XLI. THE TEST OF SOME IN EPHESUS
CALLING THEMSELVES APOSTLES
AND NOT BEING SUCH—
REVELATION 2:1a, 2
What these false apostles did in their false assuming and pretense was a great damage, carried out by Satan, to the building up of the Body of Christ (2 Cor. 11:13-15). This was a real test of the genuine oneness of the Body of Christ. We should follow the positive example of the church in Ephesus by trying these false apostles and finding them to be false.
XLII. THE TEST OF THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS
LEAVING ITS FIRST LOVE—REVELATION 2:4
The church in Ephesus was praised by the Lord for its works, labor, endurance, not bearing evil men, and trying the false apostles and finding them false (v. 2). However, it was rebuked by the Lord for leaving its first love. To leave the first love is to become indifferent and dormant in the appreciation of the Lord’s excellency and preciousness and also in gratitude for the Lord’s love in His redemptive work for us. This is the root of the degradation of the church through the centuries. For this the Lord admonished the church in Ephesus to repent; otherwise, its lampstand would be removed. The removing of the lampstand implies the losing of the power to shine in the darkness and to testify for the Lord. The Lord’s admonishing is the way for us to take care of a case of leaving the first love towards the Lord.
XLIII. THE TEST OF THE CHURCH IN PERGAMOS
BEING SETTLED IN THE WORLD, WHERE SATAN’S
DWELLING AND THRONE ARE—
REVELATION 2:12a, 13
The church in Pergamos became worldly and was even settled in the world, where Satan’s dwelling and throne are. This caused her to be joined with Satan in the satanic cosmos—the system of darkness—which is against God and His economy.
XLIV. THE TEST OF SOME IN PERGAMOS
HOLDING THE TEACHING OF BALAAM, WHO CAUSED
THE SONS OF ISRAEL TO STUMBLE IN EATING
IDOL SACRIFICES AND COMMITTING FORNICATION—
Becoming worldly and even settled in the world led some members of the church to hold the teaching that caused the people of God to stumble in eating idol sacrifices and committing fornication. Becoming worldly always issues in idolatry and fornication. These three always go together, one along with another, damaging the people of God in their carrying out of God’s economy.
(Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (2), Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)