Where’s the Love?
Where’s the Love?
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV)
Most households accumulate junk—just take a look in the garage—the old fishing rods, the dusty golf clubs, the bicycles with flat tires, the tattered skateboards, and the broken rollerblades. All these things are evidence of hobbies once enjoyed but now cast aside. They speak of loves once treasured, now forsaken for new adventures.
Whilst the Lord acknowledged continued signs of perseverance in the church at Ephesus (2:1-3), He confronted them with the profound loss they had undergone since they turned their backs on love. At the beginning of their discipleship, they were a people marked out by love (cf., Eph. 1:15), but that had changed dramatically. “Forsaken” (aphekes) was a strong term; here, it gave the sense of deliberate abandonment of both love for God in Christ and love for fellow believers.
Jesus reproved their lack of love by imploring them to both consider the great fall they had undergone and the tragic implications of it. It was a great fall, because Christians had the highest calling to live lives of godly love. And it was a perilous fall, for Jesus threatened to remove His lampstand, the very symbol (1:20) that they were a true Church of Christ.
It is hard to overstate the importance of love within the church, for love is essential to Christ’s continued blessing. To neglect love is a dramatic decision with devastating consequences; a church marked by Pharisaism, gossip, self-centeredness, and abusive authority scarcely resembles the Savior whose name it bears. But when the gospel takes root in a congregation, love’s fruit appears. Then all can witness their deep and lasting passion for God and their sacrificial, mutual compassion.
The Ephesian church was notable for its “hard work” and “perseverance” (v. 2), but their industry did not entail charity. They policed themselves faithfully (v. 2), but with callous hearts; they endured hardships (v. 3), but with bitterness. Such spiritual fruit as joy, patience, kindness, and gentleness (cf. Gal. 5:22-23) were in short supply.
By this description, the Ephesian church can be found today at many sites around the world. They are recognizable by their flickering flame, buffeted by chilly spirits.
The pastor who dreams of renewed love among his people first yearns for renewed love within his own heart. Perhaps he can recall those days when his enthusiasm for God and for the privilege of Christian fellowship was vibrant. Perhaps he can retrace his steps to the time when his worship was joyful, his faith childlike, and his zeal unfeigned—his season of first love and high calling. As the congregation watches his pilgrimage to the first things, they are inspired to rediscover their own first love and high calling. To Christ’s satisfaction, their flame once again shines bright.
GracePointe Baptist Church
2209 N Post Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73141
Phone: (405) 769-5050