On the Isle of Patmos, Jesus appeared to the old Apostle John in a vision. It was during that time, Jesus told the old man to write. In the written manuscript we find seven letters to seven churches. One of those was to Ephesus:
“I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. You also possess endurance and have tolerated ⌊many things⌋ because of My name and have not grown weary. But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love ⌊you had⌋ at first.” Revelation 2:2-4 (HCSB)
While these words apply to the church of the Ephesians at that time, they speak volumes to us today. Those who call ourselves by the name of Christ; believers in the 21st Century. Primarily we find these words to the church today.
We see that Christ Jesus knows us and He observes our works. Though in heaven, “at the right hand of the Father,” through the Holy Spirit He walks in our midst on earth, observing what is wrong with us and what is right with us. He knows our wants, our lacking, our excesses. He keeps accounts of our work in every hour, making our labors not vain in the Lord.
Though He calls on us to “walk humbly with our God,” being patient and serving Him with a quiet, calm, meek spirit; He also desires us to show a zeal against sin. Holiness is a trademark of the believer (we all fail in showing such a life). Ephesus was not different.
Therefore, the charge against them was they “had left their first love.” Matthew Henry writes:
“The sin Christ charged this church with, is, not the having left and forsaken the object of love, but having lost the fervent degree of it that at first appeared. Christ is displeased with his people, when he sees them grow remiss and cold toward him. Surely this mention in Scripture, of Christians forsaking their first love, reproves those who speak of it with carelessness, and thus try to excuse indifference and sloth in themselves and others; our Saviour considers this indifference as sinful.”
If we have wronged Christ then we must repent. Repentance means we are grieved, ashamed and humbly confess our sin in the sight of a Holy, Just, Loving, Caring, Forgiven God. We must recover our zeal, our tenderness, our seriousness of serving God and loving others. We must make a priority of our lives the things of God: prayer, study of the Word of God, fellowship of the Saints, worship, sharing the hope of Christ for eternal life. These things will bring revival to the soul and revival to the church today.
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4)
If you want to experience revival in your life, then hang out with a brand-new believer. On the other hand, if you hang around with jaded Christians, with those who have even become cynical, then you need some new friends.
People who come to me worried about a new believer not changing quickly enough bothers me. They lament the need for them to conform to the standards tradition has established. Yet, I am more concerned with older believers who have stopped changing altogether. They are settled in their ways. Maybe they have traded in old vices like immorality, drinking, drugs, or profanity and replaced them with new ones like pride, backbiting, gossip, or bitterness.
We should be sharing our faith with others, leading the lost to salvation. It is most important to still discovering what God has done for us. We need to have a newness of faith we are excited to show. As believers age in the we start taking things for granted. We become stale, comfortable, satisfied and need renewal in the soul.
We need to be brought back to that place where we once were, where we realize how important it is to share with others what Jesus has done for us. If we have no desire to share our faith, then we need personal revival. Revived people are evangelistic people because their evangelism is a result of a Christ-filled life.
Until next time…