CHAPTER VII – Revelation 启示录 2:1-7 – 教会须有真爱行动 ACTIONS OF TRUE LOVE BY THE CHURCH

 

启示录的信息 The Message of the Book of Revelation by Rev. Carpus Yip 葉華牧師/Bilingual Edition  ( 简体中文 Simplified Chinese  and English).

CHAPTER VII

教会须有真爱行动 (启示录2:1-7 )
ACTIONS OF TRUE LOVE BY THE CHURCH — (REV 2:1-7)

主耶稣吩咐约翰写信给小亚细亚七个教会。从基督对这七个教会的 评论,可以看见甚麽是主所喜悦的教会?教会该有的特质是甚麽?主对 这七个教会所说的话,都很简单,因为预言通常都是扼要的。
The Lord Jesus instructed John to write to the seven churches in Asia Minor. From the comments that Christ gives of these seven churches, we can see what kind of churches are pleasing to the Lord. What are the special characteristics that a church should have? The words that the Lord speaks to these churches are very simple, because prophecies are usually short and to the point.

对这七个教会的预言,都有固定的形式,就是:主的自称,称讚的 话,责备的话,鼓励的话,警告的话,应许的话等。前面主的自称与後 面应许的话,都与该教会的缺点或需要有关。当基督自称说祂是「死过 又活的」,後面又应许说「没有第二次死的害」,那是因为示每拿教会, 是一个受苦很深,有很多殉道者的教会。
The prophecies for these seven churches have a set format which is: The Lord’s self description, words of commendation, words of rebuke, words of encouragement, words of warning, and promises. The self-description of the Lord in the beginning and the promise at the end is related to the shortcomings or the needs of the church. When Christ’s self-description is “died and came to life again”, the promise at the end is “will not be hurt at all by the second death, because the Church in Smyrna was a church that suffered profoundly and had great number of martyrs.

最初的教会
THE EARLY CHURCH

1你要写信给以弗所教会的使者。
1 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write.

以弗所代表第一、二世纪、即使徒时代的教会,当时因为仍然有使 徒的存在,所以这信里也提到使徒。下面六个教会都不再提使徒,这绝 对不是巧合,乃是精确的预言。
Ephesus represents the 1st and 2nd century church during the era of the apostles. At that time there were still apostles, that is why apostles are mentioned in the letter. Apostles are not mentioned again in the letters to the other six churches. This is definitely not a coincidence but an accurate prophecy.

以弗所是最初的教会,所以主责备他们失去「最初的爱 first love」,一语双关,最初的教会,失去初爱。第一期教会非常重要,如 果第一个教会开始走偏路,以後的偏差会更大。
Ephesus was the first church that was established that is why the Lord rebukes them for forsaking “their first love”, a double edged remark: the first church lost their first love. The first church was very important, because if the first church started deviating from the truth, then the ones that follow would depart further away from the right path.

虽然七个教会代表七个教会时代,不过任何时期,都有某些教会有 相同的问题、软弱与长处。所以每一封信,都值得我们学习,好知道神 对众教会的期望是甚麽。四福音很多重要教训,是主亲自教导的。但当 时新约教会还未产生,还不知道主对教会的期望是甚麽。到这时候,主 对众教会说话,对教会的期望非常清楚。主说:「对众教会所说的话, 凡有耳的,就应当听。」不单以弗所,众教会也要作同样决志。耶稣在 世上时常说这话,要求人作决定。我们要追求、要立志成为主所称讚的 教会,避免效法主所责备的教会,这样我们必定成为主所喜悦的儿女。
Although the seven churches represent seven church eras, the problems that many churches encounter during different times are similar, they all have weaknesses and strengths. Each letter contains things that are worth learning for all the churches. In the four Gospels the Lord himself taught many important lessons. At that time the New Testament church was not established yet, so they did not know what the expectations of the Lord were. Now, the Lord is speaking to the seven churches and He is letting them know very clearly what His expectations are. The Lord said: “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” All the churches should make the decision, not only the church in Ephesus. When Jesus was in the world, He also asked people to make a decision. We should seek to become a church that is pleasing to the Lord, and avoid being a church which the Lord rebukes. In this way, we will become children of God that will bring joy to the Lord.

基督的自称
THE LORD’S SELF-DESCRIPTION

1那右手拿著七星,在七个金灯臺中间行走的。
1 These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.

