It’s time to start speaking directly to the seven churches. Jesus starts with the church at Ephesus. It’s time for the good and the but…
Jesus addresses His instructions to “the angel of the church” (verse 2a). I have a question about this address. Yes, already. Ok. So Jesus told us that the seven stars were the seven angels of the churches. I’m assuming these angels watched over the church and its corporate direction. Does this angel have a geographic region? Is its dominion/service area “doctrinally” restricted? Who does that angel watch over now? Is it all churches that hold the same characteristics of the church if Ephesus at the time of John’s vision? Or is it something different all together? I really don’t know. So I’m going with this angel bringing the message to all believers who have the same characteristics in their faith. I hope that is ok.
So the ones being addressed here as “the church of Ephesus” would be those in that specific church at the time and those of us who followed their imperfect example. Their example being: sound doctrine but a distant heart.
Jesus says that He has seen their “works, your toil and your patient endurance” (verse 2a). He has also seen that they don’t fall for the false teachings that are going around, no matter who the teacher claims to be. If their teaching doesn’t line up, the body doesn’t let them in. This group keeps on keeping on for Jesus. They contend for the faith.
Here comes the “but.” But they “have abandoned the love you had at first” (verse 4). Their minds are firm in the fight but their hearts are not in it. They are going through the motions. They are just doing what they need to do to get by out of duty instead of out of love.
This reminds me of a marriage. In the beginning both partners do acts of service simply because they want to do something nice for the other. The wife fixes a big dinner of the husband’s favorites, not because he asked for that dinner, but because she wants to please him and show him how much she loves him. Years go by and she still cooks his dinner but she doesn’t care what he wants to eat and simply fixes what is available or easiest. Both meet the husband’s need for food but one is done deliberately out of love and the other out of obligation.
Serving Jesus is SO much more than just going through the motions. He wants our heart to be in what we do. A while ago I was convicted in my spirit to help those standing on the street corners. My husband and I agreed to a plan and we tried to implement it. Funny thing is, when we were committed to that plan we didn’t encounter anyone asking for assistance. I gave up on that plan. Today, as we were leaving our shopping center we encountered someone needing help. I didn’t have my “bag of groceries” with me to give to the person, like our original plan called for. So instead, I reacted from the heart and gave the change that I had in my wallet. Why? Because my heart moved me to do it out of love for Him, not from some sense of obligation.
That is what Jesus wants us to use when “doing our works.” Yes, stick with HIS truth and contend for the faith to the end. But also keep your heart involved in the process. Do it because you love Him, not because it’s part of the “formula” to get to Heaven.
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at the first” (verse 5). Fall back in love with Him by spending quality time with Him. It’s not “get’er done and get on with life” but taking time to sit together and enjoy the company. It also doesn’t mean that you have to abandon everything else in life and ONLY sit at Jesus’ feet. There is a time to sit quietly together and there is a time to get up and go about the work. I like the song “I come to the garden.” When we spend time together alone my love seems to grow on its own.
Thank You Lord Jesus that You take time out of Your busy schedule spend time with me. I’m sorry for the times I don’t reciprocate. Our time together is so special. Thank You for spending time with me in music too. I LOVE how You bring me close to You with music. Sing to my heart EVERY DAY Lord Jesus.