But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. – Revelation 2:4 ESV
I don’t know if the letters to the 7 churches were written specifically to 1st century churches, to 7 church ages, to 7 types of churches, or maybe to some combination of these. But I do believe there are lessons to be drawn from each of them, both for churches and for individuals. And this first letter, to the church at Ephesus, hits me the hardest.
Here is a church that seems to be doing everything right, and Jesus acknowledges their labor, their testing of false prophets, and their endurance. Yet he has one problem with them; they have abandoned their love for Christ that they had at an earlier time. It would appear that as time had went on, they focused more on the outward activities of being a church and drifted away from their relationship with their head. And Jesus’ warning to them was severe; if you don’t return to me, you will lose your place as a church.
How many churches today seem to be doing everything right, but do it in a legalistic fashion rather than out of love. And how many individuals are the same way, seeming to be good examples of Christian life, yet having lost their intimate relationship with Christ. I am sure Christ’s warning to Ephesus is just as applicable for us today. Return to your first love before it’s too late.