What is the Witness of Our Churches? Churches With No Heart for, Nor any Memory of their ‘FIRST’ Love for God? Revelation 2:1-7

Revelation 2:1-7Amplified Bible

Message to Ephesus

“To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [a]Ephesus write:

“These are the words of the One who holds [firmly] the seven stars [which are the angels or messengers of the seven churches] in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands (the seven churches):

‘I know [b]your deeds and your toil, and your patient endurance, and that you cannot tolerate those who are evil, and have tested and critically appraised those who call themselves apostles (special messengers, personally chosen representatives, of Christ), and [in fact] are not, and have found them to be liars and impostors; 3 and [I know that] you [who believe] are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and that you have not grown weary [of being faithful to the truth]. But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent. Yet you have this [to your credit], that you hate the works and corrupt teachings of the [c]Nicolaitans [that mislead and delude the people], which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who [d]overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant [the privilege] to eat [the fruit] from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Throughout the first century A.D., Jesus’ followers fanned out across the Roman Empire to spread the good news of God’s salvation in Christ.

They formed communities to support and encourage each other in life, faith, and witness.

Yet by the end of the first century, persecution came to many Christians in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), and they needed support.

The Apostle John, the one whom Jesus loved to the utmost, one of the exiled leaders, took the people into his heart, wrote the book of Revelation to them.

It’s filled with words meant to encourage the hearts of men and visions of eternal hope from Jesus to the churches, whom he calls golden lampstands.

What a comfort to know Christ the King walks among the churches he loves.

In the first of seven messages to different churches, Jesus tells the church in Ephesus that he knows their deeds, hard work, and perseverance.

He also directly challenges them, giving compliments before critique.

That’s a pattern we can definitely follow in our families, schools, workplaces, and churches: which is to edify, build each other up before naming challenges.

Church communities are filled with blessing because Jesus walks among us!

Christians which gather together, Koinonia, Fellowship, Care for each other, hear biblical preaching and teaching, Love God, praise God, and pray together.

We host programs, help community causes, and contribute to Local missions causes which demonstrate how much we love God, our neighbors and selves, we serve and respond to natural disasters international relief and World missions.

IDEALLY …. WE LOVE GOD AS MUCH AS WE LOVE NEIGHBORS AND SELVES!

WE ALL CALL THESE CHURCHES ONE’S WE LOOK TO BE CONNECTED WITH!

FIRST, WE SAY THESE CHURCHES ARE INTENSELY IN LOVE WITH GOD!

SECOND, WE SAY THESE CHURCHES ARE INTENSELY IN LOVE WITH PEOPLE!

But ….

And envision this very real possibility ….

Exceedingly and Abundantly and Carefully and Critically and Realistically,

Diligently, Prudently, with 20/20 Hindsight and with Prophetic Foresight,

A church which seems to model exactly the opposite of that Ideal Church?

What About A Church Which Exhibits No Heart, No Love for God?

Love is definitely a many splendored thing or at least the essence of the words and lyrics were popularized into culture by the movie of the same name in 1955.

Crooner Andy Williams and the Four Aces continued to make the song popular.

While love can, and indeed, should absolutely be viewed as a “many splendored thing,” ultimately it’s defined, splendored by what a person does with that love.

Saying one loves another is an important step to building a relationship but love is found and demonstrated in and through our daily actions, not just by words.

Many Splendored Love is an infinitely deeper emotion than just liking a person.

To like another is to share in common pursuits on a casual basis but love is a bond which cements a multitude of hearts into one with steadfast, immovable devotion, deep abiding care, absolute fidelity, commitment, and allegiance.

It is important in marriage to be friends but marriage is deeper when love is at the root of all feelings – which is especially true with our relationship with God.

We so casually say and preach it is easy to like God and to view Him as a friend.

This does not require any commitment or allegiance.

Having a friendship with God likes various aspects of His character but never covenant obligates the individual to a linked mutual commitment of devotion.

Many people are friends of God but never grow to love Him.

Sometimes, relationships blossom with passionate love but wane in time and space to become a “manufactured” vision of 2 people living in the same house.

Love fades into Friendship which gradually, subtly, “takes over” and while the relationship is, remains “civil”, there is little prophetic vision or no true love.

Proverbs 29:18 Amplified Bible

18 
Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained;
But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].

The growing trouble with many in the church is they are more comfortable being friends of God rather than having a “deeply devoted” love for Him.

