Each February the medical community celebrates national heart health month. It is a time to raise awareness for heart disease and to encourage individuals to exercise, eat well, and do everything they can to promote good cardiac health. Regular health screenings are always a good idea for those who want a healthy heart and body. Spiritually, the same principle applies.
Individual and congregational spiritual health should be our priority and it is good, from time to time, to allow God’s Word to provide us with an examination. An important component of congregational spiritual health is the willingness to oppose sin and error of every sort. The congregation of God’s people in Ephesus stands as an example for doing so (Rev. 2:2).
Unlike many other congregations addressed, Ephesus was commended for her faithfulness in opposing sin and error. Jesus said, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars” (Rev. 2:2). To “test” is to determine the nature of something through close examination. Ephesus looked closely at false apostles and rejected them. They could not “bear,” or tolerate, them, or any evil, to any degree. Faithful congregations follow in their footsteps. We love the good and hate the evil (Rom. 12:9).
Sin is a cancer and when it is allowed to exist within a congregation of God’s people, it will ultimately bring about their ruin. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6) which is why Paul commanded the Ephesian elders to “take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers” (Acts 20:28). If sin is present within the body we must “cut off the opportunity” (2 Cor. 11:12) for it to spread. Such is not always easy. It often involves uncomfortable conversations, confrontation, and no shortage of tears and heartache. Yet, it must be done to preserve the overall health of the body.