I have the honor of speaking again this week at Bartimaeus Baptist Temple, where as I have opportunity I’ve been speaking on the deliverers who picture Jesus in the Old Testament. But this week I was reading in Revelation 2:1-7. Jesus is speaking to the church at Ephesus. He has several good things to say about it, but then one bad thing that cancels out all the rest.
I bet if we went to that church, we would think it was a pretty good one. They believed in pure doctrine and wouldn’t tolerate false teachers. Its members worked hard and kept their faith in the face of persecution. If it were here today, it would probably have a good preacher who stayed true to the Bible and lots of ministry opportunities.
But Jesus didn’t seem to think so. For all the good things, He had one thing against them, and it was so serious that He would not allow them to remain a church unless they repented. They left their first love. He says, “remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.” (2:5) All of those things that Jesus Himself said were good about that church didn’t matter, because they forgot the reason for their existence, to be the bride of Christ.
It doesn’t matter how big we grow. It doesn’t matter how nice our building looks. It doesn’t matter how many good things we do. It doesn’t matter if we are doing good things that no one else is doing. It only matters if He is our first love and everything we do is motivated by that love. He did say, “”If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) Notice that the love comes first. When we do what we do out of love, we are not just a good church, we’re a great church! Come and let’s take a closer look at the Ephesian church and what Jesus had to say to it. I’m getting this out rather late, but there’s still time to get there. We meet at 2:30 in the afternoon. If you miss it, keep an eye on the web site for the podcast. I’m excited about this one.