What little is known about the church in Ephesus comes from the writings of Luke, Paul, and John.

Dr. Luke describes the history of the church in the Acts of the apostles, Paul writes a wonderful letter to the saints at Ephesus and Apostle John’s revelation reveals the church in Ephesus had gone through many changes over the years.

The beginning of the Ephesian church was filled with great promise and hope.

Paul spent three years working with the people of God in this great city and there were many saved through the preaching of the gospel.

The letter of Ephesians is a treatise on the majesty of the church and character, testimony and witness of the Church there and witness of its kingdom citizens.

In the final book of the Bible, Jesus commends the saints in Ephesus for their work, their diligent labor, and patience in defending the cause of Savior Christ.

They had preserved through difficult times and were to be commended.

However, the church had lost something over the years that threatened its existence – The church at Ephesus had fallen out of love with the Lord God.

There is no doubt the church was doing all the right things in the right way.

It was evident they were a working group, laboring mightily in the work of the kingdom and withstanding all those who would oppose the teachings of Christ.

While these were indeed very commendable traits, what they lacked was the love they once had – The Lord challenged them because of their lack of love. 

Sometimes in marriage, love will decline and grow tired.

Two people live together in the same place but have little or no interest in the needs, the hopes, the dreams, the wants, the deep requirements of the other.

This can likewise happen to the Children of God.

They can like God and obey His commandments but have no real love for Him.

Their hearts are filled with the socio-cultural, socio-economic, socio-political world and they have a deeper, greater interest in worldly matters than spiritual.

Love, as a “many splendored thing” must absolutely, be cultivated daily.

Steadfast, Immovable Devotion for the Lord does not come by simple osmosis but a very constant, hardcore, effort to learn more, grow more and love more.

It must be continually built upon through a heart of seeking the love of God.

Revelation 2:4-7 The Message

4-5 “But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall!

“Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.

“You do have this to your credit: You hate the Nicolaitan business. I hate it, too.

“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’m about to call each conqueror to dinner. I’m spreading a banquet of Tree-of-Life fruit, a supper plucked from God’s orchard.”

It is easy to fall out of love with the Lord when the spiritual becomes routine.

A church leaving their first love is forgetting the grace of God and His mercy.

Regaining the first full measure of God’s first love comes from committing our spirit once again to knowing, understanding, longing to be drawn closer to God.

Jesus knows each church community and each person in it.

He knows every single one of our strengths.

He knows every single one of our faults, failures, failings and weaknesses.

The community of believers at Ephesus received praise from Jesus for their persevering in the truth.

Yet there was a definite character flaw needing their immediate attention.

They had lost their first love.

This is a powerful revelation.

Church communities can be faithful defenders of God’s truth, but their first love for God can become clouded with cultural minutiae can also grow cold.

“God Splendored” Love is what happens when the amazing grace, mercy, and love of God wash over us, cleansing us, flooding our souls, and making us new.

It seems incredible, almost impossible to wrap our hearts and souls around, but God absolutely loves us without limit, though we do not deserve any of his love.

Every church community and every member of it needs to labor in the utmost, linger to the outermost tolerance and live in the wonder of God’s gracious love.

We need to always strive to envision new ways to remember and celebrate this “God splendored” love in our studies, the songs we sing, the prayers we raise, the stories we share, the sacraments we celebrate, the care we give to others.

Jesus uses a word in this letter that brings us back to the way he started his public ministry: “repent.”

This is a call to turn around, change direction, and get back on course.

For church communities to be Spirit-filled, “golden lampstands,” the passion of God’s very first love for each of us needs to be pulsing throughout our veins.

The more “many splendored” deposits of God’s first love for us, made into the divine love bank, the greater the eternal dividends received from our Lord God.

It takes much labor and even greater sacrifices to make a marriage “work,” to never let our “first love” diminish, never allow “splendored” love to grow stale.

It is unacceptable to leave behind the first love experienced in the family of God.

Let us pray to the Holy Spirit, to revive our first vision of our first love for God!

Let our first love for God grow more and more, draw closer unto God every day.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God who is Love, Lord of All, life is a journey full of stumbling blocks and challenges. With each hurdle, there is growth. With each setback, a valuable lesson. Lord, I ask that You give us the wisdom and presence of mind to learn from our mistakes and pitfalls. by thy Holy Spirit, Remind me and Your Church of our very first love for You, Help us to approach these things with maturity, so that we can live closer to You.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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