ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Are You Guilty of Having Left Your First Love?

Updated on July 17, 2013
Found on flickrcc.net
Found on flickrcc.net | Source

What We Must Glean from Our Lord's Letter to the Church at Ephesus

The only time in the entire Bible that Jesus directly addressed the Church is found in the Book of Revelation.

There, Jesus composed seven letters to seven individual congregations throughout Turkey, including Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (Chapters 2-3).

Each of the letters were written to address issues specific to the congregation and their individual members. But at the same time, Jesus continues to speak to all congregations and to all Christians even today.

We would be remiss to think otherwise. What Jesus ascribed concerning the works and condition of those first century congregations, He continues to speak to you and me in the twenty-first century. His words are as relevant today as they were in John's time.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon each of us to explore each letter, and therein embrace each praise and rebuke, encouragement and hope, despair and delight. Bearing in mind, that our Lord continues to move about the Church, watchful to guard against internal and external evils and mindful to rightly preserve its spiritual well-being as steadfastly today as yesterday.

In this article we will consider our Lord's letter to Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-11). Foremost, because it identifies an issue that is very prevalent amongst our congregations and fellow Christians: A false sense that we have a sincere relationship with Jesus because of good works.

With that in mind, let's jump in and see whether the words of Jesus strikes a chord and perhaps He intends to admonish us as He did the Ephesians.

The Setting

The Ephesians were not a lazy congregation devoid of church service. On the contrary, the works of the Ephesians were admirable.

"I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil", Jesus said. "And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary" (vs. 2-4).

So it's not the works of the Ephesians in question.

According to Jesus, they labored hard to serve the church, persevered in their duties with patience, weeded out the unrepentant, and guarded themselves against false teachers and doctrines.

Moreover, these things the Ephesians did gladly for His name’s sake persistently with devoutness and fervency.

The Issue

"Nevertheless," Jesus said, "I have this against you, that you have left your first love" (v.4).

The love in question is the "early love" of the congregation. That first enthusiastically warm and affectionate love following a new life in Christ. Where self is denied, all that displeases God is gladly abandoned, and fellowship one with another is joyfully embraced.

In other words, despite commendable devotion to the Word of God, Jesus is lamenting because the members had strayed from sincerity. Or as one commentator puts it, "The members were going through the motions without emotion".

This certainly exists today.

Many Christians (perhaps even you and I) attend church services out of obligation or a force of habit rather than a passionate desire to worship God as we did in the beginning. Many of the earlier hearts that were tender in fellowship for one another have now become argumentative and divisive.

The Warning

"’Remember therefore from where you have fallen", Jesus says. "Repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (v.5).

Christians are called upon to be "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14). That is, to uphold Jesus Christ (Who is light; John 8:12) and illuminate Him to the world as a witness of His unyielding love and grace. When we are guilty of a wrong attitude that quenches the work of the Holy Spirit, our usefulness to Christ ceases, and we will lose any future opportunity to be of fruitful service to Him. A concern, by the way, that plagued the Apostle Paul during his ministry (1 Cor. 9:27).

The Remedy

Look again to verse five (quoted above) with an eye upon two specific words that instruct us how to remedy our condition: "Remember" and "repent".

Jesus is making a very gracious appeal here. He is trying to arouse in us the fond memory of our early love relationship with Him so that we would, by our own volition, correct our condition and not require His chastening.

Oh, that each of us would take a moment and remember the joy of that early love for Jesus we felt when we received Him as our Savior. And if that joy and exhilaration is no longer there, may we harken to His voice and repent.

About the Author

James Kobzeff is an evangelical born-again Christian who has long had a passion for the Church to know the Revelation. His commentary is the result of having studied and taught the Book many times over the past thirty years and is considered a continual work-in-process.

You can read more at his blog Learn the Revelation

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)