According to Jesus, the church at Ephesus had it all.
- They worked hard.
- They didn’t renounce the faith in the midst of harsh persecution.
- They had an effective apologetics ministry.
- They fought for the sake of the name of Jesus.
They didn’t give up. They kept going. They persevered in the right things.
The modern American church has a lot in common with Ephesus. We work hard. We plan and administrate with precision. When persecution presents itself at home and abroad, we respond in a powerful manner. We know right from wrong, and can argue our points well and amicably, even.
Quitting? We are doing anything but. Our efforts in missions and church planting throughout our world, country, state, and city are moving forward. We are doing great things!
Why does Revelation 2:4 convict so deeply then, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”
That is a gut-wrenching thought. We are doing the right things, but in the middle of doing the right things for God and others — maybe we’ve forgotten and abandoned the love we had at first for God and for others.
Perhaps our churches have forgotten the compassion shown to us by a nail-pierced Savior. We’ve forgotten those spontaneous compassionate works, motivated by the Holy Spirit, that we did for others when we first believed.
I know we sing about this every week. I know we talk about these things every week. I know we show videos and read books and even pray about these things every week. But when was the last time it brought you to tears? When was the last time it was not a vision for our church that motivated our actions, but a heart’s vision of a risen Savior that compelled us to do something? Something that we weren’t intending to post on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter?
Let’s do the things that Jesus said to do in order to match our commended great works with rekindled love for Jesus and people.
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” (Revelation 2.5)
Lord, forgive us for loving our programs, ministries, buildings, and visions for our churches more than you. Forgive us for working hard, but forgetting the love we received at first, and gave to others at first. May our love for you spark revival in our hearts, families, and churches.