Letters from God – Why forsake your first love? (FinalPart)
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” – Rev. 2:1-7 (NIV)
LET us now examine the different parts of the letter using our diagnostic, descriptive, and prescriptive values described earlier.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF THE EPHESUS CHURCH
Remember that this was a church that loved God, but was sick and needed help. The letter was sent to them so they could get help, and its contents was sent by the Master Physician who sees all – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It is so easy for us to overlook or forget the good when things are not going well. Not God. He did not just focus on the bad and ugly, of which they already had an idea.
He gave them the total picture, starting with the good. His description of their condition summarised them in totality in the following verses:
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my Name, and have not grown weary. ……… You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
DIAGNOSIS OF THE SPIRITUAL
CONDITION OF THE EPHESUS CHURCH
Yet, in spite of the good description of this church in Revelation 2:2, 3 & 6, they were still sick and had a problem. And here is what God’s microscope revealed about the cause of their sickness and the damage that had resulted from it:
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen!
Because of their sickness, they had fallen far from the great spiritual height they had previously enjoyed and now at a low depth of despair. This same experience had earlier made David cry out:
“Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation. And sustain me with a willing spirit.” – Psalm 51:11-12
PRESCRIPTION FOR THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF THE EPHESUS CHURCH
Many go through the same stage of experience as was diagnosed for David and the Ephesus church in the walk of faith. And so, the letter continues with a prescription of what should be done to receive healing, as well as what will happen if the prescription is ignored.
… If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
The apostle Peter preached the gospel at a gathering where many were desirous of something more meaningful than the life of ease and merrymaking that they had.
He gave them the same prescription as was sent to the Ephesus. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” – Acts 3:19
A WARNING TO 21ST
Perhaps you or someone around you is currently going through the experience of the early Ephesus church. Perhaps you love God once and pledged to love Him forever and have now surrendered to the allure of worldly interests?
The profound messages of this letter to the Ephesus church are equally applicable to each of us as believers today. God wants us to live a full life as responsible men and women, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33. It is the only way to maintain the spiritual height where we can be truly free, and be the best that He has created us to be.
THINK ABOUT IT: Andrea Crouch, the legendary songwriter in one of his classical hymns repeats this poignant plea in the refrain: Take me back dear Lord to the place where I first received you. Take me back, take me back dear Lord where I first believed.” Why not sing the same song to get back to God, your first true love?
To be continued!
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By Dr Joyce Aryee,the author