The letter from Jesus to the church at Ephesus contains words of affirmation as well as rebuke (Revelation 2:1-7). The believers there were certainly encouraged to hear that their Lord and Savior was pleased with their faithful stand for doctrinal truth and steadfast endurance in their time of trial. However; they also would have felt a tinge of pain from His correction, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Take a few moment now to read Revelation 2:1-7. In what ways are you like the believers who first received this letter?
As you think about how personal of a letter this is, from Jesus to the church at Ephesus, you may be tempted to think, “It sure would be nice if Jesus could send me a letter. It sure would be helpful if He would write a letter to our church. It would really be simpler to know what He affirms and what we need to correct.”
But He has.
Just 30 years before John received the revelation of Jesus, which we know of as the book of Revelation, the Holy Spirit wrote and sent another letter to the same church in the city of Ephesus. Since both letters are part of God’s inspired Word we know and believe that they were also intended for us. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17). We have everything we need to know about what Jesus sees, and wants to see, in our lives and in the life of our churches.
Think specifically with me about Ephesians 4:1-32. Right on the heels of three chapters of God-saturated theology, the apostle begins the practical application portion of his letter with “Therefore” (4:1). This indicates that everything he will say in chapters 4-6 will be the logical application of knowing God through His gracious and glorious salvation provided for us in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and applied to us by His Spirit.
Please ask the Lord to open your own heart that you may see, and desire, the growth that He desires to bring about by His grace and His Spirit. As you think about what the Lord wants to see in your life, think about the following four commitments. When your Savior looks at you, this is what He wants to see:
- A person committed to living in a manner worthy of the calling of God in the gospel (vv. 1-6)
- A person committed to the proper exercise of their “grace gift(s)” (vv. 7-10)
- A person committed to the process of being equipped to be fruitful and mature members so that the body is built up in love (vv. 11-16)
- A person committed to the never-ending need to discipline themselves to lay aside the old self, and its ways, and put on the new self which is the likeness of God (vv. 17-32)
No matter how long you have been a Christian the temptation exists to leave (not lose) your first love, your primary affection for Jesus. In what ways has the Lord convicted you? In what areas do you need to repent?
Usually it is not blatant evil that causes us to leave our first love, but the gradual accumulation of good things at the expense of the best. If we are not careful, our heart will unknowingly grow cold and our fervor will become stale. Oh, how we need to heed our Savior’s call to remember from where we have fallen, repent, and return to heartfelt affection for the Lord!