“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.” ~ Revelation 2:2-5
Can you imagine having Jesus look at you in the face and say that you have forgotten your first love – first love being Him?! This message did not come from a face to face discussion with Jesus, it came from John who received a prophetic message through the Holy Spirit – from Jesus to the church of Ephesus. But still. Can you imagine that?
My church has started a new series on the seven churches of Revelation and last weekend we started with the church of Ephesus.
The church of Ephesus did lots of things right. They were diligent in toiling over good deeds. They persevered through trials and didn’t grow weary. They protected good doctrine and tested evil men. There discernment was on point as they detected false prophets. This church would have looked pretty astounding to the world around them. The church of Ephesus might have even thought of itself rather highly. By all outward appearances, they were faithful.
But one thing was missing. They forgot their first love.
Jesus can see what no one else can see; the heart……and it was loveless. Although this church looked good, it was about to have its lampstand removed. But in all mercy, Jesus gives this church an opportunity of redemption.
He says remember and repent.
Remember where you came from….remember where you were headed…remember how Jesus redeemed you…remember your joy….remember how much you loved Him. Remember.
And repent of this loveless work that has been done in vain. Repent.
“He who has an ear; let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7
Then Jesus gives them the kind of hope that only He can give; the promise that the churches that can overcome their terrible failures will be reconciled to Christ in fullness. His imagery is beautiful. We will partake in the fullness of God’s bounty at the very tree we first denied Him.
Grace so amazing…how could we stop loving this God?
May our words and deeds come from an overflowing heart of love and admiration for the One who loved us first. And then may we in all perseverance overcome our sin and be reconciled to our gracious God at the table of the Lord.
Picture Credit: Art by Cedar Lee, taken from artbycedar.com