Jesus’ words to His church

Theme: Doctrine and Structure in times of revival

“Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” Revelation 2:5[/su_note]

The deadline for my next article in Joy! Magazine was fast approaching and I still didn’t know what to write. I asked my wife Pat and she said, “Why not write about what to do when we just aren’t feeling on fire and ‘revivalized’?” Ok, so what do we do? For anyone who has been a Christian for many years this can be a real issue at times. Well, Jesus had something to say about it.
Keep your passion for Christ alive
The first church Jesus addressed in the book of Revelation was Ephesus. He admonished them to remember their condition when they first came to know Him. He described this as a spiritual height and told them bluntly that they had fallen from this state. Then He gave them the antidote to their condition. ‘Repent and do the things you did at first’.
Revival is a word we use to describe when the glory of God returns with power to His church. However, it has a human side; revival is also when the people of God return to Him. The sovereign Lord initiates revival and fuels revival but we, the children of God, need to respond with an exercise of our wills and energy.
Firstly we need to repent. Now, repentance is essentially a change of mind. We realise that we are falling short of God’s expectations of us and we decide to change. When we realise our apathetic condition we do feel sorry and remorseful, but this is of little value unless it leads to a decision to be different.
Once the decision is made, we then need to act. But what are we supposed to do? Jesus’ answer to this question is “Do the things you did at first.” So, what did I do when I first came to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord? Here are a few of the things that occupied a lot of my time. I read the Bible with expectant spiritual and intellectual hunger. If it was a loaf of fresh bread I would have eaten it all. Actually, it was fresh spiritual bread to me, and so I consumed it mentally and spiritually. Whenever I met mature Christians I would invite them to have a cup of coffee with me and then I would ply them with a barrage of questions about the Bible. Why, what, howcome, please explain and run-that-by-me-again-please.
I also witnessed to my family and friends about my relationship with Jesus. I wrote long serial letters to my sisters who both lived in another city to me. One responded positively and soon came to know Jesus for herself. I sent the other sister a Bible and a long letter but she returned the Bible and told me to … well, it’s not polite to repeat what she wrote.
I loved going to church services, and fellowship group meetings. I wanted to get involved so I taught the youth and played in the worship group. I spent time talking to Jesus and He often responded with miraculous acts of kindness that astounded me.
These are the things I did at first.

Jesus’ words to the church of Ephesus highlight the link between doctrine and practice. Doctrine = Repent; Practice = Do the things you did at first. Revival is not just a time when we sense the glorious presence of God in a powerfully life-giving way; it is also when we hear His call to change and respond with obedient spirit-filled actions.

Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler



1 thought on “Jesus’ words to His church”

  1. Candice de Carvalho

    Besides the things already mentioned, one thing I used to do when I first became a Christian is sing worship songs all the time! Singing in worship was one of those great ‘fire-starters’ for me.

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.