The final part of our series on “Take Account of His Blessings” deals with the church of Ephesus. Revelation 2:1-7 (NASB) gives Jesus’ praise, admonition, and warning to the church. Jesus says, “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for my name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place – unless you repent.”
In the book of Revelation, Jesus tells the church how proud He is of them, and yet there was something with which He had to fault them. They had lost their First Love. I remember when I first was saved. I couldn’t help but tell others about what Jesus had done. I loved Him so much, and I was filled with this incredible joy! Everything was new! I was looking at the world through different eyes. Bible reading was fun! I couldn’t wait to get to church so that I could learn more about Jesus. Then when I tried witnessing to my classmates, I ran against resistance. I tried witnessing to my grandmother who wasn’t saved, and I met resistance. Suddenly, I found out that not everyone is wanting to hear about how great it was that Jesus saved me. I still loved Jesus, but my enthusiasm waned…a lot!
I imagine that is what happened with the church at Ephesus. They were very good at doing the right things, they stood up against persecution and persevered, and they were diligent at weeding out the false teachers that had managed to weasel their way into the church, but all that they did was more out of duty, not because they loved Jesus. They had lost the blessing of their First Love!
Baby Christians are so excited when they first come to know Jesus, and then they meet up with older Christians who are just holding on to the end. The more “mature” Believers will see how excited the Baby Christians are and say, “That won’t last long.” But it doesn’t have to be like that. For me, it took a good long while to get to the point where sharing my testimony, talking to people about accepting Jesus as their Savior, Bible Reading, and praying were not so much something I had to check of my list of things to do, but I truly wanted to do it.
My pastor says when there is no love, there’s no life. So, in essence, the church at Ephesus had become dead. They had forgotten what it was like at the very beginning of their walk with the Lord, how reading the Scriptures, praying, and witnessing, was a joy, it was as if they could do nothing else. But Jesus gives them an admonition…repent, remember, go back to your first love, do the deeds you did before. I believe they may have been doing some of the things they did at first, but not out of love, more out of duty. There was no joy, kind of doing “the same ole, same ole” and not realizing that they were becoming a dead church.
It can be so easy for us to fall into that trap ourselves. It’s a good thing to go back and remember what it was like when we first came to Jesus. Remember the joy in our hearts, remember the thrill of reading His Word and learning all we could, and marveling at the truths found in Scripture, remember the joy we had of leading someone to know Jesus, and how excited we were about getting to church so that we could learn more about the One who held our heart in His hands.
We need to take account of our lives…have we ever had a closer relationship with God than we are in right now? If so, then we are in a back-slidden condition. There is a solution to that condition… repentance. When I was in a singing group in my 20s, we sang a song that said, “Repentance is turning around my friend”, and that is exactly what repentance is, turning around and going in the opposite direction…a 180-degree position from where we are right now. Taking account of our lives is needed every so often. It helps us to know where we stand with Jesus.
Many will reject the Good News that Jesus loves them and wants to save them from eternal darkness, they will lose their souls to eternal darkness. If you have never asked Jesus to be your Savior, now is the time. Jesus made the process so simple, a small child can do it. Simply, ask Him to come into your life and heart, forgive you of your sins, tell Him you are sorry, and promise and endeavor to live your life for Him the rest of your days. Revelation 3:20 (KJV) says, “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” That’s His invitation to us!