2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Revelation 2:2-6
The Lord begins His message to the church in Ephesus high lighting to them the things they have done that are positive. In each of the letters to the seven churches when the Lord came to bring a rebuke He began by stating what they were doing right. In everything that Jesus does He does all things in love. This includes rebuking us and disciplining us when we have gotten off track in our walk with Him.
The Lord spoke positively about their works, their labor, their patience, and that they could not bear those who are evil. They tested those who claimed to be apostles nad were not. They had persevered and had patience and have labored for the Lord’s name. But the issue was they had left their first love.
Their first love was simply the Lord himself. It is very easy to get caught up in busy doing things and not have our hearts fully committed to the Lord. One way we know if our heart is right with the Lord is our love for one another. Ephesus had become a church of activity without any heart behind it. They went through all the religious exercises, but their heart were not fully the Lord’s.
The way we guard our heart on a daily basis is by simply abiding in Him. It is very easy when we are involved in ministry to get so busy doing the ministry that our personal relationship with the Lord suffers. We are limited in what we can do in our own strength and power. It is in the Lord alone that abundant life is found and when we abide in Him and draw near His love and His grace fills our lives.
As we abide in Him on a daily basis we will be filled afresh and anew with the Holy Spirit. We are not called to live off yesterdays Manna. We are called to go before the Lord daily for fresh Manna. The messages to the seven churches is not only for their benefit, but to the benefit to the greater body of Christ. May we study God’s word and learn from those who have gone before us. Learning from their victories and their defeats.