Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Last Sunday I began a new preaching series from Rev. 2-3, which records the messages the risen Christ gave to seven first-century churches in a vision to the Apostle John. We will consider these seven messages week-by-week. Last week we focused Jesus’s message to the church at Ephesus, found in Rev. 2:1-7.
We saw that the church in Ephesus was doing many things well, and in some ways was a model church for us today. Jesus affirmed them for their deeds, their hard work and perseverance in laboring for Christ and His Kingdom. Jesus also spoke of their dedication to understand and uphold the truth of the Gospel, testing and rejecting those who proclaimed a distorted or false Gospel.
Yet Jesus said He had one thing against them: they had forsaken their first love. They had allowed their enthusiasm for the work of the church to push to the background their love for the Lord of the church. Obviously, our work in the church, using our gifts to carry on the ministry of the church is vitally important. But we must be sure we don’t get so wrapped up in the work of the church that we miss out on what Jesus really desires for us – that we daily live in the fullness of His love.
The Ephesian Christians fell for a common temptation – they allowed the good to become the enemy of the best. Their work on behalf of Christ and His church was clearly good, but it wasn’t the most important thing. Jesus wants us to experience the joy of knowing the fullness of His love for us, and then loving Him in return. Then our work on His behalf is but a joyous expression of that love.
Let me encourage all of us to regularly reflect on the depth of God’s love for us in Christ, meditating on what Scripture has to say about God’s love. Then His love for us will fill our hearts day by day, and our love for Him will always be our “first love.”
A few passages to reflect on: Rom. 3:21-26; Rom. 5:6-8; II Cor. 5:16-21; Eph. 2:1-10.
Grace and peace,