What is your 1st love? Or who is your 1st love? Revelation 2:1-7 comprises a letter to the church at Ephesus and this is the most important question we can ask ourselves after reading the letter. Jesus largely praises the church at Ephesus in this letter, but he has one major indictment. “They have abandoned their first love.” I have watched a lot of dating relationships and even marriages end. I have been in a few dating relationships that ended. So often what you see is two people who fall hard for one another and slowly but surely forget what drew them together, they lose that passionate love. We do that far too often with Jesus.
I’ve spent time the last couple of weekends studying Revelation 2-3. These two chapters are unique in that they represent a series of seven letters given to the Apostle John by Jesus in a vision. Each letter is addressed to a different church. The letter to the church at Ephesus is the first of the seven letters. The book of Revelation is prophecy and honestly, not a book I spend a lot of time with. It can be hard to understand and I think it is too easy to get wrapped up in irrelevant discussions about what will happen when. However, there is some amazing stuff in that applies to you and me right now.
The church at Ephesus gets most things right according to Jesus. In the letter, he specifically mentions their hard work, their patient endurance, and their commitment to sound doctrine. This was a church that worked hard doing the things that the church did back then to serve God. This was a church that endured suffering and persecution patiently. This was a church that actually measured its teachers and members against Biblical doctrine…crazy I know. They wanted to do right and believe rightly. All good things. We should want to do right and believe rightly.
Jesus’ condemnation though is that they have lost their first love. They have lost the passionate love that they had for Jesus. Church had become about doing things and knowing things rather than loving Jesus. Ouch. Honestly, this is such a great reminder for believers today. Church, faith, is not about doing the right things and believing rightly, it is about loving Jesus. If our first love is Jesus the rest will come.
Jesus gives the church a specific warning in this letter. He warns that if they do not return to their first love, he will remove their lampstand, which in this passage is representative of their existence and his blessing on them. Jesus is warning that if they do not return to their love for him, he will let them die and vanish. How many churches today are dying or have died and vanished, leaving nothing but a building?
Do you love Jesus like a new wife or husband? Are you excited everytime you see him work and every time you get to spend time in his presence? Do you look for him and seek him like newlyweds that had to spend time apart for the first time? Check your heart and challenge the other believers in your church to do the same.