Summary: 3rd week series on loving God and loving others. Love covers everything, and we are commanded to love.
Text: Revelation 2: 1-7NLT The Love Letter
E. Stanley Johns Once wrote: In all our growth, we must grow in love. Unless we are growing in love we are not growing at all.
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: 2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lamp stand from its place among the churches. 6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.
Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. These seven churches were actual churches in these cities. They also represent every church throughout history-even Crane Eater Community.
Ephesus was known as the gateway to Asia, because of its harbor, and four great trade roads going through this city.
Paul ministered in Ephesus for 3 years, and later met with the Ephesian elders on his way to Jerusalem (Acts 20). Timothy, the Apostle John and others all served this body. In fact, John was in Ephesus when he was arrested, and exiled 50 miles SW to Patmos.
This church (Body) once loved, had great faith, and had a wonderful testimony; however, the body left their first love.
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Mother Teresa
I’m so glad today that we have such a loving God who is willing to correct us when we’re wrong. Remember this, “God never justifies sin, but He convicts with His Spirit.
With every sin Christ gives His church a covenant promise. Revelation 2:7NKJ“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’
The Greek word for overcomes here means to conquer, to have victory.
I John 5:4NKJ For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
This word ‘overcomes’ is a military term suggesting: combat against the forces of the evil one. To overcome as a believer means you stay faithful through persecution, sufferings and trials.
Jesus said, “I will give them to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
Suggesting, eternal life; Walking in perfect fellowship with God. (Before the fall.)
Let’s go back and look at Revelation 2:1NKJ“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,’ These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lamp stands:
Seven stars and seven golden lamp stands: Seven stars meaning: The seven pastors over the churches. Seven golden lamp stands meaning: One of the seven churches each filled with oil.
Revelation 2:2-3NKJ “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
Revelation 2:4NKJ Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
The Ephesians passion and fervor for Christ had become- cold, mechanical orthodoxy. Their love for the truth and moral purity were no substitute for the love for Christ they had forsaken.
Listen to Revelation 2:5NKJ Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place—unless you repent.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Many churches continue to exist without Me.”
Listen: a lamp is only effective when it’s lit.
Understand: When you lose your first love you can still come to church, teach, clap, sing and even tithe!