“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:
2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.
This past Sunday we began celebrating the 50th anniversary of Cross Points Church. In June of 1966 Cross Points Church was founded. 35 people gathered together for prayer and ask God to move on their behalf. After five decades of ministry God has been gracious to us and has poured out his Spirit in our midst. If we are not careful we can be filled with pride at our accomplishments and forget that it was only because of God’s gracious hand that our doors of ministry are still open.
With this in mind, I thought it would be good to study the seven churches listed in Revelation and consider what Jesus might be speaking to us as a church through these passages of Scripture.
The opening verses of chapter two we are immediately introduced to some cryptic language. The author of the letter is the one who holds the seven stars in his hand and walks around the seven lamp stands. The seven stars most likely represent the seven leaders of the churches and the seven lamp stands represent the seven churches. Jesus is clear, He is the one who holds the leadership in the palm of his hand. He controls who is leading His church and He is intimately involved in the church itself. In fact He walks among the churches. The idea is that Jesus has an eye on the churches. He is watching all that we do and has something to say about our actions.
The church at Ephesus was doing all the right things. They were working hard, had developed endurance and did not tolerate evil people in their midst. They were a church who, in spite of difficult circumstances, did all the “right” things. Jesus says they even had correct doctrine. They were able to spot the false and the fake of those who claimed to be spiritual authorities. This church was doing it right and teaching it right. They were even suffering for Jesus, BUT they were missing a key ingredient. Love.
For all that they were doing “right” they missed the most important thing–love. Jesus is so emphatic, He says, return to your love for me. If you don’t I’ll remove you. I will take your church away. Imagine! They were doing everything correct–doctrine, working hard, enduring persecution, even spotting religious phonies. But they had developed hard hearts. They were doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons. They were going through the motions. They had lost their love for Jesus. Instead of loving Him first, they were doing things first.
Jesus always wants to be first and foremost in your life! He wants all your affection–it’s that important to Him.
Are you going through the motions of Christianity or do you have a love relationship with Him?
Today, I encourage you to pour out your love and gratitude upon the sinless Savior who paid the ultimate price for you to have relationship with God the Father. Rekindle your first love!