祂右手拿著七星,七星代表教会领袖,都是祂所拣选、祂所安排 的,都安稳在祂有能力的右手之中。他们教导、带领教会迈向国度的建 立。祂在七灯盏中行走,表示祂一直关怀众教会的需要。祂关心教会, 也要我们彼此关心。这种彼此关心的行动,称为爱。教会如果失去爱, 早晚会失去原来的纯正信仰,也会失去智慧、失去亮光。
He holds the seven stars in His right hand. The seven stars represent the leaders of the church, which He has set up and chosen; these leaders are secure under His strong arm, His right hand. They teach and lead the church to stride towards the establishment of the Kingdom. He walks among the seven lampstands, showing that He cares for the needs of all the churches. He cares for the church and He wants us to care for each other. This action of caring for each other is called love. If the church loses its love, sooner or later it will lose its original belief, its wisdom and its light

对教会的称讚
THE LORD’S COMMENDATIONS

2我知道你的行为:劳碌、忍耐;也知道你不能容忍恶人, 你也曾试验那自称使徒,却不是使徒的,看出他们是假的来。 3你也能忍耐,曾为我的名劳苦,并不乏倦。
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

这段称讚的话有几个相近的辞。erga劳工、忍耐作工;kopos辛 劳、忍受烦恼;upomonein忍受痛苦与苦难;bastazw容忍,忍辱负 重。这种种忍耐力,都受到主的称讚。即今人所推崇的 EQ情商,为著 将来,忍受现在。该忍能忍,不该忍不忍。神喜悦这种有原则的忍耐。 他们为主、为主的名,受逼迫忍耐。但对於恶人,对歪曲真理的事毫不 容忍,他们为一次所交付的道,竭力争辩。
These words of commendation contain some terms that are similar. “Erga” deeds, to work patiently; “kopos” hard work, to endure troubles; “upomonein” perseverance, endure pain and suffering; “bastazw” tolerate, bear disgrace and a heavy burden. This endurance was praised by the Lord. Like having a high EQ (emotional quotient), enduring hardships at the present and hoping for a better future. Bearing all kinds of difficulties but not tolerating things that are against their principles. God is pleased with this kind of people because they are eager to endure persecution for the Lord and for His name but are not willing to tolerate any wicked people who distort the truth.

「使徒」当时有广义与狭义两种用法。狭义来说,只用在12使徒身 上,但广义上,凡受教会差派的也叫做使徒。所以当时有好些人,自称 受教会差派到他们中间来,原来是假使徒。在那时候,交通不像今天发 达,不容易检查出真假使者。他们怎麽知道是假的?藉著灵里的相交、 从接触中知道真假。因为真基督徒的特色,就是坦白光明的相交。我们 在光明中彼此相交。也可以看到他们所做的事,他们所读的书,他们讲 话的内容,从这些,就可以知道他们的灵是怎样的灵。
[Apostles] This word can be used in two ways. In the narrow sense of the word, it is used only for the 12 apostles, but in the broad sense of the word, anyone who is sent by the church could be called an apostle. At that time, there were some who claimed to be sent by the church, but they were in fact false prophets. During those days, communication was not as developed as today, so it was difficult to verify if a person was a false prophet or not. How then were they able to differentiate a fake one from a real one? One way was thru fellowship in the Spirit; because the characteristic of a real believer is truth and light. We have fellowship in the light. Another way to know if they were the real thing was through their actions, their speech and the books they read. Through these things they could know what kind of spirit they had.

对教会的责备
THE LORD’S REBUKE

4然而有一件事我要责备你,就是你把起初的爱心离弃了。
他们在信仰上严紧、很有原则,不让有偏差的道或人,改变纯正的 福音。但他们忽略教会的另一种重要原素,就是彼此相爱、彼此关顾。
They guarded their belief very carefully; they did not let anyone change the truth of the Gospel. But they neglected the other important element of the church, which is to love one another, to care for one another.

这「爱」字加了一个「心」字,成了「爱心」,使人误会,以为只要心 里爱就够,嘴巴热就够。有人爱在心里,嘴巴在骂;有人爱在嘴巴上, 常讲我爱你。约翰说:「不要只在嘴巴上,要在真诚的行动上。」
Some people love just with their mouths saying sweet words like “I love you”. Others love only in their hearts while they say harsh words with their mouths. John said: “let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

基督不是要求人对祂的爱,不是因为他们对主失了热爱,心里没有 热情,所以受责备。圣经所说的爱,第一,是在行动上的爱,第二,是 用对人的爱来證明对神的爱。教会的罪有两大类:一在信仰上走偏了; 二失去了爱的行动。失去行动的教会,很快失去亮光,失去灯臺作用。 那时,无论信仰宣言多纯正,教会必定衰落,因为失去了灯臺的作用。
Christ is not rebuking them for not having a passionate love for Him in their hearts. The love which the Bible speaks about is: 1) Love with actions; 2) Love for people to demonstrate love for God. The two great sins of the church are: 1) Deviating from the truth of the Gospel; 2) Losing their deeds of love. A church without deeds will lose its light very quickly, and it’s function as a lampstand. At that time, no matter how genuine its faith might be, the church will fall for sure because it has lost its effect as a lampstand.

