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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Have you left your first love (Revelation 2)

In Revelation 2 & 3, Jesus has John write messages to seven specific churches consisting of warnings, instructions, encouragement, and promises. These messages are not just to those churches alone, but also written to us today. So what can we learn from Ephesus?

In Revelation 1:19, John gave us the purpose for Revelation in the form of an outline:

  • Chapter 1 - the things which you (John) have seen

  • Chapter 2-3 - the things which are (the church age described through 7 churches)

  • Chapter 4-22 - the things which will take place after these things (the period of time after the church age and what will happen)

In Revelation 2-3, 7 specific churches in Asia receive messages which have tremendous application for us today.

What can we learn from the message to the church of Ephesus that we can apply to our own lives?

Commendation: Jesus commends them for testing all teaching against Scripture, both inside and outside of the church. Do we do that? We know to test the teaching outside of the church. But do we test the teachings within our own churches against Scripture rather than assuming those teachings match Scripture?

Warning: Jesus warns them that they have "left their first love." They were going through the motions attending church but their heart was not in it. They were not really worshiping, praying and studying the Scriptures with eyes to see and ears to hear. They were just there. Jesus sums this up as "you have left your first love." They were no longer putting Jesus first as they lived out each day and as they did church. Are we putting Jesus first in all aspects of our lives or have we too "left our first love?"

Encouragement: Jesus commended them for "hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans." There are 3 things we know about the Nicolaitans which "the deeds" likely refer to:

  • The Nicolaitans were setting up a hierarchical structure in the church to rule over the congregants rather than using the Elder/Deacon model of the early church.

  • The Nicolaitans were tolerating sexual immorality rather than following Scripture to remove those who refused to repent of these sins before it spread within the church.

  • The Nicolaitans were participating in idol worship; specifically occult worship of false gods at the temples in Ephesus.

So then are we staying true to God's Word rather than tolerating sin and participating in activities which take our eyes off of Jesus, as we fixate on something else?

Promise: Jesus promise to those who stay true to Him and the teachings of His Word is that we will eat the best food in eternity with Him. This would have been especially meaningful to the followers of Christ in the church of Ephesus who were refusing to defile themselves with the choicest delicacies available at the temples which had been sacrificed to idols.

So the bottom line is, if we put Jesus first, in all aspects of our lives, our lives will not only align with God's Word, they will also shine the light of Jesus to those around us.

Dear Lord, I think it's sometimes easy to look at some of these warnings and think those issues no longer exist in our time. We certainly see sexual immorality running rampant. But it would be easy to think idolatry no longer exists. Yet in reality we see other things being worshiped and focused on in our churches rather than sticking to Your Word and focusing on Your Gospel message of salvation. Lord, please protect me and my church so that we keep the eyes of our heart focused on You. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Dear Lord, Thank you..

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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