A message to Ephesus
The church of Ephesus is a great study because we often loose sight of what has to be the most important truth in our lives. If we just work with no Godly passion then Jesus Christ is no longer at the center of our heart.
(1) "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; (2) I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (3) And hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. (4) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent. (6) But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. (7) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Revelation 2:1-7.
The church of Ephesus worked extremely hard but did not have the spirit of love. Anytime we do something for God we have to be balanced which is extremely difficult because we are not born with wisdom and a well rounded outlook on life.
I have noticed that most people have this idea that it is either this or that. God stepped in and said it is O.K. if you do this (work) but you need to have that (love). If we do not labor for the Lord we are the unprofitable servants not using our talents and as a result God is not getting the glory that He desires nor is He getting any interest on our work. If we do something for God without the spirit of love we are forgetting the very essence of who Jesus Christ is because the heart and soul of the Son of God is grace.
The temple of Diana was in this city and she was even placed on many of the coins for monetary exchange. Ephesus had a very stable economy and many people kept their money in a vault in the temple of Diana and felt safe that their hard earned money would be handled correctly.
It is obvious that this city was taught a very strong work ethic because society expected much in the form of business but the environment was pagan. Secular people sometimes engaged in black magic or at the very lest were surrounded by this tool of the devil.
Christians were extremely well taught but got very confused as to what was really important in life for their eternity. Yes even with the greatest teachers such as Paul, Timothy, Apollos and John they still got baffled that Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of love. This is the main reason people come to know the Son of God because "For God so loved the world"... John 3:16.
The Christians in the church of Ephesus were taught a very strong work ethic as children, realized they needed a Savior (Jesus Christ) and went to work for Him but grew cold in their spirit. Would you want to come to know Jesus Christ if you walked into a church that did not understand who they were serving?
On the outside this church was great. They were praised two times for their labor for Jesus Christ, they trusted the Lord under trial, they had sound doctrine and they did not tolerate sin. For example the Nicolaitans were trying to say sexual sin would not affect the spirit. The Ephesus church kicked them out and they never came back so as you can see they were trying to do everything God wanted them to follow through with but there were problems.
It is hard to try your best and have God step in and say ... "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee." I have been in that position and it is very difficult. God sees everything and I see very little. God observed a flaw in their character regarding why they were doing what they were laboring for and in this case it was a lack of love. Their affections were in the wrong places although they were obedient to Jesus Christ.
Let me give you a hint. If the world has their affections here run in the opposite direction. If a church is stuck on something and they are in quicksand pray to God that He will give you the truth. Their affections are in the wrong place and if this is the case Jesus Christ is not in the center of their heart.
Be careful because on the outside the whole thing could actually look warm but on the inside there could be a lack of love. I'm not talking about the person that comes up to us and says, "I hate you." That is more than obvious and I see this a lot in the world. God is talking about something far more insidious that creeps into the spirit of a person or Church and registers coldness rather than love. The Ephesus church probably had no clue that this gradually but slowly absorbed in their spirit.
If a wife does really good work but does not love her husband then the man may step in and explain that something very significant is missing in their relationship. When a main element is missing in any relationship there is a lack and it can feel very lonely.
We know that the Ephesus church was taught the Bible very well but it did not produce the one end result that it was originally intended to accomplish which is a greater love for Jesus Christ. In the best way they wanted to be the profitable servants for Jesus Christ but what could be more unprofitable than not truly loving Jesus Christ and showing that affection through our labor in our daily routines for our Lord in whatever we are called to do for Him.
If this ever happens to us as Christians then we should just repent and remember the love of Jesus Christ that used to be in our life by experience in the past and labor with our affections in the proper place. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don't know Him remember He loves you very much. Even Christians can get very confused as you can see in this article. You may want to consider accepting Jesus Christ into your heart today/tonight by repenting of all your sins. When you invite the Son of God into your life He desires you to focus on His love as your primary call. There may be secondary calls but remember that your affections have to be in the right place.
It is interesting that the church of Ephesus is the first church out of seven because love for Jesus Christ is the most important truth we can carry out in our life.
I know from a prophetic implication that the Ephesus church represents the Apostolic church which existed from 33 A.D to 100 A.D. This time frame was almost identical to how the Ephesus church operated because they thought their acceptance from God depended on their works. Legalism rather than love for Jesus Christ is never acceptable in the eyes of God.
We all need to examine our life to see if we are right with God through His Son Jesus Christ. This is hard but most things good will be difficult. If we have an earnest, honest spirit with God He will honor this and reveal His love in our hearts. God bless you Bob D.