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First Love

Good works can't replace heart-felt love.

Revelation 1-3: The First Facet

Week 3, Monday: The Church in Ephesus

The first facet of the gem which is the book of Revelation applies Jesus’ message to John to seven churches in Asia Minor. These churches were actual historical congregations, familiar to John. They also represent all churches in all times. The message to these churches is thus the message to the Church in every age, and they challenge us to reflect on our own churches in our times. Here, in the mirror of Revelation 2 and 3, we will see both the glory of God and the state of our churches reflected for our careful consideration. We begin with the most destructive problem any church can face.

Read Revelation 2

Meditate on Revelation 2.1-7
1.      Jesus begins His message to the pastor (“angel”, cf. Mal. 2.7, Gal. 4.14) of the church of Ephesus with words of commendation (vv. 1-3 and 6) For what does He commend this congregation? What does this commendation imply concerning what Jesus is looking for in churches today

2.      What do you understand by the “first love” of the Church? What does it mean to “leave” that first love? According to Hebrews 2.1, does this happen suddenly or gradually? Explain.

3.      The commendation Jesus gave this church can mask the problem He exposed. How? How can you tell whether or not this condition exists in your church?

  1. No church should be content to continue in this condition. What is required for a church to “remember” and “repent” so that it can return to its first love and be restored? What “works” (v. 5) does this entail? What should be the role of church leaders in this process? Of church members?

    5.      Jesus includes an ominous threat for those who fail to heed His message (v. 5). What does this mean? But note the promise Jesus makes for all who hear this message of the Spirit to the churches (v. 7). What does this mean for our eternal destiny? What does it mean for each day?

My Reflection
How can you tell when you are beginning to “drift” from love for Jesus into mere doctrine and good works?

The Glory of God
Why does Jesus prize love for Him more than sound doctrine and good works?

Glory to Glory
Jesus appeared to the Ephesians in the glory of commendation. He moved from that to the glory of reproach, then warning, then promise. In each of these stages, Jesus was prepared to bring the glory of God to bear on this church, and on any church which suffers from the same problem. What would each stage of this glory look like as Jesus brought it to bear on you? Jesus confronted the Ephesians with His glory through the pastor of the church. What should be your pastor’s role in keeping a church focused on the glory of Jesus, at every stage?

Our memory verse for this week is Revelation 2.29. Write this verse on an index card, using your preferred translation of the Bible. Carry this with you throughout the week, and spend some time each day working to memorize this verse.

Closing Prayer
You, Lord, are most high above all the earth;
You are exalted far above all gods.
You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

Psalm 97.9-12

T. M. Moore

The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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