To the Church at Ephesus

The church at Ephesus was the leading church of Asia Minor.  It was the leading city of Rome in Asia Minor.  Paul spent two years there, Timothy pastored there, and eventually the Apostle John would live there.  It was a blessed city.  It was also a thoroughfare of the ancient world.
Jesus’ words to this city speak to commendation and rebuke.  To his delight, they fight the battles he wants them to fight.  This church valiantly warred against false teachers.  They did not tolerate error.  They fought and fought hard, consistently without fatigue.  Why?  They fought for “his” namesake.  Their motivations were right.  They were serving the master.  Additionally, Jesus commended them for their hatred for the work of the Nicolaitans.  This emotion toward false doctrine was the very emotion Jesus shared!
However, along the way, they also walked away from love.  They didn’t love one another as much anymore nor did they love God so much anymore.  In the midst of the battle, their love cooled.  Perhaps love was viewed as youthful zeal.  Maybe they took one too many hits in their battles with false teachers.  Whatever the case, their love was gone.
The remedy is clear:  remember, repent, do what you did at first.  If they do not obey, Jesus will extinguish the church.  These are hard words but Jesus, the ultimate prophet speaks true words.
Finally, the congregation as a whole is admonished to take heed to the words of Jesus.  He who is able to hear, should hear.  The one who overcomes will be granted a reward, to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.  What  precious promise to the believers.
As we reflect on these wonderful words of Jesus, it is clear that he loves when his people war for truth.  He approves mightily when we war against false teaching and call out the people who pedal the false teaching.  Battling for truth, persevering, all for his namesake is wonderful and precious!  I’m not sure this church traded in love for sound doctrine.  They had both for a while and walked away from one.  Love for sound doctrine and battling for purity is good and right.
However, are we loving God and loving people?  Have the battles been so many that we no longer love with a childlike love?  Have the scars and hurts so piled up that we no longer care.  Has life gone on so long that the “thrill of living is gone?”  May we become like children and love one another with an innocent and trusting love.
This message comes from Revelation 2:1-7.  Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.
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