16.11.2020 Revelation 1:1-4, 2:1-5

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” (Rev.2:4).
These words are addressed to the church in Ephesus. The City of Ephesus was mighty and majestic. It was a wealthy city and yet a very pagan city, as it was home to the largest temple in the ancient world, the pagan temple of Artemis. Acts 20 gives the a report on the missionary preaching of Paul in Ephesus. The letter to the Ephesians makes it clear how they received the truth of the Gospel and grew up in faith. Their problem was not their failure to understand good doctrine, their problem was not that they lacked perseverance. This church existed during one of the most difficult times in all of Christian history. Beginning in 54 A.D. with the emperor Nero, there was widespread persecution of Christians. The Ephesian church had refused to bow the knee to Caesar and had stood firm in the midst of persecution. They also took a strong stand against heresy. They are praised for all these wonderful things (Rev 2:1-3). But verse 4 has a condemnation against them, that they have lost their first love. These are words which pierce, yet soften; which rouse, yet soothe; which wound, yet bind up. They had started out strong, but over time things had begun to change. A generation had come and gone since Paul had preached to them. The new generation had lost their passion. The fervor for Christ, the passionate love that had motivated them and burned within their hearts had given way to a mechanical orthodoxy, a ritualistic form of service that lacked enthusiasm and zeal.
This is a warning for all of us. Think about your fervor for Jesus. Does the zeal for God burn like a fire within your heart? (Jer 20:9). Do you focus on the form instead of the substance of faith? Are you infatuated with knowledge instead of personal holiness? Have you allowed other things to sit on the throne of your life, and relegate Christ to a lesser place of importance? Have you become dispassionate and cool in your relationship with Christ?
Friends, Christ never asked for part of our lives, He asks for all of it. He never asked for a place in our heart, He asks for absolute rule and reign in our hearts. He never asked to be one of many passions; He asks to be the consuming passion of our lives. Jesus has never lost His passion for us. Jesus loves us and He wants us to return the love.
✍️ CB

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