Summary: Some might argue it’s not possible to stay in love-"Love" hormones work about 18-24 months and then settle down to normalcy. Jesus doesn’t share that perspective. He gives the 3 R's for Rekindling 1st Love -Remember, Repent & Repeat.
To: The Angel at the Church in Ephesus
These things says the One holding the seven stars in His right hand, the one walking in the middle of the gold lights:
I know your works, and your labor and patience (endurance-bearing under a load). And that you are not able to tolerate bad people, and you have tested those saying they are apostles, but are not, and you have found them false, and the patience (same as above) you have carried on through the my name and not become tired.
But I have this against you
That you have abandoned your first love.
Remember, therefore the place you have fallen from and
Do your first works.
If you do not, I am coming to you and I’ll remove your light from its place if you do not repent.
But this you have, that you hate the work of the Nikolaitans, which I also hate.
The one having an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To the one who overcomes I will give to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God. Revelation 2:1-8
This chapter is divided into four messages to four churches, Ephesus (1-7), Smyrna (8-11), Pergamum (12-17) and Thyatira (18-29). Chapters two and three of Revelation could be called the only epistles in the Bible directly dictated by Jesus.
v 1 Ephesus (See Acts 19. Ephesus was a major metropolitan center and port) This is the church of the 1st Century, or the Apostolic church.
v 2 labor work to the point of exhaustion
patience to bear up under a load
apostles “sent ones”. This church would not “bear” those who were false.
v 3 Perseverance see Gal. 6:9, I Cor. 15:58, Is. 40:30-31.
v 4 There are many Greek words translated “but”. This is the strongest. Works can never replace love. What was the first love? There are four main views:
1. Love for others (Jn. 13:34-35).
2. love for the second coming of Christ (II Tim 4:8)
3. Love for non-believers (Mat. 28:19-20)
4. Love for God (Deut 6:5; 10:12; 11:1, etc. Mat. 22:35-40)
I think it’s that simple first love-being IN LOVE-with God.
v 5 Three steps to overcoming the loss of love in a relationship (whether with God or anyone else):
1. Remember what it was like to be in love (Luke. 15:17-18)
2. Repent or turn away from one course and toward another, to change one’s mind (Matthew 3:2; Mark. 1:15; Luke. 13:3,5).
3. Repeat the first works, or act like someone in love.
v 6 Hatred of some things is appropriate (Deut. 12:31; Pro. 6:16-19). God hated this doctrine of the nicolaitans. Some relate this to Nicolaus, one of the seven deacons (Acts 6:5). The word is a combination of two Greek words: niko, or nike (that’s right, the shoe has a heresy named after it), which means victor, or victory, and laos, or laity, the common people. The implication is that some sort of hierarchy had been established in which some were brought into subjection to others in the spiritual order of things. Jesus hates this (Rev. 1:10; 5:6).
v7 Jesus said he that has an ear let him hear several times (Mat. 10:32; Lk. 12:8: Mk 8:38). This indicates clearly that these messages are not merely intended for one church, nor for one people, but for all who have an ear.
Losing First Love
I keep asking if you’ve ever been in love. Please don’t get upset at me. There are simply too many opportunities for this question in the New Testament. If you’ve been in love, I mean, really in love, then you’ll understand the Bible’s teaching more readily.
It seems the early church was really in love with Jesus.
Have you ever met someone who recently turned his or her heart over to Jesus? Have you seen the fresh glow, the joy, the almost constant, easy smile, the readiness to laugh and pray and sing and praise God? That’s first love.
Have you ever met an old believer? You know the kind-one who seems to think looking miserable is a virtue, that gossip is a kind of second language they have worked hard to master, that talking badly about others, especially those in the Church, is a kind of second job (assuming such a person has a first job). That person has lost the first love.
So, let’s say that person is you.
How do you regain first love?
Some might argue it’s not possible. Our hormones work in that ecstatic mode for about 18-24 months and then settle down to normalcy. This is the way of things. I can’t get back that condition of being in love.
It seems Jesus doesn’t share that perspective. He gives a formula for regaining first love. It can be easily remembered as Three R’s Remember, Repent, Repeat.