1. Ephesus, the loveless church: Revelation 2: 1-11:
Ephesus which lies on the south western part of Turkey is now an archaeological village with no Christian there. This was a city that was well populated and ranked with Rome and other great cities of the time, it was a city that had everything going for it. In the same way the church in Ephesus was one of the most dynamic in terms of its relationship with God.
The church of Ephesus was a church known for “her works, her labour, and her patience, for her hate of evil, for her discernment, her perseverance and her hard work for Christ’s sake”.
Does it sound familiar?
Some of us we do all these things for the Lord. We are patient, we detest evil and don’t associate with it in any form, and we are not weary of doing good for the sake of our faith in Christ and the Lord likes it because He acknowledged the “works” of the church of Ephesus.
God expects us to perform some duties in the kingdom also known as works, as stated in James 2: 14 “ What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?”
So when Jesus said l know your works, He was saying l have taken note. However, the Lord had something against the church of Ephesus: Their first love.
The church had departed from their first love of Jesus. They had been busy doing good works to the detriment of the love that should follow them. Loving the Lord is our first commandment (Mark 12: 30 “and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment”).
These days, we are busy doing works but neglecting that which matters: our first love. Once love grows cold we run the risk of letting a third party into the relationship.
What then is our “First Love”?
The characteristics of first love and how to know is cold:
Passion: When our service to the Lord is void of passion and has become routine or something we do to fulfil “all righteousness”, then our love is growing cold. Colossians 3: 23 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”
Zeal: When the zeal of the Lord is no longer consuming us in reaching out to the lost and the wounded, we are no longer making the service of the Lord our delight. Psalm 69:9 “Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me”.
Desire to please: First love will cause us to want to please the Lord in everything we do. Ephesians 6: 6 “not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”.
An eagerness to seek His presence and wait upon the Lord: Exodus 33: 11 “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle”.
What can we do to go back to this first love?
The disciples were bound together by love because they had a purpose and the understanding of that purpose caused them to love Jesus even unto death as martyrs.
When we focus on Christ and are bound by our purpose in Him, there is nothing that can break us, neither is there anything that will cause us to grieve the Holy Spirit.
The Ephesians church no longer exists because they failed to pay heed to the warning of the Spirit and continued like Martha to be “busy doing rather than staying at His feet”. The truth is when love starts to grow cold, the person sometime is not even aware this is happening until it's too late.
Are you doing less for God now than you used to?
What are some of the things you used to do for God and now, you can only say "l used to do this"?
Pray for your first love to be restored.
Pray for God to give you a new zeal for His works.
Pray for grace to finish well.