Focal passage: Revelation 2:1-7
Do you remember your first love? You were a teenager and you spent all your time with her and all your money on her. She was a beautiful car, wasn’t she? You will never forget that first love.
This week we begin an exciting journey to the seven churches to which Jesus delivered messages in Revelation 2-3. These historical first century churches of modern-day Turkey received messages that are still applicable to our lives and churches today. We see this week a church who forgot their first love.
The first church the Lord addressed was in the city of Ephesus. This sea port city became an area of great prosperity in the Roman Empire, boasting a population of about 250,000 people. Ephesus was home to the temple of the goddess Artemis, which was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
In a pattern that will become familiar to us as we examine each of these churches, the Lord begins with a greeting to the angel or messenger of the church at Ephesus, who will deliver His message. To Ephesus, He identifies Himself as the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and who walks among the seven golden lampstands, emphasizing His power, authority and concern for the believers. Jesus commends the Church in Ephesus for their good works and staying the course. Further, Jesus acknowledged them for their perseverance and endurance.
Jesus commends the church in Ephesus, but He also tells them that He had something against them – they had forsaken their first love. They had abandoned their love for Christ and the mission that He had called them to and were only going through the motions. As believers and as churches, we are often found doing the right things, but if we have lost our first love, we are called to repent and to do the things that we did at first.