Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Yes, It’s a Big Deal

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” (Revelation 2:4 NLT)

Some Christians are sticklers for correct doctrine, yet many of them are miserable, mean, arrogant, and condemning. Then there are Christians who are very active and busy for God, but their love for the Lord seems to be lacking.

The love that we have for Christ can be walked away from. Sometimes we don’t love Him as we once did. We can look back on our lives as Christians and say there was a time in our walk with the Lord when our love for Him was much stronger.

This often happens in marriage. We might see a young couple holding hands, gazing into each other’s eyes, and showing affection, and we assume that they must be newly married. Why? Because people who have been married for a while typically don’t do those things anymore.

The same can happen in our faith. The affection is gone. The passion is gone. And the communication has broken down. In effect, the honeymoon is over.

This was the situation with the church in Ephesus that Jesus addressed in the Book of Revelation. The Ephesians were active, busy, and engaged as a church, but they were lacking in love. So Jesus said, “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. . . . But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” (Revelation 2:2, 4 NLT).

It’s important for us to understand that these were the words of Jesus to a literal church in the ancient city of Ephesus. It’s possible that both the apostle Paul and the apostle John had pastored it. And when John wrote down the words of Revelation while he was on the island of Patmos, this church was in its second generation.

That means by this time, many of these people in the Ephesian church had been raised in a Christian home. They had been born to believing parents and had been taught the Word of God from their youth.

We also know they were a very active church that served the Lord with great effort. Notice Jesus said, “I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance” (verse 2 NLT). In the original Greek, the term “hard work” indicates an effort that produced work even at the cost of pain.

These people were hardworking. They were discerning. They were faithful. But they were guilty of a sin the average person could not detect: they had left their first love.

These believers in Ephesus were so busy maintaining their separation, they were neglecting their adoration. They were substituting perspiration for inspiration. But was it really that big of a deal?

Yes, it was. Because as you read the words of Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation, you will see things getting progressively worse, culminating in the outright rejection of Christ in the church of Laodicea, where He is on the outside trying to get in.

It’s a big deal to leave your first love, because it ultimately can lead to worse things.

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