- Religion and Philosophy
EPHESUS Church : The Church That Has Forsaken Its First Love
EPHESUS CHURCH : The Church That Has Forsaken Its First Love
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write :
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands : I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you : you have forsaken your First Love. Remenber the height from which you have fallen ! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor : You hate the practices of Nicolaitans which I also hate.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:1 - 7
Ephesus was once one of the centers of civilization in the New Testament Era. It is located in the Northeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea directly South of Smyrna. It was once one of the cities which comprise the Asia minor. There were many wonderful things that happened to Ephesus. It was known to be the center of many things. It was once a center of commerce in the Roman Empire. It was also once a center of religion. The temple of goddess Diana was found there. Because of this, it had become the center of immorality for temple prostitutes were part of the worship of Diana. It was also a place were criminal;s found asylum.
The coming of Christianity to Ephesus was recorded in the Book of Acts Chapter 19. When Christianity arrived in Ephesus, people have witnessed one of the strongest testimonies to the power of the Gospel. Paul had spent two years there. Many great miracles and great conversions happened there during Pauls’s sojourn. Many sorcerers had forsaken witchcrafts and burned their witchcraft materials. Famous Christian leaders like Paul, Priscilla, Aquila, Timothy and John were associated with the church at Epheus. This letter of the Lord in Revelation came about after forty years since the the church was founded in Ephesus.
The Lord’s Commendation About the Church of Ephesus
The church in Ephesus is a strong church. They are strong in service, very hardworking in doing the works of the ministry. The church is also persevering in the ministry. The Ephesian church is also strong in separation . They want to remain separated unto God and they cannot tolerate wickedness. They hate the practice of “Nicolaitans.” “Nicolaitans” refer to promoting erroneous practices and doctrines.
The church at Ephesus is also strong in Scripture knowledge. They could discern false doctrines, false teachers and false apostles. They are a biblically sound church. The church at Ephesus is also a steadfast church . They have endured hardships for Christ. They have not grown weary. Seemingly the Ephesian church is a church wherein many committed Christians want to be a part of. But underneath something was very wrong, the church at Ephesus was experiencing a “heart trouble.”
The Lord’s Confrontation
The church at Ephesus has forsaken its First Love, The church has lost its passion for the Lord. Although they are a hardworking and persevering church, separated and doctrinally sound church, the church that is steadfast and have not grown weary, they have lost their passion for Christ. Their love for the Lord has grown cold. They are doing the works of the ministry merely out of their obligation rather than a manifestation of burning zeal for the Lord. Christ is no longer the primary inspiration of everything they do. Christ is no longer the One shining the brightest in their hearts. Many things now have preoccupied their hearts. Christ is no longer standing unrivalled in their hearts. Many things have now preoccupied their minds and have taken away their focus from Christ.
What is First Love ?
First Love is the thing that matters most in one’s life. The decline of our love for the Lord happens not accidentally but intentionally. It is through the deliberate choices we are making in our Everyday life. Each day of our life, we are making choices to love Him or to forsake Him. This happen though we continue to serve and suffer for the Lord.
Perhaps, sometimes we may be like Martha. We can be so full of cares about many things yet so careless about our relationship with the Lord.
Sometimes we care so much about how we look, that we invest so much money just to maintain our youthful looks and neglect the works of the Lord. Sometimes we care so much about our career that we invest so much time and effort to improve our position that we no longer have any time to meditate on the Word of God or talk to Him in prayer. Sometimes we care so much to please our loved ones that we spend all our resources for them and neglect the resources we should give to the Lord.
What are the signs of declining love for the Lord ?
When our life has found another center other than Jesus. When our world started revolving around somebody else or something else instead of our world revolving around the Lord. We should guard our heart and mind just as much as we guard our home.
When we are no longer in the process or just even sincerely desiring to become more like the Lord.
When we are no longer fighting off or even just watching out for those things that threaten our relationship with the Lord.
What are the things that could threaten our relationship with the Lord ?
We should watch out for the movies and TV programs we are patronizing. They can influence our personality and our attitudes toward the Lord. We should watch out for the people who keep our company. We should watch out for the places we hang out to. We should watch out for the things that are preoccupying our hearts and thoughts..
The Lord’s Counsel
What could be done when we have forsaken our First Love ?
Step One : Face the situation honestly. Admit it.
Step two : Turn to the Lord for forgiveness. Admit that it is sin. Something
you need to confess and forsake.
Step three : Do the things you did at first. Make a new beginning.
The Lord’s alternative for not Repenting
What does removing the lampstand mean ?
It does not mean loss of salvation, it means the loss of privilege of being the Lord’s instrument for giving light.
The Lord’s Challenge
It is like the Lord is telling us :”Fight for your love.”
Daily, each day of our life, we should fight to maintain our love for the Lord ever aflame. It is a daily battle. We should fight for the time and resources we should give to the Lord.We should fight for our prayer time and devotional time. We should make a firm stand to rid our lives from anything that will take away our focus from the Lord.
Why would Jesus care so much about our love for Him ? The statement of the Lord is just a strong evidence of how the Lord value us. Our love mean so much to Him. We do not care so much about the love of those people who are not impostant to us but we do crave intensely for the love of those people we value highly. The same with the Lord, our love is very important to Him for He values us greatly.
This hub is an excerpt from the Vesper Worship Service message preached by Brother Benjie Baclagon on January 23, 2010 at Grace Bible Church located in Manila, Philippines.