Seven Churches: Ephesus

Revelation 2:1–7 (ESV) — 1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

In the opening chapters of the Book of Revelation, Jesus addresses seven different churches. With each church, he summarizes what is going on within the church and then calls on them to hear his words and make appropriate changes. The first church is the church in Ephesus. There were things that were going on in Ephesus that were wonderful things. The church was sound in doctrine and had exposed false teaching. They were toiling and serving. However, there was one problem. They had forgotten their first love.

The church in Ephesus is a strong warning to us today. It reminds us that we can have all of our doctrine right and we can be busy doing many good things, but still lack a proper love for Jesus Christ. We must treasure and love our Lord with all of our hearts. Religion without love is not what the Bible has in mind when speaking of God’s people. We are called to love our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. The church in Ephesus had forgotten their first love. Let us not do the same.

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