5所以应当回想是从那里坠落的,并要悔改,行起初所行 的事。
5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.

耶稣临上十字架之前,多方教导、叮嘱众门徒,要他们彼此相爱, 这样别人就能知道,他们们是主的门徒。所以教会的见證,不只是懂得 传,而且要懂得爱,教会有爱的行动,就是最好的传福音方法。
Before Jesus went on the cross, He instructed His disciples in many ways urging them repeatedly to love one another, in that way others will know that they are Jesus’ disciples. Therefore, the witness of the church is not only to know how to share the Gospel but also to know how to love. The church must love with actions; that is the best way to share the Gospel.

主不喜悦的教会,是没有行动的教会。这里有两个教会受到严厉的 责备,就是老底嘉与撒狄。老底嘉教会代表今天的教会,我们在其中, 我们在这些没有行动的人中间。主知道每个教会有甚麽行动。
The church that the Lord is not pleased with is a church that does not have actions. The two churches here that were sternly rebuked by the Lord are the church in Laodicea and the church in Sardis. The church in Laodicea represents today’s church, which includes us; we are among those who do not have actions. The Lord knows the actions of each church.

我们的观念是多做多错、少做少错、不做不错。神不是这样,能做 的善事不去做,就是罪。神创造了世界、世人,希望人藉著彼此帮助照 顾,大家生活得好。但人失败了,大家互相鬥争,互相杀害。神只要求 教会彼此相爱。新约教会开始的时候,藉著彼此相爱、凡物公用、互相 照顾、甚至照顾不同语言的肢体,所以他们发展飞快,这就是他们起初 的爱。这种起初的爱,慢慢失去了热力,只重头脑的智慧,只重信仰纯 正。他们爱的行动不够。
We think that if we do a lot of things, we will make lots of mistakes, if we don’t do much, we will make fewer mistakes, and if we don’t do anything, we will not make any mistakes at all. God doesn’t think that way. If you don’t do the good that you are supposed to do, that is considered a sin. When God created the world and human beings, He hoped that by caring and helping each other, every body will have a better life. But the human race failed, all we think about is to fight against each other and to kill each other. God only requires the church to love one another. When the New church started, by loving one another, they helped each other and shared all their material possessions, they even helped members of the church that spoke different languages; that is the reason why they multiplied in numbers so quickly, that was the love they had at first. That kind of first love, gradually grew cold, they were only emphasizing intellectual knowledge and true belief. They were lacking deeds of love.

他们还有可取之处,即不乱爱、不放纵。尼哥拉党的人就是放纵慾 望、想做就做、不管对错的人。他们觉得神造我是这样,我顺其自然, 想吃就吃,想喝就喝,想做就做,不要压力,不要礼教,只要自由。
But they had something in their favor; they were not promiscuous and were not indulgent. The Nicolaitans indulged in lust, they did what they wanted and did not care if it was right or wrong. They believed God made them that way and they should let nature run its course, they would indulge in eating and drinking, no pressure, no manners, only freedom.

鼓励与警告
ENCOURAGEMENT AND WARNINGS

5若不悔改,我就临到你那里,把你的灯臺从原处挪去。
5 If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

基督要他们回想,他们是怎样失去了初爱,要回原位,要有原来的 first love,要再回到first work,要行起初所行的事。
Christ wanted them to recall how they lost their first love and to return to how they were originally, return to their first love, return to their first work.

怎样彼此相爱?去「行」,不是讲,不是想。
How to love one another? Go do it, not just talk about it or think about it. DO IT.

