The Spirit prompts this repentance bowing at the throne of Jesus that leads to a revival, both in the souls and lives of the believers and in the city—there’s always ripple effect to repentance—eventually leading to RIOTS.  You could step back from this story/account and go we get why that happened.  The rug is pulled out from under the proverbial feet of the Ephesians.  Their economy is crashing before their eyes.  If people don’t travel from all over the world to worship Artemis, where’s their next meal gonna come from?  How are they going to feed their family?  These are all questions that people are asking, because their whole entire city is built on that economy.  It’s a great question, isn’t it?  You could understand why a riot would form around that.  But here’s the thing, friends.  Would you look up at me for a second? It’s not only externally that this is a reality.  Anytime we put our faith in Jesus, we step off of whatever foundation we built our life on and step on to him, there’s always an internal turning or riot that takes place!  It’s I’m leaving those things behind and now I’m walking with Jesus and the question is……who am I?  I built my life on these things and now I’m gonna NOT cling to them as my god…..who am I now?  This is shaky ground! Unfortunately, what we’ve told people is turn to Jesus and your life is gonna just get better.  You just have to ignore the Bible in order to believe that.  Does he redeem?  Does he show his love? Is he good?  Yes! Yes! Yes!  But sometimes you get beat up.  Sometimes you find yourself in jail.  Sometimes you find yourself on a cross and you’re crucified. It depends on how you measure BETTER.  That might not fit.

So here’s what the reality is.  As we to turn to Jesus and he stirs revival in our souls and awakening in our neighborhoods and our families…..you name it…..wherever we find ourselves in our workplace, we should EXPECT that riots follow.  That an uneasiness even just in our soul, because a new object or intensity of our worship or revival creates internal and external opposition.  It always does. Which is why we teach classes on how to study the Bible, because riots/storms are coming.  Sometimes just reading the Bible on Sunday morning isn’t gonna get the job done, friend.  It’s just not!  So our goal is to teach you how throughout the week to feed yourself, to feast on the banquet that’s in front of you!  Not just to come and hear a message, but to come and to hear from Jesus, one.  And then to be able to do that weekly, because the enemy he’s gonna push back.  What does he push back with?  Fear.  Am I going to be able to feed my family?  Am I going to be able to create an identity only on Jesus if I let go of everything else, like the Ephesian church did?  Is He going to let me down? Is He going to come through? Confusion.  What is this really actually look like–to follow the way of Jesus?  When worship of the living, true God confronts our idols, which it always does if it’s genuine worship, and crushes our idols, it implicitly means we’re transferring where we stand on to the gospel and on to Jesus and that can feel like shaky ground, if we’re just learning how to do that.

So this church wrestles through that.  They fight to believe the goodness of God.  And the crowd is dismissed because they’re part of a Roman colony and that kind of thing just isn’t acceptable, so everybody goes their way.  Wouldn’t it be fascinating if we could figure out what happened to this church?   I mean, what a launch! You just light the match and fling it on this and BOOM! it explodes!  Miraculous signs, wonders, people meet Jesus, the church repents, the church sees revival, the church endures the riots—they get through to the other side.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what happens?  A few years later, Paul writes a letter back to this church.  He’s going to encourage them to keep pushing into Jesus, to remain in the love of the Father, but that isn’t the end of the story.  In fact, if you’re to fast forward a few more decades, the book of Revelation is going to address this church.  Turn to Revelation 2.  Here’s the way Jesus talks about this church.  To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: {skip to verse 2} I know your works, your toil, your patient endurance and how you cannot bear with those who are evil. {Good? Thumbs up or thumbs down? Church in Ephesus you are doing good!} ….but you’ve tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you found them to be false. {Good? Good work, church at Ephesus, you’re staying strong. Forty or so years later and you are pushing through!} I know you are enduring patiently {Which is at the top of God’s list…..maybe.} and bearing up for my name’s sake, you have not grown weary. {You’re a good church, you have good theology, you have good programs, you are doing a good work! Yea! Yea! Yea! Church at Ephesus.} But….but…{I just want to say I think this is a word for us today. Something happened between being the Way and becoming a church. And that something, whatever it was, led them away from the heart of the Father.} But I have this against you, you’ve left (abandoned) your first love.  You’ve grown cold.  How poignant and powerful is it to study the way it began and then a few decades later to have Jesus write to you and say you’re doing a lot of things well, but you’re not doing the most important thing well.  You have good theology, you have good programs, you’re a clean and polished church, but you’ve left—-you’ve turned back from—-your first love.  Have you??  A lot of people I think their life following Jesus is more akin to a glider than it is to an airplane.  They start really high and they just slowly, slowly, slowly decline.  Instead of the airplane, where you go isn’t Jesus beautiful, isn’t he good, isn’t he glorious, isn’t he magnificent and it just feeds on itself.

So here’s what Jesus says.  I love this about the Good Shepherd.  He doesn’t say to his sheep well, outta here! You got off to a great start!  You were on fire but now you’ve turned into ice and I’m outta here.  That’s not what he says.  Here’s what we does say:  REMEMBER!  Remember therefore from where you’ve fallen (church at Ephesus). (Rev. 2:5)  Remember what it was like when you went to your cupboards and you got your magic books and you got the idols; and you burned the books and you smashed the idols and you bowed at my throne and you tasted my goodness and you knew my grace and you walked in my mercy.  Remember what that was like, church!  And I’ll say the same thing to you!  Do you remember what it was like?  When you first knew him and you went to the Scriptures in the morning and it just felt like words were just flying off the page!  Remember what that was like?  Remember what it was like when you met somebody that didn’t know Jesus and you just couldn’t wait to tell them about how good he is?! Not because of some obligation the church laid on you, but just because he was so ridiculously good and his mercies were new that morning!!  Remember, Jesus says, what it was like when you first met me.  Repent—-which is ironically what they did at first! Remember when you bowed, remember when you felt my embrace, remember.  So he goes repent, turn back to me!  Run into my arms and do the things you did at first!

So here’s what he would say.  REMEMBER—follower of Jesus, I pray would you remember.  What was it like? Have you wandered?  Get around some people who just met Jesus, it might rub off on you, might be good for you.  It would be good for us as a church to remember THAT’S what that’s LIKE!

REPENT—-turn back from the way that we’ve become as a church from transitioned out of just being The Way. Following the heartbeat of Jesus.  Living in the Way of Christ.  Martin Luther, in the very first of the 95 theses he nailed he nailed to the Wittenberg door, his first was: “The whole Christian life in one of repentance.”  Wake up daily saying here’s my idols and I’m walking back to the love of the Father and I’m bowing around his throne and his throne alone.

And finally, Jesus says those things you did at first, REDO them.  I had a friend this week who asked me Ryan, how are we suppose to stay on fire for the Lord?  How are we suppose to sustain this walk?  I answered with Jesus’ invitation in Revelation 2:5.  Remember what it was like when you first met him, friend.  Repent—let go of the things you’ve built your life on other than him, and run back to his throne and BOW!  Cut the tie with everything else.  Bow at His throne!  Then do the things you did at first.

{Pastor Ryan leads into time of confession, repentance and coming “home”.}

Let’s pray.  Oh Jesus, would you move, Spirit, in our hearts and our lives…..would you allow us to,  by your grace, let go of some of the things we may have built our life on, to run back home.  Jesus, I pray over the person, the people, where they go yeah, that’s me—I’ve grown cold.  I pray, Holy Spirit, would you pour out the love of the Father into our hearts and souls in such a way that you would ignite us once again, for your name, for your glory and for our joy!  Let’s repent together and run home to the open arms of our Father! Amen!