Revelation 2:1–7 (NKJV)
1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “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; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
The book of Revelation is filled with amazing sights, and to me, it’s one of the most fascinating books of the Bible. Chapters 2 & 3 offer us a look at 7 different churches as they are either praised or rebuked by the Lord. In the next seven devotionals, we are going to be taking a closer look at these churches to see which church we are most like personally, and which church we should be trying to emulate.
Today we look at Ephesus. Right off the bat, the Lord gives heaping amounts of praise. He is saying He sees their works, the labor they put into their walk, the patience they have with other believers and non-believers alike, and that they cannot bear those who are evil. All very important aspects of the Christian walk. The Ephesian church was surrounded by sin, it was almost unavoidable. I think we also live in an age where sin is everywhere we look. Not only that, sin in our culture is almost encouraged. We turn on the television and sin is there, we pick up a newspaper and sin is there, we walk through a department store and sin is there. It can engulf us very quickly if we are not steadfast in our Lord’s doctrine. So the Lord is saying, He understands that sin abounds and the people of the Ephesian church remain faithful servants, they continue to labor, they cannot bear the sin that surrounds them.
Here comes the rebuke… they have left their first love. How sad, we have a church that works and works to prove itself worthy of God’s praise but they have left their first love. Before we criticize this church, take a moment to think about your relationship with the Lord. Like any relationship, there are going to be ups and downs, but, we have to be believers that sense that falling away quickly and seek hard after the Spirit, to seek the Lord with a repenting heart. After all, we serve an unchanging God, so the difference in our relationship probably is not with Him. Do you remember how thankful you were for forgiveness and grace when you first gave your life to Him? That is the love and respect we should maintain throughout our walk with the Lord.
Are you the type of believer that can work until you are physically exhausted, but have fallen away from the love you once had for the Lord? It is easy to do. Turn back to the Lord with that love and passion you once had, He will be waiting with open arms!
Deuteronomy 6:5 (NKJV)
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.