希腊文多个爱字分得很清楚。ergos慾爱;filia有情感交流的爱; agapei行动的爱。这也是主教导的爱:爱仇敌的爱,不是情慾、情感 的爱,是行动的爱。行动證明有爱。接待客旅、照顾病人、帮助穷人, 应该是常做的事。真正爱主的人,不像效法基督,修道士书上所写的, 应该像德兰修女那样去做,有行动纔是真爱。你去探望亲戚,看见他们 的小孩,可以嘴巴上对他说得很甜,说常掛念他,但他不吃你这一套。 他会觉得,如果你真的是掛念他的话,就会带东西来给他。
In the Greek language, the different kinds of love are defined very clearly. “Eros” intimate, passionate love; “Philia” friendship or affectionate love; “Agape” unconditional, sacrificial love, love with action. That is the love that the Lord taught about: The love for the enemy, not a sexual or emotional love but a love with actions. When there is action, it means there is love. To receive a guest in your house, to care for a sick person, to help the poor, those are things that should be done often. Someone who really loves the Lord, should not withdraw from the world and put emphasis only in his interior life as practices mentioned in the book “Imitation of Christ” written by a monk, but should have actions like Mother Theresa. True love involves actions. When you visit a relative and see their little kid, you could be very sweet to her and tell her that you missed her and that you love her but she will not buy it. The little kid will think: “If you really think of me and love me, you would have brought me a present.”

初期教会重视相爱,教会如果不是这样,灯臺会被挪走,会失去见 證的能力。果然,从第五世纪开始,以弗所教会衰落,到十一世纪完全 消失。到了十四世纪,这一个在小亚细亚最大海港的城,变了死城,再 无人居住了。这也是预言的一部分。以弗所是当时非常重要的城市,保 罗在那里传道一段时间,後来老约翰也在那里牧会,他们得到最好的教 导。但如果没有爱的行动,到底都会失去灯臺的作用。
The early church emphasized in loving one another. If a church does not do that, its lampstand will be removed; it will lose its power to witness. Sure enough, starting in the fifth century, the church in Ephesus began to decline and in the eleventh century, it completely disappeared. In the fourteenth century, this large harbor city in Asia Minor became a dead city; no one lived there any longer. This was also part of the prophecy. At that time, Ephesus was a very important city, Paul preached the Gospel there for some time, later on John pastored a church there in his old age; they received the best teachings. But without the actions of love, at the end it will eventually lose its effect as a lampstand.

主的应许
THE LORD’S PROMISES

 
7圣灵向众教会所说的话,凡有耳的就应当听。得胜的, 我必将神乐园中生命树的果子赐给他喫。
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

上面这话,是基督、我们的王、我们的主所说的,如果我们对祂的 指示还有不清楚的地方,圣灵还会教导我们,祂会一直不放弃对我们说 话,直到我们遵行祂的旨意,喜悦祂的道路。所以凡有耳的都要常听。
This verse contains words spoken by Christ, our King, our Lord. If we are unclear of His instructions, the Holy Spirit will teach us, He will not give up on us and will continue to speak to us until we follow His will and are content with His ways. Thus, whoever has ears, must listen at all times.

祂应许说:「得胜的,我必将神乐园中生命树的果子赐给他吃。」生 命树的果是甚麽意思?是否指得著生命?如果信徒已经有了主生命,为 甚麽还要再得生命?而且他们有纯正的道,难道还不够?领受主的道, 与领受生命树的果有甚麽不同?
His promise says: “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life.” What is the meaning of the fruit of the tree of life? Does it mean to receive life? If a believer already has the life of the Lord, why does he still have to get life? Furthermore, they have the true Word of God, is this still not enough? What is the difference between receiving the Word of God and receiving the fruit of the tree of life?

我们要从犹太人对生命树的看法来了解。生命树在所罗门王的写作 里面,看为是智慧的源头。箴言3:13-20论智慧的时候,特别提到生命 树。11:30:「义人所结的果子就是生命树,有智慧的必能得人。」义人 的果子与智慧有关。15:4的「医治的舌头」,指智慧的言语能帮助人。 旧伊甸园中有两棵树,代表真假智慧。以弗所教会守著主道,所以自认 有智慧。但真智慧是行动的智慧,不是理论的智慧。
In order to understand this concept, we must look at what Jewish people consider the tree of life to be. In the writings of King Solomon, the tree of life is the source of wisdom. There is special reference to the tree of life in Proverbs 3:13-20. 11:30: “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives.” The fruit of the righteous and wisdom are related. “The soothing tongue” in 15:4 refers to words of wisdom that can help people. The old Garden of Eden had two trees which represented true and false wisdom. The church in Ephesus guarded the Word of God and thus they thought they had wisdom. But real wisdom is wisdom with actions; not just wisdom in theory.