by Tammy Phillips
September 14, 2021
TO: THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS
CC: (Future Churches and Future Followers)
FROM: JESUS, “He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” (The seven stars equate to the seven angels or messengers of the assemblies. The lampstands equate to the seven churches that receive their light from Holy Spirit.)
I LIKE THIS: “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. You hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans. ” (Revelation 2:2-3, 6 NKJV)
I DON’T LIKE: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that YOU HAVE LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE.”(Revelation 2:4 NKJV). They were so busy working, it seems they forgot Who they were working for. The Greek word for love is agape. Agape love happens when we see and really appreciate the value of a person. This is big love. It is the highest love. It causes us to love with awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation. W cannot get so caught up in working for the Lord that we are not absolutely amazed by Him, every day.
DO THIS: REPENT. Remember where we have fallen. Remember, the first love when we saw what Jesus did for us and how much he loved us. Remember, the radical, transforming, life changing, sold out, fervent love we had for Christ. If we have fallen, we must turn back to Him and do what we did in the beginning. We must remember and be compelled to love Him. Look at what the Church of Ephesus did in the beginning. They were sold out and in love. From Rick Renner’s, Sparkling Gems II, page 802, look at their “first works” and what God was calling them back to:
- They possessed a great spiritual hunger (see Acts 18:20).
- They enjoyed rich fellowship among the brethren (see Acts 18:27).
- They had an eagerness to repent and to receive what God had for them (see Acts 19:1-6).
- They cherished the Word of God (see Acts 19:8).
- They sacrificed their religious reputation for Jesus (see Acts 19:9).
- They were committed to applying God’s Word to their lives (see Acts 19:10).
- They were receptive to the power of God and to the gifts of the Spirit (see Acts 19:11,12).
- They loved Jesus and the wonder-working power associated with His name (see Acts 19:17).
- They were quick to confess their sin and turn from their evil works (see Acts 19:18).
- They severed all connections with a pagan past at great personal cost (see Acts 19:19).
- They were publicly persecuted for the sake of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:32).
- They were faith-filled (see Ephesians 1:15).
- They were known for their love of the brethren (see Ephesians 1:15).
OR ELSE: “I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.”(Revelation 2:5 NKJV). Jesus is the light and provides the light to do the work. Like the church of Ephesus, He will turn out the light in our church, or us, if we turn our back on Him and turn only toward the work. The answer is to repent and turn back to Him. Remember our first love. He is first. He is chief. He loved us first. We are to seek Him and love Him first, and above all.
REWARD: “To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7 NKJV)
I enCOURAGE you, like Jesus exhorted the Church at Ephesus, return to your first love. Repent and do what you did when you first found Jesus. May the blazing fire of His love be reignited in you if it is only flickering. Overcome the distraction of this life and turn your attraction